Thursday, December 31, 2009

Greetings and Happy New Year from the Bishop family!

Greetings and Happy New Year from the Bishop family!

We did not get a chance to send out Christmas cards or pictures this year so we are sending an update letter for the New Year about our family. Thank you so much, as our friends and family, for all the love and support you have given to us!

2009: A Year of Triumphs and Trials

In January, I (Barry) began the year by traveling to Monclova, Mexico as part of a team of seminary students, in order to share the Good News of Jesus Christ there. Once again, I was amazed at the awesome power of God to change lives for eternity, as many responded to the message and put their faith in Jesus. Our team distributed 15,000 gospel booklets, hundreds of Bibles, and proclaimed the Good News door-to-door, in special church services, through music, and children’s activities. God blessed the trip immensely. Here’s a link to a video from last year.

While I attended classes at seminary, Karen (a stay-at-home mom) held things down at home. In addition, she earned a certificate in Seminary Studies for Student Wives and was awarded it in April. This meant that she had to take seminary level classes at night over three semesters. For the last year of seminary, Karen, the kids, and I would travel every weekend 120 miles south in order for me to pastor at Hay Valley Baptist Church in Gatesville. My wife is truly an amazing woman!

In May, I graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity. After 3 years, 97 credit hours, (not to mention several part-time jobs and ministry positions) I finished! Seminary was one of the hardest things I have ever done but a wonderful time of spiritual growth. There were some low points where I thought we could not make it—the demanding schedule, turning in papers, finances—but God always brought us through.

One example of how God was good to me is that I won the 2009 LifeWay Pastoral Leadership Award in May. It was awarded to one graduating student who is going into pastoral ministry. But more than the award, I was happy to get a $500 gift certificate that went with it which allowed me to buy books for my ministry library.

In June our family took a much needed vacation to San Antonio to see Karen’s parents. Our good friends, the Kurths, joined us and we had a great time together at the Riverwalk and Alamo. Our kids played with their kids and ignored all the cultural things that the adults enjoyed.

By July I had almost forgotten that we had a baby on the way, but John Dalton Bishop came into the world on the 15th. He was a chubby little cherub (9 lbs. 1 oz., 18.5 in. long) that reminded us of what it was like to have a newborn.

Less than two weeks later, we bought a house and moved to Gatesville, Texas, my hometown. Once again, God worked out the details for us to get a newly remodeled house that we could afford. Also, the house is one street over from my mother and she has been an immense help to us with our kids! Best of all, we finally live in the same town as the church that I pastor.

In August, I started a rewarding (yet challenging) job as a high school Spanish teacher. I took this job to supplement my income as a pastor. However, the job has some great advantages such as allowing me to make a difference in young peoples’ lives and helping me identify better with those church members who are in education as well.

Karen joined a group called HOT Moms (Heart of Texas Moms). It is a group of Christian mothers that meets for a Bible devotional and fellowship while the kids play.

Abigail (4 1/2 yr) is in a Ballet/Tap Dance class. She likes it and is quite the comedienne. She pretends to fall down and dances to only the songs she likes. Karen has been homeschooling her with a preschool curriculum from My Father’s World. Abigail loves it and knows all sorts of stuff I never knew at her age, like all the names of the planets and that “Pluto is icy cold.”

Reuben (a.k.a. “Mr. Mess”) is a typical boy. He is 2 1/2 yr old and is into clobbering things with toys and playing with everything that is not a toy. He loves to tackle me and be tickled. I love his roughness too, except when he scores a solid hit against me.

John Dalton is 5 months old now and he is a very happy, chubby baby. He is at a fun age. Lately, he has started swiping at things like glasses and noses.

We always thought that after completing seminary the pace of life would slow down, but it seems to be just as busy as ever! Karen is a wonderful wife who keeps me and the kids going each day. She is a hard worker and a great encourager. On any given day in our household there is drama with the kids and laughter at ourselves.

One day recently Karen said, “I sometimes wonder why I worked so hard in the business school at UT only to be wiping bottoms now.” I told her that Moses probably felt the same way, because although Moses was schooled “in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” he spent 40 years in the desert tending sheep before God called him and used him in mighty ways (see Acts 7). Sounds like a pretty good answer, right? But I, too, have had similar moments.

