The Navigator: 12.2.2021


  • Sammy continues his sermon series on the “” of Jesus.
  • Silent Communion: 4-6pm; Tell your class to arrive any time within that time frame.  There will be tables set up on the floor at the front of the sanctuary.  When there is an empty seat they can take a seat and partake of the Lord’s Supper as a family or individual.
  • Fostering Hope: Sunday evening in the FLC


This week’s tip:  Beware of these Pitfalls of Ministry

A friend working on a grad-studies paper on “ministry pitfalls” contacted me recently to get my input.  As I thought about what I wrote and sent to her it occurred to me these pitfalls can be easily translated to volunteer church leadership.

Read the blog here and send me your thoughts.


HOMOSEXUALITY & MINISTRY: One story and my response

From the article linked below:

Former Southern Baptist Convention President, James Merritt, has resigned from his position as a visiting professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary amid controversy that followed his decision to share a short message by his son, who is gay.

I was heart-sick as I read through comments on Twitter attacking Merritt’s son.

You can read about this story here.

The conflict is as follows:  James Merritt’s son, Jonathan, is gay.  But, Jonathan is a Christian and preaches gospel messages. Although James and Jonathan know full well they disagree on sexuality, James loves his son more than life itself, was proud of his son, and shared his son’s sermon on social media.

The pharisees of social media exploded with vitriol.  Both James and Jonathan were vilified with hateful comments, many of which were hurled by a newly formed group within the Southern Baptist Convention.  They call themselves the Conservative Baptist Network, or CBN.  In response to the formation of this group, Southern Baptist Seminary president, Albert Mohler, tweeted,

“We already have a conservative Baptist network.  It’s called the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Both James and Jonathan have been flooded with love and support.

About the CBN’s treatment of Merritt, one pastor tweeted,

My pastor asked me today if i had heard of what is happening and for my thoughts. He wanted to make sure his idea that the CBN was blatantly attacking without grace a man who’s navigating a difficult situation was accurate. I agreed with him.

I could share my opinion on the CBN.  But, I won’t, for now.  Suffice it to say, I disagree with just about every aspect of their divisive methods and political motives.

I resisted commenting on the topic of James Merritt supporting his son because, frankly, God hadn’t given me permission to do so.  But, finally God said, “Now.” So I did.  I don’t shrink from controversial issues of the day.  Homosexuality being sin is clear.  Homosexuality being an orientation is complicated.  Posting self-righteous hatred on social media will win the ear of no one.

Below is what I posted on Twitter. 

My kids earned degrees in fine arts. They were surrounded by gay and lesbian classmates. Those gay and lesbian kids were/are precious, respectful, and some of the kindest people I’ve met. We’ve had them in our home, taken them out to eat. I even told one young gay man I would raise him as my own if I could.

Does this mean I agree with their lifestyle? Absolutely not. And they all know that. However, these kids are people. People who have feelings. And, given the suicide rate among the LGBT, many are looking for answers and hope.

I’ve been in vocational ministry almost 40 years. Spurgeon said, “I don’t preach a soft gospel.” Likewise, my biblical worldview is uncompromising. That said, Jesus had the profound ability to love people deeply while simultaneously strongly opposing their lifestyle. We can do the same.

Calling out and taking cheap-shots – publicly via social media – at anyone, much less someone’s child is the reason (as I heard one preacher say decades ago) bars are full and churches are empty.

It’s significant that the people Jesus spent the most time calling out for sin was the self-righteous Pharisees.

Paul addressed this very topic when he wrote to the Philippians.  Some of the believers were troubled that some with less-than-pure-motives were preaching the gospel.  Paul, in essence said, “Relax.  Let them preach.  Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.”


**Equipping ourselves to be able to engage in intelligent conversation where the Christian faith is concerned.

Watch this brief video of Dr. John Lennox, professor of Mathematics at Oxford, explain why human consciousness is yet another reason to believe in God.  The clip is less than four minutes.


QUOTE of the WEEK:

“Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.” – John Stott.



Sorry ladies!  Too funny not to share.



  • 12/5 – Silent Communion; 4-6pm; Fostering Hope to follow in FLC
  • 12/8 – Children’s Ministry Family Night
  • 12/12 – Christmas Sing-along with the SonShiner Choir; 5pm
  • 12/24 – Christmas Eve Service; 5pm
  • 1/2 – Combined Worship; all Small Groups meet at early hour


SOUL FOOD: The Daily Grind of Faith

While we would rather spend our lives on the proverbial “mountain top,” the “valley” is actually where God has created us to be most of the time. Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 11.18.21

**The above question from Luke 17 has been a “family verse” for the Watts home for many years.  We’ve talked about it as a family a number of times. As I consider the “other nine” lepers Jesus healed that day, I don’t know that they intentionally didn’t thank him (they were ecstatic from being healed).  I think they just forgot.  May we always be humbly mindful of Jesus’ mercy and love that he lavishes on us not just the fourth Thursday in November, but every day of our lives. nw


This week’s tip:  Slowing your roll with the Bible

As I finished journeying through the book of Daniel yesterday evening I found myself quite pensive.  What an adventure.  Below is what I posted this morning on social media.  As you disciple your class in regard to reading, studying and applying the scriptures, perhaps this will provide some perspective.  nw

I’ve read through the Bible numerous times and have always enjoyed reading through the book of Daniel.

But, there’s something about going verse-by-verse, slowly.  It’s like being on a road-trip you’ve been on numerous times, but this time stopping at every intersection, historical marker, and place of interest.  (I know that sounds like a horrible analogy. But, you get the picture.)

All of a sudden, although you’ve driven the route more times than you can count, you notice things you’ve never before seen.  And then those points of interest draw you in to discover the events that made them “points of interest.”

Since I began teaching expositionally (verse by verse) a few years ago on Wed. evenings, we’ve mined the treasures of, in addition to Daniel, each of the twelve minor prophets, John, Galatians, James, and Revelation.

