Friday, June 19, 2015



Dad was quiet but a powerhouse.  I’ll never forget what he used to say …..“Rome wasn’t built in a day because I wasn’t on the job”.  He didn’t say much; his actions spoke louder than his words and they were always fun-loving, wise and made you stop and listen.  You never knew when he was going to offer a story, dress up or do something to make you laugh.  My sons love to be silly and will tell you they got most of their wisdom from grandpa.                            -Janice Adams
From my dad I learned my work ethic.         -Wayne Bernard
I learned from my dad what it means to work with all your heart at all you do as if for the Lord. He would go to work for 12 hours at the wood mill, get off just in time to hustle to my baseball practice, then coach my team for the next 2 hours. He didn’t do this just once, he did it day after day. All that with a great sense of humor and love for all the kids he coached. He was, and continues to be, one of the hardest working, funniest, and most loving men I know.                    -Pastor Patrick
I’ve learned a lot from my dad like how great John Wayne westerns are and how to hunt and fish, but the lesson that sticks with me the most is the importance of working hard and sacrifice. My dad taught me early on that if you want something it’s not just that you have to earn it but it feels good to earn it. I remember a time when things were rough and my dad took my brother and I berry picking so we could have a new set of clothes and shoes for school. He was always willing to do whatever it took to provide for us and teach us along the way.  Thanks Dad for all your hard work, faithfulness, and love for the Lord I hope to pass the same things on to my kids.                                   -Pastor Brian
My Dad was known by all as a man of his word.  The one word that comes to mind when I think of him is integrity.  I have never heard my father tell a lie or to go back on his word or responsibility. Dad had three passions in life: his family, his Lord Jesus Christ, and his work as a carpenter (not to mention his taste for strawberry milkshakes). He was also one of the wisest of men whom I have ever known.  He was my adviser and mentor far into my adult years.  He gave himself in service to his church when he was physically able and was well known among his neighbors as a man who could be counted on in time of need. He was an example to follow.                     -Pastor Ed
My father’s life was predominately lived for himself not for God.  Behind his wake was left a series of broken relationships and deeply wounded people.  So one might think he taught me nothing, but nothing could be further from the truth.  In his life my Father taught me so much.  My Father in heaven taught me that all have sinned and are in need of God’s grace.  I witnessed the reality of God’s teaching in Matthew 20:1-16 that no matter how late in the day you come to Christ, you will receive an equal reward with those who have been faithful the longest.  I learned that forgiveness takes the supernatural work of Christ, but with Christ we can do all things.  I learned that there is joy in seeing your family come to Christ.  In his last days my dad held my hand up against his cheek.  His body was giving way to death, yet his heart was being softened by God.  A man who had allowed his anger to rule him and throw people through doors was now expressing thanks.  I learned that you can teach old dogs new tricks, you can change and it all happens when a person has a direct encounter with the living Christ.   -Pastor Mark
My dad taught me the value of hard work and never giving up. Quitting is only hard the first time, after that it becomes the easy path of least resistance. Not only did he teach me to work hard in order to provide for my family, he also modeled the importance of working hard to value family.   - Jeff Poush

I learned so many meaningful things from my dad. He taught me how to fish the wilds of Alaska, to take a deep breath, let half out and gently squeeze the trigger on a moose or caribou in order to fill the freezer for the winter.  The best thing he taught me was something he showed me and never said; each morning he would be in his chair reading the Word of God.  Now that I see him loving Jesus and my mom well all these years later, it gives me confidence to know how to finish strong.  Thanks dad for showing me the priorities that matter.     -Pastor Nate
My dad was a very generous man. Willing to give anything he had and his time toward those in need.  -Pastor Leon

Friday, May 8, 2015

I Love you Mom

My mom always loved a party and could turn any normal “happening” into something fun, almost outrageous and always with lots of yummy food.  It is fun to hear my three sons talk about “gramma” with those same special memories sometimes even with a tear in their eyes.  She was a treasure and left her mark on our heart.                    -Janice Adams

From Mom I learned to enjoy and appreciate music and the importance of prayer.         

-Wayne Bernard

I learned from my mom how to love people and build people up through reinforcing the gifts that God has given them.  She has always believed in me and told me that God has made me with specific gifts to accomplish a specific purpose and to allow no man to change who God made me to be.      

