October 2016 Issue of Christian Worker (The Need for Strong Churches)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • The Need for Strong Churches (Mike Vestal)
  • Strength Through Adversity (Cody Westbrook)
  • Through Fellowship (Kevin Rhodes)
  • Through Worship (Wayne Jones)
  • Through Preaching (Clay Bond)
  • Through Love (Ross Haffner)
  • Through Service (Johnie Scaggs, Jr)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2016 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#adversity, #christian-fellowship, #christian-love, #christian-service, #christian-worker, #church-assemblies, #church-growth, #preaching, #spiritual-strength, #strong-churches

Squandering opportunities

Every day” in Jerusalem the first Christians met. Their circumstances were unusual. The city was full of feast participants, and the focus turned from Pentecost to sins lost at the Cross. At the response to the first gospel sermon, a community was formed, and as a community they devoted themselves to each other. Away from work and home responsibilities, they were free to develop this fellowship intensely.

We have a similar opportunity, though we squander much of our time in selfish pursuits. We may not be free of work and home like the Jerusalem saints were in those first days, but in no time in history does man have as much free time as today. We choose, however, to occupy it with activities that pander to our interests, rather than spend time with our Christian family.

#bible-meditation, #christian-fellowship, #memorization-verse

The end didn’t come, but 20 people did

The end didn’t come this afternoon in SJCampos, but twenty people did, not counting our family, descending on our small house for a men’s and women’s meeting. The ladies took the living room, while the men met under the back varanda.

Socorro taught the ladies, subject matter was the devil, while I led the men in a discussion of prophecies, end times, and private interpretations. Dona Ritinha, an elderly lady converted last year, led her first public prayer among the women when Socorro asked her to open the meeting. Vicki said she did a great job of it.

We got started at 5:30 p.m., about 30 minutes later than scheduled (does that bug Americans?), and the meetings lasted about an hour. Then came the tea, which included as well, soft drinks, sandwiches, cakes and pies, and lots of visiting and chatting together. A bit of counseling in the middle of it as well. The last visitors left about 8:30 p.m. Is that a long meeting for Americans?

Shortly, I’ll have some pictures up on my personal website. Or Flickr. Or somewhere. I’ll post the link here. (Too much chocolate-passion-fruit mousse pie (wife’s translation.)


Today, the Day for Love

Christian loveNo, it’s not another international day nobody knows about, nor another Valentine’s Day, not even in Brazil. (Here, June 12th.) Nor has the wife sent me a promissory note for later. Following our reading schedule, today’s chapter is 1 Cor. 13, the famous love chapter. So most of what I’m writing today, and will be teaching tonight, focuses on love.

Three chapters (12-14) boil down to one phrase. Chapter 13 centers the discussion of gifts. In that chapter, three sections (essentiality, 1-3; activity, 4-7, superiority, 8-13) center on love’s actions (13:4-7). In that section, we have positive, negative, and positive actions, so the negative is the focus. Of the nine negatives, the middle one is, “it is not self-serving.” That’s what the Corinthians were doing with the gifts, serving and exalting themselves, when the gifts were give to serve and edify others. Pretty neat the way he organizes it, no?

Chapter 13 isn’t about marriage, although it probably gets read more at weddings than anywhere. It’s about church, about brotherly love. And, boy, oh, boy, do we need that today, when each one is going his own way, and we don’t have time for each other. It’s not that we fight. It’s that we hardly interact at all. Early Christians had daily contact. We do good to be in touch weekly.

I love the Internet. I work it, use it, benefit from it, share through it, and enjoy fellowship thanks to it. But as good as the Internet is, it’s no substitute for personal, daily contact with the saints.

Facebook is becoming a huge substitute for live social interaction. That’s just a fact, and we ought to use it for the gospel. At the same time, we as God’s agents of transformation must cultivate living, breathing communion at the local level. The Internet may even contribute, but it cannot substitute, our full fellowship together.

Some of God’s gifts can be used through the Internet, but not all. It cannot visit, feed, listen, touch, nor perform a hundred other actions necessary for full fellowship. For all its advantages, the Internet cannot give the holy kiss, or holy hug, or holy handshake, if that’s all you’re up for.

Today is for me, then, the Day for Love, the day to read, think, and practice the love of 1 Corinthians 13. Truth be known, though, every day in God’s church is the Day for Love. Every. Single. Day.

Love has skin, feet, and hands. Let it have your skin, your feet, and your hands.

#christian-fellowship, #christian-love, #facebook, #social-media