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
 
 
    Shortly after Sunday morning services, many of our young people will be loading up in the church van to head off to a week of Bible camp. It will be hot, they won't get much sleep, and eventually they'll start to smell, but they'll love every second of it because they'll be surrounded by Christian friends, encouragement, and study all week. Please take a minute this morning and throughout the week to pray for the hearts of our youth and that they'd be open to God's message and with our staff, and that they'd be able to be used for God's purposes in these young people.

Blessings,
Houston Haynes
 
 
    A little boy set out to meet God. He thought it could be a long trip to where God lives so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.
    When he had gone three blocks he met an old man. He was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his little suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry so he offered him a Twinkie.
    The elderly gentleman gratefully accepted it and smiled at the little boy. His smile was so pleasant the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer. Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.
    As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man and gave him a hug. He gave him his biggest smile ever.
    When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?" He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? He's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!" Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and asked, "Dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?" He replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park with God." Before his son responded, he added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Embrace them all equally! - author unknown

    If we here at the Centerville Church of Christ can be of any spiritual assistance to you, please let us know.

God ble
 

Fuel for the Fire

06/25/2017

 
     I have a small little grill at home, and I also use cheap charcoal, so I’m left constantly having problems lighting my charcoal when I want to grill. Sometimes when the airflow is right and I have a big enough lighter it sparks right up, but often times I need something extra. Lighter fluid has become my new best friend when I grill because it helps get the coals hot almost instantly. Sometimes we feel this same way in our spiritual lives, like we can’t get our fire going. Well, consider our worship service this morning as your lighter fluid. Allow yourself to be drenched in the beauty of what is happening here this morning and be surrounded in the warmth, yourself, till you can sustain a flame for God. Like grilling, there are other tools you’ll need to keep that fire hot, but if you need help with the spark, you’ve come to the right place.                                                                                                                          

Blessings, 
Houston Haynes

 
 
    God’s Word is very plain in its declaration that men ought to work. Whether we consider the examples of Jesus—a carpenter (Mark 6:3), Paul—a tent-maker (Acts 18:3), or Peter—a fisherman (Matthew 4:18), it is clear that work should be a part of our lives. Making this point even stronger, Paul wrote: “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
      It is also interesting to note that the Bible offers advice about how we do our work. Solomon wrote: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). And Paul wrote: “Bond servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:22, 23).
      But with all of that being said, Christians have the privilege of looking forward to a time that is free from work. This time is not merely the retirement that so many long for—it is eternal rest which results from being faithful to Jesus. John wrote: “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them’” (Revelation 14:13). While the labor of the Christian on earth never ceases, the eternal rest which awaits will be worth it all. There is a rest waiting for those who faithfully serve God. Sweet happy rest, that is found in heaven.

     If we here at the Centerville Church of Christ can be of any spiritual assistance to you, please let us know.

God Bless,
ToddP

 
 
     One of my favorite Christian songs to sing right now is “Good Good Father” in which the chorus continually repeats how our God is a good good Father that’s who he is and who he always will be which means we are and always will be loved by him. The idea of God as a Father is first and foremost to me. When we think of God as the Father we understand his love a little more, we understand his discipline a little more, we look to him for guidance a little more. I really don’t think there is a better analogy to attribute to God. As our Father he loves us and wants the best for us and wants us to walk in his footsteps. This is the example given to our earthly fathers to follow, and while none can live up to God we are so thankful every day for what our fathers have done for us. 
                                                         
Blessings,
Houston Haynes

 
 
    Does the New Testament teaching constitute a pattern for today's church? There is no doubt the first century church was expected to adhere to the pattern of inspired teaching. Paul instructed the Colossian brethren, "Whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." (Col. 3:17). He reminded the Corinthians, "The things that I write to you are the commandments of the Lord." (I Cor. 14:37). And John, nevertheless demanded total subjection to New Testament doctrine, "Whosoever goes onward and abides not in the teaching of Christ, has not God: he that abide in the teaching, the same has both the Father and the Son." (2 John 9).
     Early congregations of the Lord's church were all expected to follow the same rule and submit to the same inspired teaching in fundamental areas such as salvation from sin (Rom. 6:1-4; Gal.3:27;), Morality, (I Cor. 6:9,10; Gal. 5:19-21), Family matters, (Col. 3:18-21; Eph. 5:22-6:4), and Christian worship,(Heb. 10:25; I Cor. 11:20-29; Acts 20:7).
     But that was long ago. What about the church today? Our original question lingers still- Does New Testament teaching constitute a pattern for today's church? The answer come from Jude, the inspired writer and brother to our Lord. He exhorts his Christian readers to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3). Notice that "the faith", that body of truth governing and enlightening God's children centuries ago, the sum of that which Christians believe, that alone which is contained in the Bible has been "once for all delivered". It has been delivered once, hence we need not to look for additional revelations of divine truth. And it has been delivered "for all" and "for all time". It is a permanent deposit, it will never be superseded, amended or modified. As it now stands it is perfect, adequate, and a complete deposit of truth, providing the means with which to confute the gainsayer, and resist the advocate of false doctrine. The answer to our original question is; Yes!
    If we here at the Centerville Church of Christ can be of any spiritual assistance, please let us know.                                                                                

