Thursday, August 29, 2013

Family Tree

    A man wanted to have his family tree traced, and asked a professional genealogist how much it would cost. "That depends on how far back you go and how tough it is to search the records. It might be several hundred dollars or several thousands.
    "That seems like a lot," the man said. "Is there a cheaper way to trace my past?"
    "Well," replied the genealogist, "the cheapest way is to run for public office."

Concord Printing newsletter, Cape Girardeau, MO, date unknown.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Altruism on the Way to Victory

    The story is told of a major competition in which fifty thousand people looked on from the stands as Gil Dodds, track coach at Wheaton College, entered the last lap of his event. His time was superb. Not only would he win the race, but a new world's record seemed easily within his grasp. Then a competitor in the next lane tripped and fell down. Gil Dodds felt a responsibility for that other young runner. He stopped, helped his competitor up, briefly made sure he was uninjured, then continued the race. Can you believe that Dodds still won? He did, but with that momentary hesitation, he had surrendered the world's record. How supremely unselfish he had been! He had placed the welfare of that other young man above his won transient glory, and had rendered himself worthy of far greater honor in the process.
    Winning is important, but it is far more satisfying if you can help someone on the way to victory.

Pulpit Helps, date unknown

Climb 'Til Your Dream Comes True

By Helen Steiner Rice

Often your tasks will be many,
And more than you think you can do.
Often the road will be rugged
And the hills insurmountable, too.

But always remember, the hills ahead
Are never as steep as they seem,
And with Faith in your heart start upward
And climb 'Til you reach your dream.

For nothing in life that is worthy
Is never too hard to achieve
If you have the courage to try it
And you have the Faith to believe.

For Faith is a force that is greater
Than knowledge or power or skill
And many defeats turn to triumph
If you trust in God's wisdom and will.

For Faith is a mover of mountains.
There's nothing that God cannot do,
So start out today with Faith in your heart
And "Climb 'Til Your Dream Comes True"!

The weekly bulletin of the Malden Church of Christ in Malden, MO, May 21, 1989, p. 2.

Daddy, Do You Want Your Boy to Be Like You?

Author Unknown

There are little eyes upon you
   and they're watching night and day.
There are little ears that quickly
   take in every word you say.
There are little hands all eager
   to do anything you do;
And a little boy who's dreaming
   of the day he'll be like you.

You're the little fellow's idol,
   you're the wisest of the wise.
In his little mind about you
   no suspicions ever rise.
He believes in you devoutly,
   holds all you say and do;
He will say and do, in your way
   when he's grown up just like you.

There's a wide-eyed little fellow
   who believes you're always right;
And his eyes are always opened,
   and he watches day and night.
You are setting an example
   every day in all you do;
For the little boy who's waiting
   to grow up to be just like you.

Pulpit Helps, date unknown.

Elvis Presley’s Bible

By Steve Higginbotham

    In 2012, a Bible that was given to Elvis Presley in 1957 by his aunt and uncle was auctioned off.  It is clear that Elvis actually read and used this Bible, for it contained several marginal notes written in his own handwriting.  One such note is found in the margin of Luke 9.  It says, "For what is a man advantaged if he should gain the whole world and lose himself or be castaway."  Interesting insight from a man who had so much of what this world values.
    But to the real point of this article.  The Bible sold for $97,000.00.  What I find of particular interest is that the value of this Bible was determined by the person who owned it.  Oh, I understand how the whole "celebrity thing" works, but I just thought it was ironic that (from the world's point of view) the owner of this Bible brought value to the Bible.  However, the Bible is "priceless" no matter who owns it, and frankly, the value of a Bible is not increased by its owner, rather the Bible brings value to its owner.  Give it some thought.

Steve Higginbotham preaches for the Karns Church of Christ in Knoxville, TN. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at [Copyright © 2012, Steve Higginbotham.  Permission is granted to copy these articles.]

