Friday, June 15, 2012

Father's Day

This Sunday is Father's Day. I am looking forward to spending the time with my wife and two children.  Last Sunday as I was preaching, I made the statement that "The Lord is a much better parent than I will ever be." No sooner did I finish saying that and I hear my son say "Amen." The entire church was laughing for quite awhile.

The truth is that the Lord is a much better parent than we will ever be. Perhaps you struggle with Father's Day because your earthly father wasn't around or was abusive. My dear friend, please allow the Lord to be your father. He will never let you down and will always look out for you. On Sunday we will all contact our earthly father and express thanksgiving. Make sure you contact your heavenly Father and express just how thankful you are for all that He has done for you in Christ Jesus.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Ugly Side of Ministry

I have seen the ugly side of ministry in the last few days but there are some positives that have come out of it. Last week some of the members of our church were burdened for a family that has been coming to EBC off and on for the past year or so. This family does not have much and has been living in a difficult situation. The man has never been involved and never comes to our services. There are four children under the age of 8 and little to no income. Our church has helped this family a few times over the last year included Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets.

On Saturday night the lady was physically abused by her boyfriend. Our church has stepped up in tremendous ways. Three couples offered to take in the lady and her four children. Several people gave money to help move her and to provide food, clothing, storage, and other things. The man has been arrested and this family is now safe. One couple went and picked up the lady and her children at midnight and made a 1:00am trip to Wal-Mart to get food, diapers, and other supplies.

I cannot tell you how proud I am to be part of the EBC family. People have set their pride and comfort aside to help a family in need. This has been the complete work of the Lord. Several people were burdened for this family and acted upon it before anyone knew the severity of the situation. Truly we have seen the ugly side of ministry that is a result of the sinfulness and selfishness of humanity. On the other hand, we have also seen the church truly being the church and doing whatever it takes to help people in need. Here is what the lady said, "If I didn't believe in God before, I certainly would as a result of the help that has been given to me."

I recently came across a quote that has stuck with me. "If your church no longer existed, would the community even care?" While I can't speak for the entire community, I know of one family who would certainly care. May this be just the beginning for EBC to truly be the church and not just go to church!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Great Outdoors

My favorite spot at Natural Falls State Park
We have enjoyed being outside for the last two days. On Friday we went to Roaring River State Park which is about 45 minutes away from our house. On Saturday we went to Natural Falls State Park in West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma which is about 1.5 hours from our house. Our family really loves getting outside and hiking trails. These photos were taken with my iPhone. Hope you enjoy!
This guy greeted us just as we started on the first trail. I am not fond of anything with more legs or less legs than me!

What a great couple!

Yes, it is a very long way down there.

What an incredible view.
This is my favorite spot at Roaring River.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

EBC Family Night

Victory Kids singing during Family Night.
Last night was our Family Night for EBC's Victory Kids. The name comes from 1 Corinthians 15:57, "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (NKJV). We were hoping for a large turn out from the parents and grandparents of these K-6th graders. We cooked a bunch of hot dogs and made lots of cookies. Unfortunately, there were not a lot of them here last night. Some came out but most did not. The majority of these kids are picked up by one of two church vans that we have. Both of these vans have to make two trips to pick everyone up. We usually have over 80 (K-12th grade) between Victory Kids and our youth group.

God has given us a tremendous opportunity to reach these kids with the Gospel. Pray that we will also connect with their parents. We are starting to see some of them come around but our goal is to see the whole family in a relationship with Christ and serving Him through the local church. Many of these children have just recently starting coming to church and over 80% of them were not here 3 years ago. Go back and read the post about EBC's Future and you will have a better understanding of our need for additional space. To God be the glory for what He continues to do!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

God is Faithful

Have you ever just stopped and thought about how faithful God really is. He loves us, protects us, provides for us, and He even puts up with us! It is truly amazing that we can be partakers of God's grace and mercy and it ought to cause us to be thankful no matter what. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul says that we are to give thanks in everything because this is the will of God for us in Christ Jesus. 

In my opinion, there is a big difference between being thankful "in everything" and being thankful "for everything." My wife broke her leg a couple of years ago and it was a very long healing process and required surgery. I did not walk around thanking God that this happened, but I was able to thank Him in the midst of it. 

