BulletinGold #124
April 2011   Vol 11 #2

BulletinGold #124
April 2011
Vol. 11 Num. 2
David Bragg
Edward Thomason
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In This Issue:
- The Long Lost Book, David Bragg
- Spring: A Time of Renewal, Edd Sterchi
- Don’t Forget God, Dwight Butler
- The Divine Basis of Religious Unity, Gary Colley
- Sharing Our Faith, Dick Miller
- Impact, James C. Guy
- Virtue of the Poor, Ron Thomas
- A Sermon Never to Be Forgotten
- Time, Time, Time, Bill Dillon
- Cost, George Vandeman
- Look Carefully
- For Our Mothers, Joanna Fuchs
- On My First Day Spent in Eternity, David R. Ferguson
- April Lace, Floy McHood Lindsay
quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs

New Postings At
Editorial by David Bragg
The Long Lost Book

    Josiah, king of Judah, ordered his men into the run-down part of town to see what could be done in rebuilding the weakened faith of his nation.  As his search party wound through the dark slums of Jerusalem they came to an old, weather-beaten house it must have been impossible to imagine that many generations ago this building was the pride of Israel.  Now it was a dirty, neglected, empty old building on verge of being condemned.
    As they rummaged through the old Temple of Solomon someone may have literally stumbled onto an amazing discovery.  What first appeared to be an old record book turned out to be the Hebrew Scriptures.  No doubt these men had heard stories about such a book but, since the nation had neglected
everything religious for years, they had never actually seen a copy of God's Word.
    Young Josiah was anxious to study the contents of this ancient document.  As he did he came to understand that, despite its great age, this book was remarkably relevant. Not only did it contain a detailed history of God's people, it also prescribed how God desired His people to live and worship. This book gave Josiah new insight into the Temple's
importance, how it should look, who is permitted to serve within it, and the kind of life God wanted His people to live.  Immediately Josiah set out to restore the pattern therein revealed, God was pleased with the revival spirit of Josiah (2 Kings 22:18-20).
    God's Word is the only dependable foundation upon which to build our lives.  God's inspired history teaches us that the pattern neglected today will be forgotten tomorrow.

David Bragg

Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
Spring: A Time of Renewal
By Edd Sterchi
    Spring is upon us. Flowers are popping up, trees are budding, birds are chirping, grass is greening - it is indeed a wonderful composite of sights, sounds, and scents. One word that comes to mind that fits springtime so well is “renewal.” It is when the earth wakes up from her winter slumber and bursts forth with signs of life and hope.
     For the Christian, spring is a powerful reminder of the renewal, life, and hope that we have in Christ Jesus. Christians should be “springtime people” every day of the year. Just a study of the word “renew” and its forms in the Bible should help to remind us of this important concept:

- Christians are those who have been regenerated and renewed by the Holy Spirit upon our baptism into Christ where all our past sins were washed away and we were made anew. “...according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit...” (Titus 3:4-6). “And have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Col. 3:10).

- Christians are those whose attitudes are constantly renewed as they learn from and conform to the will of God. “... 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.” (Rom. 12:1-2). “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him...be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:20-24).

- Christians are those who have renewed strength and endurance through patience in the trials they bear. “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary...” (Isa. 40:31).

- Like David of old, Christians are those who are renewed in their relationship with God when they repent of their sins and pray to Him for forgiveness. “...Have mercy upon me...For I acknowledge my transgressions... Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence...” (Psa. 51:1-12).

- Christians are those who are renewed afresh every day as they live faithful in Christ’s kingdom. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16).

- Christians are those who know that they cannot continue to receive this renewal from God if they fall away and stay away. “For it is impossible...if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance...” (Heb. 6:4-6).

   Knowing all of this, let’s all “spring” into action for the Lord!

- Edd Sterchi 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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Don’t Forget God
By Dwight Butler

    Deterioration of character has its beginning with forgetting God.  Man was created with the ability to remember.  Memory serves us well in directing us to wise decisions.  To forfeit the memory of important experiences, people, and lessons is to damage self.  It is very difficult to engage in sinful behavior while praying, “Our Father, who art in heaven.”
    When God is not considered, the principal restraint from sin is removed.  Ezekiel 22 and Romans 1 show the degeneracy of moral character when God is forgotten.  Without God in our thinking one sin quickly leads to another.  Soon you have lives filled with idolatry, adultery, and murder.  A refusal to remember God opens the door to every imaginable wicked deed.  Many need to be told, “Remember from whence thou art fallen” (Rev. 2:5).
    Man is at his best when he is remembering God.  It is our obligation to continually call God to mind.  Keeping God in memory helps to free us from the trap of temptation and pit of sin.  If you continually tell God, “Depart from me!” then one day you will hear, “Depart from me!”   

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

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The Divine Basis of Religious Unity
By Gary Colley

    Newspapers and billboards often advertise "Attend the church of your choice." These suggest, and many tell us, that one church is as good as another. To those who are moving into new communities and searching for churches to attend, it may be an impressive building that attracts their attention or a friend might invite them, but most seem to believe that one church is as good as another. If one church is as good as another, then to attend the church of one's choice would be correct, but what saith the Scriptures (Rom. 4:3)?
     The Lord said He would build His church (Matt.16:18). Could a man-built church be as good as the church Christ built? Christ is the foundation of His church (I Cor. 3:11). Could any other foundation be as good as this foundation? Christ established His teaching in His church (Matt. 28:18-20). Could the division and confusion of denominationalism made by the creeds of men be as good as the unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4:1-6, Matt. 15:13)? Christ shed His blood to save man and purchase His church (Heb. 2:9, Acts 20:28). Can any man claim that his blood could purchase his church and cleanse as Christ's blood does? Christ proclaims that He is the Head of His church (Eph. 1:22-23, Col. 1:18).
     Now, men claim to be the head of their churches, and one even claims to be the pope of his, but who would claim that a human head is as good as the Divine Head, a position only Jesus Christ holds over His church? The Lord commanded His apostles to teach people who obeyed the Gospel by faith, repentance, confession, and baptism, "...to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matt. 28:20). This included the commands for His worship. The five items He commanded in worship were singing, preaching, giving, partaking of the Lord's Supper each Lord's Day, and praying (Acts 2:42, Acts 20:7).
    There are many different kinds of worship in the many man-made churches. Would any be foolish enough to contend that what man has commanded in worship equals what Christ commanded in worship (John 4:24, Matt. 15:9)? No, one church is not as good as another! Let us choose the church of Christ's choice!

- Gary Colley; 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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Sharing Our Faith
By Dick Miller

     Why are we afraid to share our faith? Why do we not share with others what God is doing in our lives, and about what Jesus means to us? Rejection is probably the number one reason we hold back.  When we invite someone into conversation about Jesus Christ and they resist, it isn't a personal rejection.  God opens hearts to His message, and if we will share our faith we will discover people with open hearts.  We will also discover people with closed hearts.  Don't let that keep you from sharing your faith. If God has answered prayer in your life, tell people about it.  If God has done something good in your life, tell someone what He has done.  If you have faith in Jesus Christ, speak His name out loud to others.  God will work!
     Many hold back because of a "lack of knowledge" of God's word. You need to notice that in Scripture people didn't always have lots of knowledge of God's Word.  The woman at the well in John 4 simply told neighbors that she met a man who knew all about her.  These neighbors put their faith in Jesus based on her testimony.  It can work the same way today.  Chances are you will know more than the person you are sharing with.  If you should discover someone who knows more of God's Word than you do, allow them to encourage you with the Word of God.
    Many feel that they lack the time to study with people.  If you read Acts, you will discover that many people responded after a brief encounter. There are people around us who are ready for the Good News of Jesus Christ. They are just waiting for someone to share their personal faith. Individuals realize their need for a Savior when they take time to do a personal inventory.  There are people around us who are looking for help.
    You can share your faith.  Ask God for the courage to tell others about His Son.  "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field" (Matthew 9:37-38).  Let's all be workers in the Kingdom of God.  Let's all make an attempt to share our faith.

- Dick Miller, 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: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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By James C. Guy
    Webster defines impact as "the force of impression of one thing on another; a significant or major effect"  (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed.).  We often hear people claim, "our church is making an impact in our community."  We may talk about impacting the world with the gospel, but don't dare ask us to change.  Impact requires change. Certainly we cannot and should not change the gospel.  To do that is to make a negative impact on the world.  It is the gospel that impacts positive change in others.  But, we must be willing to change ourselves to be more Christ-like, to set the example He set, and even to sometimes change the methods we use to impact others with the gospel.  Jesus often varied His approach to teaching and attraction to the gospel.
    Some who claim to impact their community have tried to change the truth to make an impact.  That is a negative impact, even though change may take place.  Others claim to make an impact with the gospel by "standing for the truth" and "keeping the old paths" as they understand them.  Yet, they really aren't doing much of anything to spread the gospel.  In fact, what they are spreading, may not be the real gospel at all (Galatians 1:5-6), but a gospel of their own understanding.  Their self-righteous spirit may do more harm than good, thus making a negative impact on others.  If we have the gospel of forgiveness that Christ offers, but we keep it to ourselves, or we present it in a mean-spirited manner, how does that make any positive impact on the lives of others?  It will likely have a negative impact on both them and on us.  We become complacent, self-centered, and self-righteous.  We ask others to do what we are not willing to do ourselves – study, consider, and change!  Our efforts to impact others appear more of an attempt to get others to think as good about us as we think about ourselves.  Shouldn't Jesus be the focus of the change and the force of the impact?  Do we attempt to convert others to ourselves, or to Christ? 
    Jesus calls us to make an impact (Matthew 5:16). Jesus made an impact.  He changed many of the traditions and self-righteous beliefs of those who believed they had the truth (Matthew 15:1-9).  He called them to change.  He never asked them to change what was true.  He only asked them to change what THEY established as truth.  He called them to change their spirits and attitudes they held about themselves, and that they wanted others to hold.  He called them to change toward Him – to follow His example to truly impact the world for good.  Impacting others requires change – on our part, and on theirs.  We may think it is a great thing to impact the world, but we can never effectively and positively change others with the gospel until we are willing to allow the gospel to first change us.  How about you?  Are your attempts to impact others leading them to Him or to "us"?  Rather than attempt to force others into compliance with our rules and regulations, shouldn't we be taking them by the hand and inviting them on the same journey we are on – the journey to Jesus!  Only HE can truly impact our lives and the lives of others for eternity.

- James C. Guy, Canal Heights church of Christ, in Demopolis, Alabama.  He may be contacted at THE BIBLE SAYS website at: http://biblesays.faithsite.com

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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
Virtue of the Poor
By Ron Thomas
Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me" (Matthew 19:21, ESV). Some will interpret the Lord’s words as being the virtue of all virtues – selling what one has in order to help the poor, but this would be a mistake in interpretation. The Lord’s point is not selling and then giving, but getting rid of the hurdle that has now become a hindrance to one’s standing before the Lord. What hurdle is it that you feel like you have to jump in order to be pleasing to the Lord? With the Lord’s answer to the young man, the rich man turned away disappointed. Will you consider the hurdle the Lord wants you to remove, or will you turn away disappointed?                   

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

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A Sermon Never to Be Forgotten

Throughout the years I have heard many wonderful sermons, most of which I have forgotten. But one sermon I saw has remained in my heart until this day. It happened on a Sunday morning when I was on my way to one of the two small congregations in Munich, Germany on a cold, rainy day in November. When I got out of bed I looked through the window which was covered with ice ferns. New deep snow had fallen during the night, covering the streets of the city. I tried to decide whether I should go to worship or stay at home and read my Bible. I knew the congregation would miss me, for I was the only song leader they had. On the other hand, I would have to walk a half a block to catch the bus to the building. I finally decided to go, but only because I was to lead the singing. While I was riding the bus I noticed two people trying hard to make their path through the snow. I recognized the people and knew where they were going. They were brother and sister Trollman, a faithful couple who attended every service. Brother Trollman was a man in his 80's who had lost his eyesight. His only guidance was his 75-year old wife, who was lame in one foot. They lived in a little two-room apartment and received a little support from the government. Because they could not afford to ride the bus to the services, which were about three miles away, they walked to the meeting every Lord’s Day. Here I was, sitting in a warm bus, unwilling to go to worship, forced by my duty as a song leader, and there, outside in the cold weather, were two old people driven by their love for the Lord. I was not able to do anything but blush — I was ashamed of myself and the weak faith and love I had proven for my Lord. I felt like an evil-doer in court being judged by his own conscience. This old couple, without their knowledge and without one word, taught me a greater lesson than could ever have been said in words.
- Author Unknown (An American Soldier) [Copied from the Marion, IL Shield of Faith, July 25, 2010]; 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

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Time, Time, Time
By Bill Dillon

    An old British preacher pointed out there are three kinds of time: There is clock time, the time of civilized man. This time is determined by the calendar and watch. This time is a continuous straight line; it is the time of history and the succession of events.
    There is natural time. This is the time of the seasons and the circling world.
    Finally, there is God’s time. There are no clocks in heaven, no straight line of events, nor seasons. Heaven is truly the land of fadeless day; no yesterday, no today, no tomorrow. An old African saying is “God’s time is best.” So it is!
    How good to stop the bustle and hurry of our daily lives and reflect that someday we will see time through God’s eyes.

- Bill Dillon; 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 congregation's website at: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org

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 By George Vandeman
    Suppose I am visiting in your home and I notice a lovely vase on the coffee table.  I pick it up and admire it, but suddenly it slips from my hand, falls to the floor, and breaks! “Oh, I’m so sorry!” I say, and I offer to pay for it.  I know I have a fifty-dollar bill in my wallet, so I think I’m safe.
    But you tell me there are only two such vases in the world, and the other one is valued at $2,000! Am I any sorrier now than I was a few moments ago? Yes.  I am $2,000 sorrier! What made the difference? Knowing the cost.  Many people look carelessly upon Christianity, thinking it’s just another of the world’s great religions.  But when we look at the Cross of Calvary and realize what our salvation cost, suddenly Christianity and the One whose life it represents take on a whole new meaning.  So then, what value do you place on Jesus?  

- George Vandeman; 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: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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Hearts of Gold - poetry
         Look Carefully

Look carefully, then look again,
The word is sin. It is not swen.
Look at the word and you will see,
In the middle of sin stands I, not we.

- 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

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                  For Our Mothers
                 By Joanna Fuchs

I often contemplate my childhood, Mom.
I am a mother now and so I know
Hard work is mixed together with the fun;
You learned that when you raised me years ago.

I think of all the things you gave to me:
Sacrifice, devotion, love and tears,
Your heart, your mind, your energy, your soul -
All these you spent on me throughout the years.

You loved me with a never-failing love
You gave me strength and sweet security,
And then you did the hardest thing of all:
You let me separate and set me free.

Every day, I try my best to be
A mother like the mom you were for me.

- poemsource.com; via the weekly bulletin of the Lebanon Road church of Christ in Nashville, TN. Adam Faughn serves as the pulpit minister for the congregation, and he may be contacted through the congregation’s website at: http://www.lebanonroadchurchofchrist.org

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        On My First Day Spent in Eternity
                By David R. Ferguson

On my first day spent in eternity
My Savior asked, “What brought you to Me?”
I closed my eyes and thought for awhile
On my journey just taken mile after mile

Images flashed into my mind
Of loving arms and faces so kind
I saw myself with children at play
And hearing of God and learning His way

I saw small hands with crayons and books
And paint brushes, glue sticks, buttons and hooks
I saw Bible stories colored with pride
And heard all the children laughing outside

And oh, what a noise filled my heart with such joy
As I recalled the sweet singing of each girl and each boy
I heard their glad voices reach up to the sky
In songs of such praise to their Savior on high

And then as I turned a table was spread
With cookies and candy and sweet gingerbread
And cupcakes and crackers and wafers to eat
With lemonade, tea and punch oh, so sweet!

I knew then the answer to say
To my Savior on that glorious day
“’Twas strangers, Lord, that brought me to You
“When I was a child, and no more than two

“They took the time to fill my day
“With knowledge of a better way
“And year by year as I grew up
“I learned to drink of that same cup

“’Twas love I felt, and love I knew
“From people who were filled with You
“They took the time to teach Your love
“And that is why I’m here above!”

“Yes, My child, you have spoken true
“It was My love that brought you through!”
So do not doubt the good that’s done
By bringing children to the Son!

 - David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://lakelandchurchofchrist.web.officelive.com/default.aspx

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                April Lace
    By Floy McHood Lindsay

Misty shades of green
   Spread fragile fingers of lace
Across the trees, and touch the sky.

Floral sprays of beauty,
   In rainbow colors,
Appearing here and there,
   And birds flit by;
Reminding us again that God remembers
   His promise of new life.

You will find His face
   If you look deep into the magic
Of the morning,
   As your eyes behold the mystery
Of April lace.

- 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: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages
"Love is simply using one's God-given power of choice to say or do that which is in the best interest and for the best good of another person, regardless of feeling." (Unknown)

“Do not attempt to do a thing unless you are sure of yourself; but do not relinquish it simply because someone else is not sure of you.”  (Stewart E. White)

"It is the law of our humanity that man must know good through evil. No great principle ever triumphed but through much evil. No man ever progressed to greatness and goodness but through great mistakes." (Frederick Robertson)

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

“If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of Heaven and Earth will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great sweeper, who swept his job well.’” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

"Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized.  In the first, it is ridiculed.  In the second, it is opposed. In the third, it is regarded as self-evident." (A. Schopenhaus)

"How far would Moses have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt?" (Harry S. Truman)

- 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: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example." (Mark Twain)

"Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't." (Mark Twain)

“God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.”  (Oswald Chambers; from Leadership Magazine)

"I have not lost my mind - it's backed up on disk somewhere." (Unknown)

" I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn't, than to live my life as if there isn't, and die to find out there is." (Unknown)

"Life's greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved." (Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, 1862)

"It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend." (William Blake)

"It pays to use words of good taste.  You might have to eat them!" (Unknown)

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BulletinGold Extra ---- recent postings on our Blogsite
- Quotes
- Experience, James C. Guy
- Senior Personal Ads, Kevin Rayner
- “Proper Perspectives,” Kyle Moses
- Modesty:  New Wave For an Old Virtue, Linda J. White
- Perfectly Confused, Ron Thomas
- Why Christians are One in Christ
- It Is Never Too Late To Start Over, Steve Boyd

- Are We Fighting for Faithfulness? By Bryan Kirby
- "Beautiful Christian," Ben Bailey
- Freedoms of Sexual Abstinence Before Marriage, Allen Webster
- When God Says Yes, Rick Woodall
- Gym Lessons, Dan Williams
- A Holy People, Larry Miles
- Heros, Mike Benson

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