Human beings, while individual creatures, have the ability to form relationships with each other. Some relationships are jump started, if you will, by familial connections. Most of us have a pretty good relationship with our parents and value that relationship highly. From the family flow other relationships with siblings and their extended families.
We know that Paul said that the gospel was the “power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). But before the gospel came many people viewed access to God as a limited thing. Indeed, part of the process God pursued from patriarchy through the Law of Moses to the gospel was to prepare mankind to understand the truth of Romans 1:16. The gospel’s power is in no way prescribed to any categorization of human beings.
Our Fall Gospel Meeting is just a few days away! This year’s fall meeting is going to be a bit different. We have three generations of gospel preachers all from the same family: Roy Lanier, Jr., Mark Hanstein and Will Hanstein. As is noted elsewhere in out bulletin the meeting begins on Sunday, September 27 with services at 9:00, 10:00 and 1:30 and continues Monday through Wednesday evenings with services at 7:00 each night.
A long time back I was in graduate school trying to study history. One of the courses I had to take in the study of what we used to call “Western Civilization” was on the Enlightenment. It was taught by a mature woman who had a PhD in the field from Bryn Mawr College. She was very sharp and a fine teacher and was a person of faith which is not always the case in such environments, as the Enlightenment was an intellectual movement that had in part to do with casting doubt on the idea of Scripture as being inspired and authoritative.
One of the little tricks life plays as we get older has to do with our ability to remember. The mind God made for us is a marvelous thing but sometimes it seems to go its own way. Things and people that we “know we know” simply slip away from us sometimes for a moment, sometimes longer. There are times that we forget important things and we do that sometimes willfully because it suits us at the moment.
I recently held a Gospel Meeting for the church in Trezevant, Tennessee. Trezevant is a small town four miles north of Atwood, Tennessee which was the place where Ginger and I lived when I was just beginning full time local work as a preacher. I had just finished a Bible program at Freed-Hardeman University (in those days a college) and was taking classes in graduate school. The elders at Atwood were gracious enough to hire me when I knew very little except that I wanted to preach and work for the Lord.
“I’m too old.” “I’ve been too bad.” “I’ve been away from the church too long.” These and statements like them are said by two kinds of people. The first category contains folks that are spiritually despondent. They feel like there is no hope for them because of the things they have done or have left undone in their lives. Folks like this do not understand or do not accept the love and grace of God.
The phrase “the day of the Lord” is found nineteen times in the Old Testament. An interesting passage that comes to mind is Joel 2 in which the expression is used to refer to God’s retribution on Judah for her sins (2:1-11) and with implications for the Christian age (2:28-32). I have in mind just now the New Testament occurrence of the “the day of the Lord” that we find in 1 Thessalonians 5:2: “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night.”
Over the years we have had a number of people come to visit with us at this congregation because of a personal relationship they have had with one of our members. This situation can result in an individual being exposed to the gospel in a way that is new to them. This, in turn, can result in the blessing of a person obeying the gospel.
The Thursday of our recent mission trip to Bartica in Guyana we took a little boat ride to a beautiful place called Marshall Falls. Bartica is located on a point where the Essequibo and Mazaruni Rivers come together. From Bartica we went up the Mazaruni and soon passed the place where the Cuyuni River flows together with the Mazaruni. Our guide informed us that the Cuyuni went to Venezuela and the Mazaruni went to Brazil. Eventually.
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