Monday, April 29, 2024

Author Spotlight

This week we are focusing on the writing of just one of our contributors. Our featured author this week is Bill Brandstatter who works with the Church of Christ in Marion, IL. Bill's writings have been reproduced in BulletinGold for many years and we can rely on his thoughtful articles with biblical accuracy. Thank you, Bill, for sharing your writing. We to appreciate these articles.

Chasing After “New Things”


By Bill Brandstatter

    Every year something “new” comes out. This past year had its share of new things. We look at the skyrocketing rate of divorce and the worldly concepts of marriage and we say: “There has to be a better way.” We view the many other things of the modern world and are forced to see that everything modern is not good. We long for the time when we didn’t have to lock our doors and a man’s word was his bond. Some “old fashioned” things might still be good. Jer. 6:16.-“Ask for the old paths, where is the good way and walk in it.” Luke records, “For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.” (Acts 17:21) Let us look at some old things that are really new in a society that chases after new things.

    AN OLD-FASHIONED FAITH. Some would claim that faith is “better caught than taught.” Others would say that faith is “better felt than told.” The Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” in Rom.10:17. The reality and validity of an old-fashioned faith is not found in a person’s think so, but in God’s say so. This faith comes from the “engrafted” or “implanted” word. (James 1:21)

    AN OLD-FASHIONED OBEDIENCE. An old-fashioned faith will naturally lead to an old-fashioned obedience. Jesus stated, “Not everyone that says to me ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Mt. 7:21) When a person really believes what God says, he or she will submit to it. The faith that saves is the faith that obeys.

    AN OLD-FASHIONED RIGHTEOUSNESS. In an age when people without moral anchors are crying, “What’s in it for me?” or “I’ve got to look out for myself”, we need emphasis on the righteousness which God reveals. Our purpose in life is clearly stated in Eccl. 12:13 where Solomon wrote, “Fear God and keep His commandment, for this is man’s all.” Why do right? Because that is my purpose in life. Instead of expecting something back for doing right, we ought to do right because it is right.

    AN OLD FASHIONED CHURCH. Man today has an obsession to be “up-to-date.” Two thousand years ago those that obeyed the Word were baptized and added to the church by God. (Acts 2:38, 47) The church met on the first day of the week to break bread. (Acts 20:7) The worship of the early church was simple. They didn’t have a jazz band or a dance team. They sang. (Eph. 5:19) We need old-fashion preaching. (1 Pet. 4:11) In the early church, men had a leadership role. (1 Tim. 2:12) The church of Christ has nothing new to offer except what is old. That which is old is new in our world.

    AN OLD-FASHIONED STANDARD OF AUTHORITY. God’s way is the right way. There must be a standard that guides us in all that we do. Man often wants to be the authority. (Judges 21:25) People want it their way. Rom. 1:28 says “Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” Some folks just do not like being told what to do. Jesus has all authority today in heaven and on earth. (Mt. 28:18)

    AN OLD-FASHIONED SALVATION. It is not obtained by just saying a prayer. It is not received just by faith. (Jas. 2:26) It involves obedience. (Rom. 6:17) It involves the blood of Jesus, (Rev. 1:5), belief (John 3:16), confession (Rom.10, 9,10), repentance, (Acts 17:30), and baptism (Mark. 16:16).

    Let us do things God’s way and we will always be right. Let ‘s get back to some of the old ways. God will be pleased and we will be richly

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

“I Learned Something Today”

By Bill Brandstatter

    In a Bible study with a man recently, in looking at the Scripture, he told me he learned something he didn’t know. This man is in his eighties, maybe close to ninety. It made me realize again that a person is never too old or too young to learn something from the Bible.

    The Bible is for all ages. Some might think there is no need to bring their baby to a “cradle roll” class because the baby won’t learn anything. If the baby can just say “God” something has been accomplished. Getting a child taught early about God, Christ, and the Bible is essential to the child growing to be a good Christian. Paul reminded Timothy, “From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:15) Paul learned something throughout his life. He stated, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” (Phil. 4:11) Life is indeed a learning process.

    The Bible tells us the truth every time. In my years of preaching, I have read a lot of sections of scriptures many times. Each time I read the Bible, I learn or see something I didn’t the time before. The Bible is always right. It tells us what was, what is, and what is to come in our lives. It is up to us to study and rightly divide the Bible to learn from it (2 Tim. 2:15).

