THOUGHTS, INSIGHTS, AND A LITTLE “HUGH-MOR”
Mr. Robert Harper, a kind and courteous African-American gentleman, has picked up our household trash every week for over 20 years. When we moved to our present home my wife was here by herself for a few weeks unpacking dishes and other household items while I finished my work with the church in Selma, AL. She put many empty boxes in the garage and on our driveway, not knowing exactly how she would later dispose of them. Mr. Harper came by, introduced himself to her, told her of his services, broke down and hauled off all the moving boxes, and began his regular weekly pickup of our trash. He has a phenomenal work ethic. He never misses picking up our trash like clockwork every Monday. Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day—it makes no difference—Mr. Harper and his crew can be counted on! I think the only holidays he takes off are Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The only time our trash is not picked up on Monday is when Christmas or New Year’s Day falls on that day of the week. Then he gets it the following day. Although he is a few years younger than I, I have never addressed him other than as “Mr. Harper.” In 20 years he has issued only one price increase for his services. A few years ago, when gas prices took a big jump, Mr. Harper increased his extremely reasonable monthly charge by 10%, which was only a nominal amount, Only a 10% price increase in 20 years! In a day when prices continue to go up and service and efficiency continue to go down, Mr. Robert Harper is a sterling example of faithfulness, consistency, being on time, efficiency, and fairness in the pricing of his services. Many other independent contractors and small business owners could learn much from his example. I try to reward Mr. Harper with a little bonus at Christmas, but I eschew tipping (and thereby enabling) inefficiency and nonsensical policies that some businesses seem to delight in adopting, all to the consternation and frustration of their customers. It is for that reason that I do not take my business back to them when I have other options, but I stay with people like Mr. Robert Harper. Continue reading
STEPHEN AND PAUL’S MEETING IN PARADISE
According to sacred Scripture, the first person to die for the faith of the gospel was a man by the name of Stephen. Stephen had first been chosen as one of the seven men to look after the neglected Grecian widows in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 6:1-7), but he went on to become an able and courageous defender of the faith. His preaching stirred up the anger and animosity of several groups of Jews in Jerusalem, and he was eventually brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin Council to defend himself (Acts 6:8-7:53). Stephen’s words “cut to the heart” of his audience and so enraged them that “they gnashed at him with their teeth…cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and cast him out of the city and stoned him” (Acts 7:54-58a). Standing by and holding the clothes of those who stoned Stephen and consenting to his death was a young man by the name of Saul (Acts 7:58b). What an ugly, ugly picture of religious prejudice and what it can do to people! Continue reading
MY USE OF THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA TO ADVANCE, PROMOTE, AND DEFEND NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANITY
Since my retirement from full-time ministry 20 years ago I have actively used the internet and social media to advance, promote, and defend New Testament Christianity. I believe that as a steward of my time, opportunities, and resources, I am under divine obligation to do this. “Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (I Corinthians 4:2).
I am aware that some may not like my approach or my emphasis. That is alright. I will not fall out with them because they disagree with my approach and/or my emphasis. Others also utilize the internet and social media to present things that are important to them. Some of them also have a particular emphasis, but they seem to think that their emphasis is more important and significant than mine. The fact is, there are many great Bible truths and principles that are in dire need of emphasis in our time. Continue reading
According to the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a smart aleck is “an obnoxiously conceited and self-assertive person with pretensions to smartness or cleverness.” Smart alecks exist in all fields, including the field of religion. They often think of themselves as “original thinkers,” and like to portray themselves as such. Much of the time, upon closer investigation, it is determined that they are neither “original” nor “thinkers”!
Some of my leftist, liberal, progressive brethren come across as “smart alecks.” They like to raise doubt in the minds of faithful members of the Lord’s church by asserting certain things that on deeper thought and investigation are plainly misleading, if not totally false. They take delight in bashing the Lord’s church, while defending denominationalists. Following are some examples of one such smart aleck’s observations as they appeared on his Facebook page of Friday, August 7, 2020. Continue reading
JUST FOR TODAY
Rarely, but occasionally, I borrow material from another source for my “News & Views.” Such is the case this week.
