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" (Matthew
March 10, 2019
1) Almost or Altogether? (Rick Lanning)
2) A Broken Glass (Rufus Clifford)
3) News & Notes
Almost or Altogether?
The old saying, “Almost only counts in horse shoes and hand
grenades” makes a very illustrative point. You get a point in horse
shoes even if you don’t get a ringer simply by being “close” to the
stake. The purpose in military combat is simply to get the hand
grenade “almost” to the target, allowing the explosion to damage or
destroy the surrounding area. This popular idiom emphasizes the
exception, not the rule. The rule being, “almost is not good
“Almost” jumping over a ten foot hole lands you at the bottom with
an injury or death. “Almost” winning the game leaves you as a loser.
“Almost” passing the test means you failed. “Almost” starting the
car in a Minnesota winter means you are stranded and paying big
bucks for a tow truck and auto repairs. “Almost” being in Noah’s ark
means you drowned in the flood. You can see that “almost” just
doesn’t get it. Yes, there are exceptions to that rule, but not
many. And the one example of that rule that is sadder than all
others put together is the story of King Agrippa.
Paul had been arrested and had already given his defense to the
Roman commander Claudius Lysias (Ac. 22-23), and to the Roman
governor Felix, who sadly replied: “Now as he reasoned about
righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was
afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient
time I will call for you’” (Ac 24:25). His convenient time
likely never came, leaving him “almost” saved. Two years later Paul
stands before the next governor Portius Festus, and when seeing he
would not get a fair trial, used his right of Roman citizenship to
say, “I appeal to Caesar!” Before sending him Festus needed
some worthy reason and so had Paul appear before his court, having
invited King Agrippa to hear the case. Paul’s power of reason and
persuasion hit home to the king. Listen to this exchange in Acts
"King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do
believe." Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to
become a Christian." And Paul said, "I would to God that not only
you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and
altogether such as I am, except for these chains."
This Biblical record of the trial leaves us with the distinct
impression that this governor and this king never obeyed the gospel.
They were both oh-so-close, but as we have learned, almost doesn’t
count. Just like you cannot be “almost pregnant” (either you are, or
you aren’t), neither can you be “almost Christian.” Either you are
born again, and thus have put on that “new man” in Christ, or you
are still that “old man” who stands condemned (Eph. 4:22-24; Col.
3:9-10). You can’t be half old and half new. You are one or the
other. Which is it?
Yes, “almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades,” for it
sure doesn’t count in salvation, nor will it count for anything at
Judgment. You will cry out, “Lord, Lord…” but He will only
reply, “Depart from Me, I do not know you” (Matt. 7:23).
Don’t be almost, but altogether, saved. Become a Christian today!
-- Via Online Bulletins from the Northwest church of Christ,
August 5, 2015
A Broken Glass
I was getting ready to go to service and I went into the bathroom
one last time and then it happened! A blue drinking glass that I had
set on the edge of my bathroom counter was hit by my coat as I
turned to walk out of the room. Boom! Well at least that’s what it
sounded like to me! I turned around and couldn’t believe how many
pieces of glass were lying on my bathroom and bedroom floor. I guess
they don’t make them like they use too, because when it hit the
floor pieces shattered and went everywhere. I didn’t have time to
clean it up then and when I got back from church I actually had
forgotten about that shattered glass. That is until I started to
walk into my bathroom. I got my trusty rainbow air purification
system (or vacuum to non-rainbow owners) and tried to clean up all
You might be wondering what this little story has to do with
spiritual matters? Well, as the days went by little pieces of glass
began showing up in the strangest places. The first one showed up on
one of my toes and stayed there for two days. The second one showed
up Friday night in Carey’s foot, at which point she removed hers,
and since she did such a good job I let her remove mine as well! I
began to think about how that shattered glass was like life.
Everything can be going along just right and then our lives can
become shattered by some trial or contrary wind that blows in our
life. We have the choice at that point to let our life remain
shattered or we can do something about it.
I thought about how sin often times is the culprit that shatters
many lives. Paul said (in Rom. 3:23), “For all have sinned and come
short of the glory of God.” I thought about how God fixes our
shattered lives when we obey His holy word: “For I will be merciful
to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I
remember no more” (Heb. 8:12). I thought about how shattered
lives can be cleaned up but often times there remains some
consequence, some little thing that pops back up as a result of the
trouble that caused the disaster. The psalmist said (in Ps. 55:22),
“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall
never suffer the righteous to be moved.” I can’t put back the pieces
of that glass where they once were but I can put back the pieces of
my life with God’s help anytime. He can fix any broken life!
We sing the song, “Bring Christ your broken life, so marred by sin,
He will create anew make whole again.” Has your life ever been
shattered by some unforeseen event? If not, get ready for that’s
part of living on this earth. When it does happen, I hope you will
remember this little story about my broken glass. I hope you will
clean up the mess and go on with your life!
God loves us and sent Christ into the world so a life shattered by
sin or some misfortune could be made whole again! I thought that
glass was helpful before I broke it. But looking back, I see now,
I’ve gotten more help from it since it shattered!
— Via The Old Hickory Bulletin, December 24, 2017, Volume 37,
"The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all."
— Psalm 34:17-19, NASB
News & Notes
Folks to be remembering in prayer:
Billy Harris Sr. was transferred to the Jacksonville Memorial
Hospital last Sunday where they did a cauterization on the part of
his intestine that had been bleeding and was able to stop it.
They also had him swallow a video camera that was in a capsule to
make sure he was all right elsewhere, and everything checked out
fine. He is now back home and even back to work.
Amris Bedford had a brain tumor taken care of when she was
just 2 years old. She is now 9, and the tumor has recently
returned. Last week, she had a lumbar puncture and will be
undergoing 8 to 10 radiation treatments, with chemo as an option, at
the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis.
Kayleigh Tanner is only 3 years old; but she recently had a
kidney removed, due to a tumor. They have also found cancer in
her lung and a tumor on her liver.
James Medlock, who is 93, is now in the hospital because of
flu and a weakness that is keeping him from being able to stand.
After his flu clears up, he will be transferred to rehab.
Pat Joyner will be having outpatient surgery March 13 and
would appreciate your prayers.
Penny Medlock came down with bronchitis recently, which has
also affected her asthma. She still has a bad cough and is
being treated with antibiotics.
Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Gene
Kaplan, Arthur Laverne Robertson, and of Eddie Fullard; A.J. &
Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Elizabeth Harden, Anita Young, Doyle
Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Shirley
Davis, Mary Vandevander, Michelle Rittenhouse, Marilyn
Roberts O'Berry, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer,
Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie
Hadley, and Tommy Linn
I (Tom Edwards) will be having cataract surgery this Thursday
(March 14) and would also appreciate your prayers. I'm looking
forward to the vision improvement!
Our gospel meeting with Gene Taylor will be April
7-10 (Sunday through Wednesday). Sunday services will be
at our regular times (9, 10, and 5), but the weeknight services will
begin at 7:30.
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 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in
Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts
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. 3:21).
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.
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross,
Sunday services: 9:00
a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. &
5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m.
(Ladies' Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m.
Edwards (912) 281-9917
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