I guess I’m sharing this to ask you to consider finding a book of the Bible – any book – and join its adventure into discovery.  Don’t get in a hurry (when teaching the gospel of John, we spent seven weeks in chapter one, alone.)  Find yourself a solid Study Bible.  Then, just soak it up, one passage at a time. 

Rather than feel as though you’re frantically trying to meet a deadline for how long it should take to finish reading, “slow your roll,” and stroll through “the countryside of the Kingdom.”  Stop often along the way to think deeply. (I’m reading the Bible through again during my daily devotions.  It took me a year and a half just to finish the Old Testament.)

Back to Daniel….

In his book, The Gospel According to Daniel, Bryan Chappell describes the life of Daniel as “a long obedience in the same direction.”

And, finally, you’ll be blessed by this comment on Daniel by the beloved teacher, Chuck Swindoll:

“From Daniel’s life and writings we learn that a person of integrity is a powerful instrument in the hand of God.  A life of integrity may lead us into a lion’s den of misunderstanding and ridicule.  But there’s nothing like the freedom and power that God gives those who are determined to do what is right (according to God’s definition of “right”), no matter what the cost.”

Love to you all, Nick

***For further perspective, see my blog, “Don’t Read the Bible Through in a Year,” here.


Equipping ourselves to be able to engage in intelligent conversation where the Christian faith is concerned.

“[Historically],There is a strong consensus today among scholars that Jesus thought of himself as an exorcist, a miracle-worker and God’s eschatological agent. Many likewise maintain that he was convinced he would die an imminent and violent death and subsequently would be vindicated by God…Graham Twelftree, perhaps the leading authority on the miracles and exorcisms of Jesus, has argued in several works that the evidence that Jesus was a miracle-worker is so strong that it is one of the best attested historical facts about Jesus.”  – Mike Licona, Ph.D., one of my professors

Indeed, even the Babylonian Talmud accuses Jesus of sorcery.  In short, the Jews were impotent to explain away Jesus’ miracles, so – as the writers of the gospels record – they simply attributed his power to Satan.



This is was too good not to share.  If you watched the end of Tech’s game this past Saturday against Iowa State you were, like me, certain the game was about to go into overtime.  But Tech’s kicker, Jonathan Garibay, knew better.  KCBD’s Pete Christy tweeted what Garibay posted after he made the record-breaking field goal, winning the game for the Red Raiders.



The man starts out slow but things get exciting beginning at the 1:24 mark culminating in him kicking the chair out from under him at the 2:00 mark.



  • Offices will be closed Wednesday, 11/22 at noon through Friday, 11/24.
  • 11/28 – Lottie Moon Offering emphasis
  • 12/5 – Silent Communion; 4-6pm
  • 12/8 – Children’s Ministry Family Night
  • 12/12 – Christmas Sing-along with the SonShiner Choir; 5pm


QUOTE(s) of the WEEK:

“How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none. God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which He must work. Only to know that is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves.” – A.W. Tozer

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” — Leo Tolstoy



A guy said to his buddy:  “My wife thinks I put football before marriage, even though we just celebrated our third season together.”

And, in light of the Thanksgiving holiday…


SOUL FOOD:  The Worship Wars

I have no clue why this post of mine was shared from my Facebook page almost 50 times.  Apparently, the topic still strikes a nerve.  The “war” has been raging for a while.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 11.11.21

Today, 11/11, is Veterans Day.  I met one of BHBC’s veterans this morning for coffee.  Find a veteran today and thank them for defending our freedom – freedom we far too often take for granted.


SUNDAY, 11/14

Guest preacher:  Jim Brown

Early service only:  A special “thank you” and prayer time for Tom (and Diane) Heath.  Tom begins his pastorate at FBC, Meadow, on Sunday, 11/21.


This week’s tip:  Prayer

**Please see this week’s Soul Food blog below.



In mainstream vernacular, “woke” basically means “be alert to, and aware of, injustices.”  But, since the chaos of 2020, the word has developed a much wider – and subjective – meaning.

Below is a post of mine from this past week in response to a Texas politician’s claim that “if Jesus were here today he would be woke.”

Sixty-year-old Democratic candidate for Texas lieutenant governor, Matthew Dowd, made national news yesterday when he tweeted that Jesus would be accused of being woke today (see his tweet below).

Dowd’s tweet was precipitated by Democrat strategist, James Carville, blaming “stupid wokeness” for his party’s surprising election defeat in Virginia last week.

Wow. Where do I even begin?

First, I would tell Dowd to change churches if that’s what he got out of the sermon.

Second, I would invite Dowd to do something he’s clearly never done: open his Bible and read the four biographies of Jesus.

In all four accounts, rather than enjoying increasing acceptance (from being woke), Jesus is the target of escalating hatred, vitriol, and disgust. Why is that?

Because Jesus said things – a lot of things – the ancient woke crowd found offensive, bigoted and intolerant.

For example, Jesus said his design for marriage is between a man and a woman. His own conception demonstrated that life begins at conception.  And he warned everyone of an eternity of torment in a devil’s hell if they did not confess him as God and Savior.

Does Jesus still sound “woke” to you, Mr. Dowd?

Mike Yaconelli used to say, “Everyone wants a ‘nice Jesus.’”

But Rome didn’t crucify people for being “nice.” (Or, in Dowd’s words, “treating everyone with respect and dignity.”)

Jesus didn’t merely treat people with respect and dignity.  He loved them (and us) as his priceless treasure.


Jesus was dangerous. He was fearless. He didn’t bow to the woke mob.  He didn’t shrink from the truth. He did not (could not) tolerate sin.

And they killed him for it.

In short, Dowd reduces Jesus to his own biased, subjective definition of “human decency and dignity.”  In other words, Dowd reduces Jesus to “a Jesus created in the image of Dowd.”

