Please remember the ongoing relief work for Churches of Christ in the Philippines on the island of Luzan

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relief-in-n-philippines

With all the excitement of the elections going on here in the USA many have forgotten about the devastation Typhoon Haima caused this past October on the island of Luzan. Members of churches of Christ were affected in this northern part of the nation known as “Typhoon Alley!”

Demar Elam ( Director of Mission Studies – Amridge University , Chancellor of ACU)  and Junas Sagurit (President of Asian Christian University) have made an appeal for funds to help Christians affected by the recent typhoon.  Since the Asian Christian University campus was not damaged on the Western side of the island the campus is a great center for distributing the needed aid.

Brother Junas Sagurit made this statement on a Facebook post a few days ago. –

Relief and assessment mission for the victims of Super Typhoon Lawin. We were able to provide food packs and over-the-counter medicines to the brethren in Ilagan, and Santiago, Isabela, Tabuk City, Kalinga, and Nueva Vizcaya. Lord-willing we will come back with more help.”

Many have been helped thanks to the generosity of brethren, but ongoing relief work is still needed.

Please make checks payable to:
Adairsville Church of Christ and on lower left of check write: typhoon relief.
Send checks to:
 Mike Smith
4746 Joe Frank Harris Pkwy
Adairsville, GA 30103
Contact Information- (Demar Elam)

Phone: 256-230-0074
US e-mail: demar.dixie@charter.net

The elders of the Adairsville congregation oversee ACU.
Photo below of a Christian home destroyed by Typhoon Haima.
luzan-damage-2
(UC News)-  Jamie Suiter
UndenominationalChristianity@disciples.com

He was moved!

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moved with compassion

ἐσπλαγχνίσθη- esplanchnisthē is a key word for every disciple of Christ. This word describes the deep to the core of his being of not only pity, but compassion the savior had toward the problems of man.
When He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion (ἐσπλαγχνίσθη) for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36
Jesus did not put his hand up and say to troubled people “I don’t want to hear you, just get over it!” Jesus was able to put his self in their and our place and be a solution to the problem. Hold out a helpful hand to someone who needs the healing touch of Jesus .

Good food for thought. JS

Let God restore your wasted years

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Wasted years 2

The Israelites of Joel’s day were somewhat weary over the chastening of the Lord and it seems he was trying to console them by informing them of blessings and restoration to come because of their repentance. “ I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.Joel 2:25

Have you ever felt like this? Years of sin and life situations swarming in your life just eating away and taking your joy and peace? Many of us have been in the same boat. The “wrapping” may be different, but the emotions and feelings inside “the box” are all the same.

I spent several years in depression and have thought of all those wasted years taken from me. Those years have been restored countless times. My father was an alcoholic, and was even hospitalized for getting into a barroom fight once with a broken jaw. He later became a Christian, got out of the crowd he was hanging with and had a great life after.

The parable of the lost son shows the Father not only welcoming home His wasteful child with open arms, but bestowing him with precious gifts. Luke 15:11-32  God not only promises us as faithful children of God a home in heaven one day , but wants us to have a fulfilling life here and now. Situations may not change, but God can move in ways we can’t even imagine. Submit to his will today and he will restore your wasted years! 1 Peter 5:6And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand. Jesus said he came in part so we could have an abundant life here and now. …. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.John 10:10

Today is God’s gift or “present” to you, so make the best of it! Let God redeem the time you feel that has been lost! “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.Ephesians 5:16

Good food for thought. God bless,  Jamie Suiter

 

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does the bible 3

Some who look for New Testament approval of using instrumental music in worship go to  the book of Revelation which speak of harps in heaven and reason “they are in heaven, so why not in the church?” I admire those who would go to the scriptures and search for the truth and answers to their biblical questions, but is this rightly dividing the word of God?  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 

As you begin to read the book of Revelation it is obviously different from all the other New Testament books and the style is similar in symbolism to the Old Testament book of Daniel and passages in other books like Ezekiel and Isaiah.   In some verses in Revelation the symbolism is explained as in Revelation 1:20 “As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lamp stands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp stands are the seven churches.”  In other passages a good overall knowledge of the bible and setting of the historical events taking place the time the book was revealed to John is needed.

