August Greetings: “And the world passeth away, and the lust there of; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 1:17)
A Publication of the Mid-Missouri Church of God
Volume XIII, Issue 8
The Ozark Newsletter
Lake of the Ozarks
2009 HOLY DAY CALENDAR
Sept. 19—Feast of Trumpets (Saturday)
Sept. 28—Day of Atonement (Monday)
Oct. 3-9—Feast of Tabernacles (Saturday-Friday)
Oct. 10—Eighth Day Festival (Saturday)
Just a reminder that MMCG will not be hosting a Feast of Tabernacles in 2009, but will be supporting Ray Wooten and the United Christian Ministries who will have a Feast of Tabernacles at Lake Ozark at the Resort at Port Arrowhead. Contact the UCM office with any questions at 1-888-985-9066 or send an email to email@example.com. Feast of Tabernacles will be upon us before we know it. Ray and Peggy Wooten will be in the Lake Area for the latter part of the Feast. We need to keep everyone in our prayers for safe travel, unity, and an opportunity to serve.
This newsletter goes out to at least three jails, four libraries, six nursing homes, seven families in Canada, and various foreign countries. We are all from different backgrounds and I have a lot to learn; therefore, I hope that nothing in the Ozark Letter ever is offensive to its readers. Please do not hesitate to voice your opinion, good or bad about the newsletter. I am always thankful when someone gives me something that they think interesting and would like to see published in the newsletter.
This has been a very busy summer here. It has been twenty some years since I have canned green beans, but God blessed us with a bountiful crop this year and we will have green beans during the winter months. The good/bad thing about gardens is that everything ripens at the same time. Bad because you think, “I don’t want to see another green bean” and good because you have all the equipment out and ready and when they’re done, they’re done and on to another crop. The weather has been unusual this year, because we didn’t even get the garden planted until May and those green beans were planted in the mud. We have several tomato plants, but they seem to have stopped growing. God has provided rain just when needed – maybe sometimes more than needed, but at least we are not parched like some places in Texas. We have a lot of blessings.
Until next time — let go and let God. csh ******************************************************
By John R. Kennedy
(taken from the ACTS magazine, January, 2006)
Character. The word “character” has an interesting etymology. It comes to us from a Greek verb meaning “to scratch” or “to engrave.” This is probably because “Characters” of a language were often scratched or engraved into materials long before the invention of the printing press. Yet this article is not about that. The kind of “character” that I’m referring to is an individual’s distinguishable traits; that is, those traits that have been “scratched” or “etched” into a person. When we refer to a person’s character, as in Christ’s character, we are really talking about a person’s behavior. J.C. Watts, a Congressman from Oklahoma, once said, “Character is doing what’s right when nobody’s looking.” People raise questions about character all the time: “Is he honest?” “What values does he have?” As Billy Graham once said, “When wealth is lost, nothing is lost. When health is lost, something is lost. When character is lost, everything is lost.” Character is everything because it makes us who we are. We can have a good character or a bad one. As Christians, we must look to the Bible and follow the example of Christ’s character. Let’s now examine a recent case of character.
In September 2005, a young man from Louisville, Kentucky delivered a welcome speech at Dartmouth College student convocation. Noah Riner, the son of a Baptist minister, serves as the President of the Dartmouth Student Assembly. He had prepared what he hoped to be a provocative message about character. He certainly did that and more. Riner told the freshmen class that a college education includes more than imparting knowledge. He went on to argue that the higher goal of a college education is character development. So far, Riner’s message was pretty typical for this kind of event, but the fireworks started after he said: “Character has a lot to do with sacrifice, laying our personal interests down for something bigger. The best example of this is Jesus…He knew the right thing to do. He knew the cost would be agonizing torture and death. He did it anyway. That’s character.”
