Published by Andy Neckar
P.O. Box J Hico, TX 76457
Vol. 4, Number 12, Dec.1998

Editor-Andy Neckar
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Inside This Newsletter

1. Churches Market Message
2. Philadelphian Church & Laodicean Church Period Overlap.
3. ALL BELIEVERS ARE NOT CHRISTIANS
4. MISC.
5. NEWS WATCH
6. CNV NOTES

 

Churches Market Message
By Andy Neckar
(Excerpted from the Fort worth Star Telegram Oct. 22, 1998)
Italics by Editor

The church down the street may know more about you than you realize.

It may know, among other things, your name, how much money you make, how many kids you have, how old you are, what kind of wine you drink, the kind of car you drive and whether or not you go to church.

But don't worry. Blame it on the information age. Churches have access to sophisticated marketing tools that track population trends. That allows churches to pinpoint areas of need and helps them shape their services. And population trends can be narrowed down to subdivision level.

[Editor] Articles such as this one really reinforce my teachings that many of the churches cater to the "world" primarily, and "Christians" secondary. The purpose of the "church building" is to provide a place where Christians can gather together unto Christ for worship, prayer, ministry, fellowship, and edification; supporting and encouraging missions, evangelism, Christian growth and holy living.

You know, I'm pretty good at demographics. Maybe I ought to hire myself out to these churches. I can narrow population trends down to individual "blocks". Why? Because the CHIEF DEMOGRAPHER identified the trends (direction) of the population of the "world" as sinners in need of salvation. "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" (Rom 3:10) This Man, Jesus Christ, ranked this trend as white fields ready to harvest. (John 4:35)

The "ministers of God" are "hurting" the church not "helping". They are unequally yoking Christians with unbelievers, which is forbidden by God. (2 Cor 6:14)

The Rev. Andy Cook of Shirley Hills Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Ga., found out how valuable it could be last year.

"We found we had about 1,200 unchurched people on our road," he said. "That surprised us and gave our church a mission."

[Editor] Andy Cook is saying that "demographics and aggressive marketing" gave our church a mission." He's right you know. The world gave this church a mission (commission) and it's adding to the church daily as many as should "go to church"

I praise God for the churches that receive their commission from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Matt 28:19) This commission, given by Christ to the church, added to the church daily such as "should be saved."(Acts 2:47)

Shirley Hills put together Walk Through Bethlehem at Christmas, wanting to draw people onto the church grounds in hopes they would eventually walk through the church's doors.

"We wanted a way to introduce them to church in a non-threatening way. We spent an extra $23,000 to create a Christmas event," Cook said.

Walk Through Bethlehem covered 3 acres and had everything from Roman soldiers on horseback to a camel. It also had the desired effect.

"Ten thousand people came to see it," Cook said. "The Sunday after Bethlehem there were 100 new faces in church."

[Editor] I assume you realize by now that I am "in no way" in agreement with this type of marketing. We are to preach the gospel, not market it. Marketing a product is to devise ways to make the product appealing to the general public (world). The gospel of Christ will NEVER be appealing to the world.

1 Cor 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1 Cor 1:21 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.

1 Cor 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Cor 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

Yeah, folks, the church is being made appealing to the world. What with the church resorting to worldly music, entertainment, sports, demographics and marketing tactics. Worldly things attract worldly people

There is no secret formula to using demographics and aggressive marketing. Organizations of all types do it. But it would probably surprise people to know how active churches can be in tracking trends and identifying potential markets.

[Editor] The church doesn't need "marketers" they need to "open their eyes", to a "positive," not "potential" market. The entire world is a market. The entire world is in sin. The world is not "potentially" in sin, It is "positively" in sin. God says it is.

His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. .(Isa 56:10-11)

I love the Bible. It tells it like it is. I love God. We are in agreement. Yeah, these watchmen are greedy all right. These erring ministers, if indeed they are ministers, are striving for numbers. They are after preeminence. I wonder if they really know what is the great commission as commanded by Christ. There are many labourers in the churches of today that are ready, willing and able to harvest the fields as defined by man.

These labourers are ready because the doctrine of man appeals to them: willing, because worldly churches have worldly aspirations, and able, because they have the worldly tools necessary to attract the world.

"Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;" (Matt 9:37) Indeed, the labourers "are" few. These churches are not reaping the harvest. They are NOT "adding" as many as should be saved to the "CHURCH", ( Acts 2:47) they are "mixing" the "CHURCH" with the "world".

