According to statistics, places of worship are the safest places in the world. Yet, we all are very aware of church buildings that have been devastated by weather, blown up by bombs and attacked by gunmen. This past Sunday, a gunman attacked a Baptist church in Texas, killing and injuring most of the worshipers. This came just weeks after another gunman entered a church of Christ in Tennessee, killing one and injuring several others. While our hearts go out to these victims and their families, all of this has caused some to mock our faith in God and to ridicule the power of prayer.
You may say, “I’ll never amount to anything. Nothing is going well in my life. It is not ever going to get any better. So, why am I here?”
First, is it completely true what you are saying about yourself? Can you really say, “Never, nothing, ever”? Only, if you reject your Creator, Savior and Lord. Without Him you are nothing, you never will be anything and you will suffer for it in eternity. He has something better for you; an abundant and eternal life!
We sometimes talk about “placing membership”. There are many who don’t know what this is all about, some who don’t have any idea how to do it and others who don’t see the need. Perhaps, we have been negligent in our teaching concerning this matter. So, let me mention a few points from the Bible.
“Is it alright to have my body cremated when I die?”
When I first started preaching I didn’t get this question much, but as the years have gone by it comes up more and more. Here is what I gleaned from the Bible about it.
Burial was the customary and honorable practice of both Hebrews and Christians throughout the Old and the New Testament. The first explicit reference is in conjunction with the death of Sarah (Genesis 23:3-4).
When I speak of “the church”, I’m usually talking about all of God’s people that have been saved through Jesus Christ. Sometimes, I use the phrase when referring to a local congregation or to an assembled group of God’s people. The New Testament speaks of “the church”, in each of these ways (e.g. 1 Corinthians 1:2; 10:32; 11:18; 14:19, 28, 35).
Lance wrote to tell me that though he grew up in the church, he hasn’t been in many years. His faith is shattered. He suffers from a serious disability. And, because of his selfish and promiscuous life he doesn’t think his marriage is going to survive. His cheating led to a little girl and he can’t forgive himself. Now he is drinking too much, ashamed and depressed. He writes, “This is too much to bear…Need God in my life and someone to talk to.”
Yes, that’s exactly what we read in 1 Peter 3:21.
But, doesn’t the Bible teach that Jesus saves us? Of course! He is the only Savior (Acts 4:12). Without Him we cannot come to the Father (John 14:6). We could never pay for our sins, but His blood paid for our sins (1 Peter 1:18-19).
So, what does baptism have to do with it?
Is Hurricane Irma another of many signs heralding Christ’s coming at the end of the world? Not if you believe what Jesus said about His coming.
Jesus said that nobody but the Father knows when He is coming (Matthew 24:36). If there will be signs of His coming anyone could know. Doesn’t that mean that if someone says there are signs that Christ is about to come that he doesn’t know what he is talking about?
There is a new norm in society today. Men and women are living together without being married. Even those who plan on getting married have decided to live with each other before their marriage. Most people don’t seem to think that there is anything wrong with this but rather accept it as perfectly normal behavior. In fact, more and more voices are decrying the idea of marriage as old fashion and impractical. Some would never even consider marriage as an alternative to just living together.
Music is a very important part of worship. Many will choose to worship with a congregation or choose not to worship with a congregation because of the music. People are looking for different things regarding music. Some want a full modern sounding band. Others just desire the traditional sound of the organ or piano. Some are looking for a choir, special singing groups or soloists in the worship. Some love the praise teams. Others prefer congregational singing without using any musical instruments.
But, shouldn’t we ask first, “What kind of music does God want in the worship of His church?”
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135