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From Paul’s Pen

             Perhaps one of God’s greatest blessings we are prone to take for granted is our health. We know we should exercise but it’s easy to procrastinate. We know we need to eat healthy, but it’s just not convenient. We know we need to avoid certain foods, but they taste so good. And we could continue with the excuses.

            We’ve had a lot of illnesses and surgeries lately (and I’m not saying those are a result of bad habits and neglect). Outside of Walter Hill’s church family, Gail and I know so many who are battling advanced cancer and other serious illnesses. During times like these, I’m envious of an earlier time we read about in Matthew 4:23-24 – “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.”

            No, I don’t want to go back under the old law, nor do I want my Savior to die on the cross again. However,  I do wish He would come and heal some of those we love. Yes, I do believe in the power of prayer but, let’s face it, sometimes these diseases are terminal, and we have to accept it. But we still say with the apostle John, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20b)! I’m ready for that day when there’ll be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4)!

            One of Jesus’ many acts of healing is recorded in John 5:1-15 – an unusual miracle because the man did not seem to even know about the Savior of the world. Here was a man who had been an invalid for 38 years and sought to be cured in the pool of Bethesda. Jesus knew the poor man’s condition according to verse 6 of the text and asked the man if he wanted to be made well. While a lot of speculation could be made about the healing power of the pool and the man’s defensive attitude about his helpless condition, the simple truth is that Jesus healed the man! It required no faith on the man’s part – he didn’t even ask to be healed. He was made whole because Jesus saw his sad condition and took the time to make his life better.

            I have often taken my good health for granted but less so now that I’m considered “elderly.” But I’ve also taken my salvation for granted because I was raised in a family who had known Jesus for several generations. As we look around our families and community, I believe there are many who are like the man at the pool of Bethesda – they don’t know Jesus. Could we find the courage to ask them a simple question like our Savior did? Maybe it begins by fixing the words of this hymn in our minds:

            Have you a heart that’s weary,

            Tending a load of care;

            Are you a soul that’s seeking

            Rest from the burden you bear?

            Do you know my Jesus,

            Do you know my friend,

            Have you heard He loves you,

            And that He will abide till the end?   

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The Joy of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

by Justin Morton

Like many of you, after Bible class on Sunday evening, our family tuned in to watch Super Bowl LVIII. Now I know for some people the Super Bowl is just a time to get together with family and friends, eat some delicious food and share some laughs. But for those who truly love the game, the Super Bowl is the most important game of the entire year. Certainly it is the most important game for the players who participate.

This year’s game came to an exciting conclusion in overtime. But it’s what happened at the end of the game that I want to draw your attention to. At the end of the game, while some people were celebrating a victory, other people were crying in defeat. As I watched the Chiefs celebrate their victory, I could not help but think about the agony of defeat for the 49ers players. They were so close to being crowned Super Bowl champions. The San Francisco 49ers lost the most important game of the season, the game they had been training and preparing for all year. Their team fell just short of their desired goal. Now they have an entire offseason to think about how close they were and what they missed out on.

The day is coming when the clock will strike zero, and our lives will come to an end. Each one of us will stand before the Lord and give an account of how we lived (2 Cor. 5:10). Many people have the goal of living eternally in heaven forevermore when that day comes. But much like the aftermath of the Super Bowl, on that day some will get to celebrate the greatest victory known to man, while others will be left with a pain and regret unlike any other ever experienced. Those individuals will be cast away from the presence of the Lord for all of eternity (Matt. 25:41-46).  And much like the players of the San Francisco 49ers, they will have lots of time to reflect on what might have been and all the opportunities they had to obey the Lord (Lk.16:25).

May we live our lives in obedience to the will of God so that when our game is over, we will experience the joy of victory instead of the agony of defeat.

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Ladies’ Retreat

Ladies’ Retreat will be April 5-7 at Horton Haven Christian Camp. Cost for the weekend is $125. Deposit of $50 is due by March 1. Additional information and sign-up sheets posted on WINGS’ board in EDW. Questions, see Mary West, Lisa Richardson, or Roxy Norwood.

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Shepherds’ Notes

People often tell me that they want to get more out of church or that they want to feel more deeply connected to members. Maybe you are one of those people. Maybe you just don’t know how to get plugged in. Try using these steps to grow deeper in your connection with and commitment to your church family.

