Just one year ago I shared a story about an individual buried in a cemetery just around the corner from my house. This individual was a member of the colonial army and died in 1816. For a number of years, I have made it a point to place a flag on his grave for Memorial Day. I simply want to remind ourselves to take nothing for granted. We have a lot to be thankful for because of the efforts and sacrifices he made. No one sees it except the farm family who lives there, no one comes to visit, and no one remembers his sacrifice.
We as a congregation have a lot to be thankful for. Kids are out of school for the summer, and vacations are being planned. Some are dealing with major hospital stays, while others are struggling at home or confined to a nursing home. Please let them know we are here to help.
As Christians, we make sacrifices every day, we’ll want to remember what we are doing and why we do them. As we head into the summer months remember to be stocking up at home with needed items for “Essentials” and glue sticks for elementary students. We’ll soon be urged to support camp by bringing in needed items, so be listening for that. As we jump headlong into summer, please don’t forget the most significant activity of all, serving God.
Don’t forget to invite someone to services this week, the Sunday morning stream is a great way to share the gospel.
Until next time…REMEMBER… KEEP PRAYING, KEEP WORKING, AND KEEP LOOKING UPWARD. It will all be worth it one day.
Paoli Church of Christ | 219 Stucker Street, Paoli, IN, United States
There is Never a Bad Time to Spread God’s Message
25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”
Can you think of anything better to do at midnight while chained and in prison than to sing songs to God? The other prisoners were enjoying the free concert. While they sang, God shakes the earth and frees the prisoners and opened all the doors. Escape would be easy for them.
Paul and Silas used the opportunity to teach, not just to the other prisoners, but also to the jailor. If the prisoners would have escaped, it would have been death for the jailor. Paul told him not to worry, they were all still there. He is moved so much, that he wants to know more about Jesus.
The jailor cleans their stripes and takes them to his house where they preach to him and his family. The jailor’s family is baptized along with him. There is never a bad time to share the Word of God.
The world we live in has millions of people who do not understand how important Jesus is for the next life. Their focus is on their physical life. We need to be the ones ready to help lead them to Christ. Let the Word of God shake up their life like God shook up the prison. Any time is the right time to spread that seed.
Paoli Church of Christ
I Will Never Leave You
“Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Those are the words of Peter recorded for us in Luke 22:33. Peter meant what he said. He was convinced and convicted in his relationship with Jesus. Peter thought that nothing would shake him from being at the side of Christ.
Jesus will tell him otherwise. He tells Peter that there will come a time when he will deny even knowing Jesus. Jesus will tell Peter that this time will come sooner rather than later. Peter did exactly what Jesus said he would do; before the rooster crowed, Peter denied Jesus, not once, not twice, but three times. Peter proclaimed to those accusing him of being a follower of Jesus, “I do not know Him.”
I cannot imagine the feelings Peter had when he heard that rooster and remembered the words of Jesus. Scripture tells us that he went out and wept bitterly. Peter had done something he never thought he would do - he denied knowing Jesus, and sorrow and disappointment overtook him.
The situation was intense, and Peter did not quite understand the fight that Jesus was fighting. Peter had proven that he was ready to fight in a physical way; he drew his sword and struck first, cutting off the ear of the High Priest’s servant, Malchus (John 18:10). Peter was ready; he would have died for Jesus right there in the garden. However, Jesus tells him to put his sword away. Jesus tells Peter and all who were there that He could call down legions of angels to stop this arrest from happening, but as Jesus had said before, this is THE hour. It is to this point that God has brought Him.
Peter did not understand the fight. He did not understand the battle that Jesus was fighting with Satan. Because Peter did not understand the struggle, he did not understand how the fight was to be fought. The fight that Jesus was engaged in was a fight that ONLY He could fight. Peter and the rest of the disciples could not see the fight because this was a spiritual fight. In the confusion of the chaos, in the heat of the moment, the disciples fled. Jesus was left alone, and alone HE will fight this spiritual fight for all of us.
Wanting to see how this would play out, Peter follows Jesus at a distance. As Jesus enters the courtyard of the High Priest, a young girl who kept the courtyard door will recognize him. She will point him out as one of the followers of Jesus, and Peter will make his first denial of Christ. Peter stood beside a fire, warming himself, and two more times, Peter was pointed out as a follower of Jesus. Peter denies knowing Jesus both times, and at the third denial of Jesus, Peter hears the rooster crow, and how his heart must have sunk.
With everything that will go on from here forward, Peter will not get the chance to talk to Jesus in a close personal way before His death. Peter will talk to Jesus again, however, and He will be restored to His place in the family of God, forgiven of his weakness, but it will not be until he sees Jesus after the resurrection.
Because of fear and a lack of understanding, Peter did something he thought he never would. He denied knowing his Lord. While we see here that Jesus is merciful to Peter, we realize that Jesus will also forgive our sins as we turn to Him, which is a great lesson. However, we must also understand that we know the whole story. We have the account of what Jesus did for us and how the Plan of Salvation was brought to us through the sacrifice of Jesus. We see the things that eluded Peter in the garden.
Peter will eventually get the whole story and preach the story of Jesus Christ on the Day of Pentecost. Peter will never deny Christ again. He will spend his life teaching and preaching about Jesus. When the time comes for him to meet his death because of the message he preached, he will not deny Christ - he will not back away.
What changed for Peter? Now, with everything that Jesus did and the teaching of Jesus lodged in his heart, Peter understood what this was all about. It was not about a battle for life here, as he thought in the garden; it was a battle for spiritual life that goes beyond this life. Peter learned what Jesus had done, and with that understanding, he was strong and courageous in the throes of the fight against evil.
Now we can learn what Peter learned, too. We know what Jesus did and why He took that action. We know that Jesus had to fight this battle with evil, and we know that Jesus WON! Because Jesus had this victory, we must be strong and courageous. We must be strong as we continue to fight the spiritual fight here in this life.
We are in a battle, the same one that Peter was in as he taught about Jesus. Sadly, those in the world will not understand this fight because they have lost it. It is our job to teach them that they have lost this battle and tell them they can turn things around and have victory with Jesus.
Peter went from this person who lacked understanding and ran away in fear and became the person who could write this: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Let’s strive to be the person that Peter became. Let’s take his teaching and make this part of our lives - unafraid, undaunted, courageous, and strong in Christ.
Let the Son Shine In
Gary's Teen Talk