Category Archives: Uncategorized

Feeding the Poor

October 11, 2015

Feeding the poor is something that has been on God’s heart since the beginning of Israel. When God delivered the descendents of Abraham from slavery in Egypt, He gave them laws upon which to build their nation. Among those laws were provisions for the poor to collect food from the fields alongside those who owned and worked the fields. (Remember the story of the book of Ruth?) As the nation matured, giving financial help to the poor and disabled was an important part of their life of faith.

Among the first generation of Christian believers, remembering the poor was an important part of living out their trust in Jesus (see Galatians 2:10). In fact, Paul’s final missionary journey among the churches he helped to establish was in part to collect an offering for the believers in Jerusalem who were poor (see Acts 24:17). This journey to bring money to the poor ended up in Paul’s arrest and eventual trip as a prisoner to Rome. Helping those who are poor has been important in God’s economy from the very beginning.

There could be lots of other biblical references that underline this principle, but if we assume its truth, there is still a vexing question. How do we do it?

At first glance, it might seem that we just hand over some of our money (or food or other resources) to those who do not have enough. Is not that what Paul did, took up an offering and then delivered it to the people in Jerusalem who needed it? I am not so sure.

While it might seem to be a nice gesture, just handing someone some extra money is not as helpful as it might look like. Like many things in life, really helping people is not so simple. Even God’s gracious forgiveness is not just handed out, it was purchased by Jesus on the cross. Forgiveness was costly. Its cost helps us to understand its great value. We do not take our forgiveness for granted when we think of the cost.

In fact, if we look a bit deeper, we see that even Paul’s collection for the poor in Jerusalem was not just handed out, it was delivered to the church leaders. Paul put the gifts from Christians all across Asia, Macedonia, and Achaia into the hands of church leaders. They were the ones who knew best how to use it to help the poor.

We can do that too. Our Global Hunger Relief funds will be used by missionaries and other church leaders all around the world to help the poor. While I am not wise enough to go to Southeast Asia or Africa and distribute financial help to relieve hunger, we have missionaries and churches who can. They are on the scene. They know what to do. They see the need first hand. This money goes 100% into the hands of church leaders who are in place to serve. It is our chance to equip them to meet those needs.

Global Hunger Relief is important. Let’s do it!

Denominational Alphabet Soup

September 13, 2015

Every group has its own “inside” lingo. That is to say, all groups talk about things in a kind of linguistic shorthand. We talk of the US (United States) and the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). More locally we refer to the F-M RedHawks (Fargo-Moorhead) and NDSU (North Dakota State University).

Church groups do that too. Our church belongs to the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention), the DBC (Dakota Baptist Convention), and SVBA (South Valley Baptist Association). Within the SBC we have two national boards that lead out in missions and evangelism; NAMB (the North American Mission Board) and IMB (the International Mission Board).

The alphabet soup gets even more complicated when we refer to annual offerings taken to support these important mission boards and outreaches. Sometime in early spring, churches are encouraged to promote and receive the AAEO for NAMB (Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for the North American Mission Board). This offering supports church planting and ministry across North America (including staff, church planters, and ministries in our DBC (Dakota Baptist Convention). Then around Christmas, SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) churches are encouraged to promote the LMCO for IMB (Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for the International Mission Board). Here the money is used to support international missions and missionaries around the world.

If you are quite observant (or familiar with SBC traditions) you will note that there is one other annual offering. This is a special offering for the ministry of each local state convention (in our case, the DBC – Dakota Baptist Convention). Usually received in September, this offering funds ministries that are more local. This offering for the DBC is the Baker State Mission Offering (BSMO).   (See today’s bulletin insert for more details about the Baker State Missions Offering and how it is used across the Dakotas.)

It has been the tradition of SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) churches to promote prayer for these ministries as well as the offerings. This is also true for our DBC (Dakota Baptist Convention) BSMO (Baker State Missions Offering). So, along with an opportunity to give to the BSMO, you are encouraged to pick up a prayer guide (at the bulletin table). The prayer guide will make DBC ministry more personal. (The date for the Week of Prayer for the BSMO was Sept. 6-13, but it can be used anytime.)

Pick up a copy of the prayer guide, pray for DBC (Dakota Baptist Convention) ministries and ask the Lord what He wants you to give to the BSMO (Baker State Missions Offering). And, along the way, we will try to keep the “alphabet soup” of insider talk to a minimum and God’s Kingdom talk to the maximum.

