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Monday Memo - November 4

Fall back. We “gained” an hour by turning the clock back an hour Saturday night. Just a couple of buttons to push, or in some cases, automatically done for us.  I attended church in Dallas yesterday and the pastor referenced this contrived experience of “turning back the clock.”  Sort of a bit of a BACK TO THE FUTURE deal.  How many of us would like to redo some decision we made, take back words that we have spoken, wipe away some acts of “careless” sexuality, make up for wasted hours, days or years of “wandering” unwisely financially, personally, spiritually or physically?

The reality is, we cannot turn back the clock, but we can make the most of the time we do have today, right now, each hour, each day. As I was “preparing for this day” this morning, I reflected on the “opportunity” before me. I said to myself, “I can’t go back and redo anything, but I can choose, by God’s strength, to make choices that will honor God and make the most of my future.

This Sunday, we begin a series entitled, Chain Reaction - Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. So much of this letter reveals a present and future attitude by the apostle.

One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press         on...            3:13

according to my earnest expectation and hope…Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body…        1:20

…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am… I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.      4:11-13

I have 4:13 engraved on the inside of my wedding band.

This series is really about the Ultimate Journey, and the Ultimate Journey is NOW!!!

P.S.  Men…are you going through change? Of course you are! Saturday, November 16th, our men’s breakfast will feature Boyd Bailey, founder of Wisdom Hunters. Should be very relevant. You can sign up by visiting our website.

Also, if you want to listen to my chapel message at Dallas Seminary, click here.

Grace and peace, 

Tom Oyler
Lead Pastor   


Looking Back  

"Islam vs. Christianity" 

It is sometimes easy for us to forget that Christians are being persecuted around the world in alarming numbers. Much of that persecution is taking place in Muslim-majority countries. At the same time there is a growing number of Muslims who have become our neighbors right here in the Tri-Cities. Whether we view Muslims as enemies or neighbors, we are called to love them. It is difficult to love those whom we do not know or understand. First steps toward loving Muslims in our community and around the world might be simply asking the right questions: What longings and needs do Muslims have? What do they think about Jesus? What are they missing out on? What questions do they have? How can I move toward them with Jesus’ love?


Weary, working, burdened one, wherefore toil you so?

Cease your doing; all was done long, long ago.

'Til to Jesus' work you cling by a simple faith,

“doing” is a deadly thing, “doing” ends in death.

Cast your deadly “doing” down, down at Jesus' feet;

stand in Him, in Him alone, gloriously complete.

~James Proctor, It Is Finished


1.    Spend some time this week praying for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for their faith around the world. Use the prayer guide included with the bulletin as you pray.

2.    Evaluate your own heart toward Muslims. What preconceived ideas or stereotypes do you have? Do you personally have any Muslim friends? Would you be open to befriending a Muslim if the opportunity presented itself?

3.    Would you be willing to pray that God would use you in His plan to bring many from the Islamic faith to a true understanding and belief in Jesus?


Muslim doctrine is often summarized in "Six Articles of Faith."

1. One God. To associate a “partner” with Allah is blasphemy (reject Trinity).

2. Large hierarchy of angels. Each person has two angels: one recording good deeds, other recording bad deeds.

3. The Prophets of God – 124,000, one sent to each nation.

4. The Holy Books – 4 of the highest ranking prophets given books of divine revelation: Moses (Torah), David (Psalms), Jesus (Gospel), Muhammad (Qur'an)

5. The Day of Judgment - Those whose good deeds outweigh one's bad deeds will be rewarded with Paradise, others to hell.

6. Preordainment – the teaching that all things, good or bad, are preordained to occur

The Five Pillars (Obligations) of Islam

1. To Recite the Shahadah: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger.” (All that is required to become Muslim.)

2. To Pray - seventeen cycles of prayer each day, spread over five times of prayer, facing toward Mecca

3. To Fast - during daylight hours of Ramadan (one month)

4. To give alms (2.5% of income to poor and needy)

5. To Make the Pilgrimage to Mecca



Breaking the Islam Code: Understanding the Soul Questions of Every Muslim by J.D. Greear

Muslims, Christians, and Jesus: Gaining Understanding and Building Relationships by Carl Medearis

Encountering the World of Islam - Keith Swartley (editor)

Comparing the Qur’an and the Bible: What They Really Say about Jesus, Jihad, and More by Rick Richter


Looking Ahead

"Chain Reaction: Paul's Letter to the Philippians" 

It was 61 AD. Less than thirty years after the death of Jesus. Paul was in prison in Rome, facing a very uncertain future. The reason? The gospel of Jesus Christ. However, chains did not hinder him. Ten years earlier, he had left a few new believers, a Roman colony named Philippi, and he knew they needed to hear from him. This is the letter. It reveals a Chain Reaction that continues throughout the world to this day.


1.    The background to the Chain Reaction which is Philippians, is recorded in Acts 16. Take a look, spend some time getting to know basic facts, events, etc. You may want to make some notes/lists in your journal. A map is good to check out to get oriented as well.

2.    Now begin to read the letter. It is relatively short. Jot down some common/repeated themes, key verses, etc.

3.    Where do you think the title, Chain Reaction, comes from in the dynamics of the text? (see 1:7, 13, 14, 17 and surrounding context)

4.    I what ways do you see The Ultimate Journey being out in the letter to the Philippians?


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