Joey Sparks

Faithful Fathers (Psalm 23) — Bulletin Article 06.17.2007

As we think about the various roles in which our Fathers serve in the home, we find no greater example of a loving Father than from the Lord himself (Eph. 1:2,3,17). One of the most familiar descriptions of our Spiritual Father is found in Psalm 23. In these beloved six verses, David shows us several pictures of the faithfulness of the Lord. As fathers who follow in the Lord’s steps, we should likewise be faithful to our children. Let’s notice three things important to faithful fathers:

The Presence of Faithful Fathers (vs. 1-3). “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” We know that our Heavenly Father has blessed us with bountiful spiritual blessings, ultimately through Christ (Eph. 1:3) . However, we often forget that one of those blessings is His presence. Our God loves us so much that he longs to be with us as we live for him. This is the reason He’s prepared heaven as our home (John 14:1-6). As Christians, having the Lord present in our lives gives us the courage to do His will (Matt. 28:20).

Fathers who cherish the lives of their children and truly want what’s best for them will be present with them. Although it’s his responsibility to provide physically for the family, it’s also up to him to determine the home’s direction in other areas as well. Making time to spend with children is one of the best ways fathers reinforce proper values in the hearts of their children. We’ve all heard it said before, “Children spell ‘love’ ‘T-I-M-E.’” If we are going to be faithful fathers in the mold of the Father, we must be present with our children. Thanks to all of you dads for your presence.

The Protection of Faithful Fathers (vs. 4-5). “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” There are some things we as God’s children are incapable of handling alone. God’s presence coupled with God’s power gives us ultimate protection from our greatest fears. James tells us in his letter that the “devil will flee” from us if we submit into the presence of God. He flees because of the power of our Father (Jas. 4:6-10). Thanks be to God for His constant protection of our souls.

Likewise, fathers have the responsibility to protect their homes. No father would casually allow an intruder to enter his home, leaving his family to fend for themselves. We as fathers must make sure we are not leaving our children’s souls vulnerable to spiritual intruders. Fathers have the authority (and responsibility, Eph. 6:1-4) to lead the home toward spiritual purity while limiting sinful influences. Thanks to you, fathers, for your spiritual protection of today’s children.

The Promises of Faithful Fathers (vs. 6). “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” At the end of this difficult life, I am thankful for a God who has dreamed great dreams for me, and who has planned and prepared for those to come true. Aren’t you? No matter our fears, loneliness, and insecurities, we have the precious and true promises of God awaiting.

Responsible fathers understand the importance of dreaming dreams for their children, and doing all they can to help their children reach those dreams. There are numerous examples where dads (and moms) have pushed too hard and been unreasonable with their dreams and expectations. Faithful fathers, however, know the importance of looking to the future as they raise their children. They know today’s choices will affect tomorrow’s circumstances. Ultimately, fathers dream for their children to become faithful Christians. We should make sure we’re encouraging them as they make that decision and long after they’ve made it. Thanks to you dads who’ve helped your children lead lives of faithfulness to the Lord.

A faithful father looks forward to the day when he—and his child—dwell with the LORD forever.


How to Identify a Christian — Bulletin Article 06.03.07

There were many great things said about first-century Christians as they went around sharing the good news and love of Jesus Christ. One of those great things is found in Acts 4. The rulers and scribes in Jerusalem had Peter and John before them because they had been preaching Jesus. In verse 13, the text says, “they recognized that they [Peter and John] had been with Jesus.” What an amazing accusation!

We must ask ourselves, “Do others recognize that ‘we know Jesus’?” Brother Gus Nichols preached a sermon entitled, “How to Identify a Christian.” It featured an acrostic format spelling the word “Christian.” Here is that outline:

A Christian is:

CONVERTED - Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-3

HUMBLE - But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:”God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:6-10

REVERENT - Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29

INNOCENT - Do all things without complaining 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 Philippians 2:14-15

SANCTIFIED - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2

THANKFUL - Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

INFLUENCE - “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16

ACTIVE - Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13

NEW CREATURE - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:1

God bless this week...


Too Few Doing Too Much?

The sports world was saddened to learn yesterday that 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was euthanized.

I'm not a fan of horse racing because it's almost inseparable from gambling. However, it is a little sad to know this valiant horse lost his battle with complications from a horrific injury over nine months ago.

