Category Archives: Uncategorized

Meeting Locations

09/14/14 Sunday Bible Classes and Worship Service will be held at the Looney building.
09/17/14 Wednesday Night Bible Class will be held at the Jones home.
09/21/14 Sunday Bible Classes and Worship Service will be held at the Hicks home.
09/24/14 Wednesday Night Bible Class will be held at the Jones home.
09/28/14 Sunday Bible Classes and Worship Service will be held at the Rhodes home.

If you need directions let me know.

Area Gospel Meetings

27th Street church of Christ
411 SW 27th St, El Reno, OK
“I Love Jesus More Than … “
with Trevor Brailey from Utica, Ohio
Sunday, Sept 28 (9:30am, 10:25am, & 5pm)
Monday – Friday (Sept 29 – Oct 3) 7PM

Seminole Pointe
Biblical Authority

with Marshall Reid from San Antonio, TX
Sept 19-21
Friday & Saturday 7PM
Sunday 9:30am, 10:30am, & 5pm

God’s Role in Our Lives

It can be a challenge to always recognize who is in control of our lives. In many cases, people believe they have sole ownership of whether or not things go “according to plan”. Whether it was in school, on the practice field, or performing the daily chores we had around the house, we have been charged from a young age to work hard in whatever we do. We accomplish tasks from start to finish individually or with a group of people with our minds and/or our hands. We make friends by personally introducing ourselves, staying in touch, and visiting with one another on a regular basis. I can decide whether or not I am going to be personable, and the same goes for the other individual. When a loved one is treated for an illness or injury in the hospital, the doctor is the one who performs the surgery or prescribes the right medicine that enables the loved one to recover. In all of these situations, we are the ones physically performing the work and mentally making the decisions that will drive whether or not a situation is going to be successful… or so it seems.

Haggai 1: 5-6, 9a, 10-11 “Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. 9 You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. 10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”

Zechariah 8: 10-12 “For before those days there was no wage for man or any wage for beast, neither was there any safety from the foe for him who went out or came in, for I set every man against his neighbor. 11 But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, declares the LORD of hosts. 12 For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew…”

When reading passages like the ones above, it is very difficult to think of an area in my life where God does not play a major part. In the Haggai passage, we read about individuals who were working for a living, clothing their families, feeding their families, and trying to save funds. People in 2013 are performing these exact same tasks today. In the Haggai passage, it is clear that the effort of the people was great. It says that “you have sown much and looked for much”, but their efforts were futile; they weren’t successful though they were doing everything they could for it to be so. If people are in control, and people ultimately drive whether or not a situation is going to be successful, they would have had plenty to eat and drink, they would have been warm in their clothes, and they would have been saving funds, but they weren’t. God was against them because His house was not built and they were living in their homes, and so they weren’t accomplishing their goals. In the Zechariah passage, we read that the relationships of the Jewish ancestors were very hostile. It wasn’t a safe time. Why is this? Didn’t they have a choice whether or not to be kind to one another? Didn’t they have a choice to put other’s needs in front of their own? Yes they did, but because God was against them, their efforts towards good relationships were to no avail.

The Bible is very clear that as Christians we are to do our best in everything we do. We must do our part in order to be successful in life, work, and relationships. Ultimately, though, God’s will shall be done, so if we are successful in an endeavor, we need to give God the glory. God gave the Jews in Zechariah instructions on how to stay in good standing with God.

Zechariah 8: 16-17 “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; 17 do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD.”

We are told in Romans chapter eight that for those who love God all things work together for good. This is not a guarantee that we will always be successful in every endeavor we take on here on earth… it is so much more.

Romans 8: 31-32 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

– Travis

God Is The Way

Numbers 9: 17–18 “And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped. At the command of the Lord the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the Lord they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp.”
After reading this passage, I am reminded of how much the Israelites depended upon God. God, in the form of a cloud by day and fire by night, guided the people on their journey to Canaan. Where God would go, they would go. When God would start, they would start. When God would stop, they would stop. Furthermore, not only did God provide the guidance and direction of the journey towards the promise land, but He also graciously provided the Israelites their food, water, and protection from all of their enemies. The Israelites were utterly and completely dependent upon God, and not once did He fail to provide.

