The Practice of Prayer – by Bryan Johnston

JohnstonI love the sound that a basketball makes when it swishes through a net, the sight of the rock passing perfectly through the orange rim, and the satisfaction of making a shot in the game of basketball. Hours and hours of practice are required in order to accomplish this task on a consistent basis. A beginner needs to learn the basic form and hand positions in order to accurately shoot a ball. This requires training your muscles to put to memory this proper form. Next the player must learn how to use ones entire body, feet, legs, arms, hands, and eyes, working in sync with each other to skillfully shoot the ball into the air with perfect backspin, arc, aim, force, and direction toward the goal. With practice, repetition, and coaching the skill is attained. The task becomes natural and the benefits are joyfully received.

As disciples serving in love we have practices that give glory to God and benefit our faith in God. Our practices shape and inform our ability to serve God and others. We have the benefit of participating together through prayer, singing, sharing God’s word, eating together, and meeting each other’s needs. When we gather together as the body, we learn how to perform these tasks with the purposes of drawing our hearts toward God. Individually we are encouraged to make these practices a part of our daily rhythm of life.

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Singing Together – by Bryan Johnston

JohnstonThe practice of singing praises to God has been a rich blessing in my life as a follower of Christ. The songs of the church have kept my heart filled with God. Singing as an act of worship has been a great tool for keeping my heart pointed toward Christ. The blending of voices in proclamation of our faith and the harmony of hearts worshiping as one body has profoundly informed by walk with the Lord.

My choir teacher in high school would say she could tell which kids had been raised in the church because they came to her knowing how to read music and how to sing parts – soprano, alto, tenor, or bass. Participating in singing songs in church can help one learn how to sing with musical precision but it is not the quality of the sound of the music which makes singing worship. Singing becomes worship when the love of God flows from the heart of the believer to God through the vessel of the voice. The gift of singing has its greatest impact to proclaim the praise of God when it is propelled by love.

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“THE PRACTICE OF SINGING” -An MP3 lesson by Bryan Johnston

Johnston“THE PRACTICE OF SINGING” – a TRULY EXCEPTIONAL lesson by Bryan Johnston (see photo at left) has just been posted for listening, download, or use in your own websites. Links are below. Here is Bryan’s description: “Scripture Basis: Colossians 3:15-17. “The practice of singing is a gift that opens our hearts of praise to God and binds the body of believers together in unity, hope, and love. Singing is a wonderful practice which helps us learn and experience the truth of God, which guides our worship to God, and which blesses the body of Christ. Worship is to God and for us. Come let us sing!” Now that’s what Bryan said – but I want you to know there is SO MUCH MORE to this lesson! It has a lot of audience involvement and is one of the greatest “feel good messages” I have heard in years! Please, don’t miss this one. File size: 8.4 MB, run time: 38 minutes.

WEB LINKS: To hear it now, just click on this short-link: https://goo.gl/f2qGQS noting that the link is case-sensitive if you share it with someone (best to copy/paste it). The entire path to this file (for embedding/etc.) is: http://www.wordforlife.com/files/sermons3/johnston-01-28-18.mp3 . Or, go to our website at www.churchofchristnb.com and click on “Sermon Downloads” at the top of the page. No site (or church) membership required – you don’t even have to sign in or anything! If you have any comments, issues, or need help, contact me directly at mrmagill@gmail.com

Mark R. Magill, webmaster.

“The Truth of it All” – by Delores V. Stowe

The following was written by Delores V. Stowe, a friend of mine, who was dying of cancer in 1996 as she wrote these. She gave her permission for them to be shared. This one is called, “The Truth Of It All.”

“She’s gone!”, you’ll say
“She’s done passed away.”
“Not true,” I say,
“She’s alive this very day!”

Only the flesh is gone
Because the living’s done.
But the life force lives on
There! High above the sun.

Look! There she goes. Flitting around.
See? Just above the ground.
In that butterfly. See? O’er that flowered mound
Sipping nectar round and round.

The life force can never die.
He who tells you otherwise
Offers nothing to you but a lie!
So beloveds, no tear needed, no sorrowful sigh.

