Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

A new bulletin article is posted every week! You can subscribe via our RSS feed or contact us via email to receive a mailed copy of the bulletin every two weeks. Both the electronic and mailed bulletins are provided free of charge.

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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).                                               

        

Chuck

 

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).

 

                                                                                      Chuck

What will happen in 2016?

Sunday, January 03, 2016

What will happen in 2016?

 

Another year has come and gone for the River Ridge church of Christ. It was filled with many efforts that helped the church grow and spread the word of God. We do not know what is in store for this coming year, but let’s look back over 2015 and reflect.

 

Planting and watering

Reaching the lost continued to be one of the main things we focused on as a church (Eph. 3:10). These efforts did not slow down, and we need to continue to press ahead in this area. Here is a list of things which we were engaged in:

  1. Weekly TV program of Study the Word on FOX.
  2. Daily TV program of Study the Word on WOW cable.
  3. Weekly radio program on 98.5 FM.
  4. Bi-weekly mailing of our weekly bulletin to over 100 people in the community.
  5. Streaming our services live online.
  6. Held our first gospel meeting in the building at 5600 Vann Road
  7. Sent out numerous Bible study courses to those who requested them.
  8. Arranged personal home studies with many folks throughout the year.
  9. Mailed several DVD copies of our TV program to viewers throughout the year.

 

Providing edification for the members

Building the local church up spiritually is another huge responsibility of the church (Eph. 4:12,16). As a body of Christ, it is essential that we continue to strengthen our faith. Here is a list of things we engaged in to help the members grow:

  1. Gathered together as a church 156 times for Bible study and worship.
  2. Offered monthly ladies classes and a monthly Friday class.
  3. Created preaching and teaching opportunities for the members.
  4. Encouraged the saints via our gospel meeting
  5. Members requested some personal Bible classes to help them grow (this is open for all)
  6. Members mailed the bulletin and helped with the radio program every week.
  7. Members visited with other members and prayed for one another throughout the year.

 

Allowing members to use their talents

No congregation is a “one man show”. To function effectively, all of the members should do what they can to help the church (I Cor. 12:12-14). This list is just a small sampling of the jobs done throughout the year that allow members to contribute:

  1. Cleaning the building.
  2. Taking care of the communion prep.
  3. Looking after the landscaping.
  4. Greeting visitors and making them feel welcomed.
  5. Praying earnestly for the church and the lost.
  6. Encouraging one another and building up that bond of love.

 

May we set goals to do even more in 2016, if the Lord wills.                                                                                

 

Chuck

What NOT to change in the new year

Friday, December 25, 2015

What NOT to change in the new year

 

The title of this article might seem negative, but truly there are certain things that we should NOT want to change in 2017. As Christians, we should rejoice in the knowledge that the Lord’s expectations for us will remain constant. Since Christ established His church (Acts 20:28), the work He gave it to do remains the same two thousand years later.

 

The Bible describes the church as the “pillar and ground of truth” – will that change in 2017? It better not (I Tim. 3:15). The same can be said for spreading the good news and edifying the body of saints (Eph. 4:11-12; Mark 16:15-16). If someone argues that these things have changes, we know that something is just not right.  Here is a list of specific things that should not change in the coming year. As you read the list, ask yourself if these things have been changing in 2016.

 

  1. Continuing to examine ourselves that we are in the faith (II Cor. 13:5).

 

  1. Looking out for spiritual brethren to see if they are wandering from the truth and trying to bring them back if they stray (James 5:19-20).

 

  1. Praying earnestly to make a difference in your own life and in the lives of others (James 5:16).

 

  1. Living righteously and letting our lights shine (Matt. 5:13-16)

 

 

  1. Worshipping our God whenever the saints are gathered (Heb. 10:25).

 

  1. Using our abilities so they continue to improve (Matt. 25:14-30).

 

  1. Feeding on God’s word to become skillful in teaching it (Heb. 5:12-14).

 

  1. Sharing what we have by being hospitable (Rom. 12:13).

 

  1. Facing hardships by suffering for doing the right thing rather than compromising (I Pet. 4:14-16).

 

  1. Leaving vengeance to the Lord and being kind to our enemies (Rom. 12:19-20).

 

  1. Avoiding all sorts of sexual immorality in our own lives and in our entertainment choices (Rom. 1:29-32).

 

  1. Guarding our tongue by watching what we say and how we say it (James 3; Eph. 4:29).

 

  1. Doing acts of kindness that are not seen by others and being clothed with humility (Matt. 6:1).

 

  1. Showing love for our brothers and sisters (II Thess. 1:3).

 

  1. Being thankful for our faith in Christ Jesus (Col. 2:7).

 

  1. Recognizing our blessings in the Lord (Eph. 1:3-4).

 

If these things did not exist in your life in 2016, then you must see that the Lord expected them and will continue to. Let’s do all we can to remain steadfast on these points in 2017.

 

                                                                                              Chuck

Render to Caesar

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Render to Caesar

 

It is that time of the year when we are required to file our taxes. Is this necessary for Christians? When Jesus was asked about paying taxes, He simply said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). As costly as it might be, Christians have a duty to give what they owe to the IRS (Rom. 13). 

 

If you stop and think about the benefits of living in this country, you cannot help but count your blessings. We easily forget that running water, heat and electricity can be taken for granted. The same can be said for the general orderliness on the roads. Think about how much more dangerous it would be to travel if nobody followed the rules of the road!

 

We also have law enforcement that we can call on in times of need and military forces who help ensure the safety of the nation. Paul pointed this out to the brethren at Rome (13:3-4). There is no question that God wants His children to be abide the earthly laws where they live as adherence to these laws was equated to obeying God Himself (Rom. 13:1-2).

 

But what about all the corruption and bad spending that bothers so many tax payers? What about governments that support things that contradict God’s law? Obviously, our Lord knows that just because we pay our taxes it does not mean we support every decision made by our governments. Consider the circumstances Jesus lived it when He was asked about paying taxes in Mark 12. The ruling Roman empire was full of corruption, sexual immorality and brutality. Even so, all people were admonished by the Lord Himself to pay to Caesar the things that are owed to Caesar

 

This world is not our permanent home – we are strangers and pilgrims in this land. While we are to respect our earthly authorities and pay our taxes, God’s people ultimately have their citizenship in the household/kingdom of God (Eph. 2:19; Col. 1:13).

 

                                                                                                                                                                        Chuck                                                                                 

 

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