Category Archives: 2015 – Nov/Dec

Youth That Fall Among The Thorns – Curtis Kimbrell

We’ve all heard the phrase, “The youth of the church are the present and future of the church that Christ established,” or at least something very close to it. Yet, what happens when those young individuals begin to lose heart, grow weary or just give up? Jesus explained to us that the Word of God affects different people in different ways (Mt. 13:3-9).

In the Parable of the Sower, some seeds were instantly devoured (v. 4). Jesus also tells us of the seed that fell on the rocky soil that they had no depth of ground and were scorched by the sun (vs. 5-6). They also had no root, and withered up. Many of our youth have no root, no firm foundation of Bible principles, and they wither up spiritually (vs. 20-21). However, the seeds that fell among the thorns and were choked up is really where I want to focus our attention on (vs. 7, 23).

If we ask ourselves what can choke us in life, immediately all the distractions of this life come to mind. Everything from entertainment to the instant gratification of technology at our fingertips can distract us from God. Places to travel, shopping, the sporty car we can barely afford, all of these and more can distract us. One of the biggest things that distracts us & that chokes our love for God is the love of money. As Paul wrote, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils..” (1 Tim. 6:10).

Seeing a teenager study for themselves and decide to put Christ on in baptism is something to treasure. All the work, studying, and the advancement of the spiritual life that is forming is worth more than any physical pleasure in this life. The majority of teens continue to study and grow. On the other hand, there are a small percentage that begin to miss services. They don’t show up for devotionals or other events. When reached out to, they have excuse after excuse for why we aren’t seeing them as much. Slowly, they slip away back into the old lifestyle that they had before.

The thorns that begin to choke out the new Christian grow tightly around the youth when they are weak and when the old friends remind them how much “fun” they are missing. Because of the intense peer pressure the youth of this generation have to deal with, it is just so easy to say yes to sin. This is why Jesus tells us to be careful of our enemy. The Bible says, Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pe. 5:8).

A few of the very frustrated ones that have slipped away, or have been devoured, have given the following excuses for leaving: “I’m frustrated with myself and with other church members,” “It’s just easier to walk away, “bad things still happen to me!”, “It’s too hard, I’m done!”, or “I’m tired of being judged.” When thorns begin to grow around something that is beautiful, they eventually take over and consume what once was blooming. Yet there are ways we can help in almost any situation.

First and foremost, pray! Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Ph. 4:6). Next, reach out to the teen in a kind and loving way. Give advice but listen just as much. Be patient with any of the many problems they may be dealing with (2 Ti. 2:24-26; Ja. 1:19). Finally, when you have exhausted all resources, you may have to acknowledge that it’s not going to be you which pulls them from the thorns (1 Co. 3:10). It may take time and another individual to help them come back just like the prodigal son did. It took time for the prodigal son to come back. Luke 15:17 starts off with Jesus saying, “But when he came to himself..” Sometimes, it just takes time and hardships to make us come to our senses. Whatever you do, never lose heart and never lose hope.

It’s very disheartening and disappointing to see the Word of God choked out in a teen’s life. It is heart breaking to see the teen overcome with the thorns of sin. The one thing for the teacher, parent or friend to remember is that you did plant the seed. It will always be there. Even though the thorns may linger for a while, and the teen may go through many storms, the seed is still there. In due time, it may come back and thrive again.

Jesus wore a crown of thorns upon his head as he suffered for the world. The thorns upon his head were just a small part of his suffering here on this earth. The thorns that choke out the beauty we are to show as Christians can eventually be removed as well. They do not have to be permanent. Just because the thorns are removed, it doesn’t mean that the scars are going to be to be removed. The only blessing of the scars we bare is that they remind us to do better, to live better, and to honor God in the future in everything we do. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17).

