Central Church of Christ Blog

Sermon Notes – CJ3 – Believe

      • **WELCOME: Happy 2 weeks after Easter  and welcome to Central Church of Christ, a people called out by God to Show His Love, Tell His Story, and Be His Family. Today we hit the third of a message series from the Bible called, “Celebrate Jesus.” In this series we will walk each Sunday from Easter (Apr 4) to Pentecost (May 23) through an exciting Bible timeline of the appearances of Jesus to the church.
      •  “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” From that day on, Thomas has always been referred to as “Doubting Thomas.” In fact, if someone is known to doubt things that they’re told, they’re often referred to as “Doubting Thomases.”
      • John 14
      • “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” And Thomas said to him, John 14:5 “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” To which Jesus replies “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes unto the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
      • Thomas says “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” John 11:16
      • **Doubt. People do struggle with doubt once in awhile. In fact, Jude tells us “… have mercy on those who doubt” Jude 1:22

Someone once noted: “Those who doubt most, and yet strive to overcome their doubts, turn out to be some of Christ’s strongest disciples.” – Selwyn Hughes


**When Jesus confronted Thomas, He gave Thomas the evidence he asked for. Then He said: “Do NOT disbelieve, but believe.” (John 20:27)

“Blessed is the man who doesn’t walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful.” Psalm 1:1

“Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, EXAMINING THE SCRIPTURES DAILY to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

“Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” (John 20:25)

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:26-29

“And I know also, if I try and fail, I’ll never regret having tried and failed. “As soon as I thought about it that way, I knew I had to try.”


Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29b


Song: Freely, Freely
 God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name.

I’ve been born again in Jesus’ name

And in Jesus’ name I come to you

To share his love as he told me to.

He said ‘Freely, freely you have received;, freely, freely give.

Go in my name, and because you believe others will know that I live.



Pavilion Workday Tomorrow

Here is a list of some of the work available for our workday on 4/17/21. Topher will bring a lot of tools, but if you have your own, it’s always a good idea to snag them.  We work from 8am-12pm.  Please park in the regular church parking lot as we will be sweeping the pavilion parking lot clean. 
Outdoor Pavilion
  • Hang the metal J-Channel along the horizontal support beams that have been installed at the 7ft height.  This will be approximately 144 feet.  Some trimming of metal sheeting may need to be done. Using metal screws to install the J Channel. Most of the work is on a ladder. 
      • Install approximately 27 feet of metal sheeting on the north west corner of the building. Install it down to the J Channel
  • Remove the Base Trim & Angle iron that surrounds the floor.  We will grind down the bolt heads to remove the angle iron. (approximately 110 feet). 
      • Also remove the one remaining block of wood with nails that is on the north side of the building.
  • Chip up the remaining tile, bag, and throw it away. We have three areas that still have tile left on the concrete. 
  • Parking Lot – Run a rolling magnet and brooms across the entire parking lot.  Sweep it clear of all gravel and construction debri. 
  • Remove Insulation from the four corner posts behind the metal. (very short project). Throw it in a bag and remove.   
      • Also Remove the small panel of insulation that was missed on the eastern side of the metal wall. 
  • Cap off existing plumbing to make the walking area safer. (and smell nicer)
  • Remove the electrical switches for the air conditioning units that are on the rear wall of the building.  Also remove the wiring and conduit that is on the interior of the wall. 
  • Fill in the dangerous gopher hole (very deep ankle breaker) that is on the east side of the pavilion with gravel and a layer of dirt. 
  • Remove the single piece metal trim (just a few screws)  from the front brick wall. It is approximately 14 feet long and has screws holding it up. 
  • Remove the Caulk & Sealer around the front windows. It only requires  scraping or chipped off.
Main Building
  • Install rubber treads in the stairwell leading down to First Steps area. 
  • Remove the obsolete coaxial cable wire that runs from the main office down the hall, through the lighting trough of the auditorium, to the First steps stairwell at the front of the auditorium. It is left over from an old video camera system.
  • Wire brush and paint the southern handrail of the front steps. The northern handrail has already been prepped & painted. 


