BulletinGold #193
February 2018  
Vol 18 #2 

February 2018                         BG# 193                         Vol. 18 No. 01
Subscribe                         Website                         Submissions
bulletinGOLD
BulletinGold is published 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
 
To submit items for future issues of BulletinGold email
bulletingold@gmail.com Your email address is never shared and will remain private.
 
The material in BulletinGold is to be used only in church bulletins and other non-profit publications except with the written consent of the contributing author. Please give due credit to our contributors.
 
As part of Yahoo! Groups at times advertisements are placed at the beginning or end of our mailings.  BulletinGold has no control over either the placement or content of these ads.
In this issue ...

 The Fish Net
By Ron Thomas

 Who Is Jesus?
By Joe Slater

 One Minute and 15 Seconds
By David Bragg

 Stay on Top of the World
By Avis Corley Porter

 The Lord Wants You To Live an Abundant Life!
By Larry Miles

 Changing Tastes
By Steve Higginbotham

 A Combination that is Difficult to Beat
By Jim Faughn

 How Do You Get to Heaven?
By Alan Smith

 Guaranteed Success from the Lord
By Edd Sterchi

 Hard to Forget
By David A. Sargent

 A Little Time
By Clifton Angel

 Not Too Bad
By Donna Richmond Wittlif

The Fish Net
By Ron Thomas

     When Jesus began His ministry, He begun with a fish story (of sorts). Not really a fish story, but an occasion where experienced fisherman worked all night and was 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. Amazed at the catch, Peter presents himself to the Lord humbly (Luke 5:8). This, as far as Luke presents, 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 fisherman to cast their nets over the side for a catch. They do so 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 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 preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH. He may be contacted through the congregation's website. http://sunrushchurchofchrist.com/
Return to TOP
Who Is Jesus?
By Joe Slater

    When the Lone Ranger rode away after defeating the bad guys, invariably someone would ask, “Who was that masked man?” Jesus wore no mask, but due to His unique teaching and behavior, people asked Him who He was.
    Are You the Coming One? (Matthew 11:3; Luke 7:19, 20). The imprisoned John the immerser sent messengers to Jesus with this question. The “coming one” refers to the one the prophets foretold (i.e. the Messiah). Rather than give a straight “yes or no” answer, Jesus told the messengers, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind receive their sight and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11:4, 5). These were things that the prophets foretold that Messiah would do. Yes, Jesus was the One that the prophets said was coming.
    Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? (Mark 14:61). Seeking to condemn Him, the High Priest posed this question at Jesus’ first trial before the Sanhedrin. “Christ” (Messiah) means “anointed one.” In ancient times, oil was poured upon one’s head when he was set into office as a prophet, priest, or king. Jesus is all three. “Son of the Blessed” is equal to “Son of God,” which will be covered in the following paragraph. In answer to this two-pronged question, Jesus answered clearly: “I am” (Mark 14:62).
    Are You then the Son of God? (Luke 22:70). Again it was the High Priest who confronted Jesus with this question (see Matthew 26:63). Just as “Son of Man” focused on Jesus’ humanity, “Son of God” focused on His Deity (i.e. that He is God). All men are generically “sons of God” in that they are made in His image. But Jesus is the “Son of God” in a unique way. By His very nature, He is Deity. Jesus’ answer, “Ye say that I am” (Luke 22:70 KJV), certainly did not reflect what the Sanhedrin believed. Rather, it was a polite way of saying, “Yes.”
    Are You the King of the Jews? (Luke 23:3; Matthew 27:11; Mark 15:2; John 18:33, 37). This time it was Pilate questioning Jesus. The governor was thinking of a political king. Jesus’ kingdom, however, “is not of this world” (John 18:36). He rules not over biological Jews, but over the true Jews described in Romans 2:28, 29). He answered the governor, “Thou sayest it” (Luke 23:4 KJV). Jesus was not stating Pilate’s view of Him, but giving a polite affirmative, just as He had done before the Sanhedrin.
    Jesus is the One the prophets foretold. He is the Christ. He is the Son of God. And He is the King of the Jews. “A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord!”

- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com
Return to TOP
Joe Chesser, Secret Sin
One Minute and 15 Seconds
By David Bragg

    Few people actually get that elusive second opportunity of making a good first impression, but the rock band Chicago may have pulled it off when it came to their classic song "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?". That song, off their debut album Chicago Transit Authority, was their third consecutive top 10 single and followed two singles released off their second album, simply named "Chicago." It was only after twice tasting success that the decision was made to go back to their first album to release that timely tune. It is my untested opinion that if they had released that tune as it stood on their first album it wouldn't have resonated with the listening public. Perhaps it was for that very reason that when the single was released in 1970 the first 1:15 seconds of the song, a piano solo, was left on the cutting room floor. For Chicago, erasing that 1:15 seconds may have made the difference between an album track and a top 10 hit.
    Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back to those uncomfortable moments of our lives that we are not proud of and leave them on the cutting room floor? That is precisely the dangerous thing about time. No matter what we do, once a moment is gone we are powerless to alter it. If only it was as simple as turning back our clocks an hour for daylight savings time!
    You can not undo a deed or “unspeak” a word. You will, however, have to answer for that deed or word (Matthew 12:36-37). The choice we face is simply this: will we answer for it today by seeking forgiveness and making amends or will we wait for that final day of judgment when we are powerless to change the choices of this life (2 Corinthians 5:10)? Which will you choose? Only time will tell.
   
- David Bragg serves as one of the ministers at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC and is co-editor of BulletinGold. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.nwchurchofchrist.com/ or his blog: http://davidbragg.blogspot.com/
Return to TOP
R.W. McAlister, Pressing Forward Stay on Top of the World
By Avis Corley Porter

In the morning when you first awake,
When the first light begins to break,
While you are still lying in your bed,
Let many good thoughts run through your head.

Start your day with a smile,
And be happy all the while.
Tell yourself “this is going to be a great day,”
God and I will make it just that way!

Don’t be grumpy and complain,
In every life there comes some rain.
If every thing doesn’t go just right,
Still strive to be sunny and bright
.
While busy at your work you can sing,
And a blessing if the telephone should ring.
Spread good cheer along the way,
And choose to be happy every day.

Be thankful for precious family so dear,
And for good friends that live near.
Always remember that you are God’s child,
And that you will live in heaven in a while.

You can stay on top of the world with this in mind,
And while on earth much joy you will find!

- Avis Corley Porter of Thaxton, MS; via Magnolia Messenger, a publication of the South Huntington St. Church of Christ in Kosciusko, MS; Summer, 2014 Magnolia Messenger Page 21. (Note: Written by sister Avis on June, 1999. She stated, “I am indebted to Bro. J. A. Thornton for some thoughts based on his wonderful and inspiring tract, ‘How To Stay On Top Of The World’.”)

Return to TOP
The Lord Wants You To Live an Abundant Life!
By Larry Miles

    Jesus said that He came to give us “an abundant life.” (John 10:10) Once we are “in Christ,” God wants us to enjoy ourselves in the Lord. Christians are to be a joyous people (Phil. 4:2). We must show our love for the Lord through our actions. One song says: “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
    Paul tells the Colossians that since we are Christians our mindset must change (Col. 3:1-2). This is the passage where we are told to “set our minds on the things that are above, not the things that are below.” (Col. 3:2) “Set your minds…” tells us that it must be a deliberate choice not only to accept Christ, but one to serve Him. Jesus will never force Himself on the unbeliever, and likewise, He will not force the believer to grow in Him. We must want to. And if we want to, He has promised to equip us for the journey.
    We must put everything out of our hearts and minds that is detrimental to the Christian growth (Col. 3:5-11). Whenever God tells us to “put something off,” He replaces it with something for good. (Col. 3:12-17) We are told that we must have the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-25). We must realize that once we become a Christian these characteristics don’t come automatically, they must be cultivated. These are attitudes we must have if we are to live the “abundant life” in the Lord. So, let’s seek to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.” 2 Pet. 3:18) If we make this our goal, we will desire everything God has for us and will use what he has given us to help ourselves and encourage each other as we live this life in the here and now waiting, watching and working for the Lord Jesus Christ. Look up! He may come today!

