with Robert Prater
"....Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams." (1 Samuel 15:22) This statement is made by Samuel to Saul when Saul returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites. You will remember that Saul brought back the king, Agag, and the best of the flocks and herds. Saul's excuse was that he brought the animals back to sacrifice to God. He had failed to obey God in destroying everyone and everything of the Amalekites.
God's attitude is the same today as it was in those days. Obedience is more important than anything we might think to sacrifice to God. We don't burn animals on altars anymore, but sometimes we will attempt to offer God that which we wish instead of full obedience to Him. The temptation is to try to bargain with God for that which pleases us, instead of that which pleases Him. But, commandments are commandments, and are to be obeyed, otherwise they are only good suggestions.
People can often find passages of Scripture that are too strict to please them, and easily declare them as not meaning what they say. But, to take a common expression, "God says what He means, and means what He says." Sometimes people have friends and loved ones who are living in contradiction to God's Word, and declare that God has made a special exception for them. Or more comforting yet, we refuse to learn God's will for acceptable living, and then declare ignorance as justification for disobedience!
Friends, that which pleases the God of heaven and makes Him the happiest is the humility of heart to obey His commandments, the willingness to say, "Thy will be done," and then do it. The Hebrew writer says that "without faith it is impossible to please God...." (Hebrews 11:6) and then he devotes an entire chapter on men and women of old who demonstrated their faith in obedience to God. People who are acceptable to God do not presume to tell God what they will offer. They offer the sacrifice of a pure heart, humbled in obedience, learning and doing the bidding of God's eternal Word. (Read Matt. 7:21-23; Jn 14:15; Rom. 6:17; 1 Jn 2:3-6,17; 5:2-3; Rev. 22:14) - - Robert - -
The following is a condensation (due to limited space) of the latest newsletter from the Larry Sullivans in Chemnitz, Germany. "Greetings from the Sullivan family and from the church in Chemnitz! Yes we are still here! Yes we are still alive! I am sorry that this letter has been so long in coming. The first two months of the year have been relatively good (The Lord is always good to us!). I want to share a few things that have been going on." Family News: They enjoyed having Kendra home from OC for the holidays. January brought a round of illness. Larry spent two full weeks in bed with the flu. Church News: They had some disappointing occurrences in past months that have resulted in the loss of members. However during the same time they have seen growth among a number of contacts and request your prayers for them. Larry would like to share some tentative plans for the coming years. Two of their young men have taken part in an intense training program. Both are natives of Chemnitz. By fall of 2007 they both plan to begin working in Chemnitz as evangelists. Both will have jobs that enable them to work flexible hours. The plan is for them to work half time at their jobs, and half time as evangelists. "....What will happen to the Sullivans?" "We are prayerfully considering three options. We could remain in Chemnitz, at least for a time, and work together with Steffen and Alex. We might look at beginning a work in another Eastern German city, where no church exists at this time. The third option would be to return to the States. As I said we are remaining prayerfully open to these options. We would also appreciate your prayers on our behalf.... Up & Coming: Over the Easter weekend we will be taking part in the annual Easter retreat in Braunlage.... I will be preaching in a four day meeting in Wuurzburg the middle of April. The first week of May our Let's Start Talking Team is scheduled to arrive, and then things really get lively around here. Oh, one more thing..we hope that Spring is 'up & coming'. We have had nothing but snow and cold weather for the last eight weeks or so! As always, we appreciate your prayers and your financial support. The Lord is working here. We pray that he will continue to give growth and maturity! In Christ, The Sullivans."
We extend our best wishes to Karen and Chris Hilditch on the birth of a new granddaughter, Sarah Rose Whitmus. Sarah was born on February 27 and weighed six pounds, five ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long. The parents are Jessica and Kyle Whitmus.
Brothers & Sisters, Thank you all so much for your prayers, visits, and the wonderful song service you prepared for Mother at her funeral. I know she appreciated them all.
Phil & Stan Pratt
Horace Roberts was discharged from Midwest Regional Hospital on Friday of last week.
Sue Merritt was scheduled to have same day knee surgery at Bone and Joint Hospital on Wednesday morning of this week.
We are not aware of anyone from Central in the hospital at preparation time for the Gospel Guide.
It was good seeing James Childers able to be in worship Sunday evening.
CONTINUING PRAYER CONCERNS
OF CENTRAL MEMBERS & FRIENDS
Jearline Bates, Chad Beard, Betty Bernard, Betti Boswell, Harold Carothers, James Childers, Ray Davis (Paul Harris' dad) Harold & Clydean Decker, Mary Gaines, Geneva Green, Dwight Harber, Roe Honaker, Anna Jarvis, Earnest Johnson (Yuavonda Sperry's uncle), Betty Martin, Mary Martin, Don Allen McNutt, Aubrey Mercer, Harvey Moore, Eddie Morris (Louise Dixson's brother and Jim Pettyjohn's cousin) Monroe Pettyjohn, Polly Reece, Alice Rice, Millie Riley, Horace & Leoh Roberts, Lillie Smith, Sarah Smith, Mary Sorensen, Chub & Dorothy Strickland, Charles Thomas, Floy Turner, Alvie Vanlandingham, Doris Whittern, Emma Wilson, Carl Worley, Viola Yates, and Verna Nell Young. All these members and friends have continuing health concerns or other special circumstances. They appreciate your interest and prayers.
March 20, New song class, 7 p.m.
April 3, Daylight Saving Time begins
April 6, Ladies Class meets at 10:30 a.m.; luncheon follows
April 13 - 17, Gospel Meeting, Tecumseh, Chris Stinnett, Seminole
April 16, Oklahoma Heart Association Blood Drive
April 17 - 20, Gospel Meeting, McLoud
September 11 - 14, Gospel Meeting, Bell & Farrall, Irvin Jackson, Florence, Alabama
September 18 - 21, Gospel Meeting, Central, Ted Kell, Brownwood, Texas
Last weekend the Shawnee soccer teams competed in the Noble Tournament. The Lady Wolves, including our own Leslie Gettle, took third place in the tournament. Good job Les!
Also, in the "way to go" column this week is Sean Parman. Sean has made the A team in track for the wolves and ran well last week in his event.
The teen shirts will have been ordered by the time you see this article, so if you haven't paid for your shirt yet, please do so.
Remember, if you're interested in helping with the water or pop for LTC, you can leave it in the kitchen and we'll drink it! If you have any questions about what we might need contact Rita Romberg.
COMING YOUTH EVENTS:
March 20, Sunday - LTC Drama Practice at 2:00 p.m. - Chorus at 4:00 p.m.
March 23, Wednesday - LTC Meeting for parents and kids after worship
March 25-26, Friday & Saturday - LTC Convention in Tulsa
Hope to see you here Sunday!