Report from Dominica

The Bridgewood Church of Christ is pleased to provide this video report on our work with 3 churches in the island country of Dominica.  Bridgewood has been supporting work in Dominica for over 30 years now.  The video is approximately 30 minutes long and is a product of the visit that Bob Milligan and Jon McKenzie made in February 2011.

Our “Season” Doesn’t End!

A month ago you may have heard someone saying, “O, how I love this season,” (You can be sure they didn’t work retail!) but what now, is it now back to the old work-a-day grind?  When all the trappings of the “Christmas season” are packed away for another year, will that also include the “good cheer” that supposedly characterized the “season”?

For all the religious error and blatant commercialism, you’ve got to admit there is something special about the “season.”  Families take time to be together; hard-earned money is spent to bring others pleasure; time is taken to write a greeting to those with whom we are no longer in daily contact; friendly “season’s greetings” are received from complete strangers.  Seems to me, this whole “season” thing can be summed up by the fact that for about a month there is more thought given to others.

Now, why should that spirit end in January?  Maybe as a society one month of “good cheer” is enough!  “Couldn’t keep it up much longer; we’re exhausted being nice, thoughtful and hospitable.  Thank goodness it’s January, we’ll get a breather and start paying for all that ‘good cheer.’ ”

Here’s where the uniqueness of New Testament Christianity shines clearly:

* We didn’t have a “Christmas pageant” or a special “Christmas service” because we, at His direction, remember His sacrifice on our behalf every first day of the week in the Lord’s Supper (I Cor.11:23-26).

* We do not commemorate His birth with an annual observation, not only because He gave no authorization to do so,  but also because we,  by His grace,  live daily in His presence   (Matt. 28:20; I Cor.1:9; I Jhn.1:3).

* Thoughtfulness towards others is not a special effort for a season, but is part and parcel of being disciples of the One who first loved us (I Jhn.4:10, 19; Heb.13:1).

* We rejoice in the announcement made by the angel of God (Lk.2:14), and do so free of any contrived sentimentality, realizing that the promised peace is found only in our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom.5:1).  And not while He lay as a revered baby, but as a grown man He was willing to, “taste death for everyone,” and so doing, “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb.2:9; 9:26).

* Therefore, those “baptized into Christ Jesus” know a joy that is unseasonal and enduring (Rom.6:3; Phil.4:4-5).

– Ed McGeachy

When God Fails The Test

by Ed McGeachy

Talk about actions speaking louder than words, and being determined to do what we want regardless – you’ll hardly find a clearer example than in the case of the Jewish remnant left behind after the fall of Jerusalem.  Truly, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecc.1:9); as you’ll see, things haven’t changed a whole lot in the intervening centuries.

First, they sounded so spiritual and sincere.  They approached the prophet Jeremiah for guidance, asking that he pray to the Lord that God would tell them what to do. Problem: they were afraid because the Babylonian-appointed governor had been killed.  They promised the prophet that whatever God’s answer, whether pleasant or unpleasant, “we will listen … so that it may go well with us” (Jer.42:1-6).  Sounds good, don’t you think; not unlike what we often hear from individuals who state a desire to study the Bible in order that they may know and follow God’s will.

Know when the trouble began?  When they learned that God’s will wasn’t what they wanted to hear!

God’s answer: “Do not go into Egypt,” but if they choose to go ahead anyway, they were to clearly understand that they would die by sword, famine and pestilence (Jer.42:19-22).  Pretty clear; hard to misunderstand, don’t you think?

Their response: We’ll do what we think best, because listening to God hasn’t worked!

1. They accused the prophet of lying; got up and went to Egypt (Jer.43:2-7).  Interesting how a pious-sounding faith reacts when confronted with life’s realities!  God’s word says one thing, but I really want to do something else.  What to do?  I know, I’ll say I can’t believe the message!

