THE OZARK LETTER
A Publication of the Mid-Missouri Church of God
Lake of the Ozarks Volume X, Issue
5 MAY, 2007
MAY GREETINGS:And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as
God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
April showers bring May flowers and it also brings high school graduations. “School’s out” and
the children are excited just because summer vacation has begun. I am not sure that parents
look forward to school being out, with that same anticipation. The redbud and Bradford pear
trees have quit blooming and they were spectacular this year. The dogwood trees had a great
beginning, but the 19 degree temperatures just turned the buds brown. I am now looking
forward to seeing the blooms of the Iris and peonies.
We are now meeting at our new location. Thanks to all who helped and coordinated the
remodeling of the building – volunteering their time and/or money. MMCG is planning a service
on Pentecost to start at 11:30am with a potluck to follow the service. Come join us in the
Hope that you noticed the “graphics” in the April newsletter – they were provided by Terry
Craig. We look forward to having future articles provided by the Elston group, who have now
joined with us.
You have heard the saying “what a difference a day makes”. How true it is! We have a new
addition to our household, my ten year old great nephew. Many of you have been praying
about this and know something of the situation and we thank you for your prayers. The
transition for him and us has been much easier than expected. It is sad that in a divorce it is
always the children that get hurt. It is difficult to get a youngster to understand that he/she is
not the reason for the divorce; that life will go on and both parents love you, etc.
MMCG has decided to sponsor a Feast again this year and it will be held at the new location at
Eldon, 602 East North Street. The Baymont Inn was doing some remodeling the first part of
this year and when we called them to confirm our reservations; they had booked the
conference rooms to someone else during the middle part of our Feast days. Hopefully, having
the Feast at the Eldon location will not be an inconvenience to anyone. If you’re planning to be
with us and would be interested in preparing a sermon, sermonette, Bible study or seminar…or
serving as a music accompanist, soloist or youth classes leader, please get in touch by
contacting Bud or Connie Houston at 573-329-6677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or
perhaps you’d be interested in helping out with such things as literature display, greeting,
coffee and snacks, photography, games organizer, children’s activities, or variety show emcee.
We will probably have a traditional format with worship services at 10:30am on most days.
We will try to have some of the same activities that we have had in the past: Ladies Luncheon,
Variety Show, Table Games Night, Family Picnic, Bible Studies, etc. We plan to leave at least
one day completely open. There are many boat and houseboat rental marinas, more than a
dozen beautiful golf courses, miniature golf, go kart tracks, and an outlet mall with 102 stores.
Day cruises and dinner cruises on the Lake are available. The historic Bagnell Dam Strip is
also being renovated with new retail shops and attractions.
Information about accommodations will appear in a later newsletter. Ambrose and Diane
Whaley are the accommodations coordinators and can be reached at 573-392-1232 or email
2007 HOLY DAY CALENDAR:
May 27 – Pentecost (SUN)
September 13 – Feast of Trumpets (THURS)
September 22 – Day of Atonement (SABBATH)
September 27/October 3 – Feast of Tabernacles (THURS/WED)
October 4 – Eighth Day Festival (THURS)
He Wouldn’t Reach Back
(An article from The Sabbath Morning Companion, by Lenny Cacchio)
He was wrapped in an enigma, and so he is now. For thousands of years theologians have
bandied about how Judas could betray his friend and teacher for the price of a slave. The
depth of evil is thankfully unfathomable to most of us, and the why’s and wherefore’s of Judas’
betrayal we may never understand, but think of the length to which Jesus went to save Judas
from himself. Time and again Jesus both encouraged and warned Judas.
Along with the other apostles Judas received power and authority over demons and he cured
diseases (Luke 9:1-2). Miracles were performed at his hands!
Jesus washed Judas’ feet as an example of humility and service at the Lord’s Last Supper
Jesus warned him clearly about the direction he was going (“Have I not chosen you, the
Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” as in John 6:70 and Matt 26:24, “Woe to that man who
betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”).
Jesus gave indirect warnings through many of his parables (the Parable of the Unjust Steward,
the Parable of the True Vine, the Prodigal Son).
