BulletinGold #192
January 2018  
Vol 18 #1 

January 2018                         BG# 192                         Vol. 18 No. 01
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In this issue ...

 New Year’s Resolutions
By Jeff Arnette

 Stay Strong in the Lord
By Travis Robertson

 Changing Habits By David Bragg

 The Choice is Yours, But … By Ronald Bartanen

 My Never Again Resolutions By Gerald Cowan

Cited by the ‘Politically Correct’ Police By Ron Adams

 The Life We Have
By J. Randal Matheny

 Sold Out! By Lance Cordle

 Always Abounding
By R. W. McAlister

 We Need More Christians! 
By Robert E. Guinn


 Consumer Driven “Christians” By Joe Chesser

 Passing the Torch By David R. Ferguson

New Year’s Resolutions
By Jeff Arnette

     Yes, it’s that time again. It is the time of year when we usually commit ourselves to several worthy goals. We do this because we want to make our lives and faith better. We want to improve and that is a worthy goal. I have noticed that most of our resolutions revolve around money, health, and family.
     While these are worthy goals, what would it look like if you could set the resolutions for the church or your family? I would venture to say that we would set a much more rounded, holistic set of resolutions. As I reflected on this question, I came up with a list that I think is a good start. It is not perfect by any means but these are the things I would like to see myself and others focus on.
  • Pray more – 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
  • Invest in your God given talents – 1 Timothy 4:14-15; Matthew 25:14-30.
  • Get more intentional about evangelism – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.
  • Care for yourself spiritually – Philippians 3:12-16; Mark 6:31; Exodus 20:8-11.
  • Be willing to make the tough decisions – Acts 20:22-24.
  • Confront the sin in your life – Heb. 12:1-2.
  • Be forgiving of others and myself – Matthew 6:14-15.
  • Love people without boundaries – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.
  • Quit comparing myself to others – John 21:20-23; 2 Corinthians 10:12.
  • Read more – 2 Timothy 4:9, 13.
  • Make family a priority – Colossians 3:18-21.
  • Stay focused on the Lord and his church – Acts 2:42-47.
  • Continue to grow – Ephesians 4:15-16; 2 Peter 3:17-17
  • Treat others like I would like to be treated – Matthew 7:12; Isaiah 1:16-17.
  • Seek heavenly things above all else – Colossians 3:1-2.
     This is a difficult list that could take a lifetime to master and yet, we are called to be Christ-like in every aspect of our life. Let’s use our resolutions to ensure that we become the best Christian possible.

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://centralhaywoodchurchofchrist.com
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Stay Strong in the Lord
By  Travis Robertson

     “If all your friends jumped of a cliff…
…would you jump too?” How many times did your mom ask you this question growing up? I know my mom asked me a LOT. I soon learned to come up with better reasons for what I wanted to do than, “All my friends are doing it!” But you have to admit, Mom’s logic is sound. Just because a lot of other people do something, it doesn’t make it a good idea. When we see others make mistakes, we should learn from them rather than saying, “I want to go, too!”
     In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul points out to the Corinthian church that the evil which befell Israel was given as an example so Christians could learn from Israel’s mistakes. Verse 6 of that chapter says, “Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.” In this chapter we also read about how God delivered Israel from Egypt and how most of the Israelites rebelled and displeased God. We read about the sins they committed and the destruction they suffered as a result. After all of that, Paul says in verse 12, “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”
     Through the sacrifice of Christ, we have been delivered from sin, and now we are to live righteously (Romans 6:17-18). We must be careful not to get arrogant in our salvation and fall into sin like Israel did. The good news is that God won’t let us be tempted more than we can handle. God doesn’t make rules that are impossible to keep. He always provides a way for us to escape sin and do the right thing (1 Corinthians 10:13). One of the best ways I have found to escape sin is to do a good work for Christ in lieu of the evil with which I am tempted. You remember the saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” We should take a few minutes each day to ask God to help us recognize temptation and find those avenues to escape sin. We won’t be able to overcome temptation if we don’t see it coming, and we won’t be able to take the escape route if we don’t know what it looks like or where to look for it.  Jesus when teaching the disciples to pray and giving us an example prayed, “lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).
     The ancient nation of Israel has provided us with an example of how even God’s people can slip into sin and fall away. The question is, will we learn from that example and avoid their mistakes, or will we blindly follow them and jump off a cliff to our destruction?

