Church of Christ

9195 Dishman Rd, Beaumont, TX 77713



9:30 AM



11:10 AM



5:00 PM


6:30 PM


10:00 AM


6:30 PM


Where are Your “High Places”?

Rick Walker

“In the seventh year of Jehu [a king from the northern nation of Israel], Jehoash became king [over the southern nation of Judah], and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Zibia of Beersheba. And Jehoash did right in the sight of the Lord all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places,” (2 Kings 12:1-3).


The southern nation of Judah, following the dividing of the kingdom in the days of Rehoboam, had a checkered history. There were some evil kings and some good kings, like Jehoash, who were godly men. Sadly, the number of good kings were the minority. Fortunately, Jehoash in his early years had the influence of a great spiritual mentor named Jehoiada. All of us need someone in our lives who will provide the spiritual foundation upon which we can build our lives! Throughout his days Jehoash followed the teaching of Jehoiada and remained faithful to the Lord.The only knock against Jehoash was that he allowed the people to continue to worship “on the high places,” (v. 3). These were places where people offered worship at a place [i.e., not the Temple in Jerusalem] and in a manner [to pagan deities] that God condemned. Yet sadly, as long as their paganism was kept away from the worship to God in His temple, it was tolerated by most of the kings of Judah. Today many people, even Christians, continue to tolerate “high places” in their lives. Today’s “high places” are many and varied. Yet they all have one thing in common, the “High Place” is where people go to get for themselves whatever they want! This could include sinful behaviors, e.g. getting high, getting drunk, viewing pornography. Or it could be where people go to avoid worshipping as God wants,

e.g., going to sporting events, recreational activities, or simply worshipping at a place I call, “Saint Mattress.”


What we need is to develop the attitude of king Hezekiah [a later king in Judah]. Regarding him the scriptures say, “He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done. He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars [idols to Baal], and cut down the Asherah [trees sacred to the goddess Asherah],” 2 Kings 18:3-4. Like Hezekiah, we need to examine our lives and remove any places where God is not the focus! Even if these places are only in our minds. As the apostle Paul writes, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5. It’s time to tear down our high places!

Spreading the Gospel

Brad Mansfield

Jesus gave very clear instructions to the disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” We also read in Mark 16:15-16, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” God could have chosen any means he wanted to spread the Gospel, however, he has chosen us as individuals in His church to share the Gospel with others. If God has enough faith in us to spread His Word how can we have any doubt? Many times Christians believe the above passages refer to spreading the gospel around the world, while that is important, it is also equally important to spread God’s Word locally.


We have many programs and ministries ongoing; some are for our own edification while others are for outreach, locally and abroad. We had our Marriage Seminar yesterday and will have an Education Workshop on October 1st. The Marriage Seminar was aimed at educating married couples and those thinking about marriage and how to have a godly marriage. In the Education Enrichment Workshop we will learn “Practical Ways to Make Our Bible Classes More Effective!” Education is essential in equipping us all to

further Gods word. This workshop has been opened to area congregations also. Please encourage everyone to attend, we should always have those willing to step in and fill a position when needed. If you haven’t signed up and participated in some of the many programs and activities lately, what are you waiting for?

The #1 Killer of Adults

Rick Walker

March 2023

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the #1 killer of both men and women in the United States is heart disease. Strange that it isn’t COVID, AIDS, or even cancer, since these seem to be mentioned far more frequently in the press. What isn’t strange, however, is that while it is the #1 killer of adults physically, it is also the #1 killer of adults spiritually!

The American Heart Association puts out reams of material each year on what we can do to protect ourselves from heart disease. We know them well; watch your diet, get exercise, stop smoking, lose weight, etc. God has also given us warnings regarding our spiritual “heart.” For example, (Proverbs 4:23), “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the issues of life.” And, (Jeremiah 17:9), “The heart is deceitful above all else, and is desperately sick. Who can understand it?”

We would think with all these warnings people would be more attentive about taking care of their (physical & spiritual) “heart.” But some choose to gamble in hopes they won’t be affected by their choices. We have heard about hardening of the arteries. God alerts us of a similar spiritual condition. In the Old Testament, God said, “His heart is as hard as stone…,” (Job 41:24). In the New Testament, “Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart God has given you this commandment,” (Mark 10:5).

Typically, once a person receives the diagnosis of “heart disease,” they have this condition the rest of their lives. Ultimately, it will be their “cause of death.” But spiritually this need not be the case. God foresaw heart transplantation over six hundred years before Jesus! In Ezekiel 36:26, God looks ahead and says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

This surgical procedure was first performed 10 days after Jesus ascended to heaven. On the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2), Peter and the other apostles preached the first gospel sermon. They told the people who had gathered about the purpose for the cross and the Old Testament promises Jesus had fulfilled. They told them how Jesus died to take away our sins! Their response? “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’” (Verse 37) They desired that promised “new heart”! In verse 38, Peter told them what they needed to do to receive it. In verse 40, Peter strongly encouraged them to act. In verse forty-one, they did. And in verse 47, we learn how God continued to change hearts and add people to the number being saved. The #1 treatment for (spiritual) heart disease is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now read in your Bible the verses in this paragraph and join those who acted and were cured of their heart disease!

Answering God

Jerald Bass

March 2023

Not long ago a close friend told me about his first hunting trip. He said that he and some other guys went rabbit hunting. He said that he was with one of his friends. He said that each of the men on the hunting trip had their own hunting dogs and when they arrived at the hunting spot, each one of them released their dogs and gave them a command to “find them; got get them.” The dogs started barking and took off running in all different directions. My friend said that the dog that belonged to his friend found the first rabbit. He said that the dog let out a sound that was different from the barking or any of the sounds the dogs were making. He said that the dog began chasing the rabbit and all the other dogs came from where they were and joined him in the chase. They all began chasing the rabbit

in the direction of the owner of the dog who found the rabbit.

After hearing that story, it caused me to think about the unity that those dogs displayed and how they came together to help one another. The dogs were there to hunt; to seek and find. Jesus said in Luke 19:10, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save the lost.” That command was passed on to us (Christians). Jesus said in Matthew 28:19, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” The dog made a sound, and all the other dogs joined him and led the rabbit to his owner. When one of us find someone who is lost or in spiritual trouble, we should sound out to each other. We should rally around that brother or sister and help them direct that lost soul to Jesus.

The dogs did not ignore the call for help, they came running. How will you respond? Will you answer the call? Jesus calls us to obedience and unity. There are some brothers and sisters calling out for help.

Recap of YOUth-Led Worship

Remy Afre

March 2023

Thank you to those who attended and showed love and support for young people as they led us in worship. Thank you to the fellowship ministry for planning a sandwich and ice cream social afterward. We appreciate your efforts, and the food was great! Thank you to Matthew Case for leading us in singing. Thank you to Rolan Phelps for preaching an unforgettable lesson on the fruit of the Spirit (cf. Galatians 5:24). There is one point I want to bring out from this night. Both Matthew Case and Rolan Phelps have developed their skills. For instance, when Matthew first led singing in youth-led worship, he would only sing one or two songs, and then his dad took over. However, last Sunday night, Matthew led every hymn. Rolan compared what he read in a book (Coach K’s keywords for success) to God’s keywords for spiritual success (cf. Galatians 5:24). He also gave well-thought-out statements to help his listeners think if they are spiritually succeeding in God.


Not only did we see Matthew and Rolan develop in their spirituality, but we saw in the Scriptures Peter’s development in his relationship with Christ. Peter first met Jesus on the sea while he was fishing. After he caught a multitude of fish, he immediately followed Him.