In the bulletin of the Shelbyville Road Church of Christ in Indianapolis, Indiana of May 31, 2020, Ben Vick, minister of the church, one of the two elders of the congregation, and editor of the bulletin spoke of the encouragement he often received from his mother in his work as a gospel preacher. He mentioned especially how much encouragement she was to him in his first full-time work. Often in her letters to him she would include clippings of sayings, poems, or stories. Ben would read them and then file them according to subject matter. Over the years, he accumulated an abundance of informative and encouraging material from his mother. He said she must have been kin to Barnabas, known in the New Testament as the Son of consolation (KJV), Son of exhortation (ASV), or Son of Encouragement (NKJV; NASB) (Acts 4:36).
Included in that bulletin of May 21, 2020 was the following article Ben had received from his mother many years before. I share it with my readers this week in the hope that it will be an encouragement to us in our walk with the Master. It is titled “Just For Today.”
JUST FOR TODAY I will try to live through this day only, and not set far-reaching goals to try to overcome all of my problems at once. I know I can do something for 12 hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime. Continue reading
THE WIT AND WISDOM OF F. B. SRYGLEY
One of the great men in the movement to restore, defend, and maintain original, first century, undenominational Christianity was an unusual personality by the name of Filo Bunyan Srygley (1859-1940). In my “News & Views” of March 28, 2018, I included a sketch of his marvelous life, along with that of his brother, F. D. Srygley, and their mentor, T. B. Larimore. That sketch also appeared in my book Restoration News and Views: Plea, Principles, Perspectives, & Personalities , Hester Publications, Henderson, TN. The July 2020 edition of The Spiritual Sword likewise carried an article by me about this great Christian man. Continue reading
SIGNIFICANT “MARKERS” IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST
His Victorious Resurrection – On the third day after His death and burial (as the Jews reckoned time), our Lord was raised from the dead by the power of God. All four of the Gospel writers tell of this momentous event (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20). By His resurrection Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power (Romans 1:4). The reality of the resurrection was one of the key aspects of the preaching of the apostles in the book of Acts (2:24, 32; 3:15, 26; 4:1-2, 10, 33; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 33-34, 37; 17:18, 31; et al). The resurrection is an essential element of the gospel, and without it there would be no gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4). Christians love and serve a living Lord and Savior, not a dead martyr! His resurrection is the divine assurance of our resurrection (I Corinthians 15:20-22), reminding us always that our labor for Him is not in vain (verse 58). Continue reading
SIGNIFICANT “MARKERS” IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST
His Eternal Co-Existence With God The Father – In His pre-incarnate (pre-fleshly) state, Christ existed with God the Father from all eternity, being “that eternal life which was with the Father,” and being designated as the Word (John 1:1-3, 14; I John 1:1-4). Though distinct from the Father, He was of the same divine essence as the Father, and was the agent through whom God created all things (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-18; Hebrews 1:1-2). In Genesis 1:26 “God” is referred to in the plural (“Us” and “Our”). While I am aware of “the plural of majesty,” something beyond that seems to be going on in Genesis 1-2, as verified by the preceding New Testament references regarding the creation. Continue reading
A FAMINE OF THE WORD
I am indebted to brother James E. Farley of Louisa, Kentucky for the following poem which he has given me permission to use. It is an appropriate sequel to last week’s edition of “Hugh’s News & Views” titled “A Christian, But Not A Member Of The Church Of Christ?”
A FAMINE OF THE WORD!
By James E. Farley
I love to read the Word of God,
To learn of Truth and Right,
To meditate upon His law,
By day and then by night.
(Psalm 1:2) Continue reading
A CHRISTIAN, BUT NOT A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?
