Sunday, June 12, 2016

Father Abraham


“From Ulster Plantation to the Carolina’s with the Gospel!” *




Russell H. McCullough / Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210
www.archdale.org / gospelcall.blogspot.com - Date:

Text: Genesis 12.1 – 3; Acts 7.1 - 8
Thesis:  God can, and will, bless our descendants by faith as did our Father Abraham before us.

1           Introduction

A. Abram was first called in Ur of the Chaldeans
B. Abram and his family were polytheistic pagans
                   1) Ur was the center of the worship of the moon god
                   2) Joshua 24.1 – 3
                   3) God did more than just “call” Abram, He APPEARED to
                   Abram!
                             a. Acts 7.2
C. Abram not only followed God, he convinced his family to go with him!
             1) Genesis 11.31 – 32
             2) His family was extended even unto his nephew Lot.
D. Abram’s faithfulness to God’s call was rife with incredulity!
             1) He had to leave his country
                       a. Ur was the center of the known world at the time
             2) He had to leave a good portion of his family
             3) He had to leave his father’s house
                       a. He had to leave whatever blessing was his as his
                       older brother, the heir, had just died leaving him the
                       heir to his father’s house.
             4) He had to wrest control of the family from his father
             In order to lead this familial band in an unheard of journey
             To unknown places!
E. Faith has its reward!
             1) Salvation is the most self-serving thing one will ever do!
F. The rewards are in the promise.

2          Reward One: (12.1) I will show you!

A. I will show you the way
B. I will show you the truth
C. I will show you the life

3          Reward Two: (12.2) I will make of you a great nation!

A.   God makes patriarchs and progenitors
1) Patriarch: “Founder…the oldest member or representative of a group.” MWOLD
2) Progenitor: “A person who begins something.” MWOLD

B.   God will make Abram a nation
1)     His legacy is assured by the number of descendants
2)    His legacy will be numerous
C.    Not only will God make Abram numerous, He will make him GREAT!
1)     Father of the faithful
2)    Father of a nation
3)   Father of a Great Nation
4)   Father of the Land Promise
5)   Father of the child of promise
6)   Father of the Christ
7)   Ruler of the Bosom

4         Reward Three: I will bless you and make your name GREAT

A. Abram will bring fear into the hearts of the kings of Canaan
B. Abram will bring fear into the heart of Pharaoh himself!
C. Abram will sweep his enemies before him in battle
D. Abram will receive a blessing from the greatest king – the king and priest of Salem, Melchizedec
5.  Reward Four: I will make YOU a blessing
          a. He blesses Lot by saving him
          b. He blesses the kings of the Canaanites by defeating their
          enemies.
          c. He blesses himself by serving God first and only
          d. He blesses all nations by his faithfulness

5          The Meaning of the Text – Abram and faithfulness are one in the same!

A. By faith God showed Abram the way
B. By faith God made of Abram a great nation
C. By faith God made great the name of Abram
D. By faith God made Abram a blessing to others

6         The Challenge of the Text is this: Will we become a FATHER ABRAHAM in our day the time?

A.   Will we, by faith like Father Abraham, allow God to show us the way?
B. Will we be, like Father Abraham, a progenitor of a great people?
C. Wil we, like Abraham, honor the Holy Name of God and He in turn our name?
D. Will we, like Father Abraham, be a blessing to all others?

7          “The Gospel Call”


·         My fifth great uncle was Hugh Gaston who was rector at the Ballywillan Presbyterian Church (pictured above left) in County Antrim, Ulster Plantation (Northern Ireland) and wrote the most dangerous book of his time; Gaston’s Collections.  It allowed “the ploughman to know more Bible than his clergyman.”  Hugh fled to South Carolina where he died prematurely of the measles.  He is buried just one hour south of Charlotte in Chester County, S.C. in “Burnt Meeting House Cemetery.”   Uncle Hugh continues to inspire my ministry to this very day.  You can read more about Uncle Hugh here: http://www.ballywillanpci.org/rev-hugh-gaston
Ruins photo courtesy of: ballywillanpci.org.
·         On Friday night, August 5, 2016 Russ will dramatically portray the life and times of his 5th Great grandfather, John “Justice” Gaston entitled; “A Patriot of the Revolution.” A portion of the event will cover also the life and times of his brother, Hugh Gaston.  The event will take place at the Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210 at 7 p.m.   The public is invited to this free presentation.


Monday, June 6, 2016

Why Church Events?



Why church events?  Let's be candid. Church events are hard work!  They require time, effort, planning and expense.  They keep us from our normal routine and they break up "normality."

