E-Challenge May 2017

My bride and I are celebrating our thirty-second wedding anniversary in a few days. We have 2.5 children and a dog. Our son is a captain in the Marines. He serves as Executive Officer in his present assignment. Our Baby Girl finishes her second year of law school in a few days. She has a highly-responsible externship this summer. Our unofficially-adopted daughter is an award-winning school teacher, wife, and supermom. One of our friends in Canada described our lives as the American Dream.

Dream is not the word we would have used for long stretches of our lives. Every couple knows their own struggles. Ours were not so much with each other, but with the realities of life. Life can be hard. Extended illnesses and long hospital stays leave scars that take a long time to heal. Long, dark nights of the soul that stretch far beyond what seems bearable linger unpleasantly in memory.

Even so, we are indeed living the dream. We enjoy telling people that the one person we enjoy spending time with more than anyone else is each other. Our mutual battles drew us closer together. Our roots sank deeper. Our admiration and appreciation for one another has multiplied exponentially. We love our marriage companionship.

When we said, "For better, for worse," we meant it. "In sickness and in health" were promises made and kept.

We had one session of premarital counseling with our pastor. He asked us what we were going to do when problems came along. We had no idea. He gave us good, simple advice. He told us to face our problems together. He told us to fight them together, and not to fight one another. The instructions were simple. Learning the lessons were challenging. However, we made it.

Life was hard for a long time. Life has been good for a longer time. Not to sound trite, but we love long walks and runs with our dog. We enjoy dining out alone. We enjoy traveling together. We love watching our kids turn into amazing adults. We have great jobs with wonderful coworkers. Life is good.

Some years ago, I was offered the job of my dreams. The only big issue to work around was the extensive travel schedule. I would need to fly three or four days a week and spend several nights away from home in hotels. As attractive as the job was, the answer to the offer was an easy no. I prefer to come home to my wife and our dog almost every night.

What I want for you is a marriage like ours. I want you to know the joys and heartaches of life together. I want you to learn dependence on God and one another. I want you to learn independence from unhelpful outside influences. I want you to learn interdependence with family, friends, and coworkers that strengthen your marriage while extending your relationship circles. I want you to know that biblical marriage of one man and one woman freely and totally committed to God and to one another is a very good thing.

If you are not married and have no prospects on the horizon, I want for you the satisfaction that you are right where you need to be and are doing what you need to do. I want you to enjoy the kinds of relationships that give life depth and texture, meaning and satisfaction.

I love my wife. I love our life together. I look forward to going home tonight.

Happy anniversary, Katie!

With gratitude,

In This Issue
Pastors' Conference and Executive Board
Upcoming Trainings and Retreats
Weekly Blogs
Younique Intensive | May 8-11
App of the Month
Book of the Month
Is It Vacation Time Yet? - Gary Crowell
Opus Gloria - Casey Lester
What's Your Purpose? - Becky Biser
VBS 2017 Training
Discipleship Journey for Pastors and Staff
Riverbend - 50th Anniversary Book
RA Camp
Vancouver Vision Tour
21st Century Wilberforce Initiative
Volunteer Interim Pastors in England Needed
BGCT Upcoming Events
SEND Conference - Dallas
TBA Job Board
News from Churches
Pastor's Conference and Executive Board Meetings
Cornerstone Assistance Network
3500 Noble Avenue
Fort Worth, Texas 76111

May 8 - Pastor's Conference
David Cooke, City Manager, FW
May 15 - Executive Board
May 22 - Pastor's Conference
Dr. Joel Fitzgerald, Chief of Police, FW
May 29 - No Pastor's Conference
Memorial Day
Upcoming  Training  and Retreats
  Upcoming Trainings and Retreats

Younique Cohort
May 8-11, 2017
TBA Office
*TBA Pastors and Staff, contact Casey for a discount code

re:FOCUS Retreat
October 8-10, 2017
Riverbend Retreat Center

Our Weekly Blogs!
Blogs go out every Thursday

Younique Intensive

God created you with one-of-a-kind potential and placed you on earth for a specific purpose. Due to the busyness of life, you've likely never identified your unique calling in a way that brings life-changing clarity.
You work hard and follow Jesus. You feel successful. But do you still sense something is missing?  Younique provides a proven pathway to more meaning, amazing clarity, powerful focus, and real progress!
Register for a 4-Day Intensive

Customized and exclusive onsite training that covers Personal Vision Journey content

TBA will host a 4-Day Intensive May 8-11, 2017
TBA Pastors and Staff, contact Casey for a discount code
App of the Month
I was comparing several music apps recently to determine which one I would subscribe to. I considered Spotify, Apple Music,
and Pandora. During my research, I discovered that Amazon has a music service. Not only that, but if you are an Amazon Prime member (which I am), the music service is free like Amazon Prime Video which provides movies and television shows similar to Netflix.

