Saturday, April 4, 2009

Is Something Smelling FISHY?

God wants you to live every day in ways that please Him.
Deuteronomy 30:20

What’s your favorite food? Do you think Jonah enjoyed eating fish after being in the belly of the fish? What do you think Jonah thought about each time he smelled fish?

• Jonah’s name meant “dove.” He was a prophet to Israel during the time of Jeroboam II (793-753 BC).

• Notice the message God gave Jonah to deliver to the Israelites (2 Kings 14:25). God allowed Jonah the privilege of telling the Israelites they would experience safety and prosperity.

• Notice the message God gave Jonah to deliver to the Ninevites (Jonah 1:2). God wanted the Ninevites to know He would destroy them because of their wickedness.

• The story of Jonah is not only about a man who decided not to obey God; it is about the loving, caring protection of God. Compare your life to that of Jonah’s. What has God called you to do? Are you faithfully fulfilling the calling God placed on your life? In what ways has God gotten your attention and taught you to obey Him? How has God provided for you during your “pity party” or “Woe is me!” attitudes?

Can they look at your life and see someone who does exactly what God tells you to do? Are you living in ways that please God? Remember—Jonah is remembered more for his disobedience than obedience. How do you want to be remembered?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hickory Cove Counselor - Jennifer Gessner

Some of you may have already heard this news, but we are saddened to announce that Jennifer Gessner, 16, went to be with the Lord after a car accident yesterday morning. Jennifer was a long-time camper at Hickory Cove, and served this past summer for several weeks as a counselor. Jennifer's grandparents, Tim & Jo Gessner, and her parents, Nathan and Becky Hill, have also been very involved at Hickory Cove in past years.Funeral arrangements include a visitation Saturday evening from 6pm-8pm and a funeral at 2pm on Sunday. Both of these will take place at Emmaus Baptist Church in Pittsboro, NC. For more information, click here.Please keep Jennifer's family in prayer during this difficult time.

Jennifer was a junior counselor for our 2nd and 3rd grade girls at camp this past summer. Please remmeber her family during this time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Hebrews 12:28 calls us to "be thankful." Are we thankful for what we have or are we trulyl thankful for waht God has provided for us? Putting everything into perspective, are we thankful with our actions?

On Sunday, November 16th, our children and families put their thankfulness into action through an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Party. Prior to this Sunday, all of our children and families collected various items for the boxes: toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, soap, toys, crayons, markers, etc. We gathered together in the Welcome Center at BBC and created a large assembly line to fill the boxes.

Our children stuffed and wrapped over 250 shoeboxes that will bring the love of Jesus and Christmas to children around the world.

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspects of this project was watching the JOY on the faces of our children as they stuffed the boxes. The Bible calls us to be JOYFUL/CHEERFUL GIVERS, but we also need to be JOYFUL/CHEERFUL SERVERS. Our kids were joyful givers in the truest meaning of the words.

Not only should we be thankful this Thanksgiving, but we also need to do something because we are thankful.

The Challenge: What will you do to show others that you are truly THANKFUL?

Thursday, October 30, 2008


HooplA is HERE! October 31st, 6-9 pm at Biltmore Baptist Church!
Hope to See You There!!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic Amazement

WOW! Have you been as amazed as I have at the performance of the US Olympians? If I could swim like Michael Phelps . . . tumble like Shawn Johnson . . . spike a volleyball like the US Beach volleyball players . . . dunk and shoot like Team USA . . . can you imagine?

The next series of blog entries will focus on different aspects of the Olympics and how we can apply these principles to our lives and our walks with Jesus Christ.

The Olympic Motto
• A motto is a phrase which sums up a life philosophy or a code of conduct to follow.

• The Olympic motto is made up of three Latin words: "Citius, Altius, Fortius", which means "Faster, Higher, Stronger".

• These three words encourage the athlete to give his or her best during competition, and to view this effort as a victory in itself.

• The sense of the motto is that being first is not necessarily a priority, but that giving one's best and striving for personal excellence is a worthwhile goal. It can apply equally to athletes and to each one of us.

So what is our motto as Christians? Regardless of how we phrase it, we should strive to do it for Christ “Faster, Higher, Stronger” than anything else we do. Are you giving your best in everything you do? Are you taking the victory for yourself or giving the praise and glory to Christ?

Here are a few figures from this Olympics to challenge you.

Michael Phelps – As of today, he has won 7 Gold medals in this Olympics, tying the record set by Mark Spitz. He has set 6 World Records.

Chris Estrada and Erin Blanchard were named to the 2008 U.S. Olympic trampoline team. For the first time, the U.S. will be represented in both men's and women's trampoline in an Olympic Games.

Long Qingquan, the 17-year-old Chinese weightlifter, achieved two junior world records on his way to winning the gold in the men's weightlifting 56kg category. The event is scored by totaling the weight lifted in the snatch and the weight lifted in the clean & jerk. Long's world records were for the snatch (132 kg) and for total weight (192 kg).

Just something to think about. Putting yourself before others should not be the most important, but you should give your best and strive for excellence. Especially of you are give Christ all of the credit.

