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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Seventy Percent

"Over 70% of people will check out a website BEFORE showing up for services."

Interesting statistic, huh? When I read that recently I was more convinced than ever of the need for our church website, and the value that it can add to our efforts at reaching the world for Christ. After all, the Bible teaches that we should make use of any and all honest and good methods to reach our world. Paul said, "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." (1 Chronicles 9:22 NIV)

Here are some ideas on how we can use the website most effectively:

  1. Use it yourself. Get used to visiting it regularly to determine what's happening in the church. The more people use it, the more suggestions for improvement and expansion will come. Use it!
  2. Tell others about it. When you are talking about the church, always let them know we have a website, and share the address. People can explore at their leisure in the privacy of their home. It is completely non-threatening, and many people appreciate that. Tell others about it!
  3. Advertise it. At the bottom of my emails I have a signature line. Most email programs have a means of including a signature. I include the church website in that signature. Every personal email I send advertises the website, and therefore advertises the church. Advertise it!
  4. Share it. Encourage others to join the email list by forwarding relevant posts that might interest them. Be careful with this one, though. Forwarded emails can become a disgusting nuisance if abused, and we want to guard against that. But when something is posted that strikes a need in a friend or neighbor's life - share it with them.

I'm sure you can think of other ways to use this powerful and free resource. Let's use it as one of a variety of tools to share the good news that Jesus saves!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Try It

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, that thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3)

For two reasons, I'd like to reproduce Dr. David Jeremiah's daily devotional here for you today. The first reason is that he references my life verse - Jeremiah 33:3. And the second reason is that the subject is prayer, and therefore relevant to the day, as we will be having our midweek prayer meeting tonight at 6:30, and we will be talking about the word "prayer."

So listen to Dr. Jeremiah:

"If you don't try it, you'll never know whether or not you like it." I'm sure you would agree that most of us heard that from someone at some point during our childhood. And some of us have probably said it to our own kids or grandkids!

It is human nature to fear the unknown; but if humans never tried anything new, we would not have the invention of the airplane, the thrill of scuba diving, or the experience of trying foods from all over the world. When we try things that are foreign to us, we expand our comfort zone, thereby making it easier to try more new things.

For various reasons, some people fear the realm of prayer. Like the skydiving enthusiast who is afraid of heights, they have heard about it, read about it, and talked about it, but they have never stepped out of the plane and into the excitement of an active prayer life.

Friends, there is not an extreme experience in all the world as thrilling as seeing God work in your life after you begin to pray. So take your parents' advice and just try it; see if God doesn't surprise you with His blessing and goodness.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Best Time of the Year

Fall... without a doubt the best time of the year. Warm days and cool nights. Beautiful scenery. God's artistry seems at its peak. I love September and October, don't you?

This year the months of September and October are pretty exciting here at RCC, too. Have you looked at the church calendar lately? Great things are happening. I hope you'll pray and participate!

This month we were blessed by the ministry of the Malone College Chancel players, we saw the start of our Sunday School, and already it's growing! We had 100% growth in the kids class from the first Sunday to the second! Let's shoot for 100% growth this Sunday as well. I'm praying for that. Will you pray with me about it? Tonight, the Women's Bible Study which meets every Tuesday evening, starts an exciting topic. And we have a spaghetti dinner planned for this coming Sunday, September 30, right after the morning worship!

And then there's October! On the first Saturday of the month we have the opportunity to serve God at the Haven of Rest in Akron. It is a privilege to so serve and I pray more will participate this month. On October 7, missionary Tim Single from the Chapel in Akron will present "Operation Christmas Child," a ministry that will truly bless our church as we participate in it this Christmas season. On October 19-20 the men of the church will have the opportunity to attend the "Men of Significance Discipleship Conference 2007" at The Chapel in North Canton. Finally, the last Saturday of the month we are planning a Harvest Party.

Things get busier and busier around here, and I believe God is pleased with that. Keep your eye on the church calendar - it changes often. And mark your personal calendar so you don't miss out on the great things God is doing at RCC.

