Monday, December 24, 2007


The Top Ten Questions for Potential Elders

There has been a Tradition that say no one is "perfect enough" to be a Church Leader. But what happens then is that someone unqualified takes the control, often as a "church boss" in the worst sense. What a person is NOW is most important. Compare 1 Cor. 6:11. The church in the New Testament appointed elders and deacons in a short time. Being "full of the Holy Spirit" and of "common sense wisdom" is vitally important. Read Acts 6:1-6.

"Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." Acts 20:26-28 (NKJV)

"Now it's up to you overseers.
Be on your toes—both for yourselves
and your congregation of sheep.
The Holy Spirit has put you in charge
of these people—God's people they are—
to guard and protect them.
God Himself thought they were worth dying for.
Not bossily telling others what to do,
but tenderly showing them the way.
When God, who is the best Shepherd of all,
comes out in the open with His rule
He'll see that you've done it right
and commend you lavishly."

The Jewish Synagogue as model.

The synagogue was developed while Israel was held captive in Babylon. Since they no longer had access to the Temple, some form was needed for Bible study and worship. This same form provided the pattern for the church as they spread across the first century world. Church leaders (also called elders, bishops, pastors) were to take the lead in spiritual matters as a board of directors. Church helpers (also called deacons, servants) were needed to administer to the physical needs of the congregation. In the Christian Family, the whole person (body, soul, spirit) was encouraged to grow and to develop into a Christ-like maturity. Paul speaks of church organization and body-life in Ephesians, 1 Timothy and Titus.

Eph. 4:11-16
And He filled earth with His gifts.
He handed out gifts of apostle,
prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher
to train Christians in skilled servant work,
working within Christ's body, the church,
until we're all moving
rhythmically and easily with each other
efficient and graceful
in response to God's Son,
fully mature adults, fully developed
within and without,
fully alive like Christ.
No prolonged infancies among us, please.
We'll not tolerate babes in the woods,
small children who are
an easy mark for impostors.
God wants us to grow up,
to know the whole truth and
tell it in love—like Christ in everything.
We take our lead from Christ,
who is the source of everything we do.
He keeps us in step with each other.
His very breath and blood
flow through us, nourishing us
so that we will grow up healthy
in God, robust in love.

1 Tim. 3:1-7
If anyone wants to provide leadership, good!
But there are preconditions:
A leader must be well-thought-of,
committed to his wife,
cool and collected,
accessible, and hospitable.
He must know what he's talking about,
not be overfond of wine,
not pushy but gentle,
not thin-skinned and touchy,
not money-hungry.
He must handle his own affairs well,
attentive to his own children
and having their respect.
For if someone is unable to
handle his own affairs,
how can he take care of God's church?
He must not be a new believer,
lest the position go to his head
and the Devil trip him up.
Outsiders must think well of him,
or else the Devil will figure out a way
to lure him into his trap.

Thought Questions:

1. Is this man committed to his wife and family? One who dearly loves his wife and family is capable of dearly loving God's People.

2. Has this man shown wisdom in decision-making? Does he have common sense?

3. Has this man shown the ability to keep his temper in check? Everyone has a 'temper' but we learn to control it. Some are more controlled than others. The man who will make a good elder will have a tough skin, a tender heart, a short memory, and a long fuse.

4. Is this man willing to be inconvenienced for others? Will he go the "second mile"?

5. Is this man capable of teaching Scripture to others? You are not simply looking for a man who knows how to say something, but rather a man who has something to say - something from God.
6. Has this man established wise personal habits?

7. Does this man have a strong sense of stewardship?

8. Does this man have a track record of discipling leadership? You're looking for a man who's got a track record of leading people closer to Jesus.

9. Has this man been a Christian long enough to maintain humility? Paul says he must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited. The chief occupational hazard of spiritual leadership is pride, and too much visibility too soon in a man's Christian pilgrimage can inflate his ego.

10. Is this man respected in the community? The first quality listed is "above reproach," literally meaning "not able to be held." In other words, if charges were leveled against this man, he wouldn't even be held for questioning because his reputation is so solid. He's Teflon, not Velcro. His integrity is such that accusations just won't stick.

A Final Word of Challenge:

"The local church is the hope of the world, and its future rests primarily in the hands of its leaders." If it’s true that everything rises and falls with leadership, then as your congregation selects its elders, you’ll want to take a close look again at this picture of a spiritual leader in 1-Timothy 3:1-7. The work of the church is too critical, the stakes are too high, the consequences are too eternal for a congregation to choose its leaders hastily (1 Timothy 5:22). Choose poorly, and the church will miss opportunities to build the kingdom.

But if leaders are chosen wisely, the church will flourish. And when the church flourishes, the gospel is preached, the lost are found, souls are saved, sin is confronted, children are taught, marriages are mended, addictions are broken, the hungry are fed, the grieving are comforted, the lonely are embraced, the wounded are healed, the community is transformed, and the nations are reached with the good news of Christ.

When the leaders are at their best, the church will be at its best, and when the church is at its best, it is breathtaking to behold. Look out world!

A final reminder. Remember: this picture Paul provides in 1 Timothy 3 is a sketch, not a snapshot. As you search for leaders, you’re looking for a great resemblance, but you may not find an exact likeness.

Keep in mind that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Look for excellence in character, but apply these standards with grace. You can (and should) find men who have learned to sin-less, but you will never find men who are SINLESS. (1 John 1:6-10; 2:1-3)

At the end of the day, the good news is this: everything rises and falls with One Leader, and while we may fail, He Never Does.

PS: The Local Church Is A Work In Progress

"Cows always need milking." A farmer understand that some things must be done over and over. The church must be forever "restoring and being restored." The church of the New Testament set an example we try to follow. What does the Bible say about this? The Bible is our Instruction Manual about what God wants us to do. We ask: "What did God say?" But we must read with care. We may "read into" the Bible things not there and miss the point. Compare 2 Cor. 3:14,17. "But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.... Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Tim 1:7 (NKJV)

Paul told Titus: "For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you-- " Titus 1:5 (NKJV)

To Set In order. Some things required time to complete. To appoint church elders. These were spiritual leaders in the local congregation, and there were always more than one. Compare 1 Tim. 3:1-7. Note that the church at Ephesus had church elders in less than three years time (Acts 20:17). In every city. Each congregation had its own church elders and church deacons. (R.D.Ice BSNT)

Each of the following are Parables which we can underestand. Church Elders are:

1. "Clerks watching the store while the Boss is away." Someone has to keep things running smoothly. Compare the Parable of Pounds. "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.'" Luke 19:13 (NKJV)

2. "Older brothers watching out for the younger children." They need protection and guidance. "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you." Hebrews 13:17 (NKJV)

3. "Not dictators but facilitators." 1 Peter 5:2-4. "nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;" (NKJV)

4. "Coaches urging and directing the team on to victory." Compare Hebrews 12:1 where Paul uses the Olympic Games as a teaching example. "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us," (NKJV)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Early Christianity A Cheerful Religion.

"Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?" Romans 2:4

"Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him." Isaiah 30:18

"So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." Acts 2:46-47

In the Bible, God's Justice is God's Power to save.

"Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin." Psalm 51:1

"When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion, We were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, 'The LORD has done great things for them.'" Psalm 126:1-2

Says Matthew Arnold: "Christ professed to bring in happiness. All the words that belong to His mission: Gospel, kingdom of God, Savior, grace, peace, living water, bread of life, are brimful of promise and joy. And His cheerful, joyful religion at once won its way by its messages of peace and tranquillity, and for a while its converts were everywhere characterized by their joyfulness and cheerfulness." Acts 2:47

"When men were thus overborne with the gloom and horror of error and sin, into their night of darkness came the religion of Christ. Its announcements were all of hope and cheer. Its language was, 'Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.' 'Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.' 'We rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.' Men were invited to accept the tidings of great joy." Matt. 11:28; Phil. 4:4; 1 Peter 1:8

In the Book of Revelation the theme of the Heavenly Throne Room appears again and again. John is telling us that events are not out of God's hands. Yes, Christians are suffering. Yet Christ is on His heavenly throne. In the vision the 24 elders worship Christ saying: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." Rev. 4:11; Col. 1:16. The Jews of that day surely understood these words. The language is from the Old Testament description of God. The Kingdom of God lay within the vocabulary of every Jew. It was something they understood and longed for desperately. Christ is the King, the High Priest, the Lamb who takes away sin - our Man in Heaven.

