CHRISTIANS AND LETHAL FORCE

Much had been said some time ago about the “church shooting” in Texas on Sunday, December 29, 2019 ― the right and wrong of it. The initial shooter was clearly wrong. He was evil incarnate, whose history of bad choices ended in a final bad choice to take innocent human life. God’s judicial standard played out in textbook fashion: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image” (Gen. 9:6).

Which raises the question, “Is lethal force ever justified?” We are not addressing the war question or whether a Christian can be a cop. Most Christians, I assume, would not object to such, based on Romans 13 and the role of civil government. But what about individual Christians? Is it ever right for a Christian to take the life of another human being?

If killing is motivated by personal hatred, anger, jealousy, or revenge, the answer is clearly “no‟, for those passions are themselves sinful, and any behavior flowing from them would be sinful as well (Matt. 15:18-19; Gal. 5:19-21, etc.).

But note carefully God’s reason for justifying the use of deadly force in Genesis 9: “for God made man in His own image.” The reason a murderer deserved to die was not because his life had no value, but because the life of his innocent victim did.

That principle carried forward to the Mosaic age. Though the sixth command said, “You shall not kill” (Ex 20:13), other laws justified the use of lethal force, both judicially (21:14) and individually (22:2). The unspoken reason for such provisions was clear: the life of the innocent victim, created in the image of God, had value.

The same principle is true today. We, too, are created in the image of God with great worth. No wonder that God, in the New Testament age, retained capital punishment as a just response to evil (Rom. 13:4; Acts 25:11).

But what about Christians? Although Jesus condemned the use of armed force to further the kingdom (Matt. 26:51-54; John 18:36), He actually commanded the apostles to arm themselves (Luke 22:35-39). Those swords were not used to defend against persecution (Acts 12:1-3). So, what purpose did they serve? They would have certainly deterred evil threats against their lives in their numerous evangelistic journeys.

Some push back, “Turn the other cheek” (Matt. 5:39). But this was spoken concerning vengeance (vs. 38); and protecting innocent life is not taking vengeance. Others say, “Love your neighbor” (Matt. 22:39). To which we reply, “Exactly!” Is it “loving” for a man to allow an intruder to kill his neighbor, rape his wife, and sell his daughter into slavery? Pity the poor family whose head interprets love this way! First Timothy 5:8 is not just about food!

Lethal force does not negate trust in God. David trusted God even as he picked up the stones for his sling. The Psalmist wrote, “Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psa. 82:4). So, let’s do that!

  • Warren King, Downtown church of Christ, Rogers, AR
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WEEKLY NEWS, APRIL 10, 2022

WITH SYMPATHY

Charles Greenawalt’s mother, Crystal Walker, passed away Saturday night, April 2nd. A family memorial service is planned for some later time.  Our sympathy, heartfelt prayers and love go out to Charles and Barbara and to all in the family.

EATING OUT TOGETHER

Next Eating Out Together . . . . . .will be on Thursday, April 14th at the “Trailblazer Grill” in Burnet at about 5:00 PM. There is a sign-up sheet on the table in the back of the auditorium.

BEAUTIFUL FOOTPRINTS

“And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”” Romans 10:15

NEW CONGREGATION IN NIGERIA

Photo by Adrianna Calvo on Pexels.com

The following report from our brother Mike Udam in Nigeria reflects the challenges and blessings of sharing the gospel and of our need to continue keeping Mike and all the Nigerian brethren in our thoughts and prayers. For the elders, Ken D

Photo By Mike Udam

HIS PROMISES ARE SURE

We left Ogoja for Onitsha for a very important marriage enrichment seminar – Oba Couples retreat. We were informed that our host Chidi Chibunna, was involved in outdoor evangelism in a town near Onitsha called Nando. He asked us to stop at a popular junction in Anambra state called Awkuzu Junction. The idea was for us to join him at the point of the evangelism and after the exercise, he will drive us home. After the evangelism, those who followed him and my team of three couples could not fit into his picnic car. A young man, Okechukwu Israel, stepped forward and offered to use his car to pick the left-over brethren. Our wives and brother Patrick Woshor joined the picnic car while Cornelius Monjok and I followed the brother in his car.

