Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

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Okay, how do we do that?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Okay, how do we do that?


We all know how easy it is to tell someone to do something. The hard part is the knowing how to give instructions. If a person does not know how to do something, then it is a waste of time to instruct them to do so. Though some might not recognize it, God’s people always have enough information when He commands them.


Consider this command that James writes: “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you,” (James 4:8). On the surface, it sounds great that God will draw near to us. How do we draw near to God though? Based on what James wrote, knowing how to draw near to God is critical! Without this, He will never draw near to us.  Fortunately, the Bible contains instructs us about many ways we can draw near to God. If we do the things found in this list, God WILL draw near to us!


Pray. This has to be one of the most obvious ways to draw closer to God. Christians are admonished to pray continually (I Thess. 5:17).  To get close to someone, you must communicate with them. This is as true of our earthly relationships as it is with our Heavenly Father. James stated that the prayers of a righteous man can avail much (5:16) – a close relationship with God is obviously one of those things.


Studying the word of God. Listening to what the Father has revealed will aid in developing that close bond.  When you have the word of God abiding in you, you are strong (I John 2:14). Those who do not take the time to listen to God are clearly not feeding on His word, and the word is what gives strength (Acts 20:28).


Staying away from sin.  Those who walk in the light have fellowship with the Father (I John 1:3-7). When one is in sin, they are going away from the Father, not drawing nearer. Pleasing our God and obeying Him will strengthen the relationship (Heb. 11:6).


Worshipping.  When saints gather to glorify their God, they are naturally strengthening their bond with the Creator (Acts 2:46-47). God recognizes genuine worship that uses both the lips and heart (Matt. 15:7-9).


Telling others about God.  When a person tells others how much they love their spouse, it strengthens the marriage. Similarly, Christians who tells others about their Heavenly Father are drawing near to Him (Acts 7). The Son of God indicated this as expressed in His prayer to the Father (John 17).


Developing one’s talents. When children of God use their talents, they are positive examples to those around them. The goal is let our own lights shine and inspire the lost (Matt. 5:13-16). By growing, we become more useful to our Father (II Pet. 3:18).


Being faithful to the end. Those who fight the good fight of faith know that they will be with the Father for eternity (II Tim. 4:6-8). After writing that God will draw near to us if we draw near to Him, James wrote the following instruction: “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). Clearly, fostering a relationship with God requires deliberate action.


Being with other Christians. Spending time around others who are in fellowship with God will encourage us and help us grow even closer to the Father (I John 1:7). Remember, fellow saints are members of the same spiritual body (Gal. 3:27).


    We are told to draw near unto God because God will draw near unto us. Are you preventing God from drawing near to you? Let us do our part and trust that God WILL do His!




Twenty things you should never hear from the pulpit

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Twenty things you should never hear from the pulpit


Many things are being taught in pulpits across the land that simply should not be happening. Perhaps fewer bad sermons would be given if more red flags went off in the minds of the audience.  If you hear the following in a pulpit, know that God’s word is being twisted:


  1. Any false teaching (I John 4:1). “Mostly correct” is still wrong (Acts 18:24-24). This should not be tolerated.


  1. Telling people exactly how much they are to give (I Cor. 16:1-2). Christians should not be told how much to give as that is left to individual Christians. Nor should they be told to tithe as this is part of the Old Law (II Cor. 9:7). This should not be tolerated.


  1. Making assumptions on what one might have seen or heard, without verifying (Jn. 21:21-23).  We are told to speak the truth (Eph. 4:15). We are not to speak, then check it out, then retract. This should not be tolerated.


  1. Teaching opinions as law (Rom. 14:1-3). No one has the right to bind his opinions on others. Christ holds all authority (Matt. 28:18). This should not be tolerated.


  1. Making light of any sin (Gal. 19-21). Sin must be taken seriously. We should not make positive references to incorrect conduct we see in movies or TV (Rom. 1:29- 32). It does not

matter if these shows are fictional or not. This should not be tolerated.


  1. Using people to your advantage (II Tim. 3:6). This sinful action is being done privately and publicly. As a young preacher, I was incorrectly told to use wealthier members as positive examples (I Thess. 2:5). This should not be tolerated.


  1. To build oneself up (I Cor. 2:1-4). Trying to create an “image” or “persona” as a preacher and expecting to be treated differently than other church members is wrong (Acts 10:26). This should not be tolerated.


