There’s a whole lot more going on in Plant City, Florida than animatronic dinosaurs and the annual Florida Strawberry Festival that draws a half million visitors from all over the globe. There’s a congregation changing the eternal destinies of souls worth more than the entire world, whose goal, according to their website, is “...simply to worship and serve our God in the ways He has revealed through His holy word. We believe that the Bible contains all of God's will for us today. We strive to follow its pages to the best of our abilities. We encourage you to join us in that effort.”
According to some of the online reviews of the church of Christ in Plant City, Florida, visitors and members alike have found this congregation a “... place where the singing gives you a taste of what eternity will be like”… “Great congregation, lots of young people, children as well”…“Great elders and deacons”…“Great preaching from the Word”… “A great place to grow spiritually”…“I have worshiped at PCCoC for 52 years! This place is home for me and my family.”...“Good elders, good deacons, good preacher, good teachers, good people. Five stars isn't enough”.
We and our fellow nomads, the John and LeAnn Elliott family, enjoyed our visit to this congregation on a Sunday night in late December. We met some warm and friendly brethren and were thankful to reconnect again with Wayne and Penny Teal, whom we’d met and shared a meal with in West Virginia during our first year of living nomadically. We had also wanted to reconnect with Doy and Laurie Moyer, who years ago had traveled to the Northwest for Doy to present some outstanding lessons for our congregation on the topic of Bible Authority. In more recent years, I’d come to feel a deep gratitude to Laurie, who on various occasions had courageously and skillfully shined God’s light on a handful of some of the most controversial topics including feminism, transgenderism, and biblical submission, as a guest on my live internet program “Older Women Likewise”.
Jeff Himmel, the talented preacher at Plant City, presented a lesson on the qualities that King David exhibited that made him “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). What a relevant topic in a world needing more humble men who, like David, are more concerned about God’s reputation, rather than their own glory (1 Samuel 17:26). For example, when God rejected David’s idea to build the Temple, rather than going away dejected, he spent his life showing us, through the Psalms, how to articulate and express our emotional attachment to our Lord God Almighty (2 Samuel 6:14; Psalm 122:1).
Far from perfect, King David, like all of us, did things he deeply regretted (2 Samuel 11:1ff) but used that occasion to model for us what true repentance looks and sounds like. (Psalm 51 and Psalm 32).
King David had respect for God’s ordained authority, and would not take Saul’s life, even if it meant he had to run for his life (1 Samuel 24:10). And when this man who wanted him dead finally died himself, rather than celebrating his own safety, David mourned because he saw the big picture and his happiness was not wrapped up in becoming King, but rather in the honor of God (2 Samuel 1:17ff).
During the course of our visit to the Plant City congregation, I learned that a present-day “man after God’s own heart”, our brother Doy, was writing a curriculum on the topic of Foundations that will be used to benefit and ground every future student in the faith who attends where he teaches at Florida College. I was jazzed to hear of this project for two reasons: First, because I, too, was on the verge of beginning to teach a series on Older Women Likewise called 12 Foundations that I had written, and secondly because, while we all have our own preferences, to me, Doy Moyer is one of the clearest thinkers and perhaps the best living writers within the brotherhood at present, so I’m eagerly expecting this material to be a Taj Mahal (of sorts) in its beauty, accuracy and technical perfection; making my own work on the topic, in comparison, more akin to a lean-to plywood fort in my backyard. But, I'm cool with that!
I think what I most appreciate about my brother Doy and those like him, is that he could opt to close his office door and live his quiet, peaceful life, but instead he’s conscientious enough to see the value in being where the people are (online on social networks) and in the process has inadvertently become something like an undefeated spiritual wrestling champion on Facebook, lovingly slamming the opponents of logic to the mat left and right as gently as he can for their own good and the good of anyone who happens to stumble upon these conversations. It’s dirty work, but someone’s gotta do it, and God has gifted Doy the right stuff (humility, intelligence, and selflessness) to stand at the crossroads of this generation to keep as many young people as possible from falling for the lethal cultural lies. Both Doy and his wife Laurie are two of a kind and “more than conquerors'' (Romans 8:37), and I thank God for them both.
For your encouragement, I’ll close this entry by sharing a borrowed sample from Doy’s public Facebook page on the topic of Foundations.
“Do not underestimate the importance of worldview foundations. We generally go through our day without thinking about this, but everyone has a worldview and every worldview has some kind of foundation. That foundation will essentially be rock or sand (sounds familiar). It will hold or it will crumble under pressure. If the foundation is sand, then it fails as a viable worldview and ought to be abandoned for a foundation that is solid. At bottom, this is where the debate between theism and atheism rests. Before one can even consider evidence for or against, we must have some basis for the ability to even consider evidence at all. What gives evidence meaning? How is evidence possible at all?
By foundation, I mean getting back to the very roots of reality. Someone might say, “Science is my foundation,” but that’s not good enough. Science will be built upon presuppositions about reality that cannot be scientifically proven without first assuming them to be true, and getting to the foundation means getting below the surface of those presuppositions. What makes science possible in the first place? What makes consciousness and thinking possible? What makes them valuable? Why assume non-tangibles like truth, value, reason, justice, and honesty (which cannot be proven by science)? Why be moral, and who gets to determine what this means? The questions can go on, but whatever lies at the bottom of it all must be able to explain them. And more.
When we ask about foundations, then, we are asking about the reality that cannot go any further or deeper and which cannot be built on something greater. Ultimately, what is responsible for everything that has come into being? Does that reality involve a Mind or does it involve mindless, accidental, chance processes that themselves have no foundational explanation? Are there other options that do not first assume that we are either products of Mind or products of mindless processes? A worldview must start somewhere, and where it starts must be something that is not dependent on anything greater. That which cannot be greater is ultimate.
The stakes cannot be higher. If we are the products of an ultimate Mind (i.e., God), then we will understand our purpose very differently from those who believe that we are accidental products of mindless processes. Which worldview can adequately account for the most important features of what it means to be human beings? The ability to reason, the fundamental recognition of good and evil, the moral choices we make that we assume to be significant, the desire for justice, and so on, must be accounted for foundationally.
This is one reason I believe in God. Ultimate foundations matter.”
Note: Doy has also written a book for new Christians called: Foundations for Growing Christians: Basics for new Christians and reminders for the rest. It is available on Amazon, along with some other books he has written on Apologetics, Biblical Authority, and more. Here is the online description of Foundations for Growing Christians:
New Christians always face the challenge of trying to process and understand an overwhelming amount of material from the Bible. Trying to put it all together and grow to spiritual maturity takes time and patience, but it can seem daunting at first. More mature Christians face the challenge of keeping themselves grounded in the foundational principles that allowed them to grow in the first place. There is a place for reminders, for going back to the foundations, and making sure that what we are currently building on is secure. Contents include: Introduction 1. Meet the Bible 2. Follow God’s Plan in History 3. Grow in Christ 4. Cherish Salvation by Grace 5. Hope in the Power of Christ’s Resurrection 6. Prepare to Worship God 7. Partake of the Lord’s Supper 8. Know the Church (part 1) 9. Know the Church (part 2) 10. Learn to Love 11. Anticipate the Coming of Jesus 12. Appreciate the Holy Spirit 13. Let your Light Shine (Basic Glossary, Basic Bible Timeline, Synopses of Bible Books).
Plant City church of Christ
315 N. Wilder Road / PO Box 5982
Plant City, FL 33566