1, 2004 Vol 4, #4
is so important. I had not seen my
father nor my brothers and sisters in West
Virginia for ten years. I had not
seen loved ones in Texas for ten years,
maybe longer. This summer I made up
my mind that I had to go for a visit.
I flew into Austin on July 18 and was
picked up at the airport by Neil and
Martha Carroll, who live in Liberty
Hill. Martha is the sister of my
first husband, who was killed in a car
accident. Monday we drove to
Brownwood, Texas, and spent several days
at the home of Paul and Lucille McClung,
my first in-laws. I'm sure some of
you know them since Paul has been a
faithful minister of the gospel in Texas
and Oklahoma for more than six
decades. What a great time we had
visiting, sharing memories, and putting up
figs and peaches.
On Thursday, July 22 I flew to Dallas-Ft.
Worth, then to Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. My sister Debbie and
her husband drove up from Fairmont, West
Virginia, and picked me up. Friday
we drove from her house to my sister
Patty's house in Cameron. My father
joined us for dinner. Saturday we
spent all day going from house to house,
visiting with friends and relatives.
Sunday I was privileged to attend church
in Cameron and to visit with church
members I had not seen for thirty
years. After church Sunday, 25 of
us, including my brothers David, Dean, and
Douglas and their families, gathered at
Patty's house for a family potluck and a
long afternoon visit. Then I said my
good-byes and drove back to Fairmont with
Debbie and Ron. Monday they took me
back to the airport. I had a
three-hour layover in Dallas-Ft.
Worth. My first husband's brother
and his wife, Larry and Gail McClung, live
nearby. They took me to their home
for a wonderful dinner, then back to the
airport for the flight to Santa Barbara,
Friday I said good-bye again, this time to
my 22-year-old son, Michael. He flew
to Japan, where he will spend his senior
college year studying Japanese.
Please keep him in your prayers that he
will be safe and find a church where he
Panning for more Gold
Forsake Not the Assembly
preacher's articles this issue
understand why people will quit a social
or civic club, or even a fraternal
order, but I find it difficult to
understand why a person will quit the
church of the Lord. If you inquire
of the church quitter, he will always
give you an excuse, but I am convinced
that in most instances, it is only an
excuse. He may blame it on the
church or some particular person in the
church, but this is not the real
reason. The real reason is that
his faith has grown weak.
I realize that attendance does not make
a Christian, but I challenge you to find
a person who is not providentially
hindered who ever demonstrates more than
a token of Christianity in any other
respect. I know a number of shut-ins who
read and study their Bibles much at
home, but I don't recall ever meeting a
person who just willfully or careless
forsook public Bible study and worship
who ever read or studied his Bible much
at home. I know of members, who,
when they are absent because of sickness
or being out of town, always send their
contribution to church or make it up
when they return, but I can count on one
hand the number of members who just
forsake the assembly and then give to
the Lord when they are absent.
I know of members who work on Sunday who
will volunteer to do church work which
they can do at home or at some other
time than Sunday, but I have never been
approached by a member who just "lays
out on Sunday" to volunteer to do church
work. When a man forsakes the
public assembly for worship, he usually
begins to let up in every other active
work of Christianity.
This bulletin will go into the homes of
members of the church who are guilty of
"forsaking the assembly" (Heb.
10:25). It is not my place to say
if you can miss one service or two or
ten or one-hundred and still go to
heaven. It is my place to exhort
and warn you of the danger and
possibility of falling away from the
living God (Heb. 3:12, 13). You
cannt absent yourself from God's family
and stay emotionally attached to the
people of God. You cannot have a
steady literary diet of newspapers,
textbooks, stock market reports, and
magazines and never study God's Word and
sustain your faith. You cannot
fraternize all the time with worldly
people and expect to grow stronger in
the faith. You cannot fail to
exercise your spiritual qualities
without growing spiritually weak.
Do not forsake the assembly.
Paul McClung is a retired minister and
an elder at the 4th and Stewart Church
of Christ in Brownwood, Texas.
|Which "Demas" Are
A study of
Demas is an interesting one. Here we
have a man who is a Christian. He is
only mentioned three times in the New
Testament, and sadly when you look at
them in chronological order, you will
see a story of apostasy.
In Philemon 1:24, Demas is called a
"fellow worker." Not long after
that, Paul mentions Demas and Luke in
Colossians 4:14, where Luke is called
"beloved" but nothing is said of Demas.
He is mentioned by name only. He is
still among the number of disciples, but
nothing else is said of him good or bad.
By the time Paul writes His second
letter to Timothy, Demas has forsaken
his Christianity and gone back to the
world (2 Timothy 4:10).
