Elder's Encouragement

April – 2018

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

Again, this is the answer Peter gave to about three thousand people on the day of his first sermon. (Acts 2:14-41)  We’ve talked about repentance and baptism and what they mean. Let’s see if we can find out just a few things about what Peter means when he says, “and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” These are only a few verses, there are many more. Please, do not trust me. Look-up these verses to see if what I say is true.

From Acts 2:38 and Galatians 3:14 we learn the Holy Spirit is a gift. It is not something earned. And that we receive the Holy Spirit through faith.

In John 14:46 we find that God the Father sends the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name and that he is a helper and a teacher.

Mark 12:36 and Acts 1:16 show us that the Holy Spirit has always been used by God to help men know what to say and to inspire them to write down His very word.

Mark 13:11 and Luke 12:11-12 tell us that the Holy Spirit will help us in our gravest trials and still speaks through the mouths of His people.

Acts 1:8 tells us that when we receive the Holy Spirit we gain power to be a witness for God and the gospel.

Galatians 5:16-23 tells us that with the Holy Spirit we also receive His life changing fruit.

Hebrews 2:4 tells us that signs and wonders and miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit are distributed according to God the Fathers will, not according to my will.

Just a few verses that hopefully help us to know what receiving the Holy Spirit means to us, and causes us to want to study further. I have two more. Acts 19:2. Paul asked some people “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Because he asked that, I know we can determine if we have received the Holy Spirit. If you are not sure, or know you have not, please talk to Jason or Eric or Melissa or one of the Elders so we can help you, as Paul helped the people he asked. Because in Romans 8:9 God, through Paul, says if you don’t have the Holy Spirit you haven’t got Christ.

Jack Meehan

Elder

 

Elder's Encouragement

March – 2018

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

Again, this is the answer Peter gave to about three thousand people on the day of his first sermon. (Acts 2:14-37)  Last month we looked at what it means to repent. But Peter didn’t say repent only, he also said to be baptized.

Baptize is the English word for the transliterated Greek word baptizo. Here is a definition of the Greek word baptizo from a Greek dictionary:

1.to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk)

2. to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one's self, bathe.

Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, were probably not unfamiliar words to at least some of these people that day because John the “forerunner” had preached the same thing in the not too distant past. (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3)   But Peter added to John’s words “in the name of Jesus Christ” and “you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus’ name was not “Jesus Christ”. His name was “Jesus son of Joseph”, or “Jesus of Nazareth”. (John 1:45, John 18:5)  Christ is the Greek word for the Hebrew word Messiah or “The Anointed One”. (John 1:41)  So what Peter was telling these Jewish people was they had to believe Jesus was “The Anointed One” they had been waiting for, and they needed to be baptized proclaiming that he was. (Acts 19:1-5) That would not have been an easy decision to make. Persecution had already come against anyone proclaiming Jesus as Lord. (John 9:1-34) And persecution will still come to anyone proclaiming he is.

To all who are reading this, your sin of rejecting Jesus as “Christ” is what hung him on the cross. And those of you who continue in that rejection are in real trouble with God. “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:22b)  “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”   Acts 2:38

These are words from Peter to a large group of people on the day of Pentecost just after he had delivered his first sermon. God had opened the ears of about three thousand people that day and they believed and realized they were in real trouble with God. They asked what they should do, so Peter told them, “Repent and be baptized”. We read those words and many times don’t even think about what they mean.

What does it mean to repent? Well believe it or not, “Merriam-Webster” is actually the best place to go for a Biblical definition. Here is it’s number one definition of repent,

“to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life.”

That is a perfect definition.

Now all we have to do is figure out what sin is. If you go to M-W for that definition, their number two answer is the best, “transgression of the law of God.”

Jesus said "If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Jn14:15

If we know or find out we have not, we need to repent.

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

 

December – 2017

 

In Luke 1:5-38 we have two Christmas stories of the angel Gabriel telling people of upcoming births. The first was to Zechariah, telling him how he would soon become the father of John the baptizer. The second was to Mary, telling her how she was soon to become the mother of Jesus the messiah. Both prophecies are incredible. Zechariah and his wife were old and well past the years of normal childbearing, and Mary was a virgin. Gabriel’s messages naturally caused questions in the minds all of them.

Zechariah asked Gabriel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And because he questioned the truth of what Gabriel had said, (v.20) Gabriel pronounced judgment on Zechariah causing him to not be able to speak until John was born.

