THE OZARK LETTER
A Publication of the Mid-Missouri Church of God
Lake of the Ozarks Volume X, Issue 7 JULY, 2006
Matthew 6: 19-21 — Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and
where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor
rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart
will be also.
“In the good old summertime …….” Words to a song and, yes, we are definitely into summertime.
There are many good things that come to mind when we think of July, such as the tasty home-grown
vegetables right out of the garden and also fresh cut flowers from the garden, and not to forget picnics
and sitting out in the swing enjoying the summer breeze and enjoying a swim at the pool. Oh…by the
way, Happy Canada Day (July1st) to all of our Canadian friends! Yes summer is upon us, and we hope
that wherever you are you’ve been enjoying good health, good weather, and staying comfortable! But
did you ever wonder what it might have been like in July of an earlier year – say about 1860? The
courageous, hard-working people of that year would certainly be astonished at what they would find
today! (Can you imagine it??) We need to be continually thanking God for the many blessings that we
have today and that make our lives so much easier for all of us — all the modern conveniences that we’ll
be enjoying this summer are merely a few of those blessings!
INDEPENDENCE DAY: Probably the only national holiday that we have in our country that is almost
always referred to as the “4th of July”. To all of you everywhere – have a safe and happy holiday.
We have had some changes at MMCG and we ask for continued prayers for our small group. We are
now having our services and potlucks at the same Versailles address, but in different rooms. Come join
us. See the last page of this newsletter for the directions and telephone numbers. As of June, 2006,
MMCG no longer sponsors Ron Dart’s, Born to Win Radio Program on KS95. Ambrose Whaley is now
Attached with this July Ozark Letter is a postcard that you can mail back to us indicating if you wish to
stay on our mailing list. We have not updated the mailing list since about 2000. We hope that you
enjoy the newsletter and look forward to any suggestions that you might have about future articles.
There also is a questionnaire about the Feast of Tabernacles 2006. We do plan to host the Feast again
this year at the Baymont Inn and we can always use extra help. If you are interested in being a speaker
or helping in any way, contact Rory Ries at 636-931-5511 or Ambrose Whaley at 573-392-1232. The
theme for this year is: Let There Be Peace on Earth. We will have some of the same activities that we
have had in the past, but we are always open to new suggestions. There is Feast assistance available, but
the MMCG Board of Trustees does request this year, that you put your request in writing. Your request
will then be presented to MMCG’s Board of Trustees as soon as possible and one of the board members
will get an answer back to you. Only emergency requests will be considered after September 25, 2006.
Various motels in the area and their rates will be in upcoming newsletters, on the website, or you can
call Ambrose Whaley at 573-392-1232.
2006 HOLY DAY CALENDAR
(All services will be held at the Mid-Missouri Church of God (MMCG) unless otherwise specified
below. MMCG’s location is at the bottom of the last page of this newsletter.
Sep 23, Saturday, 1:30pm – Feast of Trumpets
Oct 2, Monday, Day of Atonement
Oct 7-13, Sat-Fri, Feast of Tabernacles (Baymont Inn, Lake Ozark, MO)
Oct 14, Saturday Eighth Day Festival ” ” ” ” ”
CARRY YOUR BAGS, SIR?
Lenny Cacchio, Lee’s Summit, MO (May 20, 2006)
My father grew up in a small Pennsylvania town during the Great Depression. He used to tell stories
about going down to the train station to earn a few nickels by offering to carry people’s luggage. Once
he asked a passenger, “Carry your bag, sir?” The man said, “No, she can walk”.
Now my Dad is a bit of a kidder, but he insists this really happened. Maybe it did, but there is a real
point in carrying people’s baggage. The Apostle Paul tells us to “bear one another’s burdens, and so
fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2)
Just like that traveler in the train station, all of us have baggage that we’re carrying from somewhere, and
it behooves us to help each other with our respective loads. Some time ago one of the men in our
congregation gave a sermon about worship in services, and he pointed out that the Psalms talk about
many things that would seem strange in my church culture, but are perfectly all right from a scriptural
point of view.
For example, the Bible talks about lifting up one’s hands in praise (Psalm 28:2, 134:2). It talks about
praising God in the sanctuary with music and dance (Psalm 150). And one of the Psalms (Psalm 136)
seems to be a case where the service leader sings a line, and the congregation responds over and over
with the same line (“his mercy endureth forever). The point was made that there is nothing wrong,
biblically, with a scripture reading accompanied by a congregational
Now I’ll admit that this is a sensible point well-made. Read the Psalms for what they say, and it
is evident that congregational praise in Israel was more dynamic than the typical church service that
many of us are used to. But baggage we carry from our respective histories might make us
uncomfortable with some of these things.
A week or two after we heard this sermon, another one of our men had a scripture reading, and he chose
the 136th Psalm – the one with the congregational response – and he asked the congregation to respond
to each line with “for his mercy endureth forever”. Now we have just seen that a congregational
response is scriptural. And most of our congregation participated with no problem. But I was surprised
at my own reaction. With my mind I knew there was nothing wrong with it, but my emotions implied
something else, for the baggage from my past kept coming to mind. In my mind’s eye I could see
myself back in the old days of incense and Gregorian Chants. For the life of me, I couldn’t get the words
out of my mouth: “His mercy endureth forever” – a biblical response to a biblical statement.
It was not wrong for the congregation to have a congregational response, and it was up to me to deal
with my own baggage. As for the congregation, they are to “accept him whose faith is weak, without
passing judgment on disputable matters” (Romans 14:1). And nobody judged me because I couldn’t get
the words out of my mouth.
Paul further tells us to “stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put
any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” (v13) And then in Chapter 15,”We then who are
strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his
neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself.”
