Pic-Pac is closing. Thank you, Mr. Nichols!

By now you have probably heard that Fairdale’s IGA Pic-Pac grocery store is closing for good.

This will be a sad day for Fairdale. Pic-Pac, owned and operated by the original owner Mr. Bill Nichols, opened its doors in 1979. For the last 36 years, everyone in Fairdale has been served by Mr. Nichols and his store.

20150106_154819

I recently wrote an article for our January Church Newsletter about the impact of Mr. Nichols and his staying, serving and working in the same place. Click that link to read it.

My 2 points in that newsletter were 1) We should learn how to appreciate people and 2) We should learn Faithfulness and Dependability. Mr. Nichols’ life in Fairdale has taught us both.

Just last week, I was honored to represent our church in joining with our Councilwoman Vicki Welch and several other community leaders in surprising Mr. Nichols at Pic-Pac with a plaque of recognition for his service to the Fairdale community.

All I have ever known is Pic-Pac being a huge community supporter!

Change is inevitable. Time goes on. But on behalf of everyone in Fairdale, we say Thank You Mr. Nichols!

 

Cyclocross National Champion, Fairdale boy, Drew Dillman

The College Ministry at FBC Fairdale has been thriving over the last few years. One of our young men, Drew Dillman, made big news this week.

Drew won the USA Cycling Collegiate National Championship in Cyclocross.

Nationals were held in Austin, TX this year, and you can read the whole story here. There are more pics and videos including an interview of Drew.

Drew is a junior at Marian University in Indianapolis. He recently returned from Europe where he was riding for TEAM USA in the World Championships.

Drew is born and raised in Fairdale, KY.

Drew spent last summer working as a summer missionary in Ecuador but will spend this summer working for our church as a pastoral intern. We are looking forward to that!

We are proud of Drew!

0-2

He Is Like a Tree

“He is like a tree” is a powerful Scriptural compliment.

What does it mean?

Who is it referring to?

What does it mean to be like a tree?

This statement comes from Psalm 1.

The person who is “like a tree” is the blessed man. But what makes this person blessed?

With a strong statement, the blessed man is first described by what he is NOT. 

  • He does not listen to the wrong people (he is not someone who walks in the counsel of the wicked)
  • He does not hang out with the wrong people (he is not someone who stands in the way of sinners)
  • He does not get caught up with the wrong people (he is not someone who sits in the seat of scoffers)

The blessed man is not judgmental, hypocritical, legalistic, too good, high-rolling, holier-than-thou or whatever else. But there are some things, some ways, he is not!

After saying what the blessed man is not, Psalm 1 then tells us what the blessed man is: one who delights in the Word of God and meditates on it day and night. Thats it! Thats all it says! Psalm 1 says more about what the blessed man is not than about what he is!

Then in verse 1:3 it makes this great statement referring to the blessed man = “He is like a tree.”

What a great Scriptural compliment!  A healthy tree. A fruitful tree. A prosperous, blessed man. He is like a tree!

Do you know anyone who is “like a tree”? Does anyone come to mind that is strong, healthy and fruitful “like a tree”? Do you have anyone you admire because of their delighting in the Word of God?

If you want to give an encouraging compliment to someone, tell them “You are like a tree.”

May God continue to raise up more and more men and women who love His word that it may be said of them – he or she is “like a tree!”

Who is Christmas for?

 

Not everyone celebrates Christmas. And out of all the people who do acknowledge Christmas, not all of them enjoy it. Some people really love Christmas. Some people don’t even like it.

So, who is Christmas actually for?

Is Christmas an American holiday? Is it for wealthy upper-class people? Is it for needy lower-class people? Is it for Christians? Is it for Jews?

Is Christmas for children? Or just strong families?

Again, who is Christmas for?

Looking at Matthew chapter 1 and the story of the birth of Jesus, I see 3 very real answers to this question.