Psalm 37:28 “For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
Just like God never failed to provide for His children in the Old Testament, He promises to provide for His children today, and for all generations. If God is graciously willing to provide for us today, we need to make the decision to allow him to guide us in our lives. There are extremely distracting temptations and worldly views trying to knock us off our path, not the least is which the idea of self-sufficiency. For those who are blessed enough to have a job, own a car, have shelter, and eat enough food till the point of being stuffed, it is sometimes easy to say “look at what I have done and accomplished.” We potentially can quickly forget who has provided us with the blessings (James 1:17), which leads to becoming puffed up and ungrateful, which ultimately leads to a separation from God.

The children of Israel found themselves wandering forty years in the wilderness after forgetting who had provided for them on their trip from Egypt to Canaan. They were presented with an opportunity to trust in God, and to allow God to give them the promise land, but instead they (excluding Joshua and Caleb) chose to not recall all of the power and miracles God displayed on their journey and cower down to the people of Jericho. They didn’t put their faith in God and they didn’t allow God to guide them.
Psalms 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

We need to fight in our lives not to forget who has provided for us and who has given us every good gift that we have. When we start to forget that God has provided us with the blessings that we partake in, trouble is sure to come.

Maintaining the mindset that God is our guide, and provider for everything we need, will help to keep us humble and lowly in heart. Truly recognizing that we are dependent upon God to provide for us and our families would alleviate any problems we might have with looking down on others for having less or flaunting our God given blessings arrogantly. Full heartedly knowing that God is the one who has provided the blessings would take all of the attention off of the individual and put all of the attention on God, which is what Christians are to strive to accomplish.

Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven.”
Psalm 119: 105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

God doesn’t choose to lead His children today by way of a cloud, but he has given us everything we need to follow Him on our road to heaven. The Bible is God’s gift to his children today. We are expected to know what it says and to follow what it says. We shouldn’t obey the words in the Bible begrudgingly, instead we should obey them because we love God and because we want to see His face and sing praises to Him in heaven one day. God provided the guidance for the Israelites towards Canaan, just like He has provided us the guidance towards heaven. Let’s all strive to stay on the narrow path following Him there.

– Travis

Who You Are

Who you are is roaring so loudly in my ears, that I can’t hear a word you are saying. – unknown

We often look at our interactions with others and say that I was able to answer their questions about God or that I should have done a better job. Sometimes we over look how our life will determine whether we are effective at teaching others. If we are truly Christians, Christ like, then and only then can we be truly effective in teaching others about God and his plan for us all.

Come Home

Maria and her daughter, Christina, lived in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of a Brazilian village. Maria’s husband had died when Christina was an infant and she never remarried. Times were tough but at last Christina was old enough to get a job to help out.

Christina spoke often of going to the city. She dreamed of trading her dusty neighborhood for exciting avenues and the city life. Just the thought of that horrified her mother, who knew exactly what Christina would have to do for a living. That’s why her heart broke. That’s why she couldn’t believe it when she awoke one morning to find her daughter’s bed empty. Knowing where her daughter was headed, she quickly threw some clothes in a bag, gathered up all of her money, and ran out of the house.

On her way to the bus stop she entered a drugstore and got one last thing. Photos. She sat in the photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all the time she could on making photos of herself. With her purse full of small black-and-white photos, she boarded the next bus to Rio de Janeiro.

Maria knew Christina had no way of earning money. She also knew that her daughter was too stubborn to give up. When pride meets hunger, a human being will do things that were before unthinkable. Knowing this, Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs, any place with the reputation for street walkers or prostitutes. She went to them all. And at each place Maria left her photo–taped to a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner telephone booth. And on the back of each photo she wrote a note. Then her money and the pictures ran out, Maria went home.

A few weeks later young Christina descended the hotel stairs. Her young face was tired. Her dreams had become a nightmare. But as she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes noticed a familiar face. She looked again, and there on a lobby mirror was a small picture of her mother. Christina’s eyes burned and her throat tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo. Written on the back was a compelling invitation, “Whatever you’ve done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home.”

I am pretty sure this is a fictional story, but it has truth in it.
In the Parable of the Prodigal Son ( Luke 15:11-32) we have a story that parallels this one. In v12, the son asks for his inheritance, which is saying to his father I am not waiting for you to die just give me what I want. He wasted it on reckless (sinful) living (v13) of which his father obviously wouldn’t approve. After squandering everything the son realizes that even being the hired servant of his father would be better than how he is living now. He returns to his father knowing that he is unworthy to be a son. But while he was still a long way off (v20), his father sees him and runs to him and hugs him. The only reason that his father say him a long way off was because he was anxiously waiting the return of his son. Even though he didn’t deserve it, the son restored to his place as a son (v22).

