Who Do You Listen To? Filtering Through a Barrage of Advice [Video]

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We live in the information age, but not all the information and advice is good. How can you possibly know what advice to take? Leah shares some thoughts with Adam on a short video, giving you three filters to use when given advice in any area of life.

 

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Senior Saints, Please Keep Serving

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The name Ida Keeling may not mean anything to you, but her story from the past weekend’s Penn Relays made me take notice.

Keeling ran the 100-meter dash. There were nine runners in her race and she finished last; ninth out of nine. It took her over 67 seconds to finish the short run down the straightaway.

So, what could possibly be inspirational about that?

Ida Keeling is over 100 years of age!

Her time of 1:07 in the 100-meter dash is a new world record for the over-100 age bracket. (By the way, here is a news report about the race, and here is an article that contains the full race video.)

Her amazing effort got me thinking about older people, and how the church needs to value them more.

A Reminder about Church Growth

Often, I hear congregations of the Lord’s people talk about the need to “get more young people here.” We see a lot of graying hairlines and we worry about the future of the congregation.

Certainly, we should always be seeking young people to convert to the Lord. However, should we not also be seeking older people who are not Christians?

The church does not only need to get young people. The church needs to bring all who are lost to the saving blood of Jesus.

A Reminder to Church Leaders

Elders, ministry leaders, deacons, committee members, and so on do not only need to look for the young, active, energetic folks to help with various ministries within the body of Christ. If we are not seeking out the wisdom as well as the work ethic of the older members of our congregations, we are missing a blessing.

I would go so far as to say it this way: if we are not seeking help and input from both the younger and the older members of our churches, we may need to rethink if we should be leading at all.

While those older legs may not move as quickly as they once did, they can still carry a great deal of work in the church. And while those older minds may forget a few things or may take a little longer than I might like to process information, the wisdom those brains contain is a resource that cannot be valued highly enough.

A Reminder to Senior Saints

Ida Keeling set the world record in that race for one reason: she finished. If she had run 99 meters and stopped, her race would have been good, but her name would never be archived in the record book.

Many of you reading these words are older, and your minds or your bodies may not be what they once were. Strength may not be your strength!

But you are still strong in the faith, and we want to encourage you to keep pressing forward. Finish well.

Though you may not be able to do all you used to do, there are still vital roles for you to play in the church. Please, I beg you, do not just “turn things over to the young folks.” Be willing to share your wisdom. Take part in any ministry and work you possibly can. Use your time to encourage others. Ask the elders or a deacon if there is something you can do, even if it might take you a little while to finish it.

Conclusion

Our course as Christians is much longer than a 100-meter dash, but just like Ida’s race, it does have a finish line. As a body of believers, let us always encourage our senior saints to run to the end and continually be serving God. If you are a senior saint, never stop running. The church needs your wisdom, your work ethic, and your example each and every day.

“I have been young, and now am old,

yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken

or His children begging for bread.” (Psalm 37:25)


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Blessed is the Man Who Trusts the Lord

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“I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust…” ~ Psalm 40:1-4a.

From these four verses, we are reminded of the grace and deliverance of God. Anytime you seem to be in a rough spot, it is important to be patient and trust in God.

  1. Because he hearkens. To hearken is more than just to hear. To hearken is to listen with great care. The word “inclined” in verse 1 means, “To stretch, to extend, to reach out, to bend or bow.” What an amazing thought that God would make such an effort to help our pitiful state! When you cry out to the Lord, he will move from where he is to where you are. You will no longer be alone.
  2. Because he helps. The “pit” and the “miry clay” in verse 2 describe two places of desperation from which there seems no possible deliverance. The pit is likened to something man has made: a dungeon, a cistern, a well. Sometimes we are cast into difficult places by others. The clay is, on the other hand, a natural calamity, that we probably ventured into in our own foolishness. But God will take us from the gutter to greatness; from sinking sand to solid stone.
  3. Because he heals. How many of us have lost our song? How many of us have lost our desire? How many of us have faith that has grown cold? While we have lost our sense of spiritual self, God has stayed the same. He can heal hardened hearts and remind us again of the goodness of his grace. Christians need to let God put a new song in their hearts that exits their lips in praise to their marvelous God. Let God do this great work in your life – no matter how long it has been since you first obeyed!

