By Andy Diestelkamp
might think that after almost 29 years of marriage a couple could
communicate effectively and efficiently without substantial
misunderstanding. You might think that if you have never been married or are only recently so, but you would be mistaken.
and I often remark to one another about our apparent inability to
communicate clearly about some of the simplest things. It is amazing
how quickly presumption, defensiveness, selfishness, and a failure to
listen carefully can turn an otherwise innocuous conversation into a
tangled ball of tension. The Scriptural admonition to “be swift to
hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (Jas. 1:19) is excellent marital counsel.
good piece of advice was given to me by my Grandpa (Fred) Hennecke just
prior to my wedding. He sidled up to me with that twinkle in his eye
and slipped me a business card that said on the back, “Agree with your
adversary quickly...Matt. 5:25.” I remember guffawing as I read
it, and—though I am sure that he gave me his wry grin as our eyes met—I
am now also sure that he meant it. That was neither disparagement of
women in general nor of my bride specifically. It was sound teaching
for those who wish to have a righteousness that exceeds that of
religious hypocrites (Matt. 5:20).
course, the principles cited above from Jesus and James have
application to more than just marriage. Relationships require
communication. Yet, if any relationship is going to grow to its
potential, communication is essential. It is not an option to just
decide not to communicate simply because it is complicated. A decision
to stop communicating would effectively be the end of any meaningful
One can see that the word communication is related to other words such as communion and community
which all come from the root idea of having things in common. Indeed,
any meaningful partnership or fellowship is going to depend on
communication despite its difficulty.
So, while I am not surprised by the difficulties that we all have with communication in our various relationships, I am
concerned that saints who claim to have fellowship with Jesus Christ
feel it is their liberty to refuse to communicate with their brothers
and sisters in Christ about matters which impact their fellowship with
Christ and one another.
have generally been given the charge to be ready to give answer to
those who question us about our hope in Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 3:15).
Ours is not a private faith. “That’s none of your business!” should
never be the reply of saints to those who inquire about what we believe
and why. Indeed, Christians are all about communicating the message of
the gospel in word and deed.
Since we have been called by our Lord to communicate with the world
about matters of faith, it reasonably follows that we must be willing
to do the same within our fellowship. That is exactly what we learn the
first Christians did. Our fellowship is all about communication. We
rejoice with one another. We weep with one another (Rom 12:15). We bear
one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). We teach and admonish one another
(Col. 3:16). We exhort one another (Heb. 3:13). We prod one another to
love and good works (Heb. 10:24). In short, we love one another (1 Jn.
4:7-11) and hold one another accountable to the faith that we profess
(Gal. 6:1; Jas. 5:19,20).
is the work of those who shepherd to look out for the souls of those
entrusted to their oversight. Since these men are not gifted with
knowing the minds of their charges, it is necessary for there to be
communication (cf. 1 Cor. 2:11). When an elder seeks to communicate
with you about your marriage, your children, your weaknesses, your
abilities, your behavior, your priorities, your sins, your habits,
etc., it is not appropriate to answer with, “That’s none of your
business.” Refusing to communicate is unsubmissive and, ultimately,
spiritually unprofitable (Heb. 13:17).
Jesus’ prescription for truly righteous behavior demands communication with one another especially
if there is a history of conflict. God has no interest in our so-called
worship of Him if we are unwilling to seek reconciliation with one
another as brethren (Matt. 5:23,24). “If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you,
you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear you, take with
you one or two more...And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the
church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you
like a heathen...” (Matt. 18:15-17).
is at the heart of our fellowship with God and one another. Without it,
no fellowship is meaningful. Therefore, saints—in their marriages and
their churches—must always be ready to communicate despite the
complications. From giving a defense, to confronting a sinner, to
seeking reconciliation, to holding one another accountable to the way
of Christ...communication is essential.
323 E. Indiana Ave., Pontiac, Illinois 61764
|When Texting, Tweeting or Posting...|
Sound Acronyms That
Cannot Be Condemned
By Al Diestelkamp
Social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter,
along with the popularity of texting on cell phones, are rapidly
changing the way people communicate. I can’t speak first-hand about
texting since I have not succumbed to that form of communication. I’m
still relying on that “old-fashioned” e-mail method. However, I do have
a Facebook page, primarily as a lurker so that I am not completely out of the information loop.
have noticed that a new vocabulary of abbreviations and acronyms is
developing as a result of this phenomenon. In fact, sometimes I don’t
have any idea what some of my grandchildren are saying on their posts.
I only hope that we don’t raise a generation who cannot write in proper
English, but I digress from the points I want to make in this article.