March Missions from Scotland

To view the entire March mission report from Cumbernauld Scotland, click here:
Dear Friends,
We all continue to enjoy good health through this pandemic. Over half of the country has now received their first vaccination and the cases are dropping. We are told that they are still high with between 250 and 500 new cases every day but the important figure is that those new cases only represent an average of 2.5% of all those tested on that particular day. We are beginning to see the signs of spring and have even enjoyed a few days which have been pleasantly warm for this time of year. It has even been nice enough to enjoy a visit or 2 outside in the back garden although we are still limited to no more than 4 people and from no more than 2 households. We are hopeful that this restriction will be eased to allow up to 6 people to meet in the next week or so. On the upside we were able to return to the building on the last Sunday of the month. We still have to wear masks and keep the seat groups at least 2 metres apart but it was so good to see everyone who was there in 3D again.  Next time we report to you we will hopefully be seeing more back at the building and perhaps have some idea of when we can start classes back again and when we can hopefully raise our voices in song again. Oh, and we will all have had a haircut by then too. Thank you all for your support, your prayers and your encouragement. Even in a global pandemic we are truly blessed.
As always, stay safe and stay strong. All for Him, Adam, Mel & Nicole
To view the entire March mission report from Cumbernauld Scotland, click here:


Celebrate Jesus 2 – There All Along

Scripture Reading: Luke 24:28-34

Mr. Hooper Dilemma on Sesame Street


Sigmund Freud famously said: “And finally there is the painful riddle of death, for which no remedy at all has yet been found, nor probably will ever be!”


  • WELCOME: Happy Easter week after and welcome to Central Church of Christ, a people called out by God to Show His Love, Tell His Story, and Be His Family. Today we continue a brand new message series from the Bible called, “Celebrate Jesus.” In this series we will walk each Sunday from Easter (Apr 4) to Pentecost (May 23) through an exciting Bible timeline of the appearances of Jesus to the church.


  • Now here we have 2 men walking from Jerusalem to their home town of Emmaus.  Distance of 12 km

From Jerusalem to Emmaus, which is described as being 60 stadia (10.4 to 12 km depending on what definition of stadion is used) from Jerusalem.


And when Mary Magdalene stood by the empty tomb (not knowing she was talking to angels) it says that the angels asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

And she replies “They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they have put him.” John 20:13

Saddest Verse “… we had hoped (repeat that) that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel…” Luke 24:21


If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him – if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

(I Corinthians 15:12b-20)


“…what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that HE APPEARED

  • to Peter,
  • and then to the Twelve.
  • After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
  • Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,
  • and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”

(I Corinthians 15:3-8)


Hebrews 2:14-15 tells us “since the children have flesh and blood in common, He also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death – that is, the Devil – and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the FEAR OF DEATH.” (HCSB)


A poet named Calvin Miller once wrote this poem:

“I once scorned ev’ry fearful thought of death, when it was but the end of pulse and breath,

But now my eyes have seen that – past the pain – there is a world that’s waiting to be claimed.

Earthmaker, Holy, let me now depart, for living’s such a temporary art,

And dying is but getting dressed for God, our graves are merely doorways cut in sod.”


“As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.” Luke 24:15-16


People Struggling with Death

  • 1st – He listened to them.
  • Next, Jesus reminded them of the promises from Scripture.

“… beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Luke 24:27

  • Lastly, He gave them something physical to hang their faith on. The Table & Bread

“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.” Luke 24:30-31

World War 2 – Sleep with Bread

Jesus has been there with you all along!



HalfMarathon Results

The results are in. We are winners in God’s sight because of Jesus!

We enjoyed the race in Jamestown today as well and I’m proud of the love and perseverance of all our runners and fans today enduring driving rain and chilly conditions. God blessed us with a lot of love today. Here are some of the results & awards of our team as every member finished their race! We had seven top 3 finishers in their age/gender categories with Lauren and Gabriel scoring the first place title!

10k (6.2 miles)
Lauren Turner – 1st Place – Female 19 & Under
1:08:32 time – 11:05 pace

Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
Mary Lankford – 2 Place – Female 20-29
2:09:09 time – 9:51 pace
Topher Wiles
2:11:42 time – 10:03 pace
Gabriel Wiles – 1st Place – Male 19 & Under
2:11:43 time – 10:03 pace
Ty Webb – 2nd Place – Male 50-59
2:12:03 time – 10:04 pace
David Smith – 2nd Place – Male 20-29
2:54:38 time – 13:19 pace
Joanna Pesson – 3rd Place – Female 60-69
3:04:47 time – 14:06 pace
Les Tubb – 2nd Place – Male 70+
3:04:47 time – 14:06 pace
John Smith
3:31:56 time – 16:10 pace
Special thanks to our fans encouraging us along the way in the freezing rain! Becky Tubb (and niece), Karen Turner, April Smith, Patrick Lankford, Ashley Wiles, Ethan Wiles, Micah Wiles, and Clara Wiles!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2


Announcements 4/11/21

Here is a preview of the announcement slides that will play in the lobby during services on Sunday, 4/11/21. 
To watch the video on Youtube click here: https://youtu.be/FO3lysKh4DA


Celebrate Jesus 1 – First Fruits

      • INTRO: Celebration of First Fruits

On this morning when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, we’re going to start with a journey back to our Jewish roots with a look at one of the seven Feasts, or festivals that were prescribed by God in the Old Testament as a picture of the Messiah, Jesus. Many of you know of the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread that Jesus fulfilled feasts completely and exactly.

