Monday, June 24, 2013

What's For Dinner?

By Ken Jones
     Jesus said, “I am the bread of life: whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
     You’re sitting at a table in your favorite restaurant, looking over the menu, thinking, “Im hungry, but I don’t know what I want.”  If it’s an unfamiliar place, you may even ask the server, “What’s especially good here?” You look to the next table to see what they have.  Then you order a large platter of rich fried food, and when you get done you are stuffed and wonder, “Why in the world did I order that?” You know there’s a big difference between being stuffed and being satisfied.
     I think this is a picture of life.  We’re handed a menu filled with options that promise satisfaction.  And we look at others’ lives and what they’ve ordered and we think, “Well, if I just had what they have, I think I’d be satisfied…if I had their marriage, their kids, their job, car or house I’d really be satisfied.”  For many of us, our souls are starving and we don’t even realize it because we’ve stuffed ourselves with cheap substitutes.  And we are undernourished.  We have tried to satisfy our deepest needs with the things of this world and don’t even know that it is a spiritual hunger that is really crying out for food.
     And the reason we don’t feel hungry for God and the things of God is that we are so stuffed with all this other stuff that we don’t even think we’re even hungry.  Perhaps you’re reading this and you aren’t very hungry for the Bread of life.  Maybe you went to a church as a child and you weren’t really into it.  You fled as soon as you could and haven’t had a taste of the Bread of life or a sip of the Water of life in a long, long time.  It’s been so long that you don’t even feel hungry for it anymore.
     I learned recently about starving children in third world countries.  With no food to eat, they literally use up all their body fat and muscles until all that’s left is just skin and bones.  Their stomachs have bloated and their black hair turns a shade of reddish blonde.  The skin dries out.  They’re malnourished and starving to death.  And I learned that there’s another thing that happens to these children that I didn’t know, and it is that they lose their appetite.  They’re starving, but not hungry.  When you offer them a piece of bread they will push it away and turn their head in another direction.  They don’t want it.
     And I think this is a good picture of what happens to people at the spiritual level.  They’re starving but not hungry.  Their soul is completely undernourished but they don’t want a bite to eat.  Then I kept reading about those little kids.  And what the missionaries do is they’ll take a piece of bread, or some food, and force the kids to open their mouths and force them to swallow.  And if they can just get them to swallow a few bites their appetite is rekindled, and they get hungry again.  They eat and live.
     I don’t know how you take someone who isn’t spiritually hungry and make them eat.  I wish I did know.  Because there are some people dear to me that I would do just about anything to see them eat just a few bites again.  I think they’d find that that is what they wanted and longed for and needed all along.

- 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 through the congregation's website:

What is a Christian's Responsibility to the Civil Government?

