Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Not Insane At All

Recently a blogger called me to task for the article giving GREAT NEWS in a recent issue of SEARCHLight. He suggested I was insane and questioned my knowledge of church growth data about the church.

He pointed out some of the recent decline (2006-2009) among churches of Christ as if I was unaware of the facts and figures. Of course, I am aware of these matters. I am not insane.

I am well aware that some churches are graying and dying, but many are not. Many are doing quite well, growing and full of children. I have attended them over the last year traveling throughout the country.

I am also aware of how the progressives among us are losing over sixty percent of their children to community churches. However, I also realize the mainstream congregations among us are keeping most of their children (according to Flavil Yeakley, with whom I had a lengthy conversation last year). For the research see "Where Are the Children?" in Life's Greatest Questions, 2009 ETSOP Lectureship in Karns, TN.

I have frequently given a list of "progressive" congregations that have shrunk by the hundreds of members in recent years because they adapted a compromise theology. Insane? No.

Phil Sanders

Monday, October 26, 2009

November Speaking Schedule for Phil

November 1-4 Gospel Meeting at Church of Christ at Little, north of Seminole, OK
November 5 preacher's meeting and evening lecture on Women in Worship
November 8-11 Gospel Meeting Wynnewood, OK
November 13-15 Gospel Meeting at Highland, Texarkana, Arkansas
November 29 Emerging Church Movement lessons at East Ridge, Chattanooga

New Babe In Christ

Dear Brother Mack,

My name is James Solomon I am a member of the Church of Christ in St.Lucia.
The L'Anse Road Church of Christ. My family and I have been watching your program for as long as I can remember. Thank you for all the wonderful lessons over the years. My father is the preacher for my congregation. He got a call last week from an elderly lady. She wanted to be baptized. So a study was set for Wednesday last week. Turns out that she has been listening to your program for several years and through your ministry has obeyed the gospel. She was introduced to the Church today and welcomed with open arms.
We also had another baptism this week so 2 persons were introduced today.
Please keep up the work even if you are behind the scenes these days.
Thanks once again

Your Brother in Christ
James Solomon

Thanksgiving Program on November 22

Dear brethren,

Thank you for such a wonderful response to the October programs on SEARCH. We have had requests for thousands of copies of “Raising Faithful Children.”

I wanted especially to encourage you to watch the November 22 program, “Be Thankful,” and to encourage everyone you know to watch the program. I believe there are many things there which are important to our nation and to its relationship with God. You may want to include the time and station for your area (which you can find on our website).

It is vital our nation, and especially our children, know what the Congress and the early presidents understood about the relationship between God and our prosperity. We cannot separate one from the other. We need to humble ourselves before God and seek His face, if we hope to remain in His favor (2 Chron. 7:14).

Please pass this message on to everyone you know.

Kindly,
Philip D. Sanders,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Speaking Schedule

I'm going to be quite busy in the next several weeks. Please keep me in your prayers.

Sept 14-17 Pennsboro, WV. West Virginia Lectures
Sept 20 West Palm Beach Church of Christ, Palm Beach FL
Sept 21-22 Pettyjohn Preacher's Retreat, Madill OK
Sept 25-27 Evansville, Indiana
Sept 28-29 Amridge University Lectures, Montgomery ALA
Oct 4-7 Gospel Meeting Radnor in Nashville
Oct 13 Lubbock Lectures
Oct 16-18 Corsicana, Texas
Oct 21 Spiritual Sword Lectures, Memphis
Oct 25 Hinton, OK

If you can come to any of these events, I would love to see you there!!

Phil Sanders

Friday, August 21, 2009

Is this a religious nation?

While flying through Atlanta on the way to West Virginia in June, I picked up a copy of Rodney Stark's research: What Americans Really Believe.

I have cherished our Christian heritage in America and have appreciated the founding fathers and others who gave voice to that. I was disappointed the President suggested recently we were not a Christian nation. Here are the facts about the US today according to the Baylor study.

He pointed out that America is actually increasing in its commitment to church membership: From page 12, here are the facts:

Percent of Americans Who Belong to a Local Congregation

1776 17%
1850 34%
1870 35%
1890 45%
1906 51%
1952 59%
1980 62%
1990 64%
2005 69%

While there are many issues and problems with religion today, no one can say that church membership is declining over all. The shift in church membership is from old mainline (especially liberal) churches to the non-denominational, designer churches in many cases.

phil

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Great News!

I hear many people talking about the graying of the churches, but did you know that churches of Christ have a larger percentage of young adults than the national average. In fact, we rank #3 among major religious group in having the most adults aged 18-29.

According to the Pew Forum's U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, the total population percentage of adults aged 18-29 numbers 20, yet churches of Christ have 22 percent in that category! In fact, only two religious groups had more adults that age (Pentecostal with black tradition and Church of God in Christ). The Baptist in the Historically Black tradition had 22 percent, and the non-denominational in the mainline tradition also had 22 percent. (see pages 82-83 of this report)

Well, we are not dying as some think!

Phil

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Some Encouraging Statistics

According to Flavil Yeakley, who presented this material at FHU a few years ago, one can say these things about churches of Christ:

* 12th largest religious group in America
* 6th fastest growing church in America
* 4th in the nation in the total number of congregations
* 5th in the nation in number of counties in which there is a congregation
* 1st in the nation in distribution of congregations
* 1st in the nation in weekly attendance

According to a survey by Barna about five years ago, churches of Christ were first in donations among religious groups (for our size).

Each year there are about 1250 new church plantings and about 3750 church closings in the United States. This is a loss of 2500 religious congregations per year.

When you consider that we lost only 69 churches of Christ (2000-2006) out of a total of 15,000 and yet have the fourth most congregations throughout the US, this is rather remarkable! Even the loss of 350 in the last three years (2006-2009) out of 7,500 is rather small.

Let's not be discouraged. We are not pitiful and not dying. Many of our losses were actually mergers.

Phil

The call for changing doctrine or die is premature...

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Misplaced Morals of America

Gallup released a survey poll concerning America's morals in May 2008. People were asked whether they felt certain activities were morally acceptable or morally wrong. Here are some of the results:

Morally Acceptable Behaviors according to the majority of Americans:
70% divorce
61% sex between an unmarried man and woman
63% gambling
55% having a baby outside marriage
51% doctor assisted suicide

Morally Wrong Behaviors according to the majority of Americans:
91% married men and women having an affair
90% polygamy
85% cloning humans
78% suicide
61% cloning animals

More people thought cloning humans or animals was wrong than believed fornication (36%), homosexuality (48%), having a baby outside marriage (41%), or doctor-assisted suicide (44%) was wrong. Incredibly, more people thought buying and wearing clothing made from animal fur (39%) was wrong than sex between an unmarried man and woman (36%). More people thought cloning an animal was morally wrong (61%) than thought homosexuality (48%), abortion (48%) or having a baby outside marriage was wrong(41%)!

It is amazing how people will speak more clearly against cloning (in which they will probably never participate) than against common sins like abortion, homosexuality, or fornication! They can judge the sins of others more clearly than they can admit their own.

God doesn't consult opinion polls to determine right from wrong.

phil

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Free Exercise of Religion

My forefather, Patrick Henry, wrote the 15th and 16th articles of the Virginia Bill Rights, which served as a precursor to US Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments. The 16th article read:

16. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our CREATOR and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.


The free exercise of religion ought to guarantee us the right to preach the gospel of truth as long as we live. It is shameful our country has lost sight of the freedom of conscience and religion in order to give special rights to those who object to its moral truths.

Phil

Sunday, July 19, 2009

All the Way to Afghanistan!

Brother Phil,

Good lesson today on being a servant. I need to practice this more as I quickly forget what my attitude should be.

Phil, my son [Captain Adam Cresswell] gets the DVD'S of your lessons mailed to him in Afghanistan. Thank you very much for doing this, and I always send money monthly to you, as I have for many years. He recently was promoted to captain and moved to another location in Afghanistan. Unfortunately he's still in an especially dangerous area on the border of Pakistan. Can you pray for him, especially that he won't lose his faith in such trying circumstances? (Lew Cresswell)

Please remember Adam and all our troops in harms way in your prayers. They are fighting for our freedom.

Phil

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Please subcribe!

You can get regular postings from the blog just by hitting the RSS feed up in the page address box. We'd love for you to keep up with all that is going on!

phil

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just Another Day........

For some maybe, but for others any day can be the opportunity to make a difference.

The work at Search would not prosper if not for the help of our many volunteers. On Tuesday, July 15th, we called in our volunteers, most of them from the Edmond Church of Christ, for our regular monthly mail out. 22 volunteers came to help us on this day and together they sent out 10,100 pieces of material to be shipped as bulk mail. And, they did it in only about 2 and 1/2 hours. Now that's fast work.

When it is all broken down it comes to 6,100 financial letters, 1600 cassette tapes and 2,400 transcripts, which translates into about 459 pieces of mail per person. The volunteers fold letters, insert tapes and transcripts, and seal envelopes. Our ministry could not prosper and grow without our volunteer days. For so many, this may have been just another day, but for Christians everywhere, we know different. This was a day to make a difference.

A mountain of monthly transcripts.
Financial letters and Cassette Tapes ready for packaging.A lonely start, but he'll soon have friends to help.
The volunteers hard at work. Kerry (in the upper left, standing) organizes and oversees all of the regular mail from Search every month. A large task.
The Lord's Work
“This is the day the Lord has made: We will rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24)

Kerry Campbell

Hate Crimes Legislation in the Senate

According to Donald Wildmon of the AFA:

We have confirmation that a vote on the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Bill (S.909) will happen this week. It is likely the bill will be introduced as an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill. If the Senate approves the Hate Crimes amendment, President Obama will sign it into law.

The Hate Crimes legislation would authorize the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute certain bias-motivated crimes based on the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Even more troubling is that S.909 could create special protections for pedophilia and other "sexual orientations" from the definition of "sexual orientation" by the American Psychiatric Association.

The reality is that the purpose of this bill is to SILENCE those who speak out against homosexuality. If the legislation passes, IN SEARCH OF THE LORD'S WAY and preachers in the church could be prosecuted under the federal inducement statute for preaching the Biblical view of homosexuality. For instance, a person could commit an act of violence against a homosexual individual and blame it on a sermon! Similar laws have been used to prosecute religious speech in the US at the state level and abroad.

We call upon all our friends to call their US Senators and speak out against this legislation, which would rob us all of our religious freedom to speak the Truth about homosexuality. Please TAKE A STAND and CALL today!!

Mack Lyon and Phil Sanders

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Welcome

We are so glad that you have stopped by the In Search of the Lord's Way new blog site. We want to use this as a tool to deliver information, news about the program, broadcast updates, devotional thoughts and many other items that would be of interest to our viewers. We hope that you will consider subscribing to the RSS feed to get the most up-to-date news that we have to offer. Please tell all your friends about our new blog and encourage them to come and check it out. Blog entries will be made by In Search of the Lord's Way staff including but not limited to: Mack Lyon, Chris Lyon, Phil Sanders, Kerry and Jerry Campbell, and Craig Dodgen. Occasionally we may invite special friends of Search to share a thought as well.

Thanks again for stopping by. Remember to check out www.searchtv.org for the latest in our programming which is posted every week in video and audio. You will also find there, weekly, the latest transcript is available along with program topics and our latest newsletter, the "Search Light". Many of our viewers enjoy listening to, or downloading the songs that are sung on the program as well. Finally, new for 2009, we have started a Daily Devotional thought which is posted on the front page of the website each weekday. This year Phil is taking us through the entire Bible day by day. All devotionals are in a nice PDF format and can be downloaded and saved or printed out for personal use. We encourage all to begin each day with a moment of devotion with the Lord, and we pray all will be blessed by our efforts.

Peace,

Craig