Upon closer examination of Riner’s comments, one is forced to conclude that there is certainly nothing wrong with advocating character development. For starters, what college or workplace doesn’t include something about character development in its institutional values? (Albeit, some times this is in name only.) Furthermore, what college or workplace willingly accepts a display of bad character, such as stealing or cheating? Many high school and college graduation speeches make clear references to character and the need for character in citizens. The character of an election candidate plays a key role with many voters. John Adams once said, “Society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.” After all, if you can’t trust someone’s character, how can you trust him? So it can be stated that character is essential for leadership. There is certainly nothing newsworthy about mentioning character development.
Now consider what the Vice-President of the Dartmouth Student Assembly wrote to Riner: “I consider your choice of topic for the convocation speech reprehensible and an abuse of power. You embarrass the organization, you embarrass yourself.” The vice-president wasn’t referring to Riner’s topic at all, which was character development, but he was blasting him for his use of Jesus as the “best example.”
Thus, the heart of the issue is not whether one should speak about character development. The fact is that many people oppose anything about Jesus and Christianity. We live in a post-Christian era where many hail all things unbiblical and immoral. Yet no one seems to mind when historical allusions are made to other figures from history, for example, the Buddha or Gandhi. In fact, Riner quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bono, an outspoken musician from the Irish music group U2, in his convocation speech. No one complained because of those quotes. He probably would have been hailed if he had quoted any other religious leader in history, so why the controversy about Jesus:
The very name and message of Jesus Christ stirs people. Why? Jesus himself said, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division” (Luke 12:51). Division exists between the believer and the unbeliever because they both advocate a different set of morals and values, a different worldview. This discrepancy between the ways of God and the ways of the world can be seen in the lives of people. Those of the world want their own thing, to live the way they want to live, and they are often carefree as to the consequences that their lifestyles will bring them. As Christians, we acknowledge that God’s way is not to be equated with our way. In our fallen state, we will do exactly what unbelievers do, live without reference to God. But we must remember, “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (1 John 1:17). Let’s now turn our attention to Christ’s character.
One way to know why Jesus was an effective leader is by examining His character. Jesus embodied the elements of a true leader not only because of what he said but also because of what He did. His leadership style was that of a servant-leader. Mark 10:45 captures this important theological concept by saying, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Another good example of this may be seen in the story concerning foot washing in John 12:4-13. As Jesus, the Master, began to wash His disciples’ feet, Peter emphatically declared, “Thou shalt never wash my feet” (John 13:8). Peter obviously missed the point of what Jesus was doing. Jesus calmly replies, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” Afterwards, Peter eagerly responded, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head” (John 13:9). How many times do we come to Jesus asking Him to wash our feet? Our hands? And our head?
Washing each other’s feet was an act of service, a symbol of humility. In the ancient world, this practice was also an act of hospitality and usually done by slaves or servants. Serving others was an important aspect of Christ’s character. So what lesson is there for us? If our Master was willing to perform the role of a servant in order to take care of and be a blessing to others, shouldn’t we do the same?
As a servant-leader, Jesus’ mission clearly advocated a new way, a higher calling. Although the 7th commandment concerning adultery had long existed from the time of Moses, Jesus raised the bar by saying, “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). It wasn’t about the letter of the law as so many Pharisees saw it. It was a matter of the heart. Why? “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19). Former Presidential candidate and Christian speaker Alan Keyes once states, “Character is the accumulated confidence that individual men and women acquire from years of doing the right thing, over and over again, even when they don’t feel like it.” Are you dong the right thing? Do you know what the right thing is?
The Bible is God’s special revelation to us. It offers us instruction for what is right and what is wrong. At some point, we all lead and influence someone. By knowing what God’s Word says about leadership and character and following Christ’s example, we can instill godly morals and values in others. Thus, we must acknowledge the necessity of the law because it points out our sins and our need for a Savior. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7). Once we are convicted of our sins, acknowledge the need for a Savior, and confess our sins, we can begin to grow in Him and rely upon the Holy Spirit and the Bible for guidance and direction.