Mary’s question to Gabriel was, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” She didn’t question the truth of the prophecy, as shown by her statement “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” She just wondered how God would accomplish it.

As we read God’s promises in scripture, such as Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”, let us not question the truth of the promises, but watch in awe as He accomplishes them.

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

November 2017

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!  For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.  Ps100:4-5

A good set of Thanksgiving verses, don’t you think? Very easy to understand and believe. We go in thanking and praising God because He is good, steadfast, loving, and faithful.

That is, it’s very easy to understand and believe when all is going well. But when life is not going so well, we sometimes start to question His goodness, love, and faithfulness, and it can be about as small a thing as not having the weather the way we want it.

Matthew Henry, the famous Bible commentator of the late 1600s, showed a thankful spirit. After he was robbed, he wrote in his diary;

“Let me be thankful first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my wallet they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”

 

He also is quoted as saying, “Thanksgiving is good but thanks-living is better.”

Maybe I’ll spend this thanksgiving season trying to learn from Matthew Henry.

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

If you read Nehemiah chapters 8 and 9 you find the people of Israel attending a worship service that they themselves asked to happen. They asked Ezra to bring out the Book of the Law and to read from it. So Ezra, being the Pastor he was, thought to himself, (according to Jack), “this might only happen once in my lifetime so let me make the most of it”. So he brought out the Book and read “from daybreak until noon”. Wow, now that’s a long service.

 

But in the verses that followed we can find several things about the people’s attitudes as they listened. Here are just a few.

All the people listened attentively.

When Ezra opened the Book the people all stood up.

When Ezra prayed before reading the people lifted their hands and said Amen.

They bowed their heads humbly worshiping as he read.

When they were taught something, they were obedient and did what the book said to do. They mourned over their past disobedience and repented.

 

October is Pastor appreciation month. I wonder if we could show our appreciation for Jason and Eric and Mel in any way more than to simply follow the example given to us in Scripture.

 

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

Here it is September already. The month we usually associate with two things. Labor and fall. Labor day is on the 4th this year and the first day of fall is on the 22nd. At the end of July I turned 65. It depends how old you are as to how you think of 65. To me it seems as if I entered the fall of my life, which makes these lines by C.T. Stud all the more meaningful when I think of what I’m laboring at.

Two little lines I heard one day, traveling along life’s busy way; Bringing conviction to my heart, and from my mind would not depart; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, soon will its fleeting hours be done; Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, and stand before His Judgement seat; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years, each with its burdens, hopes, and fears; Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep, in joy or sorrow Thy word to keep; Faithful and true what e’er the strife, pleasing Thee in my daily life; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

August 2017

One of my earliest recollections as a boy of about three is going to one of the local grocery stores with my Mom and stealing a piece of bubble gum. Now this wasn’t just a youngster who didn’t know any better picking it up and walking out. No! This was a pre-planned heist! And when we got back to our car I sat with my legs straight and stiff as a board with my ill-gotten gains underneath. Then the interrogation started, ending with a tearful confession to the store owner.

Before I ever picked up that piece of gum, there was something inside me telling me it was wrong and I shouldn’t do it. That same something, my conscience, is still there. William Gurnall in his book “The Christian in Complete Armour”, published 1655, speaks of man’s conscience this way. “Man’s conscience, like his physical body, is created by God. Conscience may be defined as that divine influence at work in man to restrain him from sin. One evidence of its origin is that it always speaks against sin and for righteousness. Therefore, it cannot be the product of our own hearts which in their fallen state are ‘deceitful above all things and desperately wicked’.”  Jer 17:9

I think I’ll spend August learning to pay closer attention to that “divine influence” at work in me.

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

One of the great truths about our Bibles is that by the Old Testament we can understand some of the main revelations given to us in the New Testament.

For example what does Paul mean in Romans 3:23-24 when he uses the phrase “redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. What is this redemption that is in Christ Jesus?

Paul’s original readers would have immediately known he meant that Jesus was their “Goel”. That’s a Hebrew word which most of our English Bible versions translate “Kinsman-Redeemer”. By reading the Old Testament books of the law and the book of  Ruth we can discover what God through Paul intends for us to understand about our “Goel”, as his first readers did.

Jesus, our Goel, redeems us by being our closest relative who in our time of need comes and rescues us saying, “Have you got a burden (your sin). Let me bear it. Have you got a debt? Let me pay it as if it were my own. Have you got a problem? Give it to me and let me solve it. Have you got a need that you cannot possibly meet? Let me meet it.”

