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Exciting Times

by Justin Morton

Have you noticed? Right now is a very exciting time for us at Walter Hill! So many wonderful things are taking place, bringing about great excitement. I want to highlight just a few of these exciting things.

This morning, at the close of our service, our shepherds will officially install and welcome Charlie Davidson, Dan Holt and Jordan Pack as the newest additions to our deacons. Each of these men are well qualified (I Tim. 3:8-13) and have wonderful family support. While all three have already started working in their respected areas of service, we cannot wait to see all the good that comes from their work for the Lord and His Kingdom.

Over the last couple of months, we have had several new individuals and families place membership. We are extremely excited to be working with these families for the glory of God. And then there is our Bible classes. Last Sunday night we had 182 people present to study God’s Word. Were you one of them? If not, why not? Make plans to be here tonight and again on Wednesday evening. Our teens just had 39 in their Wednesday night Bible class last week! And we can’t forget about our children’s classes. Many of our children are learning new Bible verses every week, and each of us has an opportunity to join them in memorizing God’s Word.

Walter Hill is experiencing exciting times; however, we cannot become complacent with where we are. Let’s keep striving to excel, not because of the attendance numbers we put on the back board, but because we want to know God and bring glory and honor to Him (Col. 3:23).

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Shepherds’ Notes

If you were able to attend the singing Friday night, it was certainly an uplifting evening of praise to God and encouragement to one another!  Thank you to Bill Cooper and Matt Lanius and all the others who made the night a huge success.  If you were not able to attend this year, please be making plans to attend next year.

As the year starts to come to a close with holidays looming right around the corner, let us all be thankful for the goodness of God, whether the times are good or not so good. 

Paul, while imprisoned under house arrest, wrote these words to the Philippians in 4:11, “…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”  Two verses later, he adds, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

We all experience mountain tops where we are on the top of the world.  We also experience deep valleys where everything seems to be going against us.  In addition to turning directly to God for comfort, He has also provided us with a church family.  Assembling and worshiping with brothers and sisters will always benefit us.

Also, with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approaching, most of our college students will be coming home for a visit.  It will be good to have them back in worship with us.

We have had several individuals and families become part of the Walter Hill church family lately.  The elders are appreciative of their desire to work and worship with us.  As you have the opportunity, be sure to welcome them.

Each week, we have several visitors come through our doors to worship with us.  If you are visiting with us, thank you for coming.  You are welcomed to be with us at any time.

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Laughing at God

by Justin Morton

I enjoy laughter. In fact, I find myself spending a great deal of time laughing, and I believe laughter is one of God’s great gifts. However, sometimes laughter can be a bad thing. For example, have you ever laughed at an inappropriate time? One of the inappropriate times for us to laugh is in response to God and His promises. Perhaps we have never truly laughed out loud at God, but we have probably laughed to ourselves at the thought of some of the very promises God has made.

Abram struggled with this. God promised Abram he would have a son (Gen. 15:1-6). Unfortunately, he and his wife Sarai apparently got tired of waiting on God and decided to take matters into their own hands. Sarai gave Abram her servant, Hagar, and he slept with her and she conceived and bore him a son (Gen. 16:1-6). Just when Abraham was probably feeling good about having a son, God tells him Ishmael was not the son of promise. Instead, God was going to bless Abraham and Sarah with their very own son. Here’s the problem: instead of being excited, Abraham and Sarah laughed at God (Gen. 17:16-17; 18:9-15).

Can you imagine laughing at God? When we read the promises God has made to us in His word, do we have faith that God will bring those promises to pass? If we don’t, then we are laughing at God and His promises. Abraham and Sarah laughed at God because they doubted. The promise He made seemed illogical. Let’s not make the same mistake as Abraham and Sarah. Instead of laughing at what God says, let’s trust that His promises are true.

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From Chris’s Computer

A Glimpse into the Youth Bible Class

In the youth class we have recently been studying the importance of our attitude. Winston Churchill said, “attitude is a small thing that makes a big difference,” and certainly he’s correct. Our attitude impacts everything we do. But what does God’s Word have to say about our attitude?

