On Sunday, July 7th our new Summer education quarter for adult Bible classes begin.
On Wednesday nights we will have the third edition of “The Main Lesson in____” series with different speakers coming each week to summarize and explain what they believe is the main teaching of each book of the Bible. We have a great line of speakers beginning with Howard Norton, kicking off the series on Wednesday, July 10th reviewing Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians. Look for brochures in your mailboxes with the information on all the speakers and the books they have chosen to teach.
On Sunday mornings we will offer two adult classes. One will be taught by Marty Kessler in the auditorium entitled “Minor Prophets-Anything but Minor”. In this class Marty hopes to spend some time in each of these books and will be taking a closer look at these prophets and their relevance today.
The other adult class will be a series devoted to building happy marriages entitled, “Marriage Prep 101.” This class is specifically designed for college age, young marrieds and married couples with young children. It will provide the kind of experienced based, Biblically sound information to help prepare young people for marriage and support young marrieds in their efforts to build strong and happy Christian marriages. This class will be taught by Mike Mazzalongo in the fellowship hall.
The children’s Bible class new quarter will also begin on July 7th. All children ages 30 months-4th grade will be promoted on the same Sunday if they are the appropriate age or grade. Kindergartners will have a special Bible presentation on Sunday, June 30th.
The Profound Impact of Fathers
“The supreme test of any civilization is whether or not it can
teach men to be good fathers”
—-Margaret Meade, cultural anthropologist
“Every social ill that we are dealing with is directly or indirectly related to
—-Otto Kelly, executive director of Crisis Pregnancy Center, Reno Nevada
Do the above quotes reflect the truth? Consider the statistics below…..
1 out of every 3 children grow up without the presence of their biological father
Fatherless children are 10 x more likely to abuse chemical substances
Fatherless children are 4 x more likely to be living in poverty
Fatherless young women are 164% more likely to have premarital sex
Fatherless young women are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers
Fatherless young women who marry are 92% more likely to get divorced
Fatherless young women are 4 x more likely to have a child while in their teens
Young women who have conceived a child are more than 2 x more likely to lose the child if their father is not supportive
Fatherless children are 2 x more likely to drop out of school
Fatherless children are 2 x more likely to commit suicide
85% of young men in prison are from fatherless homes
75% of rapists are found to be acting out anger due to a sense of abandonment by their fathers
We tend to pattern our perception of God after the perception we have of our earthly father. Is it any wonder, therefore, that fatherlessness has led to Godlessness?
What this all means is that fathers simply by being present, even when minimally active in the lives of their children make a huge difference.
Stay in the fight for your children, dads. Your commitment to being a father will have an impact on the lives of your children, and indeed, the world, that will last into eternity.
You won’t see that headline in any news broadcast or newspaper, but Oklahoma has the attention of our nation. Tragedies normally bring out the best and/or the worst in people. The recent storms again have shown one of God’s teachings and Oklahoman’s have dazzled the nation with it – “foot washing”!
Commentators, reporters, networks continue amazed with the “caring”, “concern” and the number of volunteers that have shown up to help in any way. They also seemed proud to report that most of the disaster victims acknowledged God, his blessings, and the hope and confidence that they have in our Lord. This didn’t happen in other recent violent tragedies like New York, or Massachusetts.
The Godly principle of foot washing, which Jesus taught, is simply “service”…Service to one another. It works for Christians and non-Christian alike. It elevates humanity in humility, while shining a small light in a dark corner of the world overcome with sin. Non-Christians are noticing Oklahomans in service. Jesus told his disciples to wash one another’s feet (John 13:14,15) to show their love for each other. Jesus not only was willing to wash one’s feet, but to surrender His entire life for our sake. This should be a reminder of our purpose as a Christian
It should make all Oklahomans proud to see, when their state is center stage, that the nation is impressed, even a little envious of a state who still practices a basic commandment of God – foot washing (service). Believers and non-believers were involved in this testimonial process. The outpouring of help and aid is incredible. It honors and confirms the wisdom of God and his principles.
Thank you Lord for the opportunity to show your face to a nation that desperately needs to view it. Amen.
