January 21, 20l8 was the first day of service at Blackjack Church of Drury, Missouri for this new year. Inclement weather and sicknesses are by the way side for the time being. What a wonderful feeling it was to get together again to worship and fellowship. Even though the day was a March-like windy day, the high temperatures and spirits abounded. We stood for corporate reading of Psalms 3 before prayer requests were taken and prayer ensued. Following our worship time, we dismissed to Sunday School.
The adult Sunday School class finished their study of Acts 21 with Paul being mobbed in the Holy Sanctuary on the last day of the solemn ceremonial cleansing, part of the ending of the Nazarite vow as structured in the law of Moses. Paul decided to participate in this as James and others suggested that he might do in an attempt to appease certain Jews who thought Paul was against the law of Moses.
They had a misunderstanding of Paul’s teachings, missing the point that Jesus brought salvation in the perfect way of God that fulfilled the law, requiring circumcision of the heart and not the flesh. God is a spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Certain Asia Jews stirred up a mob against Paul, falsely accusing him in part of defiling the sanctuary by bringing in a non-Jew into the Holy Place. Needless to say, they themselves defiled the sanctuary with their intrusion of what Paul and others were about, beating him and then dragging him into the streets where the actions of the riotous mob caught the attention of soldiers who then intervened. Paul was taken into custody because it was unclear as to what Paul had done (verse 33). Paul asked to speak to the people. Acts 22 begins with Paul’s testimony as to who he was, what he had done and, through the revelation and understanding of his encounter with Jesus, who he now was (verses 1-21). The crowd listened but understood not, crying out against him again in verse 23.
The youth studied on the super power of Jesus over all evil. His promises to those who obey and walk with Him a heaven of gold streets, no tears, peace and no sickness.
Pastor Vic Murdy preached his message on “Time of New Beginnings” from Philippians 3 and 4. In the initial part of the third chapter, Paul is reminding the brethren of what he had already taught, wanting to do so for their good or “safety”. He does not want them to miss heaven, telling them to “beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision” (verse 2). Guard against quarrelsome spirits, legalism of the law within the church and that which causes strife. The purpose to gather together is to worship Christ and nothing should be allowed to deter from that.
Paul writes against concision or circumcision of the flesh, having no confidence in the flesh. His aim or goal is to win Christ (verses 8-10). He recognized that his righteous, found in the law, and that which he had gained was counted for loss or as “dung” in the “righteousness which is of God by faith” through his faith in Christ. Paul’s quest is “that I might know Him and the power of His resurrection” that he might receive the resurrection of the dead. He is in a continuous state of purpose to apprehend “ the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (verses 13-14). Paul states that we be “thus minded” to walk in unity and to “be followers together of me”. Be careful of who you chose to be your example to follow (verses 15-18).
Philippians 4:4 reminds us to “rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say rejoice”. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). We are not to worry or “be careful for nothing but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (verse 6). He lists the virtues of a Christian lifestyle, minding those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of a good report, of any virtue and praise. He rested and trusted in God, his confidence allowing him to be content whether he abased or was in abundance. Paul writes “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (verse 19).
Paul writes in Philippians 3:13 “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before”. In Luke 9:62 Jesus said “No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”. Remember to read the word of God. Put scriptures to our remembrance, mindful that the day may come when we are without the written word but are safe in knowing that the word has been written on our hearts to sustain us in that day. Will you be able to withstand persecution? Telling us from the writings of Corrie Ten Boom who addressed her concern of this to her father, Pastor Murdy gave the example from her father. As Sister Corrie traveled by train, her father asked her when do I give you money for your ticket? A month before? A week before? No, I give you the money when you are ready to board the train. God will supply what we need at the time of our need. We must keep ourselves in the right posture always as we never know what lies ahead. But God does and He is ready to be our “very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1).
We dismissed to share our mid-day meal and to fellowship. The church decided to have a Sunday afternoon Bible study following the fellowship meal before dismissing church. All are welcomed to join us at 10:00 a.m. for service and to break bread together. Pastor Murdy can be contacted at 417-543-3659. Information is also attainable on facebook at Blackjack Church.