HIS YOKE IS LIGHT

The commands of God are wonderful. They guide our lives and bring healing to our souls. People, however, sometimes have the bad habit of making these commands a little less enjoyable than they should be. Once the disciples were following Jesus on the Sabbath. Which is a good thing. And the Sabbath is a good thing – God commanding a day out of the week to rest is an act of love. Who wants to see a bunch of burnt-out believers? Not God. Wonderful command. However, I suspect it didn’t feel that way when some Pharisees shouted out something like ―Hey Jesus, you better go find some better disciples. These guys don’t know how to follow the rules‖ (My paraphrase – see Matthew 12:2). What was their crime? The hungry disciples were picking some grain and eating it as they walked behind the Savior.

I guess if you take an extreme view of Exodus 34:21, the Pharisees are technically right. It does say rest even during harvest on the Sabbath and I guess technically the disciples are harvesting. Technically. For that they are instantly condemned by people who were in the habit of instantly condemning. But, as Jesus points out, technically David wasn’t supposed to eat the consecrated bread. When David and his men were running for their lives from Saul all there was to eat was holy bread – which “was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests” (Matthew 12:4). They were not condemned by God for this. Apparently God believes that when someone is running for their life a little extra mercy is called for. He clearly also understands that when you’re following Jesus through fields and no one invites you in for something to eat you’re going to be really hungry, and mercy instead of condemnation should rule the day.

Do you know what the Pharisees should have done if the actions of the disciples were bothering them that much? They should have invited them for supper! That would be much tastier than raw grain. But, they didn’t, because they did not understand what these words mean: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Matthew 12:7). Do we? A stranger walks into church and hasn’t got our dress code memo. The young man is wearing a T-Shirt and ripped jeans. Who wants anything to do with that guy? He doesn’t know how to follow our rules! Someone struggling to untangle herself from the world says something inappropriate by accident. We write her off for that, right? Lost cause, even though she quickly said a sincere ―sorry‖ afterward. Might I suggest the commands of God were given to actually help people? That’s the point – to help people for this life and the next! If we don’t realize that there are times for mercy we’re going to end up doing the same thing the Pharisees did: turn a command that was meant for our good into a heavy burden. People trying to act like the Savior won’t do that. His burden is light. – Doug Wells, Camden Avenue church of Christ, Parkersburg, VA

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WEEKLY NEWS, FEBRUARY 9, 2020

VISITING FOR THE MASTER IN 2020
It is time to reorganize our visitation program for the New Year. Members were invited to add their names to the sign-up sheet on the table at the rear of the auditorium.
This program has served our congregation well since 2007. The reorganization meeting will be held this evening after our worship hour. If you still have questions, see Cary Miller for additional information.

HELPING HANDS PANTRY
Bath soap, deodorant, tooth paste, shampoo
THANK YOU!

EATING OUT TOGETHER . . .
…on Thursday, February 13th, at ―Mama’s in Burnett at about 5:30 pm. The sign-up sheet is on the table in the back of the auditorium.

SOUP FELLOWSHIP
Our next Soup Luncheon is on Wednesday, February 19th, at 11:30 AM. This is a good time to meet and visit with our guests!

WORLD BIBLE SCHOOL WORKDAY
On Thursday, February 13th, we will have the next World Bible School workday. From about 9 AM to noon. Come and enjoy the fellowship and this good work!

REMEMBER OUR SPANISH WORK
Salvador SanTillan is ready every Sunday morning to teach a Bible class in Spanish. This is a worthy endeavor. Do you have friends who would benefit from this Spanish Bible study? Let them know about it by giving them a warm, personal invitation. Those who already come, make them feel welcome and at home in our fellowship.

PRAYER REQUESTS
Please let the secretary (Helga) know, either by a written note or an e-mail message , if you would like to have your prayer requests published in the PRAYER REQUEST list in the bulletin. Also remember to cut out that list ever so often for your own special prayer time.