Have you ever used a socket wrench? It is a tool of varying lengths and sizes that holds a socket on its end according to your need. Wrenches are pretty standard, but there are many different kinds and styles of sockets because it is imperative to have the correct fit for the job at hand. If the socket is not the correct fit, the job will be much harder to accomplish. Yet, just having the correct socket is not enough. Without the wrench, a socket is useless. It is very difficult to complete the task at hand if you only have one of the components needed that make up this tool.
Let’s form an analogy: God is the “wrench,” we are the “sockets,” and God’s kingdom is the “job.” Have you ever asked yourself, “What is my purpose in furthering the kingdom of God?”
Much like the sockets, each of us has been created for a particular purpose and each one of us is a “perfect fit” for a particular work in the kingdom of God. We can know this because Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
So next time you ask yourself, “Where do I fit?”, try something; anything! There are many works that can be done in our church and community that will further the kingdom of God. Maybe start a bible reading group with people from your work. Be a mentor to new Christians. Pray with people where you are, not when you “get home.” These things sound daunting, but we should find courage knowing God specifically designed each one of us to work in his kingdom.
Bunker Hill, Fork McHenry, Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, the Argonne Forest, Normandy, Truk, Iwo Jima, Chosin Reservoir, Ia Drang, Fallujah, are just a few of the places where American servicemen have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. We remember those who’ve fallen this weekend. That’s what Memorial Day is for.
I am convinced, however, that if we could speak with those who have passed into eternity having fallen in battle, they would each one encourage us to be involved in the spiritual warfare of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A strong military effort may free a nation, but only the gospel can free a soul.
The front lines for the gospel are at home, in our conversation, our vocabulary, our relationships with family members, in our pastimes, and in our entertainment. The front lines are at school, in our respect for teachers and administrators and our relationships with classmates. Our attitude, language, and wardrobe are all part of our combat equipment.
The front lines are at our workplaces. We fight the battle when we show responsibility to employers and respect for coworkers. Good soldiers go the extra mile here, showing themselves to be loyal, trustworthy, dependable and conscientious.
May God help us remember that we enjoy the present benefits of freedom and prosperity only through the sacrifices of those who’ve fought and died for the welfare of this, our country. May our memory of them give us the courage and determination to engage our spiritual enemy when and where we find him.
Our fallen countrymen fought a good fight, and because of them, we remain a free people. Now we must fight a different kind of war for a greater kind of freedom. We must do it not only ourselves but for the glory of God Almighty and for the benefit of those who will follow us after we have gone.
Fix bayonets. Fight the good fight. Never give in, or give up. His truth is marching on.
Today we honor our seniors who are graduating from high school as well as those from our congregation who are graduating from college. These are men and women who have completed this great task and are now entering into a new phase of their life. We all have these moments of transition in life. Sometimes our transitions of life are big but other times they are small. But regardless of the transition, there is always some kind of change that comes with it, perhaps it is a change of atmosphere, a change of responsibility, or a change of task.
One of my favorite passages for this time of year is found in 1st Timothy chapter 6. Paul has and continues to mentor Timothy, but Timothy is now out on his own. Paul has entrusted Timothy to work with the church in Ephesus while Paul goes on to other churches. And so he closes out 1st Timothy in chapter 6 with this charge to Timothy.
“But you, man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses…I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ…guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you.” 1st Timothy 6:11-21
To our graduates, to all those going through any transition in life, and to all members, I give this charge: Flee evil, fight the good fight, and remain faithful.
“Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living”, Genesis 3:20
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you”, Exodus 20:12
“Every one of you shall reverence his mother and his father”, Leviticus 19:3
“Who is like the Lord our God…. He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!”, Psalm 113:5 & 9
“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward”, Psalm 127:3
“Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children like olive plants around your table”, Psalm 128:3
“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck”, Proverbs 1:8-9
“My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother; bind them continually on your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you”, Proverbs 6:20-22
“Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old”, Proverbs 23:22
“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her saying, ‘Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all”, Proverbs 31:25-29
“For thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem”, Isaiah 66:12-13
Ever wonder why God wants us to obey Him? What exactly does God receive from our faithfulness and obedience? We say that we want to please God and do so by avoiding sin or making a sacrifice in our service to others but how does our improved morality or increased service advantage God? He doesn’t need anything nor does our goodness add any advantage to Him—He’s above it all anyways.