Dowd wants a Jesus who has no demands on his life, or disagreements with his opinions.

The Bible tells of no such Jesus.



What follows is an excerpt by Peter Williams, Ph.D., Cambridge, from his book, ‘Can We Trust the Gospels?’ 

Are the New Testament Gospels (biographies of Jesus) manufactured legends and fake news?

No. Not even nearly.

There is much I could offer here. But allow me to offer insight from a professor describing himself as “agnostic with atheistic leanings.”

Bart Ehrman is a New Testament scholar – who does not believe Jesus is who he said he is. But even Ehrman writes,

“The oldest and best resources we have for knowledge about the life of Jesus…are the four Gospels of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.”

Ehrman continues,

“This is simply not the view of Christian historians…; it is the view of all serious historians of antiquity of every kind, from committed Christians to hardcore atheists.”

Further, it is rarely appreciated that for us to have four gospels is remarkable. That is an abundance of material to have about any individual of that period. In fact, even though Jesus was on the periphery of the Roman Empire, we have as many early sources about his life and teaching as we have about activities and conversations of Tiberius, emperor during Jesus’ public activities.



I drove by a storefront recently with a sign outside that took a cheap shot at Christians, insinuating we aren’t thinkers, gullible enough to believe just about anything.

I sat in a seminar once listening to Yale Law School grad – and former ardent atheist – Lee Strobel. It was years ago. I had never heard of him before.

He looked at us all intently and said with a confidence I rarely see from Christians,

“Christianity is an intelligent, defensible faith.”

Strobel confessed,

“To continue in atheism, I’d need to believe nothing produces everything, non-life produces life, randomness produces fine-tuning, chaos produces information, unconsciousness produces consciousness, and non-reason produces reason.  I just didn’t have that much faith.”

Houston Baptist University New Testament professor, Jeremiah Johnston, created what he calls the Christian Thinkers Society. The slogan is: “Teaching thinkers to be Christians, and Christians to be thinkers.”

Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to “examine the faith.”  Christ encourages one and all to put him under a microscope. Study him.  Analyze his claims. Try to explain away his miracles and resurrection. He’s not afraid.  Rather, he’s quite confident you will discover that he  is exactly who he claimed to be.

Think deeply, nw


QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

“The day will come when He will cleanse the earth from the Serpent’s slimy trail.” – Charles Spurgeon

Read the media and you’ll know (sort of) what’s happening in the world. Read the Bible and you’ll know why.



Police came to my house last night and told me my dogs were chasing people on bikes.

My dogs don’t even have bikes.

Actual signs:

  • On an electrician’s truck:  Let us remove your shorts.
  • On an optometrist’s office:  If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.
  • On a fence:  Salesmen welcome!  Dog food is expensive.
  • At a car dealership:  The best way to get back on your feet – miss a car payment.
  • Outside a muffler shop:  No appointment necessary.  We heard you coming.



Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

Navigator X-tra: 10.30.21

504 years ago tomorrow, a man fearless in his faith did something that could have well cost him his life.  And it almost did.

I touched on this in this week’s Navigator but felt compelled to add the following.

Historians call it “Reformation Day.”

Pastor/author, John MacArthur, is spot-on:

“Clearly, the greatest triumph to emerge from the Protestant Reformation was the Bible being placed into the hands of the people, in their own language.”

Why was placing the Bible in the hands of the people so important?  Because, in those days, unless you were wealthy or ranked highly within the clergy, you had no access to the written Word of God.  The clergy could tell you the Bible said whatever they wanted it to say.  (This is precisely why I exhort listeners to read and study the scriptures for themselves.  Don’t take a preacher’s or a teacher’s word for it any more than the Bereans didn’t take Paul’s word for it.)

Michelle and I have stood inside the very room in Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Germany, (see pic below) where the “outlaw”, Martin Luther, illegally translated Erasmus’ Greek New Testament into German, the language of the people.  This is when the Five Solas became the war-cry of the reformers.

NOTE: I, in no way, mean to romanticize Luther. Although used mightily by God during his lifetime, Luther was, like all of us, merely human and, thus, deeply flawed. Nonetheless, his story is, both, engrossing and inspiring, challenging any and all to become a responsible student of the Bible.

The reformation is a fascinating period of church history when “all heaven broke loose.”  As a result, Satan didn’t go quietly. Like the apostles of the New Testament, the men who championed putting scripture into the hands of all the people paid a high price, some being tortured and some executed.

At dinner one evening in the early 16th century, one Catholic scholar exclaimed that the word of the Pope superseded the Bible.  In response, the reformer, William Tyndale, fired back,

“I defy the Pope and all his laws. . . . If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plow, shall know more of the Scripture than thou dost.”

This cost Tyndale dearly.  Soon after, he was strangled and burned at the stake.  While dying, he cried out, “Lord, open the king of England’s eye.”

A half century later, God did just that as King James authorized the translation of the scriptures into English.

If interested, please permit me to recommend a few resources.  It’s a story fraught with danger, risk and sacrifice.

I placed the biographies and references in the below photo on top of the Bible since, if Luther were in my office today, would be filled with fury should I not make it perfectly clear that God’s Word, and God’s Word alone, is our sole standard for truth. As the reformers exclaimed, “Sola Scriptura!”

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick


The Navigator: 10.28.21


  • In light of Sunday being Halloween, I strongly considered the church singing The Monster Mash and Thriller.  But, I decided against it.
    • Oct. 31st, for the Christian, has tremendous significance.  See below for why that day in history is important.
  • This Sunday’s service will be different than most.  The service will include the Lord’s Supper as well as an Ingathering related to our Debt Retirement Campaign, For the Kingdom.


The question is not only, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but also, “Was there strong Bible learning?”  This week’s tip:  Listening

Everyone knows that person who, when you try to have a conversation with them, they never stop talking.  You can’t say a word – because you never get a chance.