To understand the Bible we must read the whole book. July is a great time to start.

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29

In Ireland in the spring it is deer hunting time. They chase the deer down with dogs who corner their prey, then the hunters come up and get supper.

The deer have learned something over the years. In the valleys in Ireland, in the spring, lilies grow. Not little lilies but large, 5 or 6 foot tall lilies. So guess what the deer have learned? When the chase is on they run to the valleys, get out in the middle of the lilies, and lie down very still and quietly. The hunters come up to the edge of the valley and look out and can not see the deer. The dogs run into the lilies and guess what they smell? Lilies. They loose the scent and after a while the chase is over until the next time.

When you are being chased by the hound of hell and the world is hunting you down, run to the Lily of the Valley, lie down,,,, and be very still,,,, and wait for the hound to loose the scent.

I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. 

Song of Solomon 2:1

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

What a beautiful spring we have had so far. Good rains, really nice temperatures, flowers and trees blooming everywhere. Before you know it school will be out and all the summer activities will start.

Sometimes, unfortunately, all our summer activities can draw us away from meeting together on the first day of the week to worship our Savior. When that happens we miss that short but precious time when we can leave the lying deceiving world behind to be with others whose minds have been made new. Ro 12:2, 2 Cor 5:17  It is always so refreshing to be with like-minded people praising God for what he has done. So as the vacations and all the other activities of summer begin let me encourage you to meet with other Christians for worship wherever you might be.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:23-25

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

April, the month we focus on the resurrection of Christ. Of course we at FCC Abilene focus on the resurrection every week during communion. But still, Easter is special.

Have you ever paused and asked yourself, “Do I really believe Christ rose from the dead or is it something I know I’m supposed to believe, so when asked I’ve always just said yes.” It is really a very important question.

Read Romans 10:9-11. Paul actually makes a condition of true believing faith that I “…believe in your (my) heart that God raised him from the dead…” t question. Is the resurrection really something you believe or is it something you know you are supposeRead 1Cor 15:12-19. God says through Paul “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” And, that he and the other apostles have all lied to us because they all testified that Christ did rise from the dead. If they lied to us about that, then what else in the New Testament did they lie about? All of Christianity falls if God did not raise Jesus from the dead.

Knowing all of that, the question remains. Do I really believe Christ rose from the dead?

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

March is such a windy month. In fact it can be kind of the beginning of some real dangerous storms. I wonder why that is? Well for a concise answer to that question, ask the “Weather Dudes”. Really Jack? “The Weather Dudes”? Yes, here’s the link,, http://www.weatherdudes.com/facts_display.php?fact_id=48

Hey, I try to stay up on stuff dude. I also try to be careful to be prepared for dangerous storms that could be coming.

Paul also tells us of some winds to be careful of. Winds of phony doctrine that are produced “by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”  He says the way to battle these winds is for us to be unified in Christ, helping each other come to maturity in the faith.  Ephesians 4:1-16.  He also commends checking the Scriptures to see if what is being taught is true. Acts 17:11.

The Pastors and Elders of First Christian Church encourage you to do the same.

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

February is the month of love. Saint Valentine ’s Day and all. So I “Googled” who St Valentine was and how it all started. One site said this, and one said that, to the point I didn’t believe any of them. There seems to be three churches who claim to have the remains of St. Valentine. I’ll leave all that up to someone else to figure out.

God defines love this way. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.”  (1Cor 13:4-8)

When Jesus was asked by some Pharisees what was the greatest commandment he said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Matt 22:37-39)

I would assume then that He meant for us to love Him, and our fellow man, in the way He defined it.

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

Read - 2Timothy 3:16-17

These are words written to Timothy in probably the final letter by Paul before his execution. Imagine, as Paul waited to die, of all the things he could have told Timothy to reaffirm him in his role as a Pastor, the number one thing was the importance of Scripture. And he didn’t mention it just once. He told him it was through the Gospel that Christ ushered in immortality and light. Also to be strengthened by the words that Paul had preached, and to pass them on to faithful men, who would then teach others. He told him to rightly handle the word and to not be ashamed of it. And he charged Timothy to preach the word, and to be ready to do it whenever the need arose.

We are starting a new year, and once again I encourage you to start a reading plan that will take you through the Bible this year. If you need help finding a plan ask one of the Elders or Pastors and we will help you find the one that is right for you. Then if Amos 8:11 should come again you will be able to agree with the writer of Psalm 119:11.

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

Give - to set forth or show; present; offer.  Thanks - to express thankfulness.

