BulletinGold #195
April 2018  
Vol 18 #4 

April 2018                         BG# 195                         Vol. 18 No. 04
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In this issue ...

 What is Christianity All About?
By Edd Sterchi

 From the Ashes
By David A. Sargent

 Five Very Meaningful Words --- When They Are Meant
By Jim Faughn

 I Know Not the Man
By Clifton Angel

 God Knows What is Best
By Alan Smith

 "Spring” Into Action!
By Lance Cordle

 Must Jesus Bear The Cross Alone?
By Steve Higginbotham

 Do You Not Know?
By Ron Thomas

 Strength and Riches Through the Holy Spirit
By Larry Miles

 A Man After God’s Own Heart?
By Seth Myers

 Absentee Fathers
By David Bragg

 The Eagle Soared
By J. Randal Matheny

What is Christianity All About?
By Edd Sterchi

It is about “bringing” the lost to Jesus.
It is about “clinging” to God’s Holy Word.
It is about “flinging” away temptations when they come.
It is about “ringing” out the gospel message.
It is about “singing” praises to a wonderful God.
It is about “springing” forth words and works that encourage others.
It is about “stringing” together actions that please God and are an example to others.
It is about “swinging” into action to help others.
It is about “winging” our way to heaven when Jesus comes back.

- 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/
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From the Ashes
By David A. Sargent

    One week ago, Brett Petrillo shared some stats from an article on CNN regarding the devastation of the fires that have been raging in California: “California's forests have been severely devastated by the forest fires lately.  In a week's time, they have scorched nearly 160,000 acres and displaced 190,000 people. As we speak, 5,700 firefighters are diligently working to contain the damage. Unfortunately, dry air and strong winds are making this especially difficult.”
    But, as Petrillo also observed, a tender story has arisen out of the ashes: “Don and Julie Myers are one of the many families who have lost their home to the fires. After the fire passed, it left little but ash and rubble behind. The Myers returned home to see what could be salvaged. Incredibly, as they sifted through the ash, a glimmering object stood out. It was his wife's long-lost original wedding ring! Seizing the moment, Don brought the ring over to his wife, dropped to one knee and proposed to her all over again (from yahoo.com).”
    “It's easy to let difficulty bring us down,” writes Petrillo. “It takes someone truly special to look past the ashes and see what's valuable and important. For the Myers, their house was lost but their marriage wasn't. They still had each other. They still had a home no matter where their next house will be.”
    Life has its hardships. Jesus said, “In the world, you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). “It's hard to know what the future holds for us,” says Petrillo. “Disease. Cancer. Financial difficulty. Loss of a job. Marriage problems. Family problems. Death.” But here is his challenge: “When the fires of tribulation set our world ablaze, let's try to keep in mind what's truly important.”
    So what is truly important?
    It’s people, not possessions, that have the greatest value in our lives (see Matthew 22:37-39).
    In the world, we will have tribulation, but in Jesus we can have peace, because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
    For Christians, “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
    For the child of God, “we know that if our earthly house, this tent [our physical body], is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1).
    Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we might have the wonderful treasures of salvation and eternal life. God will grant these eternal, spiritual treasures to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
    Even in the ashes – and one day that’s all this world will be (2 Peter 3:10) – there are treasures still.  These treasures are found in Christ.
    Won’t YOU trust and obey Jesus so that you can enjoy the greater, spiritual, and eternal blessings that God desires for you?

- 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

* From Brett Petrillo, “Treasure in the Ashes,” in Daily Bread (12/8/17), an e-mail ministry of the Bear Valley Church of Christ in Denver, CO.
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Five Very Meaningful Words --- When They Are Meant
By Jim Faughn

