1. My Wife-As always Liz has been a huge part of my life. She is a faithful companion. She has walked with me for 30 years. The best is yet to come.
2. Deacons-It was last year that Chairman Steve Harrod brought forth the idea of giving me a sabbatical as a gift for my 15th year as pastor here at Olive. The ten weeks I enjoyed away in the middle of the year 2006 were absolutely incredible. This year’s chairman, Crawford Odom, saw me through the extended vacation.
3. Beth Harris-This is my consistent office assistant. She answers the phone and sees that I am in the right places at the right time. During the ‘06 sabbatical she ran the pastor’s office and did not call me once. She has a birthday on December 30. You can ask her if you want to know how many. I am not touching that!
4. Stan Lewis-Sabbitical ‘06 would never have happened without Stan being the captain in my absence.
5. Search Teams-I worked with two staff search teams in ‘06. They delivered Leo Day and Eric Miracle to the Olive team. Great work!
6. Jesus-He is my Savior and King. He has shown favor to me this year. I am a grateful disciple.
As we prepare to enter 2007 I encourage you to look back over the past 365 days and be grateful. Tell someone thanks for what they have done. Then turn your attention to the year ahead. Get ready for the best 12 months ever. God is doing a new thing among us. I can hardly wait to see where HE takes us.
Pastor Ted Traylor
Often I am asked about Olive and how the church is doing. Some then ask about keys, secrets and such to having a growing church that is healthy. My response always includes two things. First, is the favor of God. A church does nothing significant without the smile of heaven on it. Quickly I add that Olive has always had a strong core of male leadership. If a church is going to touch a community some godly men must step up and join the pastor in leading.
In 1990 I took a call in my Garland, TX office. The voice on the other end of the line was Bob Davis, chairman of the pastor search team for Olive Baptist Church. This was my first contact with a godly leader at Olive. He would soon become a dear friend and partner in ministry. Later we would learn that Liz had been in the wedding of his son Bruce. During college days my wife and Bob’s daughter-in-law were dear friends. It is a small world.
After my arrival at Olive we quickly went to three morning worship services. A committee was formed to look at expansion and the building of a new worship facility. Bob Davis was asked to lead the planning and then be the construction sight manager for the church on the project. He looked after the building of the worship center like a mother caring for a newborn. When we moved into the building Bob prayed the prayer of dedication. It was a ten minute prayer! I later timed it on the video tape. He was full of the joy of Jesus that we had completed the journey. Later he wanted to get a back door entrance to the church property. He pushed for land acquisition that gave us an out to Whitmire Road. I still call the bumpy road that gives us back access and egress “the real Davis Highway!”
Word came to me the night before Christmas Eve that Bob had a heart attack and went home to be with Jesus and his beloved wife, Betty. We will have his funeral later this week. He was my friend, deacon chairman several times, construction overseer, prayer partner and more. Men like Bob Davis are the reason Olive is what it is today. My prayer is, “God give us more men like him.”
Pastor Ted Traylor
Books at Christmas are great gifts. Books about Christmas are not always easy to find. I finished a good one on Thursday. It is Og Mandino’s, The Greatest Salesman In The World. Now I know that does not sound like a Christmas book, but trust me it has a great Christmas twist. I encourage you to pick it up. It is only 104 easy reading pages.
Mandino is a wonderful storyteller. In this book he weaves ten secrets/principles for life into the story. Here they are:
1. I will form good habits and become their slave.
2. I will greet this day with love in my heart.
3. I will persist until I succeed.
4. I am nature’s greatest miracle.
5. I will live this day as if it is my last.
6. Today I will be master of my emotions.
7. I will laugh at the world.
8. Today I will multiply my value a hundredfold.
9. I will act now.
10. I will cry out to God.
I encourage you to purchase the book for yourself. Place it in your stocking. Read it and enjoy.
Pastor Ted Traylor
We are getting ready at our house. This weekend is Christmas and all of the family are coming to Pensacola. That includes my parents, my mother-in-law and Liz’s brother and his wife. Throw in our two children and a nephew and we will have everyone at the dinner table and in church together. This is a first for us. Ours is not a large family but it is all of us.