After an hour trip through Nnewi to Oba in Idemili LGA instead of through Onitsha because of hold ups, the brother dropped us and we were very grateful to God for using him to bless us. Five minutes after dropping us off, armed robbers attacked his car at a bad spot on the road leading to his house around Obosi. That spot is usually manned by the police. Unsuspectingly, he ran into the hands of the bad people and they snatched his car at gunpoint and all that he had on him. 8 minutes later we got a call that the brother has lost his car to armed men close to his house. We were devastated and emotionally disturbed. How can God allow the very car that was used to convey his spokesmen to be snatched at gunpoint?

A decision was reached to speak to God about it. We did and waited on the Lord. 56 hours later, the car was recovered by the police. The robbers ran into the police the next day and could not speak concretely about the car. As the strength of the scrutiny from the police intensified, they simply ran away leaving the car with all the phones and Bibles in the car just as they took it.

We thank God. He has promised to always care for us and demand our total faith in him. At the end, he has shown himself once again to be the promise keeper.

The faith of the young man has been tested and our trust in the lord has been strengthened.

To God be the glory. The Mission to Oba was successfully discharged to the glory of God. It was a couples retreat and 15 couples attended. I spoke about the Man, his wife and his wealth. We had break-out sessions and it was beautiful. The ugly incident almost robbed us of our joy. But the Lord intervened. I am back to Ogoja and met the family well.

Sincerely yours

Mike Udam

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TIME CHANGE

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Most of the time, change is good. We all want to grow, get stronger, learn more, see more places, etc. Certainly we are aware of the fact that our methods and tactics must change and adapt when we become ineffective. We must take advantage of opportunities as they are presented. On and on we could go.

But not all change is good. “Change” continues to barrel over our country at a rapidly destructive pace. The powers-that-be seem to be dead-set at making it more and more difficult to be an openly practicing and faithful Christian. Laws are being established that, if followed, would effectively silence the preaching of the Gospel and remove the church from its God-appointed role as the defender of divine truth.

Consider how times have changed in the last 240 years when it comes to the way that worship and general ethical-moral behavior is concerned. On July 5, 1775, General George Washington issued this order to the Continental Army:

“The General most earnestly requires and expects a due observance of those articles of war established for the government of the army, which forbid profane cursing, swearing, and drunkenness. And in like manner, he requires and expects of all officers and soldiers not engaged in actual duty, a punctual attendance of Divine services, to implore the blessing of Heaven upon the means used for our safety and defense.”

Washington said his army could not curse or swear?

Same is true for soldiers of Christ (Eph. 4:29-5:4).

Washington said his army could not be drunkards?

Same is true for soldiers of Christ (1 Cor. 6:10; Gal. 5:21).

Washington said his army was required to attend worship services?

Same is true for soldiers of Christ (Acts 20:7; Heb. 10:25).

Washington said his army was expected to implore the blessing of Heaven in supplication and prayer?

Same is true for soldiers of Christ (1 Tim. 2:1; 1 Thess. 5:17).

Today, public officials could not get away with issuing an order similar to the one given by General Washington. How times have changed! – Bart Warren, South Green Street church of Christ, Glasgow, KY

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WEEKLY NEWS, APRIL 3, 2022

Next Eating Out Together . . .

. . .will be on Thursday, April 14th at the “Trailblazer Grill” in Burnet at about 5:00 PM. There is a sign-up sheet on the table in the back of the auditorium.

BEAUTIFUL FOOTNOTES

Recently in response to the need for relief efforts for Ukrainian Christians during the current conflict there, we contributed towards this effort. We then received this note and wanted to share it with you. Please pray for the Ukraine and its people. For the elders, Ken D

Photo from Sunset International Bible Institute

Dear Brethren,

Thank you for your generous financial gift of $5000 to help meet the needs of suffering people in new Ukraine. The apostle Paul said, “So then, while we have opportunity, let’s do good to all people, and especially those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10) That is what your generosity is making possible.

Through our contacts with congregations, preachers, and church members still in Ukraine, we are sending relief funding to those who cannot leave their cities which are under siege. As refugees leave eastern Ukraine and head west, we are helping to fund relief efforts of congregations in western Ukraine, which are ministering to hundreds of Christian refugees. In partnership with contacts in Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Latvia, and Estonia, we are helping those who are crossing national borders with little more than the “shirt on their backs.”

Things are changing daily in Ukraine and needs will continue to evolve. We will try to keep you informed through updates on our website and email reports. Please remember to pray for our dear brothers and sisters and for all the lost people of Ukraine.

