Thursday, November 02, 2006

Anvil Sparks


Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith's door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime.
Then looking in, I saw on the floor,
Old hammers worn out with beating years of time.

"How many anvils have you had," said I,
"To wear and batter all these hammers so?"
"Just one," said he, and then with twinkling eye,
"The anvil wears the hammers out, you know."

"And so" I thought, "The anvil of God's word
for ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone."

John Clifford


"It is hard to find a Scriptural way to do an unscriptural thing."

"Some one said to a church, 'Nothing is so small but that you can have trouble over it if you want to, and no trouble is so large but that it can be settled if you want to.'"

"If Absalom were living today, he would be in great demand, for he was a great mixer in the kingdom."

"In chruches, as in nations, peace at any price generally results in war at any cost."

Notes taken from Doctrinal Discourses by R.L. Whiteside

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Christian Mindset

The pristine book of Philippians is so much more than just an inspired thank-you note from the apostle to his brethren it is a treaties for troubled brethren on how to get along with one another in spite of the many difficulties that may lie in the way.

The Christian Mind is a...

  • Focused Mind Undaunted by Unfavorable Events (1:21)
  • Relinquished Mind Delighting in Esteeming Others (2:3-4)
  • Spiritual Mind Properly Perceiving Earthly Things (3:19-20)
  • Restrained Mind Appealing in Anxiety (4:6-7)

Thank God that He has provided us with all things that pertain to life and godliness that we might be able to shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation (2 Pet. 1:3; Phi. 2:15-16).

~ rick

Friday, October 06, 2006

Study Habits Essentials

Having a senior in high school necessitates changing your reading taste. Recently, I was reading an article by Veronica Toney by this same title which appeared in the fall issue of College Outlook Magazine. These are three essentials that I use in my own personal Bible study. I also have a specific lesson in my teacher training course that involves the teacher's personal Bible study. You cannot teach what you do not know. You might be able to use these suggestions to help in your own successful study.

“The key to successful studying is consistency. Location, timing and frequency all promote learning...”

Habitat Habit
“Environment has a big impact on learning” Find you a place that is conducive to learning. In the middle of a busy restaurant is probably not the best place for serious study. “Studying at the same time everyday will help increase retention. Soon the brain will get the message that this time is learning time.” Humans are creatures of habit and habit when full grown becomes character.

Distraction Subtraction
“Distractions not only come from environment, but also from you. Wandering minds, boredom and homework overlook can all add hours to the study process.” Too many distractions are the very reason why the busy restaurant is not the best place for serious study. A quite place designed for study may be your best bet when it comes to study time. When you study, let people know that you do not what to be disturbed unless it is an emergency.

Boredom Forum
“The saying ‘two heads are better than one’ applies to studying. Studying in groups helps connect the dots. Putting multiple people’s notes together will give you a more compete reference guide.”

“The more you understand, the less you have to remember.” Craig A. McCraw

~ rick

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Biblical Role Models

Here is a short list of men and women that God considered worthy to follow - but only as they followed the path of righteousness. Consider the words of the inspired apostle Paul "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1).
  • Abigail, woman of tact & poise (1 Sam. 25)
  • Abraham, the friend of God (Jas. 2:23)
  • Barnabas, the great encourager (Acts 4:36)
  • Caleb, mountain climber (Jos. 14:12)
  • Deborah, the fearless patriot (Jdg. 4-5)
  • Daniel, the lion tamer (Dan. 6:22)
  • David, man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22)
  • Dorcus, the Christian philanthropist (Acts 9:36-43)
  • Elizabeth, the priestly mother (Luke 1:6)
  • Enoch, who walked with God (Gen. 5:22)
  • Epaphroditus, a man of reputation (Phi. 2:29)
  • Esther, the providential princess (Esther 4:14)
  • Ezekiel, a man with a strong forehead (Eze. 3:8)
  • Haggai, the old man whose time was now (Hag. 1:4)
  • Isaiah, the gospel statesman (Isa 53)
  • Jeremiah, the languishing over sin (Lam. 1:16; 2:8)
  • Jethro, the preeminent father-in-law (Exo. 18)
  • Job, the patient patriarch (Jas. 5:11)
  • John, the disciple whom Jesus loved (Jho. 21:20)
  • Joseph, a lad of dreams (Gen. 37; 41)
  • Joseph, a man who obeyed dreams (Mat. 1:24; 2:13-14, 19-21, 22)
  • Joshua, a decisive conqueror (Jos. 24:15)
  • Lois & Eunice, Christian professors (2 Tim. 1:5; ;3:14-15)
  • Lydia, an hospitable business women (Acts 16:12-15, 40)
  • Mary, the magnificent (Luke 1:28)
  • Moses, the meek Num. 12:3)
  • Nehemiah, the builder of God's wall (Neh. 6:15)
  • Noah, true grit (2 Pet. 2:5)
  • Paul, that passionate apostle (Phi. 3:6; Gal. 1:14)
  • Peter, from shifting sand to solid rock (2 Pet. 1:10)
  • Timothy, a likeminded young man (Phi. 2:20)