When talking to God, prayer is as much listening as it is talking.  Likewise, small-group teaching is as much listening as it is teaching.

As teachers, we tend to get into the rut of believing our job is to talk when it would behoove us to set aside time each week to listen to our class members.

In a teacher’s defense, many times no one in the class is confident enough to share openly.  But, I’ve learned over the years to let the silence to its work.  It’s in the silence that God’s children can finally hear his still, small whisper.  Many times, after about ten seconds of silence, I’ve seen people begin to open up.  It’s powerful.

And that’s where focused listening comes in.  I’m not talking about listening in a sense that we’re already formulating a response while they’re sharing.  But, just listening, taking in not only the words of the person, but their spirit, their joy and/or their pain.

Listening is a rare discipline today.

While Jesus was praying, Luke records God speaking to Jesus’ disciples in a thunderous voice, saying:

“This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”

May we be good listeners.


It was on October 31, 1517, that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg.  He’d had his fill of the corruption within the Church of the Holy Roman Empire.  That said, October 31st is, by many people, referred to as “Reformation Day.”

Luther was merely one of the many courageous men who stood up to the manipulation, lies and half-truths of the church.  Some were executed, while others, like Luther, became an outlaw, always avoiding imprisonment.

In honor of Reformation Day, allow me to link here one of my blogs related to Luther’s famous statement, “Be a sinner, and sin boldly.” You can read the blog here.



When I run across substantive articles in the news I like to pass them along to you.

Child sex trafficking is sick and demented.  But, it’s huge business for those who are sick and demented.

This article I saw on KCBD offers some resources for help should you ever be confronted with this topic.  Read the article here.


I shared this with my class on Daniel a couple of weeks ago for two reasons: (1) because the age of the wall dates back to 586 BC, which is the period of time in which Daniel is set, and (2) to remind them that, among the thousands of archaeological discoveries related to the Bible over the centuries, not a single one has contradicted Biblical history.

And that’s yet another reason to believe. Read the article here.



Everyone has a worldview whether they admit it or not.

A worldview is a moral filter/conviction through which we decide what is right and what is wrong; what is true and untrue.  It informs and frames what we believe about ethics, religion, sexuality, the sanctity of life, politics and so on.

This is precisely why I often state I hold a “biblical worldview.”

In her outstanding book, Total Truth, author/professor, Nancy Pearcey, writes:

“Humans are inherently religious beings, created to be in a relationship with God – and if they reject God, they don’t stop being religious; they simply find some other ultimate principle upon which to base their lives…Faith is a universal human function, and if it is not directed toward God it will be directed toward something else.”



First, we have a series of photos.  A “Haunted House” set up a still-shot camera to catch the reaction of people as they happen upon something that scares them half to death.  These are my favorites.  I laughed out loud.

And, a bonus…


SOUL FOOD:  Paranormal Activity: What the Bible says about Ghosts & things that go “bump in the night”

I wrote this blog years ago, but am always asked to re-post it this time of year. Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick


The Navigator: 10.21.21


  • Sammy will be encouraging our church as we prepare for “in-gathering day” on the 31st.


The question is not only, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but also, “Was there strong Bible learning?”  This week’s tip:  Sharing the Gospel

While reading an article about the venerable Coach Vince Lombardi this past week, the author made this observation about the coach:

“He made things simple for his players, by taking nothing for granted, repeating the same lessons to them over and over, every day, every year.”

Before anything else in a Christian’s life, there must first come a profession of faith in Christ.   As a godly shepherd, never assume (or, like Lombardi, “take for granted”) your sheep are (1) saved, and/or (2) know how to confidently share their faith.

So, every now and then:

Talk about it.  Share stories of when you’ve shared your faith.  Tell your story of how you came to faith in Christ.  And then take a moment to look at stories in scripture when the prophets, Jesus, Paul and the apostles were sharing the good news.

Finally, give them tools to help them share their faith.  Help them memorize the Roman Road as well as other scripture that will provide them with confidence to boldly and confidently share Christ’s love, truth and hope with others.

Sadly, the Gospel tends to be “the greatest story rarely told.”  Let’s help change that.


NYT best-selling author, Eric Metaxas, just released his book, Is Atheism Dead? (a play on Time Magazine’s 1966 cover article, “Is God Dead?”)

Metaxas thought deeply about Time Magazine’s question and sought a reasonable, rational and intelligent answer.  As he was investigating evidence for God being dead, he said he kept bumping into “outrageous evidence” for God being quite alive.

During his research, Metaxas, a brilliant man, observed that science, archaeology, and history all point to a divine Creator now more than ever.  Here’s one thing he said regarding cosmology:

Another food-for-thought you can pass along to your class to equip them to have intelligent dialogue where the Christian faith is concerned…

I see headlines like this from time to time:

Whenever someone says, “I believe the universe was created by aliens,” I simply reply, “So, you believe there’s an intelligence behind creation?”  (They usually don’t see that coming.) Then I attempt to visit about what intelligence makes the best sense of reality.



I saw this on Twitter and loved it.  Salviander’s (an astrophysicist) observation is the antithesis of modernity’s back-breaking pace of life.


QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

“People don’t abandon faith because they have doubts. People abandon faith because they think they’re not allowed to have doubts.” – Austin Fischer


“The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.” – A.W. Tozer

And, a bonus…



And a bonus…



SOUL FOOD:  What to do when you and your teen-aged child drift far apart

For obvious reasons, I’ve written a great deal about student ministry over the years.  Perhaps you know someone that might need to read this week’s blog.  You can read it here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 10.13.21


  • Sammy wraps up his series based on his vision for BHBC.  This week’s focus is “Go.”


Sunday, 10/17

  • Between Services and After the 10:45 Service IN THE COMMONS
  • Information About BHBC Ministries & Mission Opportunities will be Displayed!
  • One table will represent our small group ministry (Sunday School & Wed. evenings).
  • Should you have anything specific you would like for me to include let me know.


