Bulletin for 8-14-22

Birthdays and Anniversaries:

8-10 Wendi Camacho

Prayer requests:

Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Please pray for him, his family and friends.

Tonita, Paul’s friend, mild heart attack

Dena Weeks has cataract surgery coming up, Aug 17, 24

J R Medellin, Tiffany’s (Chance) husband, still doing well. Vanessea‘s surgery coming up.

Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, continues to have trouble.

Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care

Robert and Sue Waller, health issues.

Darla Nitti, Wendi’s mom, not doing well.

Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.

Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis

Back to school

Article:

As rain drops upon the grass

Have you ever stood out in the rain as if to soak it all in? Perhaps the rain felt violent and drove you inside to find shelter? The same rain can have differing results depending on the land which receives it.

Moses had felt all kinds of rain and understood its great blessings and power. Given the unenviable task of shepherding Israel, he served God faithfully for forty years.

Plucked from obscurity, this former prince turned sheep herder reluctantly, then wholeheartedly followed the voice of Jehovah. He sacrificed his pride and was willing to sacrifice his life for the people who often vexed him.

When first called, Moses demurred that he was an ineffective communicator. “I am slow of speech and slow of tongue,” he argued (Exodus 4:10 NET). His assessment would prove to be incorrect. While Aaron did indeed serve as his brother’s spokesman, Moses proved to be a very forceful orator.

As his service to God, and thus his life, drew to a conclusion, Moses recited the words of a song “from start to finish in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel” (Deuteronomy 31:30).

This song, directed to a rebellious and stubborn people (Deuteronomy 31:27), begins with a plea for the heavens and the earth to hear the words of Moses’ mouth.

“Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My teaching will drop like the rain, my sayings will drip like the dew, as rain drops upon the grass, and showers upon new growth. For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; you must acknowledge the greatness of our God. As for the Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. He is a reliable God who is never unjust, he is fair and upright” (Deuteronomy 32:1-4).

I am struck by the beauty of this introduction. This humble and meek man, calls heaven and earth to hear his eloquent defense of Jehovah — the Rock — and his bold accusations against his foolish and unwise people.

His words would begin gently, dripping like the dew. Then as light rain falling upon the grass grows steadily into showers, so would his words be to those who heard.

Rain can sweep away the rebellious in judgment, as God did with the flood. But rain can also nourish and refresh.

“For the ground that has soaked up the rain that frequently falls on it and yields useful vegetation for those who tend it receives a blessing from God” (Hebrews 6:7).

It behooves us to soak up the rain of God’s word so that we might yield useful vegetation for his kingdom. That was Moses’ desire for his people, and the motivation for his final psalm.

Some speak to win, desiring to “own” or to “destroy.” Some speak to cut, desiring to belittle and demean. Moses spoke to nourish. He spoke directly, rebuking them for their “sin” (Deuteronomy 32:5). Knowing what would happen to them (see Deuteronomy 31:16), he warned them against unfaithfulness. He did it not to win an argument, or to bully them. Rather, he spoke as he did so that they might live (Deuteronomy 32:47).

As rain drops upon the grass, may our words be motivated by a desire for the spiritual health of our hearers. May the words we choose glorify our Creator, and help others to be refreshed in him.

Bulletin for 8-7-22

Birthdays and Anniversaries:

8-10 Wendi Camacho

Prayer requests:

Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Please pray for him, his family and friends.

Dena Weeks has cataract surgery coming up, Aug 17, 24

J R Medellin, Tiffany’s (Chance) husband, still doing well. Vanessea‘s surgery coming up.

Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, continues to have trouble.

Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care

Robert and Sue Waller, health issues.

Darla Nitti, Wendi’s mom, not doing well.

Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.

Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis

Back to school

Traveling: Luis and Wendi and boys have gone to see Her mom.

Sympathy:

Please keep Karl Jones and Gladys Ramirez and their families in your prayers.

Article:

Where has all the time gone?

It is easy for people to think time is an inexhaustible resource. The years before us seem as if time will never end. Then, in old age, those years disappear.

Husbands don’t have enough time for wives. Fathers don’t have enough time for children. Employees believe there is enough time to complete a project until they discover the deadline is upon them. Writers often have the same problem. There is just not enough sand in the hourglass.