"People in business say marketing. We call it a mission," Cook said.

[Editor] A skunk is a skunk by whatever name it is called, just as sin is sin, whether it is called disease, alternate lifestyle or whatever.

Warner Robins' Central Baptist Church, which has more than 1,000 people worshiping there on Sundays, has used a variety of demographic studies. Part of that information can be put to use as it plans a move to a new location. The church has purchased 155 acres of land near what will be the Russell Parkway Extension and plans to move there by 2001. Central's minister, the Rev. Owen Bozeman, believes the way to grow his church is to attract people who don't go to church.

[Editor] The "only way" to grow THE CHURCH is to preach the gospel of Christ. Marketing techniques are not sharp and powerful enough to pierce the soul, but the Word of God is. (Heb 4:12)

"A church should not be in the business of getting members from other churches," he said.

[Editor] A church should not be in the business of getting "members" in any manner. All the while the churches are "preoccupied with the mission" of attracting the unchurched unsaved, it is "neglecting the commission" of adding to the CHURCH

Bozeman is quick to point out the best way to reach unchurched people is person to person.

"The best PR is someone who is excited about their relationship with the Lord," he said.

But he also believes you've got to reach that person first in order to share your experiences.

[Editor] How to reach people to share your experience? Go ye therefore, … (Matt 28:19 "Go ye": to traverse, i.e. travel-- depart, go (away, forth, one's way, up), (make a, take a) journey, walk.

Does your Bible say, "attract ye therefore the nations with worldly attractions, entertaining them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"

Is the church to become as a basketball coach or whatever, to win them over?. What did Paul do? He stayed with the gospel of Christ. He didn't hire some Grecian athletic coaches to appeal to the masses. He didn't hire some therapists from some of the pagan goddess temples to give massages and initiate exercise activities to get them "involved".

"Direct mail is a very fine marketing tool. You can use it to detail some aspect of your Christian ministry. I've just finished ordering a list of the names of every new resident of Houston County," he said. The church will send them a letter welcoming them to the county along with a response card, asking how the church can serve them.

[Editor] What do the churches do? They entice the unchurched into the church primarily for numbers sake, and perchance some will profit by the gospel if it is thrown in as an aftermath of the activities organized to please the unchurched.

When the church asks someone, "how can I serve you?" they are putting themselves at the beck and call of the unchurched, and are offering to do everything in their power to please them.

The result of adapting the services to the whim of the unchurched is that the sheep are abandoned to spiritual hunger, while the goats are carnally fed.

There is a downside to aggressive marketing. Part of it is money. One minister said you can spend "tens of thousands of dollars," and those dollars may not show quick, tangible results. But there's an even bigger dilemma.

"Some people think there's something unchristian about marketing," Bozeman said. "But Paul taught us to go into the marketplace. He was unafraid to go where the people were."

[Editor] Early on in this report $23,000 was spent to create a Christmas event that drew 100 "new faces" in church." Folks, that $230.00 a face. This is reported as "new faces" mind you, not "souls saved" The downside of all this is that the "face-lift" or makeover initiated by this church, leads the saints in that church into sin as unwise stewards.

And that's what churches that use the latest in marketing techniques think it allows them to do. Shirley Hills' Cook reeled off a series of revealing statistics.

"Seventy-two and a half percent of the people within one mile of us are under 50. Sixty-seven percent are in families. But we were stunned to find a lot of households with two or less people," he said.

And it goes beyond that. Churches have access to services that compile demographics into lifestyle clusters which help the church target particular groups.

When Vineville Baptist Church in Macon, Ga., began planning a new church on Zebulon Road, the Rev. Ben Haygood had information on population in a 4-mile ring of what would be Vineville North. Haygood gave an example of one segment of the demographic study called "Country Squire." Characteristics of that group ranged from being a college graduate and homeowner to drinking imported wine and probably driving a Volvo.

"What you're trying to do," he said, "is understand your community."

[Editor] What I'm trying to do is understand the churches that engage in this sort of activity. I know the demographic characteristics of just about every community of the world. Read your Bible and see what God has to say about the characteristics (nature) of communities.(man) Talk about an inerrant, infallible demographic study? The Creator invented the term.

Hey, He also tells us how to reach these people. And folks-it ain't the way the churches are going about it.

I guess the lifestyle cluster of the group ranging from being a college graduate and homeowner, to drinking imported wine and probably driving a Volvo, mandates the church to hold a diverse service. (that's service to the group-not to God) A service incorporating intellectual sermons of financial investments, mortgage rates, and the offering of the Lord's Supper comprising diet bread and imported wine.

The churches target particular groups, not lost sinners. All ye sinners come into the church, the meeting place of the saints. We will feed you the things you are accustomed to even if we have to spiritually starve the saints and break them financially. We are here to administer to YOU not the SAINTS. You are our target. Come in, make yourself at home. If you don't feel at home we will continue to change our services until you do. We are here to please, and if the saints don't like it, let them go to "their home".

People of the World, come on in, we are JUST LIKE YOU.
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Philadelphian Church & Laodicean Church Period Overlap.

The Sixth Church and the Seventh and Last Church of Revelation 3 in Contrast.
By Andy Neckar
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The text of this commentary will be Rev. 3:7-13 and Rev. 3:14-22

Only the letter to the church at Philadelphia contains no word of rebuke. The first five churches received commendations AND rebuke from our Lord. However the Laodicean church receives NO commendation, ONLY REBUKE.

Rev 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Folks, I believe the Lord has set before me an open door. I believe He has set an open door to many churches and ministries, but NOT as many as some would like to think. What God has opened no man can shut: "for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name". The TRUE CHURCH has a "little" strength left. We are vastly outnumbered, but we will continue to preach the truth and oppose the false gospel that even the "angel of light" is preaching nowadays through his false "signs and wonders" gospel.

"…he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;" (verse 7) God has opened this door for the truth to be told by a remnant, and the majority will not shut this door until Jesus comes to take us away. Also-God has shut the door of the TRUE CHURCH to many headstrong sinners.  These are shut up in the hardness of their hearts.

Heb 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Verses 4 & 5 shows how far persons may go in "religion", and fall away and perish forever. They may be enlightened because of scholastic knowledge and ordinary learnedness, and yet come short of heaven. They may taste of the Word of God and feel something of the calling of the Holy Spirit, causing them to taste something of religion. Persons may taste religion and seem to like it, if they could have it upon easier terms than denying themselves, and taking up their cross, and following Christ. People may be made partakers of the Holy Ghost, that is, of his exceptional and miraculous gifts such as casting out devils in the name of Christ, and done many other mighty works. (Matt 7:22-23) Such gifts in the apostolic age were sometimes bestowed upon those who had no true saving grace. These people may taste, or sample the good Word of God and may have some appreciation of the gospel doctrines. They may hear the word with pleasure, and remember much of it, and talk well of it. They may be "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth". (2 Tim 3:7) They may have tasted of the powers of the world to come and may have been under strong concepts concerning heaven, and the fear of going to hell. Hypocrites may correspond to these measures and yet fall from the fundamental knowledge they once had.

This is not speaking of TRUE believers. These "…went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (I John 2:19)

The folks who have fallen away are these types of people.

"A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it." (Luke 8:5) "Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved." (Luke 8:12) "And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture." (Luke 8:6) They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away." (Luke 8:13)

These Christ rejecters who want their ears, AND EYES, tickled don't want true doctrine. They want, and are getting, signs & wonders. Doctrine has been replaced with experience. Genuine "fear and trembling" has been replaced with a "fuzzy feel good" sensation. These folks want to "see" their religion. They want "hands on" religion. They want to SEE and DO. They want their "brain stimulated" not their "soul regenerated". All these folks have is RELIGION.

General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army wrote: "The chief danger of the 20th century will be, religion without the Holy Ghost. Christianity without Christ. Forgiveness without repentance. Salvation without regeneration. Politics without God. And heaven without hell."

The Laodicean churches of today think things are wonderful. It loves the outpouring of the "holy spirit". It claims things are looking up and it's gonna get better. It's gonna get as good as the individual will let it. God's power is confined to YOUR will. He can give you good things only if YOU LET HIM. He is in YOUR power, is what the synagogues of Satan preach.

Think it. Believe it. Join in prayer with another and you will receive it according to YOUR will.

Some churches have been apostate for a long time. (Example-Roman Catholic-mainstream churches began to fall away "early on" and slowly evolved into the RC church) Folks, this SAME THING is happening today. The mainstream churches are going the way of Roman Catholicism. The once Christian church is falling away, "one local church at a time". This is to say that the local fellowship, from the pulpit to the pew, has become so infiltrated with unbelievers that these "churches" are no longer Christian, although there are a remnant of believers in these churches. (Note…some churches have never been apostate, but were false from the beginning. Example-Mormon, J.W. ect.)

Lukewarmness and indifference as to the great doctrines of the faith and unwillingness to defend them is leading to the great falling away as prophesied in 2 Thess. 2:3.

Folks, the remnant of the Philadelphian church is at war with the end-times Laodicean church of the world. You see, Christ is standing at the door. He is on the OUTSIDE of the church looking in. Christ is not IN those churches. He is calling the people OUT of this Laodicean church. The Philadelphian Messengers of Christ are warning night and day with tears. Some warn in frustration sometimes-like me. Many folks call this frustration anger, hateful, legalistic, self-righteous or Pharisaic, but no-it's FRUSTRATION!

Christ says He will make the Laodicean churches the synagogues of Satan, because they say they are Jews (Christian) and are not. (verse 9) You find a church that promotes rock music, dramas, signs and wonders, experience and unity (ecumenism) above doctrine, "watch out for it". Very likely it will be a "synagogue", and don't look for "Jews only". Some of God's people are there too and He is calling them out. (Rev. 18:4) But watch out for the "head rabbi". Satan himself will be in charge

Heb 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

2 Pet 2:20-21 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

I believe these verses tell us that it is almost "impossible" to convert professing Christians. Those who think they are saved. Those who "make commitments", and those who simply "pray to be saved" are very hard to win over and convert once they are led to believe they are saved by these false ministers of God.

Folks, it is good to heed the warnings and commands in God's Word to us.

2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

2 Pet 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

Phil 2:12 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.

The WORD urges us to work out our own salvation. This refers to the church community rather than to the individual. We are to keep on working out the salvation of the church. (Body of believers) Same as keep on studying-teaching and growing in faith

This local church is growing in faith. (working out their salvation) They are obeying the teachings of the Apostles more now, that earlier when Paul was with them.

How do we "work out our salvation". By a steady continuos process of study, AND obedience to what we have learned.

Why in fear and trembling? Because we have the "promise" of salvation. It is not completed.

Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest (a pledge, i.e. part of the purchase-money or property given in advance as security for the rest: ) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

We are a purchased possession, but we wait in hope (faith) until our Redeemer comes to claim His purchased possession. (purchased with His blood shed on the cross of Calvary)

We are not yet redeemed. We have His Word-His pledge-His promise-but only the "down payment" has been made. We believe "in faith" that He will "complete" the purchase of our redemption.

This is what actually saves us. This "faith" in Him. We "believe" Him.

1Thes 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope (faith-expectation) of salvation.
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ALL BELIEVERS ARE NOT CHRISTIANS
By Andy Neckar

The phrase "becoming Christians" or "become a Christian" is very popular nowadays folks. Almost all news services use this phrase in reporting about the results of evangelistic campaigns. It is clear that the news services, and a shame that the evangelicals who use this terminology have no cognition of it's meaning.

We hear that so many people "prayed to become a Christian". We hear that this many people "came forward" in response to a message to "make a decision" to become a Christian.

There are many believers who are not Christians, but there are no Christians who are not believers.

ONE-Becoming a Believer
Frankly, to be honest, becoming a "Christian" and becoming a "believer" are really two different levels of Christianity. To become a believer one must believe the "gospel" of Christ. One is regenerated-sanctified-born again and made a new creature. One is placed "in" Christ. ALL this happens because one "simply" believed the "simple" gospel of Christ. Salvation comes "easy".

If one meets these qualifications, one does not have to "pray" to become a Christian, one is a already a "believer, but "not" in a true sense, a "Christian".

The Word of God tells how one can become a believer and thereby become one in Christ. One can find out for oneself by reading the Bible or hear the Word from a preacher, provided he preaches "all" of "God's Word" and does not throw in personal "words of wisdom" to overly simplify things, therefore making the gospel of no effect. The gospel of Christ is simple, but not as simple as merely saying a prayer, filling out a card, or walking an isle. Becoming a believer does not cost. Salvation is a free gift.

TWO-Becoming A Christian
One-let me say that I am not stuck on one's. Two-l will get on with the subject. Folks-becoming a Christian is not as simple as getting saved/believing the gospel of Christ. Becoming a Christian means "following Christ"; to be a Christ follower. The early believers came to be called Christians because they were followers of Christ and His teachings. Becoming a believer can be hidden. Becoming a Christian cannot. Becoming a believer saves us. Becoming a Christian identifies us. It tells the world who we are and what we believe.

Becoming a Christian costs. Sometimes it is very costly.
Becoming a Christian is the light Jesus speaks of in Matt 5:14-16. It is the salt He speaks of in Matt 5:13. The light of a Christian is a witness to the LIGHT. (John 1:7) One does not become a follower of Christ the moment one believes. Believing in faith saves. Growing in faith makes us a Christian. We grow in faith and learn to walk after the Spirit. We begin to follow Christ. We endure persecution, ridicule, and scorn. We take up our cross and follow Christ.

We are believers who are Christians.

Why this article? Because there are too many believers who are not Christians--and it's sad. It hurts.

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MISC.

Ecumenicism says: Break down the walls: Tear down the fences. But when fences are all eliminated so the sheep can freely mingle, there also is no longer protection from the wolves.
Think about it.

PICTURES
Because of Self-Picture me in hell
Because of Calvary-Picture me in Christ
Because of Christ-Picture me in heaven
Because of this-Picture me happy
What Pictures Do You Have?
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Spiritual Unity--Biblical Ecumenicism
(Produced by severe trials)

There are many groups made up of believers who truly love God and who reject false teachings that are now outside the conventional church system. They are under incredible pressure, because God is at work purging and establishing these groups, often using severe trials to push their commitment to the limit. They are the despised, the forsaken, and the outcasts whom God loves. When they are drawn together by God, they discover that they already have a tremendous spiritual unity. These people who have been hurt by dictatorial churches, often having been cast out of such churches, and are wary of " one man leadership" and "systems", have come to meet as a biblical church approved by Christ. By two's and three's they gather together for informal worship and mutual support. This is happening in my area and in my home as my family meets and prays that the Spirit will rise up a "Spirit gifted" church here in Hico.
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NEWS WATCH

Synagogues of Satan.
The United Church of Christ should support homosexual rights, its leader says. Paul Sherry is urging pastors of the denomination's 6,000 churches to read a letter from their pulpits supporting gay rights, United Press International said. The Bible has been used to justify prejudice and violence against homosexuals, and UCC congregations should be places of sanctuary for all people, Sherry said. "The campaign against homosexuals by many conservative politicians and religious leaders this summer convinced me that another Christian voice needed to be heard." Defending homosexuals demonstrates "fidelity to the prophetic voice of the Bible and the gospel's embrace for those who, with Christ, have been despised," he said. (Religion News Today-11/23/98)

[Editor] You don't hear me say much about this church, because it is so far gone I think most Christians can "easily" see that there is "nothing" Christian "at all" about this church.

Take heed though! The "head" of the United Church of Christ, Paul Sherry says, "who,(homosexuals) with Christ, have been despised," BLASPHEMY! He is equating our LORD and SAVIOR with homosexuals.

The mainstream churches are becoming a sanctuary for the world instead of a place to worship and fellowship with other "believers of the gospel of Christ". Oh-there are believers in these churches alright, but most are "not" in CHRIST

The United Church of Christ is a sanctuary for the enemies of Christ because it is a synagogue of Satan.

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They All Fall Down.
Georgia Baptists will allow charismatic practices. The state's Baptist association, the largest group of Southern Baptist churches outside of Texas, considered banning practices such as speaking in tongues and "being slain in the spirit," the Associated Press said. Most of the 2,400 representatives at a meeting voted to ban such practices, but the tally fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. (Religion News Today-11/23/98)

[Editor] What can I say that I haven't already said in this newsletter? MAINSTREAM CHURCHES ARE FALLING AWAY FROM THE FAITH (once delivered to the saints) ONE LOCAL CHURCH AT A TIME.

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CNV NOTES

Well, folks, I pray that you each have a Merry, Joyous and Blessed Christmas, and a Happy New Year. May each of us walk closer with our God, and I pray that all believers become Christians.

See you next month if Jesus tarries.

We Must Earnestly Contend For The Faith-Jude 1:3

[The Christian News & Views is a free monthly publication of Messengers of Christ Ministries. PO Box J, Hico, Texas 76457, a nonprofit (501-(C)-3) organization registered in the State of Texas. [Articles by the editor are not copyrighted and may be used to the glory of God.] Please indicate the source.]