    The Bible tells us the way to get to heaven. The Bible equips us for our life here and our journey to heaven. (2 Tim. 3:17) Jesus said He was the way in John 14:6. God has provided a way, but man often looks within himself to try to come up with a different way to do something. Sometimes this thinking extends into the realm of religion. Man will worship his own way and think God will accept it. Such worship is vain according to Mt. 15:9. Man-made rules won’t get us to heaven. We must go God’s way. The Bible tells us how to be saved and how to get to heaven. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Mt. 7:21 NKJV).

    As we read the Bible let us be learners. If we learn something we didn’t know before, let us put it into our lives and be better tomorrow than we were today. Have you learned something from the Bible you didn’t know? Begin today to learn something new. It might cause you to grow and change.

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

“A Fool Who Was a Poorly Dressed and Homeless Preacher”

By Bill Brandstatter

    In an age where looks matter, the above title probably will catch some attention. In an age when academics and education are significant, the word “fool” engenders negative feelings. In a time when homeless people may be looked upon as “panhandlers,” we should notice for a moment this fool who was poorly dressed and homeless. Let me also add that this man was a preacher. His preaching wasn’t for show. His message wasn’t one of culture relativity. He didn’t preach for profit. Show and entertainment were not in his vocabulary. He preached Christ. This man was the apostle Paul. He uses the above description of himself in 1 Cor. 4:10-13.

    What is a fool? The Bible says a “fool” is one who denies the existence of God. (Psa. 14:1) The worldly person would consider the preaching of the cross as foolishness. (1 Cor. 1:18) The preaching of the cross means change has to come. The preaching of the cross requires accountability and responsibility. In this sense, Paul was a “fool” in the eyes of those in his day. (1 Cor. 4:10) The wisdom of the world is foolishness to God. Perhaps we ought to ask the question: “What kind of fool am I?”

    Foolishness in our world is evident in our society today. Many people are circumstance-oriented. The thinking of a few is just change the circumstance or situation and all will be well. The wisdom of the world is not the wisdom of God. Paul makes that abundantly clear in 1Cor.1:18-25. Much of what the world classifies as “smart”, “wise”, “updated” or “in” may be classified as foolishness in the sight of God. Sometimes we are told to “get with the program.” The wisdom of the world says that truth is relative. Everybody is entitled to his or he own belief. There is no exclusive truth. If I give in to this philosophy of the world, I am a fool. The world can lure us through emotions and feelings. Some would say, “How can it be so wrong when it feels so right?” Yet, God’s way tells us to “beware of philosophy of the world.” (Col. 2:8)

    Foolishness of God is better than man’s wisdom. Paul wrote: “The foolishness of God is wiser than men.” (1 Cor.11:25) The world tries to reason away the ways of God. God has been taken out of our schools. In many homes, God has been eliminated. Our government tries to take God out of the picture with a false notion of “separation of church and state.” Paul states that God has made foolish the wisdom of the world. (1 Cor. 1:20) God’s way is always right. Without God, man’s way will lead to foolishness and problems. (Prov. 14:12)

    Do we go along with the world’s way of thinking? Are we trying to be politically correct or Biblically correct? Are we seeking to please God or man? (Gal. 1:10) Let us be fools for Christ. (1 Cor. 4:10) The world may reject us, but God will accept us.

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

I Will Take Care of It

By Bill Brandstatter

    About two months ago, I had lunch with a friend of mine. We had not seen each other for a couple of years. There was a lot of catching up to do. I bought his lunch the last time he was here, so this time he said he would take care of mine. Long before this friend and I met, there was a lowly carpenter who was crucified on a hill outside Jerusalem. He did that to tell us “I will take care of that.”

    Jesus took care of sin in our lives. Peter tells us that he bore our sins in his body on the tree. (1 Pet. 2:24) He shed his blood for the forgiveness of our sins. (Mt. 26:28) He took care of it for us. We know that Christians sin (1 Jn. 1:10); but He took care of it. I know that His blood continually cleanses me from my sins. (1 Jn. 1:7-9)

    Jesus took care of life eternal for us. Jesus offers life beyond the grave. Just prior to raising his friend Lazarus from the dead, he told the sisters: “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believes in me though he is dead, yet shall he live. (Jn. 11:25, 26) For the faithful child of God, death is the beginning of a new life where the “mortal puts on immortality.” Jesus took care of that for us when he arose from the dead.