Fathers Day Tips

June 21, 2015

I do not know Dr. Randall Flanery but I like his tips on being a dad. If Flanery is not a believer, he certainly has captured a lot of biblical wisdom. What do you think? (These tips were taken from

Being a dad is no easy task. It’s one that requires men to be made of steel and velvet so they can be both strong and nurturing. Psychologist Randall Flanery, who is an associate professor of community and family medicine at Saint Louis University and the father of 10 children, has devised a top 10 list on how to be a great dad.

Dr. Flanery says, tongue-in-cheek, that his tips worked great on seven of his kids. In other words, when it comes to parenting, no one is perfect and there are no guarantees.

Top 10 Tips on How to Be the Best Dad

  1. Run a benevolent dictatorship.
    “Some parents find it hard to assert their authority. They try to appeal to reason when sometimes what the situation calls for is ‘No,'” Flanery says.
  2. Be friendly, but not a friend.
    Parenting requires a higher standard of behavior than being a friend. Dads need to be concerned about what is good for their children, not just what they want.
  3. Admit when you’re wrong.
    It sends out the right signal that Dad is big enough to acknowledge his mistakes and move along.
  4. Remain firmly flexible.
    Your children are growing and changing all the time. While your family values should remain consistent, a 5-year old needs different limits than a 10-year old.
  5. Stick around, even when they don’t want you to.
    One of the jobs of adolescents is to pull away as they struggle to become more adult. One of the challenges of being a parent is to love them in spite of it.
  6. Ask questions.
    “But don’t expect to always get answers,” Flanery says. “Just asking the question is enough to start children thinking.”
  7. Don’t take it personally if they express unhappiness.
    Children are likely to complain if they don’t get their way. Shrug it off.
  8. Know that parenting is 24/7, and then some.
    “Being a parent is unrelenting. There’s no time off; you don’t get to check out.”
  9. Keep in mind that who you are is more important than what you buy them.
    “Who you are seeps into their pores and goes away with them long after they’ve forgotten whether or not you’ve taken them to McDonalds,” Flanery explains.
  10. Laugh.
    When they’re little, they’ll break your back. When they’re bigger, they sometimes break your heart. So learn to take the bitter with the better, and laugh.

Congrats To Our Grads

May 17, 2015

Just yesterday Ewumbua Monono and Romi Gomez were awarded their PhDs at NDSU. Ewumbua’s degree is in agriculture and Romi’s is in statistics. What a great milestone for these brothers. They have worked hard and made lots of sacrifices. Their efforts are made even more outstanding since they accomplished this as international students. Ewumbua’s homeland is Cameroon (in Central Africa) and Romi’s home is in Benin (in West Africa). I hope you will congratulate these brothers on their graduation and learn a little about what is next for them and their families.

Just two weeks ago, Kayla Brottlund graduated from the University of Mary in Bismarck with her Masters degree in occupational therapy. Right after her graduation, Cory, Kayla and Ava moved back to Fargo – back home. Next for Kayla will be 6 months of fieldwork in her profession, followed by a certifying exam. Then she becomes a fully qualified occupational therapist. Congrats to Kayla for this accomplishment and recognition of her hard work. Next time you see Kayla, give her your congratulations.

We have one other graduate in our church family, Nick Nguyen. In just a couple of weeks (May 31), Nick will graduate from Moorhead High. To celebrate his graduation, the Nguyen’s will have an open house for Nick on Saturday, May 23. I hope you can take the time to congratulate Nick and ask him about his plans for next year. (I’ll give you a hint…he will continue to play soccer at the college level.)

Next Sunday, May 24 between Bible study and worship, we will have a special time to recognize our graduates and enjoy a cake in their honor. It is not an elaborate event, but it is one way to honor their achievement. Please plan to join us and be sure to extend your congratulations to each one.

Through the years I have often thought that Jeremiah 29:11-14 has some great words for graduates.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the LORD. “

When we come to crossroads in our lives, we want assurance that the Lord is with us and involved in our lives. These verses remind us that all we need to do is call out to Him, and He promises that we will find Him. It is a great promise to graduates, but not just to graduates. It is a great promise to all of us. Have you sought the Lord with all your heart? Today would be a good day to renew your commitment to that quest, or to begin.