-Pastor Patrick

My mom taught me the power of listening.  No matter the time of day or night, she always made herself available to hear about my day, the challenges of high school, or my hopes and dreams.  Her life was never too important to put on hold for a few moments to listen and encourage her children.  Thanks, mom.

Happy Mother’s Day!                    

-Nate Dunn

There are a lot of lessons I’ve learned over the years from my mom:  how to cook, do my laundry, clean the house, but the most profound has been to not let my past define my future, to live today in God’s grace and out of who He says I am.  Who I am is not what I’ve done but what God has done in me and can do through me.  That He who began a good work in me will complete it.  Thanks for pulling over to the side of the road so many years ago when I was thinking of leaving the ministry to remind me who I am.  Love you, Mom.    

-Pastor Brian

I learned that winning isn’t everything, that the people on the team are what counts.  Mom coached my 2nd grade girls softball team. We were a last-minute entry, and got the last of the girls that no one wanted.  Two of them, twins with cerebral palsy, played every game.  We never won a game, but we were never skunked.  We were all very proud of our team that year.                           

-Sherri Sperling

Thank you, Mom, for showing me how to see the best in people by never speaking badly toward another person. When people were rude to you, you would always respond by saying that they were probably having a bad day. Then you would mention a good quality that person had.               

-Pastor Leon

My mom taught me the truth behind the adage, “it is better to give than to receive.”  I have learned the joy of giving to others by watching her consistently and generously give gifts to those she cares about. 

 -Pastor Jeff

Ruth Edwards, who lived to a full 97 years, had lots of time to teach me what is really important in life.  I trusted Christ at nine years of age, but it was Mom who laid the foundation and took us three kids to church and Sunday School.  Above all else, Mom loved the Lord and prayed without ceasing for family members who did not know Jesus. Her devotion to the Bible was a solid example for me.  Mom also loved people and was sacrificial in sharing and doing for others.  If there was not enough pie to go around, she willingly did without.  She also gave me a sense of humor, but never to match hers.  I also inherited from her an appreciation for good, home cooked and delicious family meals.  I am sure it was due to her prayers that I was led by God to the mission field.                           

-Pastor Ed

My mom taught me to use whatever God has given to you for the blessing of others, she taught me to forgive others so they would not wound you twice, and she taught me that you can face anything if God is your strength.
 - Pastor Mark 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Coming Full Circle

How can so many things be so right and so wrong, all at the same time?  I only knew I was out of control, losing it.  Nineteen years old, married over a year, and my marriage and life were in a shambles.  Unstoppable tears fell despite my iron will as emotions overwhelmed the resolve to bear up.  Driving home from work that sunny spring evening, I knew I could no longer move forward while afflicted with the brokenness of my past.
I had never paid much attention to the big church on the corner where I turned, but this day desperation drove me to stop and walk through the cavernous entry.  It didn’t matter … nothing mattered except that it felt like I was dying and needed hope to live.
The Pastor kindly welcomed me, sharing the hope of salvation.  I had attended church as a child and been baptized at 12 but didn’t understand what it meant to make Jesus Lord of my life.  He explained it and suddenly I knew!  I was free, it was real!  It didn’t matter that there were no stars exploding or church bells ringing!  My salvation was real and Jesus gave me life and a purpose for life!
Knowing I would need mentoring Pastor made arrangements for us to meet with another young couple from church.  We had a delightful connection for a few weeks, yet never attended church.   Shortly thereafter we moved out of town.  In a long and round- about way we ended up in a nearby town and were actively involved in church, and grew in our relationship with the Lord.  But it was on a particular spring evening, in a large church on a busy street corner, that my true life began.
Nearly 40 years later, life came full circle.  I was hired as Director of Children’s Ministries at that same church on that same busy street corner in Salem.  What a delightful reunion when I saw the precious couple who had aspired to mentor us those many years ago!  Jerry and Doris VanDeKoppel’s hair has a bit more gray than it did in the spring of 1972, and Pastor Whitwell has gone home to be with the Jesus he introduced me to.  The call of Jesus to make disciples, and the mission and vision of Salem First Baptist has gone unchanged.  God put us here for a reason … as a beacon in a dark world.  Thank you, SFBC, for being a beacon now, and so many years ago, to damaged and dark souls.
Sherri Sperling, Children's Ministries Director
Those who read lead.  That thought was burned into my brain years ago by an effective leader.  It is true the great leaders are learners.  Therefore, go check out the library.  Our team of librarians work weekly to have a quality resource tool so that you can grow.  Check it out this weekend.