Use Me, Lord

[235 words] Most of us will live on the earth between 70 to 90 years. Why are we here? To fear God and keep His commandments according to Ecclesiastes 12:13. Why should be care? Because He will bring every work into judgment along with every secret things (Eccl. 12:14). With this in mind, we should first desire to be in a proper relationship with God. We can only do this through obedience to the gospel of Christ (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-38). Second, after we have become one of His children, our motto should be: “Use me, Lord.” • Use my…
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What Great Works Will He Do Through You?

[233 words] “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). Wait! Greater works than what Jesus did while He was here on this earth? There’s no doubt that the King of Kings was the servant of servants. He lived servitude: washing feet, touching a leper, raising the dead, multiplying food, curing the sick, teaching the lost, loving the unloved. And then He endured all He did before hanging on a cross for all…
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Sermon Starter: Classify Yourself

2 Corinthians 13:5

The apostle Paul told the Christians at Corinth to “examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). What sort of Christians are we?

Dead Christians. Their activities for the Lord have ceased and are in danger of being overcome again (2 Pet. 2:20-22).

Lukewarm Christians. Pride, worldly mindedness, concern for pleasures of this life; riches take too much of their time and thinking, therefore are not fruitful unto God. See Rev. 3:16.

Dedicated Christians. Working and bearing fruit. Heaven will assuredly be their home (1 Cor. 15:58)!…

The Fruit of the Spirit

[462 words] Galatians 5: 22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” This well-known passage commonly inspires us to set a goal of pursuing these individual qualities, and these are wonderful goals to have. However, what many fail to realize is that these various qualities are not meant to be pursued individually. Instead, we should understand them as a whole. In the same way that fig tree produces figs rather than olives and a grapevine produces grapes rather than figs (James 3:1-12) the…

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Dig a Hole, Fill It Up

[198 words] A man was enjoying a relaxing day in the city park when he noticed two workers. One of the workers was furiously digging a hole. The other worker would come along after the first had finished and just as furiously fill it back in. The man stared in disbelief wondering what was going on. After several moments, curiosity got the better of him and he walked up to the workers and asked why they doing something so worthless. “Worthless?” the worker quipped, “If anybody on this crew is worthless, it is the guy who plants the trees, he…

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The Cracked Pot

[262 words] An elderly woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole that she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the…

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The Watchers

[401 words] When I was a kid I loved collecting and reading comic books. Several characters have stuck with me even today. Among them are a group of alien beings called The Watchers. The Watchers are beings that have great powers to manipulate time, material, and space. They spend their time in observance of all the different worlds of the comic book universe. In doing so, they collect information on every group of beings that can pop up on the pages of Marvel Comics. However, with all their power and all their knowledge, The Watchers were unbelievably boring characters to…

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Are You a Spectator?

[362 words] The American League and National League division games in Major League Baseball have been great, haven’t they? Okay, so the Tigers didn’t have the start we’d like, but there are more opportunities to win, aren’t there? When one goes to a baseball, football or basketball game, that person goes as a spectator. There may be those of us who would love to play. There may even be those who think they could play and win, but only the players can make that happen on the field or court. Otherwise, we are confined to the seats or bleachers. The…

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The Privilege of Serving in the Kingdom

[385 words] Occasionally, I see bulletins with an order of service for the Sunday worship period. They will include the phrase, ‘Those privileged to serve” and follow with a list of the men who will be leading the services. I like that phrase, “Those privileged to serve.” The word “privilege” refers to “a right…granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor.” When I see that phrase, “Those privileged to serve,” it tells me that those leading in the services should consider it an honor to serve in the kingdom of God, regardless of the job to be done. It seems…

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Let God Send You

[442 words] When we think of the great apostle Paul, we think of a rugged warrior for Christ – a courageous, daring, fearless man who laughed in the face of danger. After all, he was the man who got up and walked back into the town where folks had stoned him, drug him out of the city, and left him for dead (Acts 14:19-20). Paul was the guy who was whipped, beaten, shipwrecked, mugged, thrown in prison, and endured many great perils with his faith intact (2 Cor. 6:4-10; 11:24-28). In 2 Cor. 7, we see Paul continuing this life…

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What Will Be Said to You?