- Larry Miles lives in Louisville, KY and publishes "Larry's Lines" several times a week. Copyright 2009. Visit his website: http://larryslines.com/
Return to TOP
Changing Tastes
By Steve Higginbotham

     Have you ever heard anyone complain about airline food? I'm sure many of you have, but the airlines aren't necessarily to blame. Did you know that our tastes change depending upon our altitude? That's right. Food that you may enjoy eating in your favorite restaurant, if served on an airplane at 35,000 feet would not taste the same. This is due to a decreased sense of smell and a reduction in taste bud sensitivity humans experience at that altitude. 
     When I learned this truth, I couldn't help but reflect upon how the same thing happens to us within the spiritual realm. When we embark on a quest to be more and more like Jesus, we sometimes find ourselves in "thin air." As we pursue godliness, we'll find ourselves reaching new heights of spiritual maturity, and consequently, we will no longer have a "taste" for many of the things we once found enjoyable. The nearer we are to God, the things of earth will have less and less appeal.
     My prayer is that we will all reach spiritual heights that will cause our "tastes" to change.

- 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 Copyright © 2017 MercEmail
Return to TOP
A Combination that is Difficult to Beat
By Jim Faughn

    One of my favorite books in the Old Testament is the book of Nehemiah. It, of course, provides the reader with details concerning the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. From an historical perspective, that makes it interesting. However, that is not the only thing that intrigues me about this book. There are a number of lessons that are still useful for us today. Without going into detail, I would suggest, for example, that present-day leaders could learn a great deal from the qualities, personality, strategies, etc. of Nehemiah himself. We can also learn a lot from the people who “…had a mind to work” (Neh. 4:6). A recent reading (again) of Nehemiah reminded me of one possibly overlooked verse.  It would be helpful for God’s people today to read and consider it.
    The context of the verse has to do with the opposition and ridicule on the part of those who were enemies of the people of God and their project. In the words of Nehemiah 4:8, “And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.” Please notice carefully the response to that: “And we prayed to God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night” (Neh. 4:9) 
    There are three very important components in that verse. 
  • Prayer (they prayed to God)
  • Action (they set a guard)
  • Persistence (the guard was in place day and night --- It could be said that they “never let down their guard.”)
They did not depend upon any one of these three by itself. They did not just pray. They did not just take action. They did not just persist in building the walls without taking defensive measures. They persisted in that as well. It should go without saying that God’s people are under increasing attacks today. The number of people who are opposed to us and to what we are trying to accomplish for Him is seemingly growing daily. It is not now, nor has it ever been, the time to “throw in the towel” and give up. Neither is it the time to do only one of the things that the people of Nehemiah’s day did. It is now, and it always has been, the time to pray, act, and persist. Great things can still be done! 

- Jim Faughn, a retired preacher, serves as an elder for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org
Return to TOP
How Do You Get to Heaven?
By Alan Smith

    A teacher asked the children in her Sunday School class."If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into heaven?"
    "NO!" the children all answered.
    "If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into heaven?"
    Again, the answer was, "NO!"
    "Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my wife, would that get me into heaven?" she asked them again.
    Again, they all answered, "NO!"
    "Well, then how can I get into heaven?"
    A five-year-old boy shouted out, "YOU GOTTA BE DEAD!"
    Ah, the refreshing quality of children to be able to acknowledge the obvious! Here is a child who makes an observation so evident that we often overlook it in our attempt to be deep thinkers. But what he said is true: "In order to get to heaven, you gotta be dead!" So why do we fear death so much? As Christians, we ought to be able to see death as a door to the place where we most want to be -- the presence of God. If we truly see it that way, there is no fear, only anticipation.
    Imagine a couple who has been planning to move to another country. Many of their family members have already moved over there. They spend months and months studying the culture, learning the language, anxiously awaiting the day when they are able to make the move as well. The day comes when they step on the plane. Do they dread the plane trip? No, it's the one thing that will carry them to where they most want to be. Will there be sadness? Certainly, because there will be friends that they will leave behind. But nothing can outweigh their excitement of what lies ahead. It's what they have spent their lives preparing for.
    Death is only something to fear if it means leaving behind all of the things that we love most. If our love for material things is greater than our love for God, then death is a terrible thing to experience and it is nothing to look forward to. But if our life has been spent developing a relationship with our heavenly Father, then death is the opportunity to go home.
    "We know that our body -- the tent we live in here on earth -- will be destroyed. But when that happens, God will have a house for us. It will not be a house made by human hands; instead, it will be a home in heaven that will last forever. But now we groan in this tent. We want God to give us our heavenly home, because it will clothe us so we will not be naked. While we live in this body, we have burdens, and we groan. We do not want to be naked, but we want to be clothed with our heavenly home. Then this body that dies will be fully covered with life. This is what God made us for, and He has given us the Spirit to be a guarantee for this new life. So we always have courage. We know that while we live in this body, we are away from the Lord." (2 Cor. 5:1-6)
    Have a great day!

