Marriage Seminar

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RESERVE THESE DATES!!!

Speaker: Gary Hutchens, minister from the
Sunny Slope Church of Christ in Omaha, Nebraska.

Topic: Marriage

Friday October 13 thru Sunday October 15, 2017

Friday 6:30 & 7:30 PM – Marriage, By God’s Design
Saturday 6:30 & 7:30 PM – What to Consider Before Marriage
Sunday 9:00 AM – Communication in Marriage, Part 1
Sunday 10:00 AM – Communication in Marriage, Part 2
& 12:30 PM – Divorce – Giving Up On Marriage

(regular evening services canceled)
Sunday 11:30 Pot Luck Lunch

This is open for everyone whether married or not.

Where: Grandview Church of Christ
2736 Hubbell Ave.
Des Moines, IA  50317

For more information call: 515-330-9227.

Be Watching For More Updated Information

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Clothing Giveaway – Aug 19, 9-noon

Giveaway

Saturday, August 19th, 2017
9 am – Noon

Everyone Welcome!


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Brad Harrub presents: “Families By The Book”

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We invite you to join us as we examine the Bible for inspired ways to
improve our families. These lessons are FREE and open to all ages.

Grandview Church of Christ
2736 Hubbell Ave, Des Moines, Iowa

Fri, April 21 6:30 pm Invasion: How Worldliness Has Infected the Christian Home
7:30 pm They Don’t Come with Instructions… or Do They?
Sat, April 22 6:30 pm Protect: Fathers and Daughters
7:30 pm Man up: Fathers and Sons
Sun, April 23 9:00 am Faith For Life (7 Reasons we are losing our children)
10:00 am Convicted
11:30 am   potluck lunch
12:30 pm A Biblical Approach to Discipline and Parental Roles

 

 

Featuring Guest Speaker:
Brad Harrub, Ph. D.

Brad Harrub currently serves as the co-Founder of Focus Press. In addition, he is the coeditor of Think magazine. He earned a doctorate in Anatomy and Neurobiology. He is the author of Convicted: A Scientist Examines the Evidence for Christianity and Dissecting the Truth. He has also coauthored The Truth About Human Origins, and Matters of Life and Death, He was an invited speaker to the International conference on Creationism, he has appeared on the television show “Origins.”

For more information, please call (515) 330-9227

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2017.04.21 Meeting Brad Harrub Biblical Dicipline and Parental Roles Download
2017.04.21 Meeting Brad Harrub Seven Reasons We Are Losing Our Children Download
2017.04.22 Meeting Brad Harrub Fathers and Daughters Download
2017.04.22 Meeting Brad Harrub Father and Son Download
2017.04.23 Meeting Brad Harrub Convicted for Christ Download
2017.04.23 Meeting Brad Harrub Roles and Discipline Download
2017.04.23 Meeting Brad Harrub Alone on an Island Download


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Spencer Furby: The Christian Walk

Listen to the lessons:

2016.04.15 Spring Meeting Spencer Furby Walking Dangers: Entertainment Download
2016.04.16 Spring Meeting Spencer Furby Walking Dangers: Social Media Download
2016.04.17 Spring Meeting Spencer Furby Walking Dangers: Gaming Download
2016.04.17 Spring Meeting Spencer Furby The Christian Walk Download
2016.04.17 Spring Meeting Spencer Furby The Two Walkways – Making the Choice Download

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Pray Over Iowa – Sept 16, 2016

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Wissam Al-Aethawi: Baghdad to Detroit

Sunday, Sept 13, 2015, 9 AM – “Hebrews 4 and the Christian Repose”

Sunday, Sept 13, 2015, 10 AM – “Public Worship and Us”

Sunday, Sept 13, 2015, 6 PM – “Abraham, Muhammad and the Golden Butterfly”

Sunday, Sept 13, 2015, 7 PM – “Islam: The Untold Story”

Monday, Sept 14, 2015, 7 PM – “Islam Myth Buster”

Tuesday, Sept 15, 2015, 7 PM – “For We Do Not Wrestle”

Wednesday, Sept 16, 2015, 7 PM – “Baghdad to Detroit”


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Guest Speaker: Wissam Youssif

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DES MOINES, IOWA — “Baghdad to Detroit” coming Sunday, Sept. 13 – Wissam Youssif will tell the story of why as an Iraqi native he first left the Muslim religion, became an athiest, and finally a Christian.  He now teaches Muslims in Detroit, Michigan about the love of Jesus and the Christian faith. Wissam begins Sunday and will speak each evening thru Wednesday, Sept. 16 at the Grandview Church of Christ at 2736 Hubbell Ave in Des Moines.

Raised as a Muslim in Baghdad, Iraq and trained as a civil engineer, Youssif now shares the Gospel of Christ with the largest concentration of Muslims living outside of the Middle East: The Detroit, Michigan area.  Youssif tells of growing up during the Iran-Iraq War, and the resulting sanctions against Iraq during the rise and fall of Saddam Hussein.  Wissam describes the Muslim culture as “a world without love, forgiveness, and tolerance.” The Koran was required reading in schools: “The culture of Islam abducted the Muslim people,” says Youssif.

A crucial moment in his life happend in 1996, when his four-year-old sister died suddenly. His distraught mother, looking for comfort, was met with, “She will be judged for the very first breath she took in when she was born.” His mother found no comfort in those words.  Shortly thereafter his uncle, diagnosed with cancer, struggled with not being able to pray five times a day as required by Islam. Says Youssif, “My uncle died without hope.”

Doubts about the teachings of the Koran grew in Youssif’s mind. During college, he began to wonder if his whole world was filled with lies. He turned to books. Often the books he read mentioned the Holy Bible. He obtained an Arabic translation of the Gospel of John at a flea market. In it Youssif read how Jesus dealt with religious authorities, calling them hypocrites and liars, and he was struck: “That does not exist in Islam. You are not allowed to question religious authorities.”

On another trip to the flea market he found and purchased an entire New Testament. He came to realize that the first book he bought was a book within a book. He borrowed money from his cousin to purchase an entire Bible.

Youssif became a secret believer in Jesus Christ, and while reading the Bible decided that he needed to be baptized in order to be saved. For the next 12 years he contacted Christian churches in Baghdad to see if someone would baptize him. They would not. When Americans liberated Baghdad, he was finally able to reach the outside world via an internet cafe and a few coins. Through that medium he met a man who was willing to come to Iraq to baptize him.

Come hear the rest of his story, including “Islam: The Untold Story”, “Islam Myth Buster”, and “From Baghdad to Detroit”.

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Quest for Authentic Manhood

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MEN’S ROUNDTABLE

Men's Roundtable 2014


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Friends & Family Day – Oct 26, 2014

F&FD 2014 Flier


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Pray Over Iowa 2014 – September 6, 2014

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Click for printable schedule

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Nearhoof Open House – August 3rd

Having completed over 50 years of service in and around the State of Iowa, Orrin and Marjory Nearhoof have announced that they will be moving to Richmond, Kentucky in August of this year to be closer to their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The Grandview Church of Christ is hosting an open house for them on Saturday, August 3 beginning at 2:00 pm. Everyone who is able to attend this event in honor of Orrin and Marjory is encouraged to come. We will have light refreshments, a program of appreciations and thanks along with plenty of time for conversation and goodbyes.

We are also soliciting your personal messages, thoughts, comments, photos and humorous stories that you would like to share with them. Please submit these messages by email to Nearhoof.Farewell@gmail.com. The morning of the Open House we will print these messages and present them in book form to Orrin and Marjory as part of the scheduled activities for that day.


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2013 Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Seminar

Learn about Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses. We’ll teach how to interact with, support, and encourage those affected, and guide you to the resources that are available.

Presented by Diana Lane, RN
Western Home Communities in Cedar Falls

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Sunday Morning Adult Class

This week we continue looking at the parables of Jesus found in the gospels. We will be focusing our attention this week on the parable found in Luke 19:11-27. Next week we will plan on looking at the parable in Matthew 21:28-32. If you would be willing to read Matthew 21:28-32 in preparation for study and discussion next week that would be appreciated.


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Games at Grandview

November 9: Please come and join us for an evening of playing games and sharing snacks! There is usually a dominoes game going on but bring one of your favorite games and join us! We begin at 6:30pm.


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Holiday Care Packages

THE GRANDVIEW TEENS are now asking the congregation to begin purchasing and donating items suitable for our annual 2012 Holiday CARE packages that we send to soldiers, college students and shut ins. There will be a sign up sheet for suggested recipients as well as a “need” list posted on the bulletin board. If you have an idea for something not on the list that is suitable please bring it. We will collect items until Sunday, November 25.


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GRANDVIEW FLEECE BLANKET MAKERS

A construction event is planned for 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 17. We are in need of a working sewing machine that can zig zag stitch and an operator that can sew on the labels either during the event or at home. Todd will bring donuts and juice. We will plan for 3 hours to 3.5 hours of work before going our separate ways for lunch. Please let Todd know if you plan to attend.


