Ponderings of the Preacher...

June 5, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Since this will be the last newsletter published before Father’s Day, I thought that I might share some thoughts with you about fathers.

     There is a story about a Spanish father and son who had become estranged.  The son ran away, and the father set off to find him.  He searched for months to no avail.  Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper.  The ad read:

          “Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. 

          All is forgiven.  I love you. 

          Your Father.”

On that Saturday 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.

I am confident that there are many fathers and sons who are separated today because of misunderstandings, harsh words, pride, and stubbornness.  Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if they could be reunited on this Father’s day! 

     There are many more in our world who are separated from their heavenly Father.  Our God just like the father in the story has been searching for His estranged children.  He has not taken out an ad in the newspaper, but He has published a plea for them to return to Him with the promise that all can be forgiven.  Just think of what God has revealed to us through His Word.

Consider the story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15.  The father in that story saw the son when he was still far away and ran to welcome him home.  All was forgiven.  This father represents our Heavenly Father.  What a loving Father we have! 

     God has in effect issued an invitation for all of His wandering children to return to Him.  “Meet me at the cross where my own Son died to make it possible for you and me to be reunited.  All is forgiven.”

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning.  Let’s all put forth our best effort to be together for worship. 

                                                 C U N   Church,

                                                 David

 

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May 14, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

  

Have you ever felt inadequate in your ability to serve the Lord?  I suspect all of us have felt that way at some time in our life and some of you may be feeling that way now.  I hope the following article might help you see that God can and will use us despite our imperfections.

A PARABLE FOR ALL CRACKED POTS

     A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole, which he carried across his neck.  One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.  For two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his master’s house.  Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made.  But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.  After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.  “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”  “Why?” asked the bearer.  “What are you ashamed of?”  “I have been able for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house.  Because of my flaws, you have to all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.  The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”  Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.  But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for it failure.  The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them.  For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table.  Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.” 

     Each of us has our own unique flaws.  We’re all cracked pots.   But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His table.

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning as we gather for worship and fellowship.  Let’s each of us do our very best to be present when the church meets!

                                                                                                                      C U N   Church,

                                                                                                                      David

 

April 30, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     The lesson presented to the children this past Sunday centered on Isaiah and the call that God extended to him to serve.  The account of that event is recorded in Isaiah 6.  Isaiah had a vision of the Lord and His holiness.  One of the things that stands out to me in that passage is that an awesomely powerful and holy God would need someone like you and me to partner with Him in His work.  But it’s true.  God asked for volunteers to serve Him and Isaiah responded with the words, “Here am I.  Send me.”  And God said, “Go.”  When you hear the voice of the Lord calling you to service, do you respond as Isaiah did?  Do you say, “Here am I, Send me.”?

     Everyone is important to the church.  Each person makes a contribution which mingles with the contributions of others to make the church function.  Every contribution, great or small, is vital.  Read the following parable to see how true this actually is.

     A new place of worship had just been completed.  People came from near and far to see it.  They admired the beauty of its windows, the walls, and the carpet on the floors.  Preachers were carried away with the handsome pulpit Bible.  On the roof a little two-penny nail held down a shingle.  This little nail heard the people praise everything else, but none mentioned the shingle nail or seemed to be conscious of its existence.  The little nail became very angry and said, “If I am that insignificant nobody will miss me if I quit.”  So, the nail pulled out, raced down the steep roof and fell on the soft ground below.  That night a big rain came and the shingle nail was buried in the mud.  The difference between being buried in the mud and holding down the shingle is this: before the nail was obscure but useful.  Furthermore, before he was protected under the shingle.  Now he will soon be eaten up by the rust.  The worst of the story is yet to come.  The shingle that the nail held down was now loose, and without the cooperation from the nail, it blew away, leaving a hole in the roof.  The same big rain that buried the nail leaked in through the vacant spot where the shingle was, running in the beautiful auditorium. The water ran down the walls, leaving them all marred.  It leaked upon the Bible and stained the pages.  It leaked upon the carpet and the beautiful rug was stained.  All this because one little nail failed to do his job.  What task has God called you to perform in His church?  Be faithful in doing it!

                                                                                                             C U N   Church,

                                                                                                             David

 

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April 17, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. The law was amended and signed by President Reagan in 1988, designating the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May.  The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning.

     On May 3 we will observe the National Day of Prayer.  This is an observance that has been instituted by law and yet it is an observance that we as a people of God have overlooked and neglected.  We have often complained that our freedom to pray has been threatened by our government, but we have failed to take advantage of this day when our Law has instructed us to pray.

      The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation as it enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call for us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The National Day of Prayer belongs to all Americans. It is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds. Mrs. Shirley Dobson, NDP chairman emeritus, reminded us: “We have lost many of our freedoms in America because we have been asleep. I feel if we do not become involved and support the annual National Day of Prayer, we could end up forfeiting this freedom, too.”

     Because of the faith of many of our founding fathers, public prayer and national days of prayer have a long-standing and significant history in American tradition.. The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of  “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863.

     So, whether you are a part of an organized group who will be praying or whether you will be praying as an individual, I urge you to pray for our nation and its leaders on May 3.

                                                                                                  C U N   Church,

                                                                                                  David



April 2, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Who would have imagined that on Easter Sunday night an accumulating snow would have fallen?  Making this even more amazing is the fact that this occurred on April Fools’ Day.  Some people have called this a trick played by Mother Nature.  At any rate there are a couple of things for which we can be thankful:  the snow was beautiful and it won’t hang around very long.

     Did you also find it interesting that Easter fell on April 1 this year?  That hadn’t happened since 1956.  Let me share with you a few observations about the connection between the events of Easter and April Fools’ Day.

     April Fools’ Day is a day we often observe as a day for tricks and jokes.  Although this was not a day being observed during the time of Jesus, can you imagine how the resurrection of Jesus might have fit in with this concept?  The devil using wicked men carried off the greatest crime in the history of mankind.  Jesus Christ the Son of God, Creator of the Universe, was executed.  The devil probably thought that he had ruined God’s plan by killing Jesus.  I think that this illustrates that the devil is not all-knowing as our God is.  I don’t believe that he understood how all of this fit in with the plan of God.  Little did he know that Jesus’ death would make possible the forgiveness of sins for all men and that Jesus would be raised from the dead three days later.  For a short period of time, the devil probably thought that he had beaten God, but when Jesus was victoriously raised to life on the first day of the week it was time for God to say, “April Fools!”  God’s magnificent plan of salvation that had been in the works since before the creation of the world had now been accomplished!  Hallelujah!

     Unfortunately, there are many who have not accepted the salvation Jesus made possible at the cross nor have they received Jesus as Lord of their lives.  Many have even denied the existence of God and the identity of Jesus as the Son of God.  The Bible speaks of those who are in that state.  “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalms 14:1).  God has assigned us the task of sharing the message of salvation with those people.  May we remain faithful in carrying out that task!

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day when we gather together to once again celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

                                                                                      C U N   Church,

                                                                                      David


March 20, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Resurrection Sunday is fast approaching!  I am having a hard time coming to grips with that.  Perhaps, it is because we haven’t had very much warm weather to convince me that Spring is actually here.  I want to encourage you to participate in the events that our church is sponsoring or that are being presented in our community that celebrate the greatest event in human history.

Jesus of Nazareth was physically raised from the dead never to die again.  Because of His resurrection, His followers have the assurance that death is not the end but that we too will participate in a physical resurrection and our bodies will be transformed to resemble His glorious body (Philippians 3:21).

     Our children will present a skit about Palm Sunday this coming Lord’s Day morning.  It is about a Jewish rabbi hearing the evidence about Jesus and deciding that Jesus truly is King.

     Once again on Good Friday, March 30, we are asking you to participate in a season of prayer.

Our church family will be praying from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.  many of you have participated in this prayer time for many years.  Many have already signed up for a 15 minute time slot.  There are still slots available.  Call the office for an available time slot.  It is a wonderful time that you can pause and remember Christ’s great sacrifice for you.

     The Cross Foundation is once again sponsoring a Good Friday service at the cross on Friday night.  Roger Marshall from First Baptist Church is in charge.  This service will be held in the chapel in the visitors’ center.  After the service, the cross will be illuminated with red light.  The service will begin at 7:15 p.m.

     The men and boys are invited to a breakfast on Saturday morning, March 31.  Please come and join your brothers in Christ for a good breakfast, great fellowship, and a devotional time.  This will begin at 8:30 a.m.

     The Effingham Ministerial Association will be sponsoring the Easter Sunrise Service at the cross on Sunday morning, April 1.  The services will begin at 6:30 a.m.  Our church is in charge of this service.  I encourage you to come.

     On Easter Sunday morning we will meet for worship just as we do every Lord’s Day morning throughout the year in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.  Each family in attendance that morning will receive a book, The Case for Easter, written by Lee Strobel.  Invite a friend or family member.  Many people will be more receptive to an invitation at Christmas or Easter than at any other time of the year.  Give them an opportunity to hear the Good News – Jesus has risen!

                                                                                                   C U N   Church

                                                                                                   David


March 6, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     The Apostle John wrote these words in his first letter (2:12-14):

     I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.

     I write to you fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.

     I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.

     I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father.

     I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.

     I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

     It is thought that these three groups are not divided according to physical age but by stages in their spiritual development.  The little children are the “babes in Christ”; the young men were more developed Christians; the fathers were those who were the mature Christians.  Into which of these categories do you fall?  Are you striving to grow in your faith?  Each of us should be doing our best to grow in our Christian maturity.

     When I first read this Scripture many years ago, I thought of myself as one of the little children, but then as I matured in Christ I considered myself as one of the young men.  Now, I hope that I would be considered in the “father” category, one who has matured in his faith. 