Friday, September 21, 2007


It hit me as I urged my motorcycle down a long straight stretch of road - the fog was everywhere, and soon I was enveloped in it. Rats. I couldn't see a thing, and had to slow down as a result. Fog was slowing my progress, and hindering my vision. It was also putting me in danger, for I knew if I couldn't see others, they couldn't see me.

Something happened, though. The sun began to burn through the fog. "Come on, sun," I silently urged. And sure enough, as it burned ever brighter, the fog grew ever thinner, until it was gone.

But wait! I still couldn't see a thing! I could tell that the fog had lifted, but my vision was still blurred. I wiped my glove across my facemask, and sure enough, the fog was still clinging to me. Once wiped off, I could see clearly, but only until I approached a portion of my daily commute that takes me deep into a valley. Down I went, and up came the fog. In the valley, I found myself once again blinded by the fog. Climbing up the other side, I felt the sun again, wiped the fog from my visor, and was once again able to see.


Sunday, Lord willing, we will be studying John 8:31-32, where Jesus said, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
  • Do you feel like you're in a fog? Then let the sun of Christ's words reveal the truth to you! Constancy in His word will lead you to the truth.
  • Do you still have trouble seeing the things of God clearly, even when you are washing daily in the sun of His word? Maybe you need to wipe some off! Unconfessed sin in your life will dirty up your vision. Wipe it off!
  • Do you find yourself in a valley? Depressed? Down? Struggling with the issues of this life and therefore blinded by the fog that lays in that valley? Look up, my friend. The higher you look and the higher you climb, the thinner the fog will be!
Fog will slow you down. Fog will hinder your progress. Fog will endanger you and others. But fog will clear under the constant light of God's Word.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Prayer Meeting

This is our off-week, so we will not be holding the bi-weekly midweek prayer meeting tonight. But this evening, would you take a minute and pray for your brothers and sisters at RCC?

"... pray one for another.... " (James 5:16)

Don't Take It Personally

Tom Hanks, in a scene from the movie "You've Got Mail," provides some pointed advice to Meg Ryan. "It's not personal, it's BUSINESS," says Hanks.

That's a good thing to remember, I suppose, in the business world. But a similar principle applies to those of us trying to follow the Savior. We are all sinners struggling with how we relate to each other. And at times we experience the trauma of a fellow believer saying something that hurts us. Worse yet, sometimes we say and do things that hurt other believers.

Some thoughts come to mind that help with this:
  1. Don't be too quick to judge somebody for saying something that hurts you. Remember the incredibly wise words of Solomon about this: "Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you, for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others." (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 NIV) Now that's convicting, isn't it?
  2. Remember that everything about our horizontal relationships (i.e. those we have with people around us) hinges on the status of our vertical relationship (i.e. our relationship with God). When things are right between us and the Lord, things go smoother with others. When we let our relationship with God slip, it affects our relationship with others. Think of the two pieces of a cross. The vertical piece holds up the horizontal piece. The horizontal piece cannot stay in place without the vertical. Our relationships with people cannot be right unless we first have a right relationship with God. Thus we can conclude - It's NOT PERSONAL when a person says something unkind to us. It's rather an indication of spiritual condition. If we see such behavior in ourselves, we ought to talk to the Lord about it and ask help in fixing it. If we experience it from somebody else, we ought to pray for them as well.
This all started in the garden of Eden, you know. Before sin entered the picture, Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden in innocence. But after sin entered the picture, they hid from God, and they attacked each other! It wasn't really personal when Adam said of Eve, "This woman you gave me, she made me do it!" His relationship with God was broken, and it hurt his relationship with his wife.

Let's work hard on walking with God, so we won't be so guilty of hurting our relationships with each other. And let's also work hard to not take it personally when we are on the receiving end of the same.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More and More

Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. (1 Thessalonians 4:1)

It is a natural tendency in life to slow down, rather than speed up. We see this tendency everywhere.
  • At the age of 49, I can attest to my body's desire to slow down rather than speed up. Things I used to have energy to do, I no longer have.
  • In the world of physics, we have the second law of thermodynamics, which says "the entropy of an isolated system not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium." To us laymen that means, things slow down over time. You can easily prove this law to yourself. Put ANYTHING in motion, and then watch it. It will slow down and eventually stop.
Everything slows down.

