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Evangelism

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!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Providence…Matters!

 

I know the Providence of God is more easily seen in hindsight than as it occurs, but the past few weeks brought Providence to an obvious center-stage in the life of my friend Terry Matter. Catholic, in religious background, Terry lived with her husband, Ray, and daughter, Elizabeth on Long Island, New York. Stressed by the fast-paced lifestyle, but mostly by the widespread “politically correct” environment—the rejection of absolute truth, the rejection of “author’s intent” of the constitution of the United States, the resultant pervasion of sexual immorality and the threatening invasion on parental rights—Terry and Ray began looking to move to a place where they would be able to raise Elizabeth in a more conservative (and frankly more sane) community. Terry, having been a leader in a homeschool group on Long Island and a teacher in their church, was excited to exit New York. The Black Lives Matter movement raged violently in nearby New York City and it had extended its protests to the neighborhood where Terry and Ray lived on Long Island. By the day in which the Matters’ activities were actually interrupted by the shouts of protest at the end of their street…when Ray left the girls at home to go and try to talk the protesters down before property on their street was destroyed, it became apparent that it was exit time for their little family. 

 

So Ray, an engineer, found work in Huntsville, AL. (Isn’t God’s Providence sweet?) They came down and put their stuff in storage and themselves in an airbnb. On their very first day to venture out, Terry and Elizabeth went to Indian Creek Park for a nature walk with their Rottweiler, Rosie. Terry clearly recalls the prayer she prayed that morning. “Lord…just two things…Help us to find a good church here and, Lord, help us to find a good homeschool group.” And they were off to the creek. 

 

Get this: Gathered at the creek that morning was a group of moms and kids from the homeschool group that functions under the eldership of the West Huntsville church. The rest is history. 

 

Keep in mind that, if it were not for a wicked virus, our homeschoolers would have been meeting in our building rather than playing in the park. Sometimes out of the most evil eventualities comes a hope that springs eternal. That’s just what happened that day in the life of Terry Matter.

 

A few days later, at a fall picnic at West Huntsville, I asked Terry to study with me. After several in-depth visits, Terry was eager to put on the Lord in baptism. Sometimes when you study with someone, you have some hounding doubts about their propensity to keep the faith. Terry’s determined. I know all of us can be distracted and deterred, but Terry is already doing hard things for the cause and she encourages me with her response of meekness to every lesson she hears. “I’m a blank canvas,” she says. “Teach me.” Terry is a great musician, a music teacher, a former realtor, politically astute and active, but, most of all, she has a humble heart before God. She wants to do right. There are lots of reasonable procrastination “lines”  she could have given on the day she became thoroughly convicted of her need for submission in baptism, but she offered none. There were folks she wished could have been there to witness her baptism. But she said,  “How can I wait? What would happen to me if I died?…I have to do this. I’m ready.”

 

Cindy Colley is learning lots from Terry, too; not the least of which is to just walk through doors He provides. I praise Him for a seemingly regular day at the park that made a difference eternally in the lives of the Matter family and blessed the West Huntsville family in a big way, too. The Matter family is in a good kind of culture shock and they definitely bring to us a renewed appreciation for the family of God that we sometimes take for granted. 

 

A Christian mom (from an extremely northern state) contacted me yesterday and told me that her college-aged daughter is seriously thinking of moving to Huntsville, Alabama —just because she wants to find a strong place where Christians can grow together and opportunities for service are greater. They are coming to visit us and make the plans this spring. I can’t wait to see what God’s Providence has in store for this faithful family.  (They are under the Romans 8:28 umbrella. It’s a promise.) I do not think I have met them, but I can’t wait to know them. Sometimes, one place, one job, one friendship, one contact is a stepping stone in His Providence toward heaven. 

 

Somehow, these encouraging stories are reminiscent of Cornelius in Acts 10. He was unsaved. He was praying…and a God, who could not yet call Cornelius His child, was hearing and being sure there was a way for Him to know truth. The gathering at the creek makes me think of Lydia in Acts 16 who was gathered with women for a good reason at the river where “prayer was frequently made.” I’d say our women prayed that day at the creek. They just didn’t know exactly how much their gathering and prayer that day would mean in one particular life. But God is good that way. 

