A famous country singer told how she got religion. When she was a child, her mother said the Holy Spirit told her that her daughter had a special gift. When she grew up and started singing, she said the gift had to come from God because she didn’t get it from her mother or father. It was then that she felt she had a relationship with God. She said this was when she began to discover “my spirituality.”
“My spirituality.” A spirituality based on a gifted singing voice. How ridiculous! But her claim to religion is typical. People talk about “my” church, “my” beliefs, and “my” denomination. They talk about “my” values, “my” standards, and “my” priorities. They speak of “my” interpretation, “my” definition, and “my” opinion. This terminology is not in itself wrong. Paul spoke of “my gospel” (Rom. 2:16), but this was the exception, not the rule. People today talk about “my religion” and leave God and the Bible out of it. They are like the rich fool who said, “I will tear down my barns and will build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods” (Luke 12:18). He thought all of this was his—but it never was!
These people talk about “their church” like they talk about their car or their house. When this church doesn’t suit them, they change it or they get another one. Religion to them is all about what they want, not what God says. That is why they don’t even bother to give you Bible approval for what they believe and do. Why should they? “My spirituality” is based on feelings anyway. This is also why they are so accepting and tolerant of other beliefs. After all, “my religion” is not “his religion,” but “I can’t say that what is right for me is right for him.”
Such people are often the most vocal about their beliefs. They testify about the good things that have happened to them as proof that “my spirituality” is right. They don’t read verses like Ecclesiastes 9:11 which says time and chance happen to us all. They don’t pay attention to Matthew 5:45 where Jesus said that God makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. If “my spirituality” is right because good things come to me at some point in my life, then everybody’s spirituality is right because everybody receives good things at times.
A lot of people will wish on judgment they had listened to God’s Words instead of their desires. They can talk about how religious they are, but their talk is cheap if they don’t follow the Bible. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me ‟Lord, Lord‟ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day „Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?‟ Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from Me, you evil doers‟” (Matt. 7:21-23).
“My spirituality” is not the standard. Only God’s Word is. Until people humble themselves before it, they will not be saved. – Kerry Duke, West End church of Christ, Livingston, TN
BE A MENTOR! Packsaddle Elementary School is looking for adults who are interested in making a difference in the life of a child. Mentors meet with a student once a week for 30 minutes throughout the school year. If you are interested in this worthwhile volunteer program, please contact: Zilah Schiener, school counselor at (325)248-2269 or email@example.com
SIBI SOLAR PLAYERS Last Sunday’s special contribution for the Solar Mission Players was $2,478.00. Thanks to all who generously gave to this great cause!
THINK ABOUT THIS …. What cookies would you like to bake for Cherokee Home? Would you rather buy them? The children and staff like either. Just be sure that they will be in the Fellowship Room before Wednesday, December 4th. We also collect stuffed toys, animals and dolls, before our Holiday Fellowship Meal on December 8th. Those toys (without button eyes or other loose parts) are donated to the Seton Care A Van to give to children who face traumas when treated for their various maladies.
SOME IMPORTANT UPCOMING EVENTS November Wednesday, 20th — Soup Luncheon 11:30AM to 12:30 PM Wednesday, 27th — All classes dismissed, day before Thanksgiving Thursday, 28th — THANKSGIVING DAY December Monday, 2nd — HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE at the Millers. Wednesday, 4th — Ladies Class pack our COOKIE CONTRIBUTION for Cherokee Home for Children. Sunday, 8th — special guests, Doug & Diane Wheeler will be with us. HOLIDAY FELLOWSHIP at noon. Wednesday, 18th — Soup Luncheon, 11:30 AM — 12:30 PM Wednesday, 25th — ALL CLASSES dismissed
Adventures In Missions
Our congregation is blessed to help support Kaylee Hankins as she has begun the AIM Program (Adventures In Missions) this fall. What follows is from her recent report as she prepares to consider her preferences and selections of possible mission fields. Please keep Kaylee and her classmates in your prayers. For the elders, Ken D
The AIM: I’m excited for this because the mission field is exactly where our feet are at. We don’t have to leave the country, the state, or our city to begin our mission. It begins with where we are at now, where we have our feet planted. As part of the Body of Christ, we are the hands and feet. We are called to be reaching, searching, and seeking for those who are in need. Thank you! I want to say a special thank you to all the Host Families. Without them, none of our trips are possible. Thank you, for those who are reading these. A special thank you for my financial supporters. My monthly support has been so beneficial and a blessing, helping me abundantly. Each of you are such a blessing in my life. Without your constant love, I wouldn’t be in this moment of selection fields and teams. Sticking with me this far gives me more confidence and courage in what we are about to do. My Prayer: I ask for continual prayers for my selections because this is an investment of my life, and I’m letting Him lead me as I follow. Pretty soon, I will be sending out more support letters only for one time support. After I receive my field in December, I will send out more letters for monthly support. Many of the fields this year are a little more expensive. I know that God will provide, I just ask for prayers for willing hearts to help support the Great Commission.
