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  • J. Randal Matheny 12:00 pm on 2016-11-26 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , conversion, ,   

    Wipe your internet presence clean with one click. And your sins with one dip 

    click-hereIt’s the real deal, supposedly. These folks will find all your accounts on the web, through a Google login, and wipe your internet presence clean. They don’t say if they’ll get you off Google as well. But it really tempts one, does it not?

    There is a good side to the internet. At times, however, we don’t see it. We get bombarded by the bad side, and offers like the one made by the site above appeal to those who are tired of it all. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 9:22 am on 2016-06-18 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: conversion, , , self   

    Events and our reactions 

    anger

    Our interpretation of events around us, and the language we use to describe them, determine our emotional reaction to them.

    How we place ourselves in relation to those events colors our emotions. If we selfishly put ourselves in the center of all that happens, we will take the actions and comments of others personally. So we will feel anger, frustration, and resentment that events did not conform to our expectations. With self in the center, objectivity is lost.

    Expressing such emotions will not defuse them, but will only cause them to root themselves more deeply in our soul. Thus, we reinforce our behavior of interpreting events through the lens of self.

    Through our conversion to Jesus Christ, he becomes the center of our being and the lens through which we see all events. The sovereign control of God becomes our focus. So there is no one technique, nor a set of them, for a more healthy reinterpretation of events, but rather a transformation into a new man that looks at people and events from a new light.

    And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised. So then from now on we acknowledge no one from an outward human point of view. Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view, now we do not know him in that way any longer. So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away—look, what is new has come! 2 Cor 5.15-17

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 8:15 am on 2016-04-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: conversion, , , , ,   

    Fleshing out conversion 

    turn-signalWe hold half-formed ideas about many words. For some, conversion hides one of those nebulous meanings. Its basic meaning is turning or change.

    Think of converting an automobile motor from gasoline into natural gas. In order to do what it could not before, some things have to be tinkered with. And what it did before, it does no longer. To convert it over is not a complicated process, but not anyone can do it.

    Converting a soul from sin and self, from the world and the flesh, in order to know and serve God is not only a personal decision on the part of the person, but a job only the Creator can undertake. (More …)

     
  • TFRStaff 9:21 am on 2016-01-01 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: conversion, , union with Christ   

    Union with Christ 

    No relationship manages to meet all our needs and fulfill all our expectations. Only Christ completely satisfies. So why not seek union with him? http://gospel.randal.fastmail.fm/

    QBT

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 7:43 am on 2014-09-30 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: conversion, , real-life story   

    She waited too late 

    A friend in Tennessee shared this story with me today.

    My cousin passed away week before last. She never obeyed the gospel. She had been to church services as a young lady, watched the Jule Miller videos, knew what she needed to do. She was diagnosed with cancer and given a year to live. She did not do well with the chemo, had several complications and waited till she was not able to be immersed. She said, “I waited too late, I waited too late!”

    If you have not turned to the Lord yet, do not wait until it is too late. You can do it today.

     
    • Beth 1:57 pm on 2014-10-07 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, this is Joy’s blog article I believe. I appreciate her deep thoughts.

  • Eugene Adkins 7:07 am on 2014-08-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: conversion, , direct operation of the Holy Spirit, ,   

    Inconsistencies concerning the conviction and correction of a sinner and the Holy Spirit 

    There are some in the religious world, and perhaps even several within the church herself, who consistently claim that the Holy Spirit convicts the hearts of sinners through means outside of the word of God. Although I believe that most are sincere in their claim, I also believe the majority of those who are sincere are also inconsistent with their belief.

    This inconsistency is seen when one person who has been convicted by the Holy Spirit via a “religious experience” attempts to inform another individual who has been convicted by the Holy Spirit via a differing “religious experience” resulting in a salvation, belief and testimony from a completely different process that their experience was wrong and then they attempt to use the word of God to prove it.

    Do you see the inconsistency?

