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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tthe Church is now God’s temple, God’s "house."

                                   "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go

                                       into the house of the  Lord." (Psalm 122:1)

Aren't you glad when it's time to "go to church?" If you're not, then I believe there could be some serious doubts as to your Christian walk. When David penned those words, God's "house" was the physical tabernacle, then later the Temple. We know from scriptures such as Hebrews 3:6, 2Pet. 2:5 and 1Cor. 3:16-17 that the Church is now God's temple, God's "house." Contrary to popular usage, the "church" is not an edifice or any type of building, but rather the members, the "Body," as we read in Col. 1:18. Simply stated, the "church" is us.

Understanding that, I like it when it's time to gather together with "the Church" and collectively offer worship to God according to the precepts of the Gospel. One other thing we also need to understand is that the "church" is a social organization, so designed by God. Figuratively speaking, there are no "Lone Christians," there must also be "Tontos."

As a social-type of entity, there are other events that we share in besides worship service. Events that are relative to social groups such as fellowship events like "potlucks." I've always believed that these types of events are beneficial to "the Body" both physically and spiritually. Our friend, Bro. Russ Lawson, has written an article that expresses my thoughts on this subject right well and, as he always does, teaches a great lesson. With his permission, here's his lesson.

                                        ALL THE CHURCH WANTS TO DO IS EAT!

You may have seen the humorous story about a school class which were asked to bring something to show the class regarding an important thing in their respective religions. One child brings a Bible, one brings a cross and the last brings a casserole (dish of food). One of those may or may not represent your view of things important to your religion, but should we dismiss the casserole out of hand? The idea of a "potluck," in case you don't know, comes from the idea of everyone bringing whatever they had in the cooking pot to share. Some had much, some had little, some were lucky if they had anything, but they still shared.

THE PRACTICE:

Church potluck fellowships are a tradition going back to the first congregations we read about in the scripture. They were a regular practice in the church, we see examples of this in Jerusalem (Acts 2:46 & Corinth (1Cor. 11). Now understand that "the church" refers to members, so this is something which the members of the church practiced. Yet, many folks in our churches make the decision not to participate in this important aspect of God's Church.

THE PURPOSE:

Understand that it is not just about the food. The eating together is the secondary purpose for these gatherings. I believe that the fellowship is more important than the food, but I think we sometimes get that confused. Do you remember Jesus' comment to his disciples in John 4:31-32. "In the meantime, the disciples pressed him, 'Rabbi, eat. Aren't you going to eat?' He told them, "I have food to eat you know nothing about." (The Message). I think he was speaking about the Spiritual fulfillment he got by sharing a message that brought new life to people who had been living in sin.

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS:

There is a part of fellowship that seems to increase when you share a meal with someone. It is not just going through the formality of eating in the presence of someone else. This time of fellowship is a time when barriers come down and we share more intimately with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Not through any formula, but because it is our nature to do so. You see, "Breaking Bread together breaks down barriers." We loose some of the formality of relationships, we learn that our Christian brothers and sisters are just as human as we and struggle with the same problems and difficulties of life. We share our goals and dreams as we share a meal together and learn to love one another on a different level than when we sit in our auditoriums and worship together.

HOW IT WORKS:

One translation of Acts 2:46-47 says, "and (they) shared their meals with great joy and generosity, all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved." (NLT) I think that part of their success in saving the lost and keeping the saved faithful was simply sharing the Good News over a good meal. How about deciding to part of this part of God's plan whenever you have the opportunity!

*****************

I ask you, aren't those some great thoughts about the importance of using all opportunities to, not only be thankful to God for His bounty towards us, but to share both our food and ourselves with each other for a few moments. To me, there's more to being a Christian than just occupying a portion of a pew on Sundays. The "church" is also called a "family" as we see in Eph. 3:14-15 and I pose to you the thought of, how can we strengthen each other, comfort each other or otherwise help "bear one another's burdens" if we don't take these opportunities to share with each other?

