BulletinGold #113
May 2010
   Vol 10 #3

BulletinGold #113
May 2010
Vol. 10 Num. 3
David Bragg
Edward Thomason
BulletinGold is published the first Sunday of each month to help Church of Christ bulletin editors and writers share Bible-based, doctrinal material for church bulletins and Christian writing. You received BulletinGold because you subscribed. If you received this copy from a friend and would like to subscribe, please send a blank email to: BulletinGold-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Be sure and reply to the letter sent to your email by YahooGroups. If you need to unsubscribe, you may do so by sending an email to: BulletinGold-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
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In This Issue:
- Minimum Standards, Joe Slater
- Sin Is a Social Disease, Gerald Cowan
- Winners and Losers, Joe Chesser
- A Pressing Prescription, Andy Kizer
- Some Things the "Tolerant" Cannot Seem to Tolerate, Johnny Hester
- The Fallacy of Inherited Sin, David R. Ferguson
- Instant Sin, Slow Deliverance, Bill Dillon
- Tommy’s Trouble (I Cor. 3:1-3), Bill McCormick
- Clean Your Windows
- Troubling, Craig Evans
- Be the Best of Whatever You Are, Douglas Malloch
- Consistency
- My Harvests, L. Hereward
- There is a Road that Leads Uphill, Grace E. Easley
quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs

New Postings At
Editorial by David Bragg
    Although the human race is diverse in culture, language, and traditions, there is at least one factor upon which the human race is united. All accountable members of human race are practitioners of sin. Christians are not set apart from the human race based on their individual perfection or the absence of sin, they are only unique in that they have found and continue to obey the One who alone can adequately resolve their sinfulness. 
    With this thought in mind, this issue of BulletinGold has been assembled. I thought that the following article really helped set the stage for the articles that follow.

David Bragg

Minimum Standards
By Joe Slater

"So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, "We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do"" (Luke 17:10).

     Car parts aren't perfect.  In automotive school, they taught us about "specifications" and "tolerances."  A cylinder, for example, ought to be perfectly round.  But none are.  Even the best will be flawed a ten-thousandth of an inch or so.  Car makers require that parts be within "tolerances."  That is, they can be imperfect up to a point; but beyond that point they are rejected.  A degree of imperfection can be tolerated, but not more than that.  Parts must meet at least "minimum standards."
     I understand why car parts are allowed to be slightly flawed.  If we demanded near absolute perfection from each part, cars would cost a million dollars each.  We err, however, when we try to apply "minimum standards" to Christianity.
     People, like car parts, aren't perfect.  Our "specifications" are set out in the Bible, but even the best of us fall short of them.  Yet, we dare not think that God will be pleased if we seek merely to meet "minimum standards" as we serve Him.
     What is the least I can do and still go to Heaven?  What is the minimum I can be while still escaping eternal torment?  Can I squeak by with Sunday-morning-only attendance habits?  No doubt Bible classes are good, but are they absolute necessities (would I be outside of "tolerances" if I skipped them)?  What is the least amount of Bible reading and study I must do each week while still not dying of spiritual starvation?  What is the least amount I can give to the Lord's cause and still be within the specifications?  How many sins can I commit each day without jeopardizing my soul?  How infrequently may I pray without cutting myself off from God?
     We must refuse even to consider such questions!  Merely asking them demonstrates that our hearts are not right!  We must strive for perfection, knowing full well that we will fall short of it, and realizing that even if somehow we managed to reach it, we would not merit anything from God.  We must seek to be the best we can be because we love God.  He paid an awful price for us.  While we rely upon His grace to forgive our failures, to be satisfied with "minimum standards" is to insult our God!
- Joe Slater; via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  You may visit their website at http://www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org

Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
Sin Is a Social Disease
By Gerald Cowan
“No one given to fornication or indecency, or the greed which makes an idol of gain has any share in the kingdom of Christ and of God. ...Have no part nor lot with them.” (Ephesians 5:5-7. NEB).  “Do not be a partaker of other men's sins.” (1 Timothy 5:22).
     No one likes to think of himself as guilty of the sins or mistakes of another person. But there are several ways in which one may share the responsibility, or become a “partaker” of the sins of others.
1. Practicing the sins of others makes one a partaker with them in evil. It is easy to be led astray by people we admire or respect. There is a tendency to overlook the faults and sins of our heroes, those we admire and want to be like. This is a special problem for the young who tend to idolize movie stars, entertainers, and sports figures. But the principle applies to all hero-worshippers.  Then we can justify ourselves for doing the things we refuse to condemn them for. Their sins are thus socially transmitted, but they are not socially justified.
2. One cannot agree with sinners about their misdeeds without becoming guilty by implication. One who approves of sin is as guilty as the one who commits sin (2 John 9-11). There are many unrepentant persons who will never mend their ways, simply because they have found that their church will accept them without it. So the disease is allowed to spread because Christians seem socially content to have the diseased dwelling among them.
3. Urging, prompting, tempting or encouraging others to sin  – by word, example, or tolerance makes one a partaker in that same sin. Social pressure and social acceptance cause many social evils. What society asks for and allows it must also be responsible for. Society cannot redeem itself by condemning the person it has pressed into sin or allowed to sin.
4. When individuals or groups impose no restraints upon the sinner and do not try to prevent his sins, then they must share the guilt of his sins. Laws are made to punish offenders, but also to deter them from committing the offense at all. The Law of God is given that all might know the exceeding sinfulness of sin (Rom. 7:12-13) and be warned in advance about the consequences of sin (Rom. 6:23).
     The church, which is “the society of the redeemed of God,” ought to be very sure it is not “guilty by association” in its attitude toward the sins of others. It must prevent this by refusing to practice or condone the sins of its members or others, by urging people to righteous living, by placing proper restraints upon sinners, and by administering proper discipline in the case of its own members who sin.

- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola church of Christ in Dongola, IL.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com

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Winners and Losers
By Joe Chesser

     If you’re like me, you’re glad Election Day is over. Now we can return to the same old boring commercials on radio and television that were crowded out by the political ads. Now we can answer our phones again. Now we can focus our attention on things more pleasant.
     For some, Election Day was exhilarating, exciting, and victorious. How wonderful it is to win a hard fought campaign! For others it was just the opposite. Hopes were crushed, plans were thwarted. On Election Day there were winners, and there were losers. Winners move forward. Losers pick up the pieces and regroup. But that’s the way it is with contests, whether it is running for office, playing football or working for a promotion. If someone wins, then someone also has to lose.
     However, there is an exception to this principle. In Christ, the losers are the ones who win, and there’s no competition between them. Note Jesus’ words:
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:24-27) "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." (Mark 9:35)
In the world it is the strongest, the richest, the smartest, the ones with the most power and connections that are considered the winners. They are the ones with the most skill, training and talent, and are willing to crush others along the way to victory. In the world’s view, I am definitely not a winner.
     Oh, but in Christ it is a much different story. In Christ I am a child of the Most High. I am a brother to the King. I have God’s Holy Spirit living within me and can approach the Living God any time I choose and can speak with him face to face. I have access to greater riches and resources than can be imagined. I have a future home in the presence of God that cannot be taken away.
     And here’s the kicker – you can have this too! We’re not in competition with each other, so there are no winners and losers between us. In Christ, we’re all winners! It’s a sure thing. It’s guaranteed. We don’t have to wait until Election Day (Judgment Day) to find out if we’ve won. We don’t have to wait to see if we’ve received God’s vote. We already know it because we have died to ourselves, been baptized into Christ, and now live with him (Rom. 6:1-14).

- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.cofcfruitland.com/

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A Pressing Prescription
By Andy Kizer

     Jeremiah recommends: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk init, and find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16, ESV).
     Stand by the roads.  Pause, think, take time to examine and know.  Make the right choice.
     John warned, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
     Look.  Investigate.  God invites investigation.
     “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God,” John said, “that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
     The same thing may be said about all of God’s word.  It is given that we may be completely furnished for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17), but it must be studied (2 Timothy 2:15).
     Ask.  Inquire.  They who walk in the old paths get directions.  None can find this path at random.  No one walks on it ignorant of where he/she is.
“Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me,” said Jesus (John 6:45).  “Come to me” is a phrase that suggests a way, a path, or a road.  Seek it, and you will find it (cf. Matthew 7:7, 8; Acts 17:27, 28).
     Walk in it.  Action is needed.  Personal effort is necessary.   Knowledge is useless without practice.
“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24).
     More than an invitation.  This is an imperative!

- Family Newsletter, 9th Avenue church of Christ in Haleyville, AL; via Lebanon Road church of Christ bulletin. Adam Faughn serves as the pulpit minister.  He may be contacted through the congregation’s website at: http://www.lebanonroadchurchofchrist.org

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Some Things the "Tolerant" Cannot Seem to Tolerate
By Johnny Hester

    Many in the mainstream media (especially those of "celebrity" status) are becoming more and more vocal in their condemnation of Christians as being an "intolerant" people. They just cannot seem to tolerate what they view as our intolerance. Do you find that somehow ironic?
    We (Christians) should be tolerant, they tell us, of those who choose and comment to others a homosexual lifestyle and "same-sex marriage," as opposed to marriage as ordained by God in the Bible. We should be more tolerant of Islam by viewing it only as "a religion of peace," regardless of what the Koran teaches and what the evidence clearly shows. We should be tolerant of those who choose death, rather than life, for defenseless infants in their mother's wombs. We should be tolerant of sexual promiscuity rather than advocating the "narrow" view that only husband and wife should become "one flesh."
    Am I reading things all wrong? Or, is the case that the "tolerant" are becoming increasingly intolerant of ...

... our unapologetic conviction that truth is absolute. (John 8:32)
... our unapologetic conviction that truth is attainable. (2 Tim. 2:24-26)
... our unapologetic conviction that truth is revealed through the infallible, inerrant words of the Bible. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
... our unapologetic conviction that truth is non-negotiable, even when some find the truth offensive. (Gal. 4:16)
... our unapologetic conviction that Jesus is the only way to God (Acts 4:12; John 14:6)

    Truth is, by its very nature, intolerant of that which is false (1 John 2:21). If the choice is between being tolerant of falsehoods and being true to the Word of God, then may we have the courage to stand firm and bear the reproach of those who choose not to tolerate us!

- Johnny Hester preaches for the Shady Acres church of Christ, in Sikeston, MO.  He may be contacted through the church's website at http://www.shadyacreschurch.com

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The Fallacy of Inherited Sin
By David R. Ferguson
     There is nothing in the Bible which teaches that men inherit the sin of Adam, or that men are born in a state of sin. A person becomes a sinner when he commits sin, and he commits sin when he transgresses Gods' law. "Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4) A baby cannot be a sinner because he or she has not transgressed God's law. The prophet Ezekiel said, "The soul that sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself." (Ezekiel 18:20) Hence, sin is not transferred from one generation or person to another. All men are sinners, not because they have inherited sin, but because "…all have sinned…" (Romans 3:23). And since we stand or fall based upon our actions, we are not responsible for others. As Paul said, "…each of us shall give account of himself to God." (Romans 14:12)
     An infant is completely innocent. God says in Ezekiel 28:15, "You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you." So we see that an infant is born perfect and without sin until he becomes of an accountable age and then begins to sin.
     The doctrine that teaches that infants are born sinners and must be baptized in order to be saved is a perversion of God’s word because it contradicts God’s word. In Ezekiel 18:4 the word of God says, "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins shall die." So we see from this passage that God is telling us that children do not inherit sin from their parents, their grandparents, or any of their forefathers, all the way back to Adam. God’s word says, "The son shall not bear the guilt of the father." Each person is responsible for his or her own sins. According to this verse, it is "The soul who sins shall die." Does it say that the soul that inherits sin, it shall die? No. It says the soul who sins.
     So what is sin? 1 John 3:4 says, "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness: and sin is lawlessness." We do not inherit sin; we commit sin; and we commit sin when we commit lawlessness. An infant has not broken any law of God and thus has not committed any sin. One who has not committed sin is not separated from God, for it is our sins that cause us to be separated from the Father in the first place, not our birth: "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or His ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you so that He does not hear." (Isaiah 59:1-2)

