Ministers Blogs

Ministers Blogs

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The Person Sitting Beside You!

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

                         “I had a very stressful week.  Some mornings I hesitated opening my eyes for I knew the real world was awaiting me with all my problems.  I didn’t get much sleep last night, kept awake from the worry, but I kept my problems to myself.  I didn’t want to bother you.  You have your own problems I reasoned.  Why make my problems your problems?  And then it happened, Sunday rolled around.  My energy was low, but I knew if I could just make it to services if I could only make it.  That extra hour of sleep was needed, but I pulled myself up and pinned a smile for the next two hours.  I couldn’t let my church family know I was hurting.

                         Perhaps you greeted me with a handshake when I entered the door or just smiled from across the pew.  Perhaps you warmly spoke to me with love and sincerity or sat next to me bowed silently in prayer.  Perhaps you sang with all your heart or quietly placed your hand on my shoulder and made me feel important.  Perhaps you drew me into a stimulating conversation after Bible Study or I just felt the excitement of being among my brothers and sisters.  Maybe you just said a little prayer for me this week.  Whatever you did, thank you.  Words cannot express the uplifting I have gained by being here today to worship with the saints.  I leave with a real smile.

                         I don’t know if I can make it another week, how will I do it?  Oh, I almost forgot, I can come back tonight and Wednesday evening to be re-energized to take me to next Sunday.  Thank you, brothers and sisters.  Thank you for loving me.”

 (Anonymous, taken from the Rockport, WV Church of Christ Bulletin April 25, 1999)

Strange Questions

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Tid-Bits From the Past

                         Among the strange questions, every preacher has to deal with is one that he almost wishes people wouldn’t ask.  Not that it is a difficult question to answer, not that he is reluctant to answer it, but it always puts the questioner in the position of one trying to avoid what he knows he should be doing.  That question is, “It is necessary for a Christian to attend all the services of the church?”

                         Naturally, the one answering the question must begin by telling the puzzled churchman that there undoubtedly reasons why some cannot attend every service such as illness or illness in the family, etc.  By this time the questioner is hopeful that there will be many “reasons.”  But when he assured that God expects His people to be present at every possible gathering of the saints, he feels that he has been “let down” by the preacher or elder from whom he sought counsel.

                         The fact of the matter is, a Christian would not WANT an excuse for staying away from the house of worship if by going he could “build himself up in most holy faith” ( Jude 20).  A Christian would be grateful for the privilege of being with the children of God in order that together they could “grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus” (2 Pet. 3:18).  It is in such meetings that the children of God “teacher and admonish one another” (Col. 3:16).  It seems never to have occurred to some that the mid-week service and other services of the church are designed by the elders of the congregation for the purpose of “feeding the flock” that has been placed under their jurisdiction.  It seems that everyone should recognize the reasons for such meetings and not look upon them as “something to do” or “someplace to go.”  The purpose of every gathering of the saints is an opportunity to glorify God, magnify His blessed name, learn of His dear Son, submit ourselves to the laws of our King and show ourselves anxious to learn more and more of the things that pertain to life and godliness.

                         One would have to be extremely busy who could not lay aside his chores and his business for a couple of hours on Wednesday night and Lord’s Day evening.  Finding an excuse for not attending more than one service of the church has taxed many an indifferent soul, but finding a reason for not being there has proved impossible.  Looking for excuses to stay home is like looking for something that will stunt the growth of a child.  None would want to be guilty of interfering with the normal development of a child – even those who see no real benefit in spiritual growth.  Of course, the Lord expects us to attend all the services of the church if we can – and “so much the more” as we see the trend of the times!

(Taken from Laings Bulletin November 24, 1968 By Tom W. Butterfield)

REWARDS OF HEAVEN

Monday, December 06, 2021

1 Corinthians 15:58 states, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”  Your work in the Lord is not being done in vain.  This is often a difficult thing to keep in mind when we are working very hard for the Lord.  We wonder if people will appreciate our work, if someone will come to Christ because of our efforts, or if lives will be changed because of something we have said or did.   Yet we must remember that we may never know the spiritual benefits of our lives until we get to Heaven.  We have to keep in mind that we will be rewarded for our service when Jesus comes again.  The following story illustrates this point.  

