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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christian children

What's Not in Ephesians 6:4

The text says: “And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."

The state or government is not in Ephesians 6:4. Educational institutions cannot be counted on, especially for moral teaching. In fact, you had better be watchful because some schools may even promote the exact opposite of your values. Your child might be encouraged to reject God as the Creator, reject the counsel of Scripture and explore their sexuality, even to the extent of homosexual conduct. Keeping a pulse on your child's education is more important now than ever.

The local church is not in Ephesians 6:4. As important as local churches can be in assisting parents in this great responsibility, God never instructed a group of Christians to raise my children to know the Lord. He instead charges every father with that responsibility.

An institutional mindset about the church and her Bible classes is very easily developed. We may squawk, and rightfully so, at liberal churches usurping the parental role of providing entertainment for our children. On the other hand, if we depend completely on the local church to instruct our children in the Lord's way, have we not abdicated the responsibility God gave us to "the institution?"

How many examples could be cited of children who sat in Bible classes Sunday after Sunday and Wednesday after Wednesday who no longer serve the Lord? And of those examples, what percentage do you suppose received very little teaching in the home? How many of them heard very little positive being said about the brethren or about serving them? How many prayers were prayed besides mealtimes, if even then? (Whatever happened to families eating dinner together around a table instead of in front of a television?)

Bible classes should merely supplement the greater, daily, life-consistent, short-term work of parents in the home. Yes, it is short-term work. Eighteen years fly by seemingly in a moment. That means training children is an urgent work. The greatest spiritual influence is not the quality of their Bible classes or the talents of those who teach them, but the example and behavior of parents. The local church is no substitute for " shall teach them (God's word, His desires) diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up" (Deuteronomy 6:7).

Mom is not in Ephesians 6:4. Certainly, Mom can be an invaluable asset in rearing children to know the Lord. Timothy's mother and grandmother serve as a great example (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14-17). If the father does not fulfill his God-given responsibility, then a mother who cares about the souls of her children must shoulder the responsibility. But our passage calls for leadership from the husband! He may employ the assistance of his helper, his godly wife, but the responsibility is ultimately his nonetheless.

Does a perception exist that Bible study is not manly? Do some think "That's woman's work?" The example of Jesus, the ultimate Man, dispels such a notion. Fathers, step up to the plate! Read the Bible with your kids. Present its treasures to them as just that ... a treasure-trove full of wisdom. Speak specifically of application. Warn them of potential dangers. Explain your trust in and love for God. Pray with them. Teach them to pray. Display contentment. Do not murmur. Rejoice. Paint a clear portrait of real manhood and womanhood (a biblical definition). Show them an honoring, self-sacrificing relationship between husband and wife.

Let them know that what you want for them more than anything (and I do mean anything) is for them to become Christians and to go to heaven when they die. Once they have obeyed the gospel of the Lord Jesus, further admonish them to live obediently, genuinely as Christians and to be an upstanding example for others to imitate.

What is the focus of your home? Dare you ask your children for the answer to that question? You might want to think about doing so for the sake of their souls' salvation and your own. These most precious souls need instruction in the good and right way before it is too late (cf. 1 Samuel 12:23).

- by Tony Mauck


What the church is not

Church or Social Club?

The church is not a social club. The church was purchased with the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). The Son of God did not die for a social organization, but for a "spiritual house" (1 Pet. 2:5). We are not a glorified social center in competition with country clubs and the YMCA. We are the church. We worship God “in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24), not in food, fun, and frolic.

Let the YMCA be the YMCA. Let the Country Club be the Country Club. Let the boy scouts and girl scouts be the boy scouts and girl scouts. And please, let the church be the church!

by David McPherson


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Jesus is the Firstborn

In Colossians 1:15, Jesus is called “the firstborn of all creation.” Does that mean, as some suggest, that Jesus was the first thing God created? Not at all. 

The firstborn concept is rooted in ancient cultures in which the oldest son had a special place. It was a position of honor and privilege. The oldest son typically became the next family head.  He inherited his father’s position, such as becoming king in his father’s place (e.g., 2 Chronicles 21:3). Among the Hebrews, he received a double portion of material inheritance. 

One who was not literally the first one born might nevertheless be put in that honored position. God did that for Israel. They were His firstborn son (Exodus 4:22) though they were by no means the oldest of nations. God did that for David as well (Psalm 89:27). David was the youngest of eight siblings and the second king of Israel, yet God honored him above all, especially by the place he was given in the Messianic lineage and covenant.

Jesus was no created being. He was I AM (John 8:58). He was God (John 1:1). In our text, Paul goes on to explain what the firstborn of creation means: “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Jesus has the place of honor with reference to creation, not because He was the first thing created, but because He is the creator!

- by Frank Himmel


Thursday, November 19, 2015

How to survive a mass shooting

(Paris Mourns)

The events of last week in Paris are still fresh in all of our minds. The questions I have heard several times are, "Can it happen here," or "what would you do in that situation"? Interestingly I just happen to listen to a commentary by Mike Adams whose title was: "How to survive a mass shooting." Now understand that the risk of a mass shooting event in your life is very rare. You may have a better chance of getting hit by lighting. You may not want to hear it or think about it, but there is a chance… Notice a few of the points from the commentary.

Mike suggested that you can:
1. Call 911, realizing that the police will be 10 to 20 minutes away.
2. Flee, run for your life.
3. Hide, try to get somewhere they can't see you.
4. Play Dead, not effective, in at least one of the mass shootings the shooters shot those who were playing dead anyway.
5. Attack physically, get inside the range of the rifle and it cannot be used against you. Scratch, bite, kick, hit, and poke eyes, whatever you can. Of course to do this you must be willing to sacrifice yourself to save the lives of others, maybe your family. But in doing so, you may inspire others to help you overcome the attackers.
6. And lastly you can shoot back. In other words, be prepared beforehand for when bad things might happen. Arm yourself properly.