I have become somewhat concerned with some of the language used, even among Christians, on their Facebook comments. Notably, the use of the acronym OMG seems to be creeping into the vocabulary of some Christians.
expression “O, my God!” has become one of the most widely used
expressions of surprise or amazement in our world today. These words
would be perfectly good and appropriate if one were genuinely calling
upon God for help. In fact, it is used by righteous men at least 21
times in some translations of the Bible (i.e., Ez. 9:6; Psa. 25:2; Dan.
9:18), but never in the way it is being commonly used today.
who would never think of actually uttering these words in vain, are
beginning to use the substitute acronym. I can imagine some will be
quick to defend this practice by saying that OMG can mean “O, my
goodness,“ or “O, my gosh.” We may want to discuss whether the use of
such euphemisms fall within the category of “sound speech that cannot
be condemned” (Tit. 2:8), but no matter, the vast majority view OMG to
mean “O, my God.”
the things which grieves the Holy Spirit of God is “corrupt
communication” (Eph. 4:28-29). Though the apostle was referring to that
which proceeds from the mouth, I cannot imagine that the same would not
apply to what is written. Words mean something! So, also do some
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P.O. Box 891, Cortland, Illinois 60112
'But You Don't Have Elders'
By Karl Diestelkamp
telling how many times brethren who are working hard to worship God in
truth and purity and to preach the gospel and to work in every
scriptural way have heard these words from brethren who move into their
area. Wouldn’t every faithful Christian prefer to be part of a
local church with qualified elders? But that is almost never the lot of
those who pioneer a new work in a needy area or who are trying to “hold
the fort” when qualified elders have been lost to death or moving away.
These hardy souls labor and sacrifice where they live, in behalf of the
lost, often with less than a strong nucleus. Help from faithful Christians would be heartily welcomed and greatly appreciated.
“But, you see, you don’t have elders.” Quite right, at the moment.
But where do migrating brethren think elders come from? If no one with
ability and potential ever “stays put” long enough to help a local
church develop qualified elders, then no church will ever have elders
except those who have struggled through the process in the past and now
have elders serving. How do you suppose the brethren in the first
century managed until elders were appointed? Quite often there
are complaints about having experienced ungodly behavior on the part of
some in business meetings where there are no elders. That might well be
a reason for leaving a congregation, if
it will not correct the wrongdoers (Rom.16:17), but do not assume that
every church without elders will be a repeat of that. It takes time for
men to develop and become qualified elders, but it is worth the effort
and the wait. You could make a godly difference. Step up! Take a stand!
Remember, “God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness (cowardice and
timidity), 2 Tim. 1:7.
course we must do what we believe to be best for us and our families,
but we must also “grow in grace and in knowledge” (2 Pet: 3:18) to
where we are not only and always on the receiving end of the strength
We sometimes hear a lot of similar discouraging words from those who choose to worship elsewhere:
“But you don’t have enough children… enough teenagers… enough eligible
single people… enough whites, blacks, hispanics… enough college grads…
enough professionals… etc.” Well, I’m reminded of Acts 16:9, “Come over
into Macedonia, and help us!”
and by the way, if you should be one of those self-willed, strife prone
individuals who turns necessary business meetings into personal
vendettas that drive faithful brethren away—REPENT!Back to top
8311 - 27th Ave., Kenosha, Wisconsin 53143
By Ray Ferris
a previous article I challenged you to think about prosperity from some
standpoints we do not normally consider when we think about the
subject. In this article I want you to think about the subject in the
usual realm—the way we are blessed in material things.
we think about our total material prosperity, how many of us ever
contrast the amazing blessings of our nation with most of the rest of
the world? There are a few other rich nations, but we are blessed far
beyond most. Part of that blessing is because of the freedoms we enjoy
that are far superior to the rest of the world. Americans who have
visited in some of the poverty-stricken nations—I need not name
them—understand more realistically than other Americans what I mean.
who are in “poverty” here, receiving some type of government
“welfare”—state and/or federal—would be considered rich in much of the
world. Even though the text of 1 Cor. 16:2 does not actually contain
the word God in it, I think most Christians would readily agree that He
is certainly involved in the prosperity we enjoy in such abundance. How
often do we express the gratitude we should feel to the God who makes
it all possible? How often do we think about that when we meditate on
what portion of that rich prosperity should be shared in gospel work to reach lost souls?
you ever really asked yourself: “Am I living in selfish luxury,
extremely grateful for the great blessing of spiritual freedom in
Christ, while most of the world suffers in the bondage of sin, totally
unaware of what the gospel could bring to them? Do we really believe
“the gospel is for all” as we often sing? If so, what are you doing
about it? How much of your prosperity are you now sharing so that someone can go tell them of Jesus and His love?
question brings me to a point I believe most do not think about when
prosperity is considered. Having spent more than sixty years as a
gospel preacher, and thus having most of my income provided by
churches, I realize there is a great difference in the “pay check” of
the average worker in America and all who are called “self-employed.”
