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I have been an Elder at the Community Bible Church in Minneapolis Kansas. For 35+ years.  During that time I have been writing these thought...

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"What Is My Purpose?"

Victory Can Be Yours!

Article # 40 –“What is My Purpose?”

In article #39, we considered three questions that every person must answer.  The first question was; where did I come from?  It was concluded, by Scripture, to be from God.  The second question, what is my purpose, is not so easily answered.  It seems clear through the Scriptures that God created man that man should bring Him pleasure, honor, and glory.  “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name.” (Psalm 86:9)  We are His ambassadors and should desire to continually bring pleasure to Him in all that we say and do.  “For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:20)

Possibly the best example of what our purpose should be comes from the Apostle Paul.  He states, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.  But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.” (Phil. 1:21-24)  Paul is writing this from a Roman prison, chained to a Roman guard.  Paul is saying that whether he is released from the Roman prison or if they cut off his head, (which they did) it would be all about Christ, for Him or with Him.  To live free from prison, he would be ministering to the believers in Philippi for Christ, to enhance the Christian experience and to help them become more like Christ and to build up their treasures in Heaven.   But, to die would be gain for him because he would then be with his Lord and Savior for eternity.  This is an example all of us should desire to follow.

What a passage!  What an attitude!  This is the attitude that he was trying to pass on to his Christian brothers and sisters in Philippi and to us.  Even when he knew that he himself would be better off with Christ, he thought it more important to live on for those he was ministering to.  This was to be a lesson of selflessness.  Paul’s purpose was, “according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Phil.1:20)  Our purpose should be the same, the exaltation of Christ in everything.

You, too, can have victory in Jesus!  More to follow.

Lowell Parrish

Monday, August 29, 2016

"Where Did We Come From?"

Victory Can Be Yours!

Article #39 – “Where Did We Come From?”

            What would your answer be if someone were to ask you, ‘what will your eternal destiny be, Heaven or Hell’?  We are going to come to a thoughtful answer to that question by taking a short journey through God’s word.

            Let us begin with something that a fellow elder of mine stated in a Sunday school class presentation.  He said, “There are three questions that everyone must answer during their lifetime.”

1.     Where did I come from?

2.     What is my purpose?

3.     What is my eternal destiny?

The answer to the first question is the easiest to come by; “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:27) “Then the Lord God formed man of the dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Gen. 2:7)  This man that God created from the dust of the ground was named Adam.  He did not originate from a “Big Bang” or evolve from a frog or a monkey.  He was made by God out of the dust of the earth.  And, that earth came from God.  This is not about science verses intelligent design, even all known science has been given by our Creator. 

Of course, this is all about faith.  “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)  We must believe through historical evidence pasted down from generation to generation, from what we can observe from our surroundings, and we must believe much from faith.  Where does faith come from?  It comes from the Bible, the word of God; “So faith come from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.”  (Rom. 10:17)

If you cannot believe that creation came from God with man being part of that creation, then you will not believe that Jesus was virgin born, that He was both man and God, or that He came to die that man could be reconciled to God.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Eph. 2:8)  Even faith comes from Him.  Everything about our existence is in Jesus Christ.  “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:15-17)  He is not only the creator of all things; he also is the sustainer of all things.

Therefore, the answer to the first question is that we all come from God.  We will attempt to answer questions two and three in the next couple of weeks.

You, too, can have victory in Jesus!  More to follow.

Lowell Parrish


Friday, August 26, 2016

"Agape Love"

Victory Can Be Yours!

Article #38 – “Agape Love”

            In the past few weeks, we have addressed the Church, and the gifts that God has given the Church to carry out His works.  Paul concludes chapter 12 with, “But earnestly desire the greater gifts.  And I show you a still more excellent way.” (1 Cor. 12: 31)  Paul is going to describe three things that are greater than the gifts spoken of in chapter 12.

