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Bulletin Briefs

Following are some short articles usually published on the back page of our weekly bulletin, Stand Fast.   Much of this is based upon current events and miscellaneous thoughts.  Use them to His glory. 

NCAA CONSIDERING BAN OF EYE BLACK “MESSAGES”

             You many not follow college football, but if you do, you probably know that University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow  used to always put a scripture on the “eye black” under his eyes when he played.  I recall commentators looking up the scriptures and quoting them weekly.  It was done more as a novelty than anything, else.     But NOW, the NCAA is considering a ban of any writing on EYE BLACK.  Why?  I find it interesting that this decision comes on the heels of someone who professes to believe in Jesus!  I can imagine the complaints as people were “offended” that someone dared to force their faith on them.  Have we become that sensitive as a nation, that one cannot even mention God because it might offend someone?

            Friends, this brings up a VERY serious concern.  As a nation, every year we are drawing further away from God and sustainable moral standards.  People DON’T want you to even mention God , and especially Jesus, in their presence .  This is the very attitude that led to the crucifixion of Jesus.  John 3:19–20 says, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”

            When God is finally outlawed from our vocabularies and this nation, we need to prepare to stand for the truth even in face of trials and tribulations.  The day is coming sooner than we expect UNLESS we stand up for our freedoms right now.

            Don’t hide your light under a basket (Matt. 5:14-16) and don’t be ashamed to confess your Lord (Matt. 10:32-33). 

            Our nation is constantly thinking of ways to restrict our religious freedoms.  We just need to be creative and find ways to profess our faith while we still can.  Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will be really find faith on earth?” Lk. 18:8

 

 TIGER WOODS MAKES A STATEMENT!

             On Friday, February 19, 2010, Tiger Woods made a nationally televised statement in which he admitted his infidelity to his wife and family. 

            Immediately after his statement, media of all sorts began questioning his sincerity in his actions.  Did he mean it?  Or was he just sorry he got caught?  To such questions I say that only time will tell. 

            Nevertheless, there are many lessons to consider from events such as this— reminders of the lure of sin, how do you deal with forgiveness, and the greed of exploitation, etc.

            But there is an observation I want to give more serious consideration to.  Both before and even after this statement, many of the women he cheated against his wife with have come forward and made statements.  I cannot help but question their motives—whether or not they are seeking fame and perhaps some worldly benefit.  I cannot judge motives, but I DO know that our media is having a field day with it.

            Here is my concern!  Tiger is trying to save his marriage.  At least that is what he says— and I want to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Why?  BECAUSE I VALUE MARRIAGE!   I believe that we ought to go to extreme lengths to save every scriptural marriage.  Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers, God will judge.  Malachi 2:16 says that God hates divorce.  We know that God only allows divorce and remarriage for infidelity and even that is limited to the innocent spouse. (Matt. 19:9)

            What our media is doing by exploiting those involved, including giving air time to all his affairs, endangers this marriage and CHEAPENS the sacredness of this institution from God (Matt. 19:4-6). 

            Have no part with ANYONE who seeks to trivialize the sacredness of marriage.    Sadly, that includes some of my brethren.  TATJR

 

LOOKING BACK AND
LOOKING FORWARD!

 “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves.  Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? - unless indeed you are disqualified.” (2 Cor. 13:5)

     Can you believe that in less than 5 weeks 2010 will be here?  This year has flown by so fast.  And while it is not yet over, it is time to begin reflecting upon where we are and where we are headed.

     This has been a tough year for the church here in Bellflower.  Perhaps it has been a tough year for you as well.  As you reflect on where you are compared to where you have been, are you pleased?  Are you stronger than before, weaker or about the same?

     If you do not find progress in your life you need to change!  Remember all that it took for his master to condemn the one talent servant was for him to do nothing.  He didn’t digress but was simply lazy and stayed the same.  He gave back that talent.  But that was insufficient. (Matt. 25:24-30)

     Paul said, “Brethren I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Phil. 3:13-14)  Note how he moved forward.  IF you have not been everything you ought to be this year (so far), then resolve to do better.  Start today getting ready for 2010.  Strive to make it the best year ever spiritually.  You have about 5 weeks to prepare so that when the bell tolls midnight on January 1, 2010 you will be off and running.  (Heb. 12:14-15)  &

  

Victim calls for leniency for robbers! Huh???

            About a week ago, three University of  Tennessee football players were arrested for attempted robbery.  Using a pellet gun they attempted to rob an individual outside a convenient store but failed because he had no money.  After the arrest, two of the players were immediately dismissed from the team and face serious criminal charges.  But what is surprising is that the victim asked for leniency and said, “I think they (the players—TT) should still be able to play football regardless.”   Why?  He said, “Tennessee is my place, it’s my football team.              (www.ncaafootball.fanhouse.com )

            Wow!  Fan loyalty over justice!  To me this is a reminder of how obsessed we have become as a society over our celebrities.  Whether Hollywood icons, sports celebrities or business moguls we have literally idolized people.  The show, ‘American Idol’ to far too many is more than just a name.