    If conviction (salvation) for the sinner comes from a religious experience and not from the word of God alone, then what does it matter if one “religious experience” matches another? Who is to say that anyone’s “experience” is wrong whether we’re talking about Joseph Smith or Charles Russell or Ellen G. White or any TV preacher who calls on people to lay hands on the TV for their religious experience?

    Furthermore, the inconsistency of the position is revealed through the very attempt made at correcting the inconsistent “religious experience” by using the consistency of the word of God.

    If the word of God is going to be used as the guideline for correcting error, then the very word of God, by default, becomes the standard by which the conviction should have taken place to begin with. You cannot honestly say that a conviction can come by the Holy Spirit operating directly on someone outside of the word of God and then turn around and tell someone their experience of that “direct operation” was wrong because it does not align with what the Spirit teaches through the word – that’s inconsistent!

    The truth of the matter is that when it comes to the conviction and correction (that leads to salvation) of the Holy Spirit upon the heart of a sinner, the work of Spirit is accomplished through the consistent guidance of His word and not through the inconsistent “religious experiences” that vary and contradict each other and the word of God itself.

    But if your belief is that the direction operation of the Holy Spirit is indeed the mode of conviction and correction that God has chosen, then you would do well to stop saying that the “religious experiences” of others resulting from that direct operation is in error because if there is going to be no consistency then attempting to be consistent is very inconsistent within itself.

    “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:36-38)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 10:35 am on 2013-08-31 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , conversion, ,   

    Bible Chart on Examples of Conversions 

    Here’s a good and basic chart describing what people did according to the scriptures to become a Christian during the first years of the gospel. Multiple lessons could be taught with it, one of which is that it’s good for people to compare what they have been taught in the religious world to what the Bible teaches when it comes to salvation and what must be done in our response to the invitation of the gospel of Jesus.Bible Chart - Examples of Conversion

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:33 am on 2013-08-21 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Chart Lesson, , conversion,   

    Bible Chart: Changes Involved in Conversion 

    Here’s another Bible chart that I got in an email from a friend. It covers a very basic topic, but like the last chart, this one could be used to do several different things too. It would probably work best as a bulletin board with some tweaking on the layout. I hope you find it useful for something though:

    Bible Chart - Changes Involved in Conversion

    Related Article:

     
  • Michael Summers 11:10 pm on 2013-07-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , conversion, , , , ,   

    The Joy of the Baptized 

    Joy exploded through my mind as I burst from immersion in the baptistry that evening. I submitted to Christ in baptism decades ago, but memory of that burst of joy remains clear. No one told me to expect that experience. I’ve noticed that many others seem extremely happy after baptism. Sometimes, their expression of joy even makes some people uncomfortable. However, converts in the book of Acts experienced joy also when they obeyed Christ in baptism.

    An Ethiopian government official, returning from worshiping God in Jerusalem, read from the prophet Isaiah as his chariot bumped along the road to Gaza. He did not understand all that he read; however, a passerby joined him and explained how the difficult passages pointed to a man recently executed in Jerusalem, a man that the official’s passenger said had risen from the dead and was God’s Messiah. As the official listened, he learned that immersion in water was part of joining the Messiah’s cause. He noticed a body of water nearby. “Look, here is water,” he said, “what hinders me from being baptized?” After the chariot stopped, he and his passenger went down into the water and the passenger baptized him. Afterwards, the passenger left him, the official went on his way rejoicing (see Acts 8:36-39).

    The official was not unique in his experience of post-conversion joy. A prison guard, awakened by an earthquake that he was sure had freed all his prisoners, learned from two of his prisoners (all had remained in the prison) about this same Messiah, Jesus. After cleansing his prisoners’ wounds, he too was baptized. Then “the jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God – he and his whole family” (Acts 16:34).

    The Apostle Paul wrote to converts in Thessalonica and recalled, “You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit” (1Thessalonians 1:6). This passage makes clear that this joy would continue, but that it would not erase suffering. Christians would still encounter difficulties, some because they had confessed Jesus as Lord, but they would retain hope because of their newfound capacity for joy.

