Central Church of Christ Blog

Blood Drive: Give a Gift From the Heart

VALENTINES DAY – Sunday, February 14th – 12pm to 4pm

Jesus lovingly gave His blood from his Heart to save our eternal lives.  We have an opportunity to give blood from our heart to save lives as well.  Many around Valentine’s Day will give gifts of love to others.  What will our gifts of love be?

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. One hundred ten pounds (110 lbs) and at least 16 years old makes you eligible to give blood.
  1. Tell at least two friends who may be eligible to give blood about our blood drive.  
  1. Three is the number of Upper Cumberland neighbors potentially saved by a volunteer donor’s unit of blood.  With at least 26 donor openings, our drive could potentially save 78 lives!

Revelation 1:5b-6  “To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father – to Him be glory and power forever and ever!  Amen.”

Whether you can give blood to help save physical life or not, you can encourage others toward the freeing blood of Jesus in the hopes that their eternal life might be saved.  Remember that blood given in this drive goes to support hospitals in the Upper Cumberland, literally loving your neighbors! 

Sign up at http://www.bloodassurance.org/CCOC


Family Forte: Saving Society by Building Family Unity

by: Topher Wiles

A bizarre couplet of communications happened only moments apart this week, inspiring this article about family unity. I was walking to the Coffee Collective for a standard cup of joe when a 75-year-old friend texted me the following message.

“The country has never been this divided, even during the 60’s. I’m seeing long time friendships fray because of political differences, to the point of obscuring the true reasons for bonds that had lasted for years. Not too many things bother me, but this is disturbing for our children. Now is the time for all of us to appeal to better…”

Moments later, a 19-year-old barista was on break and shared, “Topher, what worries me most is that people are so often divided and mean to each other. It boils down to respect and taking time to understand people with a different point of view. The best thing you can do is be nice to people.”

Denny and Malee, I couldn’t agree more. Even though you both come from different backgrounds, perspectives, and generations, you both have voiced a true illness plaguing our society. The Pew Research Center backs your observations with statistics in a November 2020 piece titled, America is Exceptional in the Nature of it’s Political Divide.  Pew sums it all up saying, “America has rarely been as polarized as it is today.”  

I believe the best changes that can be made in a person’s life start early with the first organization God ever created, the family.  The Wiles family is far from perfect in regard to divisions, squabbles, tiffs, and tears, yet we are actively promoting a few premises in our children’s lives to help them overcome the plague in this current generation. Here are a few ideas that work to build our Family Forte that may help yours as well.

  • Teach the idea of “Honor all people.” This mantra is more than a trite saying, it’s a way of life that needs to be repeated often, shouted from the rooftops, and shared with your children.  Most people don’t realize that this is a command handed down through the last 2000 years by one of the most prideful and impetuous disciples of Jesus. In the middle of a discussion about relationships between wives and husbands, slaves and masters, government and citizens, Peter says these direct words, “Honor everyone.” 1 Peter 2:17a. Jesus sets that exact precedent when he chides the religious elite for hypocrisy saying, “As you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” Luke 6:31-33.  Purposely set this command as one of your primary family rules and remind your children of it often.
  • Display the positives and negatives of unity. Years ago my beautiful bride made a poster from a photograph of young Gabriel and Ethan walking down the road together holding hands. She captioned the bottom with “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brother’s dwell together in unity.” Psalm 133:1. Her goal was to remind our growing boys that the best moments of life come from their common bonds rather than their divisions. In contrast, whenever she questions the kids after a squabble, she has this perfect method for displaying the negatives of division. She asks, “Ethan, how does Clara feel right now? What emotion is on her face? What thoughts are running through her head?”  Invest time with your children in the midst of triumph and trial to reflect on the positive and negative displays that come from unity and division.  
  • Train Complementors, Not Competitors. Boys have this ingrained sense of aggression, competition, and war that starts ooze out of their pores at an early age fueling many fights in families.  When left unchecked it can build into unbridled resentment causing fissures in families many decades later. That innate childhood aggression can be good when turned the right direction, so Ashley and I redirected it. When they were young our boys were not allowed to wrestle, spar, or box with each other, but only with me.  The result was that Gabriel often used his height to attack my upper body while Ethan’s complementary shorter, stockier build to take out my legs! The boys learned the deep abiding truth that they are stronger together than apart. Today, in sporting events such as ping-pong, basketball, and tennis, we still teach them that their job in head-to-head play is to train each other for success against other opponents. Over time their play takes on a new complementary height when they realize they are complementary and not competitors.
  • Model unity at home. Parents, children will do what you do before they do what you say. Do your absolute best to be kind to your wife, in-laws, boss, and community leaders in all moments, especially inside the four walls of your home.  You can voice differing opinions and be strongly opposed to a platform without using inflammatory words or unkind actions.  Your children will see the union you have with others despite your differences and they will follow your example. When they see and seek unity, your family will be blessed for generations to come.  
It was Jesus who taught us a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. Mark 3:24. Our Lord didn’t direct us to lose our identity, forget our opinions, or quietly submit to every whim of society. Instead, Jesus modelled for us how to honor everyone and live together in unity despite the differences. Friends, the cure for our divisive illness was shared long ago and it is best administered through the family. May you be blessed with unity, peace, and family forte.

