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  • John T. Polk II 10:32 am on 2017-03-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Easter, ,   

    3-6-2017 A Calendar Or The Cross 

    “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2 NKJV).  It is this fact of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that the Apostle Paul was determined to preach.  By following a man-made religious calendar, people have been turned away from that Cross. “Christmas” diverts attention to Jesus’ birth; “Lent” places the emphasis upon human denial; “Easter” skips the cross to Jesus’ resurrection; and “the thief on the cross” makes salvation from a thief rather than Jesus! Bible faith says: “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14 NKJV).

    This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

     
  • Ron Thomas 1:41 pm on 2015-03-25 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Easter, ,   

    Easter and Christmas Always on Sunday 

    Letter to editor (3.25.2015)

    Easter is a date is that is fluid in America’s culture; in fact, it is fluid in what is known as Christendom. The fluidity of the date corresponds directly to the fact that it is not a biblical date of recognition. It is a lot like the date that is fixed in western culture known as Christmas. Neither one of these holidays are biblical in origin.

    Since they are not biblical in origin, then it must be they have their origin in man’s thinking. Simple research on the internet will illustrate the origins of both. Easter, for instance, was derived from an Anglo-Saxon word that meant the “goddess of spring.” Of course, today, it stands for something entirely different than the “long-time-ago” meaning. Regardless of the good intentions surrounding the occasion, still, it is not a biblical date of recognition.

    New Testament Christians, on the other hand, celebrate the Lord’s resurrection each and every Sunday. If the Lord wanted Christians to remember a particular date, then He would have said as much. Since He did not, then when the saints gather together on the first day of each week, in adoration to the Lord, the “Easter” and “Christmas” occasions of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is memorialized.

    (Submitted to Decatur Herald and Review)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 3:53 pm on 2014-04-18 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Easter   

    Easter, That Yearly Date 

    Easter is not biblical

    Easter, that yearly date,
    Appeared some centuries late;
    The Christians first observed
    That weekly supper, unnerved
    By pagans’ hateful threats.
    But worldliness begets
    Desire to imitate
    An attractive fleshy trait.
    And so in time arose
    That the faith resembled its foes.

    JRMatheny

     
  • John T. Polk II 10:33 pm on 2014-04-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Easter, , , pagans,   

    Calendar Apostasy 

    God sent His people, Israel, into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, but with these “statutes and judgments” in Moses’ final declaration to them:

    “These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things. But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks” (Deuteronomy 12:1-6). The people in that land were pagans and idolaters who worshiped the Creation rather than the Creator. They worshiped the various “gods” which supposedly represented the powers involved in life on Earth. God did not allow His people to simply adopt, nor adapt, the Canaanites’ religious practices as worship to Him. All of: “the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods,” “their altars,” “their sacred pillars,” “their wooden images,” “the carved images,” were to be “utterly” destroyed so they would have no influence among the Israelites, whatsoever. Only the specified worship in the manner God described would be acceptable to God. The Israelites were not to be allied to the worship proscribed by the seasons, but that which was determined by God.

    After the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the kingdom of Christ was established on earth, the Gospel of Christ was to be preached to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). While in Lystra, Paul healed a lame man (Acts 14:8-10), but then the idolaters sought to worship both Paul and Barnabas:

    “Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!’ And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.’ And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them” (Acts 14:11-18). God’s inspired Apostle Paul stopped any idolatrous practice from being used as an explanation for, or an application to, Christianity. There is nothing in idolatrous teachings or practices which should be admitted or accepted by Christians.

    Catholicism, whether Roman or Greek, has incorporated idolatrous practices and seasonal calendars into what they call “Christian,” when all they have done is find some Scripture or event in Christ’s life with which to “tag” what would otherwise be a rejected practice. The disciples were called “Christians” by God first in Antioch (Acts 11:26), but Catholicism has spread the term, like an umbrella, over practices of paganism and idolatry. No Christian in the New Testament ever celebrated an “Easter,” “Christmas,” “Lent,” “Seder,” or any of the 40 days of mishmash found on today’s religious calendars, which are mistakenly termed a “Christian Calendar.”

