EVERY CHRISTIAN HAS A RESPONSIBILITY

    No one is obligated to be a Christian, nor can one be forced to become a disciple of Jesus. Someone cannot make you do the things necessary to be saved, or coerce you against your will to obey God’s commands. You must make that decision for yourself. While it is true the Bible teaches we must admonish those who do not obey the commandments of God (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15), He still gives us free will to decide to obey or not (Proverbs 16:9; Joshua 24:15). You have a choice in the matter. Either submit to God, or don’t. One of the first principles every human being must come to realize is each one of us has a personal responsibility toward God.That responsibility involves the salvation of the soul. Quite frankly, there is nothing more important on this earth. If you want to go to heaven, you must do what God has commanded. It is that simple. This means that you bear the sole responsibility for your own soul! It is your choice to obey God and yours alone.
    That word responsibilityis a “big” word, not because of its number of letters, but because of the meaning it carries. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word as, “The state or fact of being accountable … A moral obligation to behave correctly towards, or in respect of.” Do you see a spiritual application in there? Since Jesus paid the debt of our sins by dying on the cross (Romans 3:23-26, 5:8), then we must be faithful to Him and serve Him. It implies that we have a moral obligation to behave correctly in respect to what He has done for us. In addition, we will, indeed, be held accountable for our actions (Revelation 20:12).
    Keep the above points in mind as you read and consider Hebrews 5:12. This verse teaches us a key responsibility we have toward God, it is to grow into spiritual maturity! There are certain characteristics that God desires for us to develop and produce in our lives. Just as any infant must grow, Christians too, must grow. We cannot remain “babes in Christ” forever (1 Corinthians 3:1). No one should be baptized, added to the church (Acts 2:38,40,47) and then just remain stagnant. We must show love and gratitude to God by making our best effort to grow.
    Therefore, Christian responsibility extends beyond our obedience to the Gospel call. One does not stop obeying God’s commands once they have been saved, because salvation is not fully complete until we get to heaven (1 Corinthians 15:24). But again, no one is going to force you to obey His commands, nor coerce you into growing in your spirituality, or maturing in the faith. This is something you must do for yourself! It is a personal duty and it should be the most important goal of every Christian. Each Christian bears that responsibility themselves.
     Fortunately, spiritual growth can be measured. The scriptures clearly outline what the characteristics of a mature Christian look like. Having such characteristics distinguishes you from the world and establish you as a follower of Jesus. Read John 13:15. Consider the context of that passage and see if you can determine what the goal of every Christian should be. I’ll give you a hint. Paul teaches the same principle in 1 Corinthians 11:1 and Philippians 3:17. Consider also what is said in 3 John 11. Do you see what a Christian’s responsibility is by reading these verses?
    New Christians (or even a long-time Christians, for that matter) should read 1 John 2:15-17. Here we learn that we are not to love the world, nor the things in the world. This clearly indicates that we are to leave behind our former behaviors and focus more on spiritual, heavenly things. The bottom line is this, we cannot be baptized and then do absolutely nothing! If you do not put forth your best effort to be pleasing to God, then what does it really matter that you were baptized? “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only,” (James 1:22). The Bible teaches we have a responsibility to not only obey God’s commands, but by doing so, we may also develop into mature Christians. This is God’s will and it is pleasing to Him. Accepting our responsibility toward God causes us to be that shining light and example to others He desires us to be, which brings glory to Him (Matthew 5:16). – TS


FIRST PRINCIPLES

    The writer of Hebrews wrote to his first-century Christian brethren, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food,” (Hebrews 5:12). In the context of the verse, we learn that the writer (whom I believe is Paul) had to return to teaching Old Testament topics in order to help the brethren understand the role of Christ as our Supreme High Priest (4:14-15). We can also infer that they had been Christians for some time now and should have already understood that doctrine so well that they were teaching it to others. Sadly, they had not quite progressed to that level. Instead, they were still like newborns needing “milk,” or what he calls, “the first principles of the oracles of God.” Perhaps, another way of saying it is, they needed to return to the Basics of God’s Wordin order to grow.
    The application to us is straightforward, we each have a responsibility to grow in our Christian faith. We first need to acknowledge that the only way we’re going to grow and reach spiritual maturity is by studying the word of God and then putting it into practice. There is simply no other way (cf. Hosea 4:6). Sounds easy enough, but what exactly are those “first principles” we are supposed to learn? Well, while the Bible is our handbook for Christian living, containing “all things that pertain to life and godliness,”(2 Peter 1:3), it still doesn’t just enumerate each principle we should learn. We have to search and study to find them! A mature Christian can usually identify them quite easily. Sometimes, a newer Christian might need a little extra help to guide them in identifying those elementary principles.
    With that in mind, I’d like to begin a new series of bulletin articles. Let’s see what we can do to identify those First Principles of the Oracles of God. I pray this series will be beneficial and encouraging to all Christians, but I especially hope it will reach those who are new to the faith. I believe the first “forty days” of a Christian’s life are absolutely critical since they are a new “babe” in Christ, a new creature. Babies are not left to fend for themselves. We must nurture and care for them until they can survive on their own. I pray this series will be used as a study tool to help the Bible student scrutinize and learn God’s precepts. Below are some of the first principles that every Christian should know. (The article series will be following these topics)
 