- Travis Robertson preachers for the Lake Norman Church of Christ in Huntersville, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://lakenormancoc.org/
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Changing Habits
By David Bragg

    A habit is the resulting action of a disengaged mind. One may not realize he is biting his nails while another suddenly finds himself absentmindedly munching on junk. Some habits are spiritually devastating (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) while others promote spiritual maturity (Daniel 6:10). Between the two extremes lay habits ranging in varying shades of gray.
    One factor renders a fatal blow to any habit: thought. Especially for the bad habit, thought interrupts the thoughtless actions throwing a mental “monkey wrench” in the mind idling in neutral. It is far from a risky venture to assume that everyone who reads this has, will and needs to devote thought and attention to changing some action that has grown habitual.
    Everyone has habits. Many need to be changed. The evil one needs to be replaced by the good one and it in turn needs to be replaced by the better one. While it is true that change hurts, it is also true in some cases that not changing kills! Even this early in the New Year, many good resolutions are already being broken. Take some time to honestly examine the habits in your life.
 
- David Bragg serves as one of the ministers at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC and is co-editor of BulletinGold. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.nwchurchofchrist.com/ or his blog: http://davidbragg.blogspot.com/

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The Choice is Yours, But …
By Ronald Bartanen
 
    There are some circumstances of life in which we are without a choice. Sickness and death are, in most instances, not of our choosing. If we are victims of assault, theft or a drunk driver, it is because others have made grievous choices in life, not ourselves. However, there are other roads of life which will be determined by our own choosing.
    Jesus spoke of two roads of life (Matthew 7:13-14). One is a difficult, restrictive way, but not very popular. This road leads to life eternal. The other is a broad superhighway, with easy access which is much more popular, but it leads only to destruction and death. Each way involves both time and eternity.  THE CHOICE IS YOURS, BUT…
    The Bible speaks of only two classes of responsible people in the world—the saved and the unsaved. The saved are those redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ”, having been obedient to the truth of the gospel (1 Peter 1:20, 22). The unsaved have not. THE CHOICE IS YOURS, BUT…
    There are two entities at work in the world, each seeking to gain the heart’s allegiance of every man, woman and child. The first is the Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth. In Him is no darkness, but eternal light. The other is the “Prince of Darkness,” a rebellious angel of great power who was cast out from the presence of Jehovah God because of his prideful rebellion. Each person must choose which to serve. THE CHOICE IS YOURS, BUT…
    One’s life may be spent in the pursuit of personal pleasure and gain, or one may put God’s kingdom and His righteousness above all other considerations. One may spend his days with no thought of serving and worshiping God, or one may be a worshiper of God, committing his life to God’s glory. THE CHOICE IS YOURS, BUT…
    There are only two destinies for man. For those who put their trust in the Redeemer of men, and submit by faith to Him, there is the promise of a place in the everlasting kingdom of God. Those who have rejected the kindness and grace of God must experience His consuming wrath, in company with the devil and his angels. THE CHOICE IS YOURS, BUT…
    BUT WHAT? BUT we will reap as we have sown (Galatians 6:7-9). You may choose the “easy way”, a way that is without God and without a Savior, and die in your sins, but the end is eternal condemnation. We plead with all to choose the way that leads to life everlasting. THE CHOICE IS YOURS, BUT…YOUR CHOICE WILL HAVE ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES.

- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://arthurcoc.com/
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My Never Again Resolutions
By Gerald Cowan

