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Monday, August 29, 2011

Winning the Race

Winning the Race

The story was told of a hare and a tortoise; the hare was boasting of his speed and how nobody could beat him in a race. The tortoise accepted his challenge. The hare raced ahead and decided because he was so far ahead that he would take a nap, and lie down and show up the tortoise. The tortoise kept up the pace and by the time the hare woke up the tortoise was nearing the finish line. It was too late for the hare to catch up. I believe as children of God there are lessons that can be learned from this fable. As Christians we are running a race as well. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we are imperishable”. Here are several things for us to keep in mind as we run the Christian race.

1)      Steady wins the race. In the fable the hare was very quick compared to the slow tortoise. However although the tortoise was slow, he was steady. In order to win a race a good pace is essential. If a runner tries to run too fast they will likely run out of steam before the finish line. If they run too slow they will never get there. In the Christian life if you run too fast you may make a decision that God would not want you to make, after all the devil is out there  “seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The Proverbs writer said, “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way”.

2)      Take a break, and it may be too late. In the fable, the hare thought that he was doing well and decided to take a break. This break ended up being his demise. As Christians we must not take breaks from the Christian way because we never know when it might be too late. We must be wary of those trying to lead us off the path of righteousness. The devil will try to get us to stray off the path just a little bit just like the hare did, however we must resist. In reference to the devil,  1 Peter 5:9 says, “resist him, firm in your faith…” We must do our best to continually stay on the path to righteousness.

3)      Have endurance, keep goal in sight. In Hebrews 12:1 the bible says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” There will be times in the race that we will get tired. However when that happens we must endure. We must use the cloud of witnesses. We must look to Jesus, as our motivation. It is essential that in order to not get burdened down on the race path we lay aside the weight of the sin slowing us down and making us tired! In order for us to do this we must keep the finish line in sight that was made possible for us by Christ. There will come a time in which this world will end and there will be a judgment day (2 Corinthians 5:10). Our life on this earth is like the fog in the morning it is only here for a short time (James 4:14). We must stay on the path.

How are you doing in your race? Are you like the tortoise or the hare? Will you be able to say what Paul did in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing”.

Monday, August 22, 2011

“Not by the Hair of my Chinny Chin Chin”

“Not by the Hair of my Chinny Chin Chin”

Once upon a time…there were three little pigs. The pigs went out into the world to seek their fortunes. The first pig decided to build a house out of straw. A wolf came along and huffed and puffed and blew the house down. The second pig decided to build his house out of sticks. Once again the wolf came along and huffed and puffed and blew the pig’s house down. The third pig built his house out of bricks. The wolf came along and huffed and puffed but couldn’t blow the house down. The house was built too well. Jesus talks about the importance of a great foundation in Matthew 7:24-27. Jesus describes a wise man and a foolish man. The wise man built his house on the rock. The foolish man built his on sand, and “it fell, and great was the fall of it.” What kind of foundation do you have in your Christian life? Is it a foundation that will stand strong and the wolf will have trouble blowing down? Here are some things for us to keep in mind about our foundation.

1)    It must be built out of the correct materials.  In the story of the three little pigs, the first two pigs had trouble because their house wasn’t built very strongly. In the story of the wise man and foolish man, the foolish man’s house fell down because it was build out of sand. In order for us to have a strong foundation we must build a solid foundation like the third pig, and the wise man. We must build our foundation on Jesus, the chief cornerstone (Luke 20:7) and his words that are found in the Bible.

2)    It must be maintained.  If the foundation of a house is not maintained, the house will develop major problems. The same is true with the foundation of a Christian. If we neglect to pay attention to our foundation it will become weak. If the chief cornerstone aka Jesus is taken out then the foundation will be destroyed. We must remember to continue to study, and reason through scriptures, and keep the foundation of our faith strong. We must not forget the importance of being around the Church which Jesus died for, nor forget the importance of attending worship and Bible class and committing our life to him.