- Alan Smith, minister for the Cruciform Church of Christ in Spring Lake, North Carolina, may be contacted at alansmith.servant@gmail.com or through the congregation's website: http://www.cruciformcoc.com/
Return to TOP
Guaranteed Success from the Lord
By Edd Sterchi

     When young Samuel was with Eli training to be the Lord’s servant, the famous incident of the Lord speaking to him occurred in 1 Samuel 3:1-18. Immediately after that, these words are in the holy text, “So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground” (1 Sam 3:19). The meaning of the metaphor in the latter part of the verse is that the Lord made sure that all of Samuel’s prophecies were true and beneficial. None of them would be wasted as in a precious liquid spilling into the earth.
     In this passage, we can also see what led to Samuel’s success. First of all, we can see that he grew. Earlier in the book, it states that Samuel grew not only in stature, but also in favor with both men and God (1 Sam. 2:26). So he grew not only physically, but socially and spiritually. Secondly, we can see that he stuck with the Lord. The Lord was with him, because he was with the Lord and devotedly followed His ways. And as a result, Samuel was successful.
     It seems to me that we can make an analogy to us and being successful in our service to the Lord. To be successful, we too must grow and stay connected to the Lord. If we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord (2 Pet. 3:18) by studying the Bible and applying it to our lives, and if we remain in a faithful relationship with God no matter what (Rev. 2:10), He will see to it that nothing we do in His name will fall to the ground and be wasted (Psa. 1:1-3).
     Here’s the bottom line: effort and dedication combined with the Lord’s blessings brings guaranteed success.

- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Broadway Church of Christ in Campbellsville, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.broadwaychurchofchrist.net/
Return to TOP
Hard to Forget
By David A. Sargent

     Dana Keeton told this story in The Democratic Union of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee:
The sun had just risen on a hot August day in 1944 in the small village of Plelo, in German-occupied France. The 15-year-old boy did not know why he and the other citizens of Plelo had been lined up before a firing squad in the middle of the town square. Perhaps they were being punished for harboring a unit of Marquisards, the French underground freedom fighters. Perhaps they were merely to satisfy the blood lust of the German commanding officer who, the evening before, had routed the small group of Marquisard scouts. All the boy knew was that he was about to die.
     As he stood before the firing squad, he remembered the carefree days of his early childhood, before the war, spent roaming the green of the French countryside. He thought about all he would miss by never growing up. Most of all he was terrified of dying. “How will the bullets feel ripping through my body?” he wondered. He hoped no one could hear the whimperings coming from deep in his throat every time he exhaled.
     Suddenly, the boy heard the sound of exploding mortar shells beyond the limits of his little village. Quickly rolling tanks could also be heard. The Germans were forced to abandon the firing squad and face a small unit of U.S. tanks with twenty GI's led by Bob Hamsley, a corporal in Patton's Third Army. A Marquisard captain had asked Hamsley for help.  [Hamsley and his unit overtook the Germans.]
     In 1990 the town of Plelo honored Bob Hamsley on the very spot where dozens of the town's citizens would have died if not for him. The man who initiated the search for Hamsley and the ceremony honoring him was the former mayor of Plelo, that same 15-year-old boy. He had determined to find the man who saved his life and honor him. *
It's hard to forget your savior!
     Consider the fact that because of our sins, you and I deserve to face the “firing squad” and suffer the penalty for our sins. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).
     But God sent Jesus to rescue us!  In order to rescue us from sin, however, Jesus had to give His life for us and die on the cross to redeem us from sin.  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24
     Jesus will save those who accept His offer of salvation and life by placing their faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to demonstrate gratitude for their Savior by walking in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
     When we were facing the “firing squad” for harboring sin in our lives, Jesus came to our rescue.  He took our place and suffered the punishment for our sins for us.
     It's hard to forget your Savior!
     Won’t YOU accept the Savior’s offer of salvation and eternal life by committing your life to Him today?

