Estes Echo

Growing Up

The maturity of children from babes to adults is a fascinating development. They’re born into this world totally ego-centric. For all babies know, the whole world revolves around them. All they care about are themselves. Babies weep when they’re hungry, whine when they’re uncomfortable, wail when they’re irritable. But to the glory of God they grow out of this in time with the proper training. Eventually they’ll mature out of the desire to always be first. Their little egos will need to be stroked less often as they learn to accept their value from God instead of from other people.

As much as I love babies and children, I’m surely glad they mature and don’t remain trapped in immaturity throughout their lives. It is God’s plan for people to mature. Although it’s God’s plan, the choice is ours to do so. The scriptures command to us, “Press on to maturity” (Hebrews 6:1). We are commanded to grow up: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). It happens often, however, that believers stop maturing or even go backwards in their development.

It has been my observation that much of the spiritual immaturity in the church today comes from attitudes. The Apostle Paul teaches us to, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). He writes on to teach us about the humility and self-denial of Christ. Is that the type of attitude you have? Or do you think only about yourself? Do you desire attention? Do you lust to have your ego stroked by others? Do you threaten to quit when things don’t go your way? If so, then this is not the attitude of Christ.

It seems to me that when many people speak of spiritual maturity, they’re not thinking about having the attitude of Jesus. Spiritual immaturity is seen in people who, like young children, always desire attention and recognition. Spiritual immaturity is seen in the person who, like a baby, always wants to be fed, but never does any feeding for others. Spiritual immaturity is illustrated by the kid who threatens to take his ball home and quit if the game isn’t going the way he likes.

Tenure as a Christian should not be confused with spiritual maturity. The number of years a person has been a Christian doesn’t guarantee maturity at all. There are plenty of people who’ve been Christians for decades who still need to grow up. Do not confuse Bible knowledge with spiritual maturity. Although we are to mature in our understanding of God’s word (1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:12-14), one may know the scriptures exceptionally well, yet think and behave like a child. Church attendance should not be confused with spiritual maturity. We’ve all known “three times a week brethren” who have displayed the attitude of babies. But thinking less about self and more about others is a definite sign of spiritual maturity.

Self-centeredness is at the heart of spiritual immaturity and a violation of scripture. Paul warned Timothy that, “Men will be lovers of self” (2 Timothy 3:2). He warned the Philippians of, “Those who seek after their own interests” (2:21). Being self-centered often results in problems for marriage, families, and church. “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage wars in your members?” (James 4:1-2). Jesus, after observing the behavior of several religious people, condemned those who are always seeking a place of honor and recognition and told his disciples not to be this way (Luke 14:7-11).

As Christians we’re told, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interest of others” (Philippians 2:4). Why? Because love “does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Learning to think of others and not just of yourself is a major sign of spiritual maturity. This is a sign that we have grown up in our faith. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Jesus, Luke 9:23).

–Caleb Cunningham
–Submitted from the Salem Story, bulletin of the Salem Church of Christ in Salem, Alabama

Estes Echo

OCTOBER 27, 6 – 8pm
Haunted Hallways, Games, and Goodies

Each year, with the help of many individuals and families, we line up cars, vans and SUV’s in the parking lot–all decorated to entertain and hand out candy to hundreds of children and their families. There are games and prizes, hot dogs and snacks, crafts and much, much more! This is a great outreach for our community.

We are looking forward to a great event this year —but MANY volunteers will be needed!

There are many ways you can get involved in Trunk-or-Treat…

SETUP– We will set up the tables downstairs and in the foyer for Trunk-or-Treat on Sunday night. Most of the decorating will be done on Monday night. See Rachel Salmon, Sara Wood, Stacey Dalton, or Shawna Northrop if you can help with this task.

VOLUNTEER–Contact Suzanne Scott to help with simple games and craft stations. Easy and fun! You will be provided with details before the event.

FOOD–Bring finger foods or chili for hot dogs. Lots of drinks and desserts will also be needed. See Shannon Morris or Christy McManus to help in this area.

TRUNKS– We need lots of trunks! Decorate your trunk with fun, kid-friendly decor to bring smiles to the faces of the children and their families as you hand out candy to the costumed young ones! (Setup at 4:00pm–ready for visitors at 5:30pm) Need some help deciding what to make your car look like? PINTEREST IT–there are lots of super creative (and thrifty) DIY trunk decoration ideas. If you would be willing to host a trunk, or “donate” your car for a college student to host a trunk–please contact Suzanne Scott.