     As I think about the progression we make in our faith, I can’t help but think about chronological age as well.  I was a child, then a young man, but now have reached the stage where I could be considered an older man (age is relative of course as to whom you are being compared).  In talking with my mother recently, she was reminding me that my aunt had a birthday in March.  If she were still living she would have been 95.  I knew many people if they were still alive who would be that age and many (my grandparents and others) who would be at least 120.  How time passes us by!  We still have a few in our church who are that age,  give or take a few years on either side.  I am thankful that I have had the privilege of knowing these folks.  May God give me the strength to be an example to those who are younger both in physical age and in Christian maturity!  May we use the time God gives us wisely!

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning.  Let’s all do our best to be at church.

                                                      C U N   Church,

                                                      David

 

February 20, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     It has been a long time in coming but it is finally here.  After seeing it, I believe you will agree that it has been worth the wait.  It will be a valuable tool in helping members of our church to become better acquainted with others in the congregation.  You may be wondering what it is that I am talking about.  Our new church pictorial directory has arrived.  Our directory has twenty-eight pages of pictures and information sharing details about the life and ministry of First Christian Church as well as a beautifully designed front and back cover.  I would like to personally and publicly thank Bev Thoele, Cleone Bloemker, and Linda Packer for all of the work they did in putting this directory together.  It was not an easy task. I hope that each family who is a part of our church can have a copy of this directory.  All of those who either had their picture taken or submitted a picture for the directory will receive one.  If you have recently begun attending First Christian Church, I want you to have a copy as well.  If you don’t fit in any of those categories but are a part of our congregation, I want you to have a copy as well.  We have ordered additional copies so that hopefully no one will be left out.

     I invite you to come to the Signing Party and Singspiration being held this coming Saturday night, February 24 at 6:00 p.m.  At that time we will distribute the directories.  You can have your brothers and sisters in Christ sign your directory along with sharing a brief note of encouragement.  This will make your directory a real keep-sake for years to come.  For those who have recently begun attending our church this will provide an opportunity to connect names with faces.  We will also enjoy a time of praise through music.  So please if you have a special in song or verse that you feel the Lord is asking you to share, come prepared to share it.  The Lord will use you to bless everyone in attendance.  If you can, please bring a snack to share with everyone.  I hope to see you Saturday night!

                                                                                           C U N   Church,

                                                                                           David


February 6, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     What a glory Hallelujah day yesterday was at First Christian Church!  We were able to witness the baptism into Christ of two people.  Klent Scoggins was baptized by his brother-in-law Troy Bloemker and then Klent baptized his daughter, Kacey.  Kacey had asked her dad to baptize her and this prompted Klent to stop and consider where he was at in his relationship with the Lord.  God has really been at work with this family. There were several tears of joy shed yesterday in our services. Praise the Lord for His wonderful blessings!

     There are several men who are going to Men’s Night at Oil Belt Christian Service Camp this coming Friday night.  If you would like to go, please let the office know.  There is still time to sign up.  You will enjoy a pork chop supper followed by an inspirational service of praise and worship.

     Elsewhere in the newsletter you will find the announcement about the study that Delaine Donaldson will be leading.  This will be a six weeks series of lessons on how our Christian faith has influenced the founding of our country.  Our history books have not shared the full story of the role that God played in the lives of our founding fathers. Plan to be a part of these lessons!

     We still have two weeks left in our current Bible study, “You’ll Get Through This.”  This study is based on the life of Joseph in the book of Genesis.  Even if you have missed the first four lessons, I would encourage you to come and take in the last two.

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning and be able to greet each of you personally.  Invite a friend to come with you!

                                                                                    C U N   Church,

                                                                                    David

January 15, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Yesterday, I shared a message concerning the image of God.  Man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28), Jesus Christ is the image of God (Colossians 1:15), the person who is a new creation in Christ is being remade in God’s image (Colossians 3:9-10), and when Jesus comes again His followers will become like Him (1 John 3:2-3).  What a unique position man holds in God’s creation!  With blessings come responsibilities.  What is the responsibility that accompanies this blessed position of being made in the very image of God?  I shared the following in the sermon, but I think it deserves repeating.

     Jesus was often questioned by His enemies to trap Him in His words.  They hoped to be able to find reason to accuse Him to the Roman authorities or to cause Him to lose esteem with the people.  On one of those occasions, Jesus was asked whether it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar.  This was a no-win question.  If He answered that it was lawful, then He would lose popularity with the people and if He answered that it was not lawful, He would be in trouble with the Roman government.  How would He respond?

     Jesus told His questioners to show Him a coin used for paying the tax.  He then asked whose image was on the coin.  The reply was “Caesar.”  Jesus then stated, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”  This silenced His accusers, but it is too bad that someone did not follow up this answer by asking another question.  “What bears God’s image and what should we give to Him?”

     According to Genesis 1, humans bear the image of God.  Therefore, we should give our very lives to God.  “you were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)  “Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:1-2)

     May we reflect the image of God in our lives every day that we live!  May we be like the one whose image we bear by being righteous and holy!

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning.  Let’s all do our best to be present when the church meets for worship and fellowship!

                                                                                         C U N   Church,

                                                                                         David

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January 2, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Irma and I would like to extend to all of our church family a very Happy New Year!  May God use each of us to bring praise to His name and to point others to Him!

     I want to encourage you to participate in a new activity for the coming year.  You have probably heard of a "Book of the Month Club."  Beginning in January, we are having a "Book of the Month Club" here at First Christian Church.  Each month, a certain book or books of the Bible will be designated as the book everyone is encouraged to read.  A study guide will be made available with questions about the content of that book.  In addition, I will be preaching from that book during that particular month.

     There could be several benefits from this plan.  One, it will help the participants to have a greater knowledge of that section of Scripture.  Second, many who undertake to read all of the Bible in a certain time frame such as a year will often become discouraged and quit before finishing.  By breaking the Bible into smaller sections, the assignment of reading the Bible becomes more manageable.  By the time the year ends, the participants will have read several books of the Bible.

     The first book we will be reading is Genesis.  Be sure to pick up your study guide as soon as you can.  On Wednesday nights, the adults will begin a new study entitled "You'll Get Through This."  This study is based upon a book by that same title written by Max Lucado.  The study looks at the life of Joseph, son of Jacob, taken out of the last thirteen chapters of Genesis.   This study will reinforce what we are reading from the book of Genesis as our book of the month.

This study will begin on January 10.  I hope that you can be a part of it.

     I hope to each of you this coming Lord's Day morning.  Until then, be safe and keep trusting the Lord.

                                                 C U N. Church

                                                 David


December  19, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Irma and I would like to wish all of our church family a very Merry Christmas and a joy-filled New Year.  We are thankful to be a part of First Christian Church and to be able to serve our Lord alongside of you.

     Wasn’t Sunday’s worship service a great time of praise and fellowship!   If you weren’t here Sunday, you missed out on a real blessing!  You never know exactly what God has got in mind for our worship services each Sunday.  Do your best to not miss any of our services so that you might receive the blessings God has in store for you.

     I hope that each of you will be able to be present for both of our services this coming Sunday.  We have our regular Sunday morning service and then don’t forget the special candle light Christmas Eve service at 5 p.m.

     As a reminder of what the season is all about, let me share the words of a song

C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S

When I was but a youngster, Christmas meant one thing

That I’d be getting lots of toys that day.

But I learned a whole lot different, when Mother set me down

And taught me to spell Christmas this way.

C is for the Christ child born upon this day

H is for herald angels in the night

R means Our Redeemer

I means Israel

 S is for the star that shone so bright

T is for three wise men, they who traveled far

M is for the manger where He lay

A is for all He stands for

S means shepherds came

And that’s why there’s a Christmas Day

May each of us remember that God gave to us Jesus, “His indescribable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

                                                  C U N   Church,

                                                  David


December  4, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Technology is a wonderful thing as long as it works.  Last Saturday I was finishing up my work on the Bible question calendar when the program that I was using on the computer quit working.  If only it had continued to work for another thirty minutes, I would have completed the project.  So all the work I had done was inaccessible and I could not print the calendars.  I thought in place of the calendar, I might ask some questions here in my column and print the answers somewhere else in the newsletter.

The emphasis this month centers around the birth of Christ.  This is a familiar story to us but sometimes we have added to what the Bible has actually said, made assumptions that have no biblical support, or have forgotten what the Bible actually says.  To help refresh our memories, here are a few questions.

1. What are the two Gospel accounts where the birth of Jesus is related?

    a. Matthew and Mark   b. Matthew and Luke   c. Matthew and John

2. What Old Testament prophet spoke about the virgin birth?

    a. Isaiah   b. Jeremiah   c. Micah

3. What Old Testament prophet foretold the birthplace of the Messiah?

    a. Isaiah   b. Jeremiah   c. Micah

4. Why did Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem?

    a. They needed to get away from Nazareth   b. Joseph’s work took him there  

    c. Joseph was a descendent of King David

5. How did Mary travel to Bethlehem?

    a. She rode a donkey   b. She walked   c. The Bible doesn’t say

6. Because there was no room in the inn, Mary and Joseph ended up in a place where

    animals were kept.  How did they learn about this place?

    a. the innkeeper showed them   b. the innkeeper’s wife after her husband turned

    them away showed them   c. the Bible doesn’t say

7. In accordance with their arrival in Bethlehem, when was Jesus born?

    a. on the very night of their arrival   b. the very next day   c. sometime while they were

    there

8. What was to be the sign to the shepherds so they might be able to identify the baby?

    a. the baby would be lying in a manger   b. there would be a star over where the baby

    was   c. they would receive additional directions when they arrived in Bethlehem

9. How many wise men (magi) came to see the new King of the Jews?

    a. 3   b. 7   c. the Bible doesn’t say

10. What were the gifts given to the new King by the wise men?

      a. gold, silver and platinum   b. gold, silver, and frankincense   c. gold, frankincense

      and myrrh

Please answer all of the questions before looking at the answers.  I hope you are able to enjoy the Christmas season.  See you Sunday!

