Growing Churches have elders who are spiritual men of wisdom and vision who are deeply interested in the souls they shepherd. (1 Thes. 5:12-13; 1 Tim. 3:1-7)
Growing Churches have deacons who believe they must be servants in order to become deacons, and as deacons, they rejoice at the privilege to serve. (1 Tim. 3:8-13)
Growing Churches have preaching that exalts Christ and His word, that proclaims the “whole counsel of God,” and challenges members and non-members in a bold yet loving way to draw nearer to God. (2 Tim. 4:2-4, Acts 20:27, Eph. 4:15)
Growing Churches have an educational program that stimulates members to know more of God’s word and to better apply its truth to everyday life. (2 Pet. 3:18, Eph. 4:2)
Growing Churches regard worship as a privilege rather than a chore. The singing is enthusiastic, the Lord’s Supper is thoughtfully observed, prayers are humbly offered, and the brethren give generously as they have prospered. People bring their Bibles and study because they want to know God. (John 4:24, Ps. 116:12, Eph. 5:19, Jam. 5:16, 1 Cor. 16:1-2)
Growing Churches make visitors feel at home. Others can see the unity, warmth, and love that exists among the people of God. (John 13:34-35)
Growing Churches make a diligent effort to teach the lost and restore the fallen. (Acts 5:42, Gal. 6:1-2)
Growing Churches have young people who are cared for by the whole church and who act as examples of the faith. (1 Tim. 4:12)
Growing Churches respond to goals and challenges because every member is focused on glorifying Christ. (Phil. 2:5-11)
Growing Churches exhibit the mind of Christ by being humble, serving and obedient to the Father. (Phil. 2:5-11)
Taken from http://www.skywayhills.org/bulletin_PDF/2007_7_29.pdf
Why do we have Memorial Day? Well after the Civil War, people in the South created special memorials to remember the southern soldiers who died. These were referred to as “Confederate Memorial Days.” In the North it was called “Decoration Day” and most southerners did not recognize this day as it honored northern soldiers who died in the Civil War or as some called it “The War of Northern Aggression.” It was only after World War II that it became known as Memorial Day and was intended to honor all fallen soldiers who gave their life for their country.
The modern Memorial Day observance looks a lot different than in the early years of its founding. Today Memorial Day has expanded to a three-day weekend; known now as the start of the summer season. Often Memorial Day weekend is centered around family gatherings, cookouts, and picnics. Some people have even expanded the idea of Memorial Day to include visiting and placing flowers on their loved one’s graves.
Yet, the idea of honoring our fallen war heroes seems to be slowly fading away. Like the flowers that are placed at one’s tomb slowly rot, or the marble monuments that are effaced by time. Our nation seems to be forgetting the price for our freedom.
Inscribed on the Korean War Memorial are the words, “Freedom Is Not Free.” We must never forget that our freedom to gather as families, to have picnics, and even go to a cemetery to visit our loved one’s grave, came with a price. Someone’s son or daughter, someone's father or mother, someone’s loved one died so we could enjoy the freedom we have today. “Freedom is Not Free.”
This Memorial Day is also a reminder of another memorial that takes place every first day of the week, and that is the memorial of our Lord’s death upon the cross. It too is a reminder that our spiritual freedom is not free; it comes with a price; the blood of our Lord (Rev. 1:5). As we gather around the Lord’s table and take the Lord’s Supper may we never forget the one who said, “This do in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24,25).
The Lord’s Supper will always stand as a constant reminder of the memory of Christ’s death and return. The only way to bring it down is to forget and neglected to do it.
May we never forget those precious souls who died for our freedoms and may we always remember our Lord’s death until He returns, by partaking of the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week.
In Christ’s Service, Mark T. Tonkery
As I think about the current situation, with the coronavirus, it is very hard to know what to do socially and with regards to the church. I admit I am the first one to suggest that we should not cancel our worship services, but as I listen to different health care professionals and the warnings of our government, some people should not be out because of health reasons due to the coronavirus. During this unprecedented situation, we find ourselves making changes in our daily life to help us to avoid and not spread this virus. One of those changes we see Christians having to make is to our regular times of worship and Bible study.
So, what should we do if cannot get out to church services or what if our worship services and Bible study time are canceled? Here are some suggestions:
·Have a family devotional. As we read in the Book of Acts, we see that many times the early Christians met in their homes for worship, prayer, Bible study, sing, and partook of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 5:42; 12:12; 16:15; 16:34) we may very well have to do this temporarily until this virus passes.