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.


Right Next Step – Sermon Illustration

I’ve had requests from church members to re-watch the knee-weakening sermon illustration from last Sunday. So I took the clip from our livestream, had some video effects fun at the end, and added a little epic background track music just for you. Preaching from the roof top during the pandemic gives us a few unique sermon illustrations!


“So what’s holding you back? Life with Christ is really that simple. You just need to know the next right thing to do, and do it. One, two, three, and jump!”

Right Next Step – Sermon Illustration


To watch the whole message go to: https://www.christiscentral.org/videos/


Today’s Bible Reading in Song – Overcome

Today’s Bible readings come from Genesis 30, Psalm 30, and Judges 6.  Each morning, Topher creates a scripture image based on one encouraging verse from the reading and posts it on social media.  Today, Topher chose Psalm 30:11, which the inspiration of an acapella song that our youth sing.  Here’s the scripture image and song for your personal worship enjoyment! 

This Is How We Overcome



Thank You Tech Guys!

We want to give a big shout out to our tech guys! These men volunteer to make sure that worship services are accessible to everyone in the parking lot and on the live stream…every…single…Sunday! Special thanks to John Smith, Doug Hensley, JD Prater, David Smith, Gabriel Wiles, and Drew Young for regularly making this happen. Church family, show them some love and say a prayer of thanks to God for our tech guys!
In the photo, Doug & JD are working the livestream graphic overlays; David Smith is on the worship slideshow display for the parking lot, and Gabriel is monitoring the sound mixer board.  We love these guys!


Sermon Notes 1/31 – Meat and Tators 3

M&T3 – Procrastinators Hesitators

Sunday, January 31, 2021

  • Scripture Reading: Luke 9:23-27
PREMISE: Life favors those who know the next right thing to do, and do it!
” I’m not procrastinating. I’m proactively delaying the implementation of the energy-intensive phase of the project until the enthusiasm factor is at its maximum effectiveness.”
I put the pro in procrastinating.”
“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.”


Hey There Delilah:  – By Tim Hawkins

Hey there Delilah

This is your ex boyfriend Samson

And I know you thought that lifting weights

Made me so buff and handsome

You were wrong

It’s cause I let my hair grow long

That makes me strong

Hey there Delilah

You came in while I was sleeping

And I couldn’t feel you cutting

And I didn’t hear you creeping

Out the door

You left my hair piled on the floor

While I just snored

Oh, what you did to me

Oh, while I was asleep

Oh, I’m a Nazarene

Oh, but you shave me clean

Delilah you’re so mean

I killed a lion big and mean

And slaughtered many Philistines

All with a donkey’s jawbone that’s no lie

But now I’m chained up to the wall

And I can’t cry no tears at all

Because they came and gouged out both my eyes

Why’d you grab your clipping shears

And shave my head like Britney Spears

And now I’m standing here in total shame

And you’re to blame

Hey there Delilah

Why did you have to deceive me

And it’s hard for me to think

Not long ago I wanted you to be my bride

But you took too much off the sides

Hey there Delilah

When you die,

Just tell the Devil I said hi

And he’ll know why

Oh, it’s what you did to me

Oh, now I feel so weak

Oh, I look like a freak

Oh, Delilah you’re a geek

Oh, God, one more time give me my strength.