  1. Christmas is for people who are in awkward situations.
    Joseph and Mary were betrothed. This means they were planning to get married, and they had not slept together yet. They were virgins. They were almost married, but not yet. Then one day out of nowhere Mary is pregnant. Again, she had never had sex before. Joseph knows Mary was not pregnant from him. That is an awkward situation. So much so that the Bible says that “her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” (1:19) Joseph was crushed. He thought Mary had cheated on him. Can you imagine the word spreading around town? This fine young man, Joseph, had been done wrong by his fiancée. That is an awkward situation. How did this situation come about? God made it happen. God made Mary pregnant. God’s plan to come and save us from our sins included a very awkward situation. Joseph & Mary were in an awkward situation. Christmas, absolutely, is for people who are in awkward situations. This Christmas don’t be ashamed to celebrate Christmas in the midst of some awkwardness. Our Savior King can handle it. Thats what He came for!
  2. Christmas is for people who are living in sin.
    After Joseph gets the awkwardness cleared up by the angel, the angel proceeds to tell Joseph what to name the baby. His name will be Jesus. Many may ask or wonder ‘why did they call his name Jesus?’ The angel goes on to tell us that info too. “you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (1:21) Jesus came because of our sins and for our sins. Sin in our lives is not at all a reason to keep Jesus away. In fact, you could say, our sins are the very reason He came. Christmas is not for people who don’t sin. Not at all. Christmas is for people who sin. “Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'” (Mark 2:17) Again, He came for sinners. This Christmas don’t be afraid to confess your sins and don’t be distant from others who have sins. That is exactly who Christmas is for – those of us who sin!
  3. Christmas is for people who are lonely.
    Jesus is not the only name designated for the savior-child. In 1:23, we are told of another name for Jesus – “Immanuel.” He is given this name because of who He is and because of what this name means. Immanuel means “God with us.” Jesus is God. And Jesus came to us to be with us. We need Him. We need to be with God. In a very real way, all of us are lonely without God. And though we may try various ways to fill that loneliness, we are not able. Ultimately, having Jesus with us is the only way to not be lonely. God knows this. So He came to us. This is precisely what Christmas is all about. Christmas is for lonely people. This Christmas as all of our hurts, struggles and needs seem to become more obvious and visible, please remember that is what and who Christmas is for.

Christmas is a huge holiday! And in short, it is for everyone. Whether people want to embrace Christmas or not is their choice. Either way, it is still for them. Because Christmas is about Jesus coming. And Jesus came to love, forgive and save sinners. And we are all sinners.

Merry Christmas!

4 reasons why you should attend more funerals

I have been a part of a lot of funerals. In a strange but real sense, I have come to really enjoy them. Not because they are such a time of fun, happiness and celebration. But rather because of the impact they continue to have on my life and soul.

I don’t expect anyone to go searching for random funerals to attend, but I do hope that you will be more eager to attend funerals that are close to you.

Here are 4 reasons why you should attend more funerals:

  1. Your family. The most important relationships in life are those in our family. Husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and so on. These relationships are so important. We often take them for granted. We often neglect the opportunity to really enjoy and appreciate these loved ones. Funerals remind us of these strong-bond relationships. Funerals remind us that God gave us our family. Funerals remind us of all the hard times and all the good times and all the memories that families have to treasure. Funerals remind us to prioritize our family before it is too late.  I have seen wives bury their husbands, and it moved me to love and lead my wife well until I die. I have seen parents bury their children, and it moves me to tears every time as it challenges me to be the very best dad I can be every day for my kids. I have seen a 10 year old boy standing on his tip-toes stretching to lean into the casket to kiss his father good-bye. I will never forget moments like that. One reason to attend more funerals is to strengthen your commitment to family.
  2. Your friends. Funerals will show you how much someone was loved. Funerals will show you how many friends someone had. I have been to funerals where less than 10 people attended. It was sad. And I have been to funerals that were so crowded there was standing room only. When it comes time for you to die, who will attend your funeral? Who would want to? Who would say this person was such a dear friend to me that I do not want to miss the funeral? Or let me take this a little further – Would there be any diversity at your funeral? If you are white, would there by any black people at your funeral? Would there be any Latino/Hispanics at your funeral? Would there be any International people at your funeral? Would your co-workers come to your funeral? Would your next-door-neighbors come to your funeral? These are good questions to ask.  Funerals have caused me to examine what kind of a friend I am. Have I cared about people? Have I invested in people? These are some of the questions that funerals can raise. One reason to attend more funerals is to strengthen your commitment to being a true friend to people.
  3. Your focus. One of my favorite things about funerals is how people speak so highly of the deceased. This is special! (Now I am not for us lying and making the person out to be greater than they were, but I don’t think that is always the case anyways.) It is beautiful to be at a funeral service and hear many people saying so many positives about the deceased. I have often wondered ‘why don’t we say these things BEFORE they die?’ Wouldn’t it be even better to tell THEM how highly we view them- along with telling everyone at the funeral? I think the stresses and pressures of life often hinder us from seeing the good in people. We see the negatives in people and it causes us to overlook the positives. Funerals change that. Funerals are  a time when people overlook the bad so they can focus on the good of a person. There is something healthy about that! I want to encourage people more often. I want to speak well of people. I want to build people up. One reason to attend more funerals is to strengthen our focus on recognizing the good in people.
  4. Your faith. With our happy-go-lucky lives we often are focused on something other than the main thing. Most people don’t think about life or death, heaven or hell, forgiveness or condemnation during their weekly routines. Funerals are excellent for bringing a pause to our normal lives. Funerals allow us to sit down for an hour (or less) and think about what really matters. Death has a way of doing that! Death is the best at leveling the playing field. Everything comes into perspective at death. Once we finally focus on deeper things like God and forgiveness for our sins then we will consider our faith. One reason to attend more funerals is to examine and strengthen your faith. Do you believe in Jesus? Are you ready to die? Are your sins forgiven? Funerals will get you pondering that! And it is too costly to never get around to your faith.

