A NEW WAY OF THINKING

Thinking About a New Way of Thinking

The past two months have drastically changed our thinking. If you don’t think so, go into a public place and start coughing and see the reactions (on second thought, don’t do that). There will always be a “BC” (before COVID) means of thinking, and there will now be an “AD” (after distancing) thinking. However, this new way of thinking causes me to think of the parallels between the mindset of a disciple of Jesus. Here are some comparisons to consider:

There is no going back only going forward. It does no good to constantly live in the past. In fact, a person who lives in the past will find their present tainted and their future bleak. The Jewish Christians to whom Hebrews was written, badly needed this reminder that what they had before them was far better than what they left behind them (Heb. 11:37-12:3).

Old habits are replaced with new habits. Has anyone tried not touching their face so much? Has anyone forgotten to suppress a cough in the hardware store? Old habits die hard. ~~ Yet, when we look at the changes that happen when a person becomes a disciple of Jesus, over and over the Bible emphasizes that our old sinful habits must “die” (Luke 9:23; Rom. 6:1-4; Col. 3:1-10).

Time is required to process changes. There have been many times throughout the last two months, where I’ve had to withdraw myself and simply say, “this has got to be different now…and it’s going to be different from now on.” ~~ God doesn’t expect that we will know everything when we become Christ’s disciple. God doesn’t expect that we will be perfect when we become Christ’s disciple (if we were, we wouldn’t need His blood to cleanse us). However, God does expect continual growth in His way as disciples of Jesus, otherwise, we might be operating with an old mindset not a new mindset (2 Pet. 3:18).

Keep your eyes focused on the goal. Kevin Hahn gave a great analogy recently: “Corona” means “crown.” People are worried about this virus that has been named “Corona”, and you can see it on their faces — the precautions they take, the worry, the changes they’ve made. They have in their minds a goal not to get it. ~~ Disciples of Jesus ought to have it seen in their faces that they are focused on the “crown” of righteousness. We’ve changed our thinking such that we’ve set a goal and that we will obtain it no matter what! (2 Tim. 4:7-8; Jas. 1:12).

Andy Baker, Graeber Road church of Christ, Rosenberg, TX

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WEEKLY NEWS, AUGUST 2, 2020

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

Adventures in Missions Report

Here is a report on what Kaylee Hankins, whom we are supporting in the Adventures in Missions program, has been doing while waiting to go to her mission field due to Coronavirus delays. Keep her in prayer. From the elders, Ken D

KOINONIA WITH KAYLEE – Adventures in Missions May & June 2020

NEW ZEALAND UPDATE

So about a month ago, New Zealand announced that they had no Coronavirus cases! Until recently, some travelers came back with it. The borders are still closed… we don’t know how long it will be until we get to our field. However, we do know that God’s timing is perfect, and that He’s working things out for all of us. We’ve been praying for our entire country. We have hope that we will be able to go in December. In AIM, we are still graduating on time. The extra time we’ve had is considered our field time. That’s why I’ve been trying to find ways to serve in my community. Thank you all for your love, support, and understanding ♡

BABYSITTING & HOUSESITTING

In the month of May, I had many opportunities to serve those around me. I love babysitting, and I love these girls. I’ve known them for about 3 years now, and watching them grow has always blessed me. However, I was able to stay with them for a few days so their parents could travel out of state.

Another family needed help to house and dog-sit. So my best friend, my classmate, Madi, helped me too! She’s heading to Brazil, but we had a blast together! We took care of a Golden-doodle, Mylo. It was for 4 days, as the owners went on a little vacation. Madi has been there for me for quite a long time. She knows how to fulfill my needs the best. I love her so much and I can’t wait to hear about her stories in Brazil ♡ I got to spend the night with another classmate, Wendy. She is leaving for Phoenix soon! We celebrated Memorial Day and made silly memories that we will hold on to while we are on the field. I’ve known her the longest in my AIM class. Our friendship has lasted over 8 years, and I’m excited to see what God does thru her! ♡

HELPING THE NEEDY – PACIFIC CITY – FAMILY TRIP

So a group of young adults decided to get together and feed the homeless. I was invited to serve. I love serving because I learn so much from those in need, and I enjoy creating a relationship with them. We drove around town for about 4 hours just finding people, delivering food, and praying for them. It was quite an experience. It was definitely something outside of my comfort zone, but I know God is greater than my fears. I was beyond blessed to take apart of this.