Principle 1: God has Given Us Certain Responsibilities
  • After baptism, then what?
  • The Characteristics of a Mature Christian.
  • A Christian must bear fruit.
  • A Christian must add to their faith.
  • A Christian must learn how to function within the body.
 
Principle 2: The Bible is Infallible
  • Where should we place authority?
  • How did we get the Bible?
  • “Rightly Dividing the Scriptures”
  • “The Sum of Thy Word is Truth”
  • How to study the Bible.
 
Principle 3: There is Only ONE True Church
  • Where did the church begin and who was its founder?
  • Why are there so many churches?
  • The Kingdom exists today!
  • The importance of Biblical names.
 
Principle 4: Christ is the Head of the Church
  • The divine organization of the church.
  • The Membership.
  • The mission and work of the church.
 
Principle 5: God Gave Commandments about Worship
  • The true worship of the church.
  • The Lord’s Supper.
  • Prayer.
  • May we have Musical Instruments in Worship?
  • Preaching the Word.
  • Tithing is not for the Christian?
  • Is attendance all that important?
 
Principle 6: God is Sovereign
  • The Trinity.
  • The scheme of redemption.
 
Principle 7: There are Dangers in False Doctrines
  • Can one fall from grace?
  • Have miracles ceased?


HOW DID WE GET OUR BIBLE IN ENGLISH?

    There is no book that has had a greater impact on humanity than the Bible. It has become the most copied, printed, published, and translated book of any book that has ever existed. In fact, the entire Bible has been translated into more than 600 languages, with the New Testament alone having been translated into more than 1500 languages! There are also translations of smaller portions of the Bible, which results in a sum of more than 3,000 languages having at least part of the Scriptures available to them. Translation is necessary because it was originally written in Greek and Hebrew. So, what about our English Bible? Did you know there’s been about 450 English translations made? How didwe get all the various English versions we have today? Let’s answer those question with a brief look at history.

 EARLY TRANSLATION VERSIONS

   John Wycliffe (1320-1384), is credited for the first complete Bible translated into the English language. It is beautifully hand-writtenand translated from Jerome’s Latin Vulgate. Wycliffe’s version was eventually outlawed and 44 years after his death, pope Martin V was so infuriated, he ordered Wycliffe’s body to be exhumed, burned, and his ashes scattered!
    After the invention of the printing press in 1440, William Tyndale (1494-1536), produced the first Bible printedin English. He was an Oxford scholar (fluent in 8 languages!) and a major leader of the Reformation.Since it was illegal for the common people to possess Bibles, they were smuggled into England in bales of cotton and sacks of flour. Tyndale was later branded a heretic and was caught. He was chained to a stake with a rope placed around his neck. His last words were, “Lord, open the the King of England’s eyes!” He was then strangled and burned. Three years after his death, King Henry VIII commissioned a new, authorized English translation. It became known as the Great Bible (1539).
    Another period of persecution soon followed, so many Christian reformers fled to Geneva where a new Bible was produced. This became known as the Geneva Bible (1560). It is the Bible that William Shakespeare quoted and the one the Pilgrims brought with them to America.
    Of course, the most widely known English translation is the King James Version (1611), or KJV. It was produced by 47 scholars from Oxford, Cambridge, Westminster, with various protestant backgrounds. They used many ancient Greek manuscripts and other Bible versions like Tyndale’s translation, the Great Bible, and the Geneva Bible. It became the most widely used Bible in English and remains the oldest version still in use.