Eventually, we will come to a moment in life when the days behind us are more than the ones in front of us. We wonder how something like that could happen.

My children were born in the 1970s. My wife and I thought we’d have a long, happy time watching them grow. Now they are all grown and have children of their own. Our oldest grandson is nearing college graduation. Where did the years go?

We should think of the coming eternity than how much time we have left in this old world. In Ecclesiastes chapter nine, Solomon wrote,

“Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might, because there is neither work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, the place where you will eventually go,” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Instead of our preoccupation with the time we have left, we need to think of how we can help ourselves and others by preparing to use the remaining time we have to the glory of God.

Eternity is stretching itself out before us. Are we ready for it? We must prepare for eternity by obeying the gospel and spend the remaining time given us by serving God.

John Henson, link to original article

Bulletin for 7-31-22

Birthdays and Anniversarie

None this week

Prayer requests:

Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Please pray for him. His granddaughter, Michelle, scheduled for surgery

J R Medellin, Tiffany’s (Chance) husband, still doing well. Vanessea‘s surgery coming up.

Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, continues to have trouble.

Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care

Robert and Sue Waller, health issues.

Darla Nitti, Wendi’s mom, not doing well.

Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.

Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis

Back to school

Sympathy:

Also for the family of Darlyne Stewart, Karl Jones’s sister. Her services will be held August 1, 2 under direction of

Moore Funeral Home in Arlington. Please keep both families in your prayers.

Article

Why are easy to read Bibles a mixed blessing?

Easily understood Bibles facilitate contemplating God, Christ and ourselves. If we are willing, they also empower us to live for God as they shape our beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviors.

More could be said in favor of an easy to read  Bible. Yet, there is also a trade off.

On the spectrum of difficult to easy, literal translations provide a greater challenge to understand. These use a formal equivalence approach reproducing as much as possible the word-for-word structures of another language with its grammar and syntax. The resulting English can sometimes be awkward or difficult to understand.

On the other hand, functional equivalence translations seek to convey the sense of another language. With this approach the translators will ask questions like, what is this sentence communicating?

Once they arrive at their understanding of the text, then their goal becomes  conveying that idea into an easy flowing English. The final product should be easy to understand.

Lying somewhere midway between the literal word-for-word and the sense-for-sense approaches are optimal equivalence Bibles. These translations will attempt to balance a readable text with some literalness. Popular examples include the ESV, NIV and NET.

The down side for the easier to read Bibles is that some details within the original language can become lost in translation. Furthermore, they reflect an increasingly greater degree of the translators’ perspectives than do literal Bibles. Let’s look at these two caveats starting with the latter.

All translations, even literal ones, contain a certain degree of interpretation. For example, within a particular sentence should the Greek word pistis be rendered faith, trust or faithfulness? After all, it’s semantic range covers all three. Should baptisma be transliterated as baptism or translated as immersion?

This influence of the translators’ perspectives only increases with the easier to read functional equivalent Bibles. Imagine how different religious traditions might render the text to support their terminology or views. For this reason, committees comprised of translators from various religious traditions are generally regarded as more reliable.

Thus while easy to read translations can clear up ambiguities for the reader and facilitate comprehension, they also provide more of the translator’s understanding. The accuracy of these viewpoints can vary.

Consider how the following Bibles handle the literal wording, “But if one thinks he’s acting improperly toward his virgin, if one is past the high point.” (1 Corinthians 7:36).

  • “A man might think that he is not doing the right thing with his fiancée. She might be almost past the best age to marry.” Easy To Read Version
  • “If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong.” English Standard Version
  • “If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong.” New International Version 2011
  • “If anyone thinks he is acting inappropriately toward his virgin, if she is past the bloom of youth” New English Translation
  • “No father would want to do the wrong thing when his virgin daughter is old enough to get married.” God’s Word Translation
  • “But if any man thinks that he is not acting properly toward his daughter, if she is past her youth.” Comprehensive New Testament
  • “But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth,” New American Standard Bible 1995

These quotes illustrate how the translators’ understanding of “virgin” and “high point”  influenced how they handled this verse. This is true even for the literal NASB (’95). However by placing daughter in italics the NASB identified daughter as their insertion.

