Thursday, February 13, 2020

You Never Mentioned Him to Me


Last night I was tasked with teaching the college class at Willow Avenue church of Christ. The main theme of my lesson was evangelism, however one of my points was that evangelism requires a certain degree of courage. Think about it, to go up to someone that you might have never met, and talk to them about the gospel, it can be intimidating. I used the following example to illustrate my point last night.

Every month, myself and Willow Avenue's deacon over transportation take turns going over to the building and checking on the busses. We make sure that their exterior and interior's are clean, that they have gas, and are running properly. Willow Avenue has a charge account for gas at the Shell station across the interstate from the building. Every time I go in there to pay for the gas, there's a young man working in there that always talks about Spiritual matters. I don't know if this is something that he does to everyone, or if he looks out and sees the mobile billboard I'm driving and decides to discuss the Bible with me. The past few times I've gone in there, I've tried to do my best to end the conversation and get back out to the bus so I can take it back to the church building and go home. But as I was preparing my lesson for class Wednesday night, I really got to thinking about if I was doing the right thing. It has nagged at my concise enough, that I have vowed that next time I go in there and that guy is working, I am going to ask about his Spiritual background.

I told the college kids last night that they have the greatest platform that a Christian can have. They encounter hundreds of people everyday in their classes or walking across campus that don't know God. They have so many opportunities to reach out to someone and invite them to church or to a college event. All it takes is a little courage and willingness to get outside our comfort zone.

The title of this article is taken from the song entitled "You Never Mentioned Him to Me." I didn't really think about the meaning of this song until Brother Ben Smith was talking about it in a class on evangelism. He said that song should tear us up inside every time we sing it. Think about it, the lyrics speak for themselves. "You never mentioned Him to me, you helped me not the light to see, you met me day by day and knew I was astray, yet never mentioned Him to me." How many people do we let fall through the cracks because we don't have the courage to go talk to them? If that person winds up being lost, do you want that on your conscience?

In Psalms 27:14, the Psalmist tells us to "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait I say on the Lord." If we are going to have a great degree of courage, who does it come through? You guessed it, it comes through God. As we wait for judgement day, we have to have the courage to believe that it's going to happen. When we lay our heads down at night, it takes courage to know that we will wake up in a new day. Likewise when we approach someone to study the Bible with them, it takes a degree of courage.

Think about how many people you encounter every day. I told the college kids last night that I'm envious of them, because of how many people they interact with every day. If one in every 10, 20, 30, people you interact with in a day agreed to come to church with you, think about how the church would grow. You could potentially save that person's soul. You could be the reason they get to Heaven. But on the other hand if you don't say anything to them, you could be the reason they burn in the eternal lake of fire. In Mark 16:15, we are commanded to "Go into all the world and make disciples of every creature." It takes courage, but are you willing to step out of your comfort zone to save souls?

In Him,

Carver Moore

We would be honored for you to join us for worship at the Chestnut Mound church of Christ.
Our service times are as follows:
Sunday Morning Bible study: 10 am
Sunday morning worship: 11 am
Sunday evening worship: 5 pm

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Tired in the Work, but Not of the Work


Throughout my life, I have heard people talk about how time flies as you get older. The main reason for this? You become busier. I always took this with a grain of salt. Throughout my years of high school and college I "flew by the seat of my pants," and was always waiting for the next great thing to happen. I didn't stop and appreciate life and really live in the moment. I wanted high school and college to be over as quickly as possible so that I could go on to the next thing. The only thing that made high school bearable was playing football, and the only thing that made college bearable was the Servants of Christ Campus Ministry. I have never really realized how much I miss those days until recently.

Do you all ever have those weeks or days where it seems like the entire world is depending on you? Just last week, I began to think about this. My last week and a half, involved sermon and Bible Class prep, a trip to Nashville for a board meeting, and a trip to the county clerk's office to get the license renewed on a church bus. While these things caused me to become tired, I wouldn't have traded them for anything else in the world. When I did catch myself telling myself how tired I was, I thought about how blessed I am to be able to set a schedule and carry out said schedule throughout the week. I have never really thought about my response to people when they ask how I am. I usually say "I'm busy, but I guess that's a good thing. Better to have something to do than nothing at all." How many people do you know that suffer from a physical ailment that causes them to not be able to go about a daily routine? Friends we take working and running errands for granted. We go through life and do nothing but complain. Why not thank God for the ability to live and breath and wake up each new day? Do we sometimes wish that we could go back to our childhood and not have a care in the world? Yes of course!! But "adulting" involves embracing greater responsibility. It's amazing how much my priorities have changed from high school and college to now. In high school my number one priority was how fast I was going to run the forty yard dash or what I needed to do on a particular play. In college my number one priority was how much I should study for a particular test. At the time those things were tiring, but now they seem so simple (maybe everything but the tests haha!!).

