Sunday, June 25, 2023

What Are You Worth?

By Al Behel


“...while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)

    A few years ago a politician legally changed his name to “Absolutely Nobody”. He was trying to convey a message that the office for which he was running should be eliminated. There are lots of people who see themselves as “nobodies”. Perhaps they consider that to be humility, or that they have achieved so little in life, or that no one really cares about them.

    A few years ago the daily news was filled with stories of greed and avarice which resulted in the loss of countless jobs and billions of dollars. In the middle of this crisis we learned of executives whose income ranges from $25 million to more than $3 billion. Frankly, I don’t believe anyone’s work is worth $25 million a year, to say nothing of the absurdity of someone making billions off someone else’s money.

    On the other hand, there is a sense in which the worth of an individual cannot be calculated in monetary values. When we look at what God has done to redeem us and save us from the condemnation of sin, we get a different picture. It is not because of the work we do for Him, but because of the value of the soul within us.

    We tend to estimate one’s worth by how much money he has or by the titles he holds, or by how good an athlete he is. Some are gauged by the important things they do for others. But, we need to realize that our true value lies in how important we are to God. God has declared our value by creating us in His image (Genesis 1:27), and by the gift of His only Son to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

    When one refuses to live up to his created purpose or to accept a new identity through Jesus he may accumulate millions of dollars in his bank account and still live in spiritual poverty. He is very, very poor. All his material wealth will be left behind and he will present to God empty handed. Jesus asked a penetrating question for all of us to consider, “What is a man profited if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

- Al Behel served the Great Smoky Mountains Church of Christ in Pigeon Forge, TN, for many years prior to this death in April 2022. The congregation may be contacted through their website -

Choose Wisely

By Ron Thomas


They that forsake the law praise the wicked; But such as keep the law contend with them (Proverbs 28:4, ASV).


    How can this be? Consider the “law” in view is the law of God. As James wrote, but he that looketh into the perfect law, the [law] of liberty, and [so] continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing. (James 1:25). Since the “law” is of God, those who obey Him will, necessarily, praise His name by the life they choose to live. Those who choose some other way to live, necessarily, praise the wicked. How can this be?

    Those who choose to live without God give praise to the wicked by living life that does not have its foundation in the Almighty, in God’s teachings. With this choice in life made, they have considered God and have chosen to turn away from Him. What this amounts to, perhaps unbeknownst to those who have done so, is that they have chosen to believe God is a liar concerning that which is best in life. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son (1 John 5:10, ESV).

    They also begin to support those who have also turned away from the Lord. When one wanders away from the Lord, to whom shall they go? They go to the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4.4). In truth, there are only two paths in life for people to take. As each comes to the proverbial “fork in the road,” they must choose which path to take. If they have not rejected Jesus outright, but have chosen something else, intending on coming back to Jesus (many actually think like this), they have made their choice. It will do no good to say “I am only putting it off for a while, in order for me to get my life straight” because by putting Jesus off for another day means one has made a choice today – and it is not Jesus.

    Making a choice for what is wise is easy to do (at least in theory), but it is hard to do because many things may have to be given up. What do you value more? choose wisely.

- Ron Thomas preaches for the Church of Christ at Rio Grande in Bidwell, OH. He may be contacted at

Jesus, the Uniter

By David R. Ferguson


    The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 3:26-29 [Simple English]: “You were all immersed into Christ. So, you were all clothed with Christ. You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Now, in Christ, there is no difference between Jew and non-Jew, between slave and free, between male and female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus. You belong to Christ. Therefore, you are Abraham's descendants. You receive all of God's blessings because of the promise.”

    Jesus prayed for unity among His followers when He said in John 17:21 (Simple English), saying, “May all of them be united, just as You are in Me and I am in You. I pray that they will be in Us, so that the people of the world may believe that You sent Me.”

    When we become a child of God, we become a joint heir with Christ and His riches (Ephesians 1:5 and 14; Ephesians 3:6; Galatians 4:7). God wants peace to reign in His family. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:9 and Mark 3:25 (Simple English), “People who make peace are happy, because they will be called the sons of God. If a family is divided and fights against itself, that family will not be able to stand.”

    Jesus also taught in John 3:16 (Simple English) that all people, regardless of one’s background, were welcome into His Kingdom: "God loved the people of the world so much that He gave up His only Son. Every person who commits himself to Jesus will not be destroyed. Instead, that person will have eternal life." Jesus’ message of salvation is available to all, and He tears down the walls of separation that exist between us. This is why Paul could write to a master regarding his runaway slave, “Perhaps this is why Onesimus was separated for a while. Now you can have him back forever. Onesimus is not really a slave anymore. No, he is more than a slave; he is a dear brother – especially to me. But this is even more true for you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord” (Philemon 1:15-16, [Simple English]).

