BulletinGold #165
September 2014   Vol 14 #7

September 2014          BG# 165         Vol. 14         Issue 07
Subscribe     Website    Blog     Submissions     Editors: David Bragg and Edward Thomason
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- That’s Just Your Interpretation, by Mike Benson
- Leaning, But Still a Light! By Lance Cordle
- Looking for a Short-Cut? By Joe Chesser
- More Important Than Myself, by Greg Litmer
- If You Had Died for the Sins of the World How Would You Feel?
- “He is the God”
- The Promise of the Spirit to the Nations, by Ty Nicol
- For What Will this Church Be Known? By Edd Sterchi
- When Childhood’s Gone, by Barbara Cagle Ray
- No Greater Love, by Gerald Cowan
- All Is Gain, by J. Randal Matheny
- A Prayer for the NewYear, by Merrel Thompson
& sayings

for bulletins
 and signs


Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
That’s Just Your Interpretation
By Mike Benson

     Imagine you and hundreds of citizens like you, pick up today’s Hattiesburg American and find the following advertisement on page 3:
           - Free Kobalt Carpenter’s hammer (valued at $25) to the first 50 customers who come in the store on Saturday, April 26th.
           - Customer must present this ad upon entering the store
           - Limit one hammer per customer
           - Store opens at 7 a.m.
     Question: Would it be possible for everyone within the local community, assuming they can read and understand English, to look over this very same grand opening promotion, and then come to the exact same interpretation? Could we expect unity of understanding pertaining to this ad? Consider:
* According to the ad, what is to be given away? When will these items be given away? How many will be given away? How many gifts can one customer expect to receive?
* What if a customer forgets to bring the newspaper clipping/ad with him when he enters the store on Saturday? Will he receive a free hammer?
* What if a customer brings the newspaper ad with him, but is the 51st customer through the door? Can he expect to receive a free hammer?
* What if a customer brings the newspaper ad to Lowe’s on Friday April 25th, rather than Saturday April 26th? Will he receive a free hammer?
* What if a customer brings the newspaper ad to Home Depot on Saturday April 26th, instead of Lowes? Will he receive a free hammer?
* What if a customer brings the newspaper ad to Lowe’s on Saturday, April 26th, receives a free hammer, then immediately gets back in line again in order to try to get another one?
* What if the customer is the 14th patron to enter Lowe’s on Saturday, April 26th, holds the newspaper clipping in hand, at 7:01 a.m., and yet Lowe’s insists that he PAY for the hammer instead of giving it to him for free? He might be inclined, and rightfully so, to go to the store manager and show him the newspaper ad. Now what if the manager glances over the ad and then simply replies, "Sir—that’s just your interpretation. We’re not giving any hammers away today. You’ve got to pay for everything in the store."?
     Here’s my point. Every thoughtful individual with the ability to read and reason logically can correctly interpret an advertisement. Assuming the customer goes to the right store, on the right day and time, armed with the right ad, and if you’re one of the first fifty customers, he can expect to receive a free hammer valued at $25.00.
     Now if hundreds of local citizens can consume the same information about the gift of hammers, correctly interpret what has been put into print, and then rightfully expect the same outcome, why can’t we also do the same thing with the gift of salvation (Romans 6:23; cf. 5:16)?

* Wouldn't you agree that God is powerful enough to communicate so that all can understand (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Romans 1:16; Titus 1:3)? Hasn't God communicated clearly in his Word how individuals might receive the free gift (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:12,13; Matthew 10:19-20) he offers?
* Is it possible for us to read God’s Word and correctly understand what he’s said (cf. Ephesians 5:17; 2 Timothy 2:15; Mark 7:14; Luke 8:11; Matthew 13:19, 23)?

     Brethren [and friends, CA], don’t ever buy the false idea of "that’s just your interpretation" (cf. Luke 10:26; 24:25-28, 32; Acts 17:2-3, 11; 1 Timothy 4:13).