But as Christians, we must fight this tendency. Paul told the Thessalonians that they were doing great at living the Christian life, but then told them, "Don't rest on that... don't slow down... do it MORE AND MORE." (1 Thessalonians 4:1)

Later in the same chapter he applied this principle to our love for one another. "Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more." (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10)

Christian, do you feel the tendency to slow down? In faithfulness to God, to His work, or to His people? Hear His reminder today and pick up the pace. Never be satisfied with slowing down, but serve Him MORE AND MORE!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Be Separate from the World

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was one of the great preachers of all time. In addition to pastoring the great Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England, he was also a prolific writer. He wrote a daily devotional entitled "Morning and Evening" which has been read by millions. Today's timely and convicting reminder comes from Spurgeon:

"Be ye separate." —2 Corinthians 6:17

The Christian, while in the world, is not to be of the world. He should be distinguished from it in the great object of his life. To him, "to live," should be "Christ." Whether he eats, or drinks, or whatever he does, he should do all to God's glory. You may lay up treasure; but lay it up in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, where thieves break not through nor steal. You may strive to be rich; but be it your ambition to be "rich in faith," and good works. You may have pleasure; but when you are merry, sing psalms and make melody in your hearts to the Lord. In your spirit, as well as in your aim, you should differ from the world. Waiting humbly before God, always conscious of His presence, delighting in communion with Him, and seeking to know His will, you will prove that you are of heavenly race. And you should be separate from the world in your actions. If a thing be right, though you lose by it, it must be done; if it be wrong, though you would gain by it, you must scorn the sin for your Master's sake. You must have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Walk worthy of your high calling and dignity. Remember, O Christian, that thou art a son or daughter of the King of kings.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Its Proper Condition

So those who were engaged in the work labored, and the repairing went forward in their hands, and they restored the house of God to its proper condition and strengthened it. (2 Chronicles 24:13)

We know from our study of Scripture that the church is not a building. It is an assembly of Christians. It is people. However, the church needs a place to gather together! And so we have church buildings - structures built for the glory of God as the church meets and serves Him from these buildings.

What does the world think of our church when it looks at our building? If they see something in disrepair, what message does that send? We are blessed by God with a beautiful antique building. People are impressed when they hear how old it is and how well kept it is. But we must not slack in working to keep it that way!

This Saturday (tomorrow), at 10:00 we are having a work day. Coffee, juice and donuts will be provided for all who show up. We will be prepping the platform for the Malone College Chancel Players who will perform on Sunday at 10:30. We will be prepping our Sunday School area for the start of classes on September 16th. There is much work to do. Will you join us?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Never So Cruel

"Absolutely not! That would be a terribly cruel thing to do to a poor animal," she said.

I was talking with a neighbor about the radio fence she used to contain her huge dog. You know the kind - a wire encloses an area, and the dog wears a collar. When the dog gets within range of the wire, a sound and / or a mild electric shock is administered. The dog learns to not approach the fence. Her outburst resulted from my assumption that you just turned the dog loose and let him figure it out on his own. Appalled, she informed me in haughty tones that it was the responsibility of the owner to show the dog the way. A loving and responsible dog owner would teach it where the fence was.


God has not left us to flounder in the dark. He loves us and has shown us the way. He reveals Himself!

He reveals Himself in all of creation: "He never left himself without a witness. There were always his reminders, such as sending you rain and good crops and giving you food and joyful hearts." (Acts 14:17) "From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God." (Romans 1:20)

And He reveals Himself specifically in the Bible - "All Scripture is God‑breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

He loves us immensely, and does not want us to wander with no direction. He would never be so cruel. All we have to do is listen.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


(Today's post is from Dr. David Jeremiah)

There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised.
(1 Kings 8:56

A biblical promise is a tightly-wrapped, power-packed, portable capsule of Scripture, written by God and designed to meet a specific need in your life at a specific time and in a way that corresponds perfectly to His all-sufficient grace. The promises of God are His guarantees amid life's uncertainties. They're the basis of all our life of faith, and there are specific promises in the Bible to meet every condition and contingency in our lives.