The title of this article is taken from one of the very first sermons I ever preached. It is what I like to call "A Clarence Deloach original." The sermon text is from Malachi 1:6-14, and in the introduction, Brother Deloach states that one of the major themes of the text is that we often grow tired in the work, or while engaged in it, but we can't allow ourselves to grow tired of the work, or become "burned out." The prophet Malachi is telling of the corruptness of the people he is surrounded by. He says in v. 13, "oh what a weariness." The weariness of these people has caused them to cut corners and offer defiled or unclean things to God. Does our weariness today cause us to cut corners? It would be easy for me to prepare a sermon and fill it full of my opinion instead of Scripture. Is that ok? What about a doctor? He or she could decide that they are at whit's end and instead of preforming a life saving operation, they give you some pills and send you on your way. Is this the correct way we should be as Christians? Of course not. Things are going to take a toll on us physically, but instead of complaining (social media makes this ten times easier), be thankful that you can do these things. Young people, never take your high school and college days for granted. Those are some of the most carefree times that you will have. Live in the moment and don't wish your life away. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus tells us "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things."

The #1 thing that will kill the church is burnout. Members, ministers, elders, and deacons labor so much and for so long and sometimes rarely get a thank you. They have families and secular jobs that also take up much of their time. Friends, we are blessed. When we are tempted to complain about our families, jobs, lack of material blessings, I challenge you to stop and count your blessings. You might just be surprised to realize that you are blessed WAY beyond what you deserve.

In Him,

Carver Moore

We would be honored for you to join us for worship at the Chestnut Mound church of Christ.
Our service times are as follows:
Sunday Morning Bible study: 10 am
Sunday morning worship: 11 am
Sunday evening worship: 5 pm

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Idol Worship


I'm sure everyone reading this has heard about the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his thirteen year old daughter Gianna, and seven others. This morning while eating breakfast, I was reading the sports news website The Athletic. One of the stories I was reading was a recap of Super Bowl media day. The story was talking about how San Fransisco 49ers defensive back Richard Sherman and Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Frank Clark are mourning the death of Kobe Bryant.  The two players referred to Bryant as their "idol." As I read this, I thought, are they worshipping Kobe? It sure sounds like it based on this article. I later thought, do we worship celebrities today? Yes we do. Think about how much money we spend on tickets to go see our favorite sports team(s) play, or our favorite singer(s) perform. I hope we don't refer to these things as "idols" but when we devote more time to them than God, they have already become idols.

So what is an idol? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word "idol" is a noun that refers to "an object of extreme devotion." Does this sound like the way you define your sports team, singer, or other hobby? The Bible gives us numerous examples of idols. Perhaps the most well known one was the Children of Israel's worship of the golden calf at Mount Sinai. In Exodus 32, we see that the Israelites begin to lose patience with Moses. Verse 1 tells us, "we (Israelites) do not know what has become of him." They told Aaron to construct an object in which they could worship, which would take the place of Moses. Aaron, being greatly outnumbered, gave in to their request and commanded them in verse 2, to "break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me."  In verse 4 we read that Aaron had all the earrings melted down and using an engraving tool, he made a calf. Verse 5 tells us that Aaron went on to build an altar and he and the Israelites commenced offering burnt sacrifices to the golden calf.

Friends, God is all seeing, hearing, and knowing. We see this in verse 7. God commands Moses to leave the mountain and get back to the Israelites, because they have "corrupted themselves." Moses indeed leaves the mountain and we are told in verse 19, that as soon as Moses came in sight of the camp, he saw the calf and the Israelites dancing around it and he became "hot and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain." When I read this, I can't help but think about a child being left at home alone. His/her parents come back and say "I left you home for (fill in the blank) minutes/hours, and this is what you do?" I imagine that's how Moses must have felt. The rest of Exodus 32, sees Moses destroying the calf (v. 20) and Aaron trying to defend himself. This real life event has been the subject of sermons, Bible classes, debates, and I'm sure books, however in this article, I want us to consider the following.