I kinda made a trip to California to see my other classmate, Seflee. We didn’t get the proper goodbye because of COVID19. So I spent about 6 days with her and her family. It was a blast. We went to the beach every day except for one day, we went to the mountains. We watched sunsets and sunrises. They encouraged me to memorize the Sermon on the Mount, and I’m nearly there! I love this family. They have been such a big encouragement to me and my walk in Christ. I ended the month of visiting my grandparents. They live in the hill country, so it was a nice get-away. We went swimming just about every day and I’m thankful I got to spend some extra time with my family before I leave for my field. They are so supportive and involved with my journey.

(Elders note: Just found out Kaylee‟s AIM plans are being changed to a new mission field due to New Zealand not opening back up. We will inform you when we know more.)

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THE GIFT OF A GREAT RELATIONSHIP

We just love getting gifts, don’t we? How wonderful it is having someone think of us and spend time and resources to get us something special. It lets us know that we are loved. And, of course, we should be most thankful for the love and gift God has given us in Christ Jesus (John 3:16; Eph. 4:7).

I remember attending a wedding where the minister conducting the service told the couple getting married that they were a gift to one another. That is true. There is nothing more wonderful than being in a healthy and happy relationship with another. In every human relationship we have with others (marital, family, friend, etc.), we need to do our part to be a true gift to them.

If we are going to be a “GIFT” to those we are in relationship with, then we need to be:

Generous. Indeed it is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). To be a gift and blessing to others, let us be sure to give plenty of compliments, kindness, love, selflessness, etc. Shower them with the gift of agape love. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Interacting. How important it is to spend time with and communicate with those close to us (1 Pet. 3:7). The better we get to know the ones we are in relationship with, the better the relationship becomes. Too many neglect the all-important gift of human interaction.

Forgiving. Gifts make us feel better, and nothing feels better than forgiveness. Forgiveness is something that is vital for a great relationship (Col. 3:12-13). Sometimes the greatest gift we can give another is to forget the past and move ahead with a fresh slate. Forgiveness is a gift that benefits the giver and the receiver.

Trusting. True love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). Certainly the concept of trust is seen in this. Trust is a must for a satisfying relationship.

What a blessing God’s wonderful gifts to us are (Jas. 1:17; 2 Cor. 9:15)! And let us remember that part of God’s gift to others can be each of us. What a great gift to others we can be by being truly loving, sharing, caring, and involved in their lives.

 – Edd Sterchi Broadway church of Christ Campbellsville, KY

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WEEKLY NEWS, JULY 26, 2020

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

Sunset International Bible Institute

Student Tyler Meredith Report

In this article, Tyler Meredith, whom we help support at Sunset International Bible Institute, reports some on how the pandemic has affected him the last few months. Keep him in your prayers. For the elders, Ken D

These months have been some very interesting months due to quarantine. I have had trouble with being able to do many things since everyone has been asked to stay at home and keep their distance from each other. Although it has been tough, some pretty cool things have been happening down here. Then I had my AIM graduation just before everything went crazy. I have continued some park visiting and other outdoor activities. I had one last opportunity to preach before everything began to shut down. I have even been refining my baking skills. March, April and May have been great months.

First my AIM graduation happened in March. My mother and father came down to show their support and excitement for me completing the AIM program. During the week before graduation we did a thing called reentry which is basically an event that helps those who have completed the program readjust to a normal non-missionary lifestyle. We had several cool lessons and chat times. Then at graduation I got to be reconnected to the whole class again for the first time since we left for the field. We had a wonderful time together in this final hoorah of our AIM experience. It was a wonderful time and having my family be there to support me was truly a blessing.

Just before all of the quarantining happened I had the opportunity to travel to several different towns close to Lubbock to share God’s word with fellow believers. In March I got to go to Seagraves, Texas to preach to the church there. I had a wonderful time getting to fellowship and share with our brothers and sisters there. They were very kind and allowed me to go to one of the local eateries with them. I love getting to share God’s word and this church made it a true blessing to visit.

We have been trying to stay busy in this quarantine but it gets challenging some times. Although we are constrained to our houses we are still looking on the glorious day that the brothers and sisters are able to be together again!

Although these months have been encapsulated by staying away and keeping home I have been blessed in getting to see some wonderful friends in some one on one settings. We all have been staying true to the keeping less than so many in one place and when the shelter and stay was going on we all followed our orders, but when we had the opportunity to fellowship in small settings we did not allow that to stop us. We had many meals and small groups of sharing in the struggle of keeping active while not being together. This has been rough for all of us and the burden is easier when you get to share that even with a small number of people.