    Galatians 5:22-25 identifies joy among the fruit of the Spirit that identifies those who keep in step with the Spirit because they remain faithful to Christ. Life as a disciple of Jesus may become difficult sometimes because we forget our baptism and the joy we felt as someone brought us up from the water, cleansed from guilt, forgiven of sin, and added by God to Christ’s church. Like the government official, the jailer, Paul and the Thessalonian Christians, remember your baptism. Imitate Christ and faithful Christians. As Paul wrote to another congregation in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. and the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-6).

     
  • TFRStaff 6:01 am on 2013-07-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , conversion, ,   

    Hugh’s News & Views (Significant Statements) 

    Hugh’s News & views

    SIGNIFICANT QUOTES FROM A FORMER CATHOLIC NUN

    Last week I told of the conversion to Christ of Joanne Howe, a former Catholic nun. I mentioned that Joanne has written three books: A Change of Habit, From Nun to Priest, and Biblical Answers to Catholic Questions, all published either by the Gospel Advocate Company of Nashville, TN or a subsidiary of the Gospel Advocate. With permission from Neil Anderson, owner of the Gospel Advocate Company, I am sharing with my readers this week some of the many significant statements from Joanne’s pen as she recounted her “journey” from Catholicism to the church of which we read in the New Testament, the church of Christ. All the quotations will be from the first two books mentioned above, and for convenience I will abbreviate them as “Habit” and “Priest.”

    “Although I knew the Bible was the world’s best-selling book, I couldn’t explain the purpose of its message, nor did I understand why it was written. The contents of both the Old and New Testaments were mystifying in their teachings and overwhelming in the information they conveyed. Because I had never been taught how to read the Bible or how to understand its message, I felt woefully ignorant of God’s purpose for having it written. When I was told that it would tell me who I was, where I was going, and how I would arrive at my destination, I was confused and concerned that I had never received any instruction like this as a Roman Catholic” (Priest, p. 19).

    “Anxious to discover other messages, I arranged a Bible study with Mr. Coffman. I was impressed with his knowledge of Scripture, and I admired his ability to quote passages accurately from memory. As a result of counseling, my self-confidence was strengthened, and thoughts and feelings became stabilized” (Habit, p. 92).

    “My conscience reeled. Throughout my adult life I had sincerely believed that I belonged to the only true church established by Jesus, under the guidance and direction of the Pope . . . Now I was confounded with the scriptural teachings that the Roman Catholic Church was not founded on Peter, but on erroneous interpretation of the Bible” (Habit, p. 96).

    “Though confused over the conflicts between my religious views and Scriptures, I remained steadfast in my belief that the Roman Catholic Church was the true church and that its teachings and traditions were divine and apostolic. I had been taught that the Bible was not a sufficient rule of faith and that God’s revelations were also contained in tradition. Scriptures alone could not convey a sure knowledge of faith and morals. Determined to uphold my Catholic principles, I refused to believe that my church would teach me error” (Italics Joanne’s, Habit, p. 97)!

    “I was totally bewildered! Many teachings, traditions, and doctrines of my religion were nowhere to be found in the Scriptures! My faith in Roman Catholicism was shattered by the revelations in God’s Word” (Habit, p. 100).

    “I felt numb as the impact of the Scriptures sank in” (Habit, p. 107).

    “Confronted with Roman Catholic doctrines that were in complete contradiction to God’s inspired teaching, I wrestled with remaining in my parents’ religion, or choosing God’s plan for salvation. Finally, after many hours of prayer and study of God’s promises, I abandoned my life to Jesus and was born again in the waters of baptism” (Habit, p. 111).

    “Today, as a New Testament Christian, I have joy and peace in my heart, knowing that Jesus is my shepherd and will guide and protect me wherever I go. He is the joy of my salvation” (Habit, p. 111).

    “Many with whom I have spoken do not believe in the Bible nor in the existence of absolute truth. They believe that all truth is relative and that what may be true for one is not true for another . . . I am a believer in the Bible as God’s Word. I accept God’s teachings as absolute. I understand that truth is knowable and that the Scriptures are truth” (Priest, p. 11, 12).

