Monday, November 26, 2012

The Value of a Good Conscience

By Bob Clardy
     I heard about a man who once promised the Lord that he would sell one of his calves and give the money to the church to be used in mission work. But he disregarded this promise and never followed through. Every time he went to church services his conscience would remind him, ‘The calf must be sold!’ Still he did nothing about it.
     One Sunday he decided to go to an outdoor meeting in the rural community where he lived.
     As he approached, the people were singing an old familiar hymn, “The half has never yet been told.” Since the man’s conscience was still bothering him, he misunderstood the words and he thought he heard, “The calf has never yet been sold.” Running toward the group, he shouted, “Stop! Please stop singing! I know the calf has not yet been sold, but it will be tomorrow.”
     A conscience trained in accordance with God’s will can be of great help to us in many situations. It has prevented many a person from lying, cheating, stealing, etc.
     It is also wonderful to have a clear conscience. If your conscience is not clear you need to take the necessary steps to make it so.
     But you can reach the point in your life when your conscience no longer bothers you. It can become hardened or seared as with a hot iron. 1 Timothy 4:2- “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” This is a pitiable condition! Where it no longer bothers one that he is lost and in need of salvation.
     The dishonest person can get to the point that his conscience doesn’t bother him. The cheat, liar, adulterer, or meddler in other men’s matters can reach the same sad state.
     Be thankful for your conscience and always keep it trained correctly. Keep it clear by being a faithful Christian.

- Bob Clardy; via
The Contender, the weekly bulletin published by the Walnut Grove Church of Christ in Benton, KY.  Kevin Williams preaches for the congregation.  He may be contacted through the church's website: 

Little Things

By Bill Smith
    I was preaching in a gospel meeting at a rural church in southern Oklahoma, and staying in the nice farm house of an elder of that church, and his good wife. One morning while I was awaiting the arrival of the local preacher so we could make some visits in the community, I was enjoying a cup of coffee with my hostess. I asked her if she had been reared in the Lord’s church and she said she had not. Then she volunteered the story of her conversion.
    When she was a little girl, probably five or so, a neighbor lady asked her mother if she might take her to Bible school with her. Her mother didn’t mind her going to church but she did not want to be inconvenienced by it. So this good neighbor would keep her Saturday night, bathe and dress her, take her to church Sunday morning, and feed her lunch before returning her to her home that afternoon. This continued until one or the other moved away after several months, or maybe years.
    After this she said she joined her family in a religionless life, and later married a man who was also disinterested in spiritual things. But when their first child was born, her husband decided he did not want to rear their child a heathen, and he suggested they start going to church somewhere. He had no preference and asked her if she did. She told him about the good Christian neighbor who was so kind to her, and had taken her to the church of Christ in their little community. He was impressed by her story and they decided to visit the local church of the Lord. They found a group of good, friendly people who took an interest in them. They studied the Bible and were eventually baptized into Christ. Now her husband was an elder, and they were the backbone of that church at which I was holding the meeting. They had several sons who were deacons in churches elsewhere, and daughters whose families were faithful workers for the Lord.
    All this was the result of a good Christian woman showing love and concern for the soul of a little neighbor girl. And the woman never knew her efforts had turned out. This story convinced me that I should never underestimate the value of doing little things for the Lord, and then leaving it up to the Lord to make them big. “I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)

- Bill Smith; 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:

God's “GPS”

By C. M. Callan
     By now most everyone is familiar with the electronic gadget called a GPS.  GPS stands for Global Positioning System.  This electronic marvel not only tells you were you are on this earth, but it speaks to you in your language as well as showing your position on a map.  It will also give you directions to a new destination that you want to achieve.  It will then give you comments and commands along the way, with detailed instruction on when to turn and what road to take.  No need to stop and ask directions, this little box has the answer.
     It probably does not take a rocket scientist to understand where I am going with this.  What about  “God’s Positioning Scheme?”  God sent this to man long before there were microchips, orbiting satellites (man made) and cell phones.  God’s GPS, not only tells us where we are, it tells us where we need to go and how to get there, and also tells us where mankind has been and how they lost the way.  It speaks to us about our destination through God’s son, Christ Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-2).  After telling us where we need to go and how to get there, it also gives us a glimpse of what it will be like when we arrive (Revelations).
     God’s GPS does not run on batteries, the satellite signal is always on and the roads never change, it is always up to date.  All we have to do is, open its pages and let the inspired words permeate our psyche with profound words of wisdom.   The only maintenance fee is the energy we expend in our studies.  How difficult can that be?  Do you argue with your GPS when you are driving?  Why do we argue with God’s GPS, saying He did not really mean that?
     Want to go to heaven? Get tuned in to God’s Positioning Scheme..

