News & Announcements
Keith Jones will be teaching a series of lessons to the teens on Wednesdays on Redonkulous Faith, Radical Forgiveness, Ravenous Prayer, Real Obedience and Rowdy Kindness. Living five values from the parables of Jesus. For those who watch Duck Dynasty the Robertson teens have come out with a great lesson book on Christian values. Let’s pray for God’s teens to overcome Satan’s temptations.
What is The Purpose of Life?
How would you answer if asked the question, “What is the purpose of life?” Now it’s understandable that many may not agree with your answer. I believe that most people would answer this question based upon their own life experiences. For example one might answer the question similar to at least one of the following statements.
•The purpose of life is to be a good influence in the lives of others.
•The purpose of life is to share oneself and their goods with those in need.
•The purpose of life is to have good health and a long life.
•The purpose of life is to be successful and wealthy.
•The purpose in life is to put family and friends before self
•The purpose of life is to find peace within and with others.
•The purpose in life is to do something that will have an impact in the world.
These are just a few ways in which one might answer the question. Though some of these answers might be good, and help many live better lives, they are not the answers to the purpose of life. The wisest and richest man that ever lived sought out to answer this question. Solomon said,
I search in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives. I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made myself water the growing trees of the grove. I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds. So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure. For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor: Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had tailed; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for wind There was no profit under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:3-1 1).
Solomon had the wisdom, wealth, and desire to really seek out and understand the purpose of life. At the end Solomon said that the purpose of life is summed up to do two things which go hand in hand and also gives us the reason for his answer. Solomon wrote, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man 's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
Do you agree with Solomon? If so, then fear God and keep his commandments. For one day we will stand before Him and give an account of the things which we have done. ~Lupe Ruiz via Everman Church of Christ, Everman, TX
Back To Nature
We stood over the fence eyeing the twenty-three acre pasture which hadn't seen a baler or a brush-hog in a long time. What once had resembled a residential backyard now looks pretty wild. Tall, thick weeds of a all varieties dominate the view. Small trees are growing up everywhere. Some not-so-small trees now stand out. Freezing and thawing ground has pushed sizeable rocks to the surface. Oaks and Maples along the fence line appear to have eaten the barbed wire fencing
"Left to its own," my neighboring farmer said, "it just goes back to nature."
The same goes, it seems, not just for pastures, but even more dramatically, for golf courses. The other day, I drove by what was for over a decade one of my favorite places to golf. They say the oil and gas boom is too blame -- green fees apparently couldn't compete with lease money. The owners, I'm told, sold out to one of the big leasing companies. Consequently, it now looks like the golfers have been replaced by the gophers. Once manicured greens blend in with all the other uncut grass and algae scum hides the green-side ponds. It too has "gone back to nature."
I fear that some who used to be faithful brethren have "gone back to their nature" -- their sinful nature. As we have seen in our study of Romans, we do have a sinful nature. That is not to say that we were born in sin, but we were certainly born into sin, that is into a sin-filled world. Therefore, as Paul makes clear, we will be, for the duration of our time here on earth, engaged in a battle -- a war between what the spiritual side knows is best and what the sinful nature wants.
Some apparently have sold out. What the world had to offer just looked too good. They stopped feeding and maintaining the Spirit They use the excuse, like me concerning the neglect of my pasture, that there just isn't the time, or that they don't have the right equipment. Truthfully, laziness and selfishness are the cause of our return to the sinful nature. Our time in the Word diminishes. Our time in prayer is so minuscule as to be laughable. Next thing you know, we’re down to a couple hours a week in church services. Then., even that stops. The weeds of the world, the boulders, the trees have taken over. The Spirit, the One who’s supposed to live in us, to dominate us, can‘t be seen. Sadly, those who needed this bulletin article, probably aren't here to read it. Still, I pray for them. They do have the time. They do have the equipment. Will they look at the soul and see how overgrown it is? Will they come back to God, or will they continue to become more and more overrun by the sinful nature?
To Recognize, Or Not
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. 5 Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia. 6 Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. 8 Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. 10 Greet Apelles, whose fidelity to Christ has stood the test. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew. Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the other brothers and sisters with them. 15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the Lord’s people who are with them.
That was an excerpt from a letter Paul wrote to the church in Rome (Romans 16:3-15). Normally, this is a passage of scripture which is easily dismissed as insignificant and boring -- just a bunch of "hellos" to a bunch of folks whose names we can't pronounce, It is, however, not insignificant. Take a moment, if you will, to read it.
Do you see that Paul was not at all shy about recognizing those who stood out in the church? Do you see that he didn't worry about offending those who remained unmentioned?
Now someone may suggest that he did in fact mention everyone in the church at Rome, but I found it very hard to believe that the total number of Christians in Rome was 27!
The fact remains that individual members stood out. With their hard work, their dedication, their kindness, they came to his mind before others, and he wanted to acknowledge them. Obviously, there was nothing wrong with this.
Some in the church today say that individuals and individual families should not pointed out and recognized above others. This, they say, leads to hard feelings and awkward situations. "You may leave out someone who has done just as much," they say. Apparently, Paul didn't get that memo.
While a few thin-skinned folks may get offended experience has proven that public acknowledgement of hard-working, dedicated servants of the Lord not only encourage them personally, but also motivates others to want to do likewise.
It's clear that Paul had a special connection to those he mentioned by name, either through physical blood, the spiritual blood of Christ, or some other deep emotional attachment. They had all affected his life and his ministry for good, and he wanted them and all those who read his letter to know that.
What Happens With Your Time?