Love! Live! Be happy in your quest.
Know! Understand! The truth of the universe is the best.
And until that day when you can rest
Know this!… She just changed her dress!

Delores V. Stowe

(C) 1996 The Estate of Delores V. Stowe, used by permission.

Building the Kingdom of God – by Bryan Johnston

The following sermon and the hundreds more on our websites are free for any use or method of distribution that glorifies God.

BUILDING THE KINGDOM OF GOD – Sermon by Bryan Johnston for 1/14/18 has just been posted for listening or download at the links below. Here is Bryan’s description of this VERY good lesson: Scripture Reference: 1 Peter 2:4-12 (and others): “We are building the Kingdom of God here one stone at a time. As disciples we are being built as the church on the foundation of Christ which will never be overcome. As the temple of God we are occupied by the Holy Spirit. Our response to the presence of God in our lives is service to God in others, starting in the context of the church and extending to all the earth. Our lives are consecrated for God’s purpose in the world. We live as those created in the image of God to participate in the restoration of all creation, as the kingdom of God, until the Lord comes again.”

LISTENING/DOWNLOAD/SHARING LINKS: The short link for this lesson is https://goo.gl/A75mM3 case sensitive) and the full link for embedding or other use is http://wordforlife.com/files/sermons3/johnston-01-14-18.mp3 . You can also listen/download it at our website at http://www.churchofchristnb.com. NOTE: When you click on the links, you’ll get a mostly black screen with a progress bar in the middle. Depending on your Internet or WiFi connection speed, it can take 1-3 minutes to start playing – this is normal. Any issues, contact me directly: mrmagill@gmail.com

—Bryan Johnston (nbcoc@hotmail.com)

“Names” – by Norm Russell

When a teacher has a large class, it is not uncommon for him her to mistake one child for another at the beginning of the school year. Eventually the teacher learns the name of each student and gives them the attention they need.

On one occasion however, a small boy was being called Alan by his teacher. Alan was not his name The teacher never got it. When she called his (fictitious) name, he would not respond. She then would get his attention in some other manner and relay her instructions on to him.

Sadly, the boy began to respond to the name Alan. He gave up and began to play by her rules, at the forfeiture of his own name. As tragic as that story sounds. how many of you are just like Alan? You didn’t have your name changed, but you have given in and are playing by someone else’s rules. You have sacrificed your integrity, identity and character for what someone has convinced you to be the way to go. Unfortunately you are probably unaware of what you have given up for something so small and insignificant.

Norm Russell (June 1998)

“Prepare Him Room” – A free MP3 sermon by Bryan Johnston

Bryan Johnston’s sermon delivered 12-24-17 is now available here and on our website for your enjoyment. It is a very good lesson, based on Luke 1:26-38. The title is “Prepare Him Room” and here is Bryan’s description of the lesson:

“Have you ever thought about what God wanted at Christmas? God reveals his desire when the angels appeared to the virgin Mary. God wanted to make his home in Mary. God wanted to make Mary able through the Holy Spirit. And God made the impossible possible. This Christmas will we be like Mary and prepare a room in our hearts for Jesus to make his home in us? As we celebrate the coming of the Lord may we desire what the Lord wants and not what we want. May our response to his request to make his home in us be, *I am the Lords servant. May it be to me as you have said* -Bryan Johnston – nbcoc@hotmail.com

LISTENING/DOWNLOADING/EMBEDDING/SHARING LINKS: The quicklink for this lesson is https://goo.gl/RnCbf8 (case sensitive), the full file path is http://wordforlife.com/files/sermons3/johnston-12-24-2017.mp3 . You can click the first two and hear it right now, or right-click and choose “Save Target (link) As…” to save it for later. It’s also available on our website churchofchristnb.com and will soon be on www.wordforlife.com along with hundreds of others we’ve collected over the past 15+ years.

Bryan Johnston – nbcoc@hotmail.com

Webmaster Postscript: [Preface: Yes, we know Christmas Day is not Jesus’ birthday, we’re just using a secular reference to make a point. God wanted on the day of Jesus’ birth what he wants EVERY day: That we make room in our hears for Him] Happy Holidays to those of you who are celebrating, and may God’s tender mercies bless the grieving… – Mark R. Magill

“Repent! He is Coming!” – A free MP3 sermon by Bryan Johston

JohnstonScripture Reference: Mark 1:1-8 – “How are we to be prepared for the coming of the Lord? John prepared the way for the Lord by proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Preparation for the Lord’s coming involved confessing sin, forsaking sin, and having sins forgiveness through baptism. Our relationship with the Lord is like a marriage, he is the groom and we are the bride. As the groom, Jesus sees us a holy and blameless, without stain, wrinkle, or blemish. He forsook heaven to show his love so that we could be with him. What have you given up for the Lord? What type of bride are you? How will you live in response to the coming of Lord?” This is a VERY GOOD lesson! I’m sure you will like it. – Bryan Johnston, Preaching Minister, North Bend, OR USA Church of Christ nbcoc@hotmail.com

LINKS: Short-link for sharing/listening: https://goo.gl/Y4VXC5 (case sensitive). It’s also in the “Sermon Downloads” section of our website at http://www.churchofchristnb.com. To embed it in your own website, etc here is the full file path: http://wordforlife.com/files/sermons3/johnston-12-10-17.mp3 – Any problems or comments, contact me directly: mrmagill@gmail.com

[Editors Note: The word repent means to *feel or express sincere regret or remorse about [your] wrongdoing or sin.* such as “the priest urged his listeners to repent” If you are truly regretting what you have been doing and decided to change it, you are well on your way to salvation as true repentance is a very important and necessary step on the path.

“Don’t Spill the Water” (Author unknown)

    A lady went to the Pastor of her church and said, “I won’t be attending Church anymore.” He said, “May I ask why?” She said, “I see people on their cell phones texting and typing during the service, some are gossiping, some just aren’t living right, some are sleeping, some are staring at me, they are all just hypocrites.” The Pastor was silent. Then he said, “Can I ask you to do something for me before you make your final decision?” She said, “Sure, what’s that?” He said, “Take a glass of water and walk around the church two times and don’t let any water fall out of the glass.” She said, “Yes I can do that!” She went and got the glass of water and walked around the church two times. She came back and said proudly, “It’s done.”

      The pastor asked her these questions; “Did you see anybody on their phone?; Did you see anybody gossiping?; Was anybody living wrong?; Did you see anyone sleeping?” She said, “I didn’t see anything because I was so focused on this glass, so the water wouldn’t spill out” He told her, “When you come to church , you should be just that focused on God , so that you don’t fall. That’s why Jesus said, ‘Follow Me’, He did not say follow Christians.” Don’t let your relationship with God be determined by how others relate with God. Let it be determined by how focused you are with God.

(If anyone knows the author of this pieces, please contact us so we can give proper attribution – thanks!)

“Our Greatest Resource” – by Bryan Johnston

"Our Greatest Resource" - by bryan johnston     Scripture says, “Dear friends let us love one another, for love comes from God.” (1 John 4:7) One thing I always hear about this church is that it is so friendly and welcoming. This attribute comes so naturally. Kindness and hospitality are gifts not commonly found in our world and are sadly missing in some of our churches. Love is abundantly shown through smiles, handshakes, hugs, and greetings. Your love is seen in how you listen and care for others. People feel known and valued through your love. Visitors to this church frequently say, “I have never been to a church that was so welcoming and friendly.”

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9) God’s expression of love has been witnessed through the sacrificial gift of his Son. Jesus willing obeyed God by giving his life so that others might live. As agents of love, we have the opportunity to lay down our lives and share our resource with others. Our greatest resource is our love. Since our love is from God, it never fails, it never gives up, and it never runs out. “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:11) It is not enough to just accept God’s love and keep it for ourselves. The love of God is incomplete until we share it and give it to others. “If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12)

Church, let us continue to use our gifts to love God, love others, and serve the world – starting in our community. Church let us be good listeners, good sharers of our tables, good givers of our resources, and good examples of God’s love. I love this church and I am blessed to be a part of you.

– Bryan

 

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