1. Don't allow people to cause you to waver in your faith. What did Aaron fall victim to here in this passage? Peer pressure. He was pressured by the people to build an idol. In verse 22, he tells Moses that the people "are set on evil." When I was teaching a Bible class through the book of Exodus about a year ago, we discussed how much pressure Aaron must have felt. He was one man out of thousands that he and Moses were trying to lead. Oftentimes it is human nature that we follow what is popular, just like Aaron did. We've all done it, but it is wrong. Sometimes people treat celebrities as "idols" to the point that they eat, drink, talk, dress, and even believe the way they do. Friends this will always lead you away from God. I have yet to hear of a celebrity that holds all the same values that I do. It is impossible to mimic a celebrity 100% and still maintain a proper relationship with God. Sure there are some good ones out there to look up to, but they all have their faults, and are likely to disappoint you at least once. You know who will never disappoint you? Jesus. He should be our ultimate role model, or "idol" as the football players said.

2. Anything that you put before God is considered an idol. We are told in Exodus 34:14 that God is jealous. In Exodus 20:3, we are told that "you shall have no other gods before me." I've never personally seen anyone out worshipping a golden calf. However, we worship idols everyday and don't even know it. Think about that ball game or concert that you attend or watch on TV on a Sunday morning, night, or Wednesday night instead of going to church. Super Bowl Sunday is this week, are you going to make the choice to watch the game or go to church for worship? In Hebrews 10:25, we are told not to "forsake the assembly." Meaning we are not to miss church just because we can. Friends, a ballgame, concert, or whatever you enjoy doing in your leisure time is not worth losing your soul over. If you allow yourselves to prioritize these activities over your relationship with God, then you are no better than the Israelites and their golden calf.

Is it wrong to have hobbies and material blessings? No. Is it wrong to look up to celebrities? No. What's wrong is when these things take the place of God and become idols. I've never been a huge NBA fan, but I always enjoyed watching Kobe Bryant. The accounts that I have read about him and the other eight victims of Sunday's crash are heartbreaking. But you want to know what's infinitely more heartbreaking? The death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Do we ever grieve over Him like we do when someone on this physical Earth passes away? I think we can all do a better job of remembering what he went through on that day. Never let any "idol" come between you and your relationship with Him. He is the only one we should idolize.

In Him,

Carver Moore

We would be honored for you to join us for worship at the Chestnut Mound church of Christ.
Our service times are as follows:
Sunday Morning Bible study: 10 am
Sunday morning worship: 11 am
Sunday evening worship: 5 pm

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Providence of God?


Last night Brother Don Blackwell concluded our gospel meeting at Willow Avenue church of Christ, by speaking on the Providence of God. He talked about how God does things providentially, or allows things to happen to us, or us to be put in situations that open our eyes to the bigger picture. The word "providentially" derives from the root word "providence" which means "view." Sometimes God allows things to happen to us in order to "wake us up" and maybe put us in positions to spread the Gospel. Even before Brother Blackwell preached this sermon last night, I had today specifically picked out to tell my story.

Two years ago this week, on this very Thursday, January 25, 2018, my life changed forever. Before I get to the events of that day, allow me to back up five months earlier to August 2017. One night in early August I began having discomfort in my legs and feet that were eerily similar to seizure activity that I once had when I was in middle school. All the doctors that I went to had no answers. Meanwhile, I didn't sleep for two months or more due to the pain. Each night I would sit on the edge of my bed with my feet in a bedpan and my mom and I would watch Gunsmoke or Perry Mason reruns on TV. The lack of sleep made me irritable throughout the day, and my nightly issues with pain also caused me to miss my best friend's bachelor party. I eventually was able to get some sleep thanks to the assistance of prescription ibuprofen.

One nurse practitioner I saw prescribed me 800mg tablets of ibuprofen that I was to take one half tablet every night before bed. The pills worked, and instead of being up with pain all night, I might be up for a few hours, with a few full nights of sleep mixed in. Pretty soon I began to start having pain in my stomach and abdominal area. I didn't think anything of it, I thought that maybe I had eaten something that didn't agree with me. I probably went two or three months without telling anyone about my new pain issues and as a typical red blooded American male, "I just sucked it up and dealt with the pain."