Now you may wonder, "Why in the world is Russ talking about this?" Well, first I guess, because I am concerned about all of you. I wouldn't want any of you to lose your lives in such a way. But second, because it parallels our fight against the army of Satan.

1 Peter 5:8 tells us that Satan is as a Roaring lion, looking for opportunities to devour each of us.

We get that, we understand that concept I think.

Yet, if you think you can stand up to a roaring, charging lion, you are a better person than I.

Most of us might think, "Well I was Chuck Norris might be able to do it," but we're not; are we? Well, what about being a 12 or 13 year old boy, could you do it then? Most of us would think that idea is pretty stupid, yet that is exactly what David said he did (1 Samuel 17:34-36).

What does this have to do with surviving a mass shooting?

Simply, Satan is trying to kill us physically and Spiritually. We can understand the idea of Spiritual Warfare, but now it has progressed to both Physical Warfare also. The recent shooting at the collage out west, the shooter asked people if they were Christians before killing the ones that said yes.

Whose idea do you think that was? Satan has been working hard at it even before the beginning of the church, 2000 years, starting with Jesus the Messiah. And when the leaders of ISIS and other extremist saying they are coming to kill us, they are not going to target other Muslims, they are going to target Christians.

The best thing we can do is to organize and put on the Spiritual Armour of God and attack Satan. You may have some hesitation on agreeing with this, but notice what Jesus had to say in Matthew 16:13-18.

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

That passage indicates that we need to be the aggressors, not in a physical war against Muslims as such, but against Satan and his armies. Against everything that is trying to destroy our Christian lives and Nation.

Our fight today is against ungodliness, the addictions, the moral decay, and the breakdown of godly family units, the distinction between the sexes, transgender, pornography and homosexuality. All of the things which our nation has been tricked by Satan into accepting as being OK, while God says it is not.

How does this follow Mike Adam's list of survival techniques?

1. Do we call someone else to deal with the problem?

2. Do we run away from it?

3. Do we hide our belief so it can't be seen by others?

4. Do we play dead and pretend we are not Christians?

5. Or do we join the fight and attach Satan and his army?

We might say, "But it's going to cost us something in our lives! Isn't that what Christ, Peter, Paul and all of the other apostles were willing to pay!

Satan is attacking our nation, our society, our churches and our families daily. Just turn on your television and you will see and hear him trying to take over people's lives… and succeeding.

What other decision can we make than to join the Lord's Army?

If we don't, what is our excuse? Will you die spiritually or allow your friends and family to die, because you are not willing to sacrifice something of yourself?

James writes in James 4:17, "Therefore to him who knows to do good, and does not do it, to him it is sin."

Do you know how to do good and fight Satan?

Are you doing it?

--Russ Lawson

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Free Thanksgiving sermon

"Gratitude"                                                           1 Samuel 31:7-13

Aim:  to emphasize the importance of gratitude.

Thesis:  God wants us to be a grateful people!



1.  Last Sunday we considered the sin of "grumbling" and what a negative habit it can be.  Since that time I've continued to think about that passage, and how hard it is to turn that around.  Maybe one of the reasons it comes so easily is that we all know instinctively how to be negative, but we don't have as many opportunities to practice being positive.  For example, I've known of stores and institutions that had a "Complaint Department":  but have you ever known of any place that had a "Compliment Department"?    And last Sunday we saw that the opposite of grumbling is gratitude.  This morning I want to offer a practical means of exercising gratitude.



2.  TURN TO 1 SAMUEL 31  On Wednesday nights we have been studying the period of the Judges:   during our Winter Quarter we will continue the story by reviewing the books of 1 & 2 Samuel.  The theme of Judges has been "In those days there was no king; every man did what was right in his own eyes."  Well  in 1 Samuel they finally get their long-sought king, when the prophet Samuel anoints Saul, a young man from the tribe of Benjamin. 


a.  Saul's story began with such promise!  But in our text this morning it ended with            tragedy.    Somewhere along the way Saul lost his dependence on God, engaged in        disobedience to His will, eventually lost his mental stability because of an insane jealousy   of the young warrior David, and in a final battle with the Philistines lost his life in a            horrible defeat.


b.  We have already learned in our Wednesday night class that the Philistines were both        wicked AND cruel. It was not enough for them to defeat their enemies, they invariably           wanted to humiliate them, even in death.   READ Verses 8-10  Thus ends the reign of the first king of Israel:  Deranged, deserted, defeated, dead, decapitated, displayed,       disgraced.


3.  But there is one note of grace is this sad spectacle that we often overlook:  the response of the men of Jabesh-GileadREAD verses 11-13.


a.  The body of the man who had once been God's anointed, had once ruled all the tribes          of Israel, was now subjected to the ultimate indignity of a public humiliation.


b.  To truly understand the significance of what they had done, you need to know, as Paul      Harvey used to say,  "the rest of the story."  You have to go back to the very beginning of           Saul's reign as king.  READ 1 Sam 11:1f.  "Nahash the Ammonite" [To lose the right eye             would render them defenseless in combat, since the shield was carried in the left hand.]




4.  Once you know the background, you can better appreciate the motivation of the men of Jabesh-Gilead:  they were acting out of GRATITUDE!  As we enter this season of THANKSGIVING, might be appropriate to consider its close cousin:  GRATITUDE!  Gratitude ought to be a mark of God's people:  we have been the recipient of so many blessings!


Deuteronomy 8:10-11  "when you are careful that you don't forget the Lord"


Romans 12:10  "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves"


Colossians 2:7  "overflowing with thankfulness"


BUT:  have you noticed how we often take for granted those who are closest to us?  Story of little girl who came home after a stay in the hospital – she received so much attention from everyone that she asked in bewilderment,  "Am I company?"


5.  The action of the men of Jabesh-Gilead is so remarkable because genuine GRATITUDE is, unfortunately, so rare.


a. One of the few times when even Jesus was astonished by human nature:  INGRATITUDE!