Demas' life, as mentioned in the
Scriptures, reveals to us the three
types of Christians: those who are
actively working for the Lord, those who
are just here and that's all, and those
who have fallen away. Which
"Demas" are you? Are you the Demas who
is doing, the Demas who is dawdling, or
the Demas who is dying?
Edd Sterchi is the minister of the
Church of Christ that meets in
His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
To the elders
among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a
witness of Christ's sufferings and one
who also will share in the glory to be
revealed: Be shepherds of God's flock
that is under your care, serving as
overseers--not because you must, but
because you are willing, as God wants
you to be; not greedy for money, but
eager to serve; not lording it over
those entrusted to you, but being
examples to the flock. And when the
Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive
the crown of glory that will never fade
away. I Peter 5:1-4.
forget that a lot of scripture falls into
the reminder category for many of those to
whom it was first written. Paul, and I am
sure the others who planted and watered
churches, taught them about elders and
their particular work.
But, as we are human, we need to be
reminded from time to time. Shepherding
the flock is hard and time-consuming work.
It can often seem like a thankless task
and drudgery. That is when we need to be
reminded of not only the work, but also
The Chief Shepherd is, of course, Jesus,
and I believe Peter is making an allusion
to the ideal of elders being the most
Christ-like men among us. It is
common for Godly men to see their faults
more than those around them if for no
other reason than they are constantly
comparing themselves to Jesus.
Peter reminds our elders that he is an
elder as well and counts it a worthy
occupation, though he is also an apostle.
He does not claim apostleship and
therefore superiority, but rather equality
in purpose and superiority only in
not giving us the qualifications of elders
as much as he is reminding those who are
elders, and those of us who aren't, of the
nature of our shepherds. It is just as
easy for those who are not elders to
forget they work for the Chief Shepherd in
watching for our souls.
If we rebel against that, what will the
Chief Shepherd think?
Jay Kelley is the evangelist for the
church of Christ in Colby, Kan. His e-mail
|Building Upon the
Rock Foundation (Matthew 7:24-27)
In the Sermon
on the Mount, Jesus relates a lesson
about two houses, which for all
practical purposes are the same.
The point of difference in Jesus' lesson
is not found in the house or the
elements that beat upon the house, but
in what happened to the houses and
What is the house? The house is
what constitutes the life of man.
It is man's morals, heart, ambitions,
seat of reason and conviction, and all
that constitutes the life of man.
As we build our house, our life may not
seem all that much different from that
of our neighbors, for both the joys and
the sorrows of life fall upon the just
and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).
Both the wise and the foolish must deal
with the natural affairs of the
world. Because of this, we might
reason that we are no different from the
pagan. Yet, if our house is built
upon the rock, we will find that when
the rain descends, and the floods come,
and the winds beat upon our house, it
The fool is he who does not discern that
the sand, though presently peaceful, is
not a permanent and sure foundation of
life. To be wise, we must build
our life upon the sure and solid
foundation of Jesus. What does it mean
to build our house upon the rock?
Jesus begins this parable by saying,
"Therefore whosoever heareth these
sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will
liken him unto a wise man, which built
his house upon a rock." Building
our house upon the rock, then, means
hearing and doing the will of God.
It is obedience. Obedience is
doing WHAT God says. Obedience is
doing ONLY what God says.
Obedience is doing ONLY what God says
and ONLY in the way God says to do
it. Obedience is doing ALL that
Mel Martin preaches for the Lincoln
& Tunnell Church of Christ in Santa
Hearts of Gold
"I am the door; by me if any man enter in,
he shall be saved, and
shall go in and out and find
pasture." John 10:9
We go IN for salvation;
We go OUT to save others.
We go IN to gain comfort;
We go OUT to give comfort.
We go IN to commune;
We go OUT to communicate.
We go IN to wait on God;
We go OUT to walk with God.
We go IN for out spiritual bread;
We go OUT to break the bread of life to
We go IN for strength;
We go OUT to serve.
|Why Do You Go?
Some go to church to take a walk.
Some go to church to laugh and talk.
Some go to church to meet a friend.
Some go there their time to spend.
Some go there to meet each other.
Some go there a fault to cove.
Some go there for speculation.
Some go there for observation.
Some go there to doze and nod.
The wise go there to worship God.
& sayings for bulletins and signs
Christ is the
Sun of Righteousness. Christians
are as moons reflecting His light.
When we let the world come between us
and Christ, there is a total eclipse.
God never asks about our ability or
inability-just our availability.
The secret of contentment is the
realization that life is a gift, not
The Bible is ALL true, or it is not true
The heart is an organ; keep it in tune