2008 Vol 8 #3
Temptation and opportunity to sin
surrounds the Christian as they make
their journey through life. This
is nothing new. Since time began
the human race has struggled with
temptation and suffered in sin.
Today sin seems to have become
socially acceptable. Far from
being condemned, worldliness is much
more likely to be embraced. It
is a welcomed guest in many homes.
Obsession is another
characteristic of this world of
ours. Many are shackled with
addictions to drugs, alcohol,
gambling, and countless other life
controlling problems. Some are
so wrapped up in pleasure and
materialism that they are blind to
what really matters in life.
Rage erupts with little
provocation and sweeps the guilty and
innocent alike into its inferno of
sorrow and suffering. Fanned by
senseless violence, it claims to seek
justice but injustice and pain seem to
be all it can produce.
Lust masquerades as love
in a world infatuated with sex.
Convinced God doesn't know best,
children become sexually involved
before marriage and pay a
terrible price whether or not they get
prostitution, rape, and incest begins
a seemingly endless list of lust's
Divorce is common and
accepted by many as not only normal
but a completely acceptable end of
marriage. God's will has been
silenced by the judge's gavel.
But ask any child shuffled between
parents and they will tell you that
they, like God, hates divorce. A
stable home would have been worth the
Below you will find a
collection of bulletin articles,
filliers, poems, and quotes relating
to this ugly, but universal
topic. Take a good look at our
world. See the pain and sorrow
in the wake of rampant sin.
Isn't it great that God offers us an
alternative (John 14:1-4)?
following is from a March 13
OneNewsNow-article by Allie Martin,
entitled, “Survey reveals variations in
peoples’ perceptions of ‘sin.’”
survey finds many inconsistencies among
Americans when it comes to beliefs about
conducted by Ellison Research, polled
1,000 American adults. Among the
findings, 87 percent of Americans
believe in the concept of sin – which
was defined in the research as
“something that is almost always
considered wrong, particularly from a
religious or moral perspective.”
Among those who
believe in sin, 81 percent classified
adultery as sin, 74 percent named
racism, 65 percent said using hard drugs
was sin, 52 percent named homosexuality,
and 56 percent said having an abortion
was sin. Ron Sellers, president of
Ellison Research, says while most
Americans believe in the concept of sin,
there are inconsistencies when it comes
to what qualifies as sin.
Americans do tend to define sin
according to degrees,” Sellers
explains. “We have 81 percent who
say yes, adultery is a sin.
However, only 43 percent say having
sexual thoughts about someone you’re not
married to is a sin. Same thing on
drinking – only 14 percent believe that
drinking any alcohol is a sin, yet
significantly more than that believe
that getting drunk is a sin.
is convinced that religious leaders can
learn a lot from the survey. “A
lot of religious leaders would be very
surprised to find out what ‘their own
people’ believe,” he shares.
[Many] evangelical leaders would say,
‘Wow – that’s all the evangelicals that
believe such-and-such is a sin? [And] a
lot of the Catholic leaders would be
very surprised at some of these findings
the survey shows a need by pastors to
investigate and dialogue about absolute
truth and sin with members of their
What I find
particularly significant in the above
article is the evident lack of
understanding what sin actually
is. My impression is that sin is
defined more and more by what one’s
culture regards as sin. For instance,
while homosexuality a generation ago
would almost universally have been
considered a sin, now it is only a very
slim majority that would so define
it. Only a slightly larger
majority believes that the killing of a
baby in a womb is a sin. In the
former instance, public opinion has been
swayed by favorable media coverage, and
the opposition to what the Bible calls
an “abomination” (Lev. 18:22) as
“homophobic,” intolerant and
judgmental. Schools now are
teaching even the youngest of students
that homosexuality is an acceptable
lifestyle, and a cause to be celebrated,
irrespective of parents’
objections. From this worldly
perspective, what the Bible calls
sin—even an abomination—must now be
accepted, while opposition to what the
Bible calls sin must be condemned as
growing public opinion, sin is not to be
defined by what society defines as sin,
a definition that will become
increasingly liberal and decadent, but
rather by an unchangeable authority:
God. His word (the Scriptures)
defines His laws, and to transgress His
laws is defined by Him as sin (1 John
3:4). Whether the action is
homosexuality, lust, abortion, or any
other socially acceptable practice, our
acceptance of it will make it no less of
a sin. There is “absolute truth
and sin,” and it will be defined in
Judgment by His word (John 12:48).
- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur
church of Christ, Arthur, IL. He
may be contacted at email@example.com
or via the congregation's website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com
Soul For Sale
Several years ago an atheist tried to
sell his soul at the online auction site
eBay. Bidding advanced to $400
before eBay officials caught on and
deleted the item. The seller said
he didn’t mean for anyone to take it
seriously - he was just bored. He
wished the high bidder luck in
While obviously a
prank, this incident highlights some
serious matters. First, we ought to be
concerned about the well-being of our
souls above all else. A typical atheist
doesn’t believe he even has a soul - he
thinks “matter in motion” is all there
is. How sad! God is Spirit, and we are
made in His image. The spiritual part of
us (our soul) will exist eternally.
Second, while some
joke about it, you really can sell your
soul to the devil by sinning. “Do you
not know that to whom you present
yourselves slaves to obey, you are that
one's slaves whom you obey?” (Rom.
6:16). Fortunately, Jesus paid the price
to redeem (buy back) our souls, thus
delivering us from the bondage of sin.
Third, your soul is worth
far more than $400. Jesus asked, “What
will a man give in exchange for his
soul?” (Matt. 16:26). Your soul is worth
more than all the world’s riches. Yet we
spend decades accumulating this world’s
wealth while doing little or nothing to
benefit our souls. Go figure...
Fourth, it is pitiful
that so many people are bored -
especially when there is so much good to
be done. We are addicted to television
and video games, but bored with anything
that requires us to actually work or
think! Learning the truth is a fine
alternative to boredom! We can buy a
Bible anywhere for almost nothing, yet
the population is abysmally ignorant of
the Bible. Self-less service also
alleviates boredom. We have time and
resources, yet we are bored!
What will you do with
your soul? You can give it to Jesus, or
sell it to Satan. Neither will
have any problem collecting. It’s up to
- Joe Slater; via the weekly bulletin of
the Harrisburg church of Christ in
Harrisburg, IL. Edd Sterchi serves
as one of the congregation's
ministers. He may be contacted at
may visit their website at http://www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org
Someone has come up with
the following list of "politically
correct" terms for teenagers:
* No one fails a class anymore,
he's merely "passing impaired."
* You don't have detention, you're
just one of the "exit delayed."
* Your bedroom isn't cluttered,
it's just "passage restrictive."
* These days, a student isn't
lazy. He's "energetically
* Your locker isn't overflowing
with junk, it's just "closure
* Kids don't get grounded
anymore. They merely hit "social
* Your homework isn't missing,
it's just having an "out-of-notebook
* You're not sleeping in class,
you're "rationing consciousness."
* You're not late, you just have a
"rescheduled arrival time."
* You're not having a bad hair
day, you're suffering from "rebellious
* You're not shy. You're
* You weren't passing notes in
class. You were "participating in
the discreet exchange of penned
* You're not being sent to the
principal's office. You're "going
on a mandatory field trip to the
* It's not called gossip
anymore. It's "the speedy
transmission of near-factual
* The food at the school cafeteria
isn't awful. It's "digestively
We have become
experts at using language to hide the
reality of our situation. We don't
hear much about homosexuals; instead we
talk of those with an "alternative
lifestyle." Fornication is now
referred to as "cohabiting with a
significant other." We rarely sin;
we merely "fail to live up to our full
potential." It's not a new game --
the Pharisees neglected the welfare of
their parents, but called it "Corban"
(dedication to God).
wording doesn't change the sin.
"Woe to those who call evil good, and
good evil; Who put darkness for light,
and light for darkness; Who put bitter
for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
- Alan Smith, author of the popular
"Thought For Today," and minister for
the White House church of Christ in
White House, TN, may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sin of Nadab
Paul L. McElroy
"Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of
Aaron, each took his censer and put fire
in it, put incense on it, and offered
profane fire before the Lord, which He
had not commanded them. So fire went out
from the Lord and devoured them, and
they died before the Lord."
When the tabernacle
was first set up, God sent fire from
heaven to burn the sacrifices on the
Altar of Burnt Offerings. The fire was
to be kept burning always and fire to
burn incense was to be gotten from that
Although Nadab and
Abihu were doing most of the right
things– Burning incense at the right
place (Tabernacle) for the right reason
(To praise God), they did one thing
wrong– they did not get fire from the
right place. Instead, they offered
Perhaps, they thought
"fire is fire regardless of where they
obtained it. But they did not do exactly
what God wanted. Therefore, God
put them to death.
It seems that even
today some people think it is perfectly
acceptable to change God’s law
concerning musical worship to God.
Notice what the
Scriptures say– "Speaking to one another
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
SINGING and making MELODY IN YOUR HEART
to the Lord." (Eph. 5:19). "Let the Word
of Christ dwell in you richly in all
wisdom, teaching and admonishing one
another in psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, SINGING with grace in
your hearts to the Lord." (Col. 3:16).