The youth that fall among the thorns are living in a harsh world. It is a world of greed and self satisfaction. The main thing we must always remember is that those teens who are covered in thorns are teens who are still Christians. When we are suffering or see a loved one suffer, we immediately try to fix or help with the problem. Do we reach out to those who may be suffering spiritually in the same way? We can’t be harsh with those who are straying. We can’t say, “Oh well, I tried,” and then give up. I would like to say to anyone trying to work with the youth that if you are trying to help a teen that is entangled in the thorns of this world, don’t ever give up on them! Physically you may have to move on, but keep them in your prayers often. They are still one less soul that Satan can have…if we do our part!

Put A “C” Behind Your Name — Jon Mitchell, Editor (Editorial: November/December, 2015)

As 2015 ends and 2016 comes upon us, those of us who follow political current events in the United States are continually reminded that 2016 is an election year. As we pick the new leaders of our country, let us remember that “the most High rules the kingdoms of men and gives it to whom he will” (Da. 4:32; cf. Ro. 13:1ff). God is in control, and whoever is placed into office, whether it be the Oval Office or the mayor’s office, is placed there ultimately by God.

So as the election nears, what should Christians do? We must pray (1 Ti. 2:1-2), and we must preach (2 Ti. 4:2). We must pray for leaders who will promote godliness and righteousness because righteousness will make our nation greater (Pr. 14:34). We must preach righteousness (cf. 2 Pe. 2:5), the righteousness of God’s Word (Ps. 119:172).

Some are against this, thinking that when we preach about subjects which the world has deemed political we are actually not preaching for God but for a party instead. The truth is that Christians who preach God’s Word do not preach for a political party, whether it be Republican, Democrat, Tea, Green, Libertarian, or any other party. We are Christians. We belong to Christ. We don’t owe our primary allegiance to the Republican or Democrat party, so we don’t have a “R” or a “D” after our name.

We are Christians. We belong to Christ.

We have a “C” after our name.

We preach Christ, his will, his worldview. Like Noah, we preach righteousness. Is it right that we do so? Is it right that we preach righteousness when it comes to the direction our leaders take our nation? Certainly so, because righteousness exalts nations (Pr. 14:34).

God’s Word gives us guidance concerning the choices we make should we choose to vote next year. For example, the Bible tells us that our leaders must be truthful. Such men were recommended by Jethro to Moses to help him lead Israel (Ex. 18:21), and such men are promoted by God to sit on the throne (Pr. 16:12). Rulers are not to listen to falsehood (Pr. 29:12), but are to be honest, truthful men and women.

We need leaders who hate covetousness as well, who would never rule for sheer money alone (Pr. 28:16; 29:4). In America (and in other countries, I’m sure), we have a problem on both sides of the aisle with this. Many politicians vote the way they’re told to vote by whoever contributes the most money to them. We need people in power who don’t care about special interest groups, men and women of integrity who will vote for what is moral and right no matter how much money they’re offered to do otherwise.

We hear so much about how the economy is the most important factor in this election…but is that really true? To the one who puts a “C” after their name rather than a “R” or “D,” the primary issue behind their vote is not the economy. People who put a “C” after their name would rather live in a nation that had a little wealth alongside great amounts of righteousness than live in a nation with great revenues alongside great ungodliness (Pr. 16:8). Solomon brought Israel so much wealth and prosperity, the most she would ever have in her history (1 Ki. 10:14-29)…but he turned to idolatry and thus did evil in the sight of God (1 Ki. 11:1-6). He led Israel into ungodliness (1 Ki. 11:7), and is it any coincidence that the nation’s economy got worse and worse over the years until it finally split apart (1 Ki. 12:1-20)? What’s even more important, however, is that because of Solomon’s ungodliness, the Lord “voted him out of office” (1 Ki. 11:9-14). Which was more important to God? The fact that Solomon made Israel richer…or the fact that Solomon was immoral?

God’s Word also shows us that we need leaders who surround themselves with wise counselors (Pr. 25:5; 29:2; cf. 1 Ki. 12:6-15), who are tough on crime (Pr. 20:8, 26), and who do not oppress the poor while also refusing to enable the lazy (Pr. 28:15; 29:14; 31:9; cf. 2 Th. 3:10). Above all, those who put a “C” behind their name will not go into the voting booth without making their paramount consideration a search for leaders who respect human life and God’s plan for marriage.