Remember that God hearkens, helps and heals. Let this reminder turn into praise for God in your life that will cause others to fear and respect the Lord. The psalmist offers this wonderful promise – “Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust…”

“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.” ~ Psalm 5:11


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What Could be Better than Facebook?

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Facebook is, by far, the largest social media site in the world. According to some information I have seen, there are over 1.1 billion Facebook accounts. Facebook is about three times larger than its nearest rival, Twitter, which still has several hundred million accounts.

I am not writing this from the vantage point of an “internet Nazi.” I am not among those who believe that the internet in general–and Facebook in particular–are inherently evil. 

Yes, there are dangers, but there are dangers with all other forms of media. There are dangers inherent in driving, but I choose to do that instead of walking everywhere I go (and maybe getting run over by a car!). There are dangers involved in just about anything we do.

Even with all of its dangers, I have found the internet and some computer programs to be a valuable tool for research, Bible study, etc. With a few keystrokes or a mouse click or two, I can now find and/or link to information that it would have taken hours (if not days or weeks) to find in earlier years. It is helpful to connect with all of that information in such a short time.

It is also great to connect with people by means of Facebook. I do get tired of reading and seeing some of the things that people post on Facebook. (I’m sorry, but I really don’t care a great deal about the latest trick your pet can do.) I also get discouraged when I see people who wear the name of Christ approving of and practicing things that sully His name. 

I’ve also seen way too much indecency on Facebook–indecent jokes, indecent language, and indecent attire. I wish I could honestly say that all of this has been posted by non-Christians, but, sadly, that is not the case.

Even with all of that being said, Facebook remains a wonderful way to connect with family, friends, old classmates, and others. Because of Facebook, I have been able to connect with people I’ve almost (if not altogether) lost track of. 

As wonderful as Facebook can be, what could be better than that? What could be better than connecting with people all around the world? What could be better than using the internet to access information from countless sources and countless centuries?

How about this:

Face in the Book

When I put my face in the Book (God’s Word), I am also connecting. I am connecting with Him and with His truths. I’m connecting with people who, throughout the ages, have been loyal to Him. I’m connecting with His Son and my Savior. I’m making the ultimate connection.

So, there you have it. I think that some of the time I spend connecting with people via Facebook would be more profitably spent with my face in the book.

How about you?


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Episode 53: A Family Challenge: Memorize an Entire Book of the Bible [Podcast]

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As families, we are always searching for ways to instill the Word of God in the hearts of our children. On the podcast this week, Adam shares a brief challenge to all families: memorizing an entire book of the Bible together.

Based upon the Centurion of Scripture event from Lads to Leaders, this challenge is one that can be done by even small children, just one verse at a time. Find out how on the program!

LOFpodcast

Resources

Lads to Leaders (homepage)

Lads to Leaders Rulebook [PDF]

“The 5 Shortest Books of the Bible, in Order” (Overview Bible) Note: this is done by number of words, not verses, but it is still a helpful resource, especially if you have small children.

“8 Tips for Family Devotionals”

More from A Legacy of Faith

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One Reason Our Nation Does Not Know God

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Everywhere I turn, it seems, I hear Christians bemoaning the direction of our nation. From the decline in individual morality to out government standing for abhorrent behavior, it is a frightening time in many ways.

As our nation continues to move further from God and His Word, Christians ask the question why? We wonder how this has happened, especially in a nation that was, very clearly, founded upon Christian principles.

While there are countless reasons that could be given for why this continues to occur, I want to share one reason that every one of us needs to consider.

It actually comes from a principle found in a well-known verse in the Old Testament:

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

What does that verse have to do with this article? It has everything to do with it.

May I suggest to you that one of the major reasons why our nation is running away from the Lord is because we are not still.

Ever.

From the moment we rise in the morning until we lay our heads down at night, we are in a mode of constant activity. In our hyper-connected world, that activity is only increasing. We listen to the radio. We listen to podcasts. We check social media. We scroll through Pinterest. We work. We eat. We catch the latest episode of a TV show. We run to ball practice. We exercise at the gym. We run by the grocery store. We text. We call.

Is all this sounding just a wee bit familiar?

What is scary is that, for many of us, this is a description of virtually every day. Seemingly every moment of every day is filled with things that are not necessarily bad, but that simply fill every moment of our day.

That being case, when are we still?

And if we are never still, when can we meditate on the wonder and glory of our God?

And if we rarely–if ever–do that, how can we know Him?

Activity is good. Christians need to be going about doing good, just like our Lord did (Acts 10:38).

However, may I remind all of us that even Jesus took time away to spend alone with the Father? And He did so regularly.

Is it any wonder, then, that He knew the Father, and never once moved away from His will?

Look at your calendar. Check out your to-do list. Is it so filled with this-and-that to the point that time to just consider and be in awe of our wonderful Father is forced out?

One day, instead of trying to jog and listen to music, why not just jog and enjoy the wonders of God’s creation around you?

Some Sunday afternoon, instead of watching another movie or game, why not walk around your yard and praise God for all you see?

Instead of signing up your kid for every sport, why not take some of that time and have family devotionals, digging into the Word of God together?

How about you erase several things from your DVR and instead meditate on a passage from God’s Word, being filling with amazement at His wisdom and glory?

Slow down. Be still.

And know that He is God!


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Faith of Our Fathers

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When I was 16 my father and I climbed a mountain. We were in Yosemite National Park. We used to live just a few hours from there and to this day it is my favorite place on earth. In the past we had hiked up into Tuolumne Meadows to various mountain lakes. But on this occasion we were headed towards Half Dome. We were not planning on going to the summit, but only to some of the falls along the way. I knew what we were doing and why we were doing it. I knew I was going enjoy sharing the day with my dad.

Isaac once climbed a mountain with his father, Abraham. It was not a recreational journey. They were going to worship (Gen. 22:5). Still, as a teenage boy, you can imagine that Isaac anticipated the moments he was going to spend with his father. Isaac carried the wood and Abraham carried the fire and the knife. As they ascended Mount Moriah, Isaac began to wonder why they did not have an animal with them for the sacrifice.

Abraham explained to his son that God was going to provide it. What Isaac did not know is that God had decided that Isaac was to be the offering. Yes, Isaac–God’s gift to Abraham and Sarah. So when they had come to the place of sacrifice, Abraham built an altar, laid the wood on it, and tied Isaac up on top of it and stretched out his knife to slay his son (Gen. 22:10).

It brings into one’s mind to consider what Isaac was thinking. When his father began to tie him up, was he afraid? Did he ask his father why? Did he fight any? The Bible does not say. What is revealed is that Abraham drew the knife back. He was going to do it. He was going to obey God no matter what.

The rest of the story is well known to the Bible reader. God stopped Abraham from killing Isaac, and a ram was provided instead. But that still leaves us with the question – What did Isaac learn?

I have climbed some mountains with my father, and I imagine you have climbed a few with yours. Some mountains are not located on maps, and cannot be scaled on foot. But life brings us tests and struggles. Our will is challenged. Our obedience is demanded. Our faith is proven. It is in the faith that we display on these mountains that we learn the greatest lessons in life.

I am certain that Isaac never forgot that trip with his father. I am certain that he learned about faithful and willing obedience. I am certain that he learned to fear God. In fact, later in Genesis, God is literally called “the Fear of Isaac” (Gen. 22:42, 53). Faith from a father was thus given to a son forever.

 If you have had a father that respected and feared God, be thankful. The faith of our fathers is living still.

Faith of our fathers, living still, in spite of dungeon, fire and sword;

O how our hearts beat high with joy, whenever we hear that glorious Word!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith! We will be true to thee till death.

~ Frederick Faber and James G. Walton


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Please Leave a (Positive) Message

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Remember answering machines? 

For many of our younger people, it may be difficult to relate to anything other than voice mail. It may surprise them to learn that there was, in fact, a way to leave a message with somebody before the invention of cell phones and voice mail. However, answering machines have not quite yet gone the way of the horse and buggy. It is still possible to call something we now call a landline and leave a message on one of those devices. 

I was reminded recently of an experience I had a number of years ago with an answering machine. I dialed the telephone number of a woman who had lost her husband several months earlier. At least I thought it was her number that I had dialed. I began to wonder, though, because of the message I heard on the machine. I was listening to a man’s voice. At first, that surprised me, but it only took me a couple of seconds to realize that I had, indeed, dialed the correct number. 

I was listening to the voice of her late husband.

As technology continues to develop, newer ways of preserving voices and images are available. Those who have the “know-how” can even put images and voices of those who are no longer living together with those who are. They can produce something that makes it appear that the dead and the living are working together, performing together, or having a conversation with one another. Families are often comforted by hearing the voices and/or seeing images of departed loved ones. 

However, the ability to communicate past the time of our earthly demise has existed for a long, long time. Consider what is said about Abel in Hebrews 11:4: “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks” (ESV, emphasis added).

I suppose we could call it our legacy, our influence, our impact, or any number of other things, but what we do now can continue to “speak” long after we are gone. In Abel’s case, he was “speaking” thousands of years after his death.

I wonder what message I’m leaving on my machine. How about you?


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5 Questions Elders Should Regularly Ask Deacons and Preachers [Video]

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F.R.O.G.

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My friend Sonnie passed from this life recently. I have been blessed with many friends as a minister’s wife, and they are like sisters to me because I never had any earthly sisters. Sonnie was not only my sister in Christ but also the closest (along with a few others) I have ever come to feeling like I had an earthly sister. She was a few years older than me, and I looked up to her like you would an older sister.

There were so many things that made her special and I would like to share a few of those things with you. They are attributes I believe would help all of us as we journey through this life.

  • She was fun. She almost always had a smile on her face and could lighten up any dark moment. She never worried about looking silly to others, but she would put on a funny hat and parade around at a ladies’ devo and fellowship if she thought it would bring a smile to some otherwise sad faces.
  • She was a hard worker. Anything she made up her mind to tackle would be done – and done well. If she wanted a goldfish pond in her back yard (which she did), she dug it and made it into a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy watching those fish. When the pantry, or a storage closet, or anything else needed cleaning in the annex at the church building, she would tackle it alone at a time when no one would know who had done the work. And it was done to perfection.
  • She was compassionate. Her father came to live with her in her little house when he became a widower for the second time. She referred to him as her “live-in man.” (I told you she was fun). She would hurry on to tell those who didn’t know her that she was blessed to have her “daddy” living with her. She treated him like a king. She took the upstairs bedroom and gave him the one downstairs. She talked about what a blessing that was to her because at night in her little upstairs room, which was above his, she could hear her father praying by name for each one of his grown children.

She treated all of her neighbors well, often taking food to them and helping them with problems they may have had. Many of our older ladies looked forward to a visit from Sonnie because she cared so deeply for them and brought her happy disposition to them when she visited or cared for them.

  • She was a planner. She could organize and carry out tasks in her family or at church like no one I have ever seen. She “headed up“ things like Ladies’ Day, Ladies’ Devo and Fellowship, refreshments for our annual Singing, and many other activities. When her brothers and sisters would come to visit – you guessed it – they gathered at her little home. Every activity she undertook was planned well and carried out to perfection.
  • She loved frogs. She collected frogs of any type. She wore clothes that had frogs on them. She had frog jewelry of every type. She signed any announcement she had put in the bulletin with these letters — F.R.O.G. – and added a small picture of a frog. She had frogs sitting on her porch and frog wind chimes hanging around her porch. These were all reminders to her and to those of us who knew her to Fully Rely On God. She did. She taught us often that frogs only move forward, and never backward. What a needed reminder for every Christian facing a struggle!
  • She was a faithful Christian. Some of the last words I heard her say following her relatively short illness were, “I’ve had a good life. I’m ready to go home.” She had “fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.” (2 Tim. 4:7) I could depend on her to always be doing what was right. I could depend on her to be at every service of the church and every activity she could. I could depend on her because I knew she depended on God.

Her memorial service was held last week and many people attended: family, members at Central, members from other congregations, friends from her years in high school, neighbors, co-workers, etc.  Many tears were shed.  Much laughter was heard. Some of her favorite gospel songs were sung. A niece told of the things she had taught her, and Jim spoke about her great qualities and how happy she would be if each person there would make sure they are in a right relationship with God. The theme for the evening was her theme for life – F.R.O.G. – Fully Rely On God. 

Help me, Father, to follow her example.

“Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which translated means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity.”  Acts 9:36


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