There were even gentle reprimands, such as in the loving anointing by Mary of Bethany, when
Judas objected to what he perceived as waste (“Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of
My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.” — John
To the very end, Jesus reached out to Judas, offering him friendship and compassion. When
Judas betrayed Him with the most famous kiss in history, Jesus greeted him with the greeting,
of “friend”. (Matthew 26:50)
Jesus never stopped reaching out to Judas, but for reasons beyond our ken, Judas refused to
reach back. In fact, when he realized the error of his ways, he turned to the chief priests
instead of the only One who could forgive him (“I have betrayed innocent blood” – Matthew
27:5) who not only could not forgive him, but who saw nothing to forgive.
We don’t know if Judas ever saw the big picture in his career with Jesus. We are told that it
would have been better had he never been born, and that’s a frightful thing to contemplate.
But it should be a comfort to us that Jesus never stopped reaching out to Judas, and
regardless of the turns our lives might take He will never stop reaching out to us. All we have
to do is accept His forgiveness and turn our ways back to Him no matter our crime. I am
convinced Jesus would have accepted Judas back, even as He accepted back the other
disciples, though they all fled and denied him. No sin is too great for His mercy. That’s the
message of hope in the story of Judas. >>>>>>>>>>
The following is from “New Horizons” January/February 2006 issue
Coming to Unity, by Bill Faith
Jesus urged unity on his disciples. How can we fulfill his prayer? Before He was taken captive,
interrogated and later crucified (John 17) we find recorded a prayer of Jesus. It must have
been quite intent knowing that His life on this earth as a human being was about to end. In fact
we read, “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. And His sweat became like great
drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).
In that prayer, Jesus surely must have mentioned the things most prevalent in His mind.
Indeed we find that one of His desires was that we would all be one. Jesus prayed, “I do not
pray for these alone [the disciples], but also for those who will believe Me through their word;
that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they may also be one in
Us…” (John 17:20-21).
There are probably many reasons why Jesus was concerned about their unity. For one thing,
He knew that they would stumble because of what was to happen to Him. In fact Jesus told His
disciples after He had eaten His last Passover meal with them that, “All of you will be made to
stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of
the flock will be scattered” (Matthew 26:31).
Surely as prophesied, for a short time after His death, several of the apostles returned to
commercial fishing; and of the thousands who had flocked to hear Him preach, only a handful
gathered together on the following Day of Pentecost to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when it
was first given.
Jesus also knew human nature. He knew that just after the Passover meal that night that there
had been, “…rivalry among them as to which of them should be considered the greatest” (Luke
22:24). He also probably recalled the time when the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him
asking that her two sons, “…may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your
kingdom” (Matthew 20:21).
Jesus also knew better than anyone the fruits of the flesh that would cause reason for concern:
jealousies, contentions, selfish ambitions, dissensions, envy, revelries and the like (see
As the New Testament testifies, the followers of Christ were not always unified. However, the
letters from Paul as well as from the other apostles indicate the fact that they tried earnestly to
unify the brethren.
Paul explained to the church in Ephesus that Jesus Himself, “…gave some to be apostles,
some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping
[perfecting] of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying [building up] of the body of
Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith…” (Ephesians 4:11-13).
We can learn from this that there is to be structure and order in the churches of God, the
opposite of what Satan, the author of confusion, would have us to do. Paul further explained
that the reason for having structure and order is so that we won’t be, “…tossed to and fro, and
carried about with every wind of doctrine” (v. 14).
In Hebrews 13:7, 17, we read, “Remember those who rule [lead] over you, who have spoken
the word of God to you, whose faith follow…” and “Obey those who rule over you, and be
submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account…” Again, we
see that there is to be structure, order and accountability in the church of God.
