My story

I remember living in New Mexico, serving in the United States Air Force. I was somewhat moderately religious, but the moderation was because of heritage more than anything else. I did read the Bible and had some low-level knowledge, like knowing where the Ten Commandments could be found when someone asked me. I was also a member of the Nazarene Church, the church of which my parents were associated, but one to which my grandmother was loyal. My experience in the Nazarene Church was good, but my commitment to them was not as good.

As a member of the USAF, while in New Mexico, I was introduced to the “church of Christ” for the first time. To me, one church was a good as another and, by and large, they were all good. The churches I knew I had no real interest in would have been the Mormons and Catholics, but Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists – I had no real objections to these. Continue reading

#conversion-stories, #conversions, #my-story

Conviction

Hebrews 11:1 reads, “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen” (ASV), and then in verse 6 it reads, “and without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.”

The other day some people came by the house to hand out literature on an upcoming (at that time) conference in Dayton. The people (women) were with the Jehovah Witnesses; Anne received them as she was tending to her flowers and garden. They invited her to the conference, but Anne declined. After a little while, the three spoke about the garden and flowers, then departed for wherever they were headed next.

As I reflect on that which these women from the Watchtower religious group did, I reflected on the idea of conviction. I asked myself, “exactly how convicted are we, as members of the Lord’s church, how convicted are we to tell people about Jesus, to speak aggressively about His holy name in a world of sin in which we live?”

False teaching is all around us, but we can hardly know what false teaching is being promoted around us if we don’t know the Lord and His way. How many of us are aware the very word of God that is made available to us, that is preached each Lord’s day is the measurement by which we will be judged? A good many of us know that already. Still, we have a hard time picking up the Bible and reading twenty minutes each day, while we have plenty of time to watch a favorite program or programs. “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:38, ASV). Rejecting comes in different ways. It could be out-right rejection or simply neglect. “For if the word spoken through angels proved stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? which having at the first been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard” (Hebrews 2:2-3). Instead of putting in effort to understand the Lord’s way, we want to have programming put in effort to entertain us.

I don’t pose all of this to you, as much as I pose these questions and observations to us. I certainly am a person of conviction; I engage people in discussion as often as I can, regardless of location or venue. I do so aggressively. I have not, however, gone door-to-door in my evangelistic efforts. Some may say that is not needed or not as effective as it once was and, perhaps, this is so. Still, I have not done so of late. The Jehovah Witness ladies did. RT

#conviction #evangelism

Letter to editor: Secularism and theism on campus

There are some who think there is no God (Movement on the move, B-6, Dispatch, 7.21.2017), but the evidence for such is overwhelming. Nevertheless, they hold onto that belief because it gives liberty to hedonism. Hedonism is rejected by many atheists, but for no good reason. Bertrand Russell once wrote, “We feel that the man who brings widespread happiness at the expense of misery to himself is a better man than the man who brings unhappiness to others and happiness to himself. I do not know of any rational ground for this view…” (Katharine Tait, My Father Bertrand Russell, p. 182).

Russell was a secularist; what values did he hold and, for that matter, those values that he held, for what reason did he hold them? His daughter, Katharine, took these words from his autobiography, thus an accurate conveying of a despairing sentiment, suggesting the values of a secularist have no foundations and are fluid.

In the battle of ideas, especially on college campuses, secularism and theism should be made available to each student to choose on their own. Let the debates begin, and let not the campuses shut them down because one might be conservative and the other progressive/liberal.

Printed in the Columbus Dispatch on 7.24.2017. Unfortunately, the editorial board signed my name “The Rev. Ron Thomas, Sunrush Church of Christ.”

#theism #secularism #atheism

Reflect on holiness

The Scripture teaches that Jesus gave up His life for us individually. That is, He gave up His life for all those who love the Lord and call on His name (John 3:16; Acts 2:21). Paul wrote to those of Galatia, “who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Galatians 1:4, ESV). Reflect on this for a moment: Jesus gave up His life, that we might have life. We should respect this gift of life given to us in such a way that our lives are changed, changed in the direction of holiness. “…but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16, ESV). RT

#holiness #life

Word to the Wise. Proverbs 10:2

Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death. Why would someone seek wealth via wicked deeds or thinking? Because there is no real belief there will be a day of reckoning. While the thinking of great profit awaits, many hope, actually, it is the righteous who receive wealth, a wealth that is not of this world – which is of greater value. If the wicked thought as the righteous, the wicked would no longer be wicked, but righteous. Seems to be a truism; we also see another truism: the wicked far outnumber the righteous. The Lord’s way of educating the mind has a way of changing hearts that have no desire to live by this world’s standards, but those hearts need to want a wealth that is not of this world. RT

#wealth #truisms #Proverbs

See it through

An able man shows his spirit by gentle words and resolute actions (Chesterfield). He is able because he has been taught (or learned in some way). His words are gentle because he is secure in who he is, not threatened by others around him, thus no need to have harsh words. He has resolute actions because he knows what is right, will see it through to the end or be brought to an end trying to see it through. That which Chesterfield said, I am sure, came by experience and observation. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58, KJV). RT

#quotes #gentleness #action

A tweet with a clue?

I saw a cartoon in the “Columbus Dispatch” (6.5.201) that represents a “tweet” (mocking President Trump’s tweets on his Twitter account); it reads: “Children, I gave you life – you gave me climate change and a world leader who wants to bring me death. Is this how you treat your mother? Very upset bigly. Signed ‘Mother Earth.’” The hash-tag to this political cartoon is DJTHasnotAClue.

The cartoon is a mockery of the president (one’s thinking about the president is not the point of this article), but I want to suggest there is a mockery of One that is far more serious.

The mocking cartoon with the climate change message is part and parcel of paganism! Paganism is defined as a polytheistic way of thinking, a religion of sensuality, delight in material goods. Polytheistic ways of thinking that is a collection of various spiritual and materialistic ideas wrapped into one wherein a person chooses to live by its influences.

Is it truly the case “mother earth” gave life? Who is mother earth? Continue reading

#evolution, #mother-earth