“Distractions Can Be Dangerous”

Distraction can be dangerous. The dangers of texting while driving should be apparent to all and as a result most states have made it illegal. Drivers need their full attention on the road. Tests have revealed that those so doing are as dangerous as those who are driving under the influence. It only takes a second for a lack of attention to cost one his life.

Some distract others for devious purposes. Teams of thieves who distract their prey for just a moment and pick their pockets.

Sometimes the distractions are by things that seem so innocent. For instance when Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha they had two different reactions. Mary is said to have “sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word” (Luke 10:39). But about Martha Luke records, she “was distracted with much serving” (Luke 10:40). She let something prevent her from listening to the Lord. She was distracted.

Now, let me mention a problem. It exists in many places and here as well. There are simply too many distractions in our worship. We may think they do not affect us, but they do others and perhaps ourselves more than we realize. Although it is not my purpose to be offensive, I must simply call attention to this with a confident expectation that it will be improved. Let me mention a few. Continue reading

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Yesterday’s Sermons

marriagePer Randall’s request, here is my cartoon…can you guess what yesterday’s sermons were about?  It was all actually one sermon that was a bit long, so I started it Sunday morning and finished it in the evening.

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The “so what” of the sermon was that marriage need not be “okay” or “tolerable,” but marriage can be a little taste of heaven here on earth.  And, since the church is the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:21-32), there’s an application there for all, whether married or single.

#marriage, #preaching, #sermons

“Guilty as Charged” (pt. 2 of 2)

Psalm 50 is pictured somewhat like a modern-day courtroom scene, where God is the Judge, District Attorney, Juror, and the key Witness against His people.  In this psalm, God judges His people, He witnesses against them, and He calls them back to Him.  Last week, we began looking at this judicial scene, observing the Judge (God) entering His courtroom in all His glory (vv. 1-6) and also the testimony of the key Witness against Israel (God, vv. 7-15).  Continuing this scene, notice the following: Continue reading

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“Guilty as Charged” (pt. 1 of 2)

Your day has finally come.  You enter the courtroom for the trial, make eye contact with the district attorney, and take your seat at the defendant’s table.  The words echo throughout the courtroom, “All rise; the honorable JEHOVAH is now presiding.”  Much to your surprise (and chagrin), you realize that the judge is the same person as the district attorney; after a few double takes, you realize there is absolutely no difference in these two.  Can you imagine such a scene?  If not, then read Psalm 50, for that is the picture—Jehovah God is the Judge, District Attorney, Juror, and the key Witness against His people.  In this psalm, God judges His people, He witnesses against them, and He calls them back to Him.  The time of writing for this psalm is unknown, though it is thought by many to be sometime near either the captivity or restoration of God’s people.  Let us now continue through the amazing picture painted by this psalm.  “This court is now in session.” Continue reading

#articles, #church-bulletin-articles, #judgment

“Money Matters”

In 1 Timothy 6:9-17, the apostle Paul warns against the dangers of money. Money is the number one source of problems among married couples, and it is the number one desire of a great number of people today. Let us now notice the admonition of Paul against the dangers of money, and let us heed his admonition to avoid this perilous wile of the devil (cf. Eph. 6:11, 17). Continue reading

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“The End of the Wicked”

In Psalm 73, verses 3-14, Asaph contemplates the seemingly prosperous state of the wicked, admits that he was envious (v. 3), and laments that “They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men” (v. 5).  However, in verses 15-16, Asaph admits being a bit embarrassed at his thoughts, acknowledging that his thoughts, if heard by some, might cause one to stumble.  He further notes in verse 16 that the thought of causing one of God’s children to stumble was too painful for him to bear.  In verse 17, Asaph states that when he went into God’s sanctuary (i.e., he studied God’s Word, worshiped, meditated on God’s ways), then he understood the end of the wicked.  It is hard to conceive of any one of God’s children not having thought along the same lines as Asaph in verses 3-14 at some point or other in his/her life.  It is the age old question of, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and, “Why do the wicked prosper?”  But, let us note carefully what the Holy Spirit inspired Asaph to write concerning the end of the wicked in verses 18 and 19 of Psalm 73. Continue reading

#articles, #church-bulletin-articles, #psalms, #studies-in-psalms

“I Am Crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20)

Most of us are familiar with the words of Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  It may be that we have memorized the verse, or it may be that we are familiar with it because it is a song we often sing with our young people at camp and various other youth activities.  This one little verse can teach us so much.  By breaking this verse down into four parts, notice the powerful lessons it teaches us. Continue reading

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“Know Ye Not That There Is a Prince & a Great Man Fallen This Day in Israel?”

King David, mourning over the death of Abner, asked the question that is the title of this article, “Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?” (2 Sam. 3:38).  Today, in spiritual Israel (the church, Gal. 6:15-16; cf. Rom. 2:28-29), we mourn the loss of a truly great servant of God, Tate Lamar Williams. Tate was a member of the Bremen congregation, but he was more than just a member; he was truly a servant to all.  Tate never failed to tell me after a sermon how he appreciated it, and he always told me he loved the sermon.