The Bible actually has a lot to say about our attitude, often it is very direct and other times it’s more implied. But since our attitude is always with us and never turned off, and impacts all our life, certainly the Bible would have a lot to say about such an important topic.

One of the first scriptures to come to mind is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Here Paul gives us three attitudes we need to have. He encourages us to rejoice, pray, and be thankful. We don’t often think about prayer as an attitude but in the context of 1 Thessalonians 5:17, it makes sense. We need to have a prayerful attitude. An attitude that quickly turns to God in prayer. Prayer should be our first instinct, in most situations. This shows our dependency on our Heavenly Father. We need to seek guidance from Him.

At the core of this series is Colossians 3:1-4. Here Paul gives us not just an attitude but an approach to life. “Set your minds on things above not on things on the earth.” Our attitude and approach to life must emphasize the spiritual rather than the physical. As Christians we are blessed to have this attitude because we have been “raised with Christ.” As we seek the things above, our attitude is greatly impacted because we aren’t swayed by the stressors of life knowing we have victory through Jesus.

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From Paul’s Pen

             Our names are very important to us! Parents should carefully choose names for their children since they will wear them for a lifetime. From an early age, we put our own imprint on our names – for good or not so good. At some point, Jesse James became known as a bank robber; Blackbeard as a pirate; and Benedict Arnold earned the title of “Traitor”. The same could be said for numerous Bible characters such as Judas Iscariot or Barnabas. The wise man declared in Proverbs 22:1 – A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,

    Loving favor rather than silver and gold.

            What are we known for? When people hear our name, what comes to their minds? Hopefully, they think of something good and positive. Perhaps it’s our honesty or integrity or kindness. Cornelius was a Roman soldier – a centurion – with a good name. But he lacked something. You and I can have a good name among men, but we need an additional name to our birth or married name – and that name is “Christian”. Such a necessary name is only mentioned three times in the New Testament. A quick look at these passages reveals three things we can learn about this name. But first, the term “Christian” means “of, or belonging to, Christ.”

            The first mention of “Christian” is in Acts 11:26 which identifies us (“Christians”) as disciples or followers of Christ. This certainly fits the definition given in the previous paragraph. Next is Acts 26:28 which is interpreted in many ways in our translations. But the one thing not subject to dispute is that “Christian” is something we choose to become – a choice we make. Sometimes we sing a song that puts this choice into words: I have decided to follow Jesus… The final scripture is 1 Peter 4:16 that indicates being a Christian may involve painful consequences – “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”

            Are people shocked to learn we are Christians? Is Christian just another name to us or does it describe whose we are? Perhaps the apostle Paul described this identity best in Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

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At Home Where We Belong

By Justin Morton

This last week my family and I were on vacation with some friends. While we had a great time and enjoyed spending time with our friends, we were very thankful to finally get back home. The fellowship was great, the food was good, and the memories will last a lifetime, but as the old saying goes, “There’s no place like home.”

Many of you have probably had the same thought as you came home after being away for several days. While you enjoyed your trip, you were thankful to get back home to the place you belong. The apostle Paul felt the same, but his feelings were not about a physical location here on earth. His feelings were about being at home with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). When writing to the Christians at Philippi, he said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Phil. 2:21-23).  The way many of us feel about returning home after a long trip is the way Paul felt about being away from the Lord. He wanted to be with Jesus more than anything.

Friends, it’s nice that we have a strong desire to return home after being away. Just don’t forget, “This world is not our home, we are just a passing through. Our treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.” My prayer is that we are a people who long to be back home with the Lord where we truly belong.

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Shepherds’ Notes

Last week the elders put forth three men to serve as deacons. We feel these men will be a great addition to our existing deacons. The roll of a deacon can be time and energy consuming and we are thankful we have men willing to serve in this capacity. These men will be blessed to serve and we will be blessed to have them serve.

            One of the blessings of being a deacon is that you are fulfilling a need. In Acts 6 there was a problem. The Grecian widows were being neglected and they went to the Apostles. The Apostles told them to select seven men to fulfill this need, which they did (Acts 6:1-7). A need was fulfilled. These have been asked to serve the needs of greeters, visitation, and care groups.