A PRAYER FOR OUR NATION
Dear God, You have commanded us in Romans 13:1, Titus 3:1 and 1 Pet. 2:13, and other places, to submit to the governing authorities. And we want to do this, it is Your will. But as we look around us, we see that those authorities do so many things that are not subject to Your will and laws. We see them rebel against You and so we feel uneasy.
But You have also commanded us to pray, in 1 Timothy 2:2, for those in authority that we may live peaceful and quite lives in all godliness and holiness. So this we will do, because You have assured us in James 5:16 that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. Therefore we pray that there will be an awakening in those who are our authorities toward Your laws, Your will, which is the best for mankind.
As You have blessed us with a form of government that gives us the right to vote for what is right in Your eyes and according to Your will, we will do our best to be informed and prayerfully consider and decide to do what is right in our civic duty. May God bless our efforts in all we do!
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

Gospel Chariot Fourth Quarter Update 2019

Gospel Chariot Fourth Quarter Update 2019. Please keep in your prayers all our brethren throughout Africa who are sharing the Gospel and helping the lost find their Savior thru the efforts of the Gospel Chariot. For the elders, Ken D

Hi Everyone. Hope this finds you doing well. This is the West African Fourth Quarter update and it’s a little late due to me being on the road in Africa. West Africa is on fire for The Lord and the new big gospel chariot is up and running in Liberia and over a hundred souls have been baptized into Christ. We still need to get a baptistery built in like the other chariots and will try do that as soon as possible. The exciting news is we are now starting to raise funds for a new big gospel chariot that will be based out of French speaking Benin that will focus on all the French speaking countries around Ghana. We now have more chariots in West Africa than any other region due to us wanting to be intentional in reaching Muslim populated countries. Please pray for this bold move as Africans take Africa for Jesus.

That said, we have flown a number of Key African leaders down to South Africa for a 4 day intensive 4 fields discipleship seminar where we will learn how to start cells churches in Muslim populated countries where we can’t go in with gospel chariots. We will also do that training in Uganda. Please pray for these efforts as God guides us. To Him be the Glory.

Biodun Owolabi reported the following from Nigeria on the 23rd of October: The Nigeria Gospel Chariot traversed the length and breath of South Eastern Nigeria from 1st August till the first week of October, 2019.
Between August 1st and 31st, the chariot visited 33 communities and four zones in Enugu State: Enugu, Nsukka, Eha- Amufu and Agwu. Nine souls were converted and thousands enrolled for the WBS correspondence course.

The chariot then moved on to Abia and Imo states from September 1 to October 3, 2019. The chariot worked for a couple of days at Mbala Isuochi in Abia state before moving to Imo State. The chariot visited 15 communities in Imo State where hundreds of people were enthusiastic about hearing the truth of God’s word. Five souls were converted and several prospects enrolled for WBS course.

Continue to pray for the chariot and the crew as they continue to take the saving gospel of Christ across Nigeria amidst challenges of difficult terrain, bad roads and other challenges that are peculiarly Nigerian.
To God be the Glory. In Him. Love, Brother George Funk

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WE BECOME WHAT WE WORSHIP

Have you ever noticed the affect culture and trends have on our lives? Think about it. Doesn’t almost every person you know own an iPhone or smart phone of some sort? Things like movies, sports, clothing, and music have great influence over people. But do you ever wonder why we’re so heavily influenced by the culture around us? Well, it’s simple — whatever we’re consumed with, we’re going to reflect in our lives. In other words, we become what we worship.

If you look up synonyms for worship in your thesaurus, you come across words like revere, adoration and idolize. I want to spend a little time focusing on that last word idolize. When God gave the children of Israel the Ten Commandments, He started out the list by saying: “You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.”

The fact is, in this day and age, everything around us is constantly clamoring for our undivided attention. The world is begging for our adoration. It’s harder than ever to focus on the spiritual with all the distractions offered every moment of every day. But all those distractions are rooted in idolatry and self when they get us to take our eyes off of our heavenly Father and His great plan for our lives.

We must ask ourselves these questions: “How much time do I spend flipping through magazines or googling the latest celebrity gossip? How important is it that I fit in, look the part or am successful? Do I measure my success based on the opinions of other people?” Now lets ask ourselves this: “How much time do I spend reading the Word of God and allowing Him to speak to me? Do I respond to the things around me by first seeking God’s wisdom?” Our aim should be to approach earthly things with a heavenly mindset. But as we all know, this can be very difficult.

So how do we guard ourselves from creating idols? I think Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) says it best: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” So, before anything else, seek first the Lord!

Michael Meredith Center Hill church of Christ Paragould, AR

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WEEKLY NEWS, FEBRUARY 2, 2020

A PRAYER FOR OUR NATION

Dear God, You have commanded us in Romans 13:1, Titus 3:1 and 1 Pet. 2:13, and other places, to submit to the governing authorities. And we want to do this, it is Your will. But as we look around us, we see that those authorities do so many things that are not subject to Your will and laws. We see them rebel against You and so we feel uneasy.