"Were not ten healed?  Where are the other nine?" (Luke 17:11-19)


b. The experience of Jesus is sadly true to life:  One stormy night on Lake Michigan, back in 1860, a side-wheeler steamboat collided with a lumber schooner.  It was a terrible     tragedy:  279 people lost their lives as the steamboat sank about a mile offshore of Winnetka, Illinois.  Even more would have died, however, were it not for the heroic efforts of Edward Spencer, a student at Northwestern University.  When he realized what had happened Spencer jumped into the freezing waters of Lake Michigan and swam out to the drowning passengers.  He towed one to shore and then immediately went back for another.  Single-handedly Edward Spencer rescued seventeen people that night.  But he paid a high price for his efforts, because the strain of that experience broke his health, and he was eventually confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.  On his eightieth birthday an interviewer asked him what was his most vivid memory of that fateful day.  He replied, "Not one of the seventeen ever returned to thank me".



Blow, blow, thou winter wind,

Thou art not so unkind

As man's ingratitude.

Thy tooth is not so keen,

Because thou are not seen,

Although thy breath be rude.


Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,

Thou dost not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot:

Though thou the waters warp,

Thy stings is not so sharp

As friend remember'd not.

(Shakespeare, As You Like It, vii, 173)







1.  THEY DIDN'T FORGET.  It had been 40 years since their deliverance by Saul, but they didn't forget what he'd done for them.  For some reason it is so easy to forget to express our thanks!   Tom Peters is one of the top business consultants in the world-   he has written several best-selling books, is paid many thousands of dollars by corporations to make speeches, has a newspaper column.  His newest book is entitled The Pursuit of Wow!  In it he has a section he calls "the most important piece of advice in this book."  What profound management insight does this highly-respected consultant give?  "Don't forget your thank-you notes!"




Their action was totally unselfish.....a mark of genuine gratitude.  Not flattery, not "buttering up," not manipulation.




Nancy Dickerson was a news reporter back in the early '60's, when Eleanor Roosevelt died.  The day after the former first lady's death, Dickerson read a letter she had written the day before.  It was a letter of thanks she had intended to send Mrs. Roosevelt to express her gratitude- but Eleanor Roosevelt died before the letter reached her.


If with pleasure you are viewing,

Any work a man is doing;

If you like him or you love him, tell him now.

Don't withhold your approbation,

Till the parson makes oration,

And he lies with snowy lilies o'er his brow.

If he earns your praise, bestow it.

If you like him, let him know it.

Let the word of true encouragement be said;

Do not wait till life is over,

And he's underneath the clover,

For he can't read the tombstone when he's dead.


Dan Williams  




Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What was prohibition?

The Truth About Prohibition

           Through the years, there has been a useful body of pertinent research done by well-recognized historians on the general background of Prohibition.
            For example, Bernard Weisberger, a nationally- recognized historian who writes a current-events column ("In the News") for the popular historical journal American Heritage, recently addressed the widespread (mis)conception that Prohibition "didn't work." Among the facts cited by Weisberger are:
            "Prohibition did reduce drinking.  The average annual per capita consumption of alcohol by Americans of drinking age - that is, the total alcoholic content of all the beer, wine, and distilled spirits they consumed - stood at 2.60 gallons" in 1910.  In 1934, after more than a decade of prohibition, Weisberger reports the per capita average of 0.97 gallons.
            "Census Bureau studies show that the death rate from chronic or acute alcoholism fell from 7.3 per 100,000 in 1907 to 2.5 in 1932,  Prohibition's last year.  Deaths from cirrhosis of the liver, one cause of which is alcohol abuse, dropped from 14.8 per 100,000 in 1907 to 7.1 in 1920 and never rose above 7.5 during the 1920's.  Economic studies estimated that savings and spending on household necessities increased among working-class families during the period, possibly from money that once went to drink." These are not the propaganda of some biased zealot, but the factual report of a nationally known historian.  Furthermore, Weisberger reports that one reason why Prohibition may be commonly thought so unsuccessful is that even the above improvements were achieved with a minimum of enforcement.  He continues:
            "Drinking might have been cut back even further if more resources had been devoted to enforcement.  In 1922 Congress gave the Prohibition Bureau only $6.75 million for a force of 3,060 employees (including clerical workers) to hunt for violators in thousands of urban neighborhoods, remote hollows, border crossings, and coastal inlets.   State legislators were equally sparing: in 1926 state legislatures all together spent $698,855 for Prohibition work, approximately one-eighth of what they spent on enforcing fish-and-game laws.  Even so, by 1929 the feds alone had arrested more than half a million violators.  "
            Nor is this "new" information; a 1968 article by historian of science John C. Burnham of Ohio State University in the Journal of Social History revealed even more data along the lines Weisberger adduces.  To imply that attempts to restrict alcohol sales can't be effective ignores the available evidence.  Professor Norman H. Clark's 1976 study, Deliver Us From Evil, makes a persuasive case that during Prohibition, arrests for drunkenness and alcohol-related crimes declined markedly.
            Of course, a much earlier author reminds us across the ages that "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise" (Prov. 20:1).

- by Steve Wolfgang


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities I Timothy 5:23

A Little Wine for Your Stomach's Sake

Paul advised Timothy, “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities” (I Timothy 5:23).


By this statement we learn that Timothy’s habit had been one of total abstinence from wine until instructed otherwise by the apostle. This is as it should be. Solomon taught, “Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly” (Proverbs 23:31). Since the appearance of wine ought not to be admired, how could imbibing in the same have God’s approval? Without the exception provided in the passage under consideration, wine should be abstained from.


In the limited circumstance in which the use of wine is permitted, its quantity must also be limited. The authorization to use wine was not to be construed as a license to become intoxicated, for drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:10), as it is written, “Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Only a slight amount is here permitted for a specific purpose.


