Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gospel Meeting
Cottondale Church of Christ
January 22-25, 2012
Sunday: Bible Class at 9:00 a.m., Worship at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Monday - Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
Speaker: Wade Webster of Southaven, MS

Come Just As You Are. We Are All Unworthy. 
Come and Hear the Good News About Jesus.

Cottondale Church of Christ
2025 Prude Mill Road
Cottondale, AL 35453
(205) 553-1444

Saturday, January 7, 2012

If Tebow Wins the Super Bowl...
By: Charles Steiner

Tim Tebow has been in the news a lot lately. Have you noticed? It seems like everyone is talking about him, from national news channels like FOX to sports channels like ESPN. He seems to be a very polarizing figure. Most people seem to love him or hate him. Very few people seem to be neutral. 

I personally am a huge Tim Tebow fan, which seems strange to some since I am an Alabama football fan. Tebow battled Alabama during his years at Florida after almost committing to play for the Tide. I love his passion, intensity, physical playing style, leadership, and most of all how he will not quit talking about Jesus and finds many ways to try and bring glory to God. This is a very admirable quality, as many who would consider themselves Christians throw their faith to the sideline if they have the chance to live a glamorous life like Tim, in exchange for women, partying, and a seemingly limitless array of material possessions. Not only does Tim talk about his beliefs, but every indication is that he lives what he believes. When asked, Tim has even said that he is a 28 year old virgin, due to his Christian beliefs about the sinfulness of sex before marriage. He frequently goes on mission trips and seeks out ways to make a difference in the lives of others. These are just a few of his admirable qualities.

Due to his devout faith and selfless lifestyle, one of the main topics of interest by those in the media has been "Is God on Tebow's side?", and "Is God going to help Tebow win the super bowl?" These questions indicate a curiosity on the part of many, wondering if God will, or already is, intervening in Tebow's NFL games to reward Tim for his faithfulness, or to increase his popularity, so that God and Jesus can continue to be talked about by Tim, on a national and global platform, that a star NFL quarterback has. In fact, this discussion has sparked so much controversy that a Jewish rabbi, Joshua Hammerman in an article for, on December 14th, argued that if Tim Tebow leads the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl that it will lead to violent behavior on the part of Christians such as Masque burnings. For the remainder of this article, I would like to give an answer to what exactly it will mean if Tim Tebow wins the super bowl according to the teachings of the Bible.

In our world today, many who call themselves Christians and revere the Bible as the Holy book from God, are under a false impression that bad things do not happen to good people. They believe that if a Christian is obedient to God with their thoughts, words, and actions that God will bless that person to the extent that bad things will not happen to them and they will be successful in everything that they do. This idea is not consistent with the teachings of scripture on the subject.

In II Timothy 3:12 the Apostle Paul wrote "All who desire to live Godly, will suffer persecution." Jesus is quoted in John 15:20 as saying "A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you."

The apostle Peter said "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation, anyone who fears him, and does what is right, is acceptable to him." (Acts 10:34-35). Notice, Peter gives no indication that him who "does what is right" and "fears him (God)" will receive incredible material blessings or will be successful in everything they do. He simply says,  that this person by doing such is acceptable to God, implying that this person has been made right with God and upon death will receive eternal life in heaven. Peter lived a very modest life financially. He was severely persecuted by unbelievers, and was executed by the Romans by means of an upside down crucifixion. If bad things happened to this devout Apostle and leader in the church of Christ, then shouldn't 21st century believers, expect the same.

Jesus in the midst of teaching people to love and do good to those who do evil things to them, says in Matthew 5:45 "For he (God) makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust." This is an illustration showing that good and bad things happen to everyone, whether they are followers of God or not. The degree to which we are blessed by God is different from person to person, but God is allowed to make those decisions, and we must understand that there is a big picture reason for why things happen (good or bad). 

Paul after talking about how Isaac was more blessed than his brother Esau writes the following in Romans 9:14-24, "What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”  Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?”  But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”  Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory, even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?"