I don't know what you are facing or getting ready to face but just remember that the Lord is faithful 100% of the time. He knows what is going on in your life and nothing can happen to you without Him allowing it to take place. You may never know the reason why, but you don't have to. God does not owe us an explanation. The question to ask is not "why is this happening?" The real question is "Lord, what are you trying to teach me?" I believe that is a question that God will always answer if we are focused on Him through faithful obedience. Take some time to reflect on the faithfulness of God and listen to what He is trying to teach you!

Monday, May 14, 2012

EBC's Future

Yesterday I preached from Ephesians 4:14-21 and laid out the vision for EBC's future. We are in desperate need of additional space and I believe that the Lord is going to take care of this need for us debt free. God is able! We are praying that the Lord would see fit to pay off our current debt of $18,000 before the first of the year. I will not lead this church into debt. I have personally seen the problems that debt can cause and I do not want to saddle the church with debt. 
A preacher friend once said that it is amazing what can be accomplished with man, money, and organization and yet be void of the Holy Spirit. I believe in man power, finances, and organization, but I believe that too often we run ahead of God or cut Him short because we simply do not pray and wait to see what He is going to do.

Here are some of the specifics. We are averaging 100 right now in our Sunday morning worship service and we can only seat 174. On Wednesday nights we are running 50 K-6th graders and 25-35 7th-12th graders. We are really limited on classroom space. We are excited to see what God is doing up on this hill in a town of 500 people. HE alone will get the glory and the credit.

I am appointing a Vision Team that will begin praying and planning for our next building. I want to be ready for when God meets this need. As the saying goes, "Don't pray for rain if you are not willing to carry an umbrella." I have no idea what kind of timeframe we are looking at. We will do what we can with what the Lord blesses us with according to His timing. He is able! Pray with us and for us.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Playground or Battlefield?

I have been reminded again this week how the Christian life is a walk through a battlefield, not a playground. There is a false gospel out there that teaches people that by coming to Jesus, all their problems will be taken away. The truth is that the Bible teaches that believers are engaged in a spiritual battle (2 Cor. 10:4-6, Eph. 6:10-20). The Bible does not tell us that Jesus takes away all the problems but it does teach us that we never have to face our problems alone.

Those who promote this false gospel really make the gospel all about you instead of Christ. The gospel is not about you, it is all about what Christ has already done to secure forgiveness and redemption for those who come to Him by faith.

Believers face a real enemy who wants to destroy their witness and effectiveness for Christ. Take comfort in knowing that our enemy is already defeated. I am not sure what you are going through or getting ready to go through but put on your spiritual armor and realize that you are in the middle of war. Read Ephesians 6:10-20.

The Christian life is not about the Christian, it is about the Christ who gave Himself as a sacrifice to pay the debt that you and I could never pay.

Monday, May 7, 2012

What a Day!

Today, May 7th, is my younger brother's 32nd birthday. It is now the spiritual birthday of a lady we have been praying for. On Saturday night of our revival, we prayed specifically for Linda to be saved. Linda is battling some pretty significant health issues and has been for a couple of years. She lives a few hours away from our church but her daughter is a member at EBC. Several months ago I shared Christ with Linda over the phone but she did not trust Christ.

I received a text message from her daughter this morning saying that Linda was ready. After talking to her for a few minutes, Linda trusted Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. We praise the Lord for another person added to God's family.

If you have been reading this blog, Linda's daughter is married to the man whose parents were saved Saturday night during our revival. God has done an amazing work in this family and He alone deserves all the credit. No matter what happens the rest of the day, it has already been a great day.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day #5

Sunday morning was the conclusion of our revival services. We had 111 people in attendance this morning and many who we have been praying for to be saved. Bro. R.E. brought the concluding part of his "The Study of Faith" series from Hebrews 11 God was moving. We had two people join the church and one is a lady who is asking the church to pray for her husband. We have made contact with him and I visited him with another member just last week. We are praying that God would get through to this man!

In total, we saw 1 person surrender to ministry, 4 people born again, and 6 people join the church. There are many other things that the Lord is doing. I cannot describe to you how blessed I am to be the pastor at EBC. I thank the Lord for the work that He is doing and for the sweet people that He has surrounded us with. 

It is important to point out that our revival has not ended even though the services have. What was started this week is only the beginning of what God will do in a church made up of people who recognize that He is everything and His grace is enough. 

To God be the glory! Not only for the things He has done, but more importantly- for who He is!

