Category Archives: Bulletin Articles

Words of wisdom from our weekly bulletin

“Deleted”

Most people who have had a computer for a long time have experienced that feeling of panic after mistakenly hitting the delete button, either by accident or by lack of attention.  Sometimes the user can retrieve the lost information, but at other times it escapes into that mysterious cyberspace.  Those who work with computers probably know how to rescue the lost data from the hard drive.  However, for the rest of us non-technocrats, it is not that easy nor quick.

Sadly, most people have little desire to hit the delete button on sin.  Somehow they ignore or deny its terrible fruits. (Rom 1: 28-32) They embrace sin and applaud others who practice it. However, some people do want to delete the mistakes and sins of their lives.  They hope by hard effort and desire they can erase bad habits and moral failings.  Some attempt meditation, others penitence and generosity to expunge the sin to some vague spiritual graveyard.  Sin is powerful and not that easy to banish.  It will linger and surface again from time to time. (Rom 7: 14-20) (Gen 4:7) (1 Pe 5:8)

The scriptures certainly teach that God will ultimately punish unrepented sins “…leave room for God’s wrath…” “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.” (Rom 12:19) (Mt 25: 41 -46) On Judgement Day Jesus will separate people one from another when He comes in His glory. (Mt 25: 31)  Those who ignored the suffering of others and those who hated God will “…go away to eternal punishment.”

For those who are truly sorry and want to delete their sins (Acts 2:36-37) God will cover (Rom 4:7) blot out (Ps 51: 1) and wash away and cleanse them of their sins when they fully obey Him. (Acts 2:38) (Acts 5:32) He will do this because of the sacrificial blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ro 3:23-26) (Eph 5:2) (Heb 9: 26)

Where does the sin go?  Is there still a heavenly hard drive where God catalogs and stores those sins committed just in case?  Thanks be to God, He not only deletes them, He totally forgets them. (Jer: 31:34) (Heb 8:12)                                                                          –Jim Bailey

“Backup”

Nowadays when one hears the word backup, one probably thinks of the extra manpower and weapons needed to quell a potentially dangerous civil disturbance.  However, in today’s lesson, let’s use it in a musical sense.  The lead singer of a vocal group is normally expected to carry the melody of a song with the backup singers providing the harmony.  They might echo the lead singer’s words or augment and reinforce the theme.

Before any concert or recording session, the group must prepare, practice, persist and polish their performance.  If one or more of the backup singers is off-key or off-pitch, the whole song has an inharmonious dissonance which detracts from a clean and pleasant product.  Sometimes a member of a backup group decides to leave the group and become a soloist for some different performers.  The backup singers should never overshadow the soloist.

In the spiritual arena our lead singer is, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Everyone else, no matter their abilities or status, will always serve as backup for His message and gospel.  The Holy Spirit commands Christians to, “…be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1Cor 1:10) In Jesus’ prayer just before His crucifixion He urged all His followers to be one, and be brought to complete unity. (Jo 17:20-23)

Christian backup performers must also prepare, practice, persist, and polish their role in order not to produce sour and selfish products in our interaction with brethren and outsiders. Unfortunately, what often happens is the ones who should be strong backup decide to abandon the group and go solo.  Sometimes they produce such dissonance with their actions and speech that the beautiful gospel melody gets sublimated by inharmonious discord. (Gal 5:15)

Our task as backups to Christ is to echo His teaching and harmonize and adapt it to everyday life.  We have to love and serve God and pass that on to our neighbors. (Lk 10:27) (Gal 5:14) It should be nearly impossible to produce sour, off-key life styles if we act out as well as sing about agape love. 

                                                                        –Jim Bailey

“Bees”*

Since the Holy Spirit inspired King Solomon to write a proverb using an ant as an example to the lazy, might He also use the bee for an example to the apathetic and lukewarm? (Pr 6:6) (Rev 3:16) What possible lessons could an insect teach to the sophisticated 21st Century humans?  Much in many ways, with lessons being particularly apropos to Christians.

Bees live in colonies of several thousands with each bee knowing its proper function.  There are 4 type of bees—the queen, whose purpose is to lay eggs, the larvae, which are becoming young bees, the drones, which mate with the queen, and the workers, which are infertile females.  The workers are the real “busy bees” secreting a wax to build the hive, cleaning, maintaining and guarding it and raising the young brood.

In much the same way the Holy Spirit endows each Christian with gifts to be use for the benefit of others. (Rom 12:5-8) (1 Cor 12:4)  They are also to build up the church and care for the new converts, teaching and supporting them. (2 Th 2:15) (2 Tim 3:16)

Another important job of the workers is to forage for pollen to feed the rest of the colony.  They will also defend the hive by stinging intruders.  They usually die soon after injecting a human or mammal with their venom.   Their life is normally only 4 weeks long.  By doing their job they inadvertently benefit plants and humans through agricultural pollination. 

