I've had a couple requests for this message that was delivered on Apr 15, 2018. I will post others if the transcriptions are provided to me.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” - John 3:16....
While explaining the purpose of His purpose to Nicodemus early in His ministry, Jesus told this Jewish Pharisee, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16).
These aren't simply suggestive words to live by when we think of it in our slack time, or just words to derive comfort from when we need comforting. Instead they are to be seriously heeded for an everl...asting relationship with our Father. As sinners and Christians, our action item here is that we "believeth in Him" and live by His teachings.
It may sound simple enough, but the implication is that we continually live in love and faith; to believeth in Him and His teachings, and relinquish our life to God, knowing that He will provide you with all that you need when you need it. Can you do it? This is truly a leap, but life everlasting with the creator of the universe and His son is the reward.
- RJ Mouton
Kirsten, the kids, FR, and I visited Shiloh Christian Ranch in Clarence, MO the other day for their open house. It consists of several homes for abused and neglected children (about 50 kids by my quick estimate). As we toured 3 of the homes we were met at the door with the joyful laughter of the children emanating from various parts of the homes. To the "T", every one of them happy and outgoing. The kids were our tour guides and excitedly showed us their bedrooms, the acti...vity rooms, their farm animals and the gardens. It was such a touching and uplifting day for all of us who had attended, knowing that God had richly blessed these kids with these parents who genuinely show them the any parent possibly could. God touches us all in ways though places like Shiloh and in other ways we may never even know. Pray and thank God for the kids and staff at Shiloh.
We completed our study of Paul's epistle to the Colossians tonight. Next Wednesday evening (6:30) we'll look at his first letter to the Thessalonians.
Our discussion this evening was greatly benefitted by having brother Darin Chapell attend. It was a pleasure getting to know him and tapping into his extensive knowledge of the Word.
Today's message, if you missed it was "Tending the Garden".
God created Adam and placed him in His garden in the east of Eden to tend it. Wow; God put man in charge of tending His most special garden. How cool is it to have stewardship and the responsibility of the garden of the Creator of the universe!! Would you take that job?
Stewardship, however requires that we have the desire to tend to God's creation; and that desire and drive comes from the joyous heart. It's so m...uch more than just a free-will choice, it's a loving desire to take on the responsibilities.
God must have thought pretty highly of Adam to give him dominion over all living things and to trust him to tend to his creation. If God thought so highly of man, then maybe our stewardship, too, is best extended to tending to and edifying all of our brothers and sisters. Jesus exemplified this in his life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection.
"What Is A Lead Minister?"
If you pick up one of my business cards, underneath my name it says Lead Minister. Some have wondered what is a a lead minister. So perhaps I might clarify what that means and, to a certain extent, what it doesn’t mean.*
To begin with, though I don’t view ministry as just a job, the “job title” simply describes a function or roll. It’s not about rank or authority in the sense of a manager. In fact, my point of departure for all leadership in the chu...rch, including myself, is found in Jesus’ instructions to his disciples to be servants rather than one who lords authority over others (cf. Lk 22:24-27).
As a follower of Jesus Christ, the roll for which I believe God has called me to serve among our church is a minister of the gospel. This roll certainly involves preaching and teaching as well as some other more traditional pastoral duties (e.g., hospital visitation). However, I believe it also involves the missional leadership task of helping cultivate a culture among the church where the gospel is always embodied and members are then equipped for doing good works. In scripture this is the work the apostle Paul speaks of doing and instructs people like Timothy and Titus to do as well.
I call these duties of pastoral and missional leadership the vocation of a lead minister. But some will ask where “lead minister” is in the Bible. It’s not as a phrase but the function is more than biblical, which is what I am more interested in. However, let me clarify that this does not mean I am above accountability. Just as the elders of this church are your shepherds, they are my shepherds too and I must listen to their counsel as well.
I hope that explains a little more of where I’m coming from. Now let me address one little related issue. I’ve had people ask before about what title do I like to be called by… Preacher? Rev. Butts? Pastor Rex? Or even Lead Minister? While I won’t make a fuss with anyone calling me by any of those titles, calling me “Rex” is fine with me. After all, I’m not anymore important than anyone else among our church. My parents named me Rex and today I’m just person who once was lost in sin but now believes in Jesus and is trying to follow him while helping others do the same.
~ K. Rex Butts
* This article is reprinted from the church bulletin published weekly by the Chillicothe Church of Christ (August 20, 2017).
"Back To The Beginning"
This Sunday we begin a new message series that will take us through the end of September called In The Beginning from Genesis 1-11. I love reading the book of Genesis and particularly this first section of the text because it helps us make sense of our story.*
What I mean is that we all are part of the human story as people created by the one living God. However, in order to understand our story correctly, we must go back to the beginning and discover ...who we are and what has taken place. You see, every person and society has a story that shapes the way they live, including the many choices they will make, and what they deem important. For people living among the middle kingdom of Egypt, like the Israelites did as slaves, the story was a polytheistic (many gods) who were malevolent towards humans. For people living in the twenty-first century western world of America, the story is often one of secularism and humanism where “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” depends on “we the people”.
Our story according to Genesis is different. However, the good news is that this is a story brimming with life because it is first and foremost a story about the one living God and within that story of God, we find the true story of ourselves.
Lastly, I want to say a word about how I understand the creation narrative in the first two chapters of Genesis and I’ll say more as we cover these chapters. The Genesis creation narrative is controversial because of its alleged contradiction of modern scientific theory about the beginning of life. Pitting science against the Bible, some interpreters read Genesis 1-2 in a literal fashion to explain how God created and in what time sequence. For reasons within the text itself, I believe this is a bad approach. I suggest that the purpose of the creation narrative is not to tell us how and in what time frame God created but to tell who created us and why we were created.
Further more, while I don’t believe that modern scientific theories about the origin of life are infallible (after all, they are just theories), I believe we establish a false dichotomy when we pit science against faith as it pertains to creation. It is entirely possible to believe what scripture says about creation and believe that a modern scientific theory is at least plausible. So when it comes to the biblical narrative and science regarding creation, I think of the biblical narrative as offing a correct theological explanation and science as offering possible (but not necessarily correct) scientific explanation.
I hope this helps us understand a bit of where I am coming from as we dive into the beginning of our story.
K. Rex Butts
* This article is reprinted from the church bulletin published weekly by the Chillicothe Church of Christ (August 13, 2017).
This Sunday we begin a new message series called "In The Beginning from Genesis 1-11, in which we'll reframe our story within the story of God. If you live in the Chillicothe area and are looking for a church, we would love to have you visit with us for our worship gathering at 10:30 in the morning on Sunday's. We meet at 308 Elm St., Chillicothe, MO 64601. We're just people who believe in Jesus and seek to follow him. #SeeJesusBeJesus
About this little but amazing trip some of us went on...
Today was a really encouraging worship gathering with the Chillicothe Church of Christ. Two weeks ago a group of ten, including some of our students, traveled to Portland, Oregon to work with the Agape Church of Christ by repairing housing for people who are homeless. So today as part of our message about rejoicing from Philippians 4:4-9, the group that went shared their experience.
I am especially proud of our students. They worked hard when it was time to work, they served and loved the homeless people they encountered without fear or judgment, and in fresh ways they were able to #SeeJesusBeJesus.
Here is the slide show of our trip. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP1roVsyBL0