God has been teaching me, and I‟m sure many of you, many wonderful things during these trying months. We need to remember especially now that our world is flipped upside down that our God is alive and working in everything that we do.

Thank you all so much for the love and support that you have showed to me in my time of school and work at SIBI. I cannot express the blessings that God has given to me through all of you. May God bless you and keep you in all that you do. Tyler

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DEALING WITH CHANGE

Adaptability, Attitude, and Always Abounding

For some people, when they encounter changes to their environment or routines, it is unsettling, unnerving, and can be a very traumatic experience. For others, when they encounter change, it can be exciting, thrilling, and a roller-coaster ride of new experiences (either good and/or bad). For all of us, whether we have positive reactions or negative reactions to change, it should be an experience to say, “I trust in God to keep me grounded.” Life changes, situations change, but God remains constant (Heb. 13:8; Jas. 1:17). Here are some ways we can trust Him more, no matter how we view change:

Appreciate the great things going on for the cause of Christ (Phil. 1:12-18). If things are changing for us, often they are changing for others as well. If that’s the case, look at how God is showing comfort and care for others through the work of His people (2 Cor. 1:3-5). Praise Him and thank Him for that. Focus on those things because they WILL change your perspective and your attitude. Trust Him.

Ask: what opportunities has God given me personally to further the cause of Christ (Phil. 1:12-13)? No matter how you view change, see that there are open doors before you to bear someone’s burden, ease someone’s load, or invite them to meet the Jesus we know and love (Phil. 1:17). If we only ever look at change and see ourselves, we miss changing life circumstances for others and realize that NOW they might be receptive to the gospel.

Ask: How have I used this change to draw nearer to God (Phil. 1:27-30)? How has this change affected my relationship with God? How does it have the potential to affect my relationship? Spend more time with God in prayer, in meditation, in service. The truth is, as time changes, so also what we emphasize in our devotion to God can also change. However, commit to growing nearer to Him and more in the likeness of His Son everyday regardless of change (Phil. 4:10-13; 2 Pet. 3:18).

Andy Baker, Graeber Road church of Christ Rosenberg, TX

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WEEKLY NEWS, JULY 19, 2020

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

Gospel Chariot – Second Quarter Update 2020

Throughout the months of this pandemic we all are striving to find ways to serve God and spread His gospel. It has been exciting to see our brethren in various places find ways to share Jesus. This is part of a report from Brother George Funk with the Gospel Chariot Mission that we help support. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they too serve our God. For the elders, Ken D

GOSPEL CHARIOT

Gospel Chariot – Second Quarter Update 2020

Hi Everyone,

I pray and hope this finds you doing well.

Wow, has the world not had some issues since our last report? All our chariots are off the road and all I can say, is that it has been a Blessing from God. You will not believe how this has helped us. We have spent the last 3 months learning how to do online discipleship training and online church and it is unbelievable how effective this is. My last two years of spending hours, days and months of being equipped in multiplication discipleship is paying off hugely and I can’t believe how this all came about at the right time.

We have started many, many online groups from Southern Africa to East Africa and West Africa come North Africa. The most exciting developments are the way we are getting into Muslim-dominated countries through this simple disciple making multiplication method of teaching that is so, so, so, so effective and allows our brethren to work underground through small cell groups in areas they otherwise would never have been able to get into.

That said, I have by the grace of God, managed to start some online discipleship multiplication training into India and the Philippines. Great doors are opening for me as I hand over Africa slowly but surely to our African brethren so they can direct their own African mission with me being a father figure working behind the scenes and with the USA executive GCM board. As they say “a leader’s lasting value is measured by succession” but there is also a great leadership tool called the MAWL Principle and it teaches you to Model, Assist, Watch and then Leave. I believe it is now time for me to watch and trust and believe in those I have equipped to take the work beyond me in Africa. Here are the African Regional Directors: George Akpabli -West and North Africa; Duncan Ojiambo – Central Africa; Tom Opondo -East Africa; Machona Monyamane – Southern Africa and Dimpo Motimele future Director and Co-ordinator for Africa……..And that said….

IT IS TIME FOR ME TO LOOK BEYOND AFRICA

As you know I live in Australia and instead of retiring I would like to start re-firing an ASAIN PACIFIC DREAM FOR JESUS and with very little budget and only one or two chariots, if that. With the main focus on multiplication discipleship training that is simple, biblical and reproducible. It is time to equip our churches of Christ with discipleship tools and help our brethren get unstuck and move to the next level in reaching a lost world.