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Blanket Making Party September 22

Todd Johnson has organized another Fleece Blanket Making Event, Sunday afternoon, Sept 23. Please bring a sack lunch and something to share, if desired. We have quite a bit of fleece, so many hands and scissors make light work! Hope you can be a part of this good work, blessing the children of Iowa in crisis.

Questions? Contact Todd Johnson


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2012 Lectureship: The Good Shepherd

The Grandview Lectures
May 4th – 6th 2012

 

2012.05.04 Rob Swartz God’s Flock 7PM Play Download
2012.05.04 Tom Collier How To Tell A Sheep From A Goat 8PM Play Download
2012.05.05 Jason Zaiger How Does God Lead Us? 10AM Play Download
2012.05.05 Joe Buxton The Good Shepherd Vs. The Hireling 11AM Play Download
2012.05.05 Matt Glawe Growing the Flock Numerically 1:30PM Play Download
2012.05.05 Orrin Nearhoof Growing the Flock Spiritually 2:30PM Play Download
2012.05.05 Darin Thompson How Do We Submit To God’s Will? 7PM Play Download
2012.05.06 Dan Bailey How God Meets the Needs of His Sheep 9AM Play Download
2012.05.05 Gary Hutchens The Good Shepherd 10AM Play Download
2012.05.06 Doug Berry Gods Sheep Will NOT Follow A Stranger 3PM Play Download
2012.05.06 Gary Hutchens The Good Shepherd 10AM Play Download
2012.05.06 Gary Hutchens The Lord Is My Shepherd 6PM Play Download

 


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Volume 34 Number 18

Spark

Spark? Read Hebrews 12

As the drought continues across Oklahoma, I believe the last count was 55 out of 77 counties are under a burn ban. Each day without water increases the risk of fire and it only takes the slightest spark to start an inferno. Each day our firefighters continue to be overworked because of negligence. While fire has many qualities, I would like to focus on two.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29)

To understand this verse you need to read Hebrews 12, and discover its context. Here, fire is a means to test the quality of something. If you have built your foundation on the right thing, then not even fire can consume it. God is the ultimate test as a consuming fire. Of course, you may say, “How can I stand against God?” The answer lies in His Son, who took our sins, nailed them to the cross, then overcame the cross. While on my own, when tested with fire, I will always fail. However, when I stand with Christ my place is secured. I want to encourage you to let your life be tested with fire. Put your priorities, your attitude, your service, your heart and your praise up against God’s consuming fire and see if they stand. Negligence in this area can cause a lot of problems. I hope your life stands the test

Secondly, I want to look at a second aspect of fire, and that is how quickly it can spread. If you take to heart the idea of testing each area of your life to see if it has quality, then you will make a difference to everyone you come into contact with. When people see Christ working in your life, the fire you have for Him will quickly spread and you will effect your congregation and your school or work, which in turn will affect your community. With just the right spark the gospel will spread like fire on a dry and weary ground. Will you be the spark?

Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK    Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK


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Volume 34 Number 17

Given the Chance…

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village (Luke 9:51-56).

“You want us to call down fire on them!” James and John were having a bad day. After all, they just wanted some rest, perhaps a meal, a spot by the fire and they would be on their way in the morning. What they got was walking papers. James and John are ticked but it is Jesus who does the rebuking, not to the village, but to James and John. Looking at the message of Christ we can see that the brothers’ response does seem a little extreme (even though they are called the sons of thunder in Mark 3:17). However, in their defense, I think they could feel the climate change as Jesus is heading to Jerusalem for the culmination of his ministry. Something big was about to happen.

As I thought more on this account, I realized something—why did Jesus send messengers ahead? Don’t you think he knew what the result would be? Why didn’t Jesus just say, “There is nothing for us here, let’s keep walking.” It’s not like the disciples would have minded, Jews and Samaritan villages rarely mixed. So what was the message?

Maybe the lesson is that it was not whether or not the Samaritans would welcome them, it was that they were given the chance. I think of the contrast between this village and the village of the woman at the well (John 4). Both had the opportunity to shelter the Savior, only one was blessed by his presence. Today we are given the same chance, only now the shelter is in our hearts and our priorities determine whether or not Christ will be given walking papers or refuge. Likewise, we should share Christ’s message. Remember it is not up to you to convert the world, only that they be given the chance.

Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK

 


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Volume 34 Number 14

What Does Baptism Mean to You?

By F. LaGard Smith

Do you find it interesting how many different forms of baptism are practiced by believers when there would have been only one way of baptizing in the beginning? Today, some sprinkle, some pour, and others fully immerse. Some baptize infants, some only adults; and some who vehemently oppose infant baptism end up baptizing six-year olds! Nor are we agreed on the purpose of baptism. Some say it’s for the forgiveness of sin, while others insist it’s done to proclaim that you’ve already been saved, maybe weeks or months earlier.

Most interesting of all, many professing the name of Christ have never been baptized. They may have repeated “the sinner’s prayer” or “invited Jesus into their heart,” but never touched a drop of ceremonial water. In that, they’re out of step even with non-Christian religions, for which water has always played a vital role. Merely consider the millions of Hindus ceremonially immersing themselves in the Ganges. Or Muslims washing their hands outside their mosques. Or the ancient Jewish mikvehs (still visible in old Jerusalem) where the pious fully immersed themselves after touching a corpse or some unclean animal, and where Jewish women washed ceremonially after their monthly uncleanness.

The tie between water and spiritual cleansing is no mystery. Knowing little about Christian baptism at the time of his Damascus-road experience, Saul would not have been surprised at being told to “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sin.” He would have been familiar with the immersion of Gentile converts to Judaism. He may even have heard stories of Jesus’ own baptism in the Jordan “to fulfill all righteousness.” John the Baptist famously preached repentance and baptism, which he did at a place in the Jordan where there was “much water” (raising questions about all those paintings where John is merely pouring a little water over Jesus head).

In the account of the early church, there’s water, water everywhere. Belief and baptism were joined like horse and carriage, love and marriage. Indeed, baptism was the believer’s wedding ceremony as the bride of Christ. When the Pentecost crowd came to the numbing realization that they had crucified the Son of God and asked what they should do, Peter told them to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sin. That very day, 3000 were immersed in an act symbolizing both the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and their own death to sin and new life in Christ. It was a mature, personally-chosen, watershed moment in one’s life and life-style. Totally immersed, wholly committed. Being buried in water was so normative to the Christian experience that Paul would later call the divided Corinthians to unity, citing their baptism into Christ as the centerpiece of their common faith.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many professing Christians who are “baptized” but unconverted? Could it be that our fuzzy thinking about baptism has allowed too many of us a false start?


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Volume 34 Number 13

We Can Rejoice, Even In Times Of Trouble

By Art Wallis

There have been tough times in recent months for many members of the Lord’s church here. There have been sickness, death, loss of jobs, loss of homes, bad times with cars, loss of relationships, etc.. Things haven’t gone well for many these past several months.

And what about the skyrocketing prices for food, gasoline, and utilities? We are now involved in several wars or conflicts around the world. We continually are bombarded with bad news at home and worse news abroad. The economy overall is bad. There just doesn’t seem to be much good news.

So how is it that the Apostle Paul can say in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!”?

How can we rejoice when things are so bad for so many people?

I found an answer to that in a rather unlikely place….the book of Habakkuk. God was going to use the very wicked Babylonians to punish the wicked people of Judah, who had turned away from God. Habakkuk knew God’s punishment at the hand of the Babylonians was near. When Habakkuk questioned God about this, God asks Habakkuk to remember that the just must live by faith and trust that God would do what was right.

Things had become pretty grim in Judah, but see how even in bad times Habakkuk could rejoice!

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior!” – Hab. 3:17 & 18 NIV

In times of trouble, even when everything else is going wrong, we can rejoice, because Jesus is our Savior and He will always do what is right!


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Volume 34 Number 12

Thinking about Divorce?

If you’ve gone through a traumatizing divorce, you’re not alone. No, I’m not thinking about all the other divorced couples out there. I’m talking about God himself who reluctantly divorced his bride, Israel. It’s not the same, certainly, but if God used the language of divorce who are we to say otherwise? Sometimes it must come to that, if for no other reason, ironically, than to bolster the sanctity of the marriage bond.

And that is what marriage is: a bond. Not a contract, but a sacred bond. Were it otherwise, divorce would not be the emotionally-charged nightmare it is. It’s not difficult to understand the trauma. If in marriage the “two become one,” divorce rips apart that mystical union leaving both parties less than whole. Yet if divorce is so devastating, why does God allow it under any circumstances?