Amazon Music has all the standard channels the other services have and also give s users the ability customize their own playlists. I have praise and worship, classic hits, and focused study playlists. I can find anything I want without having to pay an additional subscription.

We buy so much from Amazon that the free shipping and added services make Amazon Prime a great bargain.

Add the Amazon Music app to your phone or tablet and it goes with you anywhere and everywhere. I use it at home, in my car, and in my office. I don't have to listen to the radio and endless commercials unless I need to.
Book of the Month
Cal Newport did not write Deep Work with ministry professionals in mind. However, his lessons apply to us as much as anyone.

Cal does not have social media accounts. This fact alone makes him stand out from the crowd. How much more could you accomplish if you didn't check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat several times per day?

Professor Newport teaches how to maximize productivity through time blocking and focus. You will find a hundred different applications for your life and ministry.
Is It Vacation Time Yet?
With all the possibilities that Americans have for getaways and vacation time away from their work, an amazingly high percentage do not fully take advantage of this benefit provided by their employers. A December 2016 survey by Bankrate.com revealed that 64% of American workers get paid vacation days while only 47% of workers who get paid vacation days will use all of them.  That leaves 53% who leave days "on the table" that they may or may not be able to carry over to the next year. In fact, in 2015 a whopping 55% of under-vacationed Americans left a total of 658 million vacation days unused. This is the peak number in a steady decline that began in 2000.

Here are some of the reasons employees give for not taking paid time to which they are entitled:

Would be returning to a mountain of work
No one else can do the job
Cannot financially afford a vacation
Want to show complete dedication
Don't want to be seen as replaceable

It's good to remember that more time on the job doesn't necessarily translate to better performance at the job. Studies show workers who take time off are more productive after their batteries are recharged. They have higher morale, and are less likely to mentally check out on the job. This translates into more output in both quality and quantity per worker. Without taking time to recharge, employees can find themselves stressed, overworked and sick. All of these have a direct impact on their work performance.  

We can take a directive from Scripture. The concept of sabbath rest is deeply imbedded in the Old Testament. This is a cyclical rest that God has placed as a built-in need of our human bodies. We are not constructed to work extended lengths of time without a stepping away from the task to find physical,emotional and spiritual replenishment. Jesus and his disciples were no strangers to this concept. In Mark 6:30-31 the apostles gathered around Him and reported all they had been busy doing and teaching. They had been actively working. Then the Master noted that because so many people were coming and going they did not even have a chance to eat. They all needed a break from the pressing needs all around them. He said, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." A lot of us probably feel like the "to do list" is just too critical to put it down in favor of essential rest. Our real need is to be more like Jesus and less like our busy selves.

What are we to do?  First, if you are a supervisor of employees, encourage or even require that they take advantage of provided vacation time. Second, if you are an employee with vacation time to schedule, make a plan how to use it. It is a proven fact that those who specifically plan the use of their vacation time have a greater chance of using it and likely to take a longer break. There are innumerable places to see and things to do in our country as well as internationally. Even a week at home visiting local sites or enjoying a hobby can be a welcome reprieve that will go a long ways in "recharging your batteries." Don't delay, plan today on how you can schedule a vacation getaway! You will be a better you and one who can better serve the Lord.