Paul's argument is clear. God has the whole world in his hands. He knows the past, the present, and the future. He has very distinct purposes for everyone. God knew that Pharaoh was going to make key decisions that would lead to God being glorified, even though they were evil decisions. In fact, Paul even indicates that God made Pharaoh like he did, because he knew he would do what he did (Don't drink a big gulp from the 7-Eleven, or your brain might freeze while trying to comprehend this. :) )
Now, does this mean that Pharaoh was doomed from birth, and never had a chance to do right? No, it does not mean that. Why? Because even though God knew Pharaoh would do what he did, it was still Pharaoh making the decisions. Pharaoh had the choice to do right, or do wrong, God just knew all along he would do wrong.

The reverse is also true. God as the potter (creator of human beings) makes pieces of clay (us) knowing that we will make good and right decisions as well, because that is his plan in certain instances. For example, consider what Mordecai said to a woman named Esther who went from being a peasant to becoming a queen and delivering her people from danger and death, "Who knows if you haven't come to your royal position for such a time as this." (Esther 4:14) Obviously God chose to bless Esther and provide her with the opportunity to become a queen, because of the good he knew she would bring.

Which brings us back to TIm Tebow. Is God a Tim Tebow fan? Is God going to help Tim Tebow win the super bowl? Maybe. Honestly, I have no idea. Here is what I do know, based upon the teachings of the Bible. Is it possible that God could be lifting up Tim Tebow on a national stage as a star NFL quarterback because he knows Tim is going to glorify God and his son Jesus Christ by talking about them and living a Godly life, much like he did Esther as Queen and countless others? Yes, it absolutely is possible. Is it for certain? We can't know for sure. What will it mean if Tim Tebow doesn't win the super bowl, or stops being a fan favorite NFL player? All that will mean is that God has a different plan for Tebow, and a different plan for how God will be glorified, and shared with the world. God has a plan for Tebow. God has a plan for you. God has a plan for me. Some plans are more exciting than others. Some pieces of clay that the potter makes are more glamorous than others. The best thing for us all to do, is to study the scriptures and obey the teachings found there in, so that we will follow God's plan for our lives, no matter what path he has decided is ahead for us. I can promise you this, that will be a decision you, nor I, nor anyone will ever regret. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

7 Spiritual Commitments for 
Parents to Make in 2012
By: Charles Steiner

1. Commit to living a Christ like example, at all times, before your child. 
Begin with the end in mind. Think about how your words and actions will effect your child(ren)’s decision to be a follower of Christ after high school graduation. Seeing genuine faith in parents is the #1 determining factor for faithfulness after high school graduation.

2. Provide the right environment for your child(ren).
Give the house, their room, and their other surroundings a makeover. Remove all bad things from their environment and fill it with good things.

3. Commit to consistently bringing your child(ren) to the meetings of the church. 
This includes Bible class on Sunday morning, worship on Sundays (morning and night), and the Bible study/devotional on Wednesday nights.

4. Commit to ensuring your child(ren) are involved in worship.
If they are to young to sing, pray, and follow the lesson, why not have them do something Bible related like look at a Bible story book or color a picture that is Bible related?

5. Commit to have your child(ren) involved in the activities of the church's youth ministry. 
By doing so, you supplement the learning and spiritual growth they are getting at home from you. It also provides opportunities for them to be of service to others. It also helps your child(ren) become connected socially with other Christians their own age.

6. Commit to teaching your child(ren) the Bible at home.
The new Bible school curriculum at Cottondale provides family devotionals to do together each night based on what your child(ren) are learning in class. There is also a memory verse for them to learn each week. If for some reason you would like something different to do at home, I will gladly suggest books and/or materials that will be conducive for your child(ren)’s learning.

7. Pray with and for your child.
Show your child that you know and believe that God is active and working in your lives, and will do what is best for your family as you seek his help. Ask for God’s blessings upon your child and your efforts as parents.

May God bless you, as you seek to make these commitments in 2012!