He came into Jerusalem on the very day the Passover lambs were set aside for slaughter, was nailed to the cross at the exact time the Passover lambs were being prepared for slaughter in the Temple, and then died at the exact moment the lambs were being slain in the Temple. He was then buried at the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. At that time, he took our leaven, our sin, upon Himself and carried it to the grave.

This morning, we’ll look at the third of these feasts, the one that Jewish disciples of Christ should have been celebrating on Easter Sunday;  the Feast of Firstfruits.

      • WELCOME: Happy Easter and welcome to Central Church of Christ, a people called out by God to Show His Love, Tell His Story, and Be His Family. Today we begin a brand new message series from the Bible called, “Celebrate Jesus.” In this series we will walk each Sunday from Easter (Apr 4) to Pentecost (May 23) through an exciting Bible timeline of the appearances of Jesus to the church.

The instructions for observing the Feast of Firstfruits is found in Leviticus, chapter 23. This passage immediately follows the passage that set forth the instructions for the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread.


9 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, ’When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 ’And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 ’Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the LORD. 13 ’Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the LORD for a soothing aroma, with its libation, a fourth of a hin of wine. 14 ’Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.- Leviticus 23:9-14


There are three main principles associated with the Feast of Firstfruits:

  • The offering of the very best
  • The promise of a future harvest
  • The making holy of the whole

20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared.

Luke 24:1

Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. Matthew 28:1

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering. – Romans 8:3

20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, – 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21

      • CLOSE: Once again this is all exciting information on Easter Resurrection Sunday, but the important question remains. What does all this mean for me?

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:21-24

In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures. – James 1:18



New Worship Guidelines

We are excited about three ways to join together for worship of our Lord on Easter Sunday. You can join us in the south parking lot at 9am for drive-in style outdoor worship or you can join us in the auditorium and the livestream at 10am for worship.  All guidelines for worship are below! 
The big ideas are: wear a mask, sit every other pew, and auditorium worshippers should hang outside in the north annex parking lot until 9:45am.  Happy Easter! Christ is Risen!


LTAI #5 – Peace

Scripture Reading: John 14:23-27
Wilmer McLean – Appomattox
Welcome to Central Church of Christ: Not a place, but a people called out by God to Show His Love, Tell His Story, and Be His Family. Today we begin a new message series from the Bible called, “Let’s Talk About It” exploring some of the common mental health struggles people, even Christians deal with, and how Christ through His Word can help. Please turn to the disciples story with the storms of life in John 14:23-27 as we prepare for today’s Let’s Talk About It Topic: Peace
  • “In this world you will experience trouble…” John 16:33b
  • “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12
Victor Frankl – “You cannot always control your circumstances, but you have the power to control your response to your circumstances.”
  • Psalm 34:14 “Turn from evil and do good…seek peace and pursue it.”
  • “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John” 14:27
  • “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
  • “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16b-18)
  • Isaiah 26:1-3 “In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
    Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
    Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
    Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
    Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
    Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
    Romans 8:6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
    1 Peter 3:11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
    Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    James 3:18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
  • Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me— put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9
  • “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
Oliver Cromwell’s Servant – “Then, master, why not let Him rule the present, too?”
There’s a Fountain Free
1. There’s a fountain free, ’tis for you and me: Let us haste, oh, haste to its brink; ’Tis the fount of love from the Source above, And He bids us all freely drink.
• Refrain: Will you come to the fountain free? Will you come? ’Tis for you and me; Thirsty soul, hear the welcome call: ’Tis a fountain opened for all.
2. There’s a living stream, with a crystal gleam: From the throne of life now it flows; While the waters roll let the weary soul Hear the call that forth freely goes.
3. There’s a rock that’s cleft and no soul is left That may not its pure waters share; ’Tis for you and me, and its stream I see: Let us hasten joyfully there.
From <https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Theres_a_Fountain_Free/>


Ministry Luncheon Tomorrow

Central Reminder: Tomorrow is the Elders, Deacons, Ministry Leaders Lunch Meeting! All leaders of ministries come ready to talk about big idea progress, problems, and plans. Grilled burgers, brats, & more will be served at 11:45am in the Central Pavilion. It’s an exciting time as we re-energize & restart ministries!


LTAI #4 – Fear

Welcome to Central Church of Christ: Not a place, but a people called out by God to Show His Love, Tell His Story, and Be His Family. Today we begin a new message series from the Bible called, “Let’s Talk About It” exploring some of the common mental health struggles people, even Christians deal with, and how Christ through His Word can help.  Please turn to the disciples story with the storms of life in John 19:7-11 as we prepare for today’s Let’s Talk About It Topic.