Christ expects His spiritual colony (church) to help, serve and edify one another. (Rom 5:2) (1 Cor 14:12) (1 Th 5:11) Christian workers are also meant to be a blessing to all mankind by obeying civil governments and helping one’s neighbors. (Rom 13:1-7) (1 Pe 2:12) (Gal 5:14)  Christians are told to, “contend (defend) for the faith…” (Jude 3) They do this not with force, but by “…holding firmly to the trustworthy message…encouraging others by sound doctrine and refuting those who oppose it.” (Titus 1:9)

Bees have several means of communication—pheromones (chemicals), dances and buzzing.  By these they can direct other bees to the best food source or sound an alarm.  Likewise, Christians can preach and teach, (2 Tim 4:2) pray, (Eph 6:18) give, (2 Cor 9:7) (Mat 6:4) (2 Cor 8:7) help, (Gal 6:2) and love, (Gal 5:13-14) as their way of communication.

                                            –Jim Bailey    * topic suggested by Nicholas Bailey

“Shaping”

Does it sometimes seem as if almost everything around us is being shaped, growing and changing?   It is, and has been since the Godhead shaped the universe. (Gen 1:1) God taught Jeremiah how He could reshape a nation just as the potter does with the clay. (Jer 18:1-6)  In the physical world around us we see things, people and places being shaped daily.  Houses are gutted and upgraded, cars are redesigned yearly, tunnels are blasted through mountains, and people’s bodies are sculptured through diet, exercise and surgery.  It is often a process that people don’t necessarily recognize as it happens all around them.

In the spiritual world God the Father, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is shaping people.  He did it with Jonah (Jon 1:1-3) and Saul (Acts 26:14) even as they both resisted His wishes.  One ran away and had to be taught obedience from inside a great fish. (Jon 1:17)  The other kicked against the goads until blinded by a blazing light from heaven. (Acts 26:9-18)

Christians are also being shaped into the form of their Savior.  They stretch their hands out in servanthood on their daily symbolic cross. (Lk 9:23)  They are being transformed by the renewing of their minds (Rom 12:2) and transformed into Christ’s likeness. (2 Cor 3:18)  What does this look like?  They are “…growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power…” (Col 1:10-11)  Their “…faith is growing more and more…” (2 Th 1:3)  The “…whole body (church) …grows as God causes it to grow. (Col 2:19)

The Holy Spirit infuses their inner being with power (Eph 3:16) and they undergo shaping day by day into the new self (Rom 6:3-6) by obeying the teachings of the Holy Spirit in the inspired scriptures.  They progress from milk to meat (1 Cor 3:1-2) (Heb 5:12-14) and, “…may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:19) They can “…become mature , attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  (Eph 4:13) But they will only be fully shaped when their natural body is changed to their new spiritual body. (1 Cor 15:42-44 & 52)  They will then be in shape to be, “…caught up …in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.”  (1 Th 4:17)

                                                                            –Jim Bailey 

“Old News”

The above title sounds like an oxymoron in the same vein as Jumbo Shrimp.  However, it is an expression people use every day to mean that something is not the latest and has been replaced by more current information.  Our society is much like the Athenians of the Apostle Paul’s day who, “…spent their time doing nothing but talking and listening to the latest ideas.”  (Acts 17:21)  Many of them were the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers who were the intellectual giants of Athens.

They labeled Paul a babbler because he was “…preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.” (v18) Paul very wisely called them, “very religious” (v 22) and mentioned the altar to an unknown god that they worshipped.  He then began to teach them the new old news (beyond oxymoron?) about the Creator God, The Lord of heaven and earth who made the world and everything in it. (v 24)

Strictly speaking, this was beyond old because God loved Jesus Christ before the creation of the world and of time. (Jo 17:24) As Paul expounded to the Romans, the Athenians should have known the true God because His eternal power could be clearly seen and understood by what He created. (Rom 1:20) But like those mentioned in Romans, “…they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him…” (v 21) “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.” (v 22) “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie…” (v 25)

Most of those ancient people’s beliefs and actions are still prevalent in our world today.  In spite of all the electronic gadgets and social media, far too many are, “…always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.” (2 Tim 3:7) Nevertheless, our task is to continue planting the new old news like Paul did. (1 Cor 3:6)  Since Paul was called a babbler, we can expect the same label or worse.  Old or new, this is the Good News, the gospel.

                                                                         –Jim Bailey