The story of the Titanic is one of the most compelling and fascinating historical events of modern times. On a tragic night in April 1912 the ship struck an iceberg and sank. 1,503 people died, including passengers and crew. It was reported that the scene outside the White Star office in Liverpool, England; A great crowd of relatives of those who had taken passage on that ill-fated vessel packed the street. On either side of the main entrance a large board had been placed. At the top of board was printed, KNOWN TO BE SAVED. The other, KNOWN TO BE LOST.
Every now and then, a man would appear from the office bearing a large piece of cardboard on which was written the name of one of the passengers. As he held up the name, a deathly stillness swept over the crowd; it watched to see to which of the boards he would pin the name. (Taken from The Speaker Quote Book by Roy B. Zuck)
The day after Titanic sank there were only two categories of people - the saved and the lost. The Holy Scriptures teaches us a similar thing; we are either saved or lost spiritually.
Mt. 25:31-46 Jesus gives a parable describing what the Day of Judgment will be like, all people will be divided into two groups, like the sheep and the goats or the saved or the lost. Once judgment is given, Jesus states in Mt. 25:46, “And these [the wicked] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Two categories. Two eternal destinations. Which category are you in?
Acts 2:38 teaches how one comes in a saved condition. By repenting of their sins and being baptized into Christ for the remission of sins. The Bible goes on to say in 1 John 1:7 that Christians must continue to walk faithfully with Christ all the days of our life, so they can continue to be saved.
Question if the Lord was to come back tonight which category would you find yourself in? The Saved or the Lost? If you say of the saved, praise God, and let me encourage you to remain faithful and obedient to Christ always. But if you look at your life and find yourself in the lost category will you repent of your sins and be baptized today and begin your journey with Christ?
Only those who are found in Christ will be able to be saved from this evil world. Think about it and make the necessary changes now before you are lost for eternity. Be God’s Mark T. Tonkery
So many times, people think about church as just Sunday morning, Sunday evening worship, and Wednesday night Bible study. Although worship and Bible study are essential to the Christian, as we can see in Heb. 10:25 which teaches, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” However, the Bible does present “church” as more than just Sunday and Wednesday meetings.
Notice the book of Acts, we learn that as soon as Christ’s church began, in Acts 2 with 3,000 people repenting of their sins and being baptized (Acts 2:38-41). The church immediately “devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:41-47, Acts 20:7). The church continued to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and convert lost people (Acts 8:4,12; 16:15; 16:30-33). They continued to give to those in need (Acts 4:34; 11:29). Elders were appointed in the local congregations (Acts 14:23) and the leadership delegated certain responsibilities to reliable men (Acts 6:2). Christians continued to meet for prayer (Acts 4:31; 12:12). They sent out missionaries so that the gospel of Christ would continue to be spread beyond their communities (Acts 13:2). Although there were many good things taking place, there were also problems in the church; but they worked through them as we see in Acts 6 and 15. Once the church began it continued to reach out and grow. This was done in large part because the early Christians understood that being the church was not just limited to what was done on Sundays and Wednesdays.
In reading the book of Acts we see that the church continued to function and work outside of the regular gatherings of Christians. These Christians were continually devoting themselves to the purpose and will of God. They looked for opportunities to teach the lost, help those in need, pray together, and continued to be faithful to God in between meetings.
So, what is the church doing today? What are we doing today once we leave the assembly? Do we look for opportunities to teach, to help, and are we continuing to be faithful to the Lord once we leave the assembly?
I have seen over the entrance of one church building the phrase, “Enter to worship. Leave to serve.” How true! As we gather each week to worship, will we leave to serve and be the Lord’s church where ever we go? Think about! Written by Mark T. Tonkery
Are you ready to live? Often times we get so busy with life that we forget to prepare to live. Maybe you can picture the following in your mind.