And so, like Abraham, we walk by faith. “For he was looking forward to the city... whose designer and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:10.) I do not regret basing my life on Jesus Christ, I only regret times when I have been disobedient to Him. Jesus is my King and my Savior. He loves you and can be yours, too. Yet, you will never be reconciled to God until you confess that you have broken His laws and been an enemy to Him. Then put your faith in Jesus alone and trust that his payment on the cross can make you clean and forgiven before God the Father.

The Christian life is not easy, but there will be rewards in eternity. After all, there are only Two Ways to Live.

Happy New Year! I pray that you too might walk in the “newness of life” that is available through faith in Jesus Christ. And please keep our family in your prayers as well, that we will keep to our new year’s resolutions to lead more disciplined and godly lives.


The Bishops (Barry, Karen, Abigail, Reuben, and John Dalton)

Romans 6:4

We [believers in Jesus] were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

John at 2 months old

Welcome John Dalton

The photos from the past 2 months are finally uploaded! check them out by clicking on the link directly above to take you to our web album.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Welcome John Dalton Bishop


Our sweet son, John Dalton Bishop was born today (Wed., July 15th) at 4:46 pm. He weighed 9 lbs. 1 oz. and was 18.5 inches long. God is so good to bless us with our 3rd child!
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pictures from first half of 2009 & Life Update

OK, so seminary was really busy there toward the end, and now I'm in the ninth month of pregnancy, so I'm not going to feel too bad about not posting in so long. But since a picture is a worth a thousand words, here are the photos that tell the story, roughly, of our life for the past 6 months. Enjoy!

Jan to May 2009

BTW, our baby boy is due July 13th. Still deciding on a name. We are currently living in Fort Worth, but will move to Gatesville to be closer to the church that Barry pastors shortly after the baby is born. Barry just signed a contract today with Gatesville High School and will be their new Spanish teacher for the fall (as his second job -- he's a bivocational pastor). I'm proud of Barry and so thankful to God for providing for us in this way and answering our prayers. God is good!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Barry Bishop

Truths as Found in the Story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-8

The account of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-8 is a beloved and well-known story. Some are familiar with it because of the children’s song “Zacchaeus was a wee little man.” There are many colorful details in the story, unfortunately this has caused some to miss the main points of the account, namely, that Jesus came to seek and save the lost and also the repentant response of Zacchaeus to Jesus. A short examination of this passage will show that its truths have significant application for Christians today. First, some minor details will be discussed, followed by the main themes and application.

The setting of the story is this: Jesus is resolutely traveling to Jerusalem and to his passion on the cross. On the way he enters Jericho and crowds flock to him. Zacchaeus, a short, rich, chief tax collector (ρχιτελνης, only used once here), comes to see him. He climbs in a tree to see Jesus, which would have looked awkward for a man of wealth. These details make it easy to focus on Zacchaeus. However, Jesus is the one who looks to Zacchaeus and calls him by name (perhaps knowing his name supernaturally.) In other words, Jesus is the one seeking, for He tells Zacchaeus that He “must” go to his house. As typical of Jesus’ ministry, there are opponents who grumble when they hear that Jesus would eat with a notorious sinner like Zacchaeus. The response of Zacchaeus however, is the correct one. He receives Jesus “joyfully” (a theme in Luke), admits he has cheated others, and vows to give half of his possessions to the poor and four times to those he cheated. [1] This is repentance before the Lord that is evidence of faith. Jesus then declares Zacchaeus to be a son of Abraham. This is of course means a true, spiritual son by faith since Zacchaeus was already a Jew. Jesus then declares his mission, “to seek and save the lost” and shows that salvation is found in only Himself.

Unfortunately, one technical issue has to be discussed. Some like Evans believe that Zacchaeus was already a righteous man. This ignores the grumblings of the crowd. Based on the present tense of the Greek verbs used in v. 8, Evans believes that Zacchaeus was simply declaring what he already customarily did, that is, was giving half his goods to the poor, was paying back four times anything he (accidentally) took from others.[2] This is simply wrong for it ignores the context. Jesus said today salvation had come, not previously. Further, the Greek allows for Zacchaeus to have a change of heart which leads to a (near future) change of action.[3] Jesus also states that Zacchaeus was lost.