    Somewhere decisions are being made and actions are being taken that may make headlines around the world. The course of human history might even be affected.
    Somewhere a person or a group of people will be taking steps to introduce “the next big thing” to the public. Millions of dollars may depend on whether or not the next step is taken.
    Somewhere a loved one is wondering how to advise a parent, sibling, child, or friend about a proposed treatment and/or surgery. Life and death may truly be in the balance.
    And somewhere a small group of men is involved in something that is more important than all of these things combined. What they do or do not do; what they say or do not say; what they decide or do not decide all have eternal significance.
    Souls may be saved or lost. The church may grow stronger in a particular location or it may be on its way out of existence.
    These men are elders of a local congregation of God’s people. Each of them realizes his own weaknesses and fallibility. Collectively, they will readily acknowledge their need for wisdom and strength.
    That’s why there are five words that are so meaningful to them --- when they are meant. I heard them not long ago. They were said by a person who knows a little about what those of us who serve as elders of this congregation deal with. (In case you don’t know this, nobody, not even the wife of an elder, can ever fully know all that occupies the mind and time of an elder.)
    I knew the person who said those words well enough to know that they were from the heart. They were not just said in passing or because it seemed to be the appropriate thing to say at the time.
    Every elder I know would love to hear those words. They would be encouraged to know that somebody cares enough to say --- and mean --- those five words.
    So what are those five words that are so meaningful? What would every elder want to hear? What could make such a difference in an elder, an eldership, a congregation, and the entire brotherhood?
    We pray for you all.

- 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
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I Know Not the Man
By Clifton Angel

    “Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man” (Matthew 26:74). It was Peter’s third denial of the Messiah. He had spent three years with Him in close communion. He denied the One he followed, even to the point of leaving his occupation of commercial fishing. He denied the One who made him one of his dearest disciples—the first named of the twelve apostles in the accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He denied the One who made it possible for him to walk on water. He denied the One who miraculously healed his mother-in- law. He denied the One he saw transfigured into the literal presence of Moses and Elijah. He denied the One he witnessed perform miracle after miracle. He denied the One who predicted his denial.
    Peter’s response? “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee” (Matthew 26:35). I believe Peter was serious. I believe Peter was sincere. I believe Peter was ready to die for the cause of his Messiah—so much so that he made the first attack as a warrior for the Messiah. He cut off the right ear of Malchus, and it has been suggested that he was not aiming for his ear. No one was taking his King by force. And then … Jesus told him to put up his sword, and He allowed the Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers to arrest him and lead him away.
    May I suggest that an immediate inner struggle began within Peter? Such may be called speculation, but the evidence continuously points to the fact that Peter was making the same mistake that many make today. He thought Jesus was going to conquer the world, set up an earthly kingdom, and reign as a physical king. Peter was ready to fight anyone that resisted what he thought to be Jesus’ efforts to conquer all “the powers that be” at that time.
    Jesus will never reign as a “physical” king and he will never have an “earthly” kingdom in the way that many teach today. All religious people would do well to take note that the Scriptures teach that the church is Jesus’ kingdom (Matthew 16:18–19; Mark 9:1; Acts 2; Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:9).
    You see, I believe the evidence shows that Peter denied the Lord because things did not happen the way Peter thought they were going to happen. Do things ever happen in your life to cause you to struggle with your faith in Jesus? How often do people deny the Lord because things are not happening the way THEY think they should happen? How often does one who once confidently confessed Jesus as the Christ eventually boldly proclaim, “I know not the man.”

- 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/
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God Knows What is Best
By Alan Smith

    The story is told about a king who had a close friend. This friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) by remarking, "This is good, God knows what is best."
    One day, the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king, but he had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, because after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, "This is good, God knows what is best." To which the king replied, "No, this is NOT good!" and ordered his soldiers to put his friend into jail.
    About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured the king and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to it. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. So after untying the king, they chased him out of the village.
    When the king reached his palace, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. "You were right" the king said, "it was good that my thumb was blown off." And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. "I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this."
    "No," his friend replied, "This is good, God knows what is best."
    "What do you mean, 'this is good'!  How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?"
    The king's friend replied, "Remember that God Almighty knows best and if I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you on that hunting trip."
    The story isn't true, but the message is. How we need a faith that truly believes that we have a God who is in control. A faith that can say, as Joseph did, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good." (Genesis 50:20)
    A faith that we can say, as Paul did, "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God..." (Romans 8:28)
    A faith that we can say, as James did, "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials." (James 1:2).
    It is so easy to look back over our lives and see how God has been there every step of the way, how He has taken care of us and provided for us. But how difficult it is to see God at work in the midst of our pain and suffering. God, increase our faith! Help us to see you in all that we experience and to truly believe that "God knows what is best!"
    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/
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"Spring” Into Action!
By Lance Cordle