Is it possible for one to be a Christian (what some often speak of as a Christ follower), and not be a member of His spiritual body, the church? Most people would say no, if one is a Christian that person is also a part of the universal spiritual body of Christ. At the same time, many people would say that one can be a Christian without being a member of the church of Christ, or, as they would likely write it, the Church of Christ, or the Church of Christ church or the Church of Christ denomination. This indicates that in the minds of many people two different things are under consideration when one speaks of “the one universal spiritual body of Christ” and when one speaks of “the church of Christ.” In the case of the latter, they are thinking of and viewing the church of Christ as a denomination, only a part of the much larger universal spiritual body of Christ. But is this in fact the biblical concept of the church of Christ? Is this the view of biblically informed members of the church of Christ? Let us study and think together on this vital question. Please note that the title of our essay is not an affirmation, but a question. Continue reading
SOME REMARKS REGARDING RACE
At the risk of rushing in where angels fear to tread, this week I offer some very personal remarks regarding matters of race. I do not do this to further “stir the pot” that has been boiling in our country over the past few weeks following the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by rogue policemen (or at least policemen who, for the moment, lost their sense of responsibility as public servants). As a Christian, I should not have to say that I find that deed both despicable and unconscionable. Regardless of why he was in police custody, no person should be treated as George Floyd was treated by those policemen. Continue reading
THE JULY 2020 ISSUE OF THE SPIRITUAL SWORD
The July 2020 issue of The Spiritual Sword is a sterling edition of the quarterly publication having as its theme, “A Handy Guide To Pioneer Preachers.” Significantly, this issue completes a full fifty-one years that The Spiritual Sword has been in publication, all under the oversight of the elders of the Getwell Church of Christ in Memphis, TN. It also marks thirty-one years that Alan Highers has been at the editorial helm of this outstanding journal. Continue reading
In His infinite love for mankind and His desire for humanity to know His will, God has provided some important lists to which we would do well to pay attention. These lists do not provide the details of how the respective items are to be applied—not by any means—but they do encapsulate and serve as succinct summaries of a number of significant principles that are then “fleshed out” in the rest of God’s special and divine revelation to humanity, the Bible. Continue reading
The apostle Peter referred to “a more sure word of prophecy,” and spoke of “a light that shineth in a dark place” (II Peter 1:16-19, KJV). In his church bulletin, “The East Main Messenger,” of April 19, 2020, Wayne Lankford, my friend of almost 50 years and longtime minister of the East Main Church of Christ in Murfreesboro, TN, wrote: “What was a ‘more sure word of prophecy?’ And, what did ‘a light that shineth in a dark place’ have reference to? The Lord was aware of adversities and trials they (Peter’s original readers, hf) faced. The same is true with us. Yet, during those times, their character and faith were being tested, but not without hope in Christ. Prophecies of old were inspired (see 2 Peter 1:20-21). They also foretold of Jesus’ coming. Their words (writings) were as a light shining in a dark place (Psa. 119:105). Yet, their light was not as bright as the ‘day star’ that would bring light into hearts.” Continue reading
GOD’S WONDERFUL PLAN OF SALVATION
From time to time, at least twice a year, I try to present to my readers God’s gracious plan of salvation as set forth in the New Testament. A number of my readers have never obeyed the gospel of Christ and are therefore in a lost state (II Thessalonians 1:6-10). I have a deep and sincere love for them and their souls and a compelling desire to share God’s wonderful plan of salvation with them. I want all of them to hear and understand the pure gospel of Christ, as opposed to a perverted gospel (Galatians 1:6-9), and I want all of them to know God’s simple plan of salvation as opposed to corruptions of that plan by the doctrines, commandments, and traditions of men (Matthew 15:8-9; II Timothy 4:3-5). The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer,” currently being promoted on television by Franklin Graham, is a travesty of what God’s word teaches about salvation. I urge all to read all the passages cited in this essay. Continue reading