Day #4

Saturday night we saw the Lord add 3 people into the Kingdom. A husband and wife who have been coming to our church for awhile were saved. She told me today (Sunday) that she feels like a whole new person today! Since I have been at EBC, I have had the privilege of seeing three generations of this family come to Christ!

The other was a ten year old girl. When she came forward and said she needed to be saved, I motioned for her mom to come forward. When I told the mom what was going on, she said that she could tell God was dealing with her heart. After talking extensively with her, this girl totally understood her sin and even referred to it as evil. She prayed the sweetest prayer all on her own asking Christ to forgive her and to be her Lord and Savior. This family has just moved to our area and joined our church last Sunday.

God is so good! Praise Him for what He is doing in your life and the life of your church!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day #3

Tonight we heard the third part of "A Study of Faith" by Dr. R.E. Clark from Hebrews 11:17-23. Not only did he preach the Word, but he also shared his personal testimony of losing his wife to ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). It was a remarkable testimony, especially of Miss Kay's incredible faith. I could certainly feel the Lord working, especially in my life.

Bro. R.E. is a dear friend and mentor in my life. 2007 was the darkest year of my life and he was there for me and my family and helped us walk through it. 2008 was the year that he was dealing with his wife's illness and death and I was not there for him. I have asked his forgiveness and told him that it will never happen again! You see, he needed me as a friend and I was distant and didn't know how to handle the situation. I make no excuses and I am grateful for his forgiveness. God really brought all that to my mind once again this evening.

I don't know what you are going through but you can trust God. He is faithful and will not let you down, even when those who are close to you do. That doesn't mean that you will have all your questions answered, but it does mean that you can trust the One who hung the moon and the stars and spoke this world into existence! Praise the Lord that He is God and I am not!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Praising God for Revival

Thursday night was the second night of our revival services. We are praising God for what He did tonight. One soul was added to the Kingdom and another accepted the call to preach. The invitation was an awesome display of God working in the hearts of people. The message tonight was a continuation of faith from Hebrews 11:8-16. I want to thank those of you who are praying with us and for us. I can't wait to see what the Lord is going to do on Friday night.

Revival Services Day #1

We began revival services on Wednesday night and it was a great time. Bro. R.E. Clark brought a message on faith from Hebrews 11:1-7. He will be preaching from Hebrews 11 each night unless the Lord changes his direction. 

As the pastor of EBC, I am extremely excited about what the Lord is doing and about the willingness of His people to hear from Him. We talk all the time about how the Lord must first do something in us so then He can do something through us. We are getting ready to begin a couple of community outreach activities that will get us out of our comfort zones and get us in front of the community with the goal of showing them and telling them about the love of Christ. This really ties in with Bro. R.E.'s message as we go out by faith, obediently trusting the Lord and knowing that the results are up to Him.

Revival services are Wed.-Sat. at 6:30 nightly and Sunday morning at 10:45. Would you please take a moment just to pray for God to do something that only He can explain and take the credit for? Thanks. Leave me a comment and I will be sure to pray for you and your church as well.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Revival Depends on You!

Revival services begin Wednesday night May 2nd at 6:30pm at EBC. We are really excited about this time and are praying for a renewed sense of the holiness of God and the sinfulness of sin. This is a revival meeting and therefore it is primarily for the church. The goal in this revival is not to see a bunch of people come to Christ, but that the church is renewed and restored to health. While we certainly pray for the conversion of the lost, the main focus is for the church.

Revival must start individually before revival will spread throughout the church body. Revival is really up to us, not up to God! At first this may seem arrogant, but truthfully revival depends on God's people. The Lord has promised to send revival if His people will humble themselves, pray, seek his face, and turn from their wicked ways. Read 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Psalm 85. The world is not hindering revival, the church is. To listen to the message I preached leading up to this revival, go to and you will find it on the home page.

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Calling

Not too long after I was saved, I began to feel like God wanted me to do more than just sit in the pew. Heather and I were on our way to the mall and I told her that I felt like God was calling me to preach. Her response was "He's not calling me to be a preacher's wife!" Needless to say that made for an interesting trip to the mall.

A few weeks later I talked to my pastor. He said that he believed God was calling me but he wanted to the Lord to reveal that to me so he didn't say anything. He gave me the opportunity to preach one Wednesday night. During my sermon (if you could call it that) I was very nervous and monotonous. At the end of the service, our church family came up to compliment and encourage me. On the drive home Heather told me that the Lord had put it on her heart that this is what we were called to during my message!! That was in 1997.

