One Friday I had lunch with a friend that I had not seen for a number of years. We had the chance to catch up on how our families were doing. He told me that his wife had spent two years dealing with a serious illness. With a sigh of relief he said, “My wife is doing well today.” He too had been thru a personal battle with a serious illness for the past two years. My friend looked me in my eyes and said, “I would rather not have gone thru that very tough and troubling time.” He told me that the troubles that he and his wife had gone thru were awful painful and distressing. He said, “I am not sure why the Lord allowed my wife and I to go thru such painful and troubling times.” Having fought cancer twice in my life, I told him that the difficult times of sickness in my life have made me stronger. Then he said, “yea, I know, but looks to me like there has to be an easier way for God to make us stronger. We both laughed.

I believe with the Corona Virus Pandemic we are all asking ourselves “Why?” Things were going so smoothly. Many are committed to reading the Bible. However, there is something about pain in our lives that moves us in the direction God wants us to go. Closer to Jesus.

Jesus speaking to his disciples said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have troubles. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV) No one on this earth goes thru life without some pain. Those who have left this earth went thru some pain. Our problems are often very painful, but there is Hope in Christ Jesus. Our troubles help us to grow and become mature Christians. David said “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalms 34:18 NLT ) Sometimes in our darkest days we are driven to worship God more intimately. Usually, this happens when we have no one else to turn to but God.

God could have kept Joseph’s brothers from betraying him. Why did God allow Daniel to go thru the trauma of wild animals? God could have kept Paul from being shipwrecked three times. Why did God put the three Hebrew boys thru their trial by fire? God had his purpose for them all. These Bible characters were all drawn closer to God.

The Apostle Paul said, “We do not want you to be uninformed brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we have received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9 NIV)

Many of us take great pride in our ability to make it on our own. I am self made, self sufficient, we say. The Corona Virus has stripped away our egos of not needing someones help. This pandemic has changed our attitudes. Now it is all hands on deck. All volunteers accepted. In the case of the apostle Paul and his companions, the troubles they experienced were a reminder that their dependence should be upon God. The one who has power to raise the dead. I hear so many Christians telling me, “God allowed this pandemic to happen.” Yes, God is still in control. We can trust God.

One of the most difficult scriptures in my study life is Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” It would be great if this passage promised that all things would work out the way I wanted them to. Nor does this passage promise a happy, peaceful ending to our troubles. Only in heaven is there perfection. God is perfect. Heaven is perfect.

When God gave Noah the grand plan for building the ark, Noah followed the plan. Noah and his family were saved. God is the grand designer of our lives. We are the result of God’s choices. He even causes this earth to hang around for a while.

There’s not a thing in your life that God does not know about. Your failures, your sins, your hurts, your wants, and your dreams. Your illnesses, debt, disasters, divorce, and death of loved ones. The Lord can bring good out of all kinds of evil. Did not God bring good out of the evil at Calvary? God is good and full of goodness. He is merciful and loving. However, life is not always good. This world is filled with evil, but one of God’s specialties is bringing good out of it.

In the garden, Adam and Eve fell into the trap of the serpent. Was God’s plan destroyed because of this sin? Why of course not. Jesus would come to the earth to show us the goodness and mercy of God and to bring us salvation thru His death on the cross.

In the book of Acts, the Church in Jerusalem was established by the apostles. But a great persecution came on the church and the church was scattered. Did the apostles make a mistake? No! God’s plan scattered the church everywhere preaching the Gospel. (Acts 8:1-4 / Acts 11:19) Even in the pain of the church, God’s purpose is greater.

God wants to build Christ like character in us. Whenever we face troubles, it is an opportunity to allow God to build character in us. This character is spiritual in nature because God is involved. (Romans 5:3-4 ) (I Peter 1:7) “But even though he was God’s Son, he learned through his sufferings to be obedient. When he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him,” (Hebrews 5:8-9) GNT

Remember Church, God’s plan is good. Have you experienced the goodness of God? “For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV ) Remember in my last message to you, I spoke about the need for hope during these very troubling and painful times. The Lord offers hope to us.

Josephs, brothers sold him into slavery. When Joseph rose up into the ranks of Egypt, he became the keeper of Pharaohs’ house and all his land. Joseph’s power and influence were great. Joseph’s brothers had to travel to Egypt to gather food for the family. It was in Egypt where they were reunited with their brother Joseph. Sorrowful and full of dismay, his brothers became very remorseful. Joseph told his brothers, “You intended it to harm me, but God intended it for good.” (Genesis 50:20) Here is the goodness of God once again.

In times like these, our goal as Christians is to stay focused on God’s plan. We are going to have some pain and suffering. We are going to have some troubles and strained situations. We are going to have some disappointments. Stay focused on God. Use prayer as a source of Comfort in your life.


Why Celebrate The Resurrection?