Christmas should always focus on Jesus. It is His day. However, family is an essential part of this celebration. Just ask Mary and Joseph. So as the big day approaches, make your family a priority. Have fun together. Be sure and pass your family’s oral history on to the next generation. That means take time together to talk and listen.
For many families this is the first Christmas without a loved one who has died this year. Our family will experience this with my mother-in-law. We buried her husband in September. Empty chairs are not easy to deal with at Christmas. Others will have family away in military, school or in some occupation around the world that will not allow them to travel at this time. Perhaps you are that family member who finds yourself this Christmas away from your loved ones. Phone lines and e-mails will make this a little less painful, but it still can be tough.
You have five more days to get ready. Ask the Father how to make Monday, December 25, a great family day. One thing you must include if you are in Pensacola is to join the Olive family and me on Christmas Eve for worship. Our services that day will be at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Our families will be stronger as we worship together.
Pastor Ted Traylor
Monday, December 18, marks 30 years Liz and I have been married. Like other baby boomers we find it hard to believe that life has moved so rapidly to this point. Our older friends tell us we ain’t seen nothing yet!
A mutual friend introduced Liz to me. He was a minister of music who was coming to my first church for a revival. Somehow he talked Liz into riding to church with me for the meeting. Neither one of us thought that was such a good idea but we did it. God’s sovereign hand was at work. A few weeks later we were dating on a regular basis. During Christmas Break 1975 we traveled to Orlando where I preached for the ordination service of the friend who introduced us. There in the church service God spoke to Liz about becoming my wife. The sovereign hand of God was at work.
My mother-in-law has often asked me why I married her daughter. It is a tough question. Love is a complicated matter to express. I understood it better when I heard Tommy Nelson explain that you should marry a person who is running at the same pace you are in the same direction toward Jesus. I found that in Liz. And as Samson said, “She looked good to me!”
Being the pastor’s wife is no easy task. My bride does that with excellence. I would not be where I am today without her. She is a teacher, mother, writer, speaker, singer and more. Her worth is far above rubies. I am one favored man because the sovereign hand of God placed in my life the precious gift of Elizabeth Bennett.
Pastor (and devoted husband) Ted Traylor
In my quiet time this morning following a reading of scripture, I turned to read out of R. A. Torrey’s little book, Your Life in God. One of the chapters spoke of prayer and three things everyone who desires to succeed in the Christian life must especially pray. I list them here for you.
1. WISDOM – “If any of you lack wisdom (and we all do) let him ask of God.” James 1:8
2. STRENGTH – “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:31
3. HOLY SPIRIT – “Your heavenly Father shall give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.” Luke 11:13
As you seek the Lord I want to give you an item to place before the Father. Many people want to be involved in the work of God throughout the world. Some are hungry and eager to know what God wants them to do. Here is an opportunity for you to learn about God’s work in the world and how you can be involved in it. Beginning January 10, 2007, Olive is hosting “Perspectives, A Journey with God.” This course will be taught on Wednesday evenings from 6:00–8:45 p.m. There is a cost of $175 and a 15-week commitment. Some of the leading instructors from across the nation will be here to teach each evening. To learn more be sure and pick up a brochure at the church (http://www.gulfcoastperspectives.org/). Ask the Lord if this is for you.
As we go outside the walls of the church with ministry, we are going to need an army of trained workers prepared to do the work. Here is a marvelous opportunity to sharpen your skills.
Pastor Ted Traylor
The 72nd Heisman Trophy will be awarded this Saturday. Who in the world is Heisman? He is the coach behind the trophy given annually to the top college football player in America. John Heisman was born two weeks before the first American football game was played between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869. He is often called a pioneer coach and the man who acted as the game’s soul and conscience. Heisman was an innovator and left his mark on many of the things we see in football today including the center snap, quarter breaks and the forward pass. While he is best known for his years at Georgia Tech, he also had several coaching stops including five years at Auburn.
After 36 years of coaching John Heisman retired in 1927 with a 190-70-16 record. He retired to New York where he was recruited to be the athletic director of the newly-opened Downtown Athletic Club. Five years later the club came up with the idea of an annual award recognizing the best college football player in the land. They wanted to name the trophy for Heisman, but he would not allow it. He did not like the idea of an award singling out just one player in a team sport. In 1935 the trophy was named the Downtown Athletic Club Award. Nevertheless after Heisman’s death in October 1936, the award that year was given his name.