~ rick

Friday, September 22, 2006

Powerful Peer Pressure

As in anything there are two sides to the provable coin regarding peer pressure: negative and positive.

First, negative peer pressure is wherein any person or group of persons would influence you to do something God forbad, or not do something God has enjoined. Many examples of negative peer pressure could be given, nevertheless allow these to suffice:

God Forbad:

  • Hebrew Midwives (Exo. 1:17)
  • Abraham (Gen. 20:9-11)
  • Shadrach, Meshach & Abed-nego (Dan. 3:19)

God Enjoined:

  • Jeremiah (Jer. 36:23; 37:15; 38:28)
  • Daniel (Dan. 6:4-9)
  • Apostles (Acts 4-5)

Second, positive peer pressure is wherein any person or group of persons would influence you to do something God enjoined or not to do something which God forbad. One receives this influence today from friends, television, music, movies, co-workers, classmates, etc.. Again, many examples of positive peer pressure could be given, nevertheless allow these to suffice:

God Forbad:

  • Ananais & Sapphire (Acts 5:1-11)
  • Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 4:20-21; 9:12, 23)

God Enjoined:

  • Aquila & Priscilla (Acts 18:24-26)
  • Apostle Paul (First & Second Timothy)

Third, God's Word addresses the topic of overcoming negative peer pressure. Here are just a few good principles to live by:

  • Love not the world (1 Jho. 2:15-17);
  • Set your priorities (Col. 3:1-2);
  • Be Christ like (2 Pet. 2:21);
  • Be involved in the work (Jas. 1:22-25);
  • Study the Scripture (Acts 17:11);
  • Make Heaven your goal (Phi. 1:21-23);
  • Be transformed (Rom. 12:1-2);
  • Be steadfast, unmoveable (1 Cor. 15:58);
  • Take heed to God's Word (Psa. 119:9);
  • Let the Word dwell within (Psa. 119:11);
  • Follow after godly role models (more to come later):

Fourth, God's Word informs the church how to exert positive peer pressure.

  • Personal Transgressors (Mat. 18:15-17)
  • False Teachers (Rom. 16:17-18)
  • Immoral Individuals (1 Cor. 5:1-13)
  • Disorderly Walkers (1 The. 5:14; 2 The. 3:6)
  • Heretics (Tit. 3:10-11)

"O Give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;... Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindenss of the Lord" (Psa. 107:1-2, 43). May the redeemed also understand that what God forbids and enjoins is for our benefit.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Biblical Sexology

If you are sensitivity to indecorous language, please do not read. The very fact that this is a specialized religious seminar is vulgar in nature.

Joe Beam, a self-proclaimed ecstasy expert, is coming to the Oklahoma City area to teach the men of Oklahoma how to fulfill their wife's sexual ecstasy, according to the flyer sent out by the Del City Church of Christ.

Notes from the flyer...
“Too many Christians are miserable in their sex lives because they don't understand the freedom God has given. From God's Word, I show Christians how to have fun, exciting, and fulfilling life of romance and sexual ecstasy.”

“In the popular session on sex Joe not only reveals truths from the Bible that will change your SEX life overnight, but he also answers the most common questions about sex Christians ask.”

Send me your thoughts.
~ rick

Friday, September 08, 2006

Hermeneutics 101

What Does This Traffic Sign Mean?

  1. Left Turn Permitted
  2. Right Turn Permitted
  3. Straight Only - all other directions forbidden.

(Just in case you are wondering, the answer is #3. Striaght Only - all other directions forbidden)

If you drove your car the way you interpret the Bible, would you be arrested?

