“AND ON EARTH PEACE….?”

More than 25 centuries ago, the prophet Isaiah hailed the coming Christ as “The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). On the night of His birth the angels sang, “On earth peace, good will toward men…” (Luke 2:14). Yet since that night, centuries of strife and bloodshed have followed one another. Has the promise failed? Did something go wrong?

Why is peace so elusive? Why is there so little peace in the world?

Most People Don’t Really Want Peace. They just want an occasional armistice so they can take a short vacation from their wars! The truth is that we don’t really want peace, because then we would have to forgive those who have wronged us, bury our grudges and love our enemies! “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1). Would the duplication of my own heart in the hearts of all men bring peace or war? Am I myself a center of peace or discord? What bitterness and resentments do I nurse in my heart? It all moves out from individuals to nations. Jesus‟ formula for peace is really very simple: Love, Forgiveness, Sacrifice, Suffering… Our problem is finding the will to pay the price.

Most People Don’t Want the Prince. Christ was not the emissary or advocate of peace, He is the Prince! One to be obeyed! Real peace comes only through Him! Not through treaties, negotiations or a change of government. Peace is a gift which comes only when we kneel at the cross! Our trouble is we want the Peace without the Prince. Neither men or nations will have Him to rule over them and that is the world’s (or people’s) fundamental problem. The One Who called Himself “the way” didn’t allow any other way and if we refuse to have the Prince, there will be no peace!

Most People Don’t Want Peace on the Prince’s Terms. Jesus demands surrender! Obedience! We must submit to the rule of the Prince. The word of God is a Gospel of Peace (Romans 10:15). But the gospel must be obeyed before the peace comes (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

During World War II, J.R. Baxter wrote, “When so many are fighting battles all over the globe, we think more keenly that Christ came to bring peace and good will to men. That we do not have this peace and good will is the fault of man. We have not, as peoples of the world, lived according to His teaching. When we fail to follow God, we suffer.”

Where the reign of Christ is present, peace follows:

Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin;

The blood of Jesus whispers: peace within.

 ~ BOBBY DOCKERY, Fayetteville, Ark

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WEEKLY NEWS, FEBRUARY 28, 2021

WEDNESDAY PM BIBLE CLASS
March 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Troy Futrell
March 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kynn Maxwell

THOUGHTS ABOUT LAST WEEK . . . .
• “I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.‟” — Lewis Carroll
• “One kind word can warm three winter months. — Japanese Proverb
• “To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” — Aristotle
• “A snowflake is one of God’s most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!” — Unknown

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

SUNSET INTERNATIONAL BIBLE INSTITUTE REPORT

We recently received a report from Tyler Meredith, whom we help support at Sunset preaching school. Keep Tyler in your prayers. For the elders, Ken D

Wow! This holiday season was so nice. I got to spend Thanksgiving in Texas with my fiancée’s family, I traveled home to Ohio for Christmas, I started and finished up my second term of my final year here at SIBI, and I continued some of the ministries I have been involved in.

Classes started back up over the last few weeks of October, and they finished up the third week of December. The classes that I got to take were: our second Teaching lab, The Gospel of John, Isaiah, Galatians, Hebrews, and Family and Youth Ministry Framework. Our teaching lab helped us to become better at teaching in a group setting. The class over the Gospel of John is a break-down of the book of John. In our Isaiah class, we studied the prophecies and life of Isaiah. Galatians was a well-crafted class about the epistle written to those in Galatia. Hebrews was a great class about the book of Hebrews. Family and Youth Ministry Framework helped us to design our youth program in a way that the family can be strengthened and greatly affect the kingdom.

One of the really big ministries to me since this summer has been preaching at local congregations. Since I was out of town for several weeks I did not get to visit many of them. Although, I did get to visit with a few of the brothers over the holiday season. Some of the churches I was privileged to preach at were: Lockney, TX, Rotan, TX, and then my home town of Piketon, OH. I love getting to preach at local congregations, and it was so nice to get to preach in the presence of my family and friends in Ohio as well! Preaching has been a challenge ever since COVID broke out. All of the social distancing and mask wearing has made preaching at local congregations difficult, but I am still greatly blessed to still get to visit with all these wonderful men and women of God.

