You can lead a horse to the water…

You’ve all heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to the water but you can’t make him drink,” right? I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately and know it to be true. Experiences of life teach older people lots of good lessons and the Bible teaches us that we as older people are to train the younger ones. So often the younger set doesn’t want to hear anything the older ones have to say in regard to certain things. It doesn’t matter how good you know something would be for another person, you can’t make them listen and do it. I’ve seen it happen so many times in my lifetime. Unwanted advice is not appreciated. It’s sad but it’s true. You can lead a horse to the water but you can’t make him drink. You can share your good, well-known and experienced ideas but you certainly can’t make a person take advantage of them. And so, as my beloved sister-in-law used to say, “Young people often have to go up ‘fool’s hill,'” or as someone else said, “buy them some experience.” It’s sad.

As disappointing as the above scenario is, it is even sadder when we spend our time teaching a person the gospel and rather than listening to the teachings of the Word of God and accepting it, they make their own decision to not accept it. On one occasion we taught a man who had been sprinkled as a child. We showed him what the Bible taught about the church, baptism and eternity. When we boldly asked him about being baptized for the remission of his sins since sprinkling is not taught in the Word of God, he looked at us and smiled and never said a word. You can lead a person to the truth of God’s Word but you can’t make them accept it no matter how good it would be for them and their souls. It’s sad.

Each Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday evening we are given the opportunity to come together to study the Word of God and to worship God. It is available for all to come and learn. Yet as wonderful as it is that we are free to worship and study openly, many carelessly go about their own pursuits and don’t take advantage of the periods of study, no matter how good we know it would be for them to do so. If everyone who claims to be a member of the church attended regularly the pews would not be as empty, others would be uplifted and encouraged by being with fellow Christians, and the singing would be so much prettier. The preacher would be encouraged to new heights and the community would see a strong congregation of the Lord’s church. New ideas would spring forth from sharing a love for the Lord and most of all, God would be pleased. 

#advice, #church-bulletin-articles

Bulletin Digest Bulletin Article Top 20

Do you remember an article from this past year (2013) that really sticks out in your mind? Bulletin Digest is putting together a “Top 20” list of bulletin articles written by members of the church of Christ. So if you can think of one that you think is worthy of mention, or you’d like more details, click on this link and pass the article along to them. There’s still time left.

#bulletin-digest, #church-bulletin-articles

Personal Insights from the Preacher

Here’s my article from yesterday’s bulletin. I thought some of you preachers might appreciate it:

Personal Insights from the Preacher

One of the hardest things about the preacher’s “job” is the personal side of it. It’s a job where we have to personally get personal without getting personal. We are expected to meet the expectations that say we are to get personally involved in the lives of people while still meeting the expectations of avoiding the personal areas where we’re not wanted. We are expected to preach sermons that have practical and personal applications yet we are expected to not personally step on any toes. On top of those personal problems, we have our own personal problems to deal with…and you’d know that if you personally knew any preachers! It’s not my job to know the details about your life, but your life is in the details of my job. And I do my best to avoiding preaching about certain topics when I know that a person knows that I know about them personally, but everyone else doesn’t personally know this. My point in saying all of this is not to rant; not even close! My point is to remind you that sermons that sound personal are not always personally directed toward you. So I’d love to get to know you personally, but remember that means I’ll have to get personal if I do.

P.S. This isn’t personally directed at anyone 🙂

Sound like a personal sentiment to anyone else?

 

#church-bulletin-articles, #personal, #personal-insights, #preachers, #preaching, #sense-of-humor

Need a Bright Idea?

Here’s a neat little article that I got from the Findlay church’s bulletin in Sparta, Tennessee a year or two ago entitled Need A Bright Idea?:

Love your neighbor,
(Matthew 19:19). Love your
enemies (Luke 6:27). Bear one
another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).
Do unto others as you would have
them do unto you (Luke 6:31). Stay
on the job (Romans 12:11). Forgive
those who have sinned against you.
(Matthew 26:11). Rejoice with those
who do rejoice, and weep with those
who weep (Romans 12:15). Be an
example in your manner of life
(1 Timothy 4:12). Walk in the
steps of Christ (1 Pet. 2:21).
Be hospitable (Romans
12:13). Preach the
Gospel (Mark 16:
15-16). Rejoice
in the Lord
(Philippians
4:4). Pray
(Luke 18:1).

It may even work out as a good bulletin board idea.

#bulletin-boards, #christianity, #church-bulletin-articles, #word-shapes

“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

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

“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

#articles, #church-bulletin-articles, #love-of-money, #money, #stewardship

“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

#articles, #christian-living, #church-bulletin-articles

Mirrors and binoculars

Binoculars are a funny thing to me. Our family only ever owned one pair. I can think of reasons someone would want some: bird watching, hunting, making sure your students survived the downhill slip-and-slide. I think I’ve used our pair one time. I’m pretty sure it was at a football game.

A mirror though, I use every day. We have tons of them in our house. Most are decorative, a few are purely functional. I watch myself brush my teeth a lot. I also see how many spots I can miss while shaving. In normal life, I use a mirror WAY more than binoculars.

When studying the Bible, unfortunately, I find myself using binoculars much more than a mirror.

Many of us study the Bible looking through a pair of binoculars. What I mean is, most of us study the Bible in order to teach someone else the truth we’re learning. This is fine, but most of the time we miss studying the Bible through a mirror. Usually we’re so busy studying the Bible for other people that we rarely look at it for ourselves.

This is a trap too many Christians fall into. Myself included.

The next time you’re studying the Bible in order to teach a lesson or help a friend, try to see how you can apply the truth to your own life first. Not only will your own life be changed as a result of studying the Bible, the truth you try to teach others will mean that much more to you.

When others see that the Bible has changed your life they will be more inclined to change their life based on the truth you teach.

Ronald Long, in “The Observer,” Somers Ave. church bulletin, N. Little Rock AR

#bible-study, #church-bulletin-articles, #evangelism, #personal-application

“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

#articles, #church-bulletin-articles, #leadership, #politics, #religion-and-politics

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

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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