A clue is found in the single cause God recognizes as a legitimate ground for divorce and remarriage: sexual unfaithfulness. (Note carefully the qualifier: and remarriage. Although a woman is not required to stick around and suffer abuse, remarrying is a separate matter.) The rabbis who approached Jesus about divorce were divided over the grounds for divorce. Some thought a man could divorce his wife for any reason and marry whomever he fancied. But Jesus surprised them, employing a term they could all agree on. Knowing that not a single rabbi would condone adultery, Jesus told them that–absent an act of spousal unfaithfulness–divorcing and remarrying was the same as committing adultery! No mere piece of paper could clean up the obvious.

So does an act of sexual unfaithfulness give one a license for divorce? Not exactly a “license.” A spouse eager for a legitimate divorce virtually nullifies the grounds for divorce by having the wrong motives. Indeed, God takes serious interest in what the “innocent spouse” might have contributed to the conduct of the “offending spouse.” In spiritual terms, rarely is there such a thing as “no-fault” divorce. Even as a perfect husband, God did not put away his bride at the first instance of unfaithfulness. Repeatedly, he pleaded for her return and welcomed her back into his embrace. Only when Israel persisted in her adultery with pagan idols did God finally send her away…only to restore her yet again!

If you’ve not gone through a divorce but are thinking about it, no one has to tell you what a serious step it is. When Jesus’ own disciples questioned the strictness of Jesus’ teaching about divorce (protesting it would be better never to marry!), Jesus brought home the seriousness of a divorce where the bond has not been broken by unfaithfulness. Using the analogy of eunuchs, Jesus said that while some are born eunuchs and others are made that way by force, spouses without a divinely-recognized basis for remarriage must courageously commit themselves to living thereafter as sexually-pure, unmarried eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom. Is that a commitment you can make…and keep?

By F. LaGard Smith via Church of Christ, Kirksville, MO


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Volume 34 Number 11

How Much Is ENOUGH?

Recently I was reading that BEFORE Bernie Madoff came up with his Ponzi scheme he was legitimately and legally making $500,000 a day. How much is enough?

When Alexander the Great was 23 years old he sat down and wept because there was no more world to conquer. How much is enough?

During King Solomon’s reign, “The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedars as plentiful as sycamores in the lowland.” – 2 Chronicles 1:15. How much is enough?

At the dedication of the Temple, King “Solomon offered as peace offerings to the Lord twenty-two thousand oxen and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep….”- I Kings 1:63  How Much Is Enough?

King Solomon also had 700 wives and 300 concubines. – I Kings 11:1-3 How much is enough?

After God had sent Moses, the Judges, and the Prophets to His people to turn them back to Him again, He sent them His only Son, Jesus. “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” – Heb. 1:1&2 How much is enough?

We all have clothing, food, homes, cars, basic necessities of life and then some. How much is enough?

If you have a job with a paycheck; how much is enough?

If you have some savings; how much is enough?

If you have relatively good health; how much is enough?

If you have several good friends; how much is enough?

If you have been given responsibilities or control over others; how much is enough?

Even with the Lybian civil war crisis, the world continues to produce millions of barrels of oil a day. How much is enough?

When all the rest of the world seems to be going crazy, just remember this: God is still on His throne. He is still in control. He will always do what is right…….including being sure that we each have ENOUGH.

By Art Wallis


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Volume 34 Number 10

Masterpiece…

I recently saw an article about a woman who used dryer lint to recreate a version of Da Vinci’s, “The Last Supper,” as her entry for an art competition. Needless to say, some of the judges found her interpretation a little fuzzy (sorry I couldn’t resist), as she placed second in the contest. She may still be the big winner though, as she sold her creation to, “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” for a substantial sum, or at least enough to buy herself a new washer and dryer. Most anyone reading this story would think it odd since she took over 800 hours to wash and dry towels to collect the lint and another 200 hours to create the 14 foot wide sculpture. Why would anyone spend so much time on something so seemingly dubious? Someone may ask God the same thing.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalms 139:14).

For we are God’s workmanship , created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

Why does God put all the effort into us? From the moment He knits us together in the womb, He longs for us to know Him as our Father. His workmanship is for a purpose. God’s desire is that His creation do good works. What an amazing realization that the Creator of the world would spend so much time on us, whose performance at times are so dubious. I guess the point is that God uses many different mediums for His workmanship. Something most would consider questionable, God created just right for a specific purpose. So, remember you were created by the Master, make sure you live up to the masterpiece that He sees in you. By the way, if you are still in doubt about your worth, remember the price that was paid for you.

Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things (1 Peter 1:10-12).

Wade  McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK


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Volume 34 Number 9

Unplugged…

I saw an item on the news this week about a family who had turned off anything with a screen for six months. That meant no cell phones, computers, televisions, movie theatres or other electronics for six months. You probably have some mixed feelings as you think about this concept. The mother stated that while they were connected online, they were becoming more and more disconnected at home I have to admit I am guilty of this bad habit. During the multi-day ice storm power outage last year, my family spent our time playing card and board games, hide and seek, talking and reading. The inconvenience resulted in a great blessing. There are times when it is time to unplug so you can plug into something far more important.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy (Exodus 20:8-11).

When God took Moses up on the mountain one of His goals was to give the leader of His people a set of rules to base their lives on. He included as one of these rules, “Remember the Sabbath.” In His wisdom God saw that we need to come to Him without any distractions that draw our minds and hearts away. There is so much that can pull us away from our time with Him. In our society it is not only our hearts and minds that are drawn away from worshipping Him, it is our bodies also. Our worship times are often trumped by other activities. I wonder how God feels about that? He demands our hearts, minds and time.

It is time that we stop enabling the processes that draw us away from a vital duty as Christians–honoring and praising our Father without any distractions. It is time we give Him our unplugged lives and plug into the One who is our, Father, Master, Creator, Spirit and Savior.

You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3).

Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK


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Volume 34 Number 8

Just Crumbs will Do. . .

Recently, my wife and I stopped at a local fast-food restaurant for hamburgers. As we ate in their outside eating area, I noticed that a beautiful blackbird, having midnight black body feathers, coal black tail, and wing feathers, landed in the empty space beside our car.  Standing very patiently, I knew that all he wanted was for me just to toss him a piece of bread from my hamburger. He would look at me as if to beg for just one small piece.   As I began to look at him more closely, I noticed that in all his God-created beauty, he was physically flawed. This species of bird normally has three toes that are spread evenly on the ground to give them balance. This particular bird, however, only had one foot to place on the ground. The other foot was deformed and turned back so that he walked on the joint where the foot and leg connects.

As I watched, the beauty of this bird really stood out as dull colored grackles begin to land, and then some aggressive pigeons appeared. None of these birds, however, could draw my attention from the blackbird. He was struggling to stand steady as a strong wind blew. Yet, with great effort he never gave in to the wind but stood firm on his one good foot. The strength, courage, and dedication of this deformed bird really touched my heart.  As he was standing there on one foot, not even indicating that he was so much as even thinking about giving in to his surroundings, it almost brought tears to my eyes as I thought about his dedication to life, how he stood tall among the other birds, and how he never gave up on what he wanted. But patiently he waited, just hoping for one small morsel of bread.

Everyday I see one and usually more than one of God’s creatures standing on the street corners in the city where I live, “desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fall from the rich man’s table” (Luke 16:21). As the blackbird, for them just “crumbs will do.”  I wonder why my emotions are not touched by these precious souls, who are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), as much as by the blackbird that I observed at the fast-food restaurant. Instead of tossing them a “crumb,” however, I try to judge them by thinking, “If that person really wanted money he could work. Why should I give him my hard-earned money for which I work 10 hours a day for?”

Then I think, “Could he really work, or was he like the deformed blackbird only I could not see it?” Was he having as much trouble standing in the challenging “winds” (problems) of life as the blackbird? Was I missing the inward beauty of this person, or was I just not looking for the beauty, but only “seeing” the deformity?  All of this caused me to seriously think about the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31. The text tells us that this beggar “was laid” (literally, “was thrown”) or cast carelessly down by his bearers and left there.

This beggar obviously suffered some physical malady which did not allow him to walk. The text also indicates that Lazarus was not fed from the crumbs, but only “desired” to be fed from the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table (Luke 16:21). Yet, the rich man could only see the undesirability of the man, rather than the man’s need.   Perhaps our lives would be more spiritually blessed, fulfilling, and enriched if we were better able to “see” the physical and spiritual needs of our fellow man rather than the “deformities” in their lives, and at least be willing to feed them the “crumbs” which fall from the abundance of our table.