Friday, September 01, 2006

National Ethics

National ethics affects national existence and the quality of life therein. This great principle clearly underlies the three key messages of the book of Judges:

  • “In those days there was not king in Israel” (17:6; 21:25). Not even the Lord - “The LORD shall reign for ever and ever” (Exo. 15:18).
  • “The children of Israel did that which is evil in the sight of the Lord” (2:11; 3:7; 4:1; 6:1; 10:6, 10; 13:1).
  • “[E]very man did that which was right in his own eyes” (17:6; 21:25).

Social commentators such as Robert Bork (Slouching Towards Gomorrah, 1996), Thomas Sowell (A Conflict of Visions, 2002) and William Bennett (The De-Valuing of America, 1992), have plead with the American people to understand their fate. "Americans now place less value on what we owe others as a matter of moral obligation; less value on sacrifice as a moral good, on social conformity, respectability, and observing the rules; less value on correctness and restraint in matters of physical pleasure and sexuality - and correlatively greater value on things like self-expression, individualism, self-realization, and personal choice." (Bennett, The Children, What to Do About..., p. 5).

Immorality breeds selfishness and selfishness in turn breads a greater yield of immorality, both working like twins feeding off of each other. No nation, regardless of its military or system of government can survive the moral demise of its own people. Consider these warnings:

  • “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Pro. 16:18).
  • “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom” (Pro. 11:2).
  • “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility” (Pro. 18:12).
  • “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee” (Oba. 1:3).
  • “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Pro. 13:34).

Friday, August 25, 2006

Positive Prayer Practices

Pray with...

  • Anticipation (Mat. 9:28);
    The condition of looking forward to something, especially with eagerness (cf. Rom. 8:24).

  • Awareness (Mat. 26:41);
    The condition of being aware (i.e., having knowledge or cognizance: Archaic. Vigilant; watchful; cf. 1 Pet. 5:8; Eph. 5:15).

  • Amnesty (Mark 11:25-26);
    The act or an instance of forgiving (cf. Rom. 1:31; Mat. 5:7; Luke 6:36; Mat. 18:23-35).

  • Allegiance (Luke 18:1);
    Loyalty or the obligation of loyalty, as to a nation, sovereign, or cause (cf. Jonah 2:7; Gal. 6:9; Heb. 12:1-5).

  • Assurance (Phi. 4:6-7);
    The fact or condition of being without doubt (cf. Heb. 10:38-39).

  • Availing (Jas. 5:15-20).
    To be strong in body, to be robust, to be in sound health; to be able.
    Our God is able (Eph. 3:20; 2 Chr. 25:9; Jer. 32:17, 27; Dan. 3:17; 6:20; Mat. 3:9; Rom. 4:21; Heb. 7:25; 11:19; Jas. 4:12; Jude 24)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Negative Prayer Principles

Pray without...

  • Prejudice (Mat. 5:43-48);
    The act or state of holding unreasonable preconceived judgments or convictions (cf. Jas. 2:1-4, 8-9).

  • Pomp (Mat. 6:5-15);
    Vain or ostentatious display (cf. 2 Kgs. 5:11).

  • Pride (Luke 18:9-14);
    A regarding of oneself with undue favor (cf. Rom. 12:3).

  • Pretence (Mat. 23:14);
    The act of pretending; a false appearance or action intended to deceive (cf. Gal. 2:12-13; literally, “pretend together”)

  • Pause (Jas. 1:5-8);
    To cease or suspend an action temporarily (cf. Num. 13:26-33).

Friday, August 11, 2006

"Meet" God in Prayer

Jesus prayed...

  • Morning - Mark 1:35 "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed."

  • Evening - Matthew 14:23 "And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone."

  • Events - Matthew 9:36-38 "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest."

  • Troubled times - Matthew 26:36 "Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder."
    Matthew 27:46 "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Following Jesus' Steps

The scriptures admonish all men to follow in the footsteps of Jesus:

1 Peter 2:21 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”

John 13:15 “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”

Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”

Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”

1 John 2:6 “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”

1 John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

May we "go and do thou likewise" - Luke 10:37

Monday, July 31, 2006

A Wealthy Man's Walk

Tennessee Walkers and the Lippizaner horses are famous for their high steps and beautiful walking techniques. Like these beautiful world-renown horses, men are known by their walk as well. For example, in the epistle of Ephesians, the grand apostle to the Gentiles reflects upon the Christian's "eternal vocation" writes G. Campbell Morgan in his volume, "The Analyzed Bible". A simple outline of this of book is remembered by using the words wealth and walking. Wealth describes the blessing we have in Christ (chapters 1-3). Walking denotes our duties (chapters 4-6).