And speaking of CANDY–LOTS of candy donations are needed for Trunk-or-Treat! Please bring bags of new, individually-wrapped candy/goodies to the container in the lobby this Sunday, October 25. You could also help with making sure each car is stocked up on candy/goodies during the event.

Of course, you are not limited to only one way to be involved–every helping hand is welcome!

Join the fun by helping out with this tradition! Lots of help will be needed before, during, and after (especially afterwards when we have a mess to clean up!).

Invite your friends and neighbors! Whether you come to hand out candy, to volunteer, or to participate in the festivities, we look forward to seeing you!

UPDATE – Statement on missionary Roberta Edwards

HENDERSON, Oct. 23 – A memorial service for Roberta Edwards will be held on Thursday, Oct. 29, at 7:00 p.m. at Estes Church of Christ, 3505 U.S. Highway 45, Henderson, TN 38340. All are invited to attend.

HENDERSON, Oct. 13 – Estes has received messages from around the world in the past three days, highlighting the far-reaching impact of Roberta Edward’s life and ministry. Edwards was killed Saturday evening, Oct. 10, when gunmen attacked the vehicle she was driving near her home in the Haitian city of Port-au-Prince. A four-year-old foster child was traveling with her and has not been located since the attack.

Edwards was director of SonLight Children’s Home, a foster home and nutrition center that provided full time care to 20 children and served another 160 two meals a day. Following an earthquake in 2010, her work in Haiti expanded to other development projects including education and skills training.

“Roberta was remarkable. She had an unwavering love of God, her children and the people of Haiti,” says Dr. Jesse Robertson, minister at Estes Church of Christ and long-time friend of Roberta. “We are absolutely devastated by her loss.”

An Estes team in Haiti was escorted to the airport on Monday morning, Oct. 12. Photo by Carrie Sells.

An Estes team in Haiti was escorted to the airport on Monday morning, Oct. 12. Photo by Carrie Sells.

A team of 29 Americans, including 18 from Estes, arrived in Port-au-Prince on Friday, Oct. 9, for a week long medical mission trip coordinated by Edwards. They were at the orphanage at the time of the attack. The mission team returned to America on Monday, Oct. 12.

The Estes church is committed to continue the work in Haiti. A small team that includes an elder from Estes and a mental health professional are returning to Haiti this week to spend time with the children at the orphanage. “The needs in Haiti are great,” says Robertson. “We have an obligation to Roberta and her children to see that the work continues.”

Condolences may be addressed to Roberta’s parents, Bob and Laura Edwards, at P.O. Box 1568, Burgaw, NC, 28425.

A memorial service for Edwards will be scheduled in Henderson, Tenn., in the coming weeks. Details about the service and the ongoing work in Haiti will be posted here.


Roberta Edwards

Roberta Edwards

HENDERSON, Oct. 11 – Our hearts are saddened to report the death of our missionary Roberta Edwards. On Saturday evening, Oct. 10, witnesses report that Roberta’s car was stopped by another vehicle which intentionally blocked her path. Armed gunmen emerged from the vehicle and fired into Roberta’s car, causing her death. Haitian authorities are investigating, and the identity of the perpetrators and the motive are not known at this time. She is survived by her parents, Robert and Laura Edwards.

Roberta was the administrator and “Mom” at SonLight Children’s Home in Port au Prince, Haiti, where dozens of children have received foster care over the years. Roberta also directed a nutrition center that feeds 160 children two meals a day, five days a week, in addition to providing funds for these children to attend school. At the time of her death, she was providing care for 20 children at her home. Her work has been overseen by the Estes Church of Christ since 2002. The facility where the children’s home operates is provided by Manna Global Ministries, and supporters of Roberta’s work in Haiti include individuals and congregations across the U.S. and beyond.

Roberta was a light to those in the community and dedicated to bringing hope to the hopeless. She knew that she worked in a dangerous setting, but had committed herself to care for children in Haiti despite these risks. Roberta has received her reward for her dedication to serving the Lord in Haiti. She will be missed in Haiti by her children, the community and friends. She will be missed here in the States as an encouragement and inspiration to us all. It is our intention to honor her memory by continuing the battle against Satan in Haiti and pressing on in the work of God’s kingdom.

