THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP

There is something about human nature that loves a bargain. Few things please us more than getting something for next-to-nothing. We dream of striking it rich quickly. We boast about “what a steal” a particular item was. We flock to clearances and auctions and garage sales hoping that one day we will stumble across something of real value that doesn’t cost us anything.

We’re even tempted to look for a bargain when it comes to matters of faith. I believe that salvation is the free gift of God. But even as I say that my ears perk up at the words “free gift.” The bargain lover in me hears words like “grace,” “mercy”, and “gift” and immediately I begin to wonder if there might really be a free lunch after all. It’s as if God were holding a cosmic garage sale, and, while picking through the treasures, we come across salvation marked down so low that anyone would jump on the deal. Imagine our delight that something as precious and valuable as salvation can be obtained at no cost to ourselves, with no risk and no obligation.

cost-of-discipleship-10-carry-crossBUT one of the most perplexing paradoxes of religion is: Salvation is the free gift of God, yet it costs us everything we have. It cannot be earned, yet it requires we leave all, take up a cross and follow. It demands only our faith, yet that faith demands everything else about us — denial of self! Salvation is by grace, but that grace is the most costly commodity around. The call to discipleship will cost you everything you value. Jesus wants you to count the cost before coming to Him. Don’t become His disciple only to discover that He demands more than you are willing to give. Everyone will ridicule the disciple who begins and then turns back.

What is the discipleship worth to you? Are you willing to pay the price that Jesus demands? Remember — salvation is a gift, but it does not come cheap.  – Mike Gravois, Tyler, TX

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WEEKLY NEWS, JANUARY 6, 2019

THANK YOU NOTE

The family of Jackie Ledbetter thanks you. Your cards, visits, and phone calls during her long illness made her happy. Your presence and sympathy at the visitation were a source of solace to us, and, most of all, your prayers sustained us, so that we were able to care for mother till the end of her earthly journey.  Thank you so much for you love!

HELPING HANDS PANTRY

Needs – Plastic bags, shampoo, deodorant

Thank you!

HELP WANTED

 Visiting those in need.

 Maintaining our lawn and shrubs.

 See Cary Miller.

LOVING GOOD WORKS
Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus was teaching during His sermon on the mount that we as Christians need to be seen by others of the world. How and why are we to be seen? We are to be seen doing good works. We are to be doing the good works in order that God may receive the glory.
As Christians we need to love doing good works. What does it mean to “love good works?” A good work can be defined as the following: “a strong feeling or devotion to any physical or mental activity that produces something that is morally beneficial or desirable” (def. by Halbert Tucker). Christians need to focus time, money, and energy on these good works that are beneficial to others and to God’s kingdom.
Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We need not put our hearts on treasures of this world that will rot away, be stolen, or get lost. Things like cell phones, tablets, money, jobs, hobbies, and sports seem to be where we have our treasures in today’s world. But our treasure should be treasures of heaven. Doing good works is one of the ways we can focus on heavenly treasures.
Just doing good works alone is not going to get you to heaven. We must obey the gospel the way God commands we obey. And so He commands us to be ready for every good work. “…to be ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1) “… equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17).   We need to be people zealous for good works as Paul described to Titus in Titus 2:14. So let us look for ways that we can shine our lights by doing good works, so glory may be given to God. Nick Pace – S. Green St. church of Christ, Glaskow, KY

human-footprints_318-46627BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

Timothy 2:1 (ESV) “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people”.

What a tremendous thing to be able to pray to God on behalf of someone. What a very tremendous thing to be asked to pray for someone whom we are honored to be fellow workers in the kingdom with. What follows is a list of important prayer requests from our brethren at Southern Africa Bible College from our brother Kirk Eason. We gladly financially support a student at SABC and we know we would want also to spiritually support them through our prayers. Please pray for this important work that is preparing workers for the spreading the gospel of our Lord Jesus. For the elders, Ken D

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Happy New Year!

The staff and students of Southern Africa Bible College pray that God will bless you and keep you in the New Year. May he work in you and through you to fulfill his plans. Please pray for the following items as we begin 2019.

1) The new and returning students who will begin classes in late January.

2) The 2018 graduates who are now working in the kingdom.

3) The 15 people from the States who are traveling to South Africa in March to encourage and serve.

4) The continued success of our special campaign. We need approximately $25,000 more to meet our $60,000 goal.

5) A thanksgiving for the matching grant we received at the end of 2018.

Thank you for your prayers and support of SABC. Imagine all the people who have come to Christ, and will come to Christ, because of your partnership in this effort.

Please let me know if you ever have any questions.