The Following is a list of different New Testmant walkers:

  1. Faith walkers (Rom. 4:12; 2 Cor. 5:7);
  2. New-Life walkers (Rom. 6:4);
  3. Spiritual walkers (Rom. 8:1, 4; Gal. 5:16, 25; 2 Pet. 2:10);
  4. Honest walkers(Rom. 13:13; 1 The. 4:12);
  5. Manly walkers (1 Cor. 3:3; 16:13);
  6. AT&T walkers (1 Cor. 7:17);
  7. God-walking-in-us walkers (2 Cor. 6:16);
  8. In-the-flesh walkers (2 Cor. 10:3);
  9. Rule/Pattern walkers (Gal. 6:16; Phi. 3:16; 1 The. 4:1; 2 Jho. 6);
  10. Good-works walkers (Eph. 2:10);
  11. Worthy walkers (Eph. 4:1; Col. 1:10; 1 The. 2:12; Rev. 3:4);
  12. Anti-Gentile walkers (Eph. 4:17);
  13. Lovely walkers (Eph. 5:2);
  14. Luminescent walkers (Eph. 5:8; 1 Jho. 1:7; Rev. 21:24);
  15. Nocturnal walkers (1 Jho. 1:6);
  16. Hawk-eyed walkers (Eph. 5:15);
  17. In-Christ walkers (Col. 2:6);
  18. Wise walkers (Col. 4:5);
  19. Disorderly walkers (2 The. 3:11);
  20. Evan-as-He-walked walkers (1 Jho. 2:6);
  21. Truth walkers (3 Jho. 4);
  22. Lustful walkers (Jude 17);
  23. Idolatrous walkers (Rev. 9:20);
  24. Shameful walkers (Rev. 16:15).

How has your walk been lately?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


As graduates receive the final accolades of their collegiate or high school years, there is always plenty of advice to go around. Advice from old sages to modern hip hop; practical to visionary; corporate to country; spiritual to physical; subjective to objective; simple to complex. So much advice one might ask why the need to publish anything else in this field. This is nothing new, simply a reminder of that which has driven nations since the beginning.

Consider the advice given by one teacher to his student:

  1. Let no man despise thy youth (1 Tim. 4:12);
  2. Neglect not the gift that is in thee ( 1 Tim. 4:14);
  3. Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness (1 Tim. 6:11);
  4. Fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12);
  5. Keep what has been committed to thy trust (1 Tim. 6:20);
  6. Be not ashamed of the testimony of the Lord (2 Tim. 1:8);
  7. Hold fast the form of sound words (2 Tim. 1:13);
  8. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus ( 2 Tim. 2:1);
  9. Endure hardship (2 Tim. 2:3);
  10. Strive lawfully (2 Tim. 2:4);
  11. Study to show thyself approved (2 Tim. 2:15a);
  12. Rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15b);
  13. Flee youthful lust (2 Tim. 2:22a);
  14. Follow after righteousness, faith, charity, peace (2 Tim. 2:22b);
  15. Do not strive but be gentle (2 Tim. 2:24);
  16. Continue in the things that thou hast learned (2 Tim. 3:14).

Rather than seeking to "be like Mike" why not be like Jesus:
  1. Jesus increased in wisdom - He developed intellectually;
  2. Jesus increased in stature - He developed physically;
  3. Jesus increased in favor with God - He developed spiritually;
  4. Jesus increased in favor with man - He developed socially.

You cannot walk in the steps of Jesus (1 Pet. 2:21; Jho. 13:15; Eph. 5:2; 1 Jho. 2:6) unless you continue to grow (2 Pet. 3:18). Following after this kind of advice will take you well beyond the stars.

-rick popejoy

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Daniel & the God of Gods

(A brief outline of Daniel 1-6)

Daniel’s God is a God of...