  1. Speaking to embarrass or make fun of someone (Rom. 10:1-3). The last thing we want to do is hinder people from obeying (Acts 26:28). This should never be tolerated.


  1. Anything that should have been dealt with privately (Matt. 18:15). Preachers should not “air their dirty laundry” or that of their members (I Tim. 5:19).  This should not be tolerated.


  1. Promoting a product for a side business (I Pet. 4:11). The gospel message does not include advertisements (II Cor. 12:15-17).  This behavior need never be tolerated.


  1. Promoting ungodly entertainment (Acts 20:20). To fit in with the world, act worldly. To be a light, one must not promote darkness (Eph. 5:11).  This should not be tolerated.


  1. Inciting a rebellion against government (Rom. 13:1-7). You can hate sin without speaking evil of leaders (II Pet. 2:9-11). Such behavior should not be tolerated.


  1. Threats to hurt people (Rom. 12:19-20). It is sad when people persecute Christians, but physical retaliation is not justified (I Pet. 5 2:21-23). This should never be tolerated.


  1. Justification for sinful behavior in family (Matt. 10:37). Not preaching against something due to family ties is wrong (Acts 5:1-5). This action should not be tolerated.


  1. That they have received “special” knowledge from God (John 16:13). The gospel is for all, and the message is understandable (John 8:32). Claims of special revelation should never be tolerated.


  1. Lessons that are not practiced (Rom. 2:1-3). Preaching lessons that you do not try to reflect in your conduct is a double standard (Matt. 23:4). This should not be tolerated.


  1.  Using personal testimonies to prove truth (Rom. 1:16). The gospel of Christ contains the power to save. Personal experiences are not needed because the rain falls on the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45). This should not be tolerated.


  1. Promising health and wealth to those who give financially (Acts 20:35). There is something wrong when Christians give and expect to be paid back physically (II Cor. 8:1-5). This should not be tolerated.


  1. Words that promote prejudice (John 3:16). Those who do not believe the truth need not be hated – they need to be loved and taught the truth (Rom. 5:8). This should never be tolerated.


  1. Filling sermons with stories and not God’s word (Col. 3:17).  The Lord gave the commission to go and preach the gospel. If a sermon is not primarily filled with the doctrine of Christ, it is not worth listening to (II John 9). This should never be tolerated.


What if one or more of these things are happening in the pulpit where you attend? The answer is simple – stop listening to it. Either the teaching in the pulpit must change or you must leave. You do not want to oppose God by endorsing error (II John 10-11). Consider these things during your next sermon.




Look for the truth

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Look for the truth


After writing the first article,  I briefly wondered why so few people see the problems that exist in the religious realm today. Do they not care about God? Do they just want to rebel against Him? Have the majority of the religious people today become cold and callous? I do not think so. I am convinced the root cause is a lack of understanding.


When Jesus was dying on the cross, He cried out, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34). He was saying that His persecutors were not really aware of what they were doing. Did they know they were killing an innocent man? Yes. Did they realize the pain and the suffer Jesus was going through? Yes. So what did they not know? They did not know (accept) that they were doing these things to the Christ – the son of God.


The overwhelming majority of people who gather for religious purposes are confident that what they are doing is correct. So how can we help people separate truth from error?  In Christ’s case, people were taught (again) on the day of Pentecost that they had crucified the Son of God (Acts 2:36). From that teaching, a great many understood, believed and obeyed (Acts 2:37-38). Some still did not understand, though, because they refused to accept the truth.


Without question, many people settle for assumptions and do not truly examine their beliefs. They firmly believe that what they are doing is approved by the Lord, but they are mistaken. This is nothing new (Matt. 7:21-23). How can we know with confidence that we are right? We must honestly seek the truth and continue looking until we find it (Matt. 7:7). Be willing to challenge and be challenged, and do not let pride get in the way. Apollos is a good example (Acts 18:24-26).


Every religious body worldwide – Muslims, Jews, Hindus, atheists, etc. – claim they have the proper religious perspective. We should all seek truth and ask questions to avoid becoming blind followers (Matt. 15:14). Someday we will all stand and give an account (II Cor. 5:10).