Some verses to consider when thinking about your personal motto:

Matthew 22:37-39
37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

Deuteronomy 6:4-6
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Matthew 5:14-16
14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.


Monday, July 28, 2008

In Memory of Claire "Bear" Elise Atkins

Claire Atkins was an 8 year old who lived her life to the fullest. She shared her love of life and Jesus with everyone she came into contact with. She was a dear friend of ours, and her beautiful, smiling face will be missed dearly, but now she is in heaven with Jesus.

The following is the message I shared with the children at her Celebration of Life.

We read in God’s Word that “Jesus called a child unto Himself.” Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. And He loves Claire. I can imagine Jesus holding Claire in His arms and smiling down into her beautiful eyes.

The Velveteen Rabbit is a story of a stuffed rabbit who wants to know what it means to be real. I would like to share a part of the story with you today.

“’What is REAL?’ asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day. ‘Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick out handle?’
‘Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When someone loves you for a long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.’”

Like the Velveteen Rabbit, our Claire is REAL. And her love for life, her family, her friends, and her Lord Jesus makes all of us feel REAL, too. We feel REAL because of the love we have shared with Claire over the past 8 years, and we will feel real as we continue to love her with our memories.

Sometimes being Real hurts, and it is ok to love with tears. Jesus cried at the loss of his friend Lazarus. It is ok to shed tears. Tears are natural. Tears are a sign of love. Tears are a sign of strength and healing. One day the God who sees each tear that falls will wipe every tear away. Our Heavenly Father blesses us with beautiful memories of the times we shared with Claire and her family.

Perhaps the greatest part of being REAL is the fact that we will see Claire again in heaven. We know that she is in heaven with her Heavenly Father. We know that she is singing His praises and clogging her little heart out. I can see her doing her famous cartwheel during her freestyle part of the routine. And it is all for His glory.

Claire is alive and alert in heaven in the presence of God. Heaven is a Real place of perfection, joy, safety, and love.

But we aren’t in heaven yet. We hurt. We have questions, but we also have a promise from Jesus. He prays in John 17:24, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory.” One day Jesus will gather all his followers to himself, and there will be a huge party and reunion. And Claire will be there to welcome us, too. Jesus is the way to heaven: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Those who believe Jesus died for their sins on the cross, and rose again, go to heaven when they leave this place.

Will we know Claire when we get to heaven? Yes. The scripture indicates that people recognize each other. And besides, who wouldn’t recognize Claire’s eternally smiling face bouncing through heaven with clogging shoes and her Gimme 5 shirt?

God has used Claire to plant seeds here on earth. Some seeds were eternal through her faith in Jesus and telling her friends about HIM. Others were physical in that she was able to give life to other children through her body. God uses us all because HE IS REAL.
14Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

Who Will Be the Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?

47Jesus took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48Then he said, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest."

To help us today,
Jesus has taken Claire in His arms, and the kingdom of heaven belongs to her.

Our heavenly Father has truly blessed our lives and made it so much brighter by allowing us to share our lives with Claire.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

God Watered the Fields Today!

Today was our final day to work with the children in the aldeas in Comitancillo. We travelled to the aldea of Chicahajala today to work in a small Pentecostal church that does not currently have a sister church.

When we arrived, the children were already there waiting for us. Very unusual in this culture. We began by tying balloon animals and sombreros(hats) for the children. We ended up with about 100+ children for VBS. And what a beautiful setting. We were on the top of the world overlooking the mountains and valleys, all of God's creations.

We instantly noticed a difference between this church and the church we were at yesterday. Yesterday's church, 90% of the children had never been in church before, and today, 90% of the children regularly attend this church. We instantly noticed a difference. There was such a sweet spirit in the church, and the children were eager to hear God's Word. The entire church, including the adults, and even the Pastor, sand and did the motions to "Making Melodies" in Spanish. I can't wait to teach it to the kids at BBC in Spanish!

AS YOU MAY KNOW, we are in the middle of the rainy season in Guatemala. It rains every day and for hours at a time. However, for the past 5 days, it has not rained while we have been working with the children. Today, it began raining when we finished working with the children outside. God allowed us to have perfect days for working with the children, and when our work was finished, He opened up the skies! It felt so good. What a God thing!

We again handed out prayer bears to the children, and the smiles made all of our hard work worthwhile.

We have learned many lessons from the children about life and happiness. They are content and exceedingly happy to play with beach balls, hacky sacks, balloons, and bubbles. And they are truly happy with what little they have. It is humbling to see where they live and how happy they are. Imagine if our children were that happy.

Please pray for us as we begin our travels back to Guatemala City tomorrow. We will travel to a volcanic lake, Panachachel, tomorrow to spend the night before going on to Guatemala City. We will fly out on Tuesday at 12 noon our time, 2 pm in NC. We will arrive back in the Asheville airport around 9 pm as long as we do not experience any delays.

I cannot wait to share all of the pictures from our mission trip with everyone and tell the many stories.

Thanks for your many prayers. See you soon!
Mr. Bill