From <https://www.newreleasetoday.com/lyricsdetail.php?lyrics_id=74260>


Judges 16:28-31

28 Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. 31 Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years.

From <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges%2016&version=ESV>


Samson gives new meaning to the phrase, “It’s all fun and games till someone gets their eye poked out.”

2 Corinthians 6:14 – Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Ephesians 5:15-17 – Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.


Agrippa’s territory comprised most of Palestine, including JudeaGalileeBatanaea and Perea[citation needed]. From Galilee his territory extended east to Trachonitis.

He was born Marcus Julius Agrippa, so named in honour of Roman statesman Marcus Vipsanius AgrippaJosephus informs us that, after the execution of his father, young Agrippa was sent by his grandfather, Herod the Great, to the imperial court in Rome. There, Tiberius conceived a great affection for him, and had him educated alongside his son Drusus, who also befriended him, and future emperor Claudius.[1] On the death of Drusus, Agrippa, who had been recklessly extravagant and was deeply in debt, was obliged to leave Rome, fleeing to the fortress of Malatha in Idumaea. There, it was said, he contemplated suicide.[2]

LIFE: Known as being very very religious, going to bat for the Jews when dealing with the emperor. Known by Josephus for being extremely benevolent.



2 “I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

4 “My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. 5 They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, 7 to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! 8 Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?

Acts 26

22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

24 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. 26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?”  29 And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”


HYMN: Almost Persuaded

“Almost persuaded” now to believe;

“Almost persuaded” Christ to receive;

  Seems now some soul to say,

  “Go, Spirit, go Thy way,

  Some more convenient day

    on Thee I’ll call.

  • DEATH: From Josephus, Antiquities 19.8.2 343-361: “Now when Agrippa had reigned three years over all Judea he came to the city Caesarea, which was formerly called Strato’s Tower; and there he exhibited spectacles in honor of Caesar, for whose well-being he’d been informed that a certain festival was being celebrated. At this festival a great number were gathered together of the principal persons of dignity of his province. On the second day of the spectacles he put on a garment made wholly of silver, of a truly wonderful texture, and came into the theater early in the morning. There the silver of his garment, being illuminated by the fresh reflection of the sun’s rays, shone out in a wonderful manner, and was so resplendent as to spread awe over those that looked intently upon him.

Presently his flatterers cried out, one from one place, and another from another, (though not for his good) that he was a god; and they added, “Be thou merciful to us; for although we have hitherto reverenced thee only as a man, yet shall we henceforth own thee as superior to mortal nature.” Upon this the king neither rebuked them nor rejected their impious flattery. But he shortly afterward looked up and saw an owl sitting on a certain rope over his head, and immediately understood that this bird was the messenger of ill tidings, just as it had once been the messenger of good tidings to him; and fell into the deepest sorrow. A severe pain arose in his belly, striking with a most violent intensity. He therefore looked upon his friends, and said, “I, whom you call a god, am commanded presently to depart this life; while Providence thus reproves the lying words you just now said to me; and I, who was by you called immortal, am immediately to be hurried away by death. But I am bound to accept what Providence allots, as it pleases God; for we have by no means lived ill, but in a splendid and happy manner.” When he had said this, his pain became violent. Accordingly he was carried into the palace, and the rumor went abroad everywhere that he would certainly die soon. The multitude sat in sackcloth, men, women and children, after the law of their country, and besought God for the king’s recovery. All places were also full of mourning and lamentation. Now the king rested in a high chamber, and as he saw them below lying prostrate on the ground he could not keep himself from weeping. And when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life

  • Ethiopian Eunuch – (Participator)

Acts 8:26-39

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the southto the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter

    and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,

    so he opens not his mouth.

33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.

    Who can describe his generation?

For his life is taken away from the earth.”

34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.

    • Finish – James 4:17 – So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Luke 9:23-25 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?



Evolution of Worship – Enjoy!

