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Evangelism

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

A Little Spark Flies…but read to the end for your husband’s DVD!

Our PTP Spark week was therapy in lots of ways for many people, but I could not exactly say it was a therapeutic week of peace at Serenity. We had a house full of people and three of them were six and down. ‘LIza, who is fifteen months got into the office supplies drawer in my kitchen and scattered thumbtacks all over the floor. I did not get them all up before Colleyanna who is four stepped on one in her bare feet just as it was time to leave for the kick-off at the building on Sunday morning.  ‘Liza also got into my purse and scattered my Spark receipts and my credit cards all over the entire place as I was trying to get out the door. Then I applied shaving cream all over the back of my hair as I complained “Why is this can of dry shampoo not spraying?” A fever virus ran through all the kids and one adult. Eliza Jane picked this week to explore just about every gymnastic skill you can imagine. A pipe leak produced rain on a stack of boxes of new Digging Deep books in our basement. Through this I spoke 7 times, Glenn spoke eight times and we each attended about 25 or so sessions…WITH KIDS! =). Our spiritual cups are full and our physical cups are a bit depleted. God is sovereign and good. 

One quick episode as I think back make weeks like this all the more worthwhile. Ezra and Eliza and I made a quick run to the dollar store in the middle of the frenzy. I don’t know what made this elderly woman in the store delusional, but she said this “Ma’am, I just have to comment on the behavior of this little boy. Is he always this good? He is just quietly helping that baby girl to see the things she is looking at and he is nicely waiting his turn to show you what he is finding. I just love watching him.”  Of course, having probably just refereed a big argument as we got out of the car, I was looking around for whose children she was seeing. But, in the end, I decided I would play along for the benefit of positive reinforcement.

“Well…” I said, “He is a very good boy and he is a good big brother.”

“How do you teach him to be like this?” she asked. 

“Well, it’s really not me. God is so good to us and he tries to be like Jesus.” I was talking in simplicity with volume, so Ezra would take this in.

“Well, I am new in town,: she said, “and I love the Lord, too.” 

Our conversation developed and we invited her to come to West Huntsville and hear Ezra’s grandaddy preach. Turns out she has a background in the church, but it’s been a while since she attended. Ezra told her he would watch for her at Bible class. When he saw her checking out in the front of the store he said “She’s leaving. Let’s go tell her bye and make sure she knows where the Bible class is.” And so we did. In the parking lot, he tried very hard to go and give her a card about our worship times, but she got away too quickly. 

I forgot all about her. Then on Sunday morning, as we sat down on our pew, I saw him searching all over the auditorium. I said “You need to sit down now.”

“But I think I do see her,” he said. He pointed to a lady in a far-away section and said “Isn’t that her?” 

“Isn’t that who?” I responded. 

“The lady from the dollar store. I think she came.”

Now I would have given my last dollar if it HAD been her, but it wasn’t. “Maybe she will come next time,” I said. “But whether she ever comes or not, we are going to keep inviting people because someone will come  and someone will obey His gospel and go to heaven if we keep on inviting.” 

I love that little heart. I love the fact that at PTP Spark, we had ladies from far-away places who are just beginning to learn about the church of our Lord. I love that He has allowed me—even little finite me (and you)—to be a tool in the greatest evacuation mission in history; evacuating souls from the power of sin. 

In other SPARK news, lots of men are asking about a DVD that was mentioned in one of the sessions. During SPARK week, it was out of stock. Glenn wanted me to tell your husbands it’s restocked now. It’s a how-to DVD about grooming your future elders in the church. It’s a tool that’s helped lots of churches prepare men to be godly elders and I really can’t think of a more important work on the planet right now. We have a desperate need. So many churches have failed in recent decades to replace the godly leaders that have passed to the eternal reward of faithful shepherds. There is a void of guidance and the sheep are wandering in so many places. You can find this helpful program here: www.thecolleyhouse.org. 