Again, thank you and God bless you. As the Lord Jesus Himself said, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35.)

Gratefully, Truitt Adair

Chancellor Sunset International Bible Institute

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WHAT IS CHRIST TO YOU?

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Is He worth studying the Word for? Are you willing to give up your free time and put your effort into studying God’s Word? “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 ).

Is He worth forsaking the world for? There are many allurements that the world seems to offer, are we really willing to give them up to be pleasing to Jesus? “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4).

Is He worth losing friends and family for? Whom do you really want to please? “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.‟ “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:34-38).

Is He worth being persecuted for? Would you really be willing to suffer for the name of Christ? “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

Is He worth denying yourself for? Are you really willing to give up your life for Christ? “Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).

Most people don’t mind claiming to be Christians when it doesn’t cost them anything. True Christians know it costs everything to follow Christ.

Brad Tolbert Monticello church of Christ, Monticello, AR

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WEEKLY NEWS, MARCH 27, 2022

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Sign Ministry: We are looking for volunteers who might be interested in helping change the message board on the church sign. Let one of the elders know if you would like to help.

OUR FELLOWSHIP MEAL

Today, after our Sunday AM worship assembly, the March Fellowship Meal is being hosted by Bob & Doris Foster, Linda Lively, Cary & Brenda Miller and Kathy Patterson. Thank you!

BEAUTIFUL FOOTPRINTS

“And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”” Romans 10:15

NEW CONGREGATION IN NIGERIA

Photo by Adrianna Calvo on Pexels.com

When Typhoon Odette, a powerful and catastrophic tropical cyclone, struck the Philippines in December 2021, it devastated the lives of many there. Our fellow workers there, Richard and Becky Emperado, started helping those near them, particularly people in a badly damaged fishing village. We sent support to help their efforts which they call The Hands of Christ ministry. Here are a few photos of things they are doing. Continue to pray for this effort. For the elders, Ken D

Some of the boats done, we already have provided materials for twenty boats, and we are planning to get more materials.

Boat engines have been purchased and donated.

Feeding and amusement as part of the healing process from traumatic stress.

Counseling and marriage enrichment seminar to typhoon victims who were badly devastated by typhoon Odette. The Hands of Christ ministry focused on FEEDING, HEALING and COUNSELLING. In addition to food and boat rebuilding, we believe in a continuing and sustainable ministry of helping them overcome their traumatic stress. We’ll never give up on them.

All Photos by Richard Emperado

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THE CURSE OF EMPTINESS

We are the hollow men,
We are the empty men
Leaning together;
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless,
As wind in dry grass,
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

If you went out into the streets and asked people what they want most in life, most would say, “Happiness!” But instead of happiness, so many people find only emptiness. Why?

Some are living empty lives because they lack knowledge of the Savior. Millions in our world have never heard the name of Jesus. Even many of those who think of themselves as “Christian” actually know very little about Jesus and His teachings, and most of what they think they know is either completely wrong or tragically distorted! Those who do not know Jesus need to hear about Him from us!

Some are empty lives because they have not honestly tried God’s way. They have some knowledge of the truth but refuse to obey it and live it. It is not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting; it is that Christianity has been found difficult and not tried! They think the Christian life is too difficult to attempt. Our task is to show them they will never escape their emptiness until they do.

Some are living empty lives because they have missed the emphasis of the Gospel. It is ironic but true that there is a certain kind of religion which leads only to emptiness. A lot of people think of Christianity in terms of “negative goodness.” They think they are Christians because of what they don’t do: they don’t lie, steal, murder, get drunk, commit adultery, etc. Jesus taught that we must not only clean the evil out of our lives, we must also replace it with positive goodness (Matthew 12:43-45)! We must get busy in serving God and our fellow man! The goal of true religion is not emptiness (absence of evil) but fullness (serving God and doing good to others)! The attitude, “I never did anybody any harm,” will not make you happy; “bearing one another’s burdens” will!

Jesus longs to fill empty lives. This is the good news of the Gospel! Jesus can, not only clean out your life, He can also fill it up (Ephesians 1:23). Life without Jesus will always be a life which is subject to barrenness and hollowness. Life with Him is fullness and grace upon grace (John 1:16).

Bobby Dockery, via Chapman church of Christ, Ripley, MS

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WEEKLY NEWS, MARCH 20, 2022

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Sign Ministry: We are looking for volunteers who might be interested in helping change the message board on the church sign. Let one of the elders know if you would like to help.