                                                                                     C U N   Church,

                                                                                     David

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Technology is a wonderful thing as long as it works.  Last Saturday I was finishing up my work on the Bible question calendar when the program that I was using on the computer quit working.  If only it had continued to work for another thirty minutes, I would have completed the project.  So all the work I had done was inaccessible and I could not print the calendars.  I thought in place of the calendar, I might ask some questions here in my column and print the answers somewhere else in the newsletter.

The emphasis this month centers around the birth of Christ.  This is a familiar story to us but sometimes we have added to what the Bible has actually said, made assumptions that have no biblical support, or have forgotten what the Bible actually says.  To help refresh our memories, here are a few questions.

1. What are the two Gospel accounts where the birth of Jesus is related?

    a. Matthew and Mark   b. Matthew and Luke   c. Matthew and John

2. What Old Testament prophet spoke about the virgin birth?

    a. Isaiah   b. Jeremiah   c. Micah

3. What Old Testament prophet foretold the birthplace of the Messiah?

    a. Isaiah   b. Jeremiah   c. Micah

4. Why did Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem?

    a. They needed to get away from Nazareth   b. Joseph’s work took him there  

    c. Joseph was a descendent of King David

5. How did Mary travel to Bethlehem?

    a. She rode a donkey   b. She walked   c. The Bible doesn’t say

6. Because there was no room in the inn, Mary and Joseph ended up in a place where

    animals were kept.  How did they learn about this place?

    a. the innkeeper showed them   b. the innkeeper’s wife after her husband turned

    them away showed them   c. the Bible doesn’t say

7. In accordance with their arrival in Bethlehem, when was Jesus born?

    a. on the very night of their arrival   b. the very next day   c. sometime while they were

    there

8. What was to be the sign to the shepherds so they might be able to identify the baby?

    a. the baby would be lying in a manger   b. there would be a star over where the baby

    was   c. they would receive additional directions when they arrived in Bethlehem

9. How many wise men (magi) came to see the new King of the Jews?

    a. 3   b. 7   c. the Bible doesn’t say

10. What were the gifts given to the new King by the wise men?

      a. gold, silver and platinum   b. gold, silver, and frankincense   c. gold, frankincense

      and myrrh

Please answer all of the questions before looking at the answers.  I hope you are able to enjoy the Christmas season.  See you Sunday!

                                                                                     C U N   Church,

                                                                                     David

November  21, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Irma and I want to thank all of those who shared cards and gifts with us for Pastor Appreciation month.  We surely appreciate all of the kind words and encouragement you shared with us.

     Since Thanksgiving is this week, may each of us give thanks to the Lord above!

1. Give thanks for food – “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you. (Deuteronomy 8:10)

2. Give thanks for Jesus – For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor that you through His poverty, might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

3. Give thanks for salvation – Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.  For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  (Colossians 1:12-14)

4. Give thanks for family and friends – I thank God every time I remember you. (Philippians 1:3)

5. Give thanks for special favors – Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress … Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men.  (Psalm 107:19, 21)

6. Give thanks for all God’s gifts – Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”  Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!  Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.  (1 Chronicles 16:31-32, 34)

     Irma and I would like to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!  We hope to see you this coming Lord’s Day morning when we gather for worship.

                                                C U N   Church,

                                                David


November  7, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

The Dog Who Talked

     A minister in North Caroline was surprised to find a large, white, nervous dog pacing back and forth in front of the church building one Sunday morning.  It seemed to scrutinize each passing church member.  It was almost as if the dog was looking for someone.   It was not disruptive in any way, but did scan each arriving attendee in an apparent attempt to find someone.  Everyone was curious about the dog and to whom it belonged.

     Later, the minster learned the full story.  The dog’s master, a very consecrated Christian and faithful member of that church, had passed away while the dog was being cared for by a veterinarian.  Somehow the dog had escaped from the vet’s care and the dog went to a place where he had known his master to go regularly.

     If this had been your dog and he had known the places you could be found, where would he have looked for you?  Would his Sunday morning attempt to locate you have taken him to the golf course, the lake, the TV set, the restaurant, or the fishing dock?  Would a search for you have led that dog to the garage, to the sports arena, the stores, or under the covers in the bedroom? 

     The dog who talked said that his master was willing to put Jesus first.  And that said a lot about whoever that man was.

-          Copied

We had a great time of worship this past Sunday morning.  I hope that each of us will be present this coming Sunday morning when the church gathers for worship.  I look forward to being able to greet each of you personally!

                                                                                                    C U N   Church

                                                                                                    David

October 17, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Yesterday, we were blessed to be challenged by the preaching of Terry Stine, President of St. Louis Christian College.  He preached from Acts 1:8 which records Jesus’ command to His apostles:

     “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

     Are we carrying out that command today?  This coming Sunday you will have the opportunity to help carry out that command.  We are offering you the chance to make a promise in faith to give a certain amount of money to help support the missions program at First Christian Church.  The money promised and given to the missions program is divided among 11 different missions and missionaries.  These missions and missionaries are sharing the Gospel with people around the world, in our own country, and in our own community.  Each of us wants to make a difference in our world.  There is no better way of doing that than by sharing the good news about Jesus with others.

     A faith promise is just exactly that.  It is a promise you make to God to give a certain amount of money to missions during this next year.  It is a promise you make to Him trusting that He will provide that amount of money.  Presently, you may not have that money in hand and you may not know exactly where that money is going to come from.

However, you may feel that God is leading you to give that money so that others may know about Jesus.  So in faith asking God to provide, you promise to give.  This past year the Lord has enabled us to give more than $33,500 to missions.  That money has made a difference in the lives of others.  We have been partners with our missionaries in bringing people to Christ, preparing others to take the message, and helping relieve suffering in the name of Jesus.

     I hope that you will participate in our faith promise program this year.  I ask that you prayerfully consider what the Lord may be challenging you to give this year.  You are “Making a Difference.”

     If you are not quite sure how the faith promise program works, then I would be glad to talk with you more about it.

                                                       C U N   Church,

                                                        David


October 3, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

   Recent headlines have announced the bad news. 

“Storm deaths: Harvey claims lives of more than 75 in Texas”

 “Unofficial death toll from Hurricane Irma now stands at 75 across the state.” 

“Death toll rises to 360 in Mexico earthquake.”

“58 killed, 515 hurt in Las Vegas Strip massacre.”

It seems like that we have been inundated with bad news in the last few weeks.  Death and destruction has been the theme of the news we read, hear and see from the newspapers, radio, TV, and internet.

     We desperately need to hear some good news and our friends and neighbors also desperately need to hear some good news.  Do we have any good news to share?  The answer is “Yes, we still have good news.”

     Despite the tragedies that surround us, let us understand that God has not deserted us.  He has promised us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)  Although we may think God has deserted us, may we cling to this promise knowing that our God is still with us and always will be.

     Although it may seem like things are out of control, God is still in control.  In the early days of Christianity, Christians were being persecuted for their faith and some were even being put to death.  Things seemed to be out of control but the message that the book of Revelation gave to the early Christians is that God was still on His throne (Revelation 4).  God is still on His throne today!   

     Jesus warned His disciples that in the world they would have trouble, but then He added this comforting thought.  “But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

     For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

     I hope to see you each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning when the good news will be shared.  Plan on being with us!  Please keep praying for our neighbors who have suffered tragedy.

                                                                                                C U N    Church,

                                                                                                David

September 19, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

    I hope you were able to be present for our anniversary celebration.  I have heard several people comment on how much they enjoyed the weekend services.  It was wonderful to see the good attendance at both of the services.

     On Saturday night the fellowship room was full.  It was a marvelous time of worship in song.  A big thanks goes to Pee Wee Denton for playing the piano and to Don Thoele for leading the songs.  It was a great time of inspiration and encouragement.  Thanks to Carroll Lewis for leading us in the devotional thought.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the ice cream and cake.  That really was no surprise.  What an exciting time it was opening up the time capsule.  Making it even more special was the fact that there were 13 people present who were there when the capsule was put into the cornerstone 45 years ago.  Bill Fry who sealed it shut 45 years ago was able to cut it open.  What an example of faithfulness to the Lord has been set by those folks!  On Sunday morning, we had another great time of worship.  Thanks to Jane Ann Zerkel for planning the song services for these last 5 weeks and to Delaine Donaldson for sharing what was happening in our community and world throughout our church’s existence.  Also thanks to Delaine for his presentation of W.T. Gordon.  Everyone enjoyed the lunch following the services.  I also want to thank those who served on the anniversary committee for the hard work in planning the events held in this year’s celebration.

     We have celebrated the church’s faithfulness to serving Christ for 150 years.  Now, let us continue to be faithful in serving Jesus.  In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13).

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning as our church family gathers for worship.

                                                                                      C U N   Church,

                                                                                      David

September 4, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

      Slogans, mottos, and jingles can be very useful.  One of the benefits is making something memorable.  I can still remember some of the jingles from the 1960’s  that were used in the advertising industry to sell products.  Another benefit is the power to unite people for a cause.  In the 1830’s, a motto that united people behind a cause was “Remember the Alamo.”  One other benefit is the potential to generate enthusiasm.  Throughout our history there have been slogans that have been used to build enthusiasm for political candidates.  One of the most famous was in the Presidential campaign of 1840.  The slogan that was used to generate support for William Henry Harrison was “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.”

     Our church is a part of the Restoration Movement, an effort to restore the present day church to the way it was in the New Testament.  The Restoration Movement had its beginnings in the early 1800’s.  There were several different slogans that became a part of this movement that helped make the purposes of the movement stick in the minds of the people, rally them to a common purpose, and create enthusiasm.

     There are three such slogans that I want to share with you in this column.  Perhaps you are already familiar with them, but on the other hand maybe you have never heard them before.  If you are not familiar with them, then you should be.

     “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love.”  All agree that there must be unity in the clear areas of biblical teaching.  But in matters of opinion a wide variety of differences can be tolerated – as long as these opinions do not contradict biblical teaching, are not made a test of fellowship or church membership, or are not made essential to the church’s teaching.