The specific purpose for which Timothy was permitted the slight use of wine was its health benefit. It was not given as a social beverage, but as medicine. In particular, it was given for a remedy, not for prevention. Timothy was already known by Paul to experience frequent stomach trouble when the apostle suggested the use of a little wine to alleviate his ailment. The regular use of wine to prevent illness is not under consideration and is nowhere authorized in Scripture.

- by Bryan Matthew Dockens



“He Often Refreshed Me”

Paul, in recounting to Timothy his imprisonment in Rome, wrote, “The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me — the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day — and you well know what services he rendered at Ephesus” (2 Timothy 1:16-18).

What brought Onesiphorus to Rome is unknown.  Was he there on business? Was he a tourist? Whatever it was, Onesiphorus was not just focused on himself.  While in Rome, he made considerable effort to locate Paul, and he kept trying until he succeeded. (Someone less dedicated might have made a minimal effort and said, “Oh well, I tried!”) He came again and again.  These visits refreshed Paul, both the company itself as well as any needed provisions he may have received.

It is easy to get caught up in our own busy lives and fail to remember those who could use some encouragement. Stop. Take a moment to think about someone you could refresh. Then act. It likely won’t take you nearly as long or be as hard as it was for Onesiphorus. Be such that others can say of you, “He often refreshed me.”

- by Frank Himmel


Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star

Passwords and PIN numbers are part of our everyday life now aren't they? Everything we do seems to have some level of protection to it, especially if you use the internet. It might be dealing with Credit cards, accounts or even buying groceries… almost everything.

I was reminded of this the other day, by my wife, Melody. I was getting ready to leave the house and she kissed me lovingly and said, 'Be careful and come home to me". I said, 'I will!" She looked me deep in the eyes and said, 'I mean it, you stay safe and come back to me," and paused. I was touched at her concern, then she finished her thought by saying, "After all, you're the only one who knows all of the passwords." I sometimes forget what a good sense of humor she has… at least I think she was kidding.

Passwords are important. They help keep us safe and get us into places we want to go; they are part of the "rules of our modern world," so to speak. You have to go through the proper procedure. Identification (ID), user names and passwords are required for us to operate within the system.

Understanding that, it surprises me at how many people object to God placing restrictions and requirements on their lives. They want to have a relationship with God, they want to enter his presence, his kingdom, yet they don't want to follow his rules.

God, in His Word, says, "Do this," or "Don't do this." He says, "This is acceptable behavior," and "This is unacceptable." He says, "If you want to be part of my kingdom and go to Heaven, here are the rules." Yet people insist on saying, 'God really didn't mean it, you have to change to rules to meet the times."

Isn't it funny that God ends his wonderful book with these words in Revelation 22:14-19 "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let the one who hears say, "Come!" Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll."

Funny isn't it that folks want God who offers them eternal life, but they won't listen to his requirements? Yet, they follow the rules of their bank and internet businesses strictly and don't think anything of it. How about you?

--Russ Lawson

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus

Saving for retirement. Exercising and losing weight. Mending a broken relationship. Daily Bible reading.  Many are the objectives, goals, and needs we all have in this life, but just as many are the excuses we often give for not addressing them.  We fall back on lack of time, how we feel, whose fault it is, and generally why we cannot do what we know we should be doing.  It seems that until we are convicted of our need to do something, we will always find ready excuses.

But, when we are motivated to do something, we will not let anything stop us.  We find the time, muster the will, and channel the discipline necessary to keep plugging away until the objective is achieved.

Living for Christ is the greatest objective there is.  It fulfills the very purpose for our existence. It benefits everyone around us. It is imperative to gaining heaven as home.  It positively influences those closest to us.  But, when it is not our greatest priority, we will come up with a bevy of excuses. These run the gamut from sports activities to work to hypocrites to personal weakness to whatever else may come to mind.  Until we are motivated, we will find excuses.  So, what should motivate us to live for Jesus?

  • His sacrificial love (Gal. 2:20).
  • Fear of judgment and eternal punishment (Mat. 25:31-46).
  • The debt we owe (Rom. 1:14-17).
  • The love we have for Him (2 Cor. 5:14).
  • Our love for our family and others close to us (Ti. 2:3-4; Eph. 5:25).
  • An understanding of our purpose (Phil. 1:21-24).
  • The hope of heaven (John 14:1ff).
  • A sense of obligation to our spiritual family (1 Th. 5:11; Mat. 18:12ff).
  • A desire to do what is right and serve Jesus as our Master (1 Pe. 2:20; Mat. 7:21).

All of these (and more) are excellent motivation for enduring the difficult in order to successfully overcome in this life. They will help us to eliminate every impediment that stands in our way.  As the writer of Hebrews says, "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:1-2).  Neal Pollard

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Better felt than told religion

They Say He Is a Liar

My friend had an "experience"--"better felt than told"--he "got" something. Some people tell my friend he has allowed his imagination to deceive him; that he had no feeling, no experience. Some even accuse him of faking the whole story. This makes my friend very unhappy. He doesn't like to be called a liar. He says, "I know what I feel."

Now I believe my friend. I know him to be an honest man. If he tells me he "felt something" I will not deny this.

But sometimes I try to check his unwarranted conclusions concerning the meaning of these feelings. My friend assumes that because he "had a feeling" his sins are forgiven. Why could not this just as well mean his sins were multiplied??

God alone can forgive sins; and His Word states the truth concerning such matters as these (John. 17:17). When my friend says he knows his sins are forgiven because he "felt something" I must remind him that the Bible allows no such evidence. It even warns us that feelings can be deceptive (2 Thess. 2:10-12).

Christ is the author of eternal salvation unto all them who obey Him (Heb. 5:9). And Christ teaches us to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS?

- by Robert Turner


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Creative uses for paper clips

Paper clips are amazing. They can be put to use in hundreds of ways other than holding paper. BDT (Before Duct Tape) I even used them in an emergecy to hold together a ripped pant leg. Today we used them to hang banners. Here is a short list of some of the things for which you can use paper clips.