Baseball Chapel Begins

May 10, 2015

Once again, Baseball season is approaching. This will be my 12th season as the Baseball Chapel Leader for the FM RedHawks. In my 11 years with Baseball Chapel I have met some wonderful people and have been blessed that you, my church family support me so wholeheartedly. THANKS for allowing and encouraging me to invest in this unique ministry. You have made adjustments to accommodate my Baseball Chapel responsibilities and have prayed for me and the folks I share with during the summer.

One of the primary ministry responsibilities for Baseball Chapel is to provide a chapel service on Sunday at the baseball stadium. Here in Fargo, most Sunday games begin at 1:00 so I get to Newman Outdoor Field a few minutes before noon. I have a 10-15 minute devotion time with each baseball team sharing with the players who chose to attend and give out the weekly Baseball Chapel Handout. Then I stop and talk with the umpires for a few minutes and as time allows I visit with others who work at the stadium. It is a very busy hour for me at Newman Field before each Sunday game.

Much less hectic and therefore more enjoyable is the Wednesday Bible study time. Just after the team finishes batting practice, I set up in one of the upstairs suites for 30 minutes of conversation and Bible study with any of the players who want to come. This is a relaxed time where we can talk about any subject of interest to the players and where we can focus on God’s Word and its application to life. In many ways, it is like our adult Sunday School class each week, an opportunity to share life, pray together and give the Bible priority attention.

There is one other aspect to Baseball Chapel ministry for me. Namely, I support and encourage 7 other Chapel leaders of teams in our American Association. I keep in touch with these guys, read their reports, pray for them and answer their questions through the season. I share this ministry with the Chapel leader in Grand Prairie Texas, Arnie Knecht. Arnie is not a pastor, but he is a GREAT Baseball Chapel leader. His walk with the Lord is a wonderful encouragement to me and to the other Chapel leaders in our American Association.   I have met some great leaders in Baseball Chapel and Arnie is one of those great leaders. I hope I am half the blessing to Arnie that he is to me.

The theme verse for Baseball Chapel ministry is Colossians 1:28. “We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching with all wisdom so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” Pray with me that by God’s grace we in Baseball Chapel will fulfill this high calling.

Rededication in the New Year

January 4, 2015

One of my partners in Baseball Chapel (Arnie Knecht) wrote the following devotional for distribution across the Baseball Chapel network. It is a great challenge for the new year:

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD” (Lamentations 3:40)

Jonathan Edwards, the renowned 18th century preacher and theologian, is known to have recorded 70 resolutions by which he purposed to live his life. As you contemplate ways in which God would have you grow in this new year, perhaps you will find it instructive to reflect upon Edwards’ resolutions.

The list is remarkably thoughtful, highly reverent, and thoroughly comprehensive. All 70 resolutions cannot be presented here. However, Edwards’ work has been consolidated into a more easily digestible form below reflecting the recurring themes and principles in five summary resolutions. These are worthy pursuits for any follower of Christ for the coming year:

  • Resolved, to live a life that is in all ways Scripture-honoring, God-exalting, man-serving, and eternally-focused.
  • Resolved, to be generous of spirit, gracious in speech and conduct toward others, and to exude a kind, peaceable, quiet, and contented demeanor.
  • Resolved, to live humbly, in full understanding of my own sinfulness, weaknesses, and shortcomings.
  • Resolved, to endeavor to be the ultimate example of Christlikeness in prayerfulness, temperance and self-control, always in pursuit of greater wisdom and more thorough personal transformation.
  • Resolved, to take time at the end of each day to review and evaluate my interpersonal transactions, conduct, thoughts, and how God is working in my life, especially through hardship and trials.

Question: Are you prepared to take an honest inventory of the areas of your life in which God would want to grow you?

Challenge: Let us each show the same diligence as Edwards as we willingly submit ourselves to the sanctifying work of our holy God.

Prayer: Lord, may this coming year be one in which Your transforming power is visibly manifest in my life, to Your glory.

— Arnie Knecht – Grand Prairie Air Hogs

It makes me ask, “how much effort am I willing to put into following Jesus in 2015?”