            “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:1-3)  Paul is being clear in stating that you can have all of the gifts that God has available for the building up of the body of Christ but if you do not have love, it is nothing, it is empty.  The body of Christ is not built on the spiritual gifts, as important as they are, but on faith, hope, and love.  The love that Paul is writing about is the kind of love that God has for us.  And, the love we should have for one another in the body can only come from God.  In the Greek language this is agape love, represented in the Scriptures as an attribute of God and a Christian virtue.  It is the only kind of love that God has so it is, also, the only kind of love that He can give.   “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.  God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16)

            Paul continues by describing to his readers what love really is.  What love is: patient, kind, rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.  What love is not: not jealous, does not brag, is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, and does not rejoice in unrighteousness.  Love never fails. (1 Cor. 13:4-8a) Paul concludes the “Love Chapter” by stating that all of the spiritual gifts will be one day be done away with; “Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.  For we know in part and we prophecy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.  When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.  For now we see in a mirror dimly but then face to face; now I know in part but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.  But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:8-13)  Someone has said; “faith will become sight, hope will become reality, but love will never end.” (Author unknown)  Love will last throughout eternity, with God, who is love.  We should all be longing for that greatest time of all times, when hope becomes reality.

            You, too, can have victory in Jesus!  More to follow.

Lowell Parrish

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"For the Common Good"

Victory Can Be Yours!

Article #37 – “For the Common Good”

            There is way too much time wasted with believers desiring to know what their God given gift or gifts are.  To serve God, step out in faith and the Holy Spirit will provide the gift or gifts that are required to perform the task at hand.  There are a variety of gifts, and a variety of ministries, and a variety of effects.   Ponder these words again from 1 Corinthians 12.  “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (Vs 7)  Who is to receive these gifts?  “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” (Vs. 11)  This is how God uses His people to accomplish His purposes, if, we are willing and desire to serve Him.  His people consist of every believer with all of them making up the Body of Christ.  “For the body is not one member, but many.” (Vs. 14)  As members of the body of Christ, we all have different roles.  “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.” (Vs. 18) 

            This is somewhat redundant from last week’s writing but it is so important that we understand that we are individual members of the body of Christ and as a member of the body, we have the power of God at our disposal to serve Him in ways that we cannot even imagine.  Remember from Ephesians that God has prepared work for us to do.  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10)  Who is Paul talking about, he is talking about you.  We may not know, until we go to be with the Lord, what work it is that God has prepared for us.  It could be things like helping others, sending cards of encouragement, being a prayer warrior, Bible teacher, song leader, witnessing to others, being a leader in the church, Help in the kitchen at dinners, or any number of other things to serve God.  God is the craftsman, and created us to do the works He has prepared for us.  It appears that we are to do this work, possibly in spite of ourselves, “that we would walk in them”.  We just need to desire to serve God, step out in faith, and be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  “All are not prophets, are they?  All are not teachers, are they?  All are not workers of miracles, are they?  All do not have gifts of healings, do they?  All do not speak with tongues, do they?  All do not interpret, do they?  But earnestly desire the greater gifts.  And I show you a still more excellent way.” (1 Cor. 12:29-31)  You see, God wants His children to do His business for Him and for that He is going to be passing out great rewards.  Those rewards will include reigning with Him in eternity.  Can you even imagine working, or reigning side by side with the King of kings and the Lord of lords?  Wow!

            You, too, can have victory in Jesus!  Next week we will look at “the more excellent way”.

Lowell Parrish

Monday, August 22, 2016

"Gifted Body"

Victory Can Be Yours!

Article # 36 – “Gifted Body”

            “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Cor. 12:7)  This verse explains a great deal about the gifts that God has given the Church in order for it to function properly.  It is important for us to know that each believer, each one, is given the manifestation of the Spirit or the supernatural gifts from God for the good of the body of Christ.  The gifts are given to each one for the profit of all.  They are not given for personal edification.  These spiritual gifts are not given to us because we want them; they are given to us as the Holy Spirit wills.  “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” (1 Cor. 12:11)  What a blessing and comfort it is to know that when we go forward to serve God, He is with us to provide every aid, strength, courage, compassion, knowledge, wisdom, or whatever else it may be to carry out His works.

            God, through Paul, explains that the Church, the body of believers, is one body with Christ as the head and we are individually members of that body.  “For the body is not one member, but many.” (1 Cor. 12:14)  He uses the analogy of the human body to illustrate.  We have many different roles within the body.  Just as the human body, we can’t all be a hand or an eye or nose.  If we were all eyes, how would we hear or smell, or walk?  The Church is the same; we cannot all be pastor-teachers.  “And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.  All are not apostles, are they?  All are not prophets, are they?  All are not teachers, are they?  All are not workers of miracles, are they?” (1 Cor. 12:28, 29) 

            However, it takes all members of the body to perform for the profit of all or the body will not function as it is intended to do.  If you have an attack of gout in your big toe, it affects your entire body.  If you have the flu, your whole body aches.  If you have hearing or vision problems, the whole body is negatively affected and does not function as it should.  It will still function but not as our living God intends for it to perform, which is to bring honor and glory to Him and to show those outside of the Church, the attributes of God.  That is the intended ministry or purpose of the Church, to show the rest of the world the love, grace, and mercy of the one and only living God.  That was the purpose for God to choose Abraham to establish a new nation, the Jewish nation, so that the whole world would, through them, see God.  They failed in many ways.  God now desires that the Church demonstrate God’s many and great attributes.  Like the Jews, the Church is not doing so well either, because the body is broken and not functioning properly.

