BulletinGold #111
March 2010
   Vol 10 #1

BulletinGold #111
March 2010
Vol. 10 Num. 1
David Bragg
Edward Thomason
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In This Issue:
- My Favorite Bible, Steve Higginbotham
- Authority in Religion
- Truth and Personal Experience, Dan Chambers
- Football Rules, OK?  How About  Football WITHOUT  Rules?  OK? By Gerald Cowan
- We Can Know the Truth, Jimmie Z Gribble
- Is The Bible Complete? By Jimmy W. Cox
- Amusing Musings
- The Silence of Scripture
- Truth Vs. Tolerance, Cecil May Jr
- The Old Paths, Cecil May Jr

- You Ask Why I Follow This Jesus
- A Recipe for Happiness
- My Faith
- The Gospel Gives Us Wings
quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs

New Postings At
Editorial by David Bragg
There are few topics so vital to successful Christian living, and a congregation's life and growth, as the Bible. Its authority must be respected and its instruction obeyed. This month's BulletinGold is devoted to this very topic, and the following item by Steve Higginbotham struck me as most appropriate as an introduction of that great theme.

David Bragg

My Favorite Bible
By Steve Higginbotham

     Through the years, I have owned quite a few Bibles. I have two shelves in my office containing nothing but Bibles. They differ in size, translation, and binding. But of all the Bibles I own, one is particularly treasured by me. It is a little black Red Letter New Testament (3"x4.5") that I have had for the past 39 years. You've seen some like it before. It's the kind of Bible given to little children, and it is small enough for them to hold it in their little hands. The print in this Bible is just about too small to read. There are no study notes in it. And it only contains the New Testament. So what makes this Bible so special to me? Allow me to read the inscription on the first page:
"This New Testament is being presented to Steve Higginbotham for being the first in his Bible Study class to be able to say from memory all the 66 books of the Bible. Keep up the Good Work. God Bless you always. Your Bible Class Teachers, Mrs. Hester Shultz & Miss Sandy Wilson"
     Isn't it amazing the impact that a few words of encouragement can have on a person's life? I was just four-years-old when this Bible was presented to me, but thirty-nine years later, I still treasure, and have this little Bible in my possession. My guess is that Hester (who is now deceased) and Sandy have no memory of the presentation of this Bible, or the message they inscribed in it. I'm sure they have no idea that something done so long ago, and something that cost so little, and took only but a moment of their time, would be so treasured by the little boy to whom they presented it.
     My point? There is life-time lasting power and influence in encouragement! What takes us only a moment to say or do, can impact another person for the rest of his life. Be an encourager! Take the time and the little extra effort to compliment, commend, and encourage another. Chances are, long after you've forgotten your words of kindness, they will be locked-up, and cherished as a prize possession in the store room of someone's mind.

- Copyright 8 2006, South Green Street Church of Christ, Glasgow, Kentucky
Permission is granted to copy these articles.

Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
Authority in Religion

    Only two sources of authority exist in religion. Authority is “from heaven [Divine] or from men [human]” (Mat. 21:25). Human authorities consist of such things as the rulings of one man or a council/ convention of men, creed books, the majority vote of members, and personal conscience. Such sources constitute no standard at all, for they are all subjective, arising from the thoughts, desires, philosophies, and whims of men. Human authorities in religion produce doctrinal division and confusion and endorsement of such things as sexual immorality, drinking, and gambling.
Jeremiah stated the fallacy of reliance upon human religious authority: “O Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23).
    Right religion demands an objective standard, one that originates apart from human thinking, desires, and opinions. The Bible is verily that objective standard.
    While approximately forty men were employed in its writing, they did not write their own philosophies and thoughts. They spoke “not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth” (1 Cor. 2:13). The Bible came from men who “spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21).
    The Bible is our Creator’s revelation of Himself and His will to His rational creation. Men could not know the will or the plan of God for us without the revelation of this mystery through the inspired men (1 Cor. 2:7-10). No one knows one thing about how to worship God so as to please Him apart from the New Testament. Apparently, many think that God is somehow obligated to accept whatever they choose to offer, but not so. We must worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24), and only the Bible tells us how to do so. Jesus said that men who reject Bible doctrine for their own precepts worship in vain (Mat. 15:9).
    Likewise, the New Testament is the only source of information on how God wants us to behave in our daily lives. The world is drowning in its own moral filth because so many people have rejected God and His will in favor of their own subjective, selfish lusts (Rom 1:21-32).
    Without the Bible we would not know that we are sinners in need of salvation. Moreover, we would never have known of God’s gracious plan to save us had He not revealed it to us in His Word, the only source of this information.