    Jesus took care of temptation for us. The Bible tells us that He was “In all points tempted like we are yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15) In Matthews’s account of the temptation of Jesus, we read of three temptations that face every one of us. Jesus was tempted by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. He handled these temptations by remembering what scripture said. The devil left him until a more opportune time.

    Jesus took care of salvation for us. Paul tells us, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”. (Eph. 1:7) If not for His blood, we would still be in our sins. We are washed from our sins in His blood. (Rev. 1:5) When we are baptized, we are baptized into His death and come in contact with His blood. (Rom. 6:3)

    Jesus will take care of these items, if we let him. He stated: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. (Jn. 12:48) Let us permit Jesus to take care of it.

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

Who Has Access to My Information?

By Bill Brandstatter

    There is a lot of concern today about people having access to our personal information. We don’t want our Social Security numbers or bank account numbers to fall into the wrong hands. We do, however, want God in our life. We want Him to know all about us. The following are some reasons we want God to have access to our information and our life.

    I have a lot of stress. Paul wrote, “Be anxious for nothing, but in prayer a supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.” (Phil. 4:6) There are a lot of situations that create stress in my life. If I let God handle those situations, my stress will be gone. There is nothing too big or too small that God cannot handle.

    I have troubles in life. Everybody has problems. Job wrote, “Man who is born of woman is a few days and full of troubles (Job 14:1). These troubles are different for everybody. For some the troubles regard health. Others have financial troubles. Some people have marital troubles. Whatever troubles you the Bible says, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7 NKJV).

    I have needs that must be met. We often worry about the basic needs of life. God can provide. He did for Joseph. He did for Paul. He will for us. God works through providence to provide what is needed in our lives. In the sixth chapter of Matthew, Jesus speaks of those who were worried about the basic needs of life. Their thoughts were occupied with the need to know what they should wear, eat, or drink, or what clothing to wear (Matt. 6:25). Jesus stated, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33) We should be concerned about providing for our families (1 Tim. 5:8). Jesus is referring to an over amount of anxiety that is not necessary. If I become a Christian, and put God first, He will provide the basic needs of life. I can't always know how he will do it, but He will.

    I have a need for wisdom. Sometimes life is full of things we just can't figure out. We don't know the solution, and no hope seems in sight. James tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God for it in James 1:5, 6. We must not doubt, but pray, trusting that God will help us. Wisdom of the world often leads to problems (Prov. 14:12). Wisdom from God always leads to success. I want God to hear me when I pray. If I am a Christian, I have the assurance of God hearing (1 John 5:14). James wrote that the effective fervent prayer of a righteous person accomplishes a great deal (Jas. 5:16). Do you want God to listen? I do. I will, therefore, do everything I can to make sure my life and status with Him is where it ought to be. I want God to listen and to answer and to help me in life. He has all our information. Aren’t we glad He does?

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

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Author Spotlight

This week we are focusing on the writing of just one of our contributors. Our featured author this week is Joe Slater who works with the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. Joe's writings have been reproduced in BulletinGold from the very beginning and we continue to appreciate his articles.

Also, allow me to express my appreciation to Cathy Hardman who, this week, has begun posting articles here on our webpage. Cathy and her husband Tom are members of the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Count To Ten?

By Joe Slater


    Few things bring us more regret than words we have spoken. Especially when a situation is heated by emotion, we tend to speak harshly rather than letting our speech be “with grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6).

    I remember a piece of advice: “Count to ten” before saying anything. Even ten might be insufficient, but the principle of thinking before speaking finds much support in Scripture.

    “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 29:20). That applies, by the way, to additional settings besides anger. Simple off-the-cuff remarks can devastate someone’s feelings even though you didn’t intend it.

    But angry words are the culprit more often than not. An excellent song admonishes us: “Angry words, Oh, let them never from the tongue unbridled slip.” The writer obviously referred to James 1:26 where the Lord’s brother wrote, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.”

    Just as a bridle controls a horse, we must control our tongue (i.e. our words). Hear again the wise King Solomon: “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back” (Proverbs 29:11). Someone protests, “I was just speaking my mind!” Perhaps so, but might it not have been better if you had thought it through first?

In a multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).


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

The Rest of the Story

By Joe Slater


    The late Paul Harvey often ended his commentary with some interesting tale having an unexpected twist. His trademark ending: “And now you know . . . the rest . . . of the story. Good day!”