Memorial services and funeral arrangements are pending, and we will provide updates as those become available. If you would like to honor Roberta with a memorial gift for the work in Haiti, those may be sent to the Estes Church of Christ, P.O. Box 191, Henderson, TN, 38340, and her family will be notified of your tribute. Please be praying for her parents, her children at SonLight Children’s home and the many Haitian brothers and sisters who are deeply grieved by this loss.

Estes Echo

Gospel Meeting: Let’s Talk About Jesus!

This coming week (October 11-14) Estes invites you to participate in our Gospel meeting featuring six lessons on the nature of our unique savior.

Every generation needs to hear about Jesus. The place of Jesus is unique. God’s “only one of a kind” son (John 3:16) was given for humanity to obtain eternal life. In 1 Timothy 3:16, the apostle Paul spoke of the great story of Jesus, once hidden but now revealed. Several qualities he attributed to Jesus include that He was manifested in the flesh, preached among the nations and received up in glory. Such restrained words stand for the marvelous revelation of Jesus. The four core lessons of our discussion will show more of the revealed place of Jesus, as the promised, rejected, crucified and risen Savior. It is a message that continues to need preaching today as much as it did when the voices of the apostles first echoed in the streets of Jerusalem. The Bible Class lesson is a stand-alone discussion of Christian joy drawn from Philippians. The final lesson will feature the Lord’s great parable of the prodigal son.

Our speaker for the week is Tim Orbison who is is in his nineteenth year preaching for the Maysville, Alabama congregation. He and his wife Libbie met and married while attending Freed-Hardeman and now have three grown children, Lauren Thompson, Leah Shull, and Tyler Orbison and three grandchildren. Tim holds degrees in Bible from FHU and Lipscomb (MAR). His interest in biblical archeology has taken him to Israel for times as well as to Greece and Egypt. He spent a month on an archeological dig in Israel at the ancient site of Ein Gedi, on the Dead Sea. Never a boring scholar, Tim’s interests also include flying as a private pilot, snowboarding, and tinkering with just about anything mechanical. He and Libbie both also enjoy long-distance motorcycle touring and camping.

Estes Echo

Pharaoh’s Hardened Heart

The Bible repeatedly mentions Pharaoh’s heart being hardened as a result of the demands God made and the signs He performed in Egypt (Ex. 7:13, 14, 22, 23; 8:19; 9:7, 35; 14:5). The question is, who was ultimately responsible for Pharaoh’s stubbornness?

The scriptures affirm that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 4:21; 7:3; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:4, 8, 17) but also that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Ex. 8:15, 19, 32; 9:34-35; 10:3; 13:15). The answer to this apparent discrepancy lies in understanding how Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, not by subverting Pharaoh’s free will, but by simply making demands that Pharaoh didn’t like. Pharaoh hardened his own heart because of his own stubborn pride and rebellion.

Just as the sun has different effects on wax and clay (softens one and hardens the other), so the word of God has different effects on those who hear it. God’s actions and demands in Egypt softened the hearts of many (Ex. 4:30-31; 9:20; 10:7) but hardened the heart of Pharaoh. It was not simply a matter of what God said or did that made the difference but rather the brazen opposition of Pharaoh’s obstinate will. How is your heart responding to God?

–Kevin L. Moore

Estes Echo

The Limpet and the Rock

There is a little sea creature called Noto acmaea testudinalis. It is a little gastropod animal having arched, non-spiraling shells with broad ventral openings. These little things are all over the world. They cling tenaciously to rocks and submerged timber. They are better known as Limpets.

The BBC recently reported that scientists have measured the strength of the teeth of the ubiquitous limpet. These persistent creatures use their “teeth” to cling to rocks. High-tech measurements indicated that these small creatures’ teeth are stronger than all but the very strongest of man-made substances–tougher than Kevlar and many high performance carbon fiber materials. Imagine a piece of spaghetti holding 3,000 two-pound bags of sugar; that’s an equivalent strength.

The lives of these small creatures revolves around clinging to the sides of a rock and clinging tenaciously to it. They face their biggest danger when they leave the rock where they have made their home–a small scraped out place in the rock’s surface.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon made use of the limpet in the following illustration.