However, along the way, he ended up with “his foot in his mouth.” In other words, Peter either said or did something he should have thought twice about. For example, after taking a few steps on the water to walk to Christ, he fell into the sea due to fear. When Peter saw Moses, Elijah, and Jesus in the Mount of Transfiguration incident (Matthew 17), he suggested building three tabernacles. It led to the voice out of heaven to say, “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him.” In Mark 8:29, Peter confessed to

Jesus being the Messiah. Immediately afterward, Jesus talked about His suffering (Mark 8:31). Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked Him for what He said. However, in return, Jesus rebuked Peter for acting like Satan (Mark 8:33). In John 21:15-17, Jesus questioned Pete's

love for Him. He asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Every time Peter answered Jesus, he said, “Of course I do. I love you like a friend.” But Jesus wanted to know from Peter if he selflessly loved Him, something more than friendship love.


Peter seemed to have learned this lesson based on what he wrote in 1 Peter 1:22. In this verse, Peter wanted Christians to go from loving one another like a friend (“a sincere love of the brethren”) to selflessly loving each other (“fervently love one another”). Peter would not be instructing this lesson if he did not finally get it. He was even appointed an elder of the church (cf. 1 Peter 5:1). Do you remember some of the qualifications of an elder are being able to teach (1 Timothy 3:2) and holding fast to the faithful Word to exhort sound doctrine and refute those who contradict it (Titus 1:9)? You cannot teach or be faithful to the Word unless you know it. Peter had to know Word to be an elder. He finally spiritually developed in his relationship with Christ. It seemed like it took a long time. It may take the same amount of time for you too. However long it takes, keep learning, growing, and finding mentors. You never know what Christ has planned for your future! I bet Peter didn’t.

On Time

Doug Smith

March 2023

The expression “on time” generally refers to being at an appointed destination on time; getting your meals on time; making your payments on time; getting birthday cards on time; taking your prescriptions on time; and a host of other things are better off when on time.

What about our worship schedules which are set to begin at a designated day and time?

Assuming times set for our services are at 9:30 AM on Sunday mornings is much more important than we sometimes demonstrate. Times are set so that all will or should know them and services should begin at the time which has been set. There have been discussions concerning this in recent months. When we were still at the Ridgewood location, we used to be more conscious of being “on time.” Prior to the worship service, the men that were scheduled to serve that morning met in a room to discuss current issues and make notes of members who needed to be prayed for. At that time, verification was made to assure the ones assigned to lead prayers were there, and the brothers that were taking care of the Lord’s Supper checked their assigned positions on the table. Once confirmation of every facet of the service was covered, a prayer was offered before dismissing the session to enter in the auditorium.


The audience should be on time and attentive during services. The preachers have spent a large amount of time preparing their lessons and we have two men who are excellent in presenting them to us. We are very fortunate to have them. Let’s take this opportunity to give

them our full attention.


We as Christians should cherish a service that is scriptural, well planned, and REVERENT. Our Lord deserves no less. HE gave HIS life on the cross bearing the burden of OUR sins.


On page 399 of our song books is the song titled “Without Him.”


Without Him I could do nothing; Without Him I’d surely fail;

Without Him I would be drifting, Like a ship without a sail.

Without Him I would be dying; Without Him I’d be enslaved;

Without Him life would be hopeless, But with Jesus, thank God, I’m saved.


Please be assured that this article has landed on my shoulders very heavily. It is our desire to present ourselves in such a way that visitors will see us as a joyful and loving church who is seeking to glorify God in all that we do.


We at the Meadows Church of Christ have come a long way on our journey through “The Wilderness”, the pandemic, hurricanes, etc. If Christ is with us, and we know He is because He died on the cross for us, no one can defeat us. Let’s look to the future and don’t look back.

Christianity Was on the Line

by Remy Afre


It was a Thursday afternoon. Cammy and I finished our fruit and vegetable shopping at H-E-B with the twins. We were on our way to Crumble. It is our Thursday night tradition, depending on what cookies they offer that week. Crumble is near Chick-fil-A. To avoid crossing traffic, we decided to make a U-turn. We turned left on Delaware and turn into the CVS parking lot. We turned right on Dowlen from the CVS parking lot and headed to Crumble. As we were traveling in the left lane, a silver car turned onto Dowlen from the strip mall parking lot (where McAlister’s is located). When this car pulled out, it swung wider than it should have for someone who was trying to get into the nearest lane (the right lane), or so I thought. The silver car was making its way into the left lane (the

lane we were in). As Cammy said, “Watch out!” I pressed on the brakes, but the car's momentum kept going, and it happened.


The upper right part of Cammy’s car kissed/touched the back left of the silver car. We could not believe what happened. I was furious. I noticed the silver car turning into a median to turn into a parking lot to check out the damage. I assumed this person expected me to follow. However, I could not. The temptation to act ungodly presented itself in this situation. Therefore, I traveled further down the road to pull into a parking lot (near Kroger) to check out the damage. Thankfully, there was barely anything there. Perhaps I should have met up with the silver car. But my mindset was, “How do you not see a white SUV in the other lane? We do not drive a little car or have the same color as the car that collided with us.” My Christianity was on the line! What do I mean by that statement? The idea of acting the way a Christian is supposed to behave during suffering to obtain the eternal inheritance (cf. 1 Peter 1:4-9, 15, 17; 2:21-23) and dodging Satan’s schemes (cf. Ephesians 6:11; 1 Peter 5:8). Using this definition, this was not the only time Christianity was on the line.

While in the garden (Matthew 26:36-46), Jesus asked the Father if there was another way to save humanity ("Let this cup pass from Me.”) (vs. 39, 42). Jesus did this three times (vs. 44). He was very emotional that night (vs. 38). Perhaps Satan saw that as an opportunity to get Jesus to behave in a way He was not supposed to that night. If Jesus was ungodly, the world would have never had the chance to live a godly life. In other words, eternity, where people would end up, was at stake. And Satan had more opportunities to make sure Christianity, reconciliation between God and man, never happened. They tried Jesus illegally. He was spat upon, whipped, made Him carry the cross to Calvary, etc. The beating and unfairness were so bad that Jesus could have called ten thousand angels. If that happened, Satan would have hit Jesus with his arrows and behaved in a way the Father would not be pleased. If that occurred, there would have been no church, and the Law would have been still in effect. Jesus had every right to revile and utter threats (cf. 1 Peter 2:23). Yet, He kept trusting in God (1 Peter 2:23). The Father as a Righteous Judge was the reason why the Son dodged Satan’s schemes and was godly. No matter what happens in your life, whether a car wreck or financial trouble, do not let Satan use your emotions to get you to act ungodly. Use your emotions to keep trusting in God. He will take care of the outcomes. Let Him do the revenge part. Fight against Satan and draw near Him. Your Christianity is on the line!

Three Mistakes re: Worship

(Part 3)

by Rick Walker


This is the final article in our series on “worship.” I have defined “worship” as, “The Decision to Come into the Presence of God!” This means; prayer, singing, reading God’s word, communion, etc., all bring us into the throne room of God. Worship done right is the closest we get to heaven in this life.

In the first article we learned, when “The right people are doing the right things in worship but in the wrong way,” it is a terrible mistake, (see Leviticus 10:1-2). In the second article we saw that “the wrong people, even when doing the right things in worship in the right way,” is also rejected by God, (see 1 Samuel 13:1-7). Now let us conclude by seeing what Jesus says regarding “the right people

doing the wrong things in worship but in the right way.” In Matthew 15:1-3, 7-9, we read of an exchange which occurred between Jesus and some of the religious leaders in His day.

“Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying, ‘Why do your disciples transgress the traditions of the elders…? And He answered and said to them, ‘And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?’ .. . ‘You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me,’ ‘But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrine the teachings of men.’”

These people of God were seeking to worship God. With all their heart they were striving to please Him by what they were doing. But instead of worshiping God as He desired, the worship they offered was done in a way that desired! Perhaps doing what God had commanded had become “stale,” or “routine,” It may have been they wanted to “jazz things up a bit” to make it more appealing. We see

this same thing today when we hear about God’s people making changes in what God has said because, “We can attract more people to church if we appeal to them by doing things in a way they would like!”

