News & Announcements
From the Preacher's Pen
Nicholas Smith, aged 21, died in the early morning hours of last Saturday, March 7, 2015. You didn't know Nicholas. For that matter, I didn't know him either. I just moments ago learned of his passing through an email sent by the coordinator of the Harding University Alumni Association.
He was a Youth and Family Ministry major and had chosen to spend his spring break in Syracuse, New York on a mission trip. There were three cars in the caravan traveling from Searcy, Arkansas to Syracuse all filled with Harding students going to work with the Wetzel Road church of Christ. A multi·car accident occurred near Louisville, Kentucky on Interstate 71 , during which the car Nicholas was driving became crushed between two semi tractor-trailers. The others in his car survived but are recovering in local hospitals.
Everyday we hear or read about the passing of strangers. Most of time time we might give it a "Hmm,"then we move on with our day. This news however caused me to pause and reflect.
First of all, It reminded me of how much I should be appreciating life. You see, as a Harding Student years ago, I traveled that same route taken by Nicholas more times than I can remember. My childhood friend, Rich Mason and I were often hitting that section of Interstate 71 about the same time of the morning as Mr. Smith's caravan. By one o'clock in the morning we too were tired and had our share of close calls. Was it luck or divine intervention that preserved us? Only the Lord knows. Either way, I realize that life is a gift, and should be appreciated every day!
Furthermore, I take pause in thinking about the purpose of young Mr. Smith‘s travels last Saturday - a bible mission trip to New York. You just don‘t hear of too many college students going NORTH to the cold and snow for their Spring Break. And you never hear of one using Spring Break as an evangelistic opportunity. This is what makes establishments of Christian education unique - the quality of people to whom they appeal. I've heard all the complaints about Harding, Ohio Valley University, Lipscomb, and the like —- too expensive, too aloof, too far away, not secularly influential enough. But I am recalling so many names and faces of young people with whom I had the privilege of walking the campus — young folks similar to Nicholas Smith, who loved the Lord and were committed to serving him and telling the world about him. Say what you will, Christian colleges are unique and wonderful places that have changed many a life for the better.
And then I took a moment trying to wrap my mind around this. Here‘s a young man with his whole life ahead of him. He chose Christian education. He chose ministry as a career. He chose to serve God at a time when most his age choose to serve Satan, and yet God allowed him to be killed on his way to serve! I was having a hard time digesting how and why this could happen. Maybe the Devil knew about all the good that was about to be done in New York and was working hard to stop it. Maybe someone made a sudden, and foolish decision with which God chose not to interfere. Maybe God was just ready for Nicholas to be home. Maybe God used this tragedy to draw some of his children together.
As I read the report, I learned that Bruce McClarty, president of Harding, along with several administrators, flew to Louisville to be at those hospitals and to be with Nicholas' family. Folks from multiple congregations have converged on the area to lend support and pray with the families. Dr. McClarty reported that he overheard several folks say," The body of Christ is here today." Maybe God wanted someone in Louisville, Kentucky to see the Body of Christ come together.
I didn't know you, Nicholas Smith, but I thank you for your devotion to our wonderful Father, for what you were trying to do, and I look forward to meeting you someday, for the first time, on the other side.
~Charles Schultheisz - March 15, 2015
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Partnership with Jean Grenier
Partnership with Jean Grenier
Beginning January 2012, the congregation entered into a relationship with brother Jean Grenier of St. Ambroise, Quebec. Jean was converted from Catholicism many years ago and now works with those with catholic backgrounds. We look forward to many years of prayerfully and financially supporting his efforts there in Canada. Please visit Jean’s website for further details at http://egliseduchristausaguenay-lac-st-jean.ca
Mrs. Bell's Scar
Some childhood memories do not survive the years. Others are kept alive by clear, constant, visual reminders. That summer afternoon in 1979 survives in my mind because of a large sixteen-inch scar below my left knee. I had jumped from the back porch to begin a run g through the yard. The rock I fell on cut nearly to the bone. Through tears I called for my mother, who upon realizing the seriousness of the injury, took off to find Dad. Though instructed to stay put, I hobbled after her, hysterical from the pain.
A wide grass pathway connected our farmhouse to that of our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. George Bell. I made it nearly halfway before being met by Mrs. Bell, then collapsed into the grass, clutching the open wound. She knelt down beside me and asked if I had ever seen her scar. She then lifted her dress just enough to reveal a neatly stitched mark that ran vertically on one of her ankles. I can still hear her saying, ”It'll be alright. When they're done with you, yours will look like this too."
I'd like to report to you that all the tears and pain immediately and completely vanished, but that wasn't exactly the case. However, I do remember even after 36 years, the calm that enveloped me as I lay on the green summer grass in those bloody, torn jeans. Somehow, someway, that vision of what my knee could soon look like calmed and comforted me.
All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us... For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. 2 Corinthians 1:3-6
We've all got them -- scars. Some are physical, others are emotional and spiritual. Some cover wounds from childhood, some hide fresher injuries. Some scars are fresh, while the wounds they conceal are old, deep, and had long festered. Whatever your case, you most likely know someone who has been "injured" in a similar fashion. Maybe you should show your scars. Maybe you should show them what a healed life looks like. If God healed you, He can heal others. Use the comfort God gave you to comfort another one of his children. Sometimes the path to healing begins by being able to see, through others, what we CAN be.
Charles Schultheisz -- Woodsfield, OH
From The Preacher's Pen
My sincerest condolences go to Bob Kenney and the entire family of Warren Kenney, who went onto his reward this past Thursday morning. Warren was a fine Gospel preacher, having served the Lord's church in that capacity for nearly all of his adult life.