In 1965 USC player Mike Garrett won the award. Garrett asked, “The award is wonderful, but who is Heisman?” It is easy for us to forget those who have gone before us. The New York Times says football would probably have died from disinterest or been abolished because of its fatal brutality without the influence of John Heisman. There are many wives today who wish John had allowed the game to die!
Influence in every area of life is essential. Some people may not remember who you are years after you are dead and gone. But those around you in your realm of influence will never forget. Andy Andrews spoke to us about the butterfly effect a couple of weeks ago. When a butterfly moves its wings a perpetual motion begins which causes movement of air all around the world. Your actions do the same. You may not have a trophy named after you but you are making an impact. So make sure your influence has positive eternal impact.
Pastor Ted Traylor
On Friday, December 1, our Men’s Ministry led a group of 40 Olive members, both men and women, to serve lunch and minister to the people constructing the I-10 Bridge. It was a fantastic experience! Over 200 workers came through the line to get a great meal of fried catfish, gumbo and all the fixins’. As the workers sat around enjoying the meal, our people interacted with them sharing the Gospel and making some new friends. A group from the Hispanic Mission that meets at our church joined us and made an impact with the Spanish-speaking workers. One crew team leader told me he had never had this happen in over 25 years of bridge construction.
This is the kind of work our church must continue to be about in Pensacola. As we find people with needs, it is our job to reach out in Jesus’ name. Saying thank you to these workers was a good thing. As we met with the workers, the announcement was made that December 19 is the day for the completion of the first span of the bridge. This is the day we have all been waiting for. The second bridge span is to be completed by September 1, 2007.
Here is another word about our Men’s Ministry. The next monthly Men’s Breakfast and Bible Study is planned for this Saturday, December 9. We will begin at 7:30 in Passmore Hall. I will be speaking. I invite men of all ages to join us.
In 30 days I will begin an eight-day evangelistic meeting in Romania. I am asking you to join me in prayer for the meeting. The dates are January 7-14, 2007. Ask the Lord to anoint me with the spirit of the evangelist for these nights. I will be serving with our good friend Dr. Paul Negrut. Begin today praying for the Father to prepare the hearts of the hearers.
Pastor Ted Traylor
The first day of December has arrived and the 2006 hurricane season is officially closed. Predictions of 15 storms proved to be way off the mark. The gulf had a calm year. I know you join me in being thankful. But as we count our blessings, friends in the Midwest are being belted with ice and snow.
Today our Men’s Ministry is feeding lunch to the 230 workers that are working on the I-10 Bridge. You remember it was damaged two years ago when Ivan came roaring into Escambia Bay. We have been down to one lane and traffic is often backed up for miles. These workers have been on the construction project 24/7. Several months ago a church member gave me the idea of serving a meal to the crew as a thank you to the men and women who are working to get the bridge re-opened. I handed the idea the David Rabold and he ran with it. Today we will say thanks as over 40 OBC volunteers become bondservants to the workers who are guests in our area. We are delivering and serving the meal on the constuction site to the workers today at noon and then again for a few more later this afternoon. I hope to have a picture or two to show you next week.
Everyone agrees that hurricanes have changed the area in which we live. Ministry has changed. The storms opened up avenues to touch people with good works and the Gospel. This has been a catalyst to the 20/20 Vision Team and me. Next week we are meeting with Charles Roesel of Leesburg, Florida, about the idea of a ministry village at Olive. We believe this could advance our ministry in the area of meeting needs and sharing the Gospel day by day. Only the Lord knows what this will look like in days to come. You can visit www.christiancarecenter.org to learn more about what our friends in Leesburg are doing. They have a great model for us from which to learn.
As we put hurricane season behind us there are only 24 shopping days left until Christmas. At home our tree is up but there is not one package under it. Liz and I are making a list. This year we have decided to invest in ministry rather than purchase something for each other. We will buy for others and have a great time opening gifts with family. However, the money we normally spend on each other will go to Kingdom causes. As you shop remember to include Jesus in your giving. After all, He controls the storms and it is HIS birthday.
Pastor Ted Traylor