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, good will toward men!" Luke 2:13-14

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5:1

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world". John 16:33

"The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To preach deliverance to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed, To preach the acceptable year of the LORD." Luke 4:18-19

"to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.' Acts 26:18

"Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." Acts 2:47

Wisdom from Patrick Mead.

Don’t worry about what God’s Big Plan is for you today. We already know far more about what He wants from us than we are living up to so why add to that burden? Instead, start each day with a determination to:
1. Honor God
2. Be available to Him wherever you are
3. And look for Him in each situation you face

Oh, and talk to Him along the road. Not just formal prayers with "Thee’s and Thou’s" but conversational prayers. That is God’s will for your life.

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"And knowing that it is in pursuance of an eternal "purpose" of love that they have been "called into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 1:9), they naturally say within themselves, "It cannot be that He 'of whom, and through whom, and to whom are all things,' should suffer that purpose to be thwarted by anything really adverse to us, or that He should not make all things, dark as well as light, crooked as well as straight, to cooperate to the furtherance and final completion of His high design." —Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

"Christians sin-less - but only ONE was SINLESS!

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Isaiah 9:6-7 Unto Us A Son Is Given

"For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." Isaiah 9:6-7 (NKJV)

What does the Bible say?
God has spoken in many ways but gave His final word through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:1-3.

It's a Boy! And He's ours!
He'll grow up to carry the government.
His Titles will include:
Wonderful Wise One,
Awesome God,
Father Who Stays Forever,
Prince of Peace.
His rule/kingdom will just keep spreading -
right on into Eternity!

1. God's anger. As Isaiah writes, the only thing burning is God's anger and the ruins of destroyed Jerusalem. Jews are slaves in Babylon. But again God counters despair with hope! A remnant of Israel will come back and rebuild.

> But leap forward in time - The Messiah is Coming! <

a) Salvation is of the Jews.
John 4:22 "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews."

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:17 (NKJV)

b) Flesh & blood.
"Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: 'Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me." Heb 10:5 (NKJV)

"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law." Gal 4:4 (NKJV)

2. God's Highway. Isaiah 40:1-10

"O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, Behold your God!" Isaiah 40:9 (NKJV)

What's that Voice drifting in from the wasteland?
Give us a motorway, a straight line of lanes.
An Interstate for God to travel on.
Flatten those dips and valleys.
Cut through those mountains.
Clear the way for God's cavalcade!
See the Salvation coming down from God!
[Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:4-6]

3. Reign of Christ The Savior.

A vision - A Man coming down on a cloud.
He walks straight up to Eternal God.
He's given absolute influence, fame & distinction,
and total control over peoples and nations.
Everyone everywhere celebrates Him -
celebrates in every way they can!
His control is total and permanent!
[Daniel 7:13-14; Rev. 1:7]

"Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,' says the Lord, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'" Rev 1:7-8 (NKJV)


The Message of Saving Hope

[adapted from The Word On The Street by Rob Lacey by RDI]

An awesome scene - a Huge White Throne!
JESUS THE CHRIST is sitting on it.
POWER - earth and sky try to flee!
But there's no where to hide!
See the dead. Some famous, some nobodies,
movers & shakers, all of them,
they're spread out before this Throne.
The files of the Record are opened.
The file marked LIFE is opened.
The dead are evaluated by what they've done.
The sea coughs up its dead.
Death hands over the keys to hell.
The Devil who agitates things and
the beast and his minister of propaganda
get thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone.
But, is your name in the LIFE Files? YES!
Praise JESUS THE LAMB for His Salvation!

Then! Everything changes! New! Brand new!
All heaven, all earth - brand new!
All of the old burned up.
Whoa! This pure, perfect City - New Jerusalem -
is floating down out of heaven - direct from God!
A LOUD SHOUT - coming from the Throne.
From now on God's living here with His People.
They'll be His kind of People.
Death is canceled. No tears, no crying, no pain.
Write this down, word for word.
Done. Dusted. Complete. Finished.
I am the A and I am the Z. The First and the Last.
Gasping of thirst? Pure water from the Spring.
Free! No charge! The water of ETERNAL LIFE!


China Legally Recognizes Church

The Gospel Advocate paper has this headline in their December 2007 issue. A new Church of Christ will begin meeting August 3, 2008, in Beijing, China, in the 21 Century Hotel, sponsored by the Peachtree City Church of Christ in Georgia. In the rented facilities there will be space for 500 worshipers. And plans are for simultaneous translation during worship into at least 10 languages. The world will be coming to Beijing! "

Christians who have been gathering underground in house churches in China for many years will for the first time meet in a government-sanctioned congregation in August 2008." This is a political move on their part preparing for the Olympic Games. Chairman Mao had forced the Chinese to learn to read & write so they could read his propaganda. But this also made the Bible available to everyone. A "house- church" movement has involved millions. This will bless them - if it is true. [China has a long history of opposing all religions. But recently Christianity has been making huge inroads.]

China now has over one billion people. By 2033 they are expected to have 1½ billion people. India has over one billion. Each of these is a soul for whom Christ died & rose again.

Imagine a congregation where people come an hour and a half early just to get a good seat. A congregation which holds 7 services each Lord's Day in order to get all the people in. And their place of worship holds 17,000. This congregation has a full-time staff of more than 120, including 16 preachers and a number of full-time elders. During worship, simultaneous translation provides four major languages for the racially mixed congregation. The membership is divided into 20,000 'zone groups' of 10 to 15 members. Each zone group becomes an 'extended family' and meets for Bible study on week nights. New people - non believers - are constantly being brought into the local zone groups, not to be 'preached at,' but to be influenced by loving examples of what Christianity is all about.

Then on Sunday (the Lord's Day) the extended congregation comes together for a big celebration of praise and devotion to their Lord and Savior. As one of their preachers said: "It is then that we demonstrate the power of the Gospel and the strength of the church."

"It can't be scriptural" you say? Yet this was the church at Jerusalem. With 3,000 converts on Pentecost, 5,000 men by Acts 4:4, the church in Jerusalem was probably 100,000 members when they were scattered by persecution in Acts 8. They were a true church, guided by the Apostles themselves. They met together in the Temple every day Acts 2:46 and in small groups from house to house.. Wasn't this some sort of pattern? But, you say, "The Jerusalem Church was unique." Perhaps so, in some respects. But what about the church in Antioch which sent out Paul and Barnabas? And others?

Sin And Salvation

Did God know that Adam & Eve would sin before He put them in the Garden? Yes. He is never "surprised." He gave them freewill desiring them to love Him because they chose to do so.

1. God knows the end from the beginning. "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" Isaiah 46:10

2. Jesus prepared to come as Savior before the foundation of the world. "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:" Ephes. 1:4

"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Rev. 13:8

"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began," 2 Tim. 1:9

"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:" 1 Cor. 2:7

3. God's Eternal Plan. "Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:" Ephes. 3:4-6

Thursday, November 29, 2007



It has been said we should WORK as if everything depended upon us, and it does. Yet we should have FAITH as if everything depended upon God, because it does. Abraham BELIEVED GOD and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous. And Abraham was called God's friend. (James 2:22-24). Faith & works cooperate together. Faith is dead (moribund) without works. And yet it is by faith we are put right with God (Romans 1:16-17' Phil. 3:9-11; Gal. 3:1-3). Note this article from "Gospel Minutes."

from Gospel Minutes by David Thurman (April 20, 2001):

Q. Dear Brother Thurman: Please explain to me if there will be some people in heaven that have not been as good as others and will not enjoy heaven much as others do who have been more righteous? Our teacher said it would be like this. -A.A., TX

A. "The simplest answer to your first question is that there will be only one kind of person in heaven. That is a person declared righteous by the blood of Christ. "And may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith" (Phil. 3:9). Since we gain His righteousness by becoming a child of God, we will all be as good as Jesus is on the day we enter heaven. Therefore none will be better or worse than others. Some may have lived worse lives and been forgiven more. Others may have served more and accomplished more good for the kingdom of God. But all who are saved will be saved by being made righteous by the blood of Jesus, not by how much work they have done."

"As to how much each will enjoy heaven, I can only speculate. It is difficult to imagine a person who hates singing, praising or worship finding much in heaven to enjoy. But I believe when we are changed to enter eternity, many things will change. Perhaps our joy at being in God's presence and gathered around the throne will dispel any sense of loss or lack of enjoyment. My personal opinion is that heaven will be wonderful and thrilling to all the redeemed."

GOSPEL MINUTES, P.O.Box 50007, Fort Worth Texas 76105-0007

If I really BELIEVE JESUS it will be demonstrated by the works (fruit) of my life But JESUS is the focus. My WORKS must never take the focus & glory away from HIM!!! We sing: "Jesus paid it all! All to HIM I owe! Sin had left a crimson stain. HE washed it white as snow!"