[374 words] This past summer, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost in the primary election. It was the first time that a House Majority Leader lost the primary election in American history. In his concession speech, Senator Cantor thanked all those who were loyal until the end of his campaign. At the end of his election, he wanted to express gratitude for those who had been with him. Another story during the summer that gained much more attention is that of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was held as a captive by the Taliban for almost five years before being…

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Improving Your Serve

[640 words] One of the games my dad and I played when I was a teen was Ping-Pong. I played against my peers and generally won most games. But when I played my dad, he destroyed me every time. So, I practiced and I practiced and I practiced until one day we played each other and I finally won! He smiled and said, “Sam, I’ve been waiting for this day to come.” Now, as he said this I was thinking he was going to humbly accept his defeat. Not so much. Instead, he continued, “Now I want to play you…

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Dog Daze

[426 words] When I was a small boy in North Georgia I used to hear the older folks speak of “Dog Days.” I never quite understood what that meant but I got the idea it meant I couldn’t go swimming for fear of catching a fever or something worse. I suppose every part of the country has different phrases to describe some part of a season where things are strongly affected by the weather. It seems to me that dog days used to be in later August and maybe over into “hot” September. Well, it may be a bit early…

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The Hanging of the King’s Men

[321 words] “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread. hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psa. 41:9). We have heard it said that history often repeats itself, and this was certainly true relative to the circumstances surrounding Judas Iscariot. This betrayer of the King of kings made the same fatal mistake as his Old Testament counterpart, Ahithophel, King David’s trusted advisor(cf. Mat. 27:1-10; 2 Sam. 17:23). Consider some interesting parallels between these two men: Both men had access to the King (1 Chron. 27:33; Mat. 10:4). Both men worked faithfully, for…

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Pig With a Wooden Leg

[269 words] A lady from the city was visiting members of her family who owned a farm. As she talked to the farmer, she noticed a pig in the backyard with a wooden leg. “What happened to that pig!” the woman asked. “Oh, that’s Betsy,” the farmer said. “She’s a fine pig! One night while we were all asleep, the house caught on fire, and Betsy started snorting and grunting, and woke us all up. We were able to call the fire department and save the house!” “Wow, that’s amazing!” the woman exclaimed. “Not only that, but one day my…

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Slacking Off

[238 words] The tendency of some modern Christians is like that of our ancient brothers who received the New Testament epistle known as “Hebrews.” These folks had not grown in their relationship with Christ (5:12-14); were beginning to forsake the assembly (10:25); had become spiritually sluggish in their religious activities (6:12); and were on the verge of falling completely away from the Lord (6:1-8). Does this describe you? Perhaps you should ask yourself a few questions to see if you are in danger of falling from grace. First, are you as active in the Lord’s work as you once were?…

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The Fruit of the Spirit

[263 words] In Galatians 5:22-23 the apostle Paul wrote, “Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Using the analogy of fruit, Paul here describes the sweet qualities that the Holy Spirit will produce in the lives of faithful Christians. But how does the Holy Spirit produce His fruit in our lives? Some in the denominational world, called Calvinists, falsely teach that He imposes His grace on folks and produces these qualities in their lives whether they want them or not. But this would clearly be…

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Who is a Servant?

[247 words] He gave himself, making the ultimate sacrifice—dying—for others; he willingly laid down his life because of his love for the whole world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son…” (Jn. 3:16). Jesus declared, “I lay down my life for the sheep…No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:15, 18). Christ experienced the “suffering of death,” and by God’s grace tasted death for everyone (Heb. 2:9). The Lord said he came to serve (Mt. 20:28). Indeed, the Word left heaven, came to earth, took on…

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Let Go, But Hold On

[418 words] There is this new movie, Frozen, which is a big hit with my kids, and a lot of others as well. One of the main story lines is about this princess born with great power, but she lives in fear of discovery. Her parents keep her hidden away in solitude. There comes a day when her power is revealed and she runs away to break free. When she is alone on a mountain top she sings a song of freedom from fear and freedom from having to be perfect. Ultimately it is a song of embracing the power…

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Ask Not

[85 words] “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country!” This challenge, made famous during the Kennedy presidency, suggests a like principle that should guide every Christian’s attitude toward the church. We should be less concerned about what is being done for us and more attentive to what we can do for others. Ask not therefore whether this is a good congregation to be a member of, but ask whether I am a good member of this congregation. via Findlay church of ChristSparta, TN…

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Would You Be Missed?

[324 words] After completing many years as a journalist, Arthur Brisbane was offered six months of paid vacation time by William Randolph Hearst, the publisher of the San Francisco Examiner. Brisbane refused to accept the kind offer because of two reasons. He said, “If I quit writing my newspaper column for six months, it might affect the circulation of the newspaper. The second reason is that it might not affect the circulation of the newspaper.” Mr. Brisbane’s answer was profound. In view of his answer, let’s ask ourselves, “If I dropped out of sight for six months and did absolutely…

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Just Make Yourself!

