Volume 32 Number 12

God’s Free Gift

Many parents agree that when our children receive something as a gift from us, they often don’t take care of it the same way as the things they work for and “earn.” Parents often prefer to have their children “earn” what they get, so they can learn the value of it and appreciate it more. After all, you have a tendency to place a higher value on something you have worked hard for.

I have to wonder, is that what the problem is with our salvation? The Bible clearly tells us that eternal life is a “free gift” from God (Rom 6:23). The only wage we are capable of earning is death. Is this why some people view their salvation somewhat flippantly and maintain it in a haphazard way if at all? It almost makes me want to say that our salvation should be something we “earn” for ourselves. If this were the case, perhaps more people would place a higher value on their Christianity. Perhaps it would occupy more of their life.

But the problem is that we do not earn it or merit it. Jesus earned it for us at the cross, brought it home (so to speak), and said, “Here child, I want to give you this gift.” And what do we do? Sometimes we blow it off. Just like the child who doesn’t appreciate the new car he didn’t work for, we forget to “tune it up,” or to “change the oil.” We don’t maintain the gift, and it begins to fall apart. It seems to be doomed because it is a “gift.” What can be done? After all, that is the nature of a gift.

But you know, the problem is not that it is a gift. The problem arises when we don’t invest anything into the gift. When you make an investment in something (in this case, someone), you tend to value and care for it.

If you think of salvation in terms of relationship rather than an inanimate object, the whole perspective on it being a “gift” changes. For instance, I did not “earn” my wife’s love. She has chosen to give it to me. I have not always been lovable, but she loves me anyway. I value and cherish her. It would not be that way if I had not invested myself in our relationship. I have invested my emotions, time, money, aspirations, goals, vision, and my very heart into this woman. No, I didn’t “earn” our marriage. However, I have invested a great deal into it. No wonder Paul uses the marriage analogy to refer to our relationship with Christ (Eph 5:21-33)!

Maybe the problem is not that salvation is given as a gift. Maybe the problem is I don’t invest enough into it. Whether it is taking up my cross daily (Lk 9:23), cutting off a hand or eye (Mk 9:43-48), becoming a slave (Rom 6:18), being a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God (Rom 12:10), selling all I have to follow him (Lk 12:33), I need to invest all I am into Christ if I am to be his “bride.” As the song says, “He is my everything, he is my all!”

John Telgren
Qohelet Web Ministry
Leavenworth KS

News & Notes

PREACHING CLASSES:  On Sunday night, April 5th, at 6:00 p.m., we will be starting the 13-week Basic Preaching Class for those men who have never taken the class before. (it is not a refresher course this time) It will help you study the Bible, research Bible verses, put your thoughts down on paper, and get your thoughts from the paper to the ones to whom you are speaking.  This can help you prepare to speak in Bible class, at the Lord’s Table, or to preach a sermon. This class can be especially helpful to those men who are new members here. If you want more information on this class that will be conducted for 50 minutes each Sunday evening in the Grandview basement, during regular evening worship time, please see Art for more details. Thank-you.

FRIENDS OF MIDWEST BIBLE CAMP – ANNUAL SPRING BRUNCH. Saturday, April 4, 10 AM at The Colony Inn Restaurant, 741 47th Avenue, Amana, Iowa.  The cost is $13/person for brunch and beverages. Speakers: Jason Hawkins, “Real World”,Colby Clapp, “Future of MWBC”

GOSPEL MEETING, Davis City church of Christ, April 12 -15, 2009.  Speaker: Johnie Scaggs, Sedalia, MO-For more information call Mike Richardson at 660-373-0825, or Dave West at 641-344-9458

LECTURESHIP:  1st Annual “Holding the Traditions Lectureship” Oct. 12-15, 2009 Heartland church of Christ; 430 Dodge St., Suite 1, Dubuque, Iowa 52003  563-581-4636 )

MWBC CLEANUP DAY:  Please join us for some work and fun on Saturday, May 2nd at our annual Camp Cleanup Day at the Lake Darling Youth Center. You’ll enjoy being with friends while you help get camp ready for the summer!  In addition to our normal cleaning activities, we have several big projects planned and could really use your help. We’ll be building a new stage for the chapel, painting cabins, installing ceiling fans, and general building and grounds cleanup. Come whenever you can and bring the whole family along. Bring your favorite tools (rakes, gloves, brooms, hammer, drill, etc.) Lunch will be provided. See you there! Questions: info@midwestbiblecamp.org

Prayer Requests

Mike Hysall – The neurologist reported to the family yesterday (Thursday) that he expects Mike to make a full recovery. The family would also like to thank everyone for their prayers, visits and food that were given during this time.  Barb South and Deb McGee

Beth Potter’s uncle, Jim Asmus, will be going in for a M.S. test on the 27th.

Philip Walker asked to be praying for his friend, Jeff Lanius, who lost both his father-in-law and brother.

Families who have recently lost loved ones: Collins family, Kinyon Family, Deal Family.

Easton and Chase Van Egdom’s continued progress.

Pam Dorrell’s friend Joan has cancer that has returned and is in the hospital and the family is in the process of looking for a care center for her.

Kim Ferrell got the promotion she was seeking.   Jake has an injury to his ankle.

Archie Cook is feeling much better because of the steroid shots!

Remember all those who have lost jobs:  Todd Johnson’s sister Karen; Tyler Sparks’ Brother-in-law has been let go and they are struggling financially. Richard Potter is looking for work.

Jim Mort’s continued progress.

Sharon Burke (Cedar Falls) is receiving cancer treatments in Houston.

Karen Hardy is still struggling with her health.

Expectant mothers:  Cassie Johnson

Marge Steven’s sister is doing better but is losing weight.

Millie Buxton is still having eye problems.

Toni Lovejoy’s father with cancer.

Lyndsay Gordon’s niece Michaela is continuing to grow.

Jeff Moore go to www.caringbridge.org/visit/JeffMoore

Kimball Matkins now has hospice.  To read his update go to:  www.caringbridge.org/visit/kimballmatkins.

Note:  If there is anyone that you would like to add to our prayer list or if there is an update for a current listing, please call (957-0542) or email Sandy (sklongfellow@yahoo.com).

“Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Calendar of Events

  • Mar 28 – Fellowship with Firearms
  • Apr 4 – Friends of Midwest Bible Camp Annual Spring Brunch
  • Apr 12-15 – Davis City Gospel Meeting
  • Apr 25 – MN Bible Lecture, Rosemont
  • May 2 – MWBC Clean Up Day
  • Oct 12-15 – Holding the Traditions Lectureship—Dubuque

End of this issue.