As I write, I notice my coffee mug is resting on a book called “Disciples of the Empty Tomb” (by Brandon Renfroe).  Those words must be more than just a book/coaster on my bedside table. May that discipleship be the cornerstone of all I think and pray–all my stay, in every way, in every day!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The Taliban Needs Jesus

Caleb, our son, and his wife, Bekah, were talking about the Taliban shooting Americans at the airport. Maggie (3 years old) overheard and was asking questions about what happened. They just told her that “There were some bad people who were trying to hurt other people. But they were far away, and we don’t know them.” She said: “But Jesus doesn’t want them to hurt other people. Couldn’t we go tell them about Jesus? If we did though, they might just fly away…”

Such profundity often comes from three-year-old minds. Sometimes I wish we could cut to the chase in our assessments with the trusting world view of the little ones who believe in Him. She reflected some very powerful truths in that little overview of the Kabul crisis:

1. Jesus doesn’t want us to hurt people. Whatever course I am pursuing that is vindictive and hurtful, I should remember that I hurt Jesus when I hurt others (Matthew 25).

2. Couldn’t we go tell them about Jesus? Telling all the “thems” about Jesus is the answer to the gravest ills of our world. I should never stop telling, even when the devil tries to intimidate me with sin all around me, I have to just keep telling. Every opportunity cannot solve the problems of the whole world, but every opportunity, potentially, could take the burdens of the world from one.

3. If  we did, though, they might just fly away. I am sure Mags was thinking about what she’d overheard about the airport, but there’s a sobering reality  that the greatest and most sacrificial gift that’s ever been purchased for me may be the one I refuse to accept. I don’t want to be among those who have rejected the gift when the time comes for “flying away.”

 

So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:49,50).

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“I’ve been praying about that.”

Last night, Glenn and I ate our supper on an outdoor patio at an outdoor mall. In the midst of that dinner where we had already commented about the vulgarity of some of the passersby– immodesty in dress and speech, (We were really taken aback by the extreme lack of and transparency of clothing all around us….Glenn even commented, “Do you think soon it’s going to be acceptable to just go without clothing, entirely?”)– we overheard a young couple at the table beside us. The high school or younger college-aged man said to his female friend, “I know. I’ve really been praying about that.” One overheard comment about our God, in a world of messiness from the father of lies, was amazingly encouraging to us. We found a moment later to encourage them. I’m determined to say his name, speak of prayer and blessings, and pass out my little invitation-to-worship cards more consistently. We need to speak His name in public places–not to appear holy, but to be holy and encourage others to holiness; to find ways to inform others of HIS holiness and to lead them to the truth that frees from the one who entangles and tortures. 

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:14-16

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley Cindy Colley

Six blessed people opened the door last year!

Last year, some of you participated in this exciting synchronized door-knocking event. Of course, anytime a person opens the door to hear the gospel, it’s exciting. But when scores of thousands of doors are knocked in one day, our God will enter more homes and be glorified in many places at once! The gospel will find multiple receptive hearts. That’s what is still happening from last year’s national door knocking day and we’re hoping to keep right on knocking, just in more places. Matt Wallin, whose big passion for lost souls makes him the impetus behind this event, says this:

“Good morning brothers and sisters! We have an exciting idea that we want to invite you to be a part of. On October 2, 2021 we will once again join with hundreds of congregations of the church of Christ and dozens of brotherhood works for the Second Annual Brotherhood Wide Door Knocking Day. Our goal is to get at least 1000 churches of Christ going into their communities on the same day.

Sign up for free at nextdoor.housetohouse.com to join hundreds of sister congregations. When you sign up you will receive door knocking tips and videos to help you get excited, encouraged, and prepared. Signing up will also let us know how many churches are participating so that we can all encourage each other.

You’ve worked with us before to share the truth with your friends and family. Will you join us in taking those gospel truths to your neighbors? Visit https://thecolleyhouse.org/store to get prepared and purchase things to share with your neighbors, and then sign up to join us!