The world teaches hate. Turn on the news or any social media and you will be flooded with stories and opinions that drive fear, distrust, and anger. If you are honest with yourself, you know we have all seen prejudice. We are all guilty of prejudice at one time or another, it is almost inevitable. When we see someone, we make a snap judgment. Are they like me or are they different? Based on that judgment we treat them differently. The Bible has a strong warning against this judgment. “My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,‟ and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,‟ have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?” (James 2:1) We should see each other as God does. God looks at the heart. He sees us as lost children who have sinned and need salvation (Romans 3:23). As a Christian, we need to understand the true love that God has for us. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). God expects us to love the way He does. “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” (Colossians 3:11). “Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears Him and does what is right’ ” (Acts 10:34-35). It does not matter to God if we are tall, short, fat, thin, black, white, brown, red, yellow, American, Palestinian, or if our bodies are whole or broken. God wants us all to repent and turn to Him (2 Peter 3:9). We are blessed to have brothers and sisters around the world of every color, culture, and nationality. Do you love them? – Brad Tolbert Monticello church of Christ, Monticello, AR
SOUP FELLOWSHIP Our next ―Soup Luncheon will be Wednesday, November 20, from 11:30 AM — to 12:30 PM in the Fellowship Room. It’s a great time to invite and get to know guests.
2020 CONGREGATIONAL BUDGET The Elders are beginning their work planning for our 2020 budget. We encourage deacons, ministry leaders and members to share their budgetary concerns with the elders as soon as possible. Please pray for this budget work so that our congregation will have a very successful 2020!
SPECIAL COLLECTION Sunday, November 10th . . . . Our congregation will take up the special contribution for the Solar Player Mission, a major multi-continent effort using hand-held solar-powered audio players to reach the world with the Gospel. Please consider this mission work prayerfully and join with us today to raise funds for this worthy work!
BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES Our congregation will help support the Solar Player Mission Phase V of the Sunset International Bible Institute through a special collection. What follows has additional information concerning that mission. We pray you will support this effort through prayers as well as in any other ways you can. For the elders, Ken D
THE VISION The vision of this Solar Mission is to reach the most people possible who speak the 5th most spoken language in the world with the Gospel and to reach those in need of the Good News who live in one of our closest neighboring countries. THE PURPOSE The purpose of this Portuguese/Creole Solar Mission is to deliver a combined total of 3,000 solar players in Portuguese to all of the Portuguese speaking nations in the world including Brazil, Mozambique, and Angola and in Creole to Haiti. This will be a two year project beginning in 2019 and continuing through 2020. THE OPPORTUNITY Portuguese is the world’s 5th largest language with a major presence in Africa and South America and in some island nations. This Portuguese/Creole Solar player effort can reach many people in Africa to aid the rapid growth of the church there, primarily in rural areas. It will help plant new churches in remote parts of Brazil like the Amazon River basin. In the Northeast part of that country it will help to continue the significant growth of the church. Just as importantly, it will help to follow up with and strengthen churches that are scattered all across Brazil. Creole is the language of Haiti, one of our close neighboring countries. Haiti is a neighbor in need. About 40% of the population is illiterate. Poverty, lack of education and old religions still adversely affect progress. Much good is being done for Haiti in God’s name to address medical, nutritional, educational, and economic needs. Those meeting physical needs in His name also want to meet the spiritual needs and have asked for solar players in the Creole language that they will use as a tool to reach people with the ultimate Good News of the Gospel. Providing solar players in Portuguese and Creole is a unique opportunity to help reach many good souls in hard to reach places in Africa, Brazil, and Haiti, to help plant new churches and to strengthen many existing congregations. It can be a great teaching tool used by those who are working to relieve physical suffering in God’s name. THE PLAN The plan is to deliver a combined total of 3,000 Portuguese and Creole language solar players by the end of 2020. Portuguese language solar players will be distributed throughout the Portuguese -speaking world. In Africa that will be primarily Mozambique. In South America it will be Brazil. Several other nations will also receive Portuguese solar players.
Tex Williams, Longtime Missionary and World Bible School President, Dies
Robert Harold Williams, known among Churches of Christ worldwide as “Tex,” died Wednesday afternoon. He was 91.