By Roger D. Campbell
    Do you suppose there is a civil government anywhere in the world that has the exact structural arrangement and policies that the Roman Empire had in the days of Jesus and the first-century disciples? There may be some aspects of present-day governments that resemble those of the ancient Roman Empire that was in power in the Middle East when the New Testament was written, but the odds are extremely high that no modern-day arrangement is a one-hundred-per-cent carbon copy of the Roman setup.
    If that be the case, why should a child of God living in the 21st century even be concerned about what the New Testament teaches about Christians’ responsibility to their civil government? The specifics may not be exactly the same, but the New Testament principles still apply because they are a part of the teaching of the Christ that endures and lives forever (1 Peter 1:23-25), being in force until the end of the age/world (Matt. 28:20).
    What does the New Testament teach about my obligation to the government under which I live? This general instruction is found in Titus 3:1: “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.” That statement, coupled with more extensive teaching recorded in 1 Peter 2:13-17 and Romans 13:1-7, as well as other New Testament principles, leads us to make the following conclusions about our responsibility to the civil government.
1) A Christian is to obey civil authorities. First, the message of Titus 3:1 is, “...obey magistrates.” Second, the opening instruction of Romans 13:1 is, “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers.” Third, Christians are further charged, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man” (1 Peter 2:13). The context of this last passage clearly shows that the expression “ordinance of man” is not a reference to some man-made religious regulation, but rather to the decree of civil authorities, “the king” and “governors” are noted (1 Peter 2:13,14). When the Holy Spirit’s instruction is to “obey,” “be subject to,” and “submit to” the laws of the land, that is a pretty plain message, would you not agree?
2) A Christian is to obey the civil government “for the Lord’s sake” (1 Peter 2:13). Because “the powers that be are ordained of God” (Rom. 13:1), resisting such authorities is equal to resisting God’s ordained authority and arrangement (13:2). Obeying civil authorities is part of obeying the Lord, “For so is the will of God” (1 Peter 2:15).
3) A Christian is to obey every aspect of civil law. Going back to 1 Peter 2:13, we read, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake....” “Every ordinance” would include what the civil authorities decree about building codes, littering highways, tax obligations, the size of passport photos, how far a church building must sit away from a street/road, and you name it. We may be tempted to label certain laws as “unreasonable,” “ridiculous,” or even “insane,” but the law is the law. If I have the right to disregard a law that I count as inconvenient, excessively costly, etc., then why would another person not have the right to disregard a different law? What is it that ensues when people decide to use their own gut feelings to determine with which government ordinances they will comply, and which they will disregard? The word is “chaos” or “lawlessness.”
4) A Christian is to obey civil authorities at all levels. Peter’s Spirit-guided instruction to submit to civil ordinances was, “...whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers...” (I Peter 2:13,14). Kings, governors, and delegated authority are mentioned, indicating that all branches and levels of civil government fall under the category of “the powers that be” to whom we are to submit ourselves. In our country that would include national, state, district, county, and city laws.
5) A Christian is to obey civil authorities, regardless of the type of government under which he lives. This principle is tough for some to accept willingly, but it is true. In the U.S., we are blessed to live in a republic in which we are privileged to vote and elect government officials who are supposed to represent us and our best interests. Those to whom the apostles wrote inspired messages in the first century about obeying governmental powers were not living in a republic or anything akin to such. They lived in a day when kings, often ruthless, self-serving men, reigned. Still, the message of God was to submit to them. If the U.S. or some other nation should some day, either by choice or by force, adopt a form of government that has little or no concern for the common people, God’s charge to “obey magistrates” would still be in force.
6) While Christians are obligated to obey civil authorities, if there are governmental regulations that are not in harmony with God’s law, Christians must choose to obey what God says. Because God’s people are to act “as obedient children” at all times (1 Peter 1:14), if man’s laws are at odds with the teaching of the Bible, God’s children are to obey the Bible. Yes, in every situation, “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Remember, we are not at liberty to not submit to a government law simply because we do not like it. A saint’s decision to not submit to a civil law must be based on a “thus saith the Lord” and not on his own personal likes or preferences.
    These half-dozen principles we have noted are not based on culture. Rather, they are biblical truths that apply in every society in every generation.

- via the Nile Street Notes, the weekly bulletin of the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL; R. W. McAlister preaches for the congregation and may be contacted through the congregation's website: 

“If Looks Could Kill”

By Tim Childs
    In unison, we join with the psalmist when he declared his desire to praise our majestic Creator as we acknowledge we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).  God made us so as to have emotions and then, through non-verbal communication, express these through a variety of facial expressions which are created by involuntary muscle movements, or muscle positions in the skin.  At times we communicate positive messages; sometimes quite the opposite.  A smile, for instance, can show approval; it also can indicate a sense of well-being and inner joy. It is easily distinguished from an angry look...a snarl or scowl. A number of emotional expressions enable us to “talk” to a foreign citizen without speaking a word.
      When God commissioned Jeremiah and prepared him for his prophetic office, He anticipated the difficult challenges Jeremiah would face in discharging his responsibility to faithfully declare God’s message to a wayward people. God comforted the young man when He said, “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 1:8).  God knew beforehand what Jeremiah would be up against sometimes while preaching.  Hard looks. Consternation. Hatred.
     Just as verbal communication proceeds from the heart (Matthew 15:18-19), so does the non-verbal. Facial expressions convey so much to others. What is the nature of the messages we are sending to others within the body of Christ during the week, and during times of meeting in the assembly? Do we convey that we are happy to be here, and that really there is no place we’d rather be? Do we express a heart of warmth and good-will toward all who have assembled together before God? May we keep our hearts and minds in check before Him. 

- Tim Childs preaches for the Hillcrest Church of Christ in Baldwyn, MS.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Where Are We Heading?

