1, 2002 Vol 2, #10
never had much when I was a child, but I
didn't feel poor. Christmas was not
looking forward to heaps of presents under
the tree. We knew our parents didn't
have money to buy gifts, so we didn't
we looked forward to tramping through
the snow into the woods with my father
to pick out the perfect
tree. Decorating it was a family
affair which by tradition could be done
only the night before Christmas.
Lots of popcorn and paper dolls made
with green and red paper were strung
together to encircle that tree, along
with our special plastic icicles that
glowed in the dark. Last of all,
it was my father's special duty to top
the tree with a white star which also
glowed. Then we gathered around to
drink mugs of hot chocolate and eat my
mother's sugar cookies with icing and
sprinkles. We didn't mind going to
bed early, because for breakfast we knew
we would have our once a year treat of
the world deluges our senses with its
oxymoronic ideas of Christmas as the
time to celebrate Christ's birth while
we are spending until our credit cards
are maxed out, we long for a simpler
time with family and friends. No, we
don't celebrate Christ's birth, but we
praise God every day for sending
Him. Because He came, and because
of what He did for us, let us reach out
this holiday season to help someone in
need. Whether it be a hug, a
smile, a warm meal, an invitation to
hear the Gospel preached, or even a gift
of money, may we let our light so shine
before men that they may see our good
works and glorify our Father which is in
heaven (Matthew 5:19).
Panning for more Gold
Lack of Desire
preacher's articles this issue
A. C. Quinn
Paul expresses, in simple
terms, the meaning of the term "desire"
in his letter to the Romans: "Brethren,
my hearts desire and prayer to God for
Israel is, that they might be saved"
(Romans 10:1). The salvation of his
Jewish countrymen was his most ardent
wish. He really wanted to see them
saved. He had a longing--an insatiable
craving for that outcome, and his works
throughout his life attest to that
The Lord's church suffers immensely
today for lack of desire in those who
should be the stalwarts in the faith.
For instance, it is not a matter of not
having qualified men to serve the church
as elders. It is a matter of men not
having the desire, which is a
qualification in itself (I Tim. 3:1). .
Too many men just don't want to serve.
The same is applicable to teaching and
preaching. Capable people just don't
want to do it. They don't have the
desire (I Pet. 2:2). Failure to
give, attend services, and all the other
things that Christians should do have
the same underlying problem--a lack of
desire. To the contrary, God's people
are to be peculiar and zealous of good
works (Titus 2:14). A lack of
desire kills initiative for all future
growth of the church and her mission
C. Quinn preaches for the Celeste Church
in Celeste, Texas.
|Listening When I
Should Have Been Singing
(But I Wanted To)
This past Tuesday my wife and I
attended a gospel meeting at a nearby
congregation. It started like most.
There were some songs ,a prayer, then
the preaching. I was asked to lead the
opening prayer. But I couldn't. I was
hoarse due to some allergies. As a
matter of fact, I could hardly speak.
So, I couldn't sing either. As a result,
I just listened to the singing.
While listening I learned some very
important lessons. First, the singing
doesn't have to be spectacular or showy
in order to be good. So much "gospel
singing" today is done as a performance.
The singing at this meeting was simple.
The singers were not professionals. Yet,
it was beautiful.
Second, I thought of how an instrument
would destroy the meaning of the songs.
Is it any wonder that Paul wrote:"
speaking to one another in psalms and
hymns and spiritual songs, singing and
making melody in your heart to the
Lord"( Eph. 5:19)? What Paul wrote was
not just his opinion. It was a command
from God (1 Cor. 14:37). He repeats the
message in Col. 3:16. God knew that
singing without the instrument is the
best way for songs in church services to
Third, I felt bad I couldn't sing. How
many people can sing but don't. Some
will say, "I can't carry a tune in a
bushel basket." It really doesn't make
any difference, does it? God wants us to
sing. When a congregation sings, you
hear the whole group, not just the
individual. The singing is to be done
with the spirit, and with understanding
(1 Cor. 14:15). Whether or not the
singing is on key or exact is a mute
point. We think it has to be just right
because of our entertainment mindset.
God hears the song that comes from the
I was bothered that I couldn't sing last
Tuesday night. However, I was glad I was
able to learn some lessons. Actually, I
already knew them. What happened just
helped me to again see God's divine
directive to SING.
Brandstatter worships with the Church of
Christ in Vienna, IL .
|Make No Little
Recently I read an article
containing a quote attributed to Chicago
architect Daniel Burnham. The quotation
hit a note that stirred my soul. Mr.
Burnham said: "Make no little plans;
they have no magic to stir men's blood
and probably themselves will not be
realized. Make big plans; aim high in
hope and work. Remember that our sons
and grandsons are going to do things
that would stagger us."
What are your dreams. hopes.
aspirations? What were then when you
were younger? I received quite a
complement from an 86-year-old friend
(Jim) the other day. We were talking
about someone looking to hire a new man
for a job. He said, "They need to get a
young man right out of school who still
has dreams." My reply was, "Perhaps what
they need is someone older who has
experience in the field." He replied,
"Someone who has been doing the job for
30 years is afraid to take chances; they
don't dream anymore." I paused for
a moment and said, "But I've been doing
this same job for 30 years." To
which he replied, "Yes, but you're
different; you still dream." I hope that
I jokingly tell Melody, my wife of 35
years, that if nothing else, our life
hasn't been dull; it's always been an
adventure. How do you see your
life? Are you stuck in a rut
afraid to be more than you already
are? I read a quote many years ago
that has stuck with me. "The only
difference between a rut and a grave is
the depth." I remember that quote
and have to ask myself sometimes just
which one I am in.
Do you make little plans or big ones; do
you have great dreams or small ones? I
like what the apostle Paul writes in
Philippians 4:13 where he says, "I can
do all things through Christ which
strengtheneth me." He gives us
hope, but keeps things in the proper
perspective, also. I personally
believe that we can do just about
anything we put our mind to doing.
We far too often tend to start out on
some great journey, towards some
objective, and then just get worn out,
tired or discouraged. The key,
though, to being able to continue on
life's great adventure is that we draw
our strength from the right place!
That source of strength, encouragement
must be our God.
My prayer is that God will
empower each of us to plan great plans
and dream great dreams. Not just
for our glory, but also for the benefit
of God and the people.
Russ Lawson, Greenville Church of
Christ, Greenville, OH
Click here for life and health: http://www.integrisdream.com/rlawson
Click here to learn more about Rice
Building Commitment Into Our
goodies this issue
Look at your marriage license often.
2. Revisit your wedding vows
3. Constantly look for ways
to meet your spouse's needs and special
wishes from their frame of
4. Commit to never being
alone with someone of the opposite sex
who is not your marriage partner.
5. Keep your hands to
yourself. (i.e. discriminate
between appropriate and inappropriate
6. Consider the damage and
destruction that infidelity and divorce
would bring to your children and other
7. Keep the romance alive
with spontaneous loving acts of
8. Determine to only speak
well of your mate in their absence.
9. Read good books, listen
to good material, and attend helpful
seminars on relationship building.
10. Pray for God to deliver you from the
evil one (Matthew 6:13).
Thomason preaches for the Faith Village
Church of Christ in
Wichita Falls, Texas
Hearts of Gold
Repentance is Renewal
Rose Ann Noey
we go from day to day,
As we walk along the way,
Tell me, Lord, what can I do?
How can I my soul renew? -
My life to mend?
Can I toss those sins so grim
And submit my life to Him?
For forgiveness, I would ask,
Then set my mind onto the task.
Forgive me, Lord!
Set my mind, my precious Lord,
Set my heart and purpose t'ward
As we walk in His Light,
We can put our sins to flight -
Walk day by day.
Ann Noey worships with the Church of
Lincolnway in Columbia City, Indiana.
|A Small Man . . .
by: H. L.
Last night, while reposed in a sweet
Some scenes passed before me that caused
me to weep;
Though I saw not his face - his deeds were
And his feet from the path far away had
I examined his thoughts - though I know
not how -
And the things that I saw I will tell you
I saw anger and hatred day after day,
I shuddered to think anyone felt that way.
There were countless opportunities wasted,
And far too many sinful pleasures tasted;
There was selfishness that showed itself
And far too much stress placed on want and
There was little forgiveness in this man's
And he seemed most happy when wrapped up
There was a record of offences long past -
I was amazed at how long such things can
There was jealousy and envy all around,
And I've never seen such childishness
There was but little mercy in this man's
And from him I desired at once to depart!
to myself if this person knew
That judgment awaits us when our lives are
He sure didn't live like he gave it a
His only concern seemed to be getting
There was little to recommend this poor
He seemed nasty and unpleasant on the
I could see what he did, and what he
But who this man was I had yet not
I longed to return to my sweet peaceful
And the lessons I learned I resolved to
His true identity I longed then to see:
And friends - though it's hard to admit -
it was me.
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& sayings for bulletins and signs
Jesus paid a
debt He did not owe. I owe a debt
I cannot pay.
The Lord gives us our talents, but we
have to develop them ourselves.
A smile is something that adds to your
Most often, falling into sin is not a
blowout, but a small leak.
Consider the hammer: It keeps its
head. It does not fly off the
handle. It keeps pounding
away. It finds the point, then
drives it home.