- Author Unknown; via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere church of Christ, Belvedere, SC.  Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org

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Truth and Personal Experience
By Dan Chambers

    Last week the mayor of San Diego, California abruptly reversed his public opposition to marriage for same-sex partners and publicly revealed for the first time that his adult daughter is a lesbian. The mayor said, “In the end, I could not look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships . . . were any less meaningful than the marriage that I share with my wife, Rana.” It appears that the mayor’s views on “gay marriage” changed based primarily on his personal experience.
    This reminded me somewhat of a question that is sometimes asked in discussions on subjects like divorce and remarriage or denominationalism. “How would your views on divorce and remarriage change if your son or daughter were divorced?” “How would your views of denominationalism change if your son or daughter decided to ‘join’ a denomination?”
    Questions like these seem to imply that personal experience is the ultimate criterion in determining our views on any moral or doctrinal subject. Scriptural data, it seems, is either a secondary consideration, or it is twisted to support the inclinations of personal feelings and experiences.
    While we all have personal experiences and feelings that help shape who we are and what we think, these things cannot be the ultimate basis for determining our views. Scripture alone, not personal feelings and experiences, must be, determined on God’s Word alone.
    So, how would my views about gay marriage, or divorce and remarriage, or denominationalism change if my son or daughter chose to embrace any of these things? I pray that my faith would be strong enough that my views wouldn’t change at all. I pray that my commitment to God and his Word would be deeper than my commitment to my children. Isn’t that what Christ demands of his would-be followers? “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:34-37).

- Dan Chambers; via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  Lance Cordle preaches for the congregation.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com

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Football Rules, OK?  How About Football WITHOUT  Rules?  OK?
By Gerald Cowan
     About the turn of the twentieth century there was a new game called football being played on American college campuses. A lot of it was what we would recognize today: four downs to make ten yards by passing  the ball or carrying it until one crossed the other team’s goal line. We would also recognize the points scoring system. But beyond that we might not recognize the game at all. There was no protective padding and no rules to protect the players from each other. What today would be called a foul was then just part of the game. If one person was having a really good game and making a lot of  progress for his team the other team would “take him out,” any way they could.  Their coach might instruct them to do it. It was a violent game in which bones were often broken, fingers and toes crushed, eyes gouged out and ears ripped  off. Some players were blinded or deafened or crippled for life. Some actually died on the field, or from injuries suffered in the game. Finally some major colleges, including Harvard and Yale, decided to ban football. The pleasure the game gave to spectators did not justify the risks taken by the players.  Football  might never have become the major sport it is today in schools, colleges,  universities – to say nothing of the prominent position it holds in professional  sports – had the decision of Harvard and Yale been the end of the  matter.
    But there was a certain influential man whose son played football at Harvard. This man saw great potential in the game and wanted it to continue. So he suggested that all the schools get together and formulate strict rules that would enhance the game, and would also protect  players and not pose such a risk to life and limb. They took him up on the suggestion and formulated a comprehensive rule system. The rest, as we sometimes say, is history. Do you wonder who the influential man was who was so interested  in sports that he made such a wise recommendation, a man so influential that colleges and universities were willing to listen to him? It was Theodore Roosevelt, then president of the United States. Some may not have been aware  that the “rough riding Teddy” of military fame had another side, a side that  loved sports and education, a side that valued an nurtured the young people of  the country, that valued rules above everything and thought everybody should obey the laws governing everything. He did some other things while he was president to establish law and make sure others obeyed it, especially in  business and politics.
    That is a really good thing, isn’t it? I mean, that there are rules and laws that everybody has to obey. Can you imagine what it would be like if there were no laws, no rules, no standards? Anyone could do anything he wanted to, without restriction or punishment. That may sound OK if you’re thinking about no restrictions on what  you ear or how you spend your time, no curfews, no chores to do, no traffic laws and no restriction on who could drive a car, no school unless you wanted to go, and no job unless you wanted to work. But it would also mean that anybody who wanted to could bring a gun to school or to the work place and just start  shooting everybody, including you. Anybody who wanted to could beat you up, take your money, take your car – do just about anything else you can think of and not  worry about being caught or punished. I’m really glad there are laws to restrict others, even though the same laws restrict me  too.
    It works the same way in religion. There are rules, laws, restrictions and commandments. You have to do it God’s way or it will not be accepted. Jeremiah 10:23 is still valid: “The way of man is not in himself. It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” But Judges 17:6, 18:1, 19:1, 21:25 where it says, “There was no king in Israel; every man  did whatever seemed right in his own eyes” is not valid. Notice these New Testament references: “Make disciples...teaching them to observe all things that  I have commanded” (Mt. 28:18-20). It is when “you obeyed from the heart the doctrine delivered to you” that you became “free from sin and servants of  righteousness” (Romans 6:17). “Be doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22 and Rom. 2:13). We learn from 2 Tim. 2:5 and 1 Cor. 9:24-27 that we must contend lawfully and exercise self-control in everything, sports and  everything else. Those who are righteous are “scarcely saved” – they have no more than is needed for their own salvation. So where will the disobedient  sinful person appear? (1 Peter 4:17-19).
    Football without rules, the family without rules, the school, the nation and the world without rules, or religion  without rules – it will not work in anything. So let’s admit that God rules.  OK?
- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola church of Christ in Dongola, IL.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com