Peace,

Kirk Eason, Director of Development USA

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WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH THE NEW?

newToward the end of the year, we begin to focus on the “new.” We enjoy giving and receiving “new” presents, and we look forward to the hope of a “new” year. A blank calendar page represents fresh opportunity, but what will we do with it?
Hezekiah was known as a man who received renewed opportunity from the Lord. A godly king, Hezekiah destroyed the idols in Judah (2 Kings 18:4) and trusted God (2 Kings 18:5-6).
When Assyria came knocking on the door threatening to destroy Jerusalem, Hezekiah prayed (2 Kings 19:15-19), and God spared Judah. When Hezekiah fell ill, and God told him that he would not survive, Hezekiah again went to the Lord in earnest prayer, and God extended his life by 15 years (2 Kings 20:1-6). Two challenges in Hezekiah’s day were overcome by going to God in prayer. The nation now had renewed hope, and Hezekiah especially should have been filled with new enthusiasm for the future after God spared his life.
However, when a third challenge presents itself, Hezekiah seems to display resignation and selfishness. Isaiah reveals to him that Babylon would soon come and take away the wealth of Judah, as well as Hezekiah’s own descendants (2 Kings 20:16-18). Instead of meeting this challenge with more prayer, Hezekiah says, “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good!” and “Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?” (2 Kings 20:19). Hezekiah was given new opportunities, but he was content to live with his personal blessings, and gave no prayer for the future generations.
As Christians, we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, and walk in newness of life. We’ve had our lives extended eternally! But what about the lost around us? What about future generations? Will we be content with our own salvation, and give no thought, prayer, or action for the salvation of others?
What will we do with the new?
Matt Clifton Judsonia church of Christ, Judsonia, AR

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WEEKLY NEWS, DECEMBER 30, 2018

HELPING HANDS PANTRY

Needs:  Plastic bags, shampoo, deodorant

Thank you!

THANK YOU NOTE

. . . for all the cards and best wishes from my church family! I have enjoyed getting and reading them.  God bless you all in the coming year!”  In Him, Salvador San Tillan

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BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

What follows is a summary of Nigerian preacher Mike Udam’s work. We are thankful to help support him. Please keep Mike and the work in Nigeria in your prayers. For the elders, Ken D

Dearly beloved,

I write today to share with you a summary of my work for 2018 and a work plan for 2019. God has been faithful and has used me to do work in his vineyard. I am excited that I was found useful by him and that he gave me strength to work and grace to carry on.

miketodayBetween January and December this year, the congregation that I work with recorded significant growth. We recorded 13 baptisms and one disfellowship. Even the brother disfellowshipped is struggling to clean himself and return to the fold. I made a total of 17 trips out of my congregation to speak at lectureships, seminars, retreats and evangelism outreach around the country. I made one international trip to Swaziland for mission work. It was a great opportunity to go teach people and strengthen the church outside your country. In August this year, I took my usually one-week free ICT training for preachers in my area to Abuja where most of the preachers in the Federal Capital of Nigeria were trained free on how to use ICT in building themselves up and developing the church.

During our 2018 annual Fellowship (evangelism, lectureship and devotion) in November, the Ukpagada congregation established a new congregation at Ukpe, a village I drive through to get to Ukpagada. A man in that village stopped me and demanded that I come and preach that gospel that has changed the Ukpagada people. During the Open air preaching, 7 souls obeyed the gospel. As at today the church is having 12 baptized brethren and 11 faithful souls. I have been assisting there for the past three weeks.

[001986]Yesterday 22nd of December, we organized our yearly couple’s retreat where 37 couples gathered and learnt skills in dealing with conflicts in their marriages. My World Bible School activities also recorded huge success. My team and I recorded huge enrollment this year. As at today I have over 300 students I am currently doing follow up on. Most are doing advance courses now and hopefully we will soon see real New Testament conversion.

As my contribution to the growth of the church in Nigeria, one new book THINK DEEP from my hand shall be out of the press next week and shall be shared amongst preachers during the 2019 Great Workshop. Two personal achievements for the year include the completion of my master’s degree in Educational Technology and my admission into Darrell Memorial Bible Institute Obudu to do a degree with Sunset International Bible Institute Texas. My challenges are very few. Bad roads, long trips on those bad roads, heavy wear and tear on my car leading to high maintenance cost. I change my tires once a year and work on my suspensions every two months. It is tough but the work must be done especially if you are seeing result.

2019 plan: If the Lord wills, it is my desire to do mission trip to Kenya or Uganda for 10 days in August. If the Lord wills, it is my desire to organize my one week free ICT training for preachers in Lagos. If the Lord wills, it is my desire to lead the church to stabilize the new congregation started at Ukpe. It is my desire that you put me in your support spiritually and materially also.

