BulletinGold #158
February 2014   Vol 13 #

February 2014          BG# 158         Vol. 13         Issue 12
Subscribe     Website    Blog     Submissions     Editors: David Bragg and Edward Thomason
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- Get Back Up! By Larry Fitzgerald
- Making the Right Turn, by Ron Thomas
- You Judge! By Charlie Gamble
- Branding the Lord's Church, by Don Campbell
- Believe
- Ease?
- Mean Mothers
- Accepting Flaws, by Barbara Cagle Ray
- Gossipy Ears, by Gerald Cowan
- Is There No Conversation? By J. Randal Matheny
- Where There Is . . . By Jesse Wagner
& sayings

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Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
Get Back Up!
By Larry Fitzgerald

      When a giraffe is born, he tumbles ten feet to the ground, landing on his back. Within seconds, he rolls over and stands, struggling with those tall, untried legs.  
      The mother giraffe positions herself directly over her newborn, swings her leg outward and kicks that baby, sending it sprawling! If it doesn’t get up, she kicks it again. If it grows tired, she kicks it again to stimulate its efforts to stand. Each time the baby giraffe manages to get to its feet, the mother kicks it once again.
      Now, this may seem cruel to you, but there is a reason for the mother’s behavior. She is simply preparing the baby for survival, because that little giraffe must learn to get up quickly and run with the herd when danger comes-otherwise he will not survive!
      As Christians, we need to learn the same lesson that baby giraffes learn: when life kicks you down, you must get back up. You must never give up! Our soul’s survival depends upon our ability to persevere. James says, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).
      When things go wrong, Satan would love nothing better than for you to throw in the towel and give up on faith, God, Christ and the church. That’s his goal—to get you to quit short of the goal of salvation. He wants you to become so frustrated that you will simply quit. Don’t let him get to you. When life knocks you down—get back up!                                                      

- 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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Making the Right Turn
By Ron Thomas
       If you were to think of one thing about Noah what would it be? Would it be that he built an ark for all the animals to embark? Would it be that he built a huge boat and that it took him a rather long time? What would it be? The Scriptures note twice that “Noah did according to all that God commanded him” (Genesis 6:22; 7:5). This is what made Noah pleasing in God’s eyes, and this is that which we should remember. Was Noah plagued with the same vices that all others struggle with? There is no reason to think that he did not have similar struggles as others. The difference, however, was to whom he turned. When we turn to alcohol, drugs, sexual perversions and deviations we turn the wrong direction. When we turn to recreation, serenity, sports, and occupation we turn the wrong direction. There is only one direction to turn. When you get to that point in the road where you have to turn (and you will get there), be sure you make the right turn.

- 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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You Judge!
By Charlie Gamble

     After the healing of the lame man by Peter and John (Acts 4), the Sanhedrin commanded them to stop preaching Jesus. They answered with a statement that still challenges many today: Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. Acts 4:19 (NKJV)
     The message coming from many pulpits today is salvation by “faith alone.” Should we listen to these men or should we listen to God’s Word? James 2:24 says, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” Paul told the Philippians, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; (Phil 2:12)”
     So! Is it right in the sight of God to listen to men rather than God? You judge.

 - Charlie Gamble preaches for the Brunswick Church of Christ in Southport, NC. He may be contacted at cgamble64@gmail.com
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Branding the Lord's Church
By Don Campbell

