I recently held a Gospel Meeting for the church in Trezevant, Tennessee. Trezevant is a small town four miles north of Atwood, Tennessee which was the place where Ginger and I lived when I was just beginning full time local work as a preacher. I had just finished a Bible program at Freed-Hardeman University (in those days a college) and was taking classes in graduate school. The elders at Atwood were gracious enough to hire me when I knew very little except that I wanted to preach and work for the Lord.
“I’m too old.” “I’ve been too bad.” “I’ve been away from the church too long.” These and statements like them are said by two kinds of people. The first category contains folks that are spiritually despondent. They feel like there is no hope for them because of the things they have done or have left undone in their lives. Folks like this do not understand or do not accept the love and grace of God.
The phrase “the day of the Lord” is found nineteen times in the Old Testament. An interesting passage that comes to mind is Joel 2 in which the expression is used to refer to God’s retribution on Judah for her sins (2:1-11) and with implications for the Christian age (2:28-32). I have in mind just now the New Testament occurrence of the “the day of the Lord” that we find in 1 Thessalonians 5:2: “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night.”
Over the years we have had a number of people come to visit with us at this congregation because of a personal relationship they have had with one of our members. This situation can result in an individual being exposed to the gospel in a way that is new to them. This, in turn, can result in the blessing of a person obeying the gospel.
The Thursday of our recent mission trip to Bartica in Guyana we took a little boat ride to a beautiful place called Marshall Falls. Bartica is located on a point where the Essequibo and Mazaruni Rivers come together. From Bartica we went up the Mazaruni and soon passed the place where the Cuyuni River flows together with the Mazaruni. Our guide informed us that the Cuyuni went to Venezuela and the Mazaruni went to Brazil. Eventually.
I went to Wal-Mart today to get some crayons and pencils to take to Guyana for VBS later this week. It was a good time to buy crayons as all the school supplies were on sale. A box of twenty four crayons (the good Crayola brand) was only fifty cents. I must admit that it had been a while since I bought crayons and it struck me how cheap they were. I remember as a child how wonderful it was to get a new box of crayons. I had an aunt who would get us the big box (64, I think) at Christmas. I loved the way they smelled. They still smell the same.
Summertime means some great things around here: Limestone Bible Camp for one and mission trips for another. We had a group of six folks helping with VBS in Fort Dodge, Iowa and this week we have a group of ten going back to Guyana, South America. We will be going to Bartica on the western side of the country to conduct a VBS and a Lectureship. On our last work day in Guyana we will make a quick trip over to Canje to visit the church there.
There was a time not too many years ago when the popular topic among churches was “growth.” All sorts of methodologies were developed and packaged and repackaged and promoted. Just about all of them were “almost” guaranteed to fill the building to overflowing with enthusiastic folks. As with most trends and fads the “church growth” movement had its day and faded away.
We have been helping the West Side Church of Christ in Fort Dodge Iowa for some time now in various ways. We helped support brother Mike Halstead until his untimely death. Brother Halstead was a great fellow and altogether dedicated to the work of the church. We have for a while gone up to Iowa to help this good church with Vacation Bible School.
Do you watch the “news”? I remember (faintly) when I became aware that there were newspapers and television programs dedicated to informing the public about that was going on in this old world. In those earlier days of TV news the announcer basically just came on and read “the news.” There was always a good bit of opinion and commentary that would be woven in with the accounts of the day. These days it seems more opinion than news and very little balance between the two. Even the best choices for information leave quite a bit to be desired.
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