Fast forward to January 25, 2018. I was driving home when suddenly I felt this excruciating pain in my stomach. I thought "well I guess I ate something." I was only a mile or so away from home so I didn't think it was a big deal. When I got home the pain wouldn't go away like it had for the past few months. It was the worst pain that I have ever experienced. My mom knew something was wrong because she said my body was gray. I also voluntarily agreed to go to the emergency room, something that I have never done. We got over there and it felt like forever until my name was called. By this time I was sitting in the waiting room in the fetal position. I got called back for x-rays and I couldn't even stand straight up to walk. I felt and probably looked like the hunchback of Notre Dame. After a series of tests, the ER doctor came in and said "Mr. Moore, you have a stomach ulcer that has broken open and is bleeding internally, and we are going to have to do emergency surgery tonight." I told him "do whatever you have to do, just get me out of this pain."

I was 25 at the time and up to that point I had only had one prior surgery, and that was the removal of my tonsils when I was in middle school. I had forgotten all that surgery entails. I remember the operating room and how sanitary everything was. I also remember the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, and a nurse. I remember asking one or all of them if the surgery was going to hurt. They said no you won't feel a thing, and the pain that you have now will change to soreness when you come out of here. My life was now in their hands, I didn't know if I would wake up back in Cookeville, Tennessee or if I might wake up in Paradise. Either way I made sure to say a private prayer in the midst of the pain, asking for forgiveness of anything I might have done, just in case.

By this time you know everything went great. The surgeon said I was going to make a full recovery, but I would have to spend the next few days in the hospital. I don't know which was worse, the surgery or the hospital stay. From Friday to the following Tuesday I was confined to a hospital bed with one TV and nothing to eat or drink. The operating room staff was right when they said that my pain would go away. I was really sore, but I didn't mind. They attached a morphine pump to my bed and everybody that came in was shocked I had never once used it. The soreness was nothing compared to the pain that I had. My days consisted of watching TV and counting the hours. I remember saying to myself and anyone else who would listen, "I'd do anything to get out of here." That following Tuesday I was finally discharged and was sent home. I had a strict diet of soft foods and water. I also couldn't lift anything over ten pounds, and worst of all (to me at least) I couldn't preach or drive the church bus. As much as I fought my mom, our church clerk at Chestnut Mound, and the folks at Willow Avenue, I knew I was going to have to "ride the pine" for awhile. In my time away from doing these things, I realized how much I cherish them. Getting up and preaching and getting behind the wheel of the bus are a privilege. One in which I could have easily lost.

My nightly pain in my legs and feet continued on until that following Summer when I was referred to a wonderful rheumatologist at Vanderbilt. He said my pain stems from my fours years of playing high school football. He has prescribed me some safe medication that I still take. My neurologist, also at Vanderbilt, has ruled out seizure activity and both of these doctors have given me a clean bill of health. So what has all this taught me?

1. Life is a vapor. In James 4:14, we are told "You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." Friends, we are not guaranteed any time here on this Earth. We live on borrowed time. Prior to January 25, 2018, I didn't fully grasp this. I lived day to day "flying by the seat of my pants." My day was determined based on how Vanderbilt football, men's basketball, baseball, and Atlanta Braves baseball did on a particular day. I didn't value my preaching at Chestnut Mound, and it embarrasses me to say this, but I treated it as just another source of income. Likewise, I considered driving the bus at Willow Avenue   just an opportunity to have my name printed in the bulletin next to the cute clipart picture of a bus. But when these things were taken away from me, I realized how much they mean and still do to me. I knew they were a gift from God and it was (and still is) my job to do everything I can to protect these gifts.

2. Tell those closest to you how much you love them. I have always told my family and friends how much I love them either by my words or my actions, but before my health issues I wasn't intentional about it, meaning I never went out of my way to tell them or show them how much I loved them. I didn't really grasp how serious my surgery was until the surgeon came in my room one afternoon and basically told me that if I hadn't begun to feel that excruciating pain, than I would have bled out and died. Are we intentional about telling our family and friends how much we love them? At the end of my sermons I always try to tell the congregation at Chestnut Mound how much I love them. In John 15:12, Jesus commands that we "love one another as I have loved you." Likewise we should never fail to tell God who much we love Him and appreciate how much He does for us. Our relationship with Him is the closest relationship that we can have with anyone. In Matthew 22:37, Jesus commands us "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." Friends just like I said earlier, we are on borrowed time. Make the most of your life here on this Earth.