    When we keep our eyes and hearts focused upon Jesus and lift Him up as our Redeemer and personal Savior, our house will truly be in one accord. The Body of Christ, which is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23), will be the example our Father wants us to be! The world will then know that God our Heavenly Father sent Jesus, for they will know us by our love we hold for one another: “You must have love for one another. This is how everyone will know that you are My followers” (John 13:35 [Simple English]).

    May we all be one unified body of believers in Christ!

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Mentor Church of Christ in Mentor, OH.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: or

What Time Is It?

By Joe Slater


And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high

time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is

nearer than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).

    Saturdays and Sundays used to be my opportunities to “sleep in.” School was out, and church wasn’t a priority. On school days, however, my parents would say, “It’s time to get up! You don’t want to be late for school.”

    Some of the Christians to whom Paul wrote in Romans needed to wake up! Physical sleep wasn’t the problem; Paul used sleep as a metaphor for their spiritual lethargy.

    Who knows why they had become sluggish? Being the capital of the empire, the city of Rome contained every vice, every philosophy, and every strange religion you can imagine. Christians might well struggle to stay true to the gospel. How should they interact with different religious groups? What should their relationship to the government be? How should they treat fellow Christians and people in general? Wrestling with such issues can make you tired and sleepy!

    Paul exhorts: “Wake up!” Why? Because “now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” This salvation refers not to our initial cleansing at baptism, but our ultimate salvation when the Lord takes us to Heaven. Paul wasn’t saying that Jesus’ return was imminent, but our departure to be with Christ (Philippians 1:23) draws nearer every day.

    Our challenges aren’t identical to those of the Romans, but vice and false religions confront us too. And the same lethargy infects us, especially after we’ve been in Christ several years. Time draws shorter for each of us every day. That being so, may God help us to wake up!

- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Easter Sunday

By Jeff Arnette


    Easter is one of the most important and celebrated events in the Christian calendar. This holiday is focused on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, which is considered the cornerstone of the Christian faith. The resurrection of Jesus is a powerful symbol of hope, new beginnings, and victory over death. In this article, we will explore the significance of Easter and what it means for Christians around the world.

    The story of Easter begins with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. He was condemned to death by the Roman authorities and was crucified on a cross. According to the Gospels, Jesus died and was buried in a tomb. However, on the third day after his death, his followers found the tomb empty, and he appeared to them alive. This event is known as the resurrection and is celebrated on Easter Sunday.

    The resurrection of Jesus is significant for several reasons. First, it confirms that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. His resurrection proved that he had power over death and that he was the promised Messiah who had come to save humanity. Second, the resurrection is a symbol of hope and new life. It reminds Christians that death is not the end, and that there is a new and better life awaiting us beyond the grave. This message of hope is particularly important in times of despair and uncertainty.

    Easter is also a time of reflection and renewal. For Christians, this is a time to reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins and to renew our commitment to living a life that is pleasing to God. This is a time to examine our own lives and to make changes that will bring us closer to God and to each other.

    In many parts of the world, Easter is celebrated with colorful decorations, music, and feasting. Eggs are a traditional symbol of Easter, representing new life and rebirth. In some cultures, Easter eggs are painted and hidden for children to find. In others, eggs are exchanged as gifts. Easter is also a time for families to come together and celebrate, often with special meals and gatherings.

    In addition to Easter Sunday, there are several other important events that led up to Easter. The period of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, is a time of fasting, prayer, and repentance. During this time, Christians are encouraged to give up something that is important to them, such as food or a favorite activity, as a way of showing their devotion to God.

    Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday, is another important part of the Easter celebration. This is the week that commemorates the events leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Holy Week includes Maundy Thursday, which commemorates the Last Supper, and Good Friday, which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus.

    In conclusion, Easter is a time of celebration, reflection, and renewal for Christians around the world. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a powerful symbol of hope, new beginnings, and victory over death. This holiday reminds us of the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins and encourages us to renew our commitment to living a life that is pleasing to God. Whether we celebrate with family and friends or in quiet reflection, Easter is a time to remember the significance of the resurrection and the message of hope that it brings.

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Sunday, June 18, 2023

His Mother Mary

By Clifton Angel


Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18).


    Scouring information in my digital library concerning Mary, the mother of Jesus, I found some fascinating thoughts of the reality of her motherhood:


1. She was of the creation, but she had the Creator within her.

2. She gave birth to the One who had no beginning.

3. She gave life to “the Life” (John 14:6).

4. Her eyes were the first to see the Maker of eyes.

5. Her ears were the first to hear the voice that spoke the universe into being.

6. Her hand first touched the fingers that formed Adam from the dust of the earth.

7. She changed the Changeless One.

8. She taught words to the Word.

9. She fed the Bread of Life.

10. She healed the hurts of the One who would ... heal hearts.

11. She showed the healer of cripples how to walk.

12. She will at last be judged by Him, but he was first taught by her.

    I wish that I could provide you the name of the one who compiled these twelve wonderful truths; however, no name was attached to the document.