    Words have dictionary meanings and meanings within context.  They are normally related, but not always identical.  When used as a verb, the word brand can mean “to mark with disapproval: stigmatize.”  Jesus was “branded” a sinner (John 9:24).  Early Christians were branded atheists, because they refused to acknowledge the gods.  The brand with which others may mark us is not as important as the brand with which we mark ourselves.
    “Branding is the sizzling buzzword for creating an identity for an organization, service, or product, or event” (“Ministry Branding: Your New Best Friend,” Steve Fogg).  In other words, branding is about how we identify ourselves to prospective clients—our image, in other words.  Branding is simply marketing by another name.  Fogg went on to say, “Jesus himself was a master of promotion, pushing the ultimate product—God’s salvation.”  Disgusting!
    Christianity is a calling, not a commodity to be marketed after careful analysis of the wants and wishes of the prospective clientele, which appears nowadays to run to entertainment.  Doctrine is irrelevant, truth is relative, and feelings are king.  Some people argue that if a church is going to survive it must brand itself in the fashion of Starbucks and Home Depot.  Otherwise, it cannot compete.  After all, there are only a certain number of “consumers.”
    We should never use the disinterest of the world in things spiritual as an excuse for not practicing Matthew 28:18-20; but, by the same token, we should never use their disinterest as an excuse for rebranding the Lord’s church.  A snappy jingle, an eye-catching logo, and a well-orchestrated ad campaign cannot replace 1 Corinthians 1:18-25:
    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written:
    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
    Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
    Paul wrote, “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus” (Gal 6:17, NASV).  Paul had received 39 lashes from the Jews on five different occasions; three times he had been beaten with rods; once he was stoned (2 Cor 11:23-30).  There may come a time in this country in which we will receive the brand-marks of Jesus in our bodies.  For now, we must carry those brand-marks by living a crucified life (Gal 6:14; 5:16-24).  Such is not popular self-centered world, but the crucified life is Jesus’ brand.

- Don Campbell preaches for the Puryear Church of Christ in Puryear, TN. He may be contacted via the congregation's website: http://www.wk.net/churchofchrist/
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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
    “For what does the scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:3).
    Explain the difference between Adam and Eve and Abraham.  Adam and Eve believed in God, but failed to believe Him.  As a result, they ignored Him, lost their righteousness and were cast away.  Abraham believed in God, and he also believed Him.  Because of that strong faith, God gave him righteousness as a free gift.  Many believe that God exists, but fail to believe what He says.  As a result, some are in and others are left on the outside, looking in.  Let’s believe in God, believe in what He says, believe in His promises, and believe in His directions.  That’s the right combination.

- 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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      Keep your face to the sunshine and you will never see the shadows.
      Remember the steam kettle! Though up to its neck in hot water, it continues to sing.
      Few cases of eye strain have been developed by looking on the bright side of things.
      Your day goes the way the corners of your mouth turn.
      Cheerfulness greases the axles of the world.
      Some people are able to spread cheer wherever they don’t go.
      Cheerfulness is contagious, but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.
      Philippians 4:8 (ESV) "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

- 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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    It is easier to COMPROMISE the truth than to STAND for it.
    It is easier to IGNORE sin, than EXPOSE it.
    It is easier to JUSTIFY the sinner than to DEMAND his repentance.
    It is easier to CRITICIZE the preaching of the truth than to ENDORSE it.
    It is easier to be SILENT than to CONTEND for the faith.
    It is easier to REFUSE an admonition than to RECEIVE it.
    It is easier to be WORLDLY than to be GODLY.
    It is easier to COMMIT SIN than AVOID it.
    It is easier to NEGLECT than to TAKE HEED.
    It is easier to MAKE EXCUSES than to BE FAITHFUL
    Why is this true? Simply because it is easier to travel the BROAD WAY than to travel the NARROW WAY (Matthew 7:13-14)!

- 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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Mean Mothers

     Was your mom mean? I know mine was. We had the meanest mother in the whole world! While other kids had candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast. When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches. And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had, too.
      Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You’d think we were convicts in a prison. She had to know who our friends were, and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.
      We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labor Laws by making us work. We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.
      She always insisted on telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers, she could read our minds. Then, life was really tough! Mother wouldn’t let our friends just honk the horn when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet them. While everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.
      Because of our mother we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. None of us have ever been caught shoplifting, vandalizing others’ property or ever arrested for any crime. It was all her fault. We never got drunk, took up smoking, stayed out all night, or a million other things other kids did. Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was. That must be what’s wrong with the world today. It just doesn’t have enough mean mothers anymore.

- Via the weekly bulletin of the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. Clifton Angel preaches for the congregation and he may be contacted through that congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/
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Hearts of Gold - poetry
Accepting Flaws
By Barbara Cagle Ray

Lush hidden treasures, delicate as lace, 
Open with the fragrance of sweet perfume. 
Tender velvet roses, so perfectly designed, 
Emerge from bursting buds to glorious bloom.