Obviously, I’ve chosen a verse that would reveal translation differences. When we encounter differences, we should not allow them to undermine our confidence in our Bibles.

Rather, I would hope this realization would encourage us to study from several translations. On the one hand, the easy to read Bibles will promote Bible reading habits. They can facilitate a quick understanding.

On the other hand, the more literal Bibles can provide an opportunity to be careful. We may discover overlooked details or identify certain translations pushing in different directions.

And if we do, we have the opportunity to delve deeper to learn which is the better translation. The NET’s translator notes can provide an initial investigation point. We also might wish to learn more about those who made the different translations.

God has spoken. His message has been rendered into English with varying degrees of precision and ease of understanding. Read from several good Bibles. May you be richly blessed in your study of God’s word.

Barry Newton, link to original article

Bulletin for 7-24-22

Birthdays and Anniversaries:

7-26 Tommy Reames

7-29 Luis & Wendi Camacho

Prayer requests:

Reames family, several members have covid. All improving.

Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Please pray for him. His granddaughter, Michelle, scheduled for surgery

J R Medellin, Tiffany’s (Chance) husband, had a liver transplant last week. Home and doing well. Vanessea‘s surgery coming up.

Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, continues to have trouble.

Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care

Robert and Sue Waller, health issues.

Darla Nitti, Wendi’s mom, not doing well.

Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.

Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis

Campers and travelers. Several family members traveling this week

Sympathy:

Prayers for the Mauricio Ramirez family. He passed away earlier this week and services were held yesterday.

Also for the family of Darlyne Stewart, Karl Jones’s sister. Her services will be held August 1, 2 under direction of

Moore Funeral Home in Arlington. Please keep both families in your prayers.

Article

The Master Questioner

No person ever walked the earth with more knowledge. No person ever walked the earth with more to teach. And no person ever used questions more effectively than Jesus.

Reading through the Gospels, one might be struck by how infrequently Jesus answered questions with statements. Jesus was asked over 150 questions, and he directly answered fewer than 10. The rest he addressed indirectly, with questions, or with a combination of questions and statements.

Jesus was not being evasive, at least not in the derogatory sense. His questions were purposeful. Instead of force-feeding, Jesus gave those who heard him an opportunity to ponder and learn.

Often teachers merely impart answers, they inform with facts. Jesus led the willing to discover answers that would sink down deep inside. He invited them to ask, seek, and knock.

The questions Jesus asked fit the occasion. When honest seekers asked Jesus for information, Jesus led them in the right path.

“And his disciples answered him, ‘How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?’ And he asked them, ‘How many loaves do you have’? They said, ‘Seven’” (Mark 8:4, 5 ESV).

Other questions resulted in a mild rebuke. When the sons of Zebedee desired to sit at the right hand and left hand of Jesus in his kingdom, Jesus responded with a question. “Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” (Matthew 20:22).

Often Jesus was asked questions in a confrontational way. He almost always responded with questions, which if answered honestly would cause the accusers to condemn themselves.

When asked if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath Jesus responded:

“Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:11-12).

Perhaps you can hear the pause that I hear as Jesus finishes the question. I see the men looking at each other, knowing that they would indeed rescue their sheep on the Sabbath. And then the hammer hits the nail, “Of how much more value is a man than a sheep!” The ESV places an exclamation mark, others a question mark (see KJV, MLV, LEB, YLT). Perhaps my favorite punctuation, the interrobang, would fit here. This is a exclamatory rhetorical question which leaves the interrogators with just one answer, “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

Jesus asked a question, then reasoned to a logical conclusion. The Lord used this same formula when asked about paying taxes. “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” he asked. “Caesar’s,” they answered. “Therefore, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:15-21).  I think we can all see the power of this formula (see Matthew 22:22).

While Jesus would occasionally reason to a logical conclusion, other times his questions hung in the air, their answers obvious, but unspoken. Perhaps the most well-known of Jesus’ table-turning questions takes place in Jerusalem in the week leading up to the crucifixion. Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem, and then cleansed the temple. Upon returning to the temple, the Jewish leaders came up to him and asked, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (Matthew 21:23).

