Mooresville church of Christ

Teaching The Gospel in Mooresville, NC and Around the World...

News & Articles News & Articles

That Which Lies Beyond

That Which Lies Beyond

      We all wonder about the future. I think that is part of human nature. If not, it is likely that we have seen enough change during our lives on earth, we have come to expect things will continue to change.   Many ponder their futures relative to relationships, careers, and all other aspects of human existence. But how many truly contemplate their “future” beyond this life?  

     To the student of the Bible, it is no surprise that Job 14:14 reveals that men who believe in God have long contemplated life and the “afterlife”. The Spirit had the penman of the book of Job ask the question, and point out that one must wait to see.   If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

     Should we not understand from the statement of Job here that we have a purpose for our time here other than to “exist” and use the things God has provided for man?    It is for certain we cannot go to the “afterlife” in these bodies. All will undergo a “transformation” at the end of this life. According to 1Corinthians 15:53 this is a “must”. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. Is not our time on the earth so we may prepare for the change?  

     There is also a situation in 2Samuel 12:22-23 in which David revealed the way things work. His infant son, who had done no sin, died shortly after he was born. The infant had not time to sin, nor the need to prepare for what follows this life, but David had sinned. He had to prepare if he wanted to go to where the soul of his son was.  And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? 23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.  The psalmist was directed to write in Psalm 119:11 how he, and we are to make the proper preparation.   Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. 

    All souls will spend eternity somewhere. Some of God’s Old Testament people Israel, because of their sin, were in danger of being separated from God for eternity. In Amos 4:11-12 we have a record of the many warnings from God to His people. I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 12 Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.  Can we not see that in this dispensation of time, the Christian age, preparation must be made for that which lies beyond?

       Jesus was born, lived, and died under the Mosaic dispensation. He also preached in preparation for the kingdom, the church during His ministry. He did not come without preparation. In Matthew 11:10, Jesus Himself spoke of John the Baptizer, who was sent to “prepare” Israel to receive the Lord. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. This should show us that there are patterns in God’s plan for that which lies beyond.

       Israel, as a nation was chosen and given a Law to prepare them as the ones through whom the Messiah should come. John was sent to prepare the way for the Christ.   Christ, in accordance to John 10:10b, came to make preparation for mankind, so mankind could prepare for eternity. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. He provided the “means for Salvation” after He died on Calvary’s cross, then ascended back to His Father with that precious blood, the only blood that can remit sins.   Previously, in John 14:2-3 Jesus told His apostles He was going away, where He was and what He was doing while He was away. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for youAnd if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

       Then, in John 14:6 Jesus told Thomas He was the “way” to the Father. I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. This is where many miss the point and quite frankly lose out.   For some reason many think because Jesus died on the cross, all preparation has been made.   Colossians 1:5 does speak to Christians, and it does tell of what lies beyond for the faithful. For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Why then, does the Spirit have Paul write the brethren in Philippi and tell them to continue to prepare?   Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Had they not already become “children of God” through Jesus Christ? Yes, they had.

       But even Paul had to continually prepare for that which is beyond. His eternity was not “settled” until he finished this life. In Philippians 3:12 he was directed to write: Not as though I had already attained, . . . Then this is followed up by Philippians 3:14: I press toward the mark for the prize . . .

       Make preparation for that which lies beyond now! Obey the gospel. Then strive to serve God in accordance to His Word – Press toward the goal.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Everything Is OK?

Everything Is O.K.?

     No, the title of this article is not in improper order. The question mark at the end is to draw attention to the title because of a real problem that exists and some are totally unaware of it.   Many take for granted that things are O.K. in their relationship with God when they aren’t. This is not a new thing. Even in the days of Jeremiah, there were those of Israel that had lapsed into such complacency, they were seemingly unconcerned about the sin in which they were involved. Everything was NOT O.K.

     In Jeremiah 6:7 the Spirit has the prophet describe Israel in this fashion: As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually is grief and wounds Then in verse 8, the Spirit had the prophet warn them to heed the instruction of the Lord, and why they should do so. Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.  Through their sin, they would forfeit their reward.

     God has continually communicated His Will to His people.   We are told in Hebrews 1:1 that God spoke to Israel through the prophets. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,. Unfortunately, some of the prophets, and priests, who were supposed to be serving God were actually serving themselves.   As we look to Jeremiah 6:13 this becomes apparent.   For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. They lied to the people to convince them that all was well, as Jeremiah 6:14 indicates. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. This must have satisfied the people because they were not inclined to change. They were “happy” with the way things were. Their own selfish desires were being fulfilled. All was not O.K. as their souls were in danger of eternal punishment.