Mike Riley


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Volume 34 Number 7

Keeping Watch

You often see it in the movies, the night is dark and in the darkness there is peril. There is an enemy out there, so a guard is set. Typically in the first or second watch, no problem arises but in the darkest part of the night the watchman, weary from lack of sleep, invariably nods off (usually to his own demise), and the camp is attacked.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:31-34)

These words during the feast in the upper room are a warning to Simon that he is going to, “fall asleep on watch.” Of course, that is exactly what happened but I want you to notice what Jesus did not say. He did not say, “Simon, pray that you do not fall.” He said, “But I have prayed for you.” While Peter is targeted in this statement, it should be a comfort to us all. Although Peter may stumble, it is Christ himself who has taken up the watch. He prayed for Simon. He prayed for him to not lose his faith, to overcome, and to be a source encouragement to his brothers.

Furthermore, Christ continues to keep watch for us. His blood washes away our sin and he intercedes with God on our behalf. As in our example the enemy is out there in the darkness. He is waiting for us to fall asleep on watch so he can attack. One day, if we remain faithful, the enemy may say, “They, failed in their duty and fell asleep,” and Christ goes before His Father and tells Him, “But I was awake and kept watch.”

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us (Romans 8:33-35).

Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK


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Volume 34 Number 6

Images of our Final Home

What happens after God’s people die? According to Jesus, those who believe in his will live even if they die (Jn 11:25). Jesus himself is the resurrection and the life. The Apostle Paul indicates that when you die, you go on to be with the Lord (Phil 1:23).

We usually refer to this as “going to Heaven.” What is Heaven? The Hebrew word, “shamayim” and Greek word, “ouranos” both literally mean sky, which is also the word to talk about the place where God dwells (Ps 11:4) and the final destination of God’s people (1 Pet 1:4). Ancient people sometimes referred to God’s dwelling place as the “Third Heaven.” However, Heaven is not the only word or concept scripture uses to speak of the final dwelling of God’s people.

  1. My Father’s House. Jesus said that there were “many dwelling places/rooms” there (Jn 14:2). This is a place with enough room for everyone. Paul refers to it as a “building” and a “house not made with hands” (2 Cor 5:1). He contrasts our current home as a temporary “tent,” with our permanent dwelling from Heaven (2 Cor 5:2-5).
  2. Kingdom. God’s “kingdom” does not always refer to the church. God’s kingdom used to refer to Israel (Ex 19:6). Later, Jesus inaugurated the kingdom in his ministry (Lk 11:20; 17:21; Mk 9:1). Finally, there will be the consummation of the kingdom to come (2 Pet 2:11; 2 Tim 4:18). This future kingdom is called the “eternal kingdom” or “heavenly kingdom.” Jesus will abolish all rule, authority, and power, and put all enemies under his feet, and deliver the kingdom to God the Father (1 Cor 15:24-26). Closely related to this image is the throne of God in Revelation. All of creation are in the heavenly throne room worshipping God who is still on the throne.
  3. Wedding Feast. One of the pictures of man being reunited with God is that of a wedding feast (Rev 19:7-9). Jesus is the groom, and the church is the bride. This expresses the commitment and deep love God has for his people.
  4. Abraham’s Bosom. This is also an image of a feast. In a parable, Jesus tells the story of Lazarus, a poor man who died and found himself being comforted in “Abraham’s bosom” (Lk 16:19-25). In that culture, people reclined on their left elbow and ate with their right hand. The host sat at the far right, and the guest of honor would have been to his right. This put the guest of honor literally at the bosom of the host. There is some debate over how much of this to take as literal details since it is a parable. In any case, this images expresses being honored at a divine feast.
  5. Paradise. “Paradise” is a Persian loan word that means, “Walled Garden.” During the period before the New Testament, Jews began to use this word to speak of the place where the souls of the righteous go. Paul speaks of being caught to the third heaven into “paradise” (2 Cor 12:4). Jesus promised those who overcome that they would eat of the tree of life in the “Paradise of God” (Rev 2:7). This evokes images of the Garden of Eden that God created for mankind in the beginning. There, man walked with God face to face and had access to the tree of life. But they were driven from the garden due to sin. However, there will be a restoration to the tree of life and face-to-face fellowship with God in his eternal garden.

John Telgren, Qohelet Web Ministry, Leavenworth church of Christ, Leavenworth, KS


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Volume 34 Number 5

Forgiveness or not

Can you forgive? Do you have trouble forgiving?

Recently I was discussing how Michael Vick is such a great an athlete. In case you haven’t kept up with his career he was very successful as the starting quarterback for Virginia Tech and the Atlanta Falcons. He has been successful as quarterback for Philadelphia Eagles. And then there is another side of Michael Vick which cost him some prison time. He served his sentence and from all reports he has tried to learn from his crime.  But there are those who would forever brand him. I can’t do that.

If you are a Christian you have been forgiven a terrible debt when Jesus Christ washed your sins away. To be honest you didn’t deserve it nor did I. Jesus paid that debt because of His Father’s love for you and me (John 3:16).

Sometimes we get so self righteous. We can see the sins and faults of others but not ours. Romans 10:23, still says, “All have sinned and fallen short glory of God.” So, why do we play judge so much of the time?

Notice the words of Matthew 18:21, 22, Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. I once asked some young people if that meant that after 490 times I didn’t have to forgive tem anymore. Thankfully they were smart and knew better.

But at times we don’t get it do we? Jesus then told a parable in Matthew 18:23-35 about the unmerciful servant. From that parable we need to understand that we have a debt that is impossible to pay. If God can forgive us, why can’t we forgive?

Forgiveness or not is not an option.

Keith Bellamy, Woodville church of Christ, Woodville, Texas

 


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Volume 34 Number 4

What Happened?…

Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out. Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him (John 9:26-38)

This reading is the end of an awesome encounter with God. I hope you will read the whole account in John 9. It tells of a man born blind, who presiding culture considered was born into sin, coming into contact with God. A man who now finds himself overwhelmed by sight. He had to be asking himself, “What happened?” Considering this, it is no wonder that this man refused to be talked out of seeing and experiencing the presence of God no matter how much he was ridiculed and threatened.

The result is a picture of how Christ changes lives. However, I contend that every day, God gives us opportunities to experience similar, albeit less extreme, “What happened?” moments. It may be answered prayers, peace in turmoil, or any number of unexpected blessings; for God is just as present now as He was when He touched the man who was blind no more. The sad thing is that we often experience these moments and fail to recognize them for what they are– Christ bending down, making mud, and placing it on blind eyes. Maybe, we listen to the ridicule of the world instead of believing in His power? So, keep your eyes open for those moments when the mud is washed away and you are able to see. Just don’t forget to praise God when it happens!

Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK

 


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Volume 34 Number 3

Bible Reading Is FUNdamental – Year Two

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalms 119:105

A year ago we began Bible Reading Is FUNdamental. It was a system designed to have members report on the number of Bible chapters read on a weekly basis.

This concept was based on the national program termed RIF [Reading is FUNdamental]. The basic purpose of RIF is to prepare and motivate children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them.

In a parallel sense, congregations of the Lord’s people should also have a desire to prepare and motivate children, adults and families to read their Bibles on a regular and consistent basis. We have that wonderful admonition in II Timothy 2:15, which reads as follows: “Be diligent [Study] to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” A basic analysis of this verse tells us that Paul wanted his readers to develop a good understanding of God’s word. One way this is accomplished is by regular attention to reading the Bible. Thus, the expression, Bible Reading Is FUNdamental [BRIF].

We know many members at Grandview read their Bibles on a regular basis, to continue and encourage this activity we began to track the number of chapters read each week by the members at Grandview. So what can we report after one year of tracking these numbers?  We can report that over a period of 12 months 23,785 chapters were read!  All together there are 1,189 chapters in the Bible, so that translates into the entire Bible having been read through 20 times by the Grandview family.  A significant accomplishment!

Although the year of 2010 has ended, BRIF has not ended.  We will continue to encourage everyone to participate in reading their Bibles throughout the year of 2011 and continue to report the number of chapters read each week.

 


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Volume 34 Number 2

That’s Good…

“That’s good!” You hear it repeated all the time. When you taste something that makes you palate sing, when your child comes to you, excited because they just found a dandelion, when something goes just right. However, I would like you to sit back and think for a minute—how do you define, “good?” It may mean different things to you depending on what you are going through, whether they are fine times or struggles. Although, I would hope everyone’s definition of “good” would be the same as David’s…

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge that I may tell of all Thy works (Psalms 73:28). NASV

You really need to read the entirety of Psalms 73 to get the intensity of the last line in this Psalm. David starts by saying how God is good to His people, but in the same breath recounts how he almost stumbled. Instead on keeping his eyes on the Lord, David started looking around, listening to others, and becoming envious of what they “seemed” to have. Satan has a way of making envious or hurting hearts look and listen to the wrong things. “Why can’t I do that,” “Why can’t I be like that,” or “Why do they have it so good?” bounces around in our brain and we forget that one of the greatest blessings God gives us is being near. David says, “The nearness of God is my good.” Recognizing God is near and nothing that you are going through can change that fact, gives you peace, hope and true joy that nothing else can give you and nothing can take away.

