Do you watch the “news”? I remember (faintly) when I became aware that there were newspapers and television programs dedicated to informing the public about that was going on in this old world. In those earlier days of TV news the announcer basically just came on and read “the news.” There was always a good bit of opinion and commentary that would be woven in with the accounts of the day. These days it seems more opinion than news and very little balance between the two. Even the best choices for information leave quite a bit to be desired.
We have been experiencing a breakout of a wonderful condition here in the West Hobbs Street family of late, that of grandparenthood. Of course, there is nothing new in this as it happens all the time. But since I joined this particular club almost six years ago I have become sensitive to the tremendous benefits of being a grandparent. I must admit that I chuckle to see grandparenthood coming on folks. They smile with great joy. Those of us who’ve been in the club for a while know that the happiness that comes with this blessing just keeps growing.
It is clear that something is happening among our people that is allowing for a movement away from the pattern for faith and practice revealed in the New Testament (2 Timothy 1:13). That such is the case cannot be seen as a surprise for two reasons: First, we have been warned that it would happen (2 Timothy 4:2-4), and second, history contains ample evidence that such movements occur in predictable cycles.
I grew up in neighborhoods that would be called by those who label such things as working class. Unless the men (and many of the women) were too sick or too old they got up each day and went to work. Another feature of those neighborhoods was that groups of boys associated together in clumps based on common interests and affinities. We had all kinds of such groups in neighborhood during my junior high and high school years. Some of the groups liked to roam around at night just to see what they could get into.
As is always the case there are many things going on in the life of the congregation here this summer in addition to our normal activities. As I write this note we are in the midst of Vacation Bible School. The first night saw over 260 people here with well over 100 children. Everyone has worked hard to make this a great school and it really shows!
A few weeks back I heard Tom Holland on the subject of the application of Biblical truth. He was talking about teaching folks God’s plan of salvation and in the process spoke of a popular non-Biblical idea, the idea that some have that praying a “sinner’s prayer” is God’s plan of salvation. He asked “Where could such an idea have come from?” To the response we often hear, “I got it out of the Bible,” Brother Holland replied, “You must of got it out of the Bible because you sure can’t find it in the Bible.”
The apostle Peter was something of a firebrand as a fellow named Malchus could surely testify. Peter cut off his right ear (John 18:10) which, if Peter was right handed, may indicate that the apostle had intended to cut off more than the man’s ear. Whatever shock Malchus experienced at having his ear removed it had to have been doubled when Jesus healed that same ear (Luke 22:50-51). We also know that Peter could speak at times without thinking. He denied knowing the Lord (John 18:17) three times, once in the presence of a relative of Malchus (John 18:26-27).
Here at West Hobbs Street we are going through the process of paving the parking lot. A few years back we built a new classroom building and revamped and updated the whole structure and at that time we were told that the parking lot needed work but that it would be good to wait a bit to do that. There were a lot of broken up places, places where water stood, and general ugliness. So the time has come to fix all of that and the job is well under way.
Everyone faces daily tests. The number and type of these challenges are so varied as to easy defy categorization. Some are quite severe like serious illness or the untimely death of a loved one. Others we might consider normal parts of day to day life like the traffic going to work. But whether we think of them as severe or a normal part of living these challenges are with us every day. The question for the Christian is how we face them.
One of the big problems we face in living the Christian life is the use of our ability to speak. James provided the proper principle when he wrote, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (Jam. 1:19-20 NKJV). This passage is reflective of Proverbs 10:19: “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Pro. 10:19 NKJV).
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