Tuesday, September 18, 2012


It is interesting to note a number of brief, compact passages of Holy Scripture that nevertheless pack strong, powerful messages.  Consider the following (all from the New King James Version of the Bible).

Genesis 18:25b: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

Proverbs 16:18: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

Proverbs 22:7: "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant of the lender."  (Did you ever take out a 25- or 30-year home mortgage?J )

John 11:35: "Jesus wept" (Message: Christ was tenderhearted and sympathetic; so should we be.)

Acts 20:35c: "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

I Corinthians 14:33: "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." (Question: Have you ever asked yourself, "Did all of the different kinds of churches and religions really originate with God?")

Ephesians 4:26: "Be angry and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath."

Ephesians 5:1: "Therefore be followers (imitators) of God as dear children."

Philippians 2:14-15: "Do all things without murmuring and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world."

Colossians 3:17: "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through Him."

Colossians 3:23: "And whatever you do, do it heartily to the Lord and not to men."

I Thessalonians 5:16: "Rejoice always."

I Thessalonians 5:17: "Pray without ceasing." (Translation: Don't leave prayer behind; don't leave prayer out of your life.)

I Thessalonians 5:21: "Test (prove) all things; hold fast what is good." (Meaning: Don't be gullible when it comes to spiritual matters.)

I Thessalonians 5:22: "Abstain from every form of evil." (Note: Just because the Bible does not specifically mention a thing as being a sin does not mean that it isn't.  Use a little common sense.)

Hebrews 10:31: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

A passage of Scripture does not have to be long in order to convey a strong message.  Let us learn from the short verses of the Bible.

Speaking Schedule:
September 30: Cottontown Churchof ChristCottontownTN
October 7: Red Hill Church of Christ, ManchesterTN (p.m. only)

Hugh Fulford
September 18, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


My favorite season of the year is now underway – college football!  I look forward to Saturdays and watching my favorite teams play on TV.  I no longer enjoy going to the stadiums, dealing with the crowds, fighting the traffic, sitting on an uncomfortable seat in all kinds of weather, contending with long lines to get to an unsanitary restroom, paying six bucks for a cold wiener on a stale bun (erroneously called a hotdog), and four bucks for a small coke (which these days is about a half-gallon in size).  I much prefer the comfort of my Lazy-Boy recliner, just a few steps from a clean bathroom, and "free" concessions (including my own "Huford Hotdog") made possible by my wife's frequent trips to the nearby Kroger Marketplace.

My loyalty is to the Tennessee Vols.  Admittedly, they have fallen on hard times in recent years and still have a ways to go to get back to the National Championship days of 1998.  (Give us time!)  At the same time, it is no secret that I also love and root for the Alabama Crimson Tide.  My son, whose blood runs orange, likes to quote scripture to me and remind me that "no man can serve two masters." But as one born and bred in Alabama I have never been able to completely abandon the Tide.  (I still refer to all Alabama teams as "Bear's Bunch.") Since I do not think Tennessee has a chance at the National Championship this year, nothing would suit me better than to see the Crimson Tide repeat as National Champs.  I hope they will get to play USC in the Championship game and stick it to Lane ("Long Term") Kiffin, the Judas Iscariot who coached the Vols one season then high-tailed it back to the West Coast.  (Hey, guys, this is Hugh's News and Views.  I can say what I want to.  If you disagree, write your own News and Views!  J ).

Is there a better College Football Conference than the Southeastern?  Obviously not.  Everybody wants to get in it, whether they are geographically located in the Southeast or not.  That's fine with me.  Just be prepared for some hard-nosed football.  And don't go back home crying after running into teams like Alabama, Florida, LSU, South Carolina, and Georgia.  (Sorry I had to delete Auburn and Arkansasfrom this list.)

On a more sobering note, I am saddened by what happened at Penn State.  I always liked Joe Paterno and thought he was a straight arrow.  Even after he got too old to coach and insisted on hanging on, I was for him and his teams. (I like old preachers, old cowboys, old country music stars, and old football coaches.)  Yes, Joe Pa had eclipsed "The Bear" in the number of victories, but I still liked him and thought he ran a clean program.  Little did any of us know that he and the top officials at Penn State looked the other way and covered up for an accused perverted child molester on his coaching staff.  All wins going back to 1998 (111 as I recall) have been taken away from Penn State and Paterno, moving him from first to twelfth on the list of the winningest coaches in college football. His iconic statue has been removed from its pedestal outside Beaver Stadium.  How the mighty have fallen!  "Happy Valley" is not a very happy place these days.  What a sobering reminder of the biblical text: "For whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7).  Or, as Ira North, a great gospel preacher, used to frequently say, "You can't do wrong and get by with it."

In many ways the game of football is a metaphor for life.  As we enjoy the new season, let us also learn valuable lessons, not the least of which is: Football is a game; our relationship with God is not.  If folks took the latter as seriously as many of them do the former they would be way ahead in the game of life.

In the meantime, "Go Vols!"  "Roll Tide!"

Speaking Schedule:
September 30: Cottontown Church of Christ, Cottontown, TN

Hugh Fulford
September 11, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Preaching: Then and Now

In 2006 I published a book titled The Kind of Preaching Needed Today.  In the opening chapter I emphasized that we need preaching that: 1) Informs, 2) Convicts, 3) Converts, 4) Confirms, 5) Comforts, and 6) is Relevant.  I have not changed my mind about the kind of preaching that is needed today.  I still believe all of the preceding points are essential to the kind of preaching that will result in the salvation of souls (see I Corinthians 1:21).

Pursuant to the above thoughts and as a sequel to last week's "News and Views" titled "Book, Chapter and Verse," I would like to draw a contrast between the kind preaching that was heard in the churches of Christ in an earlier time with the kind of preaching that is frequently heard today.

Things we used to preach:
The authority in religion
Rightly dividing the word of truth
The facts, commands, and promises of the gospel
The identity of the church of the New Testament
The difference between New Testament Christianity and modern-day denominationalism
A way that is right and cannot be wrong
The cases of conversion in the Book of Acts
Acceptable worship
Why we observe the Lord's Supper every Sunday
Why we do not use instrumental music in worship
God's law on marriage, divorce and re-marriage
Be thou faithful unto death
The day of judgment

Things preached today:
How to stay positive in a negative world
How to be a good husband and wife
How to raise good kids
How to be a good neighbor
Random acts of kindness
Principles of business and financial success
I'm okay, you're okay
How to be authentic
Kindness is the word
How to be tolerant and accepting of others
Maintaining good physical and mental health
Let's not be so dogmatic
Judge not
There are many right answers to a question
Doctrine divides, love unites

Some (though certainly not all) of the matters we now hear are good.  I am not suggesting that the Bible does not address any of them, because clearly it does. My concern is that too often today we hear messages that address only our earthly, temporal needs (the popular terminology is our "felt" needs), and fail to address those matters that have to do with the salvation of our souls. There needs to be a sense of Biblical balance in our preaching.  One should not hear only the latter kinds of sermons to the neglect of the former.  We need to be concerned about preaching "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27).

And in addressing matters relating to the salvation of souls, we need to make sure the message does not come across as: "Unless you believe to some degree, repent to a certain extent, and are baptized by some mode, you may be in danger of being somewhat condemned."  That is a far cry from the clarion call to faith, repentance, and obedience that rang from the lips of Christ and His inspired apostles and prophets, and it stands in stark contrast to the clear and distinct message set forth in the New Testament.    

Speaking Schedule:
September 5: Bethlehem Church of ChristLebanon, TN
September 30: Cottontown Church of Christ,CottontownTN

Hugh Fulford
September 4, 2012