This may be the first entry into this Public Blog for the church that meets in Wasilla. We are remaining active throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, but have scalled back some of our evangelistic efforts. We had hoped to rent a storefront in one of the strip malls in town to conduct walk in Bible Studies. The elders have determined that this should be delayed during the COVID pandemic. However we are still actively looking for a location in Willow to begin meetings there on Sundays.
We cancelled our door knocking efforst last fall due to the virus, however we anticipate resuming them this spring. In the meantime we are continuing to mailout the "House to House, Heart to Heart" publication and we have a mass mailing planned for the next couple of weeks. This mailing will be a personal invitation to visit with us and a brocuhure that introduces us and sumarizes our worship activities.
We are continuing our radio program on Sunday mornings at 9:00 AM but have changed the format somewhat. While most of these will be the regular single person teaching format, we are using a "Talk Show" format for some of them. These "Talk Shows" will involve two or three of our membes answering questions that we typically get. In addition, for the past four months and continuing for at least one more month, we have produced a "One Minute for God" radio spot. These are one minute lessons that are broadcast three times a day for six days a week. The subject changes weekly and the teacher changes monthly.
While our attendance dropped for a while over the last few months, it has rebounded and is nearly back to normal now. We are continuing our regular meeting schedules and do not foresee any changes in them at this time. However, the Elders are paying close attention to the COVID-19 virus and may make changes so watch the website for any modifications to our meeting schedule.
We hope that you decide to visit with us!
When studying the Bible with members of denominational churches and the subject of baptism comes up, they will at some point in the study invariably bring up the thief and the promise that Jesus made to him concerning being in paradise that day. The story of the thieves is found in all three synoptic gospels. It is found in Matthew 27:38-44, Mark 15:27-28 and Luke 23:32-43.
It is only the account in Luke that our denominational friends are concerned about. You will note that one of the thieves condemns the other for joining the people in railing against Jesus. He then asks Jesus to remember him when He comes in His kingdom. It is then that Jesus promises him that that they will be together in paradise that very day. Our friends will point out that the thief wasn't baptized, yet he was saved therefore baptism could not be necessary for salvation.
There are fallacies in their proposition. First is that Jesus had not yet given the commandment that we be baptized in order to receive salvation. That didn't happen until after He was resurrected and just before He ascended back into Heaven. In Matthew 28:18–20 (KJV 1900) we read "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." And in Mark 16:15–18 (KJV 1900) Mark writes "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Because Jesus issued these commands after the thief had died and had gone to paradise with Jesus, he wasn't subject to these commands. Therefore he was not required to be baptized for his salvation, unlike us.
Second, Jesus had authority while living on Earth to forgive men of their sins. This is well documented in Matthew 9:2-8, Mark 2:5-12, Luke 520-26, and Luke 7:44-50. Because of this Jesus had the authority to forgive the thief of his sins, which He did in promising that they would be together that very day in paradise. Next Jesus didn't tell the thief to repent or confess either, neither of which the denominations deny are required for salvation. Consider this, it would have been impossible for the thief to have made the confession that we are told we need to make in order to be saved. In Romans 10:8–10 (KJV 1900) the Apostle Paul writes "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Since the confession that saves us is that we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, the thief could not make that confession because he died before Jesus was resurrected.
Because of these points the story of the Thief and Jesus does not teach us that baptism is not necessary for salvation any more than it teaches that we can go to heaven without repentance nor confession.
WAYS TO CAUSING THE CHURCH "NOT" TO GROW
Taken from "The Chandleer Christian"
Taken from "The Chandleer Christian"
Do you want to see the church grow? Do you want to see the local congregation where you worship grow? There are many things which actually prevent growth in the local congregation. Such as:
1. Very simply, but highly important, don't invite people to Bible Study or Worship services – IF you don't want the church to grow.
2. Don't keep preachers around very long. The most productive years of a minister's work starts AFTER the fourth or fifth year. IF you are not interested in the church growing, insist on a change of preachers every two or three years.
3. Don't be enthusiastic about the local congregations' work – IF you don't want the church to grow. Passive churches rarely attract new members.
4. Always depend upon someone else in the congregation to give – IF you don't want the church to grow. God expects everyone else in the church to give – BUT ME. Don't give and the church will remain about the same as it is – or go down.
5. Never plan for growth. Only plan for the present number of church members and current programs – IF you don't want the church to grow.
6. Suffer from the "cut-back" syndrome – IF you don't want the church to grow. Since we have suffered inflationary times we must "cut-back". Don’t challenge the brethren to accept challenges and sacrifice – IF you don't want the church to grow.
You see, all one has to do to insure a Lack of church growth is NOT DO ANYTHING. Without doubt that will be a successful method to kill the growth of the local church.
Are YOU interested in seeing THIS CHURCH grow??? I am just optimistic enough to believe that YOU ARE!! Will YOU become involved – and will YOU sacrifice, if necessary, to see that this congregation will continue in both spiritual and numerical growth? DO YOU WANT THE CHURCH TO GROW??? NOW BAD??!!!!!
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