As if reminding us that the, “Nearness of God,” surpasses all was not enough, David also threw in a bonus nugget of wisdom, “That I may tell of all Thy works.” Don’t let this idea get lost because it is so very important. David is saying his job is to praise God. Why is this so important? The first reason is that God deserves it! The second, is that when we take the time to give the Lord what he deserves, we are reminded of all the things He has done for us and this reinforces the blessing of having Him near.

Lord we praise you for being near us. We praise you for sending your Son to be near us. We praise you for sending your Spirit to live in us, because above all else you are our GOOD!
Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK

 


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Volume 34 Number 1

WHAT WILL THE NEW YEAR BRING?

It is that time again.  At midnight Friday night, we closed the books on 2010, and we moved into a brand new year.  Many will post a new wall calendar, and many will have celebrated the New Year with food, football, fellowship, or time with family and friends. Hopefully, we will have spent some time reflecting on our life, and the direction we hope it will take during the next twelve months.

Many take this time of the year to make some resolutions.  We may determine to exercise more, to eat better, to be more prudent with financial matters, and to be more spiritual in our lives.  Yet, the reality is that writing a new year on our checks does not change anything.  When we awoke on New Year’s Day, we had the same debts, the same struggles, the same behaviors that we had New Year’s Eve.

Likewise, our relationships do not change by inserting new pages in our new Day Planner.  Any strained relationship will not have been altered, and in the same vein, a lukewarm relationship with the Lord will not have changed.  An individual who was lost will not find salvation through the “dropping of the ball” in Times Square.  New Year’s is only cosmetic and in and of itself offers no real change in our lives.

However, the great news is that we can change our lives.  Whether on January 1, 2011 or July 1, 2011, we can choose to live differently.  We can change our life styles, we can eat better, and we can improve our financial habits.  With God’s help we can restore any problem relationship, and we can enrich each other.  In responding to God’s grace demonstrated through Jesus Christ, we can be saved from our sins and live every day triumphantly.  The impact of 2011 lies in what changes we are willing to make.  It is up to each of us.  What will we do?

 


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Volume 33 Number 52

Help Wanted: Shepherd, Fisherman, Carpenter…

As you journey along the paths where your Bible studies guide you sometimes you just have to wonder at the mind of God. We look at routes God blazed to lead His people, and realize that only God would have been able to see what His people needed. Travel with me down a few of God’s roads.

Moses, Hebrew by birth, saved by his mother’s wisdom and a watertight basket, to be raised as an Egyptian prince. However, God was not in need of a prince, He needed a shepherd. So down the path Moses goes spending a few quiet years tending sheep. Yet, he was a shepherd like no other, a shepherd with a prince’s education. Now, God had a man with the knowledge of leadership, but a shepherd’s heart to lead his new nation. It is probably no coincidence that God led Samuel to another shepherd, David, as His chosen king to lead Israel.

Fast forward a few hundred years, and we see some of Christ’s closest companions were fishermen. How fitting that the group he chose to mentor and spread His message, had engrained in them hard work, teamwork, and an aversion to letting “one get away.”

Now look at the path God chose for a Savior. He could have been born into royalty, power or influence, but God had another design. He chose a young virgin, most likely a teenager, and an earthly father who was a carpenter. Christ grew up with a humble mother and father as his example. You must wonder how this example, along with spending hours watching and helping his father shape wood—seeing in the wood what few others could see, gave Jesus the tools needed to shape the destiny of the world?

To be sure God sees things we fail to grasp, which leaves us asking this question. What does God see in us that He needs to shape the world? What is in you, the homemaker, accountant, teacher, driver, engineer, nurse, farmer, teenager, child, shepherd, fisherman, carpenter… that God has given you for His purpose? The “Help Wanted” sign is out.
Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK
News & Notes
MEET AND GREET:  Please join us in the fellowship hall December 29th after Bible Study to meet and greet Richard and Beth’s daughter, Kellie Potter, and her fiancée, Steve.  Kellie is a former Grandview member and will be married next spring in Canada where the couple will make their home.  Although some of you do not know Kellie, all well wishers are welcome.  There will be a box for cards and light refreshments will be served.

NEW YEARS EVE:  We will be having a gathering at the building.  Bring a game and some snacks and enjoy the fun!  We will begin at 8:00 pm.  See you then!

ADULT BIBLE CLASS: In the adult Bible class we will be beginning a study on the book of James. All students are encouraged to read the first chapter and answer the question: “What do the first eight verses teach us about Jesus?”

TEENS:  We will be ice skating at the downtown rink for a get together on Dec 29 at 2:00 pm.  We will meet there or if you need a ride, please call Ann Longfellow.

Bryan and Casey Jones family has moved to East Tennessee and have this temporary address until they purchase a home:

Brian & Kasey Jones
106 Car-Mol, Apt 9
Johnson City, TN 37601

LOST & FOUND:  A table for lost and found is now in the area by the south entrance into the kitchen.  This is the place to look for lost items.

THANK YOU!  To Ladies of Grandview:  A special thanks to each of you gave to us.  We really appreciated it!  Your brother and sister in Christ, Marge and Glenn

Sisters in Christ:  Wow! What a surprise!  The goodies have been scrumptious!  And, the gift cards and washcloths are being put to use.  God bless you all, Judy Singer

Prayer Requests

Members

Please continue to pray for Karen Belk as she heals from skin cancer surgery.

Please continue to pray for Millie Buxton regarding her eye problems.

Continue to keep Elaine Folding in prayer as she continues to heal.

Leo Gaulke, is doing well after his back surgery. Pray for his continual healing.

Please continue to pray for the success of Doris Gaulke’s treatment.

Mark McGee will be having corneal transplant surgery on Wednesday the 29th. Please keep him in prayer.

Marge Stevens saw the doctor on the 8th and was told to return in two months to better determine the state of the wrinkle on the back of her eye.

Please continue to pray for Marge and Glen Stevens regarding their health issues.

Garry Van Egdom is home now. It was determined during testing that he has mesothelioma. He will be starting his first of three chemotherapy sessions on January 4. Please continue to pray for Garry and Marcia.

Family

Mike Dorrell’s father, Richard, has been in and out of the hospital for the past two months fighting pneumonia. He has been on breathing machines this past week.

Ronnie Harrison’s stepmom, Eileen, has congestive heart failure. She is now in assisted living.

Melissa Hiskey and Cassie Johnson’s father, Merle Hardy, is not doing well. His white and red blood count is not normal. Please pray for the family during this rough period of time.

Jim Mort’s sister is in Hospice in Pennsylvania. Please prayer for her and family.

Jerod Van Egdom’s father, Ron received word that his insurance approved the stem cell transplant.

Dan Lightfoot, the father of Kayla Wallis, had neck surgery last Wednesday, and is still in a tremendous amount of pain.

Friends

Amanda Schafer, a friend of Sunny Folding, will be having a hysterectomy on the 29th. Please pray that this will solve all of the medical problems this young woman is having.

Terese, a friend of Brian and Melissa Hiskey, has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Dennis Martin, a friend of Linda Kaiser will have a biopsy in January. Please pray for good results.

Ida Rabon, a friend of Linda Kaiser lung cancer is spreading. Please pray for her and family.

Jesse Taylor a family friend of the Kaisers is terminal. Please pray for him and family.

Dave, a friend of Mike Ogle, is doing well after a successful surgery to remove the solidified mass from his lung.

Pray for spiritual revival for our nation.

Keep in prayer those traveling this week.

Iowa churches that are currently without preachers need prayer.

Looking for a job: David Colton, Andrew Graves, Andrea Kirk, Rich Potter

Missions: Bob and Marla Housby; Mike and Diane Richardson

Calendar of Events

  • Dec 19 – Teen Gathering, 7:30pm at Sparks
  • Dec 26 – The Shores—2:00pm
  • Dec 31 – New Years  get-together
  • Jan 2 – Potluck Lunch at 12:00 pm
  • Jan 9 – Service at The Shores 2:00pm
  • Jan 11 – Sonbeams meet
  • Jan 16 – Teen Gathering 7:30pm
  • Jan 18 – Ladies Fellowship 7:00pm
  • Feb 12 – Bible Bowl—Hickman Church

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Volume 33 Number 51

Secret Agent… Oh Man

I felt all secret agent-y today as my wife passed me my wallet in a drive by in front of the Sonic. The events that led up to the “pass,” if you choose to pursue them, are as follows. Subject One (my wife), left the home at 7:25 a.m. to take the oldest sibling to the school. At 7:35 a.m., although Subject Number Two (me) started looking for his wallet at 7:25, still hadn’t found objective. Subject Number Two then calls Subject Number One to see if the object is in her vehicle. Objective is located and meeting site was established, which then led to the pass of object. It was after the phone call that Subject Number Two realized that no matter how long he looked for his wallet in the house, he would never find it. How often do we look for things without finding them, because we look in the wrong place?