You have your heads in the Bible always.
You studied for degrees in the Sacred Books.
And PhDs in books about the Sacred Books.
And you're convinced this will get you into Heaven.
But you miss The Point: IT'S ALL ABOUT ME!
The Holy Scriptures are jam-packed with
huge stomping clues about ME!
But you can't find it in your heart to admit it.
Because then you would have to ask ME
for the eternal life you want so much.
Believe ME and live eternally!
[adapted from Rob Lacey]
[compare 1 John 5:9-13]

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


This Is My Bible

This is my Bible - my Light and my Guide.
It points me to JESUS the Savior of the world.
It tells me of God's great Love for me,
and spells out the many Promises of Hope
and how He puts people right with Himself
through the kind of Faith that Abraham had.
God's Word is truth and refreshing water to my soul.
Thank You God for teaching me to seek You
in all that I do. I trust You today and choose to
commit my every decision to You so that
I can grow strong like the tree planted by
the water. In Jesus' name, Amen.

This is my Bible, I am what it says I am.
I have what my Bible says I have.
I can do what my Bible says I can do.
I believe I have the Victory which Jesus won.
I believe I can resist the devil and he will flee.
I believe the Holy Spirit has poured
the Love of God into my heart, and that
I can rejoice with joy unspeakable and
full of glory just as Peter wrote.
Thank You, LORD, that my Bible says
You love me and give me the power
to love You and follow You all the way.
Thank You LORD for that eternal home
which my Bible talks about. Thank You!
Romans 5:1-5; 1 Peter 1:7-8; Romans 8:1-39

1. This is my Bible
God has chosen to speak to us through the written word. He created language and He raises up men & women who make the Bible available to every language group.

a) He spoke through the prophets. Luke 24:44. "Then He said to them, 'These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.'"

b) He has spoken through The Son. "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." John 12:48

But what did Jesus say? "Red-letter" Bible in which all the words of Jesus Christ are printed in red, in the Gospels and the Book of Revelation.

2. I am what it says I am

a) I am created in the image of God. "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Gen 1:27

b) I am reconciled to God (made acceptable to Him) through Jesus Christ. "Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea." Micah 7:18-19; Hebrews 8:12; 10:17

"That is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." 2 Cor 5:19

3. I have what it says I have

a) As a Christian I have access to the throne of God.
"For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Heb 4:15-16

b) Even before I ask, He hears me. "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." Matt 6:8

4. I can do what it says I can do

a) As Paul wrote: "I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4:12-13
Paul is saying: By the power of the sacrifice of Christ, I can go in His strength.

b) I can be brave in the tribulations of life because He Overcame The World. "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33

"That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:7-9

"That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." Phil 3:10-11

c) I can receive His generosity. "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." Luke 6:38



Almighty GOD, Father of all mankind,
You created me and gave me life. (Genesis 2:7)
I thank You that I am a citizen of Heaven
as well as a citizen of this present world. (Phil. 2:20-21)

I am trying to follow Your Golden Rule, (Matt. 7:12)
and I pray that my efforts, though feeble,
may bring praise and honor to You, LORD!
I am trying to let my light shine. (Matt. 5:16; Phil. 2:15)

Thank You, LORD,
for my health which You have given me. ( 3 John 2)
for my eyes that see,
for my ears that hear,
for my heart that beats,
for my legs that walk,
for blood and bones and strength.
For all the blessings You give me daily,
I thank You.

I thank You, LORD,
that I am able to work and prosper,
that I can help support my family,
that I am still able do things and
feel that I am worth something,
that I can add to the common good,
and be able to help others also.

I thank You and praise You, LORD,
for all my family,
for my mother and father,
for my sisters and brothers,
for aunts, uncles, cousins,
for grandmothers, grandfathers,
for children, grandchildren,
I thank You for friends and neighbors too.

I thank You, LORD,
for the Written Bible, a light of truth
to guide me through this world.
For the Church, my family of faith,
for the Lord's Supper - Holy Meal -
we celebrate the Cross & Resurrection

I thank You, LORD,
that You have blessed our Nation (Psalm 33:12-15)
with great prosperity and freedom,
that I am free politically and religiously,
and not harassed or persecuted,
free to worship You in spirit and truth.

I thank You, LORD,
for faith, hope and love, (1 Cor. 13:13)
for the promise of the eternal future (Rev. 7:9-17)
which I can see by the eye of faith.
I look for the Eternal City called Home
as did faithful Abraham. (Hebrews 11:9-10)
I want to live in Your House forever! (Psalm 23)

Bless America, dear LORD,
preserve every one of us
in this time of world crisis. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Wash us and cleanse us (Isaiah 1:16-20)
and turn our hearts back to You! (Luke 1:17)
Send us revival and renewal! (Romans 7:6)
We lift up holy hands to You (1 Timothy 2:8)
in praise and joy and thanksgiving! (1 Peter 1:8; 1 Cor. 2:9)
In Jesus' Name, Amen. (John 16:23-24)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

(Heb. 10:21-24)
For God ever deals with mankind
through His Word of promise.
We in turn cannot deal with God
otherwise than through faith
in the Word of His promise.
We consider Him faithful in His promises,
and patiently wait in this belief.
Promise and faith must go together.
For without the promise there is nothing
to be believed; while without faith
the promise is useless, since it is
established and fulfilled through faith.

Monday, October 29, 2007



One million people flee the fire and destruction in California!
Pray about this and pray especially for our brothers and
sisters in Christ who are being impacted by all this.
Pray that God will turn this tragedy into triumph as
people repent and turn to Him. Pray that people
will cooperate in love and concern working together
for recovery. Pray for faith and hope and love!

Problems = Opportunities, Different sides of the same coin

Our USA seems convulsed with problems. CNN News
compared what is happening to our USA with the
Four Horsemen of Revelation. The sixth chapter of
Revcelation and the opening of the Seals show
Christ bringing/allowing disasters upon mankind.
Fire & flood & drought & economic calamity. It is
right that men/women should cry for mercy
from "the wrath of the Lamb."

But at the same time millions are reaching up
to God for salvation. CNN also spoke of the Revival
going on in China and other parts of the world. Islam,
they said, grows through having large families.
Christianity grows through converting people to Christ.
The numbers show that it is Christianity which
is growing the most! Jesus said: "And I, if I be lifted up
from the earth, will draw all men unto me." John 12:32.
So we Lift Him Up and we Let Our Lights Shine!

Some Thoughts to consider:

Exodus 9:23-24
Moses lifted his staff to the skies
and God sent peals of thunder and hail
shot through with lightning strikes.
God rained hail down on the land of Egypt.
The hail came, hail and lightning-fire —
There had been nothing like it
in Egypt in its entire history.

Rev. 8:3-5; Psalm 141:1-2
Then another Angel, carrying a gold censer,
came and stood at the Altar.
He was given a great quantity of incense
by Christ, so that he could offer up the prayers
of all the holy people of God
upon the Golden Altar before the Throne.
Smoke billowed up from
the incense-laced prayers of the holy people,
and rose before God from the hand of the Angel.
Then the Angel filled the censer
with hot coals of fire from the Altar,
and heaved it down to the earth
in answer to the prayers of God's people.
It set off thunders, voices, lightnings,
and an earthquake. God had heard those prayers!

Acts 6:2-4
The Twelve called a meeting of the disciples.
"It wouldn't be right for us to abandon our
responsibilities for preaching and teaching
the Word of God to help with
the care of the poor.
Choose seven men from among you
whom everyone trusts,
men full of the Holy Spirit
and good sense, and we'll assign them
to this task. Meanwhile, we'll stick to
our assigned tasks of PRAYER
and speaking God's Word."

Dear Lord, our God and Father,
we are shaken by life's circumstances.
We raise our voice to You in prayer.
We come to Your Throne of Grace
with holy boldness and Christian love.
Give us grace as you gave to Paul
when he complained about his "thorn."
We do complain, but we avoid murmuring.
We know You are testing and teaching
all of us in the world by these things.
Help us to love and to learn and to
prepare to be with You in Eternity!
Through Christ, Amen.

Saturday, September 29, 2007



"Don't you want to be sure you belong to the true church?" Two JWs stood at my door. "I was baptized into Christ," I said, "and I am sure He did not add me to the wrong one."

