Monday, July 28, 2014

Faithful in Little or Much

By Winfred Clark

     You have often heard people say what they would do “if.” If they had a million dollars they would give. If they had ability they would do this or that. That is, they say they would. Have you ever stopped to ask what these same people are doing with what they already have? That is a good indication of what they would do with more. That is exactly what Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10).
     1. Faithfulness knows no difference in the matter of duty. If we have an obligation to God we must be faithful whether we consider it small or large. The size of the thing done is not the thing that matters. Surely we all recognize the great good done by great gospel preachers among us. We surely ought to be thankful for them and applaud their efforts in preaching the truth. Such men as Guy N. Woods, Willard Collins and Gus Nichols have done a world of good in their work of preaching. May their tribe increase. Each of us can remember one or more efforts of these men that resulted in great good for the cause of Christ. They truly have been faithful in what we would call great.
     What of those behind the scenes who have prayed for preachers and held up their hands as they preached and taught. One could think of a number of good folks that have opened their homes and hearts to these good men to allow them rest and refreshment for the task they had. These were just as faithful in the matters of hospitality as the preachers were in preaching. But each did what they had the ability and opportunity to do.
     2. Faithfulness is sometimes more difficult in small things than in the large. There is often not the stimulation to do the small, unnoticed thing. Often the crowd is there to give a verbal boost to the large thing but that which is small is seldom seen or known. It therefore demands real dedication. Think a moment of Paul and Dorcas. One was in the public eye, the other was known by a small group. One demanded individual initiative where the other would have the encouragement of associates.
     Don't we find this principle in attending a large gathering? It is easy, as a rule, to go where the crowd goes. On the other hand, more is demanded when we come to some mid-week services where there are only a few. We have to do more on the individual basis.
     3. Faithfulness in the little will lead to faithfulness in the much. The person who is careful about details will take care of the whole. I heard one man say, “If God gives a small ball to bounce, then do it and the reward will be a larger one.” If Paul had failed to do the things he was told in Damascus to do, he would never have the opportunity to do some things he did.
     Men that were faithful with limited means in the 30s and 40s are the men who have been and are the giants among us today. Men who wouldn’t work with what they had, have no opportunities to do so now.

- 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:

Be Still and Know!

By Ben Thompson

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
     In our world of secular craziness, we need to read these words and ponder them very carefully.
* When the world just doesn't seem to make any sense, be still and know that Jesus is the truth and He will bring sanity to a sometimes insane existence (John 1:14).
* When it seems that everyone has turned against us, be still and know that the Lord promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6).
* When the storms of life (both physical and emotional) are raging about us, be still and know that God will be our shelter in any storm that the devil can throw at us (Romans 8:35-39).
* When the future looks dark and dim, be still and know that God is already there, and there is nothing that He doesn't know or can't handle (Psalm 139).
     What a wonderful God we serve.  Brethren, let us try to remember these things when life gets dark and dreary; when the days seem empty and long, when all seems to fail about us: Be still and know!    

- via the weekly bulletin of the Broadway Church of Christ in Campbellsville, KY. Edd Sterchi preaches for the congregation and he may be contacted at

The Sins of Samson

By Travis L. Quertermous

     Samson was a real-life super-hero, an ancient Israelite Superman. Many people are familiar with his superhuman exploits, about how Samson killed a lion with his bare hands, single-handedly destroyed a thousand-man Philistine army with no weapon other than the jawbone of a donkey, and about how he was a one-man wrecking crew that demolished a Philistine temple. If you would like to read it for yourself in the Bible, Samson's story is found in the Book of Judges 13-16.
     But just as Superman is vulnerable to kryptonite, Samson had his weakness too. No, it was not his treacherous lover Delilah nor was it the most famous hair-cut in history which she gave him. The source of Samson's strength was not his long hair, but his faith in God symbolized by his long hair. Samson forgot the source of his strength was God, not himself. When his pride led him to abandon his faith in God, God abandoned Samson to his fate.
     Samson's kryptionite was a lack of self-control. As strong as he was, Samson never learned to control his temper, his lusts, or his pride. His lack of self-control ruined his marriage, damaged his reputation, and limited his usefulness to God. Proverbs 16:32 says, "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city." That was certainly true of Samson, but it let not be said of us.