By Williard Collins
    A newsletter published by the National Education Program, Oklahoma City, OK, contained an item titles For Your Information. Here is the item, as I noticed it:
"In the 1940's a survey listed the top seven discipline problems in public schools as talking; chewing gum; making noise; running in the halls; not staying in line; wearing improper clothing; not putting paper in wastebaskets. A 1980's survey listed these top seven problems: drug abuse; alcohol abuse; pregnancy; suicide; rape; robbery; and assault."
    Isn’t this just a sign of what happens in a nation when education becomes separated from Christianity – removing the presence and influence of God in the schools? Teaching the facts of mathematics or any other subject without teaching a value system is not enough. For example, sex education without a value system is insufficient. To show how to be safe in practicing fornication by using artificial means to prevent pregnancy is not enough. Somebody must teach that fornication itself is sinful, condemned in the gospel, and wrong for everybody in every form. To show how to keep from getting AIDS in regard to homosexuality is not enough. Somewhere along the line somebody must teach a value system that shows homosexuality itself is not approved by God, and is therefore wrong for everybody, always.
    The time to wake up arrived a long time ago. We had better combine education with a system of moral values and with the fact that One True God exists, and this God cannot be mocked. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man [or church, community, or nation] sows, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7, KJV).

- 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

Do Not Fear

By Mark Moseley

    Fear paralyzes.  Fear of failure.  Fear of retribution.  Fear of persecution. Fear of being ostracized.  Fear of being ridiculed.  Fear of negative consequences.  Fear of embarrassment.  Fear of losing friendships.  Fear of losing status.  Fear of losing possessions.  Perhaps even fear of losing our lives.
    We stand amazed at the courage of the apostles.  They stood before rulers and kings with unflinching determination.  “We cannot stop speaking what we’ve seen and heard” was their mantra and “Jesus is the risen Lord” their battle cry.
    Theirs truly is a remarkable transformation.  Reading the gospel narratives hardly gives us confidence that these men can be trusted to turn the world upside down.  One would hardly describe these men as “courageous.”
    But something happened to the cowardly little group who fled the Garden of Gethsemane.  They saw a risen Lord!  They watched Him ascend into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God.  But that was only part of the reason for their courage.  They had something more.  They had a promise, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  They had the promise they were not and never would be alone.
    Sometimes we worry because we know there is fear in our hearts.  We cannot deny it.  The apprehension is there.  And because it is there, we wonder if we will be able to hold fast in the face of the enemy.  We worry that we will shrink back in midst of battle.  Sometimes we become discouraged because we have not quenched every self-doubt.  We think our faith has failed.  Not so!
    Ideally, we will stand brave and tall without any doubt or fear.  That’s where we are heading.  But until that day, all we need is just a little more courage than fear.  Just a little more faith than doubt.  Just a little more strength than weakness.
    So what if we step forward with trembling legs into battle - as long as we stepped forward!  So what if we struggled mightily with temptation before we overcame - as long as we overcame!  So what if our voice was a little timid when we spoke out - as long as we spoke out!
    Ah, friend, let us ever be reminded that we too have the promise!  If we are hesitating, if we are weakening, if we are fearful, stop and become aware of His Presence.  The Lord is near.  Listen for His voice, “I am with you always.”  So, do not fear - forge ahead!

- via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg Church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  You may visit their website at

Courage to Care for Children

By Paul Vaughn
    Solomon by inspiration wrote: “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just”(Pro. 13:22). A good man is one whose heart is filled with kindness and love. He loves God and his family and never allows anything to come between him and those he loves. He leaves an example that will bless his children and grandchildren. They are rich not because of posterity, because success in worldly pursuits is very uncertain. The paradigm of righteousness from their father and grandfather can bring spiritual riches for the soul.
    There are more lasting impressions on life that are formed in the home than anywhere else. Those who direct and govern the home should feel their deep obligation and privilege. The influence they leave on the mind of a child will in large measure determine that child’s earthly course and eternal destiny.
    What type of impressions are children seeing in American homes today? Do they see a loving father and mother daily living for God? Do they see their parents living honestly before all men? Do they see their mother and father setting a good moral example? In many homes today, parents leave their children to the television or nursery school to raise them. Childcare takes the commitment of both parents! Parents must have the courage and accept the responsibility to care for their children.
    Abraham Lincoln once said: "A child is a person who is going to carry on what you have started. He is going to sit where you are sitting, and when you are gone, attend those things which you think are important." Every parent should take inventory of their life to see what type of legacy they are leaving their children. Is God important to you? Is attending Bible study and worship services important to you? If they are, they will be important to your children.
    In teaching his children, Solomon said, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Pro. 3:4-6). What does it mean to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart?” One should have God and His Son, Christ Jesus, first in their heart and life. Trust in His Word as the guide through all of life.
    To leave a legacy of the Christian life, parents must have the courage to say “no” to their children. No, to the passing pleasures of the world. Never let anything come between them and God, because children need spiritual nourishment if they are to live a successful life that will lead them to Heaven. Children need parents who will take the leadership in taking action against the sale of alcohol and drugs, help stop the sale of pornographic material, and stand firm against the filth on television (those in charge of television programs are working hard to corrupt the minds of young people), and the music they hear. Everyone must have the courage to care for young people. We must never tolerate the destruction of our children.