For tax purposes a preacher has a dual status, and usually has to
provide for all his taxes
from the money received from churches—including income and Social
Security taxes. It is similar for those who operate their own
businesses. There are exceptions for some, but many workers in this
country have benefits in their prosperity that such people do not have.
many people think of how they have been prospered, only the amount that
they take to the bank is considered. Because I have had to supplement
my income with various other work, and because I have prepared income
taxes for myself, some of my family, and many others, I am fully aware
that total prosperity for many people is much more than the actual
time a worker is paid he should receive some type of “pay stub” to show
the total value of the benefits received. One half of the Social
Security tax, the Medicare tax, the federal and state income tax, and
any other taxes paid for him, are part of his prosperity. The premium
for health insurance for the worker and his family, plus any life
insurance, disability insurance, and any other insurance paid are
benefits. The 401(k) benefits and other deducted retirement costs
should be listed, and if he is setting money aside in any other savings
plan it is prosperity. I am aware that all employees do not have all
these benefits, but I am also aware that a high percentage do have many
of them. For many such people the total wage is more than 30% higher
than the actual listed wage. Thus many workers who make only $30,000 per year are actually prospering far more than that.
have emphasized the word “only” for two reasons: First, because most
people with families are now struggling if the W-2 doesn’t show more
than that for family income; Second, because my income as a preacher
(with none of these benefits) never reached that level. After I
“semi-retired” and began to draw Social Security income, so churches
would not have to provide what I had provided for myself in Social
Security taxes, I received my greatest income!!! My Social Security
income was supplemented to a small degree in order to have livable
income. For more than seven years I have had no regular income from
churches. It is amazing how the Lord has blessed us, but I believe it
is His promise to all who are “rich toward God,” and who seek “first
the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Lk. 12:21; Matt. 6:33; Mal.
of this leads me to plead with you to consider seriously your giving
when you worship each Lord’s day. I assure you I think often of my own
responsibility in this realm. I have increased my contribution
repeatedly in past years, and even since my “semi-
retirement” as my cost-of-living increases have come, and
I considered again my tremendous prosperity in every way. I am
asking you to do nothing more than I do myself. When have you shared
your cost-of-living increases with the Lord?
all remember the record of Ananias and Sapphira (Ac. 5:1-11). The point
of their problem was an effort to lie to God and His Holy Spirit about
what they were giving (vv. 4,9). It seems to me that if one proposes to
be giving “as God hath prospered him,” that he is asserting the amount
given is an indication of that prosperity. Now, if that be true, my
question is: Are you asserting what is not true? Can we lie by actions
as well as words?
Malachi 3:8-10, the question is: “Will a man rob God?” I believe we all
know the implied answer would be: Of course not!!! But God asserted:
“Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, ‘Wherein have we robbed thee?’ In
tithes and offerings.” A few men who were Christians have stole church
funds. Others have been accused. How would you feel if the Lord charged you with robbing Him?
tithe for the Jews was required just to support the priesthood. By
definition (both Bible and dictionary) the tithe is one-tenth. The
tithe was required of all; rich and poor; those with large families and
small families; all were commanded to give the tithe to support the
priests. There were many, many other offerings and sacrifices required
by the law of God. It is, of course true, that we do not live under the
law of Moses, and thus tithing is not part of the law of Christ, but if
one attempts to justify his theft, from God and His work, on that basis
he is being totally irrational and thoughtless. The Jew did not tithe
to evangelize; only to support the priests with his tithe and thus to
“keep house” among his own people. But, he was required to tithe in order to do it.
has charged His people now to preach the gospel to the whole world, and
there is no way to do it except to support preachers (authorized—1 Cor.
9:1-14) and send the word to a lost world (Rom. 10:13-15). The total prosperity
we enjoy is far superior to that of the Jews at any time. How could it
possibly make sense that we try to justify giving less, and often far
less, while we live in luxurious prosperity?
believe every Christian ought to give more than one-tenth of his
increase in prosperity. I would be scared to give as little as
one-tenth of that with which God has made me prosper from time to time.
How about you? Does your giving concern you? Could you be robbing God? Could your actions be a lie? Think on these things.
7000 Brook Bend Way, Louisville, KY 40229
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|Honoring Parents in Their Old Age...
What it Looks Like
By Rick Liggin
now, most of you will have *probably already heard about the passing of
Fred E. Pollock on Friday, December 10, 2011 at the age of eighty-five.