So what does this mean to you and me? If we have been forgiven, we are then restored to our place as a child of God.

If you doubt that, you doubt the power of the blood of Jesus. If you doubt that, you doubt the truth in the promises of God.

Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

So release your doubt, release your worry, and release your pain and believe in the forgiveness and love of God.

New Year

This article is by Gary Henry. His website is a great resource to encourage us to seek God. He is the author of two good books Diligently Seeking God: Daily Motivation to Take God More Seriously and Reaching Forward Daily Motivation to Move Ahead More Steadily I would recommend these books and his webpage.

New Year
The new year ahead of us will be, in some ways, like every other year that has ever been. It will repeat cycles that are centuries old. There will be the ageless round of days and seasons. There will be births and deaths, joy and sorrow. There will be triumphs and defeats, honor and shame. Solomon, the wise, perceived this truth: “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9).

But in other ways the new year ahead will be unique, a solitary set of events that have never before taken place and that can never happen again. As long as the world lasts, there will never again be exactly the same combination of circumstances. Never again will we be at precisely this point in our lives. Never again will we be able to see things from exactly the viewpoint we enjoy this year. Doors will open that have been shut, and will never be open again.

Because of the one-time opportunities the next twelve months will bring, the new year will be what we make of it. The Scriptures counsel us to “redeem” the time carefully (Eph. 5:16). We may joke about “new year’s resolutions,” but without resolve the new year will be less than it should be. We ought to rise early and work late, crafting the year’s moments into worthwhile achievements. The unique value of the coming year will be damaged if we fail to act energetically. This year is ours to do with as we choose.

Sadly, many of life’s greatest deeds are often left undone. Rather than “seizing the day” and proactively doing the good that is within our reach, we presume that there will be plenty of opportunity “later” to take care of these things. Through simple neglect and the mere postponement of effort, we let months and years slip by unused. The result is that our lives are unimproved. Solomon said, “Because of laziness the building decays, and through idleness of hands the house leaks” (Eccl. 10:18). If you’re like me, your life’s “house” is leakier than it should be, given the time you’ve had to work on it.

Looking at the opportunities we failed to make use of in past years, we often wish we had been more decisive and more consistently exercised our will in the direction of good. For most of us, regret is an all-too-real component of our emotional life. And of course, the reason why that is so is that we have failed to discipline ourselves. As someone has said, there is no alternative: either we will live with the pain of self-discipline or we will live with the pain of regret. But the pain of regret can best be diminished by acting wisely in the present. During the new year, we will again be presented with daily opportunities to use ourselves actively for God’s purposes. What will we do with those opportunities? For myself, I have resolved to do each day things that tomorrow I will be glad I did yesterday! I hope you will join me in this resolve.

We ought to keep in mind, however, that the true value of the new year consists in what God will make of it, and not we ourselves. Ultimately, we are able to speak and act for good only because of the graciousness of God. Honor for the new year’s accomplishments should be His. To Christians, Peter wrote, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Pt. 4:10,11).

A year is not much time, really. Before we are ready, it will be this time next year. When that time has come, what will be our memories of this year? This writer’s wish is that you may put first things first all through this year. When the next twelve months have come and gone, may you have grown, with God’s help, toward Him in many ways. May you walk with Him, and live for Him each and every day!

Gary Henry

Holes or Drill Bits

Theodore Levitt wrote Market Myopia where he argued that people become product oriented instead of customer oriented. There is an anecdote that is commonly used to explain this principle. There was a company that sold a million drill bits and not one of the customers wanted a drill bit. The customers wanted holes.

So what does this have to do with us and our spiritual life? We are not selling a product, but we are supposed to sow the seeds of the gospel. Personal evangelism is something that has changed and will continue to change the world. In this we are trying to teach people the gospel. The first thing that is required for us to successfully teach is a willing student. So why would someone be willing to listen to the gospel?

If you are selling rules and regulations, there are people who are interested. They may like the idea of having boundaries in their lives. They may like being different and living to some standard outside of themselves.

If you are selling multiple weekly meetings of the club, there are people who are interested. They will get the chance to see “good people” and sing and enjoy the sense of belonging.

If you are selling academic studies of an interesting book, again some people will be excited with the opportunity to participate. They can get different reference materials and study and teach classes and impress people with their knowledge.