No one likes death, and we shouldn’t. Death is the wage of sin. We hate death. But funerals can be a blessing. And attending funerals can be beneficial. The next time you have the opportunity to attend a funeral, don’t look for excuses not to go. Instead, Go and watch your life and soul be impacted. You will be a better man or woman because of it!

The Rise of Fairdale

I am happy to be living in Fairdale. And I am noticing a real rise in our community.

Fairdale, KY 40118 is a small community in the southwest corner of Louisville. Many Louisville citizens may not be familiar with Fairdale, perhaps just hearing about it from a distance.
Fairdale does possess two great well-known attractions: 1) Jefferson Memorial Forest and 2) The King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic Basketball tournament. While for years, these two showcases were the rare highlights of Fairdale, in recent months and years there is increasingly more and more to celebrate in Fairdale.

In any community, the schools and the sports are two of the most important factors. Here is what I see happening in Fairdale.

SCHOOLS

Fairdale High School – Fairdale High School is quickly becoming one of the more prized schools in Jefferson County. This has not always been the case. As recently as 2010, Fairdale was among the bottom in high school test score rankings. But those days are long gone. Since the superb leadership of Principal Brad Weston began in July 2011, Fairdale has continued to improve and impress.
According to the very recent test scores released by the state in the Courier-Journal, Fairdale High School has improved again. So much so, that Principal Weston was interviewed by the news.

Here is the Courier-Journal’s interview with Fairdale Principal Brad Weston concerning their consistently improving test scores.

In 2011 when Principal Weston began, F.H.S. ranked in the bottom 3% in the state of KY. The next year 2012, they had improved to the 13th percentile. By 2013, they had climbed to the 36th percentile. And in these most recent results, they are currently ranked in the top 55% of the state. That is remarkable progress! This marks the first time EVER that Fairdale High School is in the top half of the state!

Also, Fairdale High School was just recently recognized as one of only 9 schools in the state for “Best Practices” with their FLEX program.

Also, Fairdale High School is the only school in the state of Kentucky that is a Cambridge International School.

Also, Fairdale High School was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a 2013 Best High School.

Also, it is worth noting that Fairdale High School is repeatedly the “Cleanest High School in JCPS.”  What an honor to the staff, faculty, students and custodial staff! Anyone who gets to spend any time on the campus or in the building of Fairdale High School will walk away impressed.

For more news and info on the success of Fairdale High School, you can follow Brad Weston on twitter at @PrincipalFHS 

Fairdale Elementary School – Fairdale Elementary School is a part of the International/Cultural Studies and Language Magnet Program. The diversity of the student body is one of the shining highlights of Fairdale Elementary.

When the test scores were released recently,  Fairdale had made great strides academically.

For more news and info on Fairdale Elementary School, you can follow the school on twitter at @FESBBDAWGS

Coral Ridge Elementary School – Coral Ridge Elementary School has been known for years as one of the best elementary schools in JCPS. The amount of commitment from Fairdale community members make Coral Ridge consistent and dependable.