Tate Williams:  May 4, 1994 - October 23, 2012

“Always ready to preach the Word…” Picture taken shortly before a preaching appointment at the Gospel Broadcasting Network (GBN) in Ringgold, GA.

I preached my first Sunday at Bremen on July 1, 2012.  That night, my family and I left to go to Bible camp in Tennessee.  I was excited to learn that a young man from Bremen would actually be at that camp.  We enjoyed a great week at camp, but, it wasn’t until we finally got back to Bremen and began the day-to-day local work that I began fully to appreciate this young man of God.  He came to the building one day to study, but he found out quickly that the new preacher likes to talk!  I apologized to him as he was leaving for taking up so much of his study time, only to receive a Facebook message that evening telling me, “You don’t need to worry about ‘taking up my time’ today. 50% of the reason I came up this morning was so we could hang out.”  Tate and I took up a lot of each other’s time in the weeks that followed.  If either of us had known just how short the time was, no doubt we would have spent far more time together.  But, I will always treasure the time I did have with him.

Tate loved gospel preachers!  He once told me that from the time he and Thad were little, their parents always put faithful gospel preachers before them as heroes.  I always enjoyed hearing Tate’s stories about his preacher heroes.  You could tell as he spoke of each one that he truly admired them.  I remember well telling him about my own preacher hero, Eddie Brinkley, and telling him how brother Brinkley was a student of Marshall Keeble.  At the preachers’ workshop, “Polishing the Pulpit,” Tate finally got to hear and meet him. After brother Brinkley’s sermon, “Running from a Lion, Met by a Bear,” multitudes crowded around him.  I can still see Tate looking back at me with wide eyes, that million-dollar smile, and a look on his face that just seemed to say, “Wow, you really weren’t kidding about this guy!”  Tate, Thad, and I posed with a couple of other young men for a photo with this spiritual giant. I have smiled many times over the past few days just picturing Tate visiting with brother Keeble in paradise.

I chuckled this Monday morning as I saw a picture of Tate on Facebook.  Karen Loyd had taken it on his 15th birthday, and it was Tate impersonating Frank Sinatra.  I chuckled because it occurred to me that Frank Sinatra once bragged, “I did it my way.”  Tate Williams, however, did life God’s way. Gary and Jamie Williams are to be commended for their tireless effort to, like Hannah of old, give their son to God.  And, when Tate came of age, he then gave himself to God.  His life was literally saturated with God, the Bible, Jesus, the church, and all things spiritual.

I have never known anyone like Tate Williams, and I shall never forget him.  I would not have thought it possible to grow so close to someone in so short a time had I not experienced it personally these past few months.  Tate’s influence on my life is profound; he made me a better person and a better preacher. Every time the saints gather here at Bremen, we will be reminded of Jonathan’s words to David: “thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty” (1 Sam. 20:18).  Jane McWhorter, in her book Let This Cup Pass, writes, “The seat will always be empty here on this earth because we can never be with that loved one while we live, but we haven’t really lost something if we know where it is. We may not be able to touch it, but we know exactly where to find it. Departed Christians act as magnets, drawing us closer to Heaven” (emphasis added). Indeed, heaven now seems just a little bit sweeter because of the presence there of a young man named Tate Lamar Williams.  I am thankful to have known him, and I am even more thankful to have called him my friend, brother, and coworker in the kingdom of God.

[Article written by Chad Dollahite, taken from Bremen Church of Christ (Bremen, GA) bulletin]

#death, #in-memory-of

“Follow the Leader”? [part 2]

We previously noticed that a nation’s leader greatly influences the behavior of that nation’s people; that a nation’s leader should not always be followed; and that, ultimately, all leadership is from God.  This week, let us continue this study by noticing 3 other points of interest in regard to national leadership.

God uses leaders.  God often used leaders of nations to accomplish His ultimate purpose.  Continue reading

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“Follow the Leader”?

Children sometimes like to play the game “follow the leader,” in which one person is the leader, and the others imitate that leader’s behavior, speech, etc.  Even as adults, we often use the phrase “follow the leader” to denote our emulation of some leader’s behavior, actions, and so on.  As our country prepares to elect its next leader, this topic of leadership is especially important to consider.  Let us notice a few points of interest in this regard. Continue reading

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The Sin of Doing Nothing

I remember one occasion when I was a youngster, and my mother was about to scold me for some wrongdoing, when I butted in, “But, I didn’t do anything!”  My mother, not deterred in the slightest, exclaimed, “Exactly!  And, that’s why you’re in trouble!”  I had transgressed my parents’ law, not by doing something wrong, but by failing to do that which I was supposed to have done earlier.  Thus, I learned (the hard way) about the sin of doing nothing.