    I will never again say I can’t do a thing God requires if I have not honestly tried to do it. More than that, I will not say I cannot do it if I have not tried more than once, perhaps several times. An effort may fail because of some small miscalculation or some error in judgment or practice. Success may come when one tries again and adjusts for what he learned by the prior failure. But one cannot succeed in what God requires if he leaves out God’s help and resources. I will never say I cannot do what God asks and requires me to do, because I believe and accept that all such things are made possible for me by the Lord: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13, 19). There are other things on my never again list that flow from this first one.
    I will never again complain of weakness, for the Lord is the strength of my life (Ps. 27:1), and people who know God as their Lord shall be strong (Dan. 11:32). I can learn to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might and know that I am dressed in the impregnable armor He supplies for the faithful (Eph. 6:10-17).
    I will never again be afraid. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). Since He himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you, what shall I fear of what man may do to me? (Heb. 13:5-6).  If God is my helper, what should I fear or not be willing to try?
    I will never again complain of lack or deficiency. My God shall supply my needs according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:19). If I can know I am seeking his kingdom and righteousness above all else, I can trust that whatever my true needs are they will be supplied (Matthew 6:33-34). Not necessarily my need for food, water, clothing and shelter, or even for life in the body, but the needs of my soul (Philippians 4:11-12).
    I will never again say I do not know or cannot know who my enemy is. Jesus Christ is made to me wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:30). I know that God has given to each man the measure of faith, to overcome doubt and lack of faith (Romans 12:3). Satan would blind me to the truth and those who do not serve God would help him in the task. I will seek the truth only in the words of Christ and those he has inspired to speak for him. Knowing him and his truth will make me free from Satan and his errors and the world that submits to his rule (John 8:31-32).
    I will never again allow Satan to control my life, for greater is He who is within us than he who is against us (1 John 4:4) and God always causes us to triumph in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 2:14).
    I will never again yield to frustration and worry, or to isolation and despair. Jesus is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1). He is a true friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24 and John 15:13). I will learn to cast all my care on him who cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). 

- Gerald Cowan, a longtime preacher and missionary, is retired from full-time pulpit preaching. Gerald publishes an e-mail newsletter entitled GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICAL WRITINGS. He is available for Gospel Meetings and he may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com
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Cited by the ‘Politically Correct’ Police
By Ron Adams

JOHN ...
  • Called some people “liars.”
    • P.C.: He should  have given them the benefit of the doubt.
  • Warned the disciples about not having fellowship with false teachers.
    • P.C.: He should have been more understanding –realizing that such ostracizing is painful to the one shut out.
  • Told Gaius that he’d deal with the bad behavior of  Diotrephes “when I come.”
    • P.C.: He should have been forgiving, and should have instructed Gaius to be more tolerant.
PAUL ...
  • Warned that some members were in danger of “falling from grace” and being “severed from Christ.”
    • P.C.: He should have stressed the loving and forgiving spirit of God.
  • Taught that the goddess Diana (Artamus) was nothing, upsetting the Ephesians.
    • P.C.: He should have been more understanding of their long held veneration of Diana. He should have been aware that beliefs are a personal matter and are sacred to the individual.
  • Preached that the Greek’s wisdom was foolishness in contrast to the wisdom of God, upsetting the Greeks.
    • P.C.: He should have praised the Greeks for their ability to think and reason. He had little regard for their self-esteem.
  • Confronted Peter face-to-face before all, after Peter had acted improperly.
    • P.C.: He should have avoided confrontation and been more understanding and forgiving.
  • Condemned those who were “preaching another gospel.”
    • P.C.: He should have allowed for some diversity. Not all people think alike.
  • Believed he had an obligation to preach the “whole counsel of God.”
    • P.C.: He should have known that such preaching would not be well-received, and turn some followers away.
PETER ...
  • Preached that the Jews were responsible for demanding an innocent Jesus be put to death.
    • P.C.: He should have left off “blame.” No one likes to be blamed. It makes one feel bad and sad.
  • Declared that he (and the other apostles) ought to obey God, not man, upsetting the rulers.
    • P.C.: He should have tried to find some “common ground” through compromise.
  • Charged men to speak “as the oracles of God.”
    • P.C.: He should have made allowances for personal interpretation of Scriptures.
JAMES ...
  • Chastised those who said but didn’t do.
    • P.C.: He should have understood that many have good intentions and probably have good reasons for not doing.
  • Charged some members with “spiritual adultery.”
    • P.C.: He should never have used such strong terminology. He should have been more positive, not negative.
JESUS ...
  • The most flagrant abuser of political correctness. Healed on the Sabbath and upset the Jews.
    • P.C.: He should have done it on another day and avoided the confrontation.
  • Called the scribes and Pharisees “hypocrites,”condemning their false piety.
    • P.C.: He should have refrained from such condemnation: no one likes to be called names. It hurts one’s feelings.
  • Condemned the scribes and chief priests.
    • P.C.: He should have had more respect for the spiritual leaders, even if they were less than perfect.
  • Criticized the Pharisees and Sadducees, calling them an evil and adulterous generation.
    • P.C.: He should have known that such a combative spirit only turns off those you are trying to reach.
- F.Y.C. is a monthly publication by Ron Adams. Bible references are from the NASB except where another translation is referenced. Back issues are archived at http://ra10ar.com Be thoughtful and kind. All rights reserved. © 2017
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The Life We Have
By J. Randal Matheny