    “We live in troubled times, days of uncertainty, religious divisions, confusing philosophies, doctrinal error, and threat of nuclear annihilation. Jesus came to this earth so that you and I might have life and have it more abundantly” (Habit, p. 116, 117)

    Are you saved, based on what you have read and learned from God’s Word, or are you depending on the doctrines of man” (Habit, p. 117)?

    Significant statements, indeed!

    Speaking Schedule:

    July 22: Hilldale Church of Christ, Clarksville, TN

    July 24: McEwen Church of Christ, McEwen, TN

    July 31: GreenHillChurch of Christ, Mt. Juliet, TN

    Hugh Fulford

    July 9, 2013

     
  • Eugene Adkins 7:09 am on 2013-03-28 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , conversion, Forgivness, , ,   

    Nudge: A Question About Grace 

    God’s grace is truly dynamic!

    I was thinking about the grace of God and wondered to myself (and now to you), “Does God’s grace cover sins because it converts souls, or does it convert souls because it covers sin?”

    What do you think? It is one or the other, or is it both?

    Think about it and chip in. I have my answer, but I’d love to hear yours!

     
    • Ron Thomas 2:57 pm on 2013-03-28 Permalink | Reply

      God’s grace teaches us to deny ungodliness(Titus 2:11-12), thus God’s grace has us to deny the continuation of our sins and then He covers them. Otherwise, it seems to me that both would work.

      • Eugene Adkins 10:02 pm on 2013-03-28 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ron. Titus 2:10-12 is exactly the place I was thinking of when it comes to sins being covered because of our conversion by grace. On the other hand I was thinking of the woman in Simon the Pharisee’s house when it comes to being converted by God’s grace because it covers (Luke 7:36-48). She desired God’s grace through Jesus because she knew/believed that it would cover her sins, i.e. she was “converted” simply because God’s grace gave her the opportunity to have her sins covered.

        I don’t know if dichotomy is exactly the right word to describe what I was getting at, but I believe dynamic hits the nail pretty close to the head. Thanks again.

    • Don Ruhl 3:48 pm on 2013-03-29 Permalink | Reply

      I would say that it does both like faith. Faith saves us, but it also keeps us saved. Faith converts our souls, covering our sins simultaneously, but the turning of our souls from sin increases our faith.

      • Eugene Adkins 4:34 pm on 2013-03-29 Permalink | Reply

        I agree that the answer is both. I hope no one sees my question as splitting a hair that’s not there. Maybe it’s kinda like asking which is more important in keeping a paper up on the fridge – the magnet or the metal underneath.

        It’s just interesting to me how both the options are the right answer but the answer can depend upon the perspective. For one who wants to be closer to God, the covering of sins is the benefit. For those who want to have their sins covered, being closer to God is the benefit (see the Titus and Luke reference made to Ron).

        It was just an interesting, entertaining and entreating thought to me. Thanks for chipping in, Don.

        • Don Ruhl 11:37 am on 2013-03-30 Permalink | Reply

          I do not think it is splitting a hair, but just helping us to probe deeper in the things of God.

  • J. Randal Matheny 4:57 am on 2012-01-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , conversion, ,   

    How do you answer: how to become a part of the church? 

    There are a number of ways to approach the question, obviously. But how do you (I don’t ask “would,” since you have probably answered it by now) answer when someone asks, “What do I do to become a part of the church?”

    I’m thinking of writing on this for next Sunday, so I’d like to get some perspective. Not that I don’t have one or haven’t answered it before. But it’s no trick question. Always looking to learn more from experienced saints.

    Fellows, feel free to make a separate post. Tag it as “church membership,” I guess.

     
    • Ron Thomas 5:07 am on 2012-01-22 Permalink | Reply

      I will generally reword their question to this: “What do I need to do to become a member of the body of Christ?” From there I continue on with the relevant Biblical passages. I sometimes answer this way: “To become a member of the Lord’s body one needs to become a Christian.” And then, finally, I have answered it this way also: “What do you mean by ‘church’?” These replies come according to the context of the conversation.