All of this would be impossible without the help of my supporters. Thank you all so much for making my life down here in Texas possible. I am so grateful for the encouragement and love that I receive every day. Thank you all once again for the Wonderful blessing that you have been to me and continue to be for me.

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RULES OF HAPPY LIVING

1. Count the blessings not the troubles. If we are not careful, we will let our minds dwell on trouble.

2. Live one day at a time. The past is over, the future is not yet here, but today is mine (“this is the day the Lord has made…”)

3. “Break the Alabaster Box”. Show the appreciation you have for others; this is a part of loving others.

4. Be a “cheerful giver”, not a “selfish getter” if God has already blessed and supplied you with your needs. A “go-giver” not a “go-getter”. The “selfish getter” is unhappy and frustrated.

5. Seek for good in everyone and everything. Refuse bad thinking-habits. Don’t dwell on things that are wrong concentrating on the bad.

6. Pray every day, unceasingly. Leave things in the hand of God. It is such a blessing that Jesus bears our burdens.

7. Do a good deed every day. Go the second, even the third mile. That is where our joy happens.

8. We can tell the “size” of a person by what is bothering him/her, being up-tight about things, health etc. Intense worry shows lack of faith. Remember: life does not consist of the abundance of “things”.

9. Practice the “do-it-now” habit. In problems, don’t think about the difficulty, just go ahead and do it in order to get a solution. “Great people do ordinary things in a great way.”

10. Practice the “happiness habit”. It is catching. Always start with yourself. “The helping hand of the Lord is always at the end of my own arm”.

11. Fear nothing and no one! Worry is also a form of fear besides a lack of faith. Replace “worry-thought” with “faith-thought.”

12. Learn to laugh and learn to cry. Christ had a sense of humor and joy. He also wept. Happy and successful people know when to laugh and when to cry. Mental and emotional “wrecks” do not know when to do either.

13.Most of all: LEARN TO LET GO AND LET GOD TAKE OVER!

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WEEKLY NEWS, FEBRUARY 7/14, 2021

THANK YOU NOTE
“Dear Church Family
We thank you for the prayers, cards and text messages after Dad’s surgery. He continues to recover. We are grateful for the support.”
Bless you all! – Valerie & Dale Cook & Billy Hazlewood.

WEDNESDAY PM BIBLE CLASS
Feb. 24 . . Bible Lands Video: Northern Israel
March 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Troy Futrell

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

GOSPEL CHARIOT

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES
We have been blessed to support Gospel Chariot for its work in Africa for many years. The global COVID pandemic has hampered that effort, but the Gospel is still being spread in other ways and in other places. Pray for this work! For the elders, Ken D

Hi Everyone,
This is our International update as we spread our wings into other countries and especially with discipleship training and church planting and all this expansion during the most trying year of COVID.
You will see what God is doing in India and also in the Philippines, USA, Mexico and Australia and we hope to grow this by 10 new countries this year of 2021. PLEASE PRAY for multiplication of disciples and churches everywhere. Thank you, Thank you.
INDIA – The amazing multiplication training is taking place in India. This is so encouraging because this is a Hindu nation and we are teaching the kids, the moms, the dads, the youth, the grandmothers and the grandfathers. The educated and the uneducated. Those in the city and those in the villages. Bottom line: we are now not just focusing on teaching the best to be better, but help every Christian and even the young ones before baptism, to understand how to be farmers for Jesus. We are in the homes of the Hindu people. Watch this space in the coming year. God is Good. Brethren, I have never even been to India in my life. How is this all happening. It is God and you brethren, that have helped this work over the years. I hope to visit India after COVID, but even if I don’t, a disciple movement has begun.
It all started with me doing online Zoom training and equipping online. Now we are working with 73 village Churches of Christ and our goal is equipping Indians to equip other Indians with simple discipleship tools. Our goal and prayer is to take all this equipping to the other regions in India as well. This is so exciting. Please pray with us.
To God be the Glory.
In Him. Love, Brother George Funk