Why must we look for those who respect human life? Because of the One who gave it (Ps. 139:13-16). When we kill the innocent, we tell God, “You’ve made something that doesn’t matter to me, that I can discard whenever I want.” Every election nowadays has abortion come up as a major issue when it comes to whom we will cast our vote, and many believe that they can…and should…make a distinction between their loyalty to God and their loyalty to the one for whom they vote. However, such is not the case. Long before politicians grabbed hold of the abortion and marriage issues, God had already legislated on these matters. It’s not fair and right for someone to say, “Now that a political group has taken this and turned it into a political football, we Christians are now muzzled and can’t talk about it because that would be bringing politics into the church!” No, what has really happened is that politics took God’s issue and tried to make it theirs, and they can’t do that. God spoke on this long before any political party thought to, and those who put a “C” behind their name will stick with God.

God inspired Luke to use the same Greek word to describe the baby inside the womb and outside the womb (Lk. 1:44; 2:12). He also showed that babies are innocent (Ro. 9:11-13; Ez. 18:1-20), and then stated that he hates hands which shed innocent blood (Pr. 6:16-17). Thus, killing that innocent baby inside the womb is just as much an abomination in the sight of God as killing an innocent baby outside the womb.

Are voters who put a “C” behind their name going to purposefully give their support to someone who says the murder of these innocents should be allowed to continue? Are we going to give our support to people who say, “If you elect me, I’ll see to it that this DOES continue”? Are we supposed to look the other way and stick our heads in the sand and say, “Well, if I vote for them anyway, maybe somehow and someway these abortions will just stop happening”? Are we supposed to know that babies are being murdered…and yet it’s not supposed to matter when we’re in the voting booth? How can a Christian cast a vote for a politician who has blatantly promised to perpetuate that which God has called an abomination?

Concerning God’s plan for the home, we all know that it’s politically incorrect to condemn homosexuality and same-sex marriage these days, especially since the “Supreme” Court nationalized it. How sad that we’ve come so far in the wrong direction as a nation! Our very first presidents and congressman would have all unhesitatingly condemned homosexuality as sinful if asked about it, whereas these days most politicians from any party would be crucified if they quoted what the Bible says about homosexuality and gave their support to Scripture. Many scream, “How dare you bring religion into politics?” concerning this issue, yet the better question would be, “How dare we throw the Bible out the window and put our own, flawed wisdom in its place and tell each other that we can’t preach the truth about this?!” I can still preach this and will continue to do so until I die…and you must also. We must not be ashamed to preach Leviticus 18:22, Matthew 19:4, and Romans 1:26-28.

We are living in times when owners of private companies can be crucified by governmental authorities and the media simply for agreeing with the biblical definition of marriage…and it’s time for a change. If those who put a “C” behind their name know for sure that a candidate is promising us, “If you elect me, I will promote same-sex marriage,” then how can we knowingly vote for a politician and act like they never said it?

It was not a Republican or Democrat who died for our sins (1 Jo. 2:1-2) and will judge us on the last day (Jo. 12:48). If a politician has a moral stance on marriage and abortion and his or her party is trying to do moral things concerning them, and yet they happen to have a “D” after their name when I would rather it be a “R” (or vice-versa), should I ignore where they stand on God’s issues and vote primarily because of that “D” or “R”? Not if I seek God’s righteousness first (Mt. 6:33), which applies in the voting booth as it does in all other areas of life. If we put a “C” after our name, we must vote for the candidate who is closest to righteousness.

Christians, the Republican party doesn’t own us. The Democrat party doesn’t own us. No party does. Christ owns us. We were bought with a price (1 Co. 6:20). We belong to God. That’s why allegiances to political parties must never override allegiance to Christ. Instead, everything we do or say must be his authority and bring glory to him (Co. 3:17; 1 Co. 10:31)…including what we do in the voting booth.