The question is not only, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but also, “Was there strong Bible learning?”  This week’s tip:  Spiritual Growth Inventory

Notice I didn’t say Spiritual GIFT Inventory, but rather Spiritual GROWTH Inventory.

I mentioned in a long-past, previous email how important it is to have realistic, reachable, measurable goals.  Most leaders find it easy to create realistic goals, but a solid “system of measure?” Not so much.

We’ve spent a good amount of time visiting in staff meetings about this very topic.  I would like to share the System of Measure our University Pastor, Shawn Coleman, has used for several years.

First, and very importantly, an inventory of one’s spiritual growth should be between God and the individual, private and confidential.  A Spiritual Growth Inventory is not designed to be shared or seen by any person other than the person who it concerns. Simply put, it’s between them/us and God.

Now, here’s Shawn’s System of Measure:

  1. At the beginning of each semester, Shawn hands out a sheet of paper and an envelope to each student.
  2. He asks the students to write down areas in their life in which they desire to see themselves grow in their Christian faith.  Perhaps they see a need to begin a spiritual discipline, or remove an area that is impeding their spiritual growth.
  3. He allows as much time as necessary for this, and encourages them to take it home and finish if necessary.
  4. He asks the students to seal the envelope and hand them in to him.  He simply keeps them in a safe place, unopened.
  5. At the close of the semester he distributes the still-sealed envelopes to the students so they can read them privately and take inventory of where they are in light of their desires expressed a few months prior.

One caveat: Because of society’s ethos for “works-based approval” i.e. “If I perform well enough, I am love and have value,” any Spiritual Growth Inventory can potentially turn legalistic.  Help your class understand the doctrine of grace without compromising devotion and spiritual discipline.  God’s love for us is not based on what we do and don’t do – God’s love for us is fixed, inexorably, on Christ’s work on the Cross.  But, God longs for us to leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity.”  This is a command, not a suggestion.

So, consider this System of Measure.  And, if the Holy Spirits leads, implement it.


WE ALL HAVE THEM: Ministries we neither asked for nor wanted.

Is it really possible?  Can God bring miraculous glory out of unspeakable pain?

You bet he can.  If we’ll let him.  (Everyone of the biblical prophets will testify to this being true.)

I have two quick, personal examples I am strongly convicted to share with you:

  • Dallas Baptist University:  Jonathan Mansur is a youth pastor friend of mine (he’s now lead pastor at FBC, Willow Park, near Ft. Worth).  Jonathan and I served at Super Summer (a huge youth camp) on the campus of HSU in Abilene together for several years.  He is a cherished friend. This past Spring, he texted me with the link I’ve provided for you below.  It’s the testimony of a young man named Carey Williams, a former student of Jonathan’s, during chapel at DBU. If you would listen to what Carey says beginning at the 22:40 mark and listening until the 28:30 mark (only 6 minutes), you will (1) hear Carey’s brutally honest story of holding a gun to his head, and (2) better understand how making the difficult choice to accept a “ministry we never wanted” can change the world.  Listen to Carey’s story here.
  • Lubbock Christian University:  I have enjoyed attending the Lanier Lectures at LCU.  They continue to bring in renowned, engaging and relevant speakers.  The first time I attended, I listened to Oxford’s Alister McGrath.  And just yesterday evening, 10/12, I listened to professor/author/apologist, Dr. Paul Copan, who holds the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy & Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University.  I have four of Copan’s books so I was very interested in hearing him.  The venue was full.  And his lecture was outstanding.  After his lecture I was headed back to my car, but the Holy Spirit kept telling me, “Go introduce yourself to Dr. Copan.”  I did not want to.  But, I did.  He was so kind and personable.  I very quickly shared how Jesus used Christian apologetics to help me find my way back “home” after my son took his life.  He looked at me and said,
    • “I speak to so many people who have suffered so much pain in so many different ways. Could I have your contact information and use you as a resource? There are people I come in contact with that you will be able to help better than I can.”

  • I stood there in stunned disbelief. And then said yes. He graciously allowed me to get a photo with him. Have you suffered in life? (Of course, you have.) Stand back and watch God use it for the saving of many lives. Only God can give this kind of purpose to our pain.


Well, why not use a comment Dr. Copan stated during his lecture?

During opening comments, Copan addressed neo-atheist/author, Daniel Dennett.  Dennett is famous for his book, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.  Copan said,

“Dennett asserts that anything that is not scientifically verifiable is not true.  Of course, his assertion is self-defeating since it cannot be verified scientifically.  To be clear, Dennett’s statement is not scientific, but philosophical.”

Science is necessarily agnostic.  It offers no opinion as to whether or not God exists.  What science does is provide information – evidence.  And the evidence is overwhelming for the existence of God.


QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

This week’s first quote is short – yet profound.  For all facing uncertain or unsettling seasons of life.  From Lewis’ Chronicles

I’m currently reading Jared Wilson’s, The Gospel According to Satan: Eight Lies About God That Sound Like Truth.  In a world of rampant relativism, biblical truth is in short supply.  Satan knows the Bible cover to cover. As such, he is a master at subtly twisting its meaning, including just enough truth to make it sound right.  He operates no differently today than he did in Eden: “Did God really say?…” But, we all know that a half-truth is still a whole lie.

“Before there was death, there was the lie. But before the lie, there was the Liar.” – Jared Wilson; The Gospel According to Satan



This one never gets old.  I laugh at it every time I see it.


SOUL FOOD:  How to silence a fool

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 10.7.2021


  • Sammy unpacks the third of four pillars related to his vision for BHBC.  This week’s topic is, in the word’s of the rock group, Queen: “a crazy little thing called love.”


I simply wanted to tell you how grateful I am for you, your devotion to Christ, your love for people, and for being a part of our Appreciation Banquet this past Sunday evening.  Additionally, thank you for your continued notes and texts I continue to receive regarding the evening.