People forget that worship is not about what “we want.” True worship is offering God what He wants! Jesus once said, John 4:23, “An hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit [i.e., maintaining the proper mindset/focus in our worship] and in truth [i.e., doing the things in worship the way God has commanded]; for such people the Father seeks to be His


Therefore, when the right people are doing right things in worship in the right way,” we will certainly be pleasing God. Any deviation from this is a “MISTAKE” (i.e., wrong)!

Three Mistakes re: Worship

(Part 1)

by Rick Walker


The definition I use for the word “worship,” whether in my private worship or our congregational worship, is, “The Decision to come into the Presence of God!” Prayer, singing, reading God’s word, communion, each brings us into the throne room of God. Getting it right is awesome! But getting it wrong is awful. Let’s look briefly at the first of three mistakes people make in worship.


Mistake #1: The right people doing the right thing in the wrong way. In Leviticus 8-9, there are 10 times it says the people did, “…just as the Lord commanded Moses,” (8:4, 9, 13,17,21,29, 36; 9:7, 10, 21). In these two chapters we have the ordination of Aaron as high priest, and his sons as priests unto God. When these two chapters are completed (being accomplished in total obedience to what God had said), God dramatically demonstrates His approval for how the people treated Him as holy. “When Moses and Aaron came out [of the tent of meeting] and blessed the people, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Then fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of the fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.” (Lev. 9:23-24) But then, Aaron’s sons (for whatever reason) did not treat God as holy! The very next verse speaks of their poor decision. “Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron [they were the right people – priests of God], took their respective firepans [they were preparing to do the right thing – offering worship to God], and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord which He had not commanded them. [The coals were to come from “the altar before the Lord,” Lev. 16:12. But this “strange fire” came from a place God had not commanded]. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.” (Lev. 10:1-2). Clearly, doing two things right (i.e., right people doing the right thing) does not please God if these things are done the wrong way. Ten times the people did what God commanded. But once they chose to do God’s will their way instead of His way! Mathematically, they only got 10% of their worship wrong (meaning they got 90% right – which usually gets an “A” grade!). But our holy God desires (and deserves) for holy people to offer Him holy worship. As Jesus said, “An hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers [right

people] shall worship the Father in spirit [the right way] and in truth [doing the right things] for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers,” (John 4:23).

So obviously, it is a mistake for the right people to do the right thing but in the wrong way. This does NOT please God!

Save a life

by Remy Afre


Our group has been studying an emotional and sensitive topic for the last several weeks. The discussion was handled delicately while shining Biblical truth about overcoming it. This subject is known as suicide. Why study such a topic with young people? 27% of millennials (mine) and Generation Z (youth group) are more likely to report mental health issues, which would include suicide than any other generation. Two thoughts come to my mind when reading this statistic. First, we should not shy away from talking about this because many young people are dealing with it. Second, young people are willing to share their struggles and want help. Because this subject is heavy, I recommend a Christian counselor get involved. At the same time, if one of these young people comes to you about ending their life, they are coming to you for a reason. You are their friend, and they can trust you. Therefore, you need to tell them something in the meantime. Perhaps you are wondering, “What should I tell this person? I do not know what to say.” Here are a few suggestions, which also happen to be what we covered in class.


First, God completely knows you. In Jeremiah 1:5, God told Jeremiah He knew him before he was in his mother’s womb. God knew what Jeremiah would do after he was born. He would serve as a prophet of God (1:5). God also knew what David (Psalm 139:15-16) and Paul (Galatians 1:15-16) would do in their lives. David did not know he would be the next king of Israel until Samuel approached him. Paul did not know he would preach the gospel, establish churches, and write the majority of the New Testament until he met Jesus. You may not know what you will do in your life yet, but God does. In the meantime, to avoid depression and anxiety, which could come about when not knowing your future, fear Him and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). When God providentially tells you what you are to do with your life, do not be afraid (Jeremiah 1:8), God is with you (Jeremiah 1:8), and speak His words (Jeremiah 1:9).


Second, God wants you. He wants you so much that He is preparing a place for you. In John 14:2, Jesus told His disciples that this place is heavenly. If this place did not exist, Jesus says He would have said so. But since it does exist, Jesus told us how to get there. “Dwelling places” in John 14:2 is the same word as “abode” in John 14:23. Therefore, what occurs at the beginning of John 14:23 tell us how to get to heaven. Selfless loving Jesus will help us to the prepared place because loving Jesus will lead to obeying His word and loving the Father. God wants you so much that He gave you a one-way “ticket” to the gates of heaven. If we spend time loving Jesus and others

(cf. John 13:35), there will be no time to think about anything else. Other things you can tell someone who is battling this topic is God chose you (Ephesians 1:1-4), you are not perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9-10), and you are made to be different (Romans 12:1-2; 1 John 2:15-17). Though these lessons centered around suicide, they also taught us how important and valuable we are, the love of God, making a difference, loving others, and how we are loved. This subject is a plague, robbing our generation of hope and life. We must offer the idea that hope andhealing are possible.

Good News

by Donnie Landrum


It’s hard to get good news today. If you watch a TV broadcast of the news or pick up a newspaper or magazine, most of what you read, see, or hear is negative. Look at all the crime and violence in our world – it generally has a depressing effect on most people. It’s been said that it takes 10 positive things to overcome the effects of one negative thing to our physique. If that axiom is true, then the world will be psychologically bankrupt before long.


The trend of negative stuff that we hear about is really not new, but has been around for quite a while. When reading Romans 1:18-32 we find things have been falling apart from the beginning. It’s not like the secularist humanist say “onward and upward forever.” Sure man has made many scientific discoveries, improvements in medicine, greater industrial development and on and on. Just look around though there are still wars, murders, and all sorts of other examples of man’s inhumanity to man. So with all the progress there is still those age old problems. The Bible calls those types of things problems with sin. There is, however, a cure for the sin malady and that is good news. That is the news people most need to hear about, it is the gospel of God. It is the good news that comes from God or it could be the good news about God. Is there any better news to tell a scientific and secular world than the fact that God is.


The apostle Paul uses the expression “the gospel of God” in his letters to churches in Rome, Corinth, and Thessalonica and the apostle Peter speaks of it once in his first epistle. Rome, Corinth and Thessalonica: I wonder if there could be any significance there. Oh, yes there is. These were gentile cities where worship was of idols. Unlike Jerusalem and other cities where Judaism was the predominant faith, these cities didn’t know about God. Their gods were of silver and gold, the works of men’s hands. They had ears but they couldn’t hear: noses but they couldn’t smell: they had hands but they couldn’t feel: they had feet but they couldn’t walk: they had throats, but they couldn’t speak.That’s the Biblical description of such gods as it is in Ps. 115:4-8. These great cities had gods and many of them, but they didn’t know God, and because the apostolic church was not going to just blend God in with their idols as though Jehovah was just as good as any of the others. Paul says some of the people were “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God (I Thess. 1:9).”


Isn’t that the situation we have going on in our country? Aren’t many people chasing after gold and silver (money) not idols but surely a form of idolatry. Some pursue riches with all their energy. Are not other forms of idolatry such as pursuit of power or influence or popularity? Aren’t many overly interested in their children’s development in sports rather than time being spent in their spiritual development? We need to understand better that anything which becomes more important to us than our relationship to God has become a form of idolatry.


Let’s commit to letting nothing interfere with our singular purpose of praising God in our lives and families, and that will always be good news!

-Donnie Landrum

Come to the Feast!!

by Remy Afre


Thank you to those who attended the Sweetheart Banquet last night. Thank you to those who helped serve at this event. Thank you to everyone who dressed nicely, arrived on time, and enjoyed last night’s entertainment. All your efforts are greatly appreciated.


