Central Church of Christ Blog

Sermon Notes: 11/18 – Christmas Prep – First Child

Scripture Reading: Luke 3:1-4 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

OP— — One family’s bright display of Christmas cheer at their Connecticut home has courted controversy this holiday season, after dozens of neighbors complained in a petition that the traffic the twinkling exhibition attracts creates “public safety and nuisance concerns.”

Mary Halliwell of Fairfield told ABC News that over the past 18 years, it has become a family tradition to transform their home into what they dub the “Wonderland on Roseville” each year, going all-out with lights and festive decorations.
This year, Halliwell said they employed over 350,000 Christmas lights to illuminate their home and yard, saying that some days the display attracts thousands of visitors. Halliwell said that they also use the Wonderland on Roseville to raise funds for Shriners Hospital for Children. The crowds this year caused neighbors to submit a petition that garnered 45 signatures to local authorities, calling on the town’s leaders and police to do something about the “significant public safety and nuisance concerns caused by the excessive volume of traffic the event creates in our neighborhood.”
https://abcnews.go.com/US/familys-massive-christmas-lights-display-courts-controversy-connecticut/story?id=51447602

 

WELCOME: To Central Church of Christ, a people gathered to show God’s love, Tell God’s Story, and Be God’s Family. Today we begin a new sermon series that will take us through the next four Sundays.  We’re calling it, Christmas Preparation. The scripture journey we take over the next few weeks will help  you prepare not for Christmas, but for the coming of the Christ. 

 “it seemed good to me … to write an orderly account for you.” Luke 1:3.

 In the book of Malachi God declared “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will PREPARE THE WAY before me.” Malachi 3:1

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘PREPARE THE WAY of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.’” Isaiah 40:3-5

 

So what was John’s MISSION before the Christ?
Luke 1:17 “to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
 “(would) be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to GIVE KNOWLEDGE OF SALVATION to his people in the FORGIVENESS OF THEIR SINS, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:76-79

John 1:29 “…John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”

Ralph Waldo Emerson once noted that QUOTE “People only see what they are prepared to see.” People only see what they’re looking for. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/50328-people-only-see-what-they-are-prepared-to-see#:~:text=Quote%20by%20Ralph%20Waldo%20Emerson,they%20are%20prepared%20to%20see.%E2%80%9D

 

ILLUS: Christian artist Matthew West made a controversial satirical song this year featuring his wife and daughters in the video. He was poking fun at himself for being an overprotective dad.  Needless to say, “Modest is hottest” made people mad.  In the process, non-Christians said all kinds of vile and evil things about Jesus, the Bible and Christians in general. And many of their comments were just obvious lies… but they didn’t care because THAT was what they were PREPARED to see. They weren’t PREPARED to look for or see Jesus in any of this. They were offended that this song would confront their way of life.  Right or wrong, the vile commentors weren’t prepared to see Jesus in the words.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d2D9W_-8Gk

“John the Baptist (preached) ‘REPENT, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’” (Matthew 3:1-2)

Matthew 3:1-3 & 5-8 tells us “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “REPENT, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”   “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”… “YOU BROOD OF VIPERS! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.”

“UNLESS YOU REPENT, you will all likewise PERISH.” Luke 13:3

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom YOU crucified.” Acts 2:36
“YOU killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead…” Acts 3:15

“you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon US.” Acts 5:28

“REPENT and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38

 

 “Life is short, death is sure. Sin’s the cause, Christ is the cure.”

 
“… on the 8th day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, ‘No; HE SHALL BE CALLED JOHN.’ And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they all wondered.” Luke 1:59-63
 
“Because the angel said to him ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.’” Luke 1:13

John’s NAME was God’s idea!!! But why would God bother? Why bother to choose that name? Because the name John means “God Is Gracious.”

https://www.behindthename.com/name/john

English form of Iohannes, the Latin form of the Greek name Ἰωάννης (Ioannes), itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan) meaning “Yahweh is gracious”, from the roots יוֹ (yo) referring to the Hebrew God and חָנַן (chanan) meaning “to be gracious”.

Paul wrote: “For by GRACE you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is THE GIFT OF GOD” Ephesians 2:8

 


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Thanks Service


Central News: We want to remind you that tonight
@ 6:30pm is our “Thanks” service in lieu of our Wed midweek service. Come prepared to give thanks to God in multiple ways for things!

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


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Sermon Notes: 11/21 Detours – Legacy

Hebrews 11:22

Nadin Khoury
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btjinnZzdqk
https://inspiremykids.com/nadin-khoury-from-bullying-victim-to-brave-spokesperson/

“By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.” Hebrews 11:22

  • Exodus 13:19 tells us that when Israel left Egypt “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him….”
  • Joshua 24:32 we’re told that “As for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt – they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money. It became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph.”
  • “Joseph sent and summoned Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five persons in all. And Jacob went down into Egypt, and he died, he and our fathers, and they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.” Acts 7:14-16

“I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore (promised) to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. Genesis 50:24-26

ILLUS Jewish Graves: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visitation_stones#:~:text=The%20act%20of%20placing%20visitation,placed%20by%20the%20left%20hand.

“Since WE have these promises… let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” I Peter 4:12-14

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23

. Isaiah 26:3 we’re promised that “(God) will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in Him.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Isaiah 40:29-31 “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33

Romans 8:28 carries a step further “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Ephesians 2:10  “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that He has prepared in advance for us to do” 

John 3:16 says… “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Joseph said “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore (promised) to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. Genesis 50:24-26

 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20

“What Shall We Do!!!!        And Peter replies: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. FOR THE PROMISE IS FOR YOU and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Acts 2:37-39

 


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Sermon Notes: 11/14 Detours #4

Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:9-15

OPEN (Thomas Edison):  On the night of December 9, 1914, Edison Industries was virtually destroyed by fire. Edison lost two million dollars that night and much of his life’s work went up in flames. He was insured for only $238,000, because the buildings had been made of concrete, at that time thought to be fireproof.

  (Edison’s son) Charles was 24; Thomas was 67. The young man ran about frantically, trying to find his father. Finally he came upon him, standing near the fire, his face ruddy in the glow, his white hair blown by the December winds.

  “My heart ached for him,” Charles Edison said. “he was 67 – no longer a young man – and everything was going up in flames.”

  He spotted me. ’Charles,’ he shouted, ’where’s your mother?’

  1 don’t know, Dad,’ I said.

  ’Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this again as long as she lives.’”

  The next morning, walking about the charred embers of all his hopes and dreams, Edison said,

“There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew

  Three weeks after the fire, his firm delivered the first phonograph.

                 https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/butterworth-on-disappointment/

                        https://www.business2community.com/strategy/the-great-value-of-disaster-0160198

WELCOME: DETOURS –  Welcome to week four of Detours with Joseph: If you’re new with us, joseph is a big deal in the bible first book genesis (he get’s more scripture time than any Genesis hero) and we’re looking at his life because joseph he took a lot of detours in life.  Some of you are on a detour right now; it could be financial or relational or just in your spiritual journey. The problem with detours is sometimes you just feel stuck and joseph’s life gives us a model of how to come out the other side of the detour better than when we went in. So if you’re new to us welcome to Central,  i hope you have a great Biblical experience. If you’re new watching online, We hope you have a spiritual experience connecting with God’s Word and we  hope to see you soon here at the building for worship together.  We’re going to be in genesis chapter 45. Now last three weeks we were in genesis chapter 37, 39, & 41 and I shared from Joseph’s life a few big truths,

REVIEW: New Definition of Detour: A change in our plans God uses to develop our character and competency, so we can arrive at a better destination.
  1. Detours can be caused by a) our bad choices, b) other people’s sin, c) God’s divine hand
  2. God uses detours for our development
  3. God often uses detours to take us to somewhere better.
  4. That Meekness & Humility are window tint that help us see detours for what God intends them to be.
  5. Open to Genesis 45, but before we get there, let’s get back to Edison’s concept that is better than the light bulb.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23

Poem by: Louisa Fletcher

“I wish there were some wonderful place

Called the Land of Beginning Again

Where all our mistakes, and all our heartaches

And all our selfish griefs

Could be cast like a shabby old coat at the door

And never be put on again”
https://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php%3Fdate=2013%252F05%252F10.html

“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?’” Genesis 50:15

Genesis 45:5-8 “… do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

  “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.”

“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?’” Genesis 50:15

 
Attorney Illustration: There’s the true story of an attorney, who after studying on several scriptures, decided to cancel the debts of all his clients that had owed him money for more than six months.

 He drafted a letter explaining his decision and its biblical basis and sent 17 debt-canceling letters by certified mail.

  SIXTEEN of the 17 letters were returned, unsigned and undelivered.

  Why? Because the clients refused to sign for them and open the envelopes. They were afraid that the attorney was suing them for their debts. So – in their fear – they ended up running away from his forgiveness.              (Rick McCarley, https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon-illustrations/7400/forgive-us-our-debts-by-rick-mccarley, Preacher at Crosspoint Church in Osawatomie, south of Kansis city. )

 
Time Magazine Survey Data on Forgiveness: 

………………………………………………. % forgive………….. % not forgive

Told lies about them ……………………… 73 ……………………….24

Stole money from them   ………………….67………………………..31

Slapped or punched them…………………64………………………..32

Held them up with a gun…………………..42………………………..54

Murdered someone in community……..33…………………………59

Raped them……………………………………22………………………..73

Raped a family member……………………19………………………..77

 (Time 4/5/99 p. 58 Yankelovich Partners Inc. Survey)
http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,22227,00.html

 

“Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.” Proverbs 10:12

“For God so LOVED the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever would believe in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“… love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Ephesians 4:32-5:2

Romans 8:28 “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

“… do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.  “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.” – Genesis 45:5-8

Genesis 50:20 – As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20

CLOSE: There’s a book, “An Invitation to Healing” by Lynda Elliott and in that book Lynda writes this:

“I had a choice to make. If I choose to behold Jesus, to focus on Him, I could be transformed into His image (to become like our teacher). Likewise, if I continued to behold the image of my neighbor, I could be transformed into her image.”