- C. M.Callan
serves as an elder of the Church of Christ in Rotan, TX. He may be contacted at

Monday, November 19, 2012

Do Not Stop Halfway

By Allen Webster

     A painter was working atop a tall ladder that leaned against the second-story gable of a house.  A small boy discovered the ladder, and, as is natural for boys, began to climb.  His mother, missing her child, was shocked to find him halfway up the ladder.  As she stifled a scream, the painter looked down, saw the child, and instantly perceived the danger.
     Signaling the mother to be quiet, he calmly said, “Sonny, look up here to me, and keep climbing.”
     Rung by rung, he coaxed the boy ever higher: “Come on now, keep looking up, keep coming.”  At last the child was safe in his arms, and the painter carried him safely back to the ground.
     In a sense, each of us is somewhere on a ladder to heaven (cf. Genesis 28:132).  If we look down, we may be terrified.  If we look around, we may lose our balance.  God says, “Look up to me; look up, and you will never be dismayed by whatever is down there.”
     Let’s look up to Jesus, up to where our safety lies.  Look up, and keep climbing!

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”
(Hebrews 12:2).

- Allen Webster, 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: 

Is Baptism Essential to Salvation?

By Andrew Connally
    Every time you find baptism mentioned in the New Testament you find it placed before the blessing. For instance, Jesus said, "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," (Mark 16:16). Clearly faith and baptism precede salvation. And not one time does the bible ever have salvation coming before the baptism, not one. Yet the denominational preacher teaches just the opposite. They teach salvation always comes before the baptism. Isn't it amazing how a preacher's denominational training and bias causes him to reverse Jesus' order. If the Bible places baptism before salvation and it does (Mark 16:16), then who are we to deny that baptism must precede salvation. If the Bible ever says something one time it is as true as if God said it one thousand times. What the finger of God writes is forever bound by God's authority. God will not change it and man dare not change it.
    Every time you find baptism mentioned in the New Testament you find it placed before the blessing. For instance, Peter said, "repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto (for) the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Clearly repentance and baptism precede the remission of sins. And not one time does the Bible ever have remission of sins coming before baptism, not one. Yet the denominational preacher teaches just the opposite. They say remission of sins always comes before baptism. Isn't it amazing how a preacher's denominational training and bias causes him to reverse Peter's order. If the Bible places baptism before the remission of sins and it does (Acts 2:38), then who are we to deny that baptism must precede remission of sins. If the Bible ever says something one time it is as true as if God said it one thousand times. What the finger of God writes is forever bound by God's authority. God will not change it and man dare not change it.
    Neighbor would you like to see other blessings God has placed after baptism and not before? Then why not notice Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27; and 1 Peter 3:21. It might shock you as to the difference of what the Bible says and what you have been taught.
    Why not accept the truth and contact a gospel preacher to baptize you scripturally so you may receive the blessings of God and leave the error you may have accepted. May God bless you.

- Andrew Connally; 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:


For those of you that watch football and know what these terms mean this might be funny:

Quarterback Sneak – Church members quietly leaving during the invitation.

Draw Play – What many children do with the bulletin during worship.
Halftime – The period between Sunday school and worship when many choose to leave.
Benchwarmer – Those who do not sing, pray, work, or do anything but sit.
Backfield-in-motion – Making a trip to the back (restroom or water fountain) during the service.
Staying in the Pocket – What happens to a lot of money that should be given to the Lord’s work.
Two-minute Warning – The point at which you realize the sermon is almost over and begin to gather up your children and belongings.
Instant Replay – The preacher loses his notes and falls back on last week’s illustrations.
Sudden Death – What happens to the attention span of the congregation if the preacher goes “overtime.”
Trap – You’re called on to pray and are asleep.
End Run – Getting out of church quick, without speaking to any guest or fellow member.
Flex Defense – The ability to allow absolutely nothing said during the sermon to affect your life.
Halfback Option – The decision of 50% of the congregation not to return for the evening service.
Blitz – The rush for the restaurants following the closing prayer.

