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
 
 
What a joy it is to be a part of Christ’s body! There are no greater people on the face of this earth than the family of God (Ephesians 2:19), and especially the people here at Centerville. We are described as “members of one another” (Ephesians 4:25). However, there are instances that family members are susceptible to fighting, bickering, gossiping, and even thinking evil thoughts about each other.  In fact, there are at least fifty passages that deal with “one another.” Our relationship with each other can be strengthened if we spend a few minutes thinking about some of these passages and God's desire for us to grow in our relationship with one another:

             We are to love one another (John 13:34-35).

             We are to have peace one with another (Mark 9:50).

             We are to be kindly affectionate one to another; in honor preferring one another (Romans                         12:10).

              We are to be of the same mind one toward another (Romans 12:16; 15:5).

             We are to submit one to another (1 Corinthians 11:33).

             We are to forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13).

             We are to care one for another (1 Corinthians 12:25).

             We are to serve one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

             We are to use hospitality one to another (1 Peter 4:9).

             We are to salute or greet one another (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12;                 1 Peter 5:14).

             We are to confess our faults to and to pray for one another (James 5:16). 

If we would just keep all of these commands in mind, then the church would be even better. Some are certainly easier than others. There may be one or a few that we need to work on.  Listen to these words of wisdom Paul penned in 1 Corinthians 12:25-27: “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have some care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

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

God Bless,
Todd

 
 
    "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