Category Archives: Bulletin Articles

Words of wisdom from our weekly bulletin

HAMMER

My grandpa Frank had a really dry wit and I hardly ever saw the punch line coming.  He once held up his hammer and said, “ I’ve had this same hammer for 50 years.  I only had to replace the head twice and the handle three times.  Our society has many expressions with the term hammer in them.  “Put the hammer down on”, “hammer out an accord”, “hammer someone with the facts” etc, etc.  It has been said that when one has the mentality of a hammer, everyone else looks like a nail.

A good hammer is:

A valuable tool for building or demolition.

A versatile tool for small jobs such as putting up pic- tures and a big job like building a house.

A simple tool with no moving parts to fuel or oil or that wear out.

A durable tool that takes a lickin’ and keeps on tick in’. Most carpenters have one that has lasted for their whole career.

An interactive tool that works well with other tools.

One easy tactic for removing a stubborn nail is to drive the claw under the  nail with another hammer head.

A facilitator which fastens two different materials to gether such as a shingle and a board.

A good Christian has many of these qualities and thankfully avoids some of the bad traits. He/she is a valuable tool in accomplishing God’s works here on earth. ( Eph 2: 10) ( Heb 6: 10)  God could easily use his creative powers to accomplish his will, but chose to defer to feeble mankind in many circumstances.

A good Christian is versatile by learning to talk and reason with people of various backgrounds. ( Acts 17: 22-23) ( 1 Pe 3: 15)

Simple, not a high maintenance person who constantly needs his/her ego stroked or his/her anger assuaged. ( Php 4:5) ( 2 Cor 10:1) ( Eph 4:26) ( Js 1: 19-20)

Durable A Christian does not need new “heads” or “handles” but does have to pick up a cross daily, ( Lk 9: 23) and endures all things to the end. ( Js 1:12) ( 2 Tim 2:12)

Interactive He/she learns, works, and loves with others on many levels. There are dozens of “one another” verses in the letters to the early churches that still apply to us. ( 2 Jo 1:5)  ( Col 3:13) ( Heb 10: 25)

Facilitator A good Christian learns to bring brethren with similar or even dissimilar personalities into closer harmony and love. ( Php 4: 2-3) ( 2 Cor 13: 11)

We all hope to be a hammer that God would be happy to have in his eternal home.

Jim Bailey

 

SUBSTANTIAL

When I was a very young child I would wait with great expectation for the arrival of the “Wichita Boosters” to our little Western Kansas town.  The small trinkets they threw from their cars to us kids seemed like real treasures to us although they were really just marketing tools stamped with their place of business.  They were not totally useless, but coupons for places over 200 miles away were not of much value to poor families like ours.

Sometimes it seems as if many religious folks are the modern day equivalent of those Boosters.  They tend to be carriers of clichés and purveyors of platitudes.  They pull  bumper stickers proclaiming “Jesus Saves” from their spiritual backpack, give them away and hope the recipient will somehow find salvation.  They tell us that we are saved by faith alone ignoring the fact that phrase is only used once in the New Testament and James says, NOT by faith alone. ( Jas 2:24) All the great heroes of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11 put their faith into actions. To hear someone quote Ephesians 2: 8-9 is good, but to leave people believing that is the whole gospel is not much more substantial than the trinkets we got from the Boosters.

The Lord wants us to study to show ourselves approved unto God. ( 2 Tim 2: 15) He also wants us to grow from milk to meat in the deep things of God. ( I Cor #: 1-2) ( Heb 5: 12-14)  To simply hear GRACE, SALVATION, FAITH, WORKS, and many other Biblical words without study and understanding is almost like expecting a new student to use a dictionary in a foreign language to patch together sentences of depth and meaning.

If we are really saved by faith only, we’d better know what faith is.  It can’t be simply mental or intellectual agreement because the demons ( Jas 2:19) do that. Others believe but refuse to act. ( Jn 12:42-43) It is more like that old hymn we sing, TRUST and OBEY.  God has shown us through his word that it is one of several concepts leading to salvation.  FAITH=(LK 7: 50) REPENTENCE= ( ACTS 2:38) ( LK 13:3) BELIEF=( MK 16:16)

GOSPEL=( 1 COR 15:2) BAPTISM=(1 PE 3:21) GRACE= ( EPH 2:8) These and several others show us more fully God’s substantial distribution of good things to his children.

Jim Bailey

DESPISED AND REJECTED

Two of the most enduring and beloved children’s stories are THE UGLY DUCKLING, and RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER. These two and many other books, films and plays have a similar theme that resonates with people of all ages— the despised and rejected underdog who somehow overcomes the mocking and becomes a respected, needed and even vital citizen. Perhaps you have been there and done that? I have. It is hard to overcome such a beginning isn’t it?

According to the Prophet Isaiah, Jesus didn’t live his life out as a handsome physical man like David or Absalom. ( 2 Sam 14: 25-26) Isaiah said of Jesus, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. ( Isa 53:2) “He was despised and rejected by men…” ( v 3) He had a very humble birth and evidently lived a very ordinary albeit blue collar life until his earthly ministry. ( Lk 2:39-40) His first sign of being extraordinary was the acclaim of Simeon and Anna as a baby in the temple. However, this was because of his spiritual impact, not his physical appearance. ( Lk 2: 25-38) At 12 years of age he astonished the teachers of the Law by his knowledge, not his physical presence.

As Jesus grew into adulthood he was scorned and mocked as “the carpenter’s son” because of his teachings. In spite of his miracles and good deeds he was resented and killed even though completely innocent. However, Jesus arose from the grave to be what he always was—God the Son, creator, savior, friend and Christ. At his name every knee will bow. ( Rom 14:1) ( Php 2:10) From a lamb to a lion ( Rev 5:5) what a transformation! On Judgment Day he will be revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels and will pay back those who do not know and obey his gospel. (2 Thes 1:7-9)

Even if you never became a swan or the leader of Santa’s sleigh like you had hoped, take comfort in these scriptures! “ God is just. He will pay back trouble to those who trouble ( despise and reject) you and give relief to you…” ( 2 Thes 1: 6-7) “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” ( Heb 6:10) It is hard to ignore and overcome mankind’s injustice, but God’s justice will be worth the wait.

Jim Bailey