For nearly two decades, Williams served as president of World Bible School, a ministry that teaches the Bible through correspondence courses delivered by postal mail and online. The 46-year-old ministry, which is supported and overseen by members of Churches of Christ, has played a role in thousands of baptisms worldwide — especially on the continent of Africa. A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Westside Church of Christ in Round Rock, Texas. A graveside service follows at 1:30 p.m. at Cook-Walden Cemetery in Pflugerville, Texas. At an early age — 7 or 8 years old — Williams was told by a Sunday school teacher that he was destined to become a missionary. His response: “No, I’m going to be a cowboy,” he told The Christian Chronicle in a 2011 interview. Eventually, he fulfilled his teacher’s prediction. Williams attended Texas A&M University and Abilene Christian College (now University), where he played football. He worked with the Boles Children Home in Quinlan, Texas, (now part of the Arms of Hope ministry) and directed the Bel Canto Singers. He and his wife, Mary Jane, married June 10, 1955. He preached for the Northside Church of Christ (now Hyde Park Church of Christ) in Austin, Texas, which assisted the couple as they became missionaries to South Africa. In 1957 the Williamses began serving there, mainly in the cities of Port Elizabeth and Benoni. In Benoni they helped launch Southern Africa Bible College, which trains ministers to serve in Churches of Christ across the continent. After nearly 13 years in Africa, the couple returned to the U.S., where missionary Cline Paden invited them to train future missionaries at the Sunset School of Preaching (now Sunset International Bible Institute) in Lubbock, Texas. In 1985, Reuel Lemmons recruited Tex Williams to move to Austin and serve as his assistant in the World Bible School ministry. Two years later Tex Williams became the ministry’s president. During his tenure, he recruited another missionary to Africa, John Reese, to join the ministry in 1991. In 2006, Reese succeeded Tex Williams as president. Tex Williams had been home bound in recent years. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane, their five children and multiple grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Memorial gifts may be made to World Bible School.
We’ve all probably heard the adage that the majority of communication is nonverbal. This notion is from Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of the book Silent Messages. In his research, he found that only 7 percent of any message is conveyed through words, the rest (38 percent through certain vocal elements and 55 percent through nonverbal elements) is unspoken.
What we say is more about how we say it and the influence of other factors that make the message. Our smile conveys sincerity. Our dress imparts seriousness (or the lack thereof). A head nod implies conviction. This isn’t just for the person talking, but also for the one listening. I know when I preach, the non-verbals of the crowd affect my message. Are they disinterested? Am I making my point? Am I being confusing? Do they agree? Are they about to throw tomatoes? The sad thing is, I know that often times peoples’ non-verbals are not at all directed towards the lesson. His scowl isn’t about the sermon, but about the argument he had with his wife before services. That bored look is a person considering his schedule for the next week not over the content being offered. That nod isn’t agreement but a person trying to stay awake! Still, the message is being sent even if it is unintended. What other messages might we be sending during worship? Could our apparel be sending a message of worldliness or lack of caring? Could our isolation say we are unloving or aloof? Can our seating arrangement say no one really wants to be a part of this so we cram in the back? Does our decor say no one has put much effort into things for a long time? Worship is praise to God and encouragement to others (Hebrews 10:25). Let’s make sure in all we say (and all we don’t say), that it is on message!
2020 CHURCH BUDGET The Elders are beginning their work planning for our 2020 budget. We encourage deacons, ministry leaders and members to share their budgetary concerns with the elders as soon as possible. Please pray for this budget work so that our congregation will have a very successful 2020!
CLOTHING CLOSET NEEDS The Clothing Closet is in need of warm winter coats and jackets. The cold season is upon us and there are those who will be able to enjoy our generous donations. The Clothes Closet is NOT IN NEED OF PURSES, (as it got erroneously into last Sunday’s announcements), but it needs PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS, like those from Walmart or HEB, to pass those warm coats or jackets on.
SPECIAL COLLECTION Next Sunday, November 10th we will take up a special contribution for the Solar Players, a major multi-continent effort using hand-held solar-powered audio players to reach the world with the Gospel. This was started by the Sunset International Bible Institute (SIBI) in 2014. The Solar Event continues to spread the Word to the rest of the world. The current Solar Mission is to deliver Portuguese solar players to Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, and other Portuguese-speaking countries. It will also deliver to Haiti players in Creole. This mission is a multi-year effort to provide a total of 3,000 solar players that will conclude at the end of 2020. (This information from the Solar Mission Website of SIBI) Please consider this mission work prayerfully and join with us next Sunday to raise funds for this worthy work!
Philippine Evangelism from Richard Emperado
In the following from Richard Emperado, whom we help support in the Philippines, Richard reports on the training program there. Keep this work, the Emperados and the church in the Philippines in your thoughts and prayers. For the elders, Ken, D
Dear Family & Friends,
Howdy! Funny but a line of a song is spinning in my mind as I write this report, “There is work on every hand.” On the mission field, there is always something to do, never a dull moment. A few days ago, I was having a meeting with our town major to ask to borrow old bulldozers & other heavy equipment for our Seyer Training Center to study & work on repairing. God has blessed our meeting and given us more then we were asking for. Irwin, the mayor, told me his government owned motor pool is opened for the Seyer students anytime we need it. Mayor Irwin said, “You may do all your lectures at the Seyer Training Center and do the “hands on” at my motor pool.” On top of that, Mayor Irwin said he would be the one to arrange with the two mining firms in our area to allow our Seyer students to have access at their motor pools since they have more heavy equipment to work with. My worries about where to find heavy equipment to work on is over.