Looking back, I thank God for the awesome way He revealed to Heather and I that this is what we are supposed to do. I can't imagine doing anything other than preaching and teaching the Word of God and shepherding the flock that He has called us to!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Testimony

I was not raised in a Christian home. My parents were divorced when I was too young to remember. My mom moved us to Florida (from Virginia) when I was about 7. Our family background was Catholic but that was just a title. I remember one time when I was 12 years old I went to a Catholic church with a friend. Someone asked me if I was a Christian in the parking lot. I asked what that meant and they said, "Do you believe in God?" Of course I believed in God. Their response was, "Then you're a Christian."

I moved to Northwest Arkansas as soon as I graduated high school. I started working for Wal-Mart and the guy who was training me began to share Jesus with me. I realized for the first time that Christ died for my sins. I had always believed in God but I never believed on God. I believed facts but I didn't have faith. 

On September 6, 1995, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. My life began to change and I now had meaning and purpose in my life! Tomorrow I will write about my call to preach.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spiritual Myopia

Our church just finished week 6 of The Truth Project and there was a great lesson that I can't get out of my mind. All of us suffer from spiritual myopia. Myopia is more commonly referred to as nearsightedness. This means that people can see things close up but they struggle to clearly see things in the distance. I wear glasses for this exact reason.

Spiritual myopia means that we are focused on our piece of the puzzle, instead of the entire puzzle itself. We do not have the ability to see the masterpiece that God is putting together and how our piece fits in. If we are not careful, focusing on self will lead to depression and burnout. We need to understand that God has a much bigger plan and purpose and we do not need to question Him, we need to obey, no matter what. God does not need to explain anything to us. He deserves our allegiance and obedience. He has already done everything for us (Eph 1:3-14).

If we are not careful then we can become more concerned about "our ministry" than we are about the Lord Jesus. Do not be nearsighted in looking just at you. Understand that God is at work, even if you and I can't see it clearly.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You Are Not Cool

Our American culture has led us to think that popularity is what life is all about. Remember in high school how everyone wanted to be "cool" and not be the dork? The truth is that if you are a follower of Christ you are never going to be cool or popular by the world's standards and you should be fine with that. We should be focused more on serving the Lord than what everyone else thinks.

There are believers around the world that are being sentenced to death because they are a follower of Christ. They are not concerned with popularity or fitting in, they are focused on obedience and allegiance to King Jesus!!

The church has always thrived when it has been persecuted. The sad truth is that we take the freedoms and rights we have in America for granted. Many of us have become lazy and complacent. We have replaced the power of the Holy Spirit with man, money, and organization.

I pray that we will all recognize our weakness and desperate need to be completely dependent upon the Lord for everything. You are not cool! Hopefully, as a believer, you are cool with that.

Do We Really Love People?

While it is easy to say yes, the answer is found in our actions, not our words. If we really love people, then we will want to share Christ with them. We will stop making excuses and we will start being the church and getting out and engaging our community with the message of Christ.

The truth is that many of us love people who are just like us and we feel uneasy when we are around people who act, talk, and live differently than we do. Jesus said in John 13:35 that a love for one another will be the way that people know we are His disciples.

I am grateful to be in a church where everyone is welcome regardless of what they look like. Our people are really more concerned with the inside than what is on the outside. They have to be or they never would have welcomed this city boy into their fellowship!! To have a love for people, we must seek the Lord. The more our faith grows, the more our love for others will grow and the more concerned we will be about spreading the Gospel and carrying out the Great Commission. That is what being a church is really all about!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday, Hallelujah!

What a great Sunday we had at EBC. It was the 2nd week in a row that we began our service with a baptism. We had 100 people in attendance for the second time in four weeks. God is moving in the midst of our people and it is extremely exciting to experience. This week, a relative of one of the newer Christians in our church commented that they are definitely seeing a difference in that person. It made me think of Matthew 5:16 when Jesus said that we are to let our light so shine that others will see it and give glory to the Father!

Sunday evening we completed week 5 of The Truth Project. It was fantastic. The lesson was all about science. It is amazing how the Lord has put together the human body. I find it hard to believe that some want to suggest that we evolved from monkeys or lake slime when God says that He created us and formed us!

Looking forward to a great week. Heather and I will be visiting with a couple on Thursday night. This will be a pretty busy week for me as I have to write a few papers for my classes. Pray for me, and please continue to pray that EBC will be a lighthouse to the Jane community and that God would draw people unto Himself!!