FELLOWSHIP MEAL

Our Fellowship Meal, next Sunday, February 27th, is being hosted by Jeff & Peggy Hale, Linda Lively, Linda Robertson and James & Vicky Williams. Thank you!

BEAUTIFUL FOOTPRINTS

“And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”” Romans 10:15

NEW CONGREGATION IN NIGERIA

Photo by Adrianna Calvo on Pexels.com

We appreciate so the work of those who are growing in God’s word and are thankful our congregation does support a fine young man, Pascal Diomo, who has been working hard the last couple of years at the South Africa Bible college in spite of the challenges of the COVID pandemic there in his country. The following is from Pascal recently, reporting on things happening there in the last few months. Please keep Pascal and all those at SABC in your thoughts and prayers. For the elders, Ken D

I greet you my beloved family member(s) in the Lord. It is my prayer, hope and wish that you are doing well. I guess that it is still appropriated at this time to say HAPPY NEW YEAR. I hope that you had a great festive season filled with love, joy and happiness.

When the College closed last year in December I left and went to KwaZulu Natal (SA’s province). The reason being so that I can attend the so called “Year-end Combined Service” and it was very nice and went well; thus praise to Lord was given. Then after I went to Mpumalanga (SA’s province) to visit my family, this includes my parents. I would say that I had good festive season surrounded by family members whom before that I have not seen for some time. Thus seeing each other brought us a lot of happiness and most of the time we spent together was really nice.

Now we are back at the College’s campus, just concluded our orientation period and about to start with our new academic year. As one who is doing his last year here I can say that it is nice seeing lot of new faces and the increase of the student body in comparison to last year. Thus it is my prayer and hope that the new students will be able to finish what they have started. This is really a promising year for me to do better and hope that is the case on your side too.

Having in mind that this is my last year studying here; it fills my mind with gratitude for you; since it is through your support that I made it thus far. I am saying this not leaving God out of the picture. Thank you so much and may God continue blessing you.

Please take care and keep safe. In God we trust.

Nhlanhla Pascal Dlomo

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 TEN THINGS TO DO WHEN PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES 

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“Nobody’s perfect!” You’ve heard it. You’ve thought it. You’ve probably said it. Unfortunately, we seem too often find ourselves on the receiving end of the imperfection. Sometimes the mistakes are not that big of a deal —putting pickles on a plain burger or calling you by the wrong name. Other times the mistakes are a really big deal—running a red light into oncoming traffic or giving someone the wrong medication. So, what do we (Christians) do when people make mistakes, and at our expense?

Sympathize with them. If Jesus could and can “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15), then why can we not try to do the same by putting ourselves in their place? You’ve been there yourself!

Be patient with them. Paul addressed how to respond to those who may test our patience sometimes by saying, “Be patient with all” (1 Thess. 5:14). A servant of the Lord must be “patient when wronged” (2 Tim. 2:24).

Be kind to them. A servant of God is to “be kind” and “tenderhearted” (Eph. 4:32) to “everyone,” rather than being “quarrelsome” (2 Tim. 2:24), for the Lord Himself “is kind to ungrateful and evil people” (Luke 6:35).

Golden Rule them. “As you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” (Luke 6:31).

Go to them. If the situation calls for a resolution, then “go and tell him his fault between you and him alone” (Matt. 18:15). Aim to keep it private.

Refuse to malign them. A Christian is charged, “Do not speak evil of one another” (Jas. 4:11). In fact, Paul would “remind” us “to speak evil of no one,” and instead “to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men” (Tit. 3:1-2).

Love them. Just as the Lord possessed and demonstrated love for all men (John 3:16), He calls upon us to do the same, even to “love” people we would consider our “enemies” (Matt. 5:44). Agape love is unconditional, unselfish and seeks the best of the one to whom we direct that love (cf. Phil. 2:3-5).

Pray for them. While our tendency might be to give someone a piece of our mind, the better choice would be to talk to God about and for that person (Matt. 5:44; Luke 23:34) to obtain a peace of mind.

Be merciful to them and forgive them. Once again, our God shows the way. “Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36). If we want God to forgive us, then we must forgive others (Matt. 6:14-15).

