I continually see articles and hear people talk about how American culture is now considered “Post-Christian”, meaning that the general society no longer basis itself in Christian morality or beliefs. I don’t argue this idea, in fact I think it accurately describes our culture as one that has roots in Christianity but has moved on without it for the last handful of generations. Many people I know lament this fact yearning for the “Good Ol’ Days”, but I instead see it as an opportunity. I can’t help but wonder, when was the last time these fields were so white and ready for the harvest? This shift in culture is an opportunity for us to go out and claim more souls for Christ! In fact, this move into Post-Christianity may even be beneficial for the Church’s mission. No longer will people claim Christianity because it’s simply the “cultural requirement”, but now will openly embrace a lack of faith which simply allows us to stand as a brighter light in contrast. Europe, and England in particular, has held this title of “Post-Christian” for a long time now and with my mission trips to Scotland in college I got to see firsthand the power of the Church in a land that denies him. Let us not be discouraged but empowered to help further God’s Kingdom in our own backyard.          

Blessings,
Houston Haynes
 
 
     Whoever said life is a breeze was wrong! At home, work, school, and yes, even at church, we struggle with complicated issues. Sometimes we wonder which way to turn. How can we resolve life’s thorny problems?  Pop psychology says to look within yourself for the answers. Follow your heart! Do whatever you think is right, and it will all work out.  Major problem: God’s word says exactly the opposite! “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). So, according to God’s inspired prophet, we are looking in the wrong place when we look within ourselves for direction. Why is that?  God, through Jeremiah, gives us the answer in 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Ouch! That hurt! It hurts me to admit that I am sinful. The world erroneously insists that people are fundamentally good, so we can find the right course by looking inside ourselves. God Himself says our hearts are deceitful and wicked; it is not in us to direct our own steps.  That’s not to say that there is nothing good about us, or that we can never be correct about the direction we should go.
    A heart that has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus and trained in God’s word might very well recommend the right path frequently. But that’s just the point: bottom line, the right way is determined by God’s word, not by whatever might be in my heart. Even the heart converted to Christ may be deceived by Satan’s lies through the weakness of the flesh.  King Solomon wisely wrote: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).
    When the world calls you to look within yourself to find the truth, resist that appeal with all your might. Let God direct your paths; then you may be confident that you will arrive safely at your eternal destination!
     If we here at the Centerville Church of Christ can be of any spiritual assistance to you, please let us know.

God Bless,
Todd Parsely

 
 
     We have a unique opportunity to serve this Saturday from our very own property in Trunk-or-Treat. This particular ministry pulls in dozens of people from our surrounding community and gives us a chance to be Christ to them and pour into their lives. Many of the people that will be here Saturday are looking for a safe place for their child to explore and have fun in, and what better place for that is there than the Church? We all know that the Church really is a place where we don’t have to worry, but can lean on others through our hard times and be uplifted continually. I hope that we can show that to our guests this Saturday by investing in them and showing them that the Centerville Church of Christ is a place for all to belong. It’s easy to stick with our familiar friends at a fun evening like this, but hopefully we can be intentional about meeting and caring about the people we don’t recognize this Saturday. I look forward to seeing you all there as we empower our own kids while reaching out into the community.

Blessings,
Houston Haynes

 
 
"This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth". 1 Timothy 2:3-4

     From the beginning of time, God has desired to have full fellowship with humanity. In the Garden of Eden, God and man freely talked and spent time with each other. When sin entered the world, God predicted that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:14-15). Jesus overcame the devil at the cross (Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8). The Lord Jesus “gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Galatians 1:4). “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).  To die to sin and live to righteousness meant people would need to know the gospel of Christ. Only Jesus has the words of eternal life (John 6:68). Without the knowledge of the truth people cannot enjoy eternal life or live eternally with the Lord. This is what makes our ministry so urgent and necessary. There is no other salvation from sin or way to life than through Jesus (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). We must speak as often as we can to everyone we can as long as we can. We speak with the confidence people will listen to the truth presented with love and kindness and will respond. We preach Christ and Him crucified, because God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
    We would love to sit down and study God's truth with anyone who desires. Please just let us know and we will help in any way we can.

God Bless,
Todd Parsely

 

Drawing Nearer

10/01/2017

 
    I recently got the chance to talk to my little brother, who is serving overseas in the Marines. It was really incredible to be able to hear his voice and catch up on each other's lives after not being able to talk for months on end. It was almost like we were back together for this short conversation, even though we're currently 7,500 miles apart. Too many people believe that this is their relationship with God. Many think of God as being extremely far away and not fully understanding of how we're feeling or what we're experiencing due to that distance. But occasionally we come into contact with him and make amends for a time before the distance becomes too much again. This is in no way true. In fact, one of the foundations of our faith is that God dissolved all distance by sending his son directly to us, and then followed that up by sending his Spirit to literally dwell within us. God is present in our lives any fully aware of every feeling and thought you have. He has in no way left you, but has fully embraced you. If there is a distance between you and God, it may be helpful to evaluate whether you've been drawing near to him or if you've been walking the opposite direction.

Blessing,
Houston Haynes
 
 
    Abraham Lincoln was quoted as sayong, "Most people are about as happy as they choose to be." Coming from a man who certainly knew one heartache and disappointment after another, that is an interesting statement.
    There is a common philosophy that states, "Unless everyone is treating me the way I want to be treated, unless everyone agrees with my way of thinking, unless life is going my way, I can't be happy." As a result many folks have trouble being happy and at peace with themselves or anyone else.
    The book of Ecclesiastes teaches us another approach to life. If you want an honest description of the harshness of life, then look no further than this book from long ago. In Ecclesiastes, over and over again the writer comments on the injustices, frustrations, and disappointments of life. Yet, he advises us to do the same thing...REJOICE! "I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor - it is a gift of God," (Eccl. 3:12-13).
    The Bible is not teaching here to be blind or naive. What the Lord is telling us is to make the most out of our lives, that in spite of our circumstances, as grim as they may be, we can be happy. Choosing to be happy sounds foreign to some, but the Bible says is can be done. This is only possible though if you are living right with God. Then no matter who is what is happening around you, you can rejoice."Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!"
    So the choice to be happy is really up to us. Happy folks send a positive message to those around them. What message are you sending out today? Choose to be happy! Why? God loves you!
    If we here at the Centerville Church of Christ can be of any spiritual assistance to you, please let us know.

God Bless,
Todd Parsley