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Timely Thoughts

Timely Thoughts

Published in
The Christian Informer
December, 2001


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Last updated:
December 9, 2001.
 

How To Kill A Congregation

Some things by their very nature are essential to the existence and growth of a local church. The absence of the essentials can only result in the eventual death of a congregation. We need to be aware of what will hinder, hurt, and destroy the church, lest we find ourselves helping the church to die.

  1. Attend infrequently; and then only when it is convenient.
  2. Arrive late when you do go; this will show disinterest on your part.
  3. After you get seated, sleep, look at the floor, thumb a songbook; just do something to show you are disinterested.
  4. Continually grumble about having to go to services: or grumble about any other church duty you perform.
  5. Criticize those in the lead before your family, friends, and outsiders.
  6. Be icy, distant, and unfriendly; visitors will go away and tell others what an unfriendly church it is.
  7. Show as little enthusiasm as possible regarding any new program of work the brethren may decide on; you will thus help to kill it before it has a chance to work.
  8. Never cooperate, but rather find fault with all the affairs of the church.
  9. When the congregation has a gospel meeting find other things to do, such as go on vacation, or spend your time at some recreation. After all fun and games are more interesting.
  10. Complain to every soft shoulder possible about matters that are not in agreement with your judgment or opinion.
  11. Complain about the length of the worship service and then go visit, or watch TV all afternoon and miss the evening service.

It was very frequent in primitive times to express approbation in the public assemblies by saying "Amen". This practice, soberly and piously conducted, might still be of great use in the church of Christ
     Adapted from Adam Clark Commentary
No dashing rain can make us stay when we have tickets to a play, But if some drops the walks besmirch, It is too wet to go to church.
Most trouble in the church is produced by those who don’t produce anything else.
In the early 1960s it was estimated that for every one dollar spent for churches and their work, twelve dollars were being spent on crime. At that time America’s annual crime bill was twenty billion dollars. It has soared since then.
"More and more children are being led toward crime as parents throw away responsibility. Selfishness is often the keynote of the day and materialism the inspiration for living. God, in many instances, is not accepted in the home, and concepts of morality have been relegated to the junk heap." - J. Edgar Hoover

Faith Without Works

One preacher illustrated, "Your condition is like that of a lad in a burning house, who escaped to the edge of a window, and hung on to the windowsill. The flames were pouring out of the window. The lad would soon be burned, or, falling, would be dashed to pieces. He therefore held on with a deathlike clutch. A strong man below said, "Boy, drop! I’ll catch you!" Now it was no saving faith for the boy to believe that the man below was strong. He might have known that and perished. It was saving faith when the boy let go and dropped down into the big man’s arms. You are a sinner, clinging to your own sins. . ." You are steeped in sin headed for torment, but the Savior pleads, "Come unto me and I will give you rest." You are not saved by simply believing that Jesus can save you, but in faith obeying what he asks you to do. "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone" (James 2:17). Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16); "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3); "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32); "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24); "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).


Recruiters Jailed For Fraud

"Good Soldiers Gone Bad" headlined Army Times, October 2, 2000. Army recruiters are going to jail for fraud. Not just any recruiters, but members of the Recruiting Support Battalion, described by Army Times as the Army’s most elite recruiting unit. Nine recruiters of the 56- member battalion have been convicted, but investigations are ongoing, and more indictments are expected. Every day the Center receives calls from recruits who talk about recruiter’s lies and cover-ups to get them into the military at any cost. But, ironically, the crimes of these recruiters did not have a direct impact on potential recruits—it’s the Army they cheated.

These recruiters had the easiest jobs in military recruitment—they drove multi-media display vans all over the country, setting them up to entertain (and recruit) unsuspecting potential soldiers. For military personnel, they had a lot of freedom to do what they wanted. Three- fourths of the year they stayed in hotels rather than base housing and rented cars at the Army’s expense. They were free from the pressures that most recruiters face to meet quotas; they just had to present the Army in a positive light to audiences across the country. Perhaps you’ve seen their high-tech display at your local schools or state and county fairs.

But they got greedy. They falsified expense reports, frequently forging receipts. (One common trick was to double up in hotel rooms, but submit vouchers for 2 separate rooms). The investigations revealed that in 1998 the nine recruiters stole $160,000, and that’s reported to be a conservative estimate. If this is the best and the brightest of Army recruiting, and they’re doing this to the Army, an institution they claim to love, what chance does an average high school student have up against a regular recruiter?

In some respects, these recruiters have done nothing different than what they’ve done every day at work since they became recruiters. However, when their victims were young people rather than the Army they were rewarded for it rather than punished.

But this case is different. Since the Army was the victim, all but one of the recruiters were busted down to private, went to jail (one got four years), and had to forfeit all pay and allowances. Most also lost all veterans’ benefits and retirement monies that would have been due to them. (And some were less than a year away from retirement).

"Recruiters are salesmen, and salesmen know how to bluff their way in and out of tricky situations. . . . That, coupled with the autonomy of being on the road so much and away from supervisors, must have made them feel somewhat invincible. . . ." That’s how the Army Times summarized a statement from an acquaintance of the ringleaders. This soldier, who didn’t want to be identified, admitted, "It’s such a stressful job, recruiting. A lot of recruiters lie. They say things that are not true, misrepresent things to get kids to join the Army. . . . Recruiting makes some of the best soldiers in the Army do things that are stupid and illegal." Usually recruiters are not held accountable for lying and falsifying documents. When new recruits realize they made a mistake by joining, they often point to the lies in their enlistment papers induced by the recruiters. The usual result is that the enlistee gets punished with a bad discharge for fraudulent enlistment while the recruiter is rarely punished. Maybe one day all recruiter lies will be investigated.
     - Via Fall 2000 Reporter for Conscience’Sake

[Strangely, a recent survey of all recruitment since the attacks of 9-11-01, and the patriotism which seemingly rose after that date has resulted in no increase in enlistment. Actually statistics prove enlistment to be down slightly. However, there was an increase in church attendance for the first Sunday after the attacks and then it has tapered off.]

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