    No denomination is “Protestant” that follows Catholicism’s religious calendar. “Seder” is simply a re-creation of the Jewish Passover, which Jesus died to remove (Colossians 2:14-16); “Yule” is from witches, “Eoster/Ishtar” is from idolaters, and “Fertility rites” demonstrated by rabbits and eggs, are the very things forbidden by Paul (Galatians 4:8-11); and “Lent” is hypocritical display of a misunderstanding of “fasting” condemned by Jesus (Matthew 6:16-18). The Lord’s death, represented in the Lord’s Supper, must be kept free from the impurities of falsehood (1 Corinthians 10:15-22). Everyone who keeps special days on a religious calendar did “not so learn Christ” (Ephesians 4:20).

    To be a disciple of Christ, one must believe the historical and factual evidence of His life found in the New Testament (John 20:30-31; 21:25) and obey His command to be baptized  “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). The only events in Christ’s life to be memorialized are: (1) His death, burial, and resurrection first, when a sinner repents and is baptized into death, Romans 6:1-6, then raised “in newness of life”; and secondly, when Christians observe the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26); and (2) the day of His resurrection remembered each week when Christians assemble (“the first day of the week,” Luke 24:1-9; Acts 20:7). There are no other special or seasonal days for Christians, according to the New Testament. “The churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16) never observed a religious calendar that would lead them into apostasy (1 Timothy 4:1-3), because those who follow such stand contrary to inspired truth (2 Timothy 4:1-5). “The churches of Christ salute you” but we salute Jesus Christ above all.

    —–John T. Polk II

     
    • Joseph Richardson 12:08 am on 2014-04-18 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, whoa, slow down, man. Let’s think this through.

      The first Christians, I’m sure you realize, were Jews. They continued to celebrate the Passover (Pascha) and the Sabbath for at least the first century after Christ. Christ didn’t die to “remove” these things: He came to fulfill them (cf. Matthew 5:17). Paul says in Colossians 2:16 “let no one pass judgment on you” with regard to practices of Jewish festivals or traditions. This is essentially his message in Romans and Galatians — in which he does not condemn circumcision per se, or condemn any Jewish Christian who had received circumcision (for he himself had, as did Timothy, Acts 16:3), or declare that Jewish believers should no longer practice the traditions of their heritage. What he taught (in opposition to the Judaizers) was that no Christian was justified by the works of the law (cf. Romans 3:20), but rather by faith (Romans 3:20-26). Did God no longer justify believers who had been circumcised? Did Jesus “remove” the covenant of Abraham or of Moses? Can God go back on His promises, or nullify the covenants He has made? No, of course not. He justifies the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised by faith (Romans 3:30); and by faith in Christ, even the Gentiles become children of Abraham and heirs to God’s promises through him (Galatians 3:29).

      So to the idea that observing religious festivals is tantamount to idolatry: The first, Jewish Christians did, and their Gentile brethren followed suit; so this is a practice as old as the Christian Church. Jesus is our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) — so should Christians no longer care about the Passover? Are we not heirs to God’s promises then, too? Jesus presented Himself as the fulfillment of that sacrifice, even instructing us to keep a remembrance of it, in the very language of the Passover celebration (Exodus 12:24; 24:8, Luke 22:19). Paul, in reference to this, instructs us to “celebrate the festival” (1 Corinthians 5:8).

      For what it’s worth: The Resurrection of our Lord has only ever been called “Easter” in England and English-speaking countries (in both Greek and Latin, it was called “Pascha,” Passover, since the first century); and the Christmas season has only ever been referred to as “Yule” among Germanic peoples. So you may thank our Anglo-Saxon forebears for that “idolatry,” not the early Christians. The practice of fasting before celebrating our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection is by all appearances apostolic, in emulation of our Lord’s own fasting (Matthew 4:1-11), and He did not at all condemn fasting (in the very verse you cite, Matthew 6:16, he instructs us regarding “when [we] fast”).