One of the most used passages is Revelation 5:8 “And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”  Many points could be made, one is the lamb is Jesus (John 1:29) and not a literal lamb.  The bowls of incense are a beautiful picture of how the Father sees and welcomes the prayers of the faithful. The harps seem to go back to Ephesians 5:19 and the “plucking of the heart” to the Lord showing the Old Testament practice of using instrumental music spiritual meaning. The in chapter 14 and verse two make the meaning clear ” And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps,”  Notice the harps are the voice of the saints and not actual literal harps.

To those who want to bring this one thing, a harp into worship, why not incense and creatures, or lamp stands and candles? To reverse this logic, Jesus said that the marriage relationship would not be in heaven (Matthew 22:30), so we can’t marry here on earth?

Heaven will have no preaching to the lost and calling men and women to obey the gospel, baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38) or confession of sins to the father and one another (1 John 1:9, James 5:16) but those will all be needed till Jesus returns!  Good food for thought.

 May God bless us as we study his Holy and Divine Word.   Jamie Suiter

The Parable of the Wasteful Son

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The story of the prodigal/wasteful son is a loved story by many.  To those of us who have drunk from the wells of mercy it hits home and is an up close and personal story. This is our story as well. The truth is we probably have all been the characters in this sacred narrative Jesus gave us at one time or another. Which of these characters should we strive to be like?

First you have the give me, give me all about me son who was apparently a consumer and not a giver. Next you have the compassionate father who welcomes the wayward son home with open arms of celebration.   Then you have the complaining son who points out all the faults of his brother and does not share in the joy the father has upon his younger brother’s return.   The father also plays the role of a counselor in that he tries to reason with the complaining brother and bring them all together in unity and harmony once again as a family.      

The consumer, the complainer and the compassionate, counseling, celebrating Father.  What character are you most like right now?   Good food for thought.  God bless,  Jamie Suiter 

Bible reading- Luke 15:11-32

 

 

Remembering Japan

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Remembering Japan

Bruce’s Beat   6-18-2015

American memories of Japan and the Japanese people by those of my grandparent’s age might not be favorable.  After all, they would remember the Pearl Harbor attack and the bloody struggle of World War II in the Pacific.  But for readers of the Christian Leader and many Christians in the Ohio Valley prior to the war, mention of Japan would have evoked fond recall of pioneering efforts to fulfill the great commission of Jesus – “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations” – Matthew 28:19.  Japan was the scene of the first foreign mission efforts by churches of Christ and remembering the successes and struggles of that early mission work is helpful for keeping a focus on missions.

Remembering Japan 1

The Missionary Society controversy had been part of the reason for the division between churches of Christ and the Disciples.  The determination to have missions carried out by congregations, rather than missions overseen by a bureaucratic auxiliary led J. M. McCaleb to be part of a five person mission team that went to Japan in 1892.  Japan had been the focus of evangelism by many Christian based groups, since the opening of the country to Western influence in the mid-19th century.  “John Moody McCaleb may rightly be described as the first cross-cultural American missionary to be sent overseas by Churches of Christ.  In a very real sense, he is the father of foreign missions among Churches of Christ.” (Henderson, 204).  McCaleb explained why he had gone to Japan:  ” . . the same authority that called me to be saved sent me to be a savior.  Again, I did not feel that I must go and join something apart from the church, for by virtue of being in the church, I was already in God’s missionary society.  Every individual Christian also, because he is a Christian, is a missionary.  Every Christian is both called and sent, and he who declines to let God send him is as guilty as he who rejects the call of repentance.  I went to Japan because I was sent.” (McCaleb, Commission, 192).  At great personal cost and life-long sacrifice, McCaleb remained in Japan for nearly 50 years.