3. When bad things happen to you, determine to use them for good. Before my health issues, I didn't realize how much of an impact my preaching can have on people. In May, I will have been at Chestnut Mound for three years. In those three years I have seen so much growth in those people. They are so interested in the Gospel, Evangelism, and being an example in the community. What if I had never had those health issues. Would I still just be going through the motions like before? Could it be by the providence of God that he saw that I have a talent to preach and was not utilizing my talent, so he decided he'd wake me up? What about the Willow Avenue bus ministry? Could He have seen that I needed to connect with our riders on a more personal and Spiritual level, offering them encouragement? What about spending more time with my family and friends? I find since my surgery that we go to more Vanderbilt games, and try to make it an annual Summer trip to go to an Atlanta Braves game. With my friends, I try to go to lunch with them or go and visit them. I go fishing as much as I can with one of my good buddies. I'm a lucky guy, and by the Providence of God I can love my family and friends, preach, and drive the church bus better and with more appreciation and purpose than I ever could before!!

It is by happenstance that the last time Brother Blackwell held a gospel meeting at Willow Avenue, I was laid up in the hospital. About a year later he had his accident. Most people would have sulked around and wanted pity, but not him. He uses his accident for good. Likewise my journey with my health has influenced me for good and drives me everyday to get up and save souls. I truly believe in the Providence of God. Sometimes we all need something to happen that wakes us up. I wouldn't wish my situation on anyone, but I do know that I'm a better (no not perfect) person because of it. Friends I love you, the Chestnut Mound church of Christ loves you, and most importantly God loves you.

In Him,

Carver Moore

We would be honored for you to join us for worship at the Chestnut Mound church of Christ.
Our service times are as follows:
Sunday Morning Bible study: 10 am
Sunday morning worship: 11 am
Sunday evening worship: 5 pm

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Patience is a Virtue


Have you ever heard the saying "patience is a virtue?" Having a degree of patience is something that is learned over time. We are not born with it. I have recently taken up fishing as a hobby and as a way to spend more time with one of my best friends. I have quickly learned that fishing requires a lot of patience. Generally we will put his boat in the water and stay on the river for anywhere from three to four hours, maybe more depending on the weather and the time of day. We will then take off in the boat up river, stop and then set up the trolling motor, and simply troll all the way back to certain spots, or to the boat ramp. Casting and reeling, casting and reeling, and casting and reeling are the main things we do. Sometimes we might get a nibble, and even catch a fish. But most of the time we are practicing patience. Asking ourselves, why aren't they biting? and you think we need to change bait? If you're like me, sometimes you cast into trees and get your hook hung and have to go get it out. But when we finally get a fish, it's all worth it. What about in our Christian lives. I've learned a few things about patience in my career as a minister.

1. As a minister and as Christians, all we can do is put the word out there for those who are lost. Me and my buddy spend hours on the river trying to figure out what will get the fish to bite. As a minister I spend hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months trying to figure out sermons and Bible class lessons that will get those who are lost to "bite." When I first began my ministry, I was concerned that if there were souls listening to my sermons or classes and never decided to be Baptized and they ended up passing away then I would have to answer to God for that. Every person I asked about this said the same thing. "As a minister, all you can do is put the word out there for people, they are free moral agents, they have the ability to choose whether to accept it or not." Sounds like fishing doesn't it? When I'm out fishing with my buddy all we can do is bait our hooks, cast and reel, and troll along. Will we always have a nibble or catch a fish? No, the fish are going to do what they want to do, that's just the way God made them, just like He created us with the ability to choose. All we can do when fishing is to stay patient and keep casting and reeling, and all we can do when talking to someone about the Gospel is to keep doing it. Never become discouraged because you feel like no one is listening. As the apostle Paul told the young preacher Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16, "Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." No matter how short your patience becomes, never give up!!

2. Be patient with those who doubt you. Are there times when you feel like the whole world is against you? One of the most common phrases I hear from outside the brotherhood is "you all think you're the only ones going to Heaven." How do you respond to this? Personally I say "no this is not true, you can get there, why don't you let me show you how?" This baffles people to no end, what was once an insult has now been turned around on them, with the potential to open a door for a Bible study. On Wednesday nights at Willow Avenue, Brother Ben Smith has been teaching the young professionals class. This past week we studied John's account of Jesus healing a blind man in John 9. I won't recount the entire story, but I encourage you to read it for yourself. However, from verse 13 to verse 34, the man has to constantly defend himself against the Pharisees. This took a level of patience. Some people would probably read this and say "why didn't he walk away?" Yes he could have and most people would have, but he was so moved by what had just happened to him. He wanted to tell the Pharisees and hope that they would be moved by it. Well they weren't, but the fact that he remained so patient and persistent with them is what I want you to take away from this. Do we turn tail and run when someone doubts us for what we believe? If so, you need to learn from this man. Be patient and let them doubt you, but make sure you use those interactions to "defend the faith" 1 Peter 3:15.