The Seyer Training Center will be starting a new course this month, we will start a Bible & Heavy Equipment Training Class 1. Classes will be starting the end of this month. The end of August, we had our graduation from our conventional automotive course. We are right now in the process of building a tall shed like structure, where we can work on big heavy equipment like bulldozers, dump trucks, & other large size construction equipment out of the heat of the sun or heavy rains we have daily here in the tropics. We are working to get the electric & water hookups done right now. Mr. Wilkin, who has been our automotive teacher, will also be teaching our heavy equipment training class as well. The new students will have daily Bible classes, and then divide the training program between heavy equipment training & welding classes. There is a great need for auto mechanics, welders, & heavy machine repairing.
We are thankful for the tools and funds that have been donated to build the new garage shed. Back in August we received 8 Forex boxes of donated tools & equipment from Church members in Sugar Land, TX & Enid, OK. We will do our best to put all the materials to good use. Thank you Highland Lakes Church for providing funds for us to have bible teachers teaching classes to our Seyer students as well.
Your fellow servant, Richard Emperado
Esther could have died. Sure, all the Jews were scheduled to die anyway but Esther could have been the first one. She did something that was illegal and went, unsummoned, to the king. The punishment for doing so was a date with the royal executioner. And why would she do such a thing, take such a risk?
Let’s rewind a little bit. After finding out about an evil man’s plot to kill all the Jews, a man named Mordecai, grieved so publicly that Esther (his cousin) heard about it. She asks what’s up and he tells her they’re all going to die. He then asks her to go do something about it by talking to the king. Her reply is: I can’t, that’s illegal. Then Mordecai says: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14). That was enough of a push for Esther, so she risks her life.
That was a bold message to
give to a queen! But what does money, title, or position matter before God? No
matter who you are you cannot remain silent. Mordecai tells her: it is your job
to speak up. Cowardice has consequences. God will punish those who live by fear
and reward those who live by faith. Mordecai then asks: why do you think you
are where you are? Was it just by chance that you became queen? “From one
man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and
he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should
live” (Acts 17:26). You are queen because God put you there! And it
wasn’t just by chance, you were placed where you are for a purpose. You were
called to be God’s instrument of justice in such a time as this.
We live in uncertain times.
It is usually a risk to speak up for or about the Lord. Doing so could cost us
friendships, closeness to family, maybe even our employment. But who knows if
we haven’t been placed in our situation for such a time as this? Perhaps you
have been elevated in the workplace so you would be in a position to speak to
your boss or a fellow employee about Christ. Perhaps God put that friend in
your life for more than just a golf partner. I imagine the Lord also hoped that
you would speak to him about what would lead to his salvation. Could salvation
come from another place? Sure – but has not God raised YOU up for this purpose?
Boldness in Christ will surely be rewarded. Being ashamed of His name . . . not
so much. In case you were wondering, Esther spoke up in her time and the Jews
were saved. Will we speak up in ours, in such a time as this? I think people
could be saved today also if we do.
Doug Wells, Camden Avenue church
of Christ, Parkersburg, WV
Ephesians 3:20– 21 “Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Think About It
The Apostle Paul encourages us with these words: “Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks to Him through God the Father” (Colossians 3:17).
As we examine this text, we see that prayer is a constant event in the life of a Christian. And one of the main parts of that prayer is giving thanks to God.
This month our nation recognizes a day set aside to give thanks. The original presidential proclamations of this holiday all point out that the subject of our thanks should be our Creator – the Lord God of the Bible. In Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation, he wrote that we give thanks for the “gracious gifts of the Most High God.” And he described Thanksgiving as “a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.”
Give thanks to God for all our gifts. That is exactly what we all should do this Thanksgiving and every day after that, just as Colossians 3:17 commands. Larry Fitzgerald, Woodlawn church of Christ, Abilene, TX
Something to Smile About
A family of four went to services on Sunday. After they returned to their home and were sitting around the table eating their noon meal, the father said, ―Well, I just didn’t like the preacher’s sermon today.
The mother said, ―I liked the sermon all right, but that song leader was all out of tune.
Frances said, ―I enjoyed the singing but the sermon was long enough to wear out the patience of Job.
Little Johnny added ―Daddy, I thought it was a pretty good show for just the nickel you gave.