Our little friend the limpet does not know much, but he clings. He cannot tell us much about what he is clinging to, is not acquainted with the geological formation of the rock, but he clings! He has found something to cling to; and with his little bit of knowledge, he uses it to cling to the rock of his salvation; it is the limpet’s life to cling. Thousands of God’s people have no more faith than this; they know to cling to Jesus with all their heart and soul and this suffices. Jesus Christ is to them a Savior strong and mighty.and they cleave to him as to a rock unmoveable and immutable.

“In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God” (Psa. 62:7).

I cannot comprehend the nature of God, but I believe (Job. 9:10). God is beyond my comprehension. Where my feeble understanding fails, faith takes over. I need no deep and complicated explanation of my God in heaven in order to have a faith that keeps me in the cleft of the Rock of Ages. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psa. 61:2).

O Rock in the desert, I fly unto thee,
When tempest and storms sweep the sky.
I hide in the cleft that was riven for me,
For safety on Thee I rely.


Estes Echo

Baptism in First Century Jerusalem

Many people today have questions about baptism. Is it really necessary? And if so, by what method? With a great deal of confusion in our religious world concerning baptism, it is helpful to see how it was performed in the first century.

As indicated by the New Testament, baptism was first administered by immersion – this is what the term baptize means. This was not a radical invention; Jews had engaged in ritual immersion long before Christ’s birth. They used mikva’ot (singular mikveh), or ritual bathing pools. They were square in shape and equipped with a set of steps by which a person could access the water. Some mikva’ot were small. Others were much larger, more than capable of accommodating an adult.

The Greek word baptizo means to plunge, dip, or submerge. There would be little question about this fact if English translators had chosen to translate the term rather than transliterate it. This decision permitted the continuation of methods already in use that had developed over time, such as sprinkling and pouring.

In the first century, baptism was considered indispensable. This is reflected in the writings of some of the early church fathers. For example, Tertullian called Christians were “little fish” because they were “born in water” (De Baptismo, 17). In time, other methods began to be used. This may have begun in order to accommodate those who did not have adequate availability to the proper facilities. Today, sprinkling and pouring remain as popular methods. Some, recognizing the need for water but exercising greater flexibility, go even farther. I once knew a Presbyterian minister during my time in seminary who “baptized” a man by dipping his thumb into a cup of water and then placing it on the man’s forehead.

The question inevitably arises, “If baptism was by immersion only, how were 3000 people baptized on Pentecost?” To put it simply, mikva’ot were everywhere in Jerusalem. Archaeologists have discovered well over one hundred of them in Jerusalem, with nearly forty within a stone’s throw of the Temple Mount. We have to remember that these pools were for both inhabitants of Jerusalem and pilgrims. This is in addition to the mikva’ot that were part of every synagogue. Additionally, the mikva’ot at the Temple Mount were fed by nearby cisterns which, in turn, were fed by aqueducts so that the pools would have plenty of water.

Jewish believers took ritual purity very seriously. In pictures of mikva’ot, we might notice that there is often a stone dividing line going down the middle of the pool’s staircase. This was to ensure that the ceremonially unclean person did not ascend the same way in which he had entered the mikveh. The distinction between clear and unclean was crystal clear – a person descended down one side of the steps and ascended the other.

Some today may be tempted to think that people make too much of baptism. They disagree that baptism is necessary, citing passages stating that salvation does not consist of works (Eph. 2:9). Here they equate baptism with some kind of meritorious work. Scripture does not define it this way. Instead, it is merely the final act of faith in which one demonstrates his or her commitment to Christ. And its importance is emphasized by Luke, who was careful to record baptism as a part of every conversion experience in the book of Acts.

We might look at another example. If the man born blind had never washed his eyes at the pool of Siloam per Jesus’ instructions, would his eyesight have been restored? Personally, I don’t think so. What if he had washed in some other body of water? Jesus didn’t command him to do that. Jesus gave him specific instructions. If the man had not obeyed, then we have no reason to think that he would have been able to see again.

The offer of sight was a free gift, as long as a specified conditions was met: the man was to wash his eyes in the pool of Siloam. Does this mean the man earned his sight? Of course not. Similarly, salvation in the New Testament has its own conditions. Everyone–excepting the universalists–agrees that faith is a requirement; this is beyond dispute. For those who insist that baptism is necessary, this is merely part of the requirement of faith, as the Bible makes abundantly clear.

–Dewayne Bryant, reprinted from his blog, Looking at all Things Spiritually,

Estes Echo

Biblical Interpretation in Perspective

One extreme of biblical analysis is to deny any supernatural component and to view scripture merely as the words of men. The other extreme is to focus solely on the Bible’s divine perspective as the word of God and to discount the most basic reality that it has been transmitted in the words of men. A more balanced approach is to appreciate that the books of the Bible were inspired by God’s Spirit as they were written by real people in real places in real-life situations, dealing with real issues in actual historical and cultural contexts. Accordingly, to deal fairly and adequately with this collection of sacred writings (2 Timothy 2:15), one must respect its divine origin and supervision, while acknowledging the human contribution and the relevance of foundational matters such as text, language, transmission, authorship, provenance, date, audience, occasion, purpose, and historical-cultural settings.

–Kevin L. Moore

Estes Echo

Remorse or Repentance?

What is remorse? What is repentance to you? When you talk to God, do you confess your sins to Him? We often do and conclude the prayer by saying something like, “God help me to do better…” Though we always need God’s help and God wants to help us, God won’t take over our lives and make our decisions for us. From the very beginning of time, God gave mankind freewill to choose right from wrong, and we will live with the consequences from those decisions. When we sin, either publicly or privately, do we confess our sins to the person we offended or only to God? “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

What gets in our way from doing such a thing? I’d argue that it’s pride. If we could humble ourselves to the point where we can go to someone and ask for help, we will have taken a dramatic step in the right direction to becoming better children of God. Confessing that we have a problem is the first step, but the second step is harder. “Actually turning away from that sin? You’re joking, right?” How often do we “repent” of our sins and the next day find ourselves doing that exact thing that we repented of the day earlier? True repentance involves transformation. Doing the 180. Not living on the Devil’s doorstep. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

It’s so easy in our lives to fall into a rut and get lazy or want something new, but we must be careful. When we look to other places instead of The Book, we will find ourselves so far out there in the world that no one will recognize us. However, if we can change our hearts and minds from thinking evil things to good things, then when life throws us curveballs we can rely on the strength that God offers to us and together we can come out on top with His help. “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). How often do we still try and cling to the wrong thing? Paul charges us to develop a discomfort with evil and a craving for being good and right. There is a difference between remorse and repentance. Feeling sorry or guilty for the bad thing we’ve done is good. I believe that God put that feeling in us for a reason, but true repentance takes action and, yes, work. So the next time we mess up, will we confess our sin and going right back to that lifestyle? Or will we see the bigger picture and fervently try to turn away from the sin in our lives?

–Alex Blackwelder

Estes Echo

Special Servants
(but not the only servants)

The word “deacon” comes from “diakonos” which is translated “servant.” Deacons are appointed because there is a service to be rendered. They are not appointed just so we can say that we have deacons at Estes. Authority is given to the deacons by the elders to perform a specific work that needs to be done, but we cannot expect the deacons to do all of the work. Every member at Estes has work he or she can do to further the cause of Christ.

We are blessed at Estes with a great group of hard working deacons. In I Timothy 3:8-13 we find the qualifications of deacons. If you haven’t read that passage recently, may we suggest you do so. The elders at Estes wish to put forward the names of twelve men we think meet these qualifications and have proven themselves worthy of the office of a deacon. These men are listed here along with the areas of work they will be involved in:

  • Jonathan Estes College Age Class and Activities
  • Jonathan Harrison Incite/Benevolence
  • Ryan Hysmith Haiti Missions
  • Jim Jones Member Support Services
  • Nathan Kitchen Sound Booth
  • Greg Massey Benevolence/Haiti Missions
  • Kevin Moore Local Outreach
  • Jeremy Northrop Member Support Services
  • Davis Parten Move In Service
  • Brent Rudder Lads to Leaders
  • Mark Scott Education Director (Adult Classes)
  • Trent Scott Website/Advertising/Incite

As is our custom at Estes, the congregation will be given a period of about two weeks to carefully consider these men in light of I Timothy 3:8-13. If anyone has a scriptural reason why any one of these men should not be appointed as a deacon, please put that in a signed statement and give it to one of the elders by August 21. If these men are found to be worthy of the office of deacon, they will be installed as such on August 23.

Don’t forget to include these men in your prayers, and let them know you are praying for them as they anticipate serving as deacons of the Lord’s church at Estes.

–The Estes elders