November 1st, 2014

Double XL

     My wife and I attend the church of Christ, but most of our families do not.  I have heard our families and even some visitors say they don’t like a large congregation. Our congregation started in 1950 with about forty people; today, we have 350 to 400 members.  My point is, sometimes I get the impression that some think that larger congregations are unscriptural and lean more towards the doctrine of man.  However, our elders have always made sure to stick to Scripture at all cost.  My question is: does the Bible reveal how many people gathered to worship God in the first century church (the church of Christ)?

Sincerely,
Part Of A Big Family

Dear Part Of A Big Family,

Christ’s churches have been as small as two or three, as big as several thousand, and everything in between.  Jesus said that “where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am” (Matt 18:20)… so a congregation can in fact be very tiny.  Some first century churches met in homes, which probably meant they weren’t too big (Col 4:15).  However, we also see that the first congregation was over five thousand strong (Acts 4:4).  The size isn’t the issue – it is the adherence to the Bible pattern of truth that God cares about (1 Tim 3:15).  It is sometimes more difficult to hold to that pattern the larger a congregation gets because there are more voices and more potential for division, but that doesn’t mean that large congregations are somehow unscriptural by default.  If your group is large and faithful – what a wonderful blessing!

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November 1st, 2014

Gone, But Not Forgotten

     After a Christian dies, can they contact their loved ones who are still living?  I need Scripture to look into.  I have a friend that thinks that she hears her husband say her name.  He has been gone four years, and I do not believe he is contacting her.

Sincerely,
Stop The Voices

Dear Stop The Voices,

God does not allow people to go back and contact others once they have passed away.  Jesus told the story of a wicked, rich man and a faithful, poor man named Lazarus in Lk 16:19-31.  When these two men died, the rich man immediately woke up in torment, and Lazarus was escorted to Paradise (Lk 16:22-23).  This is what happens when the righteous and the wicked die.  There is no wandering or ghostly haunting.  In fact, the rich man was specifically told that the dead aren’t sent back to the earth to preach or affect the course of events here (Lk 16:27-31).  We die, and then we wait to face the judgment (Heb 9:27).

Having said all of that, it is very common for those who have lost a spouse to imagine hearing them, seeing them in a crowd, and a thousand other things that make no logical sense but are consistent experiences with all that have lost loved ones.  Your friend’s dead husband isn’t speaking to her, but she is experiencing a very normal part of the mourning process.

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October 31st, 2014

Day 218 – Job 27

5 minutes a day
5 days a week
All the Books of Wisdom in a year

This year we are going to look at the books of Wisdom. All of the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Job, and even the book of Lamentations! By reading one chapter, Monday through Friday, you will read them all by the end of the year. The Daily Cup series is a series of short videos for each chapter to help aid with understanding these important books.

Happy Studying!

“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup.” — Psalm 16:5

Click here for a pdf of the study schedule – CLICK HERE

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October 31st, 2014

Market Madness

According to Mark 11:17, Jesus was angered by the venders selling doves and other merchandise (assumingly for sacrifice) outside and in the Temple. But isn’t it true that those who came afar would sell livestock that they would normally sacrifice and bring money to the temple to buy a sacrifice?  This being favorable over traveling with a live sacrifice that might not survive a journey?  It is easier to travel with money than live animals that could easily be bought at the temple.  Today, we have Christian stores attached to churches that sell trinkets, jewelry, license plates, decorations, etc.  Is this also wrong?

Sincerely,
Peddlers for the People?

Dear Peddlers for the People,

Jesus wasn’t just angered that they were selling things but that they were doing it at the temple and in its courtyards… a place that was supposed to be focused on worshipping God and prayer (Lk 19:46).  On top of that, Jesus said that they were “robbers” because the people who were selling things were charging a premium to make money off of the foreign travelers who couldn’t bring their own livestock ­– a bit like popcorn at the movie theater costs a whole lot more because they can get away with charging it.  Furthermore, Matt 21:12 mentions that there were moneychangers there.  The Jewish priesthood instituted a rule that you could only contribute Jewish money to the temple, so they could make more money off of people who had to convert their Roman currency to Jewish coins.  They made money off of the exchange rate.  It was all about making money.

Separate, but similar, churches that are making money off of various things like coffee stands in the foyers, book sales, jewelry, etc. are exploiting people for more money.  God says how the church should collect funds – through a voluntary offerings from christians on the first day of the week (1 Cor 16:1-2).

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October 30th, 2014

Day 217 – Job 26

5 minutes a day
5 days a week
All the Books of Wisdom in a year

This year we are going to look at the books of Wisdom. All of the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Job, and even the book of Lamentations! By reading one chapter, Monday through Friday, you will read them all by the end of the year. The Daily Cup series is a series of short videos for each chapter to help aid with understanding these important books.

Happy Studying!

“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup.” — Psalm 16:5

Click here for a pdf of the study schedule – CLICK HERE

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October 30th, 2014

#1

What is the first commandment of God?

Sincerely,
Beginning At The Beginning

Dear Beginning At The Beginning,

Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matt 22:37-38).  In the Ten Commandments, the first commandment is “you shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex 20:2).  The first commandment a child is given by God is “honor your father and mother” (Eph 6:2).  Each of these are first commands from God.

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