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J.M. McCaleb

Another missionary to Japan in the 1890’s was William J. Bishop.  Bishop worked tirelessly but he contracted an illness that became so severe, that he had to make an emergency return to the States in 1913.  His wife and children had remained in Japan, booking passage on a later arriving passenger ship.  But Bishop died in 1913, and his wife did not learn of it until she was met at the port by her parents.  Sister Bishop went back to Japan determined to carry on what her husband had started.

Remembering Japan 3

 

Japanese native Otoshigi Fujimori was well known to Christians in the Ohio Valley.  Fujimori had been an immigrant to the United States and was living in Detroit.  Here he was befriended by German immigrant, F. A. Wagner.  Wagner had been converted to New Testament Christianity and was a member of the old Plum Street congregation.  Wagner converted Fujimori, whom he called his “son in the gospel.”  The native Japanese determined to return to his own county to preach the gospel to his people.  Accompanied by Wagner, Fujimori returned to Japan and began evangelizing in the area of his birthplace.  Fujimori reported on his work in the Christian Leader and in the 1920’s came to the Ohio Valley to report on his work and raise support.

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Fujimori and Wagner

 

Sarah Andrews’ mission work has been noted many times in many places, including the profiles page of this website.  One of the more complete accounts of her life is in a biography entitled Virtuous Servant by Fiona Soltes.  Andrews’ reports were also frequently carried in the Leader.  The young girl who dreamed of working in the Japanese mission field realized her dreams and sailed to Japan in 1916.  Though single and suffering from several physical ailments, she determined to stay in the field.  She did so, even through the desperate years of World War II.  Sick and emaciated at the end of the war, after her recovery she returned to Japan to continue her work in teaching Bible stories and English to Japanese children.  She was buried in Japan in 1962.  Other single women who went to Japan were Clara Kennedy, Lillie Cypert, and Hettie Lee Ewing.  Ewing’s biography has been preserved in a work entitled She Hath Done What She Could.

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Sarah Andrews

Other missionaries went to Japan in the first half of the 20th century.  Among these were C. G. Vincents, O. D. Bixlers, Herman and Harry Fox with their wives, and E. A. Rhodes..

Christians today need to give thanks for the pioneering efforts of these early missionaries to Japan.  They set an example of faithfulness to the great commission and an example of perseverance in the face of multiplied trials.  They accomplished much with little to no training and meager resources.   How were they able to accomplish so much with so little?  Their faith was great.  McCaleb one time confessed:  “I believed then in the special guidance of God for all who put their trust in Him, and I believe it now; and twenty-five years’ experience has only deepened my convictions.  God doesn’t make machines of us, but leaves us free to struggle on in the upward path toward Himself, allowing us to make the necessary mistakes due to perversities of human nature and the imperfections of human judgement; but just as it was with Abraham, Jacob, and Moses so also now he overrules even our mistakes, not only to accomplish Hs will, but to bless us and lead us on to the ultimage goal of eternal blessedness.” (McCaleb, Twenty-Five Years, 2).  May we have such a faith as these pioneers.

Works Cited

 

Henderson, Alan.  “A Historical Review of Missions and Missionary Training in the Churches of Christ”Restoration Quarterly vol. 35 no. 4 (1993): 203-217.

McCaleb, J. M. “The Commission After Twenty Centuries” in Abilene Christian College Lectures.  Cincinnati: F. L. Rowe Publisher, 1920-21.

___________. “Twenty-Five Years a Missionary” Christian Leader 31 (Apr. 10, 1917):2.

Soltes, Fiona.  Virtuous Servant – Sarah Sheppard Andrews, Christian Missionary to Japan.  Franklin, TN: Providence House Publishers, 2009.

Shared with permission from Ohio Valley Restoration Research

http://ohiovalleyrestorationresearch.com/blog/52-remembering-japan

Christianity For Beginners

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christianity-for-beginners

Mike Mazzalongo has been a Bible teacher and preacher since 1979. He has served as Dean of Students at Oklahoma Christian University. Mike’s first book, “Gay Rights or Wrongs” was published in 1995 by College Press, and he has written over 20 other books since that time. He presently serves as the Education and Media Minister for the Choctaw Church of Christ located in the Oklahoma City area.

https://bibletalk.tv/christianity-for-beginners