The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them
to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
January 29, 2017
1) What Matters Most? (W. Frank Walton)
2) "Integrity" (Louie Taylor)
3) Trends (The Beacon)
4) News & Notes
What Matters Most?
W. Frank Walton
“Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so
easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is
set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of
faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising
the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”
From The Biblical Illustrator I saw this illustration about
discerning what really matters. In the Jules Verne’s novel, The
Mysterious Island, he tells of five men who escaped a Civil
War prison by hijacking a hot air balloon. As they rise into
the air, they realize the wind is carrying them over the ocean, and
they are powerless to stop it. Watching their homeland disappear on
the horizon, they wonder how much longer the balloon can stay aloft.
The hours pass and the surface of the ocean draws gradually
closer. Since they had no way to heat the air for it to rise
in the balloon, the men decide they must cast some weight
overboard. Shoes, overcoats and weapons that they worked so
hard to collect for the escape are reluctantly discarded. The
anxious aviators feel their balloon rise. Yet, it is
only temporary. They slowly descend again and draw dangerously
close to the waves. Then, they had to toss their food.
They realize it is better to be high and hungry than to drown on a
Unfortunately, lightening their load helps only for a short time.
The craft again floats downward and threatens to crash into the
sea. One man has an idea: they can tie the ropes that hold the
passenger car to themselves. Then, they could cut away the
basket beneath them. As they sever the very thing they had been
standing on, it drops into the ocean and the balloon rises again.
In the nick of time, they spot land! When they drift close enough to
the island, the five men jump into the water and swim to safety on
They had lived, when they otherwise might have perished, because
they were able to discern the difference between what really was
needed and what was not. The necessities they once thought
they couldn’t live without, in that critical situation, were really
the very weights that almost cost them their lives.
Christians must learn to not let the “trivial many crowd out the
vital few.” In fact, the only thing that any of us will carry from
this life is our character we have developed, in following Christ,
by the thoughts we think, the attitudes we harbor, the words we say
and the deeds we do. Every physical thing -- our homes, our cars,
our clothes, our furniture, our bank, our workplace, etc. “will be
burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10-13)! We won’t even take any pictures
of them as souvenirs to show each other in heaven! Our physical
blessings can become our curse if we are consumed with them and
“choke out” our primary relationship with our Creator (Mark
4:18-19). It is God’s eternal purpose to train and transform
our character into the image of Jesus Christ, so we’re fitted for
eternal glory (Rom. 8:29-30, Eph. 2:4-10, Titus 2:11-14). This
pursuit is what matters most in this life.
So, in our journey to eternity, we must know what to ignore, what
sins to shun, what to hold lightly, when to let go, and how to
always keep our eyes focused foremost on our Lord, who ever beckons
us onward and upward to Himself in our heavenly home (Phil. 3:13-14,
Matt. 6:33, Luke 10:41-42). Jesus our example gained nothing
great this world offers, yet He gained everything God offers (Phil.
2:5-11). So, when we’re frustrated and stressed out, we must
ask ourselves, “What difference will this make in eternity?”
In the end, preparing ourselves by faith for that inevitable
interview with our Creator is the true purpose of life.
Everything else in this world is ultimately like arranging deck
chairs on the Titanic.
-- Via The Old Hickory Bulletin, April 10, 2016, Volume 36, #15
Proverbs 10:9 states, “He who walks in integrity walks securely, but
he who perverts his ways will be found out.” Vine’s dictionary
defines “integrity” as “moral and ethical soundness.” A person who
lives his life according to the dictates of integrity walks a
straight and even path of righteousness, and he never has to worry
about being tripped up over a lie that he has told in the past. The
dishonest person walks in a zigzag path of deception, and his
deceitfulness will always be found out eventually, no matter how
diligently he tries to cover his tracks.
Dishonesty just has a way of making itself known, and when that
happens, relationships are always injured. Psalm 15:1-3 demonstrates
the power of integrity in the building of strong relationships: “O
LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks
truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, nor does
evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend.” A
lack of integrity will always bring harm to every relationship that
we have — with ourselves, with our loved ones, and with our God.
Verse 2 says the person of integrity speaks truth in his own heart.
As long as we choose to deceive ourselves, we will never have the
peace of mind that God wants us to have in Christ. People often live
in denial of the fact that they have problems with drugs, alcohol,
pornography, immorality, stealing, cheating, lying, cursing, etc.
Until a person is honest with himself and admits there are issues to
be dealt with, he will always undermine his relationship with self,
and sabotage his own physical, mental, and spiritual health.
A person who lacks integrity will also never develop healthy
relationships with other people. Verse 3 says the person of
integrity does no evil to his neighbor. Deception is hurtful and
evil, and when people find out that we have done them wrong, they
have a hard time trusting us in the future. Vibrant relationships
are based on trust. So if we speak the truth in love we
strengthen the bonds of unity (Ephesians 4:15), but if we are
untrustworthy we always fracture our friendships.
Integrity is also required for a spiritual relationship with God.
Verse 1 says that only the person of integrity can dwell in the
tabernacle of the Lord and live on His holy hill. For us that simply
means that if we want to dwell securely in the church of Jesus
Christ where all access to the Father is found, we must live
upright, godly, and truthful lives. That requires integrity in our
worship as well, since all worship must be offered in spirit and in
truth to the Lord (John 4:24).
I really think verse 4 of Psalm 15 best captures the essence of
integrity. The psalmist writes that the person of integrity, “swears
to his own hurt, and does not change.” When he takes a vow or makes
a commitment, he follows through with it even if he has to suffer in
the process. That means he’s determined to do the right thing no
matter what, and no matter how badly other people might be
misbehaving. It’s not always easy to walk with integrity but it is
always best — and it’s the only way to walk securely with our
Creator on the path that leads to heaven.
— Via Online Articles from the Manslick Road church of Christ, March
"Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You"
Researchers found that the percentage of Americans who claim they
never pray reached an all-time high in 2014, up five-fold since the
1980s. Over the same time period, belief in God and interest in
spirituality appears to have similarly declined, especially among
young adults. In 2014, the number of 18 to 22-year-olds who
reported no religious affiliation rose from 11% in the 1970s to 36%;
the percentage who said they never pray rose from 4% to 28%. Belief
in God and attendance at religious services declined by half while
self-reported spirituality declined five-fold (via Vocativ.com).
Romans 1:20, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of
the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are
made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without
— Via The Beacon, Greg Gwin, March 29, 2016
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is
declaring the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1, NASB).
News & Notes
Let those of us who can pray be remembering the following people in
Tanya Terrones has been having some terrible sciatic pain for
the last couple weeks. Though somewhat better in the mornings,
it has her cringing every day by the afternoon. She has
found a little relief with ice, and will be seeing a doctor this
Let us also continue to remember the family and friends of those who
recently lost the following loved ones: Brian Keith Corbitt,
Campbell Jude “Camp” Tatum, KeAnuenue Hayashi, Gary White, Janice
Members, and Cheryl Thomas.
Jim Lively is now doing a new kind of cardio therapy.
Plus continuing his previous therapy as well.
Shirley Davis will be seeing her doctor in Valdosta this
Tuesday to determine if she is now ready for her knee replacement.
Also to keep in prayer: Lexi Crawford, Charles Crosby, the
Medlocks, Kay Byars, La Donna Andrews, Mary Vandevander, Kelli
Fleeman, Brianna Mackey, James “Buddy” Gornto, Billy Lowe, and
WordPress Version of this week's bulletin:
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts
2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet.
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not,
salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 p.m. (Ladies' Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
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