I first heard him preach in the little metropolis of Graysville, Ohio. A member of the congregation that I was working with at the time invited me to attend with him one night of a Graysville church of Christ Gospel Meeting. I remember him saying, "You'll like this guy." He was right. Warren was, simply put, just a very likable guy.
A few months later, Warren stopped by my office and offered to chauffeur me around the countryside and talk a little preacher shop. He reminisced about his childhood as we drove thru the creek and up past his old home place. We toured some of his favorite teenage haunts, before he asked, "You ever been down on dogskin?" I didn't know if he was talking about someplace you go, or something you drink. Come to find out, dogskin is a road -- only in Monroe County! We ended up down in some holler where sunshine has to be pumped in. We visited one of his long lost relatives and then headed back to civilization.
It was only half a day — but a memorable half. His advice was encouraging, his stories were intriguing, his humor and wit were intoxicating, and the love he had for his family and his Lord was oh so obvious. Many years later, as we sat on Bob and Lois' porch, cancer having already taken a toll on his faculties, that wit was still there. Also there was an inspiring acceptance of what was happening to him and an amazing confidence in where he was going. If Warren was afraid to die, he hid it well.
I can only think of one passage: Philippians 1:20-23
Charles Schultheisz - January 11, 2015
A Program For Reading The Bible In One Year
A Program For Reading The Bible In One Year
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See the demo here.
He Withdrew To Lonely Places
Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:15-16
I write this on the eve of a little known holiday - October 29, Hermit Day. My desk calendar states, "A day to hush the hustle and bustle, Hermit Day is recognized by opting for alone time - hopefully filled with peace and serenity."
One of the most interesting misconceptions regarding pulpit preachers is that they can't get enough of people. They wake up every morning waiting to be surrounded by people. to be the center or the room's attention, to be the church's most enthusiastic socialite. The fact is, preachers, like all of you, sometimes get tired of people. They long to be alone - sometimes just for a little while, sometimes all the time.
Hence, comfort is taken in a reading of the gospel biography of Jesus Christ. The first word of Luke 5:16 is particularly interesting - "but." This little word reveals that while people often wanted taught, and often wanted healed, he often didn't want to accommodate them. It’s a hard truth to accept. We want to believe that Jesus healed every single person in Palestine who needed healed. He did not. Why? Because he was often in lonely places away from them. By the way, "often" is not my word, that's Luke's word. It seems that from time to time, Jesus had his own "Hermit Day". This was a time for him to rest and to pray.
I'm afraid too many in the church are not taking enough time to withdraw to lonely places to pray. Your idea of a lonely place is the computer desk, getting updated on all the latest Facebook gossip. That cell phone is glued to the side of your head. You have to be talking to or texting someone around the clock You have to constantly be trying to take care of someone else's problem. You have to run here and do this or run there and do that. You're working so much to make so much money you can't even keep your eyes open at night long enough to thank God for the day. You should try once in awhile withdrawing to a lonely place.
Rest assured...if Jesus needed it, you need it!
Is He Talking About Us?
Following the visiting preachers gospel meeting sermon, a couple of the night's attendees were standing around discussing the lesson. I asked one fellow what he thought. "Well, I thought it was okay, but my wife was less than impressed. She kept leaning over to ask me, 'Is he talking about us?"
Preaching the truth to an audience of fickle believes is a funny thing. As long as everyone thinks you're addressing some distant, far-away situation, or some other church, you're okay. "Boy, that was wonderful," you'll hear, or ”He really let 'em have it this morning didn't he?" But when you dare to address specific situations, clearly known sins, or topics sensitive in certain households, then, all of sudden, you become the trouble-maker, the meddler. "Boy, that was wonderful" suddenly turns into "Man, who does he think he is." You can almost see it on their faces. "Who is he to tell us how to raise our kids. He doesn't even have kids." "Who is he to tell me who I can live with and who I can't. He doesn't know what's really going on.” "Who is he to tell me that my divorce wasn't scriptural."
Preachers whose sermons are with generalities and vague applications of poorly explained scriptures can last forever. No specific situations ever get called out. No specific names are ever mentioned for congratulations or praise. No personal stories are ever told. So, therefore, no one ever gets offended. He may bore his listeners to death, but he sure isn't going to offend any of them. Everyone gets the luxury of leaving the services thinking he was talking about someone else. He gets the luxury of having killed thirty minutes with words and collected a check without having to defend or explain anything he said.
These luxuries never seemed to be had by the apostle Paul, nor his audiences.. He commended the Galatians for once treating him so fairly and cordially. Obviously, though, not everyone continued to be enamored with his teaching. Some of his "friends" now considered him the enemy. So he asked, "Have I now become your enemy by telling the truth?" (Galatians 4:12-16). I've noticed though, as I study Paul’s letters, that his love for the Lord and his love for the truth overcame any trepidation he may have felt, or any fear of offending his audience.
So...if the preacher has offended you or your family, what are your options? You can get mad. "You looked right at my daughter when you said that,” an offended, angry mother once let me know. You can refuse to come back - "I'll show him and that church!" Or, you can look inward, and consider why you feel so guilty. Maybe the Holy Spirit, thru the preached word, has convicted you and is awaiting a change in your lifestyle and your attitude.
New Bus Garage
The trees have been removed and a telephone pole is being replaced in order to make room for the new bus garage that will house God's three new Joy Buses. We want to thank God for all the people involved in this Blessing. God continues to suprise us with wonderful gifts and beautiful people who have compassion to see God's family grow. A great big thanks to God and his church for allowing moments like this to happen.