By studying Christ’s character, one may gain some valuable insights into biblical leadership. One must note that Jesus was patient and kind, yet He was decisive and direct. He spoke the truth; He told people what they needed to hear, which was not necessarily what they wanted to hear. There was no circumlocution in Jesus’ message. And as people saw His character through His actions, He related to them and their circumstances. In short, Jesus gave the law to the proud and grace to the humble (See Proverbs 3:34; 1 Peter 5:5). An excellent example for that concept may be seen by contrasting the story of the rich, young man of Matthew 19: 16-28 with the woman caught in adultery of John 8:1-11. In both events, Jesus understood others and listened to them, and He knew when to talk and when to be silent, which are all good characteristics of a leader. Jesus also knew who would follow and who wouldn’t. Nevertheless, Jesus was always willing to make sacrifices for the benefit of others as long as they were willing to listen, unlike the rich, young man.
As the winds of indifference continue to blow, Christians must follow the example of Christ and advocate biblical morals and biblical values. In our ever-increasing secular world, people will question our beliefs, our intentions, and our mission. They may even call us names, accuse us of malicious things, or spread half-truths. Christians are not free from persecution or slander. Like the young Noah Riner, we must not be afraid to call upon the name of Jesus Christ in the public square, showing the relevancy and the need to have Christ in our lives. Jesus’ character speaks about who He is and what His purposes are. May we strive to be more like Jesus. Jesus leads; we follow.
(The following is from the Eldon ‘Weekly Standard’ and reprinted with permission)
By Michael Jones
When exactly did it become a crime to be a white and a conservative? It seems to be just fine to be white and liberal; it’s just not okay to be white and conservative. That seems strange to me.
I was raised to believe that there are good people in every race. I was never taught that white people were superior, or for that matter that any other race was inferior. That being said, I can’t understand why all of the sudden, everything I’ve been taught to believe about the Founding Fathers of this country, and all of the statesmen that came after them is wrong.
If you watch any news program, you would think that white conservatives are to blame for everything bad in this world. It’s our greed that has led to world hunger, every war in the 20th and 21st centuries, and the global warming crisis hoax. That’s not what the history books I learned from in school said. People of all colors and nationalities came together to build our country. People of all races have shed blood to earn our freedom and to keep us safe. We Americans are a very diverse group, who came to this land to do great things. We built this nation united, and our greatness will disappear if we allow ourselves to be divided.
We have to ask ourselves who stands to benefit from a divided America? In 1953, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev banged his shoe on a table at the United Nations and swore that the soviets would ‘Bury America without firing a shot’. As a child I was told they were going to do it with rock n’roll music, or drugs. Then as the USSR faded away, we all thought that the threat was gone, and we were no longer at risk. Today, that threat lives, and it has come from within.
I remember, one Sunday, as a child in church, the preacher said that at some point in time, Christians would be persecuted and that our country would be severely tested. I remember thinking that it could never happen here. You remember those days don’t you? We didn’t think we’d ever see a day when they would consider taking “In God we trust” off our money, or taking “One nation under God” out of our pledge of Allegiance?
It’s time Americans of all colors and creed rise up and take back our country. I refuse to feel guilty about the fact that I am a Christian. How do you feel? *****************
MID-MISSOURI CHURCH OF GOD
PO Box 92, Eldon, MO 65026/mailing address. Actual physical address is: 602 East North Street. Phone: 573-392-1232 or 573-498-3775; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.mmcg.org The Mid-Missouri Church of God (MMCG) holds Christian Sabbath services each Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at 602 East North Street, Eldon, MO… A Bible Study and song service is scheduled at 10:30am before Sabbath services. Potluck meals after services are planned for the fourth Sabbath of each month. A weekly Bible study is held each Thursday at 6:30pm. It is best to call ahead and confirm times if you are traveling any distance to visit us (see the phone numbers above). Occasionally we will cancel local services to attend en masse elsewhere. Come and enjoy the fellowship! Also, the first Wednesday of each month the ladies meet for a “get together” and you can contact Martha Roberts at 573-496-3202 or Charleen Gitthens at 573-392-5965 for location and time if you plan to attend. You can also check the events calendar on the website.