- Travis L. Quertermous preaches for the Church of Christ in Dexter, MO.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Chiseled in Stone

By Terry Livingston and David A. Sargent

    The 8th century B.C. religious leader Isaiah is a very prominent figure in the Old Testament.  Four kings – Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah – ruled Judah during the period in which Isaiah served as prophet and spiritual guide to his people.  It was Isaiah who advised King Hezekiah that the invasion by Sennacherib and his Assyrian Army would not lead to the downfall of Jerusalem, and that Sennacherib would not enter the City.  He is also the author of the well-known book of Isaiah, including the prophetic chapter 53 concerning the life of the Messiah Jesus Christ.   Due to his accurate foreshadowing of Jesus in his writings, Isaiah is sometimes referred to as the “Messianic Prophet.”
    In the third chapter of the book of Isaiah, he gives another foreshadowing.   Here a vivid description is given of the fall of Judah.   Isaiah 3:25-26 states “Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle.  The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute, she will sit on the ground.”
    In the year 70 A.D., four legions of Romans led by future emperor Titus surrounded Jerusalem and lay siege to the city and sacked it, including the beloved Second Temple.  Josephus records the earlier scene as adorned and pleasant, but the aftermath as a “melancholy thing for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country in every way.”
    To commemorate the accomplishment of his son and the Roman forces, the emperor Vespasian commissioned coins to be minted.  Below is shown one such coin in which he has depicted Judah as a Jewess in attitude of defeat and mourning, seated destitute beneath a palm tree, being overseen by a conquering soldier.  The caption reads “IVDEA CAPTA” (Judea Captured).  While Vespasian, as Roman emperor, would have little reason to validate the prophecy of Isaiah, his coinage etches in refined stone the truth of Isaiah’s prophecy.
    Interestingly, the Great Scroll of the Book of Isaiah, with the prophecies of Jesus and Judah, has been carbon-dated by the University of Arizona and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and was given calibrated dates well before 100 B.C. *
    The eternal truth of God’s word -- His inspired Word, the Bible -- is “etched in stone.”
    Now observe what Isaiah said the Messiah would do for YOU and ME:

“Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.  5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.  6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” – Isaiah 53:4-6

This is EXACTLY what Jesus did for you and for me when He died on the cross for our sins.
We can accept the salvation from sin for which Jesus died by placing our faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized(immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38).
    There are myriads of evidences of the truthfulness of God’s Word.  And it is true: He will save you IF you will respond to Him on His terms.
    Won’t YOU?

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:

* References:   www.Vcoins.comwww.Biblehistory.comThe Wars of the Jews by Flavius Josephus

The Anchor of Our Souls

By Ron Bartanen

     As a ship would need an anchor to prevent it from being driven by the wind and waves onto a rugged, rock-infested shore and destroyed, without exception we all need an anchor for our lives to keep us from the storms of life that would destroy us.  Our faith in Christ is just such an anchor—and especially we would view the resurrection of Christ in this regard.  While all religions have their revered founders and gurus, all are powerless against the winds of time that would drive us onto the shores of God’s judgment.  Only Christianity has a founder who died for our sins and been raised from the dead.  Death is not the ultimate conqueror.  Though even Jesus, in death, willingly gave up His spirit into the Father’s hands, yet, as a verse in one of our hymns declares, “Death could not keep his prey.”  He arose in triumph over death, and holds within His hands “the keys of hell (hades) and of death” (Rev. 1:18).  Ours is not a dead savior, but the Living One.  Without the assurance of a living Savior, we would be at the mercy of all that is spiritually destructive to our souls.  We would not even be assured of who Jesus is—the Son of God.  After all, anyone could make the claim.  Of Jesus alone can it be said that He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead” (Romans 1:4).  We know who He is because of His resurrection.
     Without His resurrection we would have no assurance of our own.  Death would be the great ultimate destroyer.  But because He was raised, we, too, will be raised.  In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul linked our resurrection to His, saying, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain: ye are yet in your sins.  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.  For since by man (Adam) came death, by man (Christ) came also the resurrection of the dead” (15:17-20).  Hebrews 6:19-20a compares His resurrection to the believer’s anchor, declaring, “which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil, whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.”  This hope is secure—“within the veil,” that is, beyond the veil of death into heaven itself, where the risen Christ has entered as the “forerunner”, preparing the way for our resurrection.  Our eternal welfare is established only in the crucified, risen and glorified Son of God.
     The greatest question we could ask is: Is your faith anchored and made secure in Christ.  Have you accepted Him, who, by the grace of God, “tasted death for every man?” (Hebrews 2:9)  Have you identified yourself with Him in being “buried with Him in baptism” and raised with Him to walk “in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4).  Is it your hope to continue that walk till you share in “the likeness of His resurrection” (6:5)?—to share His glory?