In our lifetimes, we will spend:
6.5 years eating
6.5 years driving
4 years being sick
20 years and l month working
10 years and 5 months in recreation activities
2 years and 4 months getting dressed
3 years bathing
12.5 years watching television
1 year and 2 months listening to music
2 years sitting in a classroom
A recent Barna survey did the math on how much time professed Christians will, in their lifetimes, spend reading the Bible and attending church services:
130 days reading the bible
120 days sitting thru a public worship service
If these statistics are true, an embarrassingly small amount of time seems to be devoted to the one who gave us the time in the first place.
Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12
So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Ephesians 5:15-16
May the Light of Jesus Shine
The Monroe County Fair is over, school has begun. We want to congratulate all our youth in their 4-H projects. As football, cheerleading, and classroom studies begin, may we all as parents and students thank God for the many opportunities we have to grow in faith and mature spiritually. How we conduct ourselves on the field or off the field is important to God. May the light of Jesus shine thru parents and students as we all approach another year of school.
The Day Paul Got In Peter's Face
Paul informed the Galatians of his confrontation with Peter — “When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong." (Galatians 2:11)
He goes on to express his frustration with Peter’s hypocrisy and the bad example he set for Barnabas. He actually reports that Peter was ”not acting in line with the truth of the Gospel."
This (Galatians 2:11-21) is an astonishing passage of scripture. We get a front row look into two of the most powerful personalities in all the Bible.
Paul’s got guts, there’s no doubt about it. His confidence is over the top. He's been given the message of truth by the Lord himself and he is intimidated by no one. It phases him not that he came to the Lord later than did Peter, nor that Peter had literally walked with Jesus, touched him, witnessed his miracles in person.
On the contrary, Peter needs to get some guts. He obviously hadn’t overcome his propensity for allowing others to intimidate him. He was afraid of the servant who tried to connect him to Jesus, so he lied. And now, he's afraid of James and the other members of the church, so he lies about his feelings for the Gentiles.
He knows God has accepted them. God came to him and told him as much directly. (Read Acts 10) He even baptized one of them himself and spent time in his house. He defended his actions to the church. He even once told the Pharisees that he would obey God before he would bow to their wishes. But that old demon he probably wrestled with his whole life came back to haunt him, and Paul wasn't going to stand for it.
There's obviously so much that could be gleaned from this tense encounter between these two great servants, but with what space we have, consider the following:
* * The straw that seems to have crippled the camel in Paul's eyes was not just that Peter refused the Gentiles, but that his actions negatively affected other, less mature members of the church. It’s one thing to be a hypocrite —— to know what God expects and refuse to carry it out. But when our hypocrisy causes fellow Christians to stumble, it seems we have drifted much closer toward God’s anger and disappointment.
** Paul did NOT oppose Peter to Joe’s face. He did NOT oppose Peter to Mary’s face. He opposed him to HIS face. Maybe you recognize that a leader in the church is wrong. Maybe you have clear evidence from scripture and from his life that he is in the wrong. Where you blew was in going to someone else first. Had Paul not confronted Peter, he as the accuser would have been as guilty of sin as the one he accused.
** Paul took advantage of a time when everyone was in the room together - Peter, those who had influenced him, and those whom he had influenced. This surely helped avoid one of those - ”he said, she said” situations. When all was said and done, everyone understood the complaint, where the complainant got his credence, and how the crime could be corrected!
There is indeed much to learn from God’s word about how to live God’s life and how to confront those who won't live it.
~Charles Schultheisz, Woodsfield, Ohio
The Keys To A Peaceful Life
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Wouldn't our lives be so much easier, and so much less complicated if we just did what God tells us to do?
LEAD A QUIET LIFE.
Tranquil. Peaceful. Free from discussion. Silent. These are the English words connected to the Greek word used here by Paul. Do they describe the current day to day operations in your home, with your family? Getting my blood pressure up because of the way the neighbor parks his car is not a quiet life. Running the kids to so i many sporting and school activities that you can't remember who to pick up and where to pick them up is not a quiet life. Working so much that you don't have time to worship God and study his word is not a quiet life. Not having fifteen minutes to go on a walk with your wife may be a sign you don't live a very quiet life. Needing a drawn out discussion and explanation for every little word or look you get from others is not indicative of a quiet life. Some things are not worth talking about. It happened. Get over it, move on, and take the time to enjoy the simple, peaceful moments in life.
MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.
The Greek text literally is "attend to the affairs of your own."
So it‘s not just that how your neighbor disciplines his children is none of your business, but more importantly, you need to be attending better to what your own children are doing! It‘s not only that how you manage your money is none of my concern, I need to focus more on how I am managing my own money. That's the sad thing about folks who refuse to mind their own business -- their own business is usually a colossal mess!
WORK WITH YOUR HANDS.
This one will actually help you with the first two. Those who work earn the respect of others. Thus, the mind can be "quieted,” not having to be paranoid about what others are saying. And, working will help you appreciate and enjoy the quieter moments of life. Furthermore, those who work don't have time to mind everyone else's business. Remember, God obviously wants us to make our own way in life, but you must find the good and reasonable middle -- work that eliminates time to be a good spouse, a good parent, and a good servant of the Lord and student of the Word is too much work.
— Charles Schultheisz, Woodsfield, Ohio
Our thanks to the volunteers who helped with the July birthday celebration. The Bible Hour children alway appreciate the cup cakes and drinks.
The Magi Project
The Magi project is provided for us in the month of August. Fill a shoe box full of gifts and send them to a country to children at Christmas time. This act of God’s love is truly a blessing. Many poor children receive your love thru a box and Gods love is shared around the globe. The teens will be working on this project but if anyone wishes to join in contact the office at 472- 5321.