Your personal worship time is important to us with Central Church of Christ.  Our desire is for your praise and adoration of God to be rich all the days of the week, not just one.  

The following video by YouTuber David Wesley is sure to give you an appreciation for worship of God’s saints throughout the centuries.  We hope you enjoy and are inspired by his acapella compilation called, “Evolution of Worship.”  David has given me express permission to share his acapella efforts with you.  https://youtu.be/2SaBhN2idbM

Evolution of Worship



A Beautiful Sight

While it might not be the prettiest photo, it is a beautiful sight to witness the elders humbly bowing in prayer asking God Almighty to bless specific people, our church, and our community.  The elders gather together every Tuesday night to pray for the requests of the congregation and give praise for what God is doing in the Upper Cumberland!
As a reminder, if you would like a prayer request put in the bulletin on the prayer list, it is best to email our church office at office@spartacoc.com or call the office at 931-836-2874. The weekend bulletin is usually printed by Friday morning at 9am.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6


Family Forte: Leave It Better Than You Found It

Family Forte: Leave it Better Than You Found It

by: Topher Wiles

Dads are known to have some rotten advice sometimes. Those little nuggets may sound like they contain good wisdom, but on closer inspection reveal awful precepts to hand down. I’ve heard men share some one-liners such as: “Be good, and if you can’t be good, don’t get caught!” “If you do it bad enough the first time, you won’t be asked again.” “Don’t break two laws at once, that’s how you get caught!”  Yet, for all the awful advice out there, some dads excel in giving down to earth practical wisdom that sticks with you for years to come. My dad shared one when I was a teenager that has filtered its way into every facet of life. 

“Leave it better than you found it.”

Photo Credit: Amazon Shopping

At 16 years old and newly drivers-licensed, I was looking forward to hitting the road on my own, but I didn’t own a car yet. My loving father didn’t believe in buying a kid their first car when they got their license but letting kids borrow for a while to see how this whole driving thing worked out. While I didn’t appreciate it at the time, he did offer to let me use his 1973 ¾ ton Chevrolet stick shift rust bucket of a truck whenever he wasn’t using it. That old truck came with one caveat: leave it better than you found it. 

Dad expounded on what he meant by telling me to always make sure there is more gas in the vehicle when I park it than when I first turned the ignition on. Whenever possible I was instructed to completely fill up any gas tank of any vehicle I borrowed or rented. Also, I should make sure the trash is always picked up, vehicle gets vacuumed out, and windows get cleaned. If I completed any of these tasks when borrowing his vehicle or anyone else’s, it would ensure they would have a positive feeling toward me should I ever need to borrow it again. 

After years reflecting on it, practicing it, and now repeating this mantra to my own children, I’ve learned that my dad was exactly right. “Leave it better than you found it” is a great way to live. It teaches our families that we are not simply consumers in the world by  taking what we want and using a resource up until it no longer has any value to us. This dadism reveals that we’re part of a much bigger community and that we have a social responsibility to those who come after us in this world. The idea of social responsibility holds true in all walks of life, big or small.   

In Our Environment – In late December my boys and I held to our annual cold-weather backpacking tradition, hiking hard through some majestic terrain during the day and burrowing in our sleeping bags at night in an effort to experience God’s beauty. When we stopped at the primitive campsites on the Caney Fork near Virgin Falls, we found no sign of trash, the fire ring scooped out, and a stack of wood nearby, which was perfect after a long day’s hike. As we left, we tried to do the same as well as hike out other trash we found in the woods nearby, leaving the area better than we found it. Camping is a great way to begin practicing “Leave it better than you found it” with your family.

On The Job – It’s very rare today for people to stay in one position for the entirety of their career. A 2012 article on Forbes.com about “job hopping” shared that the average length of stay for an employee at any one job is down to 4.4 years. So the odds are, your teenage child, niece, nephew, or grandchild is not going to stay at that first job for long. Teach them to value their time in the position by making small improvements in the work environment so that the next worker will have a better and easier entry into the same position.