This lesson is taught in Scripture in the book of Judges.  In chapter 4, Israel had fought and defeated the Canaanites, under the leadership of Deborah and Barak.  Chapter 5 records Deborah and Barak’s victory song after their conquest.  It is to verse 23 that our attention is now directed:  “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.”  The inhabitants of Meroz were cursed, not because they had done any particular action that was wrong, but because they had failed to do that which they should have done—help their brethren in the fight against the Canaanites.  Thus, Meroz learned the hard way about the sin of doing nothing.  It is not enough simply to refrain from doing wrong, but God’s children must also be careful to do that which they are expected to do. Continue reading

#articles, #benevolence, #church-bulletin-articles, #evangelsm, #salvation, #sin

Illustration: Bible Study

It Needs to Be Used…

General George Washington had known nothing but defeat in the American Revolution until the famous victory at Trenton on Christmas Day night, 1776.  Every school child knows how Washington attacked the Hessians unawares and defeated them.

But what is not so well known is that the commanding officer at Trenton, Colonel Gottlieb Rall, had been warned of Washington’s surprise attack.  The evening before, Colonel Rall had been passed a note by a Tory farmer of the impending attack.  Yet he put the note aside unread as he played chess [some accounts say cards, ccd] and drank with other officers.  Colonel Rall was mortally wounded in the battle, and the note of warning was later found in his pocket…unopened.

God has given us the best information available on how to live, yet His Holy Word often lies unread at our fingertips.  It bulges with both promises and warnings.  The promises inspire us and refresh us to take courage.  The warnings are like flashing red lights that stop us in our self-destructive paths.  How foolish to ignore the cautions of God’s Word that would detour us from self-destruction!

“Blessed is he that readeth … and keep those things which are written therein…” (Rev 1:3)

Adapted from John Scott –
[Originally via The Friend of Truth, 4/27/2003, came to me via David Lemmons, then further adapted based on additional historical research]

#bible-study, #illustrations, #preparation

Hearing, But Not Doing

“Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the lord.  31And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.  32And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.  33And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them” (Eze. 33:30-33).

 In this text, God’s people were hearing, but they were not doing.  God said He was going to lay the land desolate (vv. 28-29), and many would die of pestilence (v. 27).  Because of these punishments, the children of Israel would know that Jehovah was God (v. 29), and they would know that a true prophet of Jehovah had been among them (v. 33).

The people’s disobedience to God was not from a lack of knowledge and/or hearing of the will of God.  Ezekiel had faithfully prophesied the word of the Lord to them.  As God said to Ezekiel, “They hear thy words, but they will not do them” (Eze. 33:31).  They heard and knew God’s will, but they simply refused to obey it.  God goes on to say, “With their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness” (33:31).  These people professed love to God with their mouths, but their hearts were certainly not right in the sight of God.  God even tells Ezekiel that he (Ezekiel) is like mere entertainment to them, pleasing to their ears, for they hear him and go their way, ignoring the message from God.  What a terrible situation in which to find the very people who are supposed to be God’s faithful!  They were the ones who were supposed to represent God to the world, and they were ignoring the teachings and warnings from the very One whom they supposedly served.  But, God left this warning at the end of chapter 33:  “And when this [the pestilence and desolation, ccd] cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them” (v. 33).

Today, we often see the same problem among those professing to be God’s people (and often among those who are God’s people).  The text in Ezekiel 33:31 reminds this writer of Jesus’ words in Matthew 15:8:  “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”  Notice Jesus’ statement immediately following:  “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (15:9).  Hearing God’s Word is not enough if we do not put what we hear into practice.  How many people will be lost on the Day of Judgment, not from ignorance of God’s Word, but from failure to put what they heard into action?  Let us ever be mindful of the words of James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”  May we also remember the inspired words penned by the apostle Paul, “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom. 2:13).  Friends and brethren, I doubt that anyone reading this article is having a shortage of hearing the Word of God.  But, is the Word being obeyed?  Read Matthew 7:24-27.  Both of these men heard the word of the Lord; the difference was only that one heard and obeyed.  Are you going to be wise or foolish?  The choice is yours.

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:  25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matt. 7:24-27).

[Article written by Chad Dollahite, taken from Bremen Church of Christ (Bremen, GA) bulletin]

#articles, #church-bulletin-articles, #obedience

Are You Robbing God?

In Malachi 3:8-9, the prophet of old penned these words, quoting Jehovah:  “Will a man rob God?  Yet ye have robbed me.  But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?  In tithes and offerings.  Ye are cursed with a curse:  for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

At first glance, the question, “Are you robbing God?” sounds absurd.  Yet, from God’s Word, we learn that the children of Israel in Malachi’s day were, in fact, robbing God by failing to offer the proper tithes & offerings.  What about us?  Can we rob God today?  We certainly can, & we often do so in the same ways those Israelites did so long ago. Continue reading

#articles, #church-bulletin-articles, #giving, #worship

A Broken Reed

In his boastful message to King Hezekiah, Sennacherib’s messenger asked Hezekiah, “Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?” (Isa. 35:5), and he went on to state in the very next verse, “Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.”  Rabshakeh tells Hezekiah that trusting in Egypt for help will only do Judah more harm, much like one trying to lean for support on a broken reed.  Continuing to read this text, however, we learn that Hezekiah and Judah were not trusting in Egypt or any other nation (unlike so many other foolish kings), but they were trusting in Jehovah for deliverance.  Continue reading

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