  • Intervention (1);
  • Revelation (2);
  • Salvation (3-4);
  • Vindication (5-6);

    In his book Thy Kingdom Come, Rushdoony has a chapter entitled “The Offense of Daniel.” Here Rushdoony explains why Daniel is “one of the most explosive books in all human history.” This book assumes at every point a philosophy of history which is the antithesis of every opinion held by modern man. Rushdoony sets forth five particulars in which modern man would take exception to Daniel. First, Daniel underscores the Biblical concept of God. Daniel’s God is totally self-sufficient, omniscient, and omnipotent. He is willing and able infallibly to reveal future events. He is far above anything man is or could ever hope to be. Second, Daniel sets forth unvarnished predictive prophecy—blunt, unmistakable, confident and specific. The God of Daniel uses history and is not used by it. Third, Daniel unapologetically narrates miraculous events. Fourth, Daniel asserts the total government of God. Modern man prefers the anarchy of chance and a god who can be manipulated. Fifth, Daniel reveals the fundamental discrimination which exists within the human race between the saved and the lost.

James E. Smith, The Old Testament Survey Series: The Major Prophets

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Does It Really Matter?

Throughout my twenty-two years of preaching I have had occasion to hear people say, in effect, “It really does not matter what you believe.” Of course, the religious world has long held to the belief that as long as a person is sincere about his religion it does not matter what he believes.

Yet, how many lives have been devastated by, “I didn't think that the gun was loaded, but it was” or “I thought no one was listening, but they were” and “I thought no one would ever find out, but they did.” A hard lesson for some: it does matter what you believe!

The following are some biblical examples for our personal study: Eve believed Satan’s lie but God had plainly said, “...of the tree...thou shalt not eat of it.” (Gen. 3:4-6; 16-19). Jacob believed Joseph was dead (Gen. 37:32-35). Job’s friends believed that bad things happen to bad people they sought to convince Job he had sinned - they were convinced of it (Job 4:7-9; Luke 13:1-5). The young prophet believed the old prophet’s lie (1 Kgs. 13:17-19). Naaman believed Syrian rivers were better than the Jordan (2 Kgs. 5:10-12). It mattered what the disciples believed about Jesus (Mat. 16:13-15). It mattered what Saul of Tarsus believed about Jesus (Acts 23:1).

It does matter what you believe! “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith...” (2 Cor. 13:5).

Modified from sermon by Cecil Hutson

Monday, May 01, 2006

"Ye Should Follow His Steps"

1 Peter 2:21 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”

John 13:15 “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”

Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”

Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”

1 John 2:6 “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”

1 John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

Rick Popejoy

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Making Lists

A few years ago, I heard a man teach a group of Christian college students that we (members of the Lord's church) have too many "lists." He said this as he was introducing a lesson wherein he derided the idea that there are specific, God-appointed acts of worship. Accordingly, after suggesting that we throw our lists into the fireplace, he went on to promote the notion that all of life is worship.

When he finally brought his tirade to a conclusion, he opened the floor for discussion. I quickly raised my hand and when called on, I asked how he would respond to a person who posed the question, "What must I do to be saved?" He stumbled over his words for a moment, then finally said, "I would first tell him that he needed to have faith." I immediately spoke up and said, "You just started a list--you even used the word 'first.'" He stumbled over several other words, changed the subject, and never admitted his inconsistency.

The fact is, lists can be good. They help us organize our thoughts, develop our plans, and accomplish our goals. They help simplify things. The next time you're in a grocery store, go to the magazine rack and look at the covers of the publications. I guarantee that you'll see dozens of magazines with article titles like, "50 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds," "25 Decorating Ideas," "15 Steps to Lower Stress," and "125 Suggestions for Writing List Articles." Apparently, members of the church of Christ are not the only ones who appreciate and benefit from lists.

In light of this no-brainer observation, consider that Jesus Himself alluded to the practice of list-making when He said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). The term "first" implies that at least a "second" exists. We know, of course, that numerous pursuits in life exist beyond the "second." The point, however, is that God is to be on the top of the Christian's "list." While we might seek after hundreds of other things in this realm, God gets first place. If your list begins with anything else, only then would I agree with the man I heard a few years ago--throw it in the fireplace!

--Preston Silcox

Monday, March 13, 2006

Recipe for Unity

Although religious groups differ on many things, on one thing we can agree – religious division exists. Regardless of why it exists, it needs to be destroyed. The denominational world has attempted to address it simply by accepting it. This is often called unity in diversity, and is an oxymoron in the religious world. True unity cannot exist through a multiplicity of religious beliefs, as evidenced by “Christendom” today.