Since God ADDS THE SAVED to the Lord's church (Acts 2:47), the question is: HOW DO YOU GET INTO CHRIST? "buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." Col 2:12

We look at this Son - Jesus the Christ -
and we see the God who cannot be seen.
We look at this Son and we see
God's original purpose in everything created.

John wrote: "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." John 1:16-17

"And He said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." John 1:51; compare Jacob's Ladder, Genesis 28:12-22.

Jesus said: "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." John 6:37

"Now John answered Him, saying, 'Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.' But Jesus said, 'Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side.'" Mark 9:38-40

Paul established the church at Philippi on his second missionary journey, 50 AD. Now he was imprisoned at Rome as he wrote to the Philippian church. Some opposed him and tried to destroy his influence. But even though he was in prison, he still reached out with Christ. "But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ;" Phil 1:12-13

Yet Paul had enemies who hated him more than they loved Christ - if they did love and accept Christ. Note Paul in Gal. 3:1-3. "before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?"

Paul wrote: “The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.” Phil 1:16-18

Johnson's Notes wrote: "Some, indeed, preach Christ even of envy. The motives of all preachers are not pure. Some still preach Christ, full of envy for other preachers, and some from a love of strife. Those envious of Paul were probably Judaizing Christians. See next verse." —People's New Testament

Paul trusted God to be in control of everything, and that He would make good come from difficult times. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee:" Psalm 76:10

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Glorious assurance! And this, it seems, was a "household word," a "known" thing, among believers. Persuaded that He who gave His own Son for them must mean them well in all His Plan, learn thus to take in good part whatever He sends them, however trying to flesh and blood: and to them who are the called, according to His purpose, all things do in His way "work together for good"; for, even when "He hath His way in the whirlwind," they see "His chariot paved with love" See 2 Timothy 1:9-10.

CHRIST IS PREACHED! Philippians 1:15-18

Philip. 1:16-18 (MsgB)
One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. [17] The others, now that I'm out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better—they think—for them.
[18] So how am I to respond? I've decided that I really don't care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!
And I'm going to keep that celebration going.

Robert Rainey in the UK, writing about 1880.

OF COURSE SOME. How do we fit this in with our idea of the early church??? The truth is, of course, that the early church faced every problem that the church is facing today! Technology does not change the basic problems, which grow out of human relationships.

Robert Rainey says: “Mixture of motive has haunted the work even of those who strove to keep their motives pure. And men in whom lower motive and worse motive had a strong influence have struck into the work alongside of the nobler and purer laborers. So it has pleased God to permit; that even in this sacred field men might be tried and manifested before the judgment of the great day; and that it might be more plain that the effectual blessing and the true increase come from Himself.” See verse 17. [compare 1 Cor. 3:12-15.]

16. THESE DO SO FROM LOVE.. Those who preach Christ with all good will. These viewed Paul’s imprisonment in the light of truth - as a defense of the gospel! Note 2 Cor. 5:13-15. "For the love of Christ compels us."

17. THE OTHERS. Robert Rainey says: “There were, as we all know, in the Church of those days powerful sections of professed believers, who contested Paul’s apostleship, questioned his teaching, and wholly disliked the effects of his work. Perhaps by this time the strain of that conflict had become a little less
severe, but it had not wholly passed away. We call these persons the Judaisers [circumcision party]. They were men who looked to Jesus Christ as the Messiah, who owned the authority of His teaching, and claimed an interest in His promises. But they insisted on linking Christianity to Jewish forms, and rules, and conditions of law-keeping, which were on various grounds dear and sacred to them . . . Possibly there might even be a Christian congregation in the city in which this type prevailed.” Compare Acts 21:20; John 19:15 and notes. They probably preached Christ as King, hoping to stir up the Roman authorities against Paul.

18. IT DOES NOT MATTER. Robert Rainey said: “It is NOT TRUE that the preaching of Christ serves no purpose and yields no fruits, in cases where it is not carried on in the right or the best spirit. . . Now the Apostle, looking at this, is glad of it. He is not glad that any men, professing Christ, give way to evil and unchristian tempers (natures). But he is glad that Christ is preached. There were cases in which he vehemently contended with such persons -when they strove to poison and pervert Christians who had learned the better way. But now he is thinking of the outside world; and it was good that the making known of Christ should gather strength, and volume, and extension. And the Apostle knew that the Lord could bless His own message, imperfectly delivered perhaps, to bring thirsty souls to Himself, and would not fail in His unsearchable wisdom to care for those who came, and to lead them in the ways He thought best.

LET CHRIST BE PREACHED. The converts do not belong to the denominations, but first of all to Christ. Neither is it appointed that the denominations shall permanently hold those whom they bring in; but Christ can hold them, and can order their future in ways we cannot foretell. . . . But God is not tied up to give no success to men acting under wrong motives: at least, if we are not to say He gives the success to them, yet in connection with them He is well able to take success to Himself. Through strange channels He can send blessings to souls, whatever He gives or denies to the unworthy workmen. Souls truly gathered in will soon get beyond their teaching.”

Saturday, September 22, 2007



We call for purity in the church. We speak to honor Jesus Christ and promote His Kingdom. But some wage the warfare differently. Some, like those noble Bereans of old, ask rational questions, listen to the Scriptures, draw our attention to error, and preach the truth in love. Others burn with righteous indignation. Like the church at Ephesus they pursue the false apostles (or those they see as false). But, in their frenzy, their first love of Christ is shoved aside. Their candlestick is in danger of being removed.

Amid the confusion of the battlefield the Accuser of the brethren shuttles from side to side, darting back and forth, sowing the bitter seeds of anger and division. Confronting error is biblical. But Paul warned: "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!" Gal 5:14-15 In the war on error it is the Enemy who incites the conflict, supplies the ammunition and benefits from the carnage that follows. Brothers brawl before a watching world, and we are all wounded in the fog of war. Paul wrote: "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.' Eph 6:11-12

Throughout history, the church has been helped by righteous causes and harmed by overzealous religious crusades. What is the difference? Here are a few points to consider.

Sees an opportunity
Motivated by Christian love
Gives life
Brings healing
Is about influence and serving
Celebrates freedom
Is passionate and fervent
Unites God's people
Defeats the Enemy
Ends in blessing

Sees a problem
Motivated by fear and panic
Takes life
Brings wounding
Is about control and force
Celebrates force and violence
Is fanatical and extreme
Divides God's people
Empowers the Enemy
Ends in shame

They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested." Rev 15:3-4

The world will continue to change - no matter what we do. The Apostle Paul looked out on a world which could be won for Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ-on-the-Cross & the Resurrection is the power of God to save mankind! Jesus Himself is the Way, the Truth, the Life. John 14:6; 18:37; 1 John 5:20.


R. D. Ice 12/31/2002

As someone wrote: "So many Christians I meet today worry that the sky is falling. They say: 'The world is getting so dark. I just hope Jesus comes back soon.' They are afraid of foreign terrorists on our airplanes, anthrax in our mailboxes or snipers near our Home Depots. They want to evacuate the planet every time the stock market drops, gasoline prices rise or Osama bin Laden issues another one of his cowardly threats via videotape. That's sad - because God did not call us to walk in fear or to run from giants. His command to Joshua was - 'Be strong and of good courage...for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go' (Joshua 1:9)."

Clem Thurman wrote in Gospel Minutes Sept. 27, 2002: "Some folk, faced with the conditions as they are in the world today, are led to believe that 'Christianity has failed.' Even among those who are supposed to be Christians, many are ready to give up on 'the law of the Spirit of life' (Romans 8:2) as a world-changing movement, claiming that the gospel will just not fit the complex issues of our society today."

Paul the apostle looked out on a world which was at least as "bad" as ours. He saw a world which could be won to Christ. But we need to have Paul's attitude toward the POWER of the Gospel of Christ Jesus - Crucified, Risen, Coming Again. Look at 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Acts 4:29-33.

CHARISMA Magazine (2002) spoke of the "darkness invading our world."

The heart of Islam in the USA is Detroit, Michigan, where 300,000 Muslims live now. But some say that 50% to 70% of the Arab-Americans who live in Detroit are "Christian" in some sense.

The heart of Buddhism in the USA is Hollywood, California. "Movie stars have helped make Los Angeles the headquarters of Buddhism in the West." [Coming into Philippi from the west the Dali Lama beams down from a billboard with the message of Peace.]

The heart of Hinduism in the USA is Parma, Ohio, where there is the Shiva Vishnu Hindu Temple.

There is a Hare Krishna Temple just east of Moundsville, WV. rebuilding-its-temple

The heart of Judaism in the USA is New York City, where almost 2 million Jews live.