But You have also commanded us to pray, in 1 Timothy 2:2, for those in authority that we may live peaceful and quite lives in all godliness and holiness. So this we will do, because You have assured us in James 5:16 that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. Therefore we pray that there will be an awakening in those who are our authorities toward Your laws, Your will, which is the best for mankind.

As You have blessed us with a form of government that gives us the right to vote for what is right in Your eyes and according to Your will, we will do our best to be informed and prayerfully consider and decide to do what is right in our civic duty. May God bless our efforts in all we do!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

VISITING FOR THE MASTER IN 2020

It is time to reorganize our visitation program for the new year. A sign-up sheet is on the table at the rear of the auditorium.

Please consider becoming part of this ministry, which has served our congregation well since 2007. A reorganization meeting will be held after the Sunday evening service on February 9th. See Cary Miller for additional information.

HELPING HANDS PANTRY

Needs – Bath soap, deodorant, tooth paste, shampoo

Thank you

NEW ADDRESS

Phil Parmer has moved to Windchimes, room # 401.

THANK YOU NOTES

♥ We thank you all so much for the prayers, cards and well wishes after the passing of Kenneth and Kevin Herring, Leana’s brother and nephew. In Christian love, Troy and Leana Futrell

♥ Thank you for all the Prayers, Love and Support! Jeff Thuleen

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

Beautiful Footnotes

Nigeria – Report on Missionary Visit

Brother Chad Wagner, who has reported on the Nigerian work to us in person early last year, recently spent time with Mike Udam, whom we help support, in Nigeria. This is Mike’s report of Chad’s visit. Please keep the Nigerian gospel effort in your prayers. For the elders, Ken D

REPORT OF MISSIONARY VISIT OF CHAD WAGNER TO UKPAGADA 21-23RD JANUARY, 2020

The president of African Christian Schools Foundation and Missionary to Nigeria, Chad Wagner, paid a three day visit to join us in expanding the frontiers of God’s message of salvation.

The visit afforded him opportunity to speak to the entire Ukpagada village during our Tuesday’s open air preaching. Arising from the expository message he gave, a soul responded by obeying the gospel through the watery grave of baptism.

Brother Chad also had the privilege to speak to leaders of congregations in Northern Cross River state in a leadership Retreat organized by the Ukpagada church on the topic “Growing the church through Sound Doctrine”. Over a hundred church leaders were present and learnt a lot from him.

Earlier on, he had visited with the clan head of Ukpagada, Ntol Julius Igbaji Mobre, in his palace. The visit afforded him the opportunity of hearing the conversion story of the chief who is now an active Christian.

The church used the opportunity of the visit to show him the congregation at Ukpe established as a result of our evangelism effort. He encouraged the new congregation to look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of their faith.

The church appealed to him to help raise funds to complete the mission house and also draw the attention of Healing Hands International to help provide a functional borehole for the community aside the one donated by some brethren here in Nigeria.

We had a fellowship meal together and took several pictures to keep the memories alive. As a church, we are blessed by his visit and do hope he will take out time to check on us in the near future.

Sincerely yours, Mike Udam

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FILL THE YEAR WITH THE FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

In Philippians 1:11 Paul records that Christians are to be filled with the “fruits of righteousness.” Of course the fruit of the Spirit comes to mind with a statement like that. The fruit of the Spirit is mentioned in two passages in the New Testament:
Galatians 5:22-23, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Ephesians 5:9-10, “(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.”

We can find 12 segments of the fruit of the Spirit from these two passages and, since there are 12 months in the year, we could emphasize one for every day of its month:
January: Love
February: Joy
March: Peace
April: Longsuffering/patience
May: Kindness
June: Goodness
July: Faithfulness
August: Gentleness
September: Self-Control
October: Righteousness
November: Truth
December: Finding out what is acceptable to the Lord

Think about it, if we would work all day, every day, for a month on each of these, they will easily become a habitual part of our lives. This would result in bearing fruits of righteousness. This year, let us fill the year and our lives with the fruits of goodness and godliness. – Edd Sterchi, Broadway church of Christ, Campbellsville, KY

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WEEKLY NEWS, JANUARY 26, 2020

SOUP LUNCHEON FELLOWSHIP
Our next Soup Luncheon is on Wednesday, January 29th, at 11:30 AM. Come and enjoy this event with our guests!

EATING OUT TOGETHER . . .
…on Thursday, February 13th, at “Mama’s” in Burnett at about 5:30 pm. The sign-up sheet is on the table in the back of the auditorium.

FELLOWSHIP MEAL
. . . today, Sunday, January 26, 2020, at noon
Hosts and hostesses: Linda Lively, Linda Robertson, James & Vicky Williams.

