BulletinGold #163
July 2014   Vol 14 #5

July 2014          BG# 163         Vol. 14         Issue 05
Subscribe     Website    Blog     Submissions     Editors: David Bragg and 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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- I'll Keep On Till They Quit, by Alan Smith
- 10 Things You Can Do to Start a Family Devotional Tonight, by Austin  Johnson
- The Church of Christ, by Westley Hazel
- The Joy of Hope, by Joe Chesser
- The Fish Net, by Ron Thomas
- His Grace Reaches Me, by Steve Higginbotham
- A God-Sized Dream, by Justin Morton
Chasing Shadows
- Friends
- Glorious Exchange
- America Is..., by H. L. Gradowith
- Pleasure Shared, by J. Randal Matheny
& sayings

for bulletins
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Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
I'll Keep On Till They Quit
By Alan Smith

    There once was an older man who went out jogging.  He was running around a track that circled the high school football field while the team was conducting their practice.  When the football players began running their sprints up and down the field, the man said to himself, "I'll just keep run­ning until they quit."  So they ran.  And he ran.  And they kept on running.  So he kept on running.
    Finally, in total exhaustion the man had to stop.  When he stopped, an equally exhausted football player walked over to him and said, "Boy, I'm glad you finally stopped, Mister.  Our coach told us that we had to keep running wind sprints as long as the old guy was jogging!"
    It seems to me that we can sometimes find ourselves in a similar kind of situation when it comes to anger and conflict.  We have a disagreement with someone and get into an argument.  Voices get raised.  Neither side wants to be the first to give in, to stop speaking in anger.  Everyone has the attitude, "I'll just keep on till they quit."  So the other party stays mad.  So we stay mad.  And on we go, eventually finding ourselves emotionally and even physically exhausted by the ongoing animosity.
    Let me challenge you to do something very difficult.  The next time you get in an argument, be the first to give in.  Be the first to stop the yelling and the name-calling.  Be the first to say, "I'm sorry."  It's the quickest way to stop the vicious cycle.
    "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1)
    Have a great day!

- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister for the Fayetteville Church of Christ in Fayetteville, NC, may be contacted at alansmith.servant@gmail.com
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10 Things You Can Do to Start a Family Devotional Tonight
By Austin  Johnson

    Recently I spoke with a father who was sharing memories of his past with me.  He was obviously concerned that he had not done everything he should have and felt he fell short in several areas.   He was giving me some great future advice and his words haven’t left my mind yet.  He said in regards to praying and reading the Bible, do not wait until you think your children are old enough to understand.  Instead,  pray and read the Bible with them from the smallest of ages.  It will be something they never forget.  Then he said to pray every day.  Pray all the time, and hopefully your kids/ spouse/friends will catch you praying and be encouraged to do the same.  The last and most challenging piece of advice was, to accept the grace of God.  No person or parent is perfect and everyone makes mistakes.  But the sooner we accept the saving grace of God and the sooner we stop trying to earn heaven the better off we will be.
   The time to start impacting the lives of your children/spouse/family is now because we are guaranteed no other moment than the present.  I want to leave you with 10 tips by Adam Faughn which can be found on his website http://www.faughnfamily.com, for starting a family devotional tonight: 
   1. Read the Bible.
     2. Memorize a verse (or two).
       3. Reuse Bible school materials.
          4. Have an object lesson.
              5. Take a creation walk.
                  6. Make a prayer list.
                      7. Have a service night.
                          8. Sing.
                              9. Play a simple Bible game.
                                  10. Make Bible art.