Don’t let their mistake rule you. You control you. Better yet, “Set your mind on things above” (Col. 3:1). Read Colossians 3 and then let verse 15 resonate in your heart: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.”

– David Sproule, Palm Beach Lakes church of Christ, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

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WEEKLY NEWS, MARCH 13, 2022

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Sign Ministry: We are looking for volunteers who might be interested in helping change the message board on the church sign. Let one the elders know if you would like to help.

Children’s Classes: We are needing volunteers who would be willing to teach children’s Bible class on Sunday mornings at 9 AM. Please speak to one of the elders if you are interested.

THANK YOU NOTE

Dear Highland Lakes Church of Christ

I would like to thank the church for the lovely luncheon you provided. It was greatly appreciated by all the family. God’s blessings to you all!‖

Jean Worley in Houston (A former sister–in-law of Dollene Pearson)

EATING OUT TOGETHER

Next Eating Out Together will be on Thursday, March 17th at “Gio’s” in Llano about 5:00 PM. There is a sign-up sheet on the table in the back of the auditorium.

BEAUTIFUL FOOTPRINTS

“And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”” Romans 10:15

NEW CONGREGATION IN NIGERIA

Photo by Adrianna Calvo on Pexels.com

The COVID pandemic hampered greatly the evangelism work of the Emperado family in the Philippines over the last two years by making it impossible to travel nearly anywhere away from home. We were excited to know via the following Face Book posts by Becky that these last two weeks Richard has finally gotten to go visit Christians and congregations that he hasn’t been with for two years. Keep them in your prayers. For the elders, Ken D

Photo from Richard Emerado

(Feb 22nd) Howdy! Richard is leaving in a few hours (Wednesday 5am our time/3pm Tuesday Texas time) for his first trip visiting churches on other islands since the pandemic hit almost two years ago. He will be driving & cross from Negros Island to Cebu, then hopefully cross to Leyte by evening. He wants to visit Baybay & Bato. He also hopes to visit Naval, Biliran but he is working on getting some special paperwork to be able to cross to Naval. He will hopefully also visit churches in Samar. Please pray for his safe travels & no problems crossing due to COVID restrictions. I think all of the areas he will be visiting have been reduced to COVID Alert Level 2 last week, so things should be easier. With national elections coming in May, there will probably be many Army/police checkpoints he will have to deal with as well from island to island, & town to town. He is still excited to go visit brethren in person, & hopefully be an encouragement to them.

(Feb 27th) Howdy! Heard from Richard! His trip is going well. No problems crossing from island to island yet. He has visited Bato & Baybay, Leyte last week. He had a great visit in Baybay with Hansel & Luz, & the new preacher there, Renz. Baybay, was doing ok, they had already repaired their building & were helping church members. Bato church had some damage to their ceilings & several members that needed help buying materials to repair their houses. He was on his way to Catarman, Northern Samar when he had cell phone signal for a few minutes. He hoped to stop in Tacloban and visit Jack & Telly Belo on the way! Not sure where he was going after Catarman. Have not been able to contact him again.

(Mar 3rd) Howdy! Richard is on his way home. He is spending Thursday night in Cebu and be home tomorrow sometime. I know he will have a lot to report about soon. He did make it to Catarman, Northern Samar & Calbayog City, Western Samar to visit churches planted there. He also stopped off to visit Jack and Telly Dominador and Telly Belo in Tacloban. He spent a night there. Then I think he visited Opong, Leyte, where we did so much typhoon relief & building houses after Typhoon Yolanda in 2015. Several of the houses built, have been added onto. He spent a night there at the church building near the ocean. He also was able to go to Naval, Biliran, the last couple of days and visit with church members & check on the Nelson Farm. Traveling through ferries & over bridges & through checkpoints went smoothly. We will be glad to have him home tomorrow. He is supposed to bring us some Krispy Kreme donuts for pasalubong*. I know he probably already has his plans going for his next trip, after he follows up with typhoon relief we have going on here in Negros. Please be praying for his safe travel home tomorrow. Love you guys!

(Mar 4th) Howdy! Just wanted to let everyone know that Richard Emperado made it home safe & sound this morning. He left Cebu about 4am, caught the first boat across & was home about 9:15 with Krispy Kreme donuts for us! What a treat! He is super tired, but happy. Already planning to go back next month to help with some church repair work & work on getting his license to do marriages with Jack Belos help.
(*ask Ken D about pasalubong if curious)

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