 MODERN TRANSLATION VERSIONS

    Beginning in the late 1600’s and up to modern times, many additional ancient, biblical manuscripts have been discovered. These discoveries prompted a desire to update and replace the KJV. Publishers wanted to produce a Bible that would be commonly used among everyone in a more updated vernacular that included the latest discoveries. A long succession of different English translations have since followed.
    The first “American” English Bible produced was the American Standard Version (1901). As popular as it became, it still never eclipsed the KJV. Some of the more popular versions are: New American Standard Bible (1971); the New International Version (1978); the New King James Version (1982); and, most recently, the English Standard Version (2001). This is just a quick summary of how we came to have all the many versions that exist today. There is a whole lot more to the story and it’s one worth looking into!
    God has always intended that His Word be understood in every language. This is evidenced by the miracle of speaking in tongues (foreign languages) on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:7-11). We no longer have miraculous gifts available to us like the first century Christians did. But, God still desires that all of man understand His word equally as well. I am so very thankful there have been those individuals who have carried on the daunting task of translating the Bible for all the masses. – TS


YOU ARE LIVING IN ENEMY TERRITORY!

    Imagine waking up one morning to find that enemy forces have invaded the land. They have captured and secured all forms of the government and military. Because of this, you are no longer a citizen of the country in which you were born, you are now under the rule of an enemy force. Imagine also, that this enemy has agreed to allow you to continue living in your home and working as you had before. You must simply comply with their standards, pledge your loyalties to this new power, and pay your tributes, accordingly. What was once your homeland, has ceased. Now, you are living in enemy territory!
    Really, this isn’t too hard to imagine. In fact, it’s been happening since the dawn of time. We just recently witnessed it again with Russian forces invading the Ukraine. ISIS took over great swaths of territory during their invasive campaign. People in those lands found themselves suddenly living under enemy rule. I also think of stories like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego living under the enemy (Daniel 3), or Palestine during the time of Jesus, along with and most of the known world under the rule of the Roman empire (Matthew 22:21). Man often finds himself living under the rule of foreign powers. It usually brings hardship, confusion, persecution, violence, and even death.
    Do you realize that you are living in enemy territory today? That’s right. The land in which you live, is ruled by a foreign, evil force. He is known as the “ruler of this world,” (John 12:31); the “prince of the power of the air,” (Ephesians 2:2); and the “god of this world,” (2 Corinthians 4:4). He is the “roaring lion,” (1 Peter 5:8); “serpent,” (Genesis 3:1); “dragon,” (Revelation 12:9; 20:2); our “adversary,” (Job 1); “tempter,” (Matthew 4:3); and “wicked one,” (Matthew 13:19). He is Satan, the old devil.
    Now, consider what Paul wrote, “our citizenship is in heaven …” (Philippians 3:20) which implies that we are not of this land. Jesus also stated in His prayers, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:15-16). This is clear indication that we are living in enemy territory! This means we are at a disadvantage. It also means that we comply with the enemy’s standards if we just try to “fit in” with the rest of the world. We essentially pledge our loyalties to this enemy force if we stand by and do nothing about it. We pay tribute to him when we succumb to the temptations of sin.
    However, the Bible also says, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light,” (1 Peter 2:9). So, even though we live in enemy territory, we can be just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego and NOT submit to the enemy. That’s what makes us a special people. Not submitting to the enemy promises us hardship, confusion, persecution, violence, and even death. That’s exactly what Jesus said would happen, if you enter into His kingdom (John 15:20). That is why we must persevere until the end and He will reward us richly (Matthew 10:22; Revelation 2:10). In the meantime, try remembering the comforting words of that old song, “This world is not my home, I’m only passing through.”


ARE WE THE ONLY ONES GOING TO HEAVEN?

    I can’t tell you how many times I have had someone, who is not a member of the church of Christ, say to me, “You people in the Church of Christ believe you’re the only ones going to heaven.” Or, they will have something similar to say along those same lines, just in slightly different words. Has that ever happened to you? If you’ve been in the church any amount of time, it’s bound to happen sooner or later. So, is it true? Is that what we believe? Let’s respond honestly to the accusation and answer those questions.

Is that true?