2. Once in Egypt they abruptly told Jeremiah, “we are not going to listen to you,” and firmly refused to quit their idolatrous ways (Jer.44:16-17).  In coming to this conclusion – so contrary to what they had initially affirmed – they were actually pragmatic realists: God had proven to be a disappointment! While they lived as idolaters life was good, but when they stopped “burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven,” well, that’s when their problems began (Jer.44:17-18).

* Problems began, they thought, when they turned to God; therefore God was either the cause of their difficulties, was powerless to help, or just didn’t care.  Either way they rationalize their actions to themselves; disobedience sounded reasonable.

* Truly, “The heart is more deceitful than all else” (Jer.17:9), and if we insist on judging God by our so-called objective standards (What has He done for me?), rather than humbly obeying His word (Heb.5:9) we run the risk of being “hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb.3:13), just like those ancient Israelites.
This is the weekly bulletin article written by Ed McGeachy.  Keep visiting our site to read future articles.

Going To Worship

By Ed McGeachy

Does this happen in your home?  Another Sunday rolls around and someone asks, “Are we going to church today?”  To ask the question suggests there are options, and an option considered is usually an option which can be rationalized.  Reasonable-sounding options of course, such as, “We need to spend more time together as a family,” “It’s been a tough week, we deserve a rest,” “We’ll have the opportunity to go to – fill in the blank – besides we’re pretty regular in attendance,” or … well you know how it goes.

Stand back for a moment and consider the scenario just described.  Is it farfetched, improbable or imaginary?  None of the above.  Does it therefore suggest that those engaged in such discussions are on the verge of abandoning the faith?  Negative.  However, I do suggest that when Christians convincingly rationalize “forsaking our own assembling together” (Heb.10:25), a fundamental and essential ingredient is missing from the thinking process:  awe of the holiness of God!

Reflect for a moment on the situation presented in Genesis 22.  When Abraham told his young men to stay with the donkey, he said, “I and the lad will go over there (referring to the mountain designated by God); and we will worship (prostrate oneself in homage to God) and return to you” (v.5).

  • Isn’t everything we do “worship,” and can’t we worship anywhere?  Therefore Abraham could have worshipped at home or standing by the donkey. However, Abraham said they would “go over there; and worship.”
  • The implication is clear:  we will go, worship and we will return.  But Abraham was going to offer his son as a burnt offering at God’s direction (v.2), believing, however, that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead (Heb.11:19).

Worship for Abraham was not a casual elective.  There was no, “Do I have to?” or “God is asking too much.”  He went, “over there” for the specific purpose to bow himself down to God, a bowing down which was to require of him the greatest sacrifice, offering his only son whom he loved (v.2), but which would result in his receiving the greatest promise, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice” (v.22).

Therefore, when the next Sunday rolls around, will we, who are on the receiving end of the promise made to Abraham (Gal.3:16), and who by obedience to the gospel now belong to Christ and are Abraham’s descendants (Gal.3:26-29), show the same humble dedication and reverence as our godly ancestor?  “Forsaking our own assembling together”? Perish the thought!  When we “come together as a church” (I Cor.11:18) to remember and commune with our Lord (I Cor.10:16), worship our God, encourage and be encouraged by those “of like precious faith” (II Pet.1:1) – without a second thought, I too am going “over there”!

This is the weekly bulletin article written by Ed McGeachy.  Keep visiting our site to read future articles.

October Bible Quiz

We are really proud of our participants in Bible Quiz for October.  The elementary team took 2nd place in their age division and the adults tied for first place in their division with a perfect score. The time that our families invest in studying God’s word and coming out to the event is very valuable.  So many of our families have amazingly busy schedules.  For the first time in a long time, we had a full 5 member team among the elementary kids.  We also had a full 5 member team among the adults.

A big THANK YOU goes out to Doug Martin and Doyle Bruce for their work with Bible Quiz.  The Handley Church of Christ has done a great job of hosting this event for the last several years.

The next Bible Quiz is Tuesday, November 16 at the Handley Church of Christ.  As always, the quiz starts promptly at 7:30pm.  The text for November is John 7-9 in the New King James version of the Bible.  We look forward to having a great team in November.