Monday, March 29, 2010

The Rest of the Story

By Tom Moore

The Bible can change not only a life but also an entire lifestyle. Most of us have heard the story of the Mutiny on the Bounty, but few of us have heard how the Bible played a very vital part in that historical event. The Bounty was a British ship which set sail from England in 1787, bound for the South Seas. The idea was that those on board would spend some time among the islands, transplanting fruit-bearing and food-bearing trees, and doing other things to make some of the islands more habitable. After ten months of voyage, the Bounty arrived safely at its destination, and for six months the officers and the crew gave themselves to the duties placed upon them by their government.

When the special task was completed, however, and the order came to embark again, the sailors rebelled. They had formed strong attachments for the native girls, and the climate and the ease of the South Sea island life was much to their liking. The result was mutiny on the Bounty, and the sailors placed Captain Bligh and a few loyal men adrift in an open boat. Captain Bligh, in an almost miraculous fashion, survived the ordeal, was rescued, and eventually arrived home in London to tell his story. An expedition was launched to punish the mutineers, and in due time fourteen of them were captured and paid the penalty under British law.

But nine of the men had gone to another distant island. There they formed a colony. Perhaps there has never been a more degraded and debauched social life than that of that colony. They learned to distill whiskey from a native plant, and the whiskey, as usual, along with other habits, led to their ruin. Disease and murder took the lives of all the native men and all but one of the white men named Alexander Smith. He found himself the only man on an island, surrounded by a crowd of women and half-breed children. Alexander Smith found a Bible among the possessions of a dead sailor. The Book was new to him. He had never read it before. He sat down and read it through. He believed it and he began to appropriate it. He wanted others to share in the benefits of this book, so he taught classes to the women and the children, as he read to them and taught them the Scriptures.

It was twenty years before a ship ever found that island, and when it did, a miniature Utopia was discovered. The people were living in decency, prosperity, harmony, and peace. There was nothing of crime, disease, immorality, insanity, or illiteracy. How was it accomplished? By reading, the believing, and the appropriating of the truth of God!

Inspiration says, "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

- Tom Moore preaches for the Avenue T church of Christ in Temple, TX. Tom is also one of the editors of “Seek Ye First,” a free quarterly gospel journal. He may be contacted through the congregation’s website:

Monday, March 22, 2010

What is God’s Message for Me?

By John Gipson

After the death of Moses, Joshua became the leader of the Israelites. I dare say he didn’t covet the task, considering the difficulties Moses had experienced with such a reluctant people. Joshua didn’t ask for the job. It was thrust upon him. God told him to arise, go over the Jordan River, and take the land of Canaan (A daunting task indeed).

“Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’ ‘Neither,’ he replied, ‘but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.’ Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence and asked him, ‘What message does my Lord have for his servant?’” (Joshua 5:13-14, NIV).

Look at Joshua in this passage. What would you have done in such a situation? Note Joshua’s response: “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” That’s the true spirit of obedience. Will it be my response? Will it be yours?

When the Jews, on the day of Pentecost, learned that Jesus was both Lord and Christ, they cried out, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Then, in a spirit of obedience, about three thousand repented and were baptized (Acts 2:37-41). You see that same kind of response in the life of Saul of Tarsus. After his encounter with Christ, this noted persecutor became an obedient servant, and an ardent professor of Christ.

In becoming a Christian, and living as a Christian, there’s no better question to ask than that of Joshua’s. What message does my Lord have for his servant?

-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 their website at

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Book of Life

By Jay Lockhart

There is no question about it! God has a book which is a register of his people and is called the Book of Life. Moses was aware of God’s book as evidenced by the fact that he asked to have his name blotted out of the book for the sake of rebellious Israel (Exodus 32:32). It is interesting that God replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot him out of my book” (verse 33). David spoke of those who troubled him when he prayed, “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous” (Psalm 69:28). This indicates that David knew of God’s record of the righteous.

