THE HEIGHTENER                                  

"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall exalt you."  -James 4:10


Volume XXXIX

March 6, 2018

Number 10  

                                                                    

VIEWPOINT

Jack Wilkie at Focus Press asks, “Have you earned the right to offend?”

“The church is just too judgmental,” they say. “Doesn’t the Bible say ‘Do not judge lest you be judged’”? The most popular Bible verses in recent years have completely flipped from what they once were. Rather than verses like John 3:16 which tell of the love of Jesus Christ, the most well-known Bible sayings now are used by non-Christians to preach a postmodernist “tolerance.” “Do not judge lest you be judged” comes to mind, in particular. Of course, we seem to have started citing certain verses in response, verses like “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” and “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”

We remind ourselves that the Gospel is offensive, and that if we speak out in defense of the truth (even in a loving way – 1 Corinthians 13:1) we’re going to make enemies of those in the world, even including friends and family. While such Scriptures are true and we’re right to comfort ourselves with the reminder that people hate God’s Word and not us, we can sometimes be guilty of missing a step.

Take a look at the church’s beginning in Acts 2, where we have the first examples of what our first century brethren did and how they were perceived in their society. We see that they were dedicated to the Apostles’ teaching, that they were in constant fellowship, and that they were serving and caring for one another by giving of themselves any time a need arose. While they were eventually persecuted for preaching (starting in chapter 4), before that happened Luke wrote down a key phrase that we would do well to note. Acts 2:47 says that the early church was “having favor with all the people.”

Among the crowds and with the people around them, the church was looked at in a positive light. The lesson we should take from this is that though the Bible’s teachings may be offensive to those who refuse to consider them, the church’s loving actions should be their first impression of the church among the people in our communities. While I believe in holding fast to the truth, I also believe in listening to criticism and seeing what we can take from it. When people say that we come off as too judgmental, it seems to be equally due to the Bible’s challenging teachings and our lack of loving action backing up what we say.

We claim it’s our goal to teach the truth in love, but that’s where we can be mistaken. You have to earn the right to teach the truth in love. How? By showing love! In the same section where Jesus assured the apostles that the world would hate them because of them, He also reminded them that it was their love that would distinguish them from the world. As of right now, the most noticeable factor separating us from the world is the divisive truth of the Gospel and not our love for each other and for the world. As Tim Chester and Steve Timmis insightfully point out in their book Total Church, “We need to make people want Christianity to be true. Then we might be able to persuade them that it is.” The church’s love is what makes the hard teachings of Christianity so much easier to accept. If people are still going to disagree with us, at least we can make them say, “Man, I don’t agree with those Christians, but they sure do love people.” Jesus met with great opposition throughout His ministry, but it could never be said that He didn’t love people. May the same be true of us.

“Love your neighbor” is a hard enough to command to follow in today’s busy, hectic life where we’re all carefully guarded about how we come across to each other. Love your enemy? That’s even harder. What about loving people enough to feed them, clothe them, visit them, or invite them in (Matthew 25:35-36)? What about loving our fellow Christians enough to get deeply involved in each other’s lives and invite others in to that loving family? What about loving people enough to leave our comfort zones and preach the love and hope of the Gospel to them and not just that which seems culturally relevant (be it the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality, abortion, or anything else)?

Yes, if we preach that which challenges the world’s lifestyle, we’ll offend people. It’s just a natural result. If we show Christ’s love the way we should first, though, we’ll glorify God and shine His light to people who truly need it and maybe we’ll find open doors and softer hearts.

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I look forward to seeing you Sunday with a Bible, a smile and a positive word!  RA

 

 

 

 

 

"Minnesota Miracle" Leads to "Jesus Moment"

You never know when Jesus will show up.

Case Keenum’s professional journey has been challenging. Despite a record-setting career in college, he went undrafted by the NFL. He was eventually signed by Houston, where he went 0-8 as their starting quarterback in 2013. He then played for St. Louis, went back to Houston, and then back to St. Louis.

After stints as their starter, he was benched and then signed a one-year contract to serve as Minnesota’s backup quarterback for 2017. When the starter was injured, he took over in the second week of the season. He led his team to a 13-3 record.

After Sunday’s last-second play that is already being called the Minnesota Miracle, he’s now one game from the Super Bowl. When the game ended, with pandemonium all around, he told a national that the miraculous win “probably will go down as the third-best moment of my life.”

What tops this stunning victory? “Giving my life to Jesus Christ and marrying my wife,” Keenum said as the ecstatic crowd roared all around him. One reporter called it an “incredible postgame Jesus moment.”

Four months ago, Case Keenum had no idea he would make national headlines today. But he was ready when his time came.

Is this 1776 or 1789?