 

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Growth Group Devo Thought #1d

We’re excited about our second Growth Groups meeting tomorrow evening for continued discussion of our story, God’s story, and the part our joy plays in His story. Here’s a thought guiding us tomorrow tomorrow’s study from 2 Corinthians 6. 
If you’re a Christian, you’re called to be a light in the world. But what does that even mean in today’s context? Well, it’s actually not as complicated as you might think. You see, spreading joy is actually part of being a light. Which means, every time we choose to extend positivity rather than negativity, every time we give of ourselves selflessly, and every time we choose to see the best in someone, we’re spreading joy. It’s easy to see— through the news and through social media—that the world around us is in desperate need of joy. By spreading joy, you’re being a light in the world and pointing others to the refreshing, lasting joy that only God can provide. But you can’t pour from an empty cup. Just as you’re called to pour into other people by spreading God’s love, you should also surround yourself with people who can fill you back up.
Today, ask yourself these two questions:
  • Whose life can you bring light and joy to?
  • Who in your life brings you joy and refreshment?
Write down the names that came to mind as you answered those questions, and make it a priority to reach out to those people as you consider this inspiration from Philemon 1:7.

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Growth Group Devo Thought #1c

Our next Growth Group meeting is Nov 14th focusing in on Joy in the Story of Our Lives.  We hope to see you there! 

When we choose to put our trust in God, we’re assuming a posture of vulnerability, and that feeling oftentimes makes us uncomfortable. The world tells us we can control almost anything in our lives if we try hard enough, which makes trusting God go against our very nature as humans. But there’s a reason why God calls us to “be still and know” that He is God (Psalm 46:10 NIV). He’s reminding us that, in reality, we can’t actually control all of the variables in our lives—but He can. Be careful not to fall into the trap of supposed self-sufficiency. Instead, choose to give God control—even in the small things. One way to build your trust muscle is to recall the times God has come through for you—the times He’s helped you, protected you, or answered your prayers. As we learn to put our trust in Him, we’ll be more likely to notice God at work in our lives. And when we see God at work, our faith will increase—and so will our joy.


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Devo Thought #1b Growth Groups –

The dictionary defines “joy” as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires; a source or cause of delight.” In other words, there’s a lot of meaning packed into that little three-letter word. Joy is much more than
the temporary happiness we fi nd in things and experiences throughout our day. Joy goes much deeper than that, and ultimately, it’s a Kingdom matter. But how do you tell the difference between true joy and temporary happiness? Take an inventory of the things in your life that delight you and then ask yourself these questions: Are they things God would be excited about? Are they things that give you energy or deplete your energy? Are they things that hurt you or benefit you in the long run? Do you feel at peace afterwards? Today, ask God to show you what lasting joy looks like, beyond what is temporary.

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Devo Thought #1a – Growth Groups

A little over two weeks ago, we began growth groups talking about Jesus and happiness in life. 

If you find yourself constantly thinking, “If only would happen, then I’d be happy,” you’re heading down a road paved with discontentment and disappointment. Here’s why: Most of the time, the things we think will make us happy and fulfill the desires of our hearts are one-dimensional and short-sighted. If we truly got what we wanted at the time, we’d likely fi nd ourselves unhappy with the outcome down the road. The truth is, we can only see so far—it’s God who has the bird’s-eye view. So instead of focusing on the things you want right now, God encourages us to delight in who He is. And who is He? He’s the Creator of all things, including the hopes, desires, and aspirations we all have inside of us. He’s the ultimate Provider, willing and able to exceed our expectations. This week, rest in His promises and find comfort in knowing His plan is far greater than any plans we could come up with for ourselves. Take time to thank God for His power and ask Him to shift your focus toward Him.
Growth Group Meeting #2 focusing on “Live A Better Story” is coming up this Sunday evening, (11/14). We hope you can be there!

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Sermon Notes: 11/07 – Detours & Tinted Windows

Genesis 41:1-49

WELCOME: Welcome to week two of Detours with Joseph: If you’re new with us, joseph is a big deal in the bible first book genesis (he get’s more scripture time than any Genesis hero) and we’re looking at his life because joseph he took a lot of detours in life.  Some of you are on a detour right now; it could be financial or relational or just in your spiritual journey. The problem with detours is sometimes you just feel stuck and joseph’s life gives us a model of how to come out the other side of the detour better than when we went in. So if you’re new to us welcome to Central,  i hope you have a great Biblical experience. If you’re new watching online, look i get it i yelp restaurants before i go to the restaurant, so hope to see you soon here at the building for worship together.  We’re going to be in genesis chapter 41. Now last two weeks we were in genesis chapter 37 & 39 and I shared from Joseph’s life a few big truths,

REVIEW: New Definition of Detour: A change in our plans God uses to develop our character and competency, so we can arrive at a better destination.

  1. Detours can be caused by a) our bad choices, b) other people’s sin, c) God’s divine hand
  2. God uses detours for our development
  3. God often uses detours to take us to somewhere better.

GOD CARE’S FOR US DURING DETOURS: God is never far from us. He never allows us to remain to stay on the detour longer than we can stand. And when we have gone through the twists and the turns of live avoiding the temptations along the way, God will have brought us to a better destination. 

Numbers 12:3 “… Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” KJV

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” Mt 11:29

“Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth”

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

So he says I cannot do it but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Genesis 41:16

Genesis 41:39-44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you.

   You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”

   So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”

   Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.  He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

   Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.”

 

1 Peter 1:13-16

Therefore, preparing your minds for action,[b] and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 

 

A few years ago, Denzel Washington was interviewed by a major magazine and one of the questions was this:

 “How do you deal with fame?”

And he replied: “It ain’t about me. The one thing for me, understanding how I understand God, is that it keeps me humble. Keeps the pronouns out of the picture. I’ve been given certain abilities, and I look at it this way: What are you going to do with what you have? Who are you going to live your life for? 

https://www.christianpost.com/news/10-powerful-christian-celebrities-in-hollywood.html

GENESIS 50:20 – As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20

 

Who Will Follow Jesus?


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Daylight Savings Ends

Central Reminder: Good evening church family. Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour tonight to gain an extra hour of sleep. Also, Sunday PM Traditional service is at 5pm tomorrow night & until daylight savings time change in March 2022. Finally, Ronald Allison won Superstock Drag Racing Championship tonight!

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Sermon notes: 10/31 Detours with Joseph

“Daddy’s Money” by Ricochet

“She’s got her daddy’s money, her momma’s good looks.

More laughs than a stack of comic books.

A wild imagination, a college education.

Add it all up it’s a deadly combination.

She’s a good bass fisher. A dynomite kisser.

Country as a turnip green.

She’s got her daddy’s money. Her momma’s good looks, and look who’s looking at me!”

 

WELCOME: Welcome to week two of Detours with Joseph: If you’re new with us, joseph is a big deal in the bible first book genesis (he get’s more scripture time than any Genesis hero) and we’re looking at his life because joseph he took a lot of detours in life.  Some of you are on a detour right now; it could be financial or relational or just in your spiritual journey. The problem with detours is sometimes you just feel stuck and joseph’s life gives us a model of how to come out the other side of the detour better than when we went in. So if you’re new to us welcome to Central,  i hope you have a great Biblical experience. If you’re new watching online, look i get it i yelp restaurants before i go to the restaurant, so hope to see you soon here at the building for worship together.  We’re going to be in genesis chapter 39. Now last week we were in genesis chapter 37 and I shared from Joseph’s life a few big truths,

 

REVIEW: New Definition of Detour: A change in our plans God uses to develop our character and competency, so we can arrive at a better destination.

  1. Detours can be caused by a) our bad choices, b) other people’s sin, c) God’s divine hand
  2. God uses detours for our development
  3. God often uses detours to take us to somewhere better.

“What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all (pause) he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” Genesis 37:26-27

 

“The LORD was with Joseph” 

You see it in vss. 2, 21, and 23.

Genesis 39:5 says “From the time (Potiphar) put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.”

“The LORD was with (Joseph); he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” Genesis 39:21-23

“I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5).

“…the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…” 2 Chronicles 16:9.

Psalm 34:15 assures us that: “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry”

Romans 8:28 declares: “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

 

“There’s something suspect about a faith that has never been tested.

An army going through basic training is not ready for battle. Not until soldiers have faced the battle, and been under fire do they consider themselves proven, hardened, worthy.

 A ship cannot prove that it has been sturdily built as long as it stays in dry dock. Its hull must get wet; it must face a storm to demonstrate genuine seaworthiness. (Joel C. Oregory, Growing Pains of the Soul

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. – Genesis 50:20

  “The HAMMER is a useful tool. But the nail, if it had feeling and intelligence, could present another side of the story. For the nail knows the hammer only as an opponent a brutal, merciless enemy who lives to pound it into submission, to beat it down out of sight and clinch it into place.

 That is the nail’s view of the hammer, and it is accurate except for one thing:

The nail forgets that both it and the hammer are servants of the same workman. Let the nail but remember that the hammer is held by the workman and all resentment toward it will disappear.

The carpenter decides whose head shall be beaten next and what hammer shall be used in the beating.

That is his sovereign right. When the nail has surrendered to the will of the workman and has gotten a little glimpse of his benign plans for its future, it will yield to the hammer without complaint.

  The FILE is more painful still, for its business is to bite into the soft metal scraping and eating away the edges till it has shaped the metal to its will.

Yet the file has, in truth, no real will in the matter, but serves another master as the metal also does.

It is the master and not the file that decides how much shall be eaten away. What shape the metal shall take and how long the painful filing shall continue.

Let the metal accept the will of the master and it will not try to dictate when or how it shall be filed.

  As for the FURNACE, it is the worst of all. Ruthless and savage, it leaps at every combustible thing that enters it and never relaxes its fury till it has reduced it all to shapeless ashes. All that refuses to burn is melted to a mass of helpless matter, without will or purpose of its own. When everything is melted that will melt and all is burned that will burn then and not till then the furnace calms down and rests from its destructive fury.” (A.W. Tozer “The Root of the Righteous”)

19 As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled. 20 And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. – Gen 39:19-21

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/11/growth-trauma

CLOSE: Country song about an Unpleasant little Detour: Carrie Underwood – Jesus Take the Wheel

She was driving last Friday on her way to Cincinnati on a snow white Christmas Eve
Going home to see her mama and her daddy with the baby in the backseat
Fifty miles to go, and she was running low on faith and gasoline
It’d been a long hard year
She had a lot on her mind, and she didn’t pay attention
She was going way too fast
Before she knew it she was spinning on a thin black sheet of glass
She saw both their lives flash before her eyes
She didn’t even have time to cry
She was so scared
She threw her hands up in the air

Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
‘Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go
So give me one more chance
And save me from this road I’m on
Jesus, take the wheel

It was still getting colder when she made it to the shoulder
And the car came to a stop
She cried when she saw that baby in the backseat sleeping like a rock
And for the first time in a long time
She bowed her head to pray
She said, “I’m sorry for the way
I’ve been living my life
I know I’ve got to change
So from now on tonight

Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
‘Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go
So give me one more chance
And save me from this road I’m on.”