God Bless,
Todd Parsely

 

Guided Planning

05/21/2017

 
    "The best laid plans of mice and men oft' but go awry." This small segment of an old Robert Burns poem has worked its way into our list of common phrases, and why not? We all understand this concept that even though we plan and plan and think we have it all figured out, sometimes the unexpected occurs and those plans seem all for naught. In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow, what we'll eat or where we'll sleep, that those plans will "go awry." Now, too many people take that to mean that we shouldn't plan at all, trusting that God will do everything for us, and that's not Jesus was saying. What we're told here is to plan, but hold those plans lightly. When your plan goes awry, it's ok. God will protect you because he cares for you. The teaching is against the idea that your plans are what will save you and against an attitude that breaks down when your plans dissolve. That doesn't show faith. We plan knowing that God is in control and his will comes first. Our plans should just be leaves in the current, flowing wherever He guides us. I think, for example, about our new building project. We plan for the good of our congregation, but we also understand that there may very well be a hiccup or two along the way. If and when that happens we don't worry or lose hope, instead we trust in the power of God who guides and supports His Church. I pray that we all can embrace this life of trust and faith and ultimately peace.

Blessings,
Houston Haynes
 
 
    These are the inviting and encouraging words spoken by Jesus in Matthew 11:28. He goes on to say "...and I will give you rest." What a great and precious promise for those who decide to accept His invitation.
    There are countless ways that we may find ourselves "weary and heavy laden." Simply being aware of all the terrible events that have taken place in this world in the past, as well as current events around the world that worry us today. On a more personal level, we may have health problems that weigh us down on an on-going basis. Perhaps it's the trouble in the lives of loved ones that brings us to the point of weariness. The shame, guilt, and separation from our Father in heaven, we experience as a result of sin is certainly a "burden" we can't bear on our own. As I mentioned, the possibilities are endless.
    The good news is, regardless of the source of our weariness or burdens that seem so unbearable at times, Jesus said "Come to me,...and I will give you rest." We must be willing to humble ourselves and come to the only one who has the power to bear our burden and relieve our weariness, and that is Jesus.
    Perhaps it's time for us to "Come to Him," by spending some time alone with our Savior, listening to Him by simply reading His teachings and praying to Him. After all, he's always available, but are we? Jesus knew the importance of rest for himself and his disciples during his earthly ministry. Mark 6:31-32 says, "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.' So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place." A place to rest, to re-energize, and contemplate the life of a follower of Jesus and the rewards associated with that. Folks, we are promised rest from our burdens, but it requires us coming to the Lord to find it.
    Let's strive this coming week to find a quiet place to spend some time with Jesus and experience the "rest" for our souls he promises. If we here at Centerville Church of Christ can be of any spiritual assistance to you, please let us know.

God Bless,
Todd Parsley
 

Thank You Mom!

05/14/2017

 
    It's hard to write an article for Sunday of Mother's Day and not make a tribute to the moms around us. So thank you moms for all you do! To the moms of little ones whose earliest memories will be of VBS, Bible classes, and playing in the pews, thank you. To the moms of teens who point their tired and emotionally drained adolescents top the healing power of the Cross, thank you. To the moms who enjoy the adult friendship of their now grown children but continue to care for them like they're small, thank you. To the moms who are now better known as grandma, thank you. To the ladies who act as adopted moms to those in need, thank you. And to my mom who raised me in the Lord and encouraged me to go out and be the best I could be, thank you. I hope you hear it every day between now and the next Mother's Day, but just in case, Moms, know that we love you!

Blesings,
Houston Haynes