- via
The Lantern, Highway Church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  Visit their website as

Monday, November 12, 2012

Back to School

By Austin Johnson
     This summer has been incredible! But it has also been incredibly busy. What happened to the time when summers were a break and families rested and renewed their relationship together? It seems like today, and my family was as guilty as any, families are on the run just as much during the summer as they are during the school year. At this point most every child, high school and below are back in school. This will present families with another main course on their already full plate. So for the sake of our families let us be resolved to be different this school year. In a world where family time is dinner on the couch while watching television, choose to be different and sit down at the table together. Following is a list of tips for Christian families who are facing the stresses and strains of everyday life in 21st century America.

Eight Tips for Starting School:

1. Plan family time. The goal here is to set up a time when the entire family agrees to be together. No television, no sports, no distractions. Just time to be together and talk.
2. Put your kids in wholesome and uplifting situations. Your kids will be what you put around them so put them in situations where they can grow and mature in and for the Lord.
3. Do not allow your kids to be so involved with life that you have to sacrifice church involvement. Make it obvious to your children what is the most important thing to be involved in, the work of the church.
4. Plan ahead so your mornings will not be rushed. Frustration sets in easily when morning comes around too early so make it easier on yourselves, plan ahead.
5. If one is working outside of the home, leave the job at the workplace. Often time families cannot separate work and home. Make every effort to control one’s job instead of allowing ones job to be in control.
6. Eat a family dinner. Go ahead and clean off the dinner table and use it for what was bought for.
7. Decide to have a family devotional once a week. There is no bond in the world that ties anyone closer than that of our faith. What better way is there to discuss spiritual matters as a family?
8. Be flexible. Everyone knows that the tree that snaps in a windstorm is one that is too firm to bend a little with the wind. A healthy family is one who can bend and move with the storms of life.

- Austin Johnson serves as youth minister for the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Outlive Yourself

By Steve Higginbotham
     My wife and I just returned from a visit to Mt. Airy, NC, the home of Andy Griffith. Since we’re fans of the Andy Griffith show, we thought it would be fun to go to Mt. Airy, Andy’s real-life home town, and the model town for the fictional town of Mayberry. We went through the Andy Griffith Museum, took a few pictures, and headed home. Within hours, we learned that Andy Griffith had passed away.
     Since hearing the news of his passing, I listened to an interview he gave a couple years ago. The interviewer asked him if he could remember all the episodes of the Andy Griffith Show. Surprisingly to me, he said, “no.” Oh, he remembered many of them, had some favorites, but just didn’t remember all of them. I found that amazing because there are thousands of people across the country who remember every episode, can tell you what’s going to happen next, and even quote lines. But Andy, himself, couldn’t.
     That caused me to reflect on how our influence can long outlive our lives. Some of the episodes that Andy Griffith actually participated in were not remembered by him, but thousands of people who simply “looked on” remember every detail. What that tells me is that I had better be cautious about my words, attitudes, and actions. What I might say or do today, and forget about tomorrow, may never be forgotten by an “onlooker,” even long after I am dead and gone.
     The passing of Andy Griffith reminded of a truth spoken by the apostle Paul, “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself” (Romans 14:7). Make sure that the influence you have on others is the kind that you want to outlive you.

