West Side Church of Christ

Our Sunday Morning Bible Classes Are Canceled

Happy Thanksgiving

West Side Church of Christ

Friday, June 9, 2023

Read the Proverbs through in a month,
one chapter per day.
Read the Psalms through in a month,
five Psalms per day.

See today's reading schedule & excerpts from the Psalms & Proverbs at the bottom of this page

A Non-denominational Church

Our congregation is dedicated to worshipping God in spirit and in truth as closely as we can ascertain from the New Testament. We search the scriptures for guidance and authority on how we ought to live our lives in order to be pleasing to God.

To learn more about us, or to get in touch with us — stop by in person or send us an email at:

wscoc@wschurchofchrist.org .
Or Call (216) 671-1759.

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Sunday AM Sermon

Title: 1 Corinthians 2:6-16

Sermon from Jun 4, 2023
Speaker: Scott Reynolds

Sunday PM Sermon

Title: Riders of the Holy Express

Sermon from Jun 4, 2023
Speaker: Scott Reynolds

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Sunday Morning Article
Jay Launius, Maud church of Christ, Maud, TX

A Loving God Would Never Do That!

Many folks today, especially our young people, are adhering to the belief that our Heavenly Father is an all-loving God, who has given His love to mankind unconditionally through the sacrifice of Christ. They believe that because of this great gift of grace, the Almighty will never send anyone to an eternal hell. These beliefs can be found within the "Universalist Church", founded in America during the mid-1800's. Also gaining popularity in our society is the belief that no matter how evil a person may be, or what terrible things they may have done, there is a little bit of goodness in everyone. This fraction of goodness is enough to excuse their sinful behavior and therefore such a person should not be eternally punished. By using selected scriptures, this theology can be easily confirmed (or so it would seem).

This octopus has too many tentacles to be covered in such a short article, but we will offer a simple comparison:

1 Timothy 2:3,4
    "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
Revelation 21:8
    "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
Acts 20:27
    "For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God."

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Killed and Eaten

Galatians 5:13-15
    For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

In this passage, we are encouraged to use the freedom that is found in Christ, for good rather than bad. This is the same liberty that has freed us from the old law of sin and death, the Old Testament (Romans 8:2). We are to “serve one another” with love and when we do, we fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2; James 2:8). However, following these encouraging and uplifting words comes a strong warning. So what does it mean not to “bite and devour”, otherwise we'll be “consumed” by each other?

Imagine for a moment, a predator who has captured its prey. Fangs and claws, biting, tearing the victims flesh bringing death and dismemberment. The prey is slowly eaten, consumed until only a few bones and skin remain. It's a bloody scene, one that would make most folks a bit uncomfortable. Now think of the destructive results that hate, fighting, jealously, harsh criticism, arguments, or nasty gossip can have on a collective group of people. The devastating effects of such behavior will certainly destroy a congregation of God's people, leaving only skin and bones.

Of all the places in the world, the church should be the place one can come to be loved, cared for and comforted. Let us love each other, just as God has loved us (1 John 4:11).

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

"I Can Be a Christian Without the Church"

Many folks today take the view that they can be believers, even Christians, without participating with the church and her functions. They claim that the church has become “institutionalized”, caring only for its million dollar buildings that are filled with hypocritical members. But truth be known, a person who makes such a statement is probably seeking justification for their personal decision not to participate with the worship and work of the body of Christ.

To those who make such assertions, we offer the following scriptural guidance:

  • Jesus died for the church, He purchased it with His blood. (Eph. 5:25; Acts 20:28)
  • Jesus Christ is the Savior of the church (the body). (Eph. 5:23)
  • The Lord adds the saved to the church, to be separated from the church is to be separated from the saved. (Acts 2:47)
  • The Lord provides spiritual nourishment to the church and He treasures her. One who has nothing to do with the church will miss this. (Eph. 5:29)
  • God gave Jesus Christ to be the head of the church. (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18) If one is not in the church, one is not under the Headship of Christ.
  • God seeks worshipers to worship Him in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)
  • Praising God takes place by singing collectively with the church. (Heb. 2:12; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19)
  • Believers must meet together (Heb. 10:24-27). If one purposely neglects meeting with other believers, there’s no longer a sacrifice for sins.
  • Within the church, love, edification, comfort and support are shared. (Rom. 12:10; Eph. 4:29; 1 Thes. 5:11; Gal. 6:2)

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Am I in the Faith?

The Apostle Paul challenged the Corinthians to “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” (2 Cor. 13:5) It is a profound question that each Christian should ask themselves periodically, taking a personal self-assessment of their spiritual condition. What does it mean to be “in the faith”?