Fred was a well-known, well-respected, and deeply devoted disciple of
Christ, who spent his entire adult life in the service of our King. It
was our privilege at the Paris Avenue church in Peoria, Illinois, to
have Fred and his beloved wife Fran living among us for the last few
years of his life. We were able to watch this man of moral courage and
spiritual strength face down his last enemy, death, and gain the
victory though Jesus Christ our Lord. And let me tell you, as one who
watched it personally, it was an inspiring thing to see.
one regret for the church here is that we didn’t really get to know
Fred before his illness. You see, in 2008, when the Pollock’s daughter,
Mary Ann Grant, with her husband Bill, moved the older couple to live
with them here in our area, Fred was already sick with Parkinson’s and
Lewy Body disease. His motor skills were already greatly diminished by
his illness, and soon his cognitive abilities would be affected. That
meant that we were only able to know Fred as a man who was physically
ill, and not as the extremely capable man he had been all of his life.
didn’t get to know the man who was a chemical engineer with Proctor and
Gamble; or the man who served on the board of directors at both Florida
College and Guardian of Truth Foundation; or the man who was an elder
for many years in at least two separate local churches. We didn’t get
to know the man who, together with his talented wife, taught marriage
enrichment classes in congregations everywhere. I regret that this
church didn’t get to know that Fred Pollock…a man whose life of service
was so apparent to all around him.
But this article isn’t really about what we didn’t get to see at Paris Avenue. Instead, it is about what we did
get to see. And it’s not really so much about Fred Pollock and his
sweet wife Mary Frances. It’s really about his daughter Mary Ann Grant
and her husband Bill (one of our elders), who showed us how to honor
our parents…even in their old age. The Bible clearly teaches us all to
honor our parents (Ephesians 6:2; cf. Exodus 20:12), but what does that
look like...especially when our parents are old? Let me try to help you
with that by pointing to what we witnessed at Paris Avenue. Please
understand that I do not want in any way to take away from how Fred and
Fran’s other children and grand children honored their parents. I just
want to tell you about what we saw at Paris Avenue and how it stands as
an example to all of us as we help our parents in their old age.
was amazing to watch Mary Ann and Bill as they served Fred and Fran.
Always acting in Fred and Fran’s best interest, Mary Ann and Bill did
what ever it took to give their parents what they needed. At great
personal expense, they brought their old, sick parents into their own
home to live with them and to provide their care (Mark 7:9-13). They
sacrificed so much…their social life, their finances, their energy, and
their own health…just to do what was clearly a labor of love. Kevin and
Emmy, the Grants only two children left at home, also made
sacrifices…especially in terms of their parents’ time and attention;
yet they did it without complaint.
at home and in public, Mary Ann and Bill always treated Fred and Fran
with the utmost dignity and respect. They were always tender, always
loving, and always patient…even when it must have been very hard to do
so. I never heard Mary Ann or Bill speak a disrespectful word to either
Fred or Fran. Even when their mental capabilities and communication
skills became severely inhibited, Mary Ann and Bill were still kind,
still patient, and still respectful. I can still hear Mary Ann sweetly
speaking to her mother, whose severe dementia keeps her in the same
conversation over and over again; and I can still see her waiting ever
so patiently for her dad to say what was clearly on his mind but so far
from his uncooperative tongue. And it was so sweet to see them at
church services, helping Fred and Fran to their seats, or with their
coats, or with their song books. And it didn’t matter what mishap may
have occurred, there was no embarrassment or apology; just respect and
dignity and kindness.
day Fred died I was able to be there with the family; and maybe one of
the more respectful and loving things that I ever saw was how Mary Ann
patiently helped her mother understand that “daddy was gone.” Fran’s
short term memory is so limited by her dementia that even taking a
short nap means she wakes up with little or no memory of what happened
before. When the funeral home finally came to take Fred’s body, Fran
had been sleeping. She awoke with no memory of Fred’s death, and so
wanted to know where he was. I can still see Mary Ann as she crawled on
to the bed beside her mother, and once again, holding her mother close,
helped Fran understand that “daddy was gone.” She spoke to her mother
with the same kindness and compassion that she had already used when
her father first passed. It was heartbreaking on one hand; but on the
other, it was so rich and so good. I can only pray that our children
will honor Candy and me with the same kind of respect and dignity.
may grow up and our parents may grow older, but there will never come a
time when our duty to honor them will be relieved. Only when we have
finally given them back to God will our responsibility to honor and
respect them be complete…and then, we must continue to honor their
memory. Yes, those of us here at Paris Avenue may have missed out on a
valuable opportunity to witness the life of a great man who devotedly
served the Lord. But I believe that in the end, we gained an
opportunity of equal value! We got to see what it really means to honor
your father and mother.
315 Almond Drive, Washington, Illinois 61571