There were times when Paul even pleaded for unity in each church, such as in Ephesians 4:1-
6 when he wrote, “I…beseech you to have a walk worth of the calling with which you were
called, and all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;
on Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all…”
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote, “Let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same
mind” (3:16). To have unity, everyone must follow the same set of rules, or division is
Even within the same church it is important that everyone must follow the same rules if unity is
to be had. As Paul exclaimed to the Corinthian church (1:10), “Now I plead with you, brethren,
by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no
divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the
same judgment. Like someone once said, “if you’re a Ford dealer, you don’t try to sell
Jesus’ prayer was that all those who would believe in Him would be one, as He and the Father
are one, and that they may be one in them. How much was Jesus and the Father at one?
Enough that Jesus was able to tell Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father…” (John
14:9). Jesus and the Father are two separate beings; yet their thoughts, beliefs and way of life
are so much alike that Jesus was able to make this statement.
Unfortunately, even though we are Christians, there are times when we find ourselves at war
with the Spirit. This can be a brutal reminder to us of what Jesus meant when He told His
disciples, “..The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). We must be
careful not to quench the Spirit.
In I Corinthians 14:31, we are told that, “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the
prophets.” This is a reminder to us that God will not force His will upon us. He will lead us to
make the right choices, but the final decision is ours. God gives us freedom of choice and we
must be careful to make the right choices. If we are to have unity we must as Paul said, “…
walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.”
We are told that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Those who have
accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and have been baptized have made a life-long
commitment to God. They have committed their life to Him. And if we ever find ourselves being
overwhelmed and seeming to be falling short of our calling we need to remember how Paul
must have felt when he said, “…For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He
[Jesus} is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day’” (II Timothy 1:12).
Although we may be weak, Christ in us is strong.
We know that God is love. So if we have God’s Spirit, then we also should have love. Love can
go a long way in uniting brethren. In fact the apostle John wrote, “…He who loves God must
love his brother also” (I John 4:21).
With God’s Spirit, we have the power to become at one with Him and with each other. For we
are told, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down
strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the
knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being
ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (II Corinthians 10:4-6).
If we can come to the point in our life when we can allow God’s Spirit to work in us like this,
then truly we will be at one with God and with each other. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
The Will To Do Good, by Brian Knowles
The following article is reprinted from the Web site of the Association for Christian
Development where Brian Knowles is a regular contributor.
A number of years ago I noticed my small grandson sitting in a stairwell in his parents’ A-frame
home, apparently in deep thought. I think he was about five at the time. I sat down beside him
and asked, “Whatcha thinkin’ about?” His reply was instant and candid, ‘I’m thinking about how
to do bad things.”
Well, at least he was honest about it! We’ve all done that haven’t we? When we were children,
we contemplated how to get revenge on our enemies, how to get even with a sibling, how to
steal something and get away with it, how to whip the school bully, how to run away from
home, or how to do something mean to someone…
When I was a young, ignorant, inexperienced parent, I thought the most important thing I could
teach my three sons was obedience. I learned that I could control their behavior – so long as
they were within reach of my heavy hands and loud voice. But once they were out from under
my thumb, and out with their friends, they did bad things. Authoritarian parents need to learn
that controlling their children’s behavior is not the main objective of childrearing.
So what is the goal of godly childrearing? The answer is found in a proverb: “Train a child in
the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Each child is an individual, and he or she must be treated as such. Each child accumulates a
unique set of experiences upon which to draw. What happens to one child doesn’t always
happen to a sibling. Children contract illnesses, experience accidents, face different threats
and develop different relationships. All of these affect “who they are” and more importantly,
who they will become when they are older.
Effective childrearing prepares a child to live autonomously and successfully in the real world,
with both God and man. We have no greater responsibility than to protect our children from all
that threatens them, and to prepare them to stand on their own, and on principle, when we are
off the scene. Evil is on the march all over the world. Today’s politically correct world is not
only tolerating evil, it is celebrating it.
Preparing your children/grandchildren to live successfully in this world is a major responsibility.
It’s not a job we can take casually. We must put energy into it. If we don’t do it prayerfully and
conscientiously, we probably won’t do it right. We are helping shape the next generation of
The following article is from “CHURCHLIGHT” January/March 2007 issue and was
submitted by Charleen Gitthens
“Love…seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked…” I Corinthians 13:5
Selfishness lies at the root of all evil in the world between nations, families, denominations,
churches, and individuals. Unselfishness is the criterion of genuine love. Our reason for loving
a person proves whether we really do love him or whether the one we truly love is ourselves.