      As for all your other charges of “idolatrous practices” and “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1) — you should be prepared to back that up before lobbing such accusations at fellow believers. No one in the early Church read or applied these Scriptures the way you are applying them. There is nothing in Scripture that forbids remembering and celebrating the great events of the history of salvation — in fact, it’s an essential part of the faith and covenant we have inherited from our Jewish Lord. No, these things do not contribute to our salvation in themselves, and no one believes they do; but the calendar is, as it was for the Jews, an ancient model and pattern and custom for worshipping God, for setting our minds and our hearts on Him and on His promises — especially now, in the Christian caledndar, on Christ’s Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection.

      I respect your position, brother, but I think you’re mistaken. If the Christian calendar so leads a believer away from Christ — why is every bit of it focused on Christ’s work of salvation in our lives? God bless you, and His peace be with you!

  • J. Randal Matheny 8:01 am on 2014-04-15 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Easter, , , ritualism   

    Break the Easter egg — Did a church ever grow from an Easter celebration? 

    broken-easter-egg

    I hate to rain on your parade. But all this talk about taking advantage of Easter, when some people may show up at church for this one time during the year (throw in Christmas if you like), sounds like a bunch of bunkum.

    Did anyone ever convert to Christ from showing up in their Easter finest? Did any church suddenly grow from a fine Easter production? Did the Sunday after Easter suddenly swell with new members because an eldership and a preacher put on their Sunday best to impress the suddenly pious visitor? (More …)

     
    • Bernard Barton 8:47 am on 2014-04-15 Permalink | Reply

      AMEN!!!! Brother I know there will be auditoriums filled this coming Sunday even in the Lord’s church
      Even though we don’t celebrate Easter there will be many of the members of the church of Christ who will
      show up this one Sunday as pious Christians

    • John Henson 9:48 am on 2014-04-15 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, can’t I rant or rave just a little. I can tell them of “unknown tongues,” a similar KJV error in 1 Corinthians 14. Easter and unknown tongues. We speak in a tongue everyday, just not in an unknown one. Of course, there wouldn’t have been a problem if men hadn’t added words to God’s message! There’s my rant.

    • bgiselbach 12:29 pm on 2014-04-15 Permalink | Reply

      Very powerful, brother!

    • Weylan Deaver 10:29 am on 2014-04-16 Permalink | Reply

      Well said, Randal.

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:18 am on 2013-03-31 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 1Thessalonians, , Easter,   

    Now that’s encouraging! 

    Using a passage from our previous week’s Bible readings, 1Th 5.4-11, today’s sermon will deal with the resurrection still to come. We’ll focus on these points from verse 10:

    1. “Christ died for us.” His death had a purpose and brought purpose to us. Through him we escape wrath and come to salvation (v. 9). Seeing this purpose fulfilled in our lives requires alertness and sobriety (vv. 6-8).
    2. Whether we live or die, “alert or asleep,” that purpose will be fulfilled in those who are faithful. This touches on the problem the Thessalonians felt about those who were passing away. Paul guarantees that faithfulness to Christ is worth it. To die now is to pass to the head of the line.
    3. The purpose of Christ’s death is so that we can “come to life together with him”. To live with Christ, to have the life of God, to be in his presence forever, this is the precious gift of the Cross, restoring the reason for Creation and bringing man full circle back to the fellowship of Eden.

    A death now in Christ does not miss this gift, but the Lord’s return will unite us all to him.

    Now that’s encouraging! (v. 11).

    When Paul preached righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment to Felix, the governor became afraid and sent Paul away (Acts 24.25). That is a terrifying trio of topics for us who work contrary to God’s will, act by the impulse of our carnal desires, and face the wrath of God towards everything that destroys communion with him. Christ died to make us right before God, give us the Spirit’s power to produce spiritual fruit, and allow us pray “Maranatha, come, Lord” because our dread has been turned into hope.