For Bravery

By David A. Sargent

    Eynon Hawkins was a Welsh miner, born in 1920 and dying in Wales in 2001. During World War II Eynon was an able seaman aboard a British Navy vessel.  On January 10, 1943, German U-boats fired three torpedoes into the vessel. The ship exploded into flames and was burning furiously. Many of the crew jumped into the sea -- the only way they might escape with their lives. However even that was fraught with more than the usual danger, for oil from the ships fuel tanks had spread across the water and threatened to set even the ocean ablaze.
    Eynon Hawkins was one of those crewmen who jumped into the ocean. He was also a very strong swimmer, and keeping his wits about him, organized most of the sailors into a group and led them away to safety. It was his example and encouragement, especially to the weaker swimmers, that kept them going until they were rescued by the British Navy.
    On two occasions Eynon left the group to turn back and save others. This meant swimming into oil covered waters that were ablaze. The risk of being completely enveloped by the flames was very high, and though Eynon escaped it was not before he suffered extensive burning to his face.
    For great bravery in saving life at sea, Eynon was awarded the distinguished Albert Medal.  It was recognized that apart from Eynon's actions, most of the men on the "SS British Dominion" would have lost their lives. *
    Due to our SIN, you and I are in a far more perilous condition than those swimming seamen.  For the wages of sin is certain death (Romans 6:23). Yet, when WE were drowning in guilt and despair, the Son of God came to our rescue.
    In order to save us from sin, He had to endure the most excruciating pain by dying on a cross.  He gave His life so that we might live.
    Jesus’ loving sacrifice is the Way of salvation to those who: believe in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), are baptized (immersed) in His name for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), and follow Him faithfully until death (1Jn 1:7).
    There is NO medal so glorious that could possibly be awarded Him that would adequately honor Him for His bravery in saving our lives.  The only appropriate response is our gratitude demonstrated through our loving obedience to His will.
    Won’t YOU cling to the Savior through your trusting obedience?

David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:
* Source: BRITISH and DOMINION NAVIES - THE GEORGE CROSS AT SEA, 1939-1945 and its equivalent predecessors, the ALBERT MEDAL in GOLD and EMPIRE GALLANTRY MEDAL --

Going Against the Flow

By Alan Smith

     The story is told about a woman who called her husband on his car phone as he was on his way home from work and she said, “Honey, you need to be careful.  I just saw on the news that there’s some nut driving the wrong way on the Interstate.”  Her husband said, “There’s not just one nut, there’s hundreds of them!”
     Have you ever felt that way?  Have you ever felt like trying to do God’s will makes you go the wrong way down the road?   All the traffic’s coming the other way.  Have you ever thought, “If everybody’s going this way, it’s so hard to go against the flow.  Would God really mind if I just turned around for a little while?”
     An article in The London Times a couple of years ago reported that there are currently about 200 million Christians in over 60 countries who are being persecuted for their faith.  Because we have freedom in the United States to worship God, those of us who live here sometimes we forget just how many people in this world live under oppression – by Communist authorities or Muslim authorities, or authorities who simply oppose God and the people who follow God.
     And even if you don’t face governmental oppression, there are no doubt many of you who live with oppression – in your home, in your workplace or at your school – oppressed by a family member or boss or teacher who makes it difficult on you as a Christian.  More and more, we all are living in an anti-God culture.  We live in an environment that makes it difficult at times for us to stand up for God.
     We must remember the words of Paul:  “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
     No matter which way the crowd around you is flowing, may you have the courage to travel the direction that God would have you to travel.

Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister for the Fayetteville Church of Christ in Fayetteville, NC, may be contacted at

How To Please Everyone

    A man and his grandson went on a journey one day, walking and leading a donkey. Soon they met a man who said, “How foolish for you to be walking. One of you should be riding the donkey.” So the man put his grandson on the animal.
    The next traveler they met frowned and said, “How dreadful for a strong boy to be riding while an old man walks.” With that the boy climbed off the donkey and his grandfather climbed on.
    The next person down the road, however, said, “I just can’t believe that a grown man would ride and make a poor little boy walk.” So the man pulled the boy aboard and off they rode on the donkey together.
    That is, until they met the fellow who screamed, “I never saw anything so cruel in my life, two intelligent human beings riding on one poor, defenseless donkey.”
    Down the road a short distance, the trio met a couple of men traveling together. After they passed, one of the men turned to the other and said, “Did you ever see two bigger fools carrying that donkey?”
    How do you please everyone? YOU CAN’T! Don’t even try! Just do your best to please God. Galatians 1:10…”For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”

The Challenger, Sycamore St. Church of Christ, Carbondale, IL, date unknown.