    Knowing “the rest of the story” often keeps us from making fools of ourselves. Wise Solomon observed, “The first one to plead his cause seems right until his neighbor comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17). Indeed, there are at least two sides to every story, and many can “spin” their particular side to make it sound conclusive. But when someone else presents “the rest of the story,” what first seemed obvious may become far less clear. That’s why defense attorneys cross examine the prosecution’s witnesses and vice versa. The jury needs to hear all sides to reach a just verdict.

    After the conquest of Canaan, the Transjordan tribes erected an altar to symbolize their identity with the tribes west of the river in the worship of the Lord. The western tribes, however, feared that their eastern brethren were establishing a rival system of worship in rebellion to the Lord, so they prepared for war. Fortunately, before firing a shot, the eastern tribes asked their brethren to explain why they had built that altar. Hearing “the rest of the story” satisfied them that no apostasy was occurring, and no war was called for (Joshua 22:10-34).

    Let us strenuously avoid the common tendency to rush to judgment! Someone said that a falsehood can run halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes tied. And for whatever reasons, people tend to believe the worst. Speaking for myself, I’ve been called everything from a “liberal” to a “Pharisee.” And those are just the ones I know about!

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

Must You Tell Everything You Know?

By Joe Slater


    Perhaps you’ve read “Anne of Green Gables” (or seen the videos, or both). “Tales of Avonlea” is a follow-up series of made-for-television programs featuring some of the same characters in the same quaint little town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island about a century ago.

    One of the many recurring themes in both the books and the television shows is the propensity of people to gossip. What someone said or did decades ago is hashed and rehashed. Who was seen with whom, and what it might mean, becomes grist for the rumor mill, replete with speculation, arguments, exaggeration, and an abundance of jumping to conclusions. Ironically, not even church diminishes the desire to dredge up dirt. No sooner have services concluded than the backbiting begins anew in their Sunday best! Of course, the author presents it in such a way that we say, “Shame on them! I would never do that!” But is that always true?

    “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter” (Proverbs 11:13). Someone protests, “But everything I said is true!” Let’s suppose that’s true. The question is, “Must you tell everything you know?” Even if something is true, you might do better to keep it quiet. What if some salacious scrap of scandal surfaced about you? Would you want anyone who learns of it to broadcast it to the world?

    Someone smarter than I recommended three tests before speaking: 1) Is it true? 2) Is it kind? 3) Is it necessary? I have a hunch that heeding those three tests would result in far less gossip.

    “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases” (Proverbs 26:20).

    You really don’t have to tell everything you know!

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


By Joe Slater


    If classes at your school haven’t started already, they soon will. We wish all of our students, teachers, and staff a safe and productive year!

    I wish I had paid better attention and tried harder in school! I did well in subjects I liked (math, science, music). But poor grades in history, geography, and art evidenced my childish and foolish immaturity. Art still holds little appeal to me, but since becoming interested in the Bible I have regretted my extremely limited grasp of history and geography! It turns out that what “a bunch of dead guys” did and said actually makes a difference to us!

    That’s even more obvious when it comes to Bible characters. They were real people who lived in real places at real times in history. What they did and what God did through them and for them affects us! Knowing that Joseph’s cup was in Benjamin’s sack teaches us important lessons, and it’s not just so we can give the right answers playing “Bible Trivia”! (There is nothing trivial about the Bible!)

    As we finished our study of Judges and launched into the life of Paul, someone pointed out that if the tribe of Benjamin had been completely wiped out (as it nearly was in Judges 20-21), there would have been no apostle Paul. What an astute observation! What happened back then is important!

    Let’s redouble our determination to take Bible study seriously. Let us learn not merely to regurgitate facts, but to understand who God is, who we are as His people, and how we can glorify Him in worship and by serving others in His name!


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

Deliberately Avoiding The Limelight

By Joe Slater

    Today at formal banquets the host and hostess are expected to indicate where each guest is to be seated. Certain seats are for those deemed more important or honored than others. In first-century Palestine, guests seem to have seated themselves wherever they pleased with the understanding that the host might ask them to move. Jesus, having been invited to eat at the home of a ruler of the Pharisees, took advantage of this custom to teach about humility.

    “So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best seats . . .” (Luke 14:7). Sitting with the important people might make you look important, at least for a while; but, as Jesus said, the host might very well “say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place” (14:9).

    Why not purposely take the lowest place? Then the host might “say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (14:10-11).

    Jesus never sought to draw attention to Himself. In fact, He took pains to avoid it. He let His teaching and His works speak for themselves as He did the Father’s will. He modeled the humility commended by Solomon: “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2).

    Even if no other mortal notices or honors you, be assured that God takes note. “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5;6).

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

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Overcommitted Lifestyles (Part 1)

By Brian Mitchell

    One of the most dangerous tendencies of the average American today is the tendency to over commit themselves. Unfortunately, this is a problem that has affected the Lord’s people as well. Often we commit to too many activities and concerns that are unrelated to the work of the Lord and thus hinder us in our abilities to serve the Lord effectively and fruitfully. Many times we find ourselves in the same predicament as Martha—Lk.10:41-42.
    Unlike the other problems we have discussed, the difficulty in dealing with this particular problem, is not that we don’t recognize that we have it. “Being too busy is a lot like the weather; everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it.” Overcommitted lives are is one of main culprits in the weakening of our spiritual health and effectiveness. Because our lifestyles are often overcrowded, we have little time for spiritual renewal and growth. Because we are busily engaged in going to and fro we have little time left to commit to that which is most important in life.
    Why are we so busy? Two of the primary reasons we are so overloaded is our materialistic addictions and our overemphasis on recreation and entertainment. We spend so much time working, building a career and making money. We spend too much time on entertainment, recreation, sports, travels, and hobbies. Result—we have little time left to devote to the work of the Lord—including building up ourselves spiritually, strengthening our brethren, worshiping the Lord, and seeking the lost.
    Are over committed lifestyles really a problem for us? We often tend to make light of the problem of overcrowded lifestyles with the excuse that it is only a temporary situation. The Problem—the situation is usually not temporary. “There is nothing more permanent than a temporary situation.” While we may convince ourselves that we are only working too much, playing too much, and doing everything else under the sun too much for a while; the fact is that we seem to move from one set of busy circumstances to another.
    The result is that life often becomes an unbroken chain of temporarily overcommitted situations. Even when our overcrowded lives do only last for a time, the problem is that during those times we often miss many opportunities; some of which we will never get again. Our ability to say no to ourselves in relation to our commitments, in many cases closely resembles addictive behavior. “We are suffering the negative effects of a culture that offers too much choice.” “Rather than mastering our activities, they are mastering us.”
    Many Americans, and sadly some Christians, live by two basic and mistaken assumptions. We assume that we have the right to do anything we want to do—we don’t. We believe that there is a way to do everything we want to do without our priorities suffering—there isn’t. The word sacrifice is often not even allowed to enter into our minds when we are contemplating the things we want to do. We often lament that we just don’t have enough time to do everything we need to do, and if something has to get cut from the list, more times than not it is those spiritually related activities we should be involved in.
    The fact is that we all get only 168 hours per week and finding the time to do everything we need to do is not a problem of how much time we have, it is a problem with how we spend the time we have. No one can do all of the things they want to do, without shortchanging some of the things they need to do. Some choices have to be made, and some possibilities have to be given up.

- 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

How Have Overcommitted Lifestyles Hindered the Church? (Part 2)

By Brian Mitchell

    We need to see our overcrowded lives, as not merely a problem which needs to be overcome, but a problem that has created other problems which are far more serious. This is a problem which hinders the cause of Christ because it keeps us distracted from the fact that our real purpose in life is not being fulfilled. Do we have any doubt where the problem of being overcommitted comes from? It comes from the devil, and when we fill our lives with so many inconsequential activities, we are literally playing into his hands to neutralize our effectiveness in this world.
    In what ways have our overcrowded lives hurt us? First, our spiritual growth and health has been diminished. As a general rule, no one can go at the pace many of us go at without being weakened spiritually. Without taking the time for personal spiritual renewal and growth, our inner resources eventually run out. We soon find that anything related to church has become just a chore to be grudgingly performed. This goes for preachers as well—there are usually a couple of times a year where it is just a real labor for me to prepare my lessons. What I have found when this happens is that my own spiritual life is not what it ought to be.
    “Busyness, including busyness with religion and church activities, has been called the archenemy of spiritual maturity. Never ending waves of activity keep us from thinking about the important issues in our lives. Busyness can destroy our relationships. It can stifle our spiritual growth and keep us from becoming effective difference makers” (Gary Collins, You can Make a Difference). Notice what he included in his statement about church related activities.
    The reason we are always begging for more teachers is so that no one gets to the point where they are just overloaded or called on too often because that leads to burnout. Everyone needs a break at times. “Stress is when your heart says don’t do it, your priorities will suffer—but your mouth says, why sure I’d be happy to do it.” This is one reason that so many, even among the strongest of the Lord’s people, are falling to temptations of all kinds.
    Second, our spiritual effectiveness has been diminished. As a result of being overcommitted, we many times end up being less committed to the things we commit to in the world and in the church. It is generally true that we do a better job of doing what we do when we don’t try to do too much. When our output is too great our results tend to be mediocre at best. Quite often the person who is most reliable in keeping his commitments is the one who is the most careful in making them—Eccl.5:1-7.
    In what ways have our overcommitted lives diminished our spiritual effectiveness? We just don’t have the time to engage in the work of the Lord. “Elders are discovering that it is nearly impossible to find any time for congregational activities and work that does not conflict with a secular activity that some members are involved in.” Thus, our families suffer, our hospitality and bearing of other’s burdens suffers, our worship and work for the Lord suffers, and our reaching out to the lost suffers. All because we are too busy!
    “If you are too busy for the Lord; you are too busy.” If you are too busy to give time every week to building yourself up in the Lord and helping to do the same for others—brethren you are just too busy and you need to start looking for things to let go of.

