July 22

Our hearts were touched at the response of our sister Patsy Wilburn this past Sunday morning. I appreciate how so many of you came to give her a loving hug and offer words of encouragement. Please continue in prayer for Patsy throughout this week and in the weeks ahead.

Also continue in prayer for our Team Imagine in Ukraine at Camp Dzerzhinets. They are composed of Sue Ann and Emilee Mills, Leslie Dunbar, and Audrey Vance, along with others from Texas and our fantastic Ukrainian translators. Remember as well their family members who remain here in this country and are constantly in thought and prayer for them. They will not return until July 30th.

One of the mantras we have to go by while in Ukraine is the call to be flexible. We go with an expectation and have a schedule while there. We also know that each day, each activity, is a new adventure that just may not go quite as planned. I appreciate everyone’s flexibility as we do some repair and renovation on our facility. God has blessed us with a very adequate and useful building, but it does require maintenance, and occasional upgrades. This Sunday we will once again be unable to use the upstairs classrooms and the main level nursery. I am excited about what is ahead as this work gets going and ultimately is completed. We will see improvements in our interior and exterior parts of the building. Good stewardship calls us to take care of our facility, and faithfulness calls us to use it as best we can in service to the kingdom and our community. Thanks for being flexible while this project is in process.

Last week our sermon focused on our hope of heaven. As Christians, we not only are positive and hopeful about our future for eternity in heaven. We are also just as hopeful and positive about our present and our future here in this life on this earth. One of the great blessings of being in Christ is that we’re confident about what lies ahead, whether it is Jesus returning before our service is over Sunday, or the patient and merciful Father holding off for decades in sending His Son in order to give sinners more time to repent. Randy Harris has some great thoughts on this, and here is an excerpt from his book, God Work. And if you read closely, you will be able to impress those around you on Sunday by filling in a few blanks early from a great quote in his book that has found itself in the sermon outline…

We would be joyful in a world of dissatisfaction. One of my favorite definitions of Christianity: Jesus only promised his followers three things—they would be entirely fearless, absurdly happy, and always in trouble. This joy is not based on external circumstances; it’s based on knowing who you are in God…When you hear Paul talk you can hear how he’s got this joy that cannot be shaken by dissatisfaction.

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

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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