HELPING HANDS PANTRY
Needs – Bath soap, tooth paste, shampoo
Thank you!

VISITING FOR THE MASTER IN 2020
It is time to reorganize our visitation program for the New Year. A sign-up sheet is on the table at the rear of the auditorium. Please consider becoming part of this ministry, which has served our congregation well since 2007. A reorganization meeting will be held after the Sunday evening service on February 9th. See Cary Miller for additional information.

OUTSIDE COMMUNION REQUESTS
Please let the elders or the office know if there is a need to have somebody come to your home or other place of abode (e.g. nursing home) with the Lord’s Supper.

THANK YOU
“Thanks so much for all the concern shown me during my last illness. You are wonderful Christian friends and I appreciate your love, kindness, support and generosity. – Norma Bryan

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

Nigeria Marriage Retreat – Mike Udam

Our brother, Mike Udam, whom we help support in Nigeria, recently sent a report on a recent retreat aimed at strengthening marriages among Christians there. Please pray for our Nigerian brothers and sisters as they too seek to live lives as God has desired. For the elders, Ken D

Ukpagada Couples Retreat 2019
For four years running, the church meeting at Ukpagada have been gathering couples from around the country together towards the end of the year to brainstorm on ways of making our marriages work according to the standard that God expects it to be. It is one event that has recorded so many testimonies of its huge impact on the couples that had followed regularly. Research conducted in the early 1990, by a group of family experts places the family as the main institution that God expects man not to fail and sadly 60% of 100 men interviewed showed signs of lack of capacity to “Dwell with them with understanding” 1 Peter 3:7. So it became imperative that couples come together to build capacity in how to live with each other peacefully. The retreat is usually divided into 3 parts.

First we spend time introducing our spouse in public, stating the things you know about them, their likes and dislikes. Then we receive a lecture by a seasoned family expert. Then we split to deal with issues based on gender. In between these periods, we break to eat together and have fun in the process.

This year 45 couples attended and it was colourful. Adegoroye Abiodun, the minister of the church meeting at Kado Abuja was our guest speaker. He spoke on having the mind of Christ even in our marriages. He destroyed so many preconceived positions and prejudices that have made our marriages a war room. During the split session, the men were told to learn to look inward and build their marriages. Honesty and transparency in handling family finances was emphasized. The women were told how to truly be submissive to their husbands while husbands were called upon to be assistive to their wives in the kitchen which was not the case before. The retreat came to a close with a closing prayer by the host minister Mike Udam. The saints were edified and the Lord glorified.
Sincerely yours, Mike Udam

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OVERCOMING 'COGNITIVE DISSONANCE'

Any person interested in religion will inevitably be exposed to new ideas he has never considered. This is a natural part of the growth process. Some ideas that seem new may actually be ancient, being rooted in sound Biblical teaching (Jeremiah 6:16). Other ideas or teachings are new because they did not come from God, but man (cf. Matthew 15:9). What should one do when he is exposed to religious information that is new to him? Should he always reject any information that contradicts what he has always believed, or should he “prove [test] all things, hold fast that which is good”? (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Obviously, he should test all things by God’s Word, but when a person is exposed to an idea or teaching that contradicts what he believes, there is a tendency to reject that new information. Some may call this stubbornness, pride, or various other terms, but the psychological term is “cognitive dissonance.” Cognitive dissonance is defined by Encyclopedia Britannica as, “the mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information. The unease or tension that the conflict arouses in people is relieved by one of several defensive maneuvers: they reject, explain away, or avoid the new information; persuade themselves that no conflict really exists; reconcile the differences; or resort to any other defensive means of preserving stability or order in their conceptions of the world and of themselves” (britannica.com).

Some may assume that nothing can be done about cognitive dissonance, but there is one thing that is so powerful, it can always overcome this problem—love! If a person loves God more than himself, more than family, more than his preacher, more than traditions, or anything else, his love for God will cause him to let go of any practices or beliefs that conflict with God’s will as revealed in His Word, even if the idea of doing so is initially uncomfortable or difficult (Matthew 10:34-39; John 6:60, 67-69; Colossians 3:17; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 1 Peter 4:11). Love for God should motivate one to objectively examine all things to determine whether or not they are within God’s will. If his love for God is supreme, he will reject anything contrary to God’s will, regardless of how long he had believed it or how many people still believe it. Therefore, loving God with all of our hearts is always the key to overcoming this problem! Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). – Jason Patrick Hilburn, Church of Christ, Baker, FL

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