    #1thessalonians, #death-of-christ, #easter, #resurrection

     
    • Dan 7:32 am on 2013-03-31 Permalink | Reply

      Now that is encouraging! I saved this for more study in the near future. Thanks for sharing it. Dan

  • Ron Thomas 7:00 am on 2013-03-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Easter, good friday,   

    IN MARCH 

                    In the month of March there are six religious days of significance (St Patrick’s Day, Eastern Orthodox Lent, Psalm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter, and Passover). I don’t normally pay that much attention to such things; the New Testament says either little to nothing about anyone of them. St Patrick’s Day has its origin in the recognition of a man who lived not until the 5th century in Ireland. The idea of lent is associated with fasting, and this is associated with Easter. Initially, for a period of but a few days, then to a period of about 40 days some observed a fast. Evidence for Psalm Sunday does not come into existence until the 4th century after Christ, and is supposedly related to the Lord triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21). As a religious day of significance the New Testament knows nothing of it. Church history books say that observance of Good Friday (the Friday before Easter) goes back to the early days of Christianity; the New Testament, however, does not recognize it as a day of religious significance. With regard to Easter, the most significant religious day on a Christian calendar (even more so than Christmas), there is this interesting entry: “The derivation of the name ‘Easter’ is uncertain. [According] to Bede [a religious historian who lived into the 8th century after Christ], it is connected with an Anglo-Saxon spring goddess ‘Eostre’. At any rate it seems clear that, as in the case of Christmas…, the Christian feast of Easter has superseded an old pagan festival” (Dictionary of Christian Church, p. 522).

    The point of this is not to disparage those who are observing religious significant holidays as much as it is to illustrate that New Testament Christians don’t need to follow any religious holiday unless sanctioned by the Lord himself or any  one of his apostles (cf. Romans 15:18). These six religious holidays in the month of March either have their origin in the Lord or they do not. If they do, then that day (or those days) are obligatory on the Christian today. If they do not have their origin in the New Testament, then why observe something that is later than Scripture—that which contains all the truth that Lord wants us to have (2 Peter 1:3; Jude 3)? RT

     
  • John Henson 8:08 am on 2011-04-24 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Easter,   

    In Buildings 

    It has been interesting, and in a very sad way, to watch people gathering in buildings this Sunday at sunrise to honor a God they don’t believe.

    Of course, that sounds like a brash statement, but it is much like one Jesus made when he said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” (Matthew 15:8, 9).

    They want to show their love for Christ, but they miss the mark because they won’t do what he said. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” (John 14:15 NASU). Instead, many of them are in headlong pursuit of how many commandments they can break.

    They want to express their deep respect for scripture, but they will have nothing to do with the Bible as the authority for everything in faith and practice (Colossians 3:16, 17). Their leaders condone and sanction things contrary to God’s word, accepting doctrines and practices contrary to scripture. They’ll listen to the reading of the Bible, but pay no heed.

    To those who fit this description, there is true religion according to the Bible, and not according to conventions, vestries, synods, boards or other man-made things. Churches of Christ are autonomous and are governed by the Bible way.

    Where have your leaders taken you? Look how far away from the example of the church of the New Testament you are! Isn’t it time you decided to live for Jesus and obey him?

     
    • Clayton McCool 10:30 am on 2011-04-24 Permalink | Reply

      John you are a nice looking Gentleman on the “outside”

      Jesus could SEE the heart and Jesus could make such Judgments.
      I suspect all you can see is outward flesh and no follower of the Christ under the New Covenant is even capable of sinning unless they violate their spirit, heart or renewed mind by getting out of step with the Spirit of God.

      Galatians 5

      13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

      Walk by the Spirit

      16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

      19Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

      22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

      25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

      Grace and Peace to your inner man, Clayton

      • John Henson 6:51 pm on 2011-04-24 Permalink | Reply

        I suspect you’re unfairly characterizing my comments. I don’t believe I named any specific person. You say I am making judgments based on some motive you have no way of knowing yourself.

