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Thursday, May 29, 2008

First Meeting - Renaming Team

Don't forget that this coming Lord's Day, those who wish to be part of the renaming team will meet at the Pastor's house immediately following the morning worship service. Lunch will be provided.

The purpose of this meeting will be to discuss the qualities we are seeking in a new name for the church, and the process we will use in determining that name. Several names have been suggested so far, and we will pray about and discuss those suggestions, as well.

This meeting is open to all active members of RCC.

Question Everything

"It's the nation's first student-managed business," said the announcer. I glanced at my radio in some amusement. This is 2008, and I worked for KSU's Campus Bus Service in the seventies... it was a student managed business at the time. The radio advertisement I had just listened to was clearly incorrect. And yet it was stated as a fact, and is no doubt accepted as such by the majority of people who hear it.

My mind went back to the television program I had watched the night before. A variety of things were stated on that program as absolute facts. And yet no evidence was presented to back them up... no sources were cited... just statements as of fact. And because they came from television, which is the gospel to most people today, they were probably accepted.

Christians have the only source of truth - God's Word - the Bible. And it challenges us to question everything about it. Jesus challenged His audience to "Search the scriptures." (John 5:29). And the Berean Christians were commended for doing just that - validating everything they were taught and heard with the truth of the Bible before believing it: "they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11 NKJV)

Question everything, my friend... whether it's from the radio, from TV, or from your preacher. Verify it! Go to the only source of truth and compare what you've heard. Only then can you be guaranteed that what you hear is true.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Why Are You Here?

The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. (Acts 19:32 NIV)

Hilarious. If we read Acts 19, we learn that there was a massive riot in the city of Ephesus. Yelling, pushing, shouting, shoving... the whole city was involved in the melee. And then we read in verse 32 that most of the people didn't even know why they were rioting!

Nothing's changed much in the last 2000 years, has it? People are still prone to mob rule, and will gladly follow their group even when they don't know why. American politics, and America's news media, are two groups that have learned to profit from this trend. May I encourage you today to know why you follow the group!

There is a group activity where knowing "why we are there" is of vital importance. I speak, of course, of the local church. When you come to church, do you know why you are there? Hint - it's not about you! Many people attend church for a while to see what's in it for them. But such an attitude usually leads to disappointment. In the church, it's all about serving and worshipping our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave Himself for us. When we're with this group, we're in it for Him! And when we get that straight, He never lets us down. He meets our every need.

Put yourself first, and you'll always wonder "what am I doing here?" Put Him first, and you'll know exactly what you're doing here.

Why are you here?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

God Left Him

Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart. (2 Chronicles 32:31)

Have you ever studied the kings of Judah and Israel? There are many practical lessons to learn from such a study, and I highly recommend it. In my daily Bible reading, I came across today's verse, and was arrested by the phrase, "God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart."

Does God ever leave us? Does He ever step back and leave us "out there" to fend for ourselves? If this verse is true (and every verse of the Bible is), then God did just that to King Hezekiah.

It is helpful to remember that we walk by faith and not by sight. Anybody can say they have faith and serve God when things are going well. But what about when things go poorly? What about when it seems like God has hung us out to dry? What about when we no longer feel His presence? Do we keep serving Him? Just how strong is our faith, if it fails when things don't go our way?

Perhaps you feel like God has left you. Perhaps He is testing you, "that he might know all that is in your heart." Stay faithful, for all tests end, and when yours does, you'll see that He never left you after all. He was there all the time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Happenings This Week

Monday - Bibles and Big Macs for the Men

Tuesday - Ladies Bible Study

Wednesday - Midweek prayer meeting

Sunday - Missionary Greg Bryan with the Navigators will speak and present his ministry in our morning worship service.

The Honor of Avoiding a Fight

It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. (Proverbs 20:3)

In Sunday's message, we lamented together on the fact that so many people today think "telling somebody off" is a talent. "Boy I really told him," is often stated as an accomplishment.