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UNSHAKEABLE FAITH IN THE IMMOVEABLE KINGDOM

In the heat of the Civil War, Moses Lard penned this Note to the Brotherhoodto encourage Christians: “More now than ever before in this country do even Christians need to be placed completely under the influence of Christianity. In mind and heart they are deeply and painfully agitated. Christianity alone can tranquillize and soothe them. In thought they are distracted and unsettled, and in affection alienated one from another. Truth alone can unitize, settle, and reassure them. Their zeal has cooled, their energy lost its ancient tone. Fresh, living pictures of the love of Christ, more than anything else, can rekindle the former, and vitalize the latter. Exciting (agitating) political news so engrosses their attention that their views of the Gospel are in uncommon danger of becoming dim and unreliable. Nothing can so effectually prevent this as sharp, spirited discussions of the great elementary themes of Christianity. Indeed, never before did so high a necessity exist in our ranks for sound elementary preaching, and sound elementary writing as now. Let such preaching, and such writing, quick with the noble warmth of preacher and writer, be sent home to the hearts of the people, and salvation, and joy, and gladness will be the result…We cannot desert it now in this hour of trial. No: we must work for it with pen, work for it with tongue, work for it with prayer, work for it in hope, work for it the livelong day, and dream of it in watches of the night — work for it and never faint” (Lard’s Quarterly, September 1863).

These same restless feelings threaten to distract us today and dampen our spirits. If we will learn from history as well as the Scriptures, we will see that the key to our faith’s survival is persistence. We must hold to the things we have learned. We must let the Bible put things into perspective. We must not lose focus. This is not easy, especially when we hear so much that can be discouraging. In times of great distress we tend to be preoccupied with threats to our physical life and possessions. The church must keep teaching the grand foundational truths of the gospel. This is our only protection against something far worse — spiritual death.

If anyone understood stress it was David. It was at those low points that he doubled down in his commitment to God. “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to You. I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psa. 61:1-2). “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in You my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed.” (Psa. 57:1). God heard these prayers then. He will hear them today. The only question is whether we will trust Him (Prov. 3:5-6).

  • Kerry Duke West End church of Christ, Livingston, KY
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WEEKLY NEWS, FEBRUARY

WEDNESDAY PM BIBLE CLASS

Feb. 10 . . . . . . . . . .Troy Futrell

Feb. 17 . . . . . . . .Kynn Maxwell

WITH SYMPATHY

We feel deeply with Tina Brewer, Lesa Ledbetter and John Brewer as they grieve the untimely death of Tina’s and Lesa’s cousin, Charles Sachsenmeyer, last week in Clyde, Texas.  We send to them and to the extended family our love, heartfelt prayers and condolences, may they find rest in the assurance that God will fill them with comfort and hope as they trust in His goodness.

WELCOME, NEW MEMBERS!

Jeff and Peggy Hale placed membership with us last Sunday, January 31st. They come to us from the McLewis Church of Christ in Orange, TX. We welcome Jeff and Peggy! We are happy that you decided to come to our congregation to work and worship with us. May we be an encouragement to each other and may God bless us in all we do. Their directory information is available from the church office.