        True or false: There are NO persons in religion who are unfaithful or disingenuous.

    • Clayton McCool 11:44 am on 2011-04-26 Permalink | Reply

      We in the CofC don’t do a lot better John. We do not follow the Apostles doctrine. They assembled DAILY and worshiped DAILY, we “find” some arbitrary historical record of Paul raising a dead man and do a complete number on THAT as if it was a physical worship with 5 rites and rituals when in fact it was JUST ANOTHER DAY in the Life of Paul.

      If we did we followed the Apostles doctrine WE would “LOOK” like this:

      The Fellowship of the Believers
      Acts 2:42
      42And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching [ doctrine ] and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

      Heb 3
      12Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

      Heb
      23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

      Romans 12

      A Living Sacrifice

      1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
      Gifts of Grace

      3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
      Marks of the True Christian

      9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
      14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:10 am on 2011-04-23 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Easter,   

    The saddest Sabbath of all 

    EasterLater, Peter gets restless and goes fishing, back to his old job, John 21:3. But now, between the crucifixion and resurrection, they rest, Luke 23.56. Their bodies, at least, if not their minds. That Sabbath must have been the saddest of all, between death and life. They must still be stunned, wondering how it ever happened. Just a week ago the country was at fever pitch as the Lord entered Jerusalem, swept in by the people’s fervor at seeing their Messiah approach the holy city. Events were finally moving toward their proper goal. Then this. Surely it was a dream — the betrayal, the judgment, the torture, the shame of the Skull. The shame of running, hiding, abandoning the Master. Where did things derail, how did it all go so wrong? Oh, the short-sightedness of human eyes!

    We don’t celebrate Good Friday or Easter, but the prevailing religious climate here has me thinking about our Lord’s death. Anytime is a good time for that, is it not?

    I don’t usually mention such things here on TFR, but considering she’s a Prime Mover in all things Forthright/GoSpeak, it’s appropriate to note that Barbara Ann is celebrating a birthday today, as she treks about Costa Rica. Send her your greetings.

    Three Christian ladies passed away this week: Richard H.’s mom, George Bailey’s wife, Ancil Jenkins wife. Sister Elaine Jenkin’s obituary is on BNc, thanks to Dale Jenkins, the others noted on BNc’s Twitter for now. I didn’t know any of them, unfortunately, but I know family members. And knowing those they touched, what wonderful servants of God they must have been.

    On Resurrection morning, it is the women who are up and doing. To them our Lord first appears. They are the first bringers of the News.

    The pigeons are cooing, the sun rising, a few people stirring already. Most will miss the quiet, more pensive hours of the morning. They’ll slide out of bed after the day is already hot and moving. It’s a holiday weekend, after all.

     
    • Don Petty 7:04 am on 2011-04-23 Permalink | Reply

      Randal, the disciples after His death must have acted about like we of this century would have acted. While it was good, we had hope. When things look gloomy, we return to the material thoughts of the past. Doesn’t it seem as though we should look to Him even more strongly when things seem to have turned dark?
      Don Petty, Lewisville (TX) Church of Christ

    • wolfsrosebud 9:14 am on 2011-04-23 Permalink | Reply

      Hey,

      Good to see something from you. I’ve gotten involved with two on-line poet groups. It’s been interesting… and a ministry. Some people are really messed up. Have a great Easter.

    • Sandra 11:08 am on 2015-04-01 Permalink | Reply

      Do you know the artist who painted the picture of the women running from the tomb? I like it and would like to know the artist.

  • Richard Mansel 10:31 am on 2011-04-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Easter, ,   

    Only Attend on Easter & Christmas? 

    It is an undeniable fact that some people will only attend worship on Christmas and Easter. We wish they would be more active, realizing the true value of having Christ in their lives (Romans 12:1-2).