Some today apparently
think it is all right to teach "we are
saved by faith only." Faith is
absolutely necessary but there are other
things that God and Jesus Christ require
"But without faith it
is impossible to please Him, for he who
comes to God must believe that He is,
and that He is a rewarder of them who
diligently seek Him." (Heb. 11:6). But
notice (Jas. 2:26)– "For as the body
without the spirit is dead, so faith
without works is dead also."
To be saved, become a
Christian–Believe in Jesus, Heb. 11:6;
Repent of sins, Luke 13:3; Publicly
confess Christ, Matt. 10:32-33; Be
baptized into Christ, Acts 2:38, Rom.
6:3-5; Be faithful unto death and I will
give you the Crown of Life, Rev. 2:10).
- Paul L. McElroy
preaches for the Columbia church of
Christ in Columbia, MS. He may be
contacted at (601) 444-9861.
In the January 2002 issue of the
"American Family Association" magazine,
page 17, there is an article about a
columnist who wrote a critical article
about same sex marriages. The article
points out all the repercussion the
columnist endured for writing the
article. He was called names. He
received mail and phone calls
complaining about the article. Letters
and phone calls were sent to his boss.
Letters and phone calls were made to the
sponsors of the magazine trying to get
the sponsors to stop supporting the
magazine. All this was done by the gay
community because of the authors
disapproval of same sex marriages.
It has been said that
in the United States, there are less
than 2 percent homosexuals. Out of all
the millions of people that make up the
United States, less than 2 percent are
homosexual, if that is correct. Yet this
one small group is responsible for
swaying lawmakers, congressmen, judges,
policemen and even columnist in this
country. How did so few people get such
a controlling voice in this country?
There are more people
"professing to be Christians" in this
country than there are homosexuals. Yet
there is no doubt the gay community has
more clout. They get special laws passed
just for them. They get people elected
that further their cause, and yet they
are in the minority!
Could it be they are
willing to fight for their cause? Could
it be they are willing to work for their
cause? Could it be that while Christians
are relaxing and trying to "find
themselves" the homosexuals are out
beating the drums and perpetuating their
doctrine of sin?
It is one thing to
believe a cause and yet another to
believe in a cause. Many Christians
today would take offense if they were
told they no longer believe in the cause
of Christ. Without hesitation, with no
forethought at all, many would stand
tall and acclaim they believe in Jesus
Christ. They have been taught this. They
have heard it preached. They understand
this and that is what they believe.
James 2:19 You
believe that there is one God. You do
well. Even the demons believe—and
One simple fact. Our
Christianity is not a belief, it is what
we are. We have been transformed to be
what we believe. We know God will one
day make a choice where people will
spend eternity. We know God will keep
His Word. We believe God means it when
He says "walk in the light as He is in
the light..." Christians believe in God
with their lives. But when we stop
living what we believe the world will
not see God. When we stop upholding the
Word of God, the world will not know
God's ways. Only through us will the
message of God be carried out.
- Hardie Logan preaches for the
Marshfield church of Christ, in
Marshfield, WI. He may be
contacted at email@example.com
If Adults Acted Like Children?
Last evening, my
seven-year-old daughter was upset and
crying over something that was rather
insignificant. As I was trying to
console her, I told her that this issue
was nothing about which she should be
crying. It was petty, childish,
and her tears, well...were more an
attempt at manipulation than tears of
So the adult that I
am, attempted to "reason" with the child
that she is. I attempted to
convince her that crying over such an
insignificant issue was childish.
I tried to explain to her that her
mother and I deal with the very same
issue she was dealing with and we don't
cry about it. I then asked her the
following question, "What do you think
would happen if adults acted like
children?" Her response ended our
conversation. She said, "They'd
all go to heaven."
I turned and looked at my
wife sitting across the room. My
wife just smiled and said, "There's your
MercEmail article for this week."
My little girl was
right. If adults would just act
like children, they'd all go to
heaven! "But Jesus said, "Let the
little children come to Me, and do not
forbid them; for of such is the kingdom
of heaven" (Matthew 19:14).
Out of the mouth of
- Steve Higginbotham is the minister for
the South Green Street church of Christ,
Glasgow, Kentucky. He may be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2007, South Green Street Church of
Christ, Glasgow, Kentucky.
Permission is granted to copy these
misc. goodies this issue
An Eternity in Hell is Not Worth...