[192 words] Dr. Paul Faulkner once said, “Sometimes you have to grab your ‘wanter’ by your ‘willer’ and just get busy.” In other words you must simply get up and do what needs to be done. Everything in life isn’t fun, or easy, or pleasant. Who really likes to clean a commode? Confront a brother who is in error, visit the sick, go to a nursing home. This things are not easy to do; but do them, we must, if we are to please our Lord! There is a vast difference between standing on the promises and simply setting on…

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Don’t Lose Sight of the Mission!

[332 words] King David, not long after establishing Jerusalem as Israel’s military, political and religious center, desired to build the Lord a house. His home of cedar was now complete, but the Ark of the Covenant still remained within a tent (2 Sam. 7:1-2). But the word of the Lord came to Nathan, and that word which was to be spoken to David was a divine denial to the king’s desire (2 Sam. 7:4ft). Although David’s desire to build the Lord a house was good, it was not His will for him to do so. That work would be accomplished…

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I Never Intended to Quit!

[290 words] A man who had not attended one service of the church in four years told me he had never thought of quitting the church. I reminded him that he had: (1) Withdrawn his presence from the service; (2) Refused to give his moral support to the activities of the congregation; (3) Withdrawn his financial support, for he had not given one dime to help carry on the Lord’s work. Then I asked “What else would you have to do in order to ‘quit’ the church? As the truth stared to dawn upon him, his expression reflected sober thoughts….

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Mirror Moments

[495 words] Recently I was asked why God repeated his question to Elijah during the incident recorded for us in 1 Kings 19. Before I give you my answer (opinion), let me briefly set the context for you. Elijah had just achieved great victories. He had confronted the prophets of Baal and challenged them to pray to their god and thus bring fire to a sacrifice (1 Kings 18:21). Elijah, of course, prayed to God and received fire from heaven (18:38). Rain also returned to the region in answer to his prayer (18:42; James 5:17, 18). However, shortly after the…

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Understanding the Soil

  [640 words] The truth of matter is that the only way to build up the church is to actively reach out—in word and deed—to the people that God places in our lives. While understanding the mission itself is not difficult, the reality is that seeking after the lost, the primary mission of the church, is an endeavor that is filled with many difficult questions. Why are some more receptive to the gospel of redemption than others? Why are some of those so initially receptive of the gospel also the fastest to fall away? Why are there some Christians that…

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Parking on Someone Else’s Nickel

  [266 words] In the old days, cities regulated downtown parking with meters. You park, drop in a nickel or dime and get some time on the meter. Then you’d go into the store and be sure to be back before the meter ran out of time. However, occasionally, you could find a spot with time left on the meter. In that case, you would “park on someone else’s nickel!” Someone has said: “We eat from orchards we did not plant. We drink from wells we did not dig. We reap from fields we did not sow. We are warmed…

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Ninja Warriors

  [172 words] I’m enjoying watching Ninja Warriors on TV. Both men and women of all ages compete on a very difficult obstacle course that requires strength, agility and determination. The show gets you so involved that you begin to move and squirm in your chair trying to help the contestant succeed. And the TV crowd/audience of supporters cheer for every individual, even though they have a favorite/relative competing! They all love to see each competitor succeed! In the Lord’s Church, everyone is a warrior (Eph. 6:10-17). We cheer for every Christian Warrior. We are not competing with one another,…

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Mr. Knew-It-All

  [140 words] Experience is a trait that is very valuable for any organization. A person with experience in an area can usually do a job faster, easier and better than those without. However the Preacher tells us in Ecclesiastes 4:13 of a time when experience is wasted. He says, “A poor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction.” Experience and position are not assets to those that think they no longer need to listen to anyone else. No matter how long you have been doing something and…

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Unemployment

[332 words] Unemployed is living without a job or without work to be completed. The national unemployment rate as of July 2, 2015 was 5.3% according to a study released by the U.S. Department of Labor. That 5.3% is roughly 8.3 million people in the United States currently living without a job or without work. The unemployment rate for the state of Kentucky for June 2015 was 5.1% with an estimated 102,000 people without work. The work of the Lord’s church is always abounding. We as Christians are called to be working for the Lord at all times. The concept…

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Do It Well!

