Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Harding Hospitality - Message Minute

Good morning! This is Topher of Washington Church of Christ. This Message Minute is brought to you from campus of the wonderful Harding University Lectureships in Searcy, Arkansas.

The word "friendship" has changed recently hasn't it?  In the past it meant to open your home to someone in need; to share in meaningful conversation your thoughts, joys, and concerns; to share mutual affection between people. 

Today friendship has been reduced to an association created between two people by tapping a button on someone's profile on a social media app.  You may never engage in conversation but this giant influence in our society calls your association "friendship."

Previously, Ashley and I, now in our mid 30's, knew hardly any students on the Harding University Campus.  As we wrap up participating in the 92nd annual lectureship in this beautiful sanctuary in northern Arkansas, we would like to share a message with a few students who have offered us real friendship.

To the freshmen who joined us on the tennis court for a zany game of mixed doubles, we thank you.  To the seniors who kindly let us join your court in a game of "hit the tennis ball as hard as you want", we thank you.  To the freshman who let us join you for a 20 minute dinner sharing mutual hopes, dreams, and aspirations, we thank you.  To the senior who took a break from your hard library study to show interest in our kids, our mission trips, and our faith in God, we thank you.  To the student from the eastern European country of Albania who shared about your faith while showing interest in our own, we thank you.  To the college freshman who spent 10 minutes last night caring about all that has happened in our lives since we were in Honduras with you 3 years ago, we thank you. 

Hebrews 13:2 contains a command that goes beyond the modern social media definition of friendship when it says, "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers."

Harding University, you have gone above and beyond today's shallow associations to show wonderful Harding hospitality to these strangers on your campus this week.  We are grateful to call you friends.

To all of you listening.  Today,  don't forget to show hospitality to strangers.   You'll be glad you did.

Message Minutes are sponsored by  Washington Church of Christ and recorded for public 107.9 The Memories WAMW morning radio program.  They air at approximately 7:35am on Weekday Mornings.

To find more of the Message Minutes that have been uploaded to this blog CLICK HERE

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Topher's Tech Tips

Topher’s Tech Tips
Go into all the world wide web
Smart strategies for presenting your church’s mission and ministries on the internet.
Harding University Lectureship 2015

Click the photo to download the full .pdf file.

Develop a healthy CORE

WEBSITE – The website is still your primary method for establishing WWW credibility. Develop this static media presentation first.
·         Website Design: Topher’s Top Pick –
o   Web Editors – WordPress, SquareSpace, Weebly, Blogger, Virb
·         Domain Management: Topher’s Top Pick –

Develop major MUSCLES

These dynamic primary information sharing platforms affect different demographics.
·         Email – (Men, Women) MailChimp, MailChimpSnap (Mobile)
·         Blog – (Men, Women) Blogger, WordPress,, Tumblr
·         Facebook – (Women,preteens) Use “Pages” for evangelism.
·         Twitter – (20’s & 30’s, Educational/Professional Crowd)
·         Linked-In – (Men)
·         Instagram – (Teens – 30’s, Women) (Mobile Only)

Develop your PERIPHIAL Presence

·         Pinterest (Visual WWW Bookmarking)
·         Youtube (15 minute videos for new users)
·         Snapchat *MyStory* - (Mobile only) (10sec videos & photos)
·         Periscope “The Snapchat of Video” (Mobile Only) (up to 24 hrs)
·         Vines (Mobile Only) – (6 second videos)


·         Poll Everywhere (interact & audience in sermons)
·         Remote Clicker “PC Remote” , MyPoint (iphone)
·         Hootsuite – Connect over 35+ popular social networks
·         Andyroid, Genymotion – Android Emulators for Computer
·         iPadian – iOS Emulator for Computer

Topher’s Media prep & Hosting
·         Word, Docs (for word count)
·         Blogger
·         Google Drive
·         Photoshop
·         Gimp
· (Mobile)
·         Powerpoint
·         Slideshare
·         Prezi
·         Pinterest
·         Audacity (PC&MAC)
· ($)
·         Feedburner
·         MovieMaker (PC)
·         iMovie (Mac)
·         Youtube
·         Vimeo
· ($)
·         Periscope (Mobile)
·         Instagram (Mobile)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Increasing Wisdom - Message Minute

Good morning, this is Topher from Washington Church of Christ bringing you your message minute.  I'm recording this morning from the wonderful Harding University Lectureships, in Searcy Arkansas, where masses of people have gathered to focus on "The Secrets of the Kingdom; Unlocking the treasures of the Parables."
     Some might say, "Topher, you're a pretty smart guy already, why are you driving 6 hours to go to more classes?"  Truth told, no one has said that, but they still might!  I drove here because of what my dad has often shared with me.  "Son, you learn something new every day."
     While I may not be able to remember what I've learned every day, I have no doubt in the truth of my dad's words.  Solomon said it this way in Proverbs 1:5 "Let the wise listen and add to their learning.” 
     It doesn’t matter how much gray hair we have, how many books are on our shelf, or how many self-help tutorials we’ve watched on Youtube, you and I can continue to increase in wisdom.  Let’s start by Reading the Bible, sit at the feet of a gray-haired-guru, or simply pray for wisdom and that we may have what Jesus calls, "eyes to see and ears to hear."