But in reality, such is never an accomplishment for a Christian, is it? Such is actually sin. We are not to live as contestants on the Jerry Springer show, but rather as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our speech is to be "always with grace." (Colossians 4:6)

Perhaps if we consider our Proverb in another translation, it will be even clearer: Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling. (Proverbs 20:3 NLT)

I'm praying the Lord will help me with my speech patterns today. Do you need to join me in that prayer?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happenings This Week

Summer is a busy time. There are many things happening at RCC:
  • Don't forget our door-to-door visitation program. We have a goal of knocking on every door in Randolph. We'll be meeting at the church this Saturday, May 17th at 9:30, and going out in teams. Will you join us? ... I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and fromhouse to house... (Acts 20:20)
  • And remember this coming Lord's Day we will honor our graduate.
  • Monday, May 19th is "Burgers and Big Macs" for the men of the church - meet at the Rootstown MacDonalds, and bring your Bibles!


And when Judah looked back, behold, the battle [was] before and behind: and they cried unto the LORD... (2 Chronicles 13:14)

Here is a thought from last night's midweek prayer meeting. In 2 Chronicles 13, we read the history of Abijah, king of Judah, and Jeroboam, king of Israel. Abijah feared and served God. Jeroboam was an idolator who led the nation of Israel horribly astray. In 2 Chronicles 13, we read of a battle between the two. Israel had twice as many soldiers as Judah, and it looked pretty bleak. Not only that, but Jeroboam sneakily sent half his army around behind Judah when they weren't looking and ambushed them. It is at that point when God's word says they "cried unto the LORD."

Life tends to ambush us sometimes. But there is never a time when a child of God is in an impossible situation. Judah did the seemingly impossible that day, and won the battle, because God was on their side. And as a Christian, you have the same advantage today - no matter how insurmountable the odds may seem. Nobody and nothing can ambush our God.

Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the LORD God of their fathers. (2 Chronicles 13:18)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

They That Be With Us...

Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. (2 Kings 6:16)

You've seen the famous photograph of then president John F. Kennedy, standing in the Oval Office with his back to the camera, leaning over the desk. As I recall, the caption of the photograph was "The Loneliest Job In The World."

As a Christian, we are never alone, no matter how lonely we may feel, or how much the problems and burdens of life may press in.

Elisha, that great Old Testament prophet showed this to his servant Gehazi in dramatic fashion one day. The enemies of God had encircled Elisha and Gehazi, intending to capture them and drag them away. Gehazi was alarmed and cried out to Elisha in fear. But Elisha prayed that God would open the eyes of Gehazi, and when He did, Gehazi saw that the angels of God were surrounding the enemies of God.

A Christian is never alone. A Christian is never left without resources. A Christian is never without the protection of the armies of God.

Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. (2 Kings 6:16)

Where Did You Lose It?

And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. (2 Kings 6:6)

Elisha and the prophets were building a bigger meeting house. One of the workers had borrowed an axe, and in the midst of the work, lost the axe head in the water. Elisha asked him to point out where he had lost it, and tossed a stick into the water at that precise spot, and the axe head floated up and was retrieved.

An interesting miracle from the Old Testament, and also an important lesson for all of us.

Have you lost something in your relationship with God? How's your joy? Is it what it once was? How's your zeal to share your faith with others? How's your interest in the Word of God, or the worship of God? How's your love for your brothers and sisters?

The lesson of the axe head is that when we lose something in our walk with God, the first step in reclaiming it is to go back where we lost it - back to the very place where it sunk beneath the water, and get it back. If you are wondering what happened to your walk with God - if it is just not what it used to be, will you go back to the place where it was? Go back, and get it back.

Are We Having Fun Yet?

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17)

I'll never forget Erma. I was visiting her in the hospital after she had lost a leg to amputation. Expecting depression and sorrow, I was surprised by her happiness and joy. In the midst of her tribulation, she bubbled over with the joy of the Lord.

Jesus never promised us that the Christian life would be easy. Actually, He pretty much indicated the opposite. But one thing the Bible does promise us as believers is that no matter what we may experience in the Christian life, it will be accompanied by joy that only the Christian can have.

Are you having fun yet? Are you experiencing the joy that comes with serving Jesus? If not, perhaps you need to pray, as David did, "restore unto me the joy of my salvation." (Psalm 51:12)

Or better yet, maybe you need to know the Savior who alone can give you that joy.