I remember as a little boy coming home from school with my friends. Can you guess what room I went to first when I arrived home? No, no, no. It was not my bed room nor the family room. It was the kitchen. I could always count on seeing my mom in the kitchen stirring a pot or putting something in the oven. The aroma of the food was always overwhelming. I could hardly wait to sit down for supper. I can hear my mother saying , “Fred , go wash up for supper.” Now the other side to my story is that of arriving home to see an empty kitchen and no aroma of food cooking. There were some days when mom had a cold or did not feel well. Although those times were few, they were always disappointing.

I am thinking about Russell Caves, empty kitchen. Just days before our Sunrise service and breakfast. No Chef in the kitchen stirring the pots. No one slicing onions and potatoes. No one staging the bacon and sausage. No one cracking the eggs. No one laying out the frozen biscuits on baking pans. No one staging the food chafers (warmers). No one setting the tables with beautiful and colorful table cloths and center pieces. No getting ready for Sundays’ Company. No getting ready for our Sunrise-Worship and Breakfast. On this Resurrection Sunday, April 12, 2020, the Kitchen and Fellowship Hall are empty, the Sanctuary is empty, and the parking lot is empty.

When Mary Magdalene went to the tomb of Jesus on Resurrection morning, she saw an empty grave. Seeing an empty tomb, she was shocked and dismayed. She told Simon Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, they have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we know not where they have laid him. Mary stood at the tomb and cried. (John 20:1-11) The Bible tells us “They still did not understand from Scriptures that Jesus had to rise from the dead.” (John 20:9) The empty tomb was all part of the Fathers plan for you. Although the Kitchen, Fellowship hall, Sanctuary, and parking lot are empty, we can still celebrate the the empty tomb. The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Why Celebrate The Resurrection?

I. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a primary Bible Doctrine of the Christian Faith.

The Apostle Paul said “And if Christ has not be raised , our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” Paul is saying, preachers are preaching a lie. They are making up stuff that sounds good, and there is no truth in it if Christ has not be raised from the dead. Paul is also asserting that those who sit in the pews, on the benches, in the chairs, around the campfires, in their homes listing to their preaching are without true faith if Christ has not been raised from the dead. Then Paul had to set the record straight. And Paul did so in verse 20, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.” (I Corinthians 15:14, 20) His conclusion, what we are preaching is not a lie, it is Gods truth. In the book of I Corinthians, Paul talked a great deal about the resurrection of Christ. There were many whom Paul preached to who did not believe in the Resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of Christians from the dead. Just as there are many who do not believe in the resurrection of Christ today. Remember, the tomb was empty, however, the empty tomb was about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. There was no reason for Mary and the other followers of Jesus to be sad. Yes, they were sad for a short while until Jesus appeared to many witnesses as proof of his resurrection. John 20:9, the empty tomb was not a time of sadness because it was about the Resurrection for Christ.

II. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a central truth of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark , Luke and John. Why?

Because the disciples all believed in the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. They were clearly eye witnesses of the risen Lord. (Matthew 28:1-10) “Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, there they will see me.” It cannot be any clearer than that. They saw Jesus after He arose from the dead. Go tell somebody. Have you ever expressed your faith to someone who may have been a little skeptical about Christ? Tell somebody.

Here is what John the Apostle said, “That which was from the beginning which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched this we proclaim to you concerning the word of life.” (I John 1:1) Jesus was in the beginning. What beginning? The beginning that Genesis chapter one speaks about. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Jesus was present with the Father when they created this world and everything in it. John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” Jesus is called the Word in this text.

Look at how the Apostle John describes their relationship with the Lord. John described how the Lord appealed to their human senses to understand deep spiritual truths. We saw Him. We listened to Him. We looked into His eyes. We stared at Him. We even used our hands to touch Him. The Apostles could rejoice in the empty tomb because they were eye witnesses that Jesus was alive forever more. The empty tomb was not about sadness but about gladness. About victory over death and the grave. The empty tomb pushed the Apostles , Mary and others beyond the line of doubt into the glorious light of Christ Jesus.

III. The First Sermon Preached by the Apostle Peter to the Early Church was on the Resurrection Jesus (Acts 2)

Three thousand people responded to the message of Peter and were baptized. This was the beginning of the Church. The Lord had much more for His Apostles to do as we read in the book of Acts. The gospel message about the Resurrection of Jesus was preached by the Apostles and today is proclaimed by gospel preachers around the world. Peter also preached on the resurrection in chapters 4, 10 of Acts. Philip too, in the book of Acts, also preached about the resurrection of Jesus. Stephen, the first Christian to die for preaching the gospel, was preaching on the resurrection in Acts chapters 7,8) The Apostle Paul too preached about the resurrection in the book of Acts. But he did not stop there. He preached about the Resurrection of Christ in the books of : Romans, 1 Corinthians, Philippians, and 2 Timothy. Have you ever carried out a mission for the Lord Jesus? What are you doing with your resurrection knowledge? Tell someone about the risen Lord Jesus. How He died for our sins at Calvary. How he suffered and bled in humiliation before the people. His family was present and saw the pain and anguish of his suffering. His family watched him die and they could not stop his death. Tell somebody that Christ died for their sins too.

IV. The Resurrection is the very Foundation of our Hope.

Here is how the Apostle Paul put it. And he was very blunt about it. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4) Paul tells the Church at Corinth: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

Many have placed their hope in their jobs, families, friends, buildings, possessions, money and more. Where are you with your thoughts about the real meaning of your life on this earth? Right now every household around the world now has plenty of time to think about what really matters in our life on this earth. Brave or fearful the events of these past three months have shaken the very core of who we are. There is hope in Christ Jesus. Just take a minute and look around you and look out at our world. We are all looking for hope beyond the Corona-virus Disease. People are dying by the thousands. This is a very frightening time in our world, especially if we were depending on what we have accumulated over the years to get us thru this terrible event. I have seen so many people praying. We all want Hope. “My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus blood and righteousness.”

Many have placed their hope in their jobs, families, friends, buildings, possessions, wealth and more. What do we do now Lord? Where are you with your thoughts about the real meaning of your life on this earth. Right now every household around the world has plenty of time to think about what really matters in our life on this earth. We are all looking for real Hope. There is Hope in Jesus Christ.

Paul calls God the God of Hope. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Well, there probably will be some sadness among our brothers and sister in Christ on this Resurrection Day. We see the empty fellowship halls, the empty church buildings and the empty parking lots. Maybe you are saying, ” I sure miss the “good old days.” Remember the empty tomb. The resurrection is not about sadness, the resurrection is about gladness in the Lord! The resurrection is about the hope that Jesus gives his followers.

Paul tells his audience, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4) Jesus tells us “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark 16:16) Have you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior?


The Joy of Serving

I want give a shout out to our team of volunteers who served at the Box Meals Initiative. This event took place on Tuesday, April 7, at 6:30 pm. in our parking lot. In the Box Meals we gave away totals: 160 Hot Dogs, 158 bags of chips, 120 Capri Suns and 100 cupcakes. Our parking lot was set up for car drive-thru. Some people were served as walk-ups. The North East Christian Church partnered with Russell Cave to serve our community. What a wonderful partnership.

Our thanks to: Mr. & Mrs Chris Lloyd of North East Christian Church, Deacon Anthony Berry, Mr. & Mrs. William King and family, Marie LaPierre, and Mr. & Mrs. Vernon Tanner . Our thanks also to Shirley Pauler of First Alliance Church. Shirley was responsible for composing a letter and mailing it to as many of the families for which there were addresses. She also came to help serve the meals.

In my first correspondence to you on this web sight, I encouraged you to pray for opportunities to serve our church family and others. I also said that God has a way of calling on His Church to serve others. Thank you Church for answering His call.


We Can Still Give

I have received a number of phone calls from members wanting to know where to mail their church offerings. In spite of our Corona Virus pandemic, church members want to give. This is the Church at her best when we realize that God’s work must continue and that our giving is a part of that forward march in the name of Christ.

We are living in a most difficult time in our nation. This world wide pandemic can easily grip many with fear and confusion. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:6-7) God tells us in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God;”

You can mail your Tithes and Offerings to : Russell Cave Church of Christ, P.O. Box 23222, Lexington, Kentucky 40523


Tuesday Evening Box Meals Event

Our Church, in cooperation with the NorthEast Christian Church, will be giving out meals to the families in our Kids Reading Better and Youth Bible Club programs. This event will take place on Tuesday, April 7, beginning at 6:30 pm. until all the meals are distributed.

We are asking all participants, in the community, as well as other participants, to drive to this church event. Because we are required to practice “social distancing” to prevent from spreading the Corona virus, each driver and any passengers must stay in their car. Cars will wait in line in the parking lot, and drivers are asked to roll down their window as volunteers approach their car. The volunteers will hand the food through the vehicle’s open window. Drivers will continue to follow the line of traffic out of the parking lot.

Even though we must practice “social distancing” it will be a joy for us to see and serve these families in this way. God is calling on us to Serve.

Fred & LouElla Mitchell, Russell Cave Church of Christ


What We Are Doing Now

I have been in touch with our church Deacons and we are all in agreement that the worship gathering, the Kids Reading Better program, the Youth Bible Club, the Mary Martha Circle Saturday Luncheon, the Men’s Saturday Breakfast /Bible study and any other gatherings at Russell Cave be canceled.

We have an obligation to protect life and insure the safety of others. I believe our Governor and other sources call it “Social Distancing”. When we practice Social Distancing, we are telling our community and others that we care about their safety.

This dreaded infection has turned our world upside down and take so many lives. I want to ask you to pray for one another and remember the families who have lost loved ones to the Corona-virus. . They need our prayers.

We do not know what the future will bring, but we do know the one who holds tomorrow. Deacon, Tony Williams, had a favorite hymn that he would often lead the congregation in, “Have A Little Talk With Jesus” . This is our “Have A Little Talk With Jesus” Time. Thanks Brother Williams, now we see the relevance of this song.

I want you to also think of some ways in which we can serve our church family and others. Some may not be there yet with this idea of serving. God has a way of calling on His Church to serve others. We want to see others come to Christ. However, we also want to do all that we can to help others. Know that daily I am praying for you.

Fred Mitchell
Russell Cave Church of Christ