- Austin Johnson 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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The Church of Christ
By Westley Hazel
   The church of Christ is not a denomination. When we say that, most in the religious world do not understand what we are trying to say. What we are trying to say is that we are Christians. We are nothing more because there is nothing more. We are not something less because that would be a waste of our time and disrespectful to God. Because we are Christians, we believe, practice, and teach the things that Christ taught. We belong to Christ and follow Him wherever He takes us. We do not belong to someone or something else. I belong to Christ. I have been added to a group of people called out (church) that belongs to (of) Jesus Christ. 
    John began in v. 1 of II John by saying, “the elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth.” John made reference to the thing that bound him to those he was writing to and also to all other Christians. That common element is the truth. The truth is what binds me together in the church of Christ to people who are nothing like me in many ways. We are bound together by a common belief in the truth that Jesus is the Son of God, that certain activities are sinful and other activities are holy, that Jesus will return for His children, and every other truth that Jesus taught.
    When we abandon the truth of Christ, we cease to be the church of Christ. I was reading a few weeks ago an article by some who were very upset at the fact that there was a television program on in their area that had a session devoted to what the Bible says about a woman’s role in the church. One of the things they discussed on the program is why it is wrong for a woman to teach or have authority over a man in the church (I Tim. 2:12).  
    What the author of the article was upset about was that at the end of the program, they made the statement, “This program is from the churches of Christ.” His point was that he does not believe it is wrong for a woman to be a preacher, but he still considers himself a member of the church of Christ. In response, I would say that he may be a part of a body, but that body does not belong to Christ. It may be a lot of things, but it is not the church of Christ. The body that belongs to Christ does not believe that it is right for a woman to teach or have authority over a man. This is not because of cultural bias, chauvinism, or ignorance. It is because the truth of God’s word teaches this to us based on creation and the fact that Eve sinned first (II Tim. 2:11-14). 
    If we abandon the idea that we have truth, then what do we really have left besides a bunch of people with no common denominator? This is not just applicable to subjects like a woman’s role in the church, but it extends all the way to our very belief in Jesus Christ. When we lose the truth, we lose the key to our bond in Christ and our very salvation. In John 8:31-32, Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 
    May we be more convinced of the truth every day through our study of God’s word. May that conviction spur us on to a life inspired and grounded in the truth so that the world might see God’s truth and give Him glory (Matt. 5:16). 

- Westley Hazel preaches for the Savannah Church of Christ in Savannah, TN. He may be contacted through the church's website: http://www.savannahchurchofchrist.com/home
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The Joy of Hope
By Joe Chesser
   Sometimes the best part of taking a vacation is the time spent gathering information and making plans for it. Anticipating what you will do when you go camping or traveling or to Disney makes the vacation that much more enjoyable.  Getting brochures or checking out the web sites, studying the maps to learn what is available along the way, and marking the days on a calendar fill you with excitement.  In fact, there are times when the anticipation of the vacation far exceeds the actual event.
   Anticipating heaven should be even better than anticipating a vacation. It’s too bad that many Christians haven’t learned to enjoy the preparation for heaven.  Instead of finding joy in the present (John 10:10), some Christians (and I hope you are not one of them) view the present Christian experience as one of drudgery and travail.  They see their walk with God in this life as one of hardship and suffering, and only view heaven as a rest from their current troubles.  But the hope of heaven is not intended to be restricted to eternity. There is joy in the hope of heaven right now!
   The hope of heaven serves to bring meaning and enjoyment to this present life in several ways.
(1) Hope in God serves as an anchor for the soul.
The world is constantly in a state of flux, yet God gives Christians the ability to live in this world with stability in the present because of hope for the future. Instead of being “blown here and there by every wind of teaching” (Eph. 4:14) Christians are offered “hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Heb. 6:19).  Christians have the security now that the world longs for!
            (2) Christians are saved by hope (Rom. 8:24). This hope is a “confident expectation” that removes fear and doubt. Since we are confident of receiving the salvation of Christ that comes by faith and obedience, joy fills our souls. We find joy in doing whatever God expects of us because of the hope of what He has promised those who are faithful.
            (3) Happy is the soldier that is properly equipped to wage war. While we are in the flesh we are in a constant battle with Satan, but God has given us all the equipment we need to successfully defeat him.  A part of that equipment is having “the hope of salvation as a helmet” (1 Thess. 5:8).  Christians are assured that Satan cannot defeat the army of God. We can celebrate our ultimate victory right now, today! Live joyfully as God’s soldier.
            (4) Christians know “how great is the love the Father has lavished on us” (1 John 3:1). We know we are the children of God right now!  What we don’t know yet is what we will be like when Jesus appears the second time, but we do know this: that when Jesus appears the second time, we shall be like him (1 John 3:2).  Having this hope gives us the assurance we need to live pure lives in the present (1 John 3:3). Learning to live like God today gives us a joy that anticipates the day we can live with Him forever!
            (5) Despite the trials of life, Christians can “be joyful in hope” (Rom. 12:12). If we choose, nothing in this life can rob us of the joy and anticipation of life with God.

