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Sunday Morning

by J. Randal Matheny
BZeal Weekly

Our meeting Sunday morning was edifying and pleasing to our God, for we worshiped him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

In the Bible school, Otavio Carvalho directed us in the study of Revelation, chapters 3 and 4. Later, he did another fine job leading singing (second time).

In the sermon, I continued with the theme for this quarter, "Why I Am Still Just a Christian." This week my topic was "Because God Makes Sense of Suffering." The three main point of the lesson were these:

(1) God makes suffering SAVE in Christ.
(2) God makes the Christian a PARTICIPANT in Christ's
(3) God makes suffering reason for REJOICING for Christ's

In all, 47 Christians, children, and visitors were present, if my count was correct.

In our monthly training session afterwards, the men considered how to serve better during the assembly, and especially how to project the voice when speaking to the congregation. (We do not have a sound system.)

During this period, the women dedicated themselves to prayer.

== Small Groups

Last Wednesday night, the study group in our house considered another truth in the series, "The School of Life." We looked at these points in the topic, "The Benefits of Suffering:"

(1) Suffering emphasizes eternal glory (2 Cor. 4:16-18).
(2) Suffering discovers the power of God (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
(3) Suffering completes the afflictions of Christ (Col. 1:24-29).

Lord permitting, we will begin in 2004 a new series of studies in the weekly groups, "Life Decisions." The first quarter topics are already planned, with passages taken from the Pentateuch (Gen.-Deut.).

== Other News

Alexandre Pestana, elder in the city of Jundiai, in Sao Paulo state, wrote me Sunday that the mother of Jose Maria de Oliveira, his fellow shepherd, suffered a heart attack during post-operative recovery. She also has diabetes. Jose Maria and his family have traveled to Guararapes, in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, to be with her, since the doctors have give little hope of recovery. Let us pray for her and her family of 17 children.

== Thought of the Week

May we share the sentiment of Paul:

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church" (Col. 1:24, ESV).

Make this week a moment of glory to the Heavenly Father by your obedience to Christ.

Randal Matheny

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