     “No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible, no law but love.”  The unity of the church is to be found only in the basics of New Testament teaching.  All other sources of teaching ultimately become divisive.  That is why when a person wants to become a member of our church, we do not ask them whether they agree with a lengthy statement of beliefs but only whether they believe Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God.

     “Not the only Christians, but Christians only.”  We do not believe that the only Christians are found in our church but we do refuse to wear any other name than Christian.  All followers of Jesus want to be known as Christians, but names other than this divinely given name can be divisive.

     I am proud to be a part of a congregation that stands on the ancient book, the Bible, and bears the ancient name, Christian, and follows the ancient command, love God and one another.

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning!

                                                                                C U N   Church,

                                                                                David

August 14, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Yesterday, Delaine Donaldson in his presentation of history at the time of the establishment of First Christian Church in 1867 up to the end of the 19th century mentioned President James A. Garfield.  He was a member of the Christian Church/Church of Christ and was asked many questions about the group of believers with whom he worshiped.  In response to those questions he wrote the following:

1. We call ourselves Christians or Disciples of Christ.

2. We believe in God the Father.

3. We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and our Savior.  We regard the divinity of Christ as the fundamental truth of the Christian system.

4. We believe in the Holy Spirit, both as to His agency in conversion as indwelling in the heart of the Christian.

5. We accept both the Old and the New Testament Scriptures as the inspired Word of God.

6. We believe in the future punishment of the wicked and the future reward of the righteous.

7. We believe that the Deity is a prayer hearing and a prayer answering God.

8. We observe the institution of the Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s day.  To this table we neither invite nor debar; we say it is the Lord’s Supper for all of the Lord’s children.

9. We plead for the union of God’s people on the Bible and the Bible alone.

10. The Christ is our only creed.

11. We maintain that all the ordinances should be observed as they were in the days of the apostles.

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning.  Let’s all do our best to be here next Sunday!

                                                                                          C U N   Church,

                                                                                          David

August 1, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Throughout this year, we have been commemorating 150 years of our congregation’s life and service in the Effingham community.  For all of us as human beings, 150 years is a long, long time.  There are many in our congregation who can comprehend the length of half that time but none of us can grasp and understand from personal experience the time span of 150 years.  However, the God we love and serve surely can!  The length of time our congregation has been in existence is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the history of mankind and even less when compared to eternity. “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:  With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8).

     We celebrate the events of the past.  We plan for the future.  But we must take advantage of the time we have in the present.   “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” (Colossians 4:5 King James Version)  The New International Version translates that verse as “make the most of every opportunity.”  I want to encourage you to make the most of every opportunity to celebrate this anniversary of our congregation’s existence.

     We hope that you can be present with us on the weekend of September 9-10.

On that Saturday evening at 6:00 we will get together for a time of fellowship and worship.  We are planning on homemade ice cream.  Carroll Lewis, interim minister two different times at First Christian Church, will be present with us to share some memories as well as devotional thoughts.  Pee Wee Denton will be leading us in an old-fashioned sing-a-long.  The time capsule enclosed in the cornerstone will be opened. 

     On September 10, we will continue the celebration. Following the morning worship service, the church family will share lunch in the fellowship hall. 

     Please take advantage of this opportunity to celebrate the life and ministry of First Christian Church.

                                                                            C U N   Church,

                                                                            David

July 17, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Wow!  Upwards Soccer and VBS are finished and we are heading toward fall.  It seems incredible but it is true.  God has blessed us with the opportunity of sharing His love with many children during this last month.  There were 43 kids who participated in the Upwards program and 30 kids who came to VBS.  May God continue to grant us opportunity to minister to children and to adults both in our congregation and in the community!

     In order for that to happen, we must continue to have volunteers who will step forward to serve.  Thanks to all of the volunteers who helped make our Upwards and VBS work.  We couldn’t have done it without you. 

     In the future, you may be asked to serve.  Let me give you three good reasons to serve the Lord through your local church.

     1. Your Christian life needs a service outlet.  Nothing helps you to grow as a Christian like putting your faith into practice or teaching, singing, ushering, or serving on a church committee.

     2. You have a testimony to share with others.  The reason why you are asked to serve is that your fellow Christians have confidence in you and your ability.  Your Christian testimony will be a good influence in the lives of those whom you lead and serve.

     3. Your church needs you.  There is no way for our church to get its work done unless members volunteer their time to teach and lead.  When you accept a place of responsibility, you help your church move forward in the name of Christ.

     I look forward to seeing you in our worship services this coming Lord’s Day morning.  Let’s all do our best to be present when we assemble for worship and fellowship!

                                                                                           C U N    Church,

                                                                                           David

July 3, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Tomorrow, we will celebrate our country’s 241st birthday.  During those 241 years, there have been many times of strife and disagreement.  Our present time seems to be characterized by division and sectarianism.  Are there any lessons from the past that we can learn from that might be able to help us through our own troubled times?  Let me share one such incident from our past that can serve as an example to us today.

     On Thursday, June 28, 1787, Benjamin Franklin delivered a powerful speech to the Constitutional Convention, which was embroiled in a bitter debate over how each state was to be represented in the new government.  The hostile feelings, created by the smaller states being pitted against the larger states was so bitter that some delegates actually left the Convention.  Franklin said the following: “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?  We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that built it.’  I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: …I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.” 

     We know that as a result of those prayers the Great Compromise was struck and as a result our government has two legislative bodies in its Congress.  It would be good if we employed this same method – prayer – to end the gridlock that plagues us at both the national and state levels.

     Enjoy your Fourth of July and be sure to pray for our country, its citizens, and its leaders.  Please God, bless America again!

                                                                                                C U N   Church,

                                                                                                David

​​​​​​​June 20, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

I found the following article in my files and thought it was worthy of reprinting.  It is almost 20 years old, copied from another church’s newsletter, but the message is still relevant.

Are You a Consumer or a Contributor?

     Nearly everyone is familiar with the statement John Kennedy made during his inaugural speech in 1961.  “Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.”  Why is this so memorable?  I believe it is because it challenges us to grow beyond our natural selfishness and adopt a more mature attitude as citizens.

     In a similar way we most naturally ask, “What can this church do for me?”  We see the church through the eyes of a consumer as we are “shopping” for the preaching, Sunday School, music, and youth program merchandise that will best meet our needs or the needs of our family.

     But at some point, we need to hear God challenging us, to ask more than, “What can this church do for me?”  but also to ask, “What can I do for my church?”  After all, what if every church member continued to think like a consumer?  Who would be doing the serving while everyone was consuming?

     For sure, we never outgrow the need to consume fellowship, teaching, and other benefits which church involvement should give us.  However, for the church to be healthy, a significant number of us, ideally all of us, must eventually grow beyond the consumer mentality to take on the contributor mentality.

     A Christian who remains a consumer will more easily become dissatisfied that the church is not meeting their needs like it did at one time.  The contributor, on the other hand, is more fulfilled because of service.  He is also patient with what the church lacks, because he understands that the “somebody” who ought to be “doing something” is himself or herself and other strugglers.

     We truly live in a consumer society, and people often see the church through the same set of glasses as they do when visiting a store at the mall.  Although we may at first prolong our visit because the church is merchandise we need, God wants you and I to assume some responsibility for the store and begin serving other customers.  That is a maturing church.

     Are you a consumer or a contributor?

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day as the church meets for worship!

                                                                                    C U N   Church,

                                                                                    David

June 5, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     On Monday morning, I drove down to Fairfield to pick up Mom for a doctor’s appointment.  The round trip from Effingham to Fairfield and back to Effingham is about 120 miles.  In that 120 miles, I was able to see some different weather conditions.  When I started, it was quite foggy.  I was grateful that it was daylight thus making it easier to see.  During my trip, I would drive in and out of the fog.  It wasn’t until I was back in Effingham County that the fog completely disappeared.  I could tell that some of the areas I was driving through had received rainfall but other areas were dry.  Just north of Fairfield they had received a rather heavy rainfall because there was water standing in the fields.  In fact, just north of Geff on Highway 45 there were signs that had been put out warning of water on the pavement.  When we got back to Effingham, the sun had burst through and was shining brightly    

.  You may be asking why I am giving you this detailed account of my little trip. 

Each of us is on a journey through life.  As we make our way through life on that journey, we encounter different conditions and circumstances.  Those conditions will change as we travel on.  The conditions we face early on in life will not be the same as those that we face in mid-life or in later life.  The important thing is that we remain alert and are prepared to deal with those conditions.   When going through clear patches I still had to be prepared for more foggy areas.  Although I was sure there was no water on the pavement, the warning signs needed to be observed and I needed to be alert for possible dangers.  The best preparation we can make for our journey through life is to have Jesus by our side.  If we have Him by our side, then I can assure you that at the end of our life’s journey, the Son will be shining brightly as we are ushered into the presence of our Heavenly Father.

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning.  Let’s all do our best to be present when we meet for worship and fellowship!

                                                                                        C U N   Church,

                                                                                        David

May 15, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Spring is the season of graduation.  I wish to extend to all of our graduates from First Christian Church my heart-felt congratulations.  You have completed a phase of your education and are ready to begin a new time in your life.  You have worked hard in order to be able to achieve this and you deserve to be recognized and commended.

     Let me share a few quotes about graduation.  I hope that they might be an encouragement to all of our graduates.