    For every mother who has ever thought that rearing a child would be a daunting task, Mary is a tremendous example. For every mother who has ever been overwhelmed by the duty of motherhood, Mary is a prominent example. For every mother who has ever experienced the disappearance of their child, Mary is a relatable example. For every mother who has worried her child might be in danger, Mary is a continual example. For every mother who has ever experienced the death of her own child, Mary is a comforting example. She is the motherly example that we will consider in our morning worship.

- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website:

Mother’s Day

By David R. Ferguson


    Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers here at Mentor Church of Christ. Mother’s Day is a day we set aside for celebrating motherhood and thanking mothers. Mothers often receive gifts on this occasion, and it’s one of the busiest days for the Post Office each year. In fact, in 1973 the United States Post Office was so deluged that they were held up for eight days due to the exorbitant amount of mail being sent out to mothers all around the country.

    Various countries around the globe celebrate Mother’s Day at different times of the year because it has a number of different origins. Some believe it originated in Greece with the mother worship of Cybele and Rhea. Cybele was a mother to the great gods, and Rhea was the wife of Cronus, a leader of the Titans, the forebears to the Greek gods of Olympus. A festival to Cybele was held between March 15 and March 18, so the people of Asia Minor believe that the custom of Mother’s Day began with them.

    Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent in the United Kingdom, which comes in late March or early April. Although it has been celebrated for centuries, the origin of this ritual is unknown. Tradition has it that their masters released young apprentices that weekend in order to visit their families. There is some speculation that it is possible Mothering Sunday derived its roots from a Druid pagan practice occurring during the spring vernal equinox honoring the goddess of fertility.

    In most countries around the world, Mother’s Day celebrating is a relatively new concept copied directly from western civilization. African countries tend to follow the pattern established by the United Kingdom, while East Asian nations model, promote and commercialize their holiday straight from the United States of America.

    The Bible is replete with many stories showing the love and devotion of mothers. Nothing on this Earth is as wonderful to see and to know as a Christian mother, and we are greatly blessed here at Mentor with many wonderful ladies! The wise writer said, "A gracious woman obtaineth honor," and "A worthy woman is the crown of her husband" (Proverbs 11:16a; Proverbs 12:4a). How true are these words! May we always be mindful and treat with the utmost of respect our mothers, our wives, and our friends and sisters in Christ every day of the year.

    So happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers who are reading this today! May God bless you! And may you be instrumental in leading your children to the Lord.

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Mentor Church of Christ in Mentor, OH.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: or

Jesus’ Family Tree

By Joe Slater


    Someone said, “Don’t shake the family tree too hard because some fruits and nuts may fall out!” I’ve found that to be true in my own family history research, and it holds true in the genealogy of Jesus too.

    I wonder how many people, as they begin reading the New Testament, just skip over the first seventeen verses of Matthew. Whew! All those begats! All those difficult names! Why do we care about them anyway?

    Among many other reasons, we ought to learn about those people because they show that our God uses less- than-perfect people to accomplish His perfect will.

    Human wisdom would have Messiah’s family tree filled with pure, spotless ancestors. Some people think we shouldn’t even mention the character flaws exhibited by some in Jesus’ pedigree. However, doing so isn’t disrespectful; it’s honest! Scripture portrays even it’s heroes “warts and all.”

    “Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar” (Matthew 1:3). Tamar had been the wife of Judah’s two sons, both of whom died. Judah didn’t keep his promise to give her to his younger son when he came of age, so Tamar dressed like a harlot and duped Judah into getting her pregnant. Despite their obvious moral failures God used these people to bring Messiah into the world.

    “Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab” (Matthew 1:5). Rahab’s background as a Gentile and a harlot in no way prevented God from accomplishing His will despite her flaws.

    “David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah” (Matthew 1:6). We all know the sad and sordid account of David and Bathsheba. But despite their glaring defects they are listed in Jesus’ genealogy.

    This doesn’t excuse anyone’s sin or make it ok! Quite to the contrary, it demonstrates the universal need for a Savior. Jesus came to save sinners. That includes His own blood kin. And it includes you.

- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Who is a Mother?

By Bill Brandstatter


    Motherhood is very beautiful. William Goldsmith Brown once stated, “The sweetest sounds to mortals given are heard in mother, home, and heaven.” Abe Lincoln said, “All that I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother.”

    Society, however, has changed the concept of motherhood. Now we hear terms like: “two mommies,” and “my baby’s momma” to describe situations that are different from God’s original intentions for motherhood. Let us look at who is a mother from the Biblical perspective.

