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In Person Bible Classes

On Sunday, April 10, 2020 at 10:00am Sunday morning Bible Classes will resume at the Building. 

We will have a Cradle Roll class for our littlest ones, in their room just past the nursery area off the auditorium, that will be taught by Janet Thompson. Downstairs, we will have a class for all of our other children, taught by Julie Welch and a class for our youth, from 6th grade - 12th grade, to be taught by Cobey Pete. In compliance with Montgomery County mandates, our children will not be required to wear masks in their Bible classes, but rather, this will be left to the discretion of their parents.

Up in the auditorium, there will be a class for all of our adults, taught by Rayford Welch and Tom Lowery. This class will focus on the Parables of Jesus.

From Rayford's Desk, Mothers

To celebrate all of our Mothers this week, I considered sharing one of the beautiful poems that have been written for this purpose.     Instead, I decided to turn to God's Word. I am often asked by the children of a sweet wife and mother who has passed to share a specific portion of scripture in honor of their mother. The passage is found in Proverbs 31 and is often entitled, "The Worthy Woman."  This is, in fact, a text which honors all mothers, past and present, and I want to share a section of this text with you all to do that very thing.

"23 Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:23-31

To all of our dear mothers who may be reading this article, please know that all of us who are children are indebted to you for your love, patience, encouragement, training and yes, at times your discipline. You are now and for the rest of our lives, an incredible blessing to us.

 


From Rayford's Desk, 04/17/22

Lots of exciting things are on the horizon as we continue to move back towards normal. On Sunday evening, May 1st, we will be having another special "Worship in Song" and everyone who can is invited to be with us that evening at 6 p.m. at the building. This of course will also be livestreamed for those who cannot be here. Then on May 15th, we will be having our first Fellowship Meal in more than two years, immediately after morning worship in our Fellowship Hall. Of course, it was also exciting to see our Sunday Morning Bible Classes get off to such a great start last Lord’s Day and I look forward to this each week, as we continue moving forward.

As I have mentioned in the past, I very much enjoy the writings of my friend and dear brother in Christ, Jeff Jenkins, in his articles that appear several times a week on his Facebook page. I really appreciate Jeff's perspective on the important things of life as we walk with the Lord and want to share a recent article with you today.

 

"Very Late Tuesday Night Thoughts From the Mound. The longer we live, the morewe learn that life presents many changes and challenges.         Some of the changes are uncomfortable and not enjoyable, but many of them can bring great joy to our lives.

One change that can occur is our perspective on life and how we look at life. Hopefully, we will become kinder in our dealings with loved ones and people we dont know. Prayerfully, all of our relationships will be more enjoyable and meaningful. Prayerfully, we will grow in our faith.

Hopefully, our prayer life will become more vital, more vibrant, and increasingly more profound. Hopefully, we will gain more wisdom, the kind of understanding from above, the wisdom that is pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, and without hypocrisy.” Hopefully, we will recognize that our purpose in life is to glorify God. Prayerfully, we will grow in each of these areas, but it is up to us, and it often depends on our perspective." Jeff Jenkins


From Rayford's Desk, 04/10/22

Julie and I began praying for our children when they were very young, that they would grow up to know and love the Lord and choose to walk with him their entire lives. We followed these prayers up with trying our best to both lead the proper example for them, imperfect though we were, and to teach them in every way to love God. We also began very early praying for the husband that Shelly would choose and the wife that Michael would choose, that they would love our children with all their hearts, but just as importantly, love the Lord with all of their "heart, soul, mind and strength."

I know that I will always be Shelly and Michael's father, worry about them and their spouses and our grandchildren and pray fervently on their behalf, but when on last Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m., Michael Welch and Daisy Elliott both said "I Do", I stopped and thanked God for answering my prayers in such a special way.

It is wonderful to not only feel blessed to have welcomed Daisy into our family as our daughter-in-law and nearly eight years ago, having welcomed Drew Binkley as our son-in-law, but also to truly feel that we now have two sons and two daughters. God is so good!

Parents, pray for your children's souls, pray for their spiritual growth, pray for their success in this life and don't forget to pray for the spouses that they will one day marry.


From Rayford's Desk

I am constantly challenged and encouraged by the writings of my friend Jeff Jenkins, in his several-times-a-week postings on his Facebook page, "Thoughts From the Mound" (Flower Mound, Texas). I found this recent posting to be especially helpful to me and I wanted to share it with you all.

"During our college years, one of our favorite professors was famous for his short snippets of wisdom. One of the many that vividly comes to mind is, “Nothing in life matters…unless it somehow touches eternity!”