     “That diploma you hold in your hands today is really just your learner’s permit for the rest of the drive through life. Remember, you don’t have to be smarter than the next person, all you have to do is be willing to work harder than the next person.” – Jimmy Iovine

  “By all reckoning, the bumblebee is aerodynamically unsound and shouldn’t be able to fly. Yet, the little bee gets those wings going like a turbo-jet and flies to every plant its chubby little body can land on to collect all the nectar it can hold. Bumblebees are the most persistent creatures. They don’t know they can’t fly, so they just keep buzzing around. Like the lowly bumblebee, honored graduates, never give in to pessimism. Don’t know that you can’t fly, and you will soar like an eagle.”  Earl Bakken

     “My favorite animal is the turtle. The reason is that in order for the turtle to move, it has to stick its neck out. There are going to be times in your life when you’re going to have to stick your neck out. There will be challenges and instead of hiding in a shell, you have to go out and meet them. “  Westheimer

     Let me add some of the words found in the Bible to encourage and challenge you as you move forward in life

     So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.  1 Corinthians 15:58

New Living Translation

     So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.  Galatians 6:9      New Living Translation

     Finally, let me say that your church family at First Christian Church is proud of you and your accomplishments.  As you continue with your life and your education, may you continue to put God first in your life!

                                                                                                               C U N   Church,

                                                                                                               David

.

May 3, 2017

Mother And Son Duet Cake

Light oven to 350 degrees.  Get mixing bowl and measuring spoons out.  Get ingredients out.  Crack and pick nuts.  Grease and flour cake pans.  Remove blocks and toy autos from table.  Remove Johnny’s hands from flour and measure 2 cups, Ooops!  Measure 1 more cup of flour to replace cup spilled on floor.  Put flour, baking powder and salt in sifter.  Get dust pan and brush up pieces of bowl which Johnny knocked on floor.  Get another bowl.  Answer door bell.  Back to kitchen to remove Johnny’s hands from bowl.  Wash Johnny.  Get out egg.  Answer phone.  Return to kitchen.  Take out greased pan.  Remove 1 inch of salt from pan.  Look for Johnny.  Get out another pan and grease it.  Answer phone.  Return to kitchen and find Johnny.  Remove hands from bowl.  Wash ingredients from him.  Take up pan and remove nut shells.  Head for Johnny who runs knocking bowl on floor.  Put Johnny in bath tub.  Wash walls, floor and table.  Call baker.  Put Johnny down for a nap and lie down for awhile.

Praise God for mothers who have exercised extra love and patience with their children through the years.  They are worthy of our appreciation and praise. 

“A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies. … Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.  Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”  Proverbs 31:10, 28-31

April 18, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

It is spring and people are doing all of the things that are normally done at this time of year.  That includes me too.  I am watching Cardinals baseball on TV, hunting mushrooms, gardening and hopefully going fishing soon.  Have you planted your garden yet?  I want to encourage you to plant several rows of “let us” this year.  I have been consulting my “seed catalog” (the Bible) and have found some different types of “let us” that you could plant in the garden of your life.

 

  1. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) This will make all of the rest of our garden fall into line.
  2. Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22)
  3. Let us be alert and self-controlled” (1 Thessalonians 5:6b)
  4. Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28b)
  5. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25)
  6. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19)
  7. “Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14:13)
  8. Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 7:1)
  9. Let us hold firmly to the faith we profess” (He4brews 4:14)
  10. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

If you still want more “let us” in your life’s garden, then there are more kinds to be found on the pages of the Bible.

I hope to see each of you this coming Sunday.  We had a great attendance last Sunday.  Let’s do our best to be present when the church meets this coming Sunday!

April 4, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

A few years ago, there was an expression being used that was quite popular.  The expression was “a born again Christian.”  Despite its popularity, the expression was redundant.  Let me explain.  In order to be a Christian, you must be born again.  Jesus said, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:5)  If you are born again, then you certainly are a Christian.  The terms “born again” and “Christian” describe the same individual.  However, to many people a born again Christian described a “super Christian” i.e. someone who was really on fire for the Lord, showing evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence in his/her life. That may have been the meaning we attached to the terms, but the Bible did not make such a distinction between the two.

Today, there are two other words that are being used that like the two terms mentioned above essentially describe the same person.  Those two words are “Christian” and “disciple.”   Disciple is understood by many to mean a follower of Jesus who is really serious about their faith.  That follower of Jesus not only is a learner of the teachings of Jesus but is also one who practices those teachings.  A Christian is understood by some as just a regular church member who claims to have faith in Jesus.  We may make a distinction in the two words, but the Bible does not.

Let me give you an example.  “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch” (Acts 11:25).  Those who were practicing the teachings of Jesus (disciples) were called Christians.  This is different than what is happening today.  We are calling Christians who really practice their faith, disciples.  The biblical truth is that a Christian and a disciple of Christ are one and the same.  There is no distinction made between the two in the New Testament.

What is the application for us today?  If you are a Christian, then you are a disciple. If you are a disciple, then you are most certainly a Christian.  I will gladly wear either name because both names indicate that I am a follower of Jesus Christ.

I hope to see each of you in one of our services this coming Lord’s Day.  Let’s all do our best to be present when the Christians/disciples assemble for worship.

March 21, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

 Don’t forget that we are compiling a new church pictorial directory this spring.  The dates of photography are April 20-22.  There were several people who were signing up for appointments this past Sunday.  You can do that online or you can wait until Sunday to sign up in person.  Remember, we want everyone who attends First Christian Church to be included in the directory.  It doesn’t matter if you are a member or not, please have your picture taken.  If you know of friends who would like to have portraits done, you can sign them up too.  Their picture does not have to appear in the directory.  Our directory will not be complete without your picture!

We have received a good response to the planned trip to the ark and creation museum.  The trip is scheduled for June 22-23.  If you are interested in going on this trip, please let the office know.  We are going to begin opening this trip up to others in our community. 

We are once again asking our congregation to participate in the Good Friday prayer service.  The prayer vigil will go from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.  There are several 15 minute time periods that are still available.  Please sign up this coming Sunday.  The Effingham Ministerial Association is sponsoring a sunrise service at the cross on Easter Sunday morning.  It is always a blessing to those who are in attendance.

Someone asked me for a link to the webpage where the Old Testament Books song can be found.  Here is the web address:

https://www.youtube,com/watch?v=Q98RDFAFjaM

How are you doing on your memorization?  You still have a few days left in March.  You can do it!

I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day.  Let’s put forth our best effort to be present for one of the services this coming Sunday.

March 7, 2017

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

How are you coming along in memorizing the Old Testament books?  Let me encourage you in this.  You can do it!  However, even if you aren’t able to get them all memorized, you will become much more familiar with the order of the books.  You won’t feel so lost when you are asked to look up a passage in the book of Nahum or Zechariah, or Ruth.  I hope that you are enjoying the daily questions on the calendars that were distributed.  If you did not get one of the calendars and would like one, please let me know and I will make sure you get one.  Please take time to read the article on the church website about the Old Testament.  You will find it on the homepage under blogs.  It is included with the Ponderings of the Preacher.  I will soon be putting another article there about what each of the Old Testament books contains.  Be watching for it.

We still have yard signs advertising our 150th anniversary.  Please pick one up and put it in your yard.  Also, please plan to attend the special program on May 7 at the Effingham Performance Center.  Tickets are available in the church office.  Invite a friend or neighbor to attend with you.  It sounds like an amazing program.

We are currently planning some of our children’s summer activities.  Our Upwards Soccer camps are being held in June.  We can use your help with these camps.  You don’t need to know a thing about soccer.  We need adults who will escort the kids around the soccer field to their learning stations.  Please let Martin know if you can help with this great ministry.

Vacation Bible School will be in July.  We need your help in making this VBS a great outreach to our community.  There are many children in our community who would greatly benefit by attending our VBS.  Will you pray that we might be able to reach out to those kids and their families?

Summer camp is fast approaching at Oil Belt.  The summer schedule has been published.  Our church will once again be paying 100% of camp registration for one week of camp for our kids.  Encourage your kids and grandkids to attend.

I look forward to being able to greet each of you personally this coming Lord’s Day morning or evening.  Let’s all do our best to be in attendance when the Lord’s Church comes together for worship!

Weekly Preachings

June 10, 2018

SOMETHING EVERYBODY CAN DO

Scripture: Romans 12:3-8

If no one takes responsibility, nothing gets accomplished..

I want you to understand that serving Jesus is something every Christian can do and needs to do.  Let me share with you four thoughts on Christian service that are suggested to me by this passage.

I. EVERYBODY  CAN DO SOMETHING FOR CHRIST

 

 

 

 II. NOBODY  CAN DO EVERYTHING FOR CHRIST

 

 

 

III. ANYBODY CAN DO SOMETHING FOR CHRIST

 

 

 

IV. SOMEBODY SHOULD DO SOMETHING FOR

     CHRIST

 

 

 

It doesn’t matter who you are.  You need to be serving Jesus!

 

Audio

June 3, 2018

Dead or Alive

Scripture: Romans 12:1-2

Does it make a difference whether you are dead or alive?  It does to God.  In the Old Testament, God instructed His people to offer sacrifices to Him.  These sacrifices were onetime events.  The animals were killed and then offered up on the altar.  In the New Testament, He asks us to make a living sacrifice to Him.  This is an ongoing sacrifice.  I urge you to present your bodies as living sacrifices to God.  Let’s look at the motivations for making such a sacrifice.

I. IMPROPER MOTIVATIONS

   A. __________

   B. __________

   C. __________

   D. __________

II. PROPER MOTIVATIONS

    A. __________________

    B. __________

Are you presenting yourself as a living sacrifice to God?  Let us see Jesus and his sacrifice and allow this to motivate us to greater service for Him!

Audio

May 27, 2018

A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE

Scripture: Exodus 12:1-14

In Exodus 6:6, God promised to redeem Israel from slavery.  The redemption that God brought about for the Israelites was called the Passover.  ).  I think you will be amazed at the similarity between the Passover of the Old Testament and the fulfillment of the Passover in the New Testament.  The Israelites rejoiced in their redemption from slavery; may we rejoice in our redemption from our slavery to sin!   In Exodus 12, we discover three truths about the redemption of the Israelites that are just as true concerning our redemption from sin.

I. REDEMPTION HAS TO BE APPLIED.

   A. Choose a lamb.

   B. Sprinkle the blood..

 

II. REDEMPTION MUST BE REMEMBERED,.

    A. The Passover was an ongoing ordinance.

    B. The Passover was to be observed in a specific way.

 

III. REDEMPTION WAS TO BE EXPLAINED..

 

Some things should never be forgotten.  Never forget the sacrifice that was made so that we might be free from our sins..