    A mother is not just a woman who has offspring. That is the dictionary definition. It is, however, not totally accurate. A mother is one whose chief aim is “watch over the ways of her household.” (Prov. 31:27; Titus 2:4-5) A woman needs to consider the responsibility of being a mother before she ever has children. Unfortunately, many young women, in a moment of lust and momentary pleasure, create children and do not consider the cost.

    A mother is not a female who has a paper from the government saying she is a mother. This is the situation with same-sex couples. God never intended same-sex couples to be parents. The first example of parents is Adam and Eve. The Bible tells us “He created male and female.” (Gen. 5:2) That is God’s original married couple. From that couple came Cain and Abel. (Gen. 4:1, 2) That was God’s original father and mother.

    The ideal situation of motherhood involves a man and woman who are married. That couple has children. The woman is a mother and the man is a father. This is God’s ideal. Keeping the home and guiding it is non-negotiable for a Christian woman. (Titus 2:2-5; 1 Tim. 5:14) Children of a worthy woman rise up and call her blessed. (Prov. 31:28) Paul, in describing the woman’s place in God’s plan, writes in 1 Tim. 2:15, “She will be saved in childbearing.” It should be a joy to be a mother. (John 16:21) A woman’s highest calling is to be a mother. “Children are a heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psa. 127:3)

Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

The Plan of Salvation

By Jeff Arnette


    The Lord’s plan of salvation is an important subject that we need to be more comfortable with. What I mean is that we need to have a strong enough foundation with each step so that we can present the plan in its entirety, but also answer the questions that will naturally arise in our discussions with others.

    The Lord’s plan of salvation is not some new idea created by the Church of Christ in the 17th century. Instead, it is explicitly stated in the pages of the Bible itself. Each step is biblical, Spirit inspired, and necessary for your salvation. Please don’t minimize them or reduce them to something less than the Lord’s Plan. Eternity hangs in the balance and that is far too important to brush aside as insignificant.

    Here is a brief introduction to each step and the Bible verses that support the step. The importance of this is not in my words, but the words of God. Thus, it’s imperative that you take the time to read each passage and consider the Lord’s words carefully. As you begin let me encourage you to have your Bible open and then pray about what you are studying. Ask the Lord for the help that only he can provide and let the word of God be your guide as you embark on this study.


The Plan of Salvation.


1. Hear the gospel message of your salvation – John 6:44-45; Rom. 10:14, 17.


2. Put your faith in Jesus and his sacrifice for your sins – John 3:16; 8:24; Mark 16:16; Acts 16:31.


3. Make the choice to change your life and live for Jesus – Luke 13:1-5; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 2 Cor. 7:10.


4. Confess your new faith in Jesus with your voice and actions – Matt. 10:32-33; Luke 9:26; Acts 8:36-37.


5. Be baptized in water for the forgiveness of your sins – Acts 2:38-39; Mark 16:16; Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Peter 3:21.

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Be a Man!

By Ron Thomas


Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong (1 Cor. 16:13,ASV).

    Just what does Paul mean when he writes what he did? First, be on your guard. The servants of Satan are going about seeking who they could devour. (1 Peter 5:8). As they do this, they have many schemes they will certainly utilize (2 Cor. 2:11). Those who do not know the Lord as He needs to be known, and I am speaking of Christians, they soon will be deceived, then devoured.

    Second, to stand fast in the faith is to be anchored in the Lord, always going about doing the work of the Lord. Paul wrote to the brethren in the previous chapter, Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord (15:58). To stand fast in the faith is more than having a commitment, it is also gaining knowledge of the Lord's way, educating your mind to be better informed about holiness and those things and efforts others make to knock you on your backside and keep you down. Wherefore be ye not foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph. 5:17).

    Third, "quit you like men" is a term that speaks to courage. It is the hallmark of a male to be courageous when that which he loves is threatened. It is certainly to be this way when it comes to his family, even more so when it comes to the Lord! It also speaks to maturity, that is, one is no longer a child easily tossed to and fro on the seas of confusion.

    Fourth, associated with courage is to be strong in the Lord. The Lord told Joshua: Be strong and of good courage; for thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land which I swear unto their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest (Joshua 1:6-7).

    While Paul used the male gender to make his point (a point easily understood by those not confused with ideas from secular society), the application belongs to both the male and female. When difficulties arise in your life, as they surely will, will you stand firm? You will if you stand on the firm-foundation of the Lord Jesus.

- Ron Thomas preaches for the Church of Christ at Rio Grande in Bidwell, OH. He may be contacted at

How many churches did Christ Build?