Or we can offer to help them learn the true meaning of life, find a higher purpose, and most importantly salvation through Jesus Christ. This salvation will include conforming their life to a higher standard, meeting with the saints to encourage and edify, and studying the word of God to find out how to be pleasing to Him. These are the things that can and will be enjoyed by the saved, but they are not the end of the matter. They are the “drill bits” that bring us closer to God and salvation through Jesus Christ His Son.

Heaven – Where We Finally Fit

“This signature on each soul may be a product of heredity and environment, but that only means that heredity and environment are among the instruments whereby God creates a soul. I am considering not how, but why, He makes each soul unique. If He had no use for all of these differences, I do not see why He should have created more souls than one. Be sure that the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to Him; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you. The mould in which a key is made would be a strange thing, if you had never seen a key: and the key itself a strange thing if you never seen a lock. Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of Divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions. For it is not humanity in the abstract that is to be saved, but you – you, the individual reader, John Stubbs or Janet Smith. Blessed and fortunate creature, your eyes shall behold Him and not another’s. All that you are, sins apart, is destined, if you will let God have His good was, to utter satisfaction. The Brocken spectre ‘looked to every man like his first love’, because she was a cheat. But God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love. Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it – made for stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand. (The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis pages 151 & 152)

In this excerpt Lewis describes heaven in a way that I understand. I have never really wanted to float around playing a harp, but I do have the desire to finally fit perfectly. We are made in the image of God. This aspect of our nature requires much of us. All of the animals were made by God but they are not made in his image. As such, they are not required to do or become anything, they are just animals. However, we are required to deny ourselves and strive to conform to the image of His Son. To be successful in this endeavor we have to change our desire from self to God. Only with this change can we successfully navigate this world. The traps that Satan has laid will get us, if our hearts are not focused completely on Him. Not only is the right heart required to get into heaven, it is required for heaven to be the perfect reward.

Heaven is wonderful because we stand in the presence of God and Jesus. Our faith becomes sight. When we get to heaven we will forget to ask all of the silly questions about science or theology. It will not matter if we see our aunt or grandfather. It will not matter who is there or isn’t there because we will be in the presence of our heart’s desire. GOD. We will finally be where we belong, where we were made to be.

Bothered in Christ?

No it isn’t a typo. Are you bothered by a brother in Christ? Does the continual lack of dedication and lack of attention of other Christians really annoy you?

This is a trap I get caught in occasionally and I can’t find a way to justify it by the standard of Jesus Christ. What do I mean by this? Find a time in Jesus’ life when he was annoyed or bothered by the lack of knowledge or the failings of his followers. This is different than the hypocritical Pharisees. We are talking about people who are trying but lose heart, lack knowledge, or are struggling to find their way. Jesus looked on them with compassion (Mark 6:34). He loved to help more than he needed physical food (John 4:32). He loved them enough to hurt his reputation among the leaders of the day (Luke 15:2). How did he do this? He never lost sight of the preciousness of a soul! He never lost sight of God’s will (John 10:25-30).

So when I am faced with this situation what do I do? I try to get back into the Christ-like mind set. I do this by asking myself which of the two descriptions best describe me:

1. I am worthy of anything and everything that God has done and will do for me. Since I am so perfect I have every right to be annoyed that others just can’t seem to catch up with my spiritual superiority.

2. I am unworthy of anything and everything that God has done and will do for me. He loved me as a sinner and only through the perfect sacrifice of His Son do I have any hope of seeing Him one day in heaven. Any spiritual heights that I may attain are the work of His grace and enduring love for me.

The obvious answer is that I am unworthy to be called by the name of Jesus Christ. So what would Jesus say to me in these moments of spiritual blindness? He would most likely tell me the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matt 18: 21-35)

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (ESV)

Note: A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer.

This parable teaches me the attitude I need to have with my brother. I have to remember that God has forgiven me so much. My brother can do nothing against me that will compare to what I have done against God. So when my brother is stumbling, struggling, or sinning, what should I do? The simple answer is to respond with love. In I Cor. 13 we learn that love hopes, endures, is patient, and kind. So instead of annoyance, we should feel concern and sadness. Jude 22 & 23 gives us our directions: “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” (ESV) I don’t see any indication that we should be bothered by a brother’s struggles.

Today’s personal challenge: I will have a more Christ-like attitude toward my brothers.

— Zane