There are times in life when we get slapped in the face by reality. It is a stark reminder that some of the things we spend our time focusing on, arguing about, and worrying about are not that important. If we are not careful, life’s mundane and trivial matters will overwhelm us.

Then BOOM, some crisis hits us that reminds us that people are more important than possessions, relationships are more important than riches, holiness is more important than happiness, and love is more important than loads of other things. God’s Word instructs us to focus on things above and not on things that are on earth. May God help us spend an increasing amount of time in our lives on those things that matter most!

Dear Loving Father, Help us as Your people to never forget what is most important in life. May we understand that the only thing that really matters here is what touches eternity. Father, we pray that we will model for others what it means to have our hearts and minds in Heaven. We long for that day when we will be with you in eternal joy.

In the Name of Jesus, we pray, Amen."

Jeff Jenkins "

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:1-3

Friends, as our Bro. Grady Kaiser has reminded us at the beginning of each of our studies in Ecclesiastes on Wednesday evenings, this is our calling from God. What follows then in this text is equally powerful, "When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Colossians 3:4


In Person Bible Classes

On Sunday, April 10, 2020 at 10:00am Sunday morning Bible Classes will resume at the Building. 

We will have a Cradle Roll class for our littlest ones, in their room just past the nursery area off the auditorium, that will be taught by Janet Thompson. Downstairs, we will have a class for all of our other children, taught by Julie Welch and a class for our youth, from 6th grade - 12th grade, to be taught by Cobey Pete. In compliance with Montgomery County mandates, our children will not be required to wear masks in their Bible classes, but rather, this will be left to the discretion of their parents.

Up in the auditorium, there will be a class for all of our adults, taught by Rayford Welch and Tom Lowery. This class will focus on the Parables of Jesus.


From Rayford's Desk

I know that you all join me in being overjoyed as we continue receiving word from our county and state officials that the number of Covid cases are in decline. On behalf of the Elders, I am so very excited to announce to you all that we are now ready to continue opening things up by adding back our 10:00 a.m., Sunday morning Bible Classes, at the building, beginning on April 10 . We will have a Cradle Roll class for our littlest ones, in their room just past the nursery area off the auditorium, that will be taught by Janet Thompson. Downstairs, we will have a class for all of our other children, taught by Julie Welch and a class for our youth, from 6th grade - 12th grade, to be taught by Cobey Pete. In compliance with Montgomery County mandates, our children will not be required to wear masks in their Bible classes, but rather, this will be left to the discretion of their parents. Up in the auditorium, there will be a class for all of our adults, taught by Rayford Welch and Tom Lowery. This class will focus on the Parables of Jesus. Again, our hope and prayer is that our adding back the Sunday morning Bible classes will be another big step towards our returning to normal in all areas of our congregational life. In John 16:28 -33, the Lord is preparing His apostles for the very difficult struggles they are about to face, as He will be arrested that very night, put on trial, wrongly accused and condemned, then give Himself to die on the cross. He tells them, "I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Friends, in the world that we live today, we face many different struggles and even tribulation s, both as we strive to walk with the Lord and as we face things like a pandemic and the current instability in our world. But we must continue to trust that no matter what happens from this moment forward -- in everything


From Rayford's Desk

"Time is filled with swift transition, naught of earth unmoved can stand. Build your hopes on things eternal, hold to God’s unchanging hand. Hold to God’s unchanging hand, hold to God’s unchanging hand; build your hopes on things eternal, hold to God’s unchanging hand." This is the first verse and chorus of a grand old gospel hymn, "Hold to God's Unchanging Hand." There are a number of songs in our songbook that focus on the precious nature of time -- "Take time to be holy” -- “Teach me Lord to wait" -- “Sowing the Seed of the Kingdom (for the harvest time is coming on...). There is no question in my mind, that much too often we do not appreciate how precious our time on earth is and how it is so fleeting. And yet, the Word of God speaks volumes about the critical importance of time and using it wisely. Ephesians 5:15 -17 immediately comes to my mind, "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." It can be a struggle every day to fulfill this charge, because we so easily waste time or use time in ways that are not fruitful to our walk with the Lord. We also convince ourselves that we have all the time in the world, even though tomorrow is not promised as James makes so clear in James 4:13 -15, "Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” — yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” King Solomon also echoes this truth in Proverbs 27:1, "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring." In our interactions with those around us who do not know Christ as Lord and Savior, Paul makes this additional charge to Christians in Colossians 4:5 -6, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." In those moments it is so easy to think, "I just don't have time right now, but when I do..." But we all know what can happen -- the opportunity may never avail itself again. In everything that we do as children of God, let us always give our best to make the best use of our time, as we serve Him and serve others.


