Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross
In the next several weeks at Lehman Avenue church of Christ, there are several big events occurring. In two weeks, we’re having our Vacation Bible School (which we’ve even advertised on TV). The following Sunday is our “Friends And Family Day.” Then, a couple of weeks after that, we’re having a “Widowhood Seminar” with Dean Miller. A month after that, we’re having our Fall Gospel Meeting with Robert Hatfield. There are other things that affect part of the congregation during this time, but it all makes the point that these are potential opportunities to be involved, to invite non-Christian friends and family, and encourage our immediate families.
The apostle Paul asks the church at Galatia to consider each other within the body of Christ. They had a responsibility to help pull each other out of spiritual darkness (Gal. 6:1), to support each other (Gal. 6:2), to strengthen his or her own faith (Gal. 6:4-5), to support Christian teachers and preachers (Gal. 6:6), and to sow the right kind of spiritual seed (Gal. 6:7-8). They were not to lose heart in doing good (Gal. 6:9). It is in this context that Paul makes this statement: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). In this short statement, Paul shares six truths about opportunities.
Opportunities Are Conditional. Paul says, “As we have opportunity.” When should we walk through doors of opportunity? When they are open. Don’t force something that is not there, but don’t shun or avoid what is placed before you. Consider that this might well be the providence of God.
Opportunities Are Communal. “As we” implies that God wants His people working together. He does not desire one or a few to be involved in any area that He has designed the church to do. While opportunities are also personal, and each of us must seek opportunities. But, from the beginning, we see the church working together (Acts 2:42-47; Rom. 12:3ff).
Opportunities Are Tangible. An opportunity is an event, a person, a place, a need, etc., that can be weighed, evaluated, and engaged in. It’s not a wish, hope, or idea per se. It’s something you can put your hands on.
Opportunities Are Practical. Seeing the opportunity, we are to “do.” Engage your brain power, think it through, seek counsel, and the like, and put them to work. In the end, it will not be “well said” or “well intended,” but “well done” (Mat. 25:21,23).
Opportunities Are Impartial. Let us do good to everyone. That’s people like us and people nothing like us. It’s for people easy to serve and people difficult to serve. God demonstrates impartial goodness and kindness (Acts 10:34-35; Mat. 5:45; Acts 14:17). That’s what He wants from us.
Opportunities Are Special. We are to exercise opportunities “especially to those who are of the household of faith.” God wants us to focus on helping our brethren in a special, prioritizing way in the midst of our searching for opportunities. Don’t neglect opportunities with those in the world, but keep your sharper eye on helping your spiritual family.
In the light of all that God is affording us the opportunity to do in the near future, let’s consider what Paul says in this text. Apply it to your situation, wherever you are and whatever is going on. God doesn’t expect you to do it all or more than your fair share, but He makes clear that He has expectations of you in this realm of opportunities. Who knows what good thing He will do through you, if you are ready to meet the opportunity head on.
Saturday’s Column: Learning From Lehman
In Genesis 22, we have the story of Abraham where God instructs him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. We know from the text that God was testing Abraham and we know that God stopped him and then provided a ram to sacrifice instead. Because of God’s provision Abraham named that place THE LORD WILL PROVIDE! Three months ago, a tornado devastated many parts of Bowling Green affecting some of our own members, as well as many others in the community.
We have witnessed the outpouring of help and concern by the aid and donations made over 100 congregations and individuals – giving their money and their time to help those who have lost their homes and possessions. God has used us as the facilitators of this aid and used it as an opportunity to show His love and tell people about Him. We can honestly say THE LORD WILL PROVIDE.
I want to keep with the theme of God’s provisions but change the verb tense to THE LORD HAS PROVIDED!
THE LORD HAS PROVIDED us with a magnificent world to live in. In Genesis 1 we read that everything he made was good and He has provided everything we need to enjoy a fulfilling life. As Spring approaches (my favorite time of the year) we will see God’s handiwork as the trees begin to bud and flowers bloom and He created it all for us.
David wrote in Psalms 8 : “when I consider your heavens the work of your fingers, the moon, the stars you have set in place What is man that You are mindful of him.” He loves us and has made this world for us to enjoy.
THE LORD HAS PROVIDED each of us with talents, abilities, and opportunities to serve….and He expects us to use them to serve Him, as well as our fellow man. The Bible instructs us to use our talents and gifts to the best of our abilities as pointed out in Matt 25 in the parable of the talents and again In Romans 12: 6-8, Paul says, “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy with cheerfulness.”
THE LORD HAS PROVIDED us with a peace in times of trouble. Those who do not know Him can’t really understand. With Covid and all the political turmoil in our country and the war in Ukraine we can still have the assurance of God’s love and understand HE is in control.
We read in Philippians 4:6-7 to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. His assurances are also given to us in Romans 8. Verse 31 says, “If God is for who can be against us. In verse 38 and 39 Paul encourages us with these words “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
THE LORD HAS PROVIDED us with a way to live with Him for eternity through Jesus. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
He has provided reconciliation through Jesus – He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach (Col. 1:22).
He has provided redemption through Jesus – In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7).
God has provided many things for us, but most of all is the way to live with Him forever. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
If you are searching for peace and a way to be with God for eternity, He has provided a way.
Sunday’s Column: Learning From Lehman
- 10 old TV remote control batteries that I hoped would regenerate but found that it wasn’t meant to be.
- 62 ink pens, each representing one of our many banks in the area.
- A 5 year old receipt from Auto Zone on a lawn mower battery with a 24 month guarantee.
- Some eclipse glasses from our big one 3 years ago. We have to be ready for the next one.
- A receipt from Jim Fuqua Appliance Repair dated 1987. Although we don’t have the washing machine and Jim has since retired, a lifetime guarantee was promised and I holding him to it.
- And finally, a love letter from my fiancé from 1972. After 48 yrs of marriage, She was disappointed to find it was in the junk drawer, but is now happy to have it framed and hanging on our bedroom wall.
- Verse 8…To put them aside.
- Verse 10..To put on the new self.
- Verse 12..have a new heart.
- Verse 13..To forgive.
- Verse 15..Let the peace of Christ rule your heart.
- And especially, “Beyond all things, Put on Love”. The perfect bond of unity, doing all things in the name of The Lord Jesus (Col. 3: 14-17).
Thursday’s Column: Learning From Lehman
A few months ago, Lehman and a bunch of other churches went to church camp. During that week, I got to think about family. A quote I read once by Lisa Weed said, “Being a part of a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life.”
Let me start off by defining family. According to Webster’s dictionary, one definition is “the group of one or more parents and their children living together as a unit.” That kind of family can be shown through the illustration of a loving husband giving his wife some facial masks on Christmas Morning. As she opened the gift, her 5-year-old daughter asked what they were. The Mom replied, “It’s a present to make me beautiful.” After the mom applied one of the facial masks, the little girl looked at her mom and replied, “Mom, it didn’t work.”
Another definition Webster’s gave is “all the descendants from a common ancestry.” To me, that sounds like the relationship God has with His church. 2 Corinthians 6:18 says, “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. Ephesians 5:25-27 defines the church family as being without blemish. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
Thankfully, God has given us the opportunity to be part of a perfect family. Maybe you’re not a member of the church family, and you would like to put Christ on in baptism or you want us to pray with you and for you so you can get your life on track. Whatever your need, please reach out to God’s perfect family.