Category Archives: Bulletin Articles

Words of wisdom from our weekly bulletin

“Qualified”

Employers normally have certain standards in the hiring of new employees.  They are interested in the former work history of the job seeker.  Education, experience and knowledge are usually at the top of the list.  Also important are dependability, appearance, honesty and congeniality. Several other traits will no doubt be considered in determining if the candidate is qualified for the job.  Experience, knowledge and education are often hazy areas because of the variance in expectation and preparation from place to place.  Repetition could be mistaken as experience.  Practice makes perfect only if the practice is not flawed.  Many others of the qualifications might be equally difficult to evaluate.  If the candidate is hired and performs well, perks, bonuses and a good retirement could follow.

God is looking for people to qualify for His kingdom also.  However, no experience is required and no evaluation of character traits is admin-istered (2 Pe 3:9) (Mt 11:28) (Rom 5:10).  We sign this contract of grace through faith, which requires obedience (Eph 2:8-9) (Acts 2: 38).  We are then Christ’s servants to do good works (Eph 2:10).  God’s and Christ’s Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32) (Eph 3:16) gives us the strength to grow on the job (2 Pe 3:18), give comfort (2Cor 1:3-4), forgive (Col 3:13), and many other Christ-like behaviors (Php 4:8-9) (Gal 5:22-23).

We are given many impressive titles as we work:  Priest (1 Pe 2:5), Ambassador (2 Cor 5:20), Heir (Rom 8:17), and Children of God (Rom 8:15-16).  Perhaps the most desired title might be “friend” of Jesus (Jo 15:14).  We have many perks here on earth, love and peace (2 Cor 13:11), direct access to the “Boss” (Mk 11:24) (Php 4:6), and an unlimited spiritual expense account (Mt 7:7-8).  Obviously, the retirement plan is unequaled, eternal life (Rev 22:3-5), freedom from pain and death (Rev 21: 3-4), and best of all, fellowship with Jesus in His Father’s house (Jo 14:1-4).  All of this because we are considered (declared) qualified (righteous) because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Rom 5:19) (Rom 3:22) (1 Pe 3:18).

-Jim Bailey

“Insignificant”

Those tiny dust specks we see when the sun shines through a window certainly seem insignificant and without distinction. Usually we use a dust cloth or a vacuum cleaner to get rid of them. We consider them too small to be important and without any influence or meaning.

Imagine how much tinier earth would look from the far parts of the universe, let along the humans who inhabit it. How insignificant we might look from the perspective of the Creators of the universe
(Gen 1:26-27) (Col 1:16-17). Ironically, humans are made from the dust of the earth, (Ecc 3:20) (Ps 103:14) (Gen 2:7) yet we are not considered insignificant by our God. Far from it. In fact, we were created in God’s image (1:27) and endowed with an eternal soul (2:7) Each individual is different with special gifts ( Mt 10:30).

How ridiculous it would be if dust particles could reason for them to rebel against humans or deny their existence. Yet this is exactly what many humans do to God (Rom 1:19-21) (Ps 14:1). The whole Bible relates the extent of God’s grace and mercy towards a disobedient and rebellious people (Ex 34:6-7) (Heb 8:12) (1 Jo 1:9) (Rom 2:4)
(Rom 5:8-10) (1 Pe 3:9).

There will come a time when rebellious sinners will so totally divorce themselves from God’s love that He will have to give them over to their sinful desires (Rom 1:24, 26,28) (Heb 10:26-31). Satan will gleefully use his evil “vacuum cleaner” to suck up the human dust and get rid of it (1 Pe 5:8) ( Lk 22:3) (2 Cor 11:14) (Mt 16:23).

Why God loves His people so much that it even starts before birth,
(Jer 1:5) (Ps 139:13-16) might be because they have joined themselves to Christ and He sees us as part of His son (Rom 6:3-6) (Gal 3: 26-28) (Rom 8:15-17). Rather than being insignificant, we are precious in God’s sight (Ps 116:15) (1 Pe 2:4-5). He will reward the faithful with a new spiritual and imperishable body (1 Cor 15:42-54) and with a new name (Rev 2:17).

-Jim Bailey

“Hero”

Otto Schnellbacher and I were both born and raised in the small Western Kansas town of Sublette.  Otto was several years older than I, but his athletic accomplishments were known by everyone there.  He took his high school basketball team to its first ever state championship; He was an all-star in both basketball and football at Kansas University; He was all-pro in professional basketball and set records in the National Football League for the New York Giants.  He was called “The Double Threat From Sublette” by the press.  He left K. U. for 3 years to serve in World War II, then picked up right where he left off.  He was big, strong, fast, smart and extremely competitive.  He met all the expectations one wants in a hero.

  I finally got to meet him at a banquet at which he was inducted into the Wall of Honor at the local high school.  He had retired and gone on to have an equally distinguished career in business in Topeka, Kansas.  He was confident and polite but still humble and gracious.  He was and remains the most famous person to have been born in our town.  A real hero.

When the Godhead was planning to send God the Son to the earth to become a man, they could have arranged for Him to be as huge as Goliath and as strong as Samson.  They could have given him the good looks of David and the brain of Gamaliel (Act 5:34).  But instead, Jesus was born and lived as a normal human with none of those qualities (Isa 53:2).  He became the most famous person who has ever lived and our hero for very different reasons.

