And Other Positive Things Happening at the Mabelvale Church

The All Comer’s Bible class resumed on February 12th. This is the winter-spring session that will run for three months, the last class being on May 7th. Noah Icenhour and I will work together in teaching this class.

For our study we are using the book, Renewing Your Spiritual Life A STUDY OF DEUTERONOMY: 13 Simple Steps for Maximum Spiritual Growth, by Aubrey Johnson. We used his book, God’s Game Plan: Strategies for Abundant Living for this class last fall. Aubrey Johnson has a well-deserved reputation as an excellent writer. His books are sound, positive, thought provoking and most encouraging. We need all of that! We were introduced to brother Johnson when we had him here for a “Dynamic Deacons” seminar in July 2015. We have plans to have him back in 2020 for a seminar on elders.

Do you attend All Comer’s Bible class on Tuesday mornings? If not, you need to! This class is very popular with all who attend it. It provides a close, intimate atmosphere for fellowship and Bible study. There is usually lots of class participation. It is a time for Noah and myself to open up and be very personal in our approach to the subject matter taught. It is a time for digging deeply into the Scriptures, and to deal with matters that are helpful to us all. Those who attend feel free to ask questions and add helpful comments to what is being taught, thus helping us all. The study for this session is intended to aid us as we try to improve our spiritual lives and get out of the doldrums, if that is where we are! There has been and will always be enough negativism to keep us down, if we allow it. We won’t give that battle to the Devil. No way!

If you don’t attend the All Comer’s class, you need to. Please! If there is any way you can fit one hour (10:00-11:00 AM) into your already busy Tuesday activities, it will be well worth it to you. You will wonder why you didn’t do this years ago!

We are meeting in the Adult 2 classroom. Along with all of our other classrooms it is in process of being redesigned and improved. We enjoyed the fresh, new surroundings last Tuesday, and are awaiting further improvements, such as a new white board and new large wall-mounted monitor for PowerPoint presentations. It is thrilling to see how the nursery and classrooms are taking on a brand new look, with improvements which have long been needed. And we are enjoying the new carpeting that has been laid down in all the formerly carpeted areas throughout the building, outside the auditorium and cry rooms. The newly renovated teen and young adult rooms upstairs are very impressive! So many people are involved in seeing these improvements become reality, that I will not begin to name them here, for fear of leaving someone out. Noah Icenhour has been spearheading this effort with the help of many. Thank you to all who have been and are involved!

These are some of the improvements to our physical plant. Other similar improvements are in the works. The most important things at Mabelvale, as with any congregation of the Lord’s people, are spiritual. My primary obligations as a gospel preacher is to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ, preach the Word and announce Christ, the crucified Lord and Savior. On Sunday mornings I am preaching through 2 Corinthians with attention to how we should be growing in a day and age in which it is very difficult to do so. At the Freed-Hardeman University lectures recently, I heard Cory Waddell survey the discouraging situation of our times and declining membership in congregations in recent years. He said, “There is no simple answer for why this is happening, nor specifically how we turn it around. Personally, I believe the biggest obstacles we face today are the reality of a shifting culture, new generational mentalities, and our own internal struggle to adapt to both without compromising the gospel. However, we should be confident that this trend can be turned around because we have the power of the gospel in our hands.” Amen!

Also, in my classes I am working hard to point us in positive directions. That does not translate into the old adage, “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.” There is no place for that mentality in any congregation. Period! In my Sunday morning class, I am working slowly through the book of Jude. As we have progressed through John’s epistles and Jude we have seen, and are seeing, how sometimes the greatest hindrances to unity and growth lie within ourselves. In my Wednesday night class, we have just begun working through Aubrey Johnson’s book, The Barnabas Factor, a study of encouragement. As already noted, All Comers class is devoted to renewing our spiritual lives through a study of Deuteronomy.

Our KidSing program is better than ever! It has been growing in recent months with new children coming up front in the auditorium to participate on Sunday nights. More of these children are accompanied by their parents and grandparents. They are working hard to memorize their assigned Bible verses each week and recite them to one of our elders. They are receiving awards in the form of KidSing medals, Bibles, Apologetics Press books, videos, posters and journals. There was a pizza party last night (February 17th) that was well attended and enjoyed by all. Thank you to Wendell Thompson for his wonderful drive and enthusiasm in working with this effort. His love for children and desire to plant spiritual seeds in their lives is a joy to watch!

 by Dennis Gulledge