Agony claws my mind. I am a statistic. When I first got here, I felt very much alone. I was overwhelmed by grief, and I expected to find sympathy. I found no sympathy. I saw only thousands of others whose bodies were as badly mangled as mine. I was given a number and places in a category. This was called "Traffic Fatalities." The day I died was an ordinary school day. How I wish I had taken the bus! But I was too cool for the bus. I remember how I wheeled the car out for Mom. "Special Favor," I pleaded. "All the kids drive." When the 2:50 p.m. bell rang, I threw my books into the locker. Free until tomorrow morning! I ran to the parking lot, excited at the thought of driving a car and being my own boss. It doesn’t matter how the accident happened, I was goofing off – going too fast, and taking crazy chances. But I was enjoying my freedom and having fun. The last thing I remember was passing an old lady who seemed to be going awfully slow. I heard a crash and felt a terrific jolt. Glass and steel everywhere. My whole body seemed to be turning inside out. I heard myself scream. Suddenly, I awakened. It was very quiet. A police officer was standing over me. I saw a doctor. My body was mangled. I was saturated with blood. And pieces of jagged glass were sticking out all over. Strange that I could not feel anything. HEY! I cried. Don’t put that sheet over my head. I can’t be dead. I’m only 17. I’ve got a date tonight. I’m supposed to have a wonderful life ahead of me. I haven’t lived yet. I can’t be dead. Later I was placed in a drawer. My folks came to identify my body. Why did they have to see me like this? Why did I have to look at mom’s eyes when she faced the most terrible ordeal of her life? Dad suddenly looked very old. He told the man in charge, "Yes – That is our son." The funeral was weird. I saw all my relatives and friends walk toward the casket. They looked at me with the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen. Some of my buddies were crying. And a few girls touched my hand as they walked away. Please – somebody – wake me up! Get me out of here. I can’t bear to see Mom and Dad in such pain. My grandparents are so weak from grief they can barely walk. My brother and sister are like zombies. They move like robots. In a daze. Everybody. No one can believe this. I can’t believe it either. I’M SO UN-PREPARED TO BE DEAD. Please don’t bury me. I’m not dead. I have a lot of living to do. I want to laugh and play again. I want to sing and run once again. Please don’t put me in the ground. I promise if you give me just one more chance God, I’ll be the most careful driver in the whole world. All I want is one more chance. Please God, I’m only 17 (Written By: John Berrio).
Are you ready to live? This young man thought he was living, living life to it’s fullest, yet he was not ready to die. We never know when that day may come when our life on this earth will be no more. So I ask again are you ready to live, live for eternity? It is important that we prepare ourselves for the next life. Jesus says in John 14:2-3, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Although Jesus does the preparing we must respond to what He is doing. Mark 16:16 proclaims, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Are you ready to live? Live for eternity in Heaven. (By Mark T. Tonkery)
New Bible Curriculum for Bible Class
“Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” Ps. 34:11
Starting today (Jan. 1) our Bible Classes from 2 years old to High School will be starting a new Bible curriculum. The curriculum is published by Shaping Hearts for God publishing and the following is some information from their web page:
Shaping Hearts for God curriculum includes many features that enhance and enrich students' learning. The curriculum also provides valuable suggestions and creative ideas to help teachers connect with their students. These features include:
• Biblically accurate and personally applicable
• Age-appropriate, student-friendly format in brilliant colors
• Bible Reading and Memory Verses graduated in difficulty to be tailored to students' ages and capabilities
• Three-year study covering the entire Bible
• Promotes family Bible reading and study
• Supplemental materials to enhance and enrich teaching and learning.
This quarter the Bible study will be from the book of Genesis. To help our children get the most out of these lessons our eldership and myself encourage all parents to bring their children to Bible class. If you need help finding a Bible class I or one of our ushers will be glad to help direct, you and your child to the correct class. Second to get the most out of the learning experience there will be a daily Bible reading printed in the bulletin that will go with each week’s Bible lesson. The Bible reading will also be posted on bulletin boards around the church building. Parents will be encouraged to read and study the Bible readings with their children, parents are also encouraged to help their children learn their memory verses, and review the Bibles lessons with their children. There will also be weekly take home worksheets from the Bible class teacher to let parents know what their children are doing in Bible Class. So, parents we are asking for your help to review and study the weekly Bible lessons and Bible readings with your children. This will help your children come closer to God and help them with the learning process. Parents can also download Bible Knowledge flash cards from the Shaping Hearts for God web site so they may review Bible facts learned throughout the quarter.
