Bulletin for 5-28-23

Birthdays and Anniversaries

5-22 Sam Pirozzo

5-25 Eleuterio & Lidia Oviedo

6-3 Julie Best

Prayer requests:

Emma Reames new doctor, working it out

Chaney Reames is undergoing extensive dental work.

Gladys Ramirez tests on stomach.

Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Got stem cell treatments. Pray for their success.

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

Teresa Weeks, Steve’s sister, having age related issues. She has Down’s Syndrome. Also a fractured shin.

Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care and not doing well

Robert and Sue Waller, health issues

Darla Nitti, recovering from a fall

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

Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis

Would My Dad Have Stayed Where You Worship?

During World War 2 in the South Pacific, a young man stood on the deck of the USS Appalachian, a disguised flagship, where he watched battleship shells pound island after island shredding their forests into organic debris. Then the marines would land. Eventually the most disgusting smell he had ever experienced would reach his nostrils ─ the burning of human corpses.

The heart of this young man told him that there must be more to life than what we experience. There must be more. Thus the seed was sown for my dad’s journey.

After the war ended, he found himself back in New England where he pursued his quest in earnest. He knew different churches taught competing and even contradictory ideas. Yet, they all agreed on one detail. The Bible was the word of God. This would be his starting point.

As a child his family had attended worship services only a few times each year. They were congregants from a particular high church tradition. As he devoured reading his Bible, he decided to return to these childhood roots. He became a member of his parents’ denomination. His Bible study continued.

As I understand it, it wasn’t long before he saw discrepancies between what they taught and practiced with what he saw in scripture. Being the person that he was, he asked the leadership why their church practices and doctrines differed from what he was reading in the Bible. Unsatisfied with their answer, he decided to move on.

He found another denomination whose teachings aligned with scripture where the first had failed. However, with time and more study once again he noticed divergences. And once again, their explanation for why they were not conforming to scripture left him cold.

This same process repeated a third time. He left a third denomination. His ravenous desire to understand God’s word remained unabated.

This time he discovered a denomination that immersed believers. He recognized this as being one additional step closer to what he read in scripture. After joining this church, his zeal led him to hand out their church flyers on the streets of New York City. If strangers were willing, he would talk to them about God.

Although this church conformed to biblical teachings and practices more than the previous ones, with time he became disillusioned. They too failed to align with what he saw prescribed in scripture. It was during this time that a friend who knew about my dad’s passion for following God’s word, insisted he should talk with a guy called E. J. Summerlin.

He was skeptical. He had been disappointed so many times already. He arrived at the meeting with a prepared list of questions. Those questions revolved around the points of divergence between what the Bible taught and what he had experienced in four denominations.

To every question, E.J. would respond, “Open your Bible to this text.  Read it and tell me what it says.” Upon explaining to E.J. what the text taught, E.J. would say, “Well, that’s your answer.” Regardless of the question, E.J.’s response remained the same. Read the text. Explain it. That’s your answer.

Cautious excitement emerged. More meetings with more questions occurred. No longer was he hearing well-intentioned and sophisticated reasoning that conflicted with scripture. Excitement and conviction grew until he finally exclaimed, “I have found the church described in the Bible!”

Whether his own study led him to conclude that God wants us to rely upon Christ with immersion for the purpose of remitting our sins to Christ or whether E. J. asked him to explain texts like Acts 2:38 and 22:16, he chose to be baptized for the remission of his sins. None of the previous churches had taught, practiced or required this for membership.

This story is not about glorifying my father. Hence, I’ve not shared his name. Likewise it is not about running down the four denominations he joined. They too remain nameless. Rather, this is a story about what can happen when people are driven to discover how to serve, live and worship God as God desires.

Dad wanted to anchor his life upon God and Christ. He wanted to worship, serve, congregate and live as God desired. He refused to lean on the good intentions of others or upon human religious authorities. Rather, he turned to scripture to learn how to please God and to rely upon Christ.

And now, for the end of the story. Upon visiting his hometown of New Bedford, Massachusetts, he taught, baptized and planted a congregation displaying the shingle The Church of Christ. Although he was employed after the war as a dental technician in Flushing, New York, he now added on weekends the role of a self-educated circuit riding preacher in Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.

In Dover, New Jersey he met and married my mom, who was part of an Exodus Movement church plant from Lipscomb University. With time dad became a missionary in Australia as well as a preacher in several states.

