Estes Echo

UNDERSTANDING PAIN, GRIEF, AND THE GREAT PHYSICIAN
GOSPEL MEETING WITH LOVELL HAYES

Brother Hayes is the pulpit minister for the East Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, TN. His education includes an A. A. in English (Southwestern Christian College); a B. S. in Bible (Abilene Christian University); a Masters in Human Development Counseling (Univ. of Illinois at Springfield); and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Marriage and Family ( Southern Christian University).

He is a Nationally Certified and State Licensed Professional Counselor. He teaches in the counseling department of Freed-Hardeman University as adjunct faculty. He and his wife, Patricia also conduct Marriage enhancement workshops and Family enrichment workshops.

JANUARY 26-29

Sunday – 9:30am Isaiah 53
Sunday – 10:30 am Should Saints Hurt?
JOIN US FOR A NOON POTLUCK MEAL ON SUNDAY.
Sunday – 1:00 pm Growing Through Grief
Monday – 7:00 pm Sanctified Self Esteem
Tuesday – 7:00 pm Faith in the Great Physician
Wednesday – 7:00 pm The Big Hurt

All adult Bible classes will meet together Sunday morning.

Estes Echo

Disuse Atrophy

In the fall of 1972, I was a senior in high school and a running back for the football team. In the third game of the season, I was injured in a play in which my left hip was dislocated. Once I had been treated at Baptist Hospital in Memphis, the course of healing was to stay flat on my back, with my left leg in traction for six weeks. It was at that time I learned what the words “disuse atrophy” meant. After laying in bed for weeks and with the lack of using or exercising my leg, the muscles in my leg weakened and shrunk in size. Once my mobility did return, it took much effort and regular exercise to regain my leg strength.

As I consider disuse atrophy, I cannot help but apply this concept to spiritual things. It seems that just as muscles have the ability to develop atrophy, so does our spiritual life. Failure to exercise our minds in spiritual matters, leads to spiritual disuse atrophy. The Hebrews writer in chapter 5, verses 11 and following, mentions to the readers that their spiritual growth was not what it should be. They were not equipped to be teachers of God’s word as they should have been, instead they had allowed their spiritual growth to wane. In other words, spiritually, they suffered disuse atrophy.

As we begin this new year, evaluate your spiritual life and if you discover you are suffering from disuse atrophy, keep in mind that just as with muscle atrophy, spiritual atrophy can be reversed with spiritual exercise and improved spiritual nutrition.

–Mark Scott

Estes Echo

New Year’s Resolutions

Have you made a list? Lose weight. Spend less; save more. Be more organized. While we are barraged with ads full of ways to make our physical lives better every January, Christians can think of the new year as a time to revisit our spiritual lives which are much more important than any earthly provisions.

Renewal is a biblical idea. God renews our spirit and soul, washes away and forgives sin. We know that in the Old Testament, God’s people were constantly in need of renewal and a return to God’s ways as they fell away and were returned:

  • Ps. 65:3 As far as our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.
  • Ps. 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
  • Isa. 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. I will turn my hand upon you and purge away the dross…”

Jesus and his early followers taught of spiritual renewal through Christ’s blood and baptism:

  • John 3:3-6 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say into thee, Except a man be born of born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
  • John 5:24 He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death into life.
  • Acts 2:38 Then Peter said. Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  • Rom. 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For as we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.
  • I John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.
  • Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is within me.

When we are in Christ’s light, we have seemingly endless opportunities to do good things and spread his light to dispel the darkness in the world. We can resolve to do many things in 2014. Just a few: read God’s word, tell others about his goodness, help those less fortunate that we are, help in an Estes ministry, teach Bible class, take food to the sick, send cards of encouragement, even smile at someone who is down.

–submitted

Estes Echo

Transformed Through Christ

My dad grew up in eastern Kentucky and southern Indiana. I remember traveling from Oklahoma to visit dad’s family perhaps five or six times during my time at home. While we didn’t visit very often, those trips were always filled with fun and excitement. Primarily, I remember spending some amazing time with family – a rather large family as my Dad was the oldest of nine children. There was an abundance of aunts, uncles, and cousins, far more than existed in Oklahoma. I remember a distinctive connectedness to these people and to this location.

In November, I had a chance to visit one of the cousins that I had spent the most time with when I visited Indiana as a child. Our last visit had been in 1982, over 30 years ago. I arrived at his house on a Friday afternoon. The bond of family reconnected immediately. We talked, laughed, and cried as we recounted the memories of childhood, the passing of grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, and the development of our own families. The conversation was continuous and lasted until about 2:00 a.m. It began anew the next day and carried on throughout the weekend. The love, the transparency, the comfortableness, the joy, and the peace that filled my heart and spirit that weekend were transformative, a welcomed surprise.