A huge thank you goes out to Cindy Andrews, the Men in Black, and the rest of her team who did everything I envisioned to help say “thank you” to all of you.

I have already invited a potential guest speaker for next year’s banquet.  I have no idea if their schedule would even allow for them to come.  All I can tell you is that I “reached for the stars” with this one.

Every time I bring a guest in for a ministry event I tell them the same thing:  “I know God is use you to minister to us; but I am praying God uses us to minister to you, as well.”  I want you to know Jim and Michelle Hardwicke were lifted up by your love and joy.

As I was reflecting what God had convicted Jim to present to us, the Holy Spirit brought to mind Jim’s thesis:  “A call from God = a profound impression that God wants you to do something for Him.”

May we never fall into Satan’s trap of thinking “this is what God’s called me to do forever.  I’m comfortable here.”  A study of the scriptures reveals two clear principles regarding his activity in our life: 

  1. God calls us by assignment.   Every person God used throughout scripture was “interrupted” from their otherwise normal life and given an assignment.  Just look at Abraham, Moses, David, Gideon, the prophets, the apostles, the list goes on and on.  David was a shepherd, a musician, a king, and a poet.  Samuel served as a prophet, priest, judge and anything else God wanted him to do.
  2. God is not concerned with how comfortable we are in life. In fact, scripture testifies that God quite likes making us uncomfortable.  I often quote C.S. Lewis here:  “If you’re looking for a religion that will make you feel comfortable, I would certainly not recommend Christianity.”

Is God’s still, small voice “interrupting” your life?  Be still.  Listen.  And then, ask God for the courage to step out of your comfort zone and follow him.  Or, to quote the title of a book of mine by John Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.


The question is not only, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but also, “Was there strong Bible learning?”  This week’s tip:  Is your class “closed” or “open?”

During a Staff Meeting today, I found out that in 2013, after our entire church completed a survey, the answers regarding Sunday School told a heart-breaking story: our Sunday School groups felt “closed” to guests.  Ouch.

What is a “closed group” vs. an “open group?”

  • Some groups are designed to be closed.  For instance, a women’s study is for women only.   A military veterans’ group is for veterans only.  You get the idea.
  • However, “closed groups” should never be a part of the DNA of our BHBC small group ministry. Closed groups have the feel of a “holy huddle” – a club, of sorts.  A closed group places little to no emphasis on reaching new people for their class.  “Why rock the boat with ‘new blood?'” They’re comfortable with who already attend.  And, should a new person visit the class, the new person tends to feel like they’re “on the outside looking in,” like the proverbial “fifth wheel.” That new person will never be back.  I can promise you that.  Would you come back?
  • Just as I covered back in April when we addressed “The Art of Welcoming,” I honestly don’t think our leadership at BHBC would ever intentionally exclude new guests.  Our leaders are wonderful. It’s easy to become comfortable with those who’ve been attending for a while.  (Satan will make sure of it.) As in “The Art of Welcoming,” we simply have to make certain we are intentional in our efforts to help people feel welcome, being careful not to introduce ourselves and then immediately return to visiting and sitting with our long-time friends, leaving the guests out of the conversations.
  • When someone brand new walks into your class, how do you think they feel?  Like your class is closed, or open? Our goal is to make them feel more loved than they’ve ever felt by a church, warmly welcomed, as we show them genuine interest and joy.
  • By the way, never – ever – forget the war that is playing out spiritually at the moment a guest (or someone who hasn’t been in a while) walks through your classroom door.  It’s stressful enough just mustering the courage to visit (or return to) a church.  Satan attaches himself to their anxiety and fear.  All they need is one reason to turn around and go home.  We just never want that reason to be us.


Sunday, 10/17

  • The exhibit will be in the Commons all morning.
  • One table will represent our small group ministry (Sunday School & Wed. evenings).
  • Should you have anything specific you would like for me to include let me know.



I post a lot of theology and food-for-thought on social media, and receive some great responses that have led to solid conversations (I’m involved in one now regarding this topic).

Every now and then, I am surprised by how much response a particular post receives.  Printed for you here is one such post that I wrote just a couple of days ago.  As of today it’s been shared 55 times.   It’s a basic doctrine of scripture sometimes referred to as “the perseverance of the saints.”  Hopefully, it is elementary theology to you.  But, apparently, there are many out there who are very curious as to what the Bible has to say about whether or not we can lose our salvation.  nw

Can a person who’s sincerely professed their faith in Christ lose their salvation?

First of all, what a miserable, not to mention terrifying, way to live – always wondering if you’ve been good enough to merit being saved.  Always wondering if you’re headed for heaven or hell.

Second, over and over again, the Bible teaches that the possibility of losing one’s salvation is a lie from the father of lies to keep a person in bondage to “salvation by works” i.e. “If I work hard enough to be good… If I can check off all the boxes on my ‘good’ list, then God will love me.”

The problem with this is obvious. Do your best to keep checking off those boxes. Then, tomorrow – start all over again. Insanity. This is a weight no human being can carry, much less accomplish.

On the Cross, Jesus both bore that weight for us and accomplished what was necessary for our redemption. This is what he meant when, from the Cross, he said, “It is finished.”

Jesus always chose his words carefully. When he visited with Nicodemus about being saved, Jesus used the words “born again.”  Why did he do this? To convey truth. You and I can call our parents awful names and say mean things to them. But, the truth remains: we’re still their child. We can’t be “un-born” from them.

The same applies, as Jesus told Nicodemus, to our being “born of the Spirit.”  We can’t be “un-born again” spiritually any more than we can be “un-born” from our parents physically.

To put it another way, our fellowship may be broken. But the relationship never changes. (The younger son in Luke 15:11-24, although hatefully rebellious, never ceased to be his father’s son – the father representing God.)