To God Be The Glory!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday Nights at EBC

Some of the students in our youth group  enjoying 
fellowship before service last night.
We are a unique church in that we actually have more people in attendance on a Wednesday night than we do on a Sunday morning in most cases. We have a tremendous ministry opportunity with kids and students. We usually have anywhere from 30-35 students in our youth group and 25-35 children in our Victory Kids ministry. We have seen 3 students come to Christ in the last week. We baptized one of them last Sunday and will be baptizing another one this Sunday. We thank the Lord for what He is doing in and through our students. We have two of the best youth leaders in the world and they do a tremendous job and they truly love their students!

Super Bowl Sunday night our youth leader and I went to talk to a 17 year old student named David. After talking and answering questions for almost 2.5 hours, David trusted Christ and we baptized him this past Sunday. This past Wednesday night we had another student trust Christ after admitting that she didn't have a relationship with Jesus. Our youth leader had talked to her and told her that only the Lord could reveal whether or not she was truly saved. After a few weeks of praying, she said the Lord made it clear to her that she wasn't saved. She came to Christ after the service on Feb. 8th. We are baptizing her this Sunday. We will have several visitors this coming Sunday with the baptism and others who have said they would be here after being invited by some of our members.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Hate Organized Religion!

How many times have we heard that, especially from lost people? The truth is, they are right! I also hate organized religion, but I love worship and fellowship with God's people. There is a BIG difference.

Religion is all about doing things that will hopefully please God. Religion places more emphasis on tradition than truth. Religion places all the emphasis on man instead of God.

A relationship with Jesus recognizes that we are all "wimpy" and can only please Him by faith (Hebrews 11:6). God's word is the sole authority and outweighs anything else. It also recognizes that Jesus has already accomplished salvation. I don't deserve it, can't earn it and would lose it if it were up to me to keep it. Praise God that we are kept by His power (I Peter 1:3-5).

I am so thankful to be part of a church that emphasizes relationship and not religion. Religion will take people to hell. A relationship with Jesus is our only hope! The world doesn't need religion, they need Jesus and there is a BIG difference. Your thoughts?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gold Rush

If I were to tell you that you were guaranteed to find gold, would you go digging?

Currently, our church is going through The Truth Project on Sunday nights. This is a 12 week study and it is fantastic! One of the verses we looked at Sunday night was Hebrews 11:6:

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (NKJV)

In that verse God tells us that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him! That is better than finding gold. When we are diligently seeking God, He is going to reward us by revealing Himself to us. I am not suggesting that if we read our Bible then "good things are going to happen." I am saying that based on the authority of God's Word, when we seek Him, He will answer and it will be much more valuable than gold and it will last longer as well. Don't read the Bible today just to check it off of your "to do" list. Dig deep, seek God, and He promises to answer!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

About Me

My name is J.D. Arnold and this is my very first blog post. I thought I would take the initial post to introduce myself and give you a little biographical information.

I was not raised in a Christian home. My mom and dad were divorced when I was really young. Neither of them are believers today. I was raised in Florida and moved to Northwest Arkansas in 1995, three days after I graduated high school. I started working for Wal-Mart and my trainer was a Christian. I thought good people went to heaven. He helped me to see my sin and need for forgiveness. He told me that was only possible through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. On Sept. 6, 1995 I trusted Christ and was gloriously saved.

Not long after that, I felt called to preach. It scared me because I hated to speak in front of people. I am thankful that God gave me the gifts necessary to fulfill His call on my life.

Heather and I have been married for over 15 years. We have two children, Karlee 14, and Eli 12.

Currently I am pastoring in Jane, Missouri. Jane is a town just north of Bentonville, AR in the Southwest corner of Missouri. Emmanuel Baptist Church (EBC) is only 22 years old and I am the fourth pastor. God is really moving in the hearts and lives of people and it is totally by His grace. This past Sunday we had 97 people in attendance which is 25% of the population!

I am also finishing a Masters degree through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and will begin doctoral studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Kansas City, MO) in January 2013.

Why Diary of a Wimpy Pastor?

I confess that I can do nothing. I can't build anything, fix a car, etc. I have never changed my own oil and I have never touched a farm animal (I plan on keeping it that way!!). It is safe to say that this city boy is out of place, except that I absolutely love the people of EBC and it is a great joy to serve them!

Special thanks to my daughter Karlee, who designed the template for me!