Oh, Jesus, take the wheel

Oh, I’m letting go
So give me one more chance
Save me from this road I’m on
From this road I’m on
From this road I’m on
Jesus, take the wheel
Oh, take it, take it from me
Oh, why, oh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lydBPm2KRaU

 


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Return to Annex & Classes Tonight

Tonight at 6:30pm we are excited to return back to our fellowship time in the Annex and regular Bible classes.  All are invited to join in and participate.  Gabriel Wiles will be offering the livestream devotional.  While the threat of Covid-19 spread still exists in the area, it is recommended that those who are unvaccinated to continue to wear masks in public indoor gatherings. We hope you can join us!

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Bulb Blown out

Due to a technical malfunction with our short throw projector, such as the lamp burning out during testing today, we will not be able to show the drive-in movie tonight at the church building. We regret the delays and hope to reschedule soon.

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Growth Group Start Up

Get all the Growth Group info at https://www.christiscentral.org/growth-groups/

Meeting #1: 10/24/2021

Bottom Line: JESUS CAME TO GIVE US A BETTER STORY, NOT A HAPPY STORY.

Focus Scripture: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

 

Meeting #2: 11/14/2021

Bottom Line: HAPPINESS DEPENDS ON CIRCUMSTANCES.

JOY TRANSCENDS THEM.

Focus Scripture: Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. 2 Cor 6:10 NLT

 

Meeting #3: 11/28/2021

Bottom Line: THE PATH TO A BETTER STORY IS RARELY AN EASY PATH.

Focus Scripture: Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,

because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
 

Meeting #4: 12/12/2021

Bottom Line: USING POWER TO SERVE OTHERS IN LOVE CREATES A BETTER STORY FOR EVERYONE, INCLUDING YOU.

Focus Scripture: Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an

example that you should do as I have done for you. John 13:14-15

 

Meeting #5 & #6: 12/26/2021

Bottom Line: YOUR STORY IS EITHER MOVING TOWARD LOVE OR AWAY FROM IT.

Focus Scripture: The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives;

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23
 
Get all the Growth Group info at https://www.christiscentral.org/growth-groups/

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Mission Trip to El Salvador

Here is also a Recent Message from our Cuban Family in Christ

“Las herramientas que ustedes dejaron cuando vinieron nos han ayudado mucho. Les estamos muy agradecidos por toda la inversión que hicieron en su viaje, por los equipos y herramientas. También se mantiene la cocina que construyeron. Tenemos otros proyectos así que les esperamos pronto. Dios les bendiga rica y abundantemente.” – Tony Fernandez

“The tools that you left behind when you came here have helped us a lot. We are very grateful to them for all the investment they made in their trip, for the equipment and tools. The kitchen they built is also kept. We have other projects so we hope to see you soon. God bless you richly and abundantly.” – Tony Fernandez
 

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Sermon Notes: 10/17 RR7 – Don’t Try This at Home

Intro: Crazy Warning Labels!

WELCOME to CENTRALCHURCH OF CHRIST: Not a place, but a people connected by a common bond of Christ our Savior with a common mission to show HIS love, tell HIS story, and be HIS people!  We’re on our last week of an expository sermon series this week that I’m calling the “ROMAN ROAD.”  Expository means we learn from the text, and bring out it’s points, rather than topical, which is where we have a point and use the text to support it.  So here we are digging in for a while in the beautiful letter to the Romans from Paul. 

“…I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” Romans 9:3-5

“Did God reject his people?” (The Jews) Romans 11:1

“Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery?” Romans 11:11

“I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.” Romans 11:1

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37

“I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Romans 11:4

“Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.’” Romans 9:27 Quoting Isaiah 10:22

“In that day, I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief. I will make the lame a remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever. (Micah 4:6-7)

“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the remnant whom the LORD calls.” Joel 2:32

2 Chronicles 16:9 “…the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…”

“So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.” Romans 11:5

You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in. Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief…” Romans 11:19-20a

“And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!” Romans 11:23-24

“(Israelites) were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.” Romans 11:20-21

“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Hebrews 2:1

“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.” Hebrews 3:12

 “… they (Israelites) were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.  For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.  Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.” Romans 11:20-23

 

ROMAN ROAD: That restoration process is listed throughout the book of Romans to bring us toward salvation.

1. The Human Problem (Romans 3:10Romans 3:23, and Romans 6:23).

The first part of the Romans Road confirms the state of every human as sinful and the state of God as holy.

  • As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;”(Romans 3:10)
  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23)

After establishing that “all have sinned,” the first half of Romans 6:23 explains the depth of this problem and its consequences.

 “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a)

However, the second half of the verse hints at the hope sinners have for salvation through Jesus.

“…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b)

 2. Humanity’s Hope in Christ (Romans 5:8).

The second part of the Romans Road further explains the hope we have in the love of God expressed through Christ.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

 3. The Sinner’s Response (Romans 11:20, Romans 10:9-10, Romans 10:13, Romans 6:3-5).

  • Believe in Him – 11:20That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith.
  • Repentance of sin Romans 2:3-5 “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? “
  • Confession of MouthIf you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”(Romans 10:9-10)
  • For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:13)
  • Baptism – “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?  4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection,” (Romans 6:3-5)
 
  1. The Result of Salvation 16:25-27 – Strength & Glory.

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.


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Sermon Notes: 10/10 RR6: The Gratitude Attitude

WELCOME to CENTRALCHURCH OF CHRIST: Not a place, but a people connected by a common bond of Christ our Savior with a common mission to show HIS love, tell HIS story, and be HIS people!  We’re on week 6 of an expository sermon series this week that I’m calling the “ROMAN ROAD.”  Expository means we learn from the text, and bring out it’s points, rather than topical, which is where we have a point and use the text to support it.  So here we are digging in for a while in the beautiful letter to the Romans from Paul.  I’m thankful for Patrick and Joelah filling in for me while I invested time with my family in the Harding Lectureships and visiting God’s natural beauty around the country.

ILLUS HAYDEN: For example, the great classical composer Joseph Hayden, was criticized because his church music was too cheerful (and you thought “contemporary music” was a tough sell).

  He replied: “I cannot help it.  I give forth what is in me. When I think of the Divine Being, my heart is so full of joy that the notes fly off as from a spindle. And as I have a cheerful heart, He will forgive me if I serve Him cheerfully.”

Romans 7:25a  “THANKS BE TO GOD— through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

“But THANKS BE TO GOD that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.” Romans 6:17

“But THANKS BE TO GOD, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” 2 Corinthians 2:14
 
“THANKS BE TO GOD for his indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15

 

  “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

   When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

   “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

   But THANKS BE TO GOD! He gives us the victory (over death and the grave) through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:51-57

 

ILLUS PAUL IN PRISON: This legend tells of a wealthy merchant who had traveled to Rome to find this preacher he’d heard so much about. In his search, the merchant found Timothy… and Timothy arranged a visit.

  At the time, Paul was a prisoner in Rome. Stepping inside the cell, the merchant was surprised to find a rather old man, physically frail, but whose serenity and magnetism challenged the visitor. They talked for hours.

  Finally the merchant left and outside the prison, he asked Timothy “What is the secret of this man’s power? I have never seen anything like it before.”

  Did you not guess?” replied Timothy. “Paul is in love.”

  The merchant looked bewildered. “In Love?”

  “Yes,” the missionary answered, “Paul is in love with Jesus Christ.”

  The merchant looked even more bewildered. “That’s it. That’s all?”

  Timothy smiled and then replied, “Sir, that is everything.”

https://sermons.faithlife.com/sermons/25819-paul-the-apostle-in-love

 

 

“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replies “I suppose the one who owed the greater debt.”

  ”You are correct” says Jesus

Then Jesus turned to the woman and said

  “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven— for she loved much.

   But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:36-47

Romans 7:25 Paul says “THANKS BE TO GOD— through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

 

“Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.” Ac 22:16

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners— of whom I am the worst.” 1 Timothy 1:15

“But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.” 1Timothy 1:16

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Mt 6:19-20

 

“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

   Thanks be to God— through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 7:24 – 8:2

In a moment, we’re going to sing the song TRUST and OBEY.  The hymn was inspired in 1886 when the composer of the music, Daniel B. Towner (1850-1919), was the music leader during one of Dwight L. Moody’s famous revivals

“We were in Brockton, Massachusetts, and I had the pleasure of leading singing. One night a young man rose in a testimony meeting and said, ‘I am not quite sure—but I am going to trust, and I am going to obey.’ I just jotted that sentence down, and sent it with a little story to the Rev. J. H. Sammis. He wrote the hymn, and the tune was born.”

Invitation: If you are thankful for the salvation that Jesus brings, if you are saying along with me, “Thanks be to God!”  Then the next move after thankfulness is trusting and obeying. 

“Trust and obey—for there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”


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Ministry Meeting on 10/10

Central Reminder: On Sunday, Oct. 10th the Elders, Ministry leaders, & Deacons will meet in the outside pavilion for lunch and to submit ministry goals, plans, & budgets for 2022.

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Harding Streaming

The Wiles family has arrived in Searcy, Arkansas. Yet this Lectureship isn’t just for ministers and wives, it’s a resource for all members of the church to grow from. Tonight at 7pm, the Wiles will be sitting in on David Shannon’s (president at Freed-Hardeman) keynote address titled “Invincible! God’s Eternal Kingdom (Daniel 7:9-18)“.
 
You can watch it live with us on Harding’s livestream here: https://thelink.harding.edu/hu16/

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Sermon notes: 9/19 RR3: Proper Burial

WELCOME to CENTRALCHURCH OF CHRIST: Not a place, but a people connected by a common bond of Christ our Savior with a common mission to show HIS love, tell HIS story, and be HIS people!  We’re on week 3 of an expository sermon series this week that I’m calling the “ROMAN ROAD.”  Expository means we learn from the text, and bring out it’s points, rather than topical, which is where we have a point and use the text to support it.  So here we are digging in for a while in the beautiful letter to the Romans from Paul.  The first week we saw in Romans 1 about Creation that God is there and he really cares for us!  Last week in Romans 3 we gained a more full understanding of the nature of &&&Justifying Grace in Salvation. This week, Romans 6 connects us to a very poignant image concerning God’s saving Grace. 

Romans 6:3-4“.. don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his DEATH?

