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Marty Kessler | October 22, 2007
The apostle Paul made a notable statement when He wrote to the church at Philippi, Macedonia in Philippians 1:29. He said, ‘For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake’. There is much of interest here, but in particular my thoughts are drawn to the fact that Paul said that God has granted to some the ability to bel...
Marty Kessler | October 15, 2007
Why Doesn’t God Tell Us How We Are Supposed To Feel? Instead, He always tells us the right way to behave. Take baptism for example. Have you ever wondered why we are not told how we are supposed to feel when we rise up from baptism to walk in new life, (Romans 6:3-4)? I believe the reason is that salvation is by faith, not by feelings. We can know that we have new life at the point at which ...
Dayton Keesee | October 15, 2007
A centennial celebration of statehood was colorfully and appropriately paraded before the masses this past Sunday--on the streets, on television--as a spectacular media moment of memory. It was a fitting tribute to so many who have meant so much to Oklahoma. Amidst all that pageantry, I wondered how many paid just tribute to only One--who has meant more to this state than all the others combined??...
Mike Mazzalongo | December 17, 2000
Leaving is never easy. Whether it’s saying goodbye to a broken relationship or a grown-up child, the act of separation is usually accompanied by a measure of pain. And so it is with my departure from Choctaw to go preach for another congregation in California.As I go, there are several ideas I want to share with you in the hope that they will ease the discomfort that many may feel at this juncture...
Mike Mazzalongo | December 11, 2000
There is a familiar scenario being played out in Washington these days. As a “lame-duck" White House and Congress try to carry on their work knowing that their terms will soon be at an end. Everyone goes through the motions, winking at the fact that what they are doing will have little impact on events since their authority is on hold until a new administration is sworn in.I mention this because i...
Mike Mazzalongo | August 28, 2000
Recently one of our members, Harold Jones, retired from his responsibilities as deacon. The announcement for this was contained in a very small box with very few words in our bulletin and could have easily gone unnoticed.This humble and simple notice of retirement was very much the hallmark of Harold’s service to the church. He is a man of few words, but many actions. This virtue was brought home ...
Mike Mazzalongo | August 17, 2000
It would be nice to speak of the autumn chill in the air and wonderful fall season coming upon us but who would I be kidding? This is Oklahoma - it’s 104o in September! There is very little color change here, except for the scorch burns on your lawn.Even though it doesn’t look or feel like it, summer is almost over. One sure sign is that school is in session and the pace of activities at work has ...
Mike Mazzalongo | May 1, 2000
What a wonderful day April 28th was for me. The culmination of 7 years of filling out forms, standing in line, and waiting for the mail finally came to fruition. At the Federal courthouse I took my oath and became an American citizen.If that wasn't enough of a blessing, that night a group of brethren organized a wonderful celebration to mark this special occasion. I want to thank all those who cam...
Mike Mazzalongo | March 6, 2000
Recently we conducted the funeral of our dear sister Atha Harkless. Her death was quite unexpected and the funeral was set for early in the week, leaving only one full working day to care for the particulars.At the funeral itself hundreds gathered for the service which the family planned with care. As far as a funeral was concerned it was quite detailed, with a dinner for over sixty followed by a ...
Mike Mazzalongo | January 23, 2000
Car dealerships are always boasting about their “great” or “fast” service because their customers prize competent workmanship done in a timely manner. In the church, we hope that our deacons can serve in the same ways, but the quality most prized among them is that of “quiet” service.This week Carthel Miller, one of our deacons, announced his retirement from this position due to health issues in h...
Mike Mazzalongo | May 31, 1999
My little buddy, Jacob Foster, gives me some of his Bible class drawings from time to time. They are the images of a happy seven-year-old who has lived his entire life within the loving circle of the Choctaw congregation. Pictures of the cross or people traveling to services are eagerly pressed into my hands after worship. With his beaming smile and a sincere, "Here Michael, I made this for you." ...
Mike Mazzalongo | April 4, 1999
They leave their classroom messy after puppet show rehearsal. They make noise and always sit at the back during worship. They take up a large part of the budget and wear out a full-time minister.Some wonder why so much effort and resources go into the youth program. Here are some statistics to look at while you ponder the value of our ministry to youth here at the Choctaw congregation.Each day in ...
Mike Mazzalongo | February 10, 1999
Our community has found it’s own version of millennium madness in the debate over the Outer Loop construction project. This Loop will connect to the super highway that will form a corridor between Canada and Mexico. Many rear that it will not simply run through Oklahoma but may even rumble through our very living rooms.Those in danger of losing property are concerned, as they should be, and every ...
Mike Mazzalongo | December 6, 1998
I've noticed that despite good attendance at services and great enthusiasm for our various projects, we have not given sufficiently in recent months to make budget. Oh, we're not missing it by much, but every week, little by little, we fall behind in our giving.In order to encourage us to bear down in this area, I'd like to remind you of a few things concerning our offerings here at Choctaw: WE NE...
Mike Mazzalongo | August 13, 1998
I have watched the work that so many of the sisters here in Choctaw do and felt compelled to write a word of congratulations and thanks. We are so blessed in having godly women who are truly the light of Christ in this community.I mention no names because the space is too limited to write about the good works I see being done, or for fear of neglecting to mention the ones being done quietly and ou...
Mike Mazzalongo | July 5, 1998
Next week will mark the fifth year I have served this congregation as Pulpit Minister. During this time I have learned many valuable things. Here are five which were especially important to me. I learned to Love Louis. In my first year I grew to appreciate the man who has done so much to build up this church, brother Louis Thompson. During that first year his patience and godliness were lessons th...
Mike Mazzalongo | April 6, 1998
The scenes of tragedy are still fresh in our minds as we pass from the recent massacre of innocents in Jonesboro to the remembrance of the innocent One massacred for us at this time of year long ago. I will compare these in this week’s lesson but for now, I want to share a marvelous article by Chuck Monan who so eloquently brings these two together in a recent article for the Wilshire Bulletin.As ...
Mike Mazzalongo | January 4, 1998
They say that you can make statistics mean whatever you want them to. This may be true but there are some numbers that do not lie, that tell not only a story but what the story is all about.Take the number 393 for example. This is the number of dollars “over” budget that this congregation has managed to give this year. Not a fancy or impressive number all by itself. But, when you stop to consider ...
Mike Mazzalongo | December 10, 1996
Last year at Christmas, we distributed not only 200 bags of food; we provided 200 Christmas dinners for people in our community. Our "Brown Bag Christmas" project is here once again and we have the opportunity to set 200 tables with a lovely meal so that others might enjoy some of the blessings that we will share with our own families.For those not familiar with this work let me remind you of a fe...
Mike Mazzalongo | December 2, 1996
No one has the knock-out punch argument for the question, "Which church is the true church?" This is why there are so many "true" churches. All Christian groups claim that they are the true church and the others are mistaken somehow.Of course, in the larger picture, all religions have this "true church" perspective (witness the Muslim suicide bombers of our day) so our claim in the churches of Chr...