- 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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Leaning, But Still a Light!
By Lance Cordle

     Along the sidewalk at the back of our house are two rows of solar-powered lights, mounted on sharply pointed stakes that have been driven into the ground. During the day they soak up energy for the sun and store it. When darkness falls, the lights come on and shine through most of the night and then go off at daylight so they can repeat the cycle. Sometimes the lights are low or do not stay on very long because of less exposure to the sun, but most of the time, they do well, allowing those who walk the path to do so safely.
     The winter has softened the ground, however and the stakes holding the lights have begun to lean. Repeated rains as well as drifts of snow and ice have  contributed to the lights being pushed over. Walking down the path one morning, several minutes before sunrise, I noticed the light at the end of the sidewalk leaning, nearly touching the ground. 
     As I observed this interesting circumstance, I thought how life sometimes seems to shove us over and we are left “leaning,” but our “light” is still shining (Matthew 5:14). These scenarios have crossed my mind since that observation in the early morning hours:
• Some people are leaning because economic troubles and disasters have taken a toll on them. They just can’t seem to significantly increase their income. They move forward, believing that God will continue to take care of them and provide their necessities as they put him first (Matthew 6:33).
• Some people are leaning because of health issues. Whether by accident, disease, or just bad genes, they find themselves struggling physically. Medications and minimal activity seem to be their lot. However, physical illness in a Christian is  just an opportunity for God to show his strength in our life (2 Corinthians 12:10). They move forward, strengthened by God.
• Some people find themselves leaning because of old age. They don’t stand as tall, jump as high, or run as fast as they did when they were young. They may feel out of place or unneeded in their family and in the church. They move for- ward, relying on the Bible, which says, “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair” (Proverbs 20:29, ESV).
• Some people are leaning because life has beaten them down. The enemy of God has used people and circumstances to wear them down, and to move them to wonder whether it is worth it to go on and remain true to the Lord. They move forward, bruised but determined. They may be struggling, but they are still on the Lord’s side. They trust in God’s word, which says, “they who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not grow weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31, ESV).              

- Lance Cordle preaches 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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Looking for a Short-Cut?
By Joe Chesser
    When James A. Garfield was president of Hiram College, a father brought his son to enroll him in higher education pursuits.  After reviewing what would be required, and wishing for a shorter course of study for the boy, the father said to Mr. Garfield, “The boy can never take all that in.  He wants to get through quicker. Can you arrange it for him?”  Garfield was quick to respond, “Oh yes.  He can take a short course. It all depends upon what you want to make of him. When God wants to make an oak, He takes a hundred years, but He only takes two months to make a squash.”
    Many often dream of and sometimes even expect to grow to spiritual maturity in a very short time.  However, there are no short-cuts when it comes to spiritual development and maturity.  Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness of Midian preparing to be the one to lead God’s people out of Egypt. Jesus spent 30 years preparing for his 3 year ministry. It takes 20 years to be considered an adult, and many more years to actually become a mature adult. Why then are we surprised that it takes a considerable amount of time to reach spiritual maturity?
    Yet even time itself does not ensure maturity.  The writer of Hebrews pointed out that there were some Christians who ought to be mature enough to be teaching others, but were, in fact, still needing to be bottle-fed themselves on milk (the “elementary principles of God’s word” – Heb. 5:12-14).  Some of these baby Christians had been Christians close to 30 years. Can you imagine?  30 years and still not mature enough to feed on “meat”; they still needed “milk.”  Sad, isn’t it?!
    Spiritual growth requires a steady diet of God’s word.  Peter, addressing this same subject, wrote, “like new born babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). Paul adds that by “speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him …” (Eph. 4:15).
    Learning takes place in consistent, regular, small doses.  Many years ago, a friend of mine, Dan Lightfoot, said that he doesn’t remember what he learned on any given day during his school days, but he knows each day a little progress was made. That’s why regular Bible study is so important.  That’s also why God wants parents to teach their children His ways as the go about their daily activities (Deut. 6:6-9).  Just 15 minutes of focused Bible study each day will pay rich rewards.
    There are no short-cuts.  Do you want to mature to be an oak … or a squash?

- 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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More Important Than Myself
By Greg Litmer

     If I can learn to truly regard others "as more important" than myself (Philippians 2:3), then I will have taken a giant step toward living day by day as a faithful child of God. I struggle with this concept in some aspects and don't struggle with it in others. How can I view the person who has nothing and lives off of the government as more important than myself? How can I consider a person who does not match my intellectual abilities and talents as more important than myself? I can do it by looking at Jesus, that's how.
     How do I compare to Jesus? Like a drop of water in the bottom of an otherwise empty 50-gallon drum. I am nothing, and the Lord died for me. One person wrote that the person who is able to think this way is "the one who is so conscious of his dependence on God, and of his own imperfections and nothingness, that his own gifts only remind him that others must have gifts also, while his sense of his own utter nothingness suggests to him that these gifts may well be superior to his own, and higher in nature and degree."
     Thinking this way, it becomes possible for me to "not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." Paul's point is that the feelings, interests, and needs of our brethren are to be put before and above our own. That does not mean to ignore our own needs, but to subordinate them to the needs of others. In Romans 12:10 Paul put it this way: "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor."
     Just think of how this understanding would affect our conduct in very practical ways. All of the sick would be visited and cared for just because we would be thinking about them. No one's burdens would have to be borne alone -- because brothers and sisters would always be there with arms extended to help pick them up. We would all be present at every service that our health allowed because we would be concerned about considering one another, to "provoke unto love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24). Arguments concerning non-doctrinal issues would be laid aside; they would cease, because the brethren involved in them would be more respectful of the preferences of others. Even when I have been sinned against, if I understand Paul's teaching in Philippians 2, then I am going to be most concerned about the spiritual welfare of the other person. That changes my entire attitude.
     When I live my life recognizing that I am to follow the example of Jesus and to see others as more important than myself, I will engage in personal evangelism even when it is inconvenient or makes me feel uncomfortable. I will be moral and conduct myself as a child of God should every minute of every day because I want to give the best possible example that I can to every one with whom I come into contact. Christianity is not about me -- that proved to be a hard lesson for me to learn. It is about the other person. 