- via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere Church of Christ, Belvedere, SC.  Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: 

A Good Laugh May Be Good For the Heart

By Kevin Rayner
    A team of Maryland medical researchers found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in humorous situations than those with healthy hearts.
    "The old saying that laughter is the best medicine definitely appears to be true when it comes to protecting your heart," said Michael Miller, director of the Center for Preventative Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
    It is uncertain, however, whether humor helps prevent heart problems or if people with heart problems tend to lose their senses of humor.
    "That question would be more interesting, but it would also be much harder to answer," said Dr. Rose Marie Robertson, a Vanderbilt University cardiologist and president of the American Heart Association.
    The research was to be presented Wednesday at a heart association conference in New Orleans.
    The study of 300 people -- one-half of whom had histories of heart problems -- used questionnaires to gauge how healthy people and those with heart disease differed in their responses to situations where humor was expected.
    The people with heart disease were much less likely to even recognize humor. They also laughed less, even in positive situations, and generally displayed more anger and hostility than people with healthy hearts.
    "The ability to laugh -- either naturally or as learned behavior -- may have important implications in societies such as the U.S., where heart disease remains the No. 1 killer," Miller said.
    Robertson said the Maryland research fits into an area of growing interest among cardiologists: the psychological side of heart disease. Most of that research, however, has examined the effects of mental stress on the human heart or the tendency of heart patients to develop depression after surgery.
    Very few studies have pondered the reverse question: whether humor, or a pronounced absence of stress, can reduce a person's risk of heart disease.
    Robertson called the Maryland researchers' line of questioning "a very interesting" approach.
    "I think what this suggests is that we have to take our patients' psychological states more seriously," she said.

- Kevin Rayner preaches for the Highland Church of Christ, Tecumseh, OK.  He may be contacted through the congregation’s website:

The Church of Christ

By Ron Thomas
    The last two weeks we have talked about the Lord's church. We learned that He built it and those who are members of it are saved.  This week we want to consider the name of the church.
    Reading through the New Testament, one can't help but notice a number of appellation ascribed to the church. For instance, we read of the "church of God," the "churches of Christ," the "church of the First-born," the "church at Corinth," etc. We wonder if from this we can learn an appropriate name. The answer is yes. In all the "names" found in the New Testament, you will note that there is no name after the name of a man. This is important. We are identified as the "church of Christ" because we want to be associated with the Lord's name, after all it is He who built the church. It would be easy for us to say the "church at Sullivan" and, perhaps, that would be acceptable. However, while this identifies our location, we want to identify our association. Association with the Lord gives a clear indication, in name at least, that the Lord owns the church. Can an assembly of people go wrong with this?

- via The Lantern, Highway Church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  Ron Thomas serves as preacher and an elder for the congregation and you may visit their website as