By Wes Garland


    Remarkably, everyone in the religious world realizes that there is a church found in the Bible. But what church that is is where people begin making misapplication. The religious world believes in a particular belief that all churches that are in existence make up the church that you read in the Bible. This is known as the ecumenical movement. They teach that it doesn’t matter what belief, practice, worship, or name you call yourself, it does make you another church, but that every church makes up that church you see in the New Testament. In other words, you are just another piece of the big pie. They teach it as unity in diversity, which is a contradiction by definition and terminology. Is this true? Are there multiple churches that make up the church you read in the Bible.

    There are multiple ways to show what the Bible teaches about this. One of which Is the usage of the definite article “THE”. When the definite article “THE” is used, it pinpoints specific rather than using the indefinite article “A” or “AN” that shows generic. We see this usage in Matthew 16:19 when it says, “The Kingdom”. We also see this in Acts 2:47 when it says, “The church” and in Ephesians 5:23-25 where it says “The church” two times and “The body” once. There are multiple other passages that we can look at, but these will suffice. Another way of seeing how many churches is found in the Bible is by looking at the numerical usage in the text. What I mean by this seeing if he Bible uses the words as plural or singular in usage. For instance, in Matthew 16:18, Jesus uses the word “CHURCH” and not “churches”. We also see in Acts 2:47 that Luke records that the Lord added to the “CHURCH” daily. We also see in Ephesians 1:22-23 that Paul uses the word “CHURCH” and “BODY” when speaking of the church. But why is this important? It is important that in its infancy state, God only told of THE CHURCH because there was only ONE that He established. Even though the world may be saying that there are numerous churches in existence, only ONE is His body, His church, and His kingdom.

    Let me ask you a question, do you think that our Lord knows which church is His among all these other churches? ABSOLUTELY! If you are the one that built something, you know which one you built! You can see this understanding in Matthew 16:18 when the Lord said, “I will build MY church”. He says, in Ephesians 5:23 that “CHRIST is THE HEAD of the church, and He is THE SAVIOR of the body”. He even says in Ephesians 1:22-23, that the church that He is over is “HIS body” and “THE FULLNESS of Him who fills all in all”. When the Lord gives us the 7 ones in Ephesians 4, we see that He states that there is only “ONE BODY”. When the Lord has spoken, there is no more discussion, justification, or room for thought. The Lord made very clear where He stands on the matter of this question. He only built ONE church that we will have to be a member of to go to Heaven (1 Cor. 15:24, Eph. 5:23). My prayer for everyone is that they will do what they need to do to have the eternal reward in Heaven. But to have this, everyone will have to make that decision to be part of the church that is found in the Bible.

    Are you a member of the church that you read about in the Bible?

- Wesley Garland preaches for Warners Chapel church of Christ in Clemmons, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

For All to See

By David Sargent


    Tom Moore recently wrote about the life of J.C. Hall…

    Born to poor parents, J.C. Hall was quickly put to work, mostly in sales, to help keep himself and his family afloat. Along with his brothers, he began selling postcards in Norfolk, Nebraska. But the postcard business wasn’t thriving there. So, with little else than a couple of shoe boxes of postcards, he moved to Missouri to start afresh. Full of innovative ideas, he moved on from postcards to greeting cards. When the store from which he operated burned down in 1915, he and his brothers invested in an engraving business and began printing their own cards.

    But it wasn’t just the quality of the cards that burgeoned the business. It was Hall’s groundbreaking idea to move the cards from behind the counters, where clerks would pick an “appropriate” card for the customer, out into display cases where customers could see them, handle them, and admire them.

    By the time he died in 1982, Hall had turned two shoe boxes of postcards into a multi-billion dollar company known as Hallmark.

    Says the Hallmark corporate website, “J.C. Hall took greeting cards out of drawers in retail stores, and into displays that let shoppers see all their choices, dramatically changing the way cards were merchandised.”

    Moore then makes this application:  God did the same thing when He sent Jesus Christ into the world. That’s when the Word of Life was moved from “behind the counters” of prophecy, “out of the drawers” of prediction, and placed in the “display case” of the first century for all the world to see, handle and admire. Today we have this wonderful display of our Lord in the New Testament. *

    The Apostle John testified: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the Word of life – the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us” (1 John 1:1-2).

    God “was put on display” – He became flesh and dwelt among us (incarnated) – so that:

·                   * Man might come to know God more fully (John 1:14,18),

·                   * That we may understand that God knows us all (Hebrews 4:14-16),

·                   * And so that we can be saved through Jesus (Hebrews 2:17-18).

    ONLY the sinless Son of God could be the perfect sacrifice to atone for the sins which condemn us.  “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” – 1 Timothy 2:5-6

Jesus will save those who accept His offer on His terms by placing their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  Then, as we walk in the light of His Word, His blood continues to cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

    Jesus came into the World for all to see God and the know the Way to “seeing” God for eternity (John 14:6).

