Wednesday, August 29, 2007

World Record!!!

I enjoy seeing people break world records. Often, when a young person tells me it’s their birthday, I respond, "You have broken a world record!!! Never in the history of the entire world have you ever been five years old before. That is a world record!!!"
I broke a world record last Saturday. I have been running 38 years. I have run in uncounted 5K’s, 10K’s, three half marathons, and three marathons. I had never won a trophy. Never first, second, or third in overall competition. Never first, second, or third in my age group. That changed Saturday.
This past weekend was Founder’s Day in Eddyville, Kentucky. It was a weekend of music, crafts, a parade, and vendors with barbecue, cotton candy, funnel cakes, and more. They had the first Founder’s Day Fun Run and Walk Saturday morning. The two-mile trip started and ended at the Lyon County Middle School across the road from where we live. Members of the Eddyville church of Christ made up half the field of runners and walkers: Zach Lisanby, my wife, Gail, and me.
We started on time at 7:00 a.m. I finished 17 minutes and 9 seconds later – second in my age group. The other man, Clem Wethington, finished first with some distance between us. He was nice to run and talk with me to the turn around point – the fire plug at the NAPA store. Then he left and finished well.
After the run, I walked downtown and watched the three-on-three basketball competition and the parade. I was impressed by the cars carrying the 2007 Miss Founder’s Day Pageant winners. There was Miss Founder’s Day, another with Junior Miss Founder’s Day, followed by additional cars and pickups carrying Little Miss Founder’s Day, Petite Miss Founder’s Day, Tiny Miss Founder’s Day, Wee Miss Founder’s Day, and Baby Miss Founder’s Day. There was also a vehicle carrying third and fourth runners up. My guess is that many (if not all) were breaking world records. I did not hear one complaint that the organizers were giving too much recognition to too many people.
We followed that with a barbecue sandwich and Hawaiian shaved ice with Joe and Cheryl Walker. I enjoyed the party!!!
And I feel encouraged at breaking a world record with my first trophy for running!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Learning to Love my Friend(s) 5

Sunday night we had a family meeting at Eddyville. Joe Walker, one of our elders, said that the elders were considering installing power point and a system for recording sermons. He asked for input from the congregation about this. We discussed the continued process of gathering the information for the statistics for the congregation for the past 46 years. Many are cooperating in this project. We passed out a questionnaire on our Bible school. 30 people participated in providing information on that. The results were interesting and should be helpful in improving this part of our work. We discussed the preacher selection process. Books have been ordered and given to the elders that give suggestions on how to proceed. The last part of the meeting was the criticism -- "What do you think about the preacher?". I appreciate everyone who participated in this. I promised to : (1) Listen; (2) Write it down; (3) Think about it. I look forward to our next criticism session in 3 months. Thank you for helping me improve.

Tonight, we finished half of the classes in our elder, deacon, preacher, spouse study on Jesus as our Friend. Everyone was present. We had a good discussion of grief -- how it affects us and how we can minister to our friends in grief. We are planning a graduation on a 4th Sunday night after we have completed the 10 lessons.

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My Friend Jesus Understands Me When I Am Sad

A. What can we learn from the two shortest verses in the Bible? John 11:35; 1 Thessalonians 5:16
B. Was Jesus obeying the principle in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 when he wept in John 11:35?
C. What is the biblical teaching about the painful feelings of grief and sorrow?
1. Is it, “Don’t worry – be happy?”
2. What did Jesus experience in the hours immediately preceding the cross? Matthew 26:37,38; Luke 22:44
3. Is it true that if we will just keep our minds on heaven, we won’t be concerned about these things which happen on earth? 1 Peter 1:3-6
4. Which does the Bible say is better, mourning or laughter? Ecclesiastes 7:2-4
a. Did he say it was more fun, enjoyable?
b. How could sorrow be better than laughter?
c. Is it wrong, sinful to laugh? Proverbs 17:22
d. How do you reconcile these verses?
e. What is the principle and blessing that Jesus states in the beatitudes that relates to this discussion? Matthew 5:4

