I spoke with Rod Rutherford, minister for the Gatlinburg church, today and I was asking about whether or not the church there, and the community, could benefit in some small way, from our clothes drive (planned for Africa) to be brought to them. He spoke about the churches of Christ disaster relief effort out of Nashville and said that they had brought in 3 semi trucks full of goods and supplies to distribute, to as many as had needs. Rod was praising the work effort and how it had brought a great deal of comfort to that community through the love of good people who want to serve Christ.

So, this means that we will stay with the intention of sending our clothes to Africa to help families there. Please be getting your stuff together and brought to the annex so we can be putting them together soon. Be thinking about banana boxes if you have opportunity.

God wants us to share things that we have (Heb 13.3; Rm 12.13). It is wonderful to be able to share God's love with others. God is not concerned with the is the heart that He wants to be generous to others and trusting of Him.

God is blessing us!

Often the complaint from God against his people was that "there is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land" (Hos 4.1).

There are some, based on the results of the recent election, that feel like this is a time where America "gets another chance" to get back on the "right track." In other words, they feel like the atmosphere of the country and culture will be more "in line" with an "acknowledgment" of God in the land. If you believe the recent election has made, or will make, our society closer to an acknowledgment of God, then you should also feel a responsibility to this "opportunity" to openly practice your faith, boldly confess the Christ, and pursue conversation that leads people to Jesus.

The truth of the matter is that had our next President been Hillary Clinton, then our present culture would be just as conducive to these opportunities to show our faith, boldly confess the Christ, and pursue conversation that leads people to Jesus because all of these things are expected of us....NOT if the culture seems permissive, but because we are called to do these things by Jesus. If there be truth to an "existing advantage" presently, then we are only that much more accountable. God is ruling, and he has called us to serve him in any society, be it easy, or difficult.

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

In our world of secular craziness, we need to read these words and ponder them very carefully.

* When the world just doesn't seem to make any sense, be still and know that Jesus is the truth and He will bring sanity to a sometimes insane existence (John 1:14).

* When it seems that everyone has turned against us, be still and know that the Lord promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6).

* When the storms of life (both physical and emotional) are raging about us, be still and know that God will be our shelter in any storm that the devil can throw at us (Romans 8:35-39).

* When the future looks dark and dim, be still and know that God is already there, and there is nothing that He doesn't know or can't handle (Psalm 139).

What a wonderful God we serve. Brethren, let us try to remember these things when life gets dark and dreary; when the days seem empty and long, when all seems to fail about us: Be still and know!

-Ben Thompson

Paul was chosen to be sent to the Gentiles, but it was Peter that opened the door that first time, in the home of Cornelius (Acts 10).

Peter did something that was "against his law" (Acts 10.28). He went to the home of the Gentile man in agreement with what the Spirit had told him (Acts 10.20). Upon arriving, there were many gathered to "listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us" (Acts 10.33). Because Peter spoke the words, these people obeyed and were "baptized (in water) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 10.47-48).

We too are sent into the world to teach people what God desires for them to do. We are called to visit homes, and talk to people on the street, and lead people to Jesus at our businesses. There are all these people living in, and around, this marvelous community....let's take the good news of Christ to them so that, just like Cornelius, they and possibly their whole household, may come to know the power and glory of our King and Lord, Jesus Christ.

In Acts 11 Peter comes back to the church and tells his story....of how God had been at work. Who will have a story to tell at the end of this week?

Desire. This is what we all have. The call of Jesus is to learn to no longer be mastered by those ungodly desires. Listen to what James writes, "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin" (James 1.15).

Desire has a baby and its name is sin. Desire has a grandson and its name is sin. Desire has, like any other thing, a need to reproduce itself. Humans reproduce other humans, but desire conceives sin. She bears forth a son, and it is sin.

Think of how reckless she is. She has lead you to do unspeakable things in your life, and yet we would treat her as a "friend"? Never! Those desires that are against God are desires God hates. What God hates, we must learn to hate, even if we have allowed these desires to become like an old friend to us.

Desires of the flesh lead to sin and so they must be put in check. Restrained. They must be replaced with desires for the things of God. That is a work only your God can do. Only he is able to make it so that you no longer desire the wicked things. This is why it is so important for us to be seeking God's help in our lives. Learn to control your ungodly desires with the help of your God.