Monthly Archives: November 2009

WHEN YOU HIT AN ELEPHANT IN ENID


No, not Enid, Kenya, or Enid, India.  Enid, Oklahoma.  The story slipped by me, as I was recuperating from the return trip from Cambodia.  On November 4, a Wednesday night, Bill and Deena Carpenter were returning to their home from church services.  Driving down the highway in their SUV, Bill at only the last second saw the 4,500 pound animal standing in the middle of the road.  He attempted to evade the pachyderm, but the eight foot Asian elephant was too big to miss.  The good news is that neither the humans nor the elephant were seriously injured.  The massive mammal had escaped earlier that day from a circus set up at a nearby fairgrounds.  It seems to me that there are a few important reminders to consider from this bizarre incident.

IT IS A REMINDER THAT SOME THINGS ARE OUT OF PLACE.  Enid  is an unusual place to (literally) run into an elephant.  Elephants just do not roam our countryside in America.  Some things are incongruous and not just elephants running free in Oklahoma.  Worldly Christians, aimless shepherds, inactive deacons, scriptureless preachers, warring brethren, and the like are more out of place than an elephant on the lam in Enid!

IT IS A REMINDER THAT SOME THINGS ARE TOTALLY UNEXPECTED.  When is the last time your friend or loved one warned you to be on the lookout for elephants on the loose as you drove home?  You just do not anticipate the need for such a warning.  Some things cannot be foreseen, can they?  How many of our trials and difficulties came with clear, sufficient warning?  Certainly some do, but many more do not!  Furthermore, what a reminder that the second coming of Christ will not come with signs or prescient warnings (1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10; Matt. 24:35). The problems and adversities of this life often cannot be prepared for, but that coming, great, and unexpected day can and must be anticipated.

IT IS A REMINDER THAT EVEN THE BIGGEST ISSUES CAN BE MANAGEABLE.  No doubt, Bill’s life flashed before his eyes.  As he yelled “elephant” at the last second, he might have had time to think that this would be his last word.  Mercifully, all parties escaped serious problems. What at first appeared catastrophic now makes for the story to end all dinner-party stories!  How often do our looming problems seem overwhelming and utterly devastating only to pass like a storm with dark clouds and thunder but no damaging winds, rains, or hail?  Too many times, we are so paralyzed by fear and worry over our personal challenges that we miss opportunities for spiritual growth and development (cf. 1 Pet. 5:7; 1 Cor. 10:13).  We do not face a difficulty too hard for the Lord to handle.

No, you almost certainly will never hit an elephant driving down the highway this side of an African safari.  Yet, you will be called to be salt and light in this world, a challenge that may make you awkwardly stand out at times.  You will face the unexpected, both now and ultimately.  You will also face supersized but surmountable issues in life.  Do what you can to prepare, then leave the rest of it in the omnipotent hands of God!

Neal Pollard

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An overview of repentance

An overview of repentance  

THE BIBLE WARNS US IN MANY DIFFERENT PLACES AND WAYS THAT ADDING CHRIST AND KEEPING SIN WILL NOT WORK.

 a)      In Mt. 3:2 John the Baptizer told people to “repent.”

b)      Jesus (Mt. 4:17) preached this same message:  repent

c)      In Lk. 24:46-47 Jesus said the prophets had predicted “repentance.”

d)     In Lk. 13:3 Jesus said “repent or perish.”

e)      The apostles, in places such as Acts 3:19, said “repent.”

f)       Later in the New Testament (2 Pet. 3:9) Peter said God wants all people to “repent.”

2)      Repent is a key word in the scriptures.

3)      What does this key word mean?

a)      Some would say repentance means “sorrow for sin.”

b)      Others say it is “regret” (remorse).

4)      Repentance goes deeper.

5)      This fact might cause some to think that repentance must be confession.

6)      As important as confession is, it is still not quite repentance.

7)      If all the preceding things do not adequately describe repentance, what about cessation from sin?

8)      Maybe repentance means a person is doing something bad and they quit that activity.

9)      Repentance does involve the cessation of sin.

a)      Repentance is a recognition of sin, a turning from sin, and embracing what is right.

10)  The jailer in Acts 16 typifies repentance.

11)  People at Ephesus had some books that were not consistent with the gospel (Acts 19:19).

12)  Think of the wayward son in Lk. 15 – he had sorrow; he was ready to apologize.

13)  The people of Ninevah “repented” (they turned from sin and turned to God).

a)      Repentance applies to the non-Christian; it is a step in becoming a Christian.

b)      When a Christian becomes involved with sin, he or she also “repents.”

14)  There are some motivations to encourage repentance.

a)      God’s love motivates us to repent as do God’s blessings.

b)      Concern about punishment will also cause people to repent.

15)  Repentance is really a process that involves all people (Acts 17:30).

a)      2 Cor. 7:9-10 as “godly sorrow.”

b)      With the human race there is “wordly sorrow” and there is “Godly sorrow.”

16)  Ps. 51:4.

17)  Rom. 1:16 says the gospel is God’s “power” to salvation.

18)  Eph. 6:17 refers to the Bible as the “sword of the Spirit.”

19)  Heb. 4:12 says the word of God is “living, active and sharper than any two edged sword.”

20)  God’s word “works” in people’s lives (1 Thess. 2:13) and the scriptures urge people to repent.

 21)  When we repent, the result is forgiveness.

a)      Lk. 15:10.

