Tom Tom 08/04/13

Several years ago, ABC television produced a documentary entitled: “Peter Jennings Reports…THE SEARCH FOR JESUS.”  What ABC claimed was that it was an unbiased account of the anchorman’s “search” for Jesus via academic scholars and trips to Palestine. However, what resulted was a showcase for the most liberal views imaginable.

One thing the show produced was an attempt to divorce Jesus from being the divine Son of God. Reference was made to Albert Schweitzer in his work entitled “The Quest of the Historical Jesus.”  In it he was critical of previous attempts to discover the “real” Jesus. He was delusional and about the only thing he verified was that Jesus was a “Great Man.” Jennings also looked at the work of Rudolf Bultmann who saw Jesus as a “husk” of “mythology” recorded in the New Testament. He felt that with no more information than what we had, we knew very little about Jesus????

Thus the “Jesus Seminar” was begun. In the reference to so-called scholars in this seminar, they attempted to determine what Jesus really said” as opposed to what they thought was added later by Jesus followers. The method they employed was terrible. The scholars actually voted on each Biblical passage as to what they thought was taught. They even color coded it. By casting color-coded beads into a box.  Red meant “Jesus undoubtedly said this.”  Pink meant, “Jesus probably said something like this.” Gray meant “Jesus did not say this, but an idea close to what he really believed.” Black meant, “Jesus did not say this…and was probably linked with tradition.”

Since the time of this “Jesus Seminar”, many books have been written to either prove Jesus or disapprove Jesus. In the final analysis…scholars do not determine truth. Only God’s Word does that. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32). Paul told Timothy that all scripture is breathed from God (2 Tim.3:16,17). Peter said that holy men of God spoke (II Peter 1:20,21).

People must search for Jesus…but search the Bible…not scholars of a wicked world of unbelievers.

TOM

Tom Tom 07-28-13

Sometimes in discussing life in general, especially among Christian folks, someone will ask the question… “Are you liberal or conservative?”  Not an easy task to answer that question.  In some areas we need to be liberal and in others we should be conservative.  Liberal with our service to the Lord, liberal with our love for our fellow-man, liberal with our finances toward the church, liberal with the time we devote to family…and the list continues.  In other areas we should be conservative.  Conservative in regard to our following of Bible principles in our manner of life, conservative in our reckless spending of our money, conservative in the offering of advice to folks who didn’t ask for our advice, conservative in our meaningless promotion of self to the exclusion of others worth…and the list goes on.

Was Jesus a liberal or a conservative?  If he lived physically in Hammon Oklahoma, would he be a Republican or a Democrat?  Kind of a silly question and the answers are equally silly…right?  Some folks love to put people in little boxes in reference to how we think they believe or act.  Be careful about using scriptures to pigeon hole certain people.  Does scripture address Jesus’ political leanings? It may be surprising to learn that it does not.  In fact, the only time Jesus himself addresses the matter is in John 18:36.  He told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”  The language could hardly be any clearer.

Jesus had a strong economic philosophy? In the parable of the laborers who all received the same wages, he taught that all people who submit to the will of God will receive eternal life. In the parable of the talents, he illustrated the classic free-market enterprise system.

In social issues, Jesus consorted with sinners. He dined with sinners, talked to women, reached out to the Samaritans. To the woman caught in adultery, Jesus said, “Go, and sin no more.” (Jn.8:11). In a spiritual vein, Jesus said: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (Jn.14:15). In the sermon on the mount he said, “Not everyone that says Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father.” (Matt.7:21).

QUESTION… Is the Hammon Church of Christ liberal or conservative. ANSWER… We are just Christian folks doing God’s Will to the best of our ability. In some ways liberal and in others conservative. Label us if you must…but be careful with your descriptive phrases! That might label you?????                  

                                                                                            …TOM

Tom Tom 07-21-13

TomTom

 

What causes folks to quit…quit living faithful Christian lives, quit being faithful for every worship opportunity, to quit a marriage…the list goes on.  Some folks are quitters! They lack staying ability to the long haul.  I have known lots of folks in my life that went strong in the Lord for a time and then quit.  With most of them it was a slow gradual process that brought about them quitting. With some, the quitting came about because they changed friends, with others they changed jobs, or with others their health took a turn for the worse.

The Christians of Galatia were going through a quitting process. The reason that some gave was the false teachers that had come in and confused them.  They did not know who or what was right any more and they were thinking of leaving the truth that Paul had taught them. Paul heard of their condition and quickly wrote a letter by the Spirit’s inspiration, to help keep them from falling (1:6; 3:1,4; 4:11, 19; 5:7; 6:9).  Paul wanted them to know that if they quit the church they would be quitting God or forsaking God (1:1-6).  God was the one who was powerful enough to raise Christ from the dead. He is the one who created them. He gave them every blessing they had ever enjoyed. He did not leave them alone, but tried to direct their lives.

If they quit the church, they would be forsaking God’s Grace (1:6) Grace = God giving us favor that we do not deserve. The emphasis in the book of Galatians is on Grace (1:3,6,13; 2:9, 21; 5:4; 6:18).  If they quit the church they would be forsaking the Gospel (1:7-9). There is only one true gospel…many imitations, but only one gospel. Many will be lost at the judgment (Matt.7:21-23).