Two main themes from this passage are significant for Christians today. First, Jesus is the one who came to seek and to save the lost. If there is hope for a notorious sinner like Zacchaeus there is hope for others like him. Christians should realize that Jesus is able to save even the worst of sinners and that many times he seeks out such notable ones (like Paul). The application is that Christians should not write off a person simply because they have a messy, sinful life. Jesus is powerful to save them and change their lives just as He is able to save the moralistic sinner as well. Christians need to share the good news of Jesus Christ with all people, regardless of their backgrounds knowing that God is powerful to save (cf. Rom. 1:16).

Second, true repentance is necessary for true faith. This biblical understanding of repentance is necessary for Christians. Zacchaeus was a rich man who was about to become poor. He would give away half (!) his possessions and four times back to those he cheated which was probably many since he was rich. Unlike the rich ruler of Luke 18:18f, Zacchaeus was willing to leave money behind to follow Jesus. A biblical understanding of repentance is necessary or else cheap grace, Lordless “salvation”, and false conversions will be perpetuated in America. The Lordship of Jesus starts for a Christian at conversion and continues to death. Wherever Jesus leads, whatever He commands, the Christian must do. There has to be a true change of heart, like Zacchaeus.

One last thought is that Jesus is the hero of the Zacchaeus story. Anyone who would focus on Zacchaeus misses the point of the passage. Zacchaeus was the sinner, Jesus was the seeker. How beautiful of a picture it is that Jesus called him by name and declared him a son of Abraham. This too is the greatest joy of any Christian, to be known by Jesus and to be in the family of God.

[1]Robertson says the condition in the Greek assumes Zacchaeus has cheated others. A.T Robertson, Word Pictures in the NT (Nashville, TN: B & H, 2000), 167.

[2]Craig Evans, Luke: NIBC (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1990), 280.

[3]Bock allows for “present future” use of the verbs. Darrell L. Bock, Luke: IVPNTC (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1994), 307.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Those who visit this blog know that I have a bad habit of letting months pass by (more like seasons) between blog posts. In an effort to change my ways, I am re-posting here some of the things I send out to the members of our church. I hope this short devotional and other material will be helpful to you. I do plan to post more personal stuff when I get time. -Barry

Luke 21:1-4 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Jesus reminds us repeatedly in the Gospels that those who are most important in God’s eyes and God’s kingdom are not always those who are in prominent positions. God sees the heart of each one of us. The spotlight is often on those who speak in front of the church or lead in some way but that does not mean that those who don’t are of less value than them. In fact, they may be more valuable to God. Trust the Lord with all your heart, live for Him, He is the one who sees your hidden deeds. He is the one who loves His faithful servants.

Jonah 2:9b “...Salvation belongs to the Lord!”

The Bible is clear that there is nothing we can do to be saved. We can not work our way to heaven with good deeds. We can not earn God’s favor because we have broken God's laws and rebelled against Him. Instead look to the Lord for salvation. Look to the Savior, Jesus Christ! Put your trust alone in Jesus and have your sins washed away by the bloody work of Jesus on the cross. If you do not turn to Him in this life, you will sink down, like Jonah, but to something worse than a watery grave. However, Jonah was given a second chance at life. There is no second chance after this life.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

[This is a copy of an email I sent out today to the church where I serve. I thought I would post it here as well for others. -Barry]

Today is Good Friday, a day on which Christians remember the tragic yet wonderful event of Jesus dying on the cross.

These days we often wear crosses as jewelry or as logos on clothing. But let us not forget that a very real, heavy piece of wood was laid upon the bloody shoulders of Jesus as he was marched to his death on a hill. He was nailed to that wood and hung up to die an agonizing death. Why? He was receiving the punishment that we as sinners deserve before a holy God. He was the perfect lamb, to be sacrificed in our place. Because of Jesus' sacrifice, love, and obedience to the Father, we can now be forgiven and right with God. Just like Isaac was spared from death when God provided the ram in the bush (Gen. 22), so we can escape death by faith in the Lamb of God who was sacrificed, Jesus Christ. This type of faith demands that you put your trust, your entire life in the hands of Jesus the King. We know that He is the King because he was raised from the dead Easter morning, and ascended to heaven forty days later to be at God's right hand. The Bible says that Jesus the King will come again to take his followers home to heaven (John 14) and to judge the wicked (Rev. 20:11).

Please, take a moment today to read the verses below and say a pray of thanks to Jesus for His love for you.

a sinner saved by God's grace,
Pastor Barry

Isaiah 53:4-12 (ESV)
4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.