Audio

May 20, 2018

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD GOD SPEAKING TO YOU?

Scripture: Exodus 3-4

In the first part of this passage of Scripture, God spoke to Moses telling him there was a job that needed to be done.  In the second part of this Scripture, Moses replied to God’s call.

Just as there were two parts to the conversation in Moses’ day, so there are two parts to the conversation we have when God calls us to serve.

I. GOD’S CALL

   A. God’s call is real.

   B. There is a great need.

   C. God has equipped  you to do the job.

II. OUR REPLY

    A. I am too busy.

    B. I may fail.

    C. I don’t have the ability.

    D. I don’t want to.

    E. Here am I, send me.

If God is speaking to you telling you that He has a job to do, I encourage you to respond to His call and become involved in serving Him. 

Audio

May 13, 2018

AN UNSUNG MOTHER

Who are some of the outstanding mothers in the Bible?  There would be some obvious names that would be included in a list like that. Sarah, Rebekkah, Hannah, Mary

A name that probably would not appear on that list is Jochebed.

She was Jacob’s granddaughter, Amram’s wife and mother of  Moses.  I believe that Jochebed much like so many mothers today played an extremely important role in the life of her child.  Yet that role has largely gone unnoticed.  I am convinced that the influence of a mother on her child is a far greater contribution to making this world a better place than any other career a mother might choose.  From this passage of Scripture, Exodus 2:1-10, there are four truths that I want you to recognize.

I. RECOGNIZE HOW SPECIAL YOUR CHILD IS.

 

II. RECOGNIZE THERE IS A PRICE  TO PAY.

 

III, RECOGNIZE THAT TIME  IS SHORT.

 

IV. RECOGNIZE THAT YOU MUST RELEASE  THEM.

 

 

Moms, you are making a difference in the affairs of this world.  Stay the course!  Don’t give up!  Be faithful to your calling!

 

 

 

...

Audio

May 6, 2018

DON’T GIVE UP . . .

Scripture: Mark 2:1-12

Have you ever felt paralyzed?

There are many situations that paralyze us. We get stuck on them, and eventually we might give up. We tell ourselves: “What’s the point?”

Here are four reasons to NOT GIVE UP:

1.      Don’t give up when you feel ________________, because you are not_____________________! (vv.1-3)

 

 

 

2.      Don’t give up when there are _________________________, because there is ___________________ _____________! (v.4)

 

 

 

3.      Don’t give up when you don’t ______ _______ ______ _______, because Jesus _______ _______ what _______ _________! (v.5)

 

 

 

4.      Don’t give up when people don’t __________________, (vv.6-7) because Jesus is the __________________________! (vv.8-12)

Audio

April 29, 2018

THE ART OF SERMON LISTENING

Different people have achieved fame and notoriety because of things they have done.  Some of those things have been extremely important in the eyes of history and by those same standards other things have not been very important.  This has been true both in the secular world and also in the biblical record.

Scripture: Acts 17:10-12

To many, the actions of the Bereans seem unimportant but in the eyes of God, their actions were both important and noteworthy.  The Berean Christians are famous for being

good sermon listeners.  We should try our very best to imitate the actions of those early believers from Berea.  To help us do that, I would like for us to ask ourselves some questions.

I. HOW DO YOU APPROACH SERMON TIME?

 

II. WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE A GOOD SERMON?

 

III. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN LISTENING TO A SERMON?

 

IV. HOW DO YOU APPLY THE SERMON?

 

V. WHAT CAN I DO TO BE A BETTER LISTENER?

 

Will you do your best to imitate the believers from Berea?

Text...

Audio

April 22, 2018

WEARING OUR NAME PROUDLY

Scripture: Acts 11:19-30

A good name is something to guard, protect and preserve.  We have been given a good name by God.  Let’s wear the name God has given us proudly.  There are two kinds of names God has given to His people mentioned in this Scripture that we should wear proudly and guard diligently.

I. THE FIRST NAME IS A GROUP NAME THAT HAS

    BEEN GIVEN TO US.  That name is church. (22,26)

    A. How was the church viewed by the community?  Acts 2:47;

         5:13

    B. Why was the church held in honor by the community?  The

         answer could be given in one word.   Love

 

 

II. THE SECOND NAME IS AN INDIVIDUAL

     NAME THAT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO US.

     A. We are called disciples.

     B. We are called brothers..

     C. We are called Christians.

 

 

There is no greater name to wear than Christian and no greater group to which we can belong than the church.

 

 

Audio

April 15, 2018

SALVATION IS SIMPLE

Scripture: Acts 8:26-40

Salvation is simple.  It may appear difficult but after an explanation of what the Bible teaches, salvation become simple.  Let’s look at how simple salvation really is.

I. SALVATION IS SIMPLE TO__________________ (34-36)

   A, Do you have a hard time understanding the Bible? 

   B. Start with ______________.

   C. What do I need to know?

        1. You need to know something about ___________.

             a. ______________________

             b. ______________________

        2. You need to know something about __________

             a. _______________________ I John 5:17; 3:4

             b. _______________________

             c. _______________________ Romans 3:23

             d. ________________________________ Romans

                 6:1-7

II. SALVATION IS SIMPLE TO _________________ (36, 38)

     A. No ____________________ to do Acts 2:38

     B. No _________________________ to receive it

          2 Corinthians 6:2

     C. No _________________________ to help you

          understand it.

     D. No _________________________

The reason why salvation is so simple is because Jesus made it that way.  We enjoy salvation because Jesus paid the price.

Audio

April 8, 2018

THE RESURRECTION – NOT THE END OF THE STORY

Scripture: Acts 1:1-3

Jesus remained on earth for forty days following His resurrection.  That time provided beneficial results both for His apostles and for us today.  Let’s look at what those results are.

I. REASSURED OF HIS ________________

   ___________________

  A. To whom did He appear (3) 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

  B. What message was sent by these appearances?

 

 

II. SUPPLIED US WITH ADDITIONAL ___________________

 

 

 

III. DEMONSTRATED THE IMPORTANCE OF _____________

     ______________

     A. The Bible is an ____________________ subject

     B. The Bible needs to be _________________

     C. The Bible is a subject of great ___________________

 

 

Forty days after His resurrection Jesus ascended to heaven.  That is not the end of the story.  He is still present and working among us

April 1, 2018

THE ULTIMATE PIECE OF EVIDENCE

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:17

How important is the resurrection of Jesus Christ?  If you can prove that Jesus in fact did not rise from the dead, then you have disproved Christianity.  On the other hand, if you can prove that He did rise from the dead, then it is logical to conclude that our faith is true.  That is how important the resurrection is.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the ultimate piece of evidence for what we believe. For the next few moments, I want to look with you at three major ideas that are dependent upon the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I. HIS ________________ IS DEPENDENT UPON THE 

   RESURRECTION

   A. John 20:28 – Jesus is ___________.

   B. Acts 2:36 – Jesus is the _________________.

   C. Acts 4:12 – Jesus is _________________

   D. Romans 1:4 – Jesus is the ______________________.

II. OUR ___________________ IS DEPENDENT UPON THE  

    RESURRECTION

    Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:17 

III. OUR _______________________ IS DEPENEDENT UPON

     THE RESURRECTION

     1 Corinthians 15:51-58

Everything is riding on the resurrection.  If He wasn’t raised from the dead we have nothing, but If Jesus was raised, we have everything.

Audio

March 25, 2018

THE PROOF OF PROPHECY

Scripture: Luke 3:15

This morning, I offer fulfilled Old Testament prophecy as proof that Jesus is indeed the promised Messiah.  Let’s look at these prophecies from three different angles. 

I. THE _________ WAS RIGHT FOR THE PROPHECY TO

   BE FULFILLED

   A. God had _________________-.

       Galatians 4:4; Romans 5:6; Mark 1:15

   B. Prophecy indicated that the ________________________

        1. Genesis 49:10

        2. Daniel 9:24-27

II. THE ____________ WERE MADE THAT THE PROPHECY

    WAS BEING FULFILLED.

    Luke 4:16-21; John 5:39; 46;   Luke 24:25-27; 44-46

III. ____________ DID FULFILL PROPHECY – How did He do

     it?

    A. Was this done by _______________________________? 

    B. What are the ______ it was coincidental ?

 

If you were offered a business opportunity to make a large amount of money, but you had to make a large investment of your own resources to take advantage of that opportunity, would you take the chance?  You might ask what the odds are for success or failure.  What if there was only one chance in 100,000,000,000,000,000 that you would fail?  Would you make that investment?  Will you invest your life in Jesus?

Audio

March 18, 2018

A Changed Life

...

When it comes to our faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Son of God, we have to ask the question, “Is there evidence found in the lives of His followers that He actually rose from the dead and is alive today?”  Are their lives different because of their experience with Jesus?  The answer to that question is “Yes!”  For the next few minutes, I want to examine that evidence with you.  Some of this evidence is based in Luke and some of it is based in Acts which by the way was written by Luke.  So, our evidence is coming from essentially the same source.

I. THE EVIDENCE FROM _______________ – Luke 22:54-62; Acts 4:5-13

 

II. THE EVIDENCE FROM ___________________ – Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-2; 20-22

 

III. THE EVIDENCE FROM ____________________________

 

I have to believe that this piece of evidence is the most compelling one of all.  Does our life provide evidence that the faith we profess is real?  Or do people say that the faith we profess is not true because it hasn’t had an effect on our life

Audio

March 11, 2018

The Bible and Archaeology

Archaeology can’t prove the truth of our faith, but it can verify the historical existence and accuracy of people, places, and events that are recorded in the Bible.  For the next few minutes, let’s look at the book of Luke and see what kinds of confirmations from archaeology we can find for the events he records.