    Jesus brings us life. To put it more accurately, Jesus is life. “I am the way, the truth, and the life” John 14.6. Here is the life of God, ever near and possible in its fullest:
    Life is giving, receiving the multiple gifts of God and offering it to others through the many channels God provides; it’s the happy shuffle of sharing.
    Life is strength to meet challenges, joy to face the suffering, and comfort when tears fall.
    Life is purpose that ties all the disparate pieces of a day together and trusts in God to make sense of it all on down the road.
    Life is peace under the umbrella of God’s grace, the resting sheep on the green grass at the edge of deep and cold water, the sure movement toward the final goal.
    Life is knowledge that not a thought or action is wasted in God’s economy; it’s catching a ride with him who not only knows the way, but actually built it.
    Life is love received from God’s presence and multiplied in its passing to others, the sharing of divine friendship and the intimacy for which we were created.
    Life is fullness, a heart overflowing with gratitude, a mind that can’t stop counting its blessings, a satisfied soul in search of a hungry traveler.
    Life is wisdom gained from listening, the daily question of how God makes it all work in his way, in his time; it’s the eye that sees what few take time to note.
    Life is vibrancy, the feeling of vitality even when all is still and eyes are closed in rest; it’s the depth of a universe attuned to the breath of the Spirit who dwells in each child of God.
    Life is choice, the cereal-aisle of blessing and service in his moving kingdom, the exercised will to please the Lord in every way.
    Life is goodness, the childlike vision to see God’s rainbow, the sincerity of innocence to believe that justice will prevail, the compassion that feels the sharpness of another’s pain.
    Life is continuity, the promise of the morrow, the enthusiasm to see beyond the bend, and the solid hope of eternity; it’s the reaching for God, who’s never beyond our touch, but always prompting us with new glories to be discovered.
    Jesus said, “I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly” John 10.10. And so we do.


- J. Randal Matheny edits and writes UPLift, an inspirational ezine. He
may be contacted here: <http://randalmathenycom/>. When reprinting this
material, please include the following: 
Copyright (c) 2017 J. Randal Matheny
All rights reserved. You may forward the
email to friends as is. You may not alter
it in any way or remove any text or
attributions.

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Sold Out!
By Lance Cordle

     It has been called “Title Town, USA.” It is the home of the only NFL team owned by the community rather than one general owner or syndicate. It is the smallest market location of an NFL team and it boasts of selling out every home game since 1960. The football team’s season tickets are prized possessions and passed down from one generation to the next. Its football team’s fans are called “cheeseheads.” Of course, I am referring to Green Bay, WS, a city of approximately 105,000, and  home to the Green Bay Packers, winners of thirteen NFL championships, including four Super Bowls. (Source:  wikipedia.org)
     With all of this in mind, it was not surprising to learn that the 2013-2014 NFL playoff game scheduled for Sunday, January 5, 2014, was sold out. According to USA Today,  a combination of corporate and individual sales kept the streak of sold-out games at Lambeau Field (Green Bay’s stadium) alive.
     What is surprising however, is that the game was sold-out with people knowing that game-time temperatures would be near zero and wind-chill temperatures would be well below zero. As I understand it, the people committed to go to the game in spite of: the inconvenience of snow and ice around them as they were going to the game; the fact they would need to be in the stadium well before the game started; the near-zero temperatures all during their time at the stadium; the inconvenience caused by having to wear layers of clothing and cold-weather gear to keep warm; the risk of pneumonia and frostbite. To turn a phrase, before the stadium sold-out, the fans had to sell-out in their minds by being so dedicated that they would spend $105.00 and more, per ticket to see their beloved Packers play, and hopefully defeat the San Fransisco 49ers in the midst of cold, harsh weather. Such dedication must impress all of us, even if we would not be willing to do that.
     Why are people so willing to pay large amounts of money and endure such harsh circumstances just to see a football game? The answer is obvious: They value their football team. The Green Bay Packers mean so much to them, they have no real problem with the inconveniences.
     Such dedication ought to make people stop in their tracks when it comes to serving God. Some people likely spend less time during a week in worship and Bible study than the average Packers’ fan does on one day of a Green Bay home game. A stadium filled with people on a freezing, winter night should shame the people who want to be called Christians, but who, in reality make very few and/or very small sacrifices to serve and worship God.
     “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45, 46). It is all about what we value.
     By the way . . . on January 5, 2014 . . . the Packers lost. Do you think many people will sell their season tickets? Don’t bet on it!

