Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Help Your Kids Be The Best Valentine Giver

Children love to serve! Sit down with them this weekend and plan out a wonderful Valentine's day/evening for their mom. Give them some ideas as to how they can pamper her. Hand-made gift certificates, breakfast in bed or dinner in the evening, decorating the family room or dining room. Hey, this is where I highly recommend swallowing our pride and browsing through Pinterest. Once we let our kids loose in doing such an honoring project, they'll thrive in their creativity and in their desire to serve the best they can for her. Keep being the best dad to the best kids.

Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.” Proverbs 31:28-29

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lessons From an Oak

Have you ever taken part in a school play as an elementary student? Did you want the role as the hero or heroine? Maybe you yearned to be the villain who had the leading role? Instead, you were given the 'leftovers' as the pond frog or meadowlark with a screeching part that lasted a whole 4 seconds. Or were you given the dreaded oak tree in the corner that your mother was so proud of? If you still hold in bad feelings towards the drama teacher who made you feel like the Arbor Day poster-child, hear this: You happened to have represented one of the greatest symbols of strength according to God's word.

In Isaiah 61:1-3, the prophet is writing of the Messiah and His coming to deliver those who have been captive, to mend the brokenhearted, and to bring good news to the afflicted. The Lord deliberately distributed His Word in order for us to saturate ourselves daily in the knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:18). As an oak of righteousness (cf. Isaiah 61:3), we need to follow 3 basic principles during the duration of our lives.

An oak tree needs to maintain proper nutrition for survival. The average mature tree will use up to 50 gallons of water a day. Just as a tree relies on its root system for intake of this moisture, we must daily ingest God's Word as if our life depends upon it. And guess what? It does! The 50 gallons of water is taken in just for daily survival. We're not even talking about how to fend off fires, beetles, and deliberate cuttings. You see, unlike the oak, we make a conscious decision to remain strong and upright for the Lord. We must take the initiative to feed our minds with the Bread of Life for proper defense and to be ready in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).

Another great quality about the oak tree to emulate is its yearly (continuous) production of seed (acorns). Though it may take 20-25 years before it begins producing acorns, a mature and healthy oak tree is always increasing its yearly production of seed. As mature Christians, we should follow the model and strive to increase our delivering of God's Word (seed) to a lost world (Matthew 28:19-20). The typical oak can produce 10,000 acorns in the span of its lifetime, but only one will develop into a tree on average. Why the dismal ratio of acorns produced to trees developed, I don't know. But this is for sure, as we take notice of the apostles, evangelists, disciples, children of God in the Scriptures, we don't see them declining in delivering God's message because someone rejects the message (seed). Instead, they press on until their life is over. So, too, is the oak tree. Its production never declines (it may slow down when it reaches 100, but never declines) in yearly production as long as it maintains maturity!

Finally, as an oak of righteousness, we need to recognize that our steadfastness for the Lord during the length of our stay here on earth is because of our Savior. We shall glorify God through proper righteous living and praising Him (Psalm 63:3). We need to do our job as children of God. The life of an oak tree is remarkable when studied about, but the oak tree is just oak tree. That's what an oak tree is and does. So must we be as obedient followers of Jesus. We need to be Christians acting like...Christians. That's what Christians do.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Meeting the Need

Last week I was contacted by my health provider. I missed the call and returned it as soon as I could. I was waiting for this particular call for some time as I had a medical need to take care of and as quickly as possible. I made the return call and was welcomed by an automated answering service. Initially, it was no problem having to wait through the, “Thank you for your call. Your call is important to us. A customer professional will assist you soon. Thank you for your patience.” But by the time 20 and then 30 minutes rolled by, the “Your call is important to us” sounded more like, “Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!” I couldn’t understand how important I really was at that point. My mind raced thinking if they REALLY did think I was important, wouldn’t they have enough employees meeting demands in a timely manner? Surely they’re making enough money in health care to secure more phone lines, aren’t they? The frustration grew and patience wore paper thin.

As a church, how are we meeting the demands of the needy? I personally know I have been cared for with great love and urgency in times of help. I can’t share with you the negative side of meeting my needs within the body of Christ because the experience has been overwhelmingly comforting. This article’s purpose is only to be a reminder to us all that needs will always be around and along with those needs are souls who are anxious and often times out of sorts and should expect at least a reply of acknowledgment with the hope that the need will be addressed as soon as possible. It may not necessarily be the case where a legitimate need can be resolved in a ‘right here, right now’ fashion. There are times when circumstances are unique and warrant an extended amount of time for further consideration, but when the call is made for a real-world need, instead of letting the people hear, “Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!” let’s do our part to let them hear “Your call is important to us!”