Jesus answered their question with a conditional question.

“I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” (Matthew 21:24, 25a).

Jesus’ question placed these Jewish leaders on the horns of a dilemma. Either way they answered the consequences were dire. An honest heart would see and admit fault. This question revealed their dishonesty to all who heard, for after reasoning among themselves, they answered, “We do not know” (Matthew 21:27).

Though unspoken, Jesus’ question has a very clear answer. As a prophet, John’s baptism came from heaven. John testified that Jesus was the Lamb of God, sent from heaven. Therefore, Jesus’ authority came from heaven. Jesus’ question not only taught that profound truth, but it also exposed as hypocrites his accusers.

When used wisely, questions can defend the integrity of Scripture, help people discover truth, expose the weaknesses of an accusation, and lay bare the hearts of men.

When was the last time you answered a question with a question?

Lee Parish, link to original article

Bulletin for 7-17-22

Birthdays and Anniversaries:

None this week

Prayer requests:

Reames family, several members have covid. Tommy and Regena exposed.

Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Please pray for him. His granddaughter, Michelle, scheduled for surgery

Darlyne Stewart, Karl’s sister, back at hospital on breathing support.

J R Medellin, Tiffany’s (Chance) husband, had a liver transplant yesterday. Surgery went well.

Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, continues to have trouble.

Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care

Robert and Sue Waller, health issues.

Darla Nitti, Wendi’s mom, not doing well.

Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.

Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis

Campers and travelers. Several family members traveling this week

Article:

God uses imperfect people

by Jon Galloway

We know ourself better than anyone else does. If we are truthful with ourself we realize our short-comings, downfalls, temptations, and weaknesses. Sometimes we might think that God can’t use us because we are just not good enough.

But when we read through scripture we discover that God has always used imperfect people to accomplish his will. We might wonder why that is – until, of course, we realize that no one is perfect. All people have weaknesses just like we do.

Although Abraham is looked on as a great man – and he was! – we realize that he was not great because he was perfect. He was a great man because of his faith in God and his willingness to obey God even when it didn’t make sense. The same man who trusted God enough to sacrifice his own son was the man who lied at least twice about his relationship with his wife.

What effect did this have on his children? Were they the same way?

Isaac was the child of promise. It was through him that a nation for God was going to come.

“Now there was a famine in the land – besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time – and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar. The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.’ So Isaac stayed in Gerar.” (Genesis 26:1-6 NIV)

So far, so good. Isaac listened to and obeyed God and God gave him the same promise as he had given to Abraham: his descendants would be numerous, would be given the land in which he was living, and ultimately all nations would be blessed through his offspring, his seed.

But then it seems almost like déjà vu. I’m sure this is why the writer stressed that this was a different occurrence.

“When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, ‘She is my sister,’ because he was afraid to say, ‘She is my wife.’ He thought, ‘The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.’” (Genesis 26:7)

But this was the child of promise! This was the one God had sworn to make into a great nation. Yet he blatantly lied about his wife due to fear for his own life. He ended up getting caught out but God still blessed him.

What does this tell us? Does it not emphasize to us that we will never be good enough. When even great men like Abraham and Isaac get caught out in sin it doesn’t excuse us, but it does offer us hope. If God can use men who sinned like these two, and we could add many others like David to the list, he can use us.

What is God looking for? He is looking for faithfulness. He is looking for obedience. He is looking for people who, although they stumble in their living for him, get back up and get back on the path. He is looking for people who “walk in the light”, people who are wanting to live right and when they slip up and sin ask for forgiveness, put the sin behind them, and get back on the path.

“If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7 NASB)

link to original article

Bulletin for 7-10-22

Birthdays and Anniversaries:

7-11 Bill Grubbs

Prayer requests:

Sam & Alice Pirozzo have been fighting the covid virus.

Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Please pray for him. His granddaughter, Michelle, scheduled for surgery

Darlyne Stewart, Karl’s sister, is home now, has a treatment plan, keep praying.

Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, continues to have trouble.

Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care

Robert and Sue Waller, health issues.

