January 2018 Issue of Christian Worker (Growing Spiritually in the New Year)

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

Here are the topics you will find:

  • Books to Maximize Spiritual Growth (Mike Vestal)
  • Suggestions for Studying the Bible this Year (Cody Westbrook)
  • Six Tools to Improve Your Prayer Life (Andy Baker)
  • How to Excel in Personal Evangelism (Rob Whitacre)
  • Helping Your Children Grow Spiritually (Glen Colley)
  • How to Strengthen Your Marriage This Year (John Moore)

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

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2018 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#bible-study, #christian-worker, #marriage, #personal-evangelism, #prayer, #raising-faithful-children, #reading, #specific-suggestions

Hugh’s News & Views (Reading Gleanings)



“In the Bible, as in ordinary life, words mean what they are used to mean neither more nor less.” (James I. Packer, as cited by gospel preacher, John Gaines, in a Facebook posting on April 22, 2014). To which I responded with tongue buried deeply in my cheek, “Nah! No way! Surely not! There just must be many passages in which the words do not mean what they are used to mean, given the ‘explanations’ of those who do not agree with what the passages plainly say.” (Note: I could cite the use of the conjunction “and” in Mark 16:16 connecting belief and baptism to salvation and in Acts 2:38 connecting repentance and baptism to remission of sins as examples of a plain, simple word being “explained away.” It is utterly amazing that people will entrust their souls to the religious instruction of those [some
professing to be scholars] who do not know even the meaning of the simple word “and”!) Continue reading

#hughfulford, #quotes, #reading

Tidbits and Prayer Requests

Hello! I hope all of our readers are doing well. I wanted to share a potpourri of thoughts with you this Friday morning. We appreciate you very much.

  • It is a beautiful sunny day in Southeast Georgia. We ask your prayers that we can get some rain. Our drought is nothing like the Southwest has suffered, but we are double digits below normal for three years. It is sad to see so many ponds dry. Also, continue to pray for rain in the Southwest, they desperately need it.
  • I also ask your prayers for me as I continue battling a neurological condition. The pain has been especially bad, lately. I see a new neurologist in two weeks.
  • I read that the Baptists in Kentucky are having a symposium on Calvinism. They say that only one of the speakers is a Five-Point Calvinist. I wish they would figure out that the Baptist doctrine of salvation is Calvinist-Lite and return to the truth of Scripture on how to be saved.

BTW, here is a shameless plug for my book on how to be saved.

  • On a lighter note, the 17 year-old son of one of my cousins didn’t know who John Wayne was. Moments like these seriously make you feel old. Likewise, I recently realized that in 2014 it will have been 20 years since I finished graduate school at Freed-Hardeman University. Time flies much too quickly.
  • I am listening to the Bible on digital audio. As I write, I am listening to Acts 11.
  • I am privileged to develop a manuscript on John 21 for the Southeast Georgia Lectureship at Richmond Hill. The lectureship is October 27-28. The last chapter of John is a fascinating study and I look forward to taking it apart and finding the treasures there.

This Sunday morning I will be speaking on James 3:1, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”

Of this passage, Burton Coffman writes:

“James did not seek to discourage any who might have been qualified for such work. As Harper suggested, ‘His words were meant to remind us of our responsibilities, rather than to deter us from our duties.'”

We must not allow this passage to be a path of rationalization to avoid evangelism. We must all become more knowledgeable about Scripture. What thoughts do you have on this verse?

For your reading:

#books, #forthright, #gossip, #prayers, #rain, #reading, #salvation, #writing

Keeping Our Readers in Mind

As a writer and editor, I always need to have my audience in mind when I write, design, select photos and create titles. What can best serve the reader while maintaining the integrity of the message?

That is always a challenge. If there is something about our product that turns readers/viewers away, we must eradicate it immediately and arrive at a better design.

With that in mind, I wonder how many people have stopped reading the “Spiritual Sword” because they can no longer see the microscopic print. I admit I have a hard time seeing it and it requires a lot of work to make it through such a large issue.  I expect the font is so small to keep printing costs low. But, that must be weighed against losing readers. I guess I can stop reading it or get a magnifier.

Randal and I always want your input about Forthright — what you like and do not like. Your input is like gold to us. We maintain the site but it exists for you. Therefore, you always need to be in the equation.

As always thank you for your patronage of Forthright and at the Fellowship Room.

#fellowship-room, #forthright, #readers, #reading, #spiritual-sword

Will the Holy Spirit Say this of You?

Every time I read Acts 13:27, I can’t help but to think of all those who are guilty of this same sentiment expressed by Paul to the Jews in his day. “For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him” (ESV).

The Scriptures are read every Sabbath, but those present, because of certain assumptions, refused to hear anything from the Lord (cf. John 5:39-47). Today, we have much the same. It is easy to encourage people to read the Scripture, but at the same time it has a challenging quality associated with it. Just recently I had a discussion with two women about their disappointment in and with “church.” Their disappointments stemmed from the failings of people within the community they spoke. I encouraged both to go to the Scripture and put every word that is spoken (in a religious, biblical context) to the test. The passages that I encouraged them to look at were John 12:48; Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1-6; and Jude 3 (among others). What they will do with that, I do not know. It was easy to encourage, but there is a challenge in getting them to do so. Hopefully, they will search. I know one did because she said as much.

If we would not be guilty of exactly that which Paul said the Jews of his day were, then it is incumbent on us to search the Scriptures daily, not only to measure everything the preacher says, but also to understand the Lord’s word and implement it into our lives. It would be sad if the Holy Spirit said of you, what Paul said of the Jews in his day.