In Relationships – Few friendships/relationships that we enter into will be life-long, meaning that we often play a part in someone’s life for a short time before handing them off to someone else. Teach your children to make sure they enhance the lives of their friends through encouragement, thoughtfulness, and dependability rather than being that friend that is a constant drag on life asking more from all relationships than they ever put into them. When the time comes to leave a relationship due to moving, graduation, changing careers, or any other life circumstances, teach your family to leave the relationship better than they found it.

In Church – Pre-pandemic Barna studies showed that church hopping and shopping is definitely increasing while actually placing membership to settle in with a body of Christ is declining among protestants.  Model a “leave it better than you found it” mentality for your family by investing your time and energy into a church ministry by placing membership, asking “What can I do to help?”, and investing into other church members with the love of Christ. No matter how long or short your stay with that local church, you know you will have benefited the people and the cause of Christ in word and deed.

Parents, this world is stacked with plenty of consumers on the roster. Let’s turn the tide a bit by giving our families a producer mindset of social responsibility by striving to leave every area, every job, every relationship, and every organization better than we found it. After all, you would want someone to do the same for you.

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 2:3-4

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.spartacoc.com.



Thanks Tech Ladies!

Not only were we blessed with new technology to help our church better connect to God’s Word and each other, but we were blessed with an amazing technology team today to help facilitate the rollout!  We want to give a special thanks to Mikaela Farris, Mary Lankford, Lauren Turner, and Katelyn Young for stepping up to the plate to help install the new church service apps and troubleshoot challenges that arose.  We are blessed with beautifully intelligent and capable servant-hearted women in our congregation! 
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” – Psalm 107:1
To find out about the four new apps shared today, click here:


Sermon Notes – 1/24

Sermon Notes for January 24th, 2021
Meat & Tators: Spectators and Agitators
Scripture Referenced (In Order)
John 6:66-69
66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
John 6:1-15

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. 3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii[a] worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

John 6:24
So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
John 6:35
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
John 6:52-57
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.
Matthew 5:29-30
If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
Jude 1:16
These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.
John 6:67-69
So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Luke 9:22-23

saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Other References

Garth Brooks Performance of Amazing Grace at the Inauguration

Statler and Waldorf – Reference (Muppets)

May’s Lick Baptist Church & The Reformation Movement – Millenial Harbinger – 1831 – Page 571-572
“Our church, being in a state of painful confusion resulting from attempts by Alexander Campbell, John Racoon Smith and others to produce a reformation of society, contending that persons professing faith in Christ shall be baptized for the purpose of actually receiving forgiveness of sins, against which sentiments with many others referred to by them, we solemnly protest. Also, they undertook to administer the supper in our meeting hours and a number of our brethren joining in without the authority of the church, likely, without thinking of the wounds and distress they were brining on their breathren. A number of our brethren also have been encouraging preachers to occupy our meeting house, knowing that they were trampling on our feelings, which we conceive to be contrary to good order…we are now compelled to adopt the following resolution:
That all of us whose names are hereunto subscribed, protesting against the reformation, are willing and determined to rally round the original constitution and covenant of the church, which has never been disannulled, associating therewith the principles of the Union between the Regular and Separate Baptists, which was adopted by the Elkhorn Association, … thereby occupying precisely the same ground we did before the confusing system of things that has destroyed our peace and the peace of many other churches among us. No person shall be considered a member of the May’s Lick Baptist Church who will refuse to acknowledge the above and subscribe their names.”

Here with Central, we want to make disciples (participators) who are involved in Showing His Love, Sharing His Story, and Being His Family.



New Members in January

God has added new church family members to our body who are joining us to Show God’s Love, Tell God’s Story, and Be God’s Family! We’re grateful to welcome then into our family.  You can find their updated information in our church directory. 

Cameron Farris & Katie Roberts
Cameron and Katie are longtime White County residents and are engaged to be married this summer!  Cameron is younger brother to Wayne Farris. 
Cathy Garvin
Cathy is a long time member of the church of Christ and resident of White County. 

Debra & JD Prater
Debra and son JD are enjoying a renewal of faith in His Spirit! 
 Mike Whippo & Mikaela Farris
This boyfriend and girlfriend couple are enjoying God’s blessings as Mike was baptized in 2020 and Mikaela recommitted her life to Christ!  Mikaela is a niece to Wayne and Cameron Farris. 