    First of all, I have never heard anyone from the church of Christ ever actually say that, preach it, or write it! From my own experience, I grew up in the church, have been closely associated with the church most of my life, and have been a full-time minister for twelve years now. I have been to numerous lectureships, Gospel meetings, and seminars where I’ve heard some of the best and most prominent preachers in the brotherhood. I’ve also read hundreds of articles, blogs, and commentaries by our brethren. Out of all of that, I cannot point to one single occasion where someone actually spoke those words! So, where did it come from? Well, it came from an inference someone deduced (obviously denominational) about the church of Christ from a sermon they heard, an article read, or the like. It is what someone else thinks; it is an opinion they have formed about us.
    Secondly, we can’t help it if people form opinions, but we can at least answer their allegations. So, is that, indeed, what the church of Christ believes or teaches? The answer is “No.” The church of Christ has no official, nor formal statement of faith, creed, or a mission statement registered anywhere in the world. We have no overseeing, governing authority in a headquarters somewhere to mandate such a thing. We simply adhere to what the Bible teaches regarding the church and try to replicate it. The name we use, the “church of Christ” is simply a description of the body, or assembly of the saints (Romans 16:1-16; 1 Corinthians 1:2), not some formal organization’s name. Therefore, to make such an allegation regarding the church of Christ is evidence that the accuser doesn’t really understand the true nature of the church – as presented in the Bible. Instead, they are thinking from a more worldly, man-made institution point of view.
    Thirdly, the real question that should be asked, in order to respond is this, “Who do youthink will go to heaven?” Or, perhaps, “Who (how, or what) determines who gets to go and who doesn’t get to go?” If they’re honest, their answer should be exactly the same as “what the church of Christ believes.”It should be, “God decides!” (Matthew 7:21) If they don’t believe that, then there’s a whole other issue to deal with. Thus, where do we find the rules for God’s decision? Only in the Bible. Any member of the church of Christ should be able to answer, “Only those who obey the Gospel will go to heaven,” (2 Thessalonians 1:3-10, Matthew 25:31-46). We, that is, the people who have been added to the church (Acts 2:47) believe that anyone who adheres to the plain, clear doctrine of the first century church of the Bible will go to heaven. In the first century, they were called just “Christians” (Acts 11:26), the “Way” (Acts 9:2), and the “household of God” (Ephesians 2:19), to name a few. They obeyed that Gospel plan of salvation and were all part of the body of Christ, the church of our Lord, Jesus (Matthew 16:18).
    Therefore, if the church you go to doesn’t line up with, or match the church of the first century church, as it is presented in the Bible by name, doctrine, organization, headship, leadership structure, worship, membership, and fellowship then your soul is in jeopardy! It doesn’t matter what I believe or think. What matters is what God has said!


CHRISTIANITY OR CHURCHIANITY?

    It is believed there were tens of millions who converted to Christianity throughout the Roman Empire within just a couple of hundred years after the church began in Jerusalem around 33 AD (Acts 2). The exponential growth of Christianity from its infancy was absolutely phenomenal! Here in America, the church of Christ experienced yet another remarkable growth period in the middle of the past century. Estimates from the 1960s put the total membership of the churches of Christ at around 2.5 million. That’s an impressive number! Unfortunately, that growth rate has since declined, considerably, since about 1980.

 Today’s Trend

    Today, the fastest growing religion in the world is no longer Christianity – although it still makes up about 31% of the world’s population, more than any other religion. Adherents to Christianity, that is, those who follow the teachings and doctrines of its founder, Jesus Christ, have decreased substantially and at an increasingly rapid pace. The people who obey the Gospel plan of salvation, as clearly outlined in the New Testament, (Mark 16:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 6:1-4) and who are putting on the name Christian (Galatians 3:27; Acts 11:26) are no longer converting at the rates previously seen. There’s a different trend. Instead of converting to Christianity, people are now increasingly converting to Churchianity.
    Churchianity has become the fastest growing religion in America. What exactly is Churchianity? Let’s allow Paul to explain, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Tim 4:3). This is how Churchianity has come into existence; it is attractive to those who do not know their Bibles. Churchianity assures people they are right with God by just listening to some religious leader, attend an entertaining “worship” service, and being involved in church functions. It is a religion more focused on the the social aspect of the church than on the Scriptural aspect based upon truth. Never has there been a lack of religious institutions in the world. But, there continues to be a growing lack of fundamental truth regarding the one true church of our Lord. This has resulted in yet another, new community of faith based solely on traditions, habits, and instructions of institutionalism rather than book, chapter, and verse of the Scriptures.

What about you?

