Will You Believe the Evidence?

For more than a century, the study of dinosaurs has been limited to fossilized bones. Now, researchers have recovered 70 million-year-old soft tissue, including what may be blood vessels and cells, from a Tyrannosaurus rex. “

From, “Scientists recover T-rex soft tissue”, March 2005, msnbc.com

Science cannot explain 70 million year old tissue that is “soft and transparent” as well as “stretchy and flexible” (the discoverer’s words). This T-Rex had to be much younger.

But lots of other evidence points to dinosaurs being recent such as:

• Brass inlays on the tomb of Bishop Richard Bell in the floor of Carlisle Cathedral in 1496 accurately depict sauropod dinosaurs

• A Mesopotamian cylinder seal said to be from around 3,300BC accurately depicts sauropod dinosaurs

• Stone carvings and pottery from various Native American tribes accurately depict sauropod dinosaurs

• The 800 year old Ta Prohm Temple in Cambodia has a stone relief of what appears to be a young stegosaurus

• The Muktinath Temple in Nepal has a dragon-headed fountain that looks just like a ceratopsian dinosaur

• Dinosaur-like creatures are depicted on an ancient synagogue in Umm El-Kanatir in what is now the Golan Heights

• The Ojibwa & Sioux tribes of central North America left drawings in stone & on bark of creatures that look like an ankylosaurus

• The Pima, Yaqui & Illini Native American tribes have accounts of giant flying creatures that killed their people

• The Bible describes both the Behemoth & Leviathan which the man Job had seen, in very dinosaur-like terms

Accidents? Coincidence? Negative, Ghost Rider. The evidence says “dragon legends” abound in nearly every culture from the most primitive to the most advanced and are recorded in art, literature and history because ancient peoples had first-hand experience with dinosaurs.

Millions of years? The above evidence, and much more not listed here, says “no”.

Just Read it and Rejoice!

The Holy Spirit must have considered the following to be an important point, seeing he had Solomon state it so frequently.

“There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?” Ecclesiastes 2:24

“I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime’ moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor – it is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

“I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him?” Ecclesiastes 3:22

“Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:18-19

“So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 8:15

“Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works. Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 9:7-9

Do you give your children good things? So does God. Do you want your children to enjoy what you give them with gratitude? Obviously, so does God.

Feeling guilty about being blessed is the devil’s doing.

Rejoicing in life is God’s!

Baptism - a forgone and elementary conclusion for first century Christians

The saints in Rome must have been baptized prior to receiving Paul’s letter: Romans 6:3 – “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?”

The folks in the church at Corinth were baptized in Jesus’ name: 1st Corinthians 1:13 – “Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”

The churches of Galatia had clothed themselves with Christ through baptism: Galatians 3:26-27 – “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

The church in Ephesus understood the need for the one baptism from their beginning in Acts 19:1-7: Ephesians 4:5 – “…one Lord, one faith, one baptism…”

The brethren at Philippi had apparently conformed to Jesus death & resurrection through baptism just as Paul: Philippians 3:10-11 – “…that I many know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

The saints in Colossae knew about spiritual circumcision through their baptism: Colossians 2:11-12 – “…and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

Titus & those to whom he ministered had submitted to baptism: Titus 3:5-7 – “… He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior…”

The Hebrew brethren were baptized: Hebrews 6:1-2 – “…leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about baptisms…” & 10:22 – “… let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

These passages show us that the saints in all these churches accepted their need to be baptized as a profound necessity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Should you & I not do the same?

Guest Speaker Bio: Curtis Hartshorne

Curtis Hartshorne has been ministering with the Church of Christ in Checotah, Oklahoma since February of 2012. He works primarily in preaching and teaching. He leads evangelistic Bible studies with his wife Kathy, he does marital and parenting classes and counseling. Before Oklahoma, he preached for 25 years in Colorado. He has taught college level courses on Principles of Marriage and Death and Dying. Curtis served at the Alamosa Sheriff’s Department Chaplin for seven years, providing both Biblical Counseling for both inmates and jail staff. He has written Christian education materials, including his latest book entitled, “From Atheist to Preacher.” We are happy and blessed to have him teach our adult auditorium class and preach todays sermon, “The God of Second Chances.”

The Same Gift

This morning’s lesson will be over our spiritual gifts. To help us apply what we will learn and to prepare us for the week, I would like to share with you what I believe is the most important aspect of the gifts that we have Christians. That is the nature by which we come to use our gifts.

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore, I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says, “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
- 1 Corinthians 12:1-3

Paul reminds the church that before they listened to the teachings of Jesus, they were pagans following idols with no speech, or no truth. Just as all Christians today were pagans and followed the idols of this world before they came to Christ. Of the gifts Paul will speak of in this chapter, he starts off with speaking in tongues; letting the church know that those who speak against Jesus could not have the Holy Spirit speaking through them. Only those filled with the Holy Spirit could speak in a miraculous way that professed Jesus as Lord. Those speaking in the Spirit profess Jesus as Lord.

Though we do not speak in tongues today without interpreters, I believe there is still value to this statement for us today. One of the most valuable things we can do to profess Christ is through our speech. True Christians do their best to speak in ways that are from the Spirit. The way that we interact with our family, friends, and the community puts Jesus on display. Therefore, when we are to act in a way the Spirit would approve of.