The Ice Palace

By David A. Sargent

    How do you bolster a sagging economy?  This was the question facing the citizens of Leadville , Colorado , in 1895.  The town was in the doldrums; the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1893 had ended its glory days as a silver-mining center.
    In an effort to keep their city ALIVE, the citizens staged a winter carnival...
They proposed a mammoth ice castle to draw sightseers, create jobs and rescue the town’s economy.  According to the Legends of America website: “Construction began November 1, 1895 with a crew of 250 men working day and night. Day laborers were paid $2.50 per day and skilled laborers were paid $3.00 per day. The palace was more than 58,000 square feet – 325 x 180 feet, utilizing 180,000 board feet of lumber and 5,000 tons of ice. The palace was supported by a complex framework of trusses, girders and timber, with the ice for appearance only. The ice was trimmed to size and placed in forms, then sprayed with water, which served as mortar to bind the blocks together. The towers reached 90 feet high by 40 feet wide and the palace encompassed 5 acres of ground.” The crystal palace housed a ballroom, a 180-foot skating rink, a curling rink, a restaurant, a dance floor, gaming rooms, a theater, toboggan runs and a carousel house.
    The Ice Palace was opened on January 1, 1896.  For three months, the Palace entertained more than 250,000 visitors until an early thaw in mid-March.  Despite these numerous visitors, the Ice Palace was a financial disaster for the town.
    The town that put its hope in an ice palace saw that hope "MELT AWAY."
    No more Ice Palaces were ever built in Leadville!
    In what are we placing OUR hope? Like the fabulous Ice Palace, we understand from the Scriptures that this WORLD with its powers and values is PASSING AWAY (see 1 John 2:15-17).
    The ONLY hope that is LASTING is that which is placed in Christ.  It is a “living hope” that will NEVER fade, because Jesus is alive!  God loved the world so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins (John 3:16).  Our hope was made sure when Jesus rose from the dead! “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a “living hope” through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
    We have hope in Christ when we respond to Him: in faith (Acts 16:30-31), turning from our sins in repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) in His name for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  We may CONTINUE to enjoy this hope as we CONTINUE to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
The Ice Palace presents a challenge: Are WE expending our time and energy on things that will soon "melt" away?
    “The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who DOES the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).
    Won’t YOU do the will of God?

David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:

Lessons From Prison

By Alan Smith

     These are some of the frivolous lawsuits filed by convicted prisoners across the United States (which are subsidized by taxpayers).
~ An inmate, calling himself a sports fanatic, complained that, as a result of cruel and unusual punishment, he was forced to miss the NFL playoffs -- especially the "classic " between Miami and San Diego, San Diego and Pittsburgh, and Dallas and San Francisco. (Arkansas)
~ An inmate complained because his meal allegedly was in poor condition. He claims his sandwich was soggy and his cookie was broken. (Brittaker v. Rowland)
~ An inmate who murdered five people sued after lightning knocked out the prison's TV satellite dish and he had to watch network programs, which he said contained violence, profanity, and other objectionable material. (Jackson v. Barton)
~ An inmate sued to be given Reeboks, Adidas, Pony, or Avia hightops rather than the inferior brand sneakers issued by the prison. (Brown v. Singletary)
~ An inmate sued for not receiving his scheduled parole hearing, though he was out on escape when the hearing was to be held. (Young v. Murphy)
~ An inmate sued because he was required to eat off of a paper plate. (Procup v. Strickland, et al)
~ An inmate sued because he didn’t like his mail being stamped in a way that indicated it was being sent from a state prison (California)
~ An inmate who was a murderer sued for $25,000, claiming a "defective" haircut resulted in lost sleep, headaches, and chest pains. (New York) 
     We get quite a different picture of a prisoner in the New Testament by the name of Paul. While he wasn't afraid to demand his rights (Acts 22:25; 25:11), neither was Paul one to whine and complain and mope while in prison (and he hadn't even committed a crime!). Listen to this positive statement which came from Paul's pen as he sat in chains:
     "Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly..... And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice." (Philippians 1:12-14, 18b).
     This passage is an encouragement to me in those times when it seems that life is treating me unfairly. If Paul could maintain such a positive spirit and joy in the midst of such difficulty, surely I can do the same.  There is much to be thankful for!

Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister for the Fayetteville Church of Christ in Fayetteville, NC, may be contacted at

Let Nothing Distract

    Leonardo da Vinci took a friend to criticize his masterpiece of the "Last Supper," and the remark of the friend was, "The most striking thing in the picture is the cup!" The artist took his brush and wiped out the cup, as he said, "Nothing in my painting shall attract more attention than the face of my Master!"

Pulpit Helps, date unknown.

