Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Clarke Bynum Has Gone Home to be With the Lord

From the heart of the pastor :

Dear Saints,

A prince of the Church has experienced the translation of his membership from the Church militant to the Church triumphant. This oak of righteousness was at war with his age because he dwelt at the mercy seat of God's Savior as though it was his home - and it was and is. Heaven is more like heaven today than it has ever been. The Vine had not another seed for Clarke to sow, not another plant for him to nurture, not another vine for him to train, so it was his season to receive the blessing that the sacrifice of Jesus merited to him.

I know of no man who more perfectly taught us all to press further and further into the presence of our Kinsman. I know of no 40ish saint who was/is more embroidered with the likeness of His Redeemer. I know of no other giant among men who thought what he taught, preached what he taught and lived what he taught. He spoke with seraphic authority and unchallenged boldness about the God who is, the Christ who saves and the Holy Spirit who sanctifies the saved.

Oh, that we all might be as bespangled with holy glory as our brother Clarke Though his mortality has ceased, his life, influence and affect shall speak to generations upon generations even as the blood of Abel. He has now completed his journey to the City of God - the city of gold, frankincense and myrrh until our precious Lord returns with His redeemed to gather His beloved from all the nations to Himself.

In Clarke Bynum's life, suffering and death, he modeled constancy, diligence, sobriety, strength of mind and unswerving Christian character. May we all become imitators of Christ even as our saintly brother modeled.

Numbers 6:24-26

Soli Deo Gloria!

For Mr. Bynum's message to the God's people on Psalm 90 click on this link:
Psalm 90

To hear a message from The Sacred Desk at Christ Church on The Death of the Godly Ones click on this link:
Psalm 116:15

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Details of the 2007 Autumn Koinonia

Autumn Koinonia 2007

Details are as follow:

The Koinonia will begin at 8:30 am until 2:00 pm on Saturday, October 6th at the Center for Biblical Discovery.
Lunch will be provided.
There is no charge but registration is required.
Mrs. Delaine Blackwell will be teaching on "Under God's Wings."
A testimony will be given by Mrs. Lauren Espinosa.

To Register (link)

Directions to The Center for Biblical Discovery:

From Columbia, travel east on I-20 towards Florence, take exit 68. Turn left on to Montecello Road. Proceed 9.2 milies and turn left on to Bookman Loop. Travel 1 mile and The Center's gated entry will be on your left at 1341 Bookman Loop.

The Abundant Life of Sheep Devotion

The Abundant Life of Sheep

As Christians, we serve an intentional God who never misspeaks. Therefore, we must be intentional when we listen to Him speak through His word, for nothing is there by chance. I continue to be amazed by the depth of truth that can be gleaned from seemingly insignificant details of scripture.

For instance, why is it that God continually refers to His people as sheep? Most Americans would skip right over that detail, because few of us are familiar with the habits of sheep or the process of shepherding. Recently, I picked up Phillip Keller’s book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, and read it again. It had been years since I first read Mr. Keller’s classic exposition on the nature of sheep. As I returned to glean again from this field, I found that once more, my faithful Shepherd had left handfuls on purpose for me to find. Twice in Psalm 23, David speaks of the need for sheep to be led by their Shepherd: “He leads me beside quiet waters” (verse 2) and “He guides me in the path of righteousness” (verse 3).

In contrast, Isaiah 53:6 paints the timeless picture of most of God’s flock and unfortunately, it is the state of much of the church today. “All we like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way.”

The meaning of the Hebrew word for “to go astray” is: to vacillate, to deceive, to cause to err or stagger, to be out of the way. How many Christians are vacillating, trying to grasp Christ with one hand while they cling to old comforts and patterns with the other hand? Both Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 tell us, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end is the way of death.” Scripture makes this point twice for emphasis; the way of destruction seems right to us when we choose it. However, death of some kind always follows, and it is usually gradual and subtle rather than immediate. Often, we do not recognize our destructive patterns until it is too late.

Sheep have this problem, too, which is one of the reasons the Lord compares us to these creatures of habit. Phillip Keller writes:

“A commonly held, but serious misconception about sheep is that they can just ‘get along anywhere.’ The truth is quite the reverse. No other class of livestock requires more careful handling, more detailed direction, than do sheep. If left to themselves they will follow the same trails until they become ruts, graze the same hills until they turn to desert wastes, pollute their own ground until it is corrupt with disease and parasites.”

Sheep will not seek out good pasture and clean water on their own. If their Shepherd does not lead them, they will inevitably end up in the way that leads to death. So it is with us.