#ignorance, #jews, #paul, #reading, #scripture


many years ago when I flirted with religion but did not actually embrace it, I read the KJV and found it much too difficult to understand. For a while I went in and out of religious interests, in part, because of the KJV. Since it was the Book in the house, it held a special place for me. Finally, a religious hold grabbed me and I made a point to work at understanding it. Though I struggled, I was finally able to “get a handle” on it. From there I went to the ASV (1901), and used it for 16-17 years. What I have come to like about the KJV is its cadence in the old English (I do enjoy having it read by Scourby).

A blessing for me was the effort I had to put in to understand it. I have carried that effort with me up to this day. This is one of the reasons I enjoy reading from interlinears like I do.

#kjv, #reading, #understanding

Waste Time? Never

The older I get, the more I realize the less time I have on earth, and thus, the more I realize how precious time is: http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2007/02/11/appreciating-the-value-of-time/. Once time is gone, it can never be reclaimed. Do I waste time? Not that I know of. I’m always busy taking care of my wife, working in the yard, paying bills, grocery shopping, preparing daily meals, studying the Bible, writing articles, reading good books and publications produced by faithful proclaimers of God’s word, preaching and teaching. Doing all of this plus working as a library substitute for our local school district, keeps me plenty busy – never have time to be bored, that’s for certain.

I do watch the news and weather on television, plus two weekly shows, NCIS and Criminal Minds. Don’t know if that’s wasted time or not, because both shows motivate me to use my mind in figuring out the plots.

#busy, #earth, #older, #preach, #precious, #prepare, #publication, #reading, #realize, #reclaim, #study, #teach, #time, #waste, #work, #writing


I hope you had some success with yours for 2010. I did manage to listen to the New Testament every month this year. However, I failed in other areas. I wanted to read/listen to 100 books, but I fell a little short. I also planned to finish my novel, but my health situation precluded that plan.

How did you do with your resolutions?

I plan to attempt all three of those again next year. It is just two books a week to reach 100. But there are some big books I would like to read, so I get behind. 🙂

Maybe I can post here more often, as well.

#books, #reading, #resolutions

How Could I Be Bored?

I have relatives that come on to Facebook and constantly complain about being bored.  Bored people amaze me because it evidences that they are missing so much in life. I don’t remember the last time I was bored, because I prevent it from happening.

Every time I leave the house, I have a book in my hand. If I am close to being finished, I carry two of them. I always listen to audio books in my car, so if I am stuck somewhere I can read or listen to a book. If I am at home, I read, write, watch TV or do things online. How can I be bored?

I have a neglected novel waiting to be noticed, columns to write and a website. I have novels to read for reviews and others to edit. When would I be bored?

I live outside of Savannah, Georgia, the most beautiful city in America. How could I be bored?

I have a family and a house full of pets to love on. How could I be bored? There is so much to do, why sit and do nothing?

Besides, how can someone be bored on the internet? It is possibly the greatest resource for learning man has ever known.  If you are bored on the internet, you are doing it wrong.

#books, #bored, #internet, #nudge, #reading

Daily Nudge: disappointing book

Describe a book you’ve read that you found disappointing. It can be fiction or non-fiction, prose or poetry. Just not mine. Well, if you insist. Tell why you were disappointed by the book.

Thanks to Plinky.com for today’s Nudge.

#books, #nudge, #reading


I have a new poll question on my Moving Word blog – Which genre of fiction do you most enjoy reading?

Reading is one of the most enjoyable activities I can participate in. Frankly, I can’t remember when I was unable to read. Best I can tell, I was reading before kindergarten.

When I was in elementary school, the library had these hard back biographies with orange covers. I read every one of them. We also did SRA’s. Anyone remember those? I read all of those, as well. 🙂

I was thrilled when I was able to listen to my first audio book. We listened to the civil war book, “Across Four Aprils” on record in the library. I was enthralled.

I cannot understand those who do not read. My life is infinitely better for it.


Books – A Favorite Topic

My favorite novel that is older than one hundred years is Crime and  Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I would also add some other favorite titles:

1.Hard Times,  David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

2. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

3. Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley [Has almost nothing to do with the movies. It is actually a fascinating novel ]

5. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

To name just a few…

#books, #novels, #reading

Contrary to what some may thing, the que…

Contrary to what some may thing, the question for today is not “Geeks seek Jesus.” Though I would hope they would.


Daily Nudge: magazines — and news

Magazine reader

What magazines do you read?

Do you subscribe to (i.e., pay for) any print magazines? What magazines do you read? Include those you beg, borrow or go to grandma’s to read.

Or maybe you actually pay to get an electronic version. That would be interesting to know as well.

You can include religious, biblical and spiritual periodicals, as well as Family Circle or Woodworking Today.

Today I travel with another brother from Taubate to the National Christian Workers Encounter, where there is no Internet. On the way, I’ll drop off The Maiden at a young girls’ retreat nearby. The Missus gets some time off by herself at home for a couple of days.

TFR will continue to thrive in my absence. Enjoy!

#literature, #magazines, #reading

A unique practice in our congregation, i…

A unique practice in our congregation, is that for Sunday evening worship, we sing two songs, have a reading from God’s word, and then a prayer. We go through this same cycle until it is time to offer the invitation, then a concluding Scripture is read, a closing song is offered, then we offer the Lord’s Supper. After that, announcements and a concluding song is sung.

#announcement, #invitation, #lords-supper, #prayer, #reading, #song, #worship