- 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:

The Race of a Lifetime

By Ron Adams

     Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
     The art of running has come a long way over the centuries. Better training techniques and equipment have been perfected. Improved gear and shoes have lowered times dramatically. The physical, emotional and psychological aspects of coaching have become very sophisticated. All of this has aided athletes in their performance. Yet, with all the help, the individual must run the race to win.
     There has been much progress made in helping people gain knowledge of God’s word (the handbook for running the Race of a Lifetime). First, there was the printing press with moveable type, which made mass production of the Bible feasible. Next came typesetting machines and high speed printing presses that lowered the cost of Bibles to the point where even the poorest soul could afford a copy of the Holy Scriptures. Countless books have been written to aid in the study of the Bible. Numerous classes have been held, and are being held, to help the individual gain the knowledge of God’s Word.
     Living for Christ is a whole lot like running. Bible, books, and training classes are only aids which help us prepare for the Race of a Lifetime. Nothing can take the place of individual participation. While teams may win track meets, it is the individual who wins the race. This is also true in the Race of a Lifetime. There is no prize awarded to those who are members of a church full of winners. No individual can claim credit for what “we” did unless he or she was an active participant.
     In every race there are rules which must be complied with. It’s same in the Race of a Lifetime. When one competes as an Christian, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. 2 Timothy 2:5
     The Race of a Lifetime is won or lost individually. This is not so say we can’t or shouldn’t help one another. But each person is responsible for working out their own salvation. The blame for failure cannot be placed on others no more than a coach can be blamed for a runner’s poor performance. Pathetic performance on the track, or in the Lord’s church, can usually be chalked up to one or more of the following: (1) inadequate training, (2) little dedication, (3) lack of desire, (4) lack of self-discipline, (5) becoming encumbered with the things of this world, (6) quitting before finishing, and such like. Our performance in this Race of a Lifetime is determined by our willingness to do whatever it takes to be a winner. Therefore, with the Lord’s help, run in such a way so as to gain the prize!
     Be a winner in The Race of a Lifetime!
     Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.  1 Corinthians 9:24-27

- F.Y.C. is a monthly publication by Ron Adams. Bible references are from the NASB except where another translation is referenced. Back issues are archived at Be thoughtful and kind. All rights reserved. © 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

People and Challenges

By Lance Cordle

• Why is that so many people take the challenge to run in a marathon, but won’t enter the race of faith (Hebrews 12:1-2)?
• Why is it that so many people develop the skill of self control to engage in an athletic contest, but fail to develop that skill when it comes to their spiritual life (1 Corinthians 9:27)
• Why is it that so many people can read for hours in books that are difficult to read as well as interpret, yet neglect reading the Bible,  which was in- tended to be read and understood (Ephesians 3:4; 2 Timothy 3:15)?
• Why is it that so many people can take individuals they have hired and mold and shape them with wisdom an understanding in a workplace, but fail miserably in raising their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4)?
• Why is it that so many people want to take on extra responsibility in    community service projects and social clubs, but have little or no desire to be involved in the work of God and his people (Titus 2:14)?
• Why is it that so many people are willing to sacrifice years of their lives to stay with one company and yet are ready to walk away (within a few  years) from the one person they chose to spend their life with (Genesis 2:24)?
• Why is it that so many people spend great amounts of time to figure out puzzles and mysteries presented to them on a recreational level or on a professional level, and yet turn away from Jesus because they come to a “hard saying” (John 6:60) or something within the Christian life they con- sider too difficult?
• Why is it that so many people live with inconsistent behavior from friends, family and even themselves on a daily basis, yet leave a congregation or, the Lord himself, because of “hypocrites in the church” (James 2:7)?
• Why is that so many people are willing to sacrifice their health and physical well-being to engage in habits and behavior that only bring    fleeting happiness, but are unwilling to be mistreated or misunderstood on behalf of God and his people (Hebrews 11:25-26)?
• Why is it that so many people are willing to lay down their life for a friend  but not willing to live/die for Jesus (John 15:15; Romans 5:7)?      

- Lance Cordle preaches the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:


By John Gipson
   If I read the signs of the times correctly, we consider tolerance to be the greatest sin imaginable.  Tolerance, on the other hand, has been exalted to the chief of all virtues.  And woe to that person who would speak out against any religion or claim that Christ is the only way to the Father.  Such intolerance!
   Forgive me if I have the sneaking suspicion that there are those who are willing to tolerate everything because they believenothing. If everything is innocuous, toleration is easy
   Apparently the only exception the tolerant are willing to make is intolerance to those whom they perceive to be intolerant.  In that case, no quarter will be given and toleration vanishes.
   But what if Caballero was right when he said, “Error tolerates, truth condemns.”?
   What if Jesus was speaking the truth when He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father but by me”? Where is your toleration now?