Darla Nitti, Wendi’s mom, not doing well.

Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.

Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis

Campers and travelers. Dena is at church camp. David and I will be going Tuesday and David will stay.

Article

What are you seeking?

Andrew was standing next to the faithful prophet when that herald of Jesus said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35-36 ESV). Having heard John’s remarkable declaration, Andrew and his companion left their Rabbi for another. Their walk with Jesus began humbly enough, as they simply followed his steps.

As he turned to look at his nascent disciples, the great Teacher’s first lesson was the piercing question, “What are you seeking” (John 1:38).

As readers of John’s gospel, we have the benefit to see Jesus introduced as God in the flesh, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3). He is the light (John 1:4-9), the Christ (John 1:20), the Lamb of God (John 1:29), the Son of God, and the King of Israel (John 1:49).

We know that these men — Andrew and likely the apostle John — were first disciples of John the immerser. As his task was to “prepare the way before” Jesus (Malachi 3:1), he would have taught his disciples the true nature of the Son. Upon hearing John’s words, they knew that their duty was to follow Jesus.

Yet Jesus’ question to them, “What are you seeking?” gave them the opportunity to confess Jesus as Rabbi (Teacher), and to inquire about staying with him, “where are you staying?”

“What are you seeking?”

When Andrew located his brother Simon, he said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41). When Philip found Nathanael, he said, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote” (John 1:45).

These men, along with the faithful remnant, were looking for the Messiah. Their souls were longing for the promised One who would deliver them. Though they had much to learn, they were dedicated to being taught by their Master.

“What are you seeking?”

Many people have seen Jesus. Some find him intriguing enough to walk a few steps toward him. The question we must all ask ourselves is, “What am I seeking?”

Am I seeking someone who will primarily comfort me in my distress? Am I seeking someone who will confirm all my priors? Am I seeking someone who will conform to my priorities? If so, it is not Jesus of Nazareth for whom I am longing.

Yes Jesus comforts, but he also challenges.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?  For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:23-26).

Jesus calls us to make his desires ours (Luke 16:13), and to transform our way of living to his (Romans 12:2Galatians 4:19).

None of that is easy. But if we claim to seek Jesus, it is necessary. Knowing about Jesus is not enough, the information we gather about him should beget transformation.

On that afternoon nearly two millennia ago, two disciples began their walk in the Son. And it all started with a question, “What are you seeking?”

Lee Parish, link to original article

Bulletin for 7-3-22

Birthdays and Anniversaries:

7-11 Bill Grubbs

Prayer requests:

Sam & Alice Pirozzo have been fighting the covid virus.

Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Please pray for him. His granddaughter, Michelle, scheduled for surgery

Darlyne Stewart, Karl’s sister, having some breathing problems due to treatments, cancer may have spread.

Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, had a fall again this week.

Sharon Best, Steven’s mom, finished chemo, declared in remission.

Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care

Robert and Sue Waller, health issues.

Darla Nitti, Wendi’s mom, doing fairly well

Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.

Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis

Article:

Teaching like Jesus

C.S. Lewis in his essay, “The World’s Last Night” explored a question. What if we have experienced our last night? What if the world were to end today?

Lewis claimed that preachers tend to avoid confronting people with mortality and the coming judgment. How does this square with Jesus’ preaching? Did Jesus ever address disturbing thoughts?

Jesus’ teaching ministry covered a great many topics.  On one occasion he violated Pharisaic societal norms and values regarding outcasts and finances as he taught about the ways of God (Luke 15:2; 16:13-14). Later, to illustrate how important it is to embrace God’s counter culture kingdom ways, Jesus told a story.

His story placed in stark contrast a wealthy man and a poor beggar, Lazarus. The rich man’s success was underscored not only by his sumptuous meals, but also by receiving a proper burial. Conversely, the beggar sitting by the wealthy man’s gate longed for scraps of food. Then he died (Luke 16:19-22).

Jesus unveiled a shocking reversal of fortunes as he drew back a curtain to reveal the world of the dead. In hades the beggar was enjoying paradise whereas the rich man was trapped in agonizing torment.

Our human trait of empathizing invites the question, what would it be like for us to become trapped in such suffering hopelessness? We shutter at the thought.