    They need their sins remitted by the blood of Christ in baptism (Acts 2:37-38; 1  John 1:7). They need to live a life of righteousness, so they can be with Christ for all eternity (Ephesians 4:1; Revelation 2:10). With Christ in their lives, they will have a rudder, to guide them through the dangerous waters of life (Hebrews 13:5).

    People cannot hope to be saved if they have no concern for God in their lives 363 days of the year. However, they do show interest in Him for two days a year. That means there is hope!

    We might be able to say something that will provoke their interest or prick their heart with the gospel on those two days. They are, in one respect, great days of evangelism. People will hear the gospel that may not be able to hear it any any other time.

    Do we look at Christmas and Easter services this way? Maybe not. Quite often, these folks show up two times a year and they are mocked and ridiculed from the pulpit and hear jeers and sneers, as Christian laugh at their presence. Where do we have the authority in Scripture for mocking people who come to worship??

    They attend with their minds on Christ and we show them Satan? Maybe we need to repent and reconsider our attitudes. We may not celebrate Christmas and Easter as religious holidays, but we better honor them as days called by the gospel.

     
    • J. Randal Matheny 10:40 am on 2011-04-22 Permalink | Reply

      Good points, Richard. They are days to be taken advantage of for the gospel, for sure.

    • Deirdre Mansel 10:46 am on 2011-04-22 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent, and something that needed be be said. We must be reflecting SONlight! 🙂

    • Rick Kelley 11:29 am on 2011-04-22 Permalink | Reply

      Well said, Richard.
      I can’t imagine our Lord having one opportunity (or two) with a person, and using it to ridicule them. He publicly exposed those who were willingly blind, arrogant and hypocritical – and even that, out of love, not superiority. Those who do otherwise are not His (Rom. 8:9).

    • Mike Riley 1:00 pm on 2011-04-22 Permalink | Reply

      Good points, Richard! We must remember that we are in “sales” – not management. We are instructed to plant the seed and water it – God will give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:7).

      Therefore, we need to take advantage of every opportunity to preach Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1-2). Planting the seed (Luke 8:11) is of utmost importance!

    • Ken Thomas 1:49 pm on 2011-04-22 Permalink | Reply

      I heard a report of a sermon in one place where the preacher said in introduction: “You may have come to hear about the resurrection, but you are not going to hear about it today. ” And then he proceeded to preach a sermon about things men do wrong when leading prayer. Wise? NOT!

    • Trophy of Grace 3:58 pm on 2011-04-22 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for sharing this Richard. It is so sad that this happens. I have been blessed over the years where I have attended churches where they reached out to the Easter Sunday souls. I have seen God touch people’s lives at the services that I have attended. I can’t imagine the hurt that someone must feel when they come to church to hear a Word from God and they receive a harsh word from man and sneers from other imperfect people who think they have the right to judge the person next to them. So sad 🙁

    • Paula Harrington 4:26 pm on 2011-04-22 Permalink | Reply

      Well said, Richard! Thank you.

    • wjcsydney 4:41 pm on 2011-04-22 Permalink | Reply

      Easter and Christmas are amazing missional opportunities for us to reach out to those who are not 24/7 Christians but whose mustard seed faith or a quest for God draws them to attend on those days.

  • John T. Polk II 4:06 pm on 2011-04-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Christian Calendar, Easter   

    Calendar Apostasy 

    Calendar Apostasy
    God sent His people, Israel, into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, but with these “statutes and judgments” in Moses’ final declaration to them:
    “These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things. But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks” (Deuteronomy 12:1-6 NKJV).
    The people in that land were pagans and idolaters who worshiped the Creation rather than the Creator. They worshiped the various “gods” which supposedly represented the powers involved in life on Earth. God did not allow His people to simply adopt, nor adapt, the Canaanites’ religious practices as worship to Him. All of: “the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods,” “their altars,” “their sacred pillars,” “their wooden images,” “the carved images,” were to be “utterly” destroyed so they would have no influence among the Israelites, whatsoever. Only the specified worship in the manner God described would be acceptable to God. The Israelites were not to be allied to the worship proscribed by the seasons, but that which was determined by God.