- 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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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
The Fish Net
By Ron Thomas
   When Jesus began His ministry, He began with a fish story (of sorts).  Not really a fish story, but an occasion where experienced fishermen worked all night and were preparing to return, having caught nothing.  Jesus sees the men returning and they were somewhat downcast as a result of an empty night.  The Lord then told them to take their nets and cast them over the side for a catch; somewhat doubtful, they do it. Amazed at the catch, Peter presents himself to the Lord humbly (Luke 5:8).  This, as far as Luke presents it, is the beginning of Jesus’ mission to the Israelite nation.  When John finishes his gospel, we are again at the lake and, again, Jesus tells the fishermen to cast their nets over the side for a catch.  They do, and the catch is great (John 21:1-8).  At the beginning of the Lord’s mission He taught His disciples how to catch men: the net used was going to be two parts.  First, it would be the message of the Lord taught; and, second, it would be the message of the Lord lived. Some, unfortunately, are better able to teach than live.  In such cases, the net has “sprung a leak.”  Let us be sure to patch nets in order that we can teach and live the gospel.

- 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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His Grace Reaches Me
By Steve Higginbotham

    Christians will sometimes sell the grace of God short.  While we intellectually know that grace is "undeserved," we sometimes tend to limit God's grace to the more "deserving sinner."  You know, the guy who is trying to do right, but makes "ordinary" mistakes.  But you see, that's our problem.  There's no such thing as a "deserving sinner."
    The guy who walks too close to the "mud hole" and gets a little mud on the sides of his shoes is just as defiled and unfit for heaven as the guy who wallowed in the "mud hole."  Yet we sometimes seem to forget this truth.  Friends, God's grace isn't for those who have most things under control, but just need a little extra help.  Rather his grace is for the helpless, and that includes all men whether they have just a little mud on their shoes or are covered from head to toe.
    Maybe we need to be reminded of what we sing,
"Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not,
to rid my soul of one dark blot,
to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come."

Instead of limiting God's grace, let's lift our voices and give thanks that God's grace reaches even me!

- Steve Higginbotham preaches for the Karns Church of Christ in Knoxville, TN. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://www.karnschurch.org
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A God-Sized Dream
By Justin Morton

     All of us have dreams. From the time we are little until the day we die, we dream about the many possibilities for our lives. When I was a kid, I wanted more than anything to be a professional athlete. As you can probably tell, this dream didn’t work out so well; however, this didn’t keep me from dreaming. We’ve all had BIG dreams for our lives, and maybe you still do.
     What about the dreams you have for your spiritual life? Do you have dreams for what you want to become—for what you hope to accomplish for the Lord? I’m afraid when it comes to dreaming about things of a spiritual nature, our dreams are too small. Why is it that when we dream about our lives we dream BIG dreams, but when we dream about our impact in the Kingdom of God we dream small dreams? I think it’s past time for us to dream God-sized dreams. You say, “What is a God-sized dream?” A God- sized dream is a dream that is so big others might say, “You can’t do that.” God-sized dreams are what some might call, “ridiculously insane.”
     Christians need to start dreaming God-sized dreams. As long as we have God on our side, nothing is impossible (Mark 10:27). The apostle Paul said, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20). Did you catch that?
     Friends, the size of our dreams reflects the size of our God. How big are you dreaming?

- 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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Chasing Shadows
   “Now Moses was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house.” (Hebrews 3:5-6)
   Who has the greater glory in the eyes of God? Is it Moses, the deliverer of Israel, or Jesus Christ, God’s anointed Son? Moses brought the Law to Israel, But Jesus brought grace and truth to all men.  Those who worship Moses and the Law are worshipping the shadow of the real thing. The scripture tells us that Moses was a servant in God’s house, but Jesus is the Son of the house.  We can be God’s house when we serve His Son, Jesus Christ.  Let’s not chase shadows when we can know the real thing.