Friends, patience is required anytime you are dealing with people. We all have free will, meaning we are all going to do what we want to do, when we want to do it. As a minister I must have patience with my fellow man. As Christians we all must have patience with our fellow men. All we can do is keep casting and reeling. Casting the good news of the gospel out there for those who are lost, and hopefully reeling in souls. Does it take patience? Yes, but in the end it's worth it. Friends God loves you, I love you, and the Chestnut Mound church of Christ loves you, why not study God's word with us sometime!!

In Him,

Carver Moore

We would be honored for you to join us for worship at the Chestnut Mound church of Christ.
Our service times are as follows:
Sunday Morning Bible study: 10 am
Sunday morning worship: 11 am
Sunday evening worship: 5 pm

Monday, January 6, 2020

Dealing with Jealousy


Do you ever find yourself being jealous of someone's material blessings? What about their spiritual blessings? I fall into the latter category. Every time I listen to a preacher, I wish I could be more like him. I wish I had half the knowledge of Clarence Deloach, I wish I could enter the pulpit with my entire sermon memorized like Larry Acuff. I see the plethora of resources that we have at Willow Avenue and I wish we could have all of them at Chestnut Mound. I will admit that on some occasions I've allowed the devil to try to creep in and make me think privately "why do all these other men, and these larger congregations have all these talents and resources and here I am and here are all these smaller congregations that are not as blessed." Friends, the devil is real and he wants you to question your entire purpose on this earth. He wants you to get into competitions with others in the brotherhood. Why? Because he wants to divide us. This instance of the devil trying to take me in has opened my eyes and reinforced a few things that I have always known, but are good to remind ourselves.

1. We are all trying to get to the same place. Friends, what is the ultimate goal in our lives? For all of you reading this, I hope that it is to spend eternity with God in Heaven. The biggest thing that will derail this goal is division in the brotherhood. We can become divided over doctrine, finances, membership, leadership, and even the temperature of the building. Friends, these things are important, but we cannot allow them to cause divisions. In 1 Corinthians 1:10, the apostle Paul tells us "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 judgement." Paul commands the church at Corinth, just like he tells the churches today to be united over everything that the Bible says. As leaders and members in the church, we should also be united and on the same page when it comes to church business. When we get to Heaven, there is not going to be separate rooms for Chestnut Mound, Willow Avenue, or any other congregation. Instead we will all be there together and "what a day that will be!!"

2. Being jealous has never ended well for anyone. Think about all the murders that have occurred because husband was jealous of wife, or vice versa, one person ends up dead and one ends up in prison. Sounds like every western movie you've ever watched right? Or every story that's on the evening news? Perhaps the greatest case of jealousy in the Bible occurs between brothers Cain and Abel. In Genesis chapter 4, we are told of the relationship between Cain and Abel. They were the first children. Cain was a "tiller of the ground" and Abel was a "keeper of the sheep." The two brothers brought offerings to the Lord. Cain brought the "fruit of the ground" and Abel brought the "firstborn of his flock and of their fat." The Lord blessed Abel and accepted his offering, whereas He rejected Cain's offering. This caused Cain to grow angry against his brother, and this anger and jealousy led Cain to murder Abel. Cain was punished by becoming a fugitive and vagabond. I don't know how or why someone could be jealous of another person after reading that account. Jealousy leads to anger, anger leads to us going out of our mind, which leads to us doing something that will have everlasting consequences. Next time you are tempted to be jealous of someone's spiritual or physical blessings, remember what happened between Cain and Abel. Jealousy is not the recipe to get to Heaven.

We all want to be blessed both spiritually and physically. However, when we allow ourselves to covet what others have then we will get into trouble. Instead of saying "I really want the knowledge that the preacher, elder, Bible class teacher, or older member has," instead say "I really want to learn more about the Bible so that one day I can have as much knowledge as the preacher, elder, Bible class teacher, or older member has." When it comes to physical blessings, instead of saying "I really want Mr. or Mrs. so and so's car or house," instead say "You really have a nice car or house, maybe I'll be blessed enough to have something like that one day." As a preacher, I have to remember that I am not competing with other congregations in the brotherhood for souls, and when the devil creeps in and tries to tell me otherwise I have to remember Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 1:10. We are all trying to get to the same place. If we allow divisions to creep in to our congregations, then we won't get there. I challenge everyone reading this to encourage and pray for one another. Enjoy fellowship with members of other congregations and remember that we are not in a competition. Each congregation has its own strengths and weaknesses, and it's our job as members to build and improve upon both.

In Him,

Carver Moore

 We would be honored for you to join us for worship at the Chestnut Mound church of Christ.
Our service times are as follows:
Sunday Morning Bible study: 10 am
Sunday morning worship: 11 am
Sunday evening worship: 5 pm

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

New Year's Resolutions for Christians


As we turn the page from 2019 to 2020, I want to offer some New Year's Resolutions that will help us be better Christians during the New Year. While I offer up these resolutions for 2020, these things should be put into practice every year.

1. Make it a goal to attend the worship services at your local congregation or elsewhere every week of 2020. There are 50 Sunday's in the year 2020. Make it a goal to be present for worship all fifty opportunities. This is not counting the Sunday and Wednesday evening worship services, gospel meetings, Vacation Bible Schools, and singings that can be attended throughout the year. Obviously there will be instances where attendance for all 50 Sunday's might not be attainable due to sickness or other factors beyond your control, but before you decide to skip worship because you are too tired, remember the words of Hebrews 10:25, where we are told "not to forsake the assembly."

2. Make it a goal to better your prayer life in 2020. Everyone can improve their prayer life. As I wrote Monday and back in October, we have to be in the habit of going to God's throne and "wearing God out." This year, make it a habit to use your down time to pray. Prayers don't have to be long and we shouldn't make them long like the Pharisees did in Matthew 23:14. Instead we should be like the persistent widow in Luke 18 and "pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1).

3. Make Bible Study a priority in 2020. What do you do in your down time? Personally I enjoy watching sports (in person or on TV), playing fantasy football, reading, and watching The Andy Griffith Show. As a minister I have the privilege to get to spend the majority of my work days engaged in the study of God's Word. I do this by preparing sermons, Bible Classes, and blogs. Even though I devote most of my time to these things, I still read my Bible outside of sermon or Bible Class prep. I read the Gospel Advocate magazine, I go back and revisit passages from sermons or Bible Classes that I have heard on Sunday's and/or Wednesday's. I challenge you in 2020 to carve out time for Bible Study. When you wake up in the mornings or go to bed at nights, spend less time on social media and instead devote more time to God's Word.

4. Invite friends, co-workers, classmates, and even non-Christian family members to worship. In #1 I said that there are a total of 50 Sunday's in 2020. That's 50 people and 50 opportunities to invite someone to worship (again not counting Wednesday Bible Study, gospel meetings, and Vacation Bible Schools). Jesus tells us in Mark 16:15 to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Are we preaching to others, either by sharing our knowledge of the scriptures or by our actions? Believe it or not, how we behave preaches a sermon that will make non-Christians either want to be apart of what we have, or dismiss us completely.

5. Break down the cliques. One of the biggest things that can kill a church are cliques. Cliques involve a group of people that only do things among themselves. They only sit together during worship, they only eat together, they only go on trips together. I get it, some people just gravitate to certain people better than others, but friends, this will kill churches. This will make people leave the church. We are all trying to get to the same place, there will be no cliques in Heaven, so why do we have them in our churches? The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 3:14, that as Christians, we are "pressing toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." We are all trying to get to Heaven, instead of doing so with a select group, let's get there together!!

As this year comes to a close, I want to tell you that God loves you, I love you, and the Chestnut Mound church of Christ loves you. I guarantee that if you commit to these five resolutions in 2020, then you will become a much better Christian. This will be the last blog post (written by me at least) for 2019, however our doors are always open on Sunday mornings and evenings. We would love for you to join us for worship. If you're interested in becoming a Christian, we would love to study with you, and if you've fallen back into sin, we'd love to pray for you.

In Him,

Carver Moore

 We would be honored for you to join us for worship at the Chestnut Mound church of Christ.
Our service times are as follows:
Sunday Morning Bible study: 10 am
Sunday morning worship: 11 am
Sunday evening worship: 5 pm