    After the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the kingdom of Christ was established on earth, the Gospel of Christ was to be preached to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). While in Lystra, Paul healed a lame man (Acts 14:8-10), but then the idolaters sought to worship both Paul and Barnabas:
    “Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!’ And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.’ And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them” (Acts 14:11-18 NKJV).
    God’s inspired Apostle Paul stopped any idolatrous practice from being used as an explanation for, or an application to, Christianity. There is nothing in idolatrous teachings or practices which should be admitted or accepted by Christians.

    Catholicism, whether Roman or Greek, has incorporated idolatrous practices and seasonal calendars into what they call “Christian,” when all they have done is find some Scripture or event in Christ’s life with which to “tag” what would otherwise be a rejected practice. The disciples were called “Christians” by God first in Antioch (Acts 11:26), but Catholicism has spread the term, like an umbrella, over practices of paganism and idolatry. No Christian in the New Testament ever celebrated an “Easter,” “Christmas,” “Lent,” “Seder,” or any of the 40 days of mishmash found on today’s religious calendars, which are mistakenly termed a “Christian Calendar.”

    No denomination is “Protestant” that follows Catholicism’s religious calendar. “Seder” is simply a re-creation of the Jewish Passover, which Jesus died to remove (Colossians 2:14-16); “Yule” is from witches, “Eoster/Ishtar” is from idolaters, and “Fertility rites” demonstrated by rabbits and eggs, are the very things forbidden by Paul (Galatians 4:8-11); and “Lent” is hypocritical display of a misunderstanding of “fasting” condemned by Jesus (Matthew 6:16-18). The Lord’s death, represented in the Lord’s Supper, must be kept free from the impurities of falsehood (1 Corinthians 10:15-22). Everyone who keeps special days on a religious calendar did “not so learn Christ” (Ephesians 4:20).

    To be a disciple of Christ, one must believe the historical and factual evidence of His life found in the New Testament (John 20:30-31; 21:25) and obey His command to be baptized “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). The only events in Christ’s life to be memorialized are: (1) His death, burial, and resurrection first, when a sinner repents and is baptized into death, Romans 6:1-6, then raised “in newness of life”; and secondly, when Christians observe the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26); and (2) the day of His resurrection remembered each week when Christians assemble (“the first day of the week,” Luke 24:1-9; Acts 20:7). There are no other special or seasonal days for Christians, according to the New Testament. “The churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16) never observed a religious calendar that would lead them into apostasy (1 Timothy 4:1-3), because those who follow such stand contrary to inspired truth (2 Timothy 4:1-5). “The churches of Christ salute you” but we salute Jesus Christ above all.
    —–John T. Polk II

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 2:24 pm on 2010-04-01 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Easter,   

    Away for 2 days 

    In a couple hours Haroldo and I, with The Maiden in tow, will go to the Christian workers encounter, dropping her off in Sao Paulo to go tomorrow to a young ladies’ event. Lord permitting, we’ll be back Saturday night.

    In my absence Stephen has graciously accepted the challenge of sending out two Daily Nudges. He has suggested some of the better ones in the past, so look forward to some positive items tomorrow and Saturday.

    A freebie: as soon as it gets done uploading, I’ll share a short video of gazillions of chocolate Easter eggs, the typical seasonal item here, hanging in Walmart. We bought ours from the new coffee shop around the corner, most certainly better quality, homemade stuff. I’m uploading the vid to my Flickr account, which you can see there. They are a sight to behold. I took it at my son’s request, so he could show his wife. Excuse the Portuguese, however; I have this thing about speaking English in public.

    UPDATE: Video link is here.

     
    • John Henson 5:47 pm on 2010-04-01 Permalink | Reply

      What will I do without seeing your face on my FB page? How will I cope? I’m beginning to panic already — cold sweats popping out on my head — oh, well, it’s only for a couple of days. Don’t be any longer than that, though. Okay?

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