- Steve Higginbotham preaches for the Karns Church of Christ in Knoxville, TN. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at

The Land of Beginning Again

                By Louise Fletcher

I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all of our selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat by the door
And never be put on again.
I wish we could come on it all unaware
Like the hunter who finds a lost trail
And I wish that the one whom our blindness has done
The greatest injustice of all
Could be at the gates like an old friend that waits
For the comrade he's gladdest to hail.
We would find all the things we intended to do
But forgot, and remembered too late;
Little praises unspoken, little promises broken
And all of the thousand and one
Little duties neglected that might have perfected
The day for one less fortunate.
It wouldn't be possible not to be kind
In the Land of Beginning Again
And the ones we misjudged and the ones whom we grudged
Their moments of victory then
Would find in the grasp of our loving handclasp
More than penitent lips could explain.
For what had been hardest we'd know had been best
And what had seemed loss would be gain
For there isn't a sting that will not take a wing
When we've faced it and laughed it away,
And I think that the laughter is most what we're after
In the Land of Beginning Again.
So I wish that there were some wondered place
Called the Land of Beginning Again
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all of our selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
And never be put on again.

- Louise Fletcher; - via The Central Message, the weekly bulletin of the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  Jim Faughn serves as an elder and preacher for the congregation.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website at:

A Quick Comparison

By Ryan Thornsberry
     Romans 6:23 reads–For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    Ephesians 2:8-9 reads–For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.
     I hope we can see the contrast is between the “wages” of sin and the “gift” of God. I think it is important, from the onset, to remember that contrasts emphasize differences.
     First, Paul tells us of the “wages.” Many of us who have worked or are working this morning understand the concept of wages. Wages are payment for work done. Notice that something has to be done in order to “earn” the wage.
     Wages are depended upon the quality of work, quantity of work, and duration of work that is accomplished. Have you ever heard of someone refusing their check when it came payday? I guess that most of us feel that we have, in some way, “earned” it (I hope we feel/felt that way). But notice the contrast with God’s “gift.” A gift is a “given item.” There is nothing that can be done to earn a “gift.” It is given by the generosity of the one who wishes for me or you to have something. Notice that when we are given a gift, the act itself demonstrates that someone thinks highly of us. Can the same be said for God’s gift to us? Contrary to what we earn on this earth, we will never be worthy of God’s gift to us...the gift of Jesus.
     Next, I want us to consider the differences that these items have in our lives. Notice that we get what we “earn”–we sin, we “earn” death. If we choose to follow sin, act upon its enticements, and turn our backs upon God, we will have a disastrous outcome waiting for us. Death is a condition that we will have placed upon ourselves by our actions. God’s gift is a generous present to us that we do not deserve. Have you turned your back upon Christ this morning? Remember the phrase in Ephesians 2–“not of yourselves...lest any man should boast” There is nothing that we can do, there is no kindness that we can show, or thought that we can think that will make our production similar to God’s gift. The Bible tells us.
     God’s gift is from Him, by Him, to us,(you and me and all who will listen and obey his commandments). Man can’t take credit for this “gift,” but he can ignore it if he wants to. I pray that you are not one of those that ignore Christ.

- Ryan Thornsberry serves as an elder for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL. R. W. McAlister preaches for the congregation and may be contacted through the congregation's website: 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Run With Endurance

By Michael E. Brooks
     “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 123:1, NKJV).
     I am a dedicated sports fan.  Though I have my favorite sports to follow, I can usually enjoy almost any true established sport.  That is fortunate because the choice is limited when one is in Asia .  Sports channels are long on cricket and “football” (Americans read that as “soccer”).    There is very little baseball, basketball, or American football shown over here.
     One sport that is televised, which I enjoy watching, is tennis.  This week the French Open, one of the four “majors” in tennis began.  Almost every week a professional tennis tournament is held somewhere for the top players.  Most of them feature matches in which the winner takes two out of three sets.
     But four times a year, during the majors, the men play a “best of five sets” format.  That means the winner must win three sets.  Frequently the first four sets are “split” and the match goes the full distance.
     Five sets of tennis is a real grind.  Such matches can easily last four to five hours.  There are limited breaks, and the play is continuous.  In the majors, fitness can be almost as big an issue as skill.  Many writers and preachers before me have noted the obvious: the Christian life is not a spring, but it is a marathon.  Speed is not the most important quality for a runner to have.  Endurance is far more critical.  This is the reason for Paul’s admonitions:
 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).
 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
     Paul and the Hebrew writer between them give several keys to a successful run, all of which help build and reward our endurance.
     First, the Hebrew writer tells us to rid ourselves of all distractions and encumbrances.  A good athlete does not carry anything unnecessary in his pursuit of victory.  He may train with extra weights or accessories, but in the race these are all left behind.
     So in the Christian race, distractions and weights (sins) rob us of strength and take away our reserves.  We get tired more quickly and our run is hindered.
     Second, Paul speaks of the importance of morale.  We must not lose heart.  As soon as one begins to think he will be defeated, his loss is assured.  The Christians’ heart is called hope.  So long as we live and work in hope we can keep our spirits and our confidence high and do our very best.  “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Romans 8:25).
     Third, we are reminded of the importance of concentrating on the prize.  We are to work on, knowing that “our labor is not in vain.”  No reward compares with that which Jesus has in store for those who are faithful.
     “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only, but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
     If we love His appearing, we will endure that we may receive that crown.  The race can be run, and it can be won, if we press onward toward the goal (Philippians 3:14).