Different faith-worldviews abound promoting a “work your way to heaven” theology. In other words, “if my good works outweigh my bad works when I die, I get into heaven.”

You won’t find that lie in the Bible. What you’ll find is just the opposite.

Paul wrote, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

In short, we can’t un-earn what we didn’t earn in the first place. 

Author, Philip Yancey, rightly said, “There’s nothing we can do to make God love us any more; and there’s nothing we can do to make God love us any less.”

God’s love for us – and our eternal salvation – is fixed, inexorably, not on what we’ve done, but on what Jesus did on the Cross.

Paul wrote, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

This is why, when the Philippian jailer asked Paul what he needed to do to be saved, Paul replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”

Good works are not required for our salvation; rather they are evidence of our salvation. Jesus said, “If you love me you will obey my commandments.”

Can a person who’s professed their faith in Christ lose their salvation?

To quote author/pastor, Nate Pickowicz:

“The question is not: Can a person lose their salvation? Rather, the real question is: Can God lose a Christian?”




What an adventure.

In his teens, Daniel is taken prisoner and taken to a foreign country he’s never seen before – a country that is hostile to his faith.  He will never again return to his home land.

At almost 90 years of age, Daniel is given a death sentence as he stands in a den of hungry and terrifying lions.

Daniel had been through so much in his life, and it just never seemed to stop. (Ever felt like that?)  One author described Daniel’s life as “a long obedience in the right direction.”

The overriding theme of Daniel is thisDespite how hopeless and weary we may feel, God is there – in the furnace, in the lion’s den – sovereignly and mightily working in the lives of his people. 

We just finished Ch. 8.  To view any of our sessions, simply click here.  nw


“Biographies written about subjects who lived in the recent past, relative to the time of writing (e.g. those by Tacitus and Suetonius), especially those penned in the early Roman Empire, were generally marked by a *greater* concern for factual accuracy.  In such cases, biographers were expected to reject implausibilities and to seek to write what was *true*.  The Gospels, penned within fifty or so years after Jesus’ ministry, fall into this category.”

“That the Gospel writers were determined to produce an accurate account of Jesus’ life is especially clear in the opening of one of them, the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:1-4).  This prologue is very much in the mold of Thucydides, Polybius, and Josephus.  Luke clearly claims to be writing history conforming to the highest standards of Greco-Roman historiography.”

Colin R. Nicholl; Ph. D., University of Cambridge



“When God delivers you from evil, don’t keep in touch.”



From the incomparable Bob Hope:

  • On Presidents:  “I have performed for twelve presidents and entertained only six.”
  • On his six brothers:  “That’s how I learned to dance.  Waiting for the bathroom.”
  • On his family’s early poverty:  “Four of us slept in the one bed.  When it got cold, mother threw in another brother.”


SOUL FOOD:  How I Forgave My Dad

I don’t know that I’ve ever posted my story for you.  I tell people all the time, next to my profession of faith in Christ, no other decision has so changed my life than forgiving my dad.  Church pews are packed with people who’ve been hurt deeply, yet have never been able to forgive the one(s) who’ve hurt them.  Forgiveness and trust are two separate things.  There is no pressure or expectation to trust again someone who’s hurt you.  But, forgiving them will set you free.  Maybe you know a person who’s never been able to forgive someone.  Maybe you’ve never been able to forgive someone.  Read my story here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 9.30.21


  • Sammy will unpack the second of four pillars of his current series.


Our inaugural Small Group Leadership Appreciation Banquet is finally here.

  • Final attendance count is just under 80.  Get ready for a wonderful dinner, a ton of fun, and to be lifted up & encouraged.
  • The banquet begins at 6pm in the FLC.  See you all there.


The question is not only, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but also, “Was there strong Bible learning?”  This week’s tip:  Fundamentals

I played football, baseball, and took piano lessons for years.  All three activities had something in common.  At the beginning of every practice and rehearsal, my coaches/instructors always began with the fundamentals.  Every. Single. Time.

As Small Group Leaders who teach God’s Word and shepherd his sheep, based on scripture such James 3:1, we should take the fundamentals seriously.

Don’t ever forget these 7 fundamentals:

  1. You can’t give what you don’t have. Being precedes doing. Be faithful and disciplined in your own spiritual growth via daily devotional time involving biblical study and prayer – even if its just for a few minutes. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.”  Additionally, if your “well is ever dry” and you need a break/sabbath, never hesitate to let me know.
  2. Be a responsible student of scripture.  Pray fervently for understanding. Study context. Take time to think and work through hard passages. All of these disciplines will help you to be able to “correctly handle the word of truth.”  One theologian wisely wrote in regard to studying a passage of scripture:  “If we can know the author, the audience, and the purpose the author had in mind, this goes a long way in understanding what God is saying to us in that passage.”  When you stop learning, you stop leading.
  3. Lead with love. Jesus said, “By this all will know if you follow me, if you love one another.” Not “if you are a skilled teacher,” but “if you love one another.” Your class may not always remember what you taught them, but they will always remember how you treated them.
  4. Lead by example. Jesus said – and modeled – “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” Sheep are led, not driven.  Be on time to class.  Always show up prepared.  Our listeners can smell “winging it” a mile away.
  5. Know why you believe what you believe.  Learn to think deeply, and critically.  One writer wrote, “When we can’t even engage in elementary dialogue with someone who asks a tough question about the Christian worldview, it serves as one more reason for that person to move on to a worldview is more respected by its adherents.”  Peter didn’t mince words.  He said to “always be prepared to give an answer [a logical defense] to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
  6. Approach teaching as seriously as God does. James wrote, “Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly [because we have assumed greater accountability and more condemnation if we teach incorrectly]. Prepare well, and leave the results to God.
  7. Regularly share the gospel with your class for two reasons. (1) Never assume everyone who attends is a Christian, and (2) it will remind and equip your class to share their faith as well.





