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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Roman emperor Augustus


For many people trying to find happiness seems almost impossible. It seems
that happiness is always just beyond their grasp and it is a daily struggle
for some to go on dealing with the many challenges of life. It is so easy to
look around us and believe that others lives are happier than our own. We
look at them and believe, "if I had a husband or wife like 'theirs', I would
be happy". "If I just had 'their job', I would be happy". "If I just lived
it 'their house', I would be happy". And of course the list could go on and

I heard a story about the Roman emperor Augustus. Augustus was a man with a
troubled heart for a variety of reasons. The empire was continually at war.
Constant intrigue stalked the halls of government. Sounds a lot like our
country today doesn't it? Augustus, this troubled emperor, heard about a man
in Rome who was heavily in debt. Yet, despite his financial woes, this man
slept peacefully.

So impressed was Augustus when he heard about this man who was heavily in
debt and yet slept peacefully, that Augustus went to the man and offered to
buy his bed.

Think about that for a moment, was he that much different from you and me?
Augustus thought his life would change and he would sleep better if he could
just change beds. What he didn't understand and many of us miss also, is
that happiness is an inside job. It is a change that takes place inside of
us and is not regulated by the things that happen on the outside.

Jesus tells us how to deal with this in John 14:1-7, where he begins by
saying, ""Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe
also in me . . ."

Thayer defines the word translated as 'troubled' here as, "to be agitated,
to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind. Therefore
Jesus is saying, that, peace in your heart and 'calmness of mind is directly
connected to our belief in God the Father and His Son, Jesus. I think at
times each of us struggle in that area don't we. Faith is no something that
goes along steadily in a straight and even line in our lives. Our lives are
like traveling on a road. It travels down into valleys and up the mountains
of life, at times it is stronger than it is at other times. The thing we
must do is to hold on to faith (our belief in Jesus) no matter where we are
on that road. That's why happiness is an inside job.

One of the best known passages written by the apostle Paul is Philippians
4:11-13 where he says, "Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how
to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or
with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation,
whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can
do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." (NLT) Paul truly
understood that Happiness Is An Inside Job, when you put your faith in
Christ, what about you? You see, it's not about what you don't have in the
world, it's really about what you do have in Christ, life eternal.

Russ Lawson

Friday, May 9, 2014

Bulletin articles for Mother's Day


Mother's Day is here again, but you may have been made aware of that by the
constant bombardment of advertisements for Mother's Day gifts. It seems that
every magazine, newspaper, radio commercial and television advertisement
focuses on what new and wonderful gift you can give your mother which will
let her know how much you care.

In fact, there was a report on the news this week that in the U.S.A. the
average amount of money spent on gifts for mother's day by an adult child is
$140. I guess the marketing is working.

I'm reminded of the story about a son who lived several states away from his
mother, yet wanted to do something special for her. After some consideration
he decided that she was alone and needed some companionship. He went to a
pet store and found a parrot that spoke. Not only did the parrot speak, it
seemed to be able to understand on carry on conversations with people.
However the parrot cost $5000, but after thinking about it, he decided his
mother was worth the money and bought the parrot and had it shipped to her
as a surprise.

A few days later he called his mother and asked her, "Mom, did you get the
bird I had shipped to you?" His mother said, "Yes I did, that was quite a
surprise." The son excitedly asked, 'Well, what did you think?" The mother
said, "Well it was kind of small and a little tough, but it didn't taste too
bad." The son said, "But mom, I paid a lot of money for that bird and he
could even talk, he wasn't to eat." "Well," said the mom, "he kept telling
me that, but who can believe anything a bird says."

You know, the funny thing about all of the excitement over Mother's Day is
that I've yet to meet a mother who says, "I know my children love me because
they spend money on me this one day." From what I have been told, most
mothers would be thrilled with a phone call or a visit, but would really
feel loved if it happened more than on just one day a year.

It is the little and personal things that make a mother know she is loved.
My wife still has handmade, colored with crayon cards, which our children
made for her when they were young. She has a handmade clay pot, that kind of
looks like a small vase and a handmade napkin holder that still grace our
house. That's not to say that she doesn't appreciate the cards, phone calls,
going out to eat and being shown special care on Mother's Day, but honestly
it is the little everyday things that say, "I love you mom."

Ephesian 6:2-3 tell us: "Honor your father and mother," which is the first
commandment with a promise, "so that it may go well with you and that you
may enjoy long life on the earth." How about making that "honor" an everyday
thing, not just once a year.

Russ Lawson

Monday, May 5, 2014

Questions for Christian missionaries



1.         Congregations of the early church were expected to support their own leaders and teachers


___A     by the end of the first century.


___B     within a generation.


___C     from the beginning.



2.         While working in Corinth, Paul was supported by gifts from the churches in


___A     Macedonia.


___B     Asia.


___C     Judea.



3.         God tested people's acceptance of the _____ by whether they were willing to support preachers financially.


___A     word


___B     faith


___C     kingdom



4.         Laborers worked in Jesus' time for a _____ a day.


___A     denarius


___B     talent


___C     measure of wheat



5.         Foreign support sometimes attracts _____ to the ministry.


___A     better‑qualified candidates


___B     mercenaries


___C     misfits




6.         Foreign support may take away ___________ between the national leader and the missionary.


___A     openness in the relationship


___B     tension


___C     excessive requests for aid



7.         _____________ can know best which workers are truly worthy of support.


___A     The missionaries


___B     The national church


___C     The national preachers themselves



8.         Foreign support of national preachers _____________ the time when the national church will be willing to assume support of its own workers.


___A     hastens


___B     delays


___C     does not affect



9.         Supporting national preachers with foreign money improves


___A     the relationship between the nationals and the missionaries.


___B     the statistics reported by the missionaries.


___C     the attitude of the preachers toward the churches they work with.



10.        If missionaries want to stop supporting national preachers with foreign funds, the best way is


___A     to cut off the support all at once.


___B     to reduce the support by degrees.


___C     to wait until the national church says it is ready.



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