by Johnathan Arnold
Graduation is an exciting time for countless students across the country. But many cannot help feeling a bit disillusioned in the days and weeks that follow. The big question, What now? is not settled in everyone's mind. Some wonder, Who will I marry? Where will I live?
Even worse, advice given to graduates at many commencement ceremonies often feels cliché and unrealistic. Here are a few no-nonsense truths from God's Word that every graduate should keep at the forefront of their minds in the days that come.
by Johnathan Arnold
A warning against giving false hope to the loved ones of someone who did not leave a clear testimony. An example of a simple sermon that can be used at his or her funeral.
One of the worst experiences of my life was in the pew of an evangelical church. I remember feeling sick and heart-wrenched as the local minister preached a memorial sermon which assured the audience that their loved one, a cruel and wicked man, was in heaven with Jesus. Preaching the funeral of an unbeliever is certainly difficult, but the stakes are too high to ignore the truths of confession, repentance, and sincere faith that are concomitant with the Good News about Jesus.
by Brian Spangler
Exactly what is the “work” of an evangelist? I’m sure it has very little to do with a truck and trailer! We can't simply sum up an "evangelist" as a “traveling preacher.” Certainly it's not just chastising everyone who drifts from “The Way” or even repeatedly calling sinners to repentance. In my younger years, I may have described it in just those terms. While at times each of these may play a role, and perhaps even a very significant role, in no way do they begin to define the full “work of an evangelist.”
The work of an evangelist is best described as spreading the “Good News,” or proclaiming the Gospel. In a concise but thorough definition, “sharing the Message” seems to sum it up quite nicely. And oh, what a privilege to be involved in that!
Devotional by Johnathan Arnold
Read: Luke 2:40-50
The first words of Jesus recorded in Luke’s Good News account were during Jesus’ first Passover in Jerusalem. In Jesus, just a boy, — a fully human boy — was also the fulness of Deity, and with it omniscience. Entering into Jerusalem, he knew that looking after His Father’s affairs meant someday dying outside the walls of that beautiful, bustling city. Perhaps he marked the dark spot in his mind as his parent’s caravan approached the city gate.
by Valorie Quesenberry
There’s an old joke that a man told his wife on their first day of marriage “I love you and if I ever change my mind, I’ll tell you.” The implication was that since he was okay with never again saying I love you, she should be okay with it too.
I grew up hearing the common jokes from the men in the church about their women, and generally, they were good-natured and gentle. Yet, as I have gotten older, I’ve observed that, often, we actually don’t understand or appreciate each other in many ways. In fact, we often let our differences pull us apart instead of letting them bring us closer together.
by Johnathan Arnold
After the final verse of the congregational number, “Calvary Covers It All,” the pianist continued to play quietly while the pastor invited the Sunday evening crowd to approach the altar for communion. He rightly noted that only believers should partake of the Supper. There were less than two dozen people in the pews, and all of them left their seats, except one middle-aged woman who sat quietly with her head down. But, she was not an unbeliever. She was a sensitive saint.
by Alan Walter
A Bible reading plan that covers the major portions of Scripture every disciple should know and advice for using it to help your church grow closer to God and each other.
“Let’s read the Bible together!” That is our challenge to the Lebanon church family for the year 2018. Reading the Bible together is fun! But much more than that, it broadens our opportunities to connect with each other as the daily readings are brought up in various conversations and contexts.
We also hope to encourage people who struggle to read God’s Word on a consistent basis. Although many of our people routinely read the Bible from cover to cover each year, the community plan takes a slower approach.
March 6-8: Outreach and Bus Convention: We thank God for the 37 God's Missionary Church pastors and many more laymen that were encouraged and equipped to do God’s work.
Sermon on John 19:28-30 by Jeremy Fuller
“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” (John 19:28-30)
"I thirst." Of all the words spoken by Jesus during those six gruesome hours on the cross, these best embody His humanity. The saying reminds us that His sufferings were real. He was not immune to pain because He was virgin-born Deity. His blood ran red. He was wrapped in Adam's skin. His organs were as dependent on water as yours or mine. His organs and cells were as subject to the laws of life as those that drove the nails. His thirst was as genuine as the thugs who hung on either side. But in His humanity, there was a perfect fulfillment of the prophecies concerning Him and that is the message of His thirst.
by Robert Booth
As a boy, one of the things that impressed me the most was watching my grandpa read his Bible. He was semi-retired and read a massive amount of Scripture. He set a goal of reading God’s Word through four times a year and accomplished this for years before he died. While that was intriguing to me, his love for God's Word was even more compelling. He talked about it all of the time. Every conversation we had ultimately turned into a lesson from God’s Word. He encouraged me to spend as much time in the Bible as I could and challenged me to read it through from cover to cover. I did when I was eight. When I told him this, he congratulated me and said, "Do it again."
Now, all of these years later, one of my greatest desires is for my girls to love the Bible. My wife and I have tried different strategies to help deepen their love for Scripture, and these five principles have worked effectively for us.
by Ryleigh Stratton
The following letter was recently published in Focus on the Family's Clubhouse Magazine. Ryleigh Stratton, age 11, is the daughter of Jeff Stratton, a Home Missions pastor at the Chambersburg God's Missionary Church.
My family moved to Chambersburg so my dad could pastor a church. The first year we prayed for 65 people to attend our Christmas program. That night, we got 70. (You have to understand, this is a small church.) While my family looked for a personage, we lived in a double-wide trailer for almost a year. At first it was fun, but then it got boring.
In January of last year, my dad preached a sermon. He called 2017 "The Year of the Impossible." April was outreach month. Our goal was 50 visitors. After two Sundays, we already had 49 visitors. We raised our goal to 100, then 125. Then we stopped setting goals and waited for the final number. We got 140 visitors!
Around that time, our friends' grandma died. She lived right across the road from our church. On a hot, sticky day in June, we won the auction for her house. After some remodeling, we moved in on August 31.
I am so thankful to God for doing the impossible.
by Johnathan Arnold
It was the longest Sabbath of their lives, and the eery silence of the day only added to their distress. The disciples had scattered to their homes to replay — over and over again — the gruesome scene of the crucifixion. They could still smell Jesus; His sweat, blood, and raw, half-baked human flesh lingered in their nostrils.
Every sound was startling. Any moment, they expected to hear the patter of feet and the blasting of their locked doors, as Roman soldiers flooded in to drag them away. After all, Jesus said that “the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).
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