A. What did Isaiah prophesy about Jesus that would qualify Him to understand me in my sorrow? Isaiah 53:3,4
B. Notice the examples of Jesus crying.
1. Why did Jesus cry over the city of Jerusalem? Luke 19:41-44
2. Jesus cried when Lazarus died.
a. What was Jesus’ relationship with Lazarus? John 11:3,11
b. What stages of grief do you see in this event in the life of Jesus? John 11:19-37
C. Notice the example of Jesus understanding the apostles.
1. While some may say that the apostles were unconcerned and indifferent, Jesus gave another observation. Matthew 26:40,41
2. To what does Luke, the doctor, attribute their sleep? Luke 22:45
3. This followed his unique comment about the intensity of Jesus’ agony. Luke 22:44

A. What is grief?
B. When do we suffer grief; what is the key word?
C. What are some possible reactions to grief?
D. Should the Christian try to deny and suppress feelings of grief as soon as possible since the Bible says that we should “sorrow not”? 1 Thessalonians 4:13, KJV

A. How can I help others who are experiencing loss?
B. What are some things I can do months after the loss?
C. How would the stages of grief relate to someone leaving another religion and those connected with it?
D. How would it be possible for someone to experience grief over giving up some sinful habit or practice?

A. Be aware of your feelings when you lose small things.
B. Practice grieving as one with hope in these small losses.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Learning to Love my Friend(s) 4

I was with the Upper Sinking congregation in Hickman County, Tennessee, last week in a 6-day Gospel Meeting. They had good attendance at each service. One of the highlights of the week was a children's class each night at 7:15. Out of a congregation of about 45, there were 13 children in the class. Most of them were present for every service. Joe Bates has recently started preaching and working with this congregation. They are enthusiastic about doing the Lord's work.

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Tonight, we had the fourth of the classes for elders, deacons, and spouses at Eddyville. These families are investing interest and energy in these studies. Each class lasts 2 1/2 hours. I appreciate and I am encouraged by the desire to learn and to be more effective that these leaders are showing.

Below is the outline of tonights class:

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My Friend Jesus Understands Me When I Am Tempted
Lesson 4

A. Why do you think Jesus was really tempted to do these things at this time in His life? Matthew 4:1-10
B. What is temptation?
1. Is it a sin to be tempted?
2. Is it a sin to think about sinning?
3. Have you ever been tempted to do anything you have never thought about doing?
4. Is it a sin to want to sin?
5. Have you ever been tempted to do anything you did not want to do? James 1:13-15; Matthew 5:28
6. What sacrifices might one have to make to overcome temptation? Matthew 5:29,30
C. How can I know whether I am thinking about sinning as Moses or Jesus did (being tempted) or whether I am already sinning?
1. Am I looking at all known choices and their consequences?
2. Am I looking for truth or an excuse?
3. Am I being honest with myself? Psalm 51:6; Psalm 139:23,24

A. Have I given myself permission to look at more than one choice and be confused? Hebrews 11:24-27
1. Did Moses think about making the right choice (obeying and honoring God and His will)?
2. Did Moses think about sinning (making the wrong choice)?
a. How long was it from the time that Moses “became of age”, leaving his place as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, until he led the people of God out of Egypt? Acts 7:20-35; Acts 7:23,30
b. How enthusiastic was Moses, even after this period of time to obey God, face Pharaoh, and lead the Israelites out of Egypt? Exodus 3,4
c. What do you learn from Moses and his decision-making process?
B. Evaluate these statements in helping people to deal with temptation:
1. “What you need to do is just forget about this temptation, not think about it any more, and that will solve your problem.”
2. “Many people sin, not because they think about sinning, but because they do not think about sinning enough.”
C. Is this a candy decision or a car decision?

A. What should I expect from a true friend during temptation?
1. Condemnation that I should ever think of doing the wrong thing?
2. Telling me I cannot do what I am thinking about doing?
3. Agreement with whatever I wanted to do?
4. Detailed instructions on what to think and how to act?
5. Something else?
B. How can I be a friend like Jesus to someone who is experiencing temptation? Hebrews 2:17,18

Conclusion: Thinking about the next class: My Friend Jesus Understands Me When I Am Sad.
A. Be prepared not to enjoy or necessarily “feel good” preparing for or participating in this class.
1. How did Jesus learn obedience? Hebrews 5:8,9
2. How did Jesus describe the process of following Him? Luke 9:23,24
B. Think about a loss or losses you have had in your life and how you have or have not experienced different stages of grief.