"WORSHIP GOD"

01/28/2018

 
    Today as we come together on the first day of the week to worship God as His children, what are you looking for? Who or what are you focused on? Why are you here? These are question that at times we need to answer within ourselves to help put in perspective just how important worship is to God and that He is the focus and it's not about me being entertained, as is the attitude of many in the world today. This time of worship is the most important thing you will do this week.

     In Revelation 19:10, when John received the revelation on the Isle of Patmos he was enthralled. It was an amazing and incredible breathtaking event that the angel unfolded before him. So beautiful that we can probably understand how John in the excitement of the moment fell down to worship the angel. But notice he was immediately told, "Do not do it! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus." Then the angel admonished John with a simple two word command; "WORSHIP GOD!"

     There are temptations for us to sometimes worship a thing or an individual other than God. There are distractions that can take our focus away from God. There is even a trend within some churches of Christ today to turn worship into an entertainment experience so that people will return. But is that what is needed?

     Today as we all join other Christians in worship, may we all SING with the spirit and the understanding. May we all PRAY with our eyes focused on the throne of God. May we GIVE as we have purposed in our hearts. May we all COMMUNE with Christ as we partake of the Lord's supper. And may we all apply the PREACHING of God's word to our own lives. All that we do today in our worship service is focused on one objective, one supreme reason. Our one ultimate aim, is the same as the angel exclaimed to John: "WORSHIP GOD!"

     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
 
 
       Revenge is a tricky subject. Nobody would admit that they are “revengeful” or even that they’d support it, and yet when someone has been wronged 9 out of 10 people will seek revenge. David gives us a biblical example on revenge in 1 Samuel chapters 24-26. Chapters 24 & 26 are nearly identical stories of David sparing Saul’s life. Saul was unjustly seeking to kill David, driving him from his home, his friends, and his family to live in the wilderness like a bandit as Saul seemingly destroyed as much of his life as he could. In these stories, though David has a chance for revenge. He has Saul all alone and has every opportunity to kill him, but he chooses not to. Respecting him as chosen from the Lord and trusting that God would provide justice, David takes the righteous path and grants mercy. While those two stories speak volumes to grace, revenge, peace, and faith, it is chapter 25, that these two stories bookend, that brings the most focus. In chapter 25 David has once again been wronged, but this time by a rich fool. This fool’s actions practically invite David’s revenge and anger to pour down upon him.  Not only does David recognize this, but so does the fool’s servants and wife, Abigail. Abigail goes out with retribution to seek peace with David, but it wasn’t her gifts that changed his heart, it was her words. She expressed hope that David wouldn’t shed blood, but would instead allow God to take justice into his own hands. David trusted in God to bring justice regardless of his “right” to defend his honor, and God delivered on punishing the fool for his wickedness. Three stories of David refusing to seek revenge. In the center story he almost fails and regrets his rash reaction. Trust in God and follow his ways and he will make all things right.

Blessings, Houston

 
 
    The only way that Christianity can become truly meaningful is for us to incorporate it into our daily activities. The idea of a once-a-week, or once-a-month religion is unheard of in God’s word. As the people of Israel gathered manna in the wilderness one day at a time, so also the Christian must live for Jesus one day at a time.

    Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke. 9:23). Each day presents new challenges for us to face for the cause of Christ. Before we can effectively face these challenges, we must resolve to give the Lord first place in everything. Taking up the cross of Jesus involves more than carrying a miniature cross around our neck or having its emblem tattooed on our body. Taking up the cross of Christ means that we will take our stand with Jesus and live for the One who died on our behalf. It means that we will hold up the cross every day by showing the world what it means to live for Jesus. When this becomes a consistent part of our daily lives, faith in Jesus will have become a truly meaningful experience that will influence the lives of those around us.

    Fuel for daily Christian living is supplied in the manna of God’s word. Overcoming spiritual obstacles and hindrances is impossible for those who are spiritually malnourished. The Bible commends the Christians at Berea, saying that they “were more noble-minded than those at Thessalonica, for they received the word of God with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). May we be so noble minded as they in searching the Scriptures daily and relying on God’s wisdom and strength for help in daily Christian living.