Things people think the church is

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Things people think the church is


Imagine going to a mechanic and asking him to perform open heart surgery on you. This seems odd to you because you know what a mechanic does and does not do. There is a similar issue with the church that Jesus built (Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28). Everyone has expectations for the church, but not all of these expectations are Biblical. Here is a list for us to consider:


The church is not in the money-making business

Local bodies of Christians (a church) must take care of their financial obligations via free-will offerings when gathered on the first day of the week (I Cor. 16:1-2). However, many religious sects think they are authorized to solicit funds from any person at any time by any means. I have seen “church” websites asking for donations. They also sell T-shirts and other merchandise to raise money. Religious groups also set up pre-schools, chicken dinners and yard sales with the intent to generate revenue. We should not be surprised that “churches” that are run like businesses and spend so much time focused on money are not following their spiritual head – Christ (Col. 1:18).


The church is not a social club

Christians truly enjoy being with one another, and this is not a bad thing. They are to have social interaction (Acts 2:46). If you do not enjoy being around your brothers and sisters while on earth, why would you want to spend eternity with them in heaven?  Yet many religious groups think the local church should focus on social matters rather than spiritual ones. I Corinthians 11:22 will help illustrate the difference. This is where brethren were told that if they wanted to have a feast and gather socially, they should gather and eat at home rather than doing so as an official act of the church. Despite this instruction, many religious sects today use church funds to plan senior citizen trips, youth lock-ins and sports leagues. When so many people do not discern between spiritual and social activities, we should not be surprised that people expect the church to serve as a social club.


The church is not in the entertainment business

This is not a repeat of the last point, although it is related. Worship of God should not become a theatrical production. Many churches use light shows, bands, loud music and other forms of entertainment during worship. These things might make worship more pleasing for “man”, but this means that the worship is no longer about God and His Son. True worship is for the Lord (John 4:24). You cannot expect God to approve of worship just because it makes you feel good (Gen. 4:1-4; Matt. 15:7-9).  Some people defend this behavior by pointing to the results – the large crowds that often attend these sorts of worship services. This argument misses the point. The gospel should be the only tool we need to reach people (Rom. 1:16). The power is in the gospel, not in the man who helps deliver it (I Cor. 2:1-5).


The church is not whatever you want it to be

Many people think that they can attend the church of their choice because they think that Christ will accept whatever makes them happy.  This thinking does not reflect the Jesus we read about in the Bible. We need to remember the church belongs to Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:22-23). People who start churches today based on any other pattern or influence are not following Him. Our Lord is the one who has ALL authority, meaning that the church does not have any authority. It does not matter what the “church” says – it only matters what Christ has said (II John 9).


You can justify where you attend by saying, “I get so much from where I attend.” But what does the Lord get? He demands faithfulness (Col. 3:17).                                               




Christians and Resolutions

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Christians and resolutions


Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution? You might want to lose weight, kick a bad habit or even plan to read the Bible through in one year. Resolutions come in all sort of shapes and sizes. But is there anything wrong with making resolutions?


From a Biblical standpoint, there is nothing wrong with setting a goal to do something. We even sing a hymn containing the words, “I am resolved no longer to linger…”  Making up our mind to stop doing something bad or setting goals for self-improvement is actually commanded by our Lord. However, these activities are not limited to the start of a new year.


Christians have a duty to keep growing (I Pet. 2:2), so we know we should always look for opportunities for improvement. Obvious places to start include parenting (Eph. 6:4), being a better spouse (Eph. 5:22-28), helping our brothers and sisters in Christ (Gal. 6:2), becoming apt to teach (Heb. 5:12-14) and spreading the good news (Mark 16:15). Finding opportunities for improvement is one thing – actually accomplishing them will require planning and effort.


Resolutions often fall through because of a failure to prepare. Like someone once said, “people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.” It easy to say I am going to stop doing something bad or start doing something good. How can we prevent ourselves from coming up short with our goals?


There is no secret to success – the answer is to use a support system. For Christians, it starts with turning to the Lord. Praying and asking for help is essential (I Thess. 5:17; Phil. 4:13). We can also turn to brethren (James 5:16). Fellow saints can encourage and pray for you. It is easy to quit and admit defeat after a short period of time. Success comes with determination and deciding that failure is NOT an option. Victory is attainable if we stay the course and use our faith properly (I John 5:4).



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