Preacher’s Post

We ran the following in our church bulletin this week. I think it’s a great reminder of the importance and vitality of the Word of God. JD

There It Stands

Empires rise and fall and are forgotten—There it stands.

Dynasty succeeds dynasty—There it stands.

Kings are crowned and uncrowned—There it stands.

Emperors decree its extermination—There it stands.

Despised and torn to pieces—There it stands.

Storms of hate swirl about it—There it stands.

Atheists rail against it—There it stands.

Agnostics smile cynically—There it stands.

Profane prayerless punsters caricature it—There it stands.

Unbelief abandons it—There it stands.

Higher critics deny its claim to inspiration—There it stands. Thunderbolts of wrath smite it—There it stands.

An anvil that has broken a million hammers—There it stands.

The flames are kindled about it—There it stands.

The arrows of hate are discharged against it—There it stands. Radicalism rants and raves about it—There it stands.

Fogs of sophistry conceal it temporarily—There it stands.

The tooth of time gnaws but dents it not—There it stands.

Infidels predict its abandonment—There it stands.

Modernism tries to explain it away—There it stands.

Devotees of folly denounce it—There it stands.

It is God’s highway to Paradise. It is the light on the pathway in the darkest night. It leads business men to integrity and uprightness. It is the great consoler in bereavement. It awakens men and women opiated by sin. It answers every great question of the soul. It solves every great problem of life. It is a fortress often attacked but never failing. Its wisdom is commanding and its logic convincing. Salvation is its watchword. Eternal life its goal. It punctures all pretense. It is forward-looking, outward-looking, and upward-looking. It outlives, outlifts, outloves, outreaches, outranks, outruns all other books. Trust it, love it, obey it, and Eternal Life is yours.

A. Z. Conrad (1855-1937)

Welcome to Advent

Welcome to Advent

We are all familiar with the secular American traditions surrounding the celebration of Christmas. Many Christian faiths follow a series of seasons that coincide with the life of Jesus through the year. In Churches of Christ, we have officially paid little attention to the Christian calendar, although we recognize events such as the birth of Christ (the Christmas season) and the resurrection (Easter).

The value of the seasons on the church calendar is that they follow the life of Jesus. Thus, Advent is the season of the time when there is an anticipation of the coming of Christ and actually ends on Christmas Eve. “The word ‘Advent’ comes from the Latin word adventus, which means ‘coming’ or ‘visit.’ In the season with this name, we keep in mind both ‘advents’ of Christ, the first in Bethlehem and the second yet to come” (Roberts, see link below). Some celebrate this by having five specifically colored candles in an arrangement and lighting one candle each week as the day of His birth nears.

The history of Advent as a season of observance is not as ancient as the first century Christians. It was the 6th century when the Roman church connected Advent to the coming of Christ. It was not the arrival of the Christ child, however, but the second coming. Some denominations ignore Advent because they associate it with Catholicism.

The first Sunday of Advent this year is December 3rd. You might hear some of your friends talk about Advent. There is no command in Scripture, nor a prohibition, to observe Advent. There is an important story to tell, and a vital truth to proclaim. This seems like a great time to do that. We usually sing carols during December and have lessons from the incarnation texts. We will display wreaths and poinsettia. There will be a Christmas gathering. Sermons during this season focus on the themes of expectation and anticipation.

Whether we call it ‘Advent’ or just celebrate the same news that had angels singing, I hope this will be a special time of year for both our church and our family.                                                                    John Dobbs

Link: Introduction to Advent by Mark Roberts

Mother’s Day

I am uncertain about the author of this article. I had it in a file for many years. I also added a little to it. Interesting, though, about Mother’s Day. JD

The Mother of Mother’s Day

She was never a mother herself. She was a spinster schoolteacher. She was the daughter of a preacher. At one point she was an advertising executive with a Philadelphia insurance firm. And for 15 years she devoted her life to caring for her ailing mother.

After her mother’s death in 1905, she yearned to find something to honor the memory of that good woman. And then she remembered the picnics that her mother had helped to organize back home in Grafton, West Virginia. They were called Mother’s Friendship Day picnics, and mothers gathered at them in an effort to heal the hatred lingering after the Civil War. Then came the idea: Why not a national day to honor all mothers?

She wrote to the U. S. Patent Office and obtained a copyright for “Mothers Day.” Then tirelessly she pressed her idea on governors, state legislators, congressmen, senators, clergymen, even the White House, to get “her” day recognized. At last, in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making her Mother’s Day a national observance.

For the rest of her life she campaigned to keep the holiday from becoming too commercialized. “Give your mother something useful,” she once told a friend, “a pair of comfortable slippers, or shoes, new eyeglasses, an eirdown if she isn’t warm at night, or fix her stairs if they need fixing.”

Upon her death in 1948, a wreath of 43 carnations was placed on her grave. 43 because that many countries celebrated Mothers’ Day due to her efforts. And why carnations? The white carnation is the flower she suggested be worn on the holiday. it was her mother’s favorite flower.

Its whiteness is to symbolize the truth, purity and broad-charity of mother love; its fragrance, her memory, and her prayers. The carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies, and so, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never dying. When I selected this flower, I was remembering my mother’s bed of white pinks.Anna Jarvis

And it remains an enduring reminder of Anna M. Jarvis, the woman who gave birth to Mother’s Day.

Preacher’s Post 4.23.17

Guest Post this week comes from the Waterview Church of Christ in Richardson, Texas. JD

Roll Credits!

The screen fades to black and “The End” appears. The movie audience stirs and starts to leave. Most think the movie is over. I don’t. I’m one of the strange people who watch the credits.

You see a list of all the people who made the last 120 minutes of magic possible. There are so many skills, most of which I don’t understand. Some of the credits are interesting. Pixar lists all the babies born during a project. Some fascinate me, like “Caffeinator.”

I sit and watch hundreds of names roll by because of the respect I have for people who create. They gave part of their life so I could enjoy, be afraid, or weep. Without any one of them, something would be missing, even if I didn’t not know what it was.

I wish the church had credits. Paul calls it a body with many parts (1 Corinthians 12:12). No one is indispensable, yet none are unimportant. Paul asks the question, “would you rather live without your eyes or your hands?” It is a choice none of us want to make. That’s what the credits of the church mean. WE are part of the glorious composition called Christ’s body on earth.

Next time, when you go to a movie, sit through the credits to realize how many people made the magic. Don’t forget when you leave a worship service or a Bible class to stop and watch those credits as well. They make the body of Christ effective on earth.

Robert G. Taylor, Waterview Church of Christ, Richardson, TX

(Shared with me by Pat Carter. Thanks! jd)