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Religious Titles Forbidden

By: Stephen R. Bradd

    After blasting the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy and desire to be "seen by men," Jesus proceeds to give special instructions for His followers:
"But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Matt. 23:8-12).
    Jesus did not want His disciples to use religious titles. The title of "Rabbi" was reserved for the Jewish doctors of the Law of Moses. The word itself meant "master" or "teacher." A modern religious equivalent would be the title "Doctor" (e.g., Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, etc.). Jesus' point in this section is that His followers should not use religious titles to create artificial distinctions among themselves. The use of titles tends to imply that a certain one has more authority or is superior (e.g., Reverend, Most Right Reverend, etc.). Such is not the case religiously, even if a man has decades of experience, has completed years of advanced studies, and has a host of "letters" he could use after his name. Pursuing religious education is a good thing, even at an advanced level. However, such a one should be content to be known simply as one of the "brethren."
    Let it be understood that it is not inherently wrong to refer to oneself or someone else descriptively as a "teacher." This can be shown to be the case from passages such as: Acts 13:1, I Timothy 2:7, and II Timothy 1:11. Jesus is prohibiting the use of the words in this section (i.e., "rabbi," "father," and "teacher") when they are used as titles of religious honor, authority, or superiority.
    Our Lord wants all to be humble, even those with great spiritual knowledge. "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven" - One might rightly wonder how our Catholic friends can miss this simple command. They fondly refer to their local church leader as "Father," and they certainly mean it as a religious title. Do they not understand Jesus' teaching here, or do they simply disobey His command out of ignorance?
    It should be observed that this prohibition would not forbid a physical son from referring to his male parent as "father." It also would not ban a "spiritual son" from referring to his "father in the faith" as such (e.g., I Cor. 4:15).
    Rather than exalting ourselves with religious titles, Jesus wants us to be humble servants - "But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (cf. Luke 14:11; 18:14).
    In this chapter thus far, Jesus has rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for their public displays (i.e., all the things they did "to be seen by men"). Dear friends, we today as followers of Christ must be mindful of our motives. It is possible to do the right thing for the wrong reason. May we empty ourselves of pride and seek to do God's will faithfully--regardless of who is or isn't watching and regardless of the arrogant titles that many religious leaders use!

- via the Lake Hills Letter, weekly bulletin of the Lake Hills Church of Christ in Chattanooga, TN.  Shane Robinson preaches for the congregation, and he may be contacted through their website at

Monday, June 3, 2013

Old Preacher Advice

Which is worth exactly what you pay for it: (Free advice is never worth as much as you pay for it.)
By Wayne Polk

1) Beware of those in the new congregation who try to get very close to you too quickly. They most often have ulterior motives related to using the new preacher to accomplish some personal goal in the congregation. When they are not able to manipulate the preacher, they sometimes become [your] adversary. There will always be those who oppose you (whether to your face or behind your back) so identify them, pray for them daily, and have your wife bake cookies for them often. Overtly loving them publicly as well as privately inhibits both their willingness and ability to accomplish mischief.
2) All that glitters is not gold and all that is tarnished is not without value. It takes time to get to know a congregation so the new preacher must keep an open mind. Members who gossip about others tell the new preacher more about their own character than about the target of their venom. (Gossip is just as insipid when disguised as benevolent information to help you deal with a brother who "needs your help, patience, understanding, or prayers.")
3) Most materials can be molded if the proper techniques are used, but sudden force will often break them. People are the same way. The preacher must never take it personally when he preaches his heart out about a subject and doesn't appear to be getting any results. People spend years getting messed up by sin, tradition or false doctrine and it will often take them longer to get straightened out than it did to get messed up. The preacher is more often than not achieving more good than he realizes. Be patient and give the brethren time.
4) "NO ONE CARES HOW MUCH YOU KNOW UNTIL THEY KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CARE." It's not until the preacher learns to sincerely love the congregation and the members feel confident in his love that he will be able to lead them to a closer walk with God. [T]he more they feel loved by the preacher, the more they feel loved by the Savior he proclaims and the more open they are to being lead in a closer walk with that Savior. Remember: Jesus died for those who were His enemies. Just hours before His death, he washed the feet of His betrayer. We don't have to like someone to love them and we don't have to approve of their actions to love them, but we have to love them and to be patient with them before we can lead them to the Savior.
    The sick need the Great Physician so don't isolate the ones who need you to guide them to Him.
5) If the preacher wants people to remember what he teaches, he must make his teaching memorable. If the preacher just repeats what the brethren have heard in exactly the same ways they've always heard it, he is simple scratching the itching ears. The preacher can't change the truth, but he can present God's truth in ways that force the brethren to stay awake, to listen and to go to the book to confirm the message. Teach them to be seekers of truth, not parrots who repeat what they've been programmed to say.
6) The preacher measures his success not in the compliments at the door or in the approval of the brethren, but the change he is able to motivate in the lives of his listeners. If he can motive them to love God enough to alter their lives to conform to His pattern, the preacher is a success. Personal Note: I use a simple formula for preaching: "I AM." Give them Information from God's word; tell them how to Apply that information in their life; and then Motivate them to make that application in their daily walk. If those three elements are in every sermon, the brethren will be mature into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
7) The preacher must always remember who's the Boss and be loyal to Him above all else. The brethren may pay us, but we work for God. Be true to the Boss. The brethren can't fire one from being a preacher, only stop paying him and if they do that they've already stopped listening to him so it was time to move on anyway. This is God's world and we are members of HIS church. It is before God that we will all stand to give an accounting of our stewardship. If the preacher loves God with all [his] heart, mind and soul, the love of the brethren will be a given. When the brethren feel loved, they more often than not will respond with love. God love’s regardless so put Him first in your life, but hug your wife and babies every day. No matter how busy you get, make sure to reassure them of your love every day of your life. When done right, the ministry is harder on the preacher's family than on him, but also a joy beyond description.