1. hem holder
2. cigar filter unstopper
3. spray bottle unclogger
4. eye glass repair
5. hair barrette
6. zipper tab
7. clean fingernails
8. Xmas ornament holder
9. unclog Elmer's glue bottle
10. calendar holder
11. belt holder
12. emergency cotter pin
13. emergency diaper pin (boy! do I date myself there!)
14. strawberry huller
15. cherry pit remover
16. hymn marker (for organists)
You get the idea I'm sure. They are useful and versitile.

Jesus is much like a paper clip for our lives. He helps hold things together in our lives, he sticks together the rips and tears that the world leaves in our lives. He gives us purpose and life.

Paul writes to the Colossian church in Colossians 1:12-18 "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."

Christ may be our paper clip, but he is so much more! He holds our lives together when the world wants to tear them apart.

--Russ Lawson

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Out of the frying pan and into the fire

Have you ever heard the saying: "Out of the frying pan and into the fire"?

The Italian author Laurentius Abstemius wrote a collection of 100 fables. Abstemius' fable 20, concerns some fish thrown live into a frying pan of boiling fat. One of them urges its fellows to save their lives by jumping out, but when they do so they fall into the burning coals and curse its bad advice.

The fabulist concludes: 'This fable warns us that when we are avoiding present dangers, we should not fall into even worse peril.' Is there a spiritual application to this? I believe there is!

To start with Solomon tells us in Proverbs 27:12 "A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences."

What is a phrase we might uses to explain this thought to someone: "Look before you leap" or "You wouldn't jump off a cliff, just because your friends do, would you?"

The question we might ask is "What are spiritual cliffs that folks jump off of today?"
Sometimes they involve sin, sometimes they involve relationships, sometimes they just involve making bad decisions and sometimes our cliffs involve facing challenges…Sometimes your life challenge feels like you have gone from the frying pan into the fire……

So what has been your cliff, your challenge? Is it physically or spiritually, and how do you handle it?

Let me make a suggestion for handling difficult things in your life. One of my favorite passages is Romans 8:28: Paul writes there: "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them."

Let me give you the "Russ Revised Version" of is verse: "Do your best to serve God, love him and no matter how badly you mess things up, God will be able to make something good come from it." Even if you don't see it or understand it, God has the power to work it to the good!

So it may seem that you have gone from the frying pan into the fire, but don't forget to trust in Him, Our God and King.

That's why Psalm 23:1-6is so dear to so many of us. It reminds us of who is in control of our world and our life. David wrote: "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever."

So face life's challenges trusting in God!

--Russ Lawson

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Who killed custer?

There's quite the controversy over who killed General George Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn in Montana on June 25, 1876. There is even a book by the title, "Who Killed Custer?," authored by Bruce Brown. There are so many mysterious and hard-to-document events that made up this notorious battle that symbolizes the "Indian Wars" of the late 1800s.  Brown, analyzing eye witness accounts, gives an interesting top three suspect list:  (1) an Oglala Sioux warrior named White Cow bull, shooting him near the beginning of the battle, (2) Custer himself, committing suicide as he dashed away from the battlefield near the battle's end on his horse Victory, and (3) Brave Bear, a Southern Cheyenne warrior, given the honorary title of "Custer's Killer" at an Indian council in 1909 (  About ten years ago, the Helena Independent Recordrevealed the long-circulated, but secret oral history of the Northern Cheyenne Indian storytellers, crediting a woman, Buffalo Calf Trail Woman, for striking the fatal blow (

It is fitting that a man surrounded by so much controversy and whose reputation and achievements are incredibly enigmatic would have such a mysterious cloud hanging over his death. His killer is upheld by many as a tangible standard-bearer of justice and righteous revenge. For others, it is simply a matter of historical fascination.  There are even those who lamented his death, as the brash and rash Custer was widely viewed as a "war hero" by his U.S. contemporaries in the years immediately following his death. Yet, one thing we know for sure.  Custer was killed.  Two fatal bullet wounds loudly testify.

There is another mystery, one with far weightier and eternal implications.  Who killed Jesus?  He is the most enigmatic figure in human history.  He was viewed contemptuously as a blasphemer and traitor by the religious leaders of His day. He was viewed with depraved indifference by the masses who switched from adoration to execration in a matter of days.  He is viewed even more diversely today, 2000 years after He died on the cross.  The power and proof of the resurrection is a matter to write about another day (see, for example,

But, there is another vital question surrounding the death of Jesus.  Who was really responsible?

  • Was it the devil? Yes!
  • Was it the Jewish leaders? Yes!
  • Was it the onlookers that day? Yes!
  • Was it Pilate? Yes!
  • Was it the Roman soldiers? Yes!
  • Was it God? Yes!
  • Was it you and me? Yes!

How could all of these be mutually responsible for the death of Christ? There is no controversy.  The devil desired Jesus' death, through which he longed to defeat the Lord's purpose (cf. Gen. 3:15; Rev. 12:4ff). In this, he failed (Heb. 2:14). The people that day were instruments in the hands of God, who accomplished His eternal plan of salvation through Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (Acts 2:23; 3:18; etc.). We are responsible because we sin (Rom. 4:25) and He had to be made sin for us (2 Co. 5:21). The good news is that the death of Jesus was not the defeat of God's plan. It accomplished the plan.  However, for the plan to be effective, we must properly respond to it.  The fact of His death does nothing for us, if we do not respond to it the way Scripture tells us to.  Thus, there is a much more important question than, "Who killed Jesus?" It is, "Who will follow Jesus?"


--Neal Pollard

Thursday, August 27, 2015

God is still on his throne

A friend, Larry, and I were talking the other day and he shared a thought about our human condition and God. The bottom line is that no matter what happens in our world and our life, God is still on his throne. Another friend and I have often commented to one another that God still rules in this world. It really doesn't matter if the world denies that fact, it is still true.