    Won’t YOU accept His offer of salvation and eternal life by trusting and obeying Him today?

- 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:

* Tom Moore, “For All to See,” 6/27/13,

My Body

By Brian Mitchell


     A young lady, a senior in High School, once shared the following statement with her Sunday morning Bible class. “When we date, we start giving each other gifts, like candy and flowers. When a couple gets engaged, they give more special things—like a diamond and other personal things. However, the most personal gift I can ever give is myself. When I marry I want to give my husband the best that I have—I want to give him myself, my whole self as completely as I can.”

    If only there were more young people like this young woman in the world today. When it came to keeping herself pure until marriage, this young woman had it right. This does not mean that everyone would agree with her sentiment. When it comes to sexual beliefs and practices in our society, it is amazing how far removed from biblical reality many of them are. What is especially alarming is the continued decrease in the age of those who are sexually active.

    Five years ago, the American Journal of Sociology, published the results of a study conducted among 832 High School students. 573 of those students confessed to having at least one sexual encounter in the last year. There were 288 students involved in a network of encounters among one another. 31% of girls had gotten pregnant at least once before turning 20.

    According to a CDC report from 2005 nearly 10% of high school students surveyed admitted to having a sexual relationship before the age of 13. There are a reported 19 million new cases of STDS reported each year and half of those occur in individuals age 15-24. What is truly sad is the fact that 40% of those surveyed believed that the pill protected them from such diseases.

    If you are a parent or grandparent, I hope these numbers scare you, and they should. I know that this kind of subject is not very popular among us. But although this might be an uncomfortable subject, the statistics don’t lie. The truth is the truth and thus we must talk about sex and other uncomfortable subjects if we are to honor God.

    Are there any here struggling with sexual temptations? I don’t know of any for certain but the statistics tell me I would be foolish to believe otherwise. And even if none here are struggling with this, as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Thus, we need to talk about such issues before they become issues rather than after they do. We can do something about a problem before it happens, we can just pick up the pieces after it does. Which sounds better to you?

- Brian Mitchell serves as a minister with the Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at

We Pledge Our Sacred Honor

By Al Behel


We must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29)

    When the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 its founders were declaring independence from an earthly power while making a clear declaration of dependence upon Almighty God. The closing words of this historic document declares solemnly:

‘With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

    The founding fathers of this nation recognized the need for divine guidance. Relying on the providence of God they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to the mutual good of the citizens of this new nation. Their declaration was one of dependence on God while exercising freedom from foreign domination.

    Pledging allegiance to our national flag represents our mutual commitment to preserve our sacred honor under divine leadership and guidance. We recognize the position God holds far above governmental leaders and that all nations stand or fall as He wills.

    As Christians our allegiance extends beyond flags and declarations of independence. Our God is supreme over all nations, all peoples, and all cultures. He stands untouched by the corruption and greed of rulers gone bad, or governments whose leaders refuse to bow before Him. Arsenals of mass destruction pale under His power. Our allegiance is to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

- Al Behel served the Great Smoky Mountains Church of Christ in Pigeon Forge, TN, for many years prior to this death in April 2022. The congregation may be contacted through their website -

Friday, June 2, 2023

Hidden Nuggets

By David R. Ferguson


    Years ago, Carey and I took a vacation to Colorado. We stopped along the way to spend some time admiring the view before us as a stream cascaded down the mountainside. Colorado is arguably one of the most beautiful spots on God’s Earth, and the vista was breathtakingly spectacular! As we walked along the way taking in the wonders of God’s creation before us, I stumbled over a rock that was in my path. I picked it up and took it with us, and it was only later that I discovered that within that rock were some hidden nuggets of gold.

    Sometimes when we read the Bible we tend to gloss over certain sections, deeming them to be of little value to us. Yes, we can see the big picture of God’s love spread out before us, but sometimes we stumble over portions that are right before our feet. But even in those portions of Scripture we initially deem tiresome and tedious can be found some hidden gold nuggets of immense value to those who love the Lord.

    Take, for example, the following written by the Apostle Paul. In Philippians 2:25-30 [RSV] Paul writes, “I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all, and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy; and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete your service to me.”

    The members of the congregation in Philippi were deeply concerned about the Apostle Paul while he was in custody and awaiting trial in Rome. Out of tremendous appreciation for his work of bringing them the gospel, they sent Paul a gift to support him. They chose one of their faithful members to take their gift to Paul. His name was Epaphroditus. This man not only served as a messenger from his congregation, but he also stayed with Paul to help him. Day after day, Epaphroditus took care of Paul’s needs. While unselfishly offering his service, Epaphroditus fell ill. The nature of his sickness isn’t revealed, but it was so serious that it brought him to the brink of death. The people in the Philippian congregation heard about the crisis, and concern filled their hearts for their dear Christian friend. Paul decided to give up his personal servant whom he deeply appreciated and send him home. His Christian friends and family would rejoice to have him back in good health. Jesus’ love is the basis for us to demonstrate loving concern for others, too.