Too often we snap to judgment instead of understanding. If we understand our brother, we can
help him carry his baggage.
Too often we exclude those whose baggage looks different from ours. But Biblical Christianity is
inclusive, and differences in culture are considered gifts rather than hindrances to fellowship.
We must be willing to bear one another’s burdens. I bore the congregation’s burden and they bore mine.
Have you carried anyone’s bags lately? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
WOE TO YOU . . .
(Submitted by Rory Ries, Festus, MO)
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin,
and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you
should have done, without leaving the others undone” (Matt. 23:23). Christ is addressing those
who were in charge of caring for the people. According to the historians, the Pharisees had
taken over the seat of Moses because they were the stronger party at that time and because
the Sadducees were becoming more Hellenistic.
The Pharisees were for the “common people” while the Sadducees were from the direct line of
the Zadok Priests. The Pharisees were very rigid and demanding as far as making rules that
were very burdensome on the people. They studied the Law and they added their
interpretation to the Law. They had strict guidelines as far as what a person could do or not do
on the Sabbath. They made decisions on who could attend church and who could not attend
church. Again, these decisions were based on their interpretation of the Law. They missed out
on the heavier matters of the Law as Christ had pointed out to them, justice, mercy, and faith.
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do
justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8)? Another word for mercy
here is loving-kindness. Love and kindness is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). It
doesn’t matter how many sacrifices and offerings we make, it doesn’t matter if you tithe
regularly, and it doesn’t matter if you give up everything you own. If you do all these things but
you don’t do it with the right heart, it is all for nothing. That right heart is one that is just, loves
mercy, and is humble.
Does this mean we are not to worry about or forsake the Law? God forbid. The wages of sin is
death (Rom. 6:23) and sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4). The opposite attitude of the Pharisees
is that many professing Christians teach we do not have to keep the Law because it is
burdensome. Is that true? John said his commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3).
John was an advocate for keeping the 10 Commandments and he preached this throughout
his life. He even said that anyone who says he knows Christ and does not keep his
commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him (1 John 2:4).
So here we have one side preaching you must abide by all of the demands and rules set apart
in a very rigid way and then you have the other side saying you don’t have to keep any of the
commandments because they are a burden. What do you think? What do you think God
thinks? John says do not believe every spirit. He also says we are to test the spirits to see if
they are from God or from some false prophet (1 John 4:1).
Even though the Pharisees were the religious leaders of their time they were of the wrong
spirit. Some of the Pharisees left the group once the truth was revealed to them and they
became members of the body of Christ. Christ also told the Pharisees that they strain at a gnat
and swallow a camel (Matt. 23:24). They would strain out their wine with a cloth so they would
not swallow a bug because it was unclean, yet they had such hatred for Christ that they
wanted to murder him. Christ called them blind guides because they could not see the truth
and they were misleading people into following something that was not true.
The Pharisees were hindering people from coming to Christ. Christ said, “for you shut up the
kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who
are entering to go in (Matt 24:13).” He also told them they laid heavy burdens on men and they
didn’t even try to help those who needed help. This is not the attitude Christ is looking for in
those who wish to follow him.
Christ is also against those who preach it is okay to sin or that the law has been done away
with (Matt. 7:23). These are false prophets who have come to steal his flock away (2 Pet. 2:1).
Those who repent and are baptized and have hands laid upon them to receive the Holy Spirit
can discern what is of God and what is of man (John 7:16-18).
There is a healthy balance between the Pharisaical attitude and the attitude of, “it doesn’t
matter to God what you do.” Those who abide in Christ will walk as Christ walked (1 John 2:6).
Christ was obedient and Christ taught love. He gave the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke
10:30-37). He used a Samaritan, of all people, as the hero. Samaritans were considered the
scum of the earth by most people especially the Pharisees. The priest would not help the
stranger nor would the Levite. Christ then told his disciples to act like the Samaritan. Christ
used this parable to teach them to keep the second commandment, “love thy neighbor.”
A lawyer came up to Jesus and asked him which is the greatest commandment in the Law.
How did Jesus respond to that question? He told the lawyer to love God with all of your heart,
soul, and mind. He also said to love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:36-40). The Law has
not been nailed to the cross as many want to believe. Christ also said to another man, if you
want to enter into life you must keep the commandments ( Matt. 19:16-17).
We are to keep all 10 Commandments. When we keep them we are showing our love for God
and for our fellow-man. We live our lives in obedience as we walk with Christ. Along with
obedience, we do not lay heavy burdens upon others and we do not hinder anyone from
coming to Christ by making up doctrines of men. As each individual accepts Christ and they
submit their life into the hands of their Lord and Savior, the truth can then be revealed to them
and they can live their lives within the healthy balance their Eternal Father has created for
Articles submitted for inclusion in this publication will be selected according to size and content, and
will be subject to any necessary editing by the publishers. Please have your articles to the editor by the
15th of the month.
MID–MISSOURI CHURCH OF GOD
Lake of the Ozarks, PO Box 92, Eldon, MO 65026. Phone: 573-392-6677 or 573-392-1232; Email:
The Mid-Missouri Church of God (MMCG) holds Christian Sabbath services each Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
at 308 Fairground Road in Versailles, Missouri. This location is at the Village Park Senior Apartments
building, two blocks south of McDonald’s Restaurant. Please park in the northeast parking lot. Our
green and gold signs indicate the entrance. Coffee is always served for one half hour before and after
services. A Bible Study is scheduled at 12:15pm before services on the third Sabbath of each month.
Potluck meals after services are planned for the fourth Sabbath of each month. It is best to call ahead and
confirm times and locations if you are traveling any distance to visit us (see phone numbers above).
Occasionally we will cancel local services to attend en masse elsewhere. Come and enjoy the