- 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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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
If You Had Died for the Sins of the World
How Would You Feel?

When men took your name in vain? When men damaged their bodies dabbling in sin instead of glorifying you as their savior in their bodies? When men fussed and got angry among themselves in which you had established and thus brought reproach upon you? When men chose to go somewhere else on the day which you had set aside for men to worship you? When men refused to obey what you said they had to do to gain the benefit of your death? When men did not appreciate your sacrifice enough to stay for the supper you had left as a memorial of it? When men did not respect you enough to wear your name? When men did not care whether their conduct caused anyone else to stumble? Did you ever stop to think? The Son of God probably would think the same as you would about such thoughtless people.

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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“He is the God”
    “The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.”  (Psalm 50:1)
    Some speak of Mother Nature, but the Scripture speaks of the Mighty One, God the LORD, who controls our universe and sustains our world.  He speaks and they do His bidding.  This is the LORD who listens to our prayers and who acts for our well-being.  He is the God who sustained his people and sent Jesus to fulfill His promises.  He is the God who will bring us home.  We can have confidence in our future with Him.

- 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
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The Promise of the Spirit to the Nations
By Ty Nicol
     Galatians 3:14 has the promise of the Spirit equated to the blessing promised through Abraham.
     In Galatians 3:8, Paul says that the Gospel was preached unto Abraham.  Does that mean that the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ was preached to Abraham? What God had in mind when making promises to  Abraham was the blessing of forgiveness of sins and eternal life through faith in Abraham’s promised seed, Christ (3:16).  That is the Gospel.  This Gospel also included the promise of the Spirit..
    In Galatians 3:1-2 Paul asks the rhetorical question, “Did you Gentile converts receive the Spirit by the works of the Law or by hearing through faith?” Of course, the new believers received it by hearing through faith.  Paul is reacting to the criticism of his gospel by illustrating that salvation was promised through faith in Abraham’s seed, Christ, and not through deeds performed by observation of Moses’ Law.  The Spirit is imparted as an act of God’s grace in Christ; therefore it is God who was faithful to Abraham in keeping His promise of blessing the nations with the opportunity to become His children, through His Spirit.
- Ty Nicol preaches for the Kemp Church of Christ in Arcola, Illinois. He may be contacted at kempch@juno.com
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For What Will this Church Be Known?
By Edd Sterchi

* For its love of selves or its love of lost souls?  (1 Thess. 2:8)
* For its spreading gossip or its spreading the gospel?  (Mark 16:15)
* For its rudderless drifting or its strong leadership?  (1 Pet. 5:1-4)
* For its low ideals or its lofty goals?  (Phil. 3:14; Col. 3:2)
* For its knowledge of the world or its knowledge of the Bible?  (Acts 17:11; 2 Tim. 2:15)
* For its financial limitations or its generous giving?  (2 Cor. 8:1-6)
* For its comatose Christians or its many active members?  (Eph. 4:16)
* For its selfish pursuits or its selfless serving?  (Gal. 5:13; Heb. 12:28)
* For its internal strife or its brotherly love?  (John 13:34-35)
* For its indifferent positions or its defense of the truth?  (1 Pet. 3:15)
* For its cold shoulders or its warm fellowship?  (1 Pet. 1:22)
* For its living below God’s expectations or its living above the world? (1 John 3:3-6)
* For its helping itself or its helping the needy?  (2 Cor. 9:12-13)
* For its passionless “praise” or its spiritual and truthful worship?  (John 4:24)
* For its accolade of men or its glorifying of God?  (Eph. 3:21)
* For its stagnation or its vibrancy?  (2 Pet. 3:18)

For what will this church be known?  For what will you be known?  If you are a member of this church, then this church will be known for these as you are known for these, good or bad.  Let’s all do our part to make sure this church is one that is known for following Christ in every way.

- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Broadway Church of Christ in Campbellsville, KY. He may be contacted at eddsterchi@comcast.net
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Hearts of Gold - poetry
When Childhood’s Gone
By Barbara Cagle Ray

This neatly polished, peaceful home
Is filled with love and happiness.
Yet with all this sweet contentment,
There are so many things I miss.

There are no smudges on my windows,
No fingerprints to clean, it seems.
The floors glisten at the end of day,
And the furniture so brightly gleams.

There are no toys strewn on the floor,
No small child with huge fears to ease,
No tears to lovingly wipe away,
Or storm doors slamming in the breeze.

There aren’t constant questions being asked,
Like, “Mama, where did God come from?”
Bedtime stories are not needed now,
Goodnight lullabies are no longer sung.

Never take for granted God’s greatest gift—
The laughter of a small, innocent child.
Soon childhood’s flown and they’re grown,
But the memories still bring back a smile.

When they’re grown, we love just as much;
We never thought we’d one day miss
The fingerprints, toys, and slamming doors,
That we exchanged for all this cleanliness.

- via Magnolia Messenger, a publication of the South Huntington St. Church of Christ in Kosciusko, MS; Volume 35 Number 3; Fall 2013; p 22. Barbara Cagle Ray may be contacted at bcagleray@comcast.net
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No Greater Love
By Gerald Cowan

No one has known a greater love
Than God’s great love for you.
No love has been more constant and
No love has been more true.
It’s always for your good, not His,    
And lasts a lifetime through.

God gave His only Son to bring
Salvation to your soul,
Repair the damage done by sin
And make your spirit whole.
Then how do we repay God’s gift?
By giving Him control.

He knows the way we ought to take
And clearly marks the road
That we must walk to be with Him
Who shares our heavy load
And makes a place in heav’n for us –
The spirit’s true abode.

Satan’s lies may sound so good he’s
Able to deceive us.
We speak God’s truth and pray that
Sinners will believe us.
God’s love and mercy, giv’n in Christ
Allows Him to receive us.

- 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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All Is Gain
By J. Randal Matheny

  “The blessing from the Lord makes a person rich,
  and he adds no sorrow to it” Proverbs 10.22.

No trouble, no sorrow, no sadness nor pain
Belong to the riches of Christ—all is gain;
The blessings of God carry no ill effect,
For they come from heaven, undiluted, direct.

- 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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A Prayer for the NewYear 
By Merrel Thompson

Dear Lord, as I close the door on this old year,
I ponder on the things I’ve done . . .
On the things I’ve said and the joys I’ve had . . .
Then I wonder, have I lost or won? 

I’ve thought of the new friends I have made,
And of the old ones staunch and true . . .
The path of the old year was made easier Lord,
Because I have walked it with You. 

I think of all the many times,
When my burdens were so heavy to bear,
And how my faith slipped away from me . . .
But somehow You were always standing there. 

Now as I open the door to this New Year,
And carefully peep inside,
I wonder what it holds for me . . .
But I’ll throw the door open wide. 

And whatever it brings to me and mine,
I’ll meet it with a heart so true . . .
I know that, Lord whate’er it may be,
You’ll be there to carry me through.
- 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
Some are willing to do anything to become Christians, except give up their sins.

Ignorance is when you don’t know something and somebody finds out about it.

Love forgives what courtesy and courage could have avoided.

Maybe you should stop trying to make a living and instead work with God in order to make a life.

To marry a woman for her beauty is like buying a house for its paint.

Woman to her fiancee: "When we get married, I want to share all your worries, troubles and lighten your burden."
"That's kind of you, but I don't have any worries or troubles."
"That's because we aren't married yet!”

God designed marriage for a man and a woman. Nothing else is marriage in His sight. Animals copulate – temporary connection – and sometimes mate. Humans can copulate and mate like animals but it is sacrilege to call it marriage.

- 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

“Subdue your appetites, my dears, and you've conquered human nature.” – Charles Dickens

- 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 truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.”

“IT IS RIGHT to be content with what you have, but never with what you are.”

“LAZINESS grows on people: It begins in cobwebs and ends in iron chains.” (Matthew Hale)

“The grand essentials in this life are some-thing to do, something to love and something to hope for.” ( Addison )

“IT’S EASIER to fool people than it is to convince them they have been fooled.” (Mark Twain)

“Sometimes the Lord calms the storm.  Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His children.”

- 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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