Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Indestructible Truth

They burned the truth in the market place and thought their work complete;
But next day, with a smiling face, they met it on the street.

They threw it in a dungeon damp, and thought it was no more;
But lo, it walked with lighted lamp among them as before.

They scorned and ostracized it, and ordered it to depart;
But still it dwelt in all the land and challenged every heart.

-- Flynn (via Glad Tidings of Good Things, Jacksonville Church of Christ)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Nine Steps To Building Relationships

Romans 12 is one of those treasure troves of Bible study. This post focuses on our relationships with "one and another." If we could sum up Romans 12:9-21, it would have to be with the word "love." As a matter of fact, that love among brethren is one of the greatest determining factors when it comes to church growth. Here Paul gives us 9 steps for building relationships with brethren.

1. Be Genuine (vs 9). "Let love be with hypocrisy." When we begin to talk about people in private the way we treat them in public, it will go a long way to building better relationships.

2. Be Careful Of Other's Needs (10). We are to be "affectionate to one another." In other words, we should treat them in a kind and loving way.

3. Be Contagious With Enthusiasm (11). We are to be "fervent in spirit." Ira North use to say "Enthusiasm is as contagious as the measles and as powerful as dynamite."

4. Be Positive, Patient, And Prayerful (12). This is a natural response to verse 11. The only way we can keep rejoicing in hope and being patient in troubles is to continue in prayer.

5. Open Your Heart And Home To Others (13). Hospitable people make life so much more beautiful. Opening one's home is like opening their heart.

6. Never Speak Evil Or Negative Of A Brother (14). "Bless and curse not" does not leave much leeway does it? God has always condemned backbiting and murmuring. This kind of thing can destroy the church.

7. Be Sympathetic To Each Other's Feelings (15). This will help us avoid the problem of indifference toward others.

8. Avoid Pride And Partiality (16). Look around when you are assembled with the church. Is there a member with whom you have a problem associating? Then you may want to work on this area of your life.

9. Let God Handle The Justice (17-21). When we seek revenge, we have to put ourselves in the place of God because we don't have all knowledge in order to truly be just. Another thing about letting God handle the justice is that it forces us to depend completely on Him.

May we always strive to build better relationships in the local church.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Doniphan Homecoming One Week Away

Everyone who reads this blog is invited to the Doniphan Church of Christ Homecoming September 2, 2007. The picture to the right is of the old "Rock" building which was built in 1942.

The following is an overview of what is planned for the day...

Bible Study: 9:30 a.m. (A history of the church in Doniphan and Ripley county. We will have a slide presentation of some old pictures.)

Worship: 10:15 (The speaker will be Bruce Gobbell.)

There will be a potluck dinner following the morning service.

Singing: 1:00 p.m. (Various songleaders will lead singing at this time.)

Afternoon Worship: 1:30 (The Homecoming will conclude with the afternoon worship service. Bruce Gobbell will again be the speaker.)

We hope you will be able to be with us September 2 for a wonderful day!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Knowing Freedom

Some time ago, I heard a reporter interview a German woman who lived through the rise and fall of Nazi Germany. When asked how she had felt when Germany was "freed" from the Nazi's, she said, "I never knew that I wasn't free until I saw the atrocities committed by the Nazi government." I could not help think of how many people are enslaved to sin and, like that woman, they don't even realize it (Rom. 6:16-18).

Do you remember how the Jews reacted when Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32)? The response went like this, "They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?" (John 8:33). Of course, they did not think about the fact that they had been in bondage to the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks in the past, and were subjects of Rome at that very time! Then again, Jesus was not talking about physical but spiritual bondage. He said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin" (John 8:34).

All of this illustrates that it is possible for us to be or become enslaved by sin (Romans 3:23). We must always be on guard (1 Corinthians 10:12). That is why we must regularly examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5). May we never delude ourselves into thinking we have spiritual freedom when we do not. On the other hand, may we ever cherish that truth that will make us free.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" (Matthew 23:37). These words of Jesus betray how much He loved this city. Just think of how significant this ancient city is. It has had several names such as Salem, Jebus, "The City of David," "The Holy City," Ariel, Aelia Capitolina, and El Kuds. The name Jerusalem is a combination of the names Jebus and Salem. However, I would like to look at three reasons this city is significant to us today.