·Read your Bible, pray and sing. It might be you have no family and are unable to get out due to health reasons. So, you might want to take the example of Paul and Silas in Acts 16:25 who were in prison yet prayed and sang. Or John the Apostle in Rev. 1:10. He was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. John was unable to assemble with the church so he did what he could and spent time with God anyway.
·Other suggestions might be to listen to a gospel sermon on tape, CD, or online. Camden Ave. has many past sermons on our web page, other faithful congregations’ live stream their services as well. One could also go to In Search of the Lord’s Way website https://www.searchtv.
We need to remember that just because one cannot make the services at the church building does not mean it is a day off from school or from work in which it is a free day to do whatever we want. Heb. 10:25 is still commanded and although we might be prevented from assembling for one reason or another, we need to still spend time with God and His people as best we can. Remember John the Apostle as he was banished to the Island of Patmos, for his faith, still spent time with God, on the Lord’s Day (Rev. 1:10), may we strive to do the same if we are unable to assemble with the Body of Christ.
I realize that change is difficult, but I believe we are in a situation where we are forced to change, but we must not be forced to give up our time with God and our fellowship with one another. These suggestions are an effort to encourage each one to grow in our faith with God and our fellowship with one another, while at the same time trying to guard the health of our members and community during this unusual time.
Written by Mark T. Tonkery, Minister Camden Ave. Church of Christ:
In Exodus 20: 8-11 God instructed the Hebrews to take a day off. It is in this passage that one learns that the Sabbath was commanded by the Lord, because in six days He made the Heavens and the earth and on the seventh day He rested (Gen. 2:3). For centuries as seen in the Old Testament and till the time of Christ, Jews rested and observed the seventh day of the week as a Sabbath unto the Lord.
Yet today Biblical Christians meet on the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, Sunday as they have since the beginning of the church in Acts 2. The shift in the calendar was monumental. Something catastrophic happened to effect this change in the day of worship from Jewish Sabbath, to the first day according to the Jewish calendar!
This monumental event that changed history was the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as we read in the Gospels (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, 9, Luke 24:1, and John 20:1, 19) which are eyewitness accounts that Jesus Christ arose from the tomb on the first day of the week.
After his resurrection, we never find Christ meeting with his disciples on the seventh day or Sabbath day. But He specially honored the first day by manifesting Himself to the apostles and others on four separate occasions (Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:34, 18–33; John 20:19–23). Again, on the next first day of the week, Jesus appeared to his disciples (John 20:26).
Nothing but the resurrection of Jesus Christ could change the day of honoring the Lord from the Sabbath to the first day of the week.
Many centuries before Christ, some tradesmen who resented keeping the Sabbath day came to the prophet of the Lord, Amos and demanded to know, “When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the Sabbath that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances of deceit? “(Amos 8:5).
Amos responded in Amos 8:9, “"And on that day," declares the Lord GOD, "I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.”
Scripture confirms just as Amos prophesied that the Sabbath was abolished when God darkened the earth in a clear day and the sun went down at noon. This of course happened when Jesus was crucified; as a result the Sabbath day was nailed to his cross as we see in Matthew 27:51ff.
Then Col. 2:14-16 clearly states, "Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ."
These verses clearly state the weekly Sabbath was nailed to the cross and abolished. In reading the rest of the New Testament, we also find that Jesus and the inspired writers taught all the commandments of the Ten Commandments, except for the fourth commandment, the Sabbath law. There is no command in the teachings of Christ for any person to keep the Sabbath. Again, the Sabbath, along with the rest of the Old Testament were nailed to the cross. The only day given special recognition in the new covenant is the first day of the week, Sunday. (Mt. 28:1; Mk. 16:2, 9; Lk. 24:1; Jn. 20:1; 19; Acts 2:1; 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10).
Let us not forget that the first Christians were originally Jews, as recorded in Acts 2. The beginning of the church began with Jews becoming Christians (Acts 2:38; 41; 47). The Day of Pentecost was the 50th day after the Sabbath of Passover week (Lev. 23:15-16), thus the first day of the week. So not only is the first day of the week Resurrection day it is also the day the church began, and when Christians worshiped the Lord. For these early Jewish Christians to continue to assemble on the first day of the week would be a clear distinction that they had abandoned the keeping of the Sabbath and Judaism all together.
Christians are not bound to keep the Sabbath, but they are commanded to worship the Lord together (Heb. 10:19–25). Because of the power and influence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christ’s fulfilling prophecy of the Old Testament, the New Testament examples of worship on the first day of the week and the teachings of the New Testament that show the early Christian abandoning the Sabbath and the Old Law; Christians are to worship the Lord on the first day of every week.
Written by Mark T. Tonkery