My dad died convinced that if someone really wants to worship and serve God as described in the Bible, they will find what they seek. What God desires from us is knowable. It is a matter of what we value most.

Because the values and ideals of the Restoration Movement had spurred the Churches of Christ forward, I am not surprised that my dad did not need to move on to another church fellowship. The worship, practices and teachings he saw in her aligned with what he read in scripture. A question I might ask is, would my dad have stayed where you worship?

Barry Newton, link to original article

Bulletin for 10-2-22

Birthdays and Anniversarie

None this week

Prayer requests:

Sharon Best, Steven’s mom, her cancer seems to have returned in liver, aggressive chemo planned.

Chloe Birdwell, relative of the Weeks’s, great improvement, in extended care now. Keep praying, please!

Bobbie Taylor, has gall bladder problems. Surgery to be scheduled.

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

Tonita, Paul’s friend, heart valve replacement needed

Dianthia Grubbs, has been having some stomach problems

J R Medellin, Tiffany’s (Chance) husband, still doing well. Vanessea is doing well after her surgery.

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

Leslie Girvin, had a fall and sprained both wrists, 6-8 weeks recovery.

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

Sympathy: Please remember the family of Darlene Hollingsworth in your prayers. Her son, Jonathan, is on David’s Special Olympics team. She passed away and services will be held this week.


A message to your church

If Jesus wrote a message to your church, what would it say?

In the Revelation of Jesus Christ, our Lord gave seven messages to seven churches. These churches, located in the province of Asia, were the initial recipients of the whole letter John penned (Revelation 1:4, 11).

John received a startling vision of the Lord. The authority of the Holy One to send these messages is established by the description John gave (Revelation 1:12-16), and the declaration Jesus made (Revelation 1:17-20)..

Jesus knew these churches. To each of them, he began with, “I know.” He is the one who “holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands” (Revelation 2:1). Jesus knows who his people are, both collectively and individually, and he sees their labor for him.

Each message was individualized. Each drew upon the unique nature of the particular community among whom the saints dwelt.

Ephesus was hard-working, persevering, intolerant of evil, discerning, and enduring. From the outside they would seem to be ideal. But their motivation was lacking. They had left their first love and needed to repent.

Smyrna was suffering and poor in the eyes of their community. They were slandered by self-described Jews. But in the eyes of the Lord they were rich, praise-worthy, and victorious. Jesus encouraged faithfulness at the cost of death. He conquered death, and promised the same to them.

Pergamum shared a ZIP code with Satan. The seat of emperor worship was located there. The pressure to deny Jesus would have never relented. Even though they saw one of their own killed, they held firm to Jesus’ name and did not deny his words. Yet they were tolerant of those who proposed compromise. Food was scarce, peer-pressure was harsh. Some among them were willing to go along with the demands to worship the emperor. For the sake of these compromisers the congregation needed to repent. Jesus would provide the nourishment and the freedom that truly mattered.

Thyatira was working, loving, faithful, and growing. But some were tolerant of sexual immorality and idolatry. Some needed to repent, while others needed to hold fast. Jezebel was once a queen, but Jesus is the true king, and he grants his authority to those who conquer.

Sardis had a name of usefulness, but to Jesus they were dead. Most were not serving Jesus, but there were still a few “names.” Remember, Jesus knows who his people are. He knows their names. If you are his, he knows your name. While many garments had been soiled, some were walking with white garments. They were worthy.

Philadelphia was small and held in contempt by many, but Jesus was proud of their faithfulness. Those who were vexing them would one day bow before them. He tells them to hold on, keep your crown, and receive the name of God, the name of the church, and the name of the Lord.

Laodicea was not useful. They were not hot like the springs in Hierapolis, nor were they cold like the refreshing water in Colossae. These Christians took the temperature of their city instead of changing it. They thought they had everything they needed, but they were lacking everything of importance.

Jesus knew all these Christians. He loved each of them. The promise he made to Laodicea is one of the sweetest promises we can imagine: Open the door and have fellowship, conquer this life and reign for eternity.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21).

Jesus implores everyone to hear what he says to the churches (Revelation 3:22).

If Jesus directed a message to your congregation, what would it say? If he wrote one directly to your heart, what would the message be?

Lee Parish, link to original article