Although we look forward to putting on this event, I hope we are more excited to attend another banquet. That banquet is a wedding venue coordinated by a king for his son (Matthew 22:2). He sent servants to invite some people, but they refused to come. The king sent more servants and told them to tell others what they would be having at the banquet, thinking maybe if he shared what they would be having, they would come (vs. 4).


However, they did not care and went back to what they were doing (vs. 5). The king told his servants to find anyone they could and invite them to the banquet since everything was ready (vs. 8-9). All of sudden, a lot of people showed up (vs. 10). When the king scanned the crowd, he noticed one man who was not dressed for the occasion (vs. 11-2). The king told his people to escort him out (vs. 13). Jesus ended the story by saying, “Many are invited, but few are chosen.” (vs. 14).


God invites you through the gospel message (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 1Corinthians 1:2, 24). He has sent out His followers to bring that message to you(Matthew 28:18-19; Mark 16:15-16). The question is, are you going to care about that message? Are you going to care about a message, centering around the idea of a Man dying on the cross to save you (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23), and God decided long

ago to redeem everyone through this plan (1 Corinthians 2:7)?


Or, are you going to mistreat the people who deliver this message (Matthew 22:6)? If you respond to this invitation, dress appropriately for the banquet. What outfit do you put on? Your attire is, “I am a Doer of the Word. I listen to it, I am slow to speak it. And I am slow to anger with it.” (James 1:19-25). All things are ready (cf.John 14:2-3). Come to the feast! Dress appropriately, be on time, and enjoy the

heavenly entertainment. Be the ones who are chosen!

A "Super Bowl" Metaphor

by Rick Walker

A statement everyone agrees with, is this, “I have been waiting for this day for a long time!” The people who love football

are going to be watching today to see who has the bragging rights for being the best team in the NFL. On the other hand,

the people who hate football will be glad this is finally the last game for the next seven months! Well, at least everyone is happy about something!


Everyone connected with the game (on or off the field) has a role to play in order for the team to achieve success. The Owner (Jesus – Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23) provides the best people, from coaches (see Acts 20:28) to players (see 1 Corinthians 6:20), to achieve success. The Coaches (elders) put together the best strategies (see Hebrews 13:7), and diligently train the team

in order to achieve success (see Ephesians 4:11-13). Each football team is made up of two primary units; offense and defense. On the basis of these two units’ success or failure is determined.


The “offense’s” job is to gain ground (by running or passing) so points may be scored. (Christians gain ground by teaching those around us the truth about Jesus!) There are several methods we can use to accomplish this (see Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 3:6). Each method works depending on various situations. (But sitting on the bench has never been a successful strategy!). Victory over our opponent (Satan) is assured as we add more souls to the Lord’s kingdom (see John 15:8). Every soul who is added is secure in the knowledge that at the end of the game they will be victorious, (see 1 John 5:13)!


The “defense’s” job is to keep the opposing team from scoring. Christ’s team defends against our opponents (Satan and his forces of darkness) by skillfully defending against their lies (see Ephesians 4:14-15; 6:16-17), and by firmly making a goal-line stand against any incursions against us, (see Jude 3-4). Yet because we have studied our adversaries’ tactics, we are ready for all he will try to do to defeat us, (see 2 Corinthians 2:11).


There can be no ties. There are only winners and losers. The victors are the ones who followed the game plan (see 1 John 5:4 versus 1 Peter 4:17-19). These played their hearts out for their coach and for each other, (see Philippians 2:12-13). The reward at the end of the game, however, will be worth all that we have endured to get there, (see Matthew 25:34)!


You Are Not Alone

We all go through times when things seem to overwhelm us. I just went through such a time in my life after being put in the hospital for pneumonia. The Bible reassures us that God’s presence is there with us to help us through times, even when we don’t realize it. The
Book of Psalms is full of reminders that God is a shelter from life’s storms, a refuge and strength, an ever-present help in troubled times (Psalm 46:1). Moments of darkness in our lives may be caused by the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or in my case sickness. Yet, there is a greater dark-ness than any of these tragedies. That would be the darkness in the eyes of the one who has no knowledge of God’s love, His grace, and the assurance of His hope. Our dark times may also be times when God wants to teach us something
about ourselves and His love for us. In Romans 12:12 He advises, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”. Our faith and the prayers of Christian Brothers and Sisters can strengthen us in tough times. Receiving texts, cards, and calls are a sure way of lifting your
spirits. I can attest to that. I want to thank all those who lifted me up in prayer in my time of sickness. I could feel the prayers! While I was in the hospital and could not have any visitors, my only connection was through texts, cards (that Debbie sent to my room by a nurse), pictures (that so many of the kids made me), and phone calls. After finally getting in a room late that first night, I was visited by a nurse named Mauree (which she pronounced as Mary). Although I only saw Mauree one time, there was something reassuring and calming about her. She came over to me, touched my shoulder, told me I was going to be fine, and would heal completely. Although I was alone in the hospital, I never felt alone. Trusting God in hard times takes an understanding of His willingness to help us when we need Him the most. Just because God can protect us, doesn’t mean He will. We know that God is all-knowing and He truly knows what is best for each of us. Even when difficult times happen (and they will), it happens for our good and God’s glory. Always remember that God will always be there and that you are never alone.      -Carl Sundgren  09/2021


Christianity in America is now facing severe headwinds. There are a number of contributing factors to this trend. It seems that as each new generation reaches maturity and moves into adult living, they begin to abandon values once held dear while still in the parental home. The forces of Postmodernism have exerted a powerful impact on modern society changing the way young people think.
Bible believing people used to believe that immigration would result in thousands of new prospects for Christian conversion. But no, Postmodernism has advanced the case that all religions are the same. It contends that Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other world religions are all equal. Consider John 14:6 where it says “Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the truth and the life: no man cometh to the Father but by me.” Jesus here claims to be the only Way to His Father and to heaven, and claims to be the purveyor of truth. If Jesus is truthful here, and of course we believe He is,
then the other world religions are vain (worthless).
Postmodernism boasts that no religion has all the truth, but all contain some elements of truth. That ideology also maintains that there are no absolutes. Jesus teachings and words certainly contradict the postmodern mind set. Consider Jesus’ words in John 12:48, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not
my words hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” These passages make it imperative that we must accept Jesus and His teachings as the only truth.
Additionally, in Matthew 17:5 it says “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.”
It’s evident that we, as Christians, have a great challenge ahead of us in confronting the impacts of Postmodernism.

-Donnie Landrum


The Corona Virus and Sin

By this time we have all heard of the latest killer virus, named, “The Corona Virus.” I have been amazed at how much this virus (a physical killer) and sin (the spiritual killer – see Romans 6:23a) are alike. Let’s compare these two “killers”. . .
Both are “rulers”: The virus has been named “corona” because on an electron micrograph it looks like a “crown” (the Spanish word for crown is “corona”). Sin also desires to reign in our lives. As Cain was warned, “…sin’s desire is for you, but you must master it,” (Genesis 4:7).
Both require us to monitor ourselves: The virus spreads through contact. So, we need to watch that we keep our hands away from our eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Sin also requires our attentiveness lest we become infected. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Both require us to wash to keep the disease from contaminating us: We need to wash our hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” 2x if you don’t have a watch). To remove sin, Paul was told, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name,” (Acts 22:16).
Both require vigilance in regards to others: If others are coughing, complaining of shortness of breath, and have a high fever – encourage them to seek medical help. When helping others who are struggling with sin, we are warned, “…looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted,” (Galatians 6:1b).
These four directions will make it substantially more difficult for an individual to become infected by this “killer” (and we will be better protected against the Corona virus as well!).