Four Apps For Your Phone or Tablet

We want all our church members to be able to connect to God’s Word and God’s Family in the easiest ways possible.  Here are four apps to install on your cellphone or tablet to connect easily with scripture, church events, giving, church members, and more!
  1. The Bible App – Available in the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Kindle Fire Store, Microsoft App Store
    1. This app makes it easy to read and share God’s Word, with almost 300 free Bible Versions and 200+ reading plans that help you read the Bible and track your progress.  The Bible App can even read to you with Audio Bibles – all completely free! 
    2. Connect to members at Central – You can read along and comment with other members on the Central Church of Christ daily Bible reading plan through this app. 
    3. Connect to our 2021 daily reading plan with this link: http://bit.ly/CentralBible2021
  2. Instant Church DirectoryApple App Store, Google Play Store, Kindle Fire Store
    1. If you have an email address in our printed church directory, then you can gain access to this app which gives you full directory functionality on your smartphone. Easily email church members, call their numbers, or navigate to their address directly from this app without any copying and pasting. You’ll love how easily this app connects you to brothers and sisters in Christ!
    2. Create a login password using the email address you have listed in our directory.
  3. Central Church of Christ App on Sharefaith – Available on Apple App Store and Google Play Store
    1. The quick tabs allow you to listen to the latest sermon, watch the livestream, catch up on bulletin announcements, connect to our calendar, receive push notifications of events, and access our online giving portal.
    2. Sharefaith is a “shell app” that hosts all of Central’s content.
    3. Download the Sharefaith App and enter – Central CofC Sparta TN
  4. Aggos App – Available on Apple App Store and Google Play Store
    1. Church of Christ directory & social media app with over 13,000 Christians from 134 countries already signed up.
    2. “Aggos is an online connectivity platform for the global Churches of Christ. Aggos is a marketplace for everything from social networking to mission support to event promotion, a place to provide resources and seek resources, and so much more. Within Aggos you will find a safe and curated digital community that will allow for and encourage the fellowship of ideas and values that we all hold dear.”
    3. Aggos is built by a CofC friend of Topher’s and is managed from Nashville.
The Bible App
Instant Church Directory
Central CofC – Sharefaith
Aggos – Churches of Christ


Connecting Digitally with Family

The Covid-19 vaccines will arrive a little too late to give greater freedom for family gatherings, meaning that many of us will miss a valuable tradition this year.  Here in 2020, many people are finding a first as they are forgoing the annual office parties, family meals, and New Year’s Eve blowouts.  Our hearts break for families in this season but we take solace in the tools God has granted to still stay connected even though staying socially distant. Here is how you can host your own Zoom family gathering.

  1. Communicate (thru text, email, or phone) with your fa  mily to decide on a family gathering time (i.e. Dec 24th at 5pm Central time). Make sure to include the time zone for family & friends that live father away.
  2. Create a free Zoom account. (zoom.us) Only the gathering host needs a zoom account.  Participants can join the event without creating an account or downloading the software. Note that free accounts limit g
    atherings to 40-minutes.
  3. Click the “Schedule a Meeting” tab after logging into the Zoom website and fill in the appropriate information. Make sure to set a passcode that is easy to remember.  Click the “Save” button at the bottom when finished.
  4. Copy the Invitation Invite Link provided on the page and send it to your family and friends in the group text or email. It will look something like this:
  1. Send reminders the day before or morning of the event to all family members and friends. Emails are easy to forget!
  2. Login and start the meeting on your decided day! For us, downloading the Zoom App or Software for hosting a meeting has proved easiest, so we recommend testing that out before the actual gathering.  To easily find your meeting, click this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting#/upcoming .


Topher’s Tips for getting the most out of your Zoom gathering.