[104 words] Amateur, haphazard, slipshod, hit-and-miss, inattentive, incomplete, mediocre, shallow, skill-less, unskillful, wanting. All these adjectives are ones we use to describe things that are done but not done well. It’s an attitude that is far too common today. We settle for what is easy, normal, the status quo. But was this the example of Jesus? In Mark 7:37, people in describing Jesus said of him, “He has done all things well…” In everything he did, Jesus held to a higher standard of excellence. He did just do it, he did it well. Why shouldn’t we do the same? Barry…

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Well-organized, but Useless!

[203 words] “…I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead” (Rev. 3:1). A German soldier was wounded. He was ordered to go to the military hospital for treatment. When he arrived at the large and imposing building, he saw two doors, one marked, “For the slightly wounded,” and the other, “For the seriously wounded.” He entered through the first door and found himself going down a long hall. At the end of it were two more doors, one marked, “For officers” and the other, “For non-officers.” He entered through the latter…

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What About Our Reach?

[394 words] The Impala is an amazing creature that has a vertical leap of more than 10 feet and can jump an amazing 30 feet. With such abilities, one would think zoos would have to take extraordinary measures to build enclosures to keep these nearly airborne creatures inside the zoo, but they don’t. It seems the Impala will not execute its amazing jumps unless it can see where it’s going to land. So, zoos only have to build a six-foot wall to keep the animals inside. Unfortunately, there are some members of the Lord’s church who have this same problem….

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Heavenly Sunlight

  [459 words] “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up” (Matt. 4:16). The world can be a dark place. “The whole world,” John wrote, “lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19). Satan, the “prince of this world” (John 14:30), makes sure of that. The Bible does not water down the evil that is in the world, and neither should we. Paul said men will be “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers,…

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You Do Good by Thinking of Others

  [168 words] “…And so we went toward Rome. And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.” (Acts 28:14-15) When’s the last you “traveled” to “Appii Forum” and “The Three Inns” to encourage someone who could use the support? Can’t remember? Then it’s time to start traveling! Many of the church’s worship attendance, giving, volunteering, parenting and forgiveness problems stem from members who never leave the communities of “me” and “I” when it comes to thinking…

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A Shortage of Ninjas

  [188 words] Apparently Japan is running out of ninjas. In the small city of Iga, the birthplace of the ancient ninja warriors, officials cannot find enough martial artists to perform for tourists, even though the job can pay up to $85,000 per year. Part of the problem is that the city’s young people are moving to larger cities, and there are just not enough candidates available who are willing to go through the intensive training, even for the great paycheck. Isn’t that similar to the situation we have in the Lord’s church? The ancient practice of Christianity is often…

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Church Shutdown

  [261 words] If you follow national news, you know that from time to time our leaders and representatives in Washington cannot come to terms on how to fund federal operations. This can sometimes lead to a “government shutdown,” which means many federal agencies stop performing their functions and services. Why does this happen? Usually it is because of differences of opinions, disagreements, and sometimes even spite. The greater good for the country is often overlooked for political and personal agendas, and the whole nation suffers. Sadly, this can happen in the church, as well. Leaders and members can sometimes…

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Falling Through the Cracks

  [265 words] Sometimes things unintentionally fall through the cracks. We can have lots of events well-organized, well-oiled, and well-planned, and yet have a key event or responsibility go unnoticed or undone. Thus, it appears as if that part of it was unimportant in the first place. Sad to say, sometimes we can let people fall through the cracks. We as the church make a BIG leap when we assume that a fellow Christian knows how much we love them and care about them. We make a BIG leap when we operate under the assumption that someone is ok spiritually,…

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What Can You Do for the Church?

  [489 words] People often wonder what the church can do for them. It seems that everyone wants to be part of a large congregation that has immaculate facilities, lots of activities for the young and old, children of all ages, and a large contribution. When someone is looking for a congregation to attend, these may be some of the criteria used to find the “right church.” Most do not look for a congregation where they are needed to serve. Rather, folks frequently look for a congregation where they can be served. This self-serving attitude seems to be at odds…

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How Can I Be Poured Out for Christ?

  [297 words] Philippians 2:12-18 teaches us we how we can be light bearers for Christ while giving our all for Him. I would encourage you to read this passage along side this article. What is required of me? Paul writes that those who read his words demonstrate personal responsibility when it comes to the work of the church, interactions with one another, dealing with the world, and spiritual growth. Scripture reveals salvation does not “reside in “faith alone,” but in action. What is our focus as Christians? We are to focus on Christ. In terms of our “Christian Vision,”…

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