- Lance Cordle preaches the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com
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Always Abounding
By R. W. McAlister

     In the church of our Lord, laziness must not characterize God’s people. The very concept of the church being a “vineyard” carries with it the idea that we ought to be working. Matthew 20:1-16 records the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. The owner of the vineyard went to the market place to hire laborers. What was it he hired them to do? To work! Where? In his vineyard! The fact that God has called us out of the world and into His vineyard indicates we need to be working in it!
     We shouldn’t try to avoid work in the kingdom of Christ. We ought not try to “slide by” by doing as little work as possible. Working for the Lord is not an undesirable thing! In Nehemiah 4:6 it’s written that the Jews of Nehemiah’s day successfully rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem to the halfway point because “the people had a mind to work.” That’s the type of heart and mind WE need to have in the Lord’s work, rather than say, “Let somebody else do it.” When we talk about the Lord’s work, it is not “their work,” it’s “our work."
     Jesus said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Jesus was speaking of the need for Him to fulfill the Father’s will when He had the opportunity to do so. We sing about that when sing “Work For The Night Is Coming,” “We’ll Work ‘Til Jesus Comes,” and “I Want To Be A Worker For The Lord.” When we sing such spiritual songs we teach and admonish one another to work. What about after we sing these hymns, what should we do? We must go out and put the words of the songs into practice in our lives - go to work for the Lord!
     How powerful the army of Christ could be, and how effective the work of the church could be, if every member of the church would seriously take to heart the message of 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” Notice the words of the text, “Always abounding in the work of the Lord.” That’s what God wants from every Christian! A Christian that’s too busy to be involved in the Lord’s work is just too busy doing less important things! That kind of problem needs to be fixed!
     As we contemplate Labor Day and make plans to celebrate America’s workers, let’s not forget that the Lord needs workers in His vineyard, too, and that our individual responsibility and our responsibilities as a church must be to God first. “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few...” (Luke 10:2). Let’s spend more time working for God through benevolence, edification, and evangelism – not only around a holiday, but every day.

- R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/
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We Need More Christians! 
By Robert E. Guinn

    The other day I was mowing my yard. Seeing that my neighbor was working in his yard, I killed the engine and walked over to introduce myself. He is a kind, elderly soul that enjoys doing yard work alongside his wife. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for his closing statement before we returned to work in our yards. After finding out that I am a minister, he said, "Keep up the good work. We need more people like you to remind us about religion and what we should be doing."
     My first thoughts were, What makes me so special? It was not me personally, but what I represented to this elderly gentleman. Then it dawned on me, He is right. We need more people in this world that properly represent Christ.
     We need more Christians! We need more Christians, because Jesus told us to grow our numbers. "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you," (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus wanted us to be fruitful and multiply.
     We need more Christians to bring more glory to God. Christians glorify God by the lives they live.  Jesus said to, "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven," (Matthew 5:16). If there are more Christians, there are more lights to shine, and then God gets the glory.
     We need more Christians living as examples to the world. The Christian life is a journey dedicated to becoming more like Christ. It is a lifestyle that transforms us from selfish to self-less. Putting the Christian life into practice, others see our progress causing us to not only save ourselves but others too (1 Timothy 4:15-16). We positively influence the world, beginning with ourselves.
     All Christians have a ministry. That ministry begins within ourselves and grows to our families, friends and the world around us. The conversion of souls and faithful living are not exclusively the role of preachers, teachers, deacons, or elders. God calls all his people to multiply, glorify, and exemplify the Christian life-style. Will you answer that call?                                  