            You, too, can have victory in Christ Jesus our Lord.  More about the church will follow.

Lowell Parrish

Friday, August 19, 2016

"Ambassadors for Christ"

Victory Can Be Yours!

Article # 35 – “Ambassador for Christ”

            How do we become ambassadors for Christ?  How do we perform the good works that God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them?  For starters, God has given us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us to guide and to teach us.  The Holy Spirit “will guide you into all truth”, as promised in John 16:13. 

Secondly, He has given the Church gifts, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; …” (Eph. 4:11, 12)  Notice the purpose of these offices, to equip the saints for the work of service.  So, they are given that we might be properly prepared for service.

Thirdly, spiritual gifts are given by God, so that we can perform the work that He has prepared for us. “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.  There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.  But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Cor. 12:4-7)

He, also, gives us His word, the Bible.  What does Paul tell Timothy about the Bible?  “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16, 17)  Without the Bible, it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to adequately serve God and be an ambassador for Him.

Many people believe that God has given each believer a spiritual gift.  I am not one of those, which does not necessarily make me right and them wrong.  I believe that God has made available to every believer, as stated in the verses above, a variety of gifts, variety of ministries, and a variety of effects.  When you are doing the Lord’s work, He can and will use whichever gifts are needed to perform the task at hand.  If the work you are currently engaged in requires supernatural wisdom, He will provide it.  If the work you are engaged in requires more faith, or more knowledge, the gift of helps or compassion, he will provide whatever is necessary at the moment it is needed.  The verse would suggest that a single gift may be used in a variety of ways for a variety of purposes.  These gifts are given by God “for the common good” as stated in the above passage.  If every believer was given only one gift, he would be so proud of it that he would be playing with it to show it off for his own gratification rather than glorifying God.  Each individual in the Church is to be about accomplishing God’s work in order to bring honor and glory to Him.   

How do these gifts come to us?  For a gift or gifts to come to a person, the person must just step out in faith and desire to serve and glorify the living God and you will be given the resources needed to fulfill your ministry.  Those resources can come to you in a variety of gifts, a variety of ministries, and with a variety of effects. “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”  (1 Cor. 12:11) (Emphasis mine)

You, too, can have victory in Jesus!  More on spiritual gifts to follow.

Lowell Parrish

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"The Body of Christ"

Victory Can Be Yours!

Article #34 – “The Body of Christ”

What does the Church look like?  What makes up the Church?  The Church, and I am not speaking of the building that you worship in, is the body of believers.  The Church is made up of individual believers who have been ‘born again’.  How you become ‘born again’ is clearly described in the gospel of John, chapter 3, where Nicodemus comes to Jesus in the night.  Jesus tells Nicodemus, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)  The dialogue between the two continues with Jesus saying, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)  It is all about believing in Jesus, “whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  The moment that we believe in Jesus Christ, we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit and become part of the body of the Church.  “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Eph. 1:13) That is who makes up the body of believers, those who have believed in the only begotten Son of God.  Not only is a person saved from condemnation, and become an individual part of the body of Christ, you have been given eternal life with God. 

Now, as a part of the body, the Church, we have a role to play.  Paul states, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Eph. 2:10)  That means that as a part of the body, we should serve God by serving others especially other believers.  “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (Gal. 6:10)  As part of the Church, we are to be ambassadors, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ …” (2 Cor. 5:20)

 Anyone would ask, how do we do that?  Well, God is not going to just throw us out there and say; get it done, without giving us the tools to accomplish the things He wants us to do.  He gives us the Holy Spirit as a helper as Jesus stated in the gospel of John.  “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)  And He continued, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; ...” (John 16:13)

You, too, can have victory in Jesus!  More will follow concerning God given gifts.

Lowell Parrish

Monday, August 15, 2016


Victory Can Be Yours!

