The Southwesterner

The Southwesterner

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Missing Worship – Jody L. Apple 

Last Sunday was the first time that I missed worship and Bible study on the Lord’s Day in quite a long time. I missed it in two senses: first, I missed in the sense that I wasn’t there. Because I was still recovering from a cold with fever, chills, etc., I wasn’t physically able to attend. And second, I missed worship in the sense that I wanted to be there but I couldn’t be.  I feel all too often many…
rocks and mountains

Moses Strikes the Rock – John Haffner

The Lord used Moses to rebuke Pharaoh, to liberate the Israelite nation, and to lead them on their journey to the Promised Land. In our Bibles, we find Moses among some of God’s most faithful (Hebrews 11:23-30). However, Moses was not without sin. Perhaps the most well-known occasion comes from Numbers 20. The Israelites arrived at Kadesh without water and they were thirsty. The people complained about their condition. The congregation reached such a level of distress that in their…
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To Fear is to Obey, To Obey is to Fear

The word “fear” is found 367 times in Scripture and takes on a variety of meanings. Sometimes the word refers to dread or terror. We see this usage in passages like Genesis 3:10, Jonah 1:5, Matthew 1:20, and 1 Peter 3:14. But other times the word is used in reference to God and refers to reverence, awe, and healthy respect. Ecclesiastes 12:13, Proverbs 1:7, and 1 Peter 2:17 are just a few of the many passages where the word is…
Sheep grazing on green pasture in mountains

4 Admonitions from Jesus to Shepherds – Andy Baker

Though he was not an elder at that time, Jesus could see Peter’s future and know that he was ready to sacrificially follow Him—and part of that would be in shepherding the New Testament church (see 1 Peter 5:1-5). In John 21, Jesus gives Peter four charges that are worth an eldership looking at carefully, and also for a congregation to look and see if their eldership is actually doing these things. #1—Feed My Lambs: give attention to the young…
Church People Believe Faith Religious Praying

4 Reasons We Know the Church is Important to God – Andy Brewer

It seems to be a belief that is growing more and more prevalent all the time. People see the importance of God, they see the importance of a relationship with God, and they see the importance of a connection of some form to Christianity; but despite it all, they see absolutely no need to have any connection with the church. Their mantra is “give me Jesus but not the church.” The church holds no value to them whatsoever. In their…
Bible and praying hands

Some Suggestions for Studying the Bible this Year

Spiritual growth is impossible without God’s word (1 Pet. 2:2). The bible tells us to study (2 Tim. 2:15) and meditate (Ps. 1) on God’s Word on a regular basis. David said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You” (Ps. 119:11). Because bible study is so important, it is also important that we know how to study effectively. Here are some suggestions that may help your personal bible study in the year(s) to…
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“And They Were Astonished” – Tom Wacaster

Near the close of His earthly ministry our Lord made one final journey to Galilee. His first stop on that tour was in Nazareth, the city where He grew up. Matthew’s record of this visit to Nazareth appears in 13:54-58. Upon entering into the city it is said that our Lord “taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished” (13:54). Should that surprise us? Do you recall that moment recorded by John when the officers were sent by…
Faith

Proving Your Faith – Wayne Jackson 

How do we know that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God? Is our faith based merely upon tradition? Is faith the result of religious fanaticism? No, genuine faith stands firmly upon evidence.  After the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, the newly appointed apostle entered the Jewish synagogues and “proclaimed Jesus, that he is the son of God” (Acts 9:20). His message continually amazed those who heard it. It seemed incredible that one who had so opposed the Christian…
Vintage world map

My Kingdom is Not of this World – Steven Lloyd

I would summarize the Story of the Bible in this way: it opens with God as the King of the universe. He establishes a special relationship with the nation of Israel. This special nation eventually rejects God from being King and asks for a man to rule over them in order to be like the nations around them (1 Sam. 8). God gives them a king. He gives them many kings, and the kings end up becoming the problem. Even the…
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The Suffering Savior – Clay Bond

In Acts chapter eight, we learn of the evangelist Philip’s interaction with an Ethiopian man whose curiosity was sparked by Isaiah’s writings about the silent sufferer in Isaiah 53. Beginning from this Scripture, Philip “preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35). First, Isaiah revealed that the word that best describes the man of Isaiah 53 is “insignificant.” Humanity was unimpressed as they beheld this “tender plant,” “a root out of a dry ground,” one who had “no form or comeliness” and…
Reading an old book

The Need for Personal Study – Robert E. Guinn

Why has attendance been greatly stressed among God’s people in the past? We cannot ignore that the attendance changes between different Bible classes and worship services on Sundays and Wednesday evenings. Are elders and spiritual leaders just being “nit-picky,” or is there a deeper issue that concerns our fellow Christians when they see our lack of participation? We have approximately 168 hours in a week. If we attend ALL of the regular congregational worship services and studies, we have made…
Fanned book

“They’re all a Pack of Lies and Kids Fairy Tales!” – Carl B. Garner

The above quote came from a government employee who was ridiculing the birth of Jesus, His life and resurrection. He was explaining why he opposed the “Christmas displays” that foster a belief in what he called “fairy tales.” As we all know, that is happening a lot these days, and the Bible is receiving a lot of opposition, to the point that they are being banned in some communities. We know God never authorized a celebration of Jesus’ birthday as…