    Are you a Christian or a Churchian? Are you more concerned about what Jesus and the apostles teach through the inspired words of the Bible, or do you prefer to adapt to whatever some manufactured tradition mandates? Are you more concerned about what the church is doing for you, or are you more focused on what you can do for the Lord’s kingdom? Do you come to worship to “get something out of it” for yourself, or do you come to give honor, praise, and glory only to God? Do you see souls all around you who are in need of God’s saving grace, or do you see people who are not lucky enough to belong to your special club? I hope you can see the difference between being a Christian and Churchian. You can’t be both and only one of the two will make it to heaven (cf. Matthew 7:21). Choose wisely!


THAT IT MIGHT BE FULFILLED

   Jesus did many incredible things while He walked the earth. Let’s say, if you were to rank the “Top 5 Most Amazing Attributes of Jesus,” what would be on that list? Surely, His resurrection, His coming back from the dead would naturally top such a list! But what would be second? For me, it would be the many prophecies He fulfilled; most of which, were completely outside of any possible influence by Him. The probability of fulfilling just one is truly astounding. Fulfilling eight becomes astronomical. Jesus fulfilled more than 300 prophecies! That’s completely impossible according to any calculation. Yet, Jesus did it!
    The apostle John wrote, “these things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,” (John 20:31). What we have written about His life, His teaching, His miracles, the prophecies fulfilled, and His resurrection are certainly more than sufficient evidence to believe in Him! Do you believe in Jesus? Do you truly believe? You should! The same apostle wrote, “Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5). That is why Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.” (John 14:6) ~ God bless! T.S.
 
Here a just a few of the many prophecies that Jesus fulfilled:
 
Prophecies


ARE YOU A “POSITIVE” PERSON FOR GOD?

    I remember my dad used to quote motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, all the time. Those little pithy proverbs of his had quite an impact on many people’s lives – all for the good! That’s because there is truth to much of what he says, not only from a Biblical perspective but also from a physiological perspective. You see, your thoughts and feelings can have a serious impact on your health and well-being. Positive thinking produces resilience in your life while negative thinking most often produces vulnerability. One is helpful; one is very harmful.
    Constant negative thoughts, feelings, and influences in your life produces chronic stress. Stress upsets the body’s natural hormone balance, it depletes the chemicals in your brain required for happiness, and can seriously damage the immune system. Just ask any doctor. Uncontrolled negative emotions, anger, and stress can eventually lead to hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, and even infection. The end result of constant negativity in your life is a decrease in lifespan. In fact, scientific studies have identified that stress shortens our telomeres, the “end caps” of our DNA strands, which causes us to age more quickly. Negativity can kill you!
    Positive thinking, on the other hand, can reduce stress. John Hopkins Medical says there is a strong link between “positivity” and good health. Additional studies have found that a positive attitude improves outcomes and life satisfaction across a spectrum of conditions—including traumatic brain injury, stroke and brain tumors. The truth is, Christians should be the most positive thinking people all in the world! (John 10:10) After all, we have hope of eternal life, a reward in heaven! (Revelation 2:10) We’ve been saved, set free from sin and the second death! (Romans 6:18; Revelation 2:11) We should possess a “peace that passes all understanding,” (Philippians 4:7). This, and the many other blessings we have in Christ Jesus, should make us extremely resilient, that is, capable of withstanding whatever difficulty or problem that comes our way. But it takes the power of positive thinking – not always an easy thing to do.
     Difficulties are always going to come. Hardship and persecution are promised to us (John 15:20). But that does not mean it must defeat us. We have a strength and support system behind us that is greater than all! (Romans 8:38,39) Be a positive person for God. Show Jesus you trust in Him to get you through. Allow the Word to build you up! You will not only be pleasing to God, you will feel better, and you will live longer!
 


BUT WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?

    “So, what does this verse mean to you?” That is a question frequently asked during a Bible study. I’ve been asked this question in a personal study, I’ve heard it asked in a Bible class many times, and I’ve even asked it myself to others in studies. But, is it necessarily a wise thing to do? Does it matter what we think about a passage? Perhaps, we need to handle the question a little more carefully?
    The intention for asking the question, I believe, is simply to see what others think, or understand, about a passage of Scripture – innocent enough. After all, Phillip asked the Ethiopian eunuch, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (Acts 8:30). So on one hand, the question is perfectly acceptable in order for a teacher to gauge one’s level of comprehension. He/she can then take that information and make adjustments in how to continue teaching. But on the other hand, it can also sometimes open a door for someone to espouse their own opinion regarding a passage. This is often labeled, One’s Own Interpretation. Sadly, it is here that many teachers will respond with a statement such as, “That’s interesting,” or even, “Okay. Well, what does it mean to you?”, while pointing to someone else. Without acknowledging what was just said as being conjecture and not based on hermeneutical interpretation, the teacher may have just caused a serious stumbling block for someone else in the class. This is where the ideology of, “You have your interpretation of the Bible and I have mine,” originates. Such conclusions can have serious consequences for one’s soul!