Article #33 – “Responsibility”

            In the past few weeks, I have attempted to point out some of the responsibilities of the church and each of us as a part of that body.  This has been an effort to challenge each one of us to look closely at what our individual responsibility is and how we are stacking up.  It is not meant to discourage, rather to encourage us to focus our attention on the Lord and the ministry each of us should work at.  I am sure that we all fall way short of what we are capable of doing.  Because of the tremendous love for our Savior, it is important for each believer to take time regularly to assess his ministry, and then excel still more, just as the Apostle Paul encouraged his readers in Thessalonica.  “Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.” (1 Thess. 4:1)

            This may seem difficult or even impossible to most.  I feel that the Apostle Paul was discouraged many times, because he was unable to do all he felt he should.  That seems to be evident in reading Romans 7:14-25.  We must not allow failure, in any degree, to stop us from continuing to serve our living God.  We have within us a power stronger than Satan.  We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us to empower us for whatever our ministry is to be.  There is no greater force than we already have to propel us on our victorious way.  Therefore, we must prepare ourselves to get on with it. 

            I read a comment one time about Elijah, that while he was living beside the creek Cherith, he was in the process of becoming; becoming effective for God in his ministry against Ahab and the Baal prophets. (1 Kings 17:1-8)  I believe that each one of us is also in the process of becoming.  We are today, in the process of becoming more than we were the day before.  Every day should bring more maturity and a better ministry for Christ.  God has gifted each believer with the tools he needs to be effective.  “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.  There are varieties of effects but the same God who works all things in all persons.  But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Cor. 12:3-7)We just need to allow the Holy Spirit to help us put those tools, or gifts, into use.

            If you are a believer, you are a minister of Jesus Christ.  That ministry is only as good, or as bad, as you choose to make it.  The choice is yours; let it be one which will honor God.         

            You, too, can have victory in Jesus!  More to follow.

Lowell Parrish

Friday, August 12, 2016

"Your Testimony?"

Victory Can Be Yours!

Article # 32 – “Your Testimony?”

            In the writings of the Apostle Paul, he is constantly instructing the believer how he should appear in the eyes of the unbeliever.  When instructing the Thessalonians about the rapture of the church, he said they should be alert and sober and not asleep. (1Thes. 5:6-8)  I feel Paul was saying that when the Lord comes for us we must be found busy in the Lord’s work.  The sole purpose of the continued earthly existence of the person who believes in Jesus Christ is to be winning souls for Christ.  We are to be a living testimony of Him.  Paul states; “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.  Do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you appear as lights in the world.” (Phil. 2:13-15)  Paul is very simply saying that it is God who is working within us in order that we may be an effective witness to the world.  We must appear as good in an evil society.  If we allow God to have His way in our lives, that will be accomplished.  If we do not choose to allow Him to have control, the world will not recognize us as children of God.

            In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught His disciples, “You are the salt of the earth, if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again?  It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.  You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on a lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:13, 16)

            If you believe in Jesus Christ, you are a light.  Is your light covered or does it appear to those you come in contact with?  Let us not become as salt which has lost its taste.  We cannot change what we have been, but we can change what we are.  Let your lifestyle be a reflection of Christ so those in the dark may be drawn to light.

            You, too, can have victory in Jesus!  More to follow.

Lowell Parrish

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"The Churches Outreach"

Victory Can Be Yours!

Article # 31 – “The Churches Outreach”

            It is impossible to discuss the role of the church without focusing on outreach.  The church must be involved outside of the body.  We, as brothers and sisters in Christ, must not only love one another, but all men.  “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.  If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners love those who love them.” (Luke 6:31, 32)  The church, like the individual, can be self-centered.  If the church is concerned primarily with its own existence, welfare, and programs, it cannot be effective as God intended.  God has chosen the church to reach out to the lost, and to have love and compassion for all who are in need, to show His attributes to the lost world.  The church is to exalt God in everything that it does.  “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?  For even the sinners do the same.” (Luke 6:33)  The Bible teaches we are to have love for our neighbor, love for our brethren, love for our enemy, and love for all men.  If we as individuals or the church as a whole are self-centered this cannot be possible.

            We must not lose sight of the fact that the individual and the church are inseparable.  What is commanded by God to the individual Christian is also a command to the church.  Corporately, the church can be more influential in the world than a few individual evangelists.

            The aim of the church should be to train Christians who will, in their daily life-style, commend Christianity to the outsider by their behavior.  As a tree is known by its fruits, the church is known by the kind of people of the church.

            The church does not only work on Sunday.  Sunday is a day of worship and rest in preparation for the rest of the week.  The work of the church begins on Monday and continues until church takes up again on the following Sunday.  The work of the church takes place outside of the physical church building.  We hear a sermon on Sunday morning, but we are a sermon the rest of the week in the way we conduct our lives.  What kind of message do you share with all those you come in contact with?

            Several years ago, my duties at work included purchasing millions of dollars in materials to build our product.  There were dozens of salesmen calling on me to buy their goods.  I always conveyed to them that they must first show me a reason or an advantage as to why I should make a change to their brand or product.  The unbeliever is no different; we must through our changed life-style, show them why they should change, a change to believing that Jesus Christ is the only answer to life.

            You, too, can have victory in Jesus!  More to follow.

Lowell Parrish

Monday, August 8, 2016

"The Church Is One Body"

Victory Can Be Yours!

Article #30 – “The Church is One Body”

            The Church is a community of believers drawn together by God.  It should be a place of warmth where each brother and sister in Christ can share their joys and sorrows, share their abundance and have their needs met.  It should be a time and place where the gifts that God has given each believer can be used to strengthen the body.

            There should be no boundaries between believers or churches, there should not be doctrinal differences drawing us apart.  The doctrines of the Bible should be drawing us together, instead.  “There is one body, and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph. 4:4-6)

               The differences between church bodies today, are man-made.  Man causes confusion by not allowing God to reveal the truth to him.  The Holy Spirit, if we will allow ourselves to be open to Him, is the One who reveals the truths of God’s word.  “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26)  If we all, as brothers and sisters in Christ, allow this to happen our differences will soon disappear and we will truly be as one family.

            Imagine for a moment if you will, the difficulty a new family entering a community with eight different church bodies.  What a burden this would be for them to find the right church.  They would have to spend a great deal of time checking for doctrinal differences, how each conducts the worship service, opportunities for spiritual growth, which one could most nearly meet their family needs, and give them an opportunity to serve the Lord.  What a shame that we all think we have to be different.  What kind of a testimony are we?

            God has chosen the church to evangelize the world.  The first century church was one body, a community of evangelists.  To the church in Thessalonica, Paul wrote; “For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.” (1 Thess. 1:8)  Paul is saying that there was no need for him to evangelize in some places, because the Thessalonian church’s testimony has already done the job.  What a powerful witness that church must have been to all who came in contact with them. 

            May God help us to become what He intended, so we may be effective for Him.

            You, too, can have victory in Jesus!  More to follow.

Lowell Parrish




Friday, August 5, 2016

"Churches Today"

Victory Can Be Yours!

Article #29 –“Churches Today”

            Why can’t the church of today be as the first century church?  Because we do not follow the example laid out for us.  We do not continually devote ourselves to; study, prayer, fellowship, and the breaking of bread together.  Instead, the churches of today, in most quarters, find the leadership figuring how to entertain and fill the pews and the collection plates.  While the leadership is doing that, those attending church are coming to be entertained, glad someone else is doing it so they do not have to be involved, with little concern about the accuracy of what is being taught.

            Those attending church need to be as the Apostle Paul found the people in Berea, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)  We, in our churches today also must be studying our Bibles daily in order to test what we are being taught from our pulpits.  You do not have to have a degree from a seminary to understand the Bible.  God did not inspire His word for the highly intellectuals only.  His word is written so that anyone can pick it up and allow the Holy Spirit to teach him from it.  We must study and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s truth to us as we read and pray.  Prayer brings us into a closer fellowship with the Lord so we are more open to His truths.  If we just listen to the teaching of others and take for granted they are right, we can easily be led astray.  The apostle Paul was continually confronted with the problem of false teachers.  Many of his epistles were written to ward off false teachings threatening the foundation of the church. These false teachers were teaching against such things as; the deity of Jesus, against the resurrection, against the virgin birth, against the humanity of Jesus.  All of these false teachings were attempts to undermine the church’s foundation, Jesus Christ.  If we are not continually in prayer, study and fellowship; we cannot ward off such false doctrines.  “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.” (Eph. 4:14)

            Another reason we are not like the first century church is because we do not have oneness of mind, or like-minded and sincerity of heart.  That is because we do not all properly interpret the bible.  Can you imagine what the church would look like if we all diligently studied our Bible with the purpose of understanding God’s whole truth and not compromising God’s truth to justify society’s actions?  “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:10)  Oneness of mind comes from using the word of God as He intended it to be used.  God is not an author of confusion, but we have caused confusion by abusing His word.  The Bible is often interpreted to serve our own needs, egos, or our own selfish interests. 

            You, too, can have victory in Jesus!  More to follow.

Lowell Parrish

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

"Growing the Church"

Victory Can Be Yours!

Article # 28 -- "Growing the Church"

The church today, needs to follow the example of the first century church.  Besides the four characteristics pointed out last week, there were even more.  “And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.  Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:44-47)

            Notice what that first century church had; togetherness, sharing with others, like-minded, eating together, praising God together, and having favor with all the people.  The Lord was, also, “adding to their numbers day by day those who were being saved.”  Does that look like the church today?  In our small community of 2000 population, we have eight churches all having some significantly differences in doctrinal beliefs.  Does that sound like the picture of the church just written about in Acts 2?  Look at the church around your neighborhood.   Are they demonstrating one-minded, single-minded, of the same mind; having all things in common?  Why is that, we all have the same inspired word of God?

            They were no different than us.  The church could and should be that way today.  We have the same bonding agent as they, which is Christ.  The church was brought together as brothers and sisters, as children of God.  They were living, loving, and sharing as family.  This does not suggest communal living, as it speaks of them gathering from house to house.  They were simply going from place to place sharing a common bond between them.

            We must remember that these people were in constant danger as they were under heavy persecution from the unbelieving Jews.  The persecution of the church was so severe after the death of Stephen (Acts 7), that many of them fled from Jerusalem.  That was not the case of God splitting up the church.  It was Satan who was causing the persecution.  Instead, it was God using the scattering of the church to spread the gospel message of Jesus Christ to other parts of the world.  “Therefore, those who were scattered went about preaching the word.” (Acts 8:4)

            Why can’t the church today be as it was then; single-minded, together, sharing with others, praising God together?  The church should be more powerful today with all of the technology available.  According to polling, the church is not growing day by day, rather it is in decline.  Why?  Probably because we are allowing some big named preacher on television, radio, or even from our churches pulpit tell us how it is rather than getting into the inspired word of God, the Bible, and discovering for ourselves who God really is and what He has done for us and how we are to respond to Him.  If everyone read from the same script, we would all belong to the same church, the one where Christ is the head and we the body.

            You, too, can have victory in Jesus!  More to follow.

Lowell Parrish

Monday, August 1, 2016

"Necessities for a Healthy Church"

Victory Can Be Yours!

Article # 27 – “Necessities for a Healthy Church”

            What were some of the characteristics of the first church?  “And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42)   There are four points brought out in this verse; the first is that of continual devotion to the apostles teaching.  Notice that it was not done in passing or occasionally, but continually.  The church today could probably be described as seldom studying the apostles’ teachings.  The church, in order to be effective for God, must study the Bible with regularity in order to be prepared to carry out His will.

            The second point is that they were continually devoted to fellowship.  It is essential for us to have close fellowship with other believers.  The Bible teaches us to share our love, our joys, our burdens, and to encourage one another.  “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:24, 25)  In order for us to grow spiritually, and to sustain our walk with the Lord, we must have a close fellowship with other Christians.

            The third point shows, they continually were breaking bread together in celebration of the Lord’s Supper.  This communion celebration was a constant practice for them in memory of the sacrifice of our Lord.  They celebrated this, not in the temple, but from house to house as this was strictly a celebration for believers only.

            They were also, continually devoted to prayer.  Prayer is of the utmost importance in the life of the individual and to the church as a whole.  It is an integral part of the spirituality of a believer.  It is through prayer that we can have God’s peace in all circumstances that confront us.  The Scripture refers continually to the apostles’ praying for others and requesting prayers for themselves in carrying on God’s work.  We have a direct hot-line to heaven and we must use it on a regular basis, remembering that there is nothing too great for the power of God and nothing too small for His fatherly care.  The apostle Paul states “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18)

            There are other features of the early church which will be discussed later.  The qualities illustrated here are examples which the church today should be continually devoted to following.  The four examples again are: study, fellowship, communion, and prayer.  If the church is not practicing these essentials on a regular basis it will not function properly, it will not die, but could become very ill.  As John described the Lord as saying of the church of Laodicea; “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev.3:16)

            You too, can have victory in Jesus!  More to follow.

Lowell Parrish