Lethal Pride

By David A. Sargent

    John Sedgwick (September 13, 1813 – May 9, 1864) was a teacher, a career military officer, and a Union Army general in the American Civil War.  In the Civil War, he advanced in rank from colonel to Major General as he led his troops in battle. Sedgwick was wounded many times in the course of his military career, but there is an unfortunate – yet tragic – incident surrounding his fatal wounding.
    It was the beginning of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, on May 9, 1864. His corps was probing skirmish lines ahead of the left flank of Confederate defenses and he was directing artillery placements. Confederate sharpshooters were about 1,000 yards away and their shots caused members of his staff and artillerymen to duck for cover. Sedgwick strode around in the open and, according to Civil War historian Shelby Foote, was quoted as saying, "What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? I am ashamed of you. They couldn't hit an ELEPHANT at this distance!"
    Although ashamed, his men continued to flinch and he repeated, "I'm ashamed of you, dodging that way. They couldn't hit an ELEPHANT at this distance!"  Seconds later however, he was struck by a fatal bullet just below his left eye. He was the highest-ranking Union casualty (the most senior by date of rank of all major generals killed) of the Civil War. *
    General Sedgwick had made a FATAL mistake; he had underestimated his enemy!
    His demise reminds US of an important truth: “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
    You and I may be tempted to think in regard to our sin, “Oh, it won’t affect ME; I’ll be all right.”  We think the enemy just isn’t that powerful.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Sin will KILL and DESTROY (Romans 6:23; James 1:13-14).  Nothing pleases our enemy (Satan) more than for us to think that it won’t.
    The Good News (the “Gospel”) is that Satan has been defeated and there is a Remedy for our sin.  God loved us so much that He sent His Son to pay the price for our sin by dying on the cross (Ephesians 1:7).  WHEN – we respond in trusting obedience to Jesus – believing in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) in His name, THEN – His blood serves as payment for our sin.  And, as long as we CONTINUE to follow Him faithfully, His blood will CONTINUE to cleanse us from sin (1 John 1:7).
    Whether we want to believe it or not, PRIDE goes before DESTRUCTION and sin WILL destroy.  We ignore the danger at our own peril....
    Don’t allow PRIDE and DISBELIEF to cause YOU to be another casualty in the battle over your soul.
    TRUST and OBEY Jesus that you may LIVE with Him forever in heaven!

David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:
* Information gleaned from: "John Sedgwick." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 2007. 09 Feb. 2007.

Like Daddy

By Glenn Wagoner

I took my little laddie once,
And drew him to my knee,
And whispered to my little lad,
"Do you want to be like me?"

"Like Daddy," said my little lad,
"I'm gonna be like you."
I bowed my head in humbleness,
And suddenly I knew.

If my small boy would be like me,
There's one thing I must do,
The steps I take, the things I say
Had better all ring true.

As in the night I lay awake
While my wee lad slept on,
His words reechoed through my mind
Like some old haunting song.

"Like Daddy," that's the thought we need
To help to keep us straight,
Upon the way we fathers walk
Depends our children's fate.

Pulpit Helps, date unknown.

My Dad

He couldn't speak before a crowd;
   He couldn't teach a class;
But when he came to Sunday School
   Be brought the folks en masse.

He couldn't sing to save his life,
   In public couldn't pray;
But always his jalopy was just
   Crammed on each Lord's day.

And although he couldn't sing,
   Nor teach, nor lead in prayer,
He listened well, he had a smile,
   And he was always there.
With all the others whom he brought
   Who lived both far and near -
And God's work prospered, for
   I had a consecrated dad.

The weekly bulletin for the Park Avenue Church of Christ, Memphis, TN, June 21, 1987, p. 1.

Needed: Distance Runners

By Joe R. Barnett

    In 1951, Gil Dodds broke the record for the fastest mile ever run on an indoor track. Gil had some handicaps. For one thing, he couldn't develop that burst of sprint speed at the end of the race. He said, "In place of the sprint God gave me stamina." He had the capacity to run consistently from beginning to end.
    Run with perseverance!
    There's the need. Distance runners. Those who won't drop out. When their legs turn to jelly and they're gasping for breath they keep plugging.

The Holly Springs Herald, weekly bulletin of Fant Avenue Church of Christ in Holly Springs, MS, Jan. 28, 1987, p. 4.

Not Too Short

By David A. Sargent

    In 2008, a group of students from Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, TN, traveled to the Dominican Republic for a Spring Break mission trip. The group conducted a Vacation Bible School program at a children’s home in Bobita.
    After their final day of work at the children’s home, team members spent some time relaxing at the beach.  Then tragedy struck … Shane Ruiz, 19, and two other students were walking along the beach in knee-deep water when they were hit by a large wave.  Shane was swept out into the ocean by a strong undertow. Team members and Dominicans on the beach spent the next three hours attempting to rescue Shane, but were unable to reach him. **
    Dr. Ralph Gilmore, Bible professor at F-HU, relayed these events to the chapel assembly at the Faulkner University Lectureship in Montgomery, AL.  With great emotion, he told how that as many desperately sought to save Shane, “their arms were just too short to save him.”  They could not reach him.
    Dr. Gilmore quoted Isaiah 59:1-2 – “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
    The reality is that because of our sins, WE are separated from God and lost.  The undertow of sin is too strong for us to save ourselves.  Even our friends and loved ones can’t save us.  Thus we are doomed.
    “But the arm of the Lord is not too short to save!”  God loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to save us from our sins (John 3:16).  In order to save us, Jesus gave His life for us.  He died on the cross to rescue us from sin (Ephesians 1:7).  He was the only One who could save us, for He was and is the sinless Son of God!
    God WILL save those who will: place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-4).
    That’s why.... Shane and his Christian co-workers were in the Dominican Republic during that Spring Break in 2008: to tell those who were lost in sin that God’s arm is not too short to save!
     That’s the Good News (the Gospel) for us, too!  No matter how deeply we have sunk into sin, God’s arm is not too short to save us.  We must simply reach out to His extended hand through our trusting obedience.
     Won’t YOU?

David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:


By Steve Higginbotham

    The story is told of a man who was returning home from work one day and as he neared his home, a neighbor lady approached him in an oncoming car, stretched her head out the driver’s window, looked him square in the eyes, and yelled, “pig!”  Taken back by this woman’s rude comment, and having a bad day, this man instinctively replied, but yelling back at her, “You old Heifer!”  Feeling a sense of satisfaction, he rounded the corner, and there in the middle of the road was standing a large pig.
    Rather than hurling an insult at him, this man’s neighbor was trying to warn him of impending danger.  But he was guilty of thinking the worse; speaking before thinking.  Consequently he found himself in a rather embarrassing position for which he later had to apologize.
    Friends, have you ever found yourself in a similar situation?  Have you ever incorrectly judged another person’s actions, words, or thoughts?  Each day we live, we ought to appreciate even more the inspired words of James who said, “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (James 1:19).

Steve Higginbotham preaches for the Karns Church of Christ in Knoxville, TN. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at [Copyright © 2012, Steve Higginbotham.  Permission is granted to copy these articles.]

Remember the Scars

By Alan Smith

    John Gordon was a respected general for the South in the Civil War.  After the war, he was running for the United States Senate, but a man who had served under him in the war, angry over some political incident, was determined to see him defeated.  Everyone knew this man would fight Gordon's bid to become a senator.
    During the convention, he angrily stamped down the aisle with his anti-Gordon vote in hand.  As he saw Gordon sitting on the platform, he noticed how his once handsome face was disfigured with the scars of battle -- marks of his willingness to suffer and bleed for a cause he believed in.
    The old soldier was stricken with remorse.  Overcome with emotion, he exclaimed, "It's no use; I can't do it.  Here's my vote for John Gordon." Then, turning to the general, he said, "Forgive me, General.  I had forgotten the scars."
    What a difference it makes in our lives when we remember the scars!  With so many things to distract us, we don't often take time each day to reflect on what Jesus went through on the cross for us.  But, when we are tempted to stray, it is a remembrance of Christ's sacrifice that has the power to draw us back to him.
    "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)
    May I encourage you this morning to take a moment to pause and "remember the scars".
    Have a great day!

- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister for the Fayetteville Church of Christ in Fayetteville, NC, may be contacted at

Thanks For What Is Of Greater Value

By Robert Boardman

    There is a story of a young man who proposed marriage to a young woman. He gave her an expensive, beautiful diamond ring enclosed in an attractive blue velvet box. The following day after their engagement, the young woman said, "How can I ever thank you enough for the beautiful blue velvet box? I love it and will always cherish it1" How do you think her beloved felt?
    A ludicrous story? Yet, except that it aptly illustrates the care and attention we humans give in this life to our body and physical well being - which is like the blue velvet box. We spend about ninety-nine percent of our resources and time on something that will return to dust. And we neglect the gift of the diamond, which is our living, eternal soul. We fail to thank God for such a priceless gift, purchased for us by the death of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Pulpit Helps, date unknown.