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We Can Know the Truth
By Jimmie Z Gribble

    Knowledge is extremely important in many fields. If we are in need of surgery, we want a doctor that is very knowledgeable of the procedure that we need. If we are in need of a lawyer, we want one that is very knowledgeable in the area of our need. A commercial advertises, in a humorous way, that staying with them makes you very knowledgeable. And, most of us remember the joke concerning a repairman and a bill. The repairman comes, repairs a product, and sends the bill: replacing the part, $1.25, knowing which part to replace, $125.00.  Knowledge is extremely important in many fields.
    We have heard the phrase, “Jack of all trades, and master of none.” None of us can know everything. However, all of us can know God’s word. And, of all the fields where knowledge is extremely important, this field surpasses them all. The knowledge of medicine and the human body enables us to live longer on this earth. Many of us, without this knowledge, would have left this life long ago. However, the knowledge of God’s word has eternal value and benefits associated with it.
     Jesus said that we can know the truth. John records, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). The word of God is given to us in words that we can understand and know. Peter tells us that we need to grow in this knowledge. He penned, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18). It is through this study that we can present ourselves approved unto God. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
     To those that “know not” there is punishment waiting, 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff. However, God wants us all saved. Inspiration said, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
     Beloved, knowledge is extremely important in many fields. The most important field is concerned with God’s word, our knowledge of it, and our application of it to our lives. Know the TRUTH!
     Beloved, listen to all of God's word; God will do thee good!

- Jimmie Z. Gribble, Portsmouth, VA; Thought For Today, 06/28/2006; via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere church of Christ, Belvedere, SC.  Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org

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Is The Bible Complete?
By Jimmy W. Cox

    For most of us, such a question is not necessary. For the Bible is the "Word of God". It contains 66 books, starts with Genesis, and ends with Revelation. It gives instructions for three different ages– Patriarchal, Jewish, Christian. We live in the Christian age– Read Acts, chap. 2, for its beginning.
    However, some religious groups, and many individuals claim that the Holy Spirit has appeared unto them, and gave them certain messages. However, if such messages in any way are different from the Word of God, then we know they did not come from the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit.
    Let us notice 2 Tim. 3:16-17– All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." The phrase, "all scripture", includes all the inspired words of God.
    2 Peter 1:20-21– "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." Also read John 6:63.
    2 Peter 1:3– As His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue." The "knowledge" of Christ (2 Peter 1:2), can be fully known by a study of both Old and New Testaments, which contain the totality of inspired scripture (Psalm 119:160, Psalm 139:17). Without a knowledge of the totality of the inspired scriptures, how could we have been given "all things that pertain to life and godliness."?
    Jude 1:3 tells us that the faith was "once for all delivered to the saints." The meaning here is that God’s truth has been "once" delivered for all time. It is a permanent delivery from God that will never be superseded, amended or modified. (Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6, Rev. 22:18-19; Gal. 1:6-12).
    James 1:25– "But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." The word "perfect" is from a Greek word meaning "finished, complete, perfect." If you add to, or take away from that which is "perfect", then it is no longer perfect. Obey God’s "perfect word."

- Jimmy W. Cox lives in Sandy Hook, MS and attends the Columbia church of Christ in Columbia, MS. He may be contacted at coxsandyhook@yahoo.com

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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
Amusing Musings

     A teacher who was an atheist was trying to destroy his pupils' faith in the Bible as God's word.  He was emphasizing that Moses and the children of Israel did not cross the Red Sea on dry ground.  He said they waded over six inches of water.  A little boy in the back of the room who was familiar with the story yelled out an "Amen!"
     The teacher asked, "Why did you say amen? That was not a miracle."
     The boy retorted that the miracle was not in the people wading in 6 inches of water, but it was a miracle that God drowned Pharaoh's army in 6 inches of water!

     A boy was watching his father, a preacher, write a sermon.  "How do you know what to say?" he asked.
     "Why, God tells me."
     "Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out?"

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through their website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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The Silence of Scripture

    The well-known Bible expositor Leon Morris once said the silence of the Scriptures are just as much due to inspiration as are its statements (commenting on Hebrews 7:3). This is an important recognition by him (many other Bible students have recognized the same). For unity to be maintained by God’s people, they must go to the Scriptures and be unified on what is said, not on what is not said. Unfortunately, many want people to be unified when they go beyond what the Scriptures reveal. It can’t be done. 
    What this great Bible expositor said did not originate with him; it was true long before he lived. In Hebrews 7:14, the Scriptures said that Moses spoke nothing concerning the priesthood of Jesus. Under the old covenant, God’s priests came from Levi. When God said the tribe of Levi would be His priestly tribe, He did not need to say who was excluded—it was understood (cf. Leviticus 10:12 and strange fire). We, on the other hand, seem to want God to specify that which is forbidden before we accept it as something to not be done. Many feel as if man has not enough information to make good judgments. Evidently, the Lord thought He said all He needed to say on particular topics. For us to go beyond what He said is to be presumptuous.
    When God has revealed Himself on a topic, He is obligating us to follow His lead. He has not given us the prerogative to lead where He did not express himself, that is, in things religious.

- Ron Thomas serves as preacher and an elder for the Highway church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  He may be contacted via the congregation's website: http://www.highwaycofc.com

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Truth Vs. Tolerance
By Cecil May Jr

    The primary virtue of the postmodern age is tolerance, but with a new definition. Tolerance no longer means allowing legal religious freedom for all, treating people of different religions with respect and gentleness, and opposing persecution or discrimination.
    The “modern’ definition of tolerance in this “postmodern age means considering all views equally valid. We must not only accept and be nice to those with different views, we must refrain from any attempt, however gently or reasonably (a “bad word” to postmoderns), to change their mind. Any suggestion that one view is better than another or, especially that one is true and the other is false, is “intolerant.”
     Influenced by this prevailing attitude, many modern evangelicals in television interviews equivocate when asked whether Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Jesus, of course, said he was. Some of “us” equivocate when asked whether baptism is necessary to salvation.
     Presenting a positive image has become more important to some than biblical truth.

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The Old Paths
By Cecil May Jr

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” (Jer. 6:16)

    A good preaching text, often used! I like the ESV translation, “ancient paths.” Jeremiah’s paths were the ways of the law of Moses.
    The paths that some would call us to take as our model for today are not “old” enough. The ways of the 1940’s and 50’s are not our standard.
    Neither are the paths discovered and trod by the Stones and Campbells . We are not called to restore the 19th century restoration movement.
    What we should restore is what those Christians of the 19th and 20th centuries were trying to restore: the church as Jesus and the apostles were calling it in the Scriptures to be.
    Only paths as ancient as the New Testament are old enough to require that we walk therein.

- Both articles above were written by Cecil May Jr. and appeared in the July issue of Preacher Talk, a newsletter edited by brother May.

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Hearts of Gold - poetry
    You Ask Why I Follow This Jesus
You ask why I follow this Jesus?
Why I love Him the way I do?
When the world’s turned away from His teachings
And the people who serve Him are few.
It’s not the reward I’m after
Or gifts that I hope to receive
It’s the Presence that calls for commitment,
It’s the Spirit I trust and believe.
The Lord doesn’t shelter His faithful
Or spare them all suffering and pain.
Like everyone else I have burdens,
And walk through my share of rain.
Yet He gives me a plan and purpose,
And that joy only Christians have known.
I never know what comes tomorrow,
But I do know I’m never alone.
It’s the love always there when you need it;
It’s the words that redeem and inspire.
It’s the longing to ever be with Him
That burns in my heart like a fire.
So you ask why I love my Lord Jesus?
Well, friend, that’s so easy to see.
But the one thing that fills me with wonder
Is why Jesus loves someone like me.

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted via their website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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              A Recipe for Happiness

Happiness is something we create in our mind,
It’s not something you search for and so seldom find---
It’s just waking up and beginning the day
By counting blessings and kneeling to pray--
It’s giving up thoughts that breed discontent
And accepting what comes as “heaven sent.”
It’s giving up wishing for things we have not
And making the best of whatever we’ve got.
It’s knowing that the future is secure for us,
And pursuing our tasks without fret or fuss.
For it’s by completing what God gives us to do
That we find contentment and happiness, too.

- via The Central Message, the weekly bulletin of the Central church of Christ in Paducah KY.  Jim Faughn serves as an elder and preacher for the congregation.  He may be contacted through the church’s website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org

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          My Faith

My faith lies in sharing
All that I possess,
That it may bring to others
A bit of happiness.

My faith lies in caring
For anyone who needs
The hope that I may give them
In love, and words, and deeds.

My faith lies in declaring
Jesus, the Heavenly Son,
That He’s the only Way,
Eternal vict’ry can be won.

- Selected and adapted by Edd Sterchi, who preaches for the Jackson church of Christ in Jackson, MO.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.jacksonchurchofchrist.com

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    The Gospel Gives Us Wings

Far better news the Gospel brings
it bids us fly and gives us wings.
Doubt not His sacrifice can save.
God sealed it with an empty grave.
And by His blood He did forgive,
and now we have new lives to live.

- Adapted; via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  You may visit their website at http://www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org

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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages
Sermon a little too long? 
The preacher asked a man who got up to leave during the service, “Where are you going? “Out to get a haircut,” the man replied. “But why didn’t you get it before you came here?”  “I didn’t need it then.”

Happiness is in the heart, not in the circumstances.

Just suppose "church" was like "school" and you 'had to maintain a passing grade to stay in. How many would "graduate?" How many would "drop out?"

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, some members must be deeply in love with the church.

Most of the world does not read the Bible, but reads carefully the lives – the attitudes and actions – of those who claim to follow the Bible’s teaching.

Religion should be a steering wheel, not a spare tire.

One of the best evidences of the inspiration of the Bible is the fact that it has survived the fanaticism of some of its friends.

- via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Dongola church of Christ, Dongola, IL.  Gerald Cowan serves the congregation as minister.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com

“The church is the glue that keeps us together when we disagree.  It is the gasoline that keeps us going during the tough times.  It is the guts that enable us to take risks when we need to.” (Mary Nelson)

- From Leadership Magazine

“Pray” is a four – letter word you can say anywhere – except in public schools.

In our town where I held a meeting the paper reported—”Leon Hill came to our town for a revival meeting and did nobody any harm.”

My faithful and wise maid said in response to the question of what keeps people from praying, "To stiff to bend, I guess."

- via The Lantern, Highway church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  Visit their website as http://www.highwaycofc.com

“Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.”

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted via their website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

"Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious. Great speech is impassioned, small speech cantankerous."   [Chuang-tzu (369 BC - 286 BC), On Leveling All Things]

“The true American religious tradition, the one that disciplines power, subjugating it to reason, truth and, ultimately, an all-powerful God, is not a threat to liberty but its best defender.”  [Judge Janice Rogers Brown]

“No small concern of those who created the Constitution was the prospect of legislative tyranny, the exercise of power for illegitimate purposes carried out in the name of the majority.” [Gary McDowell]

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BulletinGold Extra ---- recent postings on our Blogsite
The Three R’s of a Great Marriage, Edd Sterchi
One Hundred Percent Marriage, Gerald Cowan
Seven Secrets Of Effective Fathering, John B. Tracy
A Christian Father’s Ten Commandments

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