Religious division is sin. Jesus earnestly prayed for unity among his believers (John 17:11, 20-23). The New Testament is replete with commands to be like-minded (Phil 2:2-4; 3:16; 1 Pet 3:8, et. al.). Paul made it crystal clear in 1 Cor 1:10 – “I beseech you…that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

Is this unity even possible? Is there really any way to mend the religious discord? God would not give us these commands if they were impossible to obey. All things are possible with God, but this requires complete reliance on and obedience to Him. So, how do we achieve this unity?

The first step might be the hardest – try! We must be willing to study God’s Word together. Until we drop opinions and rely on the Bible, we’ll never get anywhere. Second, we must have the “right” attitude. If we stop trying to be “right” and let God be right, we’ll see progress. Third, recognize the Bible for what it is – our complete and only authority in matters of life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Tim 3:16-17). God has promised us that His Scriptures will thoroughly equip the man of God for every good work. Finally, understanding this, we absolutely must recognize the truth of 1 Peter 4:11 – “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” If everyone who wants to follow God would do this, not only would religious unity be possible, it is guaranteed (1 John 1:7 – “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another…”).

What are the dangers of ignoring this biblical recipe? First, those who claim to be Christians, yet have never obeyed the gospel plan of salvation, will remain lost. Second, all other lost souls will remain lost. Finally, Christians who refuse to evangelize will be lost (James 4:17).

This is a very simple recipe. Some might even call it Pollyannaish. But I challenge all those who claim the name of Christ to try it and see. Take a moment and imagine the effects true Christianity could have on this nation if all those who claim to be Christ’s followers would unite on the Bible only. This is the restoration plea!
by David Ray

Friday, March 03, 2006

Episcopal Church Issue Not a "Gay" Issue

The issue that the Episcopal Church is struggling with is the natural result of a deeper and more prevalent problem in “Christendom”, that of a lack of respect for Bible authority. When one denies the source of spiritual blessings the logical outcome will be a man made denomination that seeks to be guided by man made principles. The Episcopal Church long ago left the Bible as its sole authority in matters pertaining to life and godliness and began to teach that men may do whatever is not forbidden in Scripture. Rather, the New Testament teaches the principle that we may only do those things that are enjoined upon us by God (cf. 1 Pet. 4:11; Col. 3:16).

If men would go back to and ask for the “old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein” they would discover rest for their souls (cf. Jer. 6:16). It is because so many calling themselves Christians refuse to go back to the Bible that “Christendom” resembles a barren land. Most denominations today cannot be called churches any longer because they have become nothing more than social clubs pandering to the will of the elite or the majority. Rather than seeking God’s good graces they put their finger to the wind to determine their doctrine. In the realm of eternity there is really no difference between homosexuality and fornication; adultery; instrumental music; not partaking of the Lord’s Supper each week; or interchanging sprinkling for baptism. Homosexuality is not a “gay” issue, it is an authority issue! God made one women for Adam in the beginning and He joined them in holy matrimony for a lifetime. Anything else is sin.

Rick Popejoy

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

God's Grace Will Cover It

God’s grace is an amazing thing. Never has anyone forgiven more than what God has forgiven, and continues to forgive, in spite of the continued sinning of each person whom He’s forgiven. Millions of people on a daily basis break God’s law, sinning against their Creator and the one who loves them more than anyone ever could. Yet His forgiveness still awaits each one of us.

“God’s grace will cover it” is a phrase I’ve heard many times in my life from people in and out of the church. This phrase actually reflects a promise from God. But like all of God’s promises, it comes with conditions. One must first be a Christian in order to taste the fruit of this promise. If a person has never obeyed the gospel plan of salvation, their sins are still with them and God’s grace will not cover it. Sadly, many today apply this phrase, “God’s grace will cover it,” to the plan of salvation itself. When presented the truth from God’s Word about how to become a Christian and have their sins forgiven, they recognize a clear difference between this Biblical plan and the actions they took in order to “be saved.” When encouraged, in love, to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, being added to Christ’s one church, they balk. They claim that it doesn’t matter; that God’s grace will cover it.