One thing I found amazing was that it appears Barbaro was put down in part because of laminitis--an inflammatory foot condition which commonly occurs in horses. It appears that while Barbaro was "re-habbing" his injured leg, his weight was too much for his other 3 legs. This likely caused the laminitis. Notice the quote from the AP article linked above on SI:

In this case, it was the laminitis that attacked both front feet that left him vulnerable. "That left him with not a good leg to stand on," [Dr. Dean]Richardson said.

God designed four legs to evenly carry the heavy weight of a horse's body. When fewer than four legs are forced to carry that weight, it causes problems for the whole body.

What about the work of the church?

God intended for all Christians to carry the weight of bringing lost souls to Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19). If only few Christians are bearing the burden of a lost world, the whole body will suffer. Without everyone doing his or her part, the church can't grow into the world-changing force in God's design. Notice what Paul says in Ephesians 4:15-16:

"Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that is builds itself up in love" (emp added).

When each member is working properly, the body grows. That's the way it works in nature. That's why Barbaro's body responded negatively to his injury over the last several months. Are we making sure God's design for everyone working in the church is being fulfilled? God--and the world for that matter--is depending on us.

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Bulletin Article 01.28.07 — Equation for Church Growth: YOU!

A couple of weeks ago, we began a discussion concerning church growth. We noticed that Paul mentions the “equation” for growth in 1 Corinthians 3:6 when he says, “I planted. Apollos watered. God gave the growth.” Last week, we noted that growth occurs when our efforts (planting and watering) are multiplied by the power of the Lord. Although we have responsibilities, He makes the difference.

As a reminder, here’s how we might put Paul’s words into an equation:

([Paul]p + [Apollos]w)Lord = growth


(planting + watering)Lord = growth

As we finish our thoughts this month on church growth, it seems appropriate to simplify our equation as much as possible. We must realize that the Lord needs each one of us; He wants our name in parentheses; He will multiply our efforts. We could simply write it this way:

(Joey)Lord = growth


(Your name)Lord = growth

Let’s notice some things together that will characterize a life that’s being used by God for growth:

Be a child of God. God’s efforts to cause growth in our lives, in the lives of those around us, and in the church depend on us depends on us being truly His. Sure, He loves everyone, but he does great things with His children. Are you a child of God? Have you obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ (Col. 2:12)? If you’ve become a Christian but aren’t living life one, don’t you want to come back home to a loving and powerful Father (Lk. 15)? We all want great things for our own lives, for our families, and for our church home. God gives us His power when we submit to His will and to His control.

Do something. As Christians, we often get shy and timid about some of our Biblical responsibilities. We don’t have enough courage to talk to someone about their relationship with Jesus. We’re afraid we might offend a brother by talking to him about his lifestyle. We don’t say anything to a dear sister who needs encouragement because we don’t know what to say. These insecurities and others like them reflect a false perception of the Lord’s work: it’s not about what we do! The Lord needs us to do something for Him and He’ll make the progress. In talking about consoling others (funeral homes, etc.), one of my beloved college professors asked us, “What’s wrong with just saying, ‘I love you’?” His point was we would be saying something and it’s something we all want to hear. That’s something that will cause growth.

Be positive. Despite the threats of persecution—first from Jews, then from Romans—the first century church was excited about the opportunity to tell others about Jesus! In Acts 4, Peter and John said, “We can’t help be speak the things we have seen and heard!” What a marvelous example of a positive attitude. During Exposure last month, I talked briefly with Keith Parker, who spoke on Thursday night. He asked me the following question about Wednesday’s events: “How many baptisms did you have?” Not “did you have any baptisms?” Not “did you have a good night?” Not “who spoke last evening?” But “how many…” He didn’t know me before that evening; he likely didn’t know many of the 800ish people there in Huntsville; yet, he still expected for there to be growth among us. The Lord needs us to be positive.

Be where you are. It would be easy to look at Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 3:6 and think, “That’s just for preachers.” Paul was a preacher. Apollos was a preacher. Therefore, the Lord needs only preachers and other leaders doing His work. Go up to verse 5: “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed…” We’re all servants: preachers, teachers, elders, deacons, members, YOU! Later, in verse 9, Paul says, “For we are God’s fellow workers.” Paul intended for more than he and Apollos to be “fellow workers.” Did the Corinthians have major problems? Of course. But Paul still said he was their fellow worker. God needs us; most importantly, he needs us where we’re at. He needs us to work.

If we don’t do it, who will?