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org

* Tim Stafford, Florence, Alabama, quoted in Leadership, Winter Quarter, p. 49 as quoted in “illustrations” in http://www.crosswalk.com
Return to TOP
A Little Time
By Clifton Angel

     By the time you are able to read this article, we will be in the month of February 2018. By this, I am reminded of how time is seemingly fleeting. James wrote, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14). If we only have “a little time” on this earth, and we cannot deny the process of aging and decay (see Ecclesiastes 12:1–7), and we cannot deny our appointment with death (see Hebrews 9:27), what should we be doing with our time?
     We know “time flies when you’re having fun” (and if you’re a frog, “time is fun when you’re having flies”). Some say, “Life is short; live it up.” Some exclaim, “YOLO!” (meaning, “you only live once”). And each of the latter is about fulfilling your own lusts and desires with no acknowledgement of God as the supplier of one’s life and time. The truth is, time is flying whether we’re having fun or not. The truth is, life on earth is short. The truth is, you do only live once on earth. Furthermore, the truth is, we only have this one short life to prepare for eternity hereafter. Therefore, instead of using all of our time fulfilling our own desires, we need to be “redeeming the time, because the days are evil [meaning, we are decaying and dying]” (Ephesians 5:16). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
     Why, James, have you written to us about the fleeting of our lives? 1. Because “ye know not what shall be on the morrow” (James 4:14). 2. Because “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). The latter verse is not about sin in general. It is about the sin of procrastination. It is about the sin of the unwise use of time. It is about the sin of using our time for ungodliness. We are ... blessed to have “a little time” on earth. God is the designer, provider, and sustainer  of this time. Are we using it to serve Him? “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9–10).

- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/
Return to TOP
Not Too Bad
By Donna Richmond Wittlif

    "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; thought they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).
    If we read II Kings chapter 21, we learn what kind of person King Manasseh of Judah was. He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. He built up the high places, he reared up altars to Baal, he made an Asherah (female counterpart to Baal), and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. Furthermore, he built altars to false gods in the house of the Lord, and he made his son to pass through the fire and practiced sorcery. God says he seduced the Israelites to sin more than all the foreign nations that God had destroyed.
    After reading about how wicked Manasseh was, one might think that surely there is no place in heaven for this king. But as Paul Harvey used to say, we need to know "the rest of the story." We can read the end of Manasseh's story in II Chronicles 33. Verse 11 tells us that Manasseh and the people would not repent, so God sent the king of Assyria, who bound Manasseh in chains and took him to Babylon.
    What did Manasseh do? He humbled himself before God and prayed to Him. God heard his supplication and brought him again to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, Manasseh tore down all the altars to idols and built up the altar of the Lord, where he offered sacrifices to God. He truly repented and turned back to God.
    When we sin, we may think we are too bad for God to forgive. However, it is just not so. John reminds us in I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. " God is always looking for His people to come back to Him, and He is more than willing to forgive us.

- Donna Richmond Wittlif, the founder and first editor of BulletinGold, lives in Denver, CO. Donna is also a writer of fiction. Her novels, World Eternal: Promises and World Eternal: Proselytes, and World Eternal: Perils are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other book outlets. For more information visit her website. http://www.donnarwittlif.com/
Return to TOP
Your input regarding BulletinGold is always welcome.  Please let us know how we can better meet your needs through this valuable resource.  We also encourage you to support us by contributing your brief bulletin articles, poems, etc. to share with others.
 
If you received this issue of BulletinGold as a forward from a friend and wish to be added to our group membership, simply 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

Editor: David Bragg