What Will Our Children Remember?
Ernest S. Underwood
Childhood memories are some of the sweetest of our lives – that period of time from birth till we left our home to go out into the world. When a young person leaves home he many times become homesick, and that homesickness has to do with his memories of home life. Dare any of us say that we have had no such experiences? In this article we will explore the subject of what our children will remember, not only about their home life, but about their church life also.
What will our children remember about their home life? Sadly, there are those who will remember a father who was a tyrant, a mother who cared more for the world than she did for her home and family. Some will remember parents who were quite frequently drunk or under the influence of illegal drugs. Some daughters will even have those terrible memories of a father who sexually molested them. Surely, it is hoped that none who read article this will have children who will have such memories of their parents.
However, will our children remember those happy times when the family prayed together? Will that precious daughter and son have that memory of hearing their parents call their name before the throne of God? When they are far away from home, facing the events of everyday life, will they be strengthened by the knowledge that it was the habit at home to have family prayer where each child was mentioned and for which prayer was made, knowing that the rest of the family is still remembering them everyday in prayer? Will our children remember those times when the Bible was read and discussed each day, or at least quite often, as the family either was ready to go forth for the day, or was settling in for the night? Will our children and grandchildren be able to say as it was said of Timothy: “...that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” 2 Tim. 3:15? Or, will our children remember that much more emphasis was put on getting good grades in school, thus preparing themselves to make a living, rather than the emphasis being put on a study of the Scriptures, faithful attendance to all of the services of the church, thus preparing them to be able to withstand the temptations, and to make a life, a life that is prepared to meet God? In short, will our children remember that the church came first in the life of the family, rather than things of a temporal nature?
What will our children remember about the church where they attended? Will they have memories of a group of people who truly loved and appreciated one another, people who had faults, but were doing their best to show forth the Christ in their personal lives? Will they remember that the preacher and the Bible School teachers were students of the Word of God, and presented that message in firmness and in love? Or will them remember church services as a time of “fun and games” where little was taught or learned about the “greatest story ever told.” If, when our children leave home, they are asked why they are members of the church of Christ, will they be able to give a scriptural answer? Will our children be able, after growing up in their local congregation, to know – really know – what the work of the church really is? What will they, in turn, teach their children?
If it is true, and this writer certainly believes that it is, that the church is always only one generation away from apostasy, then shouldn’t it be the desire and goal of every parent and every congregation to implant into the minds of our children those memories that will cause them to have a deep and abiding respect for God, Jesus Christ, and His precious body, the church?
Editors Note: What are children saying now about the church? That is probably a good indication of what their memories will be in fifteen or twenty years. Do your children:
1) Act excited and talk about their Bible classes?
2) Take part in worship? Singing, praying, listening to sermons, etc.?
3) Ask questions and talk about spiritual things at home?
4) Hear positive things about their church family from mom and dad?
5) See that the church/kingdom is the most important thing in your life (Matthew 6:33)?
6) See “daily Christianity” practiced in the home and family?-
7) See mom and dad participating in activities and events other than Sunday and Wednesday night?
Why Attend On Wednesday Nights?
- I desire to learn more about God's Word (Matthew 5:6; 2 Timothy 2:15).
- I love my Christian family and their company, and I want to assemble if they are (1 Peter 2:17; Hebrews 10:25).
- I want to set the right example for my family and others (1 Cor. 11:1).
- I believe that attending mid-week meetings is essential to have the best influence (Matthew 5:13-16; Hebrews 10:24-25).
- I desire to encourage the workers in the church, and I know the workers will be present on Wednesday nights (Romans 14:19).
- I attend because I want to have the attitude of “What more can I do?,” rather than, “Do I have to?” (Romans 12:11).
- I believe the first and greatest commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37).
- The Bible teaches that Jesus may come at any moment (Matthew 25:13). If He should come on Wednesday night, I want to be assembled with the brethren.
- Even if I'm tired or don't feel very well before going, I always feel better after going.