All parents and teachers are encouraged to learn more about this material and how it can be best used by going to this website http://www.shapingheartsforgod.org.
If anyone has questions, please let me know and I will be glad to help. Let’s have a great quarter learning God’s word! Be God’s Mark T.
Let’s Build relationships with our students
There was a teacher once who said that she would continue teaching Bible class upon only one condition. This condition was that a certain girl be removed from her class. She could do nothing with the girl who was crude, rude, and generally disrespectful in her conduct. The teacher was persuaded instead to try praying for the girl fifteen minutes each day of two weeks. She soon realized that she did not know enough about the girl to pray for fifteen minutes. This led to a call in the girl’s home where the teacher discovered that the student was merely eager for attention. Knowing the girl’s background, the teacher became found of the girl and was able to lead her into such growth that the problem girl later became one of the best teachers in the Sunday school. (Author Unknown).
So many people this time of year stop to reflect on the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Although the Birth of Christ is recorded in Matthew chapters 1, 2 and Luke 1, 2, there is no Biblical or historical evidence that Christians celebrated Christ’s birth as a church festival or holiday. In fact it was not until 1038 A.D. that the Catholic Church celebrated the mass of Christ and in 1131 it was call the Christ Mass, which became known as Christmas.[i] (Taken from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm).
As the Catholic Church developed it’s Christ Mass, which to this point in history was only a special mass to celebrate the birth of Christ, it was not until 1223 the first “Nativity scene” appeared. The Nativity scene was created by the Catholic priest, Francis of Assisi in 1223 to teach that Jesus was born into a poor family. Francis of Assisi was known for ministering to the poor and used the birth of Christ to show how Jesus could relate to the poor’s plight. (Taken from http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/nativity.shtml)
Although the Bible does not tell us the date of the birth of Christ or that we should celebrate His birth. Many people through the ages have tried to highlight this very important event in history; many times taking away or adding to the Biblical text, which only distorts the truth. However Christians must seek the truth and understand how God intended to save the human race, through Jesus Christ and His birth is very much a part of this.
As one reads the biblical accounts of Christ’s birth in Matthew and Luke, which are the only detail accounts of the events surrounding Christ birth, there are other passages in the New Testament that help to explain the importance of Christ birth as fulfilling God’s intended purpose for salvation such as:
· Jn. 1:14 states, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
· Gal. 4:4-5 reads, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
· Rom. 1:3, “concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh.”
· Rom 8:3, “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,”
· Php 2:7, “but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
· Heb 2:14-17, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
As these scriptures point out, Christ’s birth was an essential part of God’s plan of Salvation. God’s plan was for Jesus to be born, in the flesh, of a virgin, and physically grow into a man, yet being fully God at the same time (Col. 2:9). Jesus later offered Himself upon the cross and then He was raised from the dead on the third day, for the sins of people.
So the next time you see a “Nativity scene” or hear the reading of Matthew 1,2 or Luke 1,2 remember this is just one aspect of Jesus’ life; there is more “to the story.” We must also remember that we could not have Jesus Death, burial and resurrection if it was not for His birth. Without Christ’s birth we have no Salvation, but also remember that God did not intend for Jesus to remain in the manger either, neither should we keep Him there. Let us learn the lesson that God intended to teach in Matthew 1, 2 and Luke 1, 2 and keep these passages in perspective with the rest of the scriptures.
Written by Mark T. Tonkery
[i] Some say the interest of Christ’s birth began in the 3rd or 4th Century, but there is no festival or celebration as such until 1038 A.D.