A knock could change everything. Let’s go meet our neighbors.”

Last year, at least six lives were changed by the gospel. 6 X eternity. 6 X infinity. 6 X lifetimes of influence. You can’t even finish that equation. The product is better than we can know! So go ahead now and get this on your calendars. Let’s make a giant open door for the gospel! Someone who opens a door on October 2 may be the gospel preacher who will bring hundreds to the Lord. Someone who answers may be holding the baby who will grow up and be the elder who shepherds a large flock of God’s people. After all, some of you who are reading are people who, long ago, opened the door to the best day, the best news, of your lives!

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mariah…New Lyrics in Her Life’s Song!

Walking through the secretary’s office to my husband’s office a few Sundays ago, I noticed a visitor’s card on the desk. I’d been seeing this pretty young mom come in with a tiny toddler, a beautiful little girl named Lyric. They’d sit on the very front row and the baby was as close to perfectly behaved as they come. I finally got the chance to meet Mariah on a Wednesday night and told her I’d love to study the Bible with her and answer any questions she might have about the church. I gave her a card with my name and contact info. She thanked me and I really wasn’t at all sure I would ever get the chance to have that conversation. 

But there, on the office desk, on the card she’d filled out, was a big check mark on the box: “I’d like to become a member of this church.” Her full name and phone number were right there on the card. So I texted Mariah. She quickly responded that she’d like to study together. I got that great blessing among all relationship blessings: to study the plan of salvation with Mariah. We studied that  gift of grace whereby we are saved, and how we receive it, at length in our first study together. 

The best day of Mariah’s life came sooner than I expected. On the second of our study times together, she asked a simple question—one that’s been at the center of religious confusion in ”Christendom” for many years: “Whenever I am baptized, can it be true that I will always be saved, no matter what I might do?” 

As you can imagine, I saw a huge door opening, and together we walked through that door to passages like Acts 8, where we discussed a man named Simon, who clearly was saved and only a short time later was told he must repent and pray for forgiveness, lest he should perish. We talked about how that Paul, himself, even acknowledged the possibility that he could be a castaway from the faith (1 Corinthians 9:27). We looked at the first half of Romans 6 and how that powerful exhortations and warnings were given to Christians about abstaining from sin. Conversely, then, we examined the scriptures to give Mariah comfort in the knowledge that, as long as she offers God her best, walking in the light, the blood will continually cleanse her soul (1 John 1:7), making her constantly ready to meet the Lord. 

As I got ready to pray with Mariah before she left the little office that day, I asked if she had any more questions I should think about before our next meeting. She said “Yes. There is one more thing. What do I do to be baptized. I know I should do that.” 

I asked her, then, to tell me why she’d like to be baptized. Her answer did not take a lot of thought at this point:  “I need to die to sin. I need to put on Christ, to be a Christian. I need to be washed.” Those, of course, are perfect answers from Romans 6, Galatians 3 and Acts 22.  

I then asked her a very sober question: “Mariah, if you were to die before this baptism, what would happen to your soul.” 

She answered, “I would be lost.” 

It was a short conversation then about all of the reasons that, once a person knows the gospel, NOW is the time to be washed. We quickly went and retrieved my favorite preacher from his own Bible study, found a sweet mama to watch little Lyric, spent a minute in the changing room and Glenn immersed Mariah, after she sweetened her lips with the great confession of faith in the Christ. It was among the sweetest wet hugs ever, and that night, I took Mariah to the sweet communion table with Jesus himself. It was a great Sunday!

Well, I had a taping for Digging Deep that day, and I was driving to Florida that evening to help with grandchildren. I had to pack, study a little for the recording and try and cook a meal for my husband to carry to some aged people who were counting on me. But none of that mattered anymore. When a person gets to see salvation—up-close-and-personal— when she gets to be the wet babe-in-Christ hugger, it just precludes, excludes, and disseminates all stress from that day. I sat on the front pew with Mariah and Lyric that Sunday night and I cherished the thought that sweet, tiny, Lyric will never have to know a moment when she does not have a mother of faith guiding her sweet soul to the throne room of the great Redeemer. 