Review the following passages for a brief overview on the subject:

  • Christians should be exhorted to continue in the faith.
    (Acts 14:21-23)
  • When growth is present, churches are strengthened in the faith.
    (Acts 16:4-5)
  • Not every member is strong but some are weak in the faith.
    (Romans 14:1)
  • Christians will be watchful, steadfast, brave and strong in the faith.
    (1 Cor. 16:13)
  • One must not be moved away, but remain grounded in the faith.
    (Col. 1:23)
  • One who receives Christ as Lord, will be established in the faith.
    (Col. 2:6-7)
  • Deacons who serve well, develop a great boldness in the faith.
    (1 Tim. 3:13)
  • False teachers should be warned, so to remain sound in the faith.
    (Titus 1:13)
  • Brotherly love should always be shared by those in the faith.
    (Titus 3:15)
  • Satan can be resisted by those who are steadfast in the faith.
    (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Successful Christianity is not defined by man's view of greatness, but by humble service to the Lord which is constantly practiced. To remain “in the faith”, I must practice the faith. God has provided His saving grace, through Christ, accessed by faith. (Eph. 2:1-10) As a reaction to this wonderful gift, the Christian will gladly participate in all things which are found “in the faith”. Living for the Lord is not easy, yes, sometimes it's downright hard. But with God's help, the encouragement of Christ, and the strength of the Spirit, we can endure. “Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9)

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Mothers in the Bible

The role that mothers played in the biblical story is undeniable. From the beginning pages of Genesis to the latter letters of Timothy, the influence of mothers (both good and bad) is seen time and time again. The impact that the mother has on the child can and will have everlasting consequences (2 Timothy 3:15). The godly mother will pass on a genuine faith to her children just as Timothy's mother, Eunice did for him (2 Timothy 1:5).

Here's a small sample of the mothers found in the bible:

  • Eve was the “mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20)
  • Sarah became a mother in her old age (Genesis 21:7)
  • Rebekah preferred one son over the other (Genesis 27:5-10)
  • Jochebed hid her son from harm for 3 months (Exodus 2:1-3)
  • Hannah dedicated her son to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:22)
  • Bathsheba lost the son of her adultery (2 Samuel 12:15-18)
  • Elizabeth's son prepared people for the Lord (Luke 1:13-17)
  • Mary watched her Son be crucified for the world's sin (John 19:26)

Today, we pay tribute to our godly mothers, thanking God for their love, care and guidance in the ways of the Lord.

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

You Don't Meme It!

What is a "meme"? It is defined as "a unit of cultural information spread by imitation. The term meme (from the Greek mimema, meaning 'imitated') was introduced in 1976 by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his work The Selfish Gene." For most of us it is known as a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied and spread rapidly by social media users. Because most of my social media friends are "believers", I see many memes that have spiritual connotations. These memes may contain a bit of scripture or a feel good proverb or saying and at first glance seem to be comforting and inspiring. However, many times, a closer examination of many of these memes may reveal an error, falsehood or a lie when compared to the inspired scriptures. Just because something sounds good and gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling doesn't make it right. Remember, man's wisdom, no matter how good it sounds is not God's wisdom (Isaiah 55:9; Philippians 3:17-19).

John wrote, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1). It is our responsibility to take care that we don't spread false doctrine on our social media accounts and cautiously consider the memes that we share. We must be vigilant and aware of the influence we may have on others who may not be as familiar with the scriptures.

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

The Art of Self-denial

One of the most difficult things for Christian people to practice is self- denial. Yet that is exactly what God expects of His people. If we allow ourselves every pleasure of our heart's desire, we'll become spoiled to the point where we will believe that we “deserve” all these things in order to be happy and content. But the truth is, when we obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine (Rom. 6:17), we made a commitment to God to deny ourselves many of the pleasures in life in order to serve Him, the church, and other people. Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23). In the parallel passage in Matthew, Jesus asked, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). To put it in our own terms, Jesus is asking, “What good will it do you if you have the grandest house, the best recreational vehicles, go on the best vacations, send your kids to the finest schools, attend the best parties, go to weekend sporting events, or get the big promotion at work, if it means you'll wind up on the wrong side of judgement. Will you exchange these temporary pleasures and then spend eternity in hell?

Wow! That's pretty heavy stuff there Jesus. But it's exactly what He means. To make it even more difficult, our friends and neighbors are going to think we're crazy because we don't take part in every social event that's happening (1 Peter 4:4). When we are totally committed to Christ, we'll make these sacrifices in order to serve our heavenly Father and in the end, it will be worth it all. Jesus also said, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt. 16:25)

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

The Service Station

Remember the service station? When the car needed fuel, you pulled up to the pumps at your favorite full-service gas station. The attendant came out and pumped your gas, washed your windows, checked the oil, water and air in the tires and "serviced" what was required. To the best of my knowledge, there are no more full-service stations in our area, gone the way of drugstore fountains and drive-in movies. A lot of our service today comes from a machine rather than a nice man in a spiffy uniform. We've eliminated much of the human contact in our busy daily lives. We pay at the pump, have online bill pay, use the ATM machine for our banking needs, and even check ourselves out at the grocery store. Technology is great and I'm thankful for it, but I fear we've slowly losing the human touch of service.