PLEASE PRAY FOR ME AS WE LOOK BEYOND FOR JESUS. (Dreams are born in the hearts and souls of men and women who are dissatisfied with the way things are in light of the way things could be).

I WILL NEED A SMALL BUDGET FOR THE ASIAN PACIFIC OUTREACH. Please email me if you can help with this new work starting year end. Also if you support any preacher in one of these countries and you want us to help with training them, then please pass his info on to me. We would love to help.

Who knows what God has in mind as we step out in faith? All I know, is God is up to something once again. To God be the Glory.

– George Funk

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THE FALL OF NATIONS

How do nations die and why?

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9; 3:15). Solomon’s wisdom from God, declares this truth: occurrences and actions repeat themselves, over years and centuries, albeit in a “new dress”.

About the Disintegration of Nations:

God’s Chosen One of Old, and all the Others, Then, and Now, too.

All Belong to God. All belong to His history!

Proverbs 14:34 — “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

Proverbs 11:11— “Through the blessings of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.”

Proverbs 11:14 — “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many [good and righteous] advisers make victory sure.”

Isaiah 10:1 — “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees.” “To deprive the poor of their rights and rob my oppressed people of justice.” (v.2).

Isaiah 59:14 — “So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.”

Micah 7:2 — “The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains. All men lie in wait to shed blood; each hunts his brother with a net.” (Also: Ezekiel 22:27.28)

Isaiah 1:23 — “Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless, the widow’s case does not come before them.”

Isaiah 5:20 — “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” In this chapter, from verse 8 on, (read it to the end!) God pronounces woes on the Israelites, their nation, because they have become unfaithful to God, they had become independent of Him, become self-sufficient because of their prosperity. They had no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of His hand (verse 12b). Therefore they were condemned to go into exile. So, this “woe” is not only pronounced on the individual, or a group of people, but also, and with it, on the whole nation.

David said earlier in Psalm 11:2 — “For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.” So his lament is: “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (v.3). They, we, can do many godly things! Befriend and teach our neighbors, possibly, even mainly? But in the end, all goes according to God’s will and plan:

Psalm 33:10 — “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples.” (v.11) — “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” This is our confidence!

Psalm 145:13 — “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and Your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made.”

Jeremiah 27:5 — “With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please.” (Context: God hands over several countries to His servant, Nebuchadnezzar, His tool for the punishment of wicked nations.) (God the Creator: Psalm 24:1,2; Haggai 2:8).

Psalm 115:2,3 — “Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?‟ Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him.”

Psalm 75:6,7 — “No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God Who judges; He brings one down, He exalts another.”

Daniel 2:21 — “He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to discerning.”

And some day, there will be an end to the history of mankind:

2 Peter 3:10 — “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare”.

1 Timothy 1:17 — “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

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Out of the Mouths of Babes

A long time ago some children said, ―Let’s put on a play! They had done this quite often and so, after a lengthy debate, they decided to reenact Mary and Josef’s plight in Bethlehem, the time when there was no room in the inn.

The scenario was rather strict, it had to follow the biblical story exactly, and the young actors and actresses were well rehearsed and knew their lines correctly. And then the day of the performance came:

Mary and Josef knocked at the door of the inn. The tousled-haired innkeeper in his checkered apron opened the door. He glared at the couple, and in quite an angry and impolite tone told them, ―There is no room in the inn. But when tender and kind Mary breathlessly whispered, ―We are so very exhausted and so close to the time for our baby to be born, the young innkeeper’s tender soul and loving heart became so deeply stirred that it rendered him very quiet; he could not say a word for a while.

The prompter whispered the next line, ―all the rooms are rented out, none is left, there is no room in the inn! Still no sound from the young actor. Twice more the prompter urged: ―all the rooms are rented out, none is left . . . But now, although knowing his rehearsed lines well, the little innkeeper stepped resolutely forward and said in a loud voice for everybody to hear, ― “I know exactly what I am supposed to say, but could those two not sleep in my bedroom?”

“But Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” ~~ Luke 18:16-17

~~ Translated from the German by Helga

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WEEKLY NEWS, JULY 12, 2020

More about: “A Helpful Service”

Two weeks ago, Andrew Cotton, a frequent visitor and professional nurse, offered his services to people who have health concerns and who need direction and recommendations as to what steps need to be taken. He let us have his phone number, but after thinking it through, he realized that, like most of us, he does not respond to numbers he does not recognize. So he requested, if anyone needs him, he/she should call the church office and then Helga will call him about the request.

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

South Africa Bible College Supported Student Report

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

It is a blessing to be able to support those training to spread the gospel. One of those is our brother Pascal whom we support at Southern Africa Bible College. This is a report from him. Please keep him in your prayers. For the elders, Ken D

Dear Brethren,

I would like to start off this letter by saying my greetings to you. It gives me a great pleasure to be able to write to you once gain hoping that this letter will reach you while you are healthy and safe from this pandemic. As I have heard of the situation there in America as far as the Covid-19 is concerned, I have not ceased to ask for better situations for you from the Lord.

I would like to inform you of my activities from the last time I wrote to you or to inform you even of my future plans. Now about the activities, the truth of the matter is that I have not been that much active lately. This lack of activity came as a result of the country been under lockdown as it attempts to limit the spread of this virus. The country’s activities restrictions also disabled me from going around preaching as I had hoped to do when I got home, although spreading God’s word through other means has been good too. Now my time is mostly not all spent indoors cleaning the house, doing my school work and even cooking. These days the college has finally been able to resume studies online which bring some relief from all the worrying about having to go back to the college during these dangerous times for traveling and living.

But the nice thing about being under this lockdown is that I have been able to spend a lot of time with my family, since the schools were told to close down; thus we had to leave the college and go home. During the early stage of the lockdown I was busy working on my assignments and as time went on I was able to get them all submitted. Though it was a bit difficult to get any school work done at first, give that at home there are lots of disturbances.

Another thing that I would like to share as far as my family is concerned is that there has been an additional family member. That is to say, I am now an uncle of two as I count my few months old niece. I am also thankful that so far none of my family members have been infected by this virus and for being in the area where we are free from this virus.

It has been nice writing to you though not much said given the current situation of activity restriction. I real appreciate the time you have put in reading this letter, may everything be well with you and God bless you. This pandemic is not God’s word, thus I feel free and right to say that it too shall pass.

Thank you for your support. Take care and keep safe. God is in control thus trust and obey.

From Nhlanhla Pascal Dlomo

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THE BAD SAMARITIAN

“Which one?” That’s what a typical Jew in Jesus’ time would have asked about this title. To many Jewish people, all Samaritans were bad. There was no such thing as a good Samaritan. The truth, of course, is that Samaritans were like other people. Some were good and some were bad.

Although the Bible does not specifically call him “the good Samaritan,” most Christians know the story about him. But what about the bad Samaritan? Who is this person? What did this individual do to deserve such a label?

When Jesus sat down to rest at Jacob’s well, a woman of Samaria came to draw water. When Jesus asked her for a drink of water, she was surprised and said, “The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9). Thus began an interesting conversation between the Lord and the Samaritan woman.

What kind of woman was she? When He told her to go and get her husband, she said she had no husband. Jesus then revealed her checkered past. “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband, what you have just said is quite true” (John 4:17-18). We are not told whether her five marriages ended in divorce or death of a spouse or a combination of both. We do know her situation when Jesus met her. She was living with a man. Even by the moral standards of the Samaritans, her life had gone bad. Yet ironically we see good points about her, and the Lord brought out the good that was in her to the fullest.

Though she was living in sin, this woman was not brazen and boastful about her situation. Had she been like some women today, she would have told Jesus, “Oh, I’m, not married. I live with my boyfriend.” That response is common. Women and men talk about living in fornication as if it is normal and acceptable; They “are proud and open” about the way they live when they ought to be ashamed. At least the Samaritan women did not try to shove her sin in Jesus’ face like some today do.

This woman was guilty, but she did not resent the Lord when He corrected her. She took His correction well. When He brought to light the sin in her life, she did not get mad and storm away. That is what many today do when you expose their sins. Although she evidently did and change the subject to worship, she was willing to keep listening to Jesus. When the Lord told her that the place where Samaritans worshiped was wrong, she again listened to His reproof instead of getting angry and refusing to listen (John 4:20-24). Instead, this woman who had been living a bad life did the best thing she had ever done. She went into the city and told the men, “Is not this the Christ?” (John 4:29). Because of her, many believed in Jesus (John 4:29).

We do not know what became of this woman. What we do learn is that we should do our best to reach bad Samaritans as well as good ones.

Kerry Duke, West End church of Christ, Livingston, TN

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