May 2019 - GraceAndWorks

WHY ATTEND SUNDAY NIGHT WORSHIP??

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I was talking with our preacher Sunday about Sunday Night Worship Service and what we could do to increase attendance. As I researched the subject, I found that most congregations deal with the same problem. Decent attendance in the morning Worship and 25 to 30 percent of that number back on Sunday night.

                           IS THERE HINDRANCE FROM GOD?

The only hindrance that should keep one from the assembly is hindrance from God. If we are ill or otherwise hindered by the Lord, He does not expect us to assemble.

However the truth of the matter is that we often stretch an excuse to such an extreme that we create a hindrance and say it is from God. Parents may run around with their children all Sunday afternoon, but when evening comes the “children are just too tired to go to church.”

Sometimes personal work is done at the time of church meetings when it could just as easily be done at other times. Or sometimes we knowingly schedule ourselves for nonessential activities that will regularly keep us away from church assemblies on Sunday nights. Have we ever considered how insulting to the Lord it must be for us to feel well enough to go anywhere and do anything, except to meet with the brethren?

SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM

It is a strong congregation whose members can be counted upon to assemble together unless they are truly hindered from the Lord. The principle that Jesus stated in Matt. 6:33 to “Seek first the kingdom of God” is the basis that faithful Christians should use in determining whether or not to assemble with the church. Placing the Lord’s church before the other things that compete for our time and energy is certainly the proper attitude.

THE LORD IS IN OUR MIDST

If we believe Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three have gathered together in my name there l am in their midst,;” we will then realize that if we absent ourselves from the assembly, we remove ourselves from a meeting where the Lord is present.

WE MISS INSTRUCTION

When one misses the assembly he not only misses meeting with the Lord, he also misses the receiving of valuable instruction. Since he is not there, he will not be edified with the rest of the saints. (1 Cor. 14:12.) Who, among us, is so filled with information and wisdom that we have no need for further study or a need to be built up in the faith?

The Christian life is one of constant growth (2 Pet. 1:5-7). One may learn something from every lesson taught, or at least be reminded of great Bible truths. So often a sermon is preached or a lesson taught, but many who need to hear it have chosen to stay home, go fishing, play golf or be elsewhere. Building a strong congregation is the work of every member. A strong church cannot be built by a weak membership. It is difficult to build strong Christian character by sporadic attendance.

WE MISS COMMUNICATION

When one does not attend all the services of the church he also misses communication with other Christians. Some members feel like “outsiders” because they never seem to know what is going on in the congregation. The reason for this is quite simple. They fail to attend the assemblies where congregational news is given.

WE MISS ASSOCIATION WITH CHRISTIANS

When we do not attend the various assemblies we also miss association with other Christians. We all need the association of brothers and sisters in Christ so we can encourage others as well as be encouraged. We need to comfort others as well as be comforted. “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” (Heb. 10:24).

 

                          JUST A PRIVATE MATTER?

Attendance is not just a “private matter” as some would like to think. Other Christians are looking at us, and they are affected by our examples. It is a very serious matter when a poor example is set before a weak brother or sister. A poor example in the matter of attendance might well set a new or weak member on the road to a complete falling away.

Our own children are being told by our pattern of attendance what we consider important and what we consider unimportant. If we allow the smallest thing to keep us away from the assemblies, surely we are giving a message that is loud and clear to our children. The attitude of the parent will likely become the attitude of the child. Camping, fishing trips and recreational activities are good and beneficial, but surely they can be arranged so that the Lord will not be neglected.

ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER TO ATTEND

We can become stronger individual Christians, and stronger congregations if we will all become faithful attenders of all the assemblies.

The exhortation of the Hebrew writer is just as applicable for us today as it was for the church of Christ over nineteen centuries ago: “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together as is the habit of some; but encouraging one another; and all the more; as you see the day drawing near.”

Please DO NOT neglect God!! SMILE He loves YOU!!

 

PAUL’S ADVICE ON ANGER–“PUT IT ALL ASIDE!”

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Chances are, almost everyone here was angry at least once this past week. It may have been minor frustration with another driver or being irritated with your kids for not putting away their toys. It could have been a situation at work. Some husbands and wives live with daily anger and hurt feelings. Some parents and their children are in a constant battle of outbursts of anger and abusive words. Many adults have hurts from childhood that keep bubbling to the surface. Every time they think about them, they seethe with anger.

If you’re thinking, “Who, me, angry? I’m a Christian. I don’t get angry,” then you probably have a more serious anger problem than those who readily admit, “Yes, I struggle with anger.” A person’s face was red and the veins on his neck were bulging out as he angrily told me with a clenched jaw, “I’m not angry!” I thought to myself, “I’d hate to see you when you are angry!” Anger is a problem for every Christian.

Think of what would happen if everyone learned to deal with their anger! Child abuse and divorce would be gone. Murder, terrorism, and war would stop. And many health problems would clear up. Doctors believe that anger can harm the heart as much as high blood pressure does. The number one problem in cardiovascular disease—more important than cholesterol—is mismanaged anger (Los Angeles [3/88]). Besides high blood pressure and heart disease, anger can result in many other serious health problems. So the text is very practical. Paul says, Christians must put aside all sinful anger and abusive speech.

Colossians 3:8: “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.” If you’re honest, your reaction to this verse is probably, “I agree! But, really, how do you do it?” It’s easy to say, “Put all your anger and abusive speech aside.” But it’s another thing to do it! Paul seems to say, “You’re angry? Just stop it!”

“But, Paul, when I was a child, my parents took everything out me. So now I have all this anger. “Put it all aside!”

“But, Paul, my wife nags me constantly until I explode with anger.” “Put it all aside!”

“But Paul, my husband is a workaholic who leaves all the housework and dealing with the kids to me. He’s so inconsiderate! I’m so angry with him!” “Put it all aside!”

“But, Paul, my kids sass me and don’t do what I say, no matter how many times I ask them to do it. The only way I can get them to obey is to yell at them!” “Put it all aside!”

“But, Paul, you don’t understand. My boss at work has favorites and he treats me unfairly. I get so angry. I just hate him!” “Put it all aside!”

Paul doesn’t say that it will take years of psychotherapy to work through your anger issues. He doesn’t tell these new believers to sign up for an anger management class. He simply tells them, “Put it all aside.”

I wonder if we’ve made things more complicated than they need to be.  Paul writes to people who had been involved in some pretty serious sins which undoubtedly left them wounded and scarred (Col. 3:5-7). They didn’t have study Bibles and Christian books on how to deal with anger. There were no video series by famous Christian counselors. In fact, there were no Christian counselors! There were no magazines offering self-help articles on anger management. And all Paul says is, “Put it all aside.” That’s amazing! Awww…what we can learn from this verse in the context of this letter.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a good day all.

DOING THE RIGHT THING

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I’m sitting on my couch, this evening, watching Golden State and Houston play the 6th game in their playoff series for the right to move on to the next series and maybe a championship. When someone does something against the rules, there are consequences. Foul a player and he shoots free throws. Travel or double dribble and the ball goes to the other team. When the team isn’t playing well, the coach calls a time out. The coach will calm them down and tell them what needs to be done. He will call plays as the game progresses so the team can be successful in scoring. All the players, on each team, are dressed in the same uniform. The announcers try their best to keep me in the game and let me know what is going and maybe what should be happening.

As I was thinking about all the different things that were going on, I was thinking how I could apply that to my Christian life. Here’s what I came up with:
1) The announcers telling us what’s going on, seems to be the same as God giving us His written Word in the form of the Bible.
2) The coach calling time out when things aren’t going right, seems to be the same as I do with prayer. I call a time out and talk to God to get calmed down and start doing things right.
3) The coach calling plays as the game goes on, seems to be the same as the instruction I get when I go to the scriptures and let God tell me the plays I need to be implementing.
4) The players on each team having the same uniform on, seems to be the same as Christians all on the same tn the same page. We have the uniformity of all being on the same team.
5) When the players commit a foul, double dribble, or travel, there are consequences to be paid. This seems to be the same as life. When we do things that are contrary to what God wants done, we have consequences to pay. For every action there is a reaction. Every choice we make, good or bad, there is a reaction and a consequence.
6) Both teams are well prepared so they can win. Are we prepared so we can win? God promises us the crown of life and a place in Heaven. All we have to do is obey His commands and be prepared.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a good day all.