Friends, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son for it (John 3:16). That same Son is the only way, truth, and life, and in order to come to the Father, it must be by Him (John 14:6). It must be on His terms. A part of those terms is that we must believe and be baptized (immersed; cf. Mark 16:16) for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38). If any part of this plan is altered, then it is not God’s plan and therefore cannot save. If a person believes his sins were forgiven at any time other than at baptism, then what was the reason for his baptism? It could not have been for forgiveness of sins, and therefore was not the “one baptism” of the New Testament (Eph. 4:5). He is still in his sins.

God has provided a plan for us to follow in order to receive His grace. We didn’t earn it, but we must follow it. If we reject it, add to it, or subtract from it, we cannot receive grace. Make no mistake about it, God’s grace does not cover rejection of His grace. If you alter his plan of salvation, His grace will not cover you. Jesus will return with His angels, “taking vengeance on them that…obey not the gospel” (2 The. 1:8). We earnestly plead with everyone to accept Jesus Christ on His terms, thereby allowing His grace to save you.

submitted by:
David Ray

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Third man

Last night I dreamed I took a walk
Up Calvary's lonely hill.
The things I saw with my own eyes
Could not have been more real.
I saw upon three crosses
Three men in agony;
Two cried out for mercy;
The third man looked at me.
And, Oh, the hurt in the Man's eyes
Just broke my heart in two.
It seemed that I could hear Him say,
"I'm doing this for you."
I knelt beneath the third man's cross
And slowly bowed my head.
I reached out to touch His feet,
They stained my hand with red.
And when I heard Him cry in pain,
I raised by eyes to see.
The blood spill from the third man's side
And some of it spilled on me.
And there among the mighty crowd
The ones who mocked Him cried,
"King, save thyself, if thou art King."
And then the third man died.
Suddenly I heard the thunder roar,
I saw the ligtning pierce the sky.
The third man was still hanging there;
And I began to cry.
I saw the darkness fall;
I heard the breaking of the ground.
Then I awoke, and though I had dreamed,
I touched by cheek and found.
My eyes were wet where I had cried,
A dream? I wish I knew.
Yes, I can still hear Him say,
"I'm doing this for you."

by request from Tom Wacaster
Author Unknown

Monday, January 16, 2006

50 Things A Christian Can Do

Someone may be asking, "What can I do in the church?" Here is a list of 50 things to start out with, if you still have time left over or need further direction we can add another 150 things to the list. Here are some simple, yet practical areas you may be able to help in:

  1. Study your Bible
  2. Worship Sunday Morning
  3. Worship Sunday Evening
  4. Attend Bible Study Sunday Morning
  5. Attend Bible Study Wednesday Evening
  6. Teach a Bible Class
  7. Assist in a Bible Class
  8. Bring Children to Bible Class
  9. Visit Shut-ins
  10. Visit memebrs in the hospital
  11. Visit non-members in the hospital
  12. Visit old members
  13. Visit new members
  14. Visit newcomers to the community
  15. Visit in the prisons
  16. Distribute tracks to hospitals
  17. Distrubites tracks to your friends
  18. Distribute tracts to your neighbors
  19. Do Bible Correspondence Courses
  20. Grade Bible Correspondence Courses
  21. Do daily Bible reading
  22. Give to the Lord's work more
  23. Conduct home Bible studies
  24. Pray daily
  25. Distrubite clothing to needy
  26. Greet visitors at worship services
  27. Be an active worshipper
  28. Donate a book to the church library
  29. Support gospel meetings in your area
  30. Invite people to attend services
  31. Provide transportation to serives
  32. Provide transportation at other times
  33. Write a missionary
  34. Collect toys for needy children
  35. Call those who are absent from worship
  36. Have the youth in your home
  37. Have the elders in your home
  38. Have the deacons in your home
  39. Have the preacher in your home
  40. Take flowers to people who are sick
  41. Take food to people in need
  42. Baby sit for a working family
  43. Prepare food to bereaved
  44. Show interest in children
  45. Prepare material for teachers
  46. Maintain baptistery clothing
  47. Help at funerals
  48. Do office work
  49. Help church secretary
  50. Help the preacher

NOTE: This is not a works based salvation but these works should come from our love, care, and concerns for souls. These are things not in any particular order but just beginning is important. Once you begin to work on these things you will be suprised how little time you really have to think of self.

David Dugan