So, as we learn about our other spiritual gifts today, let us observe that our gifts come from the Spirit and we all have the same spiritual gift of professing Christ through our speech and actions. The Spirit does not encourage negative words and actions, the Spirit professes Christ. Move in the Spirit this week.

Communication, Punctuation, and Attitude!

Words from the past by Dayton Keesee (September 14, 2018)

Solomon stated: “ A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in setting of silver” (Prov. 25:11). Your speech can deeply and sweetly enrich others. Yet, Solomon adds Proverbs 18:7: 

“A fools mouth is his destruction and his lips are a snare to his soul.” 

James even warns that “out of the mouth comes forth blessing and cursing,” adding, “these things ought not so to be” (James 3:10). The sobering fact is that all of us talk, and how easy it is to move from enriching to foolish speech; from blessing to bad, bewildering, backlashing talk!

Note this account from Lloyd Cory: “A college English professor wrote the words ‘Woman without her man is a savage’ on the board, directing students to punctuate it correctly. He found that the males looked at it one way and the females another:

  • The males: ‘Woman, without her man is a savage!’
  • The females: ‘Woman! Without her, man is a savage.’”*

Why did the males and females come up with two very differing thoughts from the exact same words? It was a very small matter of punctuation, which drastically altered the thought process. Hidden underneath that alteration was attitude and intent! Also, it shouts out the warning that it is not just what we say, but how we say it that affects others so deeply as to whether our words will bless or burden, enrich or enrage others! No wonder the Spirit stated through Paul: “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Col. 4:6).

A great part of mischief and miseries that vex the world arise from the tongue and talk. Also, redemption of the world is Good News graciously expressed (Romans 1:16-17). Take heed what you say and how you say it!

* Lloyd Cory, Quotable Quotations, Victor Books, Wheaton Illinois, 1994, pp.315, 16

What Jesus Said About Love
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,
- John 13:34-35

How will all men know if we are Jesus’ disciples? Jesus made it clear above.

This is My commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you.
John 15:12

Do you think Jesus repeated Himself for emphasis? Don't we need the emphasis?

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him….. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”
- John 14:21 & 23

Jesus makes it clear that only those who obey him have any right to claim that they love him. In other words, contrary to what anyone may claim, where there is no obedience, there is no love.

“But so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me…,”
John 14:31

How does Jesus prove his love for God? He obeys, holding himself to the same standard he would have us to apply to ourselves.

Jesus’ apostle John, having faithfully recorded his Lord’s words as we have noted them above, also wrote:

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him….”
- 1st John 2:3-5
“By this we know that we love the children of God when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome,”
1st John 5:2-3
“And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments,”
- 2nd John 6

Jesus said our obedience proves our love for him, as in, 

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?”
Luke 6:46. 

Hmmmmmm….. good question.

What Do You Choose to See?

The apostle Thomas is often remembered as a doubter because he refused to believe in the resurrection until he saw Jesus for himself, according to John 20:19-29.

Earlier, however, when Jesus had determined to return to Judea where his life was in danger it was Thomas who said to the rest of the apostles, “Let us go also, that we may die with him”, John 11:16. Wow, that’s a fervent commitment!

Knowing of both incidents gives us a choice as to how we will think of Thomas.

Do we tend to remember the negative aspects of one another rather than the positive?

Having done both, I find my mind much more at peace when I try to give others the benefit of the doubt (without being naïve), recalling their virtues, rather than their vices.

Jesus said, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets”, Matthew 7:12. If I want folks to be kind and merciful in their view of me, then Jesus obligates me to do so for them.

I challenge you as I do myself to think especially of those who may often get on your nerves. Start looking for the positives in their lives to emphasize and encourage. If you can learn to do it with them and for them, you will soon find out that you are doing it to your own benefit.

How Bleak Things Must Have Seemed...Until
  • Noah, once surrounded by wickedness, gets a fresh start with his family.
  • At 75 and childless, Abraham is promised a son... born 25 years later.
  • Joseph, sold into slavery eventually becomes 2nd only to Pharaoh.
  • Israelites, no longer slaves, cross the Red Sea on dry land.
  • Gideon, living under crushing oppression, is given victory with only 300 soldiers.
  • Hannah, barren & heartbroken, is given a son who becomes one of God’s greatest leaders.
  • David, doggedly pursued by Saul, is established as king of Israel in due time.
  • Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego face foreign captivity, but are soon given positions of authority and prominence.
  • The Samaritan woman has a rough history, but then meets Jesus her Creator.
  • Lazarus, dies in poverty, but is carried by angels to Abraham and comforted.
  • The apostles see Jesus crucified, but then see the empty tomb on the third day.

BOOM! That empty tomb shows us that God is not finished bringing his people through hard times. Those above kept the faith. We would do well to follow their example.

A Christian in a Stolen Car?

A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopped at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, finger printed, photographed, and placed in a holding cell. After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, 'I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' License plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper Sticker, And the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, Naturally...I assumed you had stolen the car.

Our actions speak volumes!

"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
- Colossians 3:17