     The Spirit again had the prophet bring this to their attention by asking a question, answering the question, then telling them what would happen to them in Jeremiah 6:15.   Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.  He also offered a way to make things O.K. in Jeremiah 6:16-17, but Israel refused.   Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. 17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.  Refusal to heed God’s warnings will bring destruction upon a people.  

       How was this warning expressed to God’s people in the New Testament age? In 1Corinthian 6:9-10, we find a list of heinous sins. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  However, these had become “God’s children” as verse 11 shows, even though some had once been participants in the aforementioned sins. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 

       We are aware of the fact that not everything was O.K. with the early Corinthian church. They had a multiplicity of issues. There were divisions; they tolerated incest; went to law against each other, excused sexual immorality; stumbled over eating meat sacrificed to idols; had issues over head coverings; abused the Lord’s Supper, and had troubles over spiritual gifts, to name a few. 2Corinthians 6:14-17 provided them the instruction needed. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you

     Things seemed to be better for some of the other early congregations. The church in Philippi was commended by the Spirit through the pen of Paul as he wrote in Philippians 1:3-5. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;  But past obedience and former faithfulness does not make everything O.K. All who would continue to “be O.K.” today, must heed the inspired advice given by the Holy Spirit to this same group of Christians. Philippians 2:12 still applies today. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.       Won’t you strive to be “O.K.” spiritually?  Let’s all get to work so everything will be O.K. for our souls.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

An Incorruptible Inheritance

An Incorruptible Inheritance


   Many today, work diligently in whatever career they have chosen. This they do for a variety of reasons. Some do so to take care of their families. This is a Bible principle as 1Timothy 5:8 shows. But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.   Another reason some work so hard is to be able to “leave” something to their offspring. This too, is dealt with in the Bible. Jacob had served Laban for twenty years and had his wages changed ten times. Jacob had been informed of God to depart and return to the land of his kindred. In Genesis 31:14, Jacob’s wives immediately voiced concern over what “inheritance” they would lose by departing. And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?  They felt they were “owed” something.

       The “Prodigal son” of Luke 15:11-13 is a prime example of the mindset of many “young people” today, whose fathers have worked very hard and “left behind” monies or goods. They “expect” something from the efforts of those before them. And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 

        Folks like this fail to heed what Jesus stated in Matthew 6:19-20 which shows what “real inheritance” is.   Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

      The Words of Jesus that follow, (Matthew 6:21), essentially points out why each is responsible for his/her “own inheritance”.   For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The “fact” that each is in control of their own eternal destiny is even taught in the Old Testament. Speaking to His people Israel through His prophet Ezekiel, God affirmed that one’s eternal inheritance is their own obligation. Ezekiel 18:20 reads: The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

       However, God also offered each Israelite the opportunity to “change”, if they would “repent” in Ezekiel 18:21. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.  Because of this, the message of Jesus in Matthew 12:35 means so much more. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. In other words, that which you love and desire most, is where your focus will be directed. If indeed you desire only “worldly” things, that is only what you will seek.

         God shows us the fallacy of this in Galatians 6:7-8. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap

8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. We should then ask: “How does this apply to inheritance?” This is a great question and God has provided the excellent answer. We are aware that inheritance, in the “familial” sense is that which is provided by the parents, typically the father. This brings us to the point. One can only “inherit” from the Father in Heaven, if they are a “child of God”, as this is where the inheritance is. We can read this in 1Peter 1:23. Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

       Jesus, in John 3:5-6, revealed to Nicodemus, the means by which one could become a child of God in the New Testament age, which at that time had not yet arrived. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Upon obedience to the gospel, one becomes a child of God, and He becomes our “spiritual” Father. If we remain in “good stead” with God (remain obedient and faithful to His Word) we can expect that which God “holds” for us. 1Peter 1:4tells us what this is. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,(This only applies to Christians – “children of God”.)

       The Spirit had Paul, in 1Corinthians 9:25, tell why Christians are to work so hard to go to heaven. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. What are you going to inherit eternally?  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

But The Fearful . . .

But The Fearful . . .