The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” – John 19:7-11
Pontius Pilate: According to Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews (18.4.1–2), Pilate’s removal as governor occurred after Pilate slaughtered a group of armed Samaritans at a village called Tirathana near Mount Gerizim.The Samaritans, claiming not to have been armed, complained to Lucius Vitellius the Elder, the governor of Syria (term 35–39), who had Pilate recalled to Rome to be judged by Tiberius.
From <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontius_Pilate#Removal_and_later_life>

The church historian Eusebius (Church History 2.7.1), writing in the early fourth century, claims that “tradition relates that” Pilate committed suicide after he was recalled to Rome due to the disgrace he was in.[98] Eusebius dates this to 39.
From <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontius_Pilate#Removal_and_later_life>

42% of people 2019 survey – fear Death

Hebrews 2:14-15: Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;I myself will see him with my own eyes— I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Job 19:25-27


In Hosea 13:14 God promised His people: “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! ….”


And the 23rd Psalm has these comforting words: 

“Yea though I walk through the valley of the SHADOW OF DEATH, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”


The 19 yr. old was cited for reckless driving, 4th-degree assault and 3 counts of reckless endangerment after holding his breath in a tunnel. 



In John 5:24 Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”


And in John 6:40 He said“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”


And, of course, one of the most famous quotes in Scripture is found in John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”


Revelation 1:5 says: Jesus Christ… (is) the firstborn from the dead…”

Matthew 16:21 we’re told that “From (the time His disciples saw Jesus transfigured on the Mountain) Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”


In fact, Jesus mentioned it so often, that the Jewish leaders went to Pilate and said: “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

Matthew 27:63-64


“…what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.

After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” I Corinthians 15:3-9


3 Converts

2 Thessalonians 3:3 – But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.

“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 grave, 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 through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:51-57



Central Parking on Easter Sunday

We’re excited to celebrate our risen Savior and three worship experiences for Easter Sunday this year! Here is our tentative parking plan for the 9am drive-in worship service and the 10am auditorium worship service. We will continue to livestream at 10am also. Have a blessed day!


Spring Cleaning with Dave Weber

Make sure to thank Dave Weber when you see him for pressure washing the front steps of the church building!  

Don’t forget, we have a church spring cleaning workday coming up on this Saturday from 8am-Noon!  
Sign up for a specific project here: 

View a list of potential projects below

2021 Central Spring Cleaning List – MAIN BUILDING

  • Outside Entryways
    • North
      • Pressure Wash Carport Concrete
      • Pressure Wash chalk drawings on Walls
      • Pressure Wash algae buildup down corner of ladies classroom
      • Install LED Light Bulb (x1)
      • Clean Cobwebs
    • Main
      • Pressure Wash Steps – (completed on 3/18/21 by Dave Weber)
      • Install LED Light Bulbs (x2)
      • Clean Cobwebs
      • Trim Bushes (completed on 3/10/21)
      • Straighten the front sign in the case
      • Wirebrush & paint the black handrails
      • Re-paint 3” Wide Yellow safety stripe on front steps
    • South
      • Pressure Was Carport Concrete
      • Install LED Light Bulb (x1)
      • Clean Cobwebs
    • Lobby
      • Swiffer/Vaccuum Steps
        • Down to Nursery
        • Up to Technology Loft
      • Replace Missing Stair Treads down to Nursery (Completed on 3/11/21)
      • Hang Scripture Decorations in the Lobby
      • Vacuum Curtains & Lampshades in the Lobby
      • Wipe/Clean out the overhead light boxes
      • Paint Killz on Ceiling Wet Spot by front door
      • Wipe/Clean the floor registers (x2)
      • Wipe/Clean the baseboards
      • Clean Main PVC Rug in Entry Way
        • Take it outside to wash
        • Vacuum dust out of rug holding area
      • Auditorium
        • Vacuum All Pews
        • Paint Killz on Ceiling Wet Spots (with lift)
        • Dust the ceiling fan blades (with lift)
        • Trim loose threads on pulpit pews and carpet fringe
        • Touch up the Communion Table with furniture Marker
        • Clean all Carpet (Completed on 3/11/21)
        • Dust/Vacuum the front artificial plants
      • Baptistry
        • Paint Killz on the door frame
        • Take out old rusted metal cabinets and put in new plastic shelves
      • Technology Loft
        • Sweep the Security area
        • Vacuum the AV Booth
      • Minister’s Office
        • Paint Killz on Ceiling Wet Spots
      • Youth Minister’s Office
        • Paint Killz on Ceiling Wet Spots
      • Library
        • Sweep Room
        • Wipe Clean East Wall
        • Paint Killz on Ceiling Wet Spots
        • Move Black filing cabinet to teacher’s workroom
      • Ladies Classroom
        • Vacuum Pew
        • Sweep Room
        • Paint Killz on Ceiling Wet Spots
        • Move tables back to Annex
      • Nursery Downstairs
        • Clean & Disinfect
          • Doorknob
          • Toys
          • Table
        • Cleaning Supply Closet (Need at least one volunteer to work with Janice)
          • Clean & Organize Supply Closet
          • Throw old items in the dumpster
        • Workroom Downstairs (Need two volunteers)
          • Clean out outdated materials
          • Straighten Up Workroom


