SOME MISCELLANEOUS THOUGHTS
FIRST — A THANK YOU
I thank everyone that came this last week and helped put together the backpacks for some of the area schools. I am not for certain how many we gave out; one sister bought and packed 59 backpacks, and they were all delivered to the various schools this last week. We have connected with many of the schools and will continue to do what we can to aid them when we can.
You are all to be commended for your work – and a special thanks to those who took the backpacks to the schools. “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42; Mark 9:41)
There is a sister in Christ that has asked for some help in getting her house pressure washed and some mulch put around her trees. Here are more opportunities to help our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us not miss these opportunities to serve.
There are sisters in Christ who are in nursing homes, and especially after COVID, that could use some visits and prayers. Let us avail ourselves of these opportunities.
There are sisters in Christ here that have been gracious and loving to others and share the fruits of their work. THANK YOU LADIES!
BEING LIKE JESUS
One of the characteristics of Jesus was his compassion and aid to those in need. He gave hope to the sinners that were truly penitent; he rebuked those who thought that all was well with their souls; he challenged all to look at their relationships with God and make the necessary corrections. He never forced anyone to obey him; but when people understood what the demands of Christianity were many turned away. He did not force them to be Christians! We cannot either. But when we show the same care and love that God, Jesus and the Spirit shows; when we are compassionate toward others; when we are concerned not just about their physical needs but their spiritual needs, we are most like Jesus. Let us take ask God for opportunities to serve others!
As I have had opportunities to visit some area congregations lately, speaking in Summer Series, I am rejoicing in the resiliency of my brothers and sisters in Christ in their determination to meet and worship together. In the March 3 2022 edition of the Christian Chronicle, Cheryl Bacon wrote concerning the Lord’s church that “Church Closing Trend began Before COVID -19.” Notice this article . . . .
“When the Ragsdale Church of Christ closed its doors on March 6, it joined hundreds of other congregations nationwide that have ceased to exist.
“Churches of Christ reached their peak in about 1990 with 1,684,872 adherents and 13,174 churches, according to a national directory published by 21st Century Christian.
“A trend of decline set in at that point, which has now become a significant loss,” church growth scholar Stan Granberg reported in his 2018 case study on the fellowship’s growth and decline.
“In the past three decades, the number of adherents has declined to 1,447,271 — down 237,601, or 14 percent. The number of congregations has fallen to 11,965 — down 1,209, or 9 percent.
“Those figures are based on the 2018 edition of “Churches of Christ in the United States,” and anecdotal evidence suggests further decline.”
For years we have seen the decline in the numbers of those who at one time claimed to be Christians. We consider the number of Christians today and ask ourselves, how many are whole heartedly devoted to Jesus Christ? Consider as well, the parents that (though they brought their children to church) have watched many of them walk away from God. When we send children to secular schools where the theory of evolution is taught as fact, where children are taught that they are nothing more than animals, they will act according to “the survival of the fittest.”
We bring our children to church, yet if that is the only place they hear about God and His word (approximately 3-4 hours out of a 168 hour week) they will be more heavily influenced by the world. We will watch another generation grow up and walk away from God. All that will be left are older saints.
Beloved, we are at moment in history where the church needs to stand up and make a difference in our world once again. We don’t need to sit and cower in our buildings while the world is going to hell – and let it be understood, this is what is happening RIGHT NOW! When the Lord comes again, will he judge our inactivity as a failure to obey? We need to, at the very least, try to interest our loved ones in the gospel by our commitment to it —by serving others in and out of the church, and by teaching by our lives and example. We need to teach the gospel, using words, so that people will at LEAST HAVE A CHANCE to obey the Lord. ETERNITY HANGS IN THE BALANCE!
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A GREAT CHURCH
A LOVING PEOPLE – Philippians 1:9-10
A RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE – Philippians 1:11
A UNIFIED PEOPLE – Philippians 1:27-28
A HUMBLE, SUBMISSIVE, SERVANT HEARTED PEOPLE Philippians 2:4-8
AN OBEDIENT PEOPLE Philippians 2:12-13
A GROWING PEOPLE Philippians 3:12-16
A LOOKING PEOPLE Philippians 3:20
A PILGRIM MINDED PEOPLE – Philippians 3:20-21
A PRAYERFUL PEOPLE Philippians 4:4-7
A PURE PEOPLE – Philippians 4:8
A SHARING PEOPLE – Philippians 4:14-16
A FAITHFUL PEOPLE