For those willing to listen, Jesus pressed further. Within that fiery furnace situation Jesus sought to refine whether our hearts will give God’s ways the appropriate priority.

First, he recounted how the tormented man’s thoughts turned to his family.  “I beg you, father—send Lazarus to my father’s house (for I have five brothers) to warn them so that they don’t come into this place of torment” (Luke 16:27-28).

Then came the harrowing and sober response. “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them. … If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:29,31). Jesus confronted his listeners with the future and the necessity of responding to God’s word.

On various occasions Jesus focused on what would happen at the end in order to convict his listeners about how they should live in the present. These stories could include how some will be bound and cast out into darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30). At other times he graphically described the separation that will occur at judgment (Matthew 25:31-46).

All of this can cause us to reflect on today’s teaching. Perhaps you have encountered the same thinking I have. Some reject discussing God’s judgment because they regarded this as being manipulative and causing fear. Often the statement “perfect love casts out fear” is then quoted. This is followed by asserting that people should be drawn to a winsome Savior, not motivated by the fear of hell. Yet within scripture as well as within practice people often respond to Jesus to save themselves (Acts 2:40). Having been saved, love for the Lord casts out fear.

I’ve taken a third path that avoids the extremes of always focusing on punishment or just extolling how Christ blesses. It is a path shaped by what I see in scripture.

Jesus’ preaching embraced many themes. Sometimes the Son of God found it necessary to explain the coming judgment. To help people live as they ought today he warned against being unprepared for tomorrow.

If we wish to teach like Jesus, then on occasion we too will announce a coming day in which God will judge the secrets of human hearts (Romans 2:16). Teaching like Jesus will surpass any well-intentioned thematically limiting filter we might contrive.

Barry Newton, link to original article

Bulleting for 6-26-22

Birthdays and Anniversaries:

6-24 Giovanni Mendoza

6-28 Mauricio & Gladys Ramirez

6-30 Regena Reames

Prayer requests:

Sam & Alice Pirozzo have been fighting the covid virus.

Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Please pray for him. His granddaughter, Michelle, scheduled for surgery

Darlyne Stewart, Karl’s sister, having some breathing problems due to treatments.

Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, had a fall this week.

Sharon Best, Steven’s mom, finished chemo, declared in remission.

Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care

Robert and Sue Waller, health issues.

Darla Nitti, Wendi’s mom, doing fairly well

Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.

Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis

Article:

And he delivered them

“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble” (Psalm 107:2).

The history of God and his people is one of faithfulness and fickleness. God is faithful to his promises, to himself, and to truth. His people are fickle with regard to their commitments, to their relationships, and to intellectual consistency.

God is not us, and that is why he is worthy to be praised. He is always good. His steadfast love endures forever. Therefore, we should give thanks to Jehovah!

The 107th Psalm calls the wise to “consider the steadfast love of the LORD” (Psalm 107:43). It beautifully demonstrates God’s goodness and power as he delivers men from weariness to rest (vv. 4-9), from darkness to light (vv. 10-16), from sickness to health (vv. 17-22), and from danger to safety (vv. 22-31).

The structure of this Psalm shows the condition of some of God’s people, their petition to Jehovah, their salvation by his mighty hand, and an invitation to praise him. Let’s examine the structure in two of these sections.

From weariness to rest (Psalm 107:4-9)

Their condition: “Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.”

Their petition: “Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble”

Their salvation: “and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.”

Their invitation: “Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”

From darkness to light (Psalm 107:10-16)

Their condition: “Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons, for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help.”

Their petition: “Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble”

Their salvation: “and he delivered them from their distress.”

Their invitation: “Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron.”

In the first case, the people were weary from wandering. Despite their best efforts they could find no rest, no permanent dwelling. They were without food and water, and their souls fainted within them.

Without God we are all lost and without direction. We might know we are lost, but we lack the vision to find rest. As the great shepherd, God gives direction to his people. His laws hem them in, his mercy leads them to nourishment and rest.

“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:9-11).

In the second case, the people were punished because of their rebellion. They rejected the words of God and spurned his counsel. Their disobedience led to darkness, their defiance to the doorway of death.