     Invest time learning wisdom today.  You'll be glad you did!

Message Minutes are sponsored by  Washington Church of Christ andrecorded for public 107.9 The Memories WAMW morning radio program.  They air at approximately 7:35am on Weekday Mornings.

To find more of the Message Minutes that have been uploaded to this blogCLICK HERE

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Gabriel's Baptism!

Gabriel Wiles chose to clothe himself with Christ in baptism on September 20th, 2015.  He first questioned us concerning baptism on May 18th, 2013.  After much study and consideration of forgiveness of sins, Gabriel again brought up the subject and after meeting with the elders he came forward at the end of Sunday morning services.  Here's the moment of joy on video!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Air that Spare!

Living Lesson: Air the Spare
by: Christopher Wiles

"A wise son listens to his father's instruction," Proverbs 13:1a.
 Searcy Arkansas, here we come!  I spent a good chunk of Thursday afternoon getting the minivan ready for the 450+ mile trip to Harding University for the upcoming lectureships.  Since I'm scheduled to speak on Monday and pray on Tuesday, it might be wise for me to spend extra time on the van.  Here's my checklist.
  • Change the oil
  • Top off fluids (antifreeze, windshield washer, power steering, transmission, brake)
  • Air up the tires
  • Check the integrity and inflation of the spare tire
That's right, I checked the spare tire.  It took me laying on the ground and sliding underneath the rear of the van, but it was worth it.  The tire was down to 20 lbs. of pressure!  I reflated to 40 lbs. and we were on our way. 

When was the last time you checked your spare tire?  Many people never check it because they've never needed it. I admit, I don't check it as often as my four rolling rims, but I still grace that tire stem with a periodic kiss from the gauge.  You might ask, "Why check the spare? What is the likelihood of a flat?"  Some others might say, "I have AAA, they'll come take care of everything."  Flat tires really happen more than you think.  A UK source states that flat tires account for 10% of all vehicle breakdowns.  Yet that statistic isn't why I check my spare. 

The short answer is because my dad said so.   If there is one thing my dad knew in life above all other things, it is his way around a car.  Being a Chevrolet mechanic gave him the car know-how that few people now have.  If someone with that much intelligence tells you to check your spare tire periodically for air, then you better do it.   Even though I've never used it, even though I have an emergency air pump in the van, even though I have good new tires, I check the spare because my dad told me to.

My young generation lacks the respect for authority and our dads' wisdom that comes from Proverbs 13:1.  We consistently make mistakes that could have easily been avoided by listening to dear old dad.   Today, as you read this, consider the wisdom of Solomon, who urges us to follow in our dads' instructions.  Consider also, the instructions of your Heavenly Father, throughout the Word, as His instruction guides you to eternal life. 

"A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son brings grief to his mother." - Proverbs 10:1

Thursday, September 24, 2015

NACC - Can Bible Camps and Homeschool Groups Be Friends?

NACC - Can Bible Camps and Homeschool Groups Be Friends? 

Today I was given the blessing of speaking to a group of Bible Camp Leaders concerning a possible relationship between the growing Home Educator population and our Bible Camps.  With declining numbers and an encroaching school calendar, is this a conversation worth having? Here are the notes from my conversation today. - National Association of Christian Camps

Thursday, September 24, 2015
  • I organize **Ski Trips for Paoli Indiana.  Yes, I'm in charge of recruiting skiiers within our association on Homeschool Mondays.  That's right, they found that they could offer homeschool days on Mondays to make use of the snow.  I organize 4 homeschool days each winter now and I bring 75+ participants each time.   Paoli will not open unless there is 250 participants.  They have found that there is money in homeschooling.  They also really like our clientele because they believe we leave the facilities cleaner and in nicer shape than many of their other clientele. If Paoli decides homeschoolers are worth pursuing, could it be worth the effort for Bible Camps as well? 

  • **10 Mins - Byron Smith (Gulf Coast Bible Camp) - Establishing the Need

  • 10 minutes homeschool trends
    • **Mount Rushmore
      • Famous Homeschoolers
    • List of Homeschool People

