Published by Andy Neckar
P.O. Box J Hico, TX 76457
Vol. 4, Number 6 June 1998

Editor-Andy Neckar

Inside This Newsletter

Three Little Trees
Taking A Break from End-Times Apostasy to Laugh A Little
Give Me the Simple Life
Alcohol: The Effective Solvent
A Word on Repentance


Three Little Trees
-Author unknown

Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: "I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I'll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!"

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it's way to the ocean. "I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I'll be the strongest ship in the world!"

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. "I don't want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they'll raise

their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world."

Years passed. The rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall.

One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain. The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell. "Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!" The first tree said.

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters!" thought the second tree. "I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!"

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter never even looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me. " He muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax, the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter's shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river; instead she was taken to a little lake.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" The once tall tree wondered. "All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God..."

Many many days and night passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams.

But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. "I wish I could make a cradle for him." her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and the sturdy wood. "This manger is beautiful." she said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through with the wind and the rain. The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth tremble with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

The next time you feel down because you didn't get what you want, sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.
(Submitted by Michael Sly)

Taking A Break from End-Times Apostasy to Laugh A Little
In taking a break from intensive writing and indulging in some vacation time, I submit some humorous articles submitted by subscribers and others.

Golf: Religiously Represented
The Pope met with his cardinals to discuss a proposal from Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of Israel. "Your Holiness" said one of the Cardinals, "Mr. Netanyahu wants to challenge you to a game of golf to show the friendship and ecumenical spirit shared by the Jewish and Catholic faiths."

The Pope thought is was a good idea, but he had never held a golf club in his hand. "Have we not," he asked "a cardinal who can represent me against the leader of Israel?"

"None that plays golf very well," a cardinal said. "But," he added, "there is a man named Jack Nicklaus, an American golfer who is a devout Catholic. We can offer to make him a cardinal; then ask him to play Benjamin Netanyahu as your personal representative. In addition to showing our spirit of cooperation, we'll also win the match."

Everyone agreed it was a good idea. The call was made. Of course, Nicklaus was honored and agreed to play.

The day after the match, Nicklaus reported to the Vatican to inform the Pope of the result. "I have some good news and some bad news, Your Holiness," said the world-class golfer.

"Tell me the good news first, Cardinal Nicklaus," said the Pope.

"Well, Your Holiness, I don't like to brag, but even though I've played some pretty terrific rounds of golf in my life, this was the best I have ever played, by far. I must have been inspired from above. My drives were long and true, my irons were accurate and purposeful and my putting was perfect. With all due respect, my play was truly miraculous."

"There's bad news?" the Pope asked.

Nicklaus sighed. "I lost to Rabbi Tiger Woods by three strokes."

(Submitted by Dick Innes)News-of-Interest E-mail Newsletter Vol. 2, Issue #19, May 18,

$ubtle Me$$ages
Dear Dad,
$chool i$ really great. I am making lot$ of friend$ and $tudying very hard. With all my $tuff, I $imply can't think of anything I need, $o if you would like, you can ju$t $end me a card, a$ I would love to hear from you.

Love, Your Daughter $u$an

Dear $u$an,
I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics, and oceaNOgraphy are eNOugh to keep even an hoNOr student busy. Do NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task,and you can never study eNOugh.

Love, Your Father

(Submitted by Dick Innes) News of Interest 4/26/98

Close Shave
After twenty years of shaving himself every morning, a man in a small Southern town decided he had enough. He told his wife that he intended to let the local barber shave him each day. He put on his hat and coat and went to the barber shop, which was owned by the pastor of the town's Baptist church. The barber's wife, Grace, was working that day, so she performed the task. Grace shaved him and sprayed him with lilac water and said, "That will be $20." The man thought the price was a bit high, but he paid the bill and went to work.

The next morning the man looked in the mirror and his face was as smooth as it had been when he left the barbershop the day before. "Not bad," he thought, "At least I don't need to get a shave every day." The next morning the man's face was still smooth! Two weeks later the man was STILL unable to find any trace of whiskers on his face. It was more than he could take, so he returned to the barber shop.