First, it is significant because of the history that surrounds it. It was first mentioned in Genesis 14:18 as Salem, and later conquered by David (2 Samuel 5:6).Nebuchadnezzar attack and conquered the city three times which ultimately resulted in the Babylonian captivity. Cyrus, king of the Medo-Persian empire issued a decree that allowed the Jews to return to and rebuild Jerusalem. Yet, the greatest period of history for Jerusalem was during the time of Jesus. From the time He went to the temple at the age of 12 till the resurrection, Jesus periodically walked it's streets. Nevertheless, it was destroyed by Titus in A.D. 70.

Second, it is significant because the Lord established His Church there. It was prophesied that this would be done (Isaiah 2:2,3; Zechariah 1:16). Before His ascension, Jesus gave instructions to the apostles concerning upcoming events that would take place there (Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8,12). Then on the day of Pentecost, the Church of Christ was established (Acts 2:1-47).

Finally, the greatest reason for the significance of Jerusalem is what it symbolizes for God's people today. Some people still call it a "Holy City," but it is no more holy than any other city. Yet, Christians still sing songs like "On Zion's Glorious Summit," or "We're Marching To Zion." Paul spoke of the "Jerusalem which is above" (Galatians 4:26). The Hebrew writer said, "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22). Also, let us not forget the Revelation in which John saw the heavenly city (Revelation 21).

Friends, the new Jerusalem means a great deal to everyone who wants to go to heaven!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Call of the City

I said, "Let me walk in the field,"
He said, "Nay, walk in the town."
I said, "There are no flowers there."
He said, "No flowers, but a crown."

I said, "But the skies are black;
There is nothing but noise and din."
But He wept as He sent me back,
"There is more," He said. "There is sin."

I said, "But the air is thick,
And fogs are veiling the sun."
He answered, "Yet souls are sick,
And souls in the dark undone."

I said, "I shall miss the light,
And friends will miss me they say."
He answered, "Choose tonight,
If I am to miss you, or they."

I pleaded for time to be given.
He said, "Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem hard in heaven,
To have followed the steps of your guide."

I cast one look on the field,
Then set my face to the town.
He said, "My child do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for a crown?"

Then into His hand went mine,
And into my heart came He.
And I walked in a light divine.
The path I had feared to see.

Author Unknown

This is one of my favorite poems. Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Internet Watch

I have often said that children should have no privacy when it comes to using the Internet. The Internet is an unbelievably dangerous thing for children and teenagers. While there are some good uses for Internet network communities such as Facebook and My Space, they need to be monitored by parents. My Space recently did a check on its members and found 29,000 sexual offenders using it. Young people can innocently give out sensitive information and they can be manipulated by unsavory people out there. Check out this interesting article on by Kevin McCullough. Safe surfing!

The "3 R's" of the Bible School

Most parents recognize the value of a good education. We want our children to have all the advantages in life that a well rounded education can give them. Of course, "well rounded" means we must be just as concerned about their spiritual education. The three R's are Reading, Riting, and Rithmatic, as they say. Well, there are another three R's for the Bible School.

First, is resolution. Do you remember what Hannah promised God if He would give her a "man child." She promised that she would give the child back to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:11). Today we also should give our children back to the Lord by teaching them. Spiritual teaching should begin in the home, but there is great value in taking them to Bible school as well. Yet, so many people allow even the smallest things to come between their children and real spiritual development. The best way to avoid the neglect of our children's spiritual education is to resolve to go.

Second, is responsibility. We know we are to train up our children (Proverbs 22:6), and to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Where does Bible school fit in to this responsibility? During the past few decades, the demands on the Christian home have multiplied. The Bible school is an organized effort on the part of the local church to provide supplemental Christian training. It offers us an opportunity to study in a social setting among peers and in a larger Christian environment. It provides a structured learning experience, whereas the home is suited to more casual learning. It offers a systematic approach to the study of the Bible which the home often misses. It provides a climate of mutual encouragement. Could Christianity continue without the Bible school? Yes! However, the home would have to undergo some radical changes. So it still all comes back to the responsibility to do the best we can for our children.

Finally, is reward. Consider Timothy. Paul spoke of his genuine faith which first dwelt in his grandmother and mother (2 Timothy 1:5). He spoke of how he had known the scriptures from childhood (2 Timothy 3:15). Can you imagine the reward of these two precious ladies? Just knowing what kind of young man Timothy had become was their reward. My wife has written "Goal" in her Bible next to 3 John 4. This verse says, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." This should be every Christian parent's goal. And if it is, it will also become your greatest reward!

Are you taking full advantage of the spiritual opportunities available for your children? Are you showing them a good and positive example? Remember there are wonderful Christians who diligently prepare for the Bible classes they teach. More goes into this than most people know. Make your children's spiritual welfare the goal of your life and let the Bible school help.