In December, I had a similar experience when visiting a congregation in Atlanta. I was sitting in a pew waiting for services to start, when I heard a sweet voice behind me call my name. I turned around and quickly noticed a young lady and two children. It took me a minute to recognize her. She had changed a bit since our last visit about six years ago. But soon, I recognized her – the daughter of one the elders that shepherded the congregation back in Ada, Oklahoma. Again the connection was immediate, and the conversation continuous only slightly interrupted for worship. The same feelings of love, transparency, comfortableness, joy, and peace again transformed my heart and spirit.

Two reflections related to these two experiences. First, I wonder if my heart and soul are being rekindled with love, transparency, comfort, joy, and peace as I continuously reconnect with my Savior through daily meditations and prayers? If I can be transformed, if my heart and spirit can be changed, by a conversation with my earthly family and friends, how much more should they be transformed through my continuous interactions with Christ? Second, I wonder if these experiences perhaps provide us a glimpse of our homecoming in Heaven? If reconnectedness with temporal relationships can elicit such emotions, I can’t begin to comprehend all that will be experienced when we realize that we are forever in the presence of our God, our Christ, the Holy Spirit, and all the saints! May we continue to be transformed through our relationship with Christ so that we can indeed experience all that is promised in eternity.

–C. J. Vires

Estes Echo

I Wait
I wait for the LORD,
my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
(Psalm 130:5-6)

How good are you at waiting? Do you feel like your life is passing you by while you stand in line at Walmart? Does your blood pressure go up every minute you sit in the waiting room at the doctor’s office? Do you often wonder if a traffic light is malfunctioning because it takes it so long to change from red to green? If your answer to any of these is “yes,” then I feel your pain. I hate to wait. Yet, how we wait in these momentary situations affects our peace of mind and our relationships with those around us. Even more importantly, how we wait during difficult seasons of life reveals something about our faith and confidence in God’s care for you.

The text above from Psalm 130 reveals a heart that feels the tension between the patience that waiting requires and the anxiousness that it causes. In the first three lines, the writer boldly asserts his faith. “I wait for the LORD” makes the point that he is not simply waiting on his luck to change. He is waiting for the LORD to act. The second line adds, “in his word I hope.” God has made promises of blessing and care, and he is banking on what God has said. Then, for the third time, he asserts again that he “waits for the Lord.”

The last two lines, however, reveal that even the person of faith may still feel discomfort even during the waiting. Stating it twice for emphasis, the author seems to be saying that the intense feelings that his waiting brings are “more than those who watch for the morning.” If you have ever had night duty in an unpleasant job, then you know what it is like to long for the first light of morning. Knowing that the dawn will come that brings relief, we have hope, but we still feel that it cannot come soon enough.

This psalm is honest about the feelings that come when we have to wait, but in order to confront the anxious feelings, there is an assertion of faith.

When we have done all that we can think of to do to help a situation, when we have prayed repeatedly, asked others for advice, and made our exhausted our resources, only to find that the situation is still not resolved, what do we do then? We wait on the Lord. We wait, asserting our faith, hoping in his word, and watching for the morning.

–Jesse Robertson

Estes Echo

Each day we feed our body to take care of its physical needs. We eat two to three meals per day with snacks in between. Without food our body sends out messages telling us “I’m Hungry.” We experience hunger pains, headaches, and weakness. Without physical nourishment we suffer the consequences. Our spiritual body also needs feeding but many are on a spiritual diet. Actually they are on a spiritual starvation. Feeding the spiritual side of you is more important than the physical side. When we deprive our spiritual bodies of spiritual food we suffer from spiritual hunger pains and we don’t always recognize what is causing them. We suffer from a void in our lives and we try to fill it with things we think will make us happy but it is like only drinking milk. It satisfies for a little while.

The Hebrew writer wrote in chapter 5:12 “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” If you could look at the spiritual maturity of the Church you would see people who are spiritual babies and some who are spiritual adults. Some who are spiritual babies have been babies for many years, never feeding the hunger that rages within them. Physically they are well advanced in years but not spiritually.

Set aside time each day to read your Bible. God has given you the instruction manual to your life; read it and don’t try to figure out things by yourself. Feed your soul and watch it grow.

Frank Bell

Estes Echo

The beautiful poinsettias that will be displayed in our auditorium during the holiday season have special meaning. Below is a list of those who provided the plants and who they are honoring. Thank you to Nancy Bennett for coordinating this project.

Mildred Beard in memory of Scott Family
Willard and Linda Beshires in memory of Holly Beshires
Kenneth and Patsy Davis in memory of their Parents
Mary Lou Hardy in memory of Neil Hardy
Hibbett and Moore Families in memory of Gene Hibbett
Rick and Brenda Johnson in memory of Traci Johnson
Nathan and Melissa Judd & Mitch and Natalie Zlatovich in memory of Mary Shook
Maness Family in memory of Retta Maness
Libby Maynard in memory of Ralph Maynard
Marti McDaniel in memory of Hank McDaniel and her parents
Anne Phillips in memory of O.H. Phillips
Rex and Denise Phillips in memory of Vicki Ellis and C.H. Phillips
David and Keith Ross in memory of Willie Mae Ross
Jurilee Rouse in memory of J.B. and Keith Rouse
Mark and Diane Stewart in memory of Lester and Ruth Stewart

Estes Echo

As we all get ready to return to our jobs, school, and routines after Thanksgiving, we should remember that thankfulness should be a constant in our lives. Christians don’t really need to be reminded of this, but in case you have forgotten, consider the following:

Deuteronomy 3:17 “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.”—If you enjoyed a good meal on Thanksgiving, or if you didn’t go hungry, remember that those gifts of sustenance come from God.

Philippians 1:3-4 “I thank God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.—We have the love and support of a Christian family, an incredible gift sent from God.

Psalm 30:12 “That my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever.”—We have the joy that comes from a relationship with the most high God.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”—Even when our lives are not perfect or filled with difficulty, we have prayer, joy, and God’s promises to be thankful for.

2 Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.”—The “indescribable” gift sent from God—life, his son, eternal life, and so much more that is “indescribable” are ours to cherish.

Estes Echo

Choose you this day!!!

“Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”—Joshua 24: 14-15. These are some of the most influential expressions in all of scripture. Joshua’s edification to the Children of Israel is one that still echoes in New Testament scripture even today. Jesus’s statements “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15 clearly show that God still anticipates the same kind of whole-hearted service from modern day Christians that he expected from the Children of Israel.

I can’t even begin to visualize how much courage it must have taken for Joshua to stand up before an entire nation of people that had for the most part chosen to serve other gods. Joshua, even though he was a leader, demonstrated tremendous courage and commitment to God when he made his declaration. The words of Joshua should reverberate throughout our homes each day. As New Testament Christians, Joshua’s statement has never been more profound than in our case because the concerns that we face in our world today. We must come to the realization that human nature seeks only to satisfy the flesh. Separation from that desire and a commitment to serve God must be our aspiration.

The fact that Joshua said “choose you this day” implies a couple of things. First and foremost, we are not given the assurance of tomorrow. We must make the best of our present and determine our purpose to serve the Lord. Secondly, Joshua speaks of a daily choice. Every morning, as we wake, we are gifted with another prospect to choose what kind of a person we will become. In the words of Kid President “What are you teaching the world?”

Joshua set an amazing illustration for us to read about and mature from. If we choose to do naught with the days that God has given us, what will God’s reaction be to us in judgment? I challenge us to ask ourselves daily the same question that Joshua asked of his people all those many years ago, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.” I hope as a church our reply is, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

–Steven Marise

Estes Echo

A Mindset of Thankfulness

It is such a blessing that we are able to experience the thanksgiving season. We cherish the time spent with family and friends, and we focus on the things in life that we should be thankful for. What a great practice it is to count your blessings as it is said, but what about a thankful mindset as a daily practice?

More often than not we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, and we forget the good. We are so surrounded by a world that does not have the same Godlike viewpoint. Our thoughts turn to sadness or heartache, and we are most often faced with an ever-popular media output of constant news that outlines the horrors of humanity. It is no wonder that we need to set aside a day like Thanksgiving to be thankful. However, the Bible speaks of our need to be set apart from the world, a peculiar people. A thankful attitude is one way that we can separate ourselves from our world. First Corinthians chapter 1 verses 4-5 say, “ I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way, in all your speaking and in all your knowledge.” Paul here is telling the Corinthians, who had their fair share of challenges, that even amidst all the strife and trial he was still mindful that because of the gift that Jesus gave to the world he could still be thankful. Paul was not only thankful for the gift of the cross, but also thankful for his Corinthian brethren. Too often we get wrapped up in what someone might have done, or their past, and we forget they are God’s children just like we are.

In this season of thankfulness, I challenge us to be the kind of thankful that sets us apart from the world. “Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]” (I Thessalonians 5: 18). We have an opportunity on a daily basis as God’s people to show the world that we are the light of the world, given a holy mission to seek and save the lost. Our spirit must always remain thankful even in the times we think we cannot, because it is through our thanksgiving that we glorify God.

Psalm 118: 1 “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Let us remember that as Christians, we don’t need a season to be thankful. We have the opportunity through Jesus to thank God each and every day. The question that we should be asking ourselves this season is, “How thankful to God am I daily?” I think once we can answer that question with sincerity we will really be able to grow in spirit and in truth.

–Steven Marise