- from Grace for Your Spirit (slightly edited); 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

        If nobody smiled, no one cheered me up,
            And nobody helped me along;
        If everyone only looked out for himself,
            And the good things all went to the strong;
        If nobody ever gave me a kind word,
            No one ever cared about me,
        And I stood all alone in the battle of life,
            What a wearisome world this would be.

        But my life is kept sweet by the friends I have made,
            And by things that we do for each other.
        In good times and bad it's a comfort to know
            I've a friend who loves me like a brother.
        So I don't stand alone.  Jesus Christ is my King,
            And on Him every blessing depends.
        And though He's in heaven, He is seen every day
            In the faces of all of my friends.
- Gerald Cowan, a longtime preacher and missionary, is retired from full-time pulpit preaching. Gerald publishes an e-mail newsletter entitled GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICAL WRITINGS. He is available for Gospel Meetings and he may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com
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Glorious Exchange

I brought Him all my sorrow
And all my falling tears;
I brought Him all my loneliness
And all my wasted years.

He took them all upon Himself,
With all my load of sin,
And gave me in exchange
His love, His joy, His peace within.

He took away my sorrow
And gave me back a song;
And now my heart can only praise
My Savior all day long.       

- Selected; via the weekly bulletin of the Broadway Church of Christ in Campbellsville, KY. Edd Sterchi preaches for the congregation and he may be contacted at eddsterchi@comcast.net
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America Is...
By H. L. Gradowith

America Is...
Fixing the tractor to get in a crop
Then praying to God the blamed thing won't stop
And doing the same with the old combine
To take in the crop at harvest time.

America Is...
Shooting a rabbit and a squirrel or two
For breakfast and then, when the coffee's through,
We're busily at the work of the day
Chasing the hunger of the world away.

America Is...
Checkers in the park with men from the war,
The stories they tell of days long before...
Doing all my chores then walking to school
When teachers still taught us the Golden Rule.

America Is...
Fuzz on the peaches and each part of me
As I pulled them from their home on the tree
The smell of the Hogs when prices are high,
The Sun as it first appears in the sky.

America Is...
The way one feels when the days work is done,
The way that a father teaches his son;
The wonderful meals a mom cooks each day,
Walking with Jesus each step of the way.

America Is...
The love of a dog, the purr of a cat;
A big furry coat and a cowboy hat;
John Wayne on his horse - back in the Old West
Of all the Cowboys the Duke was the best!

- H. L. Gradowith  For more information on H. L. Gradowith and GRADOWITH POEMS e-mail group visit http://www.geocities.com/fp5699/ - the website of Tim Smith, minister of the Enon Church of Christ in Webb, AL.
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Pleasure Shared
By J. Randal Matheny

"I share your pain," we often say —
A friend stands side by side —
But pleasure shared, like children's play,
Swells the gladding tide.

What greater joy or deeper delight
Among the halls of man,
To share the key to human plight,
In God's salvation plan?

- 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) 2014 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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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages
“Between the optimist and the pessimist, the difference is droll. The optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist the hole!” – Oscar Wilde

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” – William A. Ward

“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.” - Dante Gabriel Rosetti

- 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/

A smile is a gently curved line that can set a lot of things straight.

- Gerald Cowan, a longtime preacher and missionary, is retired from full-time pulpit preaching. Gerald publishes an e-mail newsletter entitled GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICAL WRITINGS. He is available for Gospel Meetings and he may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com

In order to get something done, a committee should consist of no more than three persons, two of whom are absent. ~Robert Copeland

Nobody can go back and make a new beginning or undo anything that has been done. But we can always start again at the present moment, correct things that are wrong and start doing what is right and make a brand new ending.

As yet, no one has invented a self-starting rumor.

Most rumors are about as hard to unspread as jelly on bread.

- via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Dongola Church of Christ, Dongola, IL.

“AN OPTIMIST is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while the pessimist sees only the red stop light.  But the truly wise person is colorblind.”  (Dr. Albert Schweitzer)

“One man with courage is a majority.” (Thomas Jefferson)

“THAT BOOK (the Bible) is the rock on which this republic rests.”  (Andrew Jackson)

- 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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