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

 

Jealousy of a King

01/21/2018

 
    Many of our kids are studying 1 Samuel in preparation for Bible Bowl and LTC this year.  We recently came across the stories of Saul’s Jealousy of David. I say stories because once Saul had unleashed these feelings of jealousy towards David they consumed him until his death. After hearing a song that praised David, Saul began down this slippery slope. At first Saul simply complained, but soon those complaints gave way to impulsive physical acts against David and it only got worse from there. Next was a pre-meditated attack on David’s life that involved lying to his family (a planned sin that involved other sins). Saul ended up killing nearly a hundred servants of God, all because of what seemed like a “harmless emotion.” Jealousy is one of the strongest tools of the devil because he’s convinced us that it’s no big deal. These stories from 1 Samuel 18-27 are a warning of what can happen when we allow our jealousy to go unchecked. Saul should have rejoiced in how the Lord was using David.  Even Saul’s son Jonathan reminds him that David’s works benefit his kingdom, but instead Saul chose to view David through the devil’s eyes. Thankfully, I think we can make Satan taste his own medicine when we reject him as king of our lives and cause him to be jealous of Christ whom we become completely devoted to.

Blessings,
Houston Haynes  
 
 
     One of my favorite goals I see people make every year is to read the Bible all the way through. However, most of the time I see this goal being set by adults and hardly ever from our youth. So, young people, this article is for you this morning. I know the Bible is an incredibly big book with some confusing parts (like Leviticus) but I think it’s worth it to make the goal to read it in a year, and here’s why: 1) It’ll give you time spent with God every day. I hope you’re already reading your Bible every day, but if not this will give you clear guidance in doing that. 2) It’ll help you see the big picture. Sometimes we focus on the same pieces of the Bible over and over again and never mention certain parts that play a big role.  By reading the Bible from cover to cover you’ll see how God’s story fits together from creation to Revelation. 3) It’ll give you more confidence as a Christian. If you feel like you don’t know a lot about your faith, or have certain doubts, reading the Bible all the way through will help give you extra confidence in your faith, not only for you, but also for when you share it with others. 4) It’ll help you grow closer to God. Nothing will bring you closer to God than spending time reading his words and seeking him. Now I understand that this seems like too big of a challenge but let me give you some statistics. With an average reading speed you can read the entire Bible in 10.7 minutes per day. Who doesn’t have 10.7 minutes they can devote to God? The average person spends 111 minutes per day on the internet. 10.7 minutes is about the same amount as 3 songs. If you have time to listen to 3 songs per day you have time to read the Bible in a year. I hope you all embrace this challenge and realize how beneficial it is for your life!      

Blessings,
Houston Haynes
 

Unfinished Works

12/17/2017

 
One of the most recognizable monuments in our country is Mount Rushmore. The faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln, carved out of a mountain, are known by all who live in the US. But did you know that Mount Rushmore is actually an unfinished project? The original plan for the monument included full torsos, arms, and hands for each of the men. While what we see today is impressive, in its’ own right, can you imagine how majestic the final project would’ve looked? Sometimes, in our spiritual walk we take a look at ourselves and think, “Wow, I’m doing pretty good”, and then we stop improving. Our faith is not something we can quit working on and expect it to be “good enough.” Paul tells us in Philippians 2:12 “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”  We are told to pursue Christ and our salvation continuously, always making improvements and never settling. Of all things in life, our relationship with God is the only thing that requires our best effort and unceasing devotion. I pray that we not leave our souls an unfinished work.         Peace, Houston

 

My Helper

12/17/2017

 
     “If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. When I thought, ‘My foot slips,’ your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul” (Ps. 94:17-19).

    The comfort of God’s abiding presence is a frequent theme of David in the book of Psalms. When our lives are crowded with worry, when it seems we are slipping helplessly into a chasm of darkness, God can provide help to sustain the soul.

    David lived an unusually perilous life. His rise to power was filled with struggle as King Saul frequently sought the life of his successor. His kingdom itself was marked by wars and conflicts. He knew the danger and threat of death both by enemies among foreign nations as well as by members of his own family. He knew the heartache of betrayal. His own son, Absalom, sought to usurp his throne. In spite of all its violence and hardship, David was able to look upon his life as one that had been characterized by the preventive grace of God. You see, he says, “Had it not been for the Lord’s help, I would have perished long ago!”