     Even though the calendar for this year has announced that spring has arrived, the weather seems to be lagging behind. However, you can still use this time to become more active, especially in matters of what you believe and teach. James wrote, “Show me your faith apart from your works and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18). Here are some things that most of us can easily do:
  • Cook or buy a meal and take it to a person who is “shut-in” at home.
  • Cook or buy food to help with meals for families on the day of the funeral of a loved one.
  • Help an elderly person/couple with light chores around their house.
  • Befriend a widow or widower.
  • Volunteer to sit with some of our kids from our neighborhood whose parents are not at worship with them.
  • Help cook a Wednesday evening meal for our kids from our neighborhood.
  • Visit, send cards or help with sewing “little dresses” on Monday nights designated as Monday Night for the Master.
  • Volunteer to help get the campus of West Kentucky Youth Camp ready for sessions this summer.
  • Be involved as a worker in Work Camp this summer.
  • Look around your “normal” area of the auditorium during worship and notice those who are missing—visit or call them in the coming week.
  • Make a special effort to speak meaningfully to those you meet at worship and Bible study— try to truly encourage with your words.
  • Memorize a passage of scripture for your own benefit, whether it is one verse or a block of verses (maybe even a chapter).
  • Volunteer to drive someone to/from treatments for physical ailments, or for regular doctors’ office visits.
  • Be aware of announcements that say the activities building will be used for a meal or another activitylool and help assemble tables, chairs, etc. for that event. You can also serve during and after the meal.
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

- 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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Must Jesus Bear The Cross Alone?
By Steve Higginbotham

    In 1693, Thomas Shepherd wrote the song entitled, "Must Jesus Bear The Cross Alone." Two of the verses of that song read as follows:
        Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
        And all the world go free?
        No, there's a cross for everyone,
        And there's a cross for me.

        The consecrated cross I'll bear,
        Till he shall set me free,
        And then go home to wear,
        For there's a crown for me.
I like that song for several reasons, but one is that it teaches one's cross comes before one’s crown." That fundamental truth seems to have been lost to many people, for how often do you hear of people giving up and quitting when difficulty arises?
    How often have you heard of preachers who quit preaching, elders who quit shepherding, deacons who quit serving, Bible teachers who quit teaching, and Christians who quit following Jesus because of some difficult circumstance? It happens far too frequently than it should. Let someone hurt one's feelings and he quits. Let someone criticize one's work, and he quits. Let someone forget to thank one for his work, and he quits.
    The common thread that runs through all of these situations is that someone has forgotten that one must bear a cross before he is privileged to wear a crown! Don't lose sight of this truth. Work comes before rest. Sacrifice comes before reward. Struggle comes before victory. And humility comes before exaltation (2 Cor. 4:17).
    So what about you? Are you bearing your cross in this life, or are you spending your time kicked back, daydreaming about how your crown is going to fit? Let's get to work. There's much to do. We have a cross to bear. Or, must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free? No, there's a cross for everyone, and there's a cross for 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 Copyright © 2017 MercEmail
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Do You Not Know?
By Ron Thomas

    One can’t help but notice that Paul asked a single question a number of times in his letter to the Corinthians; in fact, he asked this question 10 times! The question is “do you not know?” The question is asked a total of 17 times in the New Testament, with Paul asking 15 of them. The single question is asked in varied contexts, so we want to consider the subject that Paul spoke about that prompted the question.
    Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (3:16)? In the context of these words, the apostle Paul wants the Corinthian saints (and us by extension) to understand that the “church” is God’s temple dwelling place. Paul does not have in view a physical building, but the individual saints collectively called the church. Those who adversely affect the local church adversely affect the temple God dwells in. When we think about our own dwelling place (our house, our home), and someone negatively affecting it, then we can appreciate the Lord