Paul said that his Christian coworkers had their names in the Book of Life (Philippians 4:3). Jesus told his disciples to rejoice because their names were written in heaven (Luke 10:20). Jesus said to the church at Sardis that he who overcame evil would not have his name blotted out of the Book of Life (Revelation 3:5). In Revelation 13:8 we learn that those who followed evil did not have their names written in the Book of Life. At the judgment the Book of Scripture will be opened to judge men and another book which is the book of Life (Revelation 20:12). Those whose names are not in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). In Revelation 21:27 we learn that those who enter heaven will be those whose names are in the Book of Life. Those who add to or take away from the words of the book of Revelation will have his part taken from the Book of Life (Revelation 22:19). Finally, the names of those who are members of the church have their names written in heaven (Hebrews 12:23).

What do we learn from these Scriptures? We learn that God has a book called the Book of Life which lists the names of his people. God’s people in the New Testament are disciples, saints, members of the church. One may have his name blotted out of God’s Book by living an unfaithful life. If one’s name is not in this Book he will be lost. It is essential that you become a disciple of the Lord (Matthew 28:19-20), that you seek to live in harmony with the Lord’s will (Revelation 3:5), that you are baptized into the Lord’s body, the church (I Corinthians 12:13). Then, with the full assurance of faith,
You can “rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

- Jay Lockhart; 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:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Where Is the Scripture?

By Danny Douglas

The trend with many today is to concentrate less on the Holy Scriptures, and more on other things in the pulpit and in Bible classes. Listeners are made to wonder: “Where is the Scripture?” In visits to congregations in recent years, I have left saddened because preachers or teachers used very little Scripture in the pulpit or Bible classes. In one instance, the preacher did not read or quote even one Scripture in his Bible class. How could this be called a “Bible class” at all? We also see this problem when preachers do not give the plan of salvation from the Scriptures when they extend the invitation. Do we assume that everyone knows what to do to be saved? Or, do we think that members no longer need to be put in remembrance of these important truths? This cannot be the case, according to Paul (1 Tim. 4:6) and Peter (2 Pet. 1:13-15; 3:1-2). Do children and youth not need to be grounded in the first
principles, and adults as well, in this matter? Have some lost confidence in the Gospel to convert and to convict? Paul certainly did not. He said: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).

Does not God command us to: “Preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2a)? Sadly, book, chapter, and verse preaching is rapidly vanishing from many pulpits today! Could it be that some actually think that their words are greater than God’s Word? This sad situation can only be remedied by returning to a “thus
saith the Lord.” Precious souls need to frequently hear the plan of salvation from the Scriptures preached, because the Word of God is “able to save your souls” (Jam. 1:21b). “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Psa. 19:7).

One who thinks so little of the Bible, and so much of himself, that he will fill his lessons with human sentiments, while leaving his audience starving for the truth, ought to humble himself and repent! When men who have a genuine reverence for God and His Word fill our pulpits and teach our Bible classes, then church members will be encouraged to: “Fear God, and keep His commandments” (
Ecc. 12:13), but not otherwise. Church leaders ought to demand this kind of preaching/teaching!

In the long ago, God commanded Jonah: “Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee” (Jon. 3:2). The preaching that God has always demanded is the preaching of His word, and not man’s! “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11).

- Danny Douglas, Mt. Pleasant, TN; 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:

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Christian Father’s Ten Commandments

1. Thou shalt hold no other group more important than the family unit, in all thy ways being faithful to it.
2. Thou
shalt teach thy sons and daughters to love, respect and obey their mother and father.
3. Thou
shalt be a loving and considerate husband.
4. Thou
shalt not speak in a manner unbecoming to a Christian gentleman.
5. Thou
shalt make Sunday a day set aside for God, and worship Him as a family unit each and every week.
6. Thou
shalt provide for thy family-spiritually and physically.
7. Thou
shalt promote and lead family worship in thy home regularly.
8. Thou
shalt be honest in all thy dealings with family members, as well as with all others.
9. Thou
shalt respect the desires and freedoms of thy family members as individuals.
10. Thou
shalt be the head of thy household, while ruling it with tenderness and love.


- Christian Contender; 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 their website at