LTAI #3 – Stress

Welcome to Central Church of Christ, not a place, but a people called out by God to Show His Love, Tell His Story, and Be His Family. Today we begin a new message series from the Bible called, “Let’s Talk About It” exploring some of the common mental health struggles people, even Christians deal with, and how Christ through His Word can help. Please turn to the disciples story with the storms of life in Matthew 8 as we prepare for today’s Let’s Talk About It Topic. 

According to Gary Collins the effects of stress are wide ranging including: ulcers, headaches, rashes, cardiac issues, insomnia, reduced productivity, relational volatility, reclusive tendencies.

Proverbs 12:25 “An anxious heart weighs a man down…”
Dr. Herbert Benson at the Harvard Medical School believed that “60 to 90 % of doctor visits are for stress related diseases – including hypertension, infertility, insomnia, and cardiovascular disease.”

There is a tension between the Bible and Stress/Anxiety

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? (Matthew 6:25)


“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)

How to deal with Stress: 
#1 – Get Away for a While! 

“When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake.” (Matthew 8:18)

#2 – Probe Your Priorities


Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
#3 – Cast Your Cares on Him

“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ’Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ’Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ’Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” Mark 4:37-40

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

“God’s got this!”

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8


Free Lunch for Emergency Personnel

Youth at Central Church of Christ would like to thank all emergency personnel for the service you provide to the community. Ambulance, fire, rescue, police, corrections, 911 and more, come on out and get a free lunch. Students stayed up all night to smoke pork and chicken to provide you a fresh and hot meal. Drive to Central Church of Christ between 12-1:30 p.m. and pick it up or come get enough for your entire department!
“We love because He first loved us.” – 1John 4:19
Please share with your emergency personnel friends!


Jason Maxwell Directory Info

Jason Maxwell’s information is now updated in our online directory. Remember, you can access this directory from the app, viewing online, or downloading the PDF. Go to our website and click “Resources” for more links or download the church directory app here: https://www.christiscentral.org/four-apps-for-your-phone-or-tablet/


LTAI #2 – Loneliness

Scripture Reading: Genesis 2:15-18

      • OPEN: Janna’s Elizabeth
Today we’re going to discuss a painful experience known as loneliness.
      • Welcome to Central Church of Christ: Not a place, but a people called out by God to Show His Love, Tell His Story, and Be His Family. Today we begin a new message series from the Bible called, “Let’s Talk About It” exploring some of the common mental health struggles people, even Christians deal with, and how Christ through His Word can help.  Please turn to Adam’s Story in Genesis 2 as we prepare for today’s Let’s Talk About It Topic. 
      • LONELINESS: According to a 2018 national survey by Cigna, loneliness levels have reached an all-time high, with nearly half of 20,000 U.S. adults reporting they sometimes or always feel alone. Forty percent of survey participants also reported they sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful and that they feel isolated.

Such numbers are alarming because of the health and mental health risks associated with loneliness. According to a meta-analysis co-authored by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, lack of social connection heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having alcohol use disorder. She’s also found that loneliness and social isolation are twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity (Perspectives on Psychological Science, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2015).

“There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators,” Holt­Lunstad says.

From <https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/05/ce-corner-isolation>


Effects of Loneliness: in Christian Counseling by Gary Collins

  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Depression
  • Rebellious Nature
  • Alcoholism & Drug Abuse
  • Heart Disease & Physical Problems

WHOA!  ILLUS: Charles Swindoll mentioned an ad in a Kansas newspaper. It read, “I will listen to you talk for 30 minutes without comment for $5.00.” Swindoll said, “Sounds like a hoax, doesn’t it? But the person was serious. Did anybody call? You bet. It wasn’t long before this individual was receiving 10 to 20 calls a day. The pain of loneliness was so sharp that some were willing to try anything for a half hour of companionship.”


Psalms 68:6 tell us that “God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”

Genesis 2:18 “It is not good for the man to be alone.”

