(Reviewer Wes McAdams is the preaching minister at the Baker Heights congregation in Abilene, TX.
His writing - located on his Radically Christian website - is often poignant and timely.)
Last I heard, there have been over 7,000 people baptized after reading the book, Muscle and a Shovel by Michael Shank. I don’t think it is overstating things to say this is a book that is changing the world. Just imagine the family trees, forever changed because someone read this book.
Simply put, Muscle and a Shovel is the true story of how Michael Shank and his wife became Christians. Michael writes how his friend, Randall, helped he and his wife to see the error in their religious beliefs. When Randall first began teaching him, Michael was indignant and confident he was already saved. However, Michael soon realized that the things he had always been taught in his denomination – and by his pastor – were wrong. He realized, if he wanted to be saved by the blood of Christ, he needed to make a change.
It is not a difficult book to read. In fact, you will probably find it difficult to put down. It is a very compelling and entertaining story. But it is so much more than that. It is a challenging story. It is a story that shows the power of God’s word. It is a story that might make you rethink your beliefs; for thousands of people, it has done just that.
If you are a member of a denominational church, I dare you to read this book. And I make you this promise, you will never be the same again. If you read it, and are willing to listen to the truth, your life will be changed forever!
You can purchase the paperback or kindle editions of Muscle and a Shovel on Amazon.
The youth, along with their parents and the church family, continue to work on Lads to Leaders (and Leaderettes) projects. For more information about this good work, please check out the Lads to Leaders website.
One of the required components of our fourth grade memory program
involves the qualifications of deacons.
Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
And let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.
Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips in, but temperate, faithful in all things.
Let deacons be the husband of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.
For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the face that is in Christ Jesus.
(Author Neal Pollard has been a guest preacher for the church at 26th and Connecticut.
He is currently the preaching minister at the Bear Valley congregation in Denver, Colorado.
This short message is from his daily Preacherpollard's Blog.)
Have you heard about a “goat situation” in Oklahoma City that, well, stinks? Members of a Satanic Temple there want a 7-foot Satanists’ statue to be placed at the capitol building right next to a monument of the 10 commandments. The group submitted to a panel with oversight of the capitol grounds “an artist’s rendering that depicts Satan as Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard that’s often used as a symbol of the occult. In the rendering, Satan is sitting in a pentagram-adorned throne with smiling children next to him” (via Huffington Post, Sean Murphy, 1/6/14). Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves added, “”The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation” (ibid.).
I first heard about this from one of our local news networks, reporting on the story. They were aghast and appalled at the very idea, especially the thought that this would potentially be a place where children could sit on Satan’s lap. While I wholeheartedly agree that even the idea is disturbing, we as parents need to make sure we do not, in our negligence, allow our kids to figuratively do such.
That means being plugged into our kids’ social media (they are abandoning Facebook for other forms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, by the way), knowing who their friends are and something of their friends’ character, safeguarding our homes from ways Satan gets in (TV, computer, movies, phone, etc.), and modeling proper and biblical values as parents. It also means arming them, encouraging and sharing Bible study, prayer, and Christian service with them. It is about setting our affections on things above, not on things of the world (Col. 3:1-2). It is about being transformed and not conformed to this world (Rom. 12:1-2).
While most everyone would never set their children in that creepy Satan statue, are we, through their wardrobe, activities, friends, priorities, and the like, doing what is tantamount to that? God has entrusted us with an eternal stewardship—our children! Like those in Luke 18:15-17, let us ever be bringing our children to the “lap” of Christ!
As we journey ahead into a new year,
the church of Christ at 26th and Connecticut in Joplin, Missouri,
would like to wish you many happy days.
If you know you're on the wrong path in life...
If you are interested in eternal happiness...
If you have questions about the church of Christ...
If you are looking for the pre-denominational, undenominational church described in the New Testament...
If you want your children to know Jesus...
If you are searching for truth...
please contact the church office, or worship with us.
(Contributor David Deffenbaugh, former preacher for the church at 26th and Connecticut,
now preaches in the Oklahoma City area.)
And by “His” I mean Jesus’. And it’s not just “Jesus.”
Do you know Jesus? The two questions are quite related. Can we say we know Jesus if we don’t know His names? and even know that there is a name we don’t know?
The scene in heaven seen by John is most impressive; conquering and victorious Jesus. As impressive as Jesus’ appearance are the names by which He is called and known.
His name is called “Faithful and True” (v. 11). “He has a name written that non one knows but Himself” (v. 12). “[T]he name by which he is called is The Word of God” (v. 13). “[H]e has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (v. 16).
To know Jesus better, I must spend some time in consideration of and seeking to know the names by which He is called.
One of the required components of our fifth grade memory program
involves the "three dispensations of time".
(Author Wes McAdams is the preaching minister at the Baker Heights congregation in Abilene, Texas.
His writing - located on his Radically Christian website - is often poignant and timely.)
Here’s an important truth: proper worship begins with right theology. You cannot possibly worship God in an acceptable way unless you know God. This may sound harsh, but many people today are trying to worship a God they do not know and are, unfortunately, flaunting their ignorance of Him all over the stage.
Passion, sincerity, and even emotion are essential elements of acceptable worship. God is not pleased by heartless worship. He is not pleased by simply going through ritualistic motions. Jesus said, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” (Mark 7:6-7).
But just because God is not pleased by heartless worship, does not mean passion, sincerity, and emotion are the only necessary elements of acceptable worship.
I believe the essential element, missing from most so-called “worship” today, is the element of reverence. In fact, reverence is so absent in many assemblies, it is absurd to call what is being done, “worship.” You see, the Greek word for worship is “proskuneo,” which literally means (source):
God is King
Worship is not a wild party. Worship is coming reverently before a King. Much of our culture doesn’t understand this idea of reverence because we have a skewed theology. We don’t understand our Lord is the King of Kings. We think God is our buddy and our pal.
When God revealed Himself to people in Scripture, no one jumped around, partying like a wild fool. The reaction of everyone was essentially the same – reverence, fear, and awe. When people understand who God is, they don’t turn the spotlight on themselves, they turn the spotlight on God. When people understand who God is, they don’t turn the volume up, they get reverently quiet. When people understand who God is, they tremble and fall prostrate before Him.
I know this is making some of you angry. You want to say, “But Wes, don’t you understand, it is so archaic to believe in a God before whom we need to tremble?! That’s the God of the Old Testament! That’s not the God of the New Testament!”
Learn to Tremble and You’ll Learn to Love Him More
Listen to me, I beg you! You cannot understand the depth of God’s love, until you understand how “terrifying” He is. Until you humble yourself before Him, until you fear Him, until you tremble in His presence, you cannot possibly understand how amazing it is that He would send His Son to die for you. Until you understand how deserving we are of His wrath, you cannot comprehend the amazing nature of His grace!
James wrote, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:8-10).
Live and Worship with Reverence
Part of the reason people don’t worship with reverence is that they don’t live with reverence. The same theology that influences the way you worship, also influences the way you live. Most people say they believe in God, but they live as if He doesn’t exist or He doesn’t care about the choices they make.
The word translated, “worship” in the passage below has more to do with your service, your devotion, and your life, but it certainly should apply also to the way you worship God. Listen carefully to the words of Hebrews 12:25-29,
See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.