One’s opinion as to what a passage means can be enlightening, but it should never supersede what the inspired writer intended to transmit to the readers!

    When Jesus asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15), He was not asking for their opinion, necessarily. Jesus wanted to know if they truly understood who He was, in reality. The disciples had previously answered that many thought Jesus was someone else (V14). But, just because they thought that about Him did not make it true. Peter then answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” (V16) and Jesus confirmed his answer (V17) as correct. Peter got it right!
    Even the Ethiopian eunuch responded to Phillip’s question with, “How can I [understand], unless someone guides me?” (Acts 8:31) The eunuch could have just speculated about what was written in the scroll and then arrived at his own interpretation, but he didn’t. He recognized that he did not understand everything and could use some assistance. Phillip’s knowledge of the Old Testament, along with knowing the fulfilled prophecies of Jesus, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit provided the correct interpretation of the scroll to the eunuch.
    What if Jesus were to ask you, “Who do you say that I am?” Would you give Him your own interpretation, or your opinion about Him from the Scriptures? Or, would you search them diligently, trying to understand correctly what is says? Remember, He said, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord shall enter …” (Matthew 7:21). Which means, not everyone gets it right. Those who think they know Jesus, or those who give an opinion about “who He is to them,” will not matter to Him. It won’t qualify them to get into heaven! He will respond with “I never knew you,” (Matthew 7:23)! What truly matters, what Jesus is implying to us, and what we must get right, is knowing what the Bible says about Him and then obeying His commands. Do you know Jesus? Don’t risk your soul’s eternity with yours or anyone’s opinion. Let the Bible speak for itself about the Savior. Always ask, “What does the Bible say?”


RENEWING OUR VISION FOR MARGARET STREET

    Vision Planning simply means developing a “road map” for the futureof the church. It serves as a guide to help us determine what direction we want Margaret Street to go, where we want to be, and how we want to grow. It gives clear focus to our goals and aspirations as a congregation. It emboldens us with purpose. If someone were to ask you, “What is Margaret Street all about? What is your vision, or you objective?” How would you answer? Shouldn’t we all have the same focus and be able to answer the same?

What will the future hold for Margaret Street?

    The face of this congregation will have changed in five years. It will be considerably different ten years from now. How about in 15, or 20 years? Think back ten years ago, is our church different today than back then? We need to seriously consider our future and ask some hard questions. This is such an exciting time for Margaret Street and there’s no time better than the present to work on this! Consider these questions:
  • The Gospel has the same power to save, but the world is much different and we must adapt how we deliver the message. So, as congregation, how are we going to reach the lost?
  • How can we build up our young families so they become a solid foundation for the future of Margaret Street and beyond?
  • Do we need to review what we are doing and how we’ve been doing it? Do we need to make adjustments to our methods?
  • We will need to develop new leaders for the future. How are we preparing our men to be elders, deacons, and preachers?
  • How will we instill a sense of servitude into our young people and develop them into leaders?
  • We’ve reached our goals from our previous vision! What can we now do to continue to serve the Lord and glorify Him?
  • Ask yourself, “What can I do to help Margaret Street grow and insure her future growth?”

Do you want to see Margaret Street grow, or not?

    If you have the heart of a true Christian, then the answer should be a hearty, “Yes!” The mission of the church (her purpose) is to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10; Matthew 28:19,20). That implies we need to be reaching out and bringing lost souls within our community to the foot of the cross. Every year should be marked by many new faces being added to our number and more disciples being made through the teaching and preaching taking place here. Let’s develop a vision that will accomplish that principle, divine objective!
    The Bible says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established,” (Proverbs 16:3 ESV). You might also consider these passages in our vision planning: Proverbs 15:22, 16:9, 19:21, 21:5; Matthew 6:33; James 1:5; Philippians 3:13-14, 4:6; Luke 14:28; and Psalm 20:4.
    I thank God that Margaret Street has a sound, visionary eldership to oversee our flock. I’m thankful that they are not only concerned about the souls of our current members, but also of the souls of those future, potential members of our church. That is why they are asking for our input, as a congregation, to assist them in developing a renewed vision for this congregation. It’s an exciting time for Margaret Street!