Category Archives: Bulletin Articles

Words of wisdom from our weekly bulletin

IMPEDIMENTS

IMPEDIMENTS

 

My grandma and later my mother used to say to me and my brothers—”If you can’t help, at least don’t hinder.”  That was good advice then, and I suspect it is probably a universal precept for all ages for all times.  Unfortunately, most of us are very slow learners since it is so much easier to analyze and criticize than to prioritize and energize.

As Christians we need to realize that one of Satan’s favorite tactics is to throw impediments into our life and hope we’ll pass them on to those who are trying to be zealous for Christ.  Impediments are also called obstructions, hindrances and obstacles and can take many forms.

It seems as if Jesus’ ministry here on earth was continually being invaded by impediments from Satan and his dupes.  The Apostles even contributed at times.  Instead of recognizing that the children people were bringing to Jesus to have him touch them were precious, they rebuked their parents.  Jesus was INDIGNANT and told the Apostles not to hinder them, “…for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these…” (Mk 10:13-15)  They also tried to stop a man who was driving out demons in Jesus’ name, but Jesus declared, “…for whoever is not against us is for us” (Mk 9:39-40) Peter had to be rebuked when he tried to dissuade Christ from fulfilling his mission.  Jesus said to him, “Get behind me Satan!  You are a stumbling block to me…”(Mt 16:23)  Judas, who had been a major impediment in the matter of money, proved to be a huge impediment due to his betrayal—Then Satan entered Judas…(Lk 22:3)

When we are given great opportunities and teachable moments, we can sometimes thwart them by our objections and negative vibes.  No doubt this can be caused by a desire to defend the Lord and the gospel.  We can err through lack of knowledge or even just wanting to show our superior knowledge.  I have often felt myself slipping into that mind-set either by thought or words.  God forbid that we would frustrate the will of Jesus by our neglect, objections or actions.  Jesus might be INDIGNANT with us.

 

 

—-Jim Bailey

 

WHEELCHAIR

As I sat with the 3 Mayan brothers/preachers at an outdoor café in a plaza in Tizimin, Mexico, I did not expect my heart to be broken in just a few minutes.

As we talked and laughed while enjoying our coca-colas, a bus pulled up across the street. Then I saw it, a woman stepped off with what looked at first like a heavy package on her back. It wasn’t! It was a young man who had a severe disability and obviously had to be carried everywhere. I asked the preachers if they knew who they were. They said that the mother always comes to the bus stop on certain days and then carries her son to a corner where they beg. Then she carries him back to the stop for a long ride to a small Mayan village outside the city.

I was immediately deeply touched and despite myself began to cry. It was strangely a mixture of grief and pity and even some disbelief. I felt the Mayan churches would see such a profound need and try to help them. After composing myself I asked the preachers if Northwest and the brethren there could buy the family a wheelchair. They agreed to make sure the family got it and shortly thereafter the always kind and generous Christians at Northwest sent the funds.

The chair was purchased and the mother no longer had to carry her son everywhere.

Later when I analyzed my feelings it became clear that my tears and the preachers seeming unconcern were due to the idea that we must take care of our brethren first and foremost. We had read the verse that says, “…do good to all people, ESPECIALLY to those who belong to the family of believers.” ( Gal 6:10) And the one that reads “…do not forget to do good and share with others…” ( Heb 13:16) We had probably emphasized the brethren, to the extent of neglecting the ALL people. I also recognized my oblivious and selfsatisfied attitude and needed Christ to break my heart.

I have always wished I could have been there to see the faces of the mother and son and watch the hope and joy they were experiencing. The Mayan preacher told me how grateful and happy they were and we all experienced a great spiritual growth in Christ. Who would think that a wheelchair, albeit a primitive one, could do so much?

—-Jim Bailey

 

MISREPRESENTATION

When Job’s “friends” tried to comfort him with their many platitudes, they surely thought they were speaking the words God had given them. However, God told them, “the Lord spoke to Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right as my servant Job hath.” They were commanded to offer burnt offerings and have Job pray for them. ( Job 42:7-8) They had misrepresented God’s teaching but seemingly without the intention to twist, pervert or falsify the intended meaning.

A step beyond that is what sometimes happens in the secular world during the selling of a house or auto which is intentional misrepresentation. Libel is the attack on the good name or reputation of another in the printed or written word. It is anything that defames or maliciously damages someone by misrepresentation. Slander is nearly the same definition except it is done orally.

The unauthorized use of the language and thoughts of another by representing them as one’s own is called plagiarism. This has been seen lately in the news and has been done by college professors, campaign managers and celebrities. Often it may be caused by ignorance, lack of research, laziness and vanity. It still needs to be acknowledged and apologized
for.

Perhaps this tendency to take the easy route is one of the many reasons God told the New Testament Church, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing we will incur a stricter judgement.” ( Js 3:1) Don Campbell, a former preacher for this group of Christians and from time to time a contributor to our bulletin, is one of the most insightful and prolific authors in our brotherhood. He writes an article every day of the year. This should astonish anyone who thinks about that. It is hard to write one a week for most of us.

It is true that there are those who misrepresent and steal the words and thoughts of others by libel, slander and plagiarism with bad motives. However, when one writes on a well-known topic, there is the innocent possibility of using very similar language. I believe that one’s supposed original thoughts are probably the accumulation of all the information one has heard and read over a lifetime and which is personalized by life’s experiences. When we write or speak on a topic, we must be careful to avoid the exact same words and phrases without proper attribution. As Christians we must be sure what we say or write is not a misrepresentation of what God intended.

—Jim Bailey

LOST AND FOUND

Between lost and found there is a scary emotional roller coaster that can take one from frustration to paralysis to grief to joy in a very short time.  We tend to think that it is bad to lose money or an object but when that which is lost is a friend, relative, spouse, or a child, we realize immediately what is really important.

In the first recorded instance of lost and found, the order was actually reversed. Adam and Eve found themselves in a wonderful paradise which was quickly lost due to sin and disobedience.  Down through history variations of this theme were repeated in both secular and Biblical accounts. Some even found then lost then found again as in friendships.

We remember several Biblical characters who experienced finding and losing—Joseph, King Saul, Ruth, Esther, Paul, Peter, etc, etc.  Jesus taught us spiritual lessons about lost and found through parables of the sheep, the coin and especially the son (prodigal). ( Lk 15)  In that same chapter, he tells us, “…there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” ( v 10)

The preacher who conducted my uncle’s funeral could not remember his source of the following story, so I’ll attribute it to “unknown.”  It seems the parents of a four-year old took him to a playground where he ran and played to total exhaustion.  As he fought off sleep the more agitated he became and proclaimed loudly that he wasn’t tired and didn’t need a nap.  However, he did soon fall asleep and his parents took him home to his bed without awakening him.  When he awoke, he didn’t understand how he was at the playground one minute and in his bed the next.

This is a great lesson for immersed believers.  We sometimes think we have found a complete life here and dread losing it.  We struggle with death, but when we do die and awaken, we find that our Lord has lovingly carried us to eternal glory in his arms and that we have lost little and gained everything. As the hymn AMAZING GRACE says, “ I once was lost, but now am found.”

—Jim Bailey

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