  • David – “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” Psalms 25:16
  • Paul “make every effort to come to me soon.” (II Tim. 4:9-12 NASB).
  • Jesus “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

“So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam NO SUITABLE HELPER WAS FOUND.” (Genesis 2:20)


Philippians 4:19 – And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

ILLUS: Psychologists Carter, Meier & Minrith have observed that “People who have constant bouts with loneliness often fall into the overly dependent style of life…. An overly dependent person… becomes excessively distraught if he is rejected by someone. He clings to people, sucking up all their emotional energy… (these lonely people get to the point where they) expect others to fulfill their needs for them. Then they begin to make demands of those on whom they depend. Naturally, this causes others to retreat from them, keeping at a distance. The dependent person finds himself back at square one, and usually continues the cycle endlessly.”


Ways to help according to Gary Collins

      1. Admit that they are lonely – best step for battling it
      2. Consider the causes – work on the sources rather than the symptoms
      3. Change one’s Thinking if possible – (with a widow this is tough, some things can’t be changed) – Inadequate social networks or skills or a poor view of self.
      4. Develop Self- Esteem
        1. Lonely people must be helped to see and acknowledge their strengths, abilities, and spiritual gifts.
      5. Encourage Risk Taking – Reach Out
      6. Encourage to help others
      7. Point to God – “God is real and his presence can be sense.”

Psalms 68:6 tell us that “God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”

      • CLOSE: Coffee Shop Janna’s Story to faith and family

Galatians 4:5-7 

To redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Galatians 3:27-29

for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.



Central Worship Survey 2021


LTAI #1 – Depression

Welcome to Central Church of Christ: Not a place, but a people called out by God to Show His Love, Tell His Story, and Be His Family. Today we begin a new message series from the Bible called, “Let’s Talk About It” exploring some of the common mental health struggles people, even Christians deal with, and how Christ through His Word can help.  Please turn to Elijah’s story in 1 Kings 19 as we prepare for today’s Let’s Talk About It Topic. 

Recommended Reading: Gary Collins – “Christian Counseling” 

“The Christian experience has three levels.  First there are “mountaintop days when everything is going well and the world looks bright.  These experiences are temporary: they can’t go on forever.  It is unrealistic to expect, as many people do, that we can spend life leaping from one mountain peak to another as if there were no plains or valleys in between.  Instead, most of life consists of “ordinary days” when we work at our usual tasks, neither elated nor depressed.  The, third, there are “dark days” when we trudge heavily through confusion, doubt, despair, and discouragement.  Sometimes these days string out into months or even years before we begin to experience a sense of relief and victory.  When they persist, dark days are days of depression.”

Elijah is a great case study about Depression – look at these symptoms!

* Fear – “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life….” 1 Kings 19:3

* Suicidal tendencies – “(Elijah) prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, LORD,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’ 1 Kings 19:4

* Excessive tiredness – “Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep…” 1 Kings 19:5 slept for a couple of days… maybe longer

* Feelings of rejection – “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 1 Kings 19:10

* AND he experienced this depression for a long time – nearly 2 months


(1 Kings 19:5-6) an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. 

(19:8) And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.

In 1999 Duke University conducted a study of nearly 4000 older adults. One of their conclusions: “Attendance at a house of worship is related to lower rates of depression and anxiety.”



Andrew Newberg, director of clinical nuclear medicine at the University of Pittsburgh used the SPECT technique and made an interesting discovery. Newberg studied the brains of religious individuals who either prayed or meditated. And his team found a dramatic increase in action in the front region of the brain called the pre-frontal cortex. The region is associated with judgment and empathy. The group also discovered decreased activity in a region of the brain known as the superior parietal lobe, which gives us our sense of “self.” The findings seem to indicate that people – while engaged in spiritual pursuits – felt a loss of self. Newberg says prayer and meditation have been shown to lower the risk of depression and heart disease and improve immune function.


(I Kings 19:13) “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 
(1 Kings 19:14) Elijah replied to God and said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
(1 Kings 19:18) “I have reserved seven thousand in Israel— all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”

JEWSIH HOPE – When our allied troops were making their way across Cologne Germany to cross Hitler’s forces, they came across a bombed out concentration camp building that had this inscription scrawled on a basement wall:

“I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining.

I believe in love even when it is not shown.

And I believe in God even He doesn’t speak.”

“Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu … king over Israel, and anoint Elisha … to succeed you as prophet.” (I Kings 19:15-16)

Dr. Karl Menninger replied, “Lock up your house, go across the railroad tracks, find somebody in need, and help that person.” To overcome discouragement, “Don’t focus on yourself, get involved in the lives of other people.”


Ways to help someone dealing with depression:
  • Give them rest
  • Find Church
  • Let them talk
  • Deal with false beliefs – Give Hope
  • Give them a mission

The Bible gives us an amazing glimpse into the soul of Jesus the night before he was crucified. Watch and learn from the way Jesus fought his strategic battle against despondency or depression.

  1. He chose some close friends to be with him. “Taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee” (Matthew 26:37).
  2. He opened his soul to them. He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” (Matthew 26:38).
  3. He asked for their intercession and partnership in the battle. “Remain here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38).
  4. He poured out his heart to his Father in prayer. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26:39).
  5. He rested his soul in the sovereign wisdom of God. “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).
  6. He fixed his eye on the glorious future grace that awaited him on the other side of the cross. “For the joy that was set before him [he] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).


Remember the Words of Jesus

Remember the words of Jesus in song here: https://youtu.be/cfN5N1kdgGk

They’ll know we are Christians by our love…


Sermon Notes – M&T5

Meat & Tators #5 – Where’s the Beef? 
  1. In 1984-85 Wendy’s had a commercial running featuring a four foot eleven inch tall, gray haired old feisty Grandma named Clara Peller. If you remember the commercial Ms. Peller would walk up to the counter of the fast food restaurant with about a four inch hamburger patty on a 12 inch bun, slap the counter and loudly asked, Where’s the Beef? It became a national catch phrase that was used even in the presidential elections in 1984. The premise behind the ad was that there was no place except Wendy’s that you could get a hamburger with enough beef to satisfy your appetite. The expectation was that if you went to Wendy’s for your hamburger, you would not have to ask…Where’s the Beef!
Does our church leave people asking, “Where’s the Beef?”

Mark 10:35-45 .

35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Unflattering List of People that God used! 

“Moses stuttered.

David’s armor didn’t fit.

Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.

Jacob was a liar.

David had an affair.

Solomon was too rich.

Abraham was too old.

David was too young.

Timothy had ulcers.

Peter was afraid of death.

Lazarus was dead.

John was self-righteous.

Jesus was too poor.

Naomi was a widow.

John Mark – rejected by Paul

Paul was a murderer.

So was Moses.

Jonah ran from God.

Miriam was a gossip & bigot

Gideon and Thomas both doubted.

Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.

Elijah was burned out.

Martha was a worrywart.

Samson had long hair.

Noah got drunk.

And did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?

Hebrews 5:12-14

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.


1 Corinthians 3:1-3

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:42-45

Tampa Bay.com ran an article some time back about street gangs. In it they told the story of a  preacher who was trying to reach out to the slum dwellers for Christ. “When he first moved into this neighborhood, as a refugee from Harvard, Rivers sought out a local drug dealer (to ask him why he was so successful in dragging people into his lifestyle)… and he gave Rivers, a Pentecostal, a lesson in why God was losing to gangs in the battle for the souls of inner city kids. “Selvin explained to us, ’I’m there when Johnny goes out for a loaf of bread for Mama. I’m there, you’re not. I win, you lose, It’s all about being there.’”


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!  – Philippians 2;5-8

Mark 8:34-37 – And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”


Finding God’s Beauty in the Ordinary

God’s glory is on full display today; look close at the geometric beauty of snowflakes on the bushes, truck tailgate, and minivan window that Topher shot this morning. AMAZING!
“All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” – John 1:3


Passing of former minister Brian Crow

Church family, it is bittersweet to share the passing of Brian Crow to his heavenly reward. Brian served as minister at Central Church of Christ from 1981 to 1991. The picture below is from his directory photo in 1989. We will send out a link to the obituary information when it is made available. We hope you all are having a safe and blessed Monday.


Interview with Phlebotomist Paige Cobb

Interview with Phlebotomist Paige Cobb

Our blood drive today will have a wonderful phlebotomist on the bus, Paige Cobb! She’s a friend of Central Church of Christ and taught me a lot about giving blood. We still have a few spots to give available between 2-4pm at Central Church of Christ today. Give a gift from the heart this Valentine’s Day!


VDay Blood Drive SIGN UP

We have plenty of slots open to give blood tomorrow at the church building from 12-4pm. Supplies are very low right this moment, and Covid-19 patients especially are benefiting from blood transfusions right now. Your gift of blood could literally be used to help save your neighbors’ life. What a great gift to give for Valentine’s Day! Just click here to sign up between 12pm-4pm.


Sermon Notes – 02/07 – Commentators & Participators

Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:34-40

INTRO: It’s Super Bowl Sunday and boy do we have a lineup for you tonight at the big game!  Just in case you’re unfamiliar, I want to share with you who you can expect to be the most thrilled and excited about during the Superbowl CBS Gameplay!