One area of service that we should never want to automate is our service to our God and Christian families. The interaction of family members helping and serving each other should never be replaced with computers, video games, robots, or anything else. Christian family members should support each other physically and spiritually in all that they do. This week make the commitment to serve your family better than you did in the past.

Matthew 24:45-47
  • "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions."

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Blessings in Christ

Are you glad to be a Christian? Are you really? Have you ever thought about all of the blessings that are found in Christ? Using a bible app or concordance and search for the phrase "in Christ". I think you'll be amazed.

Here's just a small sampling of what you'll find:

  • Redemption is found in Christ Jesus - Romans 3:24
  • Alive to God in Christ - Romans 6:11
  • No condemnation in Christ - Romans 8:1
  • We are one body in Christ - Romans 12:5
  • We are wise in Christ - 1 Corinthians 4:10
  • We have hope in Christ - 1 Corinthians 15:19
  • New creations in Christ- 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • God's riches & grace toward us in Christ - Ephesians 2:7
  • Faith & love are found in Christ - 1 Timothy 1:14
  • Salvation through faith is in Christ - 2 Timothy 3:15

This list is not complete by any means; there are so many more things we could list here. Today as we worship and study together, let me remind you to count your blessings that are found in Christ.

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Only on Easter and Christmas

As I write this article I am anxiously anticipating our Sunday morning gathering. The smiles, hugs, handshakes and encouragement are always welcome. To be able to spend time with people you love, respect and appreciate is truly one of life's great blessings. I look forward to Sunday because I'm pretty confident that we will have a good attendance. Why this prediction? Because my calendar says that it will be "Easter Sunday" and we have a tradition in our country where on certain holidays people go to church, Easter being one of those holidays. Many of you will have family visiting and they will attend church with you. Perhaps we'll have some visitors from our community who are responding from an invitation from one of our members. And then we may have some in our assembly who practice traditional church attendance on such holidays as Easter and Christmas. First and foremost let me say that everyone is welcome anytime here and we encourage your regular attendance.

As we're thinking about attending church only for special occasions, we must turn to the Bible for God's instruction concerning worship and all that we do in life. When you begin looking into the "perfect law of liberty" you will quickly see that God expects more from you and me than just an occasional visit to the church building. In Acts 20:7 we read that "on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread..." We usually use this verse in teaching the necessity of having the Lord's Supper each week. But I want you to notice that the same logic we use to support that doctrine can be used to show that the Christians in the first century church gathered each and every first day, not just every once in a while, just on a special holiday or when it was convenient. But it doesn't stop there; the Saints of the early church practiced their faith every day, not just once a week. They enjoyed fellowship, encouragement, and faith building practices as a part of their daily lives (Acts 2:46). Christians studied the scriptures everyday (Acts 17:11) to confirm what the Apostles were teaching them was true. The early church shared the Gospel with their friends and neighbors every day and the church continued to grow not just on Sunday mornings, but daily! (Acts 16:5)

From these examples we can see that being a Christian is not something we do just once a week on Sunday or on an occasional holiday. Jesus said that to be His disciple we must live for and serve God every day. "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23) Let us encourage you to begin a daily walk with the Savior and participate in the daily fellowship, love, faith and encouragement that can be found in the church of Jesus Christ.

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Why is That Man Smiling?

This week I'd like to share a few personal thoughts, if you don't mind. I get ask a lot, "What are you smiling about?" The truth is sometimes I don't even realize I'm doing it. Perhaps today you've noticed me smiling. Why? I'm smiling because I have plenty to be happy about. Many good things happened to me last week and I'm optimistic that this new week will bring even more things for me to grin about.

Here are just a few of the reasons I'm smiling:
  • Last week, I gained a new sister in Christ
  • I had the good health to be able to go to work every day
  • We had a healthy baby girl born into our church family
  • I attended a great bible class and heard an excellent devotional on Wednesday night
  • I was able to read my bible every day
  • I had the opportunity to visit a fellow Christian I haven't seen in a while
  • I sat in the swing with my favorite girl on a warm spring evening
  • I had the opportunity to invite someone to church (and they came)
  • I was able to furnish someone with biblical information on how to become a Christian
  • God loved me so much He sent Jesus
  • I'm saved and will live with God someday

Now, why wouldn't I be smiling? This week, take some time to slow down and think about reasons you have to smile. I guarantee that it will make you and those around you have a greater appreciation for the many blessings that we have from God though Jesus Christ.

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Living My Best Life?