Sin binds and blinds us. Sin enslaves us and darkens our understanding of the freedom in Christ. The path of wickedness is darkness, “but the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn” (Proverbs 4:18).

God has, “delivered us out of the domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13), and called us “into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Psalm 107 is instructive to the Christian. It may be ignorance, rebellion, foolishness, or weakness that has caused you to be in distress. Whatever the cause, the solution is the same. In humility cry out to the LORD, he is faithful to deliver you.

Let us all thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to the children of man!

Lee Parish, link to original article

Bulletin for 6-19-22

Birthdays and Anniversaries:

None this week

Prayer requests:

Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Please pray for him. His granddaughter, Michelle, scheduled for surgery

Abby Garza recovering from her surgery

Darlyne Stewart, Karl’s sister, having some breathing problems due to treatments.

Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, is not well.

Sharon Best, Steven’s mom, finished chemo, declared in remission.

Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care

Robert and Sue Waller, health issues.

Darla Nitti, Wendi’s mom, doing fairly well

Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.

Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis

Article:

The power of perspective

“LORD, you have always been fair whenever I have complained to you. However, I would like to speak with you about the disposition of justice. Why are wicked people successful? Why do all dishonest people have such easy lives? You plant them like trees and they put down their roots. They grow prosperous and are very fruitful. They always talk about you, but they really care nothing about you.” (Jeremiah 12:1, 2 NET).

Perhaps you have asked the same questions as Jeremiah. Why are the wicked successful? Why do liars have such easy lives? These people speak of God but care nothing for him. Why does it appear that justice eludes them?

Habakkuk had similar concerns:

“Why do you force me to witness injustice? Why do you put up with wrongdoing? Destruction and violence confront me; conflict is present and one must endure strife. For this reason the law lacks power, and justice is never carried out. Indeed, the wicked intimidate the innocent. For this reason justice is perverted” (Habakkuk 1:3, 4).

Do your eyes visit the same images as Habakkuk? Do you see violence, wrongdoing, conflict, and strife, but not justice?

God answered his beloved prophets, but the answer was not a pleasant one. He gave his servants divine perspective that those who transgressed God would be punished.

The Psalmist admits that, as he looked upon the wicked, he was tempted.

“But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my feet almost slid out from under me. For In envied those who are proud, as I observed the prosperity of the wicked. For they suffer no pain; their bodies are strong and well-fed. They are immune to the trouble common to men; they do not suffer as other men do” (Psalm 73:2-5).

Asaph views the path of the wicked  as a smooth and prosperous one. They are arrogant and violent, their thoughts are sinful, they mock and threaten violence, they speak as though they own heaven and earth, yet they flourish.

These thoughts would make anyone ponder why they have devoted themselves to Jehovah. As Jeremiah suffered for the Most High, so Asaph claims to “suffer all day long” (Psalm 73:14). His pure lifestyle was lived “in vain,” he reasoned (Psalm 73:13). He was understandably troubled.

While God spoke to his prophets and gave them insight into his plans for his wicked people, Asaph finds perspective in another more relatable way. Asaph “entered the precincts of God’s temple” (Psalm 73:17). In other words, Asaph went to worship. His mind was focused on the physical, but when he drew near to God, his perspective changed. Now he “understood the destiny of the wicked,” or as the ESV translates it, “I discerned their end” (Psalm 73:17).

In the present we are only viewing a sliver of reality. God, who dwells in eternity, and who discerns the beginning from the end, reminds us that eternal judgment awaits all. The wicked may prosper in this life, but they live in a spiritual wasteland.

Asaph admits to being “ignorant,” lacking “insight,” and being “senseless” (Psalm 73:22). It is not easy to admit to ignorance, but when we are reminded of God’s greatness, his goodness, and his glory, we can confess to our sin of shortsightedness.

Worship was spiritually centering for Asaph. It reminded him of what was eternally important. When we praise God, we take our minds off of the physical and focus our hearts on the spiritual.

“Whom do I have in heaven but you? I desire no one but you on earth. My flesh and my heart may grow weak, but God always protects my heart and gives me stability. Yes, look! Those far from you die; you destroy everyone who is unfaithful to you. But as for me, God’s presence is all I need. I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, as I declare all the things you have done” (Psalm 73:25-28).