When the test scores were released recently, Coral Ridge was recognized for having exceeded their goal!

For more news and info on Coral Ridge Elementary School, you can follow the school on twitter at @coral_ridge


SPORTS

Fairdale High School has a very rich basketball history. Fairdale is one of only 2 schools ever in the state of Kentucky to win back-to-back state championships. Fairdale won back-to-back titles in 1990-1991. They won it again in 1994. Three state championships in one decade is remarkable! A few years ago cn2 did a TV special on this team. You can check that out here.  Legendary coaches like Stan Hardin and Lloyd Gardner brought a lot of success in athletics to Fairdale.

Also, as mentioned above, Fairdale is home to the King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic basketball tournament. This national long-time-running tournament is one of the more well-known hoops tournaments in the country.

But beyond basketball, Fairdale has seen little success in sports. Until recently.

After losing 15 straight games in football, Fairdale High School has turned it around. Second year Coach Matt Wright, a Fairdale graduate and current teacher at the school, has the football program rolling. They have won 4 games in a row. They are leading the district. And they are still improving.  WDRB news channel was recently out to report on this success in football.

And then the Courier-Journal/USA Today High School Sports released this article on the turn-around in Fairdale football.

Just half-way through the season, the Fairdale community is already buzzing about the momentum and energy surrounding the football team.

Other Fairdale High School sports are excelling as well. To name a few: Fairdale Soccer won the District Championship in 2012 and advanced to the regional final. The soccer program is strong and competitive every season. Last season, Fairdale baseball posted their first winning season in many years. Expectations going into this season are very high! Last year, Fairdale was very proud of Tia Weston as she was the state track champion in the women’s 800m. State champions are very rare!

Fairdale Youth League. Moving beyond the high school and into the community, the Fairdale Youth League has done a complete turnaround. Under the leadership of new League President Neil Johnstone, the Fairdale Youth League is serving and impacting more kids and families now than ever before.

The summer involvement numbers for t-ball, baseball and softball were way up. Then to everyone’s delight, the “Fall Ball” numbers exploded with over 260 kids participating.

When speaking with those who run the league they went on and on with the countless upgrades and improvements the league has made. New fences, improved landscaping, an emphasis on cleanliness, and a positive-friendly environment are just some of the recognizable changes happening.

The Fairdale community is now greatly benefitting from the quality of the Fairdale Youth League. The days of Fairdale families going outside the Fairdale community to find quality schools and sports leagues are gone. I am not only thankful but very excited about the rise of Fairdale!

COMMUNITY

Many local businesses in Fairdale are currently thriving. Dairy Queen, Shack-in-the-Back BBQ and The Floral Grind: Florist & Coffee Shop (just to name a few) contribute a tremendous amount to the community.

In 2011, Fairdale Fire Department Chief, Don Wittry, published a book on the history of Fairdale. This book is dear to Fairdale citizens, and Chief Wittry’s efforts are another example  of renewed devotion to the Fairdale community.

In 2012, the city built Fairdale a brand-new state-of-the-art Public Library. It is a beautiful building, and we are proud to have it here.

Just this week, WDRB aired this report on Fairdale citizen and Louisville Metro Police Officer Tyler Holland. Quality people like him living in Fairdale is encouraging and strengthening to our community.

Our church, FBC Fairdale, recognizes the fresh energy and effort going into the growth of this community. Over the past few years, our church is experiencing tremendous growth from all ages but especially among young people. We are aware that the next generation are the future, and therefore they must be our focus and priority.

As the pastor of our church and a long time citizen of Fairdale, I cannot be more excited about the rise of Fairdale. As I walk through the community and observe, I see the schools working hard  to impact Fairdale. I see the sports programs improving in so many areas. I see the local businesses desiring to “give back” to the community that supports them. And I especially see many adults wanting to make a good, positive, lasting difference in the lives of the young people. This is exciting! These things are exciting. And I am ready to lead our church to focus in on the community. It is our humble desire to love and serve the community of Fairdale well!

When the schools, the sports and the community are all making an effort to improve and contribute, then we have every reason to believe that Fairdale is on the rise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have complete confidence in you?

(This was originally published in our October Church Newsletter.)

It is a special (and sometimes rare) thing to be a happy pastor!