Romans 6:2 says “…We DIED to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”

Romans 6:6 says “For we know that our old self was CRUCIFIED with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin”

 

Colossians 3:3 “For you DIED, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

2 Timothy 2:11 “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we DIED with him, we will also live with him”

 

John 3:23 tells us – “Now John (the Baptist) also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was PLENTY OF WATER…”

“… both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.” Acts 8:38-39

DIDACHE***Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism

And concerning baptismbaptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy SpiritMatthew 28:19 in living water. But if you have not living water, baptize into other water; and if you can not in cold, in warm.

https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0714.htm

Romans 6:4 

 “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

  •  

****Acts 16:26-33 tells us

 “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.

  The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

   The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.

   He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

  They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved— you and your household.”

   Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.

  AT THAT HOUR OF THE NIGHT the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.”

 

 

***ANCIENT WORDS: For the first 1500 years of the church’s existence everybody taught that baptism was part of the salvation act. Every early church leader who talked about baptism taught this.

 

  • Justin Martyr (A.D. 110-165) said “We have learned from the apostles this reason” for baptism: “in order that we… may obtain in the water the remission of sins” (First Apology, 61).

 

  • Tertullian (A.D. 145-220) said, “Happy is our sacrament of water, in that, by washing away the sins of our early blindness, we are set free and admitted into eternal life” (On Baptism iii). Also “The act of baptism… is carnal, in that we are plunged in water, but the effect is spiritual, in that we are freed from sins” (ibid., vii).

 

  • Cyril of Jerusalem (A.D. 315-386) said, “When going down… into the water, think not of the bare element, but look for salvation by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Catechetical Lectures III:4).

 

“baptized into Christ (you have) clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:27

  • 1 Peter 3:21 says “and this water (Noah’s Flood) symbolizes baptism that now saves you also— not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience towards God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

That’s what Colossians 2:12 that says “having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him THROUGH YOUR FAITH in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

Mark 16:16: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

 

To m


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Sermon Notes: 9/12 Roman Road 2 – What’s So Great About Grace?

The Law can be funny sometimes can’t it!  The following is a list of police comments that reportedly were taken from actual police car videos where police arrested various law-breakers:

  1. One officer told a man who was complaining about how tight the handcuffs were by saying: “Relax; the handcuffs are tight because they’re new. They’ll stretch out after you wear them awhile.”
  2. Another criminal looked like he was going to run: “If you run, you’ll only go to jail tired.”
  3. A drunk was pulled over and asked a series of questions ending with this one: “Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?”
  4. “No, sir, we don’t have quotas anymore. We used to have quotas, but now we’re allowed to write as many tickets as we want.”
  5. “I’m glad to hear the Chief of Police is a good personal friend of yours. At least you know someone who can post your bail.”
  6. “You didn’t think we give pretty women tickets? You’re right, we don’t. Sign here.”
  7. “Warning? You want a warning? O.K., I’m warning you not to do that again or I’ll give you another ticket.”

https://www.heartlight.org/articles/200605/20060527_warningtickets.html

WELCOME to CENTRALCHURCH OF CHRIST: Not a place, but a people connected by a common bond of Christ our Savior with a common mission to show HIS love, tell HIS story, and be HIS people!  We’re on week 2 of a new expository sermon series this week that I’m calling the “ROMAN ROAD.”  Expository means we learn from the text, and bring out it’s points, rather than topical, which is where we have a point and use the text to support it.  So here we are digging in for a while in the beautiful letter to the Romans from Paul.   I learned that there is this “Roman Road to Salvation” that has been preached & taught in religious circles today, but it seems more like a cherry picking of verses.  We want to walk through Paul’s words and see what God’s Holy Spirit inspired him to say to believers. Last week we saw  in Romans 1 that God is there and he really cares for us!

Romans 6:23 tells us of that penalty: “…the wages of sin is death…”

Paul wrote: “through the law we become conscious of sin.” Romans 3:20

“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23

“So that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.” (Rom3:19)

The Law’s main focus was not to cleanse people… it was to point to our need of to be cleansed

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” – Ephesians 2:8

 

This distinction is starkly demonstrated by comparing a parable taught by Jesus with a similar story found in Buddhist literature. Both stories involve sons who became rebellious and left home, but who then saw the error of their ways and decided to come back and be reconciled with their families.

  In the Buddhist story, the errant son is required to work off the penalty for his past misdeeds by spending years as a slave.

  But you know how the Christian parable of the Prodigal Son ends — with the repentant son being warmly welcomed home by his loving father and being given UNDESERVED GRACE.

https://www.comparativereligion.com/prodigal.html

“… justified freely by his GRACE” (vs. 24)

“… because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions— it is by GRACE you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5

Romans 3:24.  “… are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Heb 2:14-15 – “Since the children have flesh and blood, (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death— that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

  Mordred (who hated his father and wanted to destroy everything Arthur held dear) gleefully declares:

“Arthur! What a magnificent dilemma!

            Let her die, your life is over;

            Let her live, your life’s a fraud.

            Which will it be, Arthur?

            Do you kill the queen or kill the law?”

 

 “Well, you’re human after all, aren’t you Arthur? Human and helpless.”

 https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon-illustrations/6607/tale-of-two-kings-by-sermon-central

 

When nothing else could help, not even the Law, Love Lifted Us.

Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me;
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.


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Sermon Notes: 9/5 Roman Road1

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3-4

WELCOME to CENTRAL CHURCH OF CHRIST: Not a place, but a people connected by a common bond of Christ our Savior with a common mission to show HIS love, tell HIS story, and be HIS people!  We’re beginning a new expository sermon series this week that I’m calling the “ROMAN ROAD.”  Expository means we learn from the text, and bring out it’s points, rather than topical, which is where we have a point and use the text to support it.  So here we are digging in for a while in the beautiful letter to the Romans from Paul.   I learned that there is this “Roman Road to Salvation” that has been preached & taught in religious circles today, but it seems more like a cherry picking of verses.  We want to walk through Paul’s words and see what God’s Holy Spirit inspired him to say to believers.  And so he starts with Creation:

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3-4

 

Psalm 136

”Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever

to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever.

who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever.

who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever.

who made the great lights— His love endures forever.

the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever.

the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature— have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_M5bBKfTxp6s/R1SGnkCfZOI/AAAAAAAAALM/OJRjoGyV6fI/s1600-R/05-03-07-Cartoon-CLR.gif)

Geliese 581C

(GOLDILOCKS ZONE)

https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/resources/323/goldilocks-zone/

Back in 1968, Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders took pictures of the earth and he noted that “It was the only color we could see in the universe…”

Romans 1:18 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness”

“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator— who is forever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:25

 

One site declared “Enjoy Nutrition as Nature Designed:” – Raw Food Diet

            https://www.naturalnews.com/raw_foods.html

Another site proclaimed “Jewelry Designed By Nature”

            https://www.boredpanda.com/floios-jewelry-designed-by-nature-from-up-cycled-silver-nature-is-created-in-golden-proportion-and-shouldnt-be-changed-by-people/?

In another place someone stated “nature designed you to hold as little muscle and as much fat as possible” (that should give us at least good excuse for being overweight!)

            https://indexarticles.com/retirement/mens-fitness/ask-the-strongman-2/

But my favorite quote was from the title of a book by an evolutionist at Amazon.com:

***“Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong”.

            https://www.amazon.com/Moral-Minds-Nature-Designed-Universal/dp/B001PO6ACW/ref=sr_1_2?

***Back to ROMANS 1:18 – THE WRATH OF GOD – ME & PHOTOGRAPHER PIRACY!

            https://www.stockphotosecrets.com/questions-answers/can-i-use-photos-from-facebook.html

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature— have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:18-20

One person said it this way: “Only God is in a position to look down on someone.”  Habeeb Akande

            https://www.quotes.wiki/only-god-is-in-a-position-to-look-down-upon-som/

“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

 

Paul gives us a whole litany of the sins of people who are

“filled with every kind of wickedness,

They are evil, greedy and depraved.

They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.

They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful;

 they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;

they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

And although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” – Romans 1:29-32

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” Romans 1:16

Consider the simple “wooly worm” or caterpillar. (saw my first one yesterday)

            https://www.almanac.com/woolly-bear-caterpillars-and-weather-prediction

Isabella Tiger Moth – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrrharctia_isabella

CLOSE: Astronomer Allan Sandage

   “It was my science that drove me to the conclusion that the world is much more complicated than can be explained by science. It is only through the supernatural that I can understand the mystery of existence.”

https://quotefancy.com/quote/1636834/Allan-Sandage-It-was-my-science-that-drove-me-to-the-conclusion-that-the-world-is-much

 


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Wed PM Bible Study in Auditorium

Central News: Our Wed PM Midweek Devotional will meet tomorrow night beginning in the AUDITORIUM to allow people room to social distance. Classes may choose to meet in larger spaces such as the annex upstairs, ladies classroom, etc. We will continue to livestream the first part including the devotional. Be blessed!

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Sermon Notes 8/29 Take Me Back: Martyrs Code

Take Me Back: Code of the Martyrs

Hebrews 11:1-4,Hebrews 11:35-38 – Acts 7:54-60

I was especially struck by the feel good feeling watching the end of the movie 2016, Sully, in which Captain Sullenburger and his crew safely brought Flight 1549 out of LuGuardia safely to a water landing in the Hudson River after a bird strike saving all 155 passenger and crew. It was based off a true story of 2009 events.

            One line in the movie stuck out to me. – Sully, I’ve been flying for 40 years, but I’ll be judged by 208 seconds. 3&1/2 minutes! 

 

  • ***WELCOME: To Central Church of Christ, not a place, but a people called out to Show God’s Love, Tell God’s Story, Be God’s Family. Lately we’ve been enjoying a new sermon series called, Take Me Back. It’s inspired by a desire from the elders to reexamine early Christianity, what the disciples after Jesus did, how they gathered, worshipped, and encouraged each other., and what the heart of the church looked like. It’s a desire to Take Us Back to Church.

Take me back

To the place that feels like home

To the people I can depend on

To the faith that’s in my bones

Take me back

To a preacher and a verse

Where they’ve seen me at my worst

To the love I had at first

Oh, I want to go to church

The question is, WHAT CHURCH do we go back to? 1990’s, 1950’s, late 1920’s, 1800’s, 1600’s KJV, 1500’s Martin Luther, 313AD (Constantine made state religion of Roman Empire), Church of the 2nd Century under writers (PolyCarp, Clement, Hermas, Ignatius).

 

They “conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” Hebrews 11:33-34

“Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated — of whom the world was not worthy…” Hebrews 11:35-38

 

Hebrews 11:4 tells us “By faith Abel (the first man mentioned in the chapter) offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though HE DIED, he still speaks.”