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Mentor Church of Christ in Mentor, OH.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: or

Good Ol’ Boys

By Clifton Angel


    As a Georgia native and automotive enthusiast who enjoys comedy without modern vulgarity, this writer recalls fond moments of watching Bo and Luke climb through the windows of their 1969 Dodge Charger and blast down the dirt roads of “Hazzard County.” The 1979 sitcom is a classic, and its theme song is catchy and recognizable to many. It is my understanding that Waylon Jennings penned “Just the good ol’ boys” specifically for the show, “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

    Now, let us be challenged. Bo, Luke, and their family were not good. They would probably “give you the shirt off their back,” show respect to the elderly, help someone in need, and not steal from you. These are good qualities which find their roots in God’s principles of goodness; however, they do not make a person wholly good. The Dukes were “in trouble with the law” for illegal manufacture and transportation of moonshine.

    According to God, consumption of intoxicating beverages is not good. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Prov. 20:1; cf. 23:29–35). Paul wrote, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). Peter said:

For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead (1 Peter 4:3–5).

    I do not recall if Bo and Luke are ever depicted as consuming alcohol; however, they were “makin’ their way” off of the consumption of intoxicating beverages.

    Furthermore, despite their government’s corruption—with which God also would not be pleased (cf. Prov. 14:34; Rom. 13:3–4)—the Dukes’ endeavors were “just a little bit more than the law will allow.” According to God, despising, disrespecting, and disregarding those in authority is not good.

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God (1 Pet. 2:13–15a; cf. 2:15b–17; Rom. 13:1–7; 1 Tim. 2:1–7).

    By comparison, classics like “The Dukes of Hazzard” contain far less vulgarity than a great amount of modern offerings [the 2005 film—based on the show—is entirely vulgar]. How often, though, is our depiction of “good” people defined by the world’s standards, rather than God’s standards? How much of our society’s degradation can be attributed to being loose on said standards? Where do we draw the line? When do we let God draw the line?

- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website:

Men Who Lead

By Ron Thomas


    All those who lead the congregation of the Lord in worship services are to be men who live holy lives. In Leviticus 10, the Lord struck down the sons of Aaron because, in part, they did not regard the Lord as holy as they should have. Notice: “Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the LORD has said: “Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified”’” (10:3, ESV). The word “sanctified” in the ESV is “holy” in the NASB. Consider what this means for those of us living today. The sons of Aaron (and Aaron himself) presented themselves to the Lord under the direction of the Law of Moses, as Moses gave them instructions. Moses spoke on behalf of the Lord. Thus, when the sons of Aaron offered “strange fire” they offered that which was not authorized by the Lord.

    This meant their approach to the Lord was all wrong. The New English Translation has a “translator’s note” wherein they say, “The infraction may have involved any of the following or a combination thereof: (1) using coals from someplace other than the burnt offering altar, (2) using the wrong kind of incense, (3) performing an incense offering at an unprescribed time.”

    Whatever the precise problem was, the fact is the Lord looked upon what they did as not regarding Him as holy, thinking they could do as they wanted. This is nothing short of arrogance and the Lord responded with force toward them.

    My focus in bringing this to your attention is on the word holy in our worship services. Under the old Law, in Leviticus 9 and 10, the Lord focused on the holiness of those who serve Him, how they must make a distinction between the holy and ordinary (10:10). When we serve the Lord each Lord’s Day morning / evening, how do we approach Him? Do we approach Him in a cavalier manner, thinking to ourselves “The Lord knows my heart” so what I say or do is not as important as how I think / feel? Ask Aaron’s sons about that!

    When we approach the Lord, our lives need to reflect holiness. We have no option in this matter and, more importantly, we should entertain no other option. What this means in a local congregation setting is this: serving the Lord as one leads the congregation is not a right for “baptized males” but a privilege and a serious responsibility. Failing to understand this moves us in the direction of Nadab and Abihu. So, when we sing, let us take seriously the responsibility of having songs of praise that convey an accurate teaching of Scripture. This also means the song leader does not gather a bunch of songs just before services because he had no time before to get prepared. Imagine the preacher doing that.

    When one leads in prayer, let that prayer reflect the heart, and not one who needs to fill a time slot because we always have a prayer after the second song. Additionally, under no circumstance is the closing of the prayer to be a trite “in Jesus’ name, amen” as if one is traveling on the racetrack in Indianapolis!