God bless you

Mike Udam

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PEACE ON EARTH

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (Luke 2:14)

Remember Lucy and Charlie Brown? Lucy says, “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown. Since it’s this time of the season, I think we ought to bury past differences and try to be kind.” Charlie asks, “Why does it just have to be this time of the season? Why can’t it be all year long?” Lucy looks at him and exclaims, “What are you, some kind of a fanatic?” On another occasion, Lucy has a score to settle with Charlie. She chases him, shouting, “I’ll get you, Charlie Brown! I’ll get you, I’ll knock your block off!” Charlie Brown, who has been running full speed, stops, turns around and says, “Wait a minute! Hold everything! lf

We can’t carry on like this! We have no right to act this way. The world is filled with problems. People hurting other people. People not understanding other people. Now, if we as children can’t solve what are relatively minor problems, how can we ever expect to . . . “Whereupon, Lucy hits Charlie with a left to the jaw, knocking him out. Says Lucy, “I had to hit him QUICK! He was beginning to make sense.”

Surely, we all would rather have peace than strife. Surely, that makes sense! But where must the peace begin? It will not begin at the peace conference tables of this world, or through legislation. It must begin with ME. With YOU. We AS CHRISTIANS, ARE CALLED TO BE PEACEMAKERES. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). Paul tells us, “All things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). This is our task. Why, then, do we become upset over such petty things so often and create strife, instead of peace? There are so many truly big issues out there to be concerned with, what a pity it is to be petty.

LET US STRIVE AFTER “PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN.”

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WISHES FOR THE COMING YEAR

Happy and Safe Holidays to all and Best wishes for a Healthy and Blessed 2019

From the elders, their spouses and the staff of the Highland Lakes church of Christ

Ken & Gail Darnell

Troy & Leana Futrell

  Cary & Brenda Miller

                                                                    Joe & Teri Winnett

                                                                   Helga Blackstone

                                                                      Vicky Williams

 

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WEEKLY NEWS, DECEMBER 23, 2018

THANK YOU NOTE

“Thanks to our church family at Highland Lakes church of Christ.

My surgery went well and recovery is progressing very well.

We appreciate everyone’s calls and prayers. Your love and concerns are so much appreciated.”

Troy & Leana Futrell

WELCOME, NEW MEMBERS

Don & Jo Ann Hollums placed membership with us last week. We extent to them a heartfelt “welcome” and hope that we will be of mutual blessing, as we worship and work for the Lord in the Kingsland area.

Their address and information are available from the bulletin or church office.  Please add it to your directory.

HELPING HANDS PANTRY

Needs Plastic bags, shampoo, deodorant

Thank you!

PANTRY NEWS

Attention, Pantry Workers!

Last Pantry of the year on Christmas Eve, December 24th.

The Pantry will NOT be open on Tuesday, January 1st, 2019.

human-footprints_318-46627BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

But the word of God increased and multiplied.” Acts 12:24 (ESV)

“So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.” Acts 16:5 (ESV)

God’s word is about the growth of His kingdom. We are thankful to be supporting efforts to spread God’s kingdom in Nigeria. This brief note and the photos from our brother Mike Udam speaks to the power of God and His word. Please pray for the work of sharing God’s word and the strengthening of His church there. For the elders, Ken D

Beloved,

The new congregation planted November 23 with 7 members now have 12 members. Two souls were added to the church today. 3 last week Sunday. We are making progress.

Mike Udam

 

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TRUST IN GOD

trustgod

Trust in God is paramount in the life of the child of God. While this may be an obvious statement, it is often difficult for followers of Christ to put this fully into practice. Maybe it’s not that we have a complete lack of trust in God, but that we struggle to yield to Him our full faith. When the storms of life arise, we often panic, choosing to frantically bail water from the boat. Finally, when it seems our bailing is in vain, we wake Christ up, questioning His love and concern for us, “Don’t you care that we are perishing?” It is to this question that Jesus responds, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
I am convinced that these disciples who were in the boat with Jesus had faith in Him. They believed in Him. They trusted in His wisdom as He taught them. After all, they left everything and followed Him. They would not have responded to His call in this way if they were completely unconvinced that there was something special about Him. But I am equally sure they needed to trust Him more.
Their story is our story. We need to trust Him more. We need to say with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, “Our God is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace….but even if He doesn’t, we will still not serve other gods.”
Trust in God is paramount. May our trust continue to grow as God continues to rescue!
~~ Keith Harris, Windsong church of Christ
Little Rock, AR

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