Your pastor,

Dude Garrett

Praise Report and Easter Events

April 13, 2014

What a great group came to help at our Gas Buy Down outreach yesterday.  Everyone had a great attitude.  It was fun to work together and be a part of the bigger group.  We had lots of help, good planning, excellent flexibility and a fun time giving away discounted gas in our neighborhood.

Let’s continue to pray for those we contacted in this project.  Pray that God will draw them to Himself and lead them to trust Jesus with their lives.  Pray also that we will be attentive to opportunities we have this week to share about the meaning of Easter.

We also hope that yesterday’s outreach will draw people to the Red River Zoo for another chance to touch lives and share about Jesus.  Although I am not real big on Easter egg hunts, it is a fun activity for families and the Zoo is a perfect place to enjoy a couple of hours on Saturday.  This time, all of our churches will work together at the same place to host the events and interact with those who come.  Conversations yesterday were usually short as people drove in and out of the gas station.  Next Saturday at the Zoo, opportunities to share with people will be less hurried and more comfortable.  Come and help us do this outreach.

In case you missed the previous announcements, here’s a list of Easter Events at our church building and at the Zoo.  Please be involved.  You will be blessed.

Your Pastor,

Dude Garrett (Want to talk?  Give me a call on my cell phone (701)261-0931.)

Sunday, April 13 – Palm Sunday

6:30 PM – Celebration Service with our SVBA churches. We will share about the Gas Buy Down outreach and make final preparations for Saturday’s Easter Egg Hunt at the Zoo.

Thursday, April 17

7:00 PM – Lord’s Supper Family Service in our Fellowship Hall

8:00 PM – Worship Team Practice for Easter

Saturday, April 19

1:30 PM – Setup at the Zoo.

3:00- 5:00 – Easter Eggs at the Zoo.  We are paying for all those who would like to come to the Zoo for these family oriented Easter activities.  There will be family pictures, egg hunts, zoo visits, puppet show and meeting folks from the community.  YOU can help!

Sunday, April 20 – Easter Sunday

9:30 AM – Easter Sunday Breakfast – Kids will have some special activities.

10-:45 – Easter Sunday Worship

Death in Our Family

Death in our Family
June 16, 2013

As you probably know, this week the Garrett’s newest family member (Dan and Kelly’s unborn son) died.  His death was very sudden and unexpected.  We knew there were complications to Kelly’s pregnancy and we knew those complications could be life threatening to their unborn baby.  But they were under the best of medical care, going to the clinic at least two times a week so we did not expect such a sudden and drastic thing to happen.

It was Monday when Kelly went into her scheduled ckeckup and the ultrasound verified Kelly’s fears that there was no heartbeat.  Monday afternoon Kelly went to the hospital to have labor induced and at 2:00 the next afternoon, James William was still born at the hospital.  His parents, his grandparents and his sister and brother cradled his lifeless body, offering the love that was stored up and ready to be given at his anticipated birth in just about a month.  That love, so precious and so life giving was not canceled out by the grief and loss of his tragic death.  Love and sorrow mingled as we stared death in the face and declared, “Death, you do not win! By faith we believe the promises of God and while we take your blows to our hearts, we also hold onto the hope of the promise of life that swallows up death in victory.”

On Friday, our family gathered at Dan and Kelly’s church for a funeral for James William Garrett.  There were others there who loved and respected Dan and Kelly.  Those who gathered shared the parent’s grief, sang songs of faith, listened to the words of scripture and said “we love you” in both words and actions.  It was a time of healing and support.

Monday (tomorrow) James’ tiny body will be laid to rest beside his maternal grandfather in Holy Cross Cemetery just a few blocks from our church building (1502 32nd Ave. N. in Fargo).  Dan and Kelly have gracious agreed that if some from our church family would like to come to the short graveside service they are welcome (the service is planned for 11:00 tomorrow morning at the cemetery).   Peggy, James’ other grandmother is a part of a Bible study and that group of ladies is providing a lunch for the family at our church building after the graveside service, but they are not planning for a very large group, so if you would like to attend this service tomorrow morning and come to our church building afterword for lunch, please let me know so plans can be arranged accordingly.

Through this sad week I have often thought of Job’s words, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (1:21) He has been a partner with me in our grief.  I find His sovereign Hand to be comfort.  Maybe I know a little of what Job meant.

Your Pastor,

Dude Garrett

Want to talk to Pastor Dude?  Give him a call on his cell phone (701)261-0931.