  • **Homeschool Timelines
    • *1840: 55% of children attended primary school while the rest were educated in the home or by tutors.
    • *1852: The "Common School" model became popular and Massachusetts became the first state to pass compulsory attendance law. Once compulsory attendance laws became effective, America eventually relied entirely on public and private schools for educating children. Homeschooling then became something only practiced by extremely rural families, and within Amish communities.
    • 1870: All states had free primary schools.
    • *1900: 34 states had compulsory attendance laws.
    • 1910: 72% of children attended primary school.
    • *1960: Educational reformers started questioning public schooling's methods and results.
    • 1977: "Growing Without Schooling" magazine was published, marking a shift from trying to reform public education to abandoning it.
    • *1980: Homeschooling was illegal in 30 states.
    • 1983: Changes in tax law forced many Christian Schools to close which led to soaring homeschooling rates.
    • *1993: Homeschooling become legal in all 50 states and saw annual growth rates of 15-20%.
  • **Statistics
    • Fastest Growing Form of Education
      • 1999: 850,000 homeschoolers (1.7% of the school-aged population)
      • 2003: 1.1 million homeschoolers (2.2% of the school-aged population)
      • 2007: 1.5 million homeschoolers (2.9% of the school-aged population)
      • 2010: 2.04 million homeschoolers (4% of the school-aged population)
      • From 2007- 2009 home-schoolers increased ate a rate of 7%/year
      • From 2007- 2009 public-schoolers increased at a rate of 1%/year
    • Sept 3rd, 2013
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released an eagerly awaited report on the number of homeschool students in the U.S. The report showed that the number of homeschool students has grown by almost 300,000 since the last report in 2007.
This report was first conducted in 1999, when the NCES found that approximately 850,000 students were homeschooled. In 2003, NCES found that this number had grown to 1.1 million. And in 2007, NCES found that 1.5 million students were homeschooled.
The new report concludes that approximately 1,770,000 students are homeschooled in the United States—3.4% of the school-age population. NCES said that among children who were homeschooled, 68 percent are white, 15 percent are Hispanic, 8 percent are black, and 4 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander.

  • **10 Understanding My Situation
    • How I got here
      • Teacher
      • Gabriel - Savant
      • Ethan - Struggles with Dislexia
    • Principal of the homeschool cooperative
      • Organize Ski Trips
    • Board of Directors at SMBC

  • 10 How Camp Benefits Them
    • Extra Curricular
    • Social Time
    • Positive Atmosphere
    • Always looking for learning opportunities

  • 10 How they benefit Camp
    • Fill camp during those tough-to-fill times
    • More revenue?
    • More workers in tough times

  • Resources - How to connect with Homeschoolers
    • Ask at Church -
      • "Do you know anyone home educated?"
    • Contact your governement education department - Indiana says that "Homeschoolers may register on the website". 
    • Do a google search for your state and type the words "home school" to find local associations. 
    • Start small.  Try hosting a PE event that only lasts 2 hours for homeschoolers first.  Ease your way into the relationship. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Why was Jesus Baptized?

Study Starter: Why was Jesus baptized?
By: Christopher Wiles

There are a lot of famous Johns throughout history that we love to talk about.  There’s John Locke, the philosopher.  How about John D. Rockefeller, the famous entrepreneur?  John Candy was a famous funny man; John Cena is a famous athlete; John McEnroe had awful hair and attitude but amazing tennis skills.  

 Of all those John’s we could talk about, why don’t we focus on two John’s and Jesus who come together in one chapter of the Bible so that we can understand an answer to a perplexing question: 


If John the Baptist was immersing people for repentance and remission of sins (Luke 3:3), then what good motive did a sinless Messiah need for traveling 100 miles  (Matt3:13, John 1:28) to be baptized by John?  Matthew, Mark, and Luke don’t give us a lot of info as to the “why?” except that Matthew records Jesus in the following argument to JTB, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness. (Matt 3:15)

Thanks for making the purpose of your baptism abundantly clear Jesus.  So what was this righteousness that needed to be fulfilled?  I can’t find any prophecy in the OT that speaks of baptism.  The closest I can come  up with is when priests had to be sprinkled, shaved, and washed to begin their ministry (Num 8:7) or when Moses washed Aaron and his sons (Lev 8:6).  Yet we don’t see anything about Jesus being sprinkled or shaved, nor was Jesus a priest according to the line of Aaron (he was of the order of Melchizedek in Hebrews5:8-10). 
From the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) we’re back to the question. WHY WAS JESUS BAPTIZED?  WHAT WAS FULFILLED? 

I’m thankful that John “the beloved disciple” was a different sort of writer.  He often explains things for the curious guy like me in crystal clear ways that I love to read his inspiration.   Disciple John’s explanation is pretty simple really when he starts telling the history of John the Baptist in correlation with Jesus.  God told John the Baptist in Disciple John's historical retelling, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” (John1:33)  Then Disciple John records Baptist John saying “I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”  Baptist John reveals to Israel (John 1:31) that Jesus is the Chosen One and John the Disciple reveals it to us.  Therefore, Jesus' baptism was to announce to JTB, Israel, and us that JESUS IS THE CHOSEN ONE.  Fulfillment of JTB’s direct revelation came in this righteous act as well.    I’m thankful for God using these two famous John’s to bring us understanding, aren’t you?  
Baptism was an important start to Jesus’ ministry; so important that all four gospel writers talk about it.  Matthew records Jesus directing disciples to baptize people at the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry too.  Nine baptisms are recording in the book of Acts,  and the remaining letters of the new testament speak of baptism at least 15 times in the KJV. Needless to say, from the beginning to the end of the New Testament, understanding baptism and participating in it was big deal to many of our heroes of faith, and even to the Son of God Himself.  God declared to the world Jesus as His Chosen One through Baptism.  Have you declared yourself as God’s child through the same manner?
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” – Galatians 3:26-27