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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Church attendance on Easter

It's Easter Again

Easter is upon us once again and many people are getting geared up to attend
church one of the two times they attend every year, Christmas and Easter.
The Easter clothes are on sale at all of the stores and people are buying
their hams for that special Easter family gathering. Statistics tell us that
Easter Sunday is the highest day for church attendance of the whole year.

Being a minister, I have to admit that it bothers me that many folks only
feel the need to attend a worship service once or twice a year. I know that
lots of folks feel they have a good reason for that choice. I have heard
many stories that reflect poorly on churches and therefore upon God. These
stories often relate how people have been hurt or badly treated by people
who claim to be representing God and His church. Yet others just say that
they don't leave feeling very "spiritually uplifted" after attending their
church.

Thankfully not everyone is turned away from God or his church by bad
experiences. But sometimes folks are crippled emotionally or spiritually in
regard to anything relating to church by the things which those who call
themselves Christians sometimes do.

I wish I could apologize to everyone who had been hurt or turned off for not
only my failings, but for the failings for all Christians, but I can't. I'm
not sure that would make much difference to many. But understand each
Christian and each church is still just people with the same failings and
weaknesses as you.

Maybe now would be a good time to take a close look at why (or why not) you
attend the meetings of your church. I firmly believe that the reason we come
together is not to be entertained. Neither should we come together as a
church just out of the force of habit, to set in our "regular seat". We
shouldn't be coming together out of sense of obligation or guilt or a fear
of punishment. The reason we come together Easter Sunday as well as any
other time is to partake of the Lord's Supper, to offer praises and worship
to our God. What too many fail to understand is that we don't come together
for us, we come together for God! The purpose of our coming together is not
so that we can get some special spiritual glow or feeling (though that may
be an effect of being in the presence of God). (Acts 20:7)

So, why do some folks only come to church on Easter and no other time?
Perhaps they have just gotten a little mixed up on why they are supposed to
be there in the first place! The real challenge for us today is to get
beyond the advertising blitz that tries to tell everyone this is one special
day out of the year and realize that every first day of the week (Sunday) is
special!

If you are planning on being in church on Sunday, why not make that a new
time of commitment to be there each week. Not because it is something you
are told to do, but because you get to be in the presence of God and offer
thanks and worship to him!

Russ Lawson

Monday, April 14, 2014

Khan Academy website: www.khanacademy.org

Imagine working on a homework assignment in Algebra, and you can't remember
how to solve a quadratic equation. You've looked at the examples in your
textbook, poured over your notes from class, but you still can't figure it
out. You can't phone your teacher. Your parents don't have a clue. What
do you do?

When she needed some tutoring in math, Nadia called her cousin, Salman Khan,
who has earned three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
and an MBA from Harvard University. In late 2004, Khan began tutoring his
cousin Nadia in mathematics using Yahoo!'s Doodle notepad. When other
relatives and friends sought similar help, he decided it would be more
practical to distribute the tutorials on YouTube. The popularity of these
videos and the testimonials of appreciative students prompted Khan to quit
his job in finance in 2009 as a hedge fund analyst and focus full-time on
the tutorials.

His work - and many tutorials to help you with your homework - may be viewed
at the Khan Academy website: www.khanacademy.org. The website gives this
description of the academy: "Khan Academy is an organization on a mission.
We're a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by
providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere." The project is
funded by donations with significant backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, Google, and other philanthropic donors and foundations.

According to Wikipedia, "The website features thousands of educational
resources, including a personalized learning dashboard, over 100,000
exercise problems, and over 5,000 micro lectures via video tutorials stored
on YouTube teaching mathematics, history, healthcare, medicine, finance,
physics, general chemistry, biology, astronomy, economics, cosmology,
organic chemistry, American civics, art history, macroeconomics,
microeconomics, and computer science. All resources are available for free
to anyone around the world. Khan Academy reaches about 10,000,000 students
per month and has delivered over 300,000,000 lessons."

We ALL need help, and it's not just with math problems. Each of us has deep
needs, the greatest of which is salvation from SIN. "For all have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "And the wages of sin is
death" (Romans 6:23).

But God, because of His great love for us, came to our rescue. He provided
a Book (the Bible) that tells us of His great love and His answer to our
greatest problems. In His Word, we learn that He sent His Son Jesus into
the world to live among us (John 1:14) and then to die on the cross as
payment for our sins
(2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7). We learn that through Jesus, we can be
saved from our sins and look forward to an eternal home with God in heaven
(Acts 4:12; 1 Pet 1:3-5).

God will save those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts
16:30-31), turn from their sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him
before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the
forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). The blood of Jesus will continue to
cleanse those who continue to walk in the light of His word (1 John 1:7).

Sinful man cries, "Help!" God has answered by sending His Son Jesus to our
rescue.

Won't YOU accept His offer of salvation and eternal life on His terms?

By Clint Mitchell and David A. Sargent, Minister

How to be saved

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