       Over the past twelve months or so, we have heard much more about fear, or things that induce fear, than perhaps in the last twelve years. The “fear mongers” in politics and medical field have been largely responsible for the fear that has been instilled in the hearts of people this past year, and into the present.   Fear mongering is: “the action of deliberately arousing public fear or alarm about a particular issue”. The reasons for such a tactic to be used are myriad. But when “boiled down”, all these reasons point to one spreading fear in order to be in control of others.  

       The phrase: “There is nothing to fear, but fear itself” was immortalized in the 1933 inaugural address of Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Of course, at that time, there was a lot of fear in this country.   The country was in the Great Depression, and uncertainty was the order of the day.   Some speech writer came up with the phrase to allay the fears and uncertainty of the American people, which also carried the “thinly-veiled” message that the “fear” would go away, especially if the man delivering the speech was put in office to “make things right again”.

       As we live our lives, there are no doubt, many things which we fail to fully understand, and the lack of understanding spawns fear.   This is why God, in His infinite wisdom, has provided all we need to know about fear and how to overcome it in this life as we prepare for our existence beyond this one. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  (2Peter 1:3)

       God has always “conveyed” His message to His people with words. God sometimes spoke directly, and at other times sent an angelic messenger to tell the earthly messenger what to say.   Therefore, words are important. This is because words have meaning. Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us that God now speaks to man through His Son through the medium of the New Testament.

     Words convey the thought(s) of the one conveying the message for the benefit, or in some cases, the detriment of others.  The Words of the Bible convey information, instruction, correction, as well as warnings needing to be heard and heeded.   In Revelation 21:6 we find a list of all will suffer the “second death”. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.  NOTICE that fearful heads up this list.

     But, what does it mean to be “fearful”?   In every case, a word must be examined in its context, and in many cases, it is helpful to know from what a certain word is translated.   For instance, the “fearful” of Revelation 21:6 is not the same word as is found in Hebrews 10:31, although in English, they are spelled and sound the same. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Here, it means “to have a dread”, but in Revelation 21:6 the Word “fear” is derived from a different Greek word and carries with it the meaning of being “timid, or faithless”. Neither of these is a good fear. Timidness and faithlessness both lead to a dread of an eternity of anguish.    

     After rebuking wind and waves we find Jesus’ question to the apostles elect in Mark 4:40. Immediately, in verse 41 we see their reaction, and see another meaning of fear; one we all should have in the presence of God and His Holy Word.  And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? They were in “awe” of the Christ and His magnificent power.

     Let us be clear. All are to be in “awe” of God and His Word. That Word and the plan it so excellently lays out, is given so none should have any reason to “dread” God, nor to be “timid or faithless”. Romans 10:17 clearly tells us where to go if/when we need more faith.   So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God The Spirit had Solomon convey this very thought in Ecclesiastes 12:13 which identifies the “whole duty” of man while on this earth. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

     Rather than dread or timidity, one that has the proper fear of God and His Word, will have the boldness to stand in the face of adversity; the lack of dread for what earthly foes might do or say, and have the dedication to warn every fellow man of the demise that awaits the “fearful” and wicked.

     Christ is the perfect example, and we read what others noticed about Him in John 7:26, while He was on earth. But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? Why can we not see it through His Word?  

     Remember the Words of Jesus to the twelve in Matthew 10:28?   They apply to us as well. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. The only “fear” we should possess is the “awe” of God and His Word.   When this is the case in our lives through diligent study of God’s Word and application of it to our lives, we can see “love made perfect” as in 1John 4:17. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

A Perfect Mother

A Perfect Mother

       The first mention of “mother” in the Bible occurs shortly following the creation of mankind. Adam had been created from the dust of the earth on the sixth day, after God had created all other things.   The woman was the final creation of God, and she was made from the rib of Adam. We can read this in Genesis 2:23-24, which also reveals one of the reasons God created both “male” and “female”. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  This passage also shows that God’s plan for the procreation of the human race was always to occur within the institution of marriage. “ . . . shall cleave to his wife . . .