 

            54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed togetherb] at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

“Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.    Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” II Corinthians 11:24-27

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
 
Back in the 1800’s there was a successful lawyer and businessman named Horatio Spafford. He and his wife Anna had five children and it seemed that all was well with his life. But then, in 1871, his young son died of pneumonia. And in that same year, much of his business was destroyed in great Chicago fire. By 1873, he’d rebuilt his business and could afford to take a vacation with the family, so they booked an ocean liner to travel to Europe. However, because of an unexpected business issue, Spafford was forced to stay behind. But he promised he’d catch another ship and join his family later. About four days after his family left for Europe, the liner collided with another ship and quickly sank – 226 of the 313 passengers drowned, including Spafford’s 4 daughters. His wife Anna was rescued and sent a telegram to her husband “Saved, alone.” Spafford took the next available liner to be with his wife, and as his ship passed near where his daughters had died he was overcome with grief. But on that voyage, he penned the words to now famous hymn… it goes like this:

***“When peace like a river attendeth my way; When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say “It is well, it is well with my soul.” It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul). It is well, it is well with my soul.

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21

 “I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

            History holds Polycarp of Smyrna (69-155AD) as an elder of the church that met in Smyrna, just north of Ephesus in Asia Minor. Both Irenaeus (130-202AD)and Tertullian(155AD-220AD)record that Polycarp had been a disciple of John the Apostle. Jerome(342-420AD)writes that Polycarp was a disciple of John the Apostle and that John had ordained him as an elder of the church at Smyrna. The Martyrdom of Polycarp is an ancient writing dated to about 155AD and contains the final trials and words of Polycarp before he was executed. Here are the recorded words of his final prayer.

 

“O Lord God Almighty, the Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of You, the God of angels and powers, and of every creature, and of the whole race of the righteous who live before you, I give You thanks that You have counted me, worthy of this day and this hour, that I should have a part in the number of Your martyrs, in the cup of your Christ, to the resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and body, through the incorruption [imparted] by the Holy Ghost. Among whom may I be accepted this day before You as a fat and acceptable sacrifice, according as You, the ever-truthful God, have foreordained, have revealed beforehand to me, and now have fulfilled. Wherefore also I praise You for all things, I bless You, I glorify You, along with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, with whom, to You, and the Holy Ghost, be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen.”

https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0102.htm

       Revelation 21:4 says “God will wipe away every tear from (our) eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

“By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was COMMENDED as righteous, God COMMENDING him by accepting his gifts.” Hebrews 11:4

Hebrews 11:16 “… they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

“From heaven even the most miserable life will look like one bad night at an inconvenient hotel.” Teresa of Avila


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Postponements this weekend

Out of care for our community and in an effort to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the elders have decided to postpone the Sunday Bible classes and Saturday fellowship events this weekend. Men’s & Women’s breakfast events will be rescheduled to a later date.
 
Sunday services will still be at 10am in the auditorium.
 
Please continue to pray to Christ for the health of our church members affected by the virus. Thank you for your patience.

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Wed PM Service on Zoom Tonight

Changes to Wed PM Gatherings

Good afternoon church family. After much discussion & prayer among the elders last night about the coronavirus pandemic increase, our church is choosing to show community love by making temporary changes to the way we meet for study & worship. For this week only, tonight’s Wed PM will be on Zoom & Livestream @6:30pm instead of meeting in the annex. Next week we hope to make use alternative outdoor options for public gatherings. Thank you for your patience as we invest effort into offering high quality & safe gathering options. May God bless you with health & faith. 

Join us on Zoom tonight at 6:30pm.

Meeting ID: 673-063-1503

Passcode: 8362874


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Sermon Notes: 8/22 TMB Citizenship of Mathetes

SIGNUP UP FOR GROWTH GROUPS TODAY: https://forms.gle/k4HybzQD7p23ueNy9

 

Philippians 3:17-20 – Ephesians 2:11-13

The great English preacher Charles Spurgeon told of a man who had been sentenced to death by a Spanish court.  This man happened to be BOTH an American citizen AND also Englishman and the consuls of both countries decided to intervene. 

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/moa/ajf6281.0001.001?rgn=main;view=fulltext – Page 206

 

  • ***WELCOME: To Central Church of Christ, not a place, but a people called out to Show God’s Love, Tell God’s Story, Be God’s Family. Lately we’ve been enjoying a new sermon series called, Take Me Back. It’s inspired by a desire from the elders to reexamine early Christianity, what the disciples after Jesus did, how they gathered, worshipped, and encouraged each other., and what the heart of the church looked like. It’s a desire to Take Us Back to Church.

Take me back

To the place that feels like home

To the people I can depend on

To the faith that’s in my bones

Take me back

To a preacher and a verse

Where they’ve seen me at my worst

To the love I had at first

Oh, I want to go to church

BILL OF RIGHTS:  Think about our privilieges. We’re US citizens so we just presume we should these rights and privileges.

  • The right to free speech
  • Freedom of religion
  • The Right to bear arms
  • The right to lawful assembly

https://christianchronicle.org/bradleys-afghanistan/ – John & Jan Bradley of College Hills CofC, 13 years,, schools, hospitals, now helping people flee.  And people are risking awful costs, unsafe costs to leave it all behind to get here. 

“… REMEMBER that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:12

 

“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called ‘uncircumcised’ by those who call themselves ‘the circumcision’ (that done in the body by the hands of men)” Eph. 2:11

Acts 10:44 says “the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.” 

“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us AT the beginning.” Acts 11:15

Acts 10:47 he asks the “circumcised believers” who’d come with him “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water?…”

Therefore, remember that FORMERLY you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men) – remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13

 

****MAIL CALL TO DIOGNETUS: Refreshing, exciting, and enjoyable are some of the words I’d use to describe my experience as I read through some of the ancient letters that have been preserved from the Christian world from the 1stCentury after Christ.  This week I read a letter from someone that is labeled as “Mathetes” (which means disciple in Greek) as he describes the nature of Christians to a questioner named Diognetus.  This letter has been dated to around 117AD. Some scholars connect this letter to a student of the disciple of John, because of the regular uses of “Son” and “Word” instead of the frequently used “Christ.” Whoever the writer was, he/sheoffers us a wonderful glimpse into the world of Christians after Jesus’ ascension. Here is chapter 5 and chapter 6 of the letter to Diognetus from “Mathetes.”

CH5 “For the distinction between Christians and other men, is neither in country nor language nor customs. For they do not dwell in cities in some place of their own, nor do they use any strange variety of dialect, nor practise an extraordinary kind of life. This teaching of theirs has not been discovered by the intellect or thought of busy men, nor are they the advocates of any human doctrine as some men are. Yet while living in Greek and barbarian cities, according as each obtained his lot, and following the local customs, both in clothing and food and in the rest of life, they show forth the wonderful and confessedly strange character of the constitution of their own citizenship. They dwell in their own fatherlands, but as if sojourners in them; they share all things as citizens, and suffer all things as strangers. Every foreign country is their fatherland, and every fatherland is a foreign country. They marry as all men, they bear children, but they do not expose their offspring. They offer free hospitality, but guard their purity. Their lot is cast “in the flesh,” but they do not live “after the flesh.” They pass their time upon the earth, but they have their citizenship in heaven.

https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.iii.i.html

THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME:


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Marriage Workshop

We’re excited that we have six couples heading to Murfreesboro today and tomorrow for the Stronger Marriages workshop at Kingwood Church of Christ. Make sure to ask these couples about it when they return: Aarons, Adams, Blevins, Lankfords, Meadows, & Wiles.

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Passing of Wayne Stubblefield

Central News: It is with heavy hearts that we share that Wayne Stubblefield has passed away. He is father to Ginger Young & a former preacher of Central. Visitation will be at Highs Funeral Home in McMinnville on Saturday 11am-1pm. Graveside service will be 2pm at Mt. View Cemetery in McMinnville. Please pray for the family. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the missions efforts at Central Church of Christ, where Wayne heavily invested his time.
https://www.highfuneralhome.com/obituary/hugh-wayne-stubblefield

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Sermon Notes: 8/15 – TMB – Clement’s Plea

Take Me Back: Clement’s Plea

  • WELCOME: To Central Church of Christ, not a place, but a people called out to Show God’s Love, Tell God’s Story, Be God’s Family. Today we begin a new sermon series called, Take Me Back. It’s inspired by a desire from the elders to reexamine early Christianity, what the disciples after Jesus did, how they gathered, worshipped, and encouraged each other. It’s a desire to Take Us Back to Church.

Take me back

To the place that feels like home

To the people I can depend on

To the faith that’s in my bones

Take me back

To a preacher and a verse

Where they’ve seen me at my worst

To the love I had at first

Oh, I want to go to church

1 Peter 5:2-5 – So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

 

Clement I (LatinClemens RomanusGreek: Κλήμης Ῥώμης; died 99), also known as Saint Clement of Rome, is listed by Irenaeus and Tertullian as the fourth bishop of Rome, holding office from 88 AD to his death in 99 AD.[2] He is considered to be the first Apostolic Father of the Church, one of the three chief ones together with Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch.[3]

Few details are known about Clement’s life. Clement was said to have been consecrated by Peter the Apostle,[3] and he is known to have been a leading member of the church in Rome in the late 1st century. Early church lists place him as the second or third[2][a] bishop of Rome after Peter. The Liber Pontificalis states that Clement died in Greece in the third year of Emperor Trajan‘s reign, or 101 AD.

Clement’s only genuine extant writing is his letter to the church at Corinth (1 Clement) in response to a dispute in which certain presbyters of the Corinthian church had been deposed.[2] He asserted the authority of the presbyters as rulers of the church on the ground that the Apostles had appointed such.[2] His letter, which is one of the oldest extant Christian documents outside the New Testament, was read in church, along with other epistles, some of which later became part of the Christian canon. These works were the first to affirm the apostolic authority of the clergy.[2] A second epistle, 2 Clement, was once controversially attributed to Clement, although recent scholarship suggests it to be a homily by another author.[2] In the legendary Clementine literature, Clement is the intermediary through whom the apostles teach the church.[2]

According to tradition, Clement was imprisoned under the Emperor Trajan; during this time he is recorded to have led a ministry among fellow prisoners. Thereafter he was executed by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea.[2] Clement is recognized as a saint in many Christian churches and is considered a patron saint of mariners. 

From <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Clement_I>

 

The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth, to those who are called and sanctified by the will of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you, and peace, from Almighty God through Jesus Christ, be multiplied.

Owing, dear brethren, to the sudden and successive calamitous events which have happened to ourselves, we feel that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the points respecting which you consulted us; and especially to that shameful and detestable sedition, utterly abhorrent to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-confident persons have kindled to such a pitch of frenzy, that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be universally loved, has suffered grievous injury. For who ever dwelt even for a short time among you, and did not find your faith to be as fruitful of virtue as it was firmly established? Who did not admire the sobriety and moderation of your godliness in Christ? Who did not proclaim the magnificence of your habitual hospitality? And who did not rejoice over your perfect and well-grounded knowledge? For you did all things without respect of persons, and walked in the commandments of God, being obedient to those who had the rule over you, and giving all fitting honour to the presbyters among you. You enjoined young men to be of a sober and serious mind; you instructed your wives to do all things with a blameless, becoming, and pure conscience, loving their husbands as in duty bound; and you taught them that, living in the rule of obedience, they should manage their household affairs becomingly, and be in every respect marked by discretion.

CHAPTER 2 — PRAISE OF THE CORINTHIANS CONTINUED.

Moreover, you were all distinguished by humility, and were in no respect puffed up with pride, but yielded obedience rather than extorted it, and were more willing to give than to receive? Content with the provision which God had made for you, and carefully attending to His words, you were inwardly filled with His doctrine, and His sufferings were before your eyes. Thus a profound and abundant peace was given to you all, and you had an insatiable desire for doing good, while a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit was upon you all. Full of holy designs, and with true earnestness of mind and a godly confidence, you stretched forth your hands to God Almighty, beseeching Him to be merciful to you, if you had been guilty of any involuntary transgression. Day and night you were anxious for the whole brotherhood, that the number of God’s elect might be saved with mercy and a good conscience. You were sincere and uncorrupted, and forgetful of injuries between one another. Every kind of faction and schism was abominable in your sight. You mourned over the transgressions of your neighhours: their deficiencies you deemed your own. You never grudged any act of kindness, being “ready to every good work.” Adorned by a thoroughly virtuous and religious life, you did all things in the fear of God. The commandments and ordinances of the Lord were written upon the tablets of your hearts.

CHAPTER 3 — THE SAD STATE OF THE CORINTHIAN CHURCH AFTER SEDITION AROSE IN IT FROM ENVY AND EMULATION.

Every kind of honour and happiness was bestowed upon you, and then was fulfilled that which is written, “My beloved ate and drink, and was enlarged and became fat, and kicked.” Hence flowed emulation and envy, strife and sedition, persecution and disorder, war and captivity. So the worthless rose up against the honoured, those of no reputation against such as were renowned, the foolish against the wise, the young against those advanced in years. For this reason righteousness and peace are now far departed from you, inasmuch as every one abandons the fear of God, and is become blind in His faith, neither walks in the ordinances of His appointment, nor acts a part becoming a Christian, but walks after his own wicked lusts, resuming the practice of an unrighteous and ungodly envy, by which death itself entered into the world.

CHAPTER 4 — MANY EVILS HAVE ALREADY FLOWED FROM THIS SOURCE IN ANCIENT TIMES.

For thus it is written: “And it came to pass after certain days, that Cain brought of the fruits of the earth a sacrifice to God; and Abel also brought of the firstlings of his sheep, and of the fat thereof. And God had respect to Abel and to his offerings, but Cain and his sacrifices He did not regard. And Cain was deeply grieved, and his countenance fell. And God said to Cain, Why are you grieved, and why is your countenance fallen? If you offer rightly, but do not divide rightly, have you not sinned? Be at peace: your offering returns to yourself, and you shall again possess it. And Cain said to Abel his brother, Let us go into the field. And it came to pass, while they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and killed him.” You see, brethren, how envy and jealousy led to the murder of a brother. Through envy, also, our father Jacob fled from the face of Esau his brother. Envy made Joseph be persecuted unto death, and to come into bondage. Envy compelled Moses to flee from the face of Pharaoh king of Egypt, when he heard these words from his fellow countryman, “Who made you a judge or a ruler over us? Will you kill me, as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?” On account of envy, Aaron and Miriam had to make their home outside of the camp. Envy brought down Dathan and Abiram alive to Hades, through the sedition which they excited against God’s servant Moses. Through envy, David underwent the hatred not only of foreigners, but was also persecuted by Saul king of Israel.

CHAPTER 5 — NO LESS EVILS HAVE ARISEN FROM THE SAME SOURCE IN THE MOST RECENT TIMES. THE MARTYRDOM OF PETER AND PAUL.

But not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to the most recent spiritual heroes. Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own generation. Through envy and jealousy, the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the Church] have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours, and when he had finally suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience.

From <http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-roberts.html>

  • CHAPTER 57 — LET THE AUTHORS OF SEDITION SUBMIT THEMSELVES.

Ye therefore, who laid the foundation of this sedition, submit yourselves to the presbyters, and receive correction so as to repent, bending the knees of your hearts. Learn to be subject, laying aside the proud and arrogant self-confidence of your tongue. For it is better for you that you should occupy a humble but honourable place in the flock of Christ, than that, being highly exalted, you should be cast out from the hope of His people. For thus speaks all-virtuous Wisdom: “Behold, I will bring forth to you the words of My Spirit, and I will teach you My speech. Since I called, and you did not hear; I held forth My words, and you regarded not, but set at naught My counsels, and yielded not at My reproofs; therefore I too will laugh at your destruction; yea, I will rejoice when ruin comes upon you, and when sudden confusion overtakes you, when overturning presents itself like a tempest, or when tribulation and oppression fall upon you. For it shall come to pass, that when you call upon Me, I will not hear you; the wicked shall seek Me, and they shall not find Me. For they hated wisdom, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; nor would they listen to My counsels, but despised My reproofs. So they shall eat the fruits of their own way, and they shall be filled with their own ungodliness.” . . .

CHAPTER 58 — BLESSINGS SOUGHT FOR ALL THAT CALL UPON GOD.

May God, who sees all things, and who is the Ruler of all spirits and the Lord of all flesh — who chose our Lord Jesus Christ and us through Him to be a peculiar people — grant to every soul that calls upon His glorious and holy Name, faith, fear, peace, patience, long-suffering, self-control, purity, and sobriety, to the well-pleasing of His Name, through our High Priest and Protector, Jesus Christ, by whom be to Him glory, and majesty, and power, and honour, both now and for evermore. Amen.

From <http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-roberts.html>

 

Proverbs 29:2

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” NKJV

 

Exodus 22:28 “Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.”

Romans 13:2 “he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves”

 

Romans 13:3-5

“Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.”

 

But Peter and John replied, ‘Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.’” (Acts 4:18-19)

Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

 

“During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested.’” (Exodus 12:31)

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:13-14

 


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Masks Provided at the Door Tomorrow

Central News: Good evening church family. As Covid-19 cases rise in our area (3 in our own church membership) the elders will be offering optional masks by the entrances tomorrow for anyone choosing to worship with a mask on. Thank you for being respectful & kind to others as we honor God together through Jesus Christ.

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Sermon Notes 8/8 – Take Me Back: An Amazing Growth Group

What is a “Growth Group”?

Click here or Sign Up Below: https://forms.gle/cXGYJZtUJvczRBc9A

A Growth Group is an informal gathering of people who are interested in mutually developing their own spiritual growth by investigating together what the Bible has to say about a particular subject. A Growth Group is small enough (8-12 people) to allow anyone who wishes to participate the freedom to speak or ask questions in a casual atmosphere.

Each group is directed by a leader who has reviewed the selected passages of scripture and is prepared to guide the conversation. However, no one in the group is required to speak. This self-discovery discussion format multiplies the benefits of each individual’s own study by giving them an opportunity to share insights or just “listen in” to the conversation of others.

Each group meets in a home weekly for about one hour. All lessons are self-contained and require no previous attendance, so anyone can drop-in to visit any group at any time.

If you require child-care, please let us know. We are considering multiple options for children to enhance the family experience.
 
“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.” – Acts 2:46-47a
 
 

2021-2022 Growth Groups

Here is our complete list of Growth Groups that will meet. All Growth Groups will begin the first meeting at 6pm on Sunday, September 12th.

Group #1

Leader: Russ Hale

Co-Leader: Roger Mason

Hosts: Paul & Amanda Stockton

Address: 349 Darlene Dr. Sparta

Group #2

Leader: John Smith

Co-Leader:

Hosts: Nathan & Ashley Aaron

Address: 328 Windsor Dr. Sparta
 

Group #3

Leader: Les Tubb

Co-Leader: Patrick Lankford

Hosts: Will & Renee England

Address: 232 Gillen Dr. Sparta

Group #4

Leader: Ty Webb

Co-Leader: Rodney Baker

Hosts: Jimmy & Pat Wallace

Address: 668 Southfork Rd. Sparta

Group #5

Leader: Topher Wiles

Co-Leader: To be determined

Hosts: Central main building

Address: 45 N. Main St. Sparta

 Group #6

Leader: Bob Young

Co-Leader: John Knox

Hosts: To be determined

Address: To be determined
 
ONLINE SIGN-UP FORM
Click here or Sign Up Below: https://forms.gle/cXGYJZtUJvczRBc9A
 
 

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Tennis Entertainment this weekend

Ethan, Gabriel, and I are playing in a regional weekend tennis tournament in McMinnville starting today.
  • Tonight (Thursday) Gabriel and I play men’s doubles at 5pm.
  • Friday night Ethan plays boys singles at 5pm and I play men’s singles at 6:15pm.
  • Saturday morning at 9:15am Ethan plays boys doubles.
It’s a single elimination tournament so if we win we keep going!
 
If you’d like to watch, the David Dunlap Tennis Complex is behind the McMinnville Civic Center, next to the Gilley Pool.
 
This photo is from 2014, when Ethan was helping me organize a tennis play day for homeschool students.

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Family Forte: Focus on People not the Prestige

by: Topher Wiles

It’s really easy to get caught focusing on the gold, silver, and bronze medals decorating the elite at the Olympic games.  Take a good look at the medals coming out of Tokyo this year.  They are a marvel of intricate metal machine work with ribbons of chemically recycled polyester fibres and hardwood cases.  Obviously a lot of thought and care has gone into the metal tradition that was started in 1896 at the Athens games.  (Click this for more info and a 1 minute Youtube video.)

While the detail, materials, and thought behind the metals has changed much over the years, some traditions have changed little.  Take into account the symbol on the front of the medal, the Greek goddess, Nike, who was the symbol of victory and often prayed to in battles of war and sports alike.  Nike is not known for mercy and cooperation in Greek mythology, but was a sentinel of Zeus’ throne.  Homer even calls her the daughter of Ares, who is the God of war.  Here is a snippet from a prayer to Nike in from www.goddessnike.com 

“Charge our chariots strong & sturdy.

Vanquish without any mercy

Enemies of our valiant army

And give to us a divine glory

Furnished with medallions & jewelry

Everything that is worldly

Is only ours by your decree

We worship thee on bended knee.”

The Goddess Nike is an ancient tradition of war & games victory which lacks mercy & compassion. It’s an interesting modern choice for the medals at the largest worldwide competition existing today because so few believe in the ancient Greek pantheon.  “Hellenism” may have as many as 2,000 legitimate adherents today according to archeology.com, and Nike isn’t even one of the twelve main gods/goddesses worshipped in Greek culture.  (http://archive.archaeology.org/0501/abstracts/letter.html)

Why has the world kept this tradition rather than honoring a diety that much of the world follows today?  Why not make the medal symbol one of the Jesus, since approximately 32% (2.4 billion) of the world claims Christianity as it’s religion?   He also symbolizes victory and peace at the same time.  I surmise choosing to honor Christ on the Olympic medal could usher in boycotts from the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims, or 1.1 billion Hindi’s, or 1.2 billion unaffiliated. The Olympic committee would likely be unwilling to alienate so many using an Olympic symbol from a modern religion, even if it did promote more better the Olympic mission (to build a peaceful and better world) than NIKE. (https://olympics.com/ioc/beyond-the-games)  

Perhaps we should focus more of our time and attention on the people on whom the medals hang rather than the image on the prestigious medals themselves. I’m so grateful for Olympic medal winners such as Caeleb Dressel (attends Campus Church of Christ, Gainesville, FL) who chose not to honor and thank goddess Nike for his wins and abilities, but chose to honor God for the opportunity to represent Him to the world.  Consider how much more merciful our God is than that of Nike, as evidenced in this prayer, recited by 2016 Rio Olympian Sarah Scherer whenever she gets nervous.

 
“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.” – Matthew 6:9-13 ESV

(https://www.baptistpress.com/resource-library/news/olympics-thy-will-be-done-is-shooters-prayer/)

The symbol on the prestigious medals may not be anything we want to model our lives after, but some of the people are worthwhile examples of faithful and compassionate victors on the world’s greatest sporting stage.  May we give the God of victory and compassion all the honor & praise for the triumphs of the athletes and for our triumphs as well.  

To follow more believers in Tokyo, consider reading in The Gospel Coalition’s about Sydney McLaughlin, Kyle Snyder, Helen Maroulis, Micah Christenson, Michael Andrew, and Melissa Gonzalez. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/christian-athletes-tokyo-olympics/
 
 

The word “forte” comes from the latin word “fortis” meaning strength.  Our weekly Family Forte article in The Expositor is the effort of family at Central Church of Christ to give your family the love, care, and attention it needs to become a stronger version of itself.  If we can help you in any way, please contact us at Central Church of Christ through email, topherwiles@spartacoc.com, or through our website, www.christiscentral.org.


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Sermon Notes: 8/1 – Homes N Hospitality

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 13:1-5

1 Let brotherly love continue. 

2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 

3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 

4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 

5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 
 
GALILEO:  In February-March 1616, the Catholic Church issued a prohibition against the Copernican theory of the earth’s motion. This led later (1633) to the Inquisition trial and condemnation of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) as a suspected heretic, which generated a controversy that continues to our day. Do these Church actions prove the incompatibility between science and religion? What lessons can be learned from the thought and actions of Galileo, who became the “Father of Modern Science”?

From <https://origins.osu.edu/milestones/february-2016-400-years-ago-catholic-church-prohibited-copernicanism>

WELCOME: To Central Church of Christ, not a place, but a people called out to Show God’s Love, Tell God’s Story, Be God’s Family. Today we begin a new sermon series called, Take Me Back.  It’s inspired by a desire from the elders to reexamine early Christianity, what the disciples after Jesus did, how they gathered, worshipped, and encouraged each other. It’s a desire to Take Us Back to Church.

Take me back

To the place that feels like home

To the people I can depend on

To the faith that’s in my bones

Take me back

To a preacher and a verse

Where they’ve seen me at my worst

To the love I had at first

Oh, I want to go to church

      • The question is, WHAT CHURCH do we go back to? 1990’s, 1950’s, late 1920’s, 1800’s, 1600’s KJV, 1500’s Martin Luther, 313AD (Constantine made state religion of Roman Empire), Church of the 2nd Century under writers (PolyCarp, Clement, Hermas, Ignatius).
    •  

The word “church” in the New Testament is always translated from the Greek word ekklesia 1577 “an assembly, a (religious) congregation” Abbott-Smith Lexicon.

From the Online Bible, ekklesia 1577:

1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly 1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating 1b) the assembly of the Israelites 1c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously 1d) in a Christian sense 1d1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting 1d2) a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake 1d3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body 1d4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth 1d5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven.

 

 “Not until the first half of the third century did the Christians build houses of worship.”3

Richard Krautheimer writing in “Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture” states:

Until A.D. 200, then, a Christian architecture did not and could not exist. Only the state religion erected temples in the tradition of the Greek and Roman architecture. The saviour religions [for example, Mithras or Isis], depending on the specific form of their ritual and the finances of their congregations, built oratories above or below ground, from the simplest to the most lavish but always on a small scale. Christians congregations prior to 200 were limited to the realm of domestic architecture, and further, to inconspicuous dwellings of the lower classes.4

Acts 2:42-47 – And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe[a] came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

From <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%202%3A42-47&version=ESV>

 

      • &&&The Assembly In The Ephesian House Of Aquila And Priscilla

“The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca [Priscilla] greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house” (1 Corinthians 16:19). 

      • The Assembly In The Roman House Of Priscilla And Aquila

“Greet Prisca [Priscilla] and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,… also { greet} the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia” (Romans 16:3-5). 

      • The Assembly In The House Of Philemon

“Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved { brother} and fellow worker, and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:” (Philemon 1-2)

      • &&&The Assembly In The House Of Nympha

Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house” (Colossians 4:15).

      • HOSPITALITY:

1 Peter 4:9 

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Romans 12:13 

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Titus 1:8 

But hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

1 Timothy 3:2 

Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

1 Timothy 5:10 

And having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.

Hebrews 13:2 

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

From <https://www.openbible.info/topics/hospitality>

 

Luke 14:12-14 

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

 

Hebrews 13:1-6 (Church in HOMES)

Do not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:25

From <https://biblehub.com/hebrews/10-25.htm>

 

1 Let brotherly love continue. 

2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 

3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 

4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 

&&&5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 

From <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%2013&version=ESV>

 


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Mealtrain for Gail & Lee Webb

Good afternoon church, 
I love the opportunity to send out Mealtrain requests, because you all rally around each other so well as family. Gail has an upcoming surgery and we would like to help provide a few days of meals. Please view the meal train details here: 
https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/305r6l

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Sermon Notes: 7/25 Take Me Back

      • Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 14:26-33 – What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. From <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14&version=ESV>

 

TAKE ME BACK LYRICS & video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eTOcrWu8mQ

Take me back

To the place that feels like home

To the people I can depend on

To the faith that’s in my bones

Take me back

To a preacher and a verse

Where they’ve seen me at my worst

To the love I had at first

Oh, I want to go to church

 

      • WELCOME: To Central Church of Christ, not a place, but a people called out to Show God’s Love, Tell God’s Story, Be God’s Family. Today we begin a new sermon series called, Take Me Back.  It’s inspired by a desire from the elders to reexamine early Christianity, what the disciples after Jesus did, how they gathered, worshipped, and encouraged each other. It’s a desire to Take Us Back to Church
    •  

Read from Alexander Campbell, 1830,

 

Wow, Alexander Campbell called the guys supplying content in the MH, “distinguished men of liberal minds.” Then he wrote that this publication is to give the whole family religious news and such a variety of content that it is to “interest the young and inquisitive.”  pg 2

Remember page 3, the analogy of the age of Sunlight, which at times is still obscured by clouds and fogs.  Remember my purpose to help people see the Sunlight. 

Pg 4 – “The took the points off the arrows of truth, and blunted the sword of the Spirit, so that the enemies of the truth could not be conquered.”

Pg 5 – “We expect no new Sun, no new revelation of the Spirit, no other than the same gospel and the same religioun, only that it shall be disinterred from the rubbish of the dark ages, and made to assume its former simplicity, sublimity, and majesty.”

Pg 5 – “Light is certainly increasing – charity enlarging the circle of its activities – the mountains of discord diminishing, and the deep valleys which separated Christians, are filling up.  But much is to be done before all flesh shall enjoy the salvation of God.  If all who love the Lord and the salvation of men, would unite their energies and bury the tomahawk of party conflicts, no seer could predict how rapid would be the march and how extensive the triumphs of the gospel.”

 

1 Corinthians 14:12 – “So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.”

What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 14:26

  26b: “Let all things be done for building up.”

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
  • Romans 15:2-3: “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself.”
  • Matthew 20:28: “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus did not seek what was beneficial to himself, but what was beneficial to others.

When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 14:26

27a: “If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three.”

verse 27c: “. . . and let someone interpret.”

28: “But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.” 

29a: “Let two or three prophets speak.”

29b: “. . . and let the others weigh what is said.”

30: “If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent.”

31: “For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged.”

Gordon D. Fee says of this passage: “The character of one’s deity is reflected in the character of one’s worship.” 

https://www.idisciple.org/post/the-god-we-worship

 

 

TAKE ME BACK – Lyrics

Oh, more than an obligation

It’s our foundation

The family of God

I know it’s hard

But we need each other

We’re sisters and brothers

Oh, take me back

To the place that feels like home

To the people I can depend on

To the faith that’s in my bones

Take me back

To a preacher and a verse

Where they’ve seen me at my worst

To the love I had at first

Oh, I want to go to church


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Bible Class & VBS

Central News: Yes, we are continuing the Annex Bible Class (1 John 1) and the Young Adult Bible Class (1 Timothy) tonight at 6:30pm during VBS. The kids will be heading out of the annex at about 6:15pm to go to the auditorium. Adults come, discuss God’s Word in class, and encourage some kids enjoying VBS tonight!