This Saturday, from 9-noon, here at BHBC, deacons will be winterizing cars for all single ladies (all ages.)  This includes checking belts, hoses, fluid levels, tire pressure & tread, and windshield wipers.  Should you know someone who might enjoy this free service please pass the info along.



This is Olympus Mons on the Martian surface. It’s the tallest mountain/volcano in the solar system at 16 miles above the surface. To help put this in perspective, Mt. Everest is 5 1/2 miles tall.

Olympus Mons is 374 miles in diameter (the distance from Lubbock to Austin.)  It’s what’s known as a shield volcano because of its distinctive shield shape.



Most of you know I grew up in a horrifically violent home.  Had I not been home on a particular Sunday night in 1980, I am certain my dad would have murdered my mom.

So, when I saw this article recently on Everything Lubbock, I took notice.  Do we really have a domestic violence issue in Lubbock? From the article:

According to statistics cited by Lubbock Area United Way, Lubbock’s domestic violence rate was twice the state average as of 2018. The Lubbock Police Department reports family violence was the leading cause of homicides in 2020, with 11 local residents losing their life to the crime.

The article also offered resources for help.  My heart hurts for those who exist in this private terror.  Should you know someone caught in this nightmare, let them know there is hope and help.  Read the article here.



I’ll include more info on this in next week’s Navigator.  Briefly,…

  • The exhibit will be in the Commons all morning.
  • One table will represent our small group ministry (Sunday School & Wed. evenings).  Should you have anything specific you would like for me to include let me know.


The historicity of Jesus.

Bart Ehrman is a New Testament scholar and professor at UNC Chapel Hill.  He’s also an “agnostic with atheistic leanings.”  I read his book, Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.  (An odd book written by an atheist, right?) Here’s what he said in his opening comments:

“The reality is that whatever else you may think about Jesus, he certainly did exist.”

Ehrman then spent over 300 pages supporting his argument.  Don’t let anyone tell you Jesus never existed.   One of my professors rightly said, “There is more evidence for the existence of Jesus than for any other figure in human history.”



I’m often asked, “Do you take the Bible literally.” My answer is, “Yes, where it is meant to be taken literally. Everything in the Bible is literally true but not all of it is expressed in a literal way.” – Frank Turek

On politics:  Bono,  the lead singer of U2, once said, “The Left mocks the Right.  The Right knows it’s right.  Two ugly traits.  How far should we go to try to  understand each other’s point of view?  Maybe the distance grace covered on the cross is a clue.” – Jim Wallace, God’s Politics




SOUL FOOD:  That Peculiar Planet Known as Uranus

When God spoke the cosmos into existence he could’ve made everything look the same.  But, God is an artist.  Read the article here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 9.16.21


After last Sunday’s service (9/12), I walked to my car and just sat there in silence, overwhelmed with God’s grace and mercy.  Jerry Joplin and D.L. Lowrie were used mightily by Christ.

This Sunday, Sammy begins unpacking the vision God has given him for the next season of BHBC.


We’ve arrived at the deadline, this Sunday 9/19, to confirm your reservation for our inaugural Appreciation Banquet.

**My heart rejoices at the fact that we are at near 100% attendance for all leadership.  Present attendance stands at fifty-four!

About our speaker, Jim Hardwicke: Jim and his wife, Michelle, live in Springfield, MO., and have three grown children.  My youth pastor when I began going to church in high school, it was under Jim’s compassionate leadership and influence that I gave my life to Jesus in way of full-time, vocational ministry.  Jim went on to pastor in Missouri, eventually earning his Ph.D.

I’ve visited at length with Jim and am thrilled at what the Lord has laid on his heart to tell us.


New Adult Classes begin this Sunday, Sep 19th!

  • 9:15am – Young Professionals – taught by Shawn Coleman; Rm. 218
  • 9:15am – Cornerstone (all ages) – taught by Mike & Kristen Lewis; Rm. 215


The question is not only, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but also, “Was there strong Bible learning?”  This week’s tip: learning by asking questions

I remember as a kid in school, when I didn’t understand what the teacher was saying I was always embarrassed to raise my hand and ask a question.  Little did I know, no one else in the class had a clue either and were equally embarrassed, or just didn’t care.

Recently, I came across the following post on Twitter.

If you think about the scenes the biblical writers describe as Jesus taught, you’ll remember numerous examples of intelligent people asking him questions:  Nicodemus is a perfect example, as well as Jesus’ own disciples.

Asking questions actually demonstrates diligence and a mature and aggressive desire to learn.  For, there is so much to learn that we do not know.  And, how are we going to learn if we don’t ask hard questions?



Almost everything we’re fed by the media is the side of sports that embodies scandal, controversy,  and anything else that happens to fit their narrative.  However, there is so much more going on than meets the public eye.  Below are a bunch of big, strong men on their knees before the King of Kings.


  1. Is the Bible a fairy tale based on legend? Scholars agree that legends grow over time i.e. more embellishment, not less. The earliest gospel, Mark, was written around 65 AD. The latest gospel, John, was written some 30 years later. Yet, John records less of Jesus’ miracles than Mark. Skeptics fail to mention this.
  2. Evidence for God: A collection of up quarks, down quarks, and electrons is reading this sentence.” – Steve Robinson, professor of physics, Belmont University


QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

This first quote is actually a prayer.

“I thank You, my Creator, that You have given me joys in Your creation and ecstasy over the work of Your hands. I have known the glory of Your works as far as my finite spirit was able to comprehend Your infinity.  If have said anything wholly unworthy of You, or have aspired after my own glory, graciously forgive me.” – Johannes Kepler, “An Astronomer’s Prayer”; Kepler was a key figure of the 17th century Scientific Revolution, and formulator of the three laws of planetary motion.


God’s patience with our sin does not suggest his approval. Never confuse the two.




SOUL FOOD: Revenge

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick