July 28, 2019
"Go therefore and
make disciples of all
them to observe all that
I commanded you, and lo,
I am with you always,
even to the end of the
age" (Matthew 28:19-20,
1) Passion (Robert Hudson)
2) The Faith of Barak (Derek Long)
3) News & Notes
I ask you to think for a moment on this question: What is your
passion? What are you passionate about? This very question is one
that would often be misunderstood, one that would very often only be
considered from an illicit sexual standpoint. This is an injustice
to a very strong and thought-provoking word. The word can be defined
in many ways and the most common is that which we will examine in
this article. Webster states that passion "usually implies a strong
emotion that has an overpowering or compelling effect."
With this in mind let us again ask ourselves what has this strong
effect in our lives, our thoughts, our direction in life? Is it God?
Well it should be; nothing should change us more than the influence
of God in our lives. How many of us can see the impact of God in the
lives of those around us? We need to feel this impact so strongly in
ourselves, in our day to day living that there is no doubt or
question when we proclaim that our God and his word is our passion.
In Philippians 3:8 Paul writes, "I also count all things loss for
the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I
have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish,
that I may gain Christ." The words of the apostle here are most
applicable to our train of thought; he had changed what meant the
most to him, thereby he changed his passion. He was no longer driven
by that which once had been his motivation, in fact he had laid that
down, left it behind, and viewed it as worthless and even as trash
which he had no desire or use for.
This concept of changing our passion or finding a new motivation is
one that is developed throughout the ministry of Christ and
continued in each of the books of the New Covenant. Peter clearly
informs us that we must change in 1 Peter 2:1-2, "Therefore laying
aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,
as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow
thereby." We recognize that the evil works listed by Peter all have
tremendous motivational powers. It is not unusual at all to see
someone whose passion is that of envy, and that envy takes over all
direction and guidance of his life until he ends up warped and
twisted shells of the person that he once was. The apostle tells us
to change what is directing us; in essence he says, "Turn from
passions of evil to passions of righteousness."
We often refer to patriots or martyrs as men of passion. Why?
Because their conviction is so strong that they are willing to die
for the cause. They demonstrate a high level of visibility
concerning what they believe in, what they stand for. This is viewed
as an honorable trait, and we need to develop this same degree of
intensity in order to be pleasing to, and effective for our Savior
and God. I guess the whole point here comes down to one rather
simple question, how much does God mean to you? As easy a question
that this is to ask, it's much more difficult to honestly answer.
Are we passionate about our service to Christ?
One of the most dramatic illustrations of passionate service and
dedication to God is found in the death of the Judge over Israel,
the man of God Eli. This is recorded in 1 Samuel 4:12-18; for
reasons of space I shall set the context for you. The children of
Israel had just lost a major battle to the Philistines, the army had
fled, many people had been killed and the ark of God had been stolen
by the enemy. Eli, who was 98, heard all of this from a young man
who had escaped. Not only did this young man bear this news of great
defeat and destruction, he also informed Eli that two of his own
sons had died in this battle. Let us notice what Eli's reaction was
to all this. "Now it happened, when he made mention of the ark of
God, that Eli fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate;
and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy.
And he had judged Israel forty years" (1 Sam. 4:18). What news had
the most impact on Eli? Find that and we find his passion. It wasn't
the fact that the army had fled, or that many had died. Yes, these
hurt him; his own children had been killed and he would see them no
more. What hit this man of God the hardest was that the ark of God
had been taken by an ungodly people. He cared about all of these
other things, but he cared most about God. God was his passion.
Eli is not the only example of a passionate servant that we find in
the Scriptures. Time after time we see men and women who were
willing to die for, and most importantly, live for their Father and
God. The question that needs to be addressed at this time is where
did their godly zeal and passion come from? The writer of the Hebrew
letter after discussing many of these impassioned men says, "all
these obtained a good testimony through faith." All spiritual
direction and guidance, all righteous motivation, all godly passion
must be grounded in faith. After all how can one truly be devoted
and given to that which does not have his total trust and
conviction? With faith comes a degree of passion and, as that faith
grows, passion grows with it.
Our passion for God is predicated by our level of knowledge. We have
all heard of a vicious circle, some set of unfortunate events that
demand all the strength that only God could supply. What made Jesus
rise up and walk to a quiet place to talk to God? The same thing
that will make you get up earlier, or stay up later, or watch one
less TV program so that you may pray to your Heavenly Father, a true
passion for God.
Intensity and depth, love and devotion, strength and discipline,
these are the elements that form the passion for God that all of us
must have in order to please God, to serve him, and to bring others
to him. Passion is such a misunderstood and yet powerful word; does
it dwell in your heart as far as your God and Savior is concerned?