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VBS Group Schedule Sunday Night

Class 6:20-6:35 6:40-7:00 7:05-7:25 7:30-7:50 7:50-8:00
Pre-K Sing/Video Story Puppets/Games Crafts Wrap-Up
Primary Sing/Video Crafts Story Puppets/Games Wrap-Up
Junior Sing/Video Games Crafts Story Wrap-Up
Teen Sing/Video Class Project/Activity Wrap-Up
 

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Sermon Notes: 7/18 – Servant Leadership

Scripture Reading: John 13:12-15
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
 
The Chosen – Season 2 – Episode 8 – Judas is revealed

Psalm 41:9- Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.

Zechariah 11:12-13- Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter.

Zechariah 13:7b Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.

  • “Jesus, if it’s you, tell me to walk to you on the water!” Of course, Jesus told him to come and he actually started out walking on top of the water. (Matthew 14:28-29)
  • “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16)
“Far be it from you, Lord! We won’t let you die!” (Matthew 16:22-23) 
  • “It is good for us to be here. Let us build three tabernacles right here on the mountain so you can all stay here and we can worship you right here on the mountain.” Of course, we heard God respond and tell us to listen to His Son and Jesus told us to not tell anyone about this yet. (Matthew 17:4)
  • How many times must I forgive my brother, seven?” Can you believe his nerve? I’m the one who introduced him to Jesus. I mean, sure, we’d been arguing that day, but I never thought he’d actually ask Jesus when he could stop forgiving his brother. That’s me! I was right there and he asks Jesus how many times he has to forgive me like I’m a knucklehead. Wow! (Matthew 18:21)
  • “I will never fall away! I’d rather die than deny you, Jesus!” We all jumped in with him, but sure enough, by the end of the night, we’d all abandoned Jesus. (Matthew 26:30-35)
10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean.- John 13:10 Philippians 2:5-8- Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross.
 
Francis of Assisi is attributed to have said, “Preach the gospel daily, when necessary, use words.”

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/preach-the-gospel-at-all-times-st-francis_b_1627781

 


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Ministry Meeting Tomorrow

Central News: Reminder that tomorrow at noon is a lunch/meeting for ALL elders, elders, & ministry leaders in annex. Subway, chips, drinks, desserts provided. Also, VBS starts tomorrow night. Let’s get involved to better Show God’s Love, Tell God’s Story, and Be God’s Family.

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Bloom Womens Breakfast

Central News: Reminder that ladies are invited to a time of prayer and fellowship tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 8am at the Coffee Collective. Come enjoy!
 

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1 John Annex Bible Class – Video

We had a great time introducing 1 John tonight in the Annex Bible study class.  Here’s the instructional video that I mentioned tonight that goes right along with that study. Enjoy! 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3QkE6nKylM


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Bible Classes Tonight

We are so excited to begin meeting in the building tonight on Wednesday night!  Join us at 6:30pm in the Annex building or on livestream.   We will NOT have the ZOOM meeting on Wednesday nights at this time.  
 
Our Class Offerings on Wednesday Night Are: 
  • Nursery: Located in the Main Building Downstairs
  • K-5th: Located in the Main Building Downstairs
  • 6th-12th Grades: Located in the Annex Building Downstairs
  • Young Adult: Located in the Library/Lounge (Topic is 1 Timothy)
  • Adult: Annex Building Upstairs (Topic is 1 John)
 
You can still catch our livestream on the following locations:
 
For Roku, Apple TV, & Amazon Fire TV:
Install Boxcast Channel, search Central Church of Christ – Sparta, TN

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Marriage Seminar in Murfreesboro

We’re looking forward to a fun field trip to Trey and Lea’s free marriage seminar at Kingwood Church of Christ in Murfreesboro  on Friday and Saturday, August 20-21.  Topher met Trey years ago at Oklahoma Christian University and has been impressed with the marriage material they offer to couples. Register for this event. Let Topher know if you’re interested in an overnight stay in Murfreesboro. 
 
Friday – 7pm – 17 Ways to Bless your Marriage – Part 1
Friday – 8pm – 17 Ways to Bless your Marriage – Part 2
 
Saturday – 9am – Marriage Deposits > Marriage Withdrawals
Saturday – 10am – Six Sneaky Marriage Killers
Saturday – 11am – How to Make Your Love Life Sizzle
 
Find out more about Trey & Lea: https://strongermarriageworkshops.com/
Find out more about Kingwood Church of Christ in Murfreesboro here: https://www.kingwoodcoc.org/
 

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Kayaking Success

Where were the storm clouds?! We simply have to thank God for holding off the rain and thunderstorms for a couple hours so our young adult group could enjoy kayaking together.
 
Our Central Young Adult group enjoyed playing with the otters, playing chase with a family of ducks, and bumping along down the Caney Fork River in Big Bottom this Sunday afternoon during perfect weather. God’s beauty was on wondrous display!
 
Our next adventure should see us outdoor rock climbing together in August at Black Mountain. See Topher for details. 
 
 
 

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YA Bible – Life Together

The Young Adult Class met at 9am on Sunday, July 11th to begin studying the writings of another young adult, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This young man was executed by Nazi’s in 1945 at 39 years old. This short work of his is called, “Life Together.” 
To download a .pdf version of the entire book, click here: Life Together – Bonhoeffer
 
To hear Chapter 1 “Community” click here and press play: Sermon Audio « (christiscentral.org)

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Leadership Loveable Losers

Scripture: Titus 3:1-8

      • WELCOME:   To Central Church of Christ, not a place, but a people called to show God’s love, tell God’s story, and be God’s family. As we continue in the process of affirming elders and deacons on July 18th, it’s wise for us to look at more than just a list of qualities listed, but at the context of the entire Bible.

Titus 1: Qualities of Elders

Titus 2: Qualities of older men, older women, younger women, younger men, slaves. Vs11

Titus 3: Remind them, Who The elders, older men, older women, younger women, younger men, slaves…

      • Titus 3:3-7 tells us the church has always been filled with losers.

“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

 

Titus 3 declared that God built His church completely from a roster of losers.

ILLUS: Mars Hill Church – Marc Driscoll

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/podcasts/rise-and-fall-of-mars-hill/who-killed-mars-hill-church-mark-driscoll-rise-fall.html

In 18 years –

Mars Hill Church was a Christian megachurch, founded by Mark Driscoll, Lief Moi, and Mike Gunn. It was a multi-site church based in Seattle, Washington and grew from a home Bible study to 15 locations in 4 U.S. states.[1] Services were offered at its 15 locations; the church also podcast content of weekend services, and of conferences, on the Internet[2] with more than 260,000 sermon views online every week.[3] In 2013, Mars Hill had a membership of 6,489 and average weekly attendance of 12,329.[4] 

From <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Hill_Church>

Some of the charges are as follows:

      • October 2011—Mark said in a meeting that he did not want a certain staff elder (who was not slim) to take on a certain prominent leadership role because “his fat ass is not the image we want for our church.”
      • May 8, 2012—In a meeting of the Full Council convened to vote on the slate of nominees for the new board of advisors and accountability, Mark was explaining to the elders that under the newly revised bylaws, the Full Council would have the right to review any changes by the board. One elder corrected Mark with his own understanding that the new bylaws, in fact, allow the board to make decisions without running it by the Full Council. Mark’s response to that elder was bullying, with some elders present recalling language to the effect of: “I don’t give a shit what you think. I’m trying to be nice to you guys by asking your opinion. In reality, we don’t need your vote to make this decision. This is what we’re doing.”
      • March 2013—Violence: Threatened to tear down a former elder’s church plant, saying “I’ll tear his church down brick by brick.”

From <https://www.wthrockmorton.com/2014/08/21/former-mars-hill-church-pastors-bring-formal-charges-against-mark-driscoll/>

“… it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24

 

 

“Peter replied, ‘REPENT and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 2:38

 

 “… (God) commands ALL people EVERYWHERE to repent. Acts 17:30

“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” Titus 3:3

Back in 2006 the Washington Post conducted a poll,

  • 79% of Americans believed they were “above average” in appearance,
  • 86% feel they were above average in intelligence,
  • and 94% believed they were above average in honesty.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6029792/#:~:text=We%20sought%20robust%2C%20contemporary%20evidence,U.S.%20census%20data%2C%20we%20found

https://digest.bps.org.uk/2018/07/24/first-survey-of-its-kind-for-50-years-finds-most-americans-still-think-they-have-above-average-intelligence/

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

   The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men…”

Luke 18:9-14

 

“… Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners— of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience…” I Timothy 1:15-16

 

      • &&&ILLUS:  Years ago a preacher named Carl Ketcherside (non-instrumental Church of Christ) moved to St. Louis and began working with a group of teenagers he described as “a crew of ripped off long haired kids.” Most of them had a history of drug addiction.

   But he loved them and he listened to them, and one by one baptized them into Christ.

   An affluent member of the church apparently wasn’t pleased with having these young folks come to their church building and he asked Ketcherside, “How are you making out those long haired, sad looking specimens you have been meeting with?”

   And Ketcherside replied, “Those aren’t specimens, they are children of God. You are talking about my brethren in the Lord.”

  The other man smirked and said, “They look to me like something the cat dragged in.”

  And Ketcherside replied, “No. They look like someone the shepherd brought home.”

http://donaldcrane.blogspot.com/2014/07/hippies-someone-shepherd-brought-home.html

 

  “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”   Titus 3:5b-7

 

Acts 2:38  “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

John 3:5

  Jesus told Nicodemus, “ “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”

To be saved we need to be born of the water AND the Spirit.

      • *NICODEMUS VIDEO

 

 

INVITATION – Loveable Losers – Bring Christ Your Broken Life


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Prayer Request: Betty Simmons Family


Central Prayer Request: Please pray for Zelma Brandenburg and the family of her sister, Betty Simmons. Betty passed away on Wednesday morning. Services will be at Hunter’s Funeral Home on Saturday, July 10th, at 11am.
https://www.hunterfuneralhome.net/obituary/betty-jean-simmons

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YA Kayaking Trip

Central Young Adult News – 2 Items: Kayaking & Sunday Bible Study

  • Please confirm (Message Topher) if you are coming Kayaking on Sunday, 11th after church services.  We’ll eat at Sonic after church, then put kayaks in at Mitchell Ford in Big Bottom 20 minutes south of Sparta by 1pm. Do you need Topher to get a kayak/paddle/life jacket for you?  This beginner level 2.25 mile kayak trip will take us 1.5 to 2 hours depending on how much we play/wade/swim.
  • You’re invited back to Young Adult Bible Class this Sunday morning at 9am. We’ll meet in the library/lounge to begin looking at short thoughts on community from a Christ follower who was executed by Hitler’s Nazis as a young adult: Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We will have coffee and light snacks.
  • Let Topher know if you need anything for Kayaking!

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