-Rick Walker


What Future Do You See

Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”


Many books and movies today assume there is no God who can do anything about humanity’s future. God is depicted as either mythical or powerless. They imagine doomsday scenarios where all humanity perishes, unless people can figure out how to save themselves.


John sees a different and better future. He recognizes a scenario where many people from every nation had trusted that salvation comes from God and His Lamb. He imagines that, even though these people died, they now live with God and the Lamb. He knows that their lives will be centered on His praise, His provisions, and His presence.
This is the blessed ones. In the revised version and the authorized version there is a notable difference of reading. The first text reads, “Blessed are they that wash their robes.” In the latter it reads, “Blessed are they that do His commandments.” But there is no real contradiction here. For if they wash their robes, they will therefore, obey. And if they obey, that obedience shows that they “wash their robes.”


Let it be remembered, Christ’s blood relates the spirit of His whole life. His love is poured forth by His sacrifice for men. His death for truth and righteousness sake are all concentrated, fulfilled, and brought to a point that He bowed His head on the cross and died.


Drink in that spirit and you will possess, not only the hereafter but right now you will possess eternal life. It is this spirit which is life and life alone. Bathe your heart, intelligence, imagination, and spirit in the spirit of that life and death. And let this spirit and all it means flow through your whole life as blood through your veins. Wash your outward life, your habits, your doings at home and abroad, in the spirit which made Jesus pour forth His blood upon the cross. Then you will understand and live forever by the truth that “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.” In short, we are to have our mind and spirit washed by the blood of Jesus Christ.


This cleansing does not come unsought. If we have no love for the cleansing He brings we shall not have it. This cleansing cannot be hurried up in a moment at the last extremity of life. Too many think it can and so leave seeking it until then. Therefore we must be ever looking unto Jesus for His cleansing. This must be the habitual posture of the soul.


John knew that our God is a living God and not a dead concept! He knew there was a future for those who have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” He knew that people should trust in God for their salvation, and not in man’s wisdom and power!
Peoples views of the future can be pretty bleak. Jesus inspired a different view of what is ahead for those who love Him. We don’t have to rely on our own ingenuity or strength to face the future. God is there (and here) for us. Let us all look to Jesus in all our walks of life, for He is “the way, the truth, and the life.”

Derrell Hart

As We Enter A New Year
Joshua was given the responsibility to lead God’s people out of their 40-years of wilder-ness wanderings and into the Promised Land. Yet the success or failure of this new venture was not on his shoulders alone. God was going to give him the guidance he needed in order to be successful. I believe if we follow this same guidance, we too shall be successful as we enter this New Year.

Rule #1 – “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them,” Joshua 1:6. The greatest obstacle to faith is fear! When we are ruled by our fears and not our faith – we will fail! Yes, there will be obstacles, problems, and unforeseen trials that we will face this year. But let us face them with a faith that trusts the promises which the Lord has sworn unto us.
Rule #2 – “Be strong and courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which My servant Moses commanded you,” Joshua 1:7. God knows His people are often tempted to “turn to the right or to the left” instead of remaining in the middle of the narrow road of His word. It takes strength and courage to refuse to get distracted by the new and latest fads which appear amongst religious people. Yet we know we will “have success wherever we go” when we go as God’s word directs us.
Rule #3 – “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go,” Joshua 1:9. Again the Lord warns us about the deadly nature of fear. (This morning’s lesson also deals with this thought.) But in this verse God gives the greatest reason why we need not fear, “…the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Paul asks the question, “If God is for us – who can be against us,” Romans 8:31. Of course, the answer is, “Most of the world and all of the demons of hell!” But where would you rather be standing, with them or with Him?! Therefore, it truly doesn’t matter who is against us since God is “for us” and He is “with us”!

2020 will be over in only 360 days. But the difference we can make this year in the lives of others will be eternal! (Let us just keep following His rules)
Rick Walker

Heaven & Earth in 2-Part Harmony
“‘Behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,‘ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’”

Luke 2:10-14 (Heaven’s part)
“And the shepherds went back, glorifying God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them,”

Luke 2:20 (Earth’s part)
When God’s people share the heavenly message we have received, God is glorified.
“Whoever speaks, let him speak the utterances of God . . . so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,”

1 Peter 4:11
Ours is a message that ring out throughout the world, not just at this time of year – but everywhere for all time!
Rick Walker

The  End of A Decade

In nine days, it will not only be the ending of another year, but also the end of a decade. If you took a walk down memory lane and looked back at the last ten years of your life, what do you remember the most? Can you remember back to December of 2012? That was the time that certain people were predicting the end of the world. Now it’s the end of 2019 and the world is still here.
How about all those people living in Hawaii on January 2018? That was the month when the island got a nuclear missile launch warning. I believe there were probably a lot of people examining their faith and doing a lot of praying! "What does the Bible say about time management?" Time management is important because of the shortness of our lives. Our earthly journey is significantly shorter than we are inclined to think. As David points out in Psalm 39:4-5, “You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.” The apostle James echoes this in James 4:14, “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
Indeed, our time on earth is fleeting and small compared to eternity. We must make the best possible use of our allotted time. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul cautioned the saints, “Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” Ephesians 5:15-16. Living wisely involves using our time carefully.
Knowing that the harvest is great and the workers are few (Luke 10:2), now is the time to make better use of our time through words and example. We are to spend time loving others in deed and in truth (1 John 3:17–18). There is no doubt that the responsibilities and pressures of this world vie for our attention. There are a variety of things pulling us in different directions and make it easy for our time to get swallowed up in less important matters. Those endeavors that have eternal value, then, often get pushed aside. To avoid losing focus we need to have our priorities straight. We need to daily remember that God did all of His work in six days and rested on the seventh. This ratio of work to rest sheds light on our Creator’s expectations for our own work ethic. Indeed, Proverbs 6:10–11 reveals the Lord’s disdain for slothful behavior: “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a bandit”.
Furthermore, the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14–30) illustrates the tragedy of wasted opportunity as well as the importance of laboring faithfully until the Lord comes. We should work diligently in our earthly employment, but our "work" is not limited to that which we do for monetary gain. In fact, our primary focus in all that we do should be the glory of God. In Colossians 3:23–24, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Jesus spoke of storing up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19–21). We are to give our best to everything to which God has called us. As we approach a new year (and a new decade), let’s examine our lives. Who are we putting first?

Carl Sundgren

Abuse of Power

You only need to listen to a T.V. or radio for about 10 minutes before you hear our titular phrase being mentioned.  (Don’t worry, this article will not address anything political!)  Yet, it will address something the Bible says about this topic.
The wise man Solomon says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”  This king is warning us that our words will play a role in determining where we will spend eternity.  Jesus further warns us, “…that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment,” Matthew 12:36.  The prophet James encourages us when he writes, “If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect (i.e., spiritually mature) man,” James 3:2.  Let us look at some other points James makes regarding this powerful part of our body.
 James 3:3, “Now if we put bits into the horses’ mouths so that they may obey us, we direct their whole body as well.”  The tongue is a very small part of our body.  Yet the person who is able to control their speech will be able to control the rest of the body as well.  How we speak plays a direct role in determining the course of our lives.