Keller writes, “The stubborn, self-willed, proud, self-sufficient sheep that persists in pursuing its old paths and grazing on its old polluted ground will end up a bag of bones on ruined land.” Of course, those stubborn sheep do not see themselves as stubborn. They are simply doing what seems right to them. They are too busy, too prideful, or too excited to stop and listen for the Shepherd’s leading. Sometimes, they are following other sheep instead of the Shepherd Himself. Our Shepherd has promised to lead us in paths of righteousness, yet much of His flock end up as bags of spiritual bones on ruined land.

In contrast, Jesus describes the beautiful relationship that exists between an attentive shepherd and his sheep in the 10th chapter of John. “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” (vs.3-4) Sometimes shepherds would need to put their sheep in a common area with other sheep for a period of time. Though the sheep intermingled, and you and I would never be able to tell them apart, the shepherd would know his sheep and they knew him. I have seen shepherds calling their sheep and it is amazing. Each shepherd goes into the fold and calls, and his sheep will come out from the other sheep to follow his voice. It is truly as Jesus says in John 10:5, “a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” This is the relationship of trust Jesus desires to have with each of His sheep. In this same chapter, Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly.” The Greek word for abundant is perissos, meaning: superabundant (in quantity) or superior (in quality); excessive, exceedingly, abundantly above, beyond measure. It is the same thought expressed in Ephesians 3:20 when the apostle Paul wrote, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us”.

Abundant life begins at the time of our salvation. It is the lifestyle that pleases and glorifies our Shepherd. While it may not be possible to have it perfectly until we are in Heaven, scripture is clear that those who belong to Jesus should be receiving and reflecting more and more of His abundant life in this world. It is this quality of abundant life that separates us from those who are perishing, often causing them to hunger and thirst for righteousness. We cannot be used by the Lord to foster this hunger and thirst if we are not following Him on paths of righteousness. Satan cannot steal our salvation (John 10: 28-29) but he constantly schemes to steal our abundant joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control (Galatians 5:22).

So how do we guard against our tendency to “turn to our own way?” We must become intimately acquainted with our Shepherd’s voice. That takes time because we must “be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10). Few Christians in our culture are willing to sacrifice in order to have the time to learn to know their Shepherd’s voice. One hour on Sunday will not do it. We must be purposed and intentional to invest the time alone with God and His Word. Anyone who is full of the abundant life of Jesus has sacrificed many things that our culture tells us are essential in order to “be still and know that He is God.” Ask the Lord what you need to sacrifice in order to draw closer to Him and hear His voice. It might be television, or time on the phone or the computer. It might be an extra bit of sleep in the morning, or lunch hour with your co-workers. One godly lady challenged me that in addition to my time of personal worship each morning, I needed to schedule a date with Jesus in my day timer every week and make it a priority. Some weeks, I allow myself to cave in to the demands of a busy schedule, but other weeks, by His grace, I keep that divine appointment. There is no comparison between the abundance of His life I experience when I set that extra time apart to be with Him and when I do not.

Abundant life does not come to those who make excuses as to why they cannot meet with Jesus. Read the parable in Luke 14:16-24. “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’ And another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ And another one said, ‘I have married a wife and for that reason I cannot come.” Their excuses seemed right and necessary to them, as they do to us, but as the parable goes on to show, the end of their excuses was spiritual death. When the Shepherd calls His sheep, they follow. Ask the Lord to help you to identify and lay aside all excuses and pray that He will speak to you daily through His Word. Your abundant life depends on it!
Julie G. Armstrong

June 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ministry Offerings at Christ Church for Ladies

Weekly Bible Studies

  • To register for A Lady of Noble Character noon Bible study, please click here.
  • A study of The Bible from Genesis to Revelation in Three Years, with small group fellowship following each teaching lesson. Each Wednesday from 9:30 to 11:30 o'clock in the morning. Childcare is provided These two opportunities are offered at 1824 Barnwell Street, downtown Columbia.
Quarterly Koinonia
  • The A.D. 2007 Fall Koinonia will be held on October 6th at The Center for Biblical Discovery. More information will be released at a later date.
  • To sign up for the Fall Koinonia please click here.
For more information about offerings for ladies, please visit Christ Church's website.

Mission Statement

The Mission Statement which the Lord has laid on my heart for this season of my life.

Mission Statement

To equip all ladies to know and apply God’s Word, to worship and obey God the Father, to be transformed into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to be sensitive to and led by the Holy Spirit through prayer and the knowledge of Scripture.

To equip married ladies to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be home-minded, to be kind and to be subject to their own husbands so no one will malign the Word of God. (Titus 2)

To equip the single ladies to be content ( Philippians 4:11), to experience the all-sufficiency of Christ, their Husband (Isaiah 54:5; II Corinthians 12:9), to walk in purity and to serve the body of Christ employing the gifts God has given them ( I Corinthians 7:32, 34).