If the wolf came and huffed and puffed at your foundation would it fall down or stand firm? Would your foundation live happily ever after….?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Little Red Christian

Little Red Christian
By Michael Galloway

Once upon a time…we find a girl who was trying to take food to her grandmother. As she is taking this food she comes across a wolf. The wolf acted like he was looking after her best interests however in reality he was trying to eat Little Red Riding Hood. The wolf finds out that the innocent girl is going to her grandmother’s house. I think we all remember the ending of this story. The wolf gets to the grandmother’s house before Little Red Riding Hood and eats her grandmother and then proceeds to eat Little Red Riding Hood. Little Red Riding Hood was so oblivious of the evil in the world that the wolf tricked her and it ultimately led to her being eaten by the wolf. I believe that there are some spiritual applications that we can make to this classic fable.

1)      Beware. There are wolfs out there in the world. The Bible warns us of these wolves. Matthew 7:15 says, "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves”. There are people in the world who are trying to “eat us up” spiritually. We must beware of these individuals and organizations and stay away from falling into the false doctrine that they teach.

1)      Study. The problem with Little Red Riding Hood was that she was so oblivious that she didn’t understand what was going on. I could easily see that happening to children of God if they lack the Biblical knowledge necessary to distinguish between false doctrine and the true doctrine of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” Are you doing your best in your study of God’s word?

1)      Fight. Little Red Riding Hood was so oblivious that she was eaten without even a fight. As Christians we must fight to defeat the false doctrine of the world, and to prevent others from being “eaten” by this false doctrine.

Are you a modern day Little Red Riding Hood? Are you oblivious of what is sound doctrine and what is false doctrine? Let me encourage you to study God’s word and not get eaten by the wolves of the world and live happily ever after in Heaven with God.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Youth Event Ideas

One of the purposes I have for this blog is to not only share articles I have written but also to share youth event ideas that I have done with the youth at the Elizabethtown Church of Christ.

This past Friday night I had a TnT for my kids here. TnT stands for Teen Night Together. The purpose of this event is to give the kids something to do that is fun and a venue to bond. We also have a devo thought at the event where we discuss cultural things that they have to face. This past friday I set my projector up in our fellowship hall and showed the movie ELF. I cooked dinner for the kids and made spaghetti and meat sauce along with Texas Toast. I also had toppings so they could make spaghetti elf style.The kids loved it!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Family of God

The Family of God
By Michael Galloway

            It was in the television show, M*A*S*H that it was said, "I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family he is rich." This statement has so much truth in it; if we have family we are so rich. It is wonderful that God gave us a family; not just an immediate family, but also a spiritual family. Why is the spiritual family so important?
            First, the spiritual family is important because we can suffer together. The church, our spiritual family, is supposed to "bear one another’s burdens." It is our brothers and sisters in Christ who can help us get through trials together. Although the church can help us when we are weak, it is also our obligation to help others when they are weak (Romans 15:1-3). The church works both ways after all Christ didn't just come to be served but to serve. As members of the family of God we must have the exact same attitude, we must not just be served, but we must also serve others.
            Second, the family of God is so important because we can help each other get to heaven. As Christians we can help our fellow Christians from falling into apostasy. We can encourage our family when our brothers and sisters need that extra boost (1 Thessalonians 5:11). When members of the spiritual family are falling, we can be like Paul (Galatians 2:11) when he corrected Peter because "he stood condemned." Our job as members of the family of God is to first and foremost serve God. The second great commandment is to love one another, which is essential to help each other get to heaven. If we love God we will encourage and correct one another with love, because love should cause us to want each other to get to heaven.
            Last, we should rejoice together (3 John 1:3-4). If we are doing everything possible to serve God, and to help our fellow Christians get to heaven we should be rejoicing with one another. Many times Christianity is looked at as a religion that takes all the joy out of life. In reality, Christianity does the exact opposite and puts joy into life. If you want happiness, you must have a purpose in life. Christianity has that purpose, which is to serve God, and get to heaven. As the family of God we can rejoice because we can realize that one-day it will all be over and we can be with each other in heaven.
            The family of God, the church has such great riches for us as Christians trying to follow God's will on earth. It is a church that can lead us to even greater riches, on that beautiful day when we get to heaven.