            Friends, we need to be careful when we start giving celebrities greater respect than we do God.  Idolatry is condemned in scripture (Col. 3:5, 1 Corinthians 10:14).  And so is worshipping man.  Romans 1:24-25 says, “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”  (Emphasis mind—TT).   If “loving father and mother more than Me (Jesus)” (Matt. 10:37) declares one unworthy of being a disciple of Christ, what about a stranger that we have idolized because of some materialistic talent he possesses? 

            If we want to go to heaven when this life is over, we better be careful about who we choose to worship.   Matthew 4:10.  Don’t idolize the idols of this world!

 

Let a Man Examine Himself

 “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread or drink of the cup.” 1 Cor. 11:28

      This verse is found in a text where Paul is correcting abuses concerning the Lord’s Supper.  We know from the context that what they were doing was NOT the pattern God had prescribed. (11:17-27)

      While I am convinced that what Paul primarily had in mind was the way the Lord’s Supper was administered, he also appealed to their hearts.  Paul wanted them to SERIOUSLY consider what they were doing. 

     That is something we need to think about when it comes to our worship.  In John 4:24, Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.  That means that we must no only do things the right way, but we must SERIOUSLY think about it as well.

     Every act of worship we engage in involves both a pattern and a SERIOUS attitude.  So what does that mean to you?

 &  Are you thinking about the words of the songs?

& Are you following along as the sermon is preached?

& Are you listening and praying along with the leader?

& As you give, is it with gladness of heart?

& As you partake of the Lord’s Supper, are you really thinking about the Lord and what He has done for you.

      Paul was very concerned with the brethren at Corinth because they had trivialized something intended to draw them closer to God.  Don’t get caught up in their sins!   WORSHIP IS SERIOUS!

 

PRACTICAL ATHEISM

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psa. 55:1)

     The term atheist describes one who is against the concept of there being a God.  We live in a world that seems to be increasing its population of atheists daily.   The above text straightforward describes their spiritual state.  There is far too much evidence to deny the existence of a Creator in this universe.

    But there is another form of atheism that we need to be concerned about.  It is described as PRACTICAL ATHEISM.  This describes one who professes to believe in God but lives like He doesn’t exist.  You might say this is one who believes IN God but he does not believe God.

    And that is something that each of us, even as believers, needs to consider from time to time.  Do we live our lives in denial of the truths of God’s word?  That is, while we render lip service to the teachings of the Bible (i.e. His standard of morality, His demand for  obedience, teaching His word accurately, His instructions about worldliness, etc.), do our actions show that we really believe Him?

     Do we live truly believing that one day we will stand before Him and actually be judged by the exactness of His word? OR do we reason, “I know what the Bible says but that doesn’t apply to me”?  Do we try to move the boundaries set by His word to accommodate what we want to do?  Do we justify unscriptural conduct by saying, “But I believe in my heart that He will accept this”?

      If we are caught up in such spiritual acrobatics with God’s word, maybe we better take a closer look at who God is  in our lives.

     But without faith it is impossible to please Him.  For he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Heb. 11:6.   THINK ABOUT IT!  TATJR

 

Is Heaven Real?

            In our recent meeting, there was a lesson preached on hell, noting that it is a real and eternal place.  Sadly there are  larger numbers who deny hell than there are those who deny heaven.  But there is still a substantial percentage who deny the existence of heaven as well.  According to a Barna Group survey in 2003 which addressed How “Americans describe their views about life after death”, 76% of Americans believe in heaven while 71% believe in hell of some sort or another (in this same survey 81% believe in some sort of life after death, with 79% believing that “every person has a soul that will live forever…”).  (www.barna.org, keyword—hell)

            So what does the Bible say about heaven?   It IS a real place.  Assuming the Bible to be true and the word of God, scriptures teach:

            Peter speaks of the hope of those he is writing to of an “inheritance incorruptible and undefiled that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:4)

            Hebrews 11 speaks of God having prepared “a city which has foundations,  whose builder and maker is God.” (10).  It is described as, “a heavenly country” in verse 16.

            Jesus made reference to both heaven and hell in Matthew 25:46 (eternal life and everlasting punishment).  If one is real, so is the other one.  Think about that!

            While the fear of hell can serve as a strong motivation to straighten up and behave, it is not the main attitude that should drive Christians.  We ought to serve God faithfully not just because we want to avoid hell, but because we REALLY do want to go to heaven when this life is over.  Only then will our service to God be with joy, (cf. 1 John 4:17-19).  TATJR