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

NIGERIAN EVANGELISM REPORT

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

When Paul wrote to the Galatians, he reminds them of how God uses belief and faith together with repentance and baptism to bring people of often different backgrounds to be one in Christ. “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28 ESV We continue to thankfully rejoice as new brethren are brought into the oneness in Christ. Brother Mike Udam shares recent new births into the kingdom. Please pray for the church in Nigeria. For the elders, Ken D

Beloved, Today, the Lord added two more souls to the kingdom of his son. Within January alone we have recorded 14 baptisms. We are glad that our message is making the needed impact in the village. Pray for us. Our 2021 Couple Retreat will be this weekend. We strongly believe that stabilizing the home front will keep the church strong. God Bless you all, Mike Udam

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THE END OF THE MATTER

Stephen Covey famously suggested that one of the habits of highly effective people is that they “begin with the end in mind.” I was thinking of that phrase recently while studying the book of Ecclesiastes at the very time that we have started a brand new year.

“Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:9-14).

Consider the power and value of the Word of God!

• It is given to us by the very Shepherd Himself (v.11).

• It is the truth (v.10).

• It is beautiful and delightful (v.10).

• It will not be changed — it is firmly fixed as by nails (v.11).

• It prompts and guides us to where we need and want to be — like an animal prod (v.11).

Being ready for judgment begins by knowing what is expected of us. Let us begin this year with the end of the matter in mind. Let us be devoted to the words of truth!

  • Bart Warren, South Green Street church of Christ Glasgow, KY
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WEEKLY NEWS, JANUARY 31, 2021

THANK YOU NOTE
January 18th, 2021
Hello —
Thanks so much to Mary Smith to reach out to me regarding my dad, Carroll Norman. We continue to speak of the kind and caring people there that were so loving to my mom, Dorothy, while they lived there. Can’t believe the many years have passed quickly.
Dad is still alert and talkative when he feels good. He continues in the Assistant Living, but has been isolated — and I haven’t been in since March (his birthday-month — he will be 97 this year). Health issues and “time” can sure limit people!
He moved around the corner from his other room and is now in.
He got his first COVID immunization, so maybe, they will open up soon — most stay in their room — so sad.
Thank you again for sending him the bulletin — at least, he gets some mail!!
Jan Nuckols (daughter)

(His room and phone number are available from the church office.)

WEDNESDAY PM BIBLE CLASSES
Feb. 3 . . . . . . . . . . . Ken Darnell
Feb. 10 . . . . . . . . . . Troy Futrell
Feb. 17 . . . . . . . . . . Kynn Maxwell
Feb. 24 . . . . . . . . . . Video – N Israel

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

SHARING JESUS

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES
A good message from good brothers helps us see the need to share Jesus. Pray that we all do the same. For the elders, Ken D

A powerful church
Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. – Acts 13:1
The church in Antioch was preparing, as the events of Acts 13 unfolded, to take the lead in bringing the gospel to the Gentile world. Jerusalem would remain the mother church – although not in the sense that denominationalists think today – but Antioch would be the leading voice to the greater part of the world.
The men mentioned in our passage were the leading men of the church – the prophets and teachers who were responsible for the church’s fantastic growth.
Some may have been elders in that congregation as well, such information is not made known to us. We do know that Saul would not have been among the elders in that his marital state precluding serving in that capacity.
An interesting question concerns how those prophets and teachers came to be in Antioch. We’re not sure about Simeon, Lucius or Manaen, but we know about Barnabas and Saul.
Barnabas was sent to check out the work by the leaders in Jerusalem and, upon seeing its extent and the need, promptly went to get Saul to come and help.
I wonder if we think about churches in the same way. We often describe churches positively as friendly, outgoing, scriptural, faithful or loving, but do we describe churches as evangelistic?
If an evangelist (not a professional preacher, but someone with giftedness in evangelism) came to the church where you are worshipping, would he or she feel welcome to stay or perhaps even go find another evangelist to invite into the work?
What about those in the congregation? Is evangelism by the membership encouraged or are we quenching that gift? My considered assessment is that much of the giftedness in our churches is being quenched by an attitude of professionalism in our society. We have professionals handle many of the tasks people used to handle themselves. Are we doing the same with the work of the church?
One does not have to be able to expound on the intricacies of the LOGOS as revealed by the Apostle John, nor expose in detail the errors of pre-tribulation rapture theology in order to be an evangelist. One only needs to tell people what Jesus has done.
— Jay Kelley is the evangelist for the Austin Street Church of Christ in Levelland, Texas.