- 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

An Impractical Prayer?

By Bill McCormick

    Prayers are often led in our assemblies    lamenting the deplorable state of morals and spirituality in our country. The ones offering the prayers sometimes express the hope that “somebody will do something about it,” or that there will be a return to biblical standards in our nation. Rarely do these prayers specify who that somebody is, or what would motivate the nation to return to its religious foundation.
    We need to clearly understand that there is only one valid system of morality and spirituality, and that it is found in the New Testament. We also need to realize that Jesus has given His church the job of making that teaching known at home and abroad (Mt. 28:19,20; Mk. 16:15, 16). The church is the God-ordained  institution that is supposed to “do something about it.” through the preaching of the gospel, we are the ones whose job it is to motivate the nation to return to its religious underpinnings.
    In I John 3:18. John said, “Little children, let us not love with word or tongue, but in deed and truth.” It is perfectly legitimate to pray for the spiritual welfare of the nation. But let us also pray that the church will perform its divine mission to promote that welfare. Let us also individually and congregationally become more active in applying the only solution to the problem.

- Bill McCormick; 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:

“Such A Good Preacher”

 By Alan W. Fonville
    I first remember hearing the above statement when I was quite young as I tried to point out the error in so many denominational preachers. As you started to show their teachings regarding “baptism,” for instance, they would come back at you with, “but, he's such a good preacher.” I guess that was to mean that since he was such a good preacher, he was immune from being in error? Through the years since then, I heard the same statement many times in relation to gospel preacher. And, sometimes, it was the end of the discussion.
    The very disturbing thing about that statement, since we now have so many “good preachers,” is the fact that I finally realized the truth of the matter. People equate a good orator with “truthfulness.” If he has a good voice and can persuade the audience, he is considered to be a “good preacher,” whether or not he can speak the truth. This was well demonstrated when the Jews brought along Tertullus, their best “orator,” when Paul was brought before Felix to defend himself (Acts 24). He had a way with words and was very “smooth,” yet, the whole truth was not presented.
    We have some “good sounding” preachers in the world around us. Billy Graham was a good preacher in their sight. Oral Roberts was a good preacher. Jerry Falwell was a good preacher. Pat Robertson, J. Frank Norris, Charles Spurgeon, T.L. Wilkinson and many others have been good orators. The point which I would like to make clear at this time is how wrong I have been in stopping short on my arguments when that statement was made. Instead of taking and running with it, the matter was discontinued. Shame on me!
    Every one of the above listed “good preachers were not. And, how can I say that about such well known men? Listen to me carefully; when a man professing to speak for Almighty God refuses to preach the “whole counsel” of God, he is NOT a good preacher. Each of those men which I listed have been well documented as to refusing to teach on certain subjects, or they have twisted the scriptures to mean something different from what the text actually means. Any time that happens to any man, he is not a good preacher, or does he speak for God.
    Jesus Christ gave us the best example. He spoke the very words which God have him to speak. During his ministry he often declared, “I come to do thy will, Oh God.” This should be the attitude of every “good preacher”. But, we see in the Lord's kingdom today, men who profess to be ministers of God, who are actually serving themselves and keeping their jobs. Some of these men openly refuse to teach on certain subjects for fear of their jobs. Others refuse to preach on them because it is a “controversial subject,” as Graham has said so many times.
    But, in the present apostasy of the Lord's body, it is especially heart-breaking to see so many of our members defend as preacher who refrains his tongue form certain subjects by saying, “but he is such a good preacher”. When our preachers fail to teach the truth about “fellowship,” as 2 John 9-11 and Ephesians 5:11 and Romans 16:17 teach us, it matters not how eloquent their speeches may sound, they are not a “good preacher”. When they refuse to speak the truth of God about marriage and divorce, fornication, adultery, covetousness, the seriousness of “vow keeping,” immodesty, drinking, use of drugs, homosexuality, stealing, lasciviousness, witchcraft, seditions, heresies and a host of other things which disgrace the Kingdom of Christ, they are definitely not “good preachers,” regardless of how smooth they sound.
    By our continued “fellowship” with them, it is contrary to the command which God gave us, mentioned above. It makes us guilty right along with the sins of others when we “go along to get along,” rather than to rebuke, reprove and exhort them. Some may become our enemies, but, we have obeyed God in our efforts.