Children are from God
Aaron J. Dodson
Paul wrote that God’s invisible attributes are clearly seen “being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead [Deity]…” (Romans 1:20). God had him write this as a means of demonstrating that man is “without excuse” before God (Romans 1:20c). The creation of heaven and earth are evidence of God’s power and marvelous design. Of course, someone might argue that there are many defects in the universe and in mankind and such is evidence that God does not exist. However, careful examination of both creation and Scripture demonstrate that God created all things “very good” (Genesis 1:31) and when sin entered the world so did the consequences of it including death, decay, disease and the like (cf. Genesis 2:17; 3:16-19). The thing that God created sometimes described as the “pinnacle” of His creation is human life. On the sixth day of creating God said “Let Us make man [mankind] in Our image, according to our likeness..” (Genesis 1:26). Mankind has been rightly described in this way because God declared of mankind that we are to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26). As a person reads Genesis it becomes clear that the first man and woman were mature adults not babies. What a sight that must have been! We know that since that time all have been born from a man and woman as babies. Though Jesus was not physically born from a man he was born of a woman (cf. Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Gal. 4:4) and in this He shared in humanity (yet “without sin” - Heb. 4:15). On Saturday August the 29th 2015 our daughter Cheyenne was born at 6:11 a.m. Mommy Lindsey experienced and endured a completely “natural” (without pain medications) birth. Lindsey described the experience with one word, “intense.” Despite the pain, to see Cheyenne born and to see mommy hold her in her arms and to be with mommy and baby through the entire experience is simply breathtaking and amazing to say the least. It baffles me to no end to think that there are many “educated” people who proclaim that this entire birth process is a result of rocks, dirt and gases (with no Divine beginning), with no logical explanation (“it just happened, no God started it nor designed it”), through long, long, long, long, long periods of “natural selection,” (billions of years) methodically created and caused all material things to exist and be perpetuated and sustained as they are now! This is what I call the “god of chance. ”The One true God says “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1). To me its sad that anyone could experience all the joys of childbirth and then attribute all of it to “nothing” that came from “nothing,” that had no “divine purpose.” The One true God says “..children are a heritage [possession] from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3)! Thank you Father in Heaven NOT the “god of chance” (that doesn’t even exist).
Personal Evangelism – A Matter of Life and Death!
–Continued From Last Week --
The first-century church, despite no member ever being recorded as having invited any lost soul to the worship assembly of the church so that they could be taught and converted, and despite epic life and death persecution on a scale which we cannot even scarcely begin to imagine, still grew like wildfire! How on earth did they do it? What is the divinely-inspired blueprint and biblical pattern for achieving such?
Well here it is:
1. When we read Acts 3:1-4:4, we see that Peter did not invite the intrigued masses to church the following Sunday to hear the word of God, but took full advantage of, and seized the moment to teach them the truth of the gospel right then and there on the spot… and church growth exploded!
2. When we read Acts 5:42-6:2, we see that lost sinners were not being invited to church to be converted, but were receiving life and soul saving instruction from the word of God right there on the spot, daily… and church growth exploded!
3. When we read Acts 7:58-8:12 and 11:19-26, we note that it was not the ‘professional’ preachers (the apostles) who were scattered by the persecution and yet still preached the word everywhere they went, but everyday Christians like you and me… and church growth exploded!
4. And whether we talk about Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40); Peter in the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:1-48); or the Apostle Paul with Lydia (Acts 16:10-15), the jailor (Acts 16:25-34), or Crispus the synagogue ruler (Acts 18:4-11), we see the same, exact, distinct pattern of evangelism and conversions: No one was ever invited to church the next Sunday to hear the word, but were taught by individual members, right then and there on the spot …and the number of conversions and church growth exploded!
The way in which we often choose to fool ourselves when it comes to who is actually responsible for evangelism, is that seeing as how we put money in the plate to support the evangelist, we deceive ourselves into thinking that we are thereby, somehow totally relieved of our personal responsibility to go and make disciples, as it now all falls to him and the rest of the congregational leadership. WRONG! All Christians – including the elders, deacons, preachers, teachers, newly-converted and pew-warmers alike – all legitimately share the same exact amount of responsibility when it comes to personal evangelism. And while it is true that those in leadership do have one added responsibility when it comes to evangelism, alleviating and taking over each of the other member’s individual responsibility for personally evangelizing is certainly not it! What it is instead, is to make sure they, as the God-given leadership in each congregation, equip each individual saint therein, so that they can then best and most efficiently do their part in contributing to the growth of the congregation (See & study: Ephesians 4:11-16)! Part of the purpose for congregational bible study and the worship assembly of the church is to continually help to equip, empower, energize and encourage the saints to go out and seek and save the lost – not to be the time and place where the lost are invited to come in order to be converted!
This is the eternally-settled, divinely-inspired, biblical pattern, for effective everyday evangelism. Individual, on the spot, personal evangelism is as much a part of the divine pattern for church growth, as individual, on the spot baptism is a vital part of the divine pattern for salvation. The bottom line is simply this: If we want the church to grow now, anywhere near like it grew back then, then we must do what they did then.
We must stop simply inviting people to church; and instead, start instantly & individually, involving them in an in-depth investigation of the scriptures with us personally, on the spot, at every opportunity!
This is how they managed to accomplish such magnificent, astounding, and outstanding evangelistic results in the first century. Each and every member of the church talking about Jesus and teaching the gospel to anyone and everyone they could get to listen to their message! And doing so with a divine sense of love and urgency – in the streets, in the marketplaces, in the prisons, in private homes, from house to house, and on the banks of the rivers, etc. – constantly, consistently, continually, and individually! And it wasn’t just the apostles or ‘professionals.’ It was every saved and grateful member with a mouth and a heart after God who wanted to go to heaven and take others with them! Let’s all join them each and every one and turn this thing around in our generation! Personal evangelism is indeed...a Matter of Eternal Life & Death!