Gary L. Crowell, CPA, CCA, ACC
CFO, Tarrant Baptist Association
Opus Gloria
What do I want people to say about me when I die? This was not a question on the forefront of my mind all day, every day. Being 24-years-old at the time I never stopped to think about a question I considered to be morbid and a little depressing. I did not want to think about not being on the earth, not being with my husband, my family, or my friends. The question never occurred to me because I did not have in mind the legacy I wanted to leave once I entered eternity. When I was forced to come face-to-face with this question, the neurons in my brain went crazy. What legacy did I want to leave? What did I want people to remember me for? How did I want people to talk of me once I was gone? Question after question fired like bullets in my brain. This one truly stumped me.
After thinking for a few minutes, it was as if God placed the words there himself: self-worth. My whole life I found my identity in who others depicted me to be. I wanted to be known for my five national championships that I had won over a seven-year stretch. My identity was found in the wrong place for the majority of my life. But, I had peace on that Thursday morning. Peace that my mission in life would be to help others find their identity in the Lord.
So, how does this translate into how I want others to remember me when I die? Well, I want others to say "Casey was a woman who knew her self-worth was in the Lord. She made it her life mission to help others see this same truth for themselves." Pretty powerful, huh? Thinking about this legacy I would leave one day gave me the opportunity to prioritize my life. Knowing and believing my identity is in the Lord and not earthly things changed my world. It turned everything I once desired completely around and pointed me towards the Lord and his love and grace.
Some might say thinking about this at such a young age is not the brightest idea out there. Now that I have thought about it, I would say they are wrong. Knowing this at such a young age pushes me to live like it daily. I want to daily point people to their identity in Christ. I want them to know their worth is found in the Lord. Technically, would it not be an advantage to know this earlier in my life and strive towards that goal every day? Think about it, we are not promised tomorrow. I am not guaranteed 50, 60, 70 years on this earth. I want to start working towards that legacy today. And you should, too.
Questions for Action and Reflection:
- What legacy are you going to leave?
- What do you want inscribed on your tombstone?
- What do you want others to say about you once you have passed away?
Casey Lester
TBA Ministry Assistant
What's your purpose?
What's your purpose? Have you ever pondered this question? Why God created you? I know that God has allowed me to be Tim's wife, Aaron and Kevin's mom, and now Rye, Roman and soon-to-be Rhett's Gigi. He has also allowed me to serve as a Bible study teacher for two year olds at my church and as the Director of Leadership Development for Tarrant Baptist Association. These are all roles. But, what do I bring to all of these roles?

Through assessments, learning processes and just time alone with the Father, I now know my purpose. Would you like to discern your purpose? We can help you gain clarity.

God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

He knows the plans. To find out the plans, I've had to ponder and spend time with Him to discern them. He also tells us in John 15:16, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name." He chose me.

My purpose:
I shine to empower God's chosen!

These are my marching orders every day. In order to shine God's truth, His light, and His righteousness, I have to stay in communion with Him all day long.  I also approach each day asking God who He has chosen for me to encounter on His behalf. Who has He chosen for me to shine on? So, when I go to the doctor, when I go to work, when I go to the grocery store, when I go...(you get the picture), I go expecting Him to bring me someone to empower.

Want help discerning your purpose or your mission? Contact me at becky@tarrantbaptist.org.

Becky Biser
VBS 2017 Training Conference THANK YOU

A big THANK YOU to Southcliff Baptist Church for hosting and providing trainers for the VBS Conference on Saturday.

You guys ROCK!

re:FOCUS Journey for Pastors and Staff


Is is time to refocus your life?

Want to experience a life change journey designed just for pastors, staff and leaders? This is not like any other discipleship conference you have experienced. This is a time you can refresh yourself in a hands-on experiential-type of journey. Here are some of the things you will experience:                                                               
  • A safe environment
  • Time for reflection
  • Time to spend reading the Bible and reflecting on your relationship with Christ
  • Authentic facilitators who let you discover your own way
  • Prayers offered over you
  • Laughter and fun
  • A few stretching and challenging activities
  • Time to hear God speaking just to you
  • A renewed excitement and expectation about what God is doing in your life

The next re:FOCUS journey will start Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. on October 8th and end at noon on Tuesday, October 10th at Riverbend Retreat Center. The cost is $125. Each retreat time is unique and will focus on different aspects to help empower leaders.


Retreat #1
- Leaders will spend time re:Connecting with God and with peers in an experiential learning environment. This time will include alone time with God enhancing their dependence on the Father and time to make friends with peers that are both authentic and safe.

Retreat # 2
- Six months later leaders will come back together to re:Discover who God has made them to be. They will spend time exploring things about themselves and formulating their own personal mission statements.

Retreat #3
- In another six months leaders will re:Think what it means to be a disciple. They will explore passages of scripture and write their own definition of a disciple. They will gain a clear picture of what this disciple looks like and how they personally will help others grow to be a fully devoted follower of Christ.

Retreat #4
- The final retreat six months later will focus on re:Engaging with God in His Kingdom. How has God created me to be most effective personally on engaging others? What is He nudging me to do? How do I most effectively lead myself and others?

Between these retreat weeks leaders will meet together monthly to encourage and pray for each other.

Interested? If so, contact Becky Biser at becky@tarrantbaptist.org.


Sign up today!