 

We know that Romans 8:28 applies in the lives of God’s children. That’s huge to so many, right now. It is huge to me today. But God can also bless those who are searching, but who have not yet named His name. There are those in your circle of influence who may be praying the very prayer of Cornelius even now. It takes just a few seconds to say “Would you study the Bible with me?” Asking that question is certainly nothing worthy of accolades. But the answers God often gives through his natural Providence are worthy of all the glory we can give Him!

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Dear Baby G3,

Tomorrow is the day! We’ve prayed for you hundreds of times already and we will pray for you hundreds more, if the Lord lets us live to watch you grow. Today, I spent the day with your older brother, Ezra, and your big sister, Colleyanna. They pray for you regularly, too, and they are already  over-the-moon in love with you.  We went fishing and had a picnic and read stories and played bad guys. I’m totally exhausted and I had no time for reflection today; and yet, there you were…right there in my heart and in my prayers all day long. I kept thinking about the amazing fact that you are rolled up there in your silent world of utter warmth and provision inside our Hannah and, early in the morning, you will be crying your little lungs out in a hospital in Chattanooga. God sees you in both places. He already knows the things we will finally find out tomorrow.  I don’t know if you are a he or a she yet, but, if I’ve learned one thing about being a grandmother in the past five years, it’s that there’s always enough love in a mammy’s heart to give the whole thing, the mammy’s heart to every single grandchild. Once they put you in my arms, I’ll be inextricably linked at the heart to you. (In fact, I am already!) There’s nothing good, that I have to give, that you cannot have, for the asking.

The third child. It was the third son of Adam and Eve through which the earth was populated again through Noah. It was the third son of Jacob who fathered the priestly tribe. It was the third child of Amram and Jochebed who led Israel out of Egypt. You, Baby G3, can do, as your brother Ezra says “…anything you get your mind to.” And if you “get your mind to” the right things, your mammy and papa will move whatever of heaven and earth we can move to help you do those things.

I know your mama and dad will tell you one day about the pandemic that was occurring as you came into the world. No one alive now will soon forget these days, Much to our disappointment, we’re not going to be allowed into the hospital to be with your mother or to hold you when you are moments old. We’ll make up for that when you come home from the hospital.

So today, we fished. We fished and fished, but caught nothing, except a tree limb. Ezra said it was because people, across the lake,  were being too loud. (I think Ezra was pretty competitive in the decibel department.) The wind was blowing and we kept having to retrieve things as they blew into the water (a canvas chair carrier and even one of our poles.) We got our line in a tree and a hook in the back of my pants. We saw about five times as many turtles as we saw fish. We dropped our Pop Tarts for the ants and we poured our drinking water in the little tub for our worms to “have a dwink.”  We had fun, but the physical take-away was disappointing.

When we got in the car to come home, we sat there for a little bit and talked about some people in the Bible who fished for hours and caught nothing. Jesus told them to try once more on the other side of the sea. And when they did, Peter, James and John caught their nets full of fishes. But still, Jesus had an even bigger catch for them to make. He wanted them to become fishers of men.  And He calls us all to be fishers of men, too.

We talked about you, Baby G, and how that we would all help you grow up to be someone who always wants to tell people about Jesus. No matter what else you do, we are going to keep praying this for you. One day, we hope we will be in the delivery room when you are born again of water and the spirit–truly delivered!

It’s just now midnight, as I type. It’s your birthday! Happy, happy birthday! I’ll be waiting anxiously during the next few hours for the news that you are here, that you are safe, and that you are beautiful. And when I finally get to you, then you and I will not be social distancing!

You have our hearts!

Mammy and Papa

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #36: Proverbs 14:12–The Deadly Way that Seems Right

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons  for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:  

My Favorite Proverbs: The Deadly Way that Seems Right (Prov. 14:12)

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

There are some things that are beyond our language to adequately describe.  The gap between our mortal intelligence and God’s intelligence is one of those things.  Isaiah sounds awe-struck when he writes,  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:9).  While thinking on that, add this verse into your meditation: “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psa. 119:105).  He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent.  By comparison, we are mortal and limited, and utterly dependent on Him every day (Matt. 5:45).

Men are too proud when they boast of their life choices that are contrary to the Bible, while none of them have died and returned to tell how things worked out for them. They are replaced by yet more worldly men who “preach” their methods of living.  Every generation produces its hedonists, agnostics and atheists. In addition, for those who love to be religious but don’t feel religion necessarily has to reflect the Scriptural pattern, here’s Jesus’ warning, “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ (Matt. 15:9).  

In the church of Christ we want the Bible to be our final authority for our faith and practice.  Some of our practices may seem strange to people…practices such as eating the Lord’s Supper every Sunday or insisting that baptism is necessary to be saved, or having only men to be our preachers. But we practice these because of our determination to adhere to God’s word on these subjects (Acts 20:7, 1 Pet. 3:21, Acts 22:16, 1 Tim. 2:11-14). There is no biblical authority for telling a lost person that, to be saved, he must pray the sinner’s prayer or “accept Christ as your personal Savior.”  Where did any of the New Testament churches use instrumental music with their vocal/a capella music?  It isn’t there.  Do we read of women preaching for the church assemblies in the New Testament?  Was sprinkling ever a God-approved substitute for immersion in water when a person was baptized? If these are matters that seem unimportant or ambiguous to you, I’d love to communicate with you about them. Let’s talk about the importance of authority.

Today, meditate on this proverb and then, “… whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17).

   

Bible time with Glenn and Cindy:

Whoosh! Tonight (as I’m writing, it’s Sunday) was an exciting night at the Colley’s house. The wind became fierce and a huge tree fell down on the power lines on our street, placing a live wire across our yard and, of course, knocking out transformers and power. Our neighbors across the street had a pretty good sized tree right on their front porch! I was planning to share something else tonight, but since this huge wind came through some of your neighborhoods tonight, let’s think about some of the times in our lives when we might have instant needs around us, that we, as God’s people could fill. Are there some times when we can more easily show people a servant heart? 

It was pretty fun tonight to see neighbors immediately working with chain saws, loaning generators and going to check on each other, even in the middle of a pandemic. Let’s see, tonight, if we can get our kids to think about times when it might be easier to find opportunities to serve. 

  1. Try to get them to think of the things we’ve been able to do during this COVID time that weotherwise would not have done (making masks, doing drive-by parades for cheer etc…).
  2. What are some “extra” ways people minister to needy people when there are storms? Help them think of these ways. 
  3. What are some times in life when we have the chance to, on-the-spot, pray for people who are in an emergency situation?  Do you do this when you see a wreck or a house on fire, even if you do not know the people involved? Start this practice with your children if you do not already do this.
  4. Review with your children the definition and consequences of a famine. Turn with them to 1 Kings 17 and tell them the account of Elijah going to the widow of Zarephath. Explain to them that she was not a citizen of Israel, the nation that really knew God. Elijah had a chance to do some really needed things for her; first because of a famine and, then, because of a death in her family. Make sure they see that, in the beginning of the account she referred to your God (verse12), but by the end (verse 24), she believed in Jehovah and the truth of Elijah’s message. 
  5. Do you think that people sometimes come to trust God because they can see the good things that His people do? Read Matthew 5:16 and discuss this with your children. We cannot do miracles like Elijah, but can we still show people the love that God has for them when we minister to their needs? Try to get your children to think of some occasion when your family has helped someone who has later come to the Lord. 
  6. If you’ve never experienced this wonderful phenomenon, try to think with your kids about someone you know who doesn’t know the Lord. Is there something good that you can do for this person or family this week to try and develop a relationship in which you can show them the Lord? Pray about this endeavor with your kids tonight. 

Tomorrow night, we’ll try to get back into the meat of Matthew 25, if the Colleys have power to transmit. There are a few more nuggets there that we are hoping to cover.