If the Galatian Christians gave up on the Church, they would be giving up on the Christ who died for them. It’s a serious thing to forsake the Church.  This Christians needed to awake to understanding the nature of the church. These Christians needed to know what they were doing when they forsook the One who died for them. Where would we go if we left the church?

 

                                                                       Tom

TomTom 07-14-13

What do you like about the Hammon Church of Christ? That it is STRONG, in the Faith? What do you like about the Hammon Church of Christ? That we sincerely love one another.  I can name a lot of reasons that I like this church. Hopefully, the preaching and singing lift this church up in a lot of folks hearts and minds.  If you had your choice within ten churches of Christ in the brotherhood, would the Hammon Church of Christ be in that top ten? Would it be in first place?

One thing that lifts up this church for me is our children, our youth. We have beautiful talented children and youth.  I am so very proud of our children. I look forward to them being in the assembly.  When the families are absent who have the children or young people…a big hole is left in the assembly. Is there anything that we can do to make them happy to be a part of this church?  Do we encourage them enough? Do we provide things in our classes and worship times that include them and make them feel important?  Are we training them to be Bible Class teachers, song leaders, young men to wait on the Lord’s Table, help get the count of the services, help to mow the grass…the list goes on.  Our youth must know that we count on them and that when they are absent…we miss them. Let’s all help families to bring up their children in the admonition of the Lord. (Eph.6:4)

Set a good example to our children and teenagers.  Encourage them to sing, help them find the numbers in the hymn books. Encourage them to listen to the sermon. (You might even encourage them to take the bulletin and follow along in the sermon outline.) Parents, prepare your children at home for the worship and study time.  Tell them why we baptize, why we sing without an instrument, why we partake of the Lord’s Supper.

I’m so very thankful that you worship with us on a regular basis here at the Hammon Church of Christ!

…Tom

Tom Tom 6-30-13

TOMTOM
We all are faced with decisions that only we individually can make. Many, many times the decisions that we make either boost our productivity or stop all activity. Some times we even wonder after the decision has been made…why did we choose the course of action that we choose. The prophet Joel in chapter 3:14 speaks of being in the “valley of decisions.” We have all been there and done that. Daily we come to the valley of decisions. It is a wonderful experience if the decision made helps to enable you to rise and climb the mountain of faith. But, sadly enough, it is a shameful thought if one weakens in this valley and goes down, down, down into the cavern of doubt, fear, and failure.
Decisions are far-reaching. Sometimes it seems an insignificant matter to decide on a course of action in little things, and yet the outcome may mean success or failure, happiness or misery, life or the never-ending state the Bible calls “the second death.”
With our youth…sometimes the decisions look like this: “Shall I sneak around and do this even though my parents disapprove? Shall I go to this place of questionable reputation? Shall I drink intoxicants or be an abstainer? Shall I become a Christian or wait?” These and other decisions are difficult to make for our children, that we have raised, hoping that they would always make the right decisions.
For those of us who are a little older…our decision making time sometimes catches us off guard. “Shall I accept this position that might interfere with my Christian responsibility? Shall we move to another town or state? Shall I be firm with my children, or let them have their way? Shall I be strong in the Lord, or be a weak and indifferent Christian? Shall I sacrifice principles? Shall I study the sacred scriptures and meditate upon them day and night, or shall I let the dust accumulate on my Bible? Shall I tell a nasty story or hear one?”
Joshua, in the “valley of decision” becomes the shining example of the ages, as we read his immortal words: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
…Tom

Tom Tom 06/02/13

A preacher in a hospital room standing beside the bed of a very sick lady prayed: “Lord, help us in adjusting our lives to the situation before us until we get back to our best.”  It’s a well known fact that most tragedies come because people are not able or willing, to adjust themselves to circumstances. One man has gained a fortune, but gave little thought to what to do with the fortune. So he makes some unwise investments and soon the fortune is gone. In despair he takes his own life. Then there is the lady who has always been blessed with excellent health. One day disease knocks at her door.  To her it is a bitter blow so she becomes sour and critical. She thinks… “Why has God allowed this to happen to me?” In her manner of life she gives up, turns her face to the wall, and makes preparation to die.

Life is not perfect for everybody all the time. In each life there are rough spots. We have to learn to adjust ourselves to every situation.  I think that Paul learned to adjust. He said on one occasion that he had learned to be content in all conditions. He knew how to be hungry and how to be full. He knew how to take troubles and he knew how to use happiness. He knew how to deal with different kinds of people. He summed it all up once when he said, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Phil.4:13). Now that’s the secret to successful happy living. Live with and for Christ.

There is no rule from man that can help us in adjusting ourselves to circumstances.  Many volumes are written about matters of this kind, but upon close reading we find that the author is about as confused as his readers. It proves that this kind of help does not come from man. It comes from God. If we have the kind of faith that we should have, if we believe that there are no circumstances over which God cannot have control.  God can even help control tragedies in that He can make them work out for our good. He can make light out of darkness and make the rose blossom in the desert. All things are possible with God.