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted at davidferguson61@yahoo.com   You may also want to visit the congregation's website at http://lakelandchurchofchrist.web.officelive.com/default.aspx

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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
Instant Sin, Slow Deliverance
By Bill Dillon

    This is the day of instant everything. Instant coffee. Instant cereal. Microwave meals. 60 minute TV shows (sometimes 30 minutes) solving life’s complex problems.
     People spend years getting their lives into a mess as they indulge in sin while rejecting God. Then when the mire of sin is earlobe deep, they want the Lord to reach down and deliver them. They want God to solve their problems--not in 60 minutes--but in the snap of a finger!
     When God doesn’t respond as quickly as they wish, they blame Him for all their woes. Israel did that in the Babylonian Captivity, refusing to understand that their sins put them where they were for 70 long years.
     We create our own captivity today. Sometimes God leaves us “to wallow in our own mire” to learn a needed lesson. We all have a need to trust God more and sin less.

-Bill Dillon of Hickory Ridge, Arkansas; 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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Tommy’s Trouble (I Cor. 3:1-3)
By Bill McCormick

     Tommy came to school one day with a knot on his head. I asked him how he got it and he replied, “I fell out of bed.” “How did you manage that?”  I asked. “I stayed too close to where I got in it.” he replied.
     Some Christians are guilty of the same thing. We obey the gospel, but then instead of growing in Christ, we stay too close to the world we were supposed to have left, and to which we should have become dead. It’s much easier to fall there. Let’s move as far from the edge as we can and lessen our chances of falling out of God’s bed of blessings.

- Bill McCormick; 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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Clean Your Windows
    A young couple moved into a new neighborhood.  The next morning, while they were eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the wash outside.
    “That laundry is not very clean,” she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly.  Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.”
     Her husband looked on, but remained silent.
     Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.
     About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: “Look, she has learned how to wash correctly.  I wonder who taught her this.”
     The husband said, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
     And so it is with life.  What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look.

- 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 the congregation's website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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By Craig Evans

Over the past few weeks the Terri Schindler Shiavo case has dominated the news, even more so than the Michael Jackson trial.  It has been very heart-wrenching for me to watch this case.  At age 26 Terri Schindler Shiavo collapsed for no apparent reason, and has been impaired ever since.  The battle is between her husband who had her feeding tube removed so that she can die, and her parents who desperately want to keep her alive and take care of her.  There are a couple of problems in this. Her husband claims that Terri was emphatic that she never wanted to be kept alive by artificial means, but his motives are questioned because he has had a relationship with another woman and has two children with her.  They have been together for ten years.  This case has been addressed by the Vatican, the President of the United States, Congress, the governor of Florida, and several judges.  As of Tuesday as I am writing this article Terri has been without food and water for twelve days, and if something drastic does not happen she will pass on very soon.  No one is allowed to even give ice chips or moisten her lips with water without going to jail.  It is very sad.  There are some things I want to think about.
1.       Life is Precious (Psalm 8).  We already have laws that allow unborn children to be murdered.  It is scary to think that someone else can decide even if you are an adult if your life is worth living.
2.       Marriage is from God (Heb. 13.4).  The phrases “In sickness and in health and for better and for worse” are still in there and should mean something.     
3.       Prayer is Needed.  (1 Thess. 5.17)  Keep Terri, her mom and dad, brothers and sisters, Michael Shiavo, our leaders, and lawmakers in prayer.
May we all show our family members how much we love each of them in the days to come.

- Craig Evans serves as youth minister for the Calvert City church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com

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Hearts of Gold - poetry
Be the Best of Whatever You Are
By Douglas Malloch

If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley - but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway some happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass -
But the liveliest bass in the lake!
We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,
There’s something for all of us here.
There’s big work to do and there’s lesser to do,
And the task we must do is near.
If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun be a star.
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail -
Be the best of whatever you are!

- Bulletin Digest; 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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Lord, Let me walk
As I talk.
Let my footsteps
Concur with my precepts.

If I speak of grace
And show no trace
Of its working in me,
I’ll be denying thee.

If by words I sow a seed,
The world will little heed
What I have to say,
Unless I walk in your way.

- Bulletin Digest; via The Servant, the weekly bulletin of the Shady Acres church of Christ, Sikeston, MO. Johnny Hester preaches for the congregation. He may be contacted through the church's website at http://www.shadyacreschurch.com

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My Harvests
By L. Hereward

I thought to have gathered many a bloom
From a rose tree I planted one sweet spring day;
Ah me! I forgot
And watered it not,
And the soft buds withered away.

I thought as I looked at my heaped up corn,
"I will sow it broadcast -- this rich golden grain!"
Ah me! I let it lay,
And it withered away,
And harvest time reaps me no gain.

I thought that my friend would be mine always;
That his hand to my hand would cling close and fast,
Ah me! I loosed hold
On our friendship old,
And his fingers slipped at last.

I still wish for roses -- my rose tree is dead;
I wish still for harvest -- and hunger for bread;
I cry for the old love -- the old love is fled;
I sowed not -- I reaped not -- God's judgment is said.

- Submitted by Mark McWhorter.  Mark may be contacted at mtmcvb@concentric.net

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There is a Road that Leads Uphill
By Grace E. Easley

There is a road that leads uphill,
Past streams and flowers fair,
Above the valley of yesterday
And past the bridge of care.
Is is a long and winding road,
Where sun and shadows blend,
Where never a footstep falters
And every grief must end.

There is a road that leads uphill,
A million miles from pain,
Where heartache is stranger
One never meets again.
Where golden dawn replaces night
To mark the journey's end,
Where Jesus waits beside the gate
...To bid us enter in.

- Submitted by Mark McWhorter.  Mark may be contacted at mtmcvb@concentric.net

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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages
Before you run words through your mouth, run them through your heart and mind first.

- Via Main St. Monitor, Main Street church of Christ, Manchester, TN.  You may visit the congregation's website at http://www.mainstreetcofc.org/

Before you give anyone a piece of your mind be sure you can get by with what you have left.

If you give a piece of your mind to too many people they may begin to think you are not all there.

One who sings his own praises is often a soloist.

If you want to criticize someone, go look in your mirror.

Criticism is the disapproval of people who have faults different from yours.

- 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

Nature abhors a vacuum. When a head lacks brains, nature is apt to fill it with conceit.

Fool fights with his own shadow.

He who has an inflated ego should wear heavy shoes.

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

Criminal: A person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation. (Howard Scott)

I would rather be a coward than brave because people hurt you when you are brave. (E. M. Forster, 1879-1970)

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BulletinGold Extra ---- recent postings on our Blogsite
- If You Missed Wednesday Night Services, You Missed a Great Time, Edd Sterchi
- One's Conversation and Preparation Indicate the Nature of the Trip
- Life Lessons
- Signs of the Times
- New Testament Christianity
- Four Things About God and True Worship from John 4:24; Edd Sterchi
- For What Will This Church Be Known?
- Generous Giving
- Modest Clothing, David Pharr
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