"Living my best life" is a popular phrase used on social media to describe good things in a person's life. However, its origin doesn't come from the most wholesome of sources. The phrase is featured in the 2018 hip hop song "Smile" by Lil' Duval and contains derogatory and explicit language which is repeated over 50 times in the 4 minute song. The infamous "F-word" appears at least four times within the lyrics of the popular tune. It seems that once a catchy phrase becomes in vogue, the source doesn't seem to matter and I believe this is the case of "living my best life". I've observed the use of the phrase on social media and the #livingmybestlife appears on posts about family gatherings, fishing trips and cooking good things to eat. I've seen it on kid's ball games and camping trips and just about anything that is "good" in life.

As Christians we must carefully consider how we present ourselves to the unchurched and unsaved world. Remember that we are not to be conformed to this world, but are to be transformed by having a spiritual attitude concerning all aspects of life (Romans 12:1-2). Are we at liberty to live our best life? We most certainly can, because we trust in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. (1 Timothy 6:17) For the Christian, living my best life means living for Christ and sharing the message of salvation to those around us. Living my best life means that I live humbly in servitude to my Lord and fellowman. (Mark 12:30-31)

So the next time you want to show off your "best life", why not take a photo during family bible study, bible class, worship or during the yard service after church and post it with #livingmybestlife. By doing so, you'll show the world what living the best life is really all about!

Ecclesiastes 1:9,10
  • That which has been is what will be,
    That which is done is what will be done,
    And there is nothing new under the sun.
  • 10 Is there anything of which
    it may be said, "See, this is new"?
    It has already been in ancient times
    before us.

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

The Great Imposter

Born in 1921 in Massachusetts, Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr. grew up and went to Catholic school just like so many other kids around him. He never finished high school, instead he wound up in a monastery, but would soon leave it too but later confessed that his time there was one of the most enjoyable of his life. Demara's beginning seem anything but extraordinary, yet for the next 30 years his life would indeed be such. Perhaps the name Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr. doesn't "ring a bell," it didn't with me until I began the research for this article. But Mr. Demara will be known in history as "The Great Imposter." Throughout his life Demara made his mark in history by taking on false identities and he did not just imitate your average person on the street. Throughout his career as an imposter he posed as a zoology Ph.D., law student, cancer researcher, hospital orderly, deputy sheriff and teacher. He even was arrested and spent six months in jail for posing as a teacher. His most famous exploit was imitating a surgeon while in the Royal Canadian Navy. He performed many operations including removing a bullet from a man's chest. Demara was blessed with the gifts of a great intellect and a photographic memory and taught himself from text books the skills needed in order to make the impersonations successful. It appeared that Demara never led this life of the masquerade for personal gain, it was said that he was just mischievous. He died a sad, depressed man in 1982, those close to him said that he felt as if he had wasted his talents.

Within the realm of Christianity we find imposters as well. There are people that appear to be holy, righteous children of God when in fact they are the devil's servants. We're talking about "Fake Christians," those that the Bible describe as deceivers who are the greatest of the imposters. The fake Christian has many characteristics of the sincere servant of God, they attend worship, pray, and do many good works all in the name of the Lord. But from certain passages we read that even though they appear to be righteous on the outside, inside they are filthy and rotten to the core (Matthew 23:25-28). We need to heed the warnings of Paul when he wrote young Timothy and said "For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" (2 Timothy 3:2-5). We must be careful to avoid such people and more importantly we must be sure that we don't share any of these characteristics with these imposters.

God wants us to serve him with honest and pure hearts, and if we do we will produce the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) when we worship and live for Him through our Lord, Master and Savior, Jesus Christ!

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas


What does it mean to "dedicate" oneself to something? When applied to an individual it means to devote to a particular subject or purpose. In a religious sense, it means to devote to the worship of a divine being, specifically to God. It can also be defined as setting apart for specific, sacred uses with solemn rites. There are many instances of dedication found in the Old Testament story. The mother of Samson was instructed by the Angel to dedicate the boy to God's service with the "Nazarite" vow. The vow, as described in Numbers 6, laid specific rites to abstain from strong drink, not to cut the hair and refrain from touching the dead (Numbers 6:1-21). Though the original vow was intended to be a temporary dedication, Samson, along with Samuel and John the Baptist were to keep the vow for their lifetimes. (1 Samuel 1:10-11; Luke 1:13-15) As we consider these three examples, we may very well see the foresight of inspiration for Christian dedication.

When we obey the Gospel, we make a commitment to the Lord and are to dedicate ourselves to His service. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1) This personal sacrifice and dedication to the cause of Christ is now a lifestyle rather than something we apply only for an hour on Sunday morning. We've all known people who wholeheartedly dedicate their lives to a cause that they are passionate about. We need to be just as passionate about our Christianity and live it to the fullest every day. Unlike the original Nazarite vow which lasted for only a specific time and then expired, our Christian service will have only one expiration date as described by Revelation 2:10, "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Is Consistency Important for the Christian?

Ask any motivational life coach if consistency is important for success and you'll get an astounding "Yes!". To be consistent means to fully dedicate yourself completely to a task, activity or goal. It means to fully stay engaged without distraction. Consistency requires that one commits to a sustained effort of action over the long-term. They say that in order to be consistent in life, one must build habits and rituals that keep one focused on the goal set before them. Now that we've established what it means to be consistent, let's apply it to our spiritual lives.

