"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Rom.15:4).

 For those of us who read the Bible cover to cover every so often, wading through some of the Old Testament can be the hardest part. Some of the genealogies with those pesky names can be pretty difficult and boring... Romans 15:4, however, gives us some insight as to the value of the Old Testament. 

The Old Testament was written and preserved just for the benefit of Christians. It is a great provider of comfort and patience. It was written for us to learn valuable lessons from, and to give us a wonderful hope. In many places we find examples of how God kept His word. We read again and again about His faithfulness in keeping His promises. We can read about how he kept His promises to Abraham and to the nation of Israel. The promises He made to punish the wicked and avenge the righteous were always fulfilled. His promises about forgiving those who are penitent and protecting the humble are also kept. It gives us a full measure of reassurance that if He kept His promises to them, that He will keep them to us through His Beloved Son. The apostle Paul wrote this to Timothy: "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim.3:14-15). The only scriptures that Timothy knew were those from the Old Testament, and they could help him to see the way to salvation. Though we are not bound by Old Testament teaching, we should be bound to learn from it.

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
 
 
    Last week as we were leaving morning worship little Andrew Cross asked if Delaney and I wanted to go out to eat with his family. I asked if we could go out next week instead and he responded, “Or how about today? Because today is a better day.” How do you argue with that kind of logic? Unsurprisingly, that quick innocent sentence has sat in my mind all week, “Today is a Better Day.” With this happening on a Sunday I thought about the beauty of Sunday. How God began his creation on the first day and then so many years later Christ arose on the first day of the week bringing us into New Creation, and ever since we’ve been meeting on the first day of the week by example of the apostles. Is Sunday a better day? I think so. Not because we should be any more focused on God than any other day, but because we get to gather with our church family. And being with my Church family worshiping God, to me, makes the day a better day. Thank you for being here today and making today a better day.                           

Peace,
Houston Haynes                                                            
 
 
Have you noticed that just about everyone has one? The young and old alike, they cling to it like their lives depend upon it. They look to it every day, some can't go an hour without looking at it. Sounds like I'm describing something life changing doesn't it? It's our cell phones. I'm in no way saying a cell phone is a bad thing.  It is one of the modern inventions that I too enjoy, and must admit, I rely on it way too much. For instance: someone asked me the other day for my Dad's phone number and I could not remember what it was because when I call him I push "call dad" on my cell phone.  I no longer dial a number. So I had to look (yes! you guessed it) on my cell phone to see his actual phone number. It reminded me how dependent I too have become on this little device.

I just wonder, as I watch what is happening in our culture these days, what would happen if we treated our Bible the same way we treat our cell phone. For instance:

What if we constantly carried it around in our purses or pockets? 
What if we went back to get it whenever we left it somewhere? 
What if we flipped through it several times a day?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to our kids for gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of an emergency?
What if we upgraded it to get the latest version?


This is something that makes you go.. . hmmm... where is my Bible? Oh, and one more thing, unlike our cell phones, we don't ever have to worry about our Bible being disconnected, because Jesus has already paid the bill, so we can use it all we want with unlimited data usage!

Again, cell phones used properly are not a bad thing and we can even use them to read our Bibles, but, you get the point that if we treated the Bible as we do our cell phones our spiritual lives might be a little better. So, where is your Bible and have you checked its text message today?

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

 
 
    I’ve written here in the past about how I recently got a dart board for my office. My previous article was focused on the correlations with sin and missing the mark.  Today I want to focus on the consequences of missing that mark. Over the last few months, with my dart board sitting squarely on my newly painted walls, the effects of “missing the mark” have started to take place. The first time I missed the board and threw a dart in the wall it was almost funny. Later a couple teens joined the fun and each missed the board a few times adding a couple more marks. Today I sit here with a portion of wall that is more speckled with dart marks than someone getting an acupuncture. As I think back to this example, as missing the mark by sinning, I never considered how each missed dart leaves a permanent ugly mark in the same way that each sin leaves an ugly, darkened mark on our soul. And the longer we let the stray darts fly, the more marks are made until our souls look ugly and foreign to us. No longer are the sins minor and seemingly harmless.  Now they’ve created an overarching painful life. The answer for my distorted wall would be sandpaper, spackle, & new paint. The answer for a distorted soul? Call The Carpenter.

Blessings,
Houston Haynes
 

A Separate People

11/05/2017

 
One thing that you will notice in both the Old and New Testaments is that God has always required His people to be a separate, distinct people, different from others who are not His people. People who rejected His will, who rebelled against His precepts. In the New Testament we read, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people..." (I Peter 2:9). The word "peculiar" doesn't mean eccentric, strange, ridiculous, or odd in a negative sense, but rather distinct, different, set apart; a people belonging to God! God's people are not to be of the world, like the world, or conformed to the world (Rom. 12:1-2). Thus, God's people belong to, and are to be like Him.

Here are a few ways we are to be a separate, distinct people:

1. SEPARATE IN LIFE. God's people are to be holy, as He is holy. God has called us to a life of righteousness and holiness. In the Bible, Christians are called "a holy nation."  Different characteristics distinguish various nationalities; but consider God's people are a nation of holy people. That is quite a distinction and involves a great responsibility. Holiness relates to our standing with God; we belong to Him. It describes our manner of life, our attitudes and our relationships. Maybe the word "holy" sounds dated and maybe considered by some, as out of fashion. But regardless, God requires-not suggests that His people be Holy!

 2. SEPARATE IN DOCTRINE. Paul wrote to Timothy, "Hold fast the form of sound words, which you have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" (II Tim. 1:13). There is a clear pattern to NT Christianity: the pattern of sound words, delivered by the apostles (Acts 2:42; Eph. 3:3-5). God's people will be different from others in that they will teach and practice only what God has revealed in His Word. That sets His people apart from those who hold to traditions of men. We must strive not for what is popular, but for what is true and right according to God.

 3. SEPARATE IN SPEECH. We are commanded to speak as the oracles of God (I Peter 4:11). The word "oracles" means utterances or words. If we speak God's oracles, we speak what God has already spoken-we say what God has said. We find God's word in the scriptures (Heb. 4:12; II Tim. 3:16-17). There is an old saying that is simple, yet profound: "Speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where the Bible is silent; call Bible things by Bible names." That is the charge put upon us, and the responsibility we must fulfill.

 If being a Christian makes you a little different, somewhat out of step with others; cheer up: that is exactly what God calls us to!

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

 
 
    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