    • Eugene Adkins 6:44 am on 2012-01-23 Permalink | Reply

      My answer: Ask the Lord, listen to his answer and let him take care of it (Acts 2:47).

    • Stephen R. Bradd 8:19 am on 2012-01-23 Permalink | Reply

      The replies from Ron & Eugene are very good.

      It has been my observation that some are prone, in my opinion, to require MORE of a potential convert than the Lord Himself does (at that point in their walk). Let me clarify: If those on Pentecost could learn enough in 1 sermon and if the eunuch & jailor could learn enough in 1 Bible study to obey the gospel & be added to the family of God, then let us be careful not to require more knowledge than those did who were guided by the Holy Spirit into all the truth. After one becomes a disciple, then there is much more learning to take place (Matt. 28:19,20). If one is willing to commit Himself to Christ and to living by His word, he is ready to be immersed for the remission of His sins. God will add such a one to His church–even if there may be some misunderstandings to be dealt with on some of the finer matters of NT doctrine.

  • J. Randal Matheny 5:34 am on 2011-07-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , conversion, ,   

    To a new Christian 

    On the other side of the world, a sister in Christ invited people to write to a new convert. Here is my note.

    Dear —-,

    News of your baptism and decision to follow the Lord Jesus Christ came to Brazil and caused rejoicing on this side of the world. We pray you may never waver in your commitment to him.

    There will be, as a part of God’s will, suffering for Christ, which he will give us strength to bear joyfully. His joy has been separated from our circumstances, so that nothing may extinguish it. His promise of eternal life leaves us a taste already of what that will be like. We have traded the here and now for a future beyond description. Our present journey will be short, our trials, brief, until we receive the promise, which will be ours forever. Keep this in sight, for the Way consists of this faith.

    Welcome, sister, to this new adventure, where each day God presents himself to us and we may learn more of the wonderful character of our Creator and Father who has invited us to heaven with himself.

    Randal

    What would your letter say?

     
  • Chad Dollahite 6:18 pm on 2010-12-24 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , conversion, , ,   

    One Man’s Story… 

    If you haven’t seen the video below, let me encourage you to take a look.  This video is called “Why I Left the Baptist Church;”  it is a documentary-style production of Thomas Broome’s amazing journey from denominationalism to true, New Testament Christianity.  The video was produced by Daniel Howell, preacher for the Sweetwater Church of Christ in Sweetwater, TN.

    "Why I Left the Baptist Church" - Thomas Broome

    "Why I Left the Baptist Church" - Thomas Broome

    Daniel & I worked together at GBN (Gospel Broadcasting Network, http://www.gbntv.org) for a time, & this was an idea we had collaborated on for a series, of which this video is the first.  I was part of the idea, but the professional production work & video editing was all Daniel.  It is a top-notch production, not to mention a simple telling of how one man saw the need to leave human creeds behind & follow just the Bible.  The video is 40 minutes total, but I guarantee it will not seem that long, not to mention it will be one of the best ways to spend 40 minutes of your time.  I still remember watching it the first time & being absolutely captivated by this fascinating story.  Please, everyone, spread it far & near, & use it to God’s glory.

    Here is the link:

     
  • Mike Riley 3:53 pm on 2010-11-30 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: agency, , , conversion, , , foreign, , interdenomination, , scan, ,   

    God’s Work Continues? 

    Here’s a site I found today while scanning some Twitter posts. This gives us an idea of what the Lord’s church is up against in foreign countries (as well as our own country).

    Here is an interdenominational mission agency in Thailand that is promoting the idea that baptism is not a part of the conversion process, but is simply an afterthought, i.e. “if you want to” (note the last paragraph).

    http://www.omfisaan.org/?p=431#more-431

    This is why I added a question mark to the title of this article. Is God’s work really “continuing” with the promotion of this false teaching?

    The devil is still hard at work deceiving folks (Revelation 12:9)..

     
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