 

                                                                                         …Tom

TomTom 05-12-13

Mother’s Day!  Today, in America…most will celebrate Mother’s Day. We are so very thankful for those special ladies who fill this place in our lives. For some of us, we reflect upon our mothers gone to be with the Lord. For others, we reflect upon those very special ladies who keep our clothes clean, put fine meals on our tables, make sure that we read and study our Bibles, make sure that we are in Bible Class and Worship every time the church doors are open, make sure that we are well behaved all the time, and make sure that we appreciate our school and apply ourselves in getting an education.  For the men of the congregation…we very well know the value of a Godly wife and mother from so many different view points. Truly she is a “Priceless Woman.”

Today is the time for our monthly church dinner, and on these Sundays we don’t have an evening service. But today, since it is Mother’s Day, we will not be having our monthly dinner.  Since it is a special holiday, “Mother’s Day”  we will not have the evening service today. Plus, we will not have our men’s business meeting.  After our regular contribution today, we will be taking up our “Building Fund” special contribution.  Any time that you miss the opportunity to give toward our building, you can give that money to Les Roper the next time that you see him. I hope to see that fund sore over the $50,000 mark today????

Our church dinner honoring our graduating seniors, Baili and Davey…will be this Wednesday evening…May 15th. Visit with Karen, Diana, or BB if you would like to know what you could do to prepare for this event.

Next Sunday, May 19th, will be Hammon School Baccalaureate and Commencement.  Baccalaureate will be in the School Auditorium at 11 A.M. and Commencement at 7 p.m.  Because of the full day of activity…in which several of us are involved, WE WILL MEET FOR MORNING WORSHIP AT 10 A.M. (Bible Classes Dismissed). Our services will go about 45 minutes.  I will be leading the song service for BACCALAUREATE…and it will be acappela.  I will lead two songs that we sing often and I will need your help. Junior High Graduation is at 2:30 P.M. {OUR SUNDAY EVENING SERVICES WILL BE DISMISSED.}

Baili Collins and Davey Craig’s Baccalaureate service will be today at Leedey Auditorium at 7 p.m. and Commencement on Friday at 8  P.M.   Congratulations!!!!

…TOM

TOMTOM 04-29-13

TOMTOM

I love to study Philippians.  Paul must have had a great relationship with the church at Philippi. “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil.1:3-6)  Paul prayed continually for the church at Philippi. He wanted to be with them and he prayed that their love would grow and that they would be filled with the fruits of righteousness (1:9-11).

Sounds to me like he knew a church similar to the church in Hammon, Oklahoma. A church to whom he could boldly say: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (1:21).  He knew that the church at Philippi needed him (1:24), and he prayed that they could fulfill his joy by loving each other and being of one mind. He finally told them, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” (2:5).

This is a pretty good lesson for the Hammon Church of Christ. (1) Live for Christ in all that we do. (2) Be unified in ONE mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel. (3) Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, let each of us esteem others better than ourself. (4) Take care of each other! (5) Understand that God is working in us both to do His will and to do it for His good pleasure.  (6) Do everything without complaining and disputing.

The Hammon Church of Christ is a healthy church filled with serving folks, who love God number one and then love each other sacrificially.  We love to worship together Sunday  morning and evening and Wednesday night.  We love to serve together in countless ways. God is so good and God continues to bless us in all our efforts to be well pleasing to Him. Love you!

Tom

TOMTOM 04-14-13

Juvenile delinquency is a problem in America. But even more importantly, it is also a problem in the Lord’s church. The American Heritage Dictionary defines juvenile as “young or youthful,” and it defines delinquency as “failing to do what is required.” Undoubtedly, there is a problem with you failing to do what is required in many aspects of society. Such is not true of all youth, however, to deny the problem is to deny the obvious. In dealing with juvenile delinquency, experts often search for the cause, trying to determine what it is exactly that makes juveniles “fail to do what is required.” All parents need to ask themselves, “Are we contributing to juvenile delinquency in our own children?” Sometimes churches are guilty of contributing to juvenile delinquency by a failure to help in the guidance of its youth.
Some actions of our youth are expected because they are young and they view life through their young eyes. They try to see the more mature approach to certain actions…but they can’t. There might even be things which affect their vision. Maybe the more mature adults need to think young…especially, think young if it is something which affects youth long term. Maybe its time for a more objective look…a look which sees the long term, a look which fits more with current trends among youth, a look which sees the spiritual as well as the physical.
Parents contribute to juvenile delinquency in the church by their attendance. “Don’t forsake the assembly…” (Heb.10:25). “Put the church number one in your family actions…” (Matt.6:33). Think about it brothers and sisters in Christ…your attitude and practice toward the assemblies of the church will almost certainly become your children’s attitudes and practices.
Parents can contribute to juvenile delinquency by their living. “Don’t be yoked with the world, what fellowship does righteousness have with unrighteousness, light with darkness.” (II Cor.6:14). Do your children see you lead a double life, one life before members of the church and another life in the world?”

Tom