- via The Lantern, Highway Church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  Ron Thomas serves as preacher and an elder for the congregation and you may visit their website as

What would you do today if you knew the world would end tomorrow?

By A. L. Franks
    Watching television is, to say the least, “a risky business.” Who would deny that television is often a great “waster of time”? And, since Christians are taught to “redeem the time”; that is, “make good use of time ”(Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5), caution needs to be exercised in watching television. Ever so often, my June and I will turn on the television searching for a program that may be considered “relaxing and/or recreational.”
    Recently, in our search, we came across a program called “Family Feud” where two “families” were competing for generous prizes by trying to guess how different groups of 100 people had responded to certain questions. One of the questions was: “What would you do today if you knew the world would end tomorrow?”
    We found it interesting to listen as one of the families responded. Four answers had been given at the time the above picture was taken. Those answers were: (a) Pray; (b) Visit/call family; (c) Party/get drunk and (d) Make love.
    We were encouraged that answer given most often was to “pray”. Thirty-three out of 100 said if they knew the world would end tomorrow they would pray. One out of three seemed to realize the need for and the value of prayer. Sadly, however, two out of three did not mention prayer. What about you? Would prayer be a priority to you?
    Then, in respond to the serious question, 18 out of 100 said they would go to visit or call family. One out of five appeared to realize the value of family. This leaves four out of five who did not mention visiting or calling a family member! What about you? Would family be a priority to you?
    Sadly, many of those responding to the serious question answered they would “party or get drunk”. Yet, others answered that they would “make love.” Again, I ask: What about you? How would you answer?
    Your response to the question about what you would do today if you knew the world would end tomorrow is largely determined by what you believe about life after death. Those who know and believe the Scriptures and have come to know and believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God and is the Saviour of the world have full assurance that death and or the end of the world is not really the end -- it is only the beginning! They realize that the most important thing in life is to be ready to die; to be ready for the end -- which could come tomorrow! And, to be ready to die, one must be a Christian.
    Are you? Are you ready to die? Are you ready for the end of the world and/or the day your world ends?

(Note: Those of us who are responsible for this paper (publisher, writers, contributors) encourage you to make preparations for the end of your life and/or the end of the world. Is there some way we can help? Please let us hear from you. Thanks. God bless!

- Magnolia Messenger, edited by Paul Franks, published by the South Huntington St Church of Christ, Kosciusko, MS, Oct. Dec. 2012, p. 8. You can visit their website at

Church Etiquette

By Jay Lockhart
    Etiquette is defined as “a conventional code of special behavior.” I want to make some suggestions about our behavior when we come to the church building. My reason for doing this is simply to awaken our awareness and to remind us of some things we already know. Some apply to adults; some to kids; some to us all.
    Read and apply.
1. If you turn it on, turn it off.
2. If you open it, close it.
3. If you borrow it, return it.
4. If it belongs to someone else, leave it alone.
5. If it belongs here, don’t remove it.
6. If you break it, replace it.
7. If you don’t know someone, meet them.
8. Greet everyone, and invite visitors to sit with you.
9. Enter to worship, leave to serve.
10. Don’t run in the building.
11. Don’t throw things at signs, lights, or people.
12. Don’t hit.
13. Parents, know where your children are and what they are doing before, during, and after class time and worship.
14. When you attend the service, don’t miss the worship.
15. If you are over eight years of age, sleep at home.
16. If someone is crying, wipe their tears.
17. If someone is lost from their mother, help them find her.
18. If someone is new, help them find their place.
19. Open your Bible.
20. Sing with joy.
21. Bow your head.
22. Remember why you are here.
23. Give your fair share.
24. Attend.
25. Be happy.
26. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The time we spend together at the building would be much more pleasant for everyone if we would put these things into practice. Try it . . .And see!

- 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 website: