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The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still
waters.

(Psalm 23:1-2)

 


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Hear David Maxson in a Series on the Book of Daniel Held at the University church of Christ
For Audio and PowerPoint click here!



A Study of the Holy Spirit
Adult Bible Class

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Hear Mark Broyles on "Marriage as God Designed It"

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A Study of Evangelism
(Studies in the Cross of Christ)
College Bible Class by Larry Rouse

 


Studies by David Tant at the University church of Christ

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Building a Biblical Home Bible Class Series

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The Flock of God

by Sewell Hall

Few animals are as helpless as sheep. With very little defense against natural enemies, little sense of direction and no ability to find their own food, they are largely dependent on man to provide their needs. In the days before fences, owners of sheep had to stay with them in the wilderness, sometimes for months at a time.

The shepherd had to provide for the sheep all that they could not provide for themselves. He searched out green pastures where they could find food (1 Chronicles 4:39-40) and gently led them there, mindful always of those "with young" (Isaiah 40:11). He even protected them with his life. Young David recounted to King Saul how he had snatched a lamb from the mouth of a lion and killed both lions and bears (1 Samuel 17).

Giving so much of himself to the care of the sheep and being so often without human companionship, the shepherd developed a close relationship with the sheep. He had a name for each one; the sheep knew his voice and came when he called (John 10:3-4). He counted the sheep each night to be sure that all were safely in the fold (Jeremiah 33:13). If even one was missing, he scoured the countryside to find it (Luke 15:4).

(click here for the entire article...)


Doctoring the Bible

by Cled E. Wallace

There is no short cut to a knowledge of the Bible. Publishers of and agents for specially edited Bibles with fancy trimmings and helps of various kinds have reaped a considerable profit for themselves by raising false hopes in the minds of the gullible, who would like to have, and imagine they can get, a knowledge of the Book without much hard work. The price tags attached to such wares are far from modest and in some instances so ridiculous they reflect on the intelligence of the customer. When the Bible with "helps" costs considerably more than twice as much as the same Bible without the "helps," it ought to occur to somebody that too high a value has been placed on human help. Some books of the sort are helpful after a fashion but they contain no magic that will cause one to absorb knowledge from sleeping with one of them under his pillow. This is true even of the best ones.

A lot of sectarian and speculative propaganda is spread about with the help of these doctored, high-priced Bibles. Sales resistance is entirely too low among the brethren, and especially the sisters, when some of these talkative vendors ring the doorbell. When one is let in, he should be viewed with enough suspicion to give a healthy curiosity a chance to determine what he is and what he has. A very intelligent sister asked me to inspect a book she had bought from an agent for a financial consideration of several good American dollars. The agent got the money and she was laboring under the impression that she was getting just what the doctor ordered to help her and her household to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. What she got was "Bible Readings For the Home Circle." Sounds good, doesn't it? And it was mechanically very pleasing to the eye and had pictures in it. The agent of course did not tell the sister that he was a Seventh Day Adventist and the book was arranged for the spread of Adventist doctrine. When she found that out, was she mad!

(click here for the entire article...)


Let All the Earth Keep Silence

by Sewell Hall

 

But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (Habakkuk 2:20). How often have we heard these words read or sung at the beginning of a service? The silence enjoined by Habakkuk is not a literal silence but the silence of submission and acceptance which would not dare to voice any question or complaint against God.

There is, however, great value in literal silence—a value our generation may well have forgotten. In these days of roaring traffic, noisy factories, humming household appliances and megawatt stereos, an unexpected moment of silence can be almost frightening. The first option we demand for our automobiles is a radio/cassette player; and people going to the mountains or the seashore for a picnic seem more concerned about getting their ghetto blasters or portable TVs than they are about the sandwiches. One thing to be said for many of these people is that they are generous enough to share their sound with everyone within a mile’s radius. With all due respect, however, I think I prefer the selfish kind who, while walking, running or cycling, get their necessary sound from those little earphones that allow the rest of us to make our own selfish choices of what we want to hear—or not hear.

(click here for the entire article...)


Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs

by Hiram Hutto

 

That Christians are to engage in "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" is obvious (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19). But what are "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" and what is the difference, if any, between them?

It is generally agreed that a hymn is a song of praise to God, while a song is a more comprehensive term embracing not only praise but additional subjects as well, limited by the term "spiritual." What controversy there is centers around the question: What is a psalm?

The Catholic Encyclopedia has this intriguing note, "PSALMOS in classical Greek means the twang of the strings of a musical instrument; its Hebrew equivalent (from ZAMAR 'to trim') means a poem of 'trimmed' and measured form." Some claim that a psalm always retained its etymological meaning, i.e., a song sung to musical accompaniment. In this they are mistaken, for based strictly on etymology, the word psalm meant the sound produced by the twanging or plucking of a string, and only later acquired the idea of accompanied singing (and finally singing, without the instrument inhering in the word).

Relying on such scholars as Trench and Lightfoot, some claim that the "ecclesiastical definitions" of early "church fathers" include the instrument. A more careful reading of the original contexts of these "definitions" has led some later researchers to state that such are not ecclesiastical definitions of a practice contemporary with these leaders, but their effort to explain the superscriptions of many of the Old Testament psalms. These leaders were actually using this, not literally for church music, but allegorically for godly conduct by Christians. Most lexicons define a psalm in the New Testament by such terms as a song or a sacred song without mentioning an instrument.

(click here for the entire article...)


You Better Watch Out, You Better Not....

by Dee Bowman

 

The Devil is no fool. How often we underestimate his cunning and crafty nature. The Scriptures warn of his “wiles” (Eph. 6:11) and tell us of his devices (2 Cor. 2:11). “Wiles” have to do with the Devil's abilities--abilities to concoct methods, plans, strategies for deceiving us. He's good at it. Real good. “Devices” are the tools he uses to make his plans work, to cause us to move toward evil. He's good at that, too. Real good.

Peter tells us in I Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

This passage should lend a sense of urgency to our situation. It should tell us that we're at war and there's not time for civilian activities, only for constant vigilance and complete concentration as to the whereabouts and stratagem of the enemy.

Be sober. That means be serious about his possible invasion. He is.

Be vigilant. That means watch out. He lurks in the shadows, moves in the dark, skirts the periphery all the time, looking all the while for a chance to strike. Look out.

(click here for the entire article...)


Sin, Repentance and Judging Others

by Doy Moyer

 

Some discussions just seem odd to me. One such oddity goes along these lines (and it seems to happen over and over, especially on social media, so this is not a reference to one particular discussion): Person A: “People who engage in this activity are in sin and need to repent.” (What the specific sin is differs from case to case, and it is irrelevant for this point.)

Person B responds: “We shouldn’t judge others because we are all sinners who need forgiveness.”

By this response, person B sweeps away the point made by person A because we all sin and we don’t want to be judgmental of others. Now it is true that we all need forgiveness, and it is doubtful that many will deny this; no one is claiming perfection here. However, that does not negate the fact that we still need to call attention to sin and the need to repent. Recognizing that we are all guilty of sin is not a reason to think, “Therefore we should never tell anyone else that they ought to repent.”

Consider the case of Isaiah, who, overwhelmed by God’s glory, confessed his own sinfulness and the sinfulness of those around him. Upon receiving forgiveness, he was then ready to go preach to stubborn people who wouldn’t listen to the message of repentance (Isa. 6). The point is that Isaiah did not refrain from preaching about sin and repentance based upon the fact that he himself needed forgiveness.

 

(click here for the entire article...)


How Social Media Posts Can Signal Spiritual Problems

by Doy Moyer

 

Social media is today’s reality, and for whatever it’s worth, it appears to be here to stay. It can be a blessing, but it can also be a “Pandora's box” opening up new ethical questions about the way we conduct ourselves online. While it may be easy enough to separate this reality from who we think we really are in person, the fact is that how we approach and use social media can be quite revealing. Sadly, what it often reveals isn’t very pretty. Christians, then, as in all other areas of life, need to “watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life (Prov. 4:23). The devil still seeks whom he may devour, and we need to be sober and on the alert (1 Pet. 5:8). This is as true with our time online and in social media as much as anywhere else.

Unfortunately, the use of social media can signal many spiritual problems, even for the child of God who believes in holy conduct. The following areas, for example, can reveal much about our spiritual condition:

The language we use. Anything from innuendo, to OMG, to outright cussing reveals a use of language that is more in line with worldly thinking than with words professing godliness. Are we watching what we say? Do we know what we mean when we say it?

(click here for the entire article...)


Did My Generation Neglect the Grace of God?

by Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.

 

I cannot understand how so many of the younger generation of preachers (sometimes encouraged by a few older ones) can talk about how woefully the generation before them neglected to tell people about the grace of God. They boldly speak about it as though it was a settled fact of history and that their generation is going to correct the matter by speaking more about grace and less about commandment keeping. As a qualified member of the preceding generation, as one man once said, “I deny the allegation and renounce the alligator.”  They have apparently not read the writings nor listened to the sermons of their predecessors.

All of my generation and those of the generation before me that I know said lots about various aspects of God’s amazing grace. While they may not have specifically mentioned the word “grace” repeatedly in every lesson, they repeatedly preached in a way to convey the idea of grace. When they talked about God’s sending his son as the savior of mankind, they were talking about the grace of God. When they talked about Christ dying and shedding his blood for us, they were talking about the grace of God. When they talked about God’s eternal plan in saving all men (Jew and Gentile alike) in one body (the church), they were talking about the grace of God. When they talked about the gospel plan of salvation, they were talking about the grace of God. When they talked about how Christians are to live soberly, righteously, and godly, they were talking about that which the grace of God teaches. When they talked about God’s marvelously revealing his will for man through his chosen vessels, they were taking about the grace of God. When they even talked about keeping all the commandments of God, they were talking about the grace of God, because God has given all his commands for their good. (Cf. Deut. 10:13 – “and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (Italics mine -EB).

(click here for the entire article...)


What am I Religiously?

by Hugh Fulford

 

(Hint: I am NOT "Church of Christ.")

Like others who are of my religious convictions, I have many family members and friends who do not share those convictions, and who, I have reason to believe, do not clearly understand my religious stance or why I take it. It is especially to these family members and friends of various religious (or even non-religious) persuasions, as well as all the loyal readers of these "News & Views," that I wish to kindly and lovingly present these thoughts, intended to explain as simply as possible why I occupy the religious position that I do.

I profess to be only a Christian, a follower (disciple) of Christ. Having done what I understand the New Testament teaches one must do to be saved (forgiven of sins) and enter a right relationship with God, I affirm that I am only a member of the body of Christ, His church, but I do not claim to be a member of any denomination.

The Bible teaches that when one comes to faith in Christ as God's Son, acknowledges that faith with an open confession of such, repents of all sins, and is baptized for the remission of sins, that person is saved and added to the church. (The following scriptures regarding the human response to God's saving grace need to be carefully studied: Ephesians 2:1-10; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 5:8-9; Acts 2:36-47; Romans 6:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:17, as well as such corollary passages as Matthew 7:21-23; 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 17:30-31; Romans 10:10; Acts 8:26-40; et al).

(click here for the entire article...)


The War Against God

by J. R. Bronger

 

Have you ever wondered why there is such an effort to remove God from public consciousness? I see billboards along the interstate saying things like “God is an imaginary friend,” or “In the beginning man created God,” and “There is no God, don’t believe everything you hear.”

Those most militant in this often equate believing in God with believing in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. If this is the case, then why haven’t we seen billboards proclaiming “The tooth fairy is an imaginary friend”? There is no concerted effort to keep the Tooth Fairy out of schools? There is a reason you know!

Millions of people need money but there is no one who puts a tooth beneath his pillow expecting the Tooth Fairy to replace it with needed money. Yet, millions of people who believe in God pray diligently believing that God hears and answers prayers (1 John 3:22).

Hospitals are filled with the sick and dying but nobody asks Santa to heal their loved ones. However, countless sick petition God to intervene and providentially provide healing. But suppose people actually put a tooth under the pillow expecting an answer from the Tooth Fairy. Or suppose people really wrote Santa asking for healing—would any try to make such unconstitutional? It is doubtful anyone would respond with little more than a “ho hum—how silly can people be?”

(click here for the entire article...)


"If Wishes Were Horses ..."

by Fanning Yater Tant

 

Jerusalem lay in ruins and desolation; her walls were broken and fallen, her gates burned with fire. Rubble and rubbish made passage through her streets difficult and hazardous. In far away Shushan, capital city of the great Artaxerxes, Nehemiah received word from certain men out of Judah; "and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, that were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, 'The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.' And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept...." (Neh. 1:2-8)

But weeping solves few problems. And Nehemiah wasted little time in useless tears. He was grieved at the desolation of the great city — and he determined to do something about it. He recounts his action, "So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king...." (Neh. 2:4,5) Prayer alone was not enough; no matter how fervent his desire, how ardent his longings, how intense and earnest his petition to God, prayer had to be combined with action. So Nehemiah prayed, and immediately then set about to work toward an answer for his prayer. There is an old proverb to the effect that, "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride." Wishing is not enough; prayer is not enough. It takes thought, and planning, and WORK.

(click here for the entire article...)


The Cost of Influence and Reputation

by Bill Hall

 

There are people in this world who are possessed with natural ability to lead and command respect of others. Call it charm, charisma, magnetism, or whatever; such people wield a powerful influence on those who look up to them as the embodiment of all they would like to become themselves. Peter apparently possessed such qualities among the apostles. There were David, Deborah, Nehemiah, and others. We have known such people in our day and have been influenced by them. Each reader can probably think of some “hero” of faith that he or she has looked up to through the years.

The opportunities for good that such people possess are tremendous, but so are the responsibilities. It is true that sin is sin, whoever commits it - that sin will separate one person from God just as quickly as it will another. But the adverse consequences of one’s sins increase dramatically with the increase of the influence and reputation he enjoys among others. The confidence of others is a trust that must be carefully protected. Once that trust is in place, the person to whom it is committed has responsibilities that others of more normal influence and reputation do not have. And the more people involved in the trust, the greater the responsibility.

(click here for the entire article...)


Excuses Are not Reasons!

by Dee Bowman

 

The difference between a reason and an excuse should be obvious. If a person has a reason for his conduct or behavior, he will certainly use it, and legitimately. A person who gives a “reason” that is actually not a reason but an excuse, has a problem. I can find little difference–if any–between an excuse and a lie.

In fact, if a thing is presented as a “reason” when it’s not actually a reason, how else would you describe it? A reason is the ground, motive, or cause for which a thing is done. It gives an answer that actually justifies some action, belief, or event. On the other hand, an excuse, given ostensibly to explain the facts in a case, in reality hides the truth and so is merely a pretext or subterfuge.

If folks who are constantly giving excuses for their lack of participation knew how utterly foolish are some of their “reasons,” they would likely desist from their usage right away. Let me illustrate. These are a few of the more common excuses for people’s lack of involvement and particularly for their lack of attendance at the services of the church.

(click here for the entire article...)


Teaching Children About Fornication

by Mark Roberts

 

"Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body" (1 Cor. 6:18).

Perhaps no precept of scripture is as widely ignored as this one. Our society is absolutely obsessed with sex. Advertising, movies and television, printed material, popular music -- it all is filled to the brim with sex, lust, fornication, and adultery. Unfortunately, our young people are deeply affected by their environment. A Center for Disease Control study found that among ninth graders 40% had committed fornication, with the numbers rising to 72% by the time children had reached the twelfth grade. The consequences of this behavior are staggering. Every year 3 million teens acquire a sexually transmitted disease. Every year more than one million teens become pregnant (that is 1 out of every 9 women aged 15-19).

If you are thinking "our" kids escape these statistics by virtue of their association with the Lord's church you can quit fooling yourself. Studies indicate that while "our" kids do not participate in sexual activity at quite the rate worldly children do, "our" children only lag about 20 points behind national averages. Satan is preaching a sermon about sex that kids want to hear, and they are willingly falling into his trap of lies and deception. What can be done?

(click here for the entire article...)


Good Relationships Among Brethren

by R. J. Evans

 

The Scripture provides much information concerning good relationships among those who are children of God.  There are many positive teachings concerning how to get along—especially all the commands to love one another.  There are a number of warnings against gossip, tale bearing, backbiting, slander, and sowing discord among brethren.  The book of Proverbs is filled with wise instruction concerning relationships with others.

In the church, many problems have occurred because someone failed to abide by the teachings of God’s Word.  Brethren are told to put “away lying, each speaking truth with  a neighbor, for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25); we are warned against causing “dissensions, contentions and heresies” (Gal. 5:20); those who are factious, causing “divisions and offenses” are to be marked (Rom. 16:17); a divisive person is to be rejected “after the first and second admonition” (Titus 3:10); also, there are warnings against being “idle, wandering from house to house, not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not” (1 Tim. 5:13)

(click here for the entire article...)


The "Market Driven" Approach and Cultural Influence

by Gary Kerr

 

Many preachers are discouraged. We live in an age of thirty-second sound bites and thirty minute TV programs. Modern advertising techniques have glamorized everything from drinking beer to mopping floors to cleaning toilets.  How does this contribute to the discouragement of preachers? Simply stated, modern culture has put pressure on preachers to become super salesmen, and to market both themselves and the local church in a way that will appeal to the modern mind.

This cultural pressure is apparent in two ways. First, preachers receive criticism about preaching too long. The brethren say, "Make us feel good... and do it in thirty minutes!" Second, preachers are pressured to make the local church appealing to the masses. Thus, we cannot condemn sin because that might offend people and drive them away. We cannot practice New Testament discipline, because that would make us appear unkind and unloving in the eyes of the community. We cannot preach topical lessons on doctrinal subjects because we do not want to appear legalistic in our approach. Brethren in many places have fallen in with the times. They demand that we "market" the church so that we can appeal to today's mind and "win more souls to Christ." In dealing with these problems, I will refer to a book entitled Ashamed of the Gospel by John E. MacArthur, Jr. I recommend this book with some hesitation, because MacArthur is a Calvinist, and there is some Calvinism in the book. However, he is dealing with the same things that local churches of Christ are confronting. What is happening among our brethren is neither new nor unique with us.

(click here for the entire article...)


Do All to The Glory of God

by Leslie Diestelkamp

All glory really belongs to God. It is his by right of his majesty, power and wisdom. He really needs nothing from us, for we are only the creatures of his design and of his determined will. Indeed, "Unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever" (I Tim. 1:17). The glory of God is manifested in two ways: (1) His very being portrays his glory. "The glory of the Lord shall endure forever" (Ps. 104:31). The very fact that there is an all-wise, all-powerful God, and that there is only one such God, is the greatest source of honor for him. "I am the first and the last; and beside me there is no God . . . . . . Is there a God beside me? yea there is no God; I know not any." (Isa. 44:6, 8). In Psalms 115 we have the contrast between the true God and the god of the heathen, and the psalmist says, "Not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and thy truth's sake. . . . Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased". (2) But God's work also portrays his glory. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork" (Ps. 19:1). This good earth, with all of its wonders, and the universe about us with its limitless design and the perfect precision of its operation, declare the glory of God even to those who cannot read. The work of God, in all of its perfection, is incontestable evidence of His majesty, undeniable proof of his power and unending demonstration of his wisdom. His greatest work was concluded in giving his Son to the purchase the church (Eph. 5:25) and because of the nature of that divine body, Paul exclaimed, "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end" (Eph. 3:21). God is glorified because of the very existence of the church. No physical, material thing portrays God's glory so well as the church, the spiritual body of Christ in which sinful souls find salvation (Eph. 5:23; 2:16).

(click here for the entire article...)


Overcoming Bitterness

by Lawrence Kelly

So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?" So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet (Ex 15:22-25).

God knows the hearts of His people better than they know their hearts themselves. Because our hearts are frequently not in the right place, He puts us in circumstances that reveal our shortcomings to us. When the new nation of Israel came out of Egypt their hearts were bitter and one of the first things God did for them was show them their fault. He did this by leading them for three days through a searing desert with no water only to bring them at last to an oasis with bitter water. God brought bitter people face to face with bitter water. This hard circumstance revealed the hearts of the people. After the people complained, God directed Moses to take a particular tree and cast it into the water which made the waters sweet.

(click here for the entire article...)


Is Knowing That Baptism is Essential to Salvation Essential to Salvation? 

by Gary Eubanks

This question may seem a bit obscure and require a moment’s reflection to digest, but it actually addresses a very common and familiar situation.  Anyone who knows much about Evangelicalism knows that at its heart lies the concept of salvation by faith alone.  For Evangelicals, salvation comes at the point of belief and before, and without, baptism.  Yet, Evangelicals also seek, and encourage, baptism.  Hence, the idea that people should be baptized but for some reason other than to be saved is by far the norm.

If anyone wants to be baptized at all, it is because the New Testament instructs people to be baptized.  It is inconceivable that anyone could come away from a reasonably careful reading of the New Testament without getting that impression from it.  This much is not even questioned, much less controversial.  The result, then, is a situation in which baptism is held to be essential to obedience but not essential to salvation.  In the abstract, the idea that something could be essential to obedience but not salvation is not at all strange, since almost all of a typical person’s obedience to God’s commands does follow salvation.

Yet, the fallacy of applying this thinking to the purpose of baptism begins to unravel simply by asking how anyone could manage to become convinced from reading the New Testament that he should be baptized without also noticing in the same texts the very reasons why he should be baptized.  Such a scenario is so improbable that the only reasonable conclusion one can draw is that such people have willfully chosen to ignore New Testament teaching about baptism.  A brief survey of some of the more outstanding texts relating to baptism renders this conclusion self-evident:

(click here for the entire article...)


Commitment and Joy 

by Gary Henry

One of the disadvantages of a complex, fast-paced society like ours is that we get entangled in so many different concerns that there's little time or inclination to be deeply involved in any of them. We don't delve deeply; we dabble. But dabblers accomplish very little. Dwight Moody said, "Give me a person who says This one thing I do, and not These fifty things I dabble in." Trying to do too much often keeps us from doing our best at anything. And to make matters worse, the very spirit of our age militates against the making of serious commitments. Modern people are wary of getting into anything they can't easily get out of. We like to keep our options open. So we have two distinct tendencies that, when coupled together, make for a dangerous situation: we are frantically "busy," but at the same time we don't want to get "involved." We suffer at once from a surplus of activity and a shortage of commitment. Our hectic fiddling with this, that, and the other puts us right there next to the fellow who described himself as being "deeply superficial."

It is little wonder that we "get" so little "out of" what we do. We have forgotten the wise advice of our grandparents who told us, "You get out of things what you put into them." They were telling us some-thing that holds true for all of life’s endeavors: commitment and joy are partners. When we stand at a distance from the work and the relationships that ought to be dear to us, we forfeit the fulfillment that is available to us. But when we dig in, get truly involved, and risk the vulnerability of being genuinely committed, we find that life is a storehouse of satisfaction.

(click here for the entire article...)


Is It Growth or Apostasy? 

by Cled E. Wallace

This is the story as it was told to me. A successful businessman and his wife were driving through the state. She observed and made some remarks about some nice meetinghouses under construction. Some of them were for the use of churches of Christ. She asked her husband why these people appeared to be enjoying a steady growth. His answer was that they are still exercising some evangelistic fervor but indicated that he thought they would get over it in time.

Religious movements display a large amount of zeal in their youth, press their claims with fervor and fight hard for recognition. They grow up, ardor cools and the original convictions that started them rolling are diluted. They become institutionalized and depend more on that than they do individual zeal and personal consecration. Popularity and respectability bring in large numbers of adherents who know little and care less about original principles and aims.

What individuals and congregations formerly took care of is now routine work for institutions who look after it for everybody. Individuals and congregations toss in a little money, and it requires little sacrifice if the field has been thoroughly propagandized by a trained headquarters, boast about their institutions, relax and go to sleep with a good conscience. The emphasis is more and more on money and less and less on the strict standards of doctrinal conviction and personal devotion. People being what they are it is a comfortable feeling to make a comfortable contribution and let the institution do it. What is the result? The movement acquires definite denominational characteristics. The bigger and older it gets, the weaker it becomes in the things that really count. Doctrinal convictions and standards of conduct are diluted to meet the minimum requirements of the prevailing sentiment of an institutionalized constituency. Settling down to lower and lower levels is the inevitable tendency in this process of degeneration sometimes boasted of as growth.

(click here for the entire article...)


Have You Ever Been Mad at God? 

by J. R. Bronger

“I have been mad at God many times. I would go outside and shake my fist at God and let him know how angry I was. It just isn’t fair.” These words were blasted out like the heat from a furnace from one whose life is hard and growing harder. All one has to do is sit through the funeral of a child; look into the dying eyes of a loved one, or try to comfort a woman whose husband of 30 years leaves her for a younger and prettier woman and you will often see those who are “mad at God.”

I must acknowledge that life is unfair. This unfairness is seen on nearly every page of the Book of Job. It was hard for Job to swallow and it is as hard for us today as it was for him. Job and his friends try to understand Job’s tragedies but they can’t. They all agree that God should reward those who do good and punish the evil doers. Based on this premise, the friends conclude Job must be an evil doer—but Job is confident that he has not committed some secret sin. This is so unfair. “Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, so that I am a burden to myself?” (Job 7:20). It almost appears that Job feels that God is not doing so well at running the world, and I think this is why the Book of Job seems so modern and relevant, because we too often struggle to understand life’s unfairness.

(click here for the entire article...)


The Will to be Wise 

by Dee Bowman

In the introduction to the Proverbs, Solomon uses several words that have a similar connotation, each having to do with wisdom. Listen to them: "To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding. To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity. To give to the young man knowledge and discretion." (Prov 1:2-4; KJV).

Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge or experience to a given set of circumstances in order to bring about the best end for everyone concerned. It is the general theme of the Book of Proverbs, the underlying principle in all that is suggested in it.

"Perceive" is from a Latin word which originally meant "to seize." It is kin to wisdom in that one who has it is usually a wise person, either from education or experience.

"Understanding" is kin to both wisdom and perception in concept. It literally means to have insight into a matter. Perspicuity, formerly an optical term, is its equivalent, meaning to look into something and see.

(click here for the entire article...)


Take Heed to Yourself 

by Al Diestelkamp

If you’ve ever flown on a commercial airline has witnessed a flight attendant giving safety instructions “in case of an emergency.” First-time flyers may give undivided attention to the routine while experienced flyers busy themselves with their electronic devices or other distractions. The memorized instructions have become so ignored that some flight attendants have turned the memorized instructions into a comedy routine which delights even the most frequent flyers and distracts the nervous ones from the seriousness of the information.

I recently attended a half-day seminar designed for caregivers of loved ones who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Before discussing how to deal with the common physical and cognitive issues of the patients, the doctor projected onto a screen a picture of a flight attendant going through the safety routine. He specifically drew our attention to the instructions given in the event of the loss of cabin pressure which causes oxygen masks to drop from above. If traveling with a small child or other person unable to administer the oxygen without help, one is instructed to put on his own mask before aiding a dependent one. This instruction goes against what one would do by instinct but is necessary because one must be able to breathe in order to help the helpless. The doctor’s point to the caregivers was to take care of yourself (physically and emotionally) so that you can provide the care needed for the loved one.

(click here for the entire article...)


To Be Like Thee 

by Dee Bowman

“O to be like Thee, Blessed Redeemer; this is my constant longing and prayer.”  It should be the prayer of every disciple of Christ.

It takes only a casual reading of Scripture to realize the genuineness, the greatness of our Blessed Redeemer.  He was so good!  Oh, to be like Him.

Jesus Christ was a man with no prejudice.   He was certainly tempted toward such inclinations, I know, for the divine directive says, “He was tempted in all points like as are we, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). He never treated one person in some special way, while neglecting another.  No matter his station in life, every acquaintance of Jesus was accorded the same respect as any other. The Lord praised Peter when he made the confession “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” saying,  "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” But when Peter was rebuking Him for His statement about His mission to die for the sins of mankind, He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men”
(Mt. 16:18-23). There was no prejudice in Jesus.  What a joy it would be if we could rid ourselves of our pre-conceived notions, our biases, and our party partialities.  Prejudice is the springboard to sin; and open mind is a fit dwelling place for truth.

(click here for the entire article...)


The Christian and His Responsibility to Government 

by Les Maydell

Man has always had a problem in fulfilling his responsibilities to the government, especially when he disagrees with its policies. Many Christians in South Africa were upset with the last government because they were treated unfairly. Lately I have noticed that many Christians are upset with our present government because of its corruption, failure to keep promises, and inability to reduce crime. The government has also passed many ungodly laws such as the removing of the death penalty, the legalizing of gambling, and abortion on demand. I believe that South Africa was also the first country in the world to legalize homosexual marriages. Just about every Christian I know has been affected by crime in some way. This has led to feelings of anger and bitterness towards our government and towards our fellow men. What must we Christians do in this situation?

First of all I think we should not expect our government to be a good government. Our government was elected by majority rule. Are the majority of people in this country true Christians? Matthew 7:13-14 says that few go down the narrow way that leads to life.

(click here for the entire article...)


I Know My Redeemer Lives 

by Wayne Jackson

 

Centuries before the birth of Christ, Job, the suffering patriarch of Uz, exclaimed, “I know that my redeemer lives…” (19:25).

Job could not possibly have appreciated the magnitude of his statement, nor how his confident hope would be fulfilled. He was suffering terribly — both physically and emotionally. But he sincerely believed that his pain and anguish were out of proportion to any evil he unintentionally might have done. Though he spoke of God irreverently at times (like a pet that bites when its master is attempting to treat a wound), underneath it all he maintained a confidence that eventually “justice” would issue from his righteous Maker (cf. Job 13:15 KJV; ESV).

There is a wonderful song with the lyrics, “I know that my Redeemer lives….” We should sing it with zest. Another song, however, asks this question, with answer supplied: “You ask me how I know he lives? He lives within my heart.”

I am not so sure this phraseology, as commonly interpreted, is prudent. If a person has these thoughts in his mind, “He lives in my heart [mind] because of the credible, historical facts I have learned,” that is one thing. But to use the term “heart,” as such frequently is employed by the religious community at large, is quite another thing.

(click here for the entire article...)


Good Relationships Among Brethren 

by R. J. Evans

 

The Scripture provides much information concerning good relationships among those who are children of God.  There are many positive teachings concerning how to get along—especially all the commands to love one another.  There are a number of warnings against gossip, tale bearing, backbiting, slander, and sowing discord among brethren.  The book of Proverbs is filled with wise instruction concerning relationships with others. 

In the church, many problems have occurred because someone failed to abide by the teachings of God’s Word.  Brethren are told to put “away lying, each speaking truth with  a neighbor, for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25); we are warned against causing “dissensions, contentions and heresies” (Gal. 5:20); those who are factious, causing “divisions and offenses” are to be marked (Rom. 16:17); a divisive person is to be rejected “after the first and second admonition” (Titus 3:10); also, there are warnings against being “idle, wandering from house to house, not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not” (1 Tim. 5:13)

But what about those occasions when we believe someone has sinned against us?  Are we told what to do? Are we supposed to go around telling everyone, except the person himself, that he has sinned against us?  Indeed, the Bible does give clear instructions on what to do in this situation—see Matthew 18:15-17.  Notice the very first step: “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.  If he hears you, you have gained your brother” (V. 15).  How many do this?  It seems to be so much easier to go to someone else first, and gain a sympathetic ear, rather than following what the Bible teaches.  Quite often, those who operate like this, have not even been sinned against.  It’s often pettiness, hurt feelings, jealousy, an “ax to grind”, etc., and not actually a sin, to begin with.  Also, the other person may be totally unaware of any wrong they  might have done.  The passage goes on and gives further instructions: "But if he will not hear you, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.'  And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church.  But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector" (Vv. 16-17)

(click here for the entire article...)


Praying Like David 

by Al Diestelkamp

 

If like me you sometimes find yourself becoming dissatisfied with your personal prayers to God and want to do something about it, it would be good to go to some of the psalms of David. Many of the psalms are actually prayers that can be adapted to fit our own life situations. Such is the case with Psalm 143.

1 Hear my prayer, O Lord, Give ear to my supplications! In Your faithfulness answer me, And in Your righteousness.

There are at least twelve New Testament passages which assure us that God hears and answers prayer (i.e., 1 Jn. 5:14-15). Why then do we ask God for what He has already promised? It’s not because we don’t believe God will keep His promise. It’s like a child asking his parents to protect him even though they have assured him time and again that they are there for him. Or it’s like a wife asking her husband if he still loves her even though he vowed to do so  “till death do they part.”

2 Do not enter into judgment with Your servant. For in Your sight no one living is righteous.

This is a confession of fault from “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14). Like David, we must acknowledge that none of us is able to prevail in front of a just judge. As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10). It is true that one day we will all have to stand before God in judgment (Heb. 9:27); but like David, I don’t seek justice; I seek mercy.

(click here for the entire article...)


The Problem of Moral Insensitivity 

by Dee Bowman

 

Even as small children we are taught to respond to what has been determined to be right.  As a result, we develop a certain sensitivity concerning whatever has been determined to be wrong.  This discipline in regard to what is right and what is wrong trains us and gives us our moral inclination and our mental sensitivity or conscience.  As we learn and develop toward maturity we formulate our own route of moral pursuit and begin to mold our own moral character.  The ideal character is one which has been trained to be affected–pained, actually, even annoyed–by sin.  The Christian is taught to “avoid all forms of evil” (I Thessalonians 5:22), and the person who has developed the moral sensitivity he ought to have will not only respond to that enjoinder, but will actually come to “abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9).

 

(click here for the entire article...)


 

Student Sunday Night Home Study and Singing

 

Our God He Is Alive! (Evidences From DNA by Buddy Payne)
PowerPoint
Audio of Lesson

 

Making God Real to Us by Joshua Carter - Nov. 27, 2011
Outline
Audio of Lesson
Audio of Singing

The College Christian by Harold Carswell - Nov. 6, 2011
Outline
Audio of Lesson (Part 1)
Audio of Lesson (Part 2)
Audio of Singing

My Struggle as a College Student by Kyle Gibson- Oct. 23, 2011
Audio of Lesson
Audio of Singing

Click Here for The Weekend Philippians Study
 

 

Does God Care What I Wear?
(Sermons and Articles on Modesty)

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How to Study the Bible
College Class

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The Place and Work of the Apostles

Wednesday Night College Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - Learning How God Works
Lesson 2 - God's Authentication of the Apostles (Part 1)
Lesson 3 - God's Authentication of the Apostles (Part 2)

Lesson 4 - The Words Delivered to the Apostles
Lesson 5 - Local Churches and the Apostles
Lesson 6 - Defending the Place of the Apostles

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Hear Bob Buchanon in a Series of Bible Lectures at
the University church of Christ
Jan 13-16, 2013

Click Here For More Details

 


Messianic Prophecies in the Book of Isaiah
Adult Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Sunday Mornings at 9:30
Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - The Time and Reign of the Messiah
Lesson 2 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 42)
Lesson 3 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 49)
Lesson 4 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 50)
Lesson 5 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 52-53)
Lesson 6 - The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7)

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Sermon Series on the Book of 1 John
by Robert Harkrider

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The Christian and Money

Sunday Morning Adult Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Sunday Mornings at 9:30

Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - Money and the Revealing of Our Hearts
Lesson 2 - Earning Money

Lesson 3 - Spending Money and Debt

 

A Study of Religious Beliefs

Wednesday Night College Bible Class

Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - Introduction and Approach
Lesson 2 - The Roman Catholic Church
Lesson 3 - An Overview of Islam
Lesson 4 - An Overview of Mormonism
Lesson 5 - An Overview of Pentecostalism
Lesson 6 - An Overview of Calvinism

 


Student Sunday Night Home Study and Singing

 

 

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