Personal Evangelism – A Matter of Life and Death!
A few years ago, brother Phil Sanders of “In Search of the Lord’s Way”, wrote the following in their monthly newsletter: “The churches of Christ have declined in recent years. We are losing more than 8,000 members and about 50 churches every year… As you can see, we have much to do to take the gospel to the lost. The world has always been worldly and deceived by false religion. We must do all we can to preach the truth in love, so that by all means we might save some.” Such congregational graying, shrinkage, losses and spiritual fatalities certainly come as no surprise to most of us.
“The Waldron Newsletter,” for Aug. 2015, also confirmed: “According to the 2015 edition of Churches of Christ In the United States, there were 13,155 congregations in 2003, w/1,656,495 adherents.” It then went on to report how, over the next dozen years, the Lord’s church experienced a 6.5% overall loss in the number of congregations, and an 8.3% overall drop in the number of adherents (or 136,800 precious and priceless souls lost) over that same twelve year time period.
But perhaps the most stunning point of that entire article was the revelation that, “Thirty-five years ago, we and the Mormons were about the same size…” But while we stood at approximately 1.5 million members (when that article was written in 2015), Waldron reported that “they are four times as large as we” – with a whopping, reported, 6.2 million members at that same time! How does that even happen? Especially when so many of their doctrines are so far askew from anything even vaguely resembling biblical truth as to be absolutely ridiculous in the first place? The answer (according to Waldron), was that they grew like that “…because of leg work, the riding of bicycles and the pounding of pavements.” In other words, because of each individual member, doing their own individual part, in personally spreading their message. So why don’t we, who speak “as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11) and who claim to proclaim the ‘book, chapter, and verse’ gospel truth as our only message (2 Timothy 3:14-4:2; Jude 3), make an even more diligent, devoted, personal and individual effort to share that daily?
Perhaps it is because we choose to fool ourselves when it comes to the How and Who of personal evangelism:
Contrary to popular opinion, simply inviting someone to church (presumably so that the paid ‘professional’ preacher can then take over and do all the necessary teaching) is not really engaging in personal evangelism by any biblical stretch or definition. The fact is that you can search from one end of the New Testament to the other, and you will never once, ever find, where any Christian ever invited any lost soul to the worship assembly of the church so that they might possibly be converted – ever. Just like the so-called ‘Sinner’s Prayer for Salvation,’ it simply isn’t there anywhere in the Scriptures. (And so, the question is, if we don’t believe in the ‘Sinner’s Prayer for Salvation’ simply because it is never found in the Scriptures anywhere, then how can we possibly insist on such a pattern for evangelism as inviting lost people to church to be converted when that isn’t ever even found once therein either?)
But the first-century church, despite no member ever being recorded as having invited any lost soul to the worship assembly of the church so that they could be taught and converted, and despite epic life and death persecution on a scale which we cannot even scarcely begin to imagine, still grew like wildfire! How on earth did they do it? What is the divinely-inspired blueprint and biblical pattern for achieving such?
–To Be Continued Next Week --
Cooperative Meeting: Lay Lake supported our meeting in a wonderful way! Despite cold weather, distance, etc., many of you assembled, worshipped and encouraged one another. Thank-you and may God richly bless you!
When To Keep Your Mouth Shut
1. In the heat of anger. Proverbs.14:17
2. When you don't have all the facts. Proverbs 18:13
3. When you haven't verified the story. Deuteronomy 17:6
4. If your words will offend a weaker person. 1 Corinthians 8:11
5. When it is time to listen. Proverbs 13:1
6. When you are tempted to make light of holy thing. Ecclesiastes 5:2
7. When you are tempted to joke about sin. Proverbs 14:9
8. If you would be ashamed of your words later. Proverbs 8:8
9. If your words would convey the wrong impression. Proverbs 17:27
10. If the issue is none of your business. Proverbs 14:10
11. When you are tempted to tell an outright lie. Proverbs 4:24
12. If your words would damage someone else's reputation. Proverbs 16:27
13. If your words will damage a friendship. Proverbs 16:28
14. When you are feeling critical. James 3:9
15. If you can't say it without screaming it. Proverbs 25:28
16. If your words will be a poor reflection of the Lord or your friends or family: 1 Peter 2:21-23
17. If you may have to eat your words later. Proverbs 18:21
18. If you have already said it more than one time. Proverbs 19:13
19. When you are tempted to flatter a wicked person. Proverbs 24:24
20. When you are supposed to be working instead. Proverbs 14:23
"Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from trouble.” Prov. 21:23
Columbiana, AL 35051
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