— Via Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 4, pp. 117, 120, February
The Faith of Barak
During the days when Deborah was serving as a prophetess and judge
in the land of Israel, we are introduced to the individual named
Barak (Judges 4:4-6). Deborah commissions Barak to go to Mount
Tabor against the forces of Sisera with ten thousand men of Naphtali
and Zebulun (Judges 4:6-7). Barak will demonstrate for us the
type of faith we must have to be acceptable and pleasing to
God. The Hebrew writer calls our attention to the faith of
Barak among others in Hebrews 11:32. He writes, “And what more
shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and
Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the
prophets.” What are some important lessons we can learn from
the example of Barak?
* Like many people who are mentioned in Hebrews 11 as examples of
faith, Barak was not immediately confident or sure perhaps.
Judges 4:8 says, “And Barak said to her, ‘If you will go with me,
then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not
go!’” Perhaps Barak shows he was not someone who was simply
confident in himself to be able to go up against Sisera all
alone. Deborah was a prophetess and perhaps he wanted to know
God was with him and thus wanted God’s spokesperson with him.
Because of Barak’s statement Deborah tells him there will be no
glory for him but Sisera will be given into the hand of a woman
* Barak’s faith can be seen in the fact he obeys the instructions
given by the Lord through Deborah. Deborah instructed him to
take ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and Judges 4:10 says,
“And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; he went up with
ten thousand men under his command, and Deborah went up with
him.” A second example of Barak’s obedience to the
instructions given to him by the Lord is in Judges 4:14.
Judges 4:14 says, “Then Deborah said to Barak, ‘Up! For this
is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your
hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?’ So Barak
went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following
him.” God, through Deborah, tells Barak to go up to the battle
and Barak goes. People who have the type of faith which
results in salvation are those who are willing to hear and heed
God’s commands. Do we have such a faith?
* Judges 5 records for us a song sung by Deborah and Barak after the
defeat of Sisera’s army. Notice what they say about the
victory Israel had just had. Judges 5:4-5 says, “Lord, when
You went out from Seir, when You marched from the field of Edom, the
earth trembled and the heavens poured, the clouds also poured water;
the mountains gushed before the Lord, this Sinai, before the Lord
God of Israel.” Judges 5:13 says, “Then the survivors came
down, the people against the nobles; the Lord came down for me
against the mighty.” The song ends in Judges 5:31 by saying,
“Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Lord! But let those who
love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength.”
The song Deborah and Barak sing after their victory ascribe their
success to God and not to themselves. Faith in God leads us to
see ourselves as servants of God. Faith in God leads us to see
our efforts as being made prosperous because of the Lord.
Faith in God allows us to praise God for the things He does through
Barak may not be as well-known as someone like Abraham but he
provides us a good example of faith for us to follow. Do we
seek to have a type of faith which allows us to please God (Hebrews
11:6)? Do we seek to learn from the example of the faith of
others who lived by their faith in God?
— Via the Oak Grove church of Christ Bulletin, Jennings, Florida,
July 14, 2019
News & Notes
Folks to remember in prayer:
Doyle Rittenhouse has been having some recent trouble with his
pulse being too high, and his blood pressure and sugar levels too
low. He will be seeing his doctor again tomorrow.
Melotine Davis recently had an MRI and is now waiting to
hear the results. This is concerning a new and different kind
of pain she has in her leg, following her recent back surgery.
Jan Bartlett's cancer was eliminated through her recent
surgery. As a precautionary measure, she will soon begin
radiation treatments. She is also deciding on whether to do
the chemo, as well.
Penny Medlock has been having some trouble with her
medication and is now back at St. Simons-By-The-Sea.
Mary Ann Fuller who is in the hospital has requested the
prayers of the saints on her behalf.
Myrna Jordan has not been feeling well lately.
Ronnie Davis recently had a shot for the painful arthritis
that he began developing a few months ago in his knees, and it has
Let us also continue to remember in prayer those folks with ongoing
ailments and health issues: Shirley Davis, A.J. & Pat
Joyner, Jim Lively, Bud Montero, Rick Cuthbertson, Deborah Medlock,
Mary Vandevander, Nancy Pinckard, Mary Martin, Waylon Murray,
Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson,
Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Roger Montgomery
WordPress version of this week's bulletin:
that is how
2) Believe in
the deity of
3) Repent of
5) Be baptized in
water for the
1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in
the faith, living
for the Lord;
for, if not,
be lost (Heb.
2:10; 2 Pet.
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10
a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
(Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
(Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but
back to March 1990)