- 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

The Lord Opens Hearts

By Ron Thomas

    Have you ever wondered how the Lord opens hearts? The Scripture gives two avenues by which this done.
    First, in Acts 16:14, the Scripture reads, "The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul" (Acts 16:14). How did this occur? In the first portion of the verse, Lydia heard the things Paul was preaching; it intrigued her, she wanted to hear more. With this hearing of the message's substance, the Lord's message got to her. Thus, she and her household were baptized. She wanted to be identified with One Paul spoke about.
    Second, in Acts 16:25ff, Paul and Silas were incarcerated for preaching the Gospel message of Christ. The accusation leveled against them? "These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe" (16:20-21). It is evident, from the reading of the context, at least some in the Roman influenced area wanted nothing to do with the message of hope, so they accused the Lord's preachers of preaching unlawful things. That evening, after Paul and Silas were imprisoned, an earthquake occurred. The jailer of that Philippian jail was moved to come and stand before Paul and Silas and ask what he must do to be saved (16:31-33). Paul told him, and he and his house were baptized, identifying with the One killed by the Jewish community.
    The Lord opens hearts. He does this by His message, and He does this by circumstances people experience in life.
    Are you listening?

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

Questions Regarding Your Faith

By Edd Sterchi

    We are told in 2 Corinthians 13:5 that we are to examine ourselves as to whether we are in the faith. To help us do this, may I offer the following questions for you to answer. Be honest and deeply examine yourselves.
* Am I growing spiritually?
* Am I able to truly forgive others when asked?
* Am I always looking forward to coming to worship and working with the church?
* Am I really concerned about lost souls?
* Am I excited about going to heaven – even today?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then maybe you should take a closer look at your faith and where it is possibly headed.

- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Broadway Church of Christ in Campbellsville, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Why Would Someone be Baptized Again?

By Bob Prichard

    Paul wrote that “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). Among these great unities is “one baptism,” indicating that only one baptism was applicable to men when Paul wrote. Acts 19:1-7 tells of a group of twelve men that Paul met at Ephesus who knew only John’s baptism, but were baptized into Christ when they understood that they had not fully obeyed God. 
    “Paul said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism” (Acts 19:2-3).
    Baptism is for believers. “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:36-37).
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).
    “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).
    “Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:4-5).
    “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4). “The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?” (Matthew 21:25). John’s baptism was not scriptural for them. They were subject to baptism into Christ.
    These twelve men were honest and sincere, but they needed to be baptized into Christ. Some who honestly think they are saved are lost. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).
    Notice that baptism precedes new life: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4). 
    Sins are put off as we are baptized. “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:10-12).
    (1). The proper mode is immersion. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).
    (2). The proper subject for baptism is the penitent believer. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).
    “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:37-38).
    (3). The proper purpose for baptism is salvation. “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
    When the men learned they were wrong, they changed. When Saul of Tarsus learned he was wrong, he changed. The people of Thessalonica changed when they understood the gospel of Christ. “For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9).
    Have you been baptized according to the scriptures?

