Posts by Cody Westbrook (Page 2)

Posts by Cody Westbrook (Page 2)

Tree

Symptoms of a Thriving Church

Though the reality of weak and dying congregations of God’s people saddens us, we take comfort in the fact that there are many congregations throughout the world that are thriving. In addressing the 7 churches in Asia, Jesus highlighted the good along with the bad (Rev. 2-3). A careful examination of each address reveals important characteristics which are present in healthy and thriving churches.  Congregations that are hardworking (Rev. 2:2-3; 2:19). To the church at Ephesus Jesus said, “I know…

Certainty and Patience

Peter wrote of the “exceedingly great and precious promises” given to the children of God (2 Pet. 1:4). Indeed, our Father has promised us great things. Blessings such as forgiveness (1 John 1:9), fellowship (Heb. 13:5), peace (Phil. 4:7), and eternal life (1 John 2:25) are all ours to enjoy. These promises motivate us to faithfulness and comfort us in times of distress. No wonder the Hebrews writer reminded his readers of them to encourage them to remain faithful to…

We Submit to Christ Because… (Part 3)

The world is full of carnal pleasures seeking our allegiance. The “god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4) blinds us with the “pleasure of sin for a season” (Heb. 11:25) that we may find ourselves enslaved to the Father of lies (John 8:44). This was one of the many problems in the Colossian congregation. In addition to Gnosticism convincing many that Christ was not truly the Son of God, carnality and sin of every kind gained entrance into the body…
Old church ruins

Symptoms of a Dying Church

How sad it is that so many congregations of the Lord’s people are dying. Sadder still, the fact that much of it could be prevented. Major health problems often advertise their presence through minor symptoms. Doctors recommend routine health screenings to look for signs of trouble. In many cases, if symptoms can be identified early then steps can be taken to prevent any major problems. The health of the church operates in the same fashion. By looking closely at symptoms,…

The Lie of Every Generation

Every generation proclaims itself to be superior to the previous in how it thinks and lives. The moral standards of the past are often looked down on by the present and lumped into the same category as outdated computer technology. Social responsibilities, family relationships, and worldviews always seem to be updated due to what a new generation deems to be right. It is an age-old practice which will continue until the Lord returns. But it is also a lie. What…

God Finishes what He Begins

If we are honest, we will all admit that we often fail to finish what we begin. We are prone to set goals and cast them aside at the halfway point. We begin projects and let them sit idle for weeks hoping to finish them at some point in the future. We often look back on these unfinished plans with regret. “If only I had set aside a little time each day, this would be finished by now,” we say…

Looking Forward to the New Year

The Holiday Season is now behind us and thus we look forward to a new year. No doubt your calendar is beginning to fill up with plans and projects for the next 12 months. And, of course, we all take time to contemplate goals and improvements to implement in the days ahead. These are good and necessary practices for maintaining a healthy lifestyle both physically and spiritually. While thinking about things like health and finances allow me to suggest 4…
Closeup image of people clapping hands together

Should we Clap our Hands?

No one knows for certain when applause became a fixture in society. The first documented case is thought to be within the works of the third century B.C. Roman playwright, Plautus, who ended his works with the term “plaudite,” an instruction for the audience to clap. In time applause made its way from the theater to the political realm to the athletic arena to practically every area of daily life. It has even become a fixture for many in religion.…

What is Your Legacy?

We use the word “legacy” to describe something left behind. It may be a house or sum of money, perhaps a lasting imprint on an organization or the lives of those closest to you. Regardless of kind or number, everyone leaves a legacy. The question is, “what will it be?” The apostle Paul wrote of the Thessalonian Christians’ legacy in 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4. When Paul thought of them, he remembered three characteristics. Your work of faith. A biblical faith is…

Jesus, Our Savior: Part 2

Jesus was born to be our Savior. Before His birth an angel said to Joseph, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Jesus was “manifested to take away our sins” (1 John 3:5). He gave His life for us (Eph. 5:25); He suffered for us (1 Pet. 3:18); He redeemed us, bought us back, with His blood (Eph. 1:7); He bore our…

Jesus, Our Savior: Part 1

He was not born into the most prestigious family. He was not a particularly handsome man, nor was He very popular in His hometown. His closest friends were fishermen, and He spent much of His time with the sick and outcast of society. He was a sorrowful man who was rejected by His own people. He was loved by many but hated by most, and He was abused and brutally murdered by His enemies. Yet, He was the greatest man…

Everyone is a Critic

It is easy for one to be critical of another. We often assign motive or blame for words spoken or actions taken. We easily see the shortfalls of someone else and point out all their weaknesses. The trouble is that we almost always tend to minimize our own faults while exalting those of others. Jesus warned against this very action in Matthew 7:1-5. A vital point of understanding in this context is to recognize that Jesus did not condemn criticism…