...having illicit sex or an unscriptural
...even if it makes me happy for the
...consuming alcohol or misusing
...even if it gives me an escape for the
...dressing immodestly or being indecent
with my body...
...even if it gains me attention for the
...cheating in business or lying to
...even if it makes me more wealthy for
...running with the worldly crowd or
compromising my Christianity...
...even if it makes me feel important
for the moment.
...getting revenge or giving someone
their “just desserts”...
...even if it makes me feel like I have
“gotten even” for the moment.
...overspending my money or putting my
family in financial stress...
...even if I get the things I want for
...refusing to obey the gospel or
repenting after having done so...
...even if I feel saved for the moment.
- Edd Sterchi preaches for the
Harrisburg church of Christ in
Harrisburg, IL. He may be
contacted at email@example.com
Do Not Go Away
What do you
expect to happen when you turn your
problems over to God? You give Him your
weakness and your despair, and you thank
Him for being faithful even when you are
not. You ask His pardon for your
self-pity and your grumbling, and you
know He has forgiven you for it. But
what then? Are you sometimes
disappointed to find that the problem is
still there, and has not gone away?
It is still
there – and you had such high hopes that
it would miraculously vanish! Why did it
not go away? Perhaps because God has not
intended that it do so. Certainly God
has not promised that our problems will
vanish just because we pray for it to
happen. What He does promise is that He
will change our despair to hope, if we
will trust Him. He promises us strength
to bear the burden and cope with all our
problems if we are determined to face
them (see Phil. 4:13 and 19, and 1 Cor.
If you have
prayed about some problem and asked God
to take it away and He has not done so,
then you should probably accept the fact
that He is not going to. You had best
learn to live with the problem, live in
spite of the problem. Be like Paul who
also begged God to remove a problem, a
“thorn in the flesh,” but learned to
accept it as part of his own cross (2
If your problem
remains, then that is how God intends it
to be, at least for now. Learn from it.
You will be stronger and humbler. You
will be a better and more faithful
Christian if you learn to bear it
patiently, without losing your faith or
trust in God (see James 1:3, 12).
Somehow, though we cannot always see it
now, things have a way of working out to
a good and successful conclusion for
those who love the Lord and fulfill His
purpose and calling in their lives (Rom.
8:28). You may not be able to see it
now, with the pain and frustration
clouding your vision. But keep the
faith, and someday you can look back at
it and thank God for the victory He
helped you have on your journey to Him
and His heaven.
- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola
church of Christ in Dongola, IL.
He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com
reads: Addiction to Porn Invading Our
"In a 2006 study reported
by Morality in Media, 73 percent of U.S.
adults thought viewing pornographic Web
sites and videos was morally
unacceptable. Yet today, it was found in
a survey conducted by ChristaNet.com, 50
percent of Christian men and 20 percent
of Christian women admitted to being
addicted to pornography. The survey also
found 60 percent of Christian women
admitting to having significant
struggles with lust; 40 percent saying
they were involved in sexual sin in the
past year; and 20 percent struggling
with looking at pornography on an
I hope this does not
apply to you, but if it does, you need
to be honest with yourself because your
thoughts and actions are standing before
the Lord God Almighty. We all have our
various struggles in life and for most
people shame prevents people from
speaking about it. The answer to our
problem, whether pornography or anything
else, is a matter of resolve. "I am
resolved no longer to linger, charmed by
the world's delights. I am resolved to
follow the Savior. Leaving the paths of
sin. I will hasten to obey." The old
song conveys exactly to remedy to our
- Ron Thomas preaches for the Highway
church of Christ, Sullivan, IL. He
may be contacted at
firstname.lastname@example.org or via the
congregation's website: http://highwaycofc.com/sullivan/
From The Devil
Dear Members and Friends of the church,
I secretly visited your Bible classes
recently and was overjoyed to see that
so many of you had not come. I heard
some lessons that were not very well
prepared and other teachers said no
visits had been made during the week. I
was simply delighted! It thrilled me to
see some leave the worship service right
after the Lord’s Supper was over,
indicating that they were not going to
let the proclamation of God’s Word come
near to them. I saw some others come
just in time for the worship - to sit
glassy-eyed with their mouths shut while
a few sang the hymns. Then they dozed or
acted bored to death while the preacher
went through his Sunday morning ritual
and hum-drum or “bore -a-tory.” I was
especially pleased to note how many
failed to bring an offering. I love to
see the church in financial difficulty.
Again, there was a sparkle in my eyes
when I returned Sunday night and saw
that so many did not come back for the
evening worship hour. I was so very
glad. I am writing this letter to
encourage you to forsake the worship
this coming Sunday. It will be more
comfortable for you, and besides, it
will make my work much easier to do.
