April 1

Throughout the past several weeks we have been building up for our special contribution for benevolence. Our church ministry operates on a 51-week budget, with the entire contribution from one week each year being given to help fund our mission work. This year is a preacher’s dream year—53 Sundays!! Noo, that does not mean we’re giving everyone a “Get Out of Church One Sunday Free” card. In addition to our Mission Sunday, our elders decided to stay with our 51-week budget and make this past Sunday our Benevolence Sunday, using all the moneys collected to fund and enhance our Benevolence ministry. I want to commend our shepherds for this much needed and visionary commitment, and commend our church family for your gracious and generous response.

As we have seen through the past two Sundays, God commissions and commands His people to be conscious and compassionate of those in need of spiritual as well as material blessings and necessities. Several commented after this past Sunday’s sermon at the consistent message throughout Scripture for God’s people to help take care of orphans, widows, immigrants, the poor, and others in need. Your compassionate hearts and sacrificial spirit were put on great display through the funds given for this great part of our ministry. To date just under $23,000 has been gathered for this good and important work. If you were unable to give please have fellowship in this great work by taking part and making up your contribution. Helping our own members in need and reaching out to our community is an essential part of our work. Expanding that to feed needy children in our schools with efforts such as “The Backpack Program” of the Food Bank will further our commitment to reach out to and help others.

And don’t forget this Sunday’s contribution as well! With Spring Break come wonderful days of important time spent “recreating” with family and friends. Please stay current with your contribution! It’s similar to daily Bible reading—better to not get behind than to find yourself with too much to catch up!

This special emphasis on benevolence, as well as our study of the prophets on Sunday evenings, are very timely. Our communities, our nation and our world struggle with many calls against injustices here and abroad. As Christians we have compassion, respect and appreciation for those in authority; for those who seek to provide safety and who legislate, interpret and enforce the laws of the land. As Christians we have compassion for those who feel they have been treated unjustly and have not seen “liberty and justice for all” in their own experience.

We affirm the voice of God through the prophets: “Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:16-17) “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:24) “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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