James 3:4, “Behold, the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a small rudder, wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.”   There are many great forces which impact our lives; parents, spouse, children, employers, government, friends, strangers, etc.  Yet how navigate through these various areas and individuals will primarily be determined by what we say.  When we graciously speak the truth in love (see Eph. 4:15; Col. 4:6), the outcome will be far better than if we chose anger, slander, or deceit (Jms. 1:20; 1 Pt. 2:1)!  By the things we say we direct the course of conversations.
James 3:5, “So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.  Behold how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire.”  One lit match can destroy thousands of acres of woodland (seems to happen annually in in California).  Yet one wrong word can destroy a marriage, a child’s heart, a career, and even a soul!
 Words have power to do great good; to encourage, to forgive, to strengthen, to share the gospel, to talk to God!   Choosing to do otherwise is an abuse of the power God has given to each one of us!
    Rick Walker

It Is Finished

In John 19:28-30, we read, “Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the scriptures would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and   lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his   spirit.
What does “it is finished” mean to us as Christians. Until this time a complicated system of sacrifices had atoned for sins. But people sin continually so frequent sacrifices       
were required. Jesus became the final   and ultimate sacrifice for sin. With those 3 simple words the complex sacrificial system came to an end because Jesus took all our sin upon Himself. It meant the birth of Christianity had finally arrived! It meant the difference between life and death for mankind.
In Hebrews 9:22, we read, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”  His death, burial, and resurrection is the door through which we pass to escape our own spiritual death. After shedding His blood for us, Christ rose from the grave to claim victory over sin and death.
“It is finished” means we can approach God’s great throne of grace through our prayers. In John 14:6   Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except thru me.”  Our Heavenly Father is only approachable through the death of His only beloved Son. Jesus tells us he is the only way to God the Father.
 Jesus accomplished His earthly mission (Luke 19:10), “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save the lost.”

Our future is much brighter, and we have more confident because Jesus said, “it is finished.” Mankind now has the opportunity to accept the blood of Christ for salvation!   What do these three words mean to you?                                                                                                                                        
Brad Mansfield

Finding the Pearl of a Great Price

Jesus said the kingdom is like a man who found a priceless pearl (Matthew 13:45-46). The kingdom is the church, so finding the right church is equivalent to finding great treasure ~ eternal treasure. You can identify it by the following traits:
The New Testament church was built by Christ and belongs to Him. Jesus promised, “I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18). Christ is the foundation and chief cornerstone of the church (1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:19-22). The church carries His name (Romans 16:16).

The New Testament church has a specific pattern of worship (John 4:24). They meet on the first day of the week (Sunday) (Acts 2:1, 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-2; John 20:1-2, 19, 26). They partake of the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25). The NT church worships in prayer (Acts 2:42). The NT church sings praises to God (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). The NT church is edified by the preaching of God’s Word (Acts 20:7; 2 Timothy 4:2-4). The NT church makes a contribution on the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
 The NT church has a specific organization. Jesus Christ is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18). Each congregation has its own elders who oversee the work (Acts 14:23; 1 Peter 5:1-2; Philippians 1:1). They are called bishops, overseers, shepherds, or pastors (Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5, 7; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 5:1-4). The elders must meet specific qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). Deacons are the servants of the church (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8-13). Evangelists, ministers of the Word, are preachers of the gospel (Acts 21:8; Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:1-5).
“I will build My church” Matthew 16:18


“. . . and then some!”


The more we get into Christianity the more Christ gets into us.  We are called to grow in Christian maturity.  God’s word confirms this for us.  First, we are “born again,” John 3:3.   Then for the rest of our lives we “grow in respect to our salvation,”  1 Peter 2:2.  But how do we know when we have reached maturity and are where God wants us?   
The easy answer is, when we are just like Jesus!  But until that occurs, what are we to do?   Here is something we should do.  Let us look at each area of our lives.  Then wherever we are in that area add these words, “and then some!”  This should motivate us to go beyond our current level of maturity.  Let us look at God’s word and see this is His encouragement to us.

“Husbands love your wives (and then some) just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,” Ephesians 5:25.
 “Pray (and then some) without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
 “Whoever shall force you to go with him one mile (and then some), go with him two,” Matthew 5:41.
 “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us (and then some); and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren,” 1 John 3:16.
 “‘How often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?  Up to seven times?’  Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you up to seven times, but (and then some) up to seventy times seven,” Matthew 18:21-22.
 “…one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead; (and then some), I press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 3:13-14.
 “…that they may all be one (and then some), even as You Father are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in us; that the world may believe that you did send Me,” John 17:21.
 “So then while we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men (and then some), especially those who are of the household of faith,” Galatians 6:10.
 In the context of loving all people the same, the Lord challenges us to aspire to a greater level of maturity (the word for this level in the text is “perfect”).  This challenge to love, says, “Therefore you are to be perfect (and then some), even as your heavenly Father is perfect,” Matthew 5:48.  May we all aspire to “perfection” in Christ . . .  and then some!  Thank you Guy for the idea for this article.                              
Rick Walker

Modern Apostles

The apostles were men that were hand picked by Jesus to help estab-lish His church after He ascended back to the Father. Jesus picked 12 men from the ordinary ranks of Jewish men. We know that at least 4 were fishermen, one was a tax collector, one a Zealot, and not much is known about the others. These men traveled with Jesus during His earthly ministry and learned up close about His Kingdom (Matthew 16:18) Jesus often taught in parables and explained the meaning of these to His apostles. The definition of apostle is one sent (as on a mission).
One of the qualifications of the apostleship was to be an eye witness of Jesus. The apostle Paul was re-ferred to his apostleship as the one born out of season. He witnessed Jesus, in a miraculous way, on the road to Damascus.
This office did not continue after these men died. It needs to be noted that after Judas hanged himself Matthias was chosen to take Judas’ place with the other eleven.
I read an article in the December 1st Houston Chronicle’s religious section that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) have 12 apostles. Really! These men are witnesses of Jesus’ ministry? I don’t think any of them are 2,000 years old. So, they are not qualified to be called apostles because they don’t meet the proper criteria.
The Roman Church (Catholic) claims such a thing as apostolic succession for their Popes. They claim that Peter was the first Pope and he handed his apostleship off to another man who handed it off to another, and so on to the present Pope. The 27 books of the New Testament do not verify in any way this claim.
Paul said in I Corinthians 15:7 that he was the last person that Jesus appeared to after His resurrection. Paul also stated in that passage that there was a season for apostle selection and that time was long ago.
Beware of impostors!

Donnie Landrum

The Difference Family Makes

“My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you” Proverbs 3:1-2
An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed the result of an enormous research project (90,000 participants) about high-risk behavior by teens. The study concluded that the most effective way to protect young people from unhealthy or dangerous behaviors is for parents to be involved in their lives.
Dr. Robert W. Blum, a coauthor of the report, says, “It is a very clear message that you as a parent have to stay involved. You can’t buy into the myth that you are no longer relevant in your children’s lives.”
“Kids repeatedly told us that small messages are important,” he says. The messages are given by a note on the refrigerator that says, “Good luck on your test today.” The messages are given by a hug. The messages are given by saying, “How was your date last night?” The message is parents showing concern, showing that what goes on in the child’s life matters.”
Dr. Blum says these daily connections are as effective in single-parent families as they are in two-parent families. In focus groups, many of the teens told researchers that these little messages often meant more than family activities such as going out together.
“These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7


Moving Lessons

Last week the Walkers moved out of a hotel room and into an apartment.  This move was all “precipitated” (pun intended) by the flooding of the home in which we had been living.  Hopefully our current living situation will only persist for just a few months.  Yet the purpose for this article is to speak of last Thursday’s “moving” (another intended pun) event and some valuable lessons learned.
 God’s people are always better than you can imagine!

Some gave effort, some gave time (i.e., took time off from their work  to help), some gave money to feed the workers, and many who couldn’t be there gave their prayers for the safety of the workers.  Thanks to ALL for what you GAVE!!!

Many hands truly do make for light work.  Or at least, somethings weren’t nearly as heavy with several lifting than if I had to lift it alone!

Hard work with a lot of laughter doesn’t seem like work at all (well, it does, but it still is a lot more fun than just hard work by itself!).

People will surprise you.  Some older guys outworked a bunch of us “younger” guys!

The memories of the good time we had together will far outlast sore muscles!   

Hauling furniture is never a “fun” thing to do.  But doing something difficult with a group of wonderful brethren is truly a rewarding experience.  Once the job was completed I now see a whole lot more was accomplished that just the movement of “stuff” from point “A” to point “B”.