Steadfast - firmly fixed in place, not subject to change.  Forever - for all time.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!

Do you know how many times that verse, or one very similar, is in the Bible? Well let’s see. All we need is a good concordance to find out. 1Chronicles 16:34, 1Chronicles 16:41, 2Chronicles 20:21, Psalm 106:1, Psalm 107:1, Psalm 118:1, Psalm 118:29, Psalm 136:1, Psalm 136:3, Jeremiah 33:11.  Usually if something is in scripture 2 or 3 times we consider it as very important to God.

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
    make known his deeds among the peoples!

Let’s do the same with this verse. 1 Chronicles 16:8, Psalm 9:1, Psalm 75:1, Psalm 105:1, Isaiah 12:4.

Ten for the first, and five for the second. It seems that it is pretty important to God that we understand and share these two verses. I think this “Thanksgiving” season when somebody asks me what I’m thankful for, I’ll just tell them of the first verse, and do the second.

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

If you look at my arms you will notice that the left is far more scarred up than the right. Being old and retired and with little else to wonder about, I started wondering why. I’m right handed and do almost everything with my right hand, so it would seem that the right arm should carry the most scars. But as I thought it out I realized that whether building something or working on a car or whatever I was doing, it was the left arm that was always supporting the work, while the right did the work. The left held the alternator in place on my car while the right tightened the bolts. It was the left that held the board in place while the right nailed it. And sometimes the left arm had to get in some real tight places to support, which caused the scars, while the right remained free to work.

October is Pastor Appreciation month. We have some fine Pastors in Jason and Eric. They are our left arm. Let us do the work.  Hebrews 13:17-18

Jack Meehan

Elder

Elder's Encouragement

What’s Your Life Verse?
This is mine. 1Thessalonians 4:11-12      “….aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,  so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”
What is the definition of a “Life Verse”?
It is a verse or a group of verses that if I can at least try to live it or them out, will let the world know that Christ has made a difference in me. They may not be my favorite verses. In fact I may have many other verses that help me through hard times better, comfort me more, and give me much more hope, than my life verse.
How do I pick a life verse?
First of all we have to prayerfully read the Bible from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. After that it depends who you are. We are all similar but we are not all the same. For me “aspire to live quietly and to mind your own affairs” is perfect because my flesh does not want to do either. Someone else may be totally the opposite. Their flesh may tend toward running from confrontation and leading people in the way they should go. For that person maybe Deuteronomy 31:6 would be perfect.
The goal of a “Life Verse” is to become more Christ-like.

Jack Meehan
Elder

 

Elder's Encouragement

Once upon a time there was a lady who had a real problem with gossip. She knew it was not Christ-like to be a gossip so she went to her Pastor and ask for help. Being a wise man he said “I want you to go to the market and buy a freshly killed chicken with it’s feathers still on and return to me plucking the chicken as you go”. She thought “this is a strange assignment but I really want help so I will do it”, and she did just as the Pastor asked. Upon her return the Pastor said “Well done! You did just as I asked. Now here is the second part, go back and collect all the feathers”. She said “Oh Pastor there is a hard breeze today and the feathers are surely scattered everywhere”. The pastor said “And so are the words you speak as you whisper and they cannot be taken back”.
A Christian definition of gossiping is telling something about person #1 or his affairs, to person #2, true or not, that makes #2 think less highly of #1.
Proverbs says a gossip, or some versions call them whisperer, some talebearer, betrays confidence-11:13, separates close friends-16:28, can hurt people way down deep-18:8, and that the lack of a “whisperer” always calms things down-26.20.
I’m going to work hard this month, and from now on, at keeping my feathers contained.

Jack Meehan
Elder

 

Elder's Encouragement

July is the month, at least at the beginning, when we think of independence from taxation without representation. We may have still been Englanders if King George III would have listened to our complaints. But he would not. (Read 1Kings 12:1-16 for a similar story.) So after a long war we became who we are, free of his tyranny.  
    The Bible speaks a lot about freedom, but of a different kind. In John 8 & Romans 5 & 6 Jesus says we can be free of the slavery (tyranny) of sin because of what He did for us. Titus 3:1-8 and Galatians 5 tells us that by the renewal of the Holy Spirit we can be free from this world’s passions and attitudes. And Revelation 21 & 22 tells of a freedom like we have never experienced, and is still to come.
    During July let us be encouraged as we find our true God given freedoms in His word.

Jack Meehan
Elder