"I thought $20 was high for a shave," he told the barber's wife, "but you must have done a great job. It's been two weeks and my whiskers still haven't started growing back." The expression on her face didn't even change, expecting his comment. She responded, "You were shaved by Grace. Once shaved, always shaved." (Top of the Day 5/16/98)

Computer Illiterate Devil
Jesus and Satan have an argument as to who is the better programmer. This goes on for a few hours until they come to an agreement to hold a contest, with God as the judge. They set themselves before their computers and begin. They type furiously, lines of code streaming up the screen, for several hours straight. Seconds before the end of the competition, a bolt of lightning strikes, taking out the electricity. Moments later, the power is restored, and God announces that the contest is over. He asks Satan to show what he has come up with. Satan is visibly upset, and cries, "I have nothing. I lost it all when the power went out." "Very well, then," says God, "let us see if Jesus fared any better." Jesus enters a command, and the screen comes to life in vivid display, the voices of an angelic choir pour forth from the speakers. Satan is astonished. He stutters, "B-b-but how?! I lost everything, yet Jesus' program is intact! How did he do it?" God chuckles, "Everybody knows... Jesus saves."

Give Me the Simple Life
Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, "We can't keep the Christians from going to church. We can't keep then from reading their Bibles & knowing the truth. We can't even keep them from conservative values. But we can do something else. We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can't gain that experience in Jesus Christ. This is what I want you to do, angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior & maintaining that vital connection throughout their day."

"How shall we do this?", shouted his angels.

"Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life & invent unnumbered schemes to occupy their minds," he answered. "Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, then, borrow, borrow, borrow. Convince the wives to go to work & the husbands to work 6 or 7 days a week,10-12 hrs. a day, so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work."

"Overstimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive, to keep the TV, the VCR, & their CD's going constantly in their homes. And see to it that every store & restaurant in the world plays music constantly. This will jam their minds & break that union with Christ."

"Fill their coffee tables with magazines & newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hrs. a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, sweepstakes, mail order catalogues, & every kind of newsletter & promotional offering, free products, services, & false hopes."

"Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted & unprepared for the coming week. Don't let them go out in nature. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts & movies instead. And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip & small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences & unsettled emotion."

"Let them be involved in soul-winning. But crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Christ. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health & family unity for the good of the cause." It was quite a convention in the end. And the evil angels went agerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busy, busy, busy & rush here & there.

Has the devil been successful at his scheme? You be the judge.
(e-mail message forwarded by a subscriber)

Is it funny how ten dollars looks so big when you take it to church and so small when you take it to the grocery store?

Is it funny how hard it is to read a chapter in the Bible and how it is

easy to read a few hundred pages in a best seller?

Is it funny how big an hour of worshipping God with others on Sunday looks, and how small 60 minutes are when we are playing sports, watching TV or having coffee with the neighbors?

Is it funny how we can not think of anything to say when we pray, but have no difficulty thinking of things to say over the phone to a friend?

Is it funny how it seems that we need two or more weeks to fit a prayer meeting into our schedule, but are able to adjust it for a social invitation at the last minute?

Is it funny how we seem to have difficulty meeting our children's spiritual needs and find it easy to learn to do so many other things?


Alcohol: The Effective Solvent
By Ann Landers

It will remove stains from designer clothes. It will also remove the clothes off your back. If used in sufficient quantities: It will remove furniture from the home. It will remove rugs from the floor and food from the table, lining from the stomach, and vision from the eyes-as well as judgment from the mind.

Alcohol will remove good reputation, good jobs, good friends, and happiness from children's hearts. Alcohol will remove sanity, freedom and spouses' relationships. It will remove a person's ability to adjust and live with others. Alcohol will remove life itself.

As a remover of things-alcohol has no equal!
(Copied from the Sword of the Lord. 5/1/98)

A Word on Repentance
If there is no conviction of sin, there will be no repentance. If there is no repentance of sin, there can be no salvation! Thus the techniques of "evangelism" today are not producing salvation, but causing people to trust in a profession and thus become a "two-fold more child of hell." ( Matt 23:15) God's Word is clearly opposed to the "1,2,3 repeat after me" non-repentance gospel promoted by so many "Fundamental" preachers today.