Keep being the loving church God purposely designed!

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Galatians 6:9-10

Friday, October 23, 2015

Greetings to All

The year was 1993. Our family had just arrived to a rural, Midwestern town to begin another chapter in our military, whirl-winded lives. What was different about this new assignment was the growth and energy associated with it, as opposed to the past two locations we lived in which were closing for good due to military reductions and life there was just dead. Everything about Knob Noster, Missouri (don’t laugh, it’s a real name) was different, new and fresh; the mood, the buildings, the people. Everything had an air about it that left you excited to be a part of this mission with a bright future.

What took place from May of that year was something I had not experienced in quite sometime. Not only were the members of the base responsible for their day-to-day duties, but also their attitude, dress, and behavior were always to be a notch above standards because December 17th was coming. That date represented the delivery of the first operational B-2 stealth bomber to it’s new home at Whiteman AFB. That date also represented the first of MANY dignitaries who would grace themselves through the gates to witness and to just be in the presence of a modern-day weapon marvel. The parading of enumerable military, government and civilian leaders, current and retired, was quite a spectacle which kept us all on our toes, ready to meet and greet with great respect and gratitude as every new B-2 touched down to their new quarters.

The Apostle Paul, in a God-inspired way, bombards his audience, the church, to also be respectful and gracious to distinguished individuals…the church. Now, I’m no scholar but I haven’t seen a chapter so chock-full of imperatives (words that mean, “you just gotta do this!”) and using the same word to show urgency, as I have in Romans 16. And the very word used is “greet”. Sixteen times in fourteen verses (Romans 16:3-16) we see instruction to greet brethren.

I truly believe Paul is longing to see the many named, those unnamed, and all those who are referred to as being in various households. I’m sure he misses the camaraderie and time in worship together. I, too, would be screaming through papyrus to give them all a big bear hug and to send them my love. But I think there’s more to this than just Paul wanting the church in Rome to give an arbitrary hand shake to the brethren from him, as if this is an after thought to the previous fifteen chapters. We can’t downplay Paul’s wish to salute these brethren. In previous chapters, Paul addresses the contention between Christian Jews & Greeks and explains emphatically that the children of God (descendants) are not the children of the flesh, but of the promise (cf. 9:8); the called are not only of Jewish descent, but also Gentile (9:24); there is no distinction between Jew or Greek Christians (10:12). Paul also stresses the importance of selflessness in bearing the weaknesses of those without strength for edification sake (15:1). These scriptural references are just a few from the book of Romans displaying an underlying theme to unite, stay united, and to greet ALL of God’s children, no matter their lineage, language, length of time in-service, livelihood, or if you share the same likes.
Yep, “greet” is a pretty non-impactful word on the surface, but in context and through inspiration, we see there is no place for Christians to treat the redeemed, the saints, the children of God any less than stellar. Go and greet ‘em all, for they are all distinguished!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Put Some Fruit On It

Just when you thought the Fourth of July was two weeks behind us, here comes along another round of fireworks. This past weekend saw many emotions and attitudes flare up as protestors in Columbia, South Carolina gathered to verbalize their support for the Confederate flag. One such unidentified protestor felt the heat, literally, of the mid-July afternoon swelter. His body, exhausted and limp, was seen in a photo widely circulated around the web. Normally, a journalistic photo is not awe inspiring, but this weekend’s activities and the entirety of the picture tell a story we should never want to forget. You see, Leroy Smith, a 25 year law enforcement veteran, was on duty for this highly charged, KKK rally. Officer Smith is a man of greater melanin (skin pigment) than the unidentified KKK supporter suffering from the effects of the day’s climate. The photo reveals Mr. Smith helping the man to find relief from his sickly state. Sadly, I wish this photo was not news-worthy. Sadly, I wish racism was a thing of the past sitting and rotting in a city dump. But we live in a world where Satan dwells and wreaks havoc on those who wish to join in on his deeds of the flesh…and we must deal with it in a fashion like Mr. Smith did this weekend…with compassion.

