The year is now 2018 and we are getting closer to being in our new building and we are all looking forward to that day. We will have to get up on Sunday morning, yes we all have been sleeping in later than before the building was sold. We have only been meeting once on the Lord’s Day, that will change, hallelujah! We will need to change our habits! There is one thing for sure we all will be ready to make the change. Most of us have always spent most of our Sundays in the church building, I am ready.
Now we need to take advantage of our new building to bring souls in, new souls that have never heard the good news. There will be many challenges when we do bring new folks in. Many may have teachings in their lives that are different than what the Bible teaches. We don't need to run them off with unkind words, we will need to teach, love and care for them. We need to watch what we say and how we talk to them, souls are important to God! We now have maybe 10 or 12 weeks ahead of us to prepare. We are about ready to meet people we have never before had any contact with. As I think about the love that does happen here and who we are all very close to, will that same love be shown to the new people we meet? I would encourage all of us extend our hand of fellowship to all. Don’t stay in the groups of people you are comfortable with but be part of this new challenge that is before us. I do know, that we have a short window of opportunities with some of the people that may come through our doors, let us all be ready.
In the new building we will find new places to sit and new places to go and we will figure out where the classes are. How will the singing sound? Where do we park? No more rushing through all-in-one. I look forward to that day.
We sing the old song Trust and Obey. This old song is very dear to many of us who have sung this song many time in our lives. The chorus in the song says, “For there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.” When we say we trust in what the song says, does that mean we have complete trust in what we are singing? Do we really think about what we are saying in the song? Do we trust in what we are singing? When we sing to our God it means we put our hearts in it and give full attention to what we are doing, no other ideas in our head but to praise our wonderful and loving God. “I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised.” What a great blessing it is to sing songs of praise to our Lord and to trust and obey. Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord.” Amen!!! Obey is the other part to this song. If we don’t obey then we really don’t believe. That would be a sad condition to be in and I am sure no one wants to be in that position. So, when we sing that song Trust and Obey we remember that trust and obeying need to go hand in hand. To be happy in Jesus there is no other way and likewise the Lord will not be happy with us if we don’t trust and obey. Now that is not where we need to be. Acts 5:29 “But Peter and the apostles answered, We must obey God rather than men.” Amen!!
Did you know that thanksgiving, or one of its synonyms, is one of the more common words or themes in the Bible, appearing over two-hundred times throughout scriptures? While our society and culture emphasize being thankful for who and what we are as a nation once a year, it is apparent from scripture that being thankful or grateful is an attitude that we Christians should exhibit year-round. Listed below are some of these passages as a means of reflecting on what we should be thankful for and developing a more consistent attitude of thankfulness (I'll finish up the rest next week). The passages are in no particular order nor any level of importance, but, simply, are some that I find encouraging and that, hopefully, will encourage you as well. May God be glorified and honored!
Psalm 95:2&3 – Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving…For the LORD is the great God and the great King above all…
100th Psalm – Make a joyful shout to the LORD…serve the LORD with gladness…Know that the
LORD, He is God; it is He Who has made us…We are His people…Enter into His gates with thanksgiving…Be thankful to Him and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.
Heb. 12:28 – Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace [show gratitude], by which we serve God acceptably with reverence…
Col. 3:15-17 – And let the peace of God [Christ] rule in your hearts…and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…with grace [thankfulness] in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do…do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
2nd Sam. 22:50 – Therefore, I will give thanks to You, O LORD…and sing praises to Your name. Psalm 9:1&2 – I will give thanks to You, O LORD with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous wonders…I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
And one that I believe is appropriate now that our Nation has recently voted in a new President and administration:
1st Tim. 2:1-4: Therefore, I exhort, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men…and all who are in authority [prominent positions], that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence [dignity]. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
On behalf of Chuck, David, and Jack, I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving Day holiday period and encourage us all to maintain an attitude of thanksgiving throughout the year. We want you to know how much we love and appreciate each, and every, one of you. We are so very, very thankful for this congregation of God's people, whom we are honored to serve!
The Ripon Church of Christ: A Family of God Rooted in Christ
As our Nation completes this special period called Thanksgiving, let’s take stock, again, of just a few more things (in addition to those we noted last week) for which we, not just as Americans but as children of God, can be thankful:
1. That our God is THE GOD –JEHOVAH, YAHWEH - Creator, Sustainer, Provider, Controller, OMNI;
2. That we are created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27).
3. That the Spirit of God dwells within us (Romans 8:11 & Galatians 4:6);
4. That God hears and answers our prayers(Prov.15:8&29; Matt.21:22; Jas.5:15-16);
5. That we are children of God, part of His family, and members of His body, the
church of our Savior, Jesus the Christ (Rom.8: Col.1:24; Acts13:26);
6. For our physical family - remember that God instituted family (Gen.1-4);
7. For our material blessings because they, too, come from God (Matt.6:31-34);
8. That we are citizens of a kingdom whose King gave His life(2Thes1:5;1Tim1:15ff)
9. For the blood of Jesus - seal of the New Covenant - that continues to cleanse our
sins (Matt.26:28 and 1stJohn 1:7);
10. For eternal life, the gift of grace from God extended to us because of our faithful
obedience to Him, through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, His son (Eph.2:8).
This body of believers has endured some tough times over the past couple of years. As things were "set in order" and as we have endeavored to move forward, our patience has been tested many times. Throughout, however, we have maintained a persistent attitude to stand in the truth of God's word and not allow the actions of others to sway us from staying the course. Now, our patience and endurance are beginning to "pay off" and we will see things come to fruition very soon. Because we are family, we will be able to endure all things (1Cor.13:7) and do great things (Phil.2:14&4:13) for our Awesome God as we stay united around His Truth and allow our Savior to be our one - and only - LORD! As we do, let's keep in mind the words of the Apostle Paul in Eph. 3:20-21: "Always giving THANKS FOR ALL THINGS in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ to God and the Father, and be subject to one another in the fear (reverence) of God (Christ)." Let's remember ALWAYS whose and what we are as:
(This is a reprint of the article I wrote Nov. 17, 2013. The thoughts I expressed are as relevant today as then, although I must admit I don’t make it to the gym quite as often as I did when I wrote this.)
There are lots of songs that inspire and motivate me around 5-6 weekday mornings when I hit the gym for a workout, my Skullcandy, “Smokin Buds 2” ear buds in place and my iPhone open to my music app. Some of the songs you would expect (e.g. “Eye of the Tiger”). However, two of the most inspiring and motivating songs for me aren’t even of that genre. A young singer, Josh Turner (the other Josh, with just as powerful, but much deeper, voice) sings two of my favorite songs; songs that start my day out right and keep me going. One, “Long Black Train” has these words: “There’s a long black train coming down the line, feeding off the souls that are lost and crying, rails of sin only evil remains, watch out brother for that long black train. Look to the heavens you can look to the sky…find redemption staring back into your eyes. There is protection and there’s peace the same…Cause there’s victory in the Lord…Cling to the Father and His holy name, and don’t go riding on that long black train.” These scriptures come to mind as I listen: (1st Peter 5:8) “…be vigilant; your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Whether it’s a lion or a huge train engine, you can see it coming, so don’t jump on board or stay around the sin! “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). God gives us victory (over sin) “…through the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1st Corin. 15:57)
The other is “Me and God” (okay, now, all you teachers, remember song writers’ lyrical license): “There ain’t nothing that can’t be done by me and God. Ain’t nobody come in between me and God, one day we’ll live together where the angels trod…early in the morning…late at night talking it over Me and God…I am weak and He is strong…He forgives me when I’m wrong…He’s the One I lean on when life gets hard…He’s my Father, He’s my friend…we’re a team, Me and God…” I think of:(Mark 10:27) "…With men it is impossible, but…with God…all things are possible.” “Pray without ceasing.” (1st Thess. 4:17) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive…and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” (1st John 1:7-9) (2nd Sam. 22:33) “God is my strength…He makes my way perfect.” (John 14:1-4, Jesus says) “Let not your heart be troubled…in My Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again and receive you…that where I am, there you may be also.” May God continue to bless us all.
600 West Milgeo - Ripon California 95366