As we found a quiet place to give thanks after the baptism, my husband said to Mariah, “You are just as washed–just as much a Christian–as anyone in this church.”

I praise Him! I can never be a savior. I cannot redeem. I cannot purchase one single soul. I am, in fact, as helplessly, hopelessly lost without Calvary as any person with whom I ever get the opportunity to study. (Some days I just know that, except for the cross, I’m the most lost of all.)  But every time I get even the possible chance to be the wet-babe hugger, I want to be there. Those are the best moments of life, because they reach into eternity. May God give us the courage to just say, text or write the words “Can we study together?” It takes a moment of faith that even someone as weak as Cindy Colley can muster, but, every now and again it might, because of Calvary, start a chain of events that leads to eternity with Him. 

If you’d like to encourage Mariah, that would be a capital idea:

Mariah     
℅ West Huntsville church of Christ     
1519 Old Monrovia Road
Huntsville, AL 35806

And, by all means, keep her in your prayers. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Opposite Directions

 

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

Today I’m traveling south and east to get my arms around some pretty sweet grandchildren, one of which is just under two weeks old. Since tomorrow night’s the podcast and I’ll be doing it live and remotely from a distant location I feel like I’m almost moving mountains to make this trip. 

We are the sandwich generation, so my husband is traveling west and north to do some much needed tasks for elderly parents. He’s moving mountains, too (or at least trying to) after a very long time of their inaccessibility to groceries (and almost everything else) because of extreme cold and ice coverage in their area. 

So last night after worship, we parted, Glenn and I, and began making miles in the exact opposite directions from one another to give hugs to people we love who are at the exact opposites of the spectrum of life. For a good bit of this week, we will be about 12 hours apart from one another. 

When God says he removes my sins and casts them from me as far as the east is from the west, that’s profound. I move, in human increments, as best I can, TOWARD God and my sins are moved in divinely amazing proportions BY God to a far away and irretrievable place in the opposite direction of the one in which I am moving. 

Earlier in the day yesterday, I had a chance to study with a young woman I’m growing to love very much. She asked me about her sins. “When God forgives me, is it impossible for me to ever be lost again? Am I permanently saved?” We went through passages that teach us what to do about sin after the original east-west casting done by God. We talked about Bible characters who did sin impenitently and rebelliously after baptism and what was required for their restoration and subsequent salvation. But we also talked about the continual comfort of 1 John 1:7 for those baptized believers who are walking in the light (doing diligence to be followers of Christ: 

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

I explained to her how that the word for “cleansing” here is a verb of continuation. It means “keeps on cleansing.” She got that and she loved it. 

I asked her if she had other questions about the gospel she’s learned in recent days. She said 

“Yes, I have one more….Like, how can I be baptized…because I know I need to.” 

I asked her to explain to me her reasons for wanting to be baptized. She had a little list in her heart. 

“To be born again, to be dead to sin, to be washed from sin, to be saved.” 

I spent the night (or part of it anyway) in a hotel room near Atlanta, Georgia. And I slept soundly with a very grateful heart for the waters of baptism that washed away my friend’s sins yesterday…that removed them from her, as far as the east is from the west. I spoke with three sisters at West Huntsville who are going to check on her while I’m in Florida this week. One of them already invited her to our local Digging Deep study which happens tonight. On this, her first full day of being a Christian, I am praying very hard for her. Yesterday was the best day of her life. But the devil loves to give big challenges to those who are babies in the Lord. 

I’m so glad we serve a God who can put sin wherever he wants it to be; and, barring my choice to be close to sin again, He can keep its guilt far, far away from me…as far as the east is from the west. 

I’m going to spend a few miles today praising Him for this game-changing reality!