Jesus was strong in compassion (Mt 9:36) (Mk 1:41), love (Jo 13:1) (Jo 15:9-10), and sacrifice (Jo 15:12-13).  In the 4 gospels we learn of His wisdom, patience, service, loyalty, grace and a host of other admirable gifts.  In fact, every positive trait one could expect in a spiritual hero.  He was honored by His Apostles and disciples, but rejected and despised (Isa 53:3) and crucified by the leaders of His country.  One of the reasons was possibly because He didn’t fit the physical expectations for a king and hero.

Those who are in Christ (Rom 6:3) (Gal 3:26-27) (Ro 8:1) will honor Him at that great reunion in the sky (1 Th 4:16-17).  He is mighty as we see in His creation (Col 1:16-17) and He is righteous and just (Mt 25:31-46).  Those who don’t love and obey Him will ultimately bow their knees before Him and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Rom 14:11) (Php 2:10). He will reign as local, national and universal hero forever (2 Th 1:6-9).

                                       -Jim Bailey

“On The Edge”

Raymond was the foreman for the County’s maintenance crew and our neighbor.  He was able to get me a job one summer working on road repair.  The task was to rebuild the gravel sides of the roads that had eroded.  My job was to drive a farm tractor that pulled a packer behind Raymond, who was throwing up dirt and gravel alongside the edges of the roads with a road grader.  The packer was a huge container filled with concrete and with multiple wheels of rubber.  It was scary, stressful work for anyone, let alone a 17-year-old rookie.  One had to drive slowly, but still not stall the motor of the tractor.  If the packer started to slide down the slope, it could turn over and injure or even kill the operator.  I had to stop several times and have Raymond tow me out of danger.  He was very patient, probably because he had done the same job many times and understood working on the edge constantly, and also because he had grown sons who may have done the same risky job.

Whether one is a babe in Christ or a life-long Christian, many times there will be situations of trying to live on the edge.  Our task is to walk the narrow road (Mt 13-14) without straying and tipping over.  With the packer, one had to keep their eyes on what was ahead and not look back.  On our spiritual road we have to fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2) and press on towards the goal (Php 3:14).

Some of the many risks of the County job were boredom, complacency and overconfidence.  The same impediments can distract the Christian in his/her journey down the narrow road.  As Raymond was so patient with me, God is patient with people, not wanting anyone to perish  2 Pe 3:9).  He will never forsake us (Heb 13:5) and Jesus said that we can cast all our cares and burdens on Him (1 Pe 5:7).  If we become bored, complacent or over-confident, we should take heed that we don’t fall off the edge (1 Cor 10:12) and press on to the prize (Php 3:14).  When we are on the edge and anxious about falling spiritually, God has the solution, “…in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Php 4:6)

-Jim Bailey

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“Rejection”

Almost everyone has felt rejected at one time or another.  It is quite possible that some of us have rejected others without realizing it, or maybe, knowingly while rationalizing our behavior.  Some rejections are necessary while others are selfish and cruel.  Sometimes auto parts prove to be inferior or dangerous and must be recalled and rejected.  Some college entrance applications are rejected because of limited openings and candidates with better qualifications. A writer’s story might not fit the editor’s needs and thus it will receive a rejection slip.  All of these are valid reasons for rejection.

Unfortunately, there are far too many times when rejection is invalid and thoughtless.  When small children are shunned by their peers, when one clique rejects same age schoolmates, when a former friend decides not to invite a person to a party, all these things hurt someone.  When anyone uses age, race, socio-economics or physical handicap to rebuff, discard or cast off another, this is rejection of the worst kind.  This does more than bruise an ego, it may cause that person to lose a belief in his/her intrinsic value.  It shows the offender’s guilt, fear and selfish ego.

In the first Biblical family, God rejected Cain’s sacrifice and accepted Abel’s, but for cause (Gen 4:2-5).  He also rejected the older twin Esau and favored the younger one, Jacob, once again with a reason (Rom 9: 13-15) (Heb 12:16).  The prophet Samuel thought the people had rejected him, but God told him that they were actually rejecting Him (1 Sam 8:7).  God rejected all of David’s older brothers as His choice of a new King of Israel and chose a mere shepherd boy whose heart was in tune with God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14).

The Apostle Paul was rejected by his former Jewish comrades who now, “cast him into prison, flogged him, beat him…” (2 Cor 11:23ff).  He was constantly threatened and in danger from his own countrymen and from Gentiles (v 26).

Tragically, Jesus Christ was prophesied to be, “…despised and rejected by men…” (Isa 53:3).   He was, “…rejected by men but chosen by God” (1 Pe 2:4).  “The stone which the builders rejected has become the capstone…” (Mt 21:42)  “…whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (Jo 3:36).

Jesus warns all his followers that those who choose to, “…deny himself and take up his cross daily…” (Lk 9:23) will be persecuted just as He was (Jo 15:20).  Paul adds, “…everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12)  Many martyrs found how true that is as they were rejected by being burned at the stake.  They received the crown of righteousness which the Lord will award to them and to all who are faithful to the end.  If we want to be in that number, we also will reject the rejection of godless men.

                                         -Jim Bailey