   Preachers would do well to heed the words of Elizabeth Achtemcier: “As preacher, your job is to preach the text, not apologize for it.”  And that goes for all of us who seek to share the gospel of Christ.

- John Gipson, Little Rock, Ark, 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:

Relevant, Revealed, or Both?

By Jim Faughn 

   Every once in a while I drive by a sign identifying a particular place as The Relevant Church.  When I saw that, my first thought was fairly negative.  My thoughts went something like this:
             "That's what is wrong in the religious climate of our day.  Everybody is trying to be relevant.  In the process, they're trying to be everything to everybody.  They've lost all respect for the Bible, its authority, and for the church revealed in it.  We need to quit trying to please everybody.  We need to focus on pleasing our Lord and being a part of His church which is revealed in His Word." 
Well, my thoughts may not have been that well defined, but I think you get the point.  I'm more than a little disturbed by some of the things taking place under the umbrella of Christianity. 
    After reflecting on this, however, I've begun to wonder if this has to be one of those either-or propositions.  Do we have to select either a church that is relevant for people today or a church that is revealed in the pages of the New Testament?  Could it be the case that the relevant church is, in fact, the revealed church?  Could the revealed church also actually be the relevant church? 
    After some reflection, I've come to the (obvious) conclusion that the answer to those last two questions is a resounding, "Yes." 
    Please consider some of the reasons why I firmly believe that the revealed church is the relevant church:
* The church revealed in the New Testament was built by, and is owned by, Jesus (cf. Matt. 16:18). Since "Jesus Christ (is) the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8)," that would make His church perpetually relevant.
* Jesus said that "...the truth will set you free" (John 8:32, ESV).  In 1 Timothy 3:15, the church is depicted as "...a pillar and buttress of truth."  It seems to me that this would make the revealed church just as relevant today as it was when those inspired words were written.  It is of interest to notice that, in this verse, the church is described by this language;  "...the church of the living God..."  Unless we are going to subscribe to the "God is dead" theory, we must acknowledge that the church is still relevant.
* Since it is the case that the blood of Jesus purchased the church (cf. Acts 20:28), I would not presume to make the case that His sacrifice is not still relevant today.
* Are people still being saved today?  If they are (and they are), they are added to the same church to which the people were added on the day of Pentecost (cf.  Acts 2:47).  That sure sounds relevant to me.
* We are informed that Jesus is the head of the church revealed in the New Testament (cf. Eph. 1:22-23, Col. 1:18).  He will continue to fulfill that responsibility until "...the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power" (1 Cor. 15:24).  Does that not say something to us about the church's relevance for as long as the world stands? 
    I am one who believes that the truth is usually between extremes.  If an organization has abandoned or ignored God's revelation in an attempt to broaden its appeal, it really has no right to properly claim to be a church.  At the same time, the church cannot be relegated to words on the pages of a book we may not have picked up in years (if ever).    It would behoove those of us who truly care about our own souls and the souls of those around us to point people to the church revealed in scripture and show them how it is, indeed, relevant in their lives today.  

- Jim Faughn serves as an elder and preacher for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Unused Sword

By Bill Williams

    A part of the conversation between Jesus and His disciples at the final Passover feast centered around swords. In Luke 22:35-38, we read; “And He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?’ They said, ‘No, nothing.’ And He said to them, ‘But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.’ They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ And He said to them, ‘It is enough.’”
    There is a change in the ministry. They had walked around in relative peace, but with the final entrance into Jerusalem, the hostility was rising. But was Jesus condoning violence among His followers? The disciples brought two swords forward and Jesus claimed that they were enough to fulfill what was written about Him in Isaiah. Two swords to start a rebellion against the Jewish leaders and the Roman oppressors? This seems unlikely. Later that evening…
   So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I am He.” … Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it? (John 18:4-11)”
    The approach of the soldiers with Judas heralded the betrayal, arrest and execution of Jesus. When they arrived, Jesus confronted them powerfully and Peter, misunderstanding his Lord’s intent, takes out his sword to fight. But his actions were halted by none other than Jesus. He healed the enemy soldier and told Peter to put the sword away, it was not needed. Fulfilling God’s will did not require swords. So Peter ran away.
    But what about that second sword? Who had it? What happened to them? Scripture doesn’t say.
    However, we have “a sword”. Injustice runs rampant. We are betrayed by friends. We may be treated poorly by those around us. And in those moments, we have a choice to make; to make war or allow God to reign. The disciple with the second sword, when seeing the cost Jesus was willing to make, lay his sword aside and let Jesus do what He came to do. What choice will you make?