One of our Nigerian brothers recently shared the truth from Jay’s thoughts. ——

This is one of the sisters in Ugbogbo congregation in Igarra. She sells ground nuts (peanuts). And she sells them by hawking from street to street with a tray on her head. At the same time, she shares tracts along with her customers. That way, she is taking part in our Market Evangelism strategy.
In this and other ways and methods we are trying to disseminate the ‘seed’ of the word of God to as many as possible. And God has been encouraging us with increases! We had a total of 47 converted into Christ through our various outreach ministries in the last quarter of the year 2020. The power indeed is in the word!
— Sylvester Imogoh, Ugbogbo church of Christ, Igarra, Edo State Nigeria

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A MASTERPIECE TAKES TIME

The stereotypical view of artistry is of the chaotic genius giving birth to great works of art and music in fits of creative energy. One moment a blank canvas, the next a masterpiece; one instant an empty score, the next a symphony. However, an investigation into the facts does not support this view.

Beethoven, one of the world’s most famous composers, rose at daybreak and worked continuously until two or three o’clock, working on multiple ideas at once. He often worked on musical pieces that he began years before. For many of his ideas he sketched as many as 20 or 30 variants of a theme to arrive at just the right sound.

Well-known master painter Michelangelo produced more than 2,000 sketches and renderings of his work “Last Judgment” during the eight years it took him to complete his masterpiece.

In just these two examples we see that patience and consistent effort were combined to create incredible works of art.

The Christian life is similar in that patience and hard work are required to bring forth a beautiful walk of faith. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-14). You see, it takes a blending of the Word of God and patient striving on our part to become conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; 12:2), and the end of that process is eternal life (Romans 2:7).

Anything of lasting value requires patient commitment and discipline to come into being. Christian, do not give up. Your life can be a masterpiece!

  • Matt Clifton BulletinDigest.com
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WEEKLY NEWS, JANUARY 24, 2021

WITH SYMPATHY

James Christian, the older brother of Bill Christian, passed away at his home in Tow on Friday, January 15th. Graveside services were held on Monday, January 18th at the Bluffton Cemetery.  Our prayers, love and condolences are with Bill and niece Wanda Christian. May God’s blessings and comfort be with you and with all his loved ones.

WEDNESDAY PM BIBLE CLASS

Jan. 27. . . . Video (Jerusalem)

Feb. 3 . . . . . . . . . . Ken Darnell

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

NIGERIAN EVANGELISM – MIKE UDAM

One of the evangelists that we are blessed with and thankful to support in the Nigerian work is brother Mike Udam. To help us all to know him better, we wanted to share these descriptions about Mike written by one of his friends who knows him well. Continue to keep Mike and the Nigerian work in your prayers. For the elders, Ken D

“Behold a school Teacher, a village Preacher, and a community Development Advocate. Married with three kids. Passionate about Mission Work.” Fellow Nigerian, Bassey Etim, took his time to write about me and I am so touched by his words. Mike.

“His name is Mike Udam.
His personality is Frankness and Humility.
His Vision is to meet everyone in heaven.
His mission is to spread the Gospel of Christ.
His hobby is, use the simplest means to address very critical issues.
He is in adventurous voyage of killing Apostasy.
He specializes in the ministry of Family Development.
He has a call of Advocacy, and he loves making calls advocating for positive change – in Religion, Governance, and Society generally.
He is a Bulldozer for Christ and his community. He impacts by compacting all his specializations into One for the good of ALL.
He is a Miraculous GIFT to his family, community, church, friends (within and abroad), and even unto foes alike.
This is Mike MIRACLE SUPERMAN Udam.

THE VILLAGE SCHOOL TEACHER AND PREACHER.”

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