I.  THE _________________________________ – Luke 2:1-2

    A. Archaeology confirms

        1. the Roman census

        2. the governor

    B. Don’t miss the big picture – ________________________

II. THE ________________________________ – Luke 4:14-30

     A. Archaeology confirms the existence of the town

     B. Don’t miss the big picture – ________________________

III. THE _______________________________ – Luke 8:22-25

     A. Archaeology illustrates the boat Jesus sailed in

     B. Don’t miss the big picture – ________________________

IV. THE ______________________________ – Luke 18:35-43

      A. Archaeology solves an apparent contradiction

      B. Don’t miss the big picture – _______________________

 

If more ancient artifacts were found, would more people have faith?  Perhaps, but let’s remember that these finds strengthen our faith; they do not generate faith.  The Bible says that faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).  Will you put your faith in Jesus?

...

Audio

February 25, 2018

Keeping The Main Thing The Main Thing

Stephen Covey author of the bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People once said, “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”   So what is the main thing?  The main thing is to love God and to love others.  Love is our message to the world and also our mission to the world. 

I. LOVE IS OUR ______________ – God loves you!

   A. A ____________ message

   B. A _________________ message

   C. A _________________ message

   D. A _______________ message

   E. A  _________________ message

II. LOVE IS OUR _____________ - Love one another!

    A. Simple to _________________

    B. Hard to _______________

    C. Essential for ______________

God has given us a wonderful message to share with our world.    Sharing that message is our mission.  If we are to be successful in our mission, we must not only share it verbally but also demonstrate it in our lives.  We must love others.

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February 18, 2018

Defining Love

1 John 4: 7, 8

Aren’t words funny?  Sometimes we use them without ever really understanding their meaning.  Can you define love? 

Listen to some of the things that I found in the Urban Dictionary concerning the definition of love.

It is a short word, easy to spell, difficult to define, and impossible to live without. 

Love is a feeling for another person so pure and sacred that nobody can define it to its true extent.

Perhaps we can define love better if we knew where love came from.

Scripture: 1 John 4:7-8

Let’s look at this definition of love and see where it leads us.

I. IT WILL LEAD US IN UNDERSTANDING WHAT   ________

   ________________.

 

II. IT WILL LEAD US IN UNDERSTANDING _________ JUST

    A LITTLE BETTER.

 

III. IT WILL LEAD US IN UNDERSTANDING SOME OF THE

     ________________________________________.

 

God is love.  Have you experienced His love?  Do you know Him?

Don’t ever think God’s love is something plain and ordinary.  Remember how great God’s love really is.

Audio

February 4, 2018

A GREAT DECLARATION

Scripture: 1 John 3:1-3

Throughout history there have been many great declarations that have been made.  The Bible also contains many great declarations.  Let me share with you one of those great declarations.

Scripture: 1 John 3:1-3

The great declaration that I want to focus on here this morning. is _______________________________ .As we study this passage, we will see how great God’s love is.

I. LET’S OPEN OUR ____________________ HOW GREAT  

   GOD’S LOVE IS

 

 

 

II. LET’S OPEN OUR _____________________________

    HOW GREAT GOD’S LOVE IS.

 

 

 

III. LET’S OPEN OUR ______________________________

     HOW GREAT GOD’S LOVE IS.

 

 

 

IV. LET’S OPEN OUR ____________________HOW GREAT

     GOD’S LOVE IS.

 

 

Don’t ever think God’s love is something plain and ordinary.  Remember how great God’s love really is.

Audio

January 28, 2018

GENESIS ASWERS BASIC QUESTIONS ABOUT LIFE

Part 4

Sin isn’t so bad. Who said that?  It certainly was not God who said that and you can’t find that anywhere in the Bible. 

Scripture: Genesis 3

In this Scripture we see how sin entered into the world and by taking a closer look at that passage, we will see just how bad sin really is.

I. SIN IS SO BAD THAT IT CAUSED MAN TO ________________________.

 

II. SIN IS SO BAD THAT IT CAUSED MAN TO _____________________________________________.

 

III. SIN IS SO BAD THAT IT CAUSED GOD TO ___________________________________. If you want to see how bad

     sin really is, then I would tell you to look at the cross.

 

IV. SIN IS SO BAD THAT IT CAUSED MAN TO ___________________________________.

Sin is the reason for the problems in our world today.  Jesus is the solution to those problems

Audio

January 21, 2018

GENESIS ANSWERS BASIC QUESTIONS ABOUT LIFE

Part 3

Marriage has been a part of life in nearly every culture throughout recorded history.  Where did it come from? 

What does the Bible say?

Scripture: Genesis 2:15-25

This passage gives us two commentaries on marriage that will help us come to a more biblical view of marriage.

I. THE FIRST COMMENTARY COMES FROM _______.

   A  God made an evaluation (Genesis 2:18a) - _______________

   B. God devised a solution (Genesis 2:18b) - _______________

   C. God laid out some guidelines (Genesis 2:24)

        1. ________________

        2. ________________

        3. ____________________________

II. THE SECOND COMMENTARY COMES FROM

     _______.

     A. Man made an exclamation - __________________

     B. Man made a declaration - ___________________

         ____________________.

God declared His creation to be good six times in Genesis 1 (4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25).  But it was only after man and woman were both created (Genesis 1:31), did He declare His creation to be very good.

Audio

January 14, 2018

GENESIS ANSWERS BASIC QUESTIONS ABOUT LIFE

Part 2

Scripture: Genesis 1:26-28

What sets man apart from the rest of the creation as unique or is He the same as everything else?  The answer to that question will determine how you view life and your purpose for being here on earth.  If you see yourself as God’s special creation, then you indeed have a purpose, but if you are no different than the other life forms then you have no real purpose.  My message to you this morning is that you were created in the image of God, making you very special, and God has a purpose for your life.  To get a better idea of what it means to be created in the image of God, let’s look at three pictures presented in the Bible.

I. MAN AT HIS _______________  

 

 

II. SON OF MAN AT HIS ________________________

   John 14:8-9; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3; 2 Corinthians 4:4

 

 

III. SAVED MAN AT HIS ________________________

     2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10

 

Even though we have been re-created in the image of God through Christ, I think each of us realizes that we fall short of that standard.  However, the Word of God teaches us that someday, we shall achieve that standard.         1 John 3:2

Audio

January 7, 2018

GENESIS ANSWERS BASIC QUESTIONS ABOUT LIFE

Part 1

Scripture: Genesis 1:1

Te

There are 66 books in the Bible. Genesis is the foundation upon which the rest of the Bible sits. There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible, and Genesis chapter one is the foundation for all of the other chapters. There are 23,214 verses in the Old Testament alone. Genesis 1:1 is the foundation of all of the other verses. Genesis is the front door to the rest of the Bible. Genesis 1 is the knob that turns the door. But Genesis 1:1 is the key that unlocks the doorknob.  This first verse, made up of ten words, is simple yet awe inspiring.  In ten short simple words it tells the complete story and that story gives meaning and purpose to our lives.  We are told the when, who, how, and what of all things.  If you accept the truth of those words, the most puzzling questions of the ages can be answered.

I. “IN THE BEGINNING” TELLS US THE _________

    John 17:5; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20, 2 Timothy 1:9;  

    Matthew 25:34;

II. “GOD” TELLS US THE ________

III. “CREATED” TELLS US THE ________ 

     Rom. 4:17; Heb. 11:3; Psalms 33:6,9; 148:5; Amos 4:13

IV. “THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH” TELLS US THE

      __________

The rest of the Bible tells us the Why.  God created all this for His glory.  Are you worshipping Him rather than the things He created?

Audio

December 31, 2017

Time to Renew  

by Pastor Martin Reyes

Scripture: II Corinthians 5:17

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December 24, 2017

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

“Home” is a word many people think of when they hear the word Christmas.  It’s interesting that even at that first Christmas, people were going home.

Scripture: Luke 2:1-5

I want us to think of home from a different perspective this morning.  It is my desire that when you think about our church, the word “home” comes to mind.  Let’s take a look at the Christmas story once again and break it down into three parts.  After identifying those three parts, then let’s make some applications.

I. THE ____________________ TO COME HOME (Luke 2:1)



II. THE ______________________ OFFERED AT HOME (Luke 2:6-7)



III. THE _____________________ GIVEN WHEN YOU GET

      HOME (Luke 2:8-14)

Welcome Home!  If First Christian is already your home, then we are glad you are here.  If you’re looking for a church home, then we would love for you to make First Christian your home!

Audio

December 17, 2017

A Time of Celebration

The Bible says it was a time of great happiness and joy.  Every place the good news was shared there was joy.  That joy was expressed with dinners, banquets, and buffets.  The people even gave presents to one another.  It was such a great celebration that they decided to do it again the next year and for years to come.  Was it Christmas?  No, it was the Feast of Purim.  You can read about it in the book of Esther.  Good news can be the spark that sets off celebrations.  I can’t think of any better news to set off a celebration than the news that was shared with the shepherds outside Bethlehem.  I want to encourage you to celebrate the good news of the birth of Christ.

There are two parts of that news that provide a reason for celebration.

I. A ________________ WAS BORN.




II. THE __________ HAD COME.




How did God celebrate the birth of His Son?  He sent a great choir of angels to sing His praise.  Singing is still a great way to celebrate.  I invite you to join in a time of celebration as we lift our voices in praise to God.

Don’t let the pressures of the season spoil your Christmas.  Take some time to slow down and appreciate God’s greatest gift.

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December 10, 2017

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December 3, 2017

A Time To Slow Down

Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

With the first Christmas approaching, what did Mary do?  She got out of town for a while’ she took a little vacation.  In other words, she took time to slow down.  I want to encourage you to do the same thing.  If you are feeling more frazzled than festive, more stressed than blessed, more depressed than delighted, or more miserable than merry, take some time in the coming days to slow down. Let me suggest some things you can do in your “slow down” time.