- Bob Prichard serves as an elder and evangelist for the Hillview Church of Christ in Birmingham, Alabama, since 2016. In his forty-five years of preaching he has served churches in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Perfect Peace

By David A. Sargent

    Berit Kjos once wrote a piece about peace: Long ago a man sought the perfect picture of peace. Not finding one that satisfied, he announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide. Finally, the great day of revelation arrived. The judges uncovered one peaceful scene after another, while the viewers clapped and cheered. The tensions grew. Only two pictures remained veiled. As a judge pulled the cover from one, a hush fell over the crowd. A mirror-smooth lake reflected lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. Along the grassy shore, a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed. Surely this was the winner.
    The man with the vision uncovered the second painting himself, and the crowd gasped in surprise. Could this be peace? A tumultuous waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice; the crowd could almost feel its cold, penetrating spray. Stormy-gray clouds threatened to explode with lightning, wind and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power. A little bird had built a nest in the elbow of that branch. Content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested peace that transcends all earthly turmoil. *
    Peace in the midst of a storm – that is perfect peace. Only Jesus can give us this peace.
    “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27
     The only peace that the world can offer is an absence of conflict. Peruse the history of the world and it current state, and one cannot find lasting peace in it. It seems that lasting peace is an impossibility in the world.
    But Jesus offers peace in the midst of conflict and turmoil.
    “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
    The key to this peace is a right relationship with God. The greatest disturber of peace is our sin: it separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), from one another (Galatians 5:15), and it robs us of internal peace (Isaiah 57:20).
    But Jesus, the Prince of peace, left heaven and came to this earth as a man to enable us to have peace. He died on the cross to pay the price for our sins so that we may have peace with God (Romans 5:1), peace with one another (Ephesians 2:14), and peace within ourselves (Philippians 4:6-7).
“Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.”
-- Edward Henry Bickersteth
    God will give His peace, His forgiveness, and eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will continue to give His peace to those who continue to walk in the light of His Word as the blood of Jesus continues to cleanse such from sin (1 John 1:7-9).
    Know Jesus; know peace. There is no lasting peace anywhere else.

- 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:


* From A Wardrobe from the King, Berit Kjos, pp. 45-46, as shared in

From Water To Wine: Embracing The Fullness of Faith

By Jeff Arnette

    In John 2:1-11, we find the story of Jesus at a wedding in Cana, turning water into wine. This miracle isn’t just a display of power; it’s a symbol of transformation. Jesus takes something ordinary, water, and turns it into something extraordinary, wine, and not just any wine, but the finest. This act speaks volumes about the nature of Christ’s ministry: taking our ordinary lives and infusing them with extraordinary purpose and joy.
    Contrast this with the imagery in Isaiah 1:22, where Jerusalem is likened to wine that has been diluted with water. This metaphor is a powerful indictment of the city’s moral and spiritual decay. Just as water dilutes wine, reducing its strength and flavor, so too had the people of Jerusalem diluted their faith and integrity. They had turned away from the richness of a relationship with God, settling for a watered-down version of spirituality.
    What can we learn from these contrasting images? Firstly, it’s a call to examine the ‘wine’ of our own lives. Are we like the fine wine of Cana, vibrant and full of the life that Jesus brings? Or have we allowed our faith to become diluted, losing its strength and vitality?
    Secondly, it’s a reminder of God’s transformative power. Just as Jesus transformed water into wine, He can transform our lives. No matter how diluted our faith may have become, it’s never too late for renewal and restoration.
    Lastly, it’s an encouragement to pursue a rich, undiluted relationship with God. The finest wine at the wedding symbolizes the abundant life Jesus offers—a life of deep joy, purpose, and fulfillment when we fully embrace our faith.
    The contrast between Jesus’ miracle at Cana and the metaphor of diluted wine in Jerusalem serves as a powerful reflection of our spiritual state. It challenges us to consider whether our lives reflect the richness of a strong, vibrant faith or the weakness of a diluted one. Let’s strive to be like the fine wine at Cana, full of the richness and joy that comes from a deep, undiluted relationship with Christ.

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

Justice Prevails!