"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Cor 5:17 This is not just an "ideal" conversion. This is a "true" conversion. If there is no change in one's heart and if there is no change in one's life; there is no change in one's eternal destiny. For the fruit declares the root. The only foundation must be the Word of God, not tradition, and opinion. (adapted from a message by James Hart)


AMENDMENTS to COMMANDMENTSMedia Mogul Ted Turner, who is giving $1 billion to the UN and won the 1990 Humanist of the Year award, says, "Heaven is going to be perfect, and I don't really want to be there." He also says, "Christianity has been unsuccessful after trying for two thousand years to solve the world's problems, so why don't we start over?" He complains that there is no amendment process to the Ten Commandments and suggests a new ten commandments. For example, one should be "Love and respect the planet," and another should be "Promise to have no more than two children or no more than one's nation suggests" (Plains Baptist Challenger, 1/98).

[Editor] The following is an article I wrote that was published in the Hico News Review in 1993, before I started writing the Christian News & Views newsletter. Maybe Ted Turner would settle for these until Al Gore can come up with an amendment.

The Commandments According To Bill Clinton

I am the President thy Ruler, thou shalt have no other Rulers before me

Thou shalt not imply the name of the President, thy Ruler as apathetic, for thy Ruler will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in indifference

Remember the Lord's Day, to desecrate it and all other days of the week. In them thou shalt labor and harvest riches to enhance thy self-esteem.

For in six billion years thou hast evolved into thy present species, as well as the heavens and earth, the sea, and all that is in them. Wherefore, as nature rests not, thou shalt labor and pay thy taxes.

Dishonor thy father and thy mother. Comply with the indoctrination of thy counselor and thy government, that thy days may be long in the New World Order that the President thy Ruler prepareth to give thee.

Thou shalt kill, until thou is so fed up with killing that thou wilt allow thy government to disarm thyself. Thy victims shalt find no refuge, not even in the womb.

Thou shalt have safe sex with anyone thou pleaseth at any time, at any age, as that is thy unalienable right. If thou believeth differently, or don't know how, thy school will indoctrinate and illustrate, until thou conforms to public policy

Thou shalt steal, as it is also thy unalienable right to posses property as well as thy neighbor who toils for his possessions. Especially if thou finds thyself in a favorable position, such as elected to Congress.

Thou shalt bear false witness against thy neighbors and sue them, for their possessions came easy to them. They had opportunities that thou thyself were unjustly denied.

Thou shalt covet thy neighbor's wife, as well as thy neighbor's son, and thy neighbor's grandson. It is an abomination to the President thy Ruler, to deny the legitimacy of those who choose an alternate lifestyle.

Saved by faith or by works? That is the question that was recently asked Americans in a nationwide survey. More than half--55 percent--say a good person can earn salvation. A breakdown is as follows: Assembly of God, 22%; Baptist, 38%; Presbyterian, 52%; Lutheran, 54%; Episcopalian, 58%; Methodist, 59%; Mormon, 76%; and Catholic, 82% (Moody, March/April 1998).

[Editor] I don't know who took this survey, but it don't look to hot. On the other hand-I guess it does.

Pastor's high hopes are brought down to earth
London (ENI). When a Pentecostal Baptist decided to take to the skies in a paramotor - a parachute with a motor attached - he hoped that young people hearing him preaching as he flew over their houses would believe that the voice from on high was "the voice of God". But on his maiden flight in the paramotor he never got high enough to persuade anyone he was speaking from the heavens. Instead, he found himself hurtling through a housing estate at 32 kilometres an hour only 1.8 metres above the ground. (Ecumenical News International 3/30/98)

[Editor] This is a "God called pastor?" He didn't get high enough off the ground perhaps, but it seems he was "high" all right. "Bad boy! Playing with toys designed for grownups". There-I scolded him.

Muslim Death Penalty, or God's. Which Do We Prefer?
The Roman Catholic bishop of Faisalabad, Pakistan, publicly shot himself in the head to protest a fellow Christian's death sentence. News reports said that John Joseph, 67, led a march to a courthouse in Sahiwal in the district of Punjab, where he killed himself after denouncing a death sentence on Ayub Masih, a Catholic convicted this month of blaspheming Mohammed. "We must act strongly in unity, Christians and Muslims, in order not only to get this death sentence suspended but to get [the laws] repealed without worrying about the sacrifices we shall have to offer," he said. Several Christians have been convicted under the country's severe blasphemy law. About 2% of the country's 135 million population is Christian. (Religion Today 5-8-98)

[Editor] This Catholic convicted of blaspheming Mohammed was already under a death penalty for blaspheming God. The Muslims can only kill the body. The Catholics should fear the One who can destroy body and soul in hell. (Matt 8:28) It appears this bishop, John Joseph, was eager to send himself to hell.