All through the scripture it gives us insight into that concept. When Abraham left his home and faced challenges, God was still on his throne and caused good to happen. When Joseph was sold in to slavery, God was still on his throne and caused good to happen. When the Children of Israel were fleeing from the Egyptians and backed up to the sea, God was still on his throne and caused good to happen. When the Children of Israel were carried off into Babylonian Captivity, God was still on his throne. When three young men were thrown into a "Fiery Furnace," God was still on his throne. The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.

We forget far too often that God IS the most powerful being in all creation. We forget far too often that he doesn't have to consult us before he makes his plans. We forget that God doesn't have to let us know how he plans to use us in this life. We forget that God's ways (thoughts) are far beyond our understanding. And mostly we forget far too often that God is on his throne. He always has been; he always will be!

One of the most important things we forget is that when Jesus was hanging on a cross, God was still on his throne and good things happened. We would not have understood that if we had been there and many still don't, but nevertheless, it is true.

In Revelation 15:3-4we see people in heaven who had won their fight against Satan singing the following song. (The words are important, they speak of our God.)
"Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty. Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations. Who will not fear You, Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous deeds have been revealed."

In Revelation 19:4 we read: "Then the twenty four elders and the four living beings fell down and worshiped God, who was sitting on the throne. They cried out, 'Amen! Praise the LORD!'"

No matter what happens in our world or in your life, God is sitting on his throne! Amen! Praise the Lord!

--Russ Lawson

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Do we claim to love Jesus, but yet fail to keep His commandments?

The Proof is in the Doing

In Matthew 21:28-32 Jesus tells a parable about a man who had two sons. He came to the first one and said, “Son, go, work today in my vineyard." The son told his father he would not go, but afterwards he regretted saying that and went to work. The father went to the second son and also told him to go work in the vineyard. This son said, “I go, sir,” but he did not go. Jesus then asked His audience, “Which of the two did the will of his father?”

This seems like such a simple question that it doesn’t even need to be asked, but with this question Jesus is teaching an important lesson that we often fail to apply to our own lives. Jesus is reminding us that the proof of our love, faith, and reverence for God is in the doing, not the saying. How many times is this lesson taught throughout the pages of the New Testament?

  • “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?” (Mt 7:15,16).
  • “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21).
  • “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).
  • “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:14).
  • “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

Every one of these verses is well known to us, but do they express a principle by which we live?

Do we claim to love Jesus, but yet fail to keep His commandments? Do we profess to love one another while refusing to actually do good to one another? Do we just give lip service to Paul’s command to give preference to one another (Romans 12:10)? When we examine ourselves do we do more than just acknowledge our weakness, or do we set about to affect change in our lives?

The point is this; make up your mind, today, to stop talking about what you need to do and get busying doing it! Pick just one thing you know you need to be doing and just do it. Maybe you need to be more hospitable; invite someone over. Maybe you need to be a better father; sit down and talk to you children. Maybe you need to study more; open your Bible and study.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The reason this statement is true is because God doesn’t accept lip service; He only accepts true service from the heart. Don’t allow the guilt of past failures to keep you on the road of good intentions. Simply decide today that you’re going to travel the road of good works, for it is the road that leads to forgiveness, mercy, and eternal life.

by Simon Harris


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Jiving to music

I was driving to work about 7 in the morning the other day and stopped at a traffic light. In front of me was a young woman who was obviously enjoying her morning more that I was. By observation I would say she was listening to her radio and "jiving" to the music. She was twisting and turning, bobbing her head and moving back and forth.


I thought about that and wondered why she should be having a better morning than I was.  Was it just that I was having an off day? Perhaps it was, but I know I don't rejoice as much as I should. It's not that I dislike mornings, in fact I love to see the sunrise. The Psalmist said of God in Psalm 65:8 "Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy."


Of course you're familiar with Paul's encouragement to "rejoice in the Lord always," (Philippians 4:4), so the idea is not new. However, we, being human, we need to be reminded and reminded often. You see I do rejoice, but not enough and possibly not exuberantly enough. In fact it seems that lately I have been too busy dealing with the everyday concerns of life to remember to rejoice.


Satan does a really good job of distracting me. He works his way into my world and my life, not necessarily to drag me into some terrible or sinful behavior, but to distract me from what is really important. It's who he is, the father of lies. Revelation 12:9describes him this way: "that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world."


How can we overcome Satan's power? First, if you haven't already done so, become a Christian or if you have left your first love, return to God. Second, spend time in God's Word; it reminds you of what is really important. Third, spend time talking to God about those things that trouble you; it helps to unload your problems on someone who truly cares. Fourth, spend time with God's people in worship and if fellowship. You can't be part of the army fighting to protect one another and fight Satan if you don't show up at boot camp or for training. You can't fight and protect yourself and others if you aren’t watching out for others and participating in the battles.

I may not "jive in my car," but I can still rejoice in my Lord and all he does for me and gives to me. I don't know that I will try a little "seat dancing" this morning on my way to work, but what I do know is that "I can do all things through him that gives me strength," (Romans 8:28). I know I need to count my blessings and rejoice more. Maybe you should try it!


--Russ Lawson

Friday, August 14, 2015

Psalm 1

"Little Strokes Fell Great Oaks"
Brett Petrillo

We've all done it. We commit ourselves to making some serious changes such as losing some weight, becoming debt free, or reading our Bible every day. So we make the choice, we get ourselves pumped up for the change, and start putting a plan in place. Maybe we even write down specific goals and read books to help us do it right. For the first week or so things look really good and our motivation stays high, then problems arise. We get sick. A major problem gets dropped on us at work. We get tired and stressed. The next thing we know, our motivation is gone and so is our goal. Many times this is where it ends.

