I remember as a kid on family vacations, if we were traveling on a Sunday, you could stop in just about any town USA and find a Church of Christ that was virtually a carbon copy of the one you regularly attended at home (Ephesians 4:4-6).
That’s not true today, nor is it true of many churches in our county and state. The true church is truly autonomous, i.e., independent, self-directed, self-sufficient and self-governing. These qualities are possible because true believers have determined they want a Biblical relationship with God where “self” is sacrificed to serve the true and living God based upon His Word, not our feelings. As a result, independent becomes dependent on God, self-directed becomes God-directed, self-sufficient acknowledges all blessings come from God, not man and self-governing is transformed into serving the King in His Kingdom through Jesus Christ His Son!
The only reason my childhood recollections of churches being the same was because they interpreted Scripture the same and behaved the same. Most church members were serious about Bible study; they believed it was God’s Word. We still do, but the world around us has changed and it is difficult to discern just what the world believes. Even so, God’s Word tells us there will always be a remnant of God’s people (Romans 11:2-5)........
For an organization to have purpose, value and achieve its goals, its leaders must have a vision for the organization. They must communicate that vision clearly and persuasively to the organization’s members. Those members must understand, fully support and actively pursue that vision.
Our Elders have a vision from God’s Word of what this congregation is to be about. This coming Sunday morning, they will share it with all of us. It will involve in-reach activities (to spiritually build members) and out-reach activities (designed to bring non-members to Christ). And it will involve each member being involved in the life of this body of Christians.
This past Sunday, the 2017 Church Calendar was distributed. Carefully review the activities, not to see what “they” are planning to do, but to see what you could be involved in with others. See what activities you should put on your personal and family calendar now, and begin planning for.
This Sunday you’ll find a half sheet in your program, which will break out several particular activities. Joe Tipps will briefly explain the purpose of each of these, and urge your prayers and participation. I’ll close our worship by bringing us to the Bible basis for these things.
Although there will not be a typical sermon, we will be focusing on God and what He wants us to be about, to His glory. It will be an uplifting time, as we think and pray about how we can serve God more fully this year. As you plan to attend next Sunday, pray for God’s guidance for all of us.
From Ashes to Beauty
In our house we are avid Harry Potter fans. I know this series of books has been a source of controversy due to its subject matter concerning the topic of wizardry and magic. I want to say that Harry Potter is a work of fiction, dealing with the ongoing fight between Good and Evil.
Initially, I read these books with my son Michael when he was in 3rd grade. We enjoyed the movies as they came out in the theaters and we are now revisiting this series with our Grandson, Taylor.
Hogwarts is a school for young emerging wizards. Albus Dumbledore is the headmaster. The character I want to talk about is Dumbledore’s bird, Fawkes who is a phoenix. In mythology a phoenix is a long living bird that is able to regenerate or be reborn.
Fawkes lives in Professor Dumbledore’s office. Harry meets him on a Burning Day. He looks old and sick, suddenly, he bursts into flames and burns down into a pile of ash. Harry is shocked and immediately apologizes to Professor Dumbledore. “Your bird- I couldn’t do anything- he just caught fire –“(12.14). Professor Dumbledore explains, “Phoenixes burst into flame when it is time for them to die and are reborn from the ashes” (12. 18). He also tells Harry that phoenixes can carry immensely heavy loads and that their tears have healing powers. Above all, phoenixes are loyal birds. Fawkes is loyal to Albus Dumbledore. However, Harry’s faithful devotion to Professor Dumbledore promotes a relationship of protective loyalty between Fawkes and Harry. Harry is now included in this circle of loyal protection.
Life presents us with many battles. A battle can be defined as a struggle against somebody or something.......