“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity,”  (Psalm 133:1)

Rick Walker

Everything We Need

In II Peter 1:3-4, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through    these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”  In these verses Peter tells us that God has given us everything we need for life and Godliness, but it is only through our knowledge of Him and His divine power. The power to grow does not come from within us, but from God. We cannot be Godly on our own. God allows us to “participate in the divine nature” in order to keep us from sin and helps us live for Him. The only way to have the knowledge of Him is through studying Gods word.
   Then in II Peter 1:5-9, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-control, and to self-control, perseverance, and to perseverance, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.”  In these verses Peter listed several of faiths actions. Faith must be more than just a belief in certain facts, in verse 5, Peter tells us to make every effort to add to your faith (it must result in action). Learning to know God better, developing perseverance, doing Gods will, loving others. These actions do not come automatically, they require hard work. These are not optional actions; all of them must be a continual part of the Christian life. We don’t finish one and start the next; we must work on them all together. Our faith must go beyond what we believe; it must become a dynamic part of all we do, which will result in spiritual maturity. Many Christians want an abundance of God’s grace and peace, but they are unwilling to put forth the effort to get to know him better through Bible study and prayer.                                                                                                                                                            
   Then in II Peter 1:10-11, “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”        
   Peter tells us that if we do the things from the previous passages we will never fall (although we may stumble along the way), Christ’s blood continually cleanses us. In verse 8, Peter tell us that we must increase these qualities, if we do it will keep us from being ineffective. As Christians we all look forward to the result of our walk with Christ. Peter tells us the result, a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Brad Mansfield

We Are Saved by Works

This past week at our area-wide preachers meeting, Tony Pulliam, from the Bolivar Peninsula congregation, handed out some great material.  When our religious friends make the statement in the above title they are saying a lot more than the Bible says.  Below are listed the various types of “works” found in our New Testaments.  Let’s seek to understand what God’s word is teaching us.

GOOD WORKS:  Matthew 5:16, Acts 9:36; Ephesians 2:10; Hebrews 10:24 (These don’t save but should be seen in the lives of believers)
 -EVIL WORKS:  John 7:7; Romans 13:3; Colossians 1:21; James 3:16; 1 John 3:12 (These should not be seen in the lives of believers)
 -WORKS OF LAW:  Romans 3:20, 28; 9:32; Galatians 2:16; 3:2, 5, 10 (These were required in the Old Testament but are not required of believers today)
- WORKS OF THE FLESH:  Galatians 5:19 (These will destroy our souls and must be repudiated)
 -MERITORIOUS WORKS:  (These are the type of “works” the title   given above is describing.  These are the works some may believe will save them – they won’t!)
 -WORKS OF DARKNESS:  Ephesians 5:11 (Clearly not the things in which God’s people are to be involved)
 -DEAD WORKS:  Hebrews 6:1; 9:14 (These are synonymous with the WORKS OF LAW)
 -OBEDIENCE OF FAITH:  John 6:28-29; Acts 17:30; Romans 1:5; 16:26; 2 Thess. 1:6-9; Hebrews 5:8-9  (These “works” are essential to our salvation, i.e., these works do save us!)
So, the next time someone says to you, “We are not saved by works,” share with them the passages listed under OBEDIENCE OF FAITH!  Some works are commanded by God and must be done if we are to be saved by grace through faith!! (Thanks for the material Tony)

Rick Walker

Godly Acts of Kindness

We have all heard of “random acts of kindness”.  The concept of doing kindness is not new to Christians.  It actually is as old as, well, creation.  God tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  So if we were made to do good works, does it make sense to relegate the performance of such works to the category of “random?”  How about instead of just committing random acts of kindness, we commit Godly acts of kindness? You might be asking yourself right now, what is the difference?  The difference is that random implies that we perform random acts of kindness out of the goodness of our own hearts.  Godly acts of kindness are committed out of the kindness of God’s own heart. We shouldn’t do good works for our own glory but give God the glory in all things.
   The variety and number of good works you can perform are limited only by your degree of      commitment to obey God’s commands to show love and kindness.  Micah concisely states in        Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?”  
   Over the last couple of years many people in the congregation have been blessed by Godly acts    of kindness. Hurricane Harvey caused a lot of discomfort to so many in the area and now many are experiencing discomfort once again with the results of Imelda.  Whether it’s the prayers, the help moving, gift cards, a temporary place to stay, meals cooked, cash donations (or someone to talk to) is a Godly act of kindness.  We love and appreciate it all.  In our busy lives it can be difficult to look outside of our own schedules, families, and obligations.  It takes more than good intentions to begin a lifelong pattern of caring for others. It takes deliberate discipline, planning and Godly instruction.  This may not sound as thrilling as “random acts of kindness”, but we’re not in it for the thrill.  We’re in it for the enduring joy of being a doer, not just a hearer of God’s word. (James 1:21-23).  What can be better than that?

Carl Sundgren

Impeaching God

It is not enough to simply not like our current President.  There were many who felt that way prior to his election.  But once he was elected (and I  mean almost immediately), many of these same people were calling for his impeachment!  But they needed a plan.  We have seen this plan carried out in numerous ways.  Neglecting to fund his various policies, chief among them being a border wall.  Seeking to defeat (if not out-right destroy) his appointees to the Supreme Court.  Accusing him of colluding with our enemies and then alleging he sought to obstruct their investigation into the matter.  However, a wall is being built, 2 qualified individuals have been appointed to the Court, and he was exonerated regarding their charges against him.  Now here we go again with the new set of charges regarding a phone call!
 For the Lord’s people, none of these things are new.  Indeed, we have seen across the centuries how people have attempted to destroy God’s word (either by burning its pages or burning the prophets who were proclaiming it).  When God sent His Son, the same type of people ridiculed and blasphemed His teaching          and accused Him of being in league with the devil.  When they realized they could not silence Him, they determined the only way to kick Him out of office was to impeach (i.e., crucify) Him!  But we know that too failed to silence Him!
 Now as we look back over the past two millennia we see how these same forces have attempted to impeach His efforts to reach the people whom He loves.  They made martyrs of those who sought to get His word into the hands and hearts of their neighbors.  They attempted to keep His word in the hands of only a few (but Gutenberg put a stop to that).  Now more recently, His word and prayer have been made illegal in the public domain.  And what they cannot remove they now seek to overwhelm by inserting massive amounts of sinful words and immoral behaviors into the public square (movies, songs, television, etc.).  But somehow Jesus keeps popping up everywhere despite all their efforts.
 Sadly, these “impeachers” have finally found a way to silence His people.  The boldness of former generations of Christians which was ignited by their fervent Bible study, courageous public messages, and constant prayer is being squelched by an apathetic audience.  Frustrated believers are becoming discouraged by their lack of converts.  “What’s the use” they despairingly say.
 But don’t believe for a moment that God will be impeached!  We must all rally to Mordecai’s message.  “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for [the people] from another source and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not [been granted His grace] for such a time as this?”  (Esther 4:14).
The jury may still be out regarding the President.  But God’s people must not grow weary in our efforts, for they will never IMPEACH GOD!

Rick Walker

Behold the Altar

The study of the symbols (types and shadows) presented in the Old Testament and comparing their meanings in the New Testament is as interesting as it is glorious.
 In the book of Exodus, you see God giving instructions to Moses  concerning the construction of the Tabernacle and its furnishings. There are numerous meaningful types and shadows among the items of furniture in the Tabernacle that are presented in that section of Exodus 27.
 The most outstanding feature presented is the great bronze altar.  God’s instruction for building that altar and it’s placement in the courtyard is extremely meaningful to the plan of God for man’s salvation.
 The exact location of “the altar” cannot surely be determined, but it evidently stood somewhere near the grand entrance into the Tabernacle court.  It was by far the most important thing that was beheld by the eyes of all who entered the court.
 The construction material, bronze (brass) represented divine judgment (Numbers 21:9, John 3:14).  Christ met the searing heat of divine justice against sin at Calvary (for mankind).  The bronze altar    dominated the entrance area of the courtyard which typified the whole world.  It served as a tremendous symbol of the sublime truth that our Lord in His great mission of salvation for all men through His terrible suffering (for us) in death dominates all human history.  No other event of like importance has ever come close.  All events of all time are dated with reference to His birth. Behold the sacrifice for our sins.
 Aren’t God’s designs beautiful!