Paul is not speaking of mere human types of affection such as romantic love (eros) here, but of
agape, the love of God within the Christian. “The peculiarity of romantic love is that it is very
easily provoked indeed. It is the victim of constant jealousy. It is really the love of one’s self –
the love of being loved” (Matheson, Messages of Hope, 177). But Christian love basically has
nothing to do with the wish to be loved again and therefore has nothing to do with jealousy. It
seeks no return for its own sake, only for Christ’s sake. If there is no response to the
Christian’s efforts for the benefit of others, he feels regret but no personal enmity. He laments
a failure in influencing a soul for the kingdom of God but not the failure of his own personal
The reason that Christian love (agape) is not easily provoked is not because “love is blind.”
Christian love is not easily provoked because it is hopeful of the transformation of the one
committing the offense. It sees the condition of those provoking it and is willing and ready to
sacrifice anything for the conversion of the provokers. Agape love seeks to see people as they
really are and as they can become through Christ.
There is no loving others without living for others. Loving action that springs from the love of
God within us works for the good of others. Its prayer and faith and sacrifice are the cleansing
and comforting of others.
In the world there is probably more homage offered to self than to any outward object. That
pride generally takes two forms. The first is that of individual, selfish ambition. Concerning that,
Christ tells us that he who strives to overtop others in the heavenly kingdom, by that very effort
is automatically abased to the lowest place; while he who in genuine humility is willing to be
the servant of all, is honored above all.
The second form that pride may take is ambition for “my set, my party, my church.” One of
Jesus’ disciples told the Lord that they had forbidden a man who was not a disciple (at least in
their own group) to cast out demons in Christ’s name. The selfishness of the disciples in this
instance was from “party-spirit,” which is only self, expanded and extended. Wherever this
spirit exists, it can become a stumbling block to unbelievers and a bar to the progress of
Whom do you put first in your everyday life? Is it God, your neighbor, your family, some pet
project, or yourself? Some persons profess to love and serve God, yet their whole manner of
life proves that profession is a lie.
“Everybody does it” is no excuse for pushing and shoving and trampling on others to get
ahead in this world. “You’ve got to be practical” is no standard for the Christian when it means
you have to set aside love in favor of selfishness. “I guess I told him a thing or two!” has a
strangely inconsistent sound coming from the lips of one who professes to have the love of
Christ dwelling in his heart. Sadly, there are many incongruities in our lives, when we who love
the Lord are unloving to others.
How do you treat the people with whom you come in contact day by day – the salesmen who
knock at your door, those who do business with you, those who work for you, or those for
whom you work? Can you imagine the Lord growling out a surly “What do you want?” to a man
trying to make a living? Even if we are pressed for time it costs no more to say a pleasant “No,
What lies at the root of such unloving behavior? It is selfishness – the desire that our own
pursuits shall be uninterrupted by the necessities of others, that our demands for service shall
be squeezed out of others at the cost of all decent regard for their feelings.
After each such encounter with the world, stop and ask yourself if you would find it easy or
appropriate afterward to hand that a person a tract and witness to him of the love of Christ.
Would he not be justified in flinging your words or literature back at you with retort, “What you
are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say”?
Our Lord and Master sought not His own. He sought not His own personal comfort when
others needed Him. He sought not His own will but the Father’s. He sought not His own
advancement but the good of those to whom and for whom He ministered. “The Son of man
came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Matt. 20:28). “Look not every man on his own
things, but every man also on the things of others” (Phil. 2:4). “Love…seeketh not her own.”
Always keep Christ’s work before you, guarding well your own motives and feelings and aims.
Let self be put down and Jesus Christ be lifted up, and in the measure in which that is done,
your service will be effectual and you will be an acceptable servant to the best of Masters.
MID-MISSOURI CHURCH OF GOD
PO Box 92, Eldon, MO 65026/mailing address. Actual physical address is: 602 East North Street.
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!