As Christmas 1996 approached, the Kingston Technology Corporation of Orange County, California, informed its 523 employees they would soon receive an extra special Christmas bonus. 

Having started in the owner's garage in 1987, Kingston Technology, like many high-tech companies, had experienced explosive growth, to the point where it now was the world's largest supplier of add-on memory boards for personal computers. And each year since the company had begun with just a handful of employees, the owners had followed a generous policy of giving 10 percent of the annual profits to the workers. 

Well, in 1996 another company bought Kingston Technology for $1.5 billion. The arrangement called for Kingston's owners to retain control of their company, and they decided to carry on generosity as usual: they gave 10 percent of a billion or so dollars to their employees as a Christmas bonus! With the bonus computed on the basis of seniority and performance, that meant the average employee would receive $75,000, and the highest bonuses could reach $300,000. 

The decision-makers at Kingston Technology believe in giving lavish rewards to their workers. So does God. At the final judgement, the Christmas bonuses of this company will look like peanuts compared to the heavenly rewards God will shower on those who have served him in this life.[i]

Keep serving the Lord, for your work is not in vain!

 

[i] Choice Contemporary Stories & Illustrations For Preachers, Teachers, & Writers

Craig Brian Larson, Baker Books, p. 229.

 

Pig with a Wooden Leg

Sunday, December 05, 2021

           A lady from the city was visiting members of her family who owned a farm.  As she talked to the farmer, she noticed a pig in the backyard with a wooden leg.  “What happened to that pig?” the woman asked.

           “Oh, that’s Betsy,” the farmer said.  “She’s a fine pig!  One night while we were all asleep, the house caught on fire, and Betsy started snorting and grunting, and woke us all up.  We were able to call the fire department and save the house!”

“Wow, that’s amazing!” the woman exclaimed.

“Not only that, but one day my daughter fell into the pond, and Betsy came grunting and snorting, and led me to the pond, and I was able to pull her out.  Betsy saved my daughter’s life!”  the farmer said.

“The lady was impressed, but still curious.  “But that still doesn’t explain why the pig has a wooden leg.”

“Well,” the farmer said, “when you have a pig like that, you don’t eat it all at once!”

Sometimes we feel like old Betsy: we try hard in our Christian duties, but the world doesn’t appreciate us.  Paul warned Timothy that “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12)

But that’s not an excuse to quit! In fact, Paul continued by telling Timothy that even though evil men would grow worse and worse (2 Tim. 3:13), he had to continue in the things he had learned and been assured of (2 Tim. 3:14).

When people abuse or take advantage of you, remember for whom you really work (Col. 3:23)!

Taken from Bulletin Digest August 2014

Written by: Matt Clifton

 

Never punt!

Saturday, December 04, 2021

The story of Kevin Kelley (head football coach at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas) is so compelling. Over the last 11 seasons, Kelley has led his High School team to win 85% of its games, and they just won their fourth State Championship last Saturday. But what is so compelling is the unique strategy that has made him so  successful–he never punts. After much statistical research into college football, he concluded that “going for it” on fourth down (and always doing onside kicks, too) gave his team a much better chance of winning.

There are some fascinating spiritual applications that can be made from this, but consider just one. When you punt on fourth down, you are admitting you “can’t make it.” When you punt, you are giving control to the opponent and an opportunity to score. Guess what? The devil loves for you to punt. When you punt (spiritually), it is admitting that you “can’t make it” and it gives him control. So, here’s your strategy for contending with the devil–NEVER PUNT! Always “go for it”! With God as your Coach and Jesus as your Quarterback, you’ll win every time!

By David Sproule taken from https://www.pblcoc.org/thought-for-the-day/never-punt/

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