From the times of the prophets, the Israelite nation was looking for the Messiah. They knew what signs to look for “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert (Isa 35:5-6).” They even knew his birthplace, “the city of David.” Yet, Jesus fulfills all prophecies, and the Israelites are looking somewhere else because Jesus didn’t satisfy their idea of salvation.

Today we live in a world looking for fulfillment. They seek it in work, education, popularity, nice car, nice house, personal accomplishments, their children’s accomplishments, etc. The end result is a people who appear successful but don’t have what they need. The heart that is content is the heart that has not only found Jesus, but knows Him.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:13-14).
Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK

 


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Volume 33 Number 50

In God We Trust — Psalm 55:22

‘Friends are God’s way of taking care of us.’ This was written by a Metro Denver Hospice Physician:

I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and the car started to choke and splutter and die – I barely managed to coast, cursing, into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck It wouldn’t even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the quickie mart building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay.  When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.

At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95. I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying ‘I don’t want my kids to see me crying! ,’ so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now. So I asked, ‘And you were praying?’ That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, ‘He heard you, and He sent me.’  I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling, walked to the next door McDonald’s and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car, who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.

She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City. Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn’t have money to pay rent Jan. 1, and finally, in desperation, had called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about 5 years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there.  So she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there. I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, ‘So, are you like an angel or something?’

This definitely made me cry. I said, ‘Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.’   It was so incredible to be a part of someone else’s miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I’ll put it in the shop tomorrow to check, but I suspect the mechanic won’t find anything wrong.

Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings…

Psalms 55:22 ‘ Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.  He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

 


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Volume 33 Number 49

That’s Good…

“That’s good!” You hear it repeated all the time. When you taste something that makes you palate sing, when your child comes to you, excited because they just found a dandelion, when something goes just right. However, I would like you to sit back and think for a minute—how do you define, “good?” It may mean different things to you depending on what you are going through, whether they are fine times or struggles. Although, I would hope everyone’s definition of “good” would be the same as David’s…

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge that I may tell of all Thy works (Psalms 73:28). NASV

You really need to read the entirety of Psalms 73 to get the intensity of the last line in this Psalm. David starts by saying how God is good to His people, but in the same breath recounts how he almost stumbled. Instead on keeping his eyes on the Lord, David started looking around, listening to others, and becoming envious of what they “seemed” to have. Satan has a way of making envious or hurting hearts look and listen to the wrong things. “Why can’t I do that,” “Why can’t I be like that,” or “Why do they have it so good?” bounces around in our brain and we forget that one of the greatest blessings God gives us is being near. David says, “The nearness of God is my good.” Recognizing God is near and nothing that you are going through can change that fact, gives you peace, hope and true joy that nothing else can give you and nothing can take away.

As if reminding us that the, “Nearness of God,” surpasses all was not enough, David also threw in a bonus nugget of wisdom, “That I may tell of all Thy works.” Don’t let this idea get lost because it is so very important. David is saying his job is to praise God. Why is this so important? The first reason is that God deserves it! The second, is that when we take the time to give the Lord what he deserves, we are reminded of all the things He has done for us and this reinforces the blessing of having Him near.

Lord we praise you for being near us. We praise you for sending your Son to be near us. We praise you for sending your Spirit to live in us, because above all else you are our GOOD!

Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK

 


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Volume 33 Number 48

If You Have Children

I was fortunate to have grown up in a family where Bible Class was a part of our weekly life. I am thankful to Christian parents who realized the need to prepare their children for the most important things of life. For thousands of years, Deuteronomy 6:6-9 has instructed parents: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (NKJV)

Consider that most children will attend school about 17,000 hours from kindergarten through high school (about 2,300 days). During those times they will learn about reading, writing, math, history, science, and more. In addition, they will be surrounded (in most cases) by other children who have different belief systems. A child who watches a minimum of 10 hours per week of television (more in most cases) will have accumulated over 10,000 hours by the time they are 18 years old. Consider the extra hours they spend listening to music, on their cell phones, on the internet, playing sports, joining other clubs, and more. All of these are usually done outside of the church and with those who are not concerned about spiritual matters. The deck is stacked against our children getting the spiritual foundation they need.

What about the person who attends only Sunday AM worship weekly until they are 18 years old? Most children don’t begin to understand sermons, usually directed to young people and adults, until about 11 years of age. In this case, they hear about 200 hours of instruction from God’s Word. On the other hand, consider the same young person who attends Sunday class, Sunday AM worship, Sunday PM worship, Wednesday class, and VBS each summer. They will have been instructed from God’s Word about 1,500 hours, still less than 10% of their time in school.

We often stress the importance of Bible class because every study and poll available shows that those who attend Bible class during their childhood are more likely to remain faithful to the Lord as adults (doesn’t it make sense?). It’s not a guarantee, but Bible class gives them a great advantage. They not only study and focus on God’s Word, they also establish friendships with those like faith.

Parents, I hope you will consider seriously the great impact your decision about Bible classes, what amounts to about 2-3 hours per week, will have on your children. Psalm 127:3 says “children are a heritage from the Lord.” The Lord has entrusted your sons and daughters into your care! You do them a HUGE favor by making sure they are with other young people every Sunday and Wednesday to study

God’s Word. Your dedication to this cause will very likely result in their continued faithfulness to God throughout life and an eternity with God in heaven.

I often close letters with a variation of the words: “May the Lord bless you richly.” Moms and dads, the Lord HAS blessed you richly by giving you children. The question to consider is: “How do you treat the blessings you have received from the Lord?”

Mark Hammit, Weber Road Church of Christ, Corpus Christi, Texas

 


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Volume 33 Number 29

Out of Place

Read John 21

Following my son’s soccer game and about thirty minutes from home, his soccer coach climbs into his SUV for the return trip when he hears a hissing and looks down to see a rather large snake slithering into the cab with him. So he slams the door trapping the snake half in, half out of his car. When he opens the door, thinking it would drop to the ground, it instead crawls into the engine compartment. With darkness quickly engulfing us, six guys, who had no clue what we were doing, spent the next hour trying to remove said snake. Were we successful? Let’s just say they drove home with the lights on in the cab. Round two took place at MoJo’s car wash. Upon arrival, my son’s coach opens the door to find the snake tucked right in his door jam. He slams the door again and crawls out the other side. With spray wand ready, the door is opened only to find the snake in retreat once more. This time the water is enough to cause the snake to exit and peace is eventually restored to the town (or at least they can park in the garage again). Talk about something being out of place. If you read John 21 you will see an example of someone being out of place.

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep… And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” John 21:17 & 19b

Peter and the other disciples were at a loss. They had seen the resurrected Jesus, but what next? Earlier in the chapter Peter said, “I’m going fishing” I have a feeling he wasn’t talking about a day of recreation, I think he was returning to the life he had before he met Jesus. Jesus was reminding Peter that while he may choose to fish, that was not where he belonged. Peter’s job was to follow Christ and to spread His message, our job is the same. Our lives must be dedicated to following Christ, and feeding His sheep. If anything gets in the way of this, we will find ourselves as out of place as a snake in the front seat.

Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Chrsit, Chickasha, OK

 


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Volume 33 Number 28

The Proverbs 32 Man

Okay, I know there is no such thing as a “Proverbs 32 Man.” The book of Proverbs ends with praising the woman of honor. I would have liked for their to be another chapter praising the honorable man. This is needed in a time when the idea of manhood, manliness, and maleness has been under attack for decades. The rise of radical feminism has deeply affected traditional views of manhood, resulting in a feminizing tendency toward men. However, God created men to be men and women to be women, each with their own strengths and roles.

In my searching through the scriptures, I came across the 112th Psalm. This Psalm is a tribute to the godly man and is perhaps the closest thing we have to a counterpart to Proverbs 31. I decided to try something. Using ideas from Psalm 112; Prov. 20:5-7 and Job 29, I put together a composite picture of the honorable man in the style of Proverbs 31. So, if there were a Proverbs 32, it might look something like this:

Proverbs 32

  1. An honorable man who can find? His worth is far above riches and glory
  2. The heart of his wife trusts in him and his children have no lack of gain
  3. He does them good and not evil all the days of their lives.
  4. He works hard and faithfully to provide what is needed
  5. Safe and secure is his family as they look up to him and honor him
  6. He delivers the poor who cry and the orphan who has no helper
  7. He makes the widow’s heart sing for joy
  8. He stands firm in what is just and right
  9. He is eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, a father to the needy
  10. He breaks the jaws of the wicked and snatches the prey from his teeth
  11. He fears the Lord and delights in his commandments
  12. With honor he accepts responsibility and courageously leads with integrity
  13. In the town square he is known and commands respect everywhere he goes
  14. In the waters of his heart are plans and he has wisdom to draw them out
  15. A man of loyalty and tenacity is he, trustworthy and faithful
  16. His sons are with him, observing and learning, a model for them is he
  17. His sons are mighty and noble on the earth, a testimony to his character
  18. Overbearing, domineering inflates pride and ego, but is impotent and vain
  19. There are many men, but you are a real man, you are God’s man
  20. His wife and his family follow his godly leadership
  21. A godly man who fears the Lord shall be praised
  22. His wife and family rise up to honor him
  23. Let the works of his hands praise him\

John Telgren
Qohelet Web Ministry
Leavenworth Church of Christ,
Leavenworth KS

 


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Volume 33 Number 27

As our eyes

Sometimes His love seems far away
But it is always near

The pain and shadow can cloud the sun
And fill our eyes with tears
At time we cannot see the path
Our faith acts as our eyes

Jesus knows our pain and strife
Keep trusting just in Him.