One of the most difficult challenges in life is self-improvement. This is the case because our goals seem so enormous and we usually we try to tackle too much at once. Benjamin Franklin wisely said, "Little strokes fell great oaks." The changes we want to make are often these massive oaks in our lives and the plan we put in place attempts to chop it down huge chunks at a time with massive swings. But soon we tire out, our motivational axes become dull, and we give up at the gigantic goal tree in front of us.

The problem is our mindset. The goal just seems to long, too big, and too hard. So when the first challenge hits us, it's a challenge to bounce back. This is when a change in thinking is most valuable. Perhaps the best frame of mind is to focus not on the big goal, but simply on becoming 1% better every day. That's it, just 1% each day. So, if a person's goal were to do 100 pushups, then they would start with one on the first day, two on the second day, and so on until they were doing 100 pushups each day.

While there is certainly value in eating better and losing weight, as Paul pointed out, "for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come" (1 Timothy 4:8). We need to be the people who are striving daily for spiritual gain. The problem is, this is hard to do. These oaks are sometimes the largest of them all. Praying with consistency. Reading through the Bible. Really studying the word with depth. Once again, taking "little strokes" will help us to take down these "big oaks." If we strive to become just 1% better every day, we will make huge improvements over time. This is typically more than we could say after we've burnt out and quit with previous goals.

Psalm 1:1-3 says it well, "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers." We know must be people who are learning and growing from Scripture (Ephesians 4:15; Hebrews 6:1). But how does a person get to the point of meditating on Scripture day and night? By attacking it with small strokes.

We can take amazing steps in our spiritual growth if we keep working. Perhaps just striving for 1% improvement per day is the best mindset. No matter which method works best for you, let's just make sure we keep learning, growing, and striving towards heaven (2 Peter 1:5-11).

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Los Animas River Gold King Mine

Unfortunately for folks in southwestern Colorado and several surrounding states, it's more than a
matter of staying out of the Los Animas River.  Due to a mishap by some federally-supervised workers
in which there was a blowout in the Gold King Mine in the mountains above Silverton, millions of
gallons of toxins that include mercury and arsenic are in downstream water supplies. It has
contaminated domestic wells and endangered fish and livestock. It has negatively impacted tourist
industries that rely on customers who raft, canoe, and fish in the river.  It has impacted
irrigation and city water intake facilities.  All from a single incident in a mine hundreds of miles
away from some of the affected areas (information via Denver Post online, 8/10/15).

Who knows how this will ultimately be resolved, but a lot of people and money will be thrown at the
matter until it is finally resolved.  A problem that started in a relatively small, remote area has
finally become a national story.  As the river continues to flow, the troubles continue to compound.

Have you considered the power of your influence?  A single conversation, an impulsive act in a
moment's time, or a thought unchecked and fed all can lead to outcomes that spill into a lot of
lives and potentially do damage that could not be anticipated.  David learned this (2 Sam. 11:1-2). 
The young lads from Bethel learned this (2 Ki. 2:23-24).  Judas learned this (Mat. 26:15).  So many
others in Scripture, from thoughts to words to deeds, learned of the destructive power of negative
spiritual influence.  It can cause spiritual babes to stumble (Mat. 18:6), the offender to stumble
(Mat. 18:8), the world to blaspheme (2 Sam. 12:14), and so much more.  No amount of remorse, regret,
and retreat can undo the toxic damage it does.

If you find yourself in the "clean up" stage, realize that with time and effort you can work to
counteract the impact of poor influence.  There may be lingering consequences, but you can mitigate
that through genuine repentance.  It doesn't have to end catastrophically, as it did for Judas.  It
can end triumphantly, as it did for Peter.

Keep in mind, too, that positive influence works the same way (Mat. 13:33).  A kind, righteous
thought, word, or deed can trigger a powerful effect that leads the lost to be saved and those on
the broad way to turn onto the narrow way.  You may never know it in this life or see the end result
of it in your lifetime.  May the great power of our influence drive us to our knees and fill our
thoughts with how we may use our lives to bless and help the lives of others, knowing that, for good
or bad, our lives touch way more lives than we think.

Neal Pollard

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Psalm 139:14 - I am fearfully and wonderfully made

Glory to the Reader or the Writer?


The fruit fly has long been the mainstay of biomedical research. An article in the April 3, 2000 Newsweek lauds the scientific breakthrough of reading “almost all of the chemical letters -- 165 million of them -- that make up its DNA.” It is called “an impressive technical feat in its own right.”


My marvel at the technological accomplishments of man falls far short of my awe for the One who took nothing and made all that man is discovering. The science of man is simply reading what God has written. And we are still in the primary reader stage at that --humans have almost 20 times more DNA than fruit flies!


I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Psa. 139:14).

- by David Diestelkamp


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Too Little Too Late

Why is it we get interested in the right things when it’s just too late?

A young couple marries, but take one another for granted. He abuses his position as husband, and she resists everything he says or does. Years pass with such neglect, abuse, and mistreatment They end up in a divorce court. In the process of working out a settlement, the husband decides he wishes to repent and reconcile with his wife. Why now? Where was this penitent disposition when it would have saved the marriage? She may resist his offer, deciding that it's no use trying anymore. For her, it’s a case of “too little, too late.”

A foolish and immature son becomes estranged from his parents. He never calls, never visits, never shares his life with them. The parents agonize, but there is little they can do to have a relationship with a child who wants nothing to do with them. Years pass. Age takes its toll on the parents. One day the son receives a call. His mother is dead. He attends the funeral, weeps loudly and uncontrollably — but for what? The opportunity to love his mother and develop a relationship with her is gone forever. He may now see his immaturity, his selfishness, his ungodly character. He may repent and do better in the future, even caring for his widowed and aged father. But as far as his mother is concerned, it’s “too little, too late.”

A man lives an immoral and profligate life. He has no time for spiritual things, and has never made preparation for eternity. God is in none of his thoughts. He disdains the “holy Joes” that do their best to serve God. The day of judgment comes, and he knows it is “too late.” He never prepared himself to meet God. Now he confesses Christ (as all will do, Phil. 2:11) but it is too late. Why didn’t he do it in life when he had time and opportunity? He now receives the consequences of choices he made, and his penitent spirit is just a little bit “too little, too late.”