The heart of New Age religion in the USA is Sedona, Arizona. Despite its tiny size, Sedonia has more than 70 New Age bookstores, astrology centers and healing studios.

The heart of Black Magic in the USA is Miami, Florida. Miami has bustled for decades as the de facto capital of Caribbean and Latin American culture. "Santeria ("way of the saints") blends ancient beliefs of the Yoruba and Bantu people of Western Africa with Iberian Catholicism.

The heart of Atheism in the USA is Madison, Wisconsin. In this leafy Midwest city, people who dislike religion have found a home.

Lift Up Jesus Christ The Light!

"For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge (gnosis) of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2Cor 4:6
"Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising." Isaiah 60:1-3; Eph. 5:14-16.

God does not take away our freedom to choose Him. He always intended the Gentile to be called also. "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom (the Jews) will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matt. 8:10-11. Compare what James said in Acts 15:12-18. "Known to God from eternity are all His works."

A Quotation to Think About

"I realize I am trapped in Romans 7, but that I am to live in Romans 8." Paul also said: "for the letter kills but the Spirit gives life." 2 Cor. 3:6-8

Paul in Athens (Acts 17:16-34)

Athens was a junkyard of idols!
Paul got angrier and angrier at what he saw!
On Mars Hill, the Areopagus, Paul
spoke his words of truth.
You Athenians take your religion seriously.
I found a shrine to the Unknown God.
And I want to tell you about Him.
God - who made heaven and earth -
doesn't live in shrines and temples.
Nor does He need us to run errands for Him.
From Adam He made the entire human race.
God does not play hide and seek with us.
We all live and move and have our being -
in Him - we can't get away from Him.
This God is now known to you, and He
calls for repentance - a radical life change - and
He has set a Day when He will judge the world.
He has already appointed the Judge,
confirming Him by raising Him from death.

At Corinth Paul said: "I deliberately kept it
simple - first Jesus and Who He Is; then
Jesus and What He Did. Jesus is the Wisdom
of God Who gives us right thinking,
right living, a clean slate and a fresh start.
God by His Holy Spirit has brought it all
out into the open before you
(1 Corinthians 2:1-10)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


R. D. Ice

[When we look back some years, we are impressed by the faith & power of the Gospel of Christ - Crucified, Risen, Coming again! Some today have pulled the plug on power, Christian love, holy joy, and the fruit of The Spirit. Paul warned: "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." Look back with me to those days of glory.]

It was just before WWII in one of the large cities of the South. Trucks rolled into the inner city and the crew began putting up the Gospel Tent on the vacant lot where the Circus came each year. Loudspeaker vans went through the city streets blaring the congregation singing: “There’s POWER In The BLOOD.” The song leader’s voice could be heard shouting: “Gospel Meeting tonight in the big tent! Everyone come!”

And people did come. A rainbow of ethnic groups. Many of the poor and dispossessed. Some in suits & ties. Old people and young children and those in between. But they came and they filled the Gospel Tent. Finally everyone was seated on the rickety folding-chairs.

“Let’s all sing!” shouted the song-leader. “Everyone join in and sing as loud as you can!” He began singing: “Would you be FREE from the BURDEN of SIN? There’s POWER in the BLOOD!’”

The people sang with enthusiasm! “POWER, POWER, Wonder working POWER, in the BLOOD, of the Lamb, there is POWER, POWER, Wonder working POWER, in the Precious BLOOD of the LAMB!”

They were lifting the VOICE of JOYFUL PRAISE to the Lord. Would the Apostle Paul have done what this tent evangelist was doing? Read what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, and compare Philippians 1:15-18.

Brother Ed, the Evangelist, stood up to speak. “Glory to God!” he shouted. “The Bible says Jesus came so that the world through Him might be saved! I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL! There is POWER in the BLOOD!”

“Let’s have CHURCH!” he shouted. He waved his Bible in the air. “Let's have CHURCH! - Unashamed! With Power! Jesus- Worshipping! Sin-Busting! Devil- Chasing! Bible-Loving! Saving! Renewing! Praising! and With All The Joy The Holy Spirit Provides!!!”

(And I remembered 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”)

Brother Ed continued: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of how Christ died and rose again from the dead! Jesus is a Hero! He rescued us from sin and death. The real Day of Atonement was that Day when Jesus was Nailed to the Cross. The Lamb of God took away the sin of the world! Jesus said that when He was lifted up on the cross, He would draw everyone to Himself. Everyone who believes Jesus was raised from the dead will come to Him!”

Brother Ed said: “I have never heard anyone say, ‘When I studied geography my whole life changed.’ But I do know that when I studied Jesus Christ I was set free from sin! I don’t beat my wife or abuse my children. I am honest and pay my debts. I try to do good to everyone. The love of Christ fills my heart and soul! I want to share this Love with everyone who will listen!”

“Church, let’s have POWER! When God’s people of old prayed - things happened! Elijah prayed and God turned off the rain for three and a half years. Elijah prayed again and the rains came down. Every Christian has the authority to PRAY! Let everyone who is FREE IN CHRIST come to the Foot of the Cross in prayer and praise and let us lift ONE VOICE to our GOD!”

“It is time for a Christian revolution,” he shouted! “We are in the battle for the hearts and souls of mankind! If God crushed Satan beneath the feet of the Christians at Rome [Romans 16:20], HE certainly is able to do the same today if we reach up to Him in prayer. God is saying, ‘By thy faith command thou Me!’ When we believe and then ACT - our God will do what we cannot do!”

Perhaps we do need a more aggressive faith (not an arrogant faith); certainly a more joyous faith. The Tent Evangelists came into an area and practiced “Guerrilla Evangelism.” People would come to a tent service who would not consider going to a “church.” On Pentecost in Acts 2, crowds of people were reached and 3,000 were baptized into Christ that one day. Thousands more flooded into the Kingdom and the Jerusalem Church grew to perhaps 100,000 believers. When these people were scattered by persecution in Acts 8, they took CHRIST with them everywhere they went! Like gasoline poured on a fire, these believers exploded the Gospel of Christ across the First Century world. Certainly God-The-Holy- Spirit was enabling them [Compare Acts 1:8,14].

The Gospel is the POWER of God at work - saving all who believe and obey! The Word of Christ cannot fail! Revelation 7 speaks of the great number of the Saved!

A huge crowd of people,
too many to count them all,
standing in front of
the Throne and the Lamb.
They are from every race
and language, every nation
and tribe, dressed in white,
the sign of Victory!
Who are these? Where do
they come from?
They came through the
terrible persecution.
They’ve washed their robes,
scrubbed them clean
in the blood of the Lamb.
They stand in praise and worship
standing in front of the Throne,
serving Him day and night,
in the Eternal Temple.
The Lamb is in the center of
the Throne. He will shepherd
the people of God, and lead them
to Eternal spring-waters of Life.
No more tears, no sickness,
no sorrow, no persecution,
no death! All is new!
Oh, Yes! I’m on my way!
I’ll soon be there!
Come! Lord Jesus!

God-The-Holy-Spirit is vital to the life of Christ’s church. Note John 7:37-39.

Jesus stood
on the final day of the Feast.
“If anyone thirsts, let him come
to Me and drink.
Rivers of living water
will brim and spill out
of the depths of the one
who believes in Me.”
Jesus said this about
The Holy Spirit Who
would be given when
He - Jesus - was glorified
in the Cross and Resurrection.
God has made Jesus both Lord and Messiah!

If you sewed together arms, legs, a body and a head, you might make a “baby.” But without the “spirit” it would not be living. In every generation a Movement arises that seeks to duplicate the New Testament church of the Apostles. They install elders and deacons, and all the known programs of the apostolic church. They set in order baptism and the Lord’s Supper. But without the life-giving Holy Spirit it is just a copy. The church is built for a “habitation of God through the Spirit” [Ephesians 2:22].

Alexander Campbell stressed “head” religion. If we merely impart knowledge of the scriptures and biblical principles, we have not made them “spiritual.” Barton Stone stressed “heart.” The Eunuch went on his way rejoicing. We need both “head” and “heart” in our life in Christ Jesus. It is said of those first Christians: “Praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

No person or institution has the power to produce spirituality in someone. There are no shortcuts. Only God The Holy Spirit does that. We need to stress the “renewing of the Holy Ghost” [Titus 3:5] “which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” The Holy Spirit Himself makes intercession for us [Romans 8:26-28]. Christians are being changed into the “same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord." [2 Corinthians 3:18]

We Christians have been sanctified and we must live holy lives as living sacrifices to God [Romans 12:1-2]. The God who called us is holy, and we are to be holy too in our conversation/ conduct [1 Peter 1:15-16]. We Christians are to shine as lights in this dark world [Matthew 5:16]. Our hearts are to be full of Christian love, holy joy, and all the fruit of the Spirit! [2 Timothy 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7; Galatians 5:22-25; Romans 8:31-38].