Hoping to be with you real soon!
Bottomless Pit, Brimstone Ave., Eternity
- via the weekly bulletin of the
Harrisburg church of Christ in
Harrisburg, IL. Edd Sterchi serves
as one of the congregation's
ministers. He may be contacted at
email@example.com You may
visit their website at http://www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org
|Hearts of Gold
Too busy to read the Bible;
Too busy to wait and pray,
Too busy to speak out kindly
To someone along the way,
Too busy with cares and struggles
To think of life to come;
Too busy building a mansion here
To plan for the heavenly home.
Too busy to help a brother
Who faces the winter’s blast
Too busy to share the burdens
When self in the balance is cast,
Too busy for all that is holy –
On earth beneath the sky;
Too busy to serve the Master –
But not too busy to die.
- Selected; via the weekly bulletin of
the Harrisburg church of Christ in
Harrisburg, IL. Edd Sterchi
serves as one of the congregation's
ministers. He may be contacted
may visit their website at http://www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org
The Power of
A careless word may
word may wreck a life.
A bitter word may hate instill.
A brutal word may smite and kill.
gracious word may smooth the way.
joyful word may light the day.
timely word may lessen stress.
loving word may heal and bless.
– Author Unknown (but very
much appreciated); via The Encourager,
the weekly bulletin for the Dongola
church of Christ, Dongola, IL.
Gerald Cowan serves the congregation
as minister. He may be contacted
No life is useless
and no day is vain,
For God has a
purpose for sunshine and rain.
discouraged, and everyone cries,
But we're never
alone beneath cloudy skies.
All hearts can
break...they're fragile as glass,
But God will mend
them, and this too shall pass.
succeed, and sometimes we fail,
So follow your
dream whatever the trial,
For no one's a
loser who gives it his best,
And you can stand
tall above all the rest.
Those who are
faithful are noble at heart,
And no life is
useless when God has a part.
Be swift to give
praises and slow to complain...
a purpose for sunshine and rain.
H. L. Gradowith
If Satan can't get you the usual way
He'll just turn
your world upside down,
He'll bathe you in troubles thru all
the long day
And at least make
you feel low down.
He'll work on your loved ones and then
you through them,
Make you question
your very faith.
And don't think you'll ever be too
smart for him
He's patient - he
has time to wait.
He'd like you to go out and do
If nothing but
telling a lie;
The devil's not foolish - and he's
very strong -
He'll be after you
'til you die!
If the devil can't make us go out and
He'll have us do
nothing at all,
For you see, either way he knows that
He cares not how -
just so we fall.
Be sober and watch: for he is
And there's just
One Way to beat him:
Come to Jesus and He'll your ev'ry sin
It's in Him alone
you can win!
- H. L. Gradowith For more
information on H. L. Gradowith and
GRADOWITH POEMS e-mail group visit http://www.geocities.com/fp5699/
- the website of Tim Smith, minister
of the Enon church of Christ in Webb,
"TEMPER is what gets most of us
into trouble. Pride keeps us there."
& sayings for bulletins and signs
“Nothing makes people go into debt like
trying to keep up with people who are
already in debt.”
If it is true that "to err is human" -
some are apparently more human than
To err is human, but to remain in error
The longer a person remains in error the
more certain he becomes that he is
“He who falls in love with himself will
have no rivals.” (Anonymous)
- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of
the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL.
Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and
editor, may be contacted at - firstname.lastname@example.org
may also visit their website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com
There is a difference between
having something to say and having to
It is a terrible condemnation of
any Christian that no one would suspect
him of it.
When a person turns green with envy it
is a sure sign he is ripe for trouble.
The wages of sin will never be reduced.
- via The
Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the
Dongola church of Christ, Dongola,
IL. Gerald Cowan serves the
congregation as minister. He may
be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com
"A hypocrite is someone who is not
himself on Sunday."
ANGER is just one letter short
of DANGER! (Wise Words and Quotes)
- via The Encourager, the weekly
bulletin for the Calvert City church
of Christ, Calvert City, KY.
Lance Cordle preaches for the
congregation. He may be
contacted through the congregation's
Generally speaking, you aren’t
learning much when your lips are
Never miss a good chance to shut-up.
The journey of a thousand miles begins
with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.
If you lend someone $20 and never see
that person again, it was probably
Always remember that you’re
unique. Just like everyone else.
- via The Lantern, Highway church of
Christ, Sullivan, IL Visit their
website at http://www.highwaycofc.com
I define ego as Edging God Out.
(Kenneth Blanchard; from Leadership