                                                   Donnie Landrum                                                       

God's Plan

Sometimes during the course of things in our lives it becomes necessary to stop and see where we are (spiritually).  In order to do this, we have to evaluate our fundamentals and that means revisiting the starting point.  That most likely involves studying the book of Genesis again.  It makes good sense to look at the beginning of the creation.
 I seems logical to look at the beginning of human errors (sin) and to see where our forefathers were and to begin to try to understand things from God’s perspective.  Adam and Eve were in a perfect environment in the Garden of Eden, but with one simple rule to keep, their choice was to listen to and take bad advice.  Fortunately for us, God had a plan in spite of man’s rebellion.
 Things got worse when driven from the garden.  They started a family and their oldest son killed his brother over jealousy (more sins = more distance from God).  Even with these flawed people God was still able to work His plan.
 Next act was moving so far from God that He had to destroy all mankind except Noah’s family.  Even with a new beginning it only took several generations to pass before man fell into idolatry and other grave sins that saddened God.  God, however, continued to work His plan.
 God called Abram in the 12th chapter of Genesis and the rest of the Old Testament is about how God worked His plan of redemption through Abraham’s descendants (seed).
 God had to work through many flawed people in order to bring us salvation.
 God has always had a plan, a plan for each of our lives.  Are we cooperating with His plan as fully as we can and should?  If not, why not!

Donnie Landrum

“Am I, Ananias?!”

We are all familiar with the biblical texts called, “The Great Commission,” (cf. Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16).  These were given to all of God’s people for all time.  But God gave out smaller, but equally important commissions to certain individuals.  One that is somewhat comical but then sobering is found in Acts 9:10-18.  Let’s look at portions of this for a few moments.
 “The Lord said to Ananias, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.’”  This is a straightforward command to Ananias.  Go to someone who needs you.  As Christians we know that the world needs what we have to offer.  For the people of this world are blind to truth about Jesus and His will for their lives.  As He said, “Unless you are born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God,” John 3:3.
 But Ananias balks at God’s words. “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon Your name.”  Surely this was not a “news flash” for the Lord.  He was aware of what Saul had done.   Here Ananias is informing the “all-knowing” God about things He clearly is aware!”  Ananias is like many today (me?  you?)  who have their “good reasons” as to why they shouldn’t have to go and tell others about Jesus…
 “I could lose this person as a friend.”  “I don’t like to think about what they will think of me.”  “I could lose my job.”  “I might say the wrong thing and mess up their chances for eternity.”  “This is not my gift.”  “They may say things to others about me and ruin my reputation.”  “Why can’t someone else go?”  ETC.!
 Yet God patiently responds to Ananias, saying, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”  Ananias went.  And because he did, Saul of Tarsus is today known as the apostle Paul, writer of over half the books in our New Testaments, missionary to most of the 1st Century world!  
 If Ananias had refused to go, I am fairly certain God would have found someone who had a little more faith and a little less fear.  But, am I Ananias?!  Because of my fear am I missing opportunities to bring souls into the kingdom whom God could use in profound ways to grow the church and glorify Himself?!  We all are subject to the Lord’s “Great Commission.”  Yet all of us have people in our lives for whom we have been given a mini-commission to reach them.  Go for it – DO IT!  Or, are you an Ananias?!  
-Rick Walker

The Cross Leads Home

   Do you ever ponder about that old rugged cross?  Jessie Brown Pounds wrote the words to the song, “The Way of the Cross”.  He wrote, I must needs go home by the way of the cross; There’s no other way but this; I shall ne’er get sight of the gates of light, if the way of the cross I miss.  I must needs go on in the blood-sprinkled way, The path that the Savior trod, If I ever climb to the heights sub-lime, Where the soul is at home with God.  Then I bid farewell to the way of the world, To walk in it never-more; For my Lord says, “Come”, and I seek my home, Where He waits at the open door.  It is sweet to know, as I onward go, The way of the cross leads home.”

   Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because straight is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few therebe that find it.”

   The gate of the one way is narrow, the gate of the other is wide.  We are directed to think of beginnings.  This is a subject to be studied in early life.  It comes up at the great moment of decision.  We must just think of the gate, for until we have passed through we cannot be in the way at all.  No, the one can become a Christian without an effort.  We do not drift into the kingdom, nor do we grow up in it unconsciously.  Even the children of Christian homes need to come to decision and make a deliberate choice.  Moreover, there are sins to be repented of, evil habits to be renounced; pride must be a humbled, and the simple trust of a little child attained.  We become Christians by complete surrender to Christ.

   The second gate is wide.  We do not need to make any choice of evil.  It is all around us.  We have but to let ourselves go, and we shall be swept through the wide gate.

   The straight gate leads to the narrow way, the wide gate to the broad way.  The right way is narrow.  There is but one right way, while there is an infinite diversity of wrong ways.  At every moment there is just one thing needful, one thing that it is our duty to do.  Righteousness involves self-denial.  We have to take up the cross to follow Christ.

   The two ways keep apart from beginning to end; neither issues in the other.  The broad way is not a shortcut to the narrow way.  Each has a separate destination.  We do not all come to the same end.  But the character of the end is determined by the character of the way.  This makes the way of great importance.  It is not a city in which we dwell, nor even a temporary camping ground on which we rest for a night.  We are always moving along it.  The great question is ~ Whither does it tend?  Christ sets the alternative before us very clearly ~ eternal life or destruction.  Here is reason for rousing ourselves and listening to the urgent entreaty of the Savior, “Enter ye in”.

   One of the most cherished songs in our song book is, “The Old Rugged Cross.”  To look at that cross; it is old, it is rugged, it is ugly.  There is no beauty in the cross, except for the fact that nailed to that cross is the precious Savior who gave His life for you and I.  George Bennard wrote, “And I love that old cross where the dearest and best, For a world of lost sinners was slain.  And so we cherish the old rugged cross, Till our trophies at last we lay down; we will cling to the old rugged cross, and some day exchange it for a crown.  John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him (Thomas), I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

                                           YES, THE WAY OF THE CROSS LEADS HOME!                                   

  -Derrell Hart


                                         Is Church Really Necessary?                                                                       

Many people have asked the question, “Is it necessary that you go to church every time the doors are open?” Here ar Meadows, we meet   every Sunday AM, Sunday PM, and Wednesday PM.  There are some churches which go to the extent of offering multiple services to allow families to pick which service they would like to attend.  That brings us back to the question, “Is it really necessary to attend every service?”


   Worship is a privilege that we have as children of God.  God has   commanded us to assemble regularly to worship Him in spirit and in truth.  Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us, “And  let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”  The Hebrew writer tells us that we meet together so that we can encourage one another  and stir up love and good works.  How can we be encouraged when part of our family is missing?


   Jesus’ parable in Luke 14:16-20, applies well to our attending worship services.  “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, come for all things are now ready.  But they all with one accord began to make excuses.  The first said to him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it.  I ask you to have me excused.  And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them.  I ask you to have me excused.  Still another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”  Every one of those invited could have attended the     supper if they really wanted to.  It’s easy to let life’s distractions interfere with serving the Lord.  Are we      rejecting His invitation to worship service in His church?  Only you can answer that question for yourself.   

                                                                                    See you at worship.                                                                              

- Brad Mansfield