We remember You, Lord Jesus,
in the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Meal.
Your body of flesh was nailed
to the cross, Your blood was
poured out for the sins of us.
Your death and resurrection
is the atoning sacrifice for sin.
You are the Scapegoat who
carried away forever the sins
that have been forgiven.
You purged our sins and sat down.
You give us the authority to say
Abba, Father, to God the Almighty.
You make us joint heirs with Yourself.
Oh God, our God, how majestic is
Your Name above all the earth!!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Who Were The 120 In The Upper Room

Who were the 120 disciples in Acts 1:13?
Scripture does not contradict Scripture; and we compare Scripture with Scripture to learn truth. When Paul says faith, James says works, and John says love - all are saying the same thing. No contradiction.

The four Gospels give the account of God's act in Christ Jesus to reconcile the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19). These four Gospels quote Jesus and tell Who He Is, What He Has Done, and What He Taught. God the Son became Man and made it possible for all of us - both men and women - to renew our lives in Him (Hebrews 2:14-15). God is beyond our imagination and logic (compare 1 Cor. 2:14). Yet God has spoken to us by His Son. Compare Hebrews 1:1-4. God revealed Himself to us in a way that we can understand.

Luke in his Gospel and in the Book of Acts shows a handful of ordinary men and women who were transformed into a dynamic community by their experience of the Risen Christ. They were the nucleus of the Kingdom of God which came into being with the first coming of Christ (compare Luke 16:16). They - men and women - had been trained by Him in discipleship and charged with the task of spreading the Good News Gospel of how God saves people to the whole world. Very fallible men and women, barely recovered from the shattering blow of the Crucifixion. Yet they were transformed by being convinced that He Arose, and then by the coming of "another Comforter" in Acts 2. The Kingdom of God came with power as Christ promised (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5).

Luke wrote in Acts 1:1-3 "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God . ."

Paul speaks of over 500 eyewitnesses to Jesus raised up from the dead (1 Cor. 15:5-7). Paul himself was an eyewitness, as he points out (1 Cor. 15:8). The events of Matt. 27:52-53 can be taken to imply that He was also seen by the people and the Jewish leaders during the 40 days. (* note: Pentecost means 50 days.)

The Upper Room Prayer Meeting
This was a time of very great excitement! Christ had died and risen to life! HE was now alive forevermore! For forty days He had been with them before He ascended to heaven. They were to wait for the Promise of the Father! Luke 24:53 "And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen."
Perhaps a larger group met in the temple. But this group of 120 is specified as meeting in the upper room.

Acts 1:13-15 "And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)"

Who are these hundred and twenty persons? By looking closely at what is said here and in other places, we may know who they were. These had the common bond of knowing that Jesus had raised from death and was alive forevermore.

The Twelve
We recognize the names of the Twelve Apostles (now eleven with the absence of Judas Iscariot). We would expect them to be present in this gathering.

The Seventy
Also with them were the 70 (Luke 10:1). Each of the 70 would meet the qualifications Peter mentions: "Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us..." Among the 70 were Joseph Barsabas and Matthias (who were put forward by the whole group as possible choices). Just these two cast their lots (to take it out of the realm of human action) and the lot fell on Matthias. He became the twelfth Apostle to complete the number. We would expect that those mentioned in Acts 6:5 had been among the 70 (Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, Nicolas), also Barnabas. These were men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.

Further thoughts on the 70.
God told Moses to gather 70 elders of Israel in the tabernacle and He would put His Spirit on them and they would prophesy. They would bear the burden of the people with Moses, to relieve him. Moses said (of Eldad and Medad): "And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" Numbers 11:16-29.

Compare Paul in 1Cor. 14:5. "I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying."

The women
Women were also identified to be among the 120. Mary the mother of Jesus is mentioned by name. The wives of the apostles were there (1 Cor. 9:5 "Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?"). Each of the wives was a devout believer in Christ. Part of the number of women would be those mentioned in Luke 8:1-3. "And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance." See also Matt. 27:55-56; Luke 23:49,55. We would expect that the sisters of Jesus were also believers by this time, as His brothers had become. Jesus was much more inclusive of the women than were the scribes and Pharisees. The women had accompanied Him as He went through every city and village. The very first person to announce the Risen Christ was Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18).

The brothers of Jesus
The brothers of Jesus are also included in the 120. They had not been believers before the Crucifixion (John 7:3-5). Now they were firm in their faith and devotion to Him. These were: James, Joses, Simon, Judas (Matt. 13:55-56). James the Just was the leader of the Jerusalem Church in Acts 15:13. He is called an apostle in Gal. 1:19, although not one of the Twelve. See also 1 Cor. 9:5. James was the author of the Book of James. Judas was the author of the Book of Jude.

Pentecost Sunday.
Pentecost was a feast which came every year (Exodus 34:22). Jesus had been among His disciples forty days (Acts 1:3), speaking of the things of the kingdom. The day of Pentecost was kept by the Jews also as a festival to commemorate the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. The Jews who had come for Passover had stayed on to celebrate Pentecost. Thus the whole Jewish nation had been witnesses of the Crucifixion of Christ. Now they were witnesses of the Coming of the Holy Ghost.

Johnson's Notes comments: 1. When the day of Pentecost was fully come. The entire period between it and the passover, the waiting period of the disciples, was filled full. Pentecost, one of the three great annual festivals of the Jews, lasted only one day, was on the fiftieth day from the morrow after the passover Sabbath (Lev. 23:15–22). The Savior, crucified on Friday, was in the tomb on the passover Sabbath, and rose on Sunday, the day from whence the count began. The Sunday following would be the eighth day, and the fiftieth day would fall on Sunday, the first day of the eighth week. Hence, the ancient church observed Pentecost on the first day of the week. For fuller discussion, see Meyer, Howson and Milligan on this passage. All agree that Pentecost came on Sunday. Pentecost was the feast of the grain harvest (Exod. 23:16; 34:22, 23), and was also held by the Jews to be the anniversary of the giving of the law. They were all … in one place. Not only the apostles, but the hundred and twenty disciples. They probably had an intimation that the promised day had come." 4. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. All the disciples present. To be filled implies that the human spirit within was overwhelmed by, or immersed in, the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Spirit was not a sprinkling, but an outpouring that overwhelmed the human spirit. Began to speak. This was the "Beginning." See Luke 24:47 and Acts 11:15."

The 120 were certainly there when Joel's prophecy was fulfilled. And since 3,000 were baptized into Christ following Peter's sermon, there had to be a huge crowd of people. Only the temple courts had the space for so many people. All the people spoke both Greek and Hebrew (Aramaic) and so it was a special sign that so many languages were heard. It was the "tower of Babel" in reverse. Certainly evidence that God's Salvation was to be spread abroad over the world.

Peter announced: "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your SONS and your DAUGHTERS shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my SERVANTS and on my HANDMAIDENS I will pour out in those days of my Spirit: and they shall prophesy:" (Acts 2:16-18)

The climax of Joel's prophecy was: "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21). God sent Jesus to be the Savior! "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:17). God had promised: "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 8:13).

The Jerusalem Church became a mega-church on that first Sunday. The 120 plus 3,000 more! Certainly the 120 would be leaders and teachers - with the Twelve standing above them all. "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' (note apostles' is plural) doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Acts 2:42

"And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:46-47

It's OK To Let Go

It's OK To Let Go! R.D.Ice 6-04
This is a composite, but it is based on true events which took place in two large metropolitan areas plus some other places. Names are of course changed. I have borrowed ideas from other writings and filtered them through my mind.

Living in the future [adapted from Patrick Mead]
"We are not 'change agents' but 'Jesus followers.' For we do not want to train to fight the last war. We want to fight this one — we want to drive back the borders of Satan's territory. We want to rescue people he has overrun. We want to bring light where darkness rules and we can't do that while trying to live in a storied, fabled, and glorious past. Fighting the last war always leads to disaster in the current war. We should have figured that out just by watching the evening news." [compare Acts 3:18-26; 26:14-20.]