      • Jim Nantz – In high school he was co-captain of the basketball team and golf team, going on to play golf for the University of Houston!  One of his famous commentator quotes is “Sometimes when you think you can’t, you can!” in the 1999 basketball championship game.  What’s better is his last name rhymes with pants!
      • Tracy Wolfson – Close to the action, she’ll be a sideline reporter. Her accolades include the extreme accomplishments of being selected to do sideline reports in the NCAA College hoops 2008 edition on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game consoles!
      • Evan Washburn – His noteworthy accomplishments are, he got married in 2014, and he played college Lacrosse!  At least there’s a goal in that game right?  It’s kindof like football!
      • Tony Romo – 14 seasons with the Dallas cowboys as quarterback where he played six post season games and won two of them! Needless to say, he’s never been in a SuperBowl position, but he sure would have liked to! 
      • Jay Feely – He played the game, was a least a PlaceKicker!  He sets the ball on a tee and gives it the boot!  He’s been traded to the Tampa Bay Storm, Falcons, Giants, Dolphins, Chiefs, Jets, Cardinals, and Da’ Bears.  Did you know he even did so well as to become a Pro Bowl alternate with the Giants in 2005! 
      • Gene Steratore – His occupation is as a rules analyst!  He came on the field as a referee in 2006, and 12 years later entered into retirement.  Now he’s come out of that retirement as a commentator just for you!
      • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Bowl_LV

WELCOME: To Central Church of Christ, not a place or a building, but a people called out for God’s purposes of Show His Love, Telling His Story, and Being His Family.  Today, we are in our fourth message about Meat & Tators. It all began when my son Ethan, decided not to his his french fries one day, but asked for a second hamburger instead.  Which got me to thinking, some of us lead a Christian life like the tators on the side, a life of fluffy filler, but no real substance. Too much of the fluffy stuff on the side makes the Christian life and the church bloated, gaining a lot of size, but no strength or health.  Don’t be like the tators on the side.

Love God and love your neighbor! (Matthew 22:37-38)

BACKGROUND on PHARISEES: After giving the greatest commands, Jesus talks to the Scribes and Pharisees, people who were more Commentators on the life of religion rather than participators in a life of faith!

“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. – Matthew 23:2-3

There were about 6,000 Pharisees in that day, with many more who were followers but not full members of the group.  (Josephus – Antiquities of the Jews 17:42)


‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.’ Matthew 23:13


‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You devour widows’ houses and make long prayers just for show. This is why you will receive a harsher punishment.’ Matthew 23:14


‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. ‘Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.’ Matthew 23:15-22

5 When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. – Romans 8:5-8


Mark 7:8-9

8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!


‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.’ Mathew 23:23-24

Micah 6:6-8

6 “With what shall I come before the Lord,

    and bow myself before God on high?

Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,

    with calves a year old?

7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,

    with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,

    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

8 He has told you, O man, what is good;

    and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

    and to walk humbly with your God?


‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.’ Matthew 23:25-26


Clarksville TN – A one-of-a-kind sermon – Cleanliness Layer of Comfort

Throughout the week, Willie Lyle kept a small journal of what he was experiencing. These notes become the foundation for the sermon he delivered June 23 at Sango United Methodist Church, a sermon that caught the congregation off guard.

Only four people at the church knew what their new pastor was doing.

Early in the morning June 23, Willie Lyle lay under a tree on the church lawn covered in a big overcoat. He still had not shaved or combed his hair.

He wondered how many people would approach him and offer him food, invite him to sit inside an air-conditioned room, or just see how they could help. Twenty people spoke to him and offered some type of assistance.

The title of his sermon was The Least Used Parts of the Body, based on I Corinthians 12:12-15.

“Often the least used parts of the body are the ones that mean the most, like our heart and mind. We need to understand that there are no small or least used parts in the body of Christ,” Willie Lyle told the congregation that was started about 10 miles outside of downtown more than a century ago. “Too many of us only want to serve God one hour each week. That doesn’t cut it. That is not God’s plan.”

While he preached, his daughter-in-law cut his hair and his daughter helped shave off his scruffy beard. He changed shoes, and beneath the overcoat, he was wearing his Sunday clothes. He put on a tie and his suit coat, all the while continuing to preach his message.

Before the 200 people gathered that morning, he went from looking like a homeless person to the new pastor of the congregation.

“I wanted everybody to know what I had been through, what I had learned and the physical and emotional discomfort I experienced and that I am still dealing with. And I made sure to mention more than once that Christ was not comfortable on the cross.”

From <https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/24/pastor-homeless-experience/2583241/>


‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but, on the inside, you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.’ Matthew 23:27-28


1 Samuel 16:5-7 – 5 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 


‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.’ And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So, you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!’ Matthew 23:29-32

These guys had been living life as a Tator, a Commentator for so long, they had no hope of ever getting in the game!

‘You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore, I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.’ Matthew 23:33-34

‘Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.’ Matthew 23:36


C.S. Lewis – “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”


Lion Witch & Wardrobe

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” – C.S. Lewis


Don’t be a TATOR!

Love God – Believe, Repent, Confess, Be Baptized

Love People – Live a Life of faith that blesses others!

It’s not always comfortable, but it is good!




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!