By Joe Slater

    The Lone Ranger – Perry Mason – Superman. When you watched those old black-and-white TV shows, you knew all along that by the time the credits rolled the bad guys would be defeated, the good guys would be vindicated, and justice would prevail. No matter how hopeless it looked, the Lone Ranger and Tonto would arrest the bandits, Perry Mason would prove his client innocent, and Superman would confound the crooks.
    Real life doesn’t quite match a thirty-minute drama, or even a sixty-minute one, does it? Innocent people get railroaded! Criminals remain free! Might makes right! Whatever shall we do about life’s inequities?
    First, make certain you aren’t the perpetrator of evil. “Let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters” (1 Peter 4:15).
    Second, when you suffer despite being innocent, take it patiently as a way to glorify God. That goes double if being a Christian is the cause of the abuse (1 Peter 4:16). Jesus suffered infinitely more than you ever will, and He was 100% innocent. You shouldn’t expect to be treated better than He was.
    Finally, rest assured that justice really will prevail in the final analysis. It will take longer than thirty or sixty minutes. In fact, it may not happen in your lifetime! But, as the old song says, “There’s a great day coming by and by.” We might prefer to see all the accounts settled now. Since God’s wisdom eclipses ours, however, we will do well to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:10).

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

A Time To Hear The Gospel

By Dan C. Bailey

    Our gospel meeting seeks to bring salvation to all. The gospel needs to be preached. The gospel needs to be heard. The gospel needs to be obeyed. "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" (Romans 1:16). "But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?" (Romans 10:16).
    Let us invite the community to hear God's message of salvation. It is the most important message of all. It is the only true message of hope, the only true message of forgiveness, the only true message which ultimately leads to heaven. Jesus said, "...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
    Today is the first day of our gospel meeting. We are so blessed to live in "the land of the free and the home of the brave." We thank God for all who have sacrificed so much in order that we might be free to worship God according to the Bible and our conscience.
    Sadly, some do not avail themselves of their precious freedom. They either refuse to do so or neglect to do so. Jesus said, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24).
    God seeks true worshippers. God is pleased when hearts honor, revere, and glorify Him. "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him" (Psalm 89:7).
    John the Baptist said of Jesus: "... Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). God the Father said of Jesus, "While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" (Matthew 17:5).
    Let us attend each and every service of the gospel meeting. And let us invite our neighbors and friends to hear the true word of God. Remember to pray each and every day for a successful gospel meeting. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" (I Timothy 1:15).

- Dan C. Bailey serves as a minister with the State Street Church of Christ in Bristol, VA. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at

A Practical Reason to Attend Bible Class

By Adam Faughn
    I always look forward to a new Bible school quarter. While I love studying a text or topic in depth for those weeks, there is also a "freshness" to starting a new study, especially when I know that we will come back to the text or topic of the previous study at another time. (For example, we may have felt like we hurried through certain sections of Philippians in the last quarter, but Lord willing, that will not be the last time we ever study that wonderful book!)
    Today marks the beginning of our spring quarter, and all three adult classes will begin new studies, as will our children’s and teens' classes. As I say from time to time, when these new studies begin, it is a wonderful time to jump in and renew a commitment to Bible study.
    But let me give a very practical reason why being regular and active in a Bible class can be a great help to each Christian's spiritual walk. It is simply this: if you will let it, it will aid with your personal Bible study.
    I am sometimes asked (and, frankly, I have struggled with this at times in my own personal life) about what to study in one's own personal life. A lot of Christians know that they need to be reading and studying the Scripture on their own but simply do not know where to begin or what to study next.
    A Bible class provides a very natural and good "first step" in personal Bible study. Each week in class, listen carefully and take what is said, but also think of further questions or considerations that you want to dive into more deeply. Then, during the week, let that guide your study.
    Almost any Bible class teacher will tell you that there is no way to discuss every possible consideration of a passage of Scripture or a topic in the allotted time of a Sunday or Wednesday Bible class. And, if we are being honest, there are times when each of us as students has probably felt as if we were wanting more from a study. It wasn't the teacher's fault; it was just a function of the amount of time and the volume of material to be considered.
    So, there is your "in" to your own personal Bible study! What was not covered that you want to know more about? What questions did this study raise in your own thinking? What were you confused about? What other passages did this study bring to mind? Were there Biblical people or places mentioned that you would like to learn more about? Was there a "Bible word" used that you've never really studied in depth before? Was this simply a text you just have not really ever studied before, and you want to dive deeper?
     All these--and more--can be brought up in your mind during a Bible class and then used throughout the week for your own Bible study. Over time, you may feel more comfortable choosing a subject of study on your own, but following up on a Bible class is always a good place to start--or default to--in your own personal study.
    So, please take a look at the list of classes for this quarter, make a choice, and jump in. Then, take what you learn and let it help you be drawn even closer to the Lord as the week (and weeks) roll on in your study.

- Adam Faughn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: Visit the Faughn Family blog, A Legacy of Faith