"Through the years, Central Church of Christ [not the real name] in Mytown, PA, gradually declined in attendance, from 200 to 45 or 50. Looking out over her 80-year-old pews, you saw only beloved senior citizens, and they were dwindling fast."
"What to do??? The gates of Hell cannot destroy the Lord's One Spiritual Church. But individual churches can lose their candlestick. After talking about money and trying to raise support, another patch to a leaky roof, and seeking advice from respected brethren, the church hired a young (very young) preacher who knew nothing of the difficulties. He made plans, hired an architect and contractors, built some new classrooms, and added a second Sunday morning service."

"But, as we found out, Central Church had wonderful facilities, but no children left to enjoy them. The day was coming, and could not be postponed. The candle was about to sputter out."

Closing One Door to Open Another. "Turn it around or close it down." My computer has a "refresh" button. It resets to the original default program. But how to do it in this case??? We could imagine the Lord saying, "OK. You did a good job. But the inning is over. It is time to move on and restart anew." It was time to abandon the past and move on to the future to accomplish the Lord's purpose.

Central sold the building, liquidated all the assets, and gave the money to a church-planting group overseen by a large church in the Midwest. Leadership and planning was to be completely in the hands of the church-planting group. This sort of church-planting had been done in Bay Shore, Long Island, NY, some years ago. Begin something new and fresh, free from the past and with a new identity.

This new church began meeting in a movie theater. Discovery Church of Christ spends no money on building upkeep, and rent is not all that expensive. Some who would not come into a church-building did come to the movie theater church. The bulk of those who came were young, skeptical, and curious. To them the established church was irrelevant, bureaucratic. But these same young people were, however, hungry for truth and starving for a spiritual connection with God.

Things are happening. Our challenge is: How do we connect with a generation starving for God but disillusioned with what little they know of the church? How do we eliminate barriers between a dying world and a living Savior??? Every Sunday morning the lobby of the movie theater is transformed into a meet-and-greet area for the Discovery Church of Christ. Like Paul, we preach Christ Crucified, Risen, Coming Again!

The church went back to basics, not "issues". Sermons focused on the purpose and mission of believers in Christ (the church). We studied fundamental doctrines (the apostles' teaching). We set about to discover and use our spiritual gifts. Evangelism classes and evangelistic methods were taught. A home-cell group was begun - meeting from house to house just like in Acts. In the first six months, Discovery Church of Christ is averaging more than 250 in worship attendance.

Some times a computer must be restarted. It shuts down and then reboots. Central shut down and then restarted in the same community - but with a new identity and a new future. Discovery Church of Christ is just the first phase. Additional seed money left by the Central Church of Christ will be used to start two more new churches in 2007 and 2010.

"Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:23 NKJV).

[Note: Mytown, PA, is near a large population center and in a fast growing area. But this fact did not help Central Church of Christ to this point. Something drastic and new was needed. Discovery Church of Christ was that new beginning.]

There is more than one way of doing things. Paul tailored his approach to fit those whom he was trying to reach (1Corinthians 9:19-23). We can do no less. What Central Church did would probably not work in the rural area where I live. But we ourselves are experiencing a time of renewal following a fire in our church-building (and we do have a younger generation coming on). We praise the Lord and ask Him for wisdom and vision for the future.

What can we learn from "Central - Discovery"??? How can we step away from the past and reach out to the future? Paul said: "but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, Ipress toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14).

First, a quotation from Augustine. "Trust the past to the mercy of God, the present to His love, and the future to His providence." And, as we say: "Keep on keeping on!"

1. Why did this work? The gospel is the same. What really changed to make the difference in reaching out to the community? What can we learn from this?

2. It is always our intention to worship God and obey Him! But we might have been more focused on "the building" than on the Lord Jesus. Perhaps we have been trapped by the past. Paul wasn't. Phil. 3:9-11; 1Cor. 9:19-22.

3. Someone said: "Success is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it." Someone also said: "Life is what happens while you are making other plans."

4. We always remember that Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God made the plant grow. Compare Psalm 127:1

5. It is dangerous to allow the recent Past to be an albatross around the neck of the church. We always look back to Jerusalem, which is right, but we also look forward to the future. We are not to allow the world or the Past to squeeze us into its mold. We are to be transformed (Romans 12:1-2).

6. Truth cannot change! But methods may change, and may need to change. Paul was all things to all men, "that I might by all means save some" (1 Cor. 9:19-23).

7. When we stand before Him, might He say: "If you knew it would draw the people in to meet Me, why didn't you do it?"

R. D. Ice

God will rock the heavens!
One last shaking, from top to bottom,
from stem to stern, thoroughly
cleaning house, getting rid of
historical and religious junk, so that
the unshakable essentials will stand
clear and uncluttered.

Do you see what we have!
A kingdom which cannot be shaken!
How thankful we must be, and
not only thankful but filled with
love and praise and worship.
Our God is a cleansing fire who
purifies us because He loves us!

We stay on good terms with each other,
held together by bonds of love.
We are not carried away by
material things, by casual sex,
by lust and envy and pride, by
wanting to have our own way, or
by wanting to appear important.

R. D. Ice

John saw the souls of martyrs
under the Altar in heaven,
men and women who had been killed
for their testimony to the Gospel of
Christ's Doing & Dying & Rising again.

How soon, O Lord, how soon?
How long can this world last?
You will come in flaming fire
taking vengeance!

What a Mighty God You are!
oh Holy and True, may Your
will be done on earth
as it is in heaven.

How long, Oh Lord, until You
step in and avenge our murders?
for in killing us,
they have rejected You!

"Take this white robe of victory.
Sit back and wait. It is not yet time,
because thousands and millions
of martyrs will share with you
before I Come Again."

We share with the martyrs.
Our faith and their faith
in Christ Jesus the Lord.
The purpose and will of
God All Powerful must
come to completeness.

R. D. Ice

The End is near! But,
not yet. Many things
must first take place.
Jesus spoke of terrible things:
Nations and Kingdoms will
go to war against each other;
Some will starve to death;
Earthquakes and floods;
Disease, terrorism;

But God will crush Satan
again and again, beneath
the feet of God's People.
God makes us strong by
the Faith which is Christ Jesus.
The Gospel is good news that
HE has overcome the world!

Jesus is the world's Savior!
He Came as flesh & blood,
one of us, tempted on
our human level, yet
never sinning.

The blood of His Sacrifice
washes away our sins;
we can stand before God
accepted in God's Son.

Whatever may come
we need not struggle in
fear and anguish.
Christ is Coming Again!
To receive His People,
to be with Him forever!

Hinderances to Church Growth

(written for IMAGE around 1975?)

R. D. Ice

“If it is so obvious that the Church is dying fast, how come God doesn't work a miracle or two to shake things up?”

In less than an hour, I was sitting at my old wooden desk reading about a Person who wanted to give me eternal life. For years the Gospels had gone in one ear and out the other as they were read during church. Yet now, as I read each living word, the person of Jesus was coming alive.

Finally, at the end of the Gospel of John, I looked up at the clock on the wall: 2:45 AM. Leaning back in my chair, I closed my eyes and tried to hold back tears that were welling up. Turning out the light, I sat in a sea of darknend tranquility. And in a whisper I began to pray.

"God, it's been so long since I've really talked with You. I'm sorry. Yet somehow it's all different tonight. All my life I've felt that You were high and holy and unreachable; that's why I gave up on You. And now I see that all my life You've been waiting for me to realize how much You loved me. Oh, Jesus, I want Your love...I will come unto You. Please help me, Jesus..."

And I wept - like I hadn't done since a little child.

About a week and a half later, I drove home and found my father sitting down. He had just gotten home from the bank where he was a custodian and had been too tired to take off his blue uniform.

"What have you got there," he asked, as I walked into the dining room.


"The books under your arm. What are you reading these days?”

That was surely the signal. "Let me show you." It was a thick paperback Bible - The New American Standard - that I had purchased the day before.

"The Bible?” Fanning the pages quickly, he handed it back like it was a hot 'potato. "What do you want with this?"

"Well, all I can say is, I've been studying it for the past month. And it's opened up a whole new world to me."

"Eh, the Bible is full of contradictions," Dad replied.

"Well, I haven't found any so far," I said, as I held out the Bible to him. "But here, show me one."

Dad turned away from my outstretched hand.

Pulling a piece of paper from my Bible, I said, "Listen to me, Dad. This is a statement about church growth. ‘We earnestly and specifically urge all Christians to learn by frequently reading the Bible. We must again be a people of the Book. Not only that but it also is becoming increasingly clear that many of our church people have no real commitment to a living, risen Jesus Christ. They have never received Him into their hearts as a Personal Savior.’"

"Received Him? A personal Savior? What are you talking about?" Dad asked. In my zeal I was getting a little ahead of myself as well as Dad.