- Bill Williams preaches for the Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, MO.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Our Children's' Heritage

By Bryan McAlister

    Creating a heritage for our children is essential. As parents, many are working toward the future with the welfare of our children in mind. It is a noble act to make provision for one’s family. In fact, for those who fail to provide for their families, they are rebuked sharply by the word of God; “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (I Timothy 5:8). The word provide as used by Paul in this passage, means to “take thought beforehand.” There are more things in this world that our families, that our children need, beyond the physical things of life. Our children, to truly be blessed by what we give them, need to know how to obey the Lord.
    Solomon learned many lessons about obedience to God through the “school of hard knocks.” He knew what it was like to forsake the Lord and turn away from obediently following him (I Kings 11:4). Solomon’s father had failed in his relationships with his sons in the past, but with Solomon, he tried to instruct him and lead him in a better way (II Samuel 18:33; I Kings 2:2-3). Solomon no doubt had carried the burden of guilt and regret, and to his son, he offered urgent words of warning, “My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands” (Proverbs 3:1). As parents, as fathers, we should be storing up a heritage and an inheritance in our families and in the lives of our children, what it means to obey the Lord.
    We can truly be distracted through looking for and seeking out problems in the Lord’s church. It can be a drain on our hearts emotionally and spiritually if all we know about the church and the brotherhood world over are problems, controversies, and conflicts among the brethren. Letting this drive our purpose and perception of the church can be dangerous. However, denying that there are problems or those who would want to change the church is equally dangerous (Acts 20:28). Responsibility to the Lord, His blood bought church, and His truth, dictate we purpose our steps to follow only His (I Peter 2:22-23). No small part of that responsibility means that we teach our children about the Savior’s sacrifice for the church, His purpose for the church, and His identity of the church.
   Will our children know how to teach others of the impact of sin and the separation it creates between man and God? Will our children learn the way out of sin is not through a recited prayer or mere verbal request for Jesus to enter our lives? Will our children teach others that salvation is found through obedient faith, including belief, repentance, confession, and water baptism? Will our children worship God in spirit and truth, and understanding, free from any intervention of man? Solomon provides the answer. I hope you know, if we keep God’s law in our hearts as parents, and instruct our children, lovingly, consistently, and conscientiously, our children can anticipate, “length of days and long life and peace” (Proverbs 3:2).

- Bryan McAlister preaches for the Centerville Church of Christ, in Centerville, TN.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Is It Really Possible?

By David Anguish

     What a tough place for a person with principles to live! There are people here from everywhere. All have brought their beliefs, values, and vices. Some endorse higher standards, in some cases even belief in the Judeo-Christian God. But, their voices are hard to hear in the clatter of a culture immersed in pluralism. 
     A Christian seeking to win people to Christ faces a daunting task that must begin with education before it can attempt persuasion. When meeting someone who doesn’t follow Jesus, he must learn to which of some fifty or sixty worldviews he will need to respond. 
     Teaching people in this society to correctly worship God is yet another daunting task. It is a world in which it is not at all uncommon to hear of religious ceremonies that are more wild party than homage to the holy. For instance, one group is known to feature wild dancing, free flowing adult beverages, and music that comes closer to that of some of our chart-topping bands in its style than to “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Some of its rites are also compatible with an active red-light district. That’s not hard to find either, thriving as it does, not in a specially zoned part of town, but on the main thoroughfare.
     Assuming a disciple can get a hearing, persuade others to follow Jesus, and get a church going, helping it become spiritually mature is yet another challenge. The beliefs, values, and virtues taught by Jesus are just so different. Libertine habits are part of the converts’ cultural DNA. The anything-goes way of life they recently have left pulls at them to return. How can one possibly think he will succeed in leading them to seek the purity called for by Christ?
     Family values are a special problem. This is a world where husbands do as they want, when they want. Wives need a man for pragmatic reasons, but respect him? You can’t be serious. And then there’s the challenge of getting through to the young people who are coming of age in a world where so many voices advocate more liberty than they’re going to hear endorsed at church.
     What’s a believer to do? Keep the faith, trusting God to help him live up to his holy calling even in a world like this. Will it work? Well, Paul thought so — in first century Ephesus (Eph. 4:1-6:9). Because, you see, that is the place I’ve just described. Think about it.     

- David Anguish preaches for Church of Christ at Southwind, Memphis, TN.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: