Anabaptist Group Dynamics
Commands of Jesus
Difference between Anabaptists and Evangelicals
Hutterite Sermon Prefaces
Marriage (Ulrich Stadler)
Living Word (Ulrich Stadler)
Modern views of Anabaptists
Mysteries of the Kingdom of God
April 14, 05
Dec 28, 05
Apr 16, 08
Apr 23, 08
Apr 30, 08
May 07, 08
May 14, 08
June 18, 08
June 25, 08
Secret of the Strength
Sermons by Eli Hofer
The Writings of Ulrich Stadler
The Church and
the Narrow Path
To Vote or not to Vote
Way of the Lord
The Anabaptist Voice
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and
the Lord Jesus Christ. How are you? We pray you are well under the
wonderful love of our Lord. It is getting rather warm here in northwest
Tucson, and we have started to use the air-conditioner. All
of us are blessed with good health. Praise God.
Michi and Don toured the nearby park again,
the Tohono Chul Park (shown here) which is overflowing with native desert
plants with their spring-time flowers. The tour lady said that there was
a rattlesnake on the path earlier that day but we did not see any.
However, at home yesterday Don found another snake in our back yard, the
second one this spring. This one was non-poisonous, nearly 4 feet long,
while the other was a poisonous rattlesnake. He killed both, the first
with someone to help but with the one yesterday he had no one to help so,
using a broom, he managed to throw it over the six foot stone wall around the
yard and then went out and killed it with the broom.
The other day, Michi found a tiny baby bird
on the sidewalk near our front door. It was still alive, so she called
Don. It seemed that the baby fell from its nest. Don brought a
ladder and put the baby back in the nest. We pray the parents would
notice and take care of the baby. Naomi said, “God knows. Not one
of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of our Father.”
Naomi finally finished her correspondence
course on writing children’s stories. She worked hard but she enjoyed
it. Now we are asking her to versify some Bible verses for us to sing.
She has done several songs, and we see that God has given this special gift to
her. Here is a photo of her and her cat and birds. Also below is a
photo of our friend Mario Cota who lives at the Wa’Ta-lus Kuatei Children’s
Home in Mexico. Please pray for him.
We have been praying for God to speak to us and also praying that He opens our
ears so that we can hear Him. Last Monday Michi and Naomi again attended
the ladies worship time at Linda Dowdle’s house. It was a powerful time
with the ladies praising God with all their might. Even though Michi did
not know some of the melodies, she could also worship Him, as His Spirit
saturated the place. During this time the Lord God spoke to Michi,
saying, “Rest in My Glory. I love you.”
Wow! She was blessed! It is wonderful to hear God’s voice, to know
that He is close to you and that He loves you.
David has returned from his trip to China and Japan. He sent us a
package of very long seaweed, about two feet long. We have never seen
anything like that. He also sent us some Japanese postcards and candies.
Thank you, David. Jim is back home in Vancouver, BC, after his trips to
Kansas, Texas and California, helping colleges with their spring baseball
Paul wrote: “My
message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a
demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on
men's wisdom, but on God's power.
We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom
of this age or of the rulers of
this age, who are coming to nothing.
we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God
destined for our glory before time began.
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not
have crucified the Lord of glory.”
(1 Cor 2:4-8) We experienced some of this secret wisdom of God on Sunday
morning at the CDO church meetings from the talk by AOG missionaries to
Indonesia, Terry & LuLu Paschall. They serve in a Moslem area where they
have to preach Christianity by their actions and not by words, they’re not
allowed to proselytize. So they reach out to the Moslems by developing
relationships, getting people to like and respect them by demonstrating the
life of Jesus within them, the life of love. John said, “Dear
children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions
and in truth… God is love, those who live in love
live in God and God lives in them.”
(1 John 3:18, 4:16)
How to Study
The current Wednesday evening CDO church service sermons are on the subject of
Bible study. Here are some of our suggestions. First decide why
you want to study the Bible, what is your motivation? Do you need it?
Do you want to be more like Jesus? Your reasons for studying the Bible
will largely determine what you get out of it. Those who have a hunger
and thirst for God (Psalm 63:1, Luke 6:21) will find love and joy in studying
the Word of God. Michi says, “When
I am hungry, He feeds me. When I am sad, He gives me peace and joy.
I need to know God Almighty. I want to know Him more. That is why
I study the Bible. God gives me joy. I am a child of God.
Why can I say that? Because Jesus said so, and it is written in the
Bible. As I learn more about the Almighty God and His love, my eyes are
opened. The more I learn about Him, the more my heart is filled with His
wonderful love through the Holy Spirit.”
Next decide what the Bible is to you.
If you have made it into an idol you probably shouldn’t continue reading here
as it may cause you to become angry. (One way to tell if you have made
something into an idol, a false god, is your response when someone does not
treat it with the respect that you think that it should have.) Your
motivation for studying the Bible and your view of the Bible will effect how
You will need to decide what part of the
Bible is the most important. Paul writes that all Scripture is inspired
by God (2 Tim 3:16) but not all Scripture is from God (1 Cor 7:10, 12, 14:32).
There is obviously a variation in the books of the Bible that reflects the
person who wrote them. The four Gospels reveal that very clearly, each
writer seeing things a bit differently. Those who claim to believe in a
‘flat’ Bible tend to say that it is all equally inspired, that it is all
written by Jesus. However, they don’t really believe that otherwise they
wouldn’t have rejected some of the books that were in the Bible at the time of
Jesus, such as the Book of Tobit.
Our advice is to consider the four Gospels
to be the most important books in the Bible and to understand all of the rest
of the Bible in the light of the teachings of Christ in the Gospels.
Another decision a Bible reader has to make
is how to understand the contradictions found in the Bible. Some are
easy to resolve, such as Matthew using the term ‘kingdom of heaven’ whereas
the other Gospel writers use the term ‘kingdom of God’, they are one and the
same. Some contradictions are noticeable but minor, such as the number
of demoniacs of Gadarenes (1 or 2?), the number of blind men at Jericho
calling to Jesus (1 or 2?). However, some contradictions are major, such
as you are to honor your father and mother in Mt 19:18 and you are to hate
your father and mother in Luke 14:26 (which is obviously wrong, probably an
early copyist error, it should be as told by Matthew in Mt 10:37). You
need to remember that the original writings, which are no longer in existence,
were manually copied many times, with the corresponding copyists errors, which
results in the varying Greek and Hebrew texts used today to translate the
various Bibles into English. Also you need to consider that some of the
Greek words in the Bible were transliterated into English and not translated,
such as Christ, mammon, baptize, etc. There is obviously a reason for
transliteration instead of translation, usually a theological reason.
Since Don and Michi speak several languages they are familiar with some of the
difficulties and the personal opinions that affect translations, such as the
Greek word ‘sozo’ used for ‘saved’ also can be translated as ‘healed’, the
Greek word ‘hupakouo’ used for ‘belief’ can also be translated as ‘obey’.
Reading a Bible passage in different translations is a good idea.
Basic to Bible study is the words of Jesus
who said that the Holy Spirit will teach you everything. (John 14:26)
He uses not only the written Bible but also His preachers and teachers
throughout the centuries to do that.
Patriotism and Mammonism
Are there similarities between patriotism
and mammonism? Are they both forms of idolatry? Let’s examine both
and see. (If the following gets you angry, then you probably have made
them into idols.) The dictionary definition of patriotism is devotion to
one’s country and the willingness to sacrifice one’s life and the lives of
others for it. Patriots publicly proclaim that their highest allegiance
is to the state, above home and family. Patriotism has ethical
connotations: it implies that the 'fatherland' (however defined) is a
moral standard or moral value in itself. Patriots tend to see treason as
the opposite of patriotism. A patriotic person supports the wars fought
by its government and is willing to kill for it. He does not believe in
extending love and good will to every living person on this earth since he can
be patriotic only towards his own country and people who believe like he does.
A patriotic person can not have divided
loyalties, they can not, for example, owe allegiance to both the United States
and to Mexico. George Bernard Shaw said, “Patriotism is your
conviction that this country is superior to all other countries.” A
patriotic person is a nationalist, upholding his country, right or wrong.
They reverence the flag, holding it up in the place of honor, like an object
Now let’s compare a patriot with the
Biblical description of a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. A
disciple’s allegiance is only to the Lord God. They humbly reverence the
cross, desiring to be like Jesus with love for all of mankind. A
disciple recognizes that the world and all of its governments are under the
control of Satan. (See Mt 4:8, Luke 4:5-6, John 12:31, 1 John 5:19.
Also 2 Cor 4:4, Luke 13:16, Gal 1:4, Eph 6:12, Heb 2:14) Disciples
are to obey the government as Paul tells the disciples in Rome to obey the
evil, pagan government of Rome (see Rom 13) even though that government, for
entertainment, throws disciples to the lions in the sports arena.
However, there can be no question that obedience to God comes first, as Peter
teaches in Acts 4:19 and 5:29.
Disciples consider themselves to be aliens
and strangers on earth and are looking for a better country, a heavenly one.
(Heb 11:13-16, 1 Peter 1:17, 2:11) They are members of the Kingdom of
God (John 3:3, 3:5), living under God’s rule, not the world’s; they love not
the world or the things of the world (1 John 2:15-17), they love God above all
things and they love their fellow man as they love themselves. Disciples
have been crucified to the world, dead to the world and its lures. (Gal
6:14) There does seem to be quite a bit of difference between a patriot
and a disciple.
The dictionary definition of mammonism is
devotion to wealth. Most people do not see themselves as greedy, which
the Bible calls idolatry (Col 3:5), but do think that it is ok to seek after
wealth. However, Jesus is quite clear that His disciples can not do
that. He told them not to store up wealth on earth (Mt 6:19-34), that
they are to sell their possessions (Luke 12:33) and if they don’t they are not
His disciples (Luke 14:33). We see in Acts 2:44-47 and Acts 4:32-5:11
that the disciples obeyed Him.
The disciples of Jesus are to bear witness
to Jesus (Acts 1:8) by their joyful rejection of both patriotism and mammonism,
and not falling for the devil’s plea that a little patriotism and/or a little
mammonism is ok. It is interesting to note that if you say that
patriotism is wrong for disciples, some people will become angry with you, but
if you say that mammonism is wrong, no one will complain because they think
that it is just natural to seek after wealth.
Now, dear friend, may
the Lord God strengthen your heart so that you will be blameless and holy in
the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy
ones. (1 Thessalonians 3:13)
Your brother and sisters in Christ,
Don, Michi and Naomi Murphy
Tucson, AZ, phone 520-297-1639
God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God
prepared in advance for us to do.”