       The second mention of mother in the Bible is in Genesis 3:20, and from this passage we understand that Eve, the wife of Adam was the beginning of motherhood. And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Shortly after Adam and Eve sinned, they were exiled from the Garden of Eden, and they began their family. With the birth of her son Cain, Eve became a mother. She again became a mother with the birth of Abel, and later Seth, as well as other unnamed children. (Genesis 5:4)

       It has already been stated, Eve had sinned, and therefore she was not “perfect”. Neither are any other humans, as Romans 3:23 informs.   For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;    However, God knows that we cannot be perfect in the sense of “being without fault”, but He also knows women can “perfectly” carry out the role for which women was created. Here, I am not referring to just their role in procreation. I speak of the capability of the woman to 1) bear children (man cannot do this). And, 2) rear those children to know God, revere God and His Word, and faithfully serve God as a young person and into adulthood and throughout their lives. Indeed, this is the job of the woman that would be “a perfect mother”.

     After the fifth chapter of Genesis, nothing else has been said about Eve in the Old Testament. We do not know how Eve raised Cain, Abel, Seth or her other children, but we do know from Genesis 4:26 that after the birth of the son of Seth, men began to call upon the name of God. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD. This seems to indicate that Eve, Seth’s mother perhaps indeed had some positive influence upon him during his most formative years.

       There are many other mothers mentioned in the Bible and all had some influence on their children. We know of the Genesis chapter 27 account of Rebekah’s influence on Jacob to deceive his father, Isaac. This is not the type of influence a mother should have on her offspring. We also know of a mother who made sure her son would be properly influenced. The woman was Hannah of 1Samuel 1:20-22 who prayed to God for a son. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD. 21 And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow. 22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever

       Hannah fulfilled her vow to God, and gave her son Samuel to the service of God, to the benefit of His people Israel.   Hannah turned her son Samuel over to Eli the priest who properly guided young Samuel toward God, even though he could not do so with his own sons. Hannah was blessed, in that 1Samuel 2:21 tells us she was privileged to bear five other children she herself could influence to serve God. And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD. 

     There are many other mothers identified throughout the Old and the New Testament. However, few mothers stand out as do a certain two who are named in 2Timothy 1:5. One is Lois, the mother of Eunice, who is the mother of Timothy. When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Timothy’s mother was a Jewess, but his father was a Greek as we read in Acts 16:1.   Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:

       Regardless of the strife that may have resulted in a family where the mother was a believer (a Christian), and the father was not, the mother and the grandmother saw to it Timothy knew the scriptures. We know this from 2Timothy 3:15.  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.    No doubt Eunice made some mistakes in raising Timothy. All mothers do. No mother is perfect.   But she perfectly raised her son in the Word of God. This, in my understanding, makes her, and all others who do so, a “perfect mother”.   They showed their child a chance for eternal life. If you are a mother, be “a perfect mother” teach your child the truth.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Are You Preparing?

Are You Preparing?

      Many are being deceived, as much is being written, spoken, and taught regarding the eternal destination of the soul. Unfortunately, much of this is based on “feelings” rather than on God’s Holy Word. Rare are the religious folks that will “properly” point out that God “set the standard” in His Word for those who will spend eternity with Him in Heaven after the destruction of this planet and the judgment occurs.

     In James 2:18-19, in the discourse on faith verses works, we find that the devils seem to have more sense than many who now live on earth because they “tremble”. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  These “devils” know where they are to spend eternity. They tremble because they know God has dictated the unchanging terms for entrance to Heaven, and they did not meet these terms.

      It is also, only in this life, in which one can make changes in their lives, so they can “make it to Heaven”. Below is a poem, written by my wife’s father, O. D. Wilson, around 1970.   This poem is about a real person whose name has been withheld. The purpose of the poem was to bring attention to the fact that preparation must be made before it is too late.   It is abundantly clear that the Luke 16:19-31 narrative about departure from life indicates, as soon as one dies, they will be aware of their eternal destination.

     We will all spend eternity in one of two places. One is a place of peace (all want to go there), the other is a place of torment. None want to go to the latter.   If you don’t make the preparation now, the place where your soul will abide forever, is not a place one desires to go. You can’t live life “as you wish” and then appeal to the mercy of God to change the outcome of a wasted life.    Galatians 6:7 is referenced in the poem. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 

All Dressed Up And No Place To Go


To introduce myself, I’m “Mr. G.”,

The next lines that follow, are all about me.

For the 81 years God’s let me live,

Not a thing in return to Him did I give.


I made a few friends, put some money in the bank,

Entertained myself with the beer that I drank.

For truth and right, I never made a search,

I doubted the Preachers and laughed at the church.


The example I set led my children astray,

And they’re following me on the downward way.

But my Mom was a Christian, and I’ve seen her cry,

As she pleaded with me to get ready to die.


Yes, time’s running out for me I know,

Just a few more days, and I’ll have to go.

When you walk by my casket, look down in my face,

You’ll be seeing a man who rejected God’s Grace.


When you see my hands folded upon my chest,

No doubt you’ll believe, I have gone to “rest”.

But my hands worked for me, and not for the Lord,

And my selfish gain is my only reward.


The hairs on my head, though silvery gray,

Do not reflect honor; I lived my own way.

My lips, still in death, were used to profane,

Instead of revering my Maker’s Name.


There’s a verse in the Bible I used to know,

“Be not deceived, you’ll reap what you sow.”

For me my friend, it will then be too late,

I’ll have missed my last chance for the pearly gate.


The beautiful clothes you will see me wear,

Will be carefully selected and arranged with care.

But, they won’t men a thing, to me, I know,

I’ll be all dressed up, and no place to go.


O.D. Wilson - deceased


     Don’t wait until it is too late to think about where you’ll spend eternity. If you are honest, you will contemplate your soul’s true condition and begin to make the needed changes now. We can help guide you through the Word of God and show what God says to do, and how to do it. Don’t “gamble” with your soul.  That loss cannot be recouped, as time for you, ends when you die. Time has no effect on eternity, as when eternity begins, time itself will be no more. You must act now before it is too late.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

After You Die

After You Die

           This is an area in which there are no experts around to advise you, nor to explain what you will experience. This is because none are “here” who have crossed into that realm, present claims notwithstanding.   It is also a fallacy to believe that one can “contact” you from beyond this life.   We are made certain of a few things regarding death from God’s Word. You will not know what happens here after you die. Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 makes this perfectly clear. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun

       Neither does one “go directly” to their final abode immediately upon his or her death, contrary to what is taught in many places. Luke chapter 16 gives us a bit of a glimpse into the “intermediate” after-life.   In this telling narrative from the Lord Himself, we see two possible destinations for the soul after it leaves the body.   Luke 16:22-26 shows the two, and why each goes to their respective places.   And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell (Hades) he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  This is not “just a story” as many have claimed. This is Jesus, helping His people, the Jews, see the need to prepare for eternity.  

       The beggar was given a name in vs 20, and was repeated in vss 24 & 25. Abraham was real. The rich man’s brethren were real. Moses is also named in this narrative and he was real.   Abraham, Moses, Lazarus and the rich man had all died, and we all know death is real.   This has been true since the slaying of Abel.   Adam, the created son of God, “ushered” death into the world per Romans 5:12.   Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 

       We also see in the Luke 16 accounts of death, and the impermanent abodes of the soul, that there is a division (great gulf), vs 26, between those that rest, and the ones that are tormented.   We are also told that the rich man “fared sumptuously” every day and was clothed in “purple, and fine linen”, while Lazarus the beggar was “full of sores” and desired the crumbs, or leftovers of the more fortunate.   Let’s not be deceived into thinking that all who have “good fortune” will “go to Hell”.   This simply shows that the rich man lived according to his own selfish desires and lusts, and not as God would have him live.   It is worth noting that once one has passed from this life, they can make no changes to the outcome.   This is why in Luke 16: 23 the rich man wanted someone to “go back” and testify to his five brethren.

For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 

     We are made aware of the temporary nature of these places as we read

1Thessalonians 4:16-18. Why would the “righteous dead” be raised if they were already in Heaven?   Why would they not remain there to await the rest who will spend eternity with God?   For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

       Hebrews 9:27 makes it abundantly clear that after death, comes the judgment.   And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment We also understand from 1Corinthians 15:24-26 when “the end” is. It is when death is “destroyed”. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. This is when the judgment happens.

       But, what to do in the meantime, while we are “alive and remain”? We are told in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. It is in this life, in which we have the privilege to choose where we what to go “after we die”. Make sure you prepare NOW for the “eternal future”. Obey the gospel today.  

      Know that we will account for this life. 2Corinthians 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.   What do you have to lose?   Just your eternal soul!                  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Electronic Church

Electronic Church

By Wayne Jackson

         In recent months numerous articles have focused attention upon the phenomenal value of the World-Wide Web as an evangelistic tool. A recent issue of the popular denominational journal, Christianity Today, was devoted entirely to this medium of communication as it relates to religious information. Twenty percent of those who use the Internet do so for religious purposes. During the final quarter of last year, twenty million people accessed various web sites seeking metaphysical data.  Two million Americans visit the Web every day for spiritual guidance. Surely Christians should see the value in teaching the gospel of Christ via this increasingly popular medium.

       At the same time, there are dangerous pitfalls associated with the Web.

An Avenue for Error

     There is a vast range of false teaching that clutters the World-Wide Web. Everything from Eastern mysticism, to religious agnosticism, to sectarianized “Christianity” is available. They can be invited right into your home – with but the click of a “mouse.”   Some sites are very professionally done and therefore, are slick avenues for promoting error to the unsuspecting.

       The Web also accommodates a wide variety of “church nuts,” providing them with an opportunity to peddle their wares, when they could never secure an audience otherwise. Anyone with the right kind of technical skill can get a web site going, whether or not they know anything at all about the Bible.  In the minds of some, their very presence, via such a sophisticated medium, legitimizes their endeavor. This is a part of the “price tag” for

“freedom of the press.”

       Unfortunately, some Christians, unwittingly or otherwise, assist with the propagation of error by their “links” network. Some web sites, operated by members of the church, have elaborate link connections to other sites. And yet, virtually every link directs the viewer to a denominational source – some of which are rank with false teaching.    Apparently, there is not a solitary Christian web site worthy of their recommendation.  What message does that convey?    A revealing one for those who consider the matter thoughtfully.

A Substitute for Corporate Worship

     A news service recently quoted Brenda E. Brasher, a theology-philosophy professor, and author of the book, Give Me That Online Religion, who says that, “One of the best-kept secrets of cyberspace is the surprising amount of religious practice that takes place there.” Brasher has found more than a million religion-oriented web sites, with many of them virtually functioning as temples and churches.

       For many people, sitting in front of a computer and accessing a religious web site, has become a spiritual exercise that fulfills their need for a worshipping experience. A new study by the Barna Research Group suggests that “by the end of the decade, we will have in excess of 10 percent of our population who rely upon the Internet for their entire spiritual experience” (emp. added).

       For a long time, anemic Christians have rationalized their slothful religious devotion by appealing to the use of various media or electronic devices.    Some churches, for example, broadcast their Sunday morning services; a few perfectly-healthy, though lazy, members rationalize remaining at home on the ground that “we can tune-in the services on the radio.”  Many a preacher has heard this line during a gospel meeting: “We can’t be at the meeting on Friday evening; we’re having a family outing. But we’ll get the tape!”

     As wonderful as the new tools for electronic evangelism are, they can never function as a substitute for assembling with the people of God at the prescribed times for engaging in corporate worship.      There are Bible commands and principles that obligate us to “come together” when we are able to do so, and no “flip of a switch” can satisfy those demands upon able-bodied people.


      The above article was written by Wayne Jackson, as is indicated at the top of the article.   He was a well-respected Christian writer, and has now gone on to his reward.     My wife first accessed this article in 2019, long before the present “COVID” distress and all its associated fear. I am unsure exactly when it was written.   Thankfully, there are those who foresaw the myriad of implications, problems and sin associated with “substitutions” for worship.   Hopefully, we too will see the need to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” and all it entails.  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Such As I Have, Give I Thee

Such As I Have Give I Thee

     When the term “such as I have give I thee” is contemplated, folks are most likely to think of the power of miracles as existed in the apostles in the babyhood of the church. We are familiar with this phrase as this is what the Spirit had Luke record in Acts 3:6. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  This miracle was not performed simply to benefit the lame man, but was profitable to all who saw him “walking and praising God” as well. This is because it brought attention to the “power” by which this miracle was done. Then, in Acts 3:12-26 we can read the inspired sermon which followed this great miracle.  

     Contrary to the teaching of some, God no longer provides this power for His servants to perform miracles.   This does not mean that God doesn’t provide for those that love Him. The Spirit had Peter pen what we read in 2Peter 1:3-4 which show that God’s power is still in effect, and also contains His Promises to man.  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 

       We also have the Words of the Spirit through the pen of Paul as he was directed to write in Romans 1:16-17 so that we might know how the power of God is manifested to mankind today. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith The gospel is God’s power to save and is also available to us to take to others for their benefit.

     2Thessalonians 2:14-17 shows what God gives today, how He gives it, and how we access His “grace”. It is the means by which we can have the “everlasting consolation”, hope and comfort God offers. This is also how we are to be strengthened to carry out the Work of the Lord. Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. 

         So, what do we have, and what can we give others? We know from 1Corinthians 2:12-13 what the apostles received, and with what they were charged to “give” others. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. We pointed out that Romans 1:17 teaches “the just shall live by faith”. Therefore, the answer to our question above, is we have the same thing the apostles received. We have God’s Word, and in that Word, Romans 10:17 tells us how we might have faith. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God God’s Word preached and taught produces faith.

       This is where we, the Christians of today come in. God, in His infinite wisdom, not only formulated the plan, brought it into being through His Son’s death on the cross, His resurrection and ascension to heaven. But He gave His Word to His apostles, through the Spirit (the Comforter) as the Lord promised them, and also determined that man, those that had been saved through obedience to the gospel, take it to others. In the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18b-20, we find Commandment from Christ to His eleven apostles. All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.

       The formula is: Go, teach, baptize, and teach.   This is what we have and what we can give. This is why the Spirit had Paul admonish Timothy in 2Timothy 4:1-2. I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  God sent His Son. His Son authorized us to go, teach, and baptize. The Spirit gave us the Word. Such as I have, give I thee. Let us help you know and follow God in accordance to His Word. God’s grace is available to us through His Word.   Titus 2:11-12 tells us: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

The Foolishness Of God?

The Foolishness of God?

     It is possible that on the first of April, you either participated in, or were the victim of some harmless prank or foolishness. This is because of the tradition of “April Fools’ Day”.   There are varied ideas as to how this tradition came to be, some themselves foolish, yet none proven. Some records show that “April Fools’ Day” has existed as far back as the twelfth century. Various cultures also participate in it differently.

     As a child we may have delighted in being on the “giving end” of one of the many pranks played on such a day. We delighted in the “fooling” of another. As maturity is achieved, many see the silliness of such pranks as childish or adolescent. Perhaps some are just “sticks in the mud”, and resist such frivolities. Nevertheless, others continue to participate in the irrationality that surrounds these traditional days.

     There are indeed many “foolish” things in which one may participate and many things which man thinks to be foolish. When we dislike, or are incapable of doing something, we often deem it “foolishness”. When we disagree with something to the point of refusal to participate, again we denounce it as “foolishness”.   Such is the case in the only occurrence of God’s Word when foolishness is ascribed to Him. 1Corinthians 1:23-25 is this passage. Contextually applied, it is easy to see that the “foolishness” that is being exposed is that of man, and not God. Nothing God has said or Commanded is foolish. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  It was the Greeks that considered the preaching of the cross foolishness.  The Jews “stumbled” at the preaching of the gospel because it went against their preconceived notions and therefore, to them, also foolishness.

     As rational human beings, blessed with the capacity and capability to learn and discern, should we not be able to determine what is foolish and what is not? Should not this especially be the case when it comes to the destination of our eternal soul?   God’s Word is given to mankind so we can see where foolishness leads. Proverbs 19:3 informs us of the path that is taken when foolishness is embraced. The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD Perhaps this is why the Spirit had the palmist pen the Words we find in the first part of Psalm 14:1: The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

     When God is not considered nor regarded, much of what man does becomes foolishness.   The Pharisees in Mark 7:5 considered the eating with “unwashen hands” foolishness and defiling, as it did not align with the “tradition of the elders”.  Jesus’s response to His disciples regarding this in Mark 7:18 was given so they would know not to follow tradition. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;  His Words from Mark 7:20-23, also places man’s foolishness in some dubious company. And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21  For from within, out of the heart (mind) of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. 

     How do such thoughts as these listed above get “into” the man? He has to put them into himself by learning.  There are those who study philosophy, psychology, theology, and all others sorts of things. Then, they consider themselves wiser than others. It is obvious that they do not consider God’s Word.  1Corinthians 1:27-29 shows us the fallacy of the world’s wisdom.    But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;  28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 

     Are you willing to risk your soul to the “wisdom of man”? Do you think Jesus was “fooling” when He made the statement in Mark 7:7-8? This was in the same context of the Words of Jesus above. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 

       Wouldn’t you rather depend on the Word of God and the instruction He has provided for salvation? 1Corinthians 1:21 shows that only God’s Wisdom can bring one to salvation. For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Why not follow God’s Word and obey the gospel as outlined in His Word so you can be saved?   God’s Commandments are not now, nor were they ever foolishness.  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Upcoming Events

Share This Page