After a study of the scriptures, it isn't long before we will realize that God wants us to not only be committed to Him, but be consistent as well. Notice what the scriptures have to say:

  • Be Consistent in Your Faith (Colossians 2:5)
  • Be Consistent in Your Prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
  • Be Consistent in Your Hope (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
  • Be Consistent in Your Bible Study (Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 2:15)
  • Be Consistent in Your Worship Attendance (John 4:23,24; Hebrews 10:24,25)
  • Be Consistent in Your Good Works (Galatians 6:9-10)
  • Be Consistent in Your Love for Each Other (1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 4:11)

It's easy to see that consistency is indeed important to the Christian. Are you lacking consistency in your spiritual life? Through prayer, personal commitment and support from your church family, you can become more consistent in your service to the Lord.

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Closed on Sunday

When I was growing up, Sunday was a day set aside for rest and reverence. Most stores and businesses were closed and most folks got together with family for Sunday lunch. There were "blue laws" which allowed only basic necessities such as food or gasoline to be purchased. Yeah, Sunday's were different back then.

Nowadays, it's hard to tell Sunday from any other day of the week (other than a lot of people are off work). Every conceivable business or recreational activity is available, allowing us to purchase or do most anything on the "first day of the week". As convenient as this is, it poses a great challenge to the disciple of Christ. Instead of Sunday worship taking priority, it would seem that "going to church" is something we do as long as there's nothing else happening. This is especially true when it comes to the evening services. But as we continue to strive for spiritual growth, we must make the commitment to place God's service first and not just work it in when we can. Let's remember to:

  • Seek First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness (Matthew 6:33)
  • Continually Offer the Sacrifice of Praise to God (Hebrews 13:15)
  • Place God First then Family Second (Matthew 10:37)
  • Be Steadfast in the Work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58)
  • Not to Neglect Meeting with Our Church Family (Hebrews 10:25)
  • Not Love the World More Than the Lord (James 4:4)
  • Make Self-Sacrifices that Will Please God (Hebrews 13:16; Romans 12:1)
  • Be Good Examples to Those Outside the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

The Christian's To-Do-List

  • Love Without Hypocrisy
  • Hate Evil and Hold on to Good Things
  • Be Kind with Brotherly Love, Prefer Each Other
  • Serve the Lord with Enthusiasm
  • Rejoice in Hope and Be Patient in Difficult Times
  • Always Pray
  • Help the Needy and Be Hospitable
  • Bless Those Who Mistreat You
  • Practice Empathy
  • Be Agreeable with Each Other
  • Don't Be High and Mighty, Be Humble
  • Don't Believe Your Opinion is Best
  • Don't Look for Revenge
  • Seek to be a Good Example to Those Around You
  • Make Peace with other People

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Can I Be Guilt Free?

The weight of guilt can bear down on the soul of the carrier and diminish the spirit so that one becomes unfruitful. We're all guilty of something at one time or another. "There is none righteous, no, not one" and "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:10,23) It was guilt that caused the people of Acts 2 to be "cut to the heart" (Acts 2:37) and inquire about obedience to the gospel message. Guilt can cause a heavy heart and it is through the emotion of "godly sorrow" that a person will seek repentance (change) and turn toward God and His will. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

In the act of gospel obedience, the past is washed away, leaving us to walk in a refreshing "newness of life" (Romans 6:4) where our sins are remembered no more (Hebrews 8:12). Romans 8:1 states, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Therefore, if one is not condemned, then one is free from guilt of the past infraction. However, we must remember, that we are never free to live sinfully just because of the blessing of God's grace (Romans 6:1,2) and that we can willfully choose to return to the mud and mire of the world (2 Peter 2:20-22) and when we do so "there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins" (Hebrews 10:26). But as stated earlier, we no longer walk (live) according to physical desires but "walk in the light as He is in the light," and where "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)

Can I be guilt free? Can I forget the things of the past and press forward to the goal of eternity? (Philippians 3:13,14) Yes, I certainly can, because of the gift of God's grace received through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-10).

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Are You Prepared for a Spiritual Storm?

As the Apostle Paul described the perils of his evangelistic endeavors (2 Corinthians 11:23-28) there is no doubt that his suffering was a tremendous test of his faith. Yet through all those storms of trouble and trial he persevered and remained true to Christ. He wrote from a Roman prison, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21) What spiritual strength it must have taken to pen such a profound statement! For the modern day Christian, spiritual storms can come in all shapes and sizes. From the sly remark made by an unbeliever to physical abuse or imprisonment because one stands for the cause of Christ. For most of us our personal suffering is mild in comparison to others, but still our faith is tested from even the most trivial trouble.

Just as many of the powerful empires of history, America finds itself on the downward slope of moral decline making less and less room for God and His people. The time may be near when we will suffer greatly for declaring God's truths as outlined in the Scriptures. As that time nears, Christians must ask themselves, "Am I prepared for the on-coming spiritual storm?" If we believe the bible to be true, then we understand the certainty of tribulation for the believer. Paul warned Timothy, "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12)

However, this gloomy forecast does not have to discourage us. If we build upon a firm foundation, that being Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11), then our spiritual house will endure the storm just as the man who built his house upon the rock (Matthew 7:24-25). With the right attitude, we will strengthen ourselves during the smaller, less serious trials of life thus building spiritual strength which will enable us to weather the major tempest (James 1:2-3). We're assured that God will never "leave us or forsake us" (Hebrews 13:5) and have the hope of all hope, that eternal place prepared for us by the Savior. (John14:1-4).

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Many Faiths

Once, as we drove into a small central Arkansas town, we were greeted with a sign which read, "Welcome to Our Town, A Town of Many Faiths." After we had passed the sign, my wife asked, "Doesn't the bible say that there is one faith?" I answered back, "Yes, that's what the bible says." She thought it strange that a town would boast about something that was contrary to what the bible teaches, and I agreed. As you drive through the little town, a town similar in size to the small town we live in, you begin to realize that it is in fact a town of many faiths. I counted at least five church buildings within rock throwing distance from each other. Our town is not much different, if you look at the sign that is located just west of our fellowship building, you'll see an example of our religious diversity. That Arkansas town's religious pride is typical of our country's attitude toward religious diversity. Built upon the principle of freedom of religion, our country allows and promotes a diverse religious community, one of which allows you and I to meet and worship without worry of harassment. However, this concept is indeed at odds with what the New Testament teaches concerning faith, worship and service to God.

The passage that my wife called in question when we encountered the "many faiths" sign is found in the letter to the Ephesians. Note what Paul, inspired by the Spirit wrote,

Ephesians 4:1-6
  • "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, [.underline]#one faith#, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all."

As you can see from this passage, God's idea for the religious community is "oneness" rather than diversity.

It should be our sincere desire that we can all follow Jesus, worship God, and serve Him in unity as outlined in His Word. Wouldn't it be great if [we, as a community, were so united that] we could put up a sign that read, "Welcome to Our Town, A Town of One Faith"?

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

You Can't Buy Your Way In

Silas Gentry walked into the church building just like he'd done a thousand times before. He took off his black hat, hung it on the same hook that he'd used since 1957. He walked in, greeted no one and took his place on the end of the pew, third from the back. As worship started, Silas sat there stone faced while the rest of the congregation sang praises to the Lord. As far as I can remember, Silas never once opened his mouth to sing. As a matter of fact, I can't say that I ever remember Silas participating in any part of a worship service except when it came time for the offering. Every Sunday, without fail, Silas deposited a handful of $100 bills into the collection plate. Once the money left his hand, his expression became hard again, one of loneliness and isolation. I understand that Silas was very influential in the congregation though you'd never know it by watching him. But I was told that he would threaten the eldership if things didn't go the way he thought they should. I've been told that at times, Silas would withhold his offering of large bills while a major decision was being made, just to remind the elders that he was responsible for a large portion of the church budget.

Silas Gentry died last year and was buried with a graveside service. Since then, the church continues to function just as well as it ever did, even without Silas' large weekly offering of $100 bills. I guess it just goes to show you, you can't buy your way in.

Many of us believe that just because someone is financially successful means that they are excused from being involved in the work of the church. Their large contributions allow them privileges in God's Kingdom not offered to those who may not have quite as much. Nothing could be further from the truth. We learn from the story of Simon in Acts 8 that you can't buy the gift of God. "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!" was Peter's answer to Simon in verse 20. God blesses us all in different ways but we are all required to use what we have (Matthew 25:14-30). Remember that Jesus said, "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." (Luke 12:48). Just because someone has the ability to make large contributions doesn't mean that they are using everything God has blessed them with for the better of the church and their service to Him. What they say really is true, "You can't buy your way to heaven."

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Should We Strive for Religious Excellence

How important is it that we strive to be perfect? The drive and determination that it takes just to exceed at any given task takes monumental effort. For instance, the athlete that achieves the world championship must dedicate and sacrifice his life totally to training for the event. The successful business person must spend countless hours working at their occupation in order to achieve world market wealth. When we consider the spiritual aspect of Christian perfection, we are sure to begin to have doubts that we can never achieve such a goal. The total sacrifice needed to become like the Apostle Paul seems unattainable, so therefore many of us say, "What's the use?"

Truth is there are no perfect people, only a perfect God. Those who follow Him through obedience to the gospel of Christ set for themselves a level of perfection, a godly maturity. Jesus said, "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48). So again we have to ask ourselves, "Should we strive for religious perfection?" Even though we will never be perfect, Christians have no choice other than to set out for the highest of spiritual goals. Don't get down and discouraged and even though you may never be perfect you can have a relationship with a perfect God, believe in a perfect Savior, belong to a perfect church and receive the perfect gift of salvation.

Philippians 3:12
  • Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

From Jay Launius, 2020, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Living in a Right-Hand World

I'm left handed and throughout my life it has been a source of both inconvenience and at times down-right difficult. For instance, when I started school as a kid the desk we sat at were right-handed, totally opened on the left side. When I tried to write or draw my left arm was up in the air, and had no support. Other school supplies caused some frustration as well, the spiral bound notebook for example. That spiral wire is right in the way of my left hand. Everyday utensils that are geared for a right-hand world. Scissors are a source of constant frustration, try using a pair of scissors to cut fabric using you're left hand and it's like a tooth-less dog trying to eat a bone, it gnaws at it but nothing happens! Other items seem to cater to the "righties" like a computer mouse, musical instruments and even firearms. There are the names associated with being left handed, "leftie" and "southpaw" come to mind. I've always wondered why we don't have "right-paws". Yep, it's a right-handed world alright, geared to the majority.

If you think about it, being a Christian is a lot like being left-handed. Christians are not in the majority and sometimes find it hard to fit into a non-Christian world. We are to be unique, different, not conformed to the world around us (Romans 12:1-2). We are to be "peculiar" people (Titus 2:14 KJV) who refuse to fit into the mold of a sinful society. Take a look at your life and ask yourself, "Am I so different that those around me can tell or do I just fit in with everybody else?" We are to be so different that others notice and ask why we are not quite like everyone else. Notice Peter's comment, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear," (1 Peter 3:15). One of the judges of Israel was a unique individual by the name of Ehud (Judges 3:12-26). Ehud was wise, a good planner and he was left-handed and by looking at his example we can see just how important it is to be a unique child of God.

From Jay Launius, 2020, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Starting Anew

As we come to the [beginning of a new] year, it's time to look ahead and set goals for the New Year. Remember that the Apostle Paul said,

Philippians 3:13,14
  • "Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.".

We can't ride the wave of past successes nor dwell on past failures. Christians must always look ahead, planning for spiritual growth, growth of the kingdom and looking towards our final heavenly reward.

So what would be some worthy goals for the coming year? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Increase Your Faith - Luke 17:5-10
  • Read the Bible Every Day - Acts 17:11
  • Make Church Attendance a Priority - Hebrews 10:24-25
  • Be More Constant in Prayer - 1 Thessalonians 5:17
  • Improve Your Example - 1 Timothy 4:12
  • Make Godly Living a Family Priority - Ephesians 6:1-4
  • Tame Your Anger - Ephesians 4:26
  • Practice Pure & Undefiled Religion - James 1:27

From Jay Launius, 2020, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

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Another Sunday Article
Jay Launius, Maud church of Christ, Maud, TX

Consider This

How Can We Know What God Thinks?
Only if His Spirit tells us:

1 Corinthians 2:10-13
    For to us God revealed [His thoughts] through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words

Consider This

Proverbs 17:26
... [T]o punish the righteous
is not good,
Nor to flog officials
for their integrity.

Proverbs 21:15
When justice is done,
it is a joy to the righteous
but terror to evildoers.

Consider This

Proverbs 24:23-25
... Partiality in judging is not good.
24 Whoever says to the wicked,
"You are in the right,"
will be cursed by peoples,
abhorred by nations,
25 but those who rebuke the wicked
will have delight,
and a good blessing
will come upon them.

Consider This

Proverbs 8:1,6-8
Does not wisdom call?
Does not understanding raise her voice?

6 Hear, for I will speak noble things,
and from my lips will come what is right,
7 for my mouth will utter truth;
wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8 All the words of my mouth are righteous;
there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.

Consider This

Proverbs 3:25,26
Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being snared.

Proverbs 14:32
When calamity comes,
the wicked are brought down,
but even in death
the righteous have a refuge.

Consider This

Proverbs 11:3
The integrity of the upright
guides them,
but the unfaithful are destroyed
by their duplicity.

Proverbs 16:30
Whoever winks with their eye
is plotting perversity;
whoever purses their lips
is bent on evil.

Consider This

Proverbs 17:15
He who justifies the wicked,
and he who condemns the righteous,
Both of them alike
are an abomination to Yahweh.

Proverbs 18:5
To be partial to the faces
of the wicked is not good,
Nor to deprive
the innocent of justice.

Consider This

Proverbs 15:8,9
The sacrifice made by the wicked
is an abomination to Yahweh,
But the prayer of the upright
is his delight.
9The way of the wicked
is an abomination to Yahweh,
But he loves him
who follows after righteousness.

Consider This

Proverbs 30:5,6
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who
take refuge in him.
6 Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you
and you be found a liar.

Consider This

Proverbs 14:13
Even in laughter the heart may ache,
and joy may end in grief.

Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 18:14
A man's spirit sustains him in sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?

Consider This

(Jesus praying to God, His Father)
The glory which You have given Me
I have given to them, that they may
be one, just as We are one;
23 I in them and You in Me, that
they may be perfected in unity, so
that the world may know that You
sent Me, and loved them, even as
You have loved Me.

John 17:22,23 (see also Ephesians 4:11-13)

Consider This

...and may your spirit and soul and body
be preserved complete, without blame
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23

The Lord God formed man from the
dust of the ground, and breathed
into his nostrils the breath (spirit) of life;
and man became a living soul.
Genesis 2:7 (see also Genesis 7:22)

Consider This

No one can be established
through wickedness,
but the righteous
cannot be uprooted.
Proverbs 12:3

The plans of the righteous
are just,
but the advice of the wicked
is deceitful.
Proverbs 12:5

Consider This

Don't be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind,
so that you may prove what is the good,
well-pleasing, and perfect will of God
Romans 12:2

For you were once darkness, but
are now light in the Lord. Walk as
children of light,…​ 10 discerning
what is well-pleasing to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:8,10

Consider This

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly,
I say to you, unless one is born again
he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 3:3

since you have been born again,
not of perishable seed but of imperishable,
through the living and abiding word of God;
1 Peter 1:23

Consider This

Anxiety in the heart of man
weighs it down,
But a kind word makes it glad.
Proverbs 12:25

There should be no division in the body,
but that the members should have
the same care for one another.
1 Corinthians 12:25

Consider This

The eyes of YHWH are everywhere,
Keeping watch on the evil and the good.
Proverbs 15:3

The eyes of YHWH watch over knowledge;
But he frustrates the words
of the unfaithful.
Proverbs 22:12

Consider This

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean
on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5

In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:6

Consider This

A gracious woman obtains honor
But violent men obtain [only] riches.
Proverbs 11:16

A man who is kind benefits himself,
but a cruel man hurts himself.
Proverbs 11:17

Consider This

Many men claim to be men
of unfailing love,
But who can find a faithful man?
Proverbs 20:6

Confidence in someone unfaithful
in time of trouble
Is like a bad tooth, or a lame foot.
Proverbs 25:19

Consider This

It is a trap to dedicate something rashly
and only later to consider one's vows.
Proverbs 20:25

Do you see someone
who speaks in haste?
There is more hope for a fool
than for them
Proverbs 29:20

Consider This

A [scripture] in the mouth of a fool,
Is like a thornbush
in the hand of a drunkard.
Proverbs 26:9

A [scripture] in the mouth of a fool,
Is like the legs of a lame man
that hang loose.

Proverbs 26:7

Consider This

One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
another pretends to be poor,
yet has great wealth.
Proverbs 13:7

The LORD detests all the proud of heart.
Be sure of this:
They will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 16:5

Consider This

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid.
Proverbs 12:1

Whoever ignores discipline
comes to poverty and shame,
but whoever heeds correction is honored.

Proverbs 13:18

Consider This

Where there is no wise guidance,
the nation falls,
But with many counselors
there is victory.

Proverbs 11:14

Consider This

Gray hair is a crown of glory.
It is attained by a life of righteousness.
Proverbs 16:31

The glory of young men is their strength.
The splendor of old men is their gray hair.

Proverbs 28:26

Consider This

Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 26:12

He who trusts in himself is a fool,
But he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.

Proverbs 28:26

Consider This

The Lord works out everything
for His own ends -
Even the wicked
for a day of disaster.

Proverbs 16:4

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Friday, June 9, 2023

Excerpts from Proverbs 9 and Psalms 41, 42, 43, 44, 45

Read the Proverbs through in a month,
one chapter per day.
Read the Psalms through in a month,
five Psalms per day.

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    Proverbs 9:1-4
    (World English Bible)

    • The Consequences of
      • Accepting Wisdom or Folly
      • Proverbs 9:1 - 18
    • 1) Wisdom has built her house.
      • She has carved out her seven pillars.
    • 2) She has prepared her meat. She has mixed her wine.
      • She has also set her table.
    • 3) She has sent out her female servants;
      • she calls out on the highest places of the city.
      • 4) "Whoever is naive, let him turn in here,"
        • she says to those who lack understanding.

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    Psalm 41:5-8
    Book 1 (Psalms 1-41)
    (World English Bible)

    • For the Chief Musician.
      • A Psalm by David.
    • 5) My enemies speak evil against me:
      • "When will he die, and his name perish?"
    • 6) If he comes to see me, he speaks falsehood.
      • His heart gathers iniquity to itself.
        • When he goes abroad, he tells it.
    • 7) All who hate me whisper together against me.
      • They imagine the worst for me.
      • 8) "An evil disease," they say, "has afflicted him.
        • Now that he lies he shall rise up no more."

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