Next Sunday, Lord willing, we'll have another fellowship opportunity in the form of a "potluck." I'm dating myself when I tell you that I remember them being referred to as "covered dish suppers" and "dinner on the grounds" but, as Bro. Lawson so rightly said it, the eating of the food is not the important thing here. It's the fellowship, the sharing of ourselves with each other as we eat.

Closing opinion: it's just great when "family" gets together and enjoys each other's company and partakes of some culinary delights while doing so. We like to prepare "special" dishes for these occasions, but always understand that the fellowship and the sharing of ourselves far outweighs the "specialness" of the dishes.

Ron Covey

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Can we know all there is about Christianity

Question:

If possible would you please answer a question for me? This question stems
from a conversation I had with someone the other day who feels he has heard
it all, has it down, and seldom learns anything new and is totally good with
that. It unnerved me, but I wanted to get a second opinion. I'm wondering,
do you think it's possible to truly be an "expert" in Christianity, or if
it's appropriate to consider oneself to have "arrived" in terms or one's
spiritual life? Is there any place in the Bible that specifically says that
we should always be striving for further growth?

Answer:
On a personal level, having been a minister for 40 years I would say no, it
is impossible to know all you need to know or to have arrived at the peak of
your spiritual life. In over 40 years of study, I'm still finding new things
and coming to deeper understands from God's word.

On a more technical level, three Scriptures immediately come to mind (though
many more could be used). The first scripture is Philippians 3:12-14 where
Paul writes, " Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already
been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ
Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken
hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining
toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which
God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

The Greek translated as "Press on" indicates to pursue or continue on
towards something. So Paul, who I would say is pretty much an expert on
Christianity, was still working on his life to be able to get to heaven.

Second, I also think that God realized that Paul might eventually have a
problem with thinking he knew it all. Notice what he said in 2 Corinthians
12:7-9. Paul writes: "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these
surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a
messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to
take it away from me. but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the
more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

Why did God not take away the illness, "to keep me from becoming conceited
because of the greatness of the revelations."

Third, for Paul, knowing the will of God was an ongoing or life long
pursuit. Notice what he wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:8-10, "For physical
training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding
promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a
trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and
strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of
all men, and especially of those who believe." (Note that he was still
laboring and striving in his spiritual growth).

So, in answer to your question, no, I don't think it is possible to ever be
truly an expert where you need no more learning. I don't think it is
possible to have arrived at a perfect knowledge and understanding of all
there is to be a Christian or to have the perfect spiritual life. Without
growth life ceases, there is only stagnation and eventual death. Perhaps
that is why so many people find churches boring and stop assembling; they
think they already know all then need to know.

Russ Lawson

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to fix wordpress blog http upload error

If you have gotten the "http error" in red letters when trying to upload large files to a wordpress blog, there may be a quick and simple solution for you.  One little plug-in may save you a lot of grief.
 
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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Stacie Crimm

"Stacie Crimm made the ultimate sacrifice -- and she got her dying wish. As
doctors and nurses wearing protective gear looked on last month, the
41-year-old mom got to hold her newborn daughter," stated a recent report
from Fox News.

Three days later, however, Crimm died. But her baby girl, Dottie Mae, is
alive. Dottie Mae is alive because her mother refused the cancer-fighting
treatments that might have saved her own life because she feared they would
risk the life of her unborn child.

Crimm, of Ryan, Okla., died from cancer that was in her head and neck. The
cancer was revealed by a CT scan a few months after she learned that she was
expecting a child. Her brother, Ray Phillips, told NewsOK.com that his
sister "agonized only for a while" before deciding against taking
potentially life-saving chemotherapy in hopes that she would deliver a
healthy baby.

Dottie Mae had to be taken by cesarean section when Crimm collapsed in her
home due to the growing cancer. Crimm later regained consciousness and was
able to hold her newborn baby. Crimm died three days later. *

Essentially, Crimm gave her life so that her baby might live. Her selfless
love reflects the love that God has for you and me...

Even before we were born into the world and even though Jesus knew we would
sin (Romans 3:23), He died for us so that we might have forgiveness of sins
and eternal life (John 3:16).

He DIED for us so that we might LIVE eternally (1 Thessalonians 5:10).