Tava Mazak

Sacrifice

On the cross
God gave His life
He gave his only son
To know our pain
And let us know Him

He gave us enough love
To end our pain and grief
More love than is seemed possible

But can WE bear to give our lives?
The old life rotting in sin
To give it wholly to Christ
And let him cleanse us from within

He died for us
Please let Him in.

Tava Mazak

 


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Volume 33 Number 26

Military Grade Brownies

Have you ever made brownies or cookies? Recipes for brownies or cookies usually can fit on an index card. However, military grade brownies and oatmeal cookies come with a 26-page document laying out all the rules and regulations you need to follow to make them. The recipe, or “formula” as they call it, leaves nothing to chance. Everything is strictly regulated. According to the regs, the brownies are not to exceed 3 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches by 5/8 inch, and the cookies, cut in rectangles, are also to be cut to similar size. Even the shortening and nuts are regulated. Here are some excerpts:

  • 3.2.4 Shortening, hydrogenated. … The shortening shall have a stability of not less than 100 hours as determined by the Active Oxygen Method (AOM) in Method Cd 12-57 of the Commercial Fats and Oils chapter in the Official and Tentative Methods of the American Oil Chemists Society…
  • 3.2.5.3 Nuts, walnuts, shelled. Shelled walnut pieces shall be of the small piece size classification, shall be of a light color, and shall be U.S. No. 1 of the U.S. Standards for Shelled English Walnuts. A minimum of 90 percent, by weight, of the pieces shall pass through a 4/16-in diameter round hole screen and not more than 1 percent, by weight, shall pass through a 2/16-inch diameter round hole screen…

This may seem to be overkill, until you understand the rationale behind such strict regulations. Jeremy Whitsitt, with the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate, told NPR that the recipe is intended to produce food capable of withstanding the most brutal field conditions.

”What would happen if you cooked a meal, stored it in a stifling hot warehouse, dropped it out of an airplane, dragged it through the mud, left it out with bugs and vermin, and ate it three years later? If it were a military meal,” Whitsitt says, “it would still be edible and maybe even tasty.”

So, it is important to follow the formula. If not, then the food will go bad and the men and women in uniform will go hungry.

This reminds me of when Jesus said, “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you…” (Jn 6:27a). The food that Jesus is talking about is the bread of life that has a shelf life of eternity as does those who eat it. Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever” (Jn 6:51a). This eating metaphor communicates that Jesus is to become part of us. It is similar to Paul saying, “yet not I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). When we model ourselves after the word that has become flesh (Jn 1:14), and follow his instructions, it will mean life (Jn 6:63). Only he has the words of life (Jn 6:68). This means we follow his instructions and his life and accept no substitutes so that it, and ourselves will endure to eternal life.

Like Israel whose manna spoiled in the wilderness because they did not follow the instructions God gave in not keeping it overnight, we also need to follow God’s instructions which will mean life for us.

John Telgren, Qohelet Web Ministry, Leavenworth Church of Christ, Leavenworth KS

 


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Volume 33 Number 25

What if Jesus were on Facebook?

(continued from last week)

I want you to use your imagination and pretend that you log on to Facebook one day, and Jesus has sent you a friend request. We know that such is not possible, but for the sake of illustration, pretend. What would you do? Would you have to stop and think before you accepted it? Would you have to look through your pictures to be sure you don’t have any immodest pictures of yourself or anything tasteless? Would you need to make sure you don’t have any pictures taken in inappropriate places? Would you go back over your postings to be sure you haven’t said anything crude or inappropriate? Would you scan through your list of favorite movies and music, and perhaps delete a few of them before you let Jesus on your site?

What about the games you play? Quizzes you take? Is there anything there that would make you stop and say to yourself, “I think I’ll delete that before I let Jesus on my site?” If the answer is Yes to any of those questions, then why not go ahead and take it off now? The fact of the matter is, the Lord does look at our Facebook pages! He sees everything we post on Facebook (and everywhere else for that matter). Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place keeping watch on the evil and the good&#148 (NKJV).

There’s another part of this, even beyond the fact that God is watching me on Facebook, and that is that other people are watching me. Why does that matter? It matters because what they see on my Facebook site affects what they think about me, the church and Christianity. What if I have my “religious preference” listed as “church of Christ,” and then I have pictures posted of me at a nightclub or dancing or at the beach or some other place dressed immodestly or with an alcoholic beverage? What if my status update has the lyrics to the latest Lady Gaga song? Or maybe I’m venting and running someone else down with a generally ugly demeanor?

We could give dozens of examples, but the question is, “What effect is it going to have on my non-Christian friend (or Christian for that matter) who looks at my site?” He might say to himself, “I do better than that and I don’t even pretend to be a Christian!” Or he might just think, “What a hypocrite!” Please don’t misunderstand our point. We’re not suggesting that you simply need to take these inappropriate things off Facebook. We’re not suggesting that you need to hide them better. We are not suggesting that you go to nightclubs (or anything else you say or do), but do a better job of keeping it a secret. Posting these things on Facebook for all the world to see makes it worse, because when a Christian advertises immorality, he hurts the church. What we’re suggesting is that you root these things out of your life and heart altogether (cf. Matt. 5:8; Phil. 4:8; 2 Tim. 2:22).

Here’s a question? Are you a daily user of Facebook but you’ve told yourself you’re too busy to study your Bible every day? The answer may make you stop and think about your priorities. Jesus said, “but seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33).

 


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Volume 33 Number 24

What If Jesus Were On Facebook?

When I woke up this morning, I grabbed my iPhone, turned off the beeping alarm, and immediately updated my Facebook status. On the way to school I scrolled through my friends’ status updates, and again updated mine with the song that was playing on my iPod. At lunch, I took a picture of me and my friends and uploaded it via the Facebook utility that I downloaded from the app store. I’m lying in bed now with my laptop and chatting with my BFF (best friend forever) in Tennessee. Status update: “Good night all. I’ll text you in the morning.” Such is the day of a typical American young person.

Facebook has taken the cyber world by storm and our social lives forever in a different direction. Compete.com ranked Facebook as the most used social network in the world. According to Facebook’s own stats page, there are currently more than 350 million active users and 65 million people are accessing Facebook through their phones/mobile devices. They say the average user has 130 Facebook friends and spends more than 55 minutes a day on their site.

Facebook has opened doors of communication that didn’t exist in the past. It has united old friends, helped to keep families connected, and openly provided opportunities to teach the Gospel. Unfortunately, however, not everything that Facebook has brought us is good. In many ways Facebook is like a window into one’s soul. It allows others to see his hobbies and habits. They can see everything from pictures of his vacation to his favorite songs and websites. Truly, Facebook reveals more about us than we might at first realize. Sadly, the Facebook pages of some Christians bring shame on themselves and the Lord’s church.

Are there Biblical principles that should govern our use of Facebook and similar sites? Certainly! In Titus 2:3, Paul tells us that the way Christian women behave themselves could result in the Word of God being blasphemed. In First Timothy 6:1, he says that the way Christian servants behave toward their masters could result in people blaspheming the name of God. These and other passages teach us the way we conduct ourselves in our daily social affairs could result in reproach being brought upon the body of Christ. So what does this have to do with Facebook?

Facebook is a “social tool,” and the way I conduct myself on that particular forum could help or hurt the cause of Christ.

To Be Continued…
Don Blackwell

 


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Volume 33 Number 21

Tailgating

One of the things I cannot stand is when someone is driving right on my tail. Obviously they are in a hurry to get someplace, so they drive right on my tail, evidently hoping I will speed up to get them off my tail or pull over so they can pass. Then there is the same sort of thing trying to leave the parking lot after a football game. Everyone is following so close behind the person in front of them in order to keep someone from cutting in front of them. I’m not sure what difference one car length is going to make in getting out of the parking lot.

This kind of driving leads to fender benders and at times serious accidents. I remember as a new driver thinking it was stupid for an accident to be my fault if a driver in front of me slammed on his brakes and I ran into him because of it. In response to my retort, “He shouldn’t slam on his brakes like that!” was the response, “You shouldn’t follow so close like that!” This is true.