Bulletin Article 01.21.07 — Equation for Church Growth: The Lord

A couple of weeks ago, we began a discussion concerning church growth. We noticed that Paul mentions the “equation” for growth in 1 Corinthians 3:6 when he says, “I planted. Apollos watered. God gave the growth.” Last week’s point of emphasis is that we as the church need to be watering (through teaching, encouraging, etc.) those who have received and obeyed the gospel. Both planting and watering are a necessity on our end.

As a reminder, here’s how we might simplify Paul’s words into an equation:

([Paul]p + [Apollos]w)Lord = growth
(planting + watering)Lord = growth

The third portion of the equation is that which is most important in the process of church growth: the power of the Lord.

Paul says in our text, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” Just as God causes physical seeds (corn, cotton, etc.) to grow when conditions are right, He too causes the growth of the church from the spiritual seed of the gospel.

As we’ve noted in the past couple of weeks, we certainly should be doing our part by planting and watering. However, we should be humbly petitioning the Lord for the success of our efforts; we should give Him all glory and praise for the growth and obedience that occurs; we should continue to turn the lost to Him, not “our” church.

Elsewhere in the New Testament, Paul shows that the power of the gospel doesn’t depend solely on man, but on the efforts of God:

In Romans 1:16, Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Catch that? The gospel is the power of God for salvation for believers. It’s the good news of the death, burial, resurrection of Christ that enables us to have complete salvation from our sins. We too, like Paul shouldn’t be ashamed of the gospel; we, like Paul should acknowledge the power of God alone to save man from sin.

In 2 Corinthians 4:7, Paul uses an everyday item to demonstrate the power of God. There he says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” We are jars of clay (or earthen vessels) that contain the supreme power of God.

A little background into the 1st century culture really makes this illustration come alive. People in the 1st century would often hide their most valuable possessions in plain-looking clay pots. They did so in order to keep any intruders from stealing what was most valuable to them. That’s us, folks! We are “plain” and “unworthy” vessels that contain the treasure and riches of our order to show that the power is His alone. If we were attractive and extravagant vessels, it would be more tempting to give ourselves the glory than our deserving God.

As we think about the growth we’ve experienced here at Midway over the past several years and months, I hope we understand that many faithful Christians have contributed to that growth. More importantly, I hope we all understand that God has been working among our actions and deeds to cause growth in our hearts and within the kingdom.

May we never forget the role of God in the growth of the church. May we always give Him the thanks. May we do what it takes to bring others to that all-surpassing power.

Have a great week!


Bulletin Article 01.14.07 — Equation for Church Growth: Water-ers

Last week, we began a discussion concerning church growth. We noticed that Paul mentions the “equation” for growth in 1 Corinthians 3:6 when he says, “I planted. Apollos watered. God gave the growth.” Last week’s point of emphasis is that we as the church need to be planting the seed of the gospel in the hearts of men. Planting is the first step in the growth of faithful Christians, and therefore also the church.

As a reminder here’s how we might simply Paul’s words into an equation:

([Paul]p + [Apollos]w)Lord = growth
(planting + watering)Lord = growth

The second part of the equation is just as important as the first. Just as a seed in the ground of the earth needs constant care and attention, so too does the seed of the gospel in the lives of people. Paul’s way of illustrating this care—represented by the work of Apollos—is the idea of watering. Whether it’s rain water or water from a man-made source of irrigation, in order to grow, crops must be watered. Likewise, in order for the church to grow, people must be watered as well.

Noticing this idea likely causes us to ask, “How do we water the church?” Let’s notice several ways in which we can actively be watering (and growing) the Lord’s body:

Teaching and preaching. Apollos’ role in first-century Corinth was to teach. Context bears out to us that the reason Paul includes Apollos in the equation is that the people at Corinth were pitting Paul and Apollos against each other over “who taught who” or “who baptized who.” Therefore, Paul says, “Apollos watered.” He made a significant contribution to the work at Corinth. Even though growth starts with teaching and preaching the word, still more teaching is necessary if true growth is to occur.

The lack of continual learning was a major criticism of the Hebrew writer when he wrote to what were likely Jewish Christians (Heb. 5:12-14). They had learned enough to become Christians; they hadn’t learned enough to remain as strong Christians. May we teach and preach the whole counsel of God that we might continue to build the body.