God will grant forgiveness and life to those who: will place their faith and
trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31),
confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into
Christ (Acts 2:38).

Jesus Christ made THE ultimate sacrifice (John 15:13) when He died on the
cross to pay for our sins (Ephesians 1:7). His "dying wish".... (see
Matthew 28:18-20) was that each one of us would accept His offer of
salvation on His terms.

Won't YOU?

David A. Sargent

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Turbaned Tornado

 

The man with the unusual moniker, "The Turbaned Tornado," is a remarkable man.  His real name is Fauja Singh, and on Sunday, October 16th, he became the oldest man to complete a full-distance marathon when he finished the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon!  He was a bit rusty, not having run a marathon since he was 92!  He runs 7 to 10 miles every day, a habit which paid off when he pulled off this unprecedented feat.  Through an interpreter, he said prior to the race, "I just keep going knowing that every step I take I am getting closer to the finish line -- standing around is not going to get me there" (info via Sporting News and UPI.com).

I know a great many golden agers who may not have so cool a nickname, but who have the same philosophy regarding their spiritual lives.  Just because they are advanced in age does not mean that they are content to just stand (or sit) around.  Perry Cotham will be 100 years old on January 5th, if God grants him the time.  I was with him in California just a couple of years ago and witnessed him preach with such passion that he preached two non-Christian, middle-aged women "down the aisle" to be baptized.  Great gospel songwriter, Tillit S. Teddlie, lived to be 102 and led singing before a large group of Christians to commemorate his 100th birthday.  Coming up quickly behind these two greats is our own Johnson Kell, who remains an active force in the Bear Valley congregation even as he launches into his mid-90s.  

The youth movement folks can keep their "diaper dandies."  Nothing inspires me more than the aged soldier of the cross still valiantly battling the forces of evil.  As Moses urged the Israelites, "You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord" (Lev. 19:32).  A gray head, if found in the way of righteousness, is a crown of glory (Prov. 16:31).  Seeing Christians who have seen many decades of life--trials, hurts, temptations, and heartaches--but who have remained faithful to Christ are heroes.  They have successfully run the most strenuous marathon of all, running that long with endurance (Heb. 12:2) and in such a way as to win (1 Cor. 9:24).  Why not "pick out" an elderly Christian whose faith and works shine before you and thank them!  There is truly no greater accomplishment.  --Neal Pollard 
 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Steve Jobs impacted our lives in amazing technological ways

Brooke Donald reports that on Wednesday night, as much of the world was
learning about the death of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, Inc., Katy
Culver was sitting in an emergency room with her son, who had a severely
broken arm. She looked at the technology around her and was struck by the
degree to which Jobs had impacted her life.

A hospital specialist was lifting her son's spirits by helping him play
Angry Birds on an iPad with his good arm. Doctors appeared to be reviewing
X-rays on a MacBook. And Culver used her iPhone to alert friends and family.

"It just hit me in that moment, how much his visionary technologies have
changed my life - the way I communicate with family and friends, the way I
work with my students, the way I relate to my kids," said Culver, a
journalism professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. *

Steve Jobs died on Wednesday at the age of 56 after a long battle with a
rare form of pancreatic cancer. Our deepest sympathy is extended to his
family and friends.

Outpourings of sympathy have been expressed throughout the world paying
respect to the man who touched the daily lives of countless millions through
the Macintosh computer, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Steve Jobs' technical skills
and vision helped develop tools that have inspired careers, opened doors for
communication and entertainment, and changed the way the world operates on
day-to-day basis.

Steve Jobs impacted our lives in amazing technological ways...

But only JESUS can impact our lives now and for eternity.

Our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and from the blessings that
God desires for each of us to have in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). But God loves
us so much that He gave His Only Son to die on the cross as payment for our
sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). Through Jesus, we can experience the "abundant
life" now (John 10:10) and eternal life to come (John 3:16).

God will give eternal life (1 John 5:11) to us when we: place our faith and
trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts
17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized
(immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38; Galatians
3:26-27).

Won't YOU allow Jesus to impact your life for eternity by trusting and
obeying Him?

David A. Sargent

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