"I'm talking about the fact that just because you are part of a church, that doesn't make you a Christian."

"What?" Dad said. "I'm a member of the Lord's church."

"So was Billie Sol Estes and that other man," I said.

"But I've been baptized," Father retorted, "and I eat the Lord's Supper every week."

"So did they!" See Dad, some are members of the church outwardly simply because they have never decided not to be. They go through the motions of taking the Lord's Supper each week and get nothing out of it. God isn't real to them. Attending church, praying, even reading the Bible are all boring if you don't know God personally, and there is only one way you can know Him personally - and that’s through His Son, Jesus Christ."

"Since when did you get so religious?" Dad snapped.

"I haven't gotten religious," I pleaded. "I just found Jesus. I made a commitment to Him as my Savior almost a month ago, and He's transforming my life. He's my Savior and He's given me the gift of eternal life."

There! It was said! But my father didn't understand one word of it. Worse, I could tell by his lips twitching that he was about to blow his stack.

To calm us both down, I went to the refrigerator for a couple bowls of chocolate-chip ice-cream, his favorite. But it was too late. His words followed me into the kitchen.

"Look, young man, I'm almost 60 years old. No 20 year old punk is going to tell me about my religion, understand!"

"But Dad, look in your own Bible. Just check out. . Dad . . Dad!" And the front door terminated another family discussion.

After I settled down, I began to think things over. Dad thought I was leaving the Lord. I was sure he did not understand what he thought he believed. A number of we young people really love our Lord and we can’t be satisfied with anything less that giving our all to Him! That led us to question everything. We questioned all that we had been taught and carefully tried to match things up with what the Bible actually said.

Many of the rules were inevitably rejected after being questioned. But since our relationship with God had been based solely on our relationship with the Church and our ability to obey its rules, then rejection of the Church rules mean rejection of God. We could not understand.

Everybody was so uptight about all the kids who had turned off the Church, the steady increase of preachers who quit, the millions who had become inactive and given up their faith.

The fact was we hadn't given up our faith at all- we had never understood it! What we gave up was our allegiance to what we had understood as only a noble, venerable, superstructure called the Church of Christ Church. The question I felt like standing up and shouting was: What happened to Jesus Christ in this superstructure? What happened to the Church's original commission - to proclaim the Gospel to everyone that they may have eternal life and that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the only answer to man's deepest needs?

Unless the Church quickly recovers its God-given mission, the present specter of the defection of frustrated members abandoning a once-august, fortress Church would accelerate, until what we were experiencing would seem mild compared with the earthquake to come.

We were a people starving for a heartwarming, personal faith, a vital experience with Jesus Christ. Yet who would listen to me - a 20 year old kid?


Churches in general, must
deal with three generations
among their followers.

Builders - born before 1946
Boomers - born 1946 - 1964
X-ers born 1964 - 1983

Can they work together?
in worship style?
in budget priorities?
Bible translations?
Small groups style?

Sing traditional hymns?
Contemporary songs?
Subdued and quiet?
Loud and boisterous?

What is “reverent?”
What is “informal?”
Celebrative? “Joyful?”

In Michigan two Churches,
One “African-American”
One “white middle class”
Became one in diversity
Two points of view and
Two lifestyles, but
Were “one” Church.

They worshipped One Lord
In their different styles,
then "White"
As they praised
God in heaven.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Jesus Follower

Are You A Christ-Follower?
[”and such were some of you “ 1 Cor. 6:11]

Beth (not her name) wrote: “When my husband spoke at a Lectureship, Norman (not his name) approached him and asked if he could talk. In a short time, my husband learned that Norman had been a practicing homosexual for years and was now suffering from AIDS. In further conversations, he found out that Norman's mother was a Christian and had been praying that he would come to Christ before he died. He did.”

“Never was a man more radically changed. He told my husband that he didn't know if he could change his orientation, but he knew he could change his behavior.”

“Norman became part of our family. He came to a Bible study in our home each week and sang the songs with the vigor of a man who knew he soon would be meeting the One he sang about. He soaked in Scripture as if it were his last drink of water before entering a long desert journey.”

“How we as Christians react to those who claim a homosexual lifestyle may have eternal consequences. Paul helps us figure out how to represent the grace and truth of Jesus in those situations.” [adapted by R.D.]

“And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor 6:11

A God Who Loves And Forgives
[Psalm 122:6-9; Eph. 2:19-22; Hebrews 8:8-12]

Oh God, our God! You said in Hebrews:
They'll get to know Me by being kindly forgiven,
with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean.
We're no longer wandering exiles.
This kingdom of faith is now our home country.
We're no longer strangers or outsiders.
Brick by brick, stone by stone,
with Christ Jesus as the Cornerstone
that holds all the parts together.
We see it taking shape day after day—
a holy temple built by God,
all of us built into it, a temple
where God lives through His Spirit!

Pray for Jerusalem's peace!
Prosperity to all you Jerusalem-lovers!
Friendly insiders, get along!
Hostile outsiders, keep your distance!
For the sake of my family and friends,
I say it again: live in peace!
For the sake of the house of our God,
Oh God, I'll do my very best for you.

The New Jerusalem
[Revelation 21:1-7]
I saw Holy Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven,
as ready for God as a bride for her husband.
I heard a voice thunder from the Throne:
"Look! Look! God has moved, making His home
with men and women!
They're His people, He's their God.
He'll wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death is gone for good—tears gone,
crying gone, pain gone—
all the first order of things gone."
Then He said, "It's happened. I'm A to Z.
I'm the Beginning, I'm the Conclusion.
From Water-of-Life I give freely to the thirsty."

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The King James translators

The King James Translators Were Christians

We believe that the Translators of the Version of 1611 were Christians.
Since we agree that the KJV translators were Christians, the borders of the kingdom are broader than some have said. Salvation makes you a member of the Lord's Church. Acts 2:47. And the Lord kinows who His people are. We believe that now is the time for the Lord's People to aggressively advance the Gospel message that "He who believes in the Son has eternal life, and he who does not believe the Son will not see life..." John 3:36

A. Campbell also believed they were Christians. He accepted the KJV as the inspired word of God. His argument with them was based on the changes in the English language since their work. Campbell wrote: "We have, IN WRITING, all the Hebrew and Greek that is necessary to perpetuate to the end of time, all the ideas which the Spirit of God had communicated to the world; and these languages, being dead, have long since ceased to change. The meaning of the words used by the sacred penman is fixed and immutable; which it could not have been, had these languages continued to be spoken."

"But this constant mutation in a living language, will probably render new translations, or corrections of old translations, necessary every two or three hundred years. For although the English tongue may have changed less during the last two hundred years, than it ever did in the same lapse of time before: yet the changes which have taken place since the reign of James I., do now render a new translation necessary. For if the King's translators had given a translation every way faithful and correct, in the language then spoken in Britain; the changes in the English language which have since been introduced, would render that translation, in many instances, incorrect. The truth of this assumption will appear from a few specifications:--" Campbell goes on to specify such phrases as: "We do ye to wit" - understandable at the time as "We cause you to know." [This was the thinking behind the New King James Version and why some obsolete words were replaced.]

The KJV translators (or revisers) lived in a different time and a different culture. Their personal world-view was "gloomy" due to the world in which they lived. They wrote and spoke in the language of Tyndale, 16th Century. Tyndale's translation of 1526 inspired the great translations to follow, including the Great Bible of 1539, the Geneva Bible of 1560, the Bishop's Bible of 1568 (and others).

King James wanted a "standard" "official" Translation to be used by all the English churches. He instructed: "The ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bishop's Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the Truth of the original will permit."

The original KJV 1611 was published in Old English Black Letters, and included the Books of the Apocrypha. It also contained an introduction by the Translators, and a justification for their work. They said: "We are so far off from condemning any of their labors that travailed before us in this kind, either in this land or beyond sea, either in King Henry's time, or King Edward's...or Queen Elizabeth's of ever renowned memory, that we acknowledge them to have been raised up of God, for the building and furnishing of his Church, and that they deserve to be had of us and of posterity in everlasting remembrance." You can read about this online at: and

Campbell's Living Oracles New Testament was widely used by churches of Christ in the years before the War Between The States. It was based on work done by George Campbell, Philip Doddridge,and James MacKnight and revised slightly by A. Campbell. The Living Oracles spoke the language of the educated Scotch-Irish in the early 1800s. You can read Campbell's Living Oracles New Testament:

Many Churches of Christ today use a variety of Versions. NKJV, NIV, RSV, GNB, etc. God speaks all languages.