  • Choose one person to be the “Moderator” for the Zoom meeting.  It’s tough to understand others when people are talking at the same time.  Ensure everyone gets time to share by choosing a moderator who is always “unmuted” and has microphone control.
  • Plan in advance for someone to give a musical performance or a Christmas reading. It warms our hearts
  •  to see a grandkid strum the guitar or one family to sing a Christmas carol.  Remember, singing is laborious on Zoom due to the half second delay.
  • Play an easy Zoom game to enjoy with family. Some of the easiest are 20 Questions, Bingo, Trivia, Pictionary, and Charades.
  • Always include a prayer, thanking God for family past and present. Make sure to thank Him for the ability to meet on Zoom!


Family Forte: Marriage GPS

Family Forte: What is Your Marriage GPS?

By: Topher Wiles

Don’t try to drive from
Lost Creek Falls to Virgin Falls
on your own!

Don’t you just love GPS?  I know I do.  When I moved to White County a little over three years ago Google Maps was like a voice out of heaven giving me directions to all the best things in life.  My GPS guided me to some of the most wonderful destinations like Bino’s Restaurant and the Trolley Stop in Rock Island where the hamburgers and milkshakes are made to perfection.  Without my GPS heavenly natural sites like Welch’s Point and Lost Creek Falls & Cave would still only exist as a legend instead of the beauty that I’ve witnessed as I’ve visited them many times over.  It was my GPS that let me know that I could not easily drive from Lost Creek Falls directly to Virgin Falls even though they are only 1.5 miles apart as the crow flies. 

The best function of GPS is the gentle way it corrects me when I have made a mistake.  Yes men, sometimes our internal cardinal direction compass proves wayward and it is that blessed GPS that lovingly turns us around.  One time, when speeding on the way to a funeral up the mountain in Spencer, I hurried right past the turn for Layne Funeral Home.  Grateful was my emotion when my GPS said, “Rerouting… In a half mile make a left turn…”

As grateful as I am for my driving GPS, I love more the Marriage GPS that I have which guides me to my goals and reroutes me when I make marriage mistakes.  It is my Marriage GPS that has guided my wife and I on our way to financial freedom.  My Marriage GPS has blessed me with 16 great years of marriage that just keeps getting better each and every year.  It is my Marriage GPS keeps me going on weekly date nights with my beautiful bride, keeping the spark alive.  It is that Marriage GPS that continues to guide us toward the goal of one day being old and beautifully wrinkled swinging on the porch holding hands while our grandchildren frolic all around us.  My Marriage GPS even said, “Rerouting…. Make a U-Turn” when I mistakenly entertained the idea to uproot my family again and move to a distant job that recently offered me a huge salary increase.  Yes, I’m grateful for my Marriage GPS. 

What is my Marriage GPS that gives me directions and reroutes me when I make a mistake?  Mine consists of three parts; my Bible, my church elders, and older successfully married men.

The Bible as Married GPS.  The Bible is filled with great marriage advice and examples of commitment even if it doesn’t mention marriage specifically.  Read your Bible every single day asking the question, “What direction does this passage give me for my marriage?”  You’ll be surprised at the inspiring guidance that it gives you toward your goals.  Often I’ve come to a fork in the road of life and marriage, unsure of which way to turn to reach my desired destination.  Low and behold, the answer routinely jumps off the pages of the living Word of God in my morning devotional reading. Some of those beautiful instructions include:

Good marriages don’t just
happen. They need guidance.
  • “Above all, 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.” – Ephesians 4:32
  • “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” – Hebrews 13:4

The Elders as Married GPS.  At Central Church of Christ, we choose to practice church leadership like we read it in the churches that Paul, Timothy, and Titus guide in the Bible.  In this church leadership structure, we choose multiple leaders, called elders, bishops, shepherds, or overseers instead of one singular pastor.  Each one of these must possess the qualities listed in Titus & 1 Timothy: having a good reputation, married to one woman, exhibiting self-control, sober, respectable, hospitable, willing to teach faith, peaceful, gentle, not argumentative, not greedy, and having managed his own household well. 