Without God's infallible promises, we have no assurance about anything, no hope, no security, no safety, no encouragement, no comfort. His promises provide all those things in an endless supply of grace-points for us each moment of every day.

As George Müller once put it, "Many times when I could have gone insane from worry, I was at peace because my soul believed the truth of God's promises."

We can trust God's promises. Not one word of them will fail, and we can both rest and rely on them for all our needs.

God's promises mark the parameters of His grace. Spoken with the authority of His Word, they define His goodness, for He does what He has promised, and no less. (David Jeremiah)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Let's Go!

This coming Lord's Day is a special one here at Randolph Christian Church. Summer is winding down... the children are heading back to school... vacations and busy summer schedules are over... and we begin once again to concentrate on the work of God.

And so this coming Sunday we're calling "Let's Go Sunday" - it is the kick off of a busy and active fall season. It is the equivalent of the high school football team huddling before a big play - all hands in the circle, and all shouting together "One... two... three... LET'S GO!"

The pep rally begins at 10:30 Sunday morning, when the Chancel Players from Malone College will minister to us in a very non-traditional service. This group of college students perform faith-based drama in churches, schools, and various community organizations. We will be giving them almost the entire service time on Sunday. Their sometimes humorous, and sometimes dramatic presentation will bless you. Don't miss it.

"Let's Go!"

And the following Sunday, September 16th, the Sunday School hour starts at 9:30. We will be starting with one class for the kids and one for the adults and teens. So parents, bring your kids, and then join the adults in a lively discussion-style lesson in the auditorium. "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

"Let's Go!"

You know, Jesus never wanted His church to sit still. He wants us pushing boldly ahead - trying new things, taking on new ministries, and reaching an ever-widening audience. He said, "I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18) Think about that verse. Gates don't move. Jesus was not saying the church would defensively hold up against the onslaught of evil, but rather that the church should be on the offensive and storming the gates of hell. Ever moving forward - ever on the attack.

And so, until that last whistle blows, we're sending in plays and pushing toward the end zone. Will you join us, starting this Sunday - "Let's Go Sunday?"

Monday, September 3, 2007

Whose Kingdom?

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. (Luke 11:2)

We used to recite the "Lord's Prayer" in every service at Randolph Christian Church. I stopped this practice in our services because this prayer was not given by Jesus as something to be numbly repeated as a rote exercise. It was an example of how we should pray - a teaching tool given in response to His disciple's request, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." (Luke 11:1)

We should think about this prayer, and what it teaches us about praying. For example, He said we should pray "Thy kingdom come." Do you pray for the coming of God's kingdom? Jeff Iorg, in his book entitled "The Character of Leadership" suggests we pray "Lord, Your kingdom matters. Mine doesn't. Advance Your cause, whatever that means for me." Can you pray that?

And if the coming of God's kingdom is important enough to pray for, is it important enough to spend time and energy building?

Most of us, at least in America, spend almost every waking minute building our own kingdoms. And yet our kingdoms are transitory, temporary, soon to be destroyed. When you are tempted to concentrate on building your own kingdom, take a good hard look at what you are building. It will be destroyed. Sometimes I look at my house, which I labored for months to build. I thank God He allows me to live in comfort and safety therein, but I also remember that it will be demolished one of these days. My kingdom is meaningless. It's His kingdom that matters. Time spent building my kingdom is wasted time. Time spent working toward His kingdom is an eternal investment.

We need a radical shift of focus - a realignment of our thinking processes. We need to be working to build God's kingdom. And when we pray "Thy kingdom come" we are taking a step in the right direction - focusing our thoughts onto His kingdom rather than our own.

Will you join me today in praying "Thy kingdom come?"