--Robert E. Guinn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org
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Consumer Driven “Christians”
By Joe Chesser

    According to Carey Nieuwhof’s article, Why Attending Church No Longer Makes Sense, fewer people are attending church every year. Many of them are asking, “Why bother?” After all, 1000s of churches are streaming their services live online. If not live, then you can watch or listen to a podcast anytime, any day. We now live in a culture that’s drowning in options and has 24/7 access to anything Christian. And it’s all free. So, why attend church? It is a universal truth that fewer people are attending church.
    Even with high energy music, charismatic preachers, and/or casual coffeehouse-like ambience, consumer driven “Christians” increasingly demand something bigger and better. If not, they will go looking elsewhere, or stay home and get their church fix via the internet. Consumer driven “Christians” will find something to please them.
    It’s tragic how accurate Paul’s prediction was. He warned Timothy to preach the truth of God consistently, or else people will leave the truth of God behind to diligently seek whatever they want to hear instead (2 Tim. 4.2-4). Consumer driven “Christians” will give up commitment to God and His word, and replace it with commitment to whatever they choose. When they tire of one thing, they will look for something else. It’s all about self. And since assembling to worship God is so inconvenient and unfulfilling, they’ll search for something that’s easier and more pleasing. Church assemblies get in the way of life.  
    And so, fewer people are attending church … and we are all affected by it. As fewer people are present in church assemblies to be taught and encouraged, individuals grow weaker (Prov. 19.27). As they grow weaker, their families and churches grow weaker. As these grow weaker, communities and nations grow weaker. All because consumer driven “Christians” would rather do things their way than God’s way.
    It should be noted that it was to weak Christians that the book of Hebrews was written. Many of the original readers were still needing milk instead of meat (Heb. 5.12-14). A part of the reason for their weakness was due to the habit of missing church assemblies (Heb. 10.25). Thus, the Holy Spirit inspired the writer to encourage them: “let us draw near to God … let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess … let us spur one another on to love and good deeds … let us NOT give up meeting together” (Heb. 10.22-25).
   Consumer driven “Christians” think mostly of what pleases themselves. Committed Christians die to themselves and follow Jesus (Lk. 9.23). It’s vital to do what God wants, not what we want. As Christians, we are “to make it our goal to please him” (2 Cor. 5.9).

- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com
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Passing the Torch
By David R. Ferguson

    There was a time and an era in baseball when Joe DiMaggio ruled the diamond. DiMaggio was the standard for which many young boys dreamed they might one day be. Near the end of DiMaggio’s career, however, there was a Midwestern young man from the mining towns of Oklahoma, Commerce, Oklahoma to be exact, who was an up-and-coming baseball star in his own right. His father, Mutt, wanted him to stay clear of the deadly mines and that father’s dream would become truer than he might have imagined. Named after his father’s favorite baseball catcher and Hall of Fame member Mickey Cochrane, Mickey Mantle eventually would become baseball’s new icon. All that New Yorkers loved in Joe DiMaggio they would also come to love in Mickey Mantle. One era ended gracefully as another began to flower.
   Dimaggio carried the Yankee torch and was now symbolically passing it on to Mickey Mantle. Several examples are found in the Bible of the passing of the torch from one generation to another, or from one individual to another. We have the leadership of the children of Israel passing from Moses to Joshua; the kingdom passing from David to his son Solomon; the prophetic mantle and vision going from Elijah to Elisha; and Paul leaving the furtherance of the gospel in the hands of Timothy all come to mind. But the greatest passing of the torch, however, occurred when the ministry of John the Baptist ended, and that of Jesus Christ began. John said of this passing of the torch, “I have been sent ahead of Him. He Who has the bride is the Bridegroom; but the friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly because of the Bridegroom’s Voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease.”(John 3:28-30 [NASB])

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lakelandchurchofchrist/ or davidferguson61@yahoo.com
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