From Rayford's Desk

From Rayford's Desk The Memorial Church of Christ in Houston, Texas, has been a beacon of light for many years, truly a city set on a hill, right in the middle of the teeming millions of people who call the Houston metro area home. A few weeks ago, I shared with you an article written by one of the Associate Ministers there, Larry Phillips, one of my dearest friends and mentors. The preacher at Memorial, David Duncan, is also a great friend -- he and his wife, Barbara, attended Oklahoma Christian College with me and Julie. This week, I want to share another article that I gleaned from the Memorial website, where I find so many great resources. This article is written by Mike Avery, their Youth and Family Minister. "Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” – Luke 7:47 In Luke 7:36-50, we read of two people in the presence of Jesus. While their lives appear to be very different, neither of them has escaped the entrapment of sin. It is their response to sin and to Jesus that truly reveals their polarity. Simon is respected in the community as a religious person. While he has invited Jesus into his home for a meal, Simon does not offer Jesus water for His feet, oil for His head, or the greeting of a kiss. Moreover, Simon does not accept or respect Jesus as a teacher or holy person because He has allowed a woman with a bad reputation to touch him. Simon has not only judged the woman, but also Jesus. Simon is blind to his sin through comparison of himself to others. His judgmental attitude allows him to see faults in everyone but himself. The woman who had openly lived a sinful life had no regard for public opinion nor time to focus on anyone else’s sin. She entered a man’s house uninvited in pursuit of Jesus. She approached her sin and Jesus with remorse and humility. Her repentance empowered her to give sacrificially as she anointed Jesus with the perfume. Jesus approaches both sinners with love, offering forgiveness to the penitent woman and wisdom to the Pharisee. While we do know the woman was forgiven and saved, Simon’s reaction is unknown. Jesus makes it clear that recognizing our sin and need for His mercy empowers us to love Him and others. On the contrary, when we lose sight of Jesus, we find a need to judge (not love) others to appease our guilt. How will you approach Jesus today? How will you acknowledge your sin? I pray your sins are undeniable and His grace overwhelms you. I pray your gratitude overflows in the form of life -long worship and unconditional love toward others. I pray we all love much as we have been forgiven much. Mike Aver


From Rayford's Desk

February 6, 2022

 I love the story of Gideon so much, in great part because I find him to be an "everyman" child of God, who struggled just like we do. I would remind you that when God called him to be a judge of Israel and bring his people freedom from the bondage of the Midianites, Gideon was hiding in his family's winepress beating the wheat that they had collected, for fear of the Midianites. Like Moses before him, Gideon was very reluctant to accept God's call, even asking God not for one, but three signs that the Lord would give him victory. Then finally, accepting God's charge, he called Israel together for battle -- 32,000 soldiers from a number of the 12 tribes. Notice the contrast that already existed between the size of the Israelite army and the description of the Midianites found in Judges 6:5. “For they would come up with the livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number -- both they and their camels could not be counted -- so that they laid waste the land as they came in." In Joshua 11:4, the Midianite army is further described as, "a great horde, in number like the sand that is on the seashore." Can you imagine then, what Gideon must have been thinking when the Lord whittled down the Israelite force to just 300 men so that Israel would fully understand that it was God who was winning the victory and not them. God certainly recognizes Gideon's concern, because before Gideon can respond to this plan, the Lord speaks to him that very night. God tells Gideon to go down to the camp of the Midianites and, if he is still afraid, to take his servant. There God allows Gideon to witness the following in Judges 7:13-14, "Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.” His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.” After this, Gideon wasted no time -- he went back to the camp where the tiny army of 300 waited and led them to surround the Midianites. Oh, and remember that according to God's plan, the Israelites were to take no weapons into the battle, only trumpets and pitchers into which they had placed torches. When they broke the torches and blared the trumpets, the Midianites were so scared and confused that not only did they run screaming in fear, the enemy raised up their swords against each other -- God had again brought about a great victory for His people. I am so encouraged and strengthened by this incredible story. Yes, first because we are reminded again of what a mighty God we serve. Let us never forget, that no matter the struggle we are facing, nor the fear we are grappling with -- the battle belongs to the Lord. But second, I am also thankful that we are able to witness through Gideon what a patient and caring God of grace we serve. I am not sure about you, but I know without any doubting that I need God's patience and grace every day of my life.