When life has you confused, when your faith is being tested, when you are at the end of your rope, go to God. Worship him in humility, pray to him with honesty, read his Word with discernment, remind yourself of who he is and what he wants you to become. In worship your heart can be settled and your perspective refined.

Lee Parish, link to original article

 

Bulletin for 6-12-22

Birthdays and Anniversaries:

6-12 David Weeks

Prayer requests:

Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Please pray for him.

Abby Garza recovering from her surgery

Darlyne Stewart, Karl’s sister, having some breathing problems due to treatments.

Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, is not well.

Sharon Best, Steven’s mom, finished chemo, declared in remission.

Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care

Robert and Sue Waller, health issues.

Darla Nitti, Wendi’s mom, stage 4 kidney disease, stroke. New living situation!

Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.

Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis

Article:

Agency, autonomy, and unity

The New Testament pattern calls for congregational autonomy, Christian agency, and unity in truth.

Autonomy refers to “the quality or state of being self-governing.” Agency broadly means the “ability to take action or to choose what action to take.” One might define unity as “oneness of mind, feeling, etc., as among a number of persons; concord, harmony, or agreement.”

Each congregation is subject to Jesus who is head of the body, the church (Colossians 1:18Ephesians 1:22), and has all authority (Matthew 28:18). Each congregation submits to the law of Christ (Galatians 6:21 Corinthians 9:21James 2:8). No authority in scripture can be found for an overarching human institution that gives direction to the local body.

Elders shepherd the flock which is among them (1 Peter 5:2). No eldership may demand submission from outside congregations, either near or far.

Each individual is responsible for his or her own behavior. Sin is attributed to the sinner, not to the friends or family of the person. The principle of the soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20) has always been true.

Each person is given agency to make decisions in his life. Every person has the freedom to choose to obey or reject Christ. Every Christian has the ability to walk in the light or in darkness (see 1 John 1:5-10).

Each congregation has autonomy and each Christian has agency; however, that does not mean that congregations and Christians have no role to play in the work and lives of others.

Congregations should expect help from other congregations. The local body has a responsibility to help those of its number financially (see Acts 6:1-71 Timothy 5:16, 18). But moments may arise when everyone is overburdened. It is then that help from the outside should be given (1 Corinthians 16:1-32 Corinthians 8:1-5). If a congregation needs help with evangelism or with defense of the truth, other congregations should step up (2 Corinthians 11:8; see also Acts 13:1-3).

Individuals should expect help from other Christians. We are joined together in a family. Note carefully the instructions that Paul gives Timothy, “Do not address an older man harshly but appeal to him as a father. Speak to younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters – with complete purity” (1 Timothy 5:1, 2). Over and again Christians are referred to as brother or sister (Romans 16:231 Corinthians 1:12 Corinthians 1:1; 2:13Philemon 1:1, et al.). This is natural because we are God’s children (1 John 3:1), and members of his household (Ephesians 2:19).

Each Christian must carry his own load (Galatians 6:5), but we are to carry one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). The help we should expect is not just financial or emotional support but spiritual guidance and correction.

“Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness. Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too” (Galatians 6:1).

Kindly confronting the sin of others is a responsibility of Christians, and something to which all Christians should submit (Ephesians 5:21). Paul said that “there are many rebellious people, idle talkers, and deceivers, especially those with Jewish connections, who must be silenced because they mislead whole families by teaching for dishonest gain what ought not to be taught” (Titus 1:10, 11) The solution is that Titus was to “rebuke them sharply that they may be healthy in the faith” (Titus 1:13). Our goal is never to win an argument but to win souls to Christ (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

Likewise, when congregations begin to head down a wrong path, and elders and preachers proclaim that which is not in accord with sound doctrine, other congregations have an obligation to help. Out of love for each Christian and for the purity of the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-33), we must act with caution, humility, and love.

While each congregation is autonomous, and every Christian has agency, we are united in Christ. Let us all do our best to walk according to the rule and to promote peace and truth among God’s people.

Lee Parish, link to original article