Volume 38 April-May-June, 2007 Number 2

THINK ONLINE CONTENTS
When 'It Has Not Yet Been Revealed' - David Diestelkamp
Browsing Old Bulletins - Al Diestelkamp
Build and Fight - Leslie Diestelkamp
Stedfast Disciples - Ed Brand
We Don't Know Enough - Rick Liggin
When Do You Plan to Die? - Andy Diestelkamp
Free Range Children - David Diestelkamp


When 'It Has Not Yet Been Revealed'
By David Diestelkamp
The apostle John wrote concerning the Christian's hope of putting on an immortal body: "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (1 Jn. 3:2).

Why didn't John go ahead and tell us what "we shall be" when we are raised? Why didn't he speculate? Why didn't he tell us what he thought we might be? Why didn't he tell us something which was not revealed, but which doesn't contradict what has been revealed? Why didn't he tell us a widely or long held position? Why didn't he tell us what conclusions scholars have reached? Why didn't he tell us what he felt? Why didn't he confidently affirm what we will be, and challenge someone to show him a verse saying it isn't true, or a "Thou shalt not"? He told us why he didn't do these things: "it has not yet been revealed."

John knew when "it has not yet been revealed," man must not presume to know what is true in that area. Something "has not yet been revealed" because God has been silent. When Scripture is silent, God is silent. When God is silent we cannot say what is true (right) or act with any confidence that we are pleasing Him.

Concerning what we will be at the coming of Jesus Christ we can agree. We can be united in saying we do not know because it has not been revealed. We would reject someone's speculation as to "what we shall be" as "intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind" (Col. 2:18).

Why do we not consistently apply this to things like instrumental music in worship, church supported human institutions, the sponsoring church arrangements, the missionary society, etc.? As with "what we shall be" in the resurrection, we will begin to be united in other areas when we are all willing to stop teaching and acting in areas where it "has not yet been revealed."

DAVID DIESTELKAMP
940 N. Elmwood Drive, Aurora, Illinois 60506
Email: davdiestel@yahoo.com

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Browsing Old Bulletins
By Al Diestelkamp

When my father died I came into possession of his bound volumes of church bulletins he edited from February, 1948 through June, 1959. They were bulletins from churches in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and the Chicago suburbs of Brookfield and Berwyn.

His bulletins would be looked upon today as quite crude in appearance even though he went to a lot of trouble to publish them on a weekly basis. He would type onto a stencil and then duplicate them on a mimeograph machine. I realize that I'm using terms that are completely "foreign" to most of the younger people. Suffice it to say, it was a tiresome, time-consuming and messy process.

His bulletins contained a lot of "news" which now serve me well as history books. In the Northern Watchman, from Minneapolis, I can find the recording of my baptism on July 4, 1953. Then there's this other life-changing item in the December 2, 1956, Brookfield Bulletin: "Brother Fred Hennecke and daughter Connie were at Brookfield services Wednesday night. Sister Hennecke and the other children are in Kankakee. The Henneckes are natives of this area, but have been in Texas for some years."

I also have used these volumes to look for articles suitable for bulletin articles. In doing that I am struck with how much my father thought it necessary to include articles and admonitions concerning the use of alcoholic beverages. I have to wonder....

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By Leslie Diestelkamp (1911-1995)
What is our goal anyway? Is it to fight against all evil? Indeed, this is a task we must perform, even though it may be a very distasteful one to any who truly try to imitate Christ. It is quite inconceivable that one of His disciples would delight in any kind of fight. Yet, it is so necessary. If we fail, sin and false doctrine will tread down the influence of righteousness. If we refuse to fight, Satan will run loose without restraint. We must ever remember that the only soldiers God has--the only fighters against the devil--are true Christians. We are God's army. Fight, we must!

But is fighting our objective? Have we been redeemed to fight? Were we purchased with the precious blood of Jesus to be warriors? Contrariwise, "We are laborers together with God" (1 Cor. 3:9). We are "Created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Eph. 2:10).

We are builders. Indeed, we must take heed how we build (1 Cor. 3:10), but we must not fail to build. In the lesson of the vine and the branches (Jn. 15), Jesus did not portray the disciple as a fighter, but as a builder. He did not say that one must fight to stay on the vine, but He did say that if we fail to bear fruit we will be cut off.

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By Ed Brand

Each of us carries a mental concept of what being a disciple is all about. We learned what we think is necessary to be a true Christian. Then we try to match what we think with what we are.

Luke uses an interesting word in describing the early church. After Peter announced God's terms for the forgiveness of sins, there were about 3,000 responses. Imagine, that many people being baptized in order to be forgiven (Ac. 2:38,41). What an exciting day!

What next? Here is Luke's description: "they continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Ac. 2:42). Think about "steadfastly" for a moment. What comes to mind? A multitude of people, each having his own agenda and tight schedule? With a wave of the hand, they part Sunday saying, "See you next week"? Or, is it a multitude of men and women who act as one, who are willing to devote time an energy to their common cause?

Luke's word, "steadfastly" means "busily engaged in, devoted to, continue or persevere in something, spend much time in" (Arndt & Gingrich, p. 722). They "spent much time in the apostles' teaching..." What a wonderful description of unity and commitment.

Now fast-forward to today. Let's place the template of Acts 2:42 on the church of which you are a member. Do you see the same "steadfastness" to duty and devotion? "Unfair!," you say. Then don't look at the congregation--look at yourself. Would "steadfast" describe you?

ED BRAND
1988 Tanglewood Drive, Snellville, GA 30078
Email: edbrand@mindspring.com

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By Rick Liggin
How knowledgeable does a person have to be to question the judgment of God? How strong does a man have to be to save himself? Well, listen to what God has to say about this in a context where His judgment was being called into question:

"Adorn yourself with eminence and dignity; and clothe yourself with honor and majesty. Pour out the overflowings of your anger; and look on everyone who is proud, and make him low. Look on everyone who is proud and humble him; and tread down the wicked where they stand. Hide them in the dust together; bind them in the hidden place" (Job 40:10-13). If we can do all these things, God says: "Then I will also confess to you, that your own right hand can save you" (40:14).

Of course, none of us can do the things God challenges us to do in this text--and that means that we're not strong enough or knowledgeable enough to save ourselves! And since we don't know enough to save ourselves, we just don't know enough to question God's judgment.

I know we don't always fully understand God's dealings with us. We don't know why He sometimes lets good folks suffer while evil men enjoy the easy life. We don't understand why He lets some men live, while better men die. No, there are many times we just don't understandwe don't know why.

But we do know this: that we're not strong enough to save ourselves or smart enough to second-guess God. And so we must trust Him! Trust Him enough to know that He knows what He's doing; trust Him enough to know that He only acts in our best interest; trust Him enough to follow His lead without reservation.

The question is: do we trust Him?

RICK LIGGIN
315 Almond Drive, Washington, Illinois 61571
Email: rcliggin@gmail.com

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When Do You Plan to Die?
By Andy Diestelkamp
When do you plan to die? Over three thousand years ago Moses observed, "The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years" (Psa. 90:10). Even in contemplating a full lifespan it seems that life is "soon cut off, and we fly away." Thus we are admonished to learn "to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (vs. 12).

The truth is that none of us knows how long he will live. When it is suggested that we number our days, it is not a call to literally attempt to figure out how long we will live but to soberly contemplate the brevity of life. David wrote, "Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is nothing before You. Certainly every man at his best state is but a vapor" (Psa. 39:4,5).

Whether 16 or 96, you are frail. Your age is nothing compared to eternity. Do you know that? It is understood that the old and weak and poor and sad die, but the young and strong and rich and happy often mistakenly think that they must first become old or weak or poor or sad before they die. This is not so! Yes, the old must die; but, as is known all too well, so might the young. As Job coldly observed, "They lie down alike in the dust, and worms cover them" (Job 21:26).

Therefore, "It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart" (Eccl. 7:2). In other words, the time you spend at a funeral is better spent than the time you spend at a party. Yes, a party feels better for the moment, but parties have very little potential for changing the heart for the better. A funeral reminds the attendees of the common end for all of us, and that can be profitable to think about.

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Free Range Children
By David Diestelkamp
Free range isn't such a bad idea when it comes to raising barnyard animals. There's less maintenance as they roam around, eat an occasional bug or two, and weather some survival of the fittest consequences of being part of the food chain. They are animals and are fairly well suited for raising themselves. The consequence of poor survival skills means that breakfast will be short some bacon and eggs and milk to wash them down, but little more.

Free range is a terrible idea when it comes to raising children. They roam around without parental oversight and wisdom, and they aren't brought up in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4).

They swallow humanism and materialism, thinking that the only way to survive or succeed in this life is to be worldly. In spite of what they and the rest of the world may say, they are children and are not suited for raising themselves. The consequence of poor survival skills means a physical life that will not be "well" (Eph. 6:3) and a ravaged spiritual life that is ended by sin and death (Rom. 6:23).

We're talking temporal and eternal disaster if we fail to do our God-given job as parents!

DAVID DIESTELKAMP
940 N. Elmwood Drive, Aurora, Illinois 60506
Email: davdiestel@yahoo.com

 

UPDATED UPPER-MIDWEST
DIRECTORY OF CHURCHES

An updated edition of The Lord's Church in the Upper-Midwest containing a directory of churches, is now available for sale and distribution to those who are interested.

The 64-page spiral-bound booklet contains information (including elders, preachers and/or contacts) about non-institutional churches in northern Illinois, northwest Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Additionally, there is a brief history of each of the congregations in the area.

Two earlier editions were published, one in 1987 and another in 1994-95. Several brethren said these proved to be very useful in communicating with other Christians in the area, and encouraged me to print this updated edition. It has been a long, drawn-out process gathering the additional information needed. In November, of last year I began the process by sending out forms to approximately 85 congregations. Only 56 congregations returned the completed forms, requiring me to get the lacking information by phone or e-mail.

A total of 325 copies have been printed. Single copies, if mailed, are $7 including sales tax, postage and handling. Additional copies in the same mailing (or copies not mailed) are $5 each. Order from:

Diestelkamp Printing
P.O. Box 891 Cortland, IL 60112
(815) 756-9840 or Email al@thinkonthesethings.com


 

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