To be the called-by-God spiritual leader of our church is no small thing, and I am very thankful to God that he has placed me in this position. I am happy to be the pastor of FBC Fairdale. I am happy to be your pastor.

As I have been studying 2 Corinthians, I found the Apostle Paul saying :

“I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.” -2 Cor. 7:16

How often do you hear pastors and ministers speaking of their people in this manner. Is this not awesome and encouraging? Paul loved these Corinthians. Let me remind you that these are the same sinful people that he has been working with for quite some time. However, they were a church and they were growing. They were repenting of their sins, and unity, faith, love and strength were increasing.

Let me ask you how you view your relationship toward me and the other leaders in our church. Do you give us reason to rejoice? Is your love and service toward God and people so healthy and beautiful that your pastor rejoices? Do the leaders who are over you have complete confidence in you?

Let me remind you of the warning at the end of Hebrews in verse 13:17 in which we are encouraged to not cause our leaders to groaning because of our relationship toward them and the church.

Church family, I am confident that God is working in us. The fruit from what He is doing is all around us. Let’s build upon that. Let’s get stronger. Let’s live in such a way that we cause each other (even our church leaders) to rejoice. Let’s live so that others can have complete confidence in our faithfulness!

believers and unbelievers – do you see the difference?

This past Sunday I preached a sermon from Exodus 33. You can listen to it here. 

My 2nd point in that sermon is that ‘the Godly are distinct from the rest of the world.’ That is the very point Moses in making when talking to God in Exodus 33:16 about the necessity of God’s presence with God’s people. That is a very real point that is clearly made in the Old Testament.

In the New Testament, this point of distinction is clear as well.

In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul makes a very familiar statement “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.”

Many people have heard this statement before being discussed in the context of marriage. To the Apostle Paul, believers and unbelievers are so drastically different at their core that he doesn’t see how they could be united (or “yoked”) together.

As Moses said – the presence of God in His people makes them distinct from the rest of the world.

To highlight this point, Paul then asks 5 questions in a row in verses 14-16. FIVE! In other words, we should all see the difference between the two. Here are the 5 questions:

  • For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? v.14
  • What fellowship has light with darkness? v.14
  • What accord has Christ with Belial (Evil)? v.15
  • What portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? v.15
  • What agreement has the temple of God with idols? v.16

Those are strong questions. And they are helpful too for helping us distinguish the differences.

Do you see the difference? Once you really look into it there is quite a difference between a believer and an unbeliever.

Lets hear God’s Word and not “yoke” those together!

“We Are Not Ignorant of His Designs”

I was recently caught off guard by Paul’s words to that church in Corinth when he writes in 2 Corinthians 2:11:

“so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.”

Paul and the Corinthians, (and therefore all Christians), are to know that Satan is real and is working. And not only is he at work, but he is witty and strategic at the work he does!

In John 10:10 Jesus tells us that Satan “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” That is it! Satan is bad. He is continually working hard to ruin things. He is a thief. He is a killer. He is a destroyer. He has his sight set on us, and he is using wit and strategy to maximize his efforts. Peter says it like this “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Satan is against God. He does not want people to know God’s love. He doesn’t want people to love God. And he doesn’t want people to love each other. Let that sink in for a moment, you have an opponent! Satan is against you. He is against us. He wants to mess you up. He wants to mess us up. Satan wants to mess our church up.

Satan would love for our church to have some dissension and division. He would love for some of us to take our eyes off Jesus and the cross. He would love for us to forget that all of this is about forgiveness. He would love for you and I to forget the eternal perspective. He would be so happy if you and I would forget that we are forgiven of all our sins and therefore able to forgive others. He would love for us to forget that He loves us with an everlasting love. He would love for us to forget that earth is not our home. He would love for us to get so distracted that we no longer have confidence that Jesus has “overcome the world.” He would love for us to doubt that “greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world.”

Satan wants our homes to be hostile instead of a place of refuge. He wants our marriages to be cold, distant, and weak instead of strong, united, and uplifting! He wants our church family to be hurting and with no healing. He wants us struggling with no community. He has evil and wrong plans to hurt us! Satan does.

But we have Jesus. “He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”  (2 Cor. 5:5) He is able. He is stronger. He is greater. And we know that. We are not ignorant of what Satan is about. So, let’s love each other. Let’s forgive each other. Let’s be a real church strengthened by a real Savior!