I believe the answer to this question lies in His character of love. John says that the defining element of His nature is love (1 John 4:16) and this is the first clue that reveals the reason He is pleased when we obey. The second clue is found in Genesis where Moses writes that humans have been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). The final insight is the fact that disobedience is the cause that now separates man from God and alters his original God-like nature (Genesis 2:15-17).
When we put these together we realize that when man obeys God it means that He is seeking to become like God as he was first created to be before sinful disobedience marred his likeness of the Divine. This, in turn, pleases God because it means that man is positioning himself (through faithful obedience) for blessings which God, in His love, is eager to provide for those who believe and obey Him. (Ephesians 1:1-14).
So, what’s in it for God when we obey Him? The short answer is that our obedience gives Him the opportunity to bless us in love, and blessing us pleases Him.
I’m going on vacation, to relieve my tired mind, I can’t wait to start forgetting, all the stuff I’ll leave behind
My job with all its stress will be the first thing that will go, and maybe then those constant bills that to my mailbox flow
I’ll forget about those people who always bring me strife, their caustic negativity is just a blight on life
I’ll turn off tv, twitter & surely facebook too, and rediscover what freedom is, Woo Hoo, I say, Woo Hoo!
I’ll leave behind the yard work and the housework and the clutter, and all the little worries that tend to put me in the gutter
I’ll travel with my family to a place so far away, that I’ll forget the reason for the stress of every day
But one thing I won’t leave behind, one thing I’ll not forget, is homage to my Creator, who is my Savior yet
Wherever leisure takes me, wherever I may roam, I will seek out God’s dear people, just like I do at home,
For a while on Sunday morning, when they meet to break the bread, I will find them and will join them so my soul will too be fed
I will take my family with me, setting first priority, the God from whom all good things come, especially on holiday
And if the saints cannot be found in our locality, I’ll lead my family’s worship, no matter where we be
We’ll sing some songs, we know a few, or at least I know we should. We’ll have prayer and read the book and ponder God’s dear word
We’ll devote ourselves to honor the one whose life was given, that we may enjoy the good in life, and in the end gain heaven
A lot of things I’ll leave behind, when on this trip I go, but reverence for God will not be one, because He loves me so
Where I grew up, when someone died, older men would simply take off work and younger men would skip a day of school to dig the grave. It was my privilege to help dig several graves. Almost all of them were for people I knew.
Grave digging starts our relatively easy. Someone with some know-how and experience marks out the rectangular shape of the grave on the surface in the exact spot where it should be. Then you go to work removing the dirt with a spade. You are on the top of the ground in the beginning, so you have plenty of room to work. Tossing your shovels full of dirt into their designated place away from the grave is no problem.
The deeper you go, however, the less room you have to move about, and the further and higher you have to throw the dirt. Since you are now throwing that dirt up and out, you wind up with some of it down your collar. It is sweaty, dirty, exhausting work, and there is only room for one digger at a time in a grave.
Care had to be taken to maintain the straightness of the sides and ends of the grave and to keep the dimensions consistent from top to the bottom. Long levels would be pressed against the sides until the bubbles were plumb. Trimming was done with a broad-axe, the handle of which was curved to one side so you could gently “slice” dirt from the vertical walls without skinning your knuckles too badly. The floor had to be absolutely level and clean and cleared of all loose dirt. And yes, a grave (at least in those days) had to be 6 feet deep at its shallowest end.
Regardless of how well the work is done, you still end up with a hole, into which you are going to place a dead body, and you cannot help but consider that someday, someone else will dig such a hole for you. Standing in a finished grave will give you a view of your mortality unlike any other experience. I highly recommend it.
Though Jesus’ grave was very different, being essentially a small room hewn out of rock, it was still the same thing, but for one very important difference. He came out of his grave with a glorified, eternal body on the 3rd day. All the graves we dug still hold the moldering remains of those lowered into them.
But even they won’t stay there forever. The one who rose on the 3rd day also said that he will return and call all who are in the graves up and out of them to face the judgment; some to everlasting life, and others to everlasting condemnation (John 5:28-29).
A grave is sobering, but thanks to Jesus, it is not depressing. In fact, the sure hope of a resurrection to life transforms the grave into a step closer to glory, and total victory over death.
So you can see why I now regard my “GDD” so highly. Wouldn’t you?