Then I learned something called “defensive driving.” Accidents could be avoided if you learned to drive defensively. Rather than relying on other drivers to watch out for you, you need to drive defensively and watch out for them.  This same principle applies in other areas of our life. All too often, the reason we “wreck” in life is because we were not driving defensively. We make a wreck of our faith and can hurt not only ourselves, but people around us. Sin destroys relationships, wrecks homes, and worse yet, comes between us and God.

When it comes to sin, we are warned not to tailgate it. Scripture instructs us to “flee immorality” (1 Cor 6:18), to “flee from idolatry” (1 Cor 10:14), to “flee from these things [the love of money]” (1 Tim 6:11), to “flee from youthful desires” (2 Tim 2:22). Flee, flee, flee. Do you see a pattern here when it comes to various kinds of sins? Don’t flirt with it. Don’t tailgate. Keep your distance from it. Stay away from it.

I am reminded of the time when I was entrenched fully in a worldly way of living. I had done many, many things I didn’t believe in. Many things I did I had said I would never do. Yet there I was, doing them on a regular basis with gusto. No one had any inkling that I was a Christian or had ever been one. I didn’t set out to do it. However, I was tailgating. I got to close, and eventually, I wrecked. Fortunately, God is a God of restoration and will make things right again. He is the greater healer, and restorer.

However, many people still bear the scars of the “wrecks” of their life. The instruction is obvious. Do not tailgate. If you are attracted to him or her and are married, flee! If you are drawn to be with ungodly friends and tempted to do what they do, flee! If you are tempted to buy things you ought not to in a store, do not go there, at least not alone. If you are tempted by the opposite sex, make a vow not to be alone with them in your home. Do not tailgate, or you will find yourself in a wreck.

John Telgren, Leavenworth, Kansas    John Telgren, Leavenworth, Kansas

 


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Volume 33 Number 20

Arisen

Read Luke 24:13-36

But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive (Luke 24:20-24).

The passage these verses are taken from is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. It takes place after Christ’s resurrection, when he appears to two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus. I think the reason I like it so much is that we see the shift of emotions. These men went from, “What happened? We thought He was the one,” to “What just happened!” They went from hopelessness to hope. As Jesus spoke to them and explained the scriptures and prophecies about the Messiah, it describes their “hearts burning” as he spoke (Luke 24:32).

When we look back upon the resurrection we must remember what Christ taught these two men. Jesus showed them why He had to die. Without His death, hopelessness would reign; but death had no hold. Christ died for our sins and was raised again on the third day, so we too can be raised with Him.

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him (Romans 6:5-9).

The death of Christ is our salvation. The resurrection of Christ is also our resurrection because it threw open the gates of heaven for those who were previously dead in their sins but are now raised up with Him through baptism. Jesus is arisen and He still gives hope to the hopeless and sets hearts on fire.

Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK

 


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Volume 33 Number 19

Urgent…

The parking lot was full; the stores were packed in anticipation of the impending front. My daughter and I saw overflowing carts, packed with items to let the shoppers withstand the storm safe indoors. It did not matter that the temperature was a warm sixty degrees, the word of meteorologists and their Doppler radar were enough to close schools across the state a day in advance. There was an urgency in the preparations. Oh, how we need to foster a sense of urgency when it comes to our spiritual lives.

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:10-12).

Do you not say, “There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! (John 4:35)”

The message is clear in these verses. “Be diligent,” “Do not become sluggish” and “Look at the fields,” all cry out for us to maintain urgency in God’s plan for our lives.

Without a doubt Christ set this example for us. You see it quite often, when things got hectic, Christ would refocus—Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. Simon and the other disciples went out to look for him. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” (Mark 1:35-38). May God’s word be just as focused (or refocused) and urgent in our lives!

Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK

 


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Volume 33 Number 18

Know the Path

I went hiking with the youth this week, let’s just say it was an experience. I knew where I wanted to go, but could not remember the name of the turnoff to get there. So, I asked a friend who grew up in the area. He knew where it was, but didn’t pay attention to signs, he just drove. You can do that if the area has become a part of you. Still, we found Elk Mountain (after a stop at the visitor’s center for directions), and hiked up the trail with no problem. However, coming down we somehow got off the path and ended up making our own, with the help of the local wildlife who had blazed some of the trail for us. Of course, this trail wasn’t nearly as people friendly.

I wonder how much we are like this spiritually? Satan, does his best to make us follow a trail, that looks just enough like God’s, to the point where we look up and find ourselves completely lost. We often make Satan’s job much too easy by spending our time on selfish desires, or confidence in our own power. How did it happen? We failed to spend enough time walking side by side with God.

Our problem hiking was not a trail that we could not follow. Our problem was that we did not know the trail well enough to follow it without error. God wants us to know His ways so well, we have no problem recognizing His track. Of course, this kind of relationship takes us spending so much time with God that we automatically follow Him. He desires us to walk side by side Him as we would a friend. We need His ways to become part of us.

Cry out for insight and understanding. Search for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God. For the LORD grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of good sense to the godly. He is their shield, protecting those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of justice and protects those who are faithful to him (Proverbs 2:3-8).

Wade McKnight , Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK

 


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Volume 33 Number 16

Help Wanted… Shepherd, Fisherman, Carpenter

As you journey along the paths where your Bible studies guide you sometimes you just have to wonder at the mind of God. We look at routes God blazed to lead His people, and realize that only God would have been able to see what His people needed. Travel with me down a few of God’s roads.

Moses, Hebrew by birth, saved by his mother’s wisdom and a watertight basket, to be raised as an Egyptian prince. However, God was not in need of a prince, He needed a shepherd. So down the path Moses goes spending a few quiet years tending sheep. Yet, he was a shepherd like no other, a shepherd with a prince’s education. Now, God had a man with the knowledge of leadership, but a shepherd’s heart to lead his new nation. It is probably no coincidence that God led Samuel to another shepherd, David, as His chosen king to lead Israel.

Fast forward a few hundred years, and we see some of Christ’s closest companions were fishermen. How fitting that the group he chose to mentor and spread His message, had engrained in them hard work, teamwork, and an aversion to letting “one get away.”

Now look at the path God chose for a Savior. He could have been born into royalty, power or influence, but God had another design. He chose a young virgin, most likely a teenager, and an earthly father who was a carpenter. Christ grew up with a humble mother and father as his example. You must wonder how this example, along with spending hours watching and helping his father shape wood—seeing in the wood what few others could see, gave Jesus the tools needed to shape the destiny of the world?

To be sure God sees things we fail to grasp, which leaves us asking this question. What does God see in us that He needs to shape the world? What is in you, the homemaker, accountant, teacher, driver, engineer, nurse, farmer, teenager, child, shepherd, fisherman, carpenter… that God has given you for His purpose? The “Help Wanted” sign is out.

Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK

 


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Volume 33 Number 15

True Life

I still remember watching a science program about “life.” It looked at the function of proteins, various kinds of molecules, and other such things. It went through many of the various and wonderful kinds of life that exist on our planet. However, it did not go much beyond the biological process, chemicals, and things of this nature. It left this impression that life is merely physical.

We live in a time when much of our science and philosophy is founded upon naturalism. In other words, anything beyond what you can touch, see, or test simply is not real. This excludes the supernatural, spiritual realities, and even God himself. Life is reduced to biology. Thoughts, emotions, and the will are reduced to brain chemicals. Life becomes nothing more than various types of chemical reactions. When it comes to a concept such as “life,” isn’t this what most people think of? You find life in a greenhouse, the zoo, in the ocean, the desert, and in the cities.

Most people, even unbelievers, believe on some level that human life is much more than biology. Simply being alive does not always qualify as life. Being what many people call a human vegetable is not what many people would classify as “life.”

Jesus said that eternal life is knowing God (Jn 17:1-3). This demonstrates that eternal life is not merely about length, or existing forever. Several passages indicate God created humans to be immortal (Mk 9:44-48; Rev 14:11). Some will remain eternally in Heaven, which is life, others in Hell, which is death. Scripture never speaks of eternity in Hell as “life.” Only fellowship with God is ever called “life” in scripture.

This means life is not about quantity and length, but quality, or depth, which is knowing God. Life is much more than biology. Animals have biological life as do plants and other types of creatures. However, only man has been created in the image of God. Life is something much deeper than biology for man. Life is harmony with God (Jn 12:50). Harmony with God also means harmony with your brethren:

“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 Jn 3:14-15).

Do you have life? To answer that question, you must ask another: Do you know God? To find an answer to that question, you must ask this: Do you live in harmony with God and his will? To answer this question, you must ask this related question: Do you live in harmony with your brethren? All these questions are related to each other. Life is harmony with God, which means harmony with the brethren as well.

John Telgren, Leavenworth Church of Christ, Leavenworth KS

 


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