As a minister, I serve these elders in the church.  It is also these men who do regular checkups on my marriage, my finances, my health, my children, and more.  These men are respected in my life and guide me along the challenging trials of marriage as my GPS.  It is also these respectful men that can lovingly re-route me when my course goes astray.  Just this Monday, when I let work take precedent over my wife, one of my elders messaged saying, “Stop texting me and enjoy your date night!”  I encourage each of you to involve yourself in a church that has respectably married leadership that you can look to as your Married GPS.
(Read more about our elders here: www.christiscentral.org/shepherds)

Older successfully married men as Married GPS. Each month on a Tuesday I choose to go have a biscuit with this one old codger who is hilariously funny and thought provokingly pensive.  We spend an hour, mostly with me listening, about what it is like to grow old, to love a woman who is aging, and to still be useful in a rapidly changing world.  After each breakfast he thanks me for bringing a biscuit and listening to his ramblings to which I reply, “Brother, you don’t realize how much this benefits me.”  I’m taking notes now on the directions I need to be a loving husband for 10, 20, and even 60 years down the road. Each and every married man should have an old married fella to sit at the feet of and learn from.   All it costs me is one biscuit a month. 

I know some men navigate their marriage the way they navigate roads in White County.  They just wander around doing what feels right until they get there, give up, or run out of gas.  Get the right directions, guidance, and re-routing instructions by using Marriage GPS.  Grow old together, hold hands, and enjoy the blessings marriage has to offer.  You’ll be glad you did. 

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.


Testing Announcements for 11/24/20

Midweek service is Tuesday Night at 6:30pm on livestream


SOCIAL MEDIA – We post on social media nearly every single day, but we do realize some of you don’t subscribe to those networks.  Here’s a little of what we post to keep you updated. 

For everyone who helped with the Thanksgiving meals this weekend!  You gave out 150+ bags of food, toiletries, and kids’ supplies this weekend to families that have already visited our food pantry throughout the year.  You are a big part of taking the extra step of building a relationship with them to give them more than a hand-out, but a hand-up toward God!

Look at those 150+ bagged meals!

Ginger and Carolyn are organizing!

Doug Hensley did a great job honoring Jesus and honoring his grandmother at the Carlene Hensley funeral on Monday. Make sure to keep praying for Doug, Kimberly, Lilliauna and the whole Hensley family.

The Wiles family has a new (to us) vehicle!  There is a great and fun God story about this car (that we weren’t actively looking for).  Ask Micah about his drum set and the car story.  And yes, I couldn’t find my wife in the parking lot this Sunday, but had to ask Ty Webb, “Have you seen my family in the new car?”  Ask Gabriel how he’s liking the extra legroom in the 2006 Honda Odyssey.  Praise God!

Ethan and Roger Mason agree, the Rock Island Trolley Stop is a great new addition to our community.  Enjoy icecream and milkshakes in an outdoor setting at this great location just off the beaten path. Go to Bino’s Market in Rock Island and you’ll see the trolley right across the road.  Roger recommends the blackberry cobbler ice-cream! Tell Kailyn that Topher sent you! 



Announcements 11/8/2020

November 10th – Tuesday at 4:30pm – Window singing at Life Care.
November 12th – Ladies Zoom Class at 7 pm.
November 14th – Saturday – Workday Day on the metal building from 8am – Noon.
November 19th – Ladies Zoom Class at 7 pm.
November 24th – Tuesday at 4:30pm – Window singing at Life Care.
November 12th – Ladies Zoom Class at 7 pm.
November 29th – Sunday, Elder’s Budget Meeting

November 8th -Teens 4 Christ at the Happy Haven Ogden Center. We will leave from the church building around 3:30.
The schedule for the evening is games at 4 pm, dinner at 5 pm, and worship at 6 pm. We will return around 7:30 PM.
November 21st-Thanksgiving Meal to go for the Community-If you would like to help hand out the bags as the cars pull through, please let the office know.
December 5th – Ignite Youth Rally at Willow Avenue


Changes, Challenges, and Children

Changes, Challenges, and Children
Out of love, respect, and joy for children we made changes to our church Trunk or Treat time this year. Children still dressed up, smiled, and enjoyed songs, food, and candy together in a more intimate and private outdoor setting. It was different this year, yet this dad felt good about my kids, their homemade costumes, and the friends they enjoyed in a safe setting. This year has brought many challenges, but our children are worth the effort to make changes. Special thanks to Mike and Leesa Hughes for hosting and for all the Central adults that loved on our children!