Attend Regularly. You will not develop strong connections within your church by showing up to services once or twice per month. You need to attend regularly and often. The writer to the Hebrews urged his readers, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Be a Friend. Serve someone else. The church doesn’t exist only so that you can receive ministry and blessing from it, but so that you can minster to and bless others. Look for people who could benefit from your service and serve them. You will find that as you serve others, you begin to feel more closely connected to your church.

Prepare for worship. If your worship services feel dry, maybe it is because you are dry and ill-prepared to worship. Before you criticize the preacher’s preaching, consider whether or not you have prayed for his preaching. Have you prepared your heart to worship? You can prepare for worship by praying ahead of time and by meditating on the upcoming sermon text throughout the week.

Remember, sometimes church is messy. Churches are gatherings of people and people are imperfect. When you seek to be a part of Walter Hill remember that members can be messy and so are you. Someone is going to offend you or hurt your feelings. If you will commit to working through those hard feelings when they arise, then you will have a chance to grow through the hardship.

Invest and invite. If you really want to take the ultimate step in deepening your connection with Walter Hill, begin evangelizing today. As you invest in others and invite them to church, you can celebrate the way that God uses His church to disciple your friends. Nothing will cause you to appreciate your church more than watching a new believer be baptized, discipled, and welcomed into your faith family.

Arrive early and stay late. The ministry that takes place in the margins of your life is sometimes the most important ministry of all. Get there early enough to help and visit. Stay late enough to listen to a couple who is burdened over the decisions of their adult children. Stay late enough to watch the kids get grass stains on their Sunday pants while playing with other kids in the church yard, because those grass stains are shared experiences that help you to build community with others around you. When you take your time leaving church, you say to those around you, “Hey, I want to be here and I want to spend time with you.”

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New Members

New Members

Quintyn & Kassi Bolay

Wyatt, Theadora, & Gabriel

324 Burton Farms Drive

Smyrna, TN  37167

Quintyn’s phone – 316-200-7277

Quintyn’s email – bolay002@gmail.com

Kassi’s phone – 706-593-1630

Kassi’s email – kassibolay@gmail.com


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Much Closer Than We Think

By: Justin Morton

This week I have been reminded of the brevity of life. Sadly, on Monday morning I read of the passing of a fellow minister who died as the result of a car accident; he was 60 years old. Then on Monday evening, a young and seemingly healthy college student passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 18. On Wednesday afternoon, I attended a funeral for a 79 year old Christian man. My heart breaks for these families and many others who are grieving such losses.

We all know death is an appointment we must keep (Heb. 9:27), we just do not always think that appointment could come at any moment in our lives. Very few people who meet their appointment with death know when that time is coming. Sure, the doctors sometimes can give us a general time frame based on our current health situation, but more often death comes to people when they least expect it.

During times like this week, I am mindful of David’s prayer when he said, “O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather! ” (Psa. 39:4).

David understood that his days were numbered, and the same is true for all of us. No matter how long we may be blessed to live on this earth, our days are but a mere breath. James, the half-brother of Jesus, would say, “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (Jam. 4:14).

Each one of us only has so many days left on this earth. And since we do not know when our appointment with death will come, we need to make sure we are fully prepared. Have you responded to God’s call to surrender your life to Him (Lk. 9:23)? Have you been buried with Christ in baptism (Rom. 6:3-4)? Are you living a faithful life following after Him (Rev 2:10)? I hope we are because our appointment may be much closer than we think.

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From Paul’s Pen

             As a child, I was small in frame. When you’re the little kid and they’re choosing sides for “cow pasture” football, it is so devastating to be chosen last – or not chosen at all! Probably all of us can identify with not being chosen for something we desired. But, as Christians, we have been chosen by God (1 Peter 2:4-5) – chosen to be His people (1 Peter 2:9-10). And, like the children of Israel, we were not chosen to be God’s people because of our merits (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). While the Bible has numerous examples of how God cares for His people, I want to use an example we might have overlooked. In this case, it is how God does not like for His people to be mistreated – even today.

            In Exodus 17, we read how the Amalekites fought with Israel in Rephidim as God’s people journeyed from Egypt to Mount Sinai. Joshua led the Israelites to victory over these descendants of Esau, but we normally focus on Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ hands during the battle. However, notice verse 14 – Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” God planned to destroy the Amalekites, but He allowed them to plague His people for several more years.

            The Lord eventually gave King Saul the responsibility of carrying out His promise as we read in 1 Samuel 15:2-3 – “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”

            We are likely familiar with Saul’s failure to carry out his mission and Samuel killing Agag. Saul’s disobedience caused him to lose his kingdom. But the Lord had patiently waited to punish Amalek for mistreating His people. Twice in the New Testament we are reminded “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord (Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30). And He will!

            Two quick lessons. God still loves His people – His chosen ones – and does not want them to be mistreated. I believe that’s why there are so many “one another” passages in the New Testament to warn us to love and care for each other. Secondly, Christians are going to be mistreated in this life (James 1:2; 1 Peter 4:12). However, judgment day is coming, and God will take vengeance on those who did not care for His people (Matthew 25:31-46).

            As God’s elect or chosen ones, let’s be careful how we treat one another and remember the apostle Paul’s words in Romans 8:18 – “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  

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WH Intergenerational Ladies Day 2024

Walter Hill Intergenerational Ladies Day 2024 will be Saturday, March 16, from 8:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Our keynote speaker this year will be Miranda Morton. Sign-up sheets posted on Ladies’ Day board in EDW.

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White As Snow

by Justin Morton

What a wild, cold and snow-packed week we have had. Last Sunday I mentioned that I would believe the reports that we were getting 3 to 6 inches of snow when I saw it. Like many of you, I have grown accustom to anticipating snow only to end up being utterly disappointed. Well, this week has been quite different than years past! On Monday morning, one of our dear sisters texted me and said “Are you a believer now?” 

As I sit here and write this article, I am able to look out the window and see the ground completely covered with snow. At our house we measured just under 6 inches of snow on Monday afternoon. That is the most snow we have seen at one time in several years.

Snow is a funny thing. When we are kids, we love the snow. Snow means snowball fights, snowmen, snow angels and hopefully snow days. However, as we get older the thrill of the snow seems to lessen. For adults, snow just means slick roads, colder temperatures, extra work like scraping snow off the windshields of our cars and remembering to keep our sinks dripping. And many of us still have our day job to do even when it snows.

The word snow is used almost 25x in the Bible. While it is used in a few different ways, one of the ways it is used is in reference to our sins being covered. For example, after David’s sin with Bathsheba, he prayed to God and pleaded with him to, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psa. 51:7).  Later, the prophet Isaiah would say, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow…” (Isa. 1:18).

While we may have mixed feelings about the snow, its presence produces a great reminder for those of us who have been washed by the priceless blood of Jesus Christ. Every time we look out and see that beautiful white powder covering the ground around us, may we be reminded that our sins have been covered by the precious blood of Jesus so we can stand before our Lord pure and white as snow.  

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Shepherds’ Notes

This next Saturday, January 20, is Men’s Leadership Day.  Additional details for the day are given on page 2 of this bulletin.  The elders want to encourage all our men at Walter Hill to make every effort to be present.  Moreover, fathers, please bring your teenage sons, and teenage sons, please have your dad come with you.

The Christmas and New Year’s holidays are behind us and now we can look forward to continuing doing the work the Lord has set out before us.  Today, Justin will be revealing the 2024 theme for Walter Hill.  The theme for 2023, Making Disciples, does not stop just because we have a new theme.  We should always endeavor to Make Disciples and the theme for 2024 will expand on that idea.

In Matthew 20:1-16, Jesus told the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard.  Jesus spoke this parable in light of Peter’s question in chapter 19, “What reward will we (the disciples) receive for following Jesus?”

One point Jesus conveyed in the parable is that we are not rewarded based on our works, but by the grace of God.  The laborers hired at the end of the workday received the same wages as the laborers hired at the beginning.  Our service to God should be one of gladness and willingness, not one of serving only to get a reward.

We will receive the reward God promises us if we obey His will, but our motives should be purer.

A second point in the parable is that it is tempting to compare ourselves with others.  The laborers hired early began to think they would receive greater wages since the last ones hired had received the wages of a full day’s work.  Much to their chagrin, they all received the same amount.

A final point in the parable is that it takes everyone working together to make a living and healthy church.  Had the new laborers not been hired later in the day, the work in the vineyard would have remained unfinished.  Whether you are new to Walter Hill or have been here for several decades, whether you are young or old, male or female, it takes all of us to make Walter Hill the church God wants it to be.

May God bless Walter Hill.