            A second blessing of being a deacon is the opportunity for development. Remember the Apostle wrote, “For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 3:13). As a deacon one learns how to carry out a task assigned and to serve the congregation.

            A third blessing is that the church grows as a result of a good work being accomplished. After the Apostles had the church to select seven men to carry out the designated task, the scriptures record, “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).

The elders are very excited about the future for the assembly at Walter Hill and hope you are too. God bless our current deacons and these men put forward as potential new deacons.

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Living as the One Church

By Justin Morton

Last Sunday, we looked at what the Bible says about the one church. We talked about how the one true church of our Lord teaches the right things, lives the right life and worships the right way. While we often spend more time talking about what the church teaches and how they worship, I’d like for us to give more thought to how the church is supposed to live.

We noted last Sunday that one of the things the early Christians were devoted to was fellowship (Acts 2:42). Just a few verses after this we read about what their fellowship looked like. Notice, “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts” (Acts 2:46). Not only did the early church worship together, but they spent time together outside the temple. They broke bread together in their homes. While I appreciate the time we have together before and after our services each week, this should not be the only times we are with one another. If we want to be like the early church, we must do what they did.

I want to challenge members of our Walter Hill family to purposely plan to spend some time with other members of our church family outside our times of worship each month. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just invite some people over for a meal or make plans to go out after one of our times of service. Plan a play date for the kids or just go and grab a cup of coffee or sweet tea. If we do this, I believe we will see the same effects the early Christians saw: church growth in spirit and in number.

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From Paul’s Pen

             Perhaps you’ve heard about a Gallup poll reflecting a drastic drop in the number of Americans who believe in God. The latest poll shows that only 81% of Americans believe in God – down from 87% in 2017. The poll also showed that only four in ten believe God can intervene on people’s behalf through prayer. While these facts are disturbing, I urge everyone to examine the various demographics of this poll at:  https://news.gallup.com/poll/393737/belief-god-dips-new-low.aspx

            While we are saddened to see our nation drift farther and farther away from God, we are fearful our religious freedom is in jeopardy. Our Savior has told us what He expects of us: “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33; NKJV).

            As a Christian minority, will we be willing to hold true to the faith? Knowing what God expects of us and doing the same are often two different things. We already know that, or we’d never sin again (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). If put to the test, will we deny our Lord or confess Him? I’m sure we’d all like to think we’d not be like Peter (Luke 22:33-34, 54-62). But God’s people must always be prepared to stand up for what is right, and the Scriptures are filled with many examples. Let’s keep building up our faith by reading about such in Daniel 1, 3, 6:10-28 or Hebrews 11.

            We are approaching my favorite time of the year – Christmas! However, the holidays can be a time of sadness and depression for those who have lost loved ones. On Sunday afternoon, November 6th, we will host a special session of GriefShare from 3:00-4:30 called “Surviving the Holidays”. This is for members of this congregation only. Then, beginning on January 8, 2023, we will host a 13-week session of GriefShare open to everyone. More details will be announced later.

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Don’t Take the Bait

Justin Morton

My first experience with fishing was in the pond behind our house, a pond I knew very well because I lost quite a few baseballs in that pond. However, I never spent much time fishing. Then one day my uncle was fishing and decided to teach me the finer points of his hobby. Within a matter of minutes, I had caught my first fish. As exciting as it was to catch that fish, do you know what I remember most about that day? I remember the fish struggling to survive. That fish wanted to be back in the water because water is a source of life for fish. Once a fish is out of water, it is unable to survive for very long.

Sometimes I feel as though Christians have a lot more in common with fish than we probably realize. You see, like fish, we sometimes take the bait and allow ourselves to be pulled away from our source of life into a world that threatens our survival. James said “A friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). When we allow ourselves to bite the lure the world dangles before us, we are pulled away from obedience to God. We find ourselves giving in to sin and thereby making ourselves an enemy to God.  Like fish, we take the bait and are pulled away into a world that threatens our survival, our eternal survival.  

Sure the bait looks appetizing, but it’s just a trick. By the time the fish realizes it has made a huge mistake, it is struggling to survive. Friends, let’s stay alert so we don’t take the bait that leads to our separation from God.