They sparkle like gems, kissed by dew, 
As they open wide their scarlet arms. 
Cascading over an arbor or in a vase, 
They curl tenderly, like a mother’s arms.

Mother Nature buzzes with hearty applause 
As roses unfurl, so radiantly adorned. 
How can anything be so perfectly made 
And still be plagued with prickly thorns?

They seem to add depth to its beauty; 
The unique quality of the rose is revealed. 
Without the thorns, wouldn’t the rose 
Be just another flower in the field?

- via Magnolia Messenger, a publication of the South Huntington St. Church of Christ in Kosciusko, MS; Volume 35 Number 2; April - June 2013; p 22. Barbara Cagle Ray may be contacted at bcagleray@comcast.net
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Gossipy Ears
By Gerald Cowan

If all of the gossipy tongues could be stopped,
        I doubt they would ever be missed.
Of all the most unwelcome things in the world,
        The gossipy tongue heads the list.
A gossip can take the most harmless event
        And, if he is evil at heart,
He can clothe it with many imagined details,
        With rumors that linger and smart.
He may season his story with envy and spite,
        Then whisper, “They say’ or “I’ve heard,”
And tell you in most sanctimonious tones
        The tale he’s distorted and blurred.
A life is dishonored, stained, and destroyed
        By rumors with no shred of truth
Which one person dreams in a feverish brain
        And another accepts – without proof.
Now the gossipy tongue can never succeed
        In causing such heartache and tears
Unless it is helped by the misguided soul
        Who possesses the gossipy ears.
For the acid that drips from the gossipy lips
        Would tarnish the purest of gold.
But its power depends on the gossipy ears
        Which believe everything they are told.
“Have you heard?” and “They say,” which go floating about
        Spreading envy, injustice, and fears
Would lose all their force were they quickly shut out
        By the one with the gossipy ears.
So whenever someone with a gossipy tongue
        Tells his stories of evil and strife,
And says, “Have you heard?” look him straight in the eye
        And say, “Just what is your mission in life?”
Don’t give him a chance to tell and retell
        The false empty rumors he hears.
He ought to be locked in a small narrow room
        With someone who has gossipy ears.
- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola Church of Christ in Dongola, IL.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com 

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Is There No Conversation?
By J. Randal Matheny
Is there no conversation, only what
I thought I heard you say? Is talk for naught,
To filter chosen words through a thousand strains
For twisted meaning, getting for all our pains
A garbled message? Tone can soften doubt,
The loving look carries greater clout;
Non-verbal cues impress beyond our speech,
So bungled words and dullish ears may reach
A common understanding. So hear me out.

- J. Randal Matheny edits and writes UPLift, an inspirational ezine. He
may be contacted here: <http://randalmathenycom/>. When reprinting this
material, please include the following: 
Copyright (c) 2013 J. Randal Matheny
All rights reserved. You may forward the
email to friends as is. You may not alter
it in any way or remove any text or
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Where There Is . . .
By Jesse Wagner

Where there is love and generosity,
there is joy.
Where there is sincerity and sacrifice,
there is friendship.
Where there is harmony and simplicity,
there is beauty.
Where there is prayer and forgiveness,
there is peace.
Where there is moderation and patience,
there is wisdom.
Where there are conflicts and crises,
there is opportunity.
Where there is wonder and adventure,
there is growth.
Where there is adoration and confession,
there is worship.
Where there is compassion and concern,
there is God.

- 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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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages
All people smile in the same language.
    Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.
    When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to your youth, think of Algebra.
    When you put the 2 words “THE” and “IRS” together, it spells “THEIRS.”

“Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time: they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, who denounces against the wicked eternal misery, & insures to the good eternal happiness are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”  (Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, in a letter to Secretary of War James McHenry, Nov. 4, 1800.)

Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves. [Emily Bronte (1818-1848)]

- 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

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.
Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

 - via The Lantern, Highway Church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  Ron Thomas serves as preacher and an elder for the congregation and you may visit their website as http://www.highwaycofc.com

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. [Publilius Syrus (~100 BC)]
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