I. TAKE TIME TO _____________.

  Read again the words of the Christmas story.  Luke 1:25-56;

  Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 2:1-12


II. TAKE TIME TO ____________.



III. TAKE TIME TO _____________.



IV. TAKE TIME TO ___________.

November 26, 2017

GOING TO CHURCH CAN HELP YOU GROW

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:18

Growth is a natural process.  If you receive proper nourishment and exercise, you will grow physically.  However growth in other areas does not come so naturally.  It has to be more intentional. Mental, emotional and spiritual growth result from effort, environment, example, education, etc.  How about the growth that is spoken of in the passage we have just read?  Is it automatic or intentional?  I think we would all agree that it is intentional.  One of the most important contributors to growing spiritually is regular church attendance.  Let’s look at a few of those areas where the church can help you grow and mature.

I. REGULAR CHURCH ATTENDANCE CAN HELP YOU

   GROW IN YOUR ____________________________ . Colossians 1:10


II. REGULAR CHURCH ATTENDANCE CAN HELP YOU

    GROW IN YOUR ___________. 2 Thessalonians 1:3


III. REGULAR CHURCH ATTENDANCE CAN HELP YOU

     GROW IN YOUR __________. 1 Thessalonians 3:12


Don’t come occasionally to church or only when you feel like it.  Make regular church attendance a priority and a habit,

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November 19, 2017

Don't Neglect Fellowship

Life is hard.  We all run into various kinds of challenges; health problems, financial issues, conflict within our families. We need the encouragement that others can bring.  That’s why we need the church.  God intended for the church to provide encouragement.  This connection that people have with one another within the church has a special name.  We call it fellowship.  We need this stuff called fellowship.  Don’t cut yourself off from the fellowship of the church!  Fellowship with other believers will meet several needs in our lives.

I. WE NEED OUR __________  ____________________.




II. WE NEED OUR ___________________  _______________.




III. WE NEED OUR _________________  ________________.




IV. WE NEED OUR _______________  __________________.




There are many analogies for a Christian disconnected from a church: a football player without a team; a soldier without a platoon; a tuba player without an orchestra; a sheep without a flock; a child without a family.  Don’t cut yourself off from the fellowship of your church.

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November 12, 2017

Setting A Good Example

I Corinthians 11:1

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November 5, 2017

A Bad Habit

Hebrews 10:25

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October 29, 2017

How Can They, Unless Someone Explains It?  by Martin Reyes

Acts 8:26-40

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October 15, 2017

Terry Stine, President of St. Louis Christian College Speaker


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October 8, 2017

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS  by David McConnell


Scripture: Galatians 5:22-23


Many words have been written to describe this fruit, but has its image ever been captured in a picture?  The answer is “Yes.”  If you want to see what this fruit looks like, look at Jesus.  For the next few minutes, let’s look at the life of Jesus so that we might see a beautiful and clear picture of the fruit of the Spirit.


1. __________



2. ________



3. __________



4. _______________



5. _______________



6. _______________



7. _______________



8. _______________



9. __________________



We can see the fruit in Jesus.  Can it be seen in you and me?

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October 1, 2017Text...

Where Does The Fruit Come From                      by David McConnell

Scripture: Galatians 5:22-23

Is this a description of a super Christian?  No!  Every follower of Jesus should be producing this fruit.  Where does this fruit come from?  To help us understand where the fruit of the Spirit comes from, I want us to look at the answer to two questions.


I. WHAT IS NOT THE SOURCE OF THE FRUIT OF THE

   SPIRIT?

   A. The fruit of the Spirit does not occur by ________________

   B. The fruit of the Spirit is not a product of ________________

   C. The fruit of the Spirit is not a result of _________________


II. WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT?

     A. ____________ with Jesus – John 15:1-6

        1. ______________

        2. ______________

        3. ______________

        4. _______________

    B. ____________________ to the Holy Spirit - Galatians 5:25


Is this fruit evident in your life?  If it isn’t, why isn’t it?  Have you separated yourself from Jesus?  Have you stopped allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you?  If you are not seeing this fruit in your life, I encourage you to reconnect with Jesus and allow His Spirit to direct you.

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September 24, 2017

The Answer To An All Important Question        by David McConnell

There are many important questions that can be asked in life.    Will I go to college?  What job will I choose?  Whom will I marry?  Where will I live?  All are important but none are as important as “What must I do to be saved?”  The reason for its importance is the eternal consequences attached to the answer while the answers to the other questions only have bearing on this life.  In the New Testament, this question was asked on four different occasions.  Let’s look at the answers given to that question from three different angles.

I. THE _______________ OF THE ANSWER - Were the answers given to this question in the book of Acts from God or from man?  Let’s look at two verses to help us answer that.

    A. Matthew 16:19

    B. John 14:26; 16:13

II. THE ___________________ OF THE ANSWER

     A. ______________ in Jesus

     B. ______________ of your sins

     C. ______________ Christ

     D. ______________ into Christ

III. THE _______________________ OF THE ANSWER – The answer is the same today as it was in the days of the apostles.


I hope you will have an opportunity to share with someone the answer to that all-important question – “What must I do to be saved?”

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September 17, 2017

"A Question From Jesus"            by Delaine Donaldson


Scripture: Luke 18:1-8

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September 10, 2017

W. T. Gordon Portrayed              by Delaine Donaldson

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August 6, 2017

CHOOSING THE RIGHT KIND OF BREAD          By David McConnell


One day in His ministry, Jesus warned His followers about making a terrible mistake.  The mistake they were about to make was choosing the wrong kind of bread.

Scripture: John 6:25-35

Is that such a serious thing – to choose the wrong kind of bread?  It is!  A closer look at this passage along with the verses that come after it will help us understand how important it is to choose the right kind of bread.  We need to look for four qualities in bread to help us choose the right kind of bread.

I. BREAD THAT WON’T _______________ (John 6:27)


II. BREAD THAT __________________ (John 6:35)


III. BREAD THAT IS ____________ (John 6:32)


IV. BREAD THAT __________________ (John 6:49-51)


Choose Jesus as the bread of life.  May He be the one who satisfies and sustains you.


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May 28, 2017

REMEMBER AND DON’T FORGET       By David McConnell

Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:1-12

God saw the importance for remembering.  He did not want His people to forget Him (Deuteronomy 6:12).  Be careful that you do not forget the Lord!  Scattered throughout this passage we can find facts about remembering that will encourage us to remember God and His commands.

I. THE PURPOSE OF REMEMBERING – One of the major reasons for remembering is to __________________________

_________________________________. (Deuteronomy 6:2720-24)

What do we want to teach our children?

II. THE METHOD OF REMEMBERING

     A, Reminders that are _________________ (Deuteronomy 6:8-9)

     B. Reminders that are _______________ (Deuteronomy 6:7)

III. THE RESULTS OF REMEMBERING

     A. The ______________ resulting from remembering (Deuteronomy 6:2)

     B. The ______________ resulting from remembering 

          (Deuteronomy 6:2, 3, 18, 24)

     C. The _____________________ resulting from not

          remembering (Deuteronomy 6:15)

Conclusion: As we conclude our study, let’s take a closer look at verse Deuteronomy 6:25.  Is this good news for us or bad news?  Think about it.

The promise is that if we obey all this law, it will be our righteousness.  What happens if we fail to obey it all?  The answer is we will not have righteousness before God.  That is not good news. The good news is that Jesus is our righteousness.  Romans 3:21-26

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May 21, 2017

Mark Wilkinson from Christian Prison Ministry of Missouri gave the sermon this week their web site is christianprisonministryofmissouri.org

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May 14, 2017

A COMMANDMENT FOR ALL AGES     by David McConnell

Scripture: Exodus 20:12

We may have a limited view of this commandment.  We generally have applied it to children from infancy through adolescence.  However, after a child has reached 18 then it no longer applies.  This is just not true.  This commandment can be applicable throughout life.  How can this be?  Let’s take some time this morning to look at this commandment and see what its application is for the different stages in life.

I. THE YOUNG CHILD WILL HONOR HIS PARENTS BY    

    OBEYING ____________ COMMANDMENTS. 

     Ephesians 6:1-3

    1Timothy 4:8

II. THE OLDER CHILD WILL HONOR HIS PARENTS BY

     OBEYING ___________ COMMANDMENTS.

     Proverbs 23:24-25

     3 John 4

III. THE CHILD WHOSE PARENTS ARE DEPENDENT UPON

      HIM WILL HONOR HIS PARENTS BY ________________

      FOR THEM

      Proverbs 23:22

      Proverbs 28:24 – Matthew 15:1-9 – 1Timothy 5:8

How important is this commandment?  If it is disregarded, the first four commandments will probably be neglected and the last five will not be obeyed.  Honoring parents is the basis for a godly and righteous live.

May 7, 2017

What Is Discipleship?
Scripture: Matthew 4;18-22Audio

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April 30, 2017

DISCIPLES OF CHRIST        By David McConnell

Scripture: Acts 11:19-30

Are you a disciple of Christ?  You might answer that question in a variety of ways, but answering is important.  A disciple of Christ is one who believes His teachings, rests upon His sacrifice, receives His Spirit, and imitates His example.  I would hope that each of us would say, “Yes I am a disciple of Christ.”  We must be concerned about being a disciple of Christ ourselves and about making other people disciples of Jesus.  Our Scripture speaks about three important parts of discipleship

I. THE _______________ OF A DISCIPLE

   A. ________ are disciples made

   B. ________ makes disciples

   C. What are the _______________ of making disciples

II. THE ______________ OF A DISCIPLE

    A. The name’s ______________

    B. The name’s ______________

III. THE _____________ OF A DISCIPLE

      A.  _________________ and ____________

      B. _________________ and _____________

Let’s finish the message the same we began by asking the question, “Are you a disciple of Christ?”  My challenge to you is to answer Jesus’ call to be His disciple.

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History Of Christian Churches by Delaine Donaldson

February 15, 2017

February 8, 2017

February 2, 2017

January 4, 2017