I pray for these Catholics. But prayer won't get them saved. I witness to them when I can. God is not responsible for their damnation. I am not responsible. THE CATHOLICS are responsible.

Can Prayer Save?
A missions' festival hosted by Youth With a Mission attracted 1,400 people last month. Jesus Go Fest music-missions festival was held April 17-18 in Tyler, Texas. Many responded to the theme of "Come and Join the Reapers" by praying to become Christians or rededicating their lives to Jesus Christ, the group said. Others made plans to join YWAM training schools and outreaches. One participant decided to use his nursing skills for God after meeting with staff members of the Mercy Ships, YWAM's relief ministry. Tyler-area radio stations KBJS and KVNE broadcast live from the event. A listener heard an interview with a missionary who works with Muslims in Central Asia and came to the event to talk to him. He now wants to use his talents to serve YWAM's work among Muslims, the ministry said.

[Editor] Some folks may think reports such as this make me out a liar when I say prayer will not save a person, but I say it AGAIN.

I believe what I hear from God's Word, and His Word does not teach that prayer saves. The gospel of Christ is the ONLY thing God provided that has His power unto salvation to everyone that BELIEVES. (Rom 1:16) We BELIEVE unto salvation, not pray, work or whatever unto salvation. I could pray to become a Christian to escape hell. I could pray to become a Christian to receive blessings, or any number of things. Folks, we are saved by GRACE through FAITH. Faith in what? Faith in the gospel of Christ, not faith in prayer. , Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21) is what saves us. The goodness of God leads us to repentance. (Rom 2:4)

"Coming forward to make a "commitment" to Christ does not save us. Publicly saying that "we need Jesus in our lives" does not save us. Walking down a church isle to "accept Jesus into our lives, or hearts" does not save us. Any public profession that is not generated by BELIEVING IN FAITH TOWARD OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST and REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD is not saving faith. It is not Holy Spirit produced.

Can Prayer Generate Faith & Repentance?
More than 5,000 people prayed to become Christians in Rio de Janeiro and Campos, Brazil. San Antonio, Texas-based evangelist Sammy Tippit preached in the cities April 22-May 6. "My life has fallen apart. The pressure is too great to handle. I need Jesus in my life," the Campos attorney general said before praying at one of the crusades. About 50 women rededicated themselves to serving God at a seminar conducted by Tippit's wife, Tex. Tippit has preached crusades in Brazil since 1991, and is scheduled to preach 11 more city-wide crusades before the year 2000.

[Editor] I can see no faith or repentance in the statement made by the Campos attorney general.

Here are some excerpts from a sermon WE MUST NEEDS GO THROUGH SAMARIA, by Dr. Ed DeVries. THIS TELLS IT LIKE IT IS.

Text John 4:1-39

The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw." (vs. 15)

Now she is finally starting to come around. She sees a meaningful advantage to being saved so she decides that she wants what Jesus can give her.

You see she has spent her entire adult life walking across town, maybe over a mile, to draw water from a well. She has to carry a pitcher and then, after she has pulled the water out of a very deep well she must carry this heavy water jug all the way back home. So when she comes to think that getting "living water" means never having to do this hard labor ever again she is willing to take all of the "living water" that Jesus will give her.

She is exactly like a lot of the people who walk the isles in our Baptist churches (particularly the evangelistic crusades). They hear a message on prosperity and they say, "Wow! All I have to do is ask Jesus in my heart and I will be wealthy." They think to themselves, "I really hate having all this revolving charge card debt, 21% interest, past due bills, having to outrun the repo man, etc." They have heard half of the truth and they are ready to get "saved" because they think that it will "save" them from debt.

So they walk the isle and "ask Jesus into their heart." The preacher tells them to "pray this prayer," fill out a decision card, and be baptized. Their baptism makes them a church member so we gives them some tithing envelopes. Everyone calls them Brother John or Sister Jane and if they are still coming in six months they will be made a Sunday school teacher. If they are still coming two years later they may be elected as a deacon or as an officer in the women's missionary league.

Maybe it is a couple who has come because they are on the brink of a divorce or because they are about to loose their kids. They think that if they will just get "saved" it will save their home and so they come "ask Jesus into their heart" and join the church.

But Jesus does not work His altar calls like we do. He realized that this woman has not repented of her sin. She may have come singing "I surrender all" but Jesus knew that what she really meant was "lets see what all I can get." She did not want the "living water" to meet her spiritual need, she was simply going to patronize Jesus because she thought it would meet her fleshly needs.

So we must make sure that when people say, "Jesus save me," that they are really saying "Jesus save me from my sin" and not "Jesus, save my marriage" or "Jesus, pay my mortgage." The Bible says, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" (John 12:24). When Jesus gave an invitation in Matthew 16:24 He said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Taking up the cross means that we, like the corn of wheat, must first die before we can truly follow him. That is why He says in verse 25, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." The old man of sin must die before we can be genuinely born-again.

But the woman at the well was not ready to die so what does Jesus do? By the way, most every Baptist preacher I know would have accepted her "profession of faith," baptized her, given her the tithing envelopes, and called her sister, woman at the well. But Jesus risks running her off because He wants more than her "membership." He wants for her to be genuinely born-again. It is better that they leave lost and knowing they are lost than for them to leave lost and thinking they are saved.

"Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither." (vs. 16)

She has walked the isle. She will pray any prayer she is told to pray. She is willing to be baptized. She wants to join the church. She is even willing to pay tithes to get out of drawing water from the well. But Jesus will not let her until the sin issue is dealt with.

[Editor] The full text of this sermon will be mailed to those requesting it. Printed version subscribers please send $1.00 for copying & postage


The Truth about Tithing is the title of an upcoming article I am writing for this newsletter. Does the 10% rule of tithing hold true in the New Covenant? Are believers under bondage to a percentage, or under grace?

Don't get me wrong. We should give.  And we "are" told how much. But 10%? That's been nailed to the cross folks. Small hint: 2 Cor 9:7 If I survive the onslaught I will print the article in the July newsletter.

God's Word is silent on how "often" to fellowship, how "often" to celebrate the Lord's Supper and how "much" to give. The Holy Spirit of God is not silent though.

You folks want TRUTH or TRADITION? You'll get the TRUTH here in the Christian News & Views.

It has been only two months since I offered the free bundle of newsletters to churches, and already I have to discontinue this free service. I guess I bit off more than the ministry could chew.

I didn't think the response would be as great as it was, and I must take care of the individual subscribers first. I had to double the number of printed version copies to meet the requests from churches.

This ministry is supported by me (Social Security disability) and my wife, (Wal Mart stock clerk) and my son Richard (Nursing student-works part time) along with a subscriber in MA ($25.00 per month)-that's it.

The costs are estimated to run around $4500.00 this year provided there is no further increase than the present expenses.

We would like to give more to our church, but this ministry must go on.

Messengers of Christ Ministries reaches a lot of people. It preaches the gospel of Christ. It teaches God's truth and aids in discernment. It warns believers of the wolves in sheep's clothing. It advises, encourages and admonishes by letter, (e-mail & postal) in response to letters. It sends free literature to prisons, churches and overseas military bases .Folks-when it rains it pours. God has rained showers of blessings upon my family and me, and I pour out my heart to Him in gratitude. He blesses us. He RICHLY blesses us. He saved us ALL. He put this old sinner to work for Him. I ain't gonna quit. NO WAY. Christ is proficient and sufficient. He is able and ample. I am ready and willing. HERE WE GO.

Comments, questions and new subscribers are always welcome.

See you next month if Jesus tarries.

We Must Earnestly Contend For The Faith. (Jude 1:3)


The Christian News & Views is a free monthly publication of Messengers of Christ Ministries. PO Box J, Hico, Texas 76457, a nonprofit (501-(C)-3) organization registered in the State of Texas. [Articles by the editor are not copyrighted and may be used to the glory of God.]
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