- Alan W. Fonville; 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:

Do You Smell That?

By Austin Johnson
     Do you smell that? If I could have had a dime for every time someone said that I would be a rich man! Have you ever thought about how strong our sense of smell is? Think about the last time you walked in to a Subway—What was the first thing you noticed? The smell! Our sense of smell can trigger real life memories.
     This past weekend I was reminded of one of my favorite smells in the world. Brianne and I were visiting my parents in Richmond, KY, and Mom had all sorts of food cooking in the kitchen. There were about 20 people over for lunch, and, as the food was being prepared, I noticed that familiar smell of food and family!
     What a blessing—having noses to smell that help us experience life. Paul understood how strong our sense of smell is. In 2 Corinthians 2:14 he said, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” (emphasis added) Just like Subway and my mom’s cooking, there is a distinct fragrance of the knowledge of God. This word “fragrance” is one used often in the Old Testament in reference to pleasing sacrifices to the Lord (Genesis 8:21; Exodus 29:25, 41; Numbers 15:3). Christ is already mentioned as the ultimate sacrifice, and here Paul is suggesting that through the sacrifice of our lives we become the distinct fragrance of God.
     Paul goes on to say in verses 15-16, “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” (emphasis added) Not everyone is willing to accept this sacrificial life. So for some our “fragrance” is the scent of death, but to others it is life!
     So do you smell that? What is your fragrance suggesting about you? Are you sacrificing yourself daily for the Father or living selfishly?

- Austin Johnson serves as youth minister for the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:


The Lord’s Supper

By David R. Ferguson

     Partaking of the Lord’s Supper is a very important action when we come together as brothers and sisters in Christ.  While it is true the Lord is with us always, the Supper is a very special, intimate time that we share with our Lord.  As we partake of the Lord’s Supper we bear witness to the body of believers in Christ.  No one is inferior, and no one is superior.  We are all one in Christ.  The ground is always level at the foot of the cross of Jesus.  When we gather at His Table we recall the gift that brought us here.  This backward glance is not a moment of despondency.  It is not a moment of self-deprecation.  The Cross was not a moment of defeat for Jesus.  Rather, it was a moment of glorification.  We recall this as His crowning moment in life.  When we remember not only the Cross but all of Jesus’ ministry, then we remember the depth of God’s love for us.  The Cross is the revelation of love (John 3:16; 1 John 3:16).  At the Table I remember that, like the woman caught in adultery and the thief who hung beside the Lord, I am not condemned! When we look backward we see reason to celebrate the victory of God.
     By sitting at God’s Table we also look forward to the future.  We truly experience the Presence of the risen Christ at the Table, but we also proclaim that His resurrection leads to a time when He will return.  In the Supper we have a foretaste of the gloriousness of what Heaven will be like.  At the Table of the Lord all the saints of old are gathered in communion with us in anticipation of when we will literally sit at the great banquet in the age to come, once Jesus has gathered all of us home to be with Him.  John gives us a glimpse of this “wedding supper of the Lamb” in Revelation 19:9.

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: