BulletinGold #143
November 2012   Vol 12 #

BulletinGold #143
November 2012
Vol. 12 Num. 09
David Bragg
Edward Thomason
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In This Issue:
- Longing For Home, by Patrick Hogan
- A New Creature, by J. C. Watkins
- Save the Starfish, by Mark Ray
- Calvary or Bethlehem? By Bill Brandstatter
- Christianity is a Relationship, Not a Tradition
- What Saul of Tarsus (Paul) Saw on the Road to Damascus
- Which Are You?
- Salvation by Baptism Only? By Charlie Gamble
- Where Shall I Find Rest, by Benny Bristow
- God's Love
- Like a Jewel, by Alice Hansche Mortenson
- Heartprints
quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs

New Postings At
Editorial by David Bragg
Welcome to the November issue of BulletinGold. Thank you for subscribing and we pray that you will find the items below useful to your ministry, and that your efforts brings greater honor and glory to God.

David Bragg
Kernersville, NC

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Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
Longing For Home
By Patrick Hogan

     The last six weeks of the year bring a real concentration of holidays. At last two of those holidays generally involve family time when folks look forward to either being back home or having family members from somewhat distant locations come back home. The reunions are usually anticipated and enjoyed.
     With such thoughts in mind, perhaps we should focus on the ultimate homecoming. In John 14:1-3 Jesus told His disciples, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." What a glorious thought! Jesus will come again to take His people home to the Father's house!
     While there may be things we do not fully understand about Heaven, this much is certain - a place described as the "Father's House" must be a truly wonderful place to be! To live eternally in the presence of God and Jesus, who gave Himself for us, will be far more joyful than we can comprehend.
     As we enjoy family reunions let us be reminded of that great Homecoming. Let's make sure that we are preparing for that day when Jesus will return to take us to the Father's House where we can be with Him forever!

- Patrick Hogan serves as a minister and elder of 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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A New Creature
By J. C. Watkins

    “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Galatians 6:15). The phrase “a new creature” means “the act of renewing, to dedicate or concentrate into a new use.” In other words, one changes from one way of living to another. Living in sin, one may be guilty of “…fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5), but these things must be put to death in the new creature. A new creature is one who has been born again “…by the word of God…” (I Peter 1:23). A new creature is “…created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). A new creature has been baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:27), and in Christ he or she becomes a new creature (II Corinthians 5:17). The old way of life is put behind because the new creature has been renewed in the spirit of his mind (Ephesians 4:23). As a result the new creature has “…put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). The new creature changes from a life of sin to a life of righteousness and true holiness as described in Colossians 3:12-17.
    The new creature has their affection set on things above, not on things of the earth (Colossians 3:2). The new creature has the same mind that Christ had (Philippians 2:5). The mind of Christ was set on doing the will of God (John 5:30; 6:38). The new creature’s mind must be set on doing the will of God for the remainder of his life on earth (I Peter 4:2). What a contrast there is between the old way of life and the new way of life for the new creature!
    Are you a new creature? There is only one way to become a new creature and that is by obeying the gospel. Those who do not obey the gospel will be lost (II Thessalonians 1:8-9). Those who obey the gospel, become a new creature, and live a life of faithful service will go to heaven (I Peter 1:3-9).

- J. C. Watkins, via The Mathis Messenger, the weekly bulletin of the Mathis Church of Christ, Mathis, TX.

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Save the Starfish
By Mark Ray

    And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
    This verse brings to my mind a favorite story called “The Star Thrower,” written by Loren Eisley.
    There was once a little boy who was walking along the beach and all of a sudden he came upon thousands of starfish that had washed up on the shore. The tide was going out, and for some strange reason, the starfish ended up stuck on the beach. They were all doomed because they couldn’t survive being out of the water in the hot sun until the next high tide. The little boy realized this and frantically started picking up starfish and throwing them, one at a time, back into the water.
    A man who was walking along the beach saw the boy doing this and called to him saying, “Son, what in the world are you doing? Don’t you know that there are thousands of starfish on this beach? And don’t you know this beach goes on for miles and miles? There is no way in the world you can save all those starfish!”
    The little boy thought about that for a moment, then turned to the man, picked up a starfish and said, “Yes sir, I know. But I can save this one.” And he heaved it as far as he could into the ocean.
    I’m not a starfish, but like that starfish I am glad someone saw enough value in me to attempt to make a difference in my  life by sharing the gospel with me. Perhaps the best way to say thanks is to simply share the gospel with others. While the prospect of reaching  everyone by myself would seem to be a daunting task, I’m quite certain that I can start with one.

- Mark Ray; 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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Calvary or Bethlehem?
By Bill Brandstatter

    Two places played an important part in Jesus’ life. The first was Bethlehem, the place of his birth.( Mt. 1:5-9.) The second was Calvary, the place of His death.( Luke 23:33). Of these two only one has affected mankind for all generations. That one is Calvary.
    At Calvary, His birth in Bethlehem found its real meaning. Paul wrote “But made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (Phil.  2:7 NKJV). Because Jesus came in the form of a baby, He entered the world like everyone else. He also died for every man on a cross on Calvary. He bore the sins of many (Heb. 9:28). Without the events in Bethlehem, Calvary would not have been possible. But with the events of Bethlehem the events of Calvary affected all men of all generations.
    At Calvary, the timing of His birth in Bethlehem was realized. Paul wrote about the time when Christ would be born in order to redeem others. In Gal. 4:4, we read, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” (NKJV)  This happened in Bethlehem. Then Paul continues, “To redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Gal. 4:5). According to Heb. 9:15, this happened at His death on Calvary.
    At Calvary, the good news of Bethlehem became a reality. The angels’ announcement to the shepherds was “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Lu. 2:10, 11). The reference to “city of David” is another name for Bethlehem. ( 1 Sam. 16:18). The good news of universal salvation for all men came to fruition at the death of Christ. Jesus said, “This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Mt. 26:28).
    Had it not been for Bethlehem, Calvary would not have happened. But because of Calvary, we all can rejoice in knowing we have a way to get to heaven one day. By coming in contact with his death on Calvary (Rom.6:3), we can have hope of everlasting life.

– Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://marionchurchofchrist.com/

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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
Christianity is a Relationship, Not a Tradition

     The Christian faith is not essentially about a building, a denomination, or an institution hoary with tradition. At its heart, Christianity is not a set of rules or a religious structure.  The Christian faith is essentially about a "now"-relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  The essence of Christianity is not about the past but about  right now.
     Of course, faith has an important component that remembers the past. We recall God's saving acts on the cross, for example.  We remember what God has done for us in the past.  But faith is only alive when it impels us to continue to live out our faith in the present, in the now.
     Christianity is about our coming to God as He instructs. It is about obedience. "Faith without deeds is dead" (James 2:26).

- Via the weekly bulletin of the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL. David R. Ferguson preaches for the congregation, and he may be contacted through their website: http://lakelandchurchofchrist.web.officelive.com/default.aspx

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What Saul of Tarsus (Paul) Saw on the Road to Damascus

     On his way to Damascus to deal out persecution to Christians and stamp out the religion of Christ, Saul saw himself as he really was, Christ as He really is, and himself as the man Christ wanted him to be and was able to make of him.
     We have great difficulty seeing ourselves as others see us, but we should try to do so. It is even more important that we see ourselves as the Lord sees us.
     Saul saw himself as a man with an impressive education in Laws and traditions of the Jews, very religious and righteous according to his understanding of the Law. He saw himself as a defender of the faith of God, and was dedicated to destroying the work and influence of that "impostor" Jesus called the Christ.
     After Jesus appeared to him, he saw that he was ignorant of the truth, a sinner needing to be saved, lost and  unworthy of the Lord's salvation. He  saw Jesus as the God's Messiah and his own proper Lord. He saw the necessity of leaving the religion of his fathers. He saw his true mission as preaching the gospel of Christ and promoting the faith he had once tried to destroy. He saw himself as debtor to Christ and to all men because he was now saved, forgiven, and assured of God's crown of  life because he became the man Christ wanted him to be.
- 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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Which Are You?

    A young woman went to her mother and told her about life and how things were so hard for her.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.  It didn’t seem like it was making any difference.
    Her mother took her to the kitchen.  She filled three pots with water and placed  each on a high fire.  In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.
    After some time, the mother asked her daughter
to feel the carrots.  She did and noted that they were soft.  The mother then asked her to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.  Finally the mother asked the daughter to sip some of the water the coffee beans were in.  She smiled as she tasted its rich flavor.
    Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water.  But each had reacted differently.  The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting.  However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it became soft and weak.  The egg had been fragile.  It’s thin outer shell had protected the liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.  The ground coffee beans were unique, however.  After they were in the boiling water, they had actually changed the water!
    The mother explained that some people are like the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity wilt and lose strength.  Others are like the egg that starts out with a malleable heart, but with heat their heart changes into one that is hardened and stiff.  But a few people are like the coffee beans that actually change the situation around them by their outlook, attitude, and influence.  Which are you?

- Selected; 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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Salvation by Baptism Only?
By Charlie Gamble

You have to get baptized! Although this statement is absolutely true, I believe that we can fall into a practice of teaching “baptism only” for salvation. Just as some have developed tunnel vision concerning faith and grace, we can become so centered upon baptism that we make a similar mistake. Paul tells us that our preaching should center upon Christ: “but we preach Christ crucified” (I Cor. 1:23a). Baptism is certainly an important part of the story but it is not the only part. Belief in Jesus and His message, turning away from sin, and an acknowledgement of Him as the Son of God is necessary. We must teach that a faithful life is required afterward. We cannot allow our eagerness for conversion to prompt a short-cutting of the message.

- Charlie Gamble preaches for the Brunswick Church of Christ in Southport, NC. He may be contacted at cgamble64@gmail.com

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Hearts of Gold - poetry
Where Shall I Find Rest
By Benny Bristow

Tis' a man without Christ near the end of the way,
A heart all beaten and gone astray --
Life holds an emptiness no human can describe,
Since he's made no plans beyond this life.

I am sick of this tiring life he cries,
My frame is weary my soul sick inside --
I long to lie down by some pebble brook,
Among flowers and willows with bending crooks.

I long to recline in stillness lane,
Where the air brings balm to my troubled brain --
Where is no murmur save the hum of the bee,
And the caroling of the lark far away in a tree.

Poor wretch thou art, thy longing is vain,
For only in Christ doth happiness reign --
Look heavenly to Jesus He'll furnish thee rest,
And your soul will shine as the sun in the West.

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

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God's Love

We call it mercy -
It is God's forgiving love.

We call it providence -
It is God's caring love.

We call it kindness -
It is God's understanding love.

We call it Christ's passion and death -
It is God's proven love.

We call it happiness -
It is God's encouraging love.

We call it the will of God -
It is God's unerring love.

We call it heaven -
It is God's rewarding love.

We call it eternity -
It is God's unending love.


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Like a Jewel
By Alice Hansche Mortenson

You've given me another day, dear Lord!
May I handle it like a jewel;
not waste it away
by vain words I say,
just chatting away like a fool.

Let me do something constructive today;
(Time is slipping away so fast)
by prayer, word, or deed
fill somebody's need,
a jewel that forever will last!

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Whatever our hands touch--
We leave fingerprints!
On walls, on furniture,
On doorknobs, dishes, books,
As we touch we leave our identity.

Oh, Lord, please where ever I go today,
Help me leave heartprints!
Heartprints of compassion
Of understanding and love.
Heartprints of kindness
and genuine concern.

May my heart touch a lonely neighbor
Or a runaway daughter,
Or an anxious mother,
Or, perhaps, a dear friend!

I shall go out today
To leave heartprints,
And if someone should say
"I felt your touch,"
May that one sense be...YOUR LOVE, LORD
Touching through ME.

(Author Unknown)

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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages
A Good Description

I eschew labels, but the following description is one I accept and strive for: "Biblical in doctrine, conservative in practice, liberal in love." (Jimmy Jividen)
- Preacher Talk, Cecil May, Jr., Faulkner University, Montgomery, AL, Dec. 2006, Vol. 22, No. 3

“NOBODY grows old by living a number of years.  People grow old by deserting their ideals.  Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul.” (Douglas Macarthur, 1-26-1955)
- 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

“Good things come to those who wait. Better things come to those who WORK for them.” – Anonymous
- via the Nile Street Notes, the weekly bulletin of the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL; R. W. McAlister preaches for the congregation and may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/

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BulletinGold Extra ---- recent postings on our Blogsite
- Tuning To The Standard, by Warren E. Berkley
- Winning the Battle, But Losing the War, by Wayne Polk
- The Blame Game, by David R. Ferguson
- The Value of a Good Conscience, by Bob Clardy
- Little Things, by Bill Smith
- An Impractical Prayer? By Bill McCormick
- Baptism, by Tim Smith
- Nobody's Perfect, by A.R. Gallaher and David A. Sargent
- Getting Rid of the Preacher, by Charlie Gamble
- God's Fashions, by John Telgren
- The Proper Use of the Old Testament, by Ron Cosby
- Paul Harvey, by Kevin Rayner
- We All Need Jesus, by R. W. McAlister
- Undenominational Christianity, by William S. Cline
- Encouragement and Endurance, by Wade Webster
- Finding our Father; Knowing our God, by Bryan McAlister
- You Win, by Rick Woodall
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