Perhaps some personal offense was never corrected and the person to whom you needed to apologize has since died. It to late to right a past wrong under such circumstances Does not have to be a “forever failure”? No! Pray to God for His forgiveness, and make whatever restitution you can for the wrong you committed. As long as the world stands and life is in your body, it is never too late to do the right thing, whether that is little or much.

As a youth, serious mistakes may have been made and sins committed which have followed you into adulthood. Don't let the past keep you from repentance immediately.God will accept you, even now.

“Today” is the day of salvation (Heb. 3:15). Let's use it before it is “too little, too late.”

                      - by Mark White


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Free Bible study feeds

How to grow as a Christian

7 Things That Will Help You Grow Spiritually

1 - LIVE and WORK to reach others each day as if you knew the world were going to come to an end next Sunday night. Think of that feeling of urgency and priority! (Read 2 Peter 3:1-12).

2 - BE AS ENTHUSIASTIC about the church and its services as you would be if there were an overflowing crowd each time. Think of the interest, anticipation, and excitement of an overflow crowd!

3 - COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. Make a list of the things you are thankful to God for and thank Him for them one by one as you pray in your closet. This will help you to be grateful (Philippians 4:6). It will also help you to realize your dependence on God (Acts 17:24-25,28; John 15:5).

4 - MAKE & MAINTAIN A LIST OF YOUR FAULTS. And pray for forgiveness and help to overcome them as you truly strive to overcome them. This will help us see that we are really not as good as we think we are and how very much we really do need Christ for Savior. It will also help you to sympathize with the faults of others (James 5:16; Galatians 6:1).

5 - KEEP A QUIET TIME. Set aside 30 minutes every day to spend with God in prayer, Bible study, and meditation. If you really love someone or a game you want to spend some time with them. Just so, if you truly love God you want to spend some time alone with Him. (Psalms 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Luke 18:1). First century Christians kept an “hour of prayer” (Acts 13:1).

6 - VISIT SOMEONE FOR CHRIST EACH WEEK. Visit some member you do not know very well; or a sick person; or a visitor to our services; or a weak member who needs encouragement; or someone who needs to become a Christian.

7 - REACH ANOTHER PERSON. Conduct a Bible class in your home once a month and invite your relatives, friends and neighbors to attend. The preacher or elders will assist you if you want them to. Matt. 5:12-15; James 5:20; Daniel 12:3. There are 168 hours in a week. If you were to attend Bible Study, morning worship, and evening worship on Sundays and Bible study on Wednesday, and 30 minutes 6 days a week in Bible reading, prayer, and meditation, and conduct an hour long study once a month, you would be giving God less than 10 hours a week, leaving you 158.

- by Grover Stevens


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

How to be happier

1. Turn off the TV and read your Bible. The Psalmist said of the blessed man, "His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night" (Ps. 1:2).

2. Hang up the phone and pray. I never cease to be amazed at how much time some people spend on their cell phones. Is all that talking necessary or profitable? "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:1 7). "The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much" (Jas. 5:16).

3. Get up out of bed an hour earlier and come to Bible study on Sunday. "As the door turns on its hinges, so does the sluggard on his bed" (Prov. 26:14).

4. Cut down your credit card purchases and give. Give to the poor. Increase your contribution at church. "One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed" (Prov. 19:17). "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

5. Change the conversation from sports, weather, and politics to spiritual things. Do that at home. "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:6-7). Do that at work, too. "He who wins souls is wise" (Prov. 11:30).

- by Frank Himmel


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Churches die due to indifference

The Church Died!

Impressive churches dot the pages of Bible history - Antioch, Ephesus, Jerusalem, Phillipi, Rome. From more recent restoration history, a host of names are recalled. But what finally happened to those churches? A few remain; most are gone. They died! Is this destined to be the final chapter of this church? Why did they die?

Did the churches become outdated? A new T-model Ford is as good as ever but not suited to the demands of our day. Man has not changed. Man's spiritual needs are the same. God's church is perfect in design and needs no improvement. That is not the problem.

Was it persecution that destroyed those grand churches? All churches felt the lash of persecution, but that is when they multiplied their numbers. They died later. Churches die from within - not from outside pressure.

Churches die at the tables of compromise. When the churches fought the world, sin, and false doctrine - asking no quarter nor giving any, they prospered. Brethren bore scars; they lost a battle now and then, but they did not lose the war. In their hand was a two edged sword, and on their side a divine defense none could penetrate. Compromise opened the gates and sheathed the sword. "Let's not dispute with people ... " That appeal is the cankerworm and caterpillar that devours a church - and it is at last dead, stripped of its courage and faith.

Churches die of indifference. All churches lose members - they die, quit, or move away. Laziness just revises the directory and waits for move-ins and births. No effort is made to restore the fallen as scripture demands. No seed is sown. No one has home Bible studies. There is no zealous pursuit of souls. That church naturally – gradually - eventually but ever so surely dies.

Churches die from misdirection. They adopt worldly religious ideals. They see the church as a social reform agency, a general benevolent society, and a recreational institution. Its spiritual mission is forgotten. The harder they work, the worse the church becomes. Finally it is but a grotesque caricature of the Lord's church. Somewhere along the way, the church died - the victim of apostasy. Other churches have no direction at all. They are content to open the doors three times a week, have a meeting once a year, and paint the building when it begins to peal. They go in circles constantly wearing the ruts deeper and deeper. They press without a real goal, running on the treadmill until the church dies.

Is such inevitable? Must our work be wasted? No! The Lord has a prescription: "Preach the word; ... in season, out of season" "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, ... " "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." May we have the zeal, faith and backbone to take the medicine.        

- by Joe Fitch


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