Date: October 8-10, 2017 (Begin Sunday evening at 6:00 and ending at Tuesday at noon)

Cost: $125 each retreat (includes lodging, meals, snacks, books and other materials)

Duration: 4 retreats over 2 years (Oct. 8-10, 2017; April 15-17, 2018; October 7-9, 2018 and April 7-9, 2019)


Register Here!

Riverbend - 50th Anniversary Book
R iverbend celebrates their 50th Anniversary in this year, and they are writing a 50th Anniversary history book. 

They are looking for those who would like to purchase ads for the book to celebrate the occasion! If you are interested in submitting an ad, please click here to complete the form.
RA Camp
RA Camp is scheduled for July 18-22, 2017 at Riverbend Retreat Center. Currently, there are beds available for additional churches. Contact Glenn Hedgpeth at 817-249-9968 for additional information. 
Vancouver Vision Tour
2017  Vancouver Vision Tour

May 8-11, 2017

If your church is affiliated with the BGCT, or even dually aligned, arrangements will be made to pay your 
hotel and local travel expenses.   All you need to pay is the cost of travel and a few meals. 

If you or any of your leadership team are interested, please contact David Bowman.
21st Century Wilberforce Initiative - Speak Freedom

Invest in Religious Freedom
Take Action

The 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative advocates for religious freedom as a universal right. Over five billion people, 77% of the world's population, live in a context characterized by religious persecution, discrimination, or restrictions. Twenty Christians are killed because of their faith every day. Genocide is occurring against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.

The 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative is creating an alliance of churches that will make religious freedom a priority. Wilberforce provides current, reliable information and training for these churches and suggests practical ways they can mobilize as advocates for defenseless people.

I have worked with Dr. Randel Everett on religious freedom issues over the last couple of years. This is a consuming passion for him and his team. I strongly encourage you to lend your voice and church support to this ministry.

With gratitude,
David Bowman  

For more information about the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative and 
to join the church alliance, visit www.21wilberforce.org .
Opportunity for Volunteer Interim Pastors in England
 Morley Community Church near Leads in Yorkshire
BGCT Upcoming Events



Preparations a re underway for reviveTX , scheduled for April 16-Jun 4, 2017. This is a concerted effort among evangelical churches of multiple denominations to obey the Great Commission and make disciples. Time to Revive is gathering churches around the Metroplex to hit the streets, pray for neighbors, and share the good news of Jesus Christ.  
Take a moment to learn more about reviveTX and to engage in the initiative as a tool to equip church members to be salt and light in effective witness in the Metroplex. You can find out more about reviveTX and upcoming vision lunches at their website, www.reviveTX.org. You can also contact Wade Aaron, reviveTX Church Relations at waaron@timetorevive.com, or 903-570-4757.

SEND Conference
May 19-20, 2017
Dallas, Texas

New TBA Job Board

Our TBA website has updated our Job Board, and we would like for everyone to check it out. We have recently made changes that should make the process easier to navigate for the employer as well as the job seeker. Please visit our website, check out the Job Board, and get busy posting your new jobs here!

News from Churches
News from churches church
College Avenue Baptist Church has around 250 Baptist hymnals from 1956 and 100 Broadman hymnals from 1940 that they would like to give away. Please contact David Trammell at 
817-926-0283 or detrammell@yahoo.com. 

Azle Avenue Baptist Church is looking for a 15-passenger vehicle to use during youth/mission trips. They are looking for a well maintained, low mileage (100K miles or less) either donated or at a low cost. Before trading in your older vehicle to get a new one, please remember their ministry. Please call Pastor Rafael Solis at 817-808-4832 with any information.

First Baptist Bridgeport has a nice organ that they would like to donate to a church. Please call 940-683-4037 for more information.

First Baptist Grapevine has some "gently" used children LIfeWay Bible Study for Life curriculum they would like to donate to a church in need.It is a full years worth for babies through preteen. Please contact Linda Boney if interested at 817-203-2372.

First Baptist Church in Flower Mound is hosting Dallas Holm in concert on Friday, December 2 at 7:00 PM. Admission is free. For more information, please call 972-539-0641.

Greg Ross has a small organ that he would like to donate to a church. Those interested can contact Greg through either email ross.gregory.l@gmail.com at or by phone at 817-467-1412. Below you will see a picture of the organ.

Wedgwood Baptist Church has an older communion table (still in good condition) and would like to donate it to a church that could use it. Please contact Jeff Laster at 817-292-1400 if interested.