    When we participate in the Lord's Supper, let us not be distracted by non-sacred things, such as playing with children, looking at our electronic devices, getting up from one’s seat to the bathroom. Intended or not, these are disrespectful to the Lord. Instead, let us insist on revering the sacredness of the occasion; let the heart reflect the seriousness of what we’re doing.

    Each male who stands before the Lord’s people also stands before the Lord. You may not feel as if you are holy, but if you love the Lord, obey His will, and seek to serve Him – you are. 

- Ron Thomas preaches for the Church of Christ at Rio Grande in Bidwell, OH. He may be contacted at

The Power of “No”

By Lance Cordle


    Like many people, I read the news headlines and follow interesting stories. Recently, two events caught my attention. The contexts of these stories do not involve situations or activities in which I would choose to participate. However, they illustrate the very powerful potential of a choice we all make at many times in our lives.

    In early April, 2023, the news broke that a large international brewing company sought to make more money by partnering with a popular social media influencer. Big news, right? A company tries to expand its business base by appealing to a certain segment of the population. That is what business does. The bottom line is the bottom line. Only this time, the company had picked someone whose lifestyle and story conflicted with the beliefs of millions of its other customers. Those other customers reacted in a way customers have the right to react: they stopped buying the product. It is estimated that the company lost billions of dollars because the offended customers rejected the promotional activities of the company (i.e., they said, “No”). Say what you will about the controversy and about the company recovering the losses, the people realized their power and exercised it.

    In late April, 2023, Jerry Springer died. He was a lawyer, mayor, television anchor, but best known as a talk show host of the 1980’s and ‘90’s. But his talk show set a (low) standard of content for years to come. He brought in people whose lives were filled with bad and sinful choices. They were then put on display in order to give people topics for discussion. The show caused many people to worry about our country (and rightly so). However, Jerry Springer said that he knew many people did not like the show and disagreed with its presentation. So, he said, people had the remote in their hands and they could change the channel (i.e., they could say “No”). Unfortunately, not enough people did, because it stayed on for a long time—but, the power was there.

    Long before business schemes and television shows, God knew the power of saying “No.” He told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). Eight of the “Ten Commandments,” contained the concept of “You shall not” (Exodus 20:3-17). When Jesus faced the temptations of Satan, two of his three answers contained the words, “shall not” (Matthew 4:1-10).

    We know the power of “No”—Let’s use it!

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

Caring Enough to Correct

By Brian Mitchell


    One of the key factors that has led the church to neglect the study and practice of discipline is the downward spiral in practicing discipline in our society as a whole. As a society: we don’t practice self-discipline, we don’t practice family discipline, we don’t discipline some criminals and we don’t discipline the government. We just don’t practice discipline as we should in hardly any area of life. Thus, it should not come as any big surprise that we don’t practice discipline in the church.

    Why must we not neglect church discipline? Because it allows sin to encroach upon the church—weeds in garden. Because we disobey God when we do. Because we give the world reason to criticize the church when we don’t care enough about our brethren. And because when we do we allow the opportunity for those persisting in sin to get to the point where they can no longer be brought to repentance. This is just a few of the reasons why the church cannot neglect the practice of discipline.

    There are basically 2 kinds of discipline. In the broad sense discipline has reference to far more than just a punitive (punishment) action taken by one party against another. Discipline is “training which corrects, molds, strengthens, or perfects; punishment, chastisement.” Thus, discipline includes positive teaching and instruction as well as punishment, all of which is aimed at bringing about a positive change.

    First there is Preventive Discipline. This is teaching and instruction given for the express purpose of preventing people from sinning in the first place. This is one of the primary purposes of the Word of God—2 Tim.3:16-17. It is in this kind of discipline that preachers and elders take center stage—this is their job. Preachers are to first and foremost preach the Word so that people will know what God desires of them and what He does not desire of them—2 Tim.4:1-5.

    Elders are to shepherd the flock, feed the flock, set a proper example, and watch out for people’s souls—Acts 20:28, 1 Pet.5:2, 1 Tim.5:17, Heb.13:17. Preachers and elders who are not constantly devoted to the proclaiming of God’s Word to the people they work with, so that they will know how they ought to conduct their lives, are not doing their work and will give an account for it.

    The second form of discipline is known as Punitive Discipline (Chastisement). This is action taken after sin has been committed, for the good of the one sinning, and for the purpose of preventing any further sin—2 Cor.2:6-8. Punitive discipline is the last resort option for those who continue to persist in a lifestyle of sin. It is this discipline that must be practiced by the church as a whole or else it loses its effectiveness.

    It is this kind of discipline that we will be primarily dealing with over the course of the next few lessons. So discipline is both preventive (trying to prevent sin before the fact) and punitive in nature (chastising after the fact). As we will see, both are necessary if the church is to be healthy and effective.

- Brian Mitchell serves as a minister with the Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at