Encouragement. Not only is continual teaching of the truth a necessary component to growth, but encouraging the members of the body is necessary as well. We have no greater duty that relates to our relationships with fellow Christians than that of encouragement. Everyone needs (or would like to have) kind words and thoughts spoken to them. People need to know that we’re thinking about them and praying for them in tough times (or good times). When Christians make difficult decisions because of their faith, they need to be reinforced and commended. When someone obeys Christ through baptism or responds to the Lord’s invitation repenting of sin, we should be there to encourage them for making those steps of boldness and courage.

The New Testament is ripe with passages emphasizing Christian encouragement. Notice again the words of the Hebrew writer, “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” He says, “don’t put off encouragement! Your brothers and sisters need it!” What a perfect reminder: encourage today so that your brethren don’t fall victim to sin.

In the spring of 2004, Amanda and I were supposed to go to Haiti on a campaign; it was canceled because they overthrew the government a week before we left. As we were preparing for the trip months in advance, Jesse Robertson, who was heading up the trip, reminded us that we weren't there just to plant; he said they needed watering as well. Sometimes, especially with mission trips, we get so focused on spreading the word that we forget the necessity of cultivating the word.

One of the reasons we’ve grown at Midway is because many have committed to being waterers. May we all commit to watering the church in the coming year.


Bulletin Article 01.07.07 — Equation for Church Growth: Planters

From a numbers perspective, we at the Midway Church of Christ showed good signs of growth. 12 precious souls put Christ on in baptism; 48 responded to the Lord’s invitation and requested prayers; 26 individuals (10 families) placed membership. Additional signs of spiritual growth abound as well: increased attendance, greater levels of activity, strengthening of bonds, showing a spirit of giving, etc.

I think it’s important that when we talk about “church growth,” we talk in terms greater than just numbers. However, numbers can be an indicator of inward steps of growth. I think we all would agree we’ve been blessed with growth in 2006.

How did this happen this past year? What have we done to cause growth? Who deserves the credit? What are we doing that would cause others to join us? And most importantly, what commitments do we need to make to ensure growth in 2007?

In a letter written to a church with a host of problems, Paul gives the “equation” for church growth. He was making the point that division is wrong and not to be found among God’s children. In explaining this, he emphasizes that it doesn't matter who was doing the preaching or baptizing (Paul, Apollos, etc.). In 1 Corinthians 3:6, Paul says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”

Our resident math teachers (Sandy Wright, Paulette Harbison, and others) might would simplify Paul’s statement something like this:

([Paul]p + [Apollos]w)Lord = growth
(planting + watering)Lord = growth

For the rest of the month, we’ll spend our time breaking down this equation and notice steps we can take to continue our growth in the Lord.

Paul’s first clause in the sentence alludes to his “planting.” Paul’s role in the first century was to travel around preaching the gospel and helping Christians establish local congregations. Paul was saying he planted the seed of the gospel in the hearts of the Corinthians like Jesus explained in the parable of the soils in Matthew 13.

Like in the first century, in order for the church to grow today, we need the gospel planted in the hearts of men and women. Therefore, we need planters.

The church needs hard-working, determined, and patient people who take seriously the Lord’s admonition to “go into all world” preaching the gospel (Mark 16:15).

Notice Paul’s words in Romans 10:14-15, “But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” Paul’s series of questions prove the gospel needs to be taught and heard. He admonishes us to make sure it gets taught. He concludes by showing how precious gospel-spreaders truly are.

Are we planting? Are we taking advantage of opportunities to talk about our faith in Christ with others? Are we trying to set up Bible studies with friends and family members? Are we maximizing your potential by teaching Bible classes here at Midway? Are we making sure our own young people understand the importance of obeying the gospel?

May the Lord help us to be better planters in 2007. Have a great week!


Bulletin Article 11.12.06 — The Blessing of Technology

Last week, we noticed one major thought that we should remember when it comes to technological advances. Technology should never serve as a replacement for true learning and growth—if anything, it should cause an increase in spiritual growth. As easy of a principle as that is to understand, it’s just as difficult to practice in our world today.

Technology, however, is a major blessing—even when it comes to our Christian responsibilities. The fact is that the 21st century is very much a technologically-driven century. If we as the church are going to substantially reach 21st century citizens with the 1st century message, we will likely need to implement the Truth with the aid of certain technological options.

We at Midway have already experienced many blessings from various forms of technology: computers (bulletins, research, etc.), presentation projectors (songs, lessons, announcements), audio recording devices, hearing-improvement devices, microphones, central heating/cooling, lighting, and the list could go on.

The biggest way that we can proclaim Christ to many in current generations is through the internet. The elders here at Midway have committed to having an online presence. Through the work of EvenPar Solutions in Birmingham, our official website will be “live” very soon. We’re blessed to have elders who know the importance of not only having a presence on the internet, but in having it serve important purposes. We look forward to announcing more about this in coming weeks as the work is completed on this wonderful opportunity.

Additionally, through the internet, Christians can be champions of communication. For those who are actively on their computers, with e-mail, instant messaging, web 2.0 sites, and blogs, there are no excuses for not being able to communicate to one another.

One site that I recently found out about is <>. It is a work of the Avondale Church of Christ outside of Atlanta. In addition to constant feeds of material, there are almost 700 different video and audio Bible lessons available for instant viewing and listening. There are numerous lessons from such speakers as Dan Jenkins, Jerry Jenkins, Jim Dearman, Johnny Ramsey, Dave Miller, Phil Sanders, and many more. I found two episodes of “The Truth in Love” that featured Thomas B. Warren. He discussed some amazing evidences for the existence of God as our creator. There is some very rich and useful information in those two lessons alone. Be sure to check out this wonderful opportunity for Bible study.

In working with our young people, we can continually expose them to opportunities for growth on the computer and internet. In addition to helpful sites such as the one in the above paragraph, we can offer them specific information and updates to help them in their walks with Christ. In conjunction with our soon-to-be-launched Midway church website, we’ve created a site using a blog format for our youth. Since most of the kids who are actively on the internet are in the older age groups, it contains especially pertinent information for our Connect (7th-12th) group. The blog can be found at: <>. I hope this can be of help with communication not only to young people, but also to you parents who are eager to help your children grow in the Lord.

“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”
1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Thanks to the Lord for opening up these opportunities to spread the good news of His son. Thanks to those who use these and support their use in the world today. God bless you this week!


11.05.06 Bulletin Article — The Trouble with Technology

It’s great to have everyone here this morning for our Friends & Family Day! We’re excited to have Brother Dennis Jones with us. We’re glad you’re here and we look forward to spending time with you on this fine Lord’s day!

If you’ve been watching news on television throughout the years, you’ve probably noticed a distinct difference between now and the “way it used to be.” Many years ago, Americans would watch Walter Cronkite and others in order to find out the news. I used to watch Sportscenter on ESPN to find out sports scores and happenings. Now, thanks to the Internet and 24-hour news channels, the designed “news” programs play a much different role. Unfortunately, our trusted news sources are almost forced to mix opinions with fact in order to be able to deliver something that will be entertaining to audiences. I suppose this is one reason Americans have become so aware of so-called “media biases.” Because we can get news on the Internet or continual news TV channels as soon as it happens, we have lessened the importance of the traditional half-hour news program (or newspaper, for that matter).

As Christians, we have benefited greatly from technology as well. We have an almost endless supply of articles, commentaries, and other Biblical resources literally at our fingertips. Additionally, there are numerous ways in which we can pull up specific Bible verses and passages (Bible Gateway is a good one). This is an amazing way to use technology to help us in our pursuit of Biblical knowledge. However, if we replace dedicated time and diligent effort for easy-to-use digital offerings, we will miss out on vital Scriptural lessons. May we always value the complete Word of God.

“Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages of glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
(1 Corinthians 2:6-10, ESV)

Once again, it’s great to see you on our Friends & Family Day! We hope you have a wonderful day and a great week in service to Him!


300,000,000 +/-

The US Census Bureau is officially recognizing the US population as 300,000,000 (three-hundred million). Wow. Big number. We recognized 200,000,000 back in 1967; looking into the future, it looks like it will be less than 40 years when we hit 400,000,000. Here is how the bureau keeps track of the population in between the census, which they conduct every 10-years:

"The bureau has a 'population clock' that estimates a birth every seven seconds, a death every 13 seconds and a new immigrant every 31 seconds. Add it together and you get one new American every 11 seconds." (From My Way News )

Therefore, roughly every 11 seconds, a new American soul is brought into the world. If we as the church need a reminder of the large evangelistic task at hand, this is most certainly a good one. We are constantly reminded of the freedom that enables us to "worship freely without the fear of outside persecution." That same freedom also allows us to evangelize to those around us. May we feel the urgency to reach lost Americans with the gospel of Jesus Christ...all 300,000,000 of them.