22)  Jesus once told a story about a man who had two sons (Mt. 21:28-32).

23)  Jesus also said this son later “repented” (he changed his mind for the better).

24)  Repentance is one of the least understood and applied commands in the Bible.

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Christmas poll – participate in this "Christmas survey"

Christmas 2009 – will you spend MORE this Christmas, LESS this Christmas, or about the same? Take the “Christmas survey poll” today!

If you are looking for a great holiday gift, consider the Bible commentaries from www.abiblecommentary.com.

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Black Friday special from www.abiblecommentary.com

Get a copy of the Romans commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com. This Bible commentary is an excellent gift for a special Bible class teacher or minister.  Through midnight November 27th, 2009 any U.S. resident can purchase this volume for $12.95 and there is FREE BOOK RATE SHIPPING!

Use this special “Black Friday link” to order your book before midnight!

This deal is GONE!  Be watching for a “Christmas commentary special” for 2009!

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Thanksgiving 2009!

This Thursday we enter what is traditionally called the “holiday season.”  Likely our busy schedules will become even more busy, and our hurry up pace will likely become a dead run for the duration of the year.  But still, all in all, this is a most pleasant season of enjoyment.  The reunion with loved ones, the abundance of food and the expression of thanksgiving during the holiday season bring joy and happiness to the truly appreciative. How grateful we should be for the blessings God has given us.

May I suggest two things for your consideration this holiday season?  (1) Consider what you have, not what you lack.  Most of us enjoy material possessions far and above that of the average world. Be grateful for God’s provisions, and even more thankful for those little “extras” that make life enjoyable.  (2) Spend some time this week to meditate upon God’s goodness to you. Get off by yourself and say a little prayer to Him from Whom all blessings flow, and that in rich abundance. (3) Finally, realize that with increased blessings come increased responsibility.  Read Luke 16:19-27, Matthew 25 and Luke 12:45-48.  Then ask yourself if you are properly sharing what you have with those who have not.

 I’ll close with this thought provoking analysis of how blessed many of us truly are:

 If you own just one Bible, you are abundantly blessed. 1/3 of the world does not have access to even one.

 If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive the week.

 If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people around the world.

 If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest or torture of death, you are more blessed that almost three billion people in the world.

 If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

 If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.

 If your parents are still married and alive, you are very rare, even in the United States.

 If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

 If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder, you are blessed because you can offer God’s healing touch.

 If you prayed yesterday and today, you are in the minority because you believe in God’s willingness to hear and answer prayer.

 If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read anything at all.

 Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

–by Tom Wacaster

 

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The Letter "V" for "victory"

The Letter “V”

A student of Amherst College, soon after entering, put over the door of his dormitory room the letter “V.” Because of this he endured all sorts of ridicule and withstood frequent questioning. But he paid no attention to either, nor would he disclose the secret of the letter.

When he completed four years of education and graduation day came, the student was appointed to deliver the valedictory. Then the mystery of that letter V was revealed: it stood for valedictorian. That letter on the door held before him during his four years the ideal that he had set for himself.

Not every one of us places an actual letter over the door of our college room or over the door of our house. But nevertheless, somewhere, if only in our minds, there is a “letter” that we hold before us as an ideal.

Some put up the letter “M” that stands for MONEY.
Others put up “F” for FAME.
Others put up “S” which simply stands for SELF. *

The letter that we NEED to place before us is the letter “C” which stands for CHRIST.  Why is He so important?

Christ addresses our greatest need: salvation from sin.  Sin condemns, but Christ saves (Romans 6:23)!  He died on the cross so that we might have the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7).  We receive His forgiveness when we submit our lives to Him in faith (Acts 16:30-31), turning from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) in His name for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16).

Christ gives us our greatest purpose: to live for Him and urge others to do the same.  “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15).

Christ provides our greatest aspiration: eternal life with Him in heaven.  This is that for which the Apostle Paul looked forward: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Step outside the door of your heart and look at the letter you have placed there.  What letter is it? 

The right letter is “C” for Christ.  And, if we will place Him as the focus of our lives, then the letter “V” will also be OURS to own throughout eternity:
 “V” for VICTORY!

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Won’t YOU place the letter “C” above the door of your heart through your trusting obedience? 

David A. Sargent, Minister

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Polly Want A Wake-Up Call?

Parrots can be a noisy nuisance sometimes, but there is at least one Muncie, Indiana family that may never complain about that noise again.

Shannon Conwell and his nine-year-old son awoke about 3 a.m. last Friday to find their home on fire after hearing their Amazon parrot, Peanut, imitating a fire alarm. The smoke alarm was functioning properly and had activated, but it was the bird’s matching call that awoke Conwell. Upon realizing the gravity of the situation, Conwell grabbed his son and the bird on his way out of the house.

Paul’s God-breathed words to the church in first century Corinth were as follows:
For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you then, be imitators of me.
1 Corinthians 4:15-16, ESV

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1, ESV

When you follow the example of a true-hearted Christian, you are following Paul. When you follow the Godly example of a Christian who is following the lead of Paul, you are following Christ. Your words stake claim to being in the light of Christ. When people imitate your faith and manner of life, are they (by connection) following Christ?

The Conwells of Muncie, Indiana learned how crucial an effective imitation can be. Men and women outside the body of Christ need an accurate imitation of Christ — sounding the warning cry, and leading others to safety.
When people imitate your faith and manner of life (and they will), will they be led toward or away from safety?

–Mike Benson

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