Monday, March 30, 2009

A Quote From Tertullian of Carthage

Sammie passes on to us the bulletin she receives from her former congregation in Milan, Tenn., and it always contains good articles, which I borrow from time to time. In the Nov. 7, 2007 issue is the following quote from Tertullian of Carthage (160-230 A.D.

Beautiful is the marriage of Christians, who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice. The

y are both servants of the same Master. Nothing divides them, either in flesh or in spirit. They are two in one flesh, and where there is one flesh there is also one spirit. They pray together, they worship together, instructing one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God’s church; side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another; they never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts. Unembarrassed, they visit the sick and assist the needy. They give alms without anxiety. Psalms and hymns they sing. Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace. Where there are two together, there also He is present and where He is, evil is not.

- 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 - You may
also visit their website at

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Different Kind of Family Debt

By Todd Clippard

What parents do not owe their children:

The latest fashion (Acts 10:34-35; 1 Timothy 2:9-10; James 2:1-10). We need to teach our children to earn admiration and respect through character and not clothing.

The hottest toys and games (Ecclesiastes 1:4, 8). Look through your house at all the “gotta have it” toys that haven’t been touched in months. I wrapped all these one year and gave them as anonymous gifts to needy families. Not once did anyone ask “what happened to my . . .?” or “where is my . . .?”

A car and money to burn (1Timothy 6:10-11). There’s nothing inherently wrong with buying your children a car, but most 16 year-olds think they are OWED a car at 16. Take a group to the mall or on a youth trip and see who has the most spending money—it’s not the adults!

A life free from pain or embarrassment. The Bible says that all who would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). Peter said, “If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but rather glorify God” (1 Peter 4:16).

What parents do owe their children:

A godly example (Psalm 85:13; cf. 1 Peter 2:21-22). Jesus gave His disciples an example (John 13:15), as Paul did his (1 Corinthians 11:1).

A good name (Proverbs 21:9; cf. 25:24).

A peaceful home (Proverbs 21:9; cf. 25:24).

Objectivity (Proverbs 19:18). Everyone (including teachers, the police, etc.) is not “out to get” your child.

Structure and discipline (1 Samuel 3:13). Children need to understand the consequences of violating the boundaries.

What children owe their parents:

Love (1 John 4:19).

Respect (Ephesians 6:1-3)—For the name they wear, especially when their parents aren’t around.

Obedience The word obey in Ephesians 6:1 is from the Greek compound hupakouo (hupo=under +akouo =hear or give the ear to). Literally it means “to listen with the intent to obey” (cf. 1 Samuel 3:9-10).

Submission (1 Peter 5:5).

Proper care when they become aged (Proverbs 23:22; 1 Timothy 5:4). The word despise in the phrase “despise not thy mother when she is old” means to hold in contempt or as insignificant (it is an antonym of reverence). Your parents helped you with your first steps; help them with their last. Your parents made sure your home was clean and your food was hot—don’t let them live in squalor. If you can’t take care of your parents, find someone who can. 1 Timothy 5:8 says that a failure to properly care for your parents disrespects them, disgraces the church, denies the faith, and damns your soul.

Be sure to pay all your family debts!

- Todd Clippard preaches for the Burleson church of Christ in Hamilton, AL. He may be contacted through the congregation’s website:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Success and the Family

    The evidence is convincing that the better our relationships are at 
home, the more effective we are in our careers. If we're having difficulty with a loved one, that difficulty will be translated into reduced performance on the job.
In studying the millionaires in America (U.S. News and World Report), a picture of the "typical" millionaire is an individual who has worked eight to ten hours a day for thirty years and is still married to his or her high school or college sweetheart. A New York executive search firm, in a study of 1365 corporate vice presidents, discovered that 87% were still married to their one and only spouse and that 92% were raised in two-parent families.
The evidence is overwhelming that the family is the strength and
foundation of society. Strengthen your family ties and you'll enhance your opportunity to succeed.

-Zig Ziglar, Pure Living, 11-10-2000; via 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 - You may also visit their website at

Monday, March 9, 2009

All in the Family

By Rick Woodall

     It is so easy to become comfortable with our surroundings.  We can get to the point where our routine becomes a standard. If forced by life’s circumstances out of our circle it causes pandemonium and turmoil. This can be detrimental to the efforts of reaching out to people from all walks of life. It becomes difficult to reach evangelistic goals when those who oppose use narrow-minded thinking. They are right, everyone else is wrong. I remember a TV show when I was younger.  The lead character was a man by the name of Archie Bunker. Archie was right and everyone else was wrong.  He was not a very good listener. He was an “I have spoken” sort of person.
   The “I have spoken” person is leaving you with a big message.
          1. Things are the way they are because I have spoken.
          2. Things will not improve because I have spoken.
          3. I don’t trust you and I have spoken.
          4. Things will not be different because I have spoken.
          5. If I have not spoken.  I will, so just be quiet and wait.
     To sum up all this let me express that in 2009 Archie Bunker religion that allows only the “I have spoken” to be listened to will not develop the whole body. Did you ever wonder what might happen if we really got serious about laying aside all prejudices, pre-judgments and forgone conclusions and let the New Testament really speak to our inner selves?  It might call several to come out of their circle of manipulation to once again visualize the church of Christ. My gift reminds me there is a big difference between being right and living right. Both should function together in the realm of a house full of love. That was the key ingredient missing from Archie’s life. It’s hard to love the unlovable.
    How will people outside the church family view us in 2009? That can be answered by a spokesperson or we can follow the Bible.  The choice will be ours.
    "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." – John 13:34-35

- Rick Woodall is the minister for the Yorktown Road church of Christ in Logansport Indiana. His weekly devotional message, Life Thoughts, can be found through this address:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

National Repentance???

By Lance Cordle 

  • People are thinking about it.
  • People are hearing sermons  about it.
  • People are reading articles about it..
  • People are  regretting their past behavior.
  • People are being affected daily on a personal level.
  • People are talking to family and friends about it.
  • People are evaluating ways to change their behavior.
  • People are soliciting the assistance of others to help them change.
  • People are hearing national leaders address the problem.
  • People are thinking about their children having to face the problem.
  • People are teaching their children responsibility concerning it.
  • People are counting the cost of changing —and  of  not changing.
  • People are taking steps to change.

So, what has happened? Have people all of a sudden begun to listen to preachers and study their Bibles? No. Unfortunately, the above descriptions are not about sin. Though the subject might at first glance appear to be sin, it is actually gasoline consumption. People  have seen for themselves the high cost of dependence on petroleum—they are paying more  for it through virtually every product and service they purchase.

As a preacher, I am amazed by the sweeping  effects of the current gasoline crisis. However, there really is no mystery to it. People change when they see the need to change. We can talk all day long about sin and its consequences, but a person will not move until they know it applies to them and are persuaded that change is something they can and should do.

There’s something else about this crisis: people are affected personally, but also see the need to help others change as well. In an interesting twist, we all realize we must change our own behavior, but know that it will be better for all concerned if we persuade others.

As Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:43).                                                                        

Lance Cordle preaches for the congregation.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: