‘Tremendous response’: Preacher baptizes stepfather in seminar

Andy Chavarrilla baptizes stepfather

Andy Chavarrilla baptizes stepfather

HIGHLANDS, Tex. (BNc) by Andy Chavarrilla — This past weekend, I held a seminar on Rebuilding Faith with my good friend and colleague Brad Harrub. As we informed the congregation and visitors about what was going on in our society and how the church, if convicted, could be the solution, we had a tremendous response.

When we offered the invitation, 14 people responded.

However, something happened that I would have never expected. My parents walked down the aisle, too! Continue reading

Minister offers perspective of hope for church and preachers, not blame

Preacher Jeff Jenkins

Preacher Jeff Jenkins

LEWISVILLE, Tex. (BNc) — Preacher Jeff Jenkins felt sad after reading an article by a man who had left the church and laid the blame at its feet for preachers who left.

“As I read this article it made me sad. It made me sad because much of what is stated in this article is just not true. It makes me sad that a writer who has separated himself from the church claims to know so much about preachers in the church,” Jeff wrote today. “It has been one of the great blessings of my life to preach in churches of Christ for nearly forty years. My father was a preacher in the church for more than fifty years. His father was an elder and his grandfather was a preacher in churches of Christ.”

Jeff believed some would become discouraged about preachers in the church and think that the majority were leaving. He let his sadness lead him to speak up.

“That is why I felt compelled to write this article. It is my goal to offer a different perspective. One that gives us reason for hope,” he said.

He takes the article to task when it stated that few in the church today dare to make an argument for a cappella worship.

“That statement comes across as arrogant, condescending, and deceitful,” he challenged.

“The implication is that one cannot be thoughtful and come to a conclusion that the Bible argues against instrumental music,” he offered. “Isn’t interesting that when some want to change the church they state that any doctrine they are not happy with is just ‘our tradition?’”

Further in his lengthy article, Jeff noted, “We must never quit loving the church, we should thank God for preachers who love the church, we should not allow a few who are disgruntled to keep us from our commitment to the Lord, and we should not remain silent when people are critical and negative about the Body of Christ. The church of Christ is not our ‘tribe,’ it is not ‘our non-denomination,’ it is not a denomination; it is the church that belongs to Christ. It was planned, purchased, and purposed by our Savior!”

The entirety of Jeff’s article can be read at this link.

‘I was one’: Online Bible teachers search for receptive students

Bob and Jan Towell, WEI coordinators

Bob and Jan Towell, WEI coordinators

ROUND ROCK, Tex. (BNc) — In her daily email to World English Institute teachers, coordinator Jan Towell shares updates and motivates them to find that one student who will finish the course and respond to the gospel.

On Wednesday, she included a piece from Katheryn Haddad, who has taught more than 3,600 students, and recalled a conversation with a Ghanian in her own home.

“Willie Gley from Ghana had stayed with us overnight and, over breakfast, we were discussing the drop-out rate in all ministries,” she recalled. “He said, ‘Ah, but the one — and I was a one.’ He told how 30 years before, he had seen a paper in a mud puddle, picked it up, took it home, washed it off, and — he laughed as he said it — ‘I even ironed it.’ He wrote to the contact and in time went on to teach in a Bible school and take the gospel into Togo and other surrounding countries.”

Katheryn’s reminder applies to all Christians who share the gospel. We reproduce it below, with permission.

WEI teacher Katheryn Haddad

WEI teacher Katheryn Haddad

Do you think Paul quit teaching because he preached to a crowd of 1000 and no one became a Christian? No, he went to another crowd of 1000 and preached to them. And if no one responded there, he moved on to yet another crowd. He spent 35 years doing this, never dropping out.

Students do the introductory lesson for a lot of different reasons.

Some do it because it’s like a puzzle or a challenge and they just want to know how they would do. Others do it because they want to learn, but realize they don’t have the time required. Others realize they cannot afford the money to go to the internet cafe enough times to graduate. Others use their work computer because they don’t own one themselves, and are told they can’t use it for personal things. Others want to learn, but the electricity in their country is so unreliable, they finally get discouraged and drop out. Others find out the lessons are based on the Bible and are not interested in religion or the Bible, and drop out. Others just aren’t self-disciplined.

But there is the one! The one who has the time and resources and money to stick with the lessons. The one who truly wants to know what is in the Bible because they think they’d like to please the God of the Bible. This is the one you are seeking.

Jesus went out to “seek and save” the lost. We are fishers of men. There are thousands of fish in the sea, but we are looking for the one who is drawn to the bait — the Bible taught in English.

Keep fishing! Keep teaching! Don’t worry about the dropouts; God will take care of them. Keep seeking the one! The one out of a thousand who wants Jesus and doesn’t know it yet! Keep teaching! And keep teaching! And keep teaching! Never give up! Never, never, never give up! Keep teaching! For the one.

Texas women ‘feed on the meat of the Word’ in new retreat

First Texas Ladies for Christ Retreat

First Texas Ladies for Christ Retreat

BRADY, Tex. (BNc) by Cheri Deaver — Forty women participated in the First Annual Texas Ladies for Christ Retreat at the Heart of Texas Bible Camp Oct. 3-5.

Kayla Hyde, Priscilla Smithey, and Erynn Sprouse organized it to be a weekend in which Christian women could come together to feed on the meat of the Word in the book of Philippians.

They enlisted the help of in-depth Bible class teachers to give an introduction to the book and then each one take an hour to study each chapter.

  • Sandi Smith opened our eyes to the rich history behind the book of Philippians with pictures of the ruins to “take us there.”
  • Sarah Fallis took chapter one discussing how an unconquerable Gospel leads to an unconquerable faith resulting in an unconquerable life.
  • Carla Moore presented chapter two with eleven pages of study material focusing on the ways of a true servant of God.
  • Erynn Sprouse taught Philippians chapter three, showing how all of our past sins or previous accolades, and our present accomplishments are truly just rubbish when it comes to the grace that saves us.
  • Evelyn Bonner finished the book with the fourth chapter of Philippians encouraging us to make careful study of keyword definitions to obtain better understanding.

Besides these comprehensive lessons, there were morning and evening devotionals by different sisters, as well as beautiful singing.

Friday night had an insightful question and answer session called “Somebody Help Me, Please.”

And all were blessed with the opportunity to get to know our sisters in Christ better.

Everyone was encouraged to mark our calendar for next year’s retreat set for Oct. 2-4, 2014, as the study will be on the book of Colossians.

More information will be available soon on the webpage.

To God be the glory for He is very, very good.

Daniel is model for church with lost priorities, mission, says author

derison-heavenBowie, TX (BNc) — A Texas author uses the biblical book of Daniel to call the church back to its true mission and away from “political clout.”

According to Michael Whitworth, Christians are becoming more passionate about political/social issues than they are about the gospel. In light of recent events in America’s expanding cultural war, his latest book, The Derision of Heaven, is an urgent message for the church, which he believes is headed into exile.

“No one likes persecution or oppression, but the present crisis may be God’s attempt to get Christians to rediscover proper priorities. Christians will never regain influence through political clout, social media rants, or scary forwarded emails. Instead, I extol the virtues of love, civility, and self-control. The biblical Daniel’s gentle and respectful spirit models how God uses ‘the foolish and weak’ to shame the wise and strong of this world,” says Whitworth, whose previous book, The Epic of God, achieved best-selling status.

“For a long time, Christianity enjoyed unprecedented power in this country, but the American church is now under attack and headed into a form of exile. Castigated and flung to the margins of cultural relevancy to gather cobwebs, what are God’s people to do? How should we respond to this loss of influence? Look to the Bible, of course—particularly the Old Testament book of Daniel,” Michael said.

michael-whitworthIn 2012, Whitworth launched his publishing company, Start2Finish Books. His goal is to author a commentary guide to all the books of the Bible, each one written in an engaging, easy-to-read style. The Derision of Heaven is a guide to the book of Daniel. Whitworth believes that there is not a more relevant Old Testament book for the church right now than Daniel.

Best-selling author F. LaGard Smith praises the book in the Foreword, calling it “a challenge to the church to see Daniel as a must-read for Christians who are now facing the imminent prospect of spiritual exile in our own homelands.”

Studying the book of Daniel and reading The Derision of Heaven will explain why conviction and civility, rather than compromise or contempt, is the path back to relevance for Christ’s church in America, Michael maintains.

The Derision of Heaven: A Guide to Daniel, published by Start2Finish books, is due for release in paperback and eBook formats Sept. 3. For more information, visit http://start2finishbooks.com.

Michael preaches with the Carter Lake Road congregation in Bowie, Texas.

Christian men in Texas pray for, and receive, rain

BakerHeightsABILENE, Tex. (BNc) — After weeks of promoting the event, Christian men from the Baker Heights congregation drove out to a lake in Breckenridge to pray for rain last Saturday.

Preacher Wes McAdams shared the results of that moment of prayer together in the church bulletin, published today on the Internet.

The men’s group “sat around in lawn chairs, near a very low lake, last Saturday morning,” Wes wrote. “People driving by on the highway may have wondered, ‘What are those guys doing down there?’ We weren’t fishing or boating, and although we had some delicious food, eating wasn’t the real reason we were there. We drove to Breckenridge early that Saturday morning to pray for some much needed rain.”

“It was extremely encouraging to sit with brethren and discuss prayer, providence, and the power of God. But the most encouraging part of our trip to Hubbard Creek Reservoir was the fact that it was sprinkling rain the entire time!” he said.

“Since then, the Lord has sent several more inches of rain to our dry and thirsty land. To God be the glory!” he wrote.

Wes ended his article with a spiritual application.

“Sometimes our lives, like our land, can experience periods of drought. There is a devotional song that expresses this idea well, with the words, ‘My eyes are dry. My faith is old. My heart is hard. My prayers are cold.’ Have you ever felt this way? Are you currently in the midst of a spiritual drought?”

Ft. Worth church elders add ‘instrumental music worship service’ on Sunday nights

Front-page image for special announcement

Front-page image for special announcement

FT. WORTH, Tex. (BNc) — The Heritage church elders announced on Sunday that they had made a decision “that the addition of an instrumental worship service would be beneficial to our quest to reach the lost.”

They will begin the Sunday night service in the Fall. The two Sunday morning services will remain a cappella.

The announcement said that all the elders were in agreement that “scripture does not prohibit the use of instruments in our worship.”

They did not explain how they thought the addition of instruments of music to the worship would contribute to reaching the lost.

They stated that “we have spent a great deal of time studying the issue and praying for God to reveal his will as to what we should do.” Gone was the appeal to the New Testament as the single source of knowledge of God’s will.

They said the a cappella worship was a “long-standing tradition” that many of their members would still prefer.

Some elders stepped down from their posts at the decision. In spite of “many” members’ preference and the decision of some of their “leadership” to step down from their “positions,” the change will be made.

They claimed the change “allows people to focus on worshipping God in their own way.” Following that rationale, more future changes might be expected, with the addition of candles, dance, priestly robes, or other denominational practices.

The image on the front page which links to the special announcement was appropriately titled, “Whatever It Takes” (see above).

The special announcement is posted on the Heritage site.

Brown Trail School of Preaching broadcasts live English Bible programs

BTSOP Director Robert Stapleton broadcasts live program

BTSOP Director Robert Stapleton broadcasts live program

BEDFORD, Tex. (BNc) — The Brown Trail School of Preaching began a new teaching tool and outreach program in English last week for the Internet.

BTRadio.Net has been broadcasting Bible classes and sermons over the Internet in Spanish for nearly a year. The English broadcast launched April 30.

BTRadio started its English offerings with two live programs.

The first is “Search The Scriptures,” a daily program airing at 4:00 a.m. Central Time, with a rebroadcast at 12:00 p.m., hosted by BTSOP Director Robert Stapleton.

The second live program, SWISH, is hosted by J.J. Hendrix, Field Representative at BTSOP. This program is broadcast live Tuesday through Thursday at 10:00 a.m. and rebroadcast at 1:00 p.m.

In addition, Pat McIntosh, Dean of Students, will begin a series of studies on Intertestament History. Following that series, he will continue to speak on a weekly basis.

Plans call for additional tracks to be added soon with teams of students from the English Department teaching weekly lessons.

The program directors hope to eventually develop a searchable database of classes and sermons, providing listeners with still more opportunity to study God’s Word.

Brother Stapleton broadcasted the first live sermons April 30 through May 2, on the subjects, “Our Obligation to the Truth,” “How to be the First Century Church in the 21st Century,” and “Are You Sure You Are Saved?”

All speakers for the program will either be staff members or students currently at BTSOP.

The live broadcast can be accessed online here.

Update on church and town of West, Texas, after fertilizer plant explosion

disaster-west-texasWEST, Tex. (BNc) by Denny Wilson — Editor’s note: The following is written by the preacher with the nearby DeLeon congregation, who has been coordinating help through the West congregation.

Ten families from the congregation in West had their homes damaged or completely destroyed. Included in that group was the preacher. His house was three streets from the explosion. Continue reading

Wrong phone number turns into Bible study

Richard Stevens, III

Richard Stevens, III

FORTH WORTH, Tex. (BNc) by Richard Stevens, III —  A man looking for denominational information accidently called me while I was at the church office Thursday, Mar. 28. Realizing the mistake, he apologized, and was about to hang up when I introduced myself and inquired into the reason for his search.

After an exchange of names, he said he wanted to know more about the Bible and asked if I knew of a seminary school in which he could attend and learn. Politely, I questioned if he was ready for that by asking, “What would you tell someone about saving their soul?” He responded, “Believe the Bible and go to church.”

I then took the opportunity to discuss water baptism (John 3:5, 22-23; Acts 8:35-39; 10:47-48; 22:16; Heb. 10:22; etc.), eternal salvation (Ro. 1:16-17; 6:17-18,23; 2 Ti. 1:9-10; 2:10; etc.), and the one church of the New Testament (Mat. 16:18; Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:22-33), over the phone. Continue reading