    We should all be grateful for the providential working of God in our lives, for the times when God rescued us from temptation or delivered us from trial. While some possess a very detached view of God, that He is far away, disinterested, and uncaring, the true picture of God, the portrait of God painted for us in the Bible, tells us of a God who wants to be our companion, our helper, and our friend. In admonishing us to trust God rather than money, the Hebrew writer quotes David and says “The Lord is my helper” (Heb. 13:6).

    In the truest sense, God can be your helper and friend only as you seek to be His. Until both parties desire it, the potential of friendship is not achieved. God has expressed His desire for friendship by sending His only Son to die for us on the cross. Have you expressed your desire to be His friend? Jesus said, “You are My Friends, if you do what I command you” (Jn. 15:14). Next time you are feeling overwhelmed, remember what God can do. Trust in Him. Seek Him as your friend. He will not let you down.

    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
 
 
     As a Church we are constantly pushing for everyone to be active in practicing spiritual disciplines. Usually when doing this we point out how these times of seeking God will determine how close you feel to him in your daily walk and how well you’re able to keep his commands. The immediate emphasis here is your personal spirituality and relationship with God, but we fail to point out that in practicing spiritual disciplines your improved faith will also make an impact on others. The obvious way that happens is to realize that you may inspire other people to become more involved with their own faith. How many spiritual mentors have you had in your life that caused you to be a stronger Christian simply by their own example? The other way is through direct influence. Think about how when you feel closer to God you interact with others differently. You may be more forgiving, or patient, or even a better advisor because you’re more in tune with the Holy Spirit. Because of your individual devotion you’ve now guided and influenced others by your walk with God. I hope that you’re invested in reading, study, prayer, & community for your own spiritual well-being, but if you need extra motivation, think about how it can help your kids, friends, and others grow closer to God as well.                                  

Peace,
Houston Haynes
 
 
    The urge to worship is an inherent inclination to show reverence and respect. Sometimes it has nothing to do with anything biblical, like God. Since man has existed he has worshiped something- his ancestors, plants, the moon, stars, trees, fire and even himself.

    When men turn from God, Paul said they "exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever" (Rom. 1:25). The creation of images and idols is known as idolatry- condemned severely in scripture (I John 5:21).

    Christians worship God alone (Matt. 4:10; John 4:23-24). Because the Bible has the only true information about God, the way Christians worship must be dictated by the truth of God's word. That worship is not the result of inward impulse, but conformity to what God himself has allowed in His word.

    But still there is an inward urge to worship. When trouble strikes, the urge to turn to God is natural. It is wrong to limit to troublesome times. Jeremiah rebuked idolatrous Jews as those who, "say to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face; but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us" (Jer. 2:27).

    Christians also have an impulse to worship when their hearts are filled with joy. The Psalmist expressed it like this: "Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy..." (Ps 43:4).

    Today we assemble to offer to God the praise of worship so justly due Him. Whether it is from the burden of hurt we feel or the joy experienced, let us benefit from the greatest privilege ever offered to mankind- an opportunity to worship and praise our God.

    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
 

Dual Allegiances

12/03/2017

 
Having moved around a lot as a kid I developed a very eclectic variety of sports teams I cheer for. This week two teams I like, Tennessee and Purdue, had it out for each other because Tennessee was trying to hire away Purdue’s very talented coach. I felt like I was in a very awkward spot. I didn’t know whether to complain about these actions because of what it may cost one team, or to support them because of what it could mean for the other team. I found myself caught in the middle because of my dual-allegiances. I personally see this same problem happening throughout many Christians’ lives. On one hand they claim allegiance to the Kingdom of God, and on another they give their allegiance to something entirely different. Sometimes the other allegiance is to a job, or a political party, or even an idea itself.  The problem arises when that secondary thing runs in direct contrast to the Kingdom of God. We sometimes forget that the Kingdom is a very real and active force in our lives and that it demands our complete allegiance. Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Having interests, passions, and humble pride in life isn’t wrong, but we must be able to choose the cross first when the two conflict. Who will you be loyal to?                                            

Peace,
Houston Haynes