A too familiar parable Jesus teaches regarding ‘who is my neighbor?’ should resonate every time we are faced with hatred, strife, or just simple inconvenience from another human. As we look at Luke 10:25-37, a Samaritan (one despised for their ethnicity and not considered a “neighbor” in New Testament times) rises to the occasion to help a fellow human being suffering from injuries sustained from a robbery. What lessons can we take away from the Savior’s parable and apply to our daily walk and interaction with a world needing to be tended to? According to the text, the Samaritan was on a journey. Without putting too much into the text, I can only imagine myself half-way across the country on my way with my family on vacation when all of a sudden I notice someone in need. And then my thoughts and emotions kick-in to overdrive, “Hey, you’re on vacation. Let someone else take care of them.” Or, “Man, I can’t afford to stop now. My time is valuable and I only have so much vacation to ‘burn’”. Whereas, locally, if something like this happened, well, then I would give it some serious thought, right? Here’s some points to consider:

The Samaritan provided
Treatment for the wound.
We need to help ‘stop the bleeding’ of those in need. Yes, the parable discusses a man left for dead, but let’s also take this to a spiritual level, a level where you know of someone who has been left for dead spiritually and emotionally. You’re thinking “Wow! That’s way too much for me to handle”. “I’m not skilled in helping someone with fresh ‘wounds’”. Well, consider these options;
A. Asking them some questions about themselves. You know, finding out where they are with the Lord (their spiritual walk), for example. You may quickly find out a lot about them and sometimes more than you really want, but the idea is you won’t know where the pain is without asking where the hurt originated.
B. Letting them know a treatment is necessary, even when they say they will be alright. Have you ever come across a person with an injury who is pale and ready to pass out and they inform you that they will be alright?
C. Pray with them! Let them see you are concerned for them and that you rely upon God for their and your own treatment.
D. Put some FRUIT on the wound. Folks, this is where Galatians 5:22-23 may very well pay-off. And I believe this is the very point of Jesus’ parable. Genuinely demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law. Do this because Christ did so for us.

Secondly, the Samaritan provided...
Transportation for the weary.
I know I do not possess all the answers to life’s questions, but I do know that when asked about the Bible, church, or our Lord and need an answer I can navigate the weary to Scripture or transport them to a brother or sister who can help with their ailment or question. All too often we fear helping the helpless because we don’t know all the answers. God doesn’t expect us to have all the answers. Remember, the church can act often times as a triage. We have many brethren working together to bring lives either back into service or to join the emergency team. No doctor has done heart surgery all by himself.

Finally, the Samaritan provided...
Tender for the wretched.
The Samaritan took his own cash and doled it all out for the unknown “neighbor”. The need was great and the Samaritan was willing to spend his time, energy and resources to make sure this individual soul would recover and receive a fresh new beginning under not-so-desirable circumstances. The stakes are high, friend. The eternal souls of those around us need to be looked upon with a value that Jesus recognized. He recognized each person created is worthy of all expense to be reconciled. His blood is the only cure and we need to tend to those who are without the knowledge of compassion, without reconciliation with the Savior, even the unidentified.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Our Family Requests Your Partnership

Dear Brethren,

For five years I have been blessed to serve the Lord as the Director of Alumni Relations for the Bear Valley Bible Institute (BVBI), under the guidance and wisdom of godly men. The staff at BVBI are not only knowledgeable, but also completely committed to the teaching of sound Biblical doctrine for the sake of the gospel of Christ.

I would like to take a moment to explain why I am excited about the work that is being accomplished here and why I believe the Lord has blessed this work. The President of BVBI, Denny Petrillo, has many goals in mind and it has been quite rewarding being a part of this work:

• I have great joy in helping alumni and new graduates find preaching positions and maintain a current “job openings” website board. Churches around the brotherhood continue to learn that they can contact us since we are now working harder to join faithful congregations with faithful preachers.
• I have been working towards growing our preaching out opportunities. Local congregations are motivated by inviting our current student preachers out on Sunday. They teach and preach to their congregations in order to give our students vital ministry experience.
• We are determined to continue developing a solid relationship with our alumni, financial supporters and potential students. I work with a wonderful development team whose goal is to work on the future growth of our Denver campus.
• My family and I help edify the students through regular fellowship activities; such as “Soup and Singing Nights” and “Volley Ball and Devotional Nights”, hoping they will do the same encouraging when they are with their new congregations. This also ensures that we develop close relationships to the students while they are here with us. We have found this lasts long after they move away to their own congregations.
• I regularly help coordinate such activities as the Bear Valley Lectures, Homecoming events, Master’s Degree Blitz Weeks (conducted three times a year), Annual Faculty Retreat and FPTC (Future Preacher Training Camp).
• I produce and edit the quarterly alumni newsletter, “Uplift”.
• I am the main administrator for the school’s Facebook page. We’ve generated more than 2000 “likes” with more than 2000 weekly viewings. This, also, is a great communication tool with our alumni and potential students.
• I love having the ability and the desire to teach and sometimes counsel our students, when needed, now that I am a graduate and with practical ministry experience of my own.
• Our family continues to see a growing need for more Biblically sound preachers in the Lord’s church. We believe our ministry is to serve the churches of Christ by serving our students and alumni at BVBI.