We have church events because, as Christians, we have a threefold mission according to Matthew 28.18 - 20:
  1. Make disciples
  2. Baptize those disciples
  3. Teach those disciples "all things commanded" by Jesus.
In order to "make" a disciple, we first must understand just what IS a disciple?  The word in the original Greek for "make disciples" is metheteusate, "to make learners," or to make "believing followers."  This, of course, presupposes something far more foundational...a preexisting acquaintance, a friendship of at LEAST a casual acquaintance, 

We now must ask the question; "How do we make friends?"  It's odd asking how to do something we USED to do all the time without even thinking of it or of it's definition!  We were all good at making lots of friends when we were young.  Now, not so much.  What's the difference between then and now?  The lives of young people are filled with what?  EVENTS.  You remember, club meetings, communal lunch 5 days a week with your friends, weekly sporting events, group study, holiday concerts...and...just "hanging out."  Back in the day, we all had more friends than we could count!  Now...?

What's changed?  A number of things.  Adulthood is far more of an isolated time than was school.  We work alone.  We have daily contact with fewer and fewer people as time advances.  Events become fewer and farther between.  Events that were once both common and spontaneous are now un-common and are likely contrived,  Another factor, far more difficult to cope with, is the fact that when existing friends either move away or die, we fail to replace them.  Though totally unnecessary, "old and alone" often go hand in hand,  What to do?  We can't do anything about the "old" part but the "alone" part can be dispatched completely!

Simply put, those of us who are older must "prime the friendship pump."  That requires meeting more people more often than we might be comfortable with.  Events make that process easier.  It's easier to invite a stranger, or an acquaintance to a planned event than it is to create an event specific to the same purpose.  Whatever the reasons are, people today are very reluctant to having people in their homes.  Events give us a reason to engage potential friends who can then become "believing followers."  The first step is the hardest...talking to strangers.  I think it was Will Rogers who said; "I don't know any strangers, only friends I've yet to meet."  

This is why we have events at the Archdale church of Christ in Charlotte, NC.  On June 5, 2016 we had a "Comedy Night" with Charlotte comedian, Dan Sinski/  It was a great success.  People who were strangers to us are now acquaintances.  People who had never heard the gospel, heard it.  We all became closer because we did something that fewer and fewer people are doing these days...we laughed out loud together.  "Laughter is the best medicine" we are often told.  Dr. Cyntia Thaik says this; "If you can find a reason to laugh every day, you'll find that your mood will improve, your relationships with others will seem more meaningful and effortless, and life's hurdles wont' seem so daunting.  Moreover, your body, mind and soul will reap the health benefits of the natural and free medicine." (1)  More importantly, we are all created "in the image of God."  Part of that creative genius is laughter!  God made people to laugh!

We have events so we can talk to strangers, make them acquaintances, make them friends, make them disciples, baptize them and then teach them "all things commanded."

Besides all that, who doesn't want more friends?

(1) HUFFPOST HEALTHY LIVING, "Why Laughing is Good for Your Health," March 16, 2016



Sunday, June 5, 2016

Leah - The Loneliest Heroine



“Leah – The Loneliest Heroine”

“From Ulster Plantation to the Carolina’s with the Gospel!” *

Russell H. McCullough / Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210
www.archdale.org / gospelcall.blogspot.com - Date:  5 June 2016

Text: Genesis 29 - 49
Thesis: The Love of God conquerors all things including treachery, loathing and unrequited love!

1           Introduction

A.   The Four Tops – “Just Ask the Lonely”
When you feel that need
To make it all alone,
Remember no one is thinking of,
Going alone
Just ask the lonely
They know the hurt and pain,
Of losing a love, you can never regain

B.   Jacob betrayed Esau at Beersheba
1.      Located 75 miles SW of Jerusalem
2.     Founded when Abraham and Abimelech made a covenant regarding the well Abraham had dug in Genesis 21.
3.    The name means “The Well of the Oath” or “Seven Wells.”
4.    Isaac built an altar of sacrifice there (Genesis 26)
5.    Near here Jacob had his vision of the Stairway to Heaven (Genesis 28)
C.    Rebecca told Jacob to flee to Paddan-aram
1.      599 miles from Beersheba
2.     Name means “Field of Aram”
3.    Actually an area in which is located Haran
4.    Laban was Rebecca’s brother and Jacobs uncle
5.    Rachael and Leah were his cousins
D.   Jacob comes under the tent of his uncle Laban
1.      Begins as an extended visit
2.     Employment offered by Laban to Jacob because of kinship
3.    The wages – 7 years of labor in return for Rachael

2          The Treachery of a Father – Genesis 29.15 - 24

A. (We see how Jacob inherited his devious ways!)
B. Laban breaks his covenant with Jacob
C. Laban uses Leah as a bargaining chip to double his money
             1. He saw his daughter as not being valuable because of
                 Poor eyesight.
2. By his snookering (THE FREE DICTIONARY - To lead (another)    into a situation in which all possible choices are undesirable; trap.) he got 7 extra years of free labor by Using his daughter as a pawn in a business deal.
D. Leah’s father’s treachery must have left her very alone and very   afraid of her future. 
1. Once bartered away, women were under 100% control of their husbands, the father was no longer any factor whatsoever.  Leah had no legal rights at all whatsoever.
E. We can hear the sobs and see the tears as her father “high fives” over his business deal.

3          The Loathing of a Husband – Genesis 29.25 - 30

A. Leah is a trick to Jacob not a lover though she is his wife
B. Jacob sees Leah as making him a victim
C. Jacob sees Leah as an instrument of deception
D. Jacob is told the “fine print” of the covenant and realizes he’s been “snookered.”  GOTCHA!
E. Jacob spends a week with Leah, not out of love for her but for the love of her sister!
1. “I’m going through the motions so I can marry your sister that, UNLIKE YOU, I love!”
F. Leah’s husbands open and notorious loathing of her must have left her in absolute terror, loneliness and self-hatred.
G. We can hear the sobs and see the tears while Jacob sulks in the corner over having been out maneuvered by his uncle as he yearns for Leah’s sister.

4         Unrequited Love – Genesis 29.31 – 34; 30.8

A. Reuben is born – “Now my husband will love me.”
B. Levi is born – “Now this time my husband will be attached to me because I have born him 3 sons.”
C. Intense competition erupts with her sister who claims victory over her
D. We can hear the sobs and see the tears as time after time with each new son the love and affection of Jacob elude her.
5.   Love Conquerors All! – Genesis 29.35ff
      A.  A progression of faith in God – HER TRUE FRIEND AND HELPER
1) 29.31 – The Lord came to her rescue when HE saw she was hated.
2) 29.32 – “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction…”
3) 29.33 – “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated…”
4) 29.35 – “THIS TIME I WILL PRAISE THE LORD!”
                   a) JOY HAS REPLACED SORROW FOR HER LOVE
                   IS NOW FOCUSED ON GOD AND NOT JACOB.
                   b) This is the turning point in Leah’s life when
                   she ceases crying and begins rejoicing!
5) 30.11 – “Good fortune has come!”
6) 30.13 – “Happy am I!  For women have called me happy.”
7) 30.18 – “God has given me my wages because I gave my servant to my husband.”
8) 30.20 – “God has endowed me with good endowment…”

6         The Legacy of Leah’s Life

A.   With God’s loving help:
1)     Leah, like Churchill said, “Never, never, never give up!”
2)    Leah did not allow loneliness to defeat her
3)   Leah did not allow treachery to destroy her
4)   Leah never rebelled against her father
5)   Leah never rebelled against her husband
6)   Leah did not allow her loathing husband to cease striving for his love and affection
7)   Leah did not allow jealousy of her sister embitter her
8)   Leah waited on the Lord to hear her case
9)   Leah always sought what was best for her husband
10)                       Leah accepted her circumstances
11)            Leah gave thanks to God for the success of      others
12)                        Leah always gave God the glory
13)                        Leah was given two great gifts that continue to bless us today!
a)   It was her son, Judah, that became the savior of the family and the familial progenitor of the Lord Jesus Christ!
b)   She received the highest commendation of those who lived centuries later:
1.      “Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said; “We are witnesses.  May the LORD make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachael and LEAH, who TOGETHER built up the house of Israel…” – Ruth 4.11a

7          Leah Challenges Us This Morning:

A. To know that when God is for us, no one can be against us
B. To realize that surrender to our circumstances is not an option
C. To understand that suffering is not failure
D. To know that treachery is never final
E. To realize that every person has at least one other person in life who loathes them
F. To understand that getting “snookered” is not a reflection on me
G. To give God Thanks for every circumstance
H. To give God all the praise and glory for all achievements
I. To understand that a small faith can grow great
J. To grasp the fact that family is greater than all possessions
k. To willingly rejoice with the success of our adversaries
l. To realize that rebellion against God, parents or spouses is never an option
m. To come to grasp with the fact that true happiness is found ONLY in God and nowhere else!
             1. “I have come to give you life and life more abundantly!”
n. To “Never, never, never give up!”

8         “The Gospel Call”


·         My fifth great uncle was Hugh Gaston who was rector at the Ballywillan Presbyterian Church (pictured above left) in County Antrim, Ulster Plantation (Northern Ireland) and wrote the most dangerous book of his time; Gaston’s Collections.  It allowed “the ploughman to know more Bible than his clergyman.”  Hugh fled to South Carolina where he died prematurely of the measles.  He is buried just one hour south of Charlotte in Chester County, S.C. in “Burnt Meeting House Cemetery.”   Uncle Hugh continues to inspire my ministry to this very day.  You can read more about Uncle Hugh here: http://www.ballywillanpci.org/rev-hugh-gaston
Ruins photo courtesy of: ballywillanpci.org.
·         On Friday night, August 5, 2016 Russ will dramatically portray the life and times of his 5th Great grandfather, John “Justice” Gaston entitled; “A Patriot of the Revolution.” A portion of the event will cover also the life and times of his brother, Hugh Gaston.  The event will take place at the Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210 at 7 p.m.   The public is invited to this free presentation.


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