Friday, March 28, 2014

Living Lesson: Reconciliation Day

Living Lesson: by Christopher Wiles
“Reconciliation Day”
According to the calendar, April 2nd is reconciliation day, and in my opinion, it’s a great day to follow April Fool's day. I remember pulling pranks of forking yards, putting Kool-Aid in the shower head, and prank calling people asking, “Is your refrigerator running?”  Reconciliation day was started in 1989 by newspaper columnist Ann Landers. The intent of this day is to patch up relationships and make amends, especially if you made someone mad by filling their yard with clear plastic forks.

For the followers of Christ, we reconcile not because the calendar tells us to, but because in 2 Corinthians 5:18, “God reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”  You and I are called to help people reconcile with each other and with God.  How are you doing with that ministry God has given you?

For those of you reading this,  consider letting go of your grudges. Pick up a pen and paper to start a letter. Open your email client to start a relationship anew. Maybe you should make a phone call that will reconcile yourself with your loved ones.  Whatever avenue of communication you choose, be sure to speak kind words, say you’re sorry for your past mistakes, and forgive others as you would have them forgive you. You'll be glad you did.

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” – Romans 5:10

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Living Lesson: "I Can't" - Sunday Church Bulletin Article

Bulletin Living Lesson: Sunday,March 16th, 2014

“I Can’t” - By Christopher Wiles
Judah Nicholas Swartzentruber
There’s not too many sayings that are as odious to my ears as the simple sentence, “I can’t.”

Maybe it’s because I’m still a relative “young’un”. Perhaps it’s because my mother and father ingrained the idea into me that I can do ANYTHING, almost to an ambitious fault. So it burns me when I hear “I can’t” from the likes of people that God calls to do more. He has given them such a potential, but they fall short of that potential. For me, the worst are those who say “I can’t” and use the heinous excuses of “because God made me this way” or “that’s just who I am.”

Maybe that’s why I like hanging out with Kevin. Big K and I don’t see eye to eye on everything, especially because he towers a good six inches over me, but Kevin and I get along. I really enjoy his wisdom, his ambition, and his “I can do it with God’s help” type of attitude. We have a lot of things in common such we both are preachers, enjoy carpentry and tinkering, appreciate outdoors, revel in Bible discussions, fancy raising chickens, get serious about homeschooling, wear the title “technology nerd”, and we both really strive to lead our wives and children in growing closer to God.

Yet Kevin’s “I can do it” attitude and resume eclipsed mine this morning (Thursday) as he earned the “Man of the Year” award in my book. His one-upmanship came at 6:30am when Kevin called to tell me that God used him to deliver his first son in the van in their garage. You read that right, this sweet family never made it out of the driveway before Kevin “manned up” and assisted God by playing the roles of doctor, nurse, and husband all at the same time. Amazing Amanda and beautiful baby Judah are doing just fine and giving God glory today. Wow, Kevin really can do it all.

So to all you naysayers out there who come up with so many excuses as to why “you can’t” do something God has called you to do to further His mission, remember Kevin, the guy that could do anything with God. If thinking about Kevin achievements doesn’t motivate you enough, I’ll give you one more characteristic about Big K that might inspire you to believe you can do big things with God’s intervention.

Kevin is blind, and that’s the way God made him.
“With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” - Matthew 19:26b

P.S. I’m sure I’m writing this article against his will as Kevin’s humble nature would likely not approve.  Why do I write it?  Because I can.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Redeeming the Time

It probably doesn't surprise you that I plan my days by a very detailed agenda.  Every hour of my work day (Sunday through Thursday, and often Saturdays) is planned.  Ashley and I have found a lot of benefit in planning my days off together as well.  Here's what today looks like.

Click to make larger
Are we crazy OCD about our schedule?  No, not at all.  Yet talking about time and planning together does help us reach our goals and because of that we think it might be a useful tool for you readers as well.

Many of my friends complain about having no time.  Consider organizing your time, especially with your spouse.  May this tip help you "redeem the time."

15 "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil." - Ephesians 5:15-16

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dinosaur Book for Adults

I purchased two copies of A Pocket Guide to Dinosaurs from the Answers in Genesis website.  After reading the adult book on dinosaurs copyrighted in 2010, I was very pleased and pleasantly surprised.  I think it is written much better than the Dinosaurs for Kids book I purchased at the same time.  Give it a whirl and read it for yourself.

Different from the children's book, the ending of the book quotes fully from John 3, which is perfectly respectable and doesn't seem to "attempt" to leave any parts out.  

This book gets my thumbs up.

New Dinosaur Books in Church Library

We've ordered a couple new books into our library at church after a few parents asked for resources on Dinosaurs.

First I'll give a small critique of Ken Ham's "Dinosaurs For Kids."  Mr. Ham is the founder and president of Answers in Genesis which operates the Creation Museum in Louisville, KY.

Dinosaurs for Kids is 64 pages long written at about a 5th grade level in my opinion.  Ashley and I have both read it now, and while it may not receive the highest marks in some areas, it does have some great high points.

The Pros:
  • The graphics are great!  Just like the major publications you would see today.
  • There are lots of great Bible correlations and scripture quoted.
  • Ken Ham gives practical questioning and defense ideas for kids who may be confronted about their Biblical beliefs. 
  • There are several great points showing the inaccuracy and inconsistency of modern science.
The Cons:
  • Some of the type/text is a little challenging and maybe even wordy.  It was tough at times to hold my attention.
  • He mentions some things not talked about in the Bible as being in existence in history after the flood, but offers no explanations, such as the Ice Age, and plate tectonic movement.  
  • He mentions Peter's conversation in 1 Peter 3 linking Noah, Jesus, water, and baptism, but conveniently leaves out and maybe even avoids the water and baptism parts.  
  • He ends with the "Sinner's Prayer" concept instead of following the 1 Peter 3 reference.
"18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him." - 1 Peter 3:18-22

All in all, I recommend parents read the book with your kids.  We'll let Gabriel read it next and give you his critique.

Now to read the one for adults, "A Pocket Guide To Dinosaurs".  Let me know if you guys have any great resources!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

2013-02-24 WCOC Worship Service: Faith Hope Love

Good morning, I want to provide you with singing and a message that may inspire you while you're "iced" in your homes.  Here is service we recorded at Washington Church of Christ about one year ago.
Service Date: 02-24-2013
Song Leader: Mark Petty
Special Thought: Joe Pitman
Prayer: Don Page
Communion Thoughts: Dene Bartley
Scripture Reading: Jarek Page
Message: "Faith Hope Love" by Christopher Wiles

Songs in recording:
I Stand In Awe of You
God is So Good
How Great Thou Art
The Steadfast Love of the Lord
Trust and Obey

Click Here To Download Sermon Audio