The Colson Center’s “BreakPoint” recently asked several Christian leaders to define “challenges facing the church in 2018.” Os Guinness, one of this generation’s most insightful evangelical theologians, offered a response that was so compelling I will reproduce it today in full:

“If we fight the battle at any point except where the battle is really being fought, we might as well not fight. Luther’s famous maxim is urgent for Christians today. The U.S. is experiencing its gravest crisis since the Civil War, but there is no agreement as to what the crux of the battle is. The division in this country is not just between Progressives and Conservatives, ‘coastals’ and ‘heart-landers,’ and ‘globalists’ and ‘nationalists.’ It is between ‘1776,’ and the heirs and allies of the American revolution, where faith and freedom went hand in hand; and ‘1789,’ and the heirs and allies of the thinking of the French revolution, where faith and freedom were mortal enemies.

“The current crisis is a tale of these two revolutions. Both cry ‘freedom,’ but their views of freedom are diametrically opposed. They have different roots (the Bible versus the Enlightenment), different views of human nature (realism versus utopianism), different views of change (incremental versus radical), different views of freedom (the power to do what you ought versus the permission to what you like), different views of government (protective versus Progressive), different views of accountability (‘under God’ versus without God), and different views of righting wrongs (repentance and reconciliation versus reparation and revenge).

“If this is correct, the challenges are plain. The question before America: Is the ‘constitutional Republic’ to be restored or replaced? The question before us as Christians: How do we live and speak so faithfully that we honor our Lord and his ways in response to one of the greatest apologetic challenges and one of the greatest cultural challenges in all history? Now is a time for what Rabbi Heschel called ‘moral grandeur and spiritual audacity.’ All who are Evangelical and unashamed can be confident that the good news is more than sufficient for the gravity of the hour.”

When Jesus is on trial

I am convinced that Guinness is right: there is a massive cultural divide today between Americans who see Christianity as foundational to our past and essential for our future, and Americans who see Christianity as irrelevant, if not dangerous.

You and I are alive “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). It is by divine providence that you were not living in 1818 and that you will not be on this planet in 2218 (if the Lord tarries).

Your Father intended you to follow and serve Jesus in this cultural moment. You have all you need to be faithful to his call. As the saying goes, God equips the called and anoints all he appoints.

One vital aspect of successful witnessing today is doing what Case Keenum did: be ready when your moment comes.

Jesus warned his disciples that they would face persecuting authorities. However, this was to be their posture: “Do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:19, 20).

When we have an opportunity to make public our faith in Jesus, we can feel as though we are a defendant on trial, with the other person as the prosecutor looking for ways to defeat our testimony.

In fact, Jesus is on trial. The Holy Spirit is the defense attorney, while Satan is the prosecutor. The person with whom you are speaking is the jury.

Your job is to go to the stand when the defense attorney calls you and tell what you know as he leads you. You may be the first witness called to the stand, so that you never hear how the jury decides. You may be the last, and thus present when the jury renders a verdict, hopefully for the Defendant. You will probably be somewhere in the middle.

The point: your job is to be ready. Tell what you know when given the opportunity and trust the results to God.

However, our witness is effective only if it is credible. Case Keenum’s priorities are clear: faith, family, football. Are they yours?

-- Jim Denisom, Forum for Truth & Culture

 

  

 

                         

 

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"Thank you, Cedar Grove, for delivering the truck load of clothes and food from the congregation.  You always seem to be right on time."  -- Alfred Donald 

 

 

 

 

Southside Area Youth Devotional 

  NEXT EVENT:  

 

March 18, 2018

East Point 

5:00 p.m.

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Congratulations to Craig and Sharon Hodges on the birth of a granddaughter.  Alice Elaine DeCoster was born on January 2.  She weighed 7 lb. 13 oz. and was 20 inches long.  

 

 

 

 

Bible Camp Fundraiser 

Camp Inagehi was founded in 1954 and has provided many years of safe and fun Christian camp experiences.  There is always the need to make improvements for the camp.  February 11 is designated the Heart of the Matter Campaign.  Donations will be used to update the facility and provide scholarships for children who need help. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Cedar Grove Family,

What wonderful servants of our Lord you are!  Thank you so much to all who sent cards, called, brought food, brought medicine, ran my errands, and prayed.  You are truly the light of our Lord.  

Love to you all, 

Sheila Mixon

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Dear Cedar Grove Family,

I want to thank the church for all that was done for me during my sickness.  

With Christian love, 

Jeanette Bullington

   

 

 

 

 

 

Eddie Brown is recovering from knee surgery.  He is home now.  

Jimmy Wellborn is suffering from flu.

Tim Bullington is undergoing a series of tests over the next few weeks.

Continue to remember Susan Carson, Stan Caudle, Donna Kirk, Dick and Barbara Massey, Jean McBride, Hilda Morrow, Lanier Richards, and Jimmy Wellborn.

 

Bible Reading Schedule for 2018

 

Read the Bible Chronologically

Week 9

        February 26  Leviticus 24-25; Psalm 81 Hebrews 9

        February 27  Leviticus 26-27; Psalm 112; Hebrews 10

        February 28  Numbers 1-2; Psalm 64, Hebrews 11

        March  1  Numbers 3-5; Hebrews 12

        March  2  Numbers 6-7; Hebrews 13

Week 10

        March  5  Numbers 8-11; Colossians 1

        March  6  Numbers 12-14; Psalm 28; Colossians 2

        March  7  Numbers 15-18; Psalm 113; Colossians 3

        March  8  Numbers 19-21; Colossians 4

        March  9  Numbers 22-25; Luke 1

Week 11

        March 12  Numbers 26-29; Luke 2

        March 13  Numbers 30-33; Psalm 35; Luke 3

        March 14  Numbers 34-36; Luke 4

        March 15 Deuteronomy 1-3; Psalm 36; Luke 5

        March 16  Deuteronomy 4-5; Luke 6

Week 12

        March 19  Deuteronomy 6-9; Luke 7

        March 20  Deuteronomy 10-14; Psalm 5; Luke 8

        March 21  Deuteronomy 15-18; Luke 9

        March 22  Deuteronomy 19-22; Psalm 6; Luke 10

        March 23  Deuteronomy 23-26; Luke 11

Week 13

        March 26  Deuteronomy 27-31; Luke 12

        March 27  Deuteronomy 32-34; Psalm 13; Luke 13

        March 28  Joshua 1-4; Psalm 143;        Luke 14

        March 29  Joshua 5-8; Psalm 14; Luke 15

        March 30  Joshua 9-13; Luke 16

 

Read the Bible in Order

March  1   Deuteronomy 23-25

March  2   Deuteronomy 26-28

March  3   Deuteronomy 29-31

March  4   Deuteronomy 32-34

March  5   Joshua 1-3

March  6   Joshua 4-6

March  7   Joshua. 7-9

March  8   Joshua 10-12

March  9   Joshua 13-15

March 10   Joshua 16-18

March 11   Joshua 19-21

March 12   Joshua 22-24

March 13   Judges 1-3

March 14   Judges 4-6

March 15   Judges 7-9

March 16   Judges 10-12

March 17   Judges 13-15

March 18   Judges 16-18

March 19   Judges 19-21

March 20   Ruth 1-4

March 21   1 Samuel 1-4

March 22   1 Samuel 5-7

March 23   1 Samuel 8-10

March 24   1 Samuel 11-13

March 25   1 Samuel 14-16

March 26   1 Samuel 17-19

March 27   1 Samuel 20-22

March 28   1 Samuel 23-25

March 29   1 Samuel 26-28

March 30   1 Samuel 29-31

March 31  Catch-up Day

 

 

 

            

FEBRUARY BIRTHDAYS

 

 March   1

Riley Minichowski

 March   5

Greg Cannon

 March   6

Sharon Hodges

March    9

James Elliott

 March   9

David Grogan

 March  14

Doyle White

 March  20

Amanda Owens

 March  22

Matilda Jones

 March  28

Onice Fields

 March  29

Ed Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

THOSE TO SERVE - March 1, 2018

Welcome

Greg Cannon

Song Leader

Greg Cannon

Opening Prayer

Collins Egwu

Lord's Table

* Joe Maddox

 

* Phil Hamby

 

Steve Esler

 

Devin Hunt

Scripture Reading

David Grogan

 

1 Peter 1:13-15

Closing Prayer

David White

   

Welcome - PM

Greg Cannon

Song Leader

Greg Cannon

Opening Prayer

Larry Simmons

Scripture Reading

Devin Hunt

 

Psalm 26:1-3

Closing Prayer

David Grogan

Communion Preparation

 

Nursery Attendant

 
 

 

 

 

Cedar Grove Church of Christ

Serving in Our Assemblies

 

Morning

March 4

March 11

March 18

March 25

Call to Worship

Donnie White

Greg Cannon

Jimmy Pulliam

Doyle White

Singing

Donnie White

Greg Cannon

Jimmy Pulliam

Doyle White

Opening Prayer

Jim Warren

Collins Egwu

David Grogan

Larry Simmons

Table – Lead

David White

Joe Maddox

David White

Jim Warren

 

Larry Simmons

Phil Hamby

Jim May

Greg Cannon

Table – Serve

Devin Hunt

Steve Esler

David Grogan

Devin Hunt

 

Collins Egwu

Devin Hunt

Bill Baker

Jim May

Scripture

Ed Kelly

David Grogan

Jim Warren

Donnie White

Closing Prayer

James Elliott

David White

Donnie White

Collins Egwu

 

Evening

March 4

March 11

March 18

March 25

Call to Worship

Donnie White

Greg Cannon

Jimmy Pulliam

Doyle White

Singing

Donnie White

Greg Cannon

Jimmy Pulliam

Doyle White

Opening Prayer

David Grogan

Larry Simmons

Phil Hamby

Jimmy Pulliam

Scripture

Jimmy Pulliam

Devin Hunt

Doyle White

Devin Hunt

Closing Prayer

Doyle White

David Grogan

Ed Kelly

Jim May

 

 

RECORD 3/4/2018

Bible School

41

Worship AM

62

Worship PM

40

Wednesday Bible Study

25

Contribution

N/A