In John 20:1-10 the Bible tells us “on the first day of the week” Mary Magdalene discovered that the tomb in which Jesus was laid after His crucifixion had been unsealed. When she reported this to the disciples Simon Peter and John, we read, they ran to the tomb with John out-running Peter and getting there first. Upon looking into the tomb, John saw the linen cloths lying where Jesus had lain in death, but he did not enter. It was Peter who entered the tomb first and saw these same linen cloths as John, but he also saw the facecloth that had been on Jesus' head neatly folded up (or rolled) and lying "in a place by itself". Afterward, the two disciples went back to their homes, believing what they had seen, but not yet understanding the scripture "that He must rise again from the dead". (Psalm16:10&Luke24:46)

            John 20:11ff reveals that Mary Magdalene remained at the tomb and wept. As she "investigated" the tomb she saw two angels, in white, sitting where Jesus had been laying, and inquired of them regarding where Jesus had been taken. As she was conversing with the angels, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, although, initially, she did not know that it was Jesus. After a dialogue with Jesus and her recognition Who He was, she went and announced to the disciples that she had "seen the LORD” and what He had said to her. Subsequently, Jesus physically appeared to His disciples, as He had to Mary Magdalene, showed them his wounds and the disciples clearly understood that they had seen Him. After revealing Himself to one disciple who had not been in His presence earlier, Thomas (aka Didymus), upon touching the wounds in the hands and side of Jesus, said "My LORD and my God!" (v.28)

            John 20:29 contains Jesus' response to Thomas, which are some of Jesus' most important words for those who are believers. He said: "Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed." (ESV) Thesae few words are deeply profound because they form the basis or foundation of the Christian faith! "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through (by) the word of Christ” (or "God" - NKJV). (Rom. 10:17) "Now faith is the assurance (substance) of things hoped for, the conviction (evidence) of things not seen." (Heb.11:1) Hebrews 11:6: ”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.” The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth that the resurrection of Christ provides the hope of resurrection to life eternal for all of us who are in Christ. (1st Corin.15)   He also informed the church (1st Corin.11:23-26) to do what Jesus instituted (Matt.26:26-29) and eat the bread and drink the cup "in remembrance of" Him to "proclaim the LORD's death until He comes" (as He promised in John 14:1-3). Further, we learn from Acts 20:7, as well as 1st Corin. 11:20ff, that the church came together on the "first day of the week" to eat the bread and cup (in modern times often called "The LORD's Supper”).            

            The Ripon church of Christ lives and worships by faith! We believe that Christ was resurrected from the dead and have faith that He will resurrect us to life eternal. We believe that Jesus' sacrifice was important enough to honor each, and every, first day of the week, not just once, or a few times, a year. Yes, we come together on every LORD's Day to honor and remember and proclaim Christ's life, death, burial, and RESURRECTION until He comes and drinks it "new" with us! (Mark 14:25) May The Good LORD and our Savior, Jesus the Christ (Messiah) bless us as we live our life of faith and seek to do His will always!

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      As we begin to “recover” from the rather tumultuous past twelve months, or so, we need to consider how we have been able to endure all of these different, but oftentimes related, issues.   This, of course, is one of the first steps we need to take to move on with an active Christian life. It’s also only the first step in renewing our primary mission and our goal of reaching the community(ies) that God has entrusted to us. We can’t let these circumstances — well beyond our control — to hinder us from getting back to living our lives for Christ!

            I believe one of our first considerations is to remember that we are not immune from the same circumstances, situations, and maladies that the rest of the human race is subjected to. Don’t forget what the Apostle Peter has to say in his first letter about Christian suffering and testing. Our response to those trials says much about our faith! Perhaps we should read First Peter again and again? While we were going through the last twelve months or so, did we forget that God promised to see us through whatever things might come our way? Did we pray to be RELIEVED FROM the situation? Shouldn’t our prayer, rather, be that we would ENDURE THROUGH those circumstances? The LORD made no promise that we would not have to go through anything that is common to all. What He did promise is that He will provide the means to endure whatever happens and to be delivered from the situation! (Jas.1:12; 1Pet.2:13&19)

            What lies ahead of us and how long will it be before we return to the conditions under which we can carry out our lives and Kingdom work unencumbered? None of us knows, but we do know Who does! We need to trust in His wisdom and follow the example of the Apostle Paul: forget about what is behind us and press on. (Phil.3:13-14). A few other scriptures to think about as we move forward (at the pace that the circumstances and situation allow:

            Genesis 18:14 – “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?...”

            Jeremiah 32:17 – “…Nothing is too difficult for You…”

            Jeremiah 32:27 – “…is anything too difficult for Me?”

            Mark 9:23 – “…All things are possible to him who believes.”

                      Ephesians 3:20 — “…to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly                                                                                                      beyond all that we ask or think…”

            Hebrews 11:6 — “…without faith it is impossible to please Him…”

            So, stay positive and remain vigilant in prayer. We must look forward to what God will do for — and with — us and move on with a positive outlook. Remember, we are blessed far beyond what we deserve. We must continue to believe and trust our Almighty God!

We Must Believe to Endure!

 

          As we begin to “recover” from the rather tumultuous past twelve months, or so, we need to consider how we have been able to endure all of these different, but oftentimes related, issues.   This, of course, is one of the first steps we need to take to move on with an active Christian life. It’s also only the first step in renewing our primary mission and our goal of reaching the community(ies) that God has entrusted to us. We can’t let these circumstances — well beyond our control — to hinder us from getting back to living our lives for Christ!

            I believe one of our first considerations is to remember that we are not immune from the same circumstances, situations, and maladies that the rest of the human race is subjected to. Don’t forget what the Apostle Peter has to say in his first letter about Christian suffering and testing. Our response to those trials says much about our faith! Perhaps we should read First Peter again and again? While we were going through the last twelve months or so, did we forget that God promised to see us through whatever things might come our way? Did we pray to be RELIEVED FROM the situation? Shouldn’t our prayer, rather, be that we would ENDURE THROUGH those circumstances? The LORD made no promise that we would not have to go through anything that is common to all. What He did promise is that He will provide the means to endure whatever happens and to be delivered from the situation! (Jas.1:12; 1Pet.2:13&19)

            What lies ahead of us and how long will it be before we return to the conditions under which we can carry out our lives and Kingdom work unencumbered? None of us knows, but we do know Who does! We need to trust in His wisdom and follow the example of the Apostle Paul: forget about what is behind us and press on. (Phil.3:13-14). A few other scriptures to think about as we move forward (at the pace that the circumstances and situation allow:

            Genesis 18:14 – “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?...”

            Jeremiah 32:17 – “…Nothing is too difficult for You…”

            Jeremiah 32:27 – “…is anything too difficult for Me?”

            Mark 9:23 – “…All things are possible to him who believes.”

                      Ephesians 3:20 — “…to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly                                                                                                      beyond all that we ask or think…”

            Hebrews 11:6 — “…without faith it is impossible to please Him…”

            So, stay positive and remain vigilant in prayer. We must look forward to what God will do for — and with — us and move on with a positive outlook. Remember, we are blessed far beyond what we deserve. We must continue to believe and trust our Almighty God!

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Our Mission and Our Service – Together

As we begin to look forward to the return to some degree of “normalcy” to our personal and our spiritual lives and activity, it may be a good time for us all to be reminded of the tenet of Christianity and our responsibility as members of Christs Church. Allow a few scriptures to speak directly to our hearts and remind us of whose we are and what we are here for as the Body of Christ in Ripon, California.

Jesus, The Savior said: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  (Matt. 28:19-20) Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16) The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome: For I am not ashamed of the gospel (of Christ), for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom.1:16). The book of Acts and other writings by the Apostles, shows clearly that this power worked over and over again converting many to The Faith, including a great many of the priests” (Acts 6:7), as more and more were obedient to the gospel. According to Rom.1:8, 1 Thess.1:8, and Jude 3, at one point in time the gospel had been proclaimed to all” and in every place.” God’s plan and His power works!

            What does the LORD expect as we live our lives, daily? “Therefore, I beseech (urge) you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable (rational) service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom.12:1-2) “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the LORD.” (ESV) (Rom.12:10-11) “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;…with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people… (Acts 2:42-47).           

The Lords Church in Ripon cannot allow the discouragement and negativity of the past several months, if not years, to distract us or cause us to become complacent. We have a responsibility given to us by God to try to reach every lost soul within our spheres of influence, especially in the city of Ripon and the surrounding areas. Individually, and collectively, we need to pray and reassess what our participation will be as the congregations efforts toward fulfilling the Great Commission renews. God will empower us to do great things if we will continue to trust Him and follow His will. We have endured very difficult times. But, through it all we can see that God has been at work and leading us through to the point of ...for such a time as this!” (Esther 4:14). Without any doubt, He expects us to make a sincere effort to achieve His goal. (2 Pet.3:9) We — the church of Christ in Ripon — see that The LORD is blessing us richly and we are confident that He will continue to bless us in our efforts to serve Him. REMEMBER: We have a BIG GOD and with us working together and sharing a common BIG FAITH, what seems like a daunting, almost impossible, task becomes less so, when we keep our trust in GOD. TOGETHER we can do this, because GOD will bless us as we do His will – TOGETHER!

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Christianity continues to be faced with many challenges. As we are keenly aware, one of those challenges in the recent past involved whether or not the practice” of Christianity would continue to enjoy the same freedoms and liberties that other religions” enjoy. Despite the favorable changes that are beginning to take place within the political and government arenas, pessimism remains and continues to impact the LORDs Church negatively. Congregations agonize and have become reluctant to preach or teach on certain subjects/topics for fear of losing members and/or inviting governmental or societal wrath upon the church. Sadly, many congregations of the LORDs church have grown weary or stagnant, without real spiritual development. More than one congregation has engrossed itself in anxious activity that consumes time and attention, too concerned over things of keeping” Church or legal issues, to the detriment of developing real spiritual depth and maturity. Others, more sadly, have succumbed to the influence of the Devil and have joined efforts to completely change the worship of the church of our Savior, Jesus Christ, into an entertainment arena patterned after many of the so-called mega-churches in the Christian denominations. Some have even doubled down” on apostate efforts, very much like previous movements within the LORDs Church, to radically restructure His Church into something not remotely akin to Biblical doctrine.

The effect of all of the agony, anxiety, and weariness on the part of those congregations who have remained faithful to Gods word regarding the organization and the worship and work of His church is that it robs us of time to develop a greater awareness of the presence of God. As a result, many of Gods children and His churches are not growing or thriving because of a diminished, or lack of, proper awareness of God. Most Christians are very knowledgeable about the historical Jesus and the Church is also very thorough in teaching or preaching about the Christ who is to come. But, the omnipresent God is not missing now and never has been absent from His people! God is present because He is love (1 John 4:8). The Lord promised I will never desert you, nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5&Jos.1:5) Pessimism is, very often, an emotional response to a seemingly unsolvable problem — it is, primarily, a personal opinion or attitude. Our anxieties and pessimism would be relieved if we would but remember that, “In Him we live, and move, and exist” (Acts 17:28). Especially at times of turmoil or assault upon His people and His church, we should emphasize the Lords presence! We must never forget that,The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Hebrews 13:6&Psa.118:6)   Greater awareness of Gods presence would cure worry, bring peace and comfort, and restore our sense of mission. We can be assured of Gods presence as we adhere to the truth regarding our lives of dedication to Christianity and remain confident that God has made a promise that He will not break — that He will always be with, and providentially care for, His faithful children.

The LORD hasnt gone anywhere – Hes still here! Times change, circumstances may be different, but our problems are, essentially, the same. Lets work together and encourage one another to develop individually and collectively in our relationships with God. We will be much more effective in our daily lives, in our worship, in our work of service — in our fellowship — when we remain keenly aware that God is in our presence - ALWAYS!

May God continue to bless us in our service to Him.

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Practice what you preach! Christ as the master teacher (John 3:2) taught his disciples not only by word but by example (John 13:15). He demonstrated by His living how they should live before their heavenly Father. After washing the disciples’ feet (John 13:3-5), Christ explained to them the spiritual “benefits” of serving others (John 13:14-17). In fact, true happiness cannot be attained in any other way. What will bring true happiness in time will also bring it into eternity (Matthew 6:19-21; 1 Tim. 6:17-19). The principle of helping those who are spiritually weak (Romans 14:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:14), of weeping with those that weep (Romans 12:15), of encouraging the lowly (Luke 6:20; Gal. 2:10) and encouraging the sinful to sin no more (John 8:11), is the essential and fundamental spirit of our Lord. To cultivate the spirit and practice of doing good to others (Matthew 5:44; Acts 10:38) is the work that fits mortals for that eternal heavenly home (Colossians 1:4-5; 1 Peter 1:4).


As the master teacher, Jesus not only “told” but provided the perfect example (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:21-22; 1 John 2:6) of how we as God’s children should live before our heavenly Father and fellow man. This same principle of “practice what you preach” was demonstrated in Paul’s and Peter’s life (2 Corinthians 5:15; Gal. 2:20; 1 Peter 4:1-2). Faithful Christians are to provide the proper spiritual “example” before men by the lives they lead (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:14-16; 1 Peter 2:12).

In our everyday living, what kind of spiritual “sermon” are we preaching before others?   (Borrowed)

 

 

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13397 West Ripon Road, Ripon CA 95366

"A Family of God rooted in Christ"

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