I am writing you asking that you will prayerfully consider helping our family get ‘over the hump’ with our financial support. I still currently work part-time with my secular job on Monday and Tuesday evenings while working full-time at Bear Valley. We are still $2000 a month behind in our support and we are catching up on outstanding medical bills from the past five years due to my wife’s Lyme Disease. Then, on top of all of this, my part-time job, which is a government contracted job at Centennial Airport, is now in danger of being terminated due to FAA cutbacks. I am asking you to consider the support of our family because I truly love this work, but if I lose this extra work we will have to make a difficult decision to leave if we cannot get the help we need. Often times many congregations see the need to support students as they spend their time studying to be ministers, but do not choose to support staff and especially those working in administration. While we are so thankful that students are provided for during their time at Bear Valley, we do ask that you think and pray about the need for the staff that keeps the school going.

There are two ways you can help our family:
1. Commit to monthly support which is the most needed no matter how large or small, OR
2. One-time gift, which would help chip away at our medical commitments.

Throughout our entire time at BVBI, as a student and now as staff, I have learned that God is able!! He meets our needs. He has great plans for His church and for the furthering of His Gospel. Ephesians 3:20-21; “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

We ask your prayers for us. We would be grateful if you would think about supporting our family on a monthly basis or with a one-time gift. I will gladly e-mail you our family’s monthly budget that you can refer to when looking at our request. You may contact me via e-mail at

Finally, if you know you are able to support us, you may make your support check out to:

MEMO: Jon Warnes

And please mail your support to:
2707 S. Lamar St.
Denver, CO 80227

In His service,
Jon & Laura Warnes & Family

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Appreciating Church Leadership

I am thankful for strong spiritual men in my life that have exemplified faithfulness to God’s Word. Their humble efforts have served to help me see that leadership within the Body of Christ is not a dying breed, but rather, it continues to thrive and strive towards a united goal to see souls come to Christ and stay in Christ. These men are respecters of the blood-purchased church and Her local congregations. They do not want to see Christ’s church be defiled by a subtleness or an overtness of self-will, but instead, be overcome by selflessness, sacrifice and submission. An attitude of a Diotrephes (3 John 9-10) will not survive within Her ‘walls’, and to that I’m thankful for such love and dedication from these leaders.

This type of leadership is attainable. I’ve seen it and I continue to see and hear about it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. They are out there and through any local congregation’s efforts, they can continue to be established, maintained and flourish for God’s glory. There are many things we can do as members of the congregation to help see leadership such as this grow, but I’ll just share a couple thoughts right now.

We definitely need to pray for our current leadership or for future leaders to humbly rise to the occasion in service for God. The importance of praying for our leaders is clearly seen in Acts 20 where Paul meets with the elders of Ephesus. At the end of their gathering Paul prays for them! Yes, the elders of the Ephesian church are extremely saddened because of Paul’s nearing departure to Jerusalem, and that may be partly why Paul prays for them, but I believe it’s mostly due to the seriousness of their duty as an eldership and the importance of Christ’s church. There is a warning to a possible internal upheaval in the church, which they should be on guard to watch for and to stymie any God-less attempts, just as our leaders are faced with at our congregations today. Praying is a principle we must follow for the sake of maintaining a strong family now and for the next generation of Christians to follow after we depart. Jesus definitely prayed for His Apostles in John 17, the leadership of His soon-to-be-established church. So must we.

Next, we should make an even greater effort than we already do in following, or submitting, to our leaders (Hebrews 13:17). This would include any individual leader out there submitting to the congregational leadership. Sometimes there are rogue individuals who give in to temptation and desire to fall out of formation because of their pride and start their own ‘quorum’ thinking there is a better way to do business. Thankfully, a strong leadership often recovers from such an act and perseveres. Our loving desire to serve under these men is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength in Christ and pleases God when we think above pettiness and above our own motives. The church we read about in Acts 2:42-47 has always been for me a standard by which we should follow.

Finally, we need to be thankful and express our gratitude to them and their families. They as our overseers are our shepherds. And with that responsibility comes many long nights, days, weeks, you get the idea…they are serving the Lord by watching over our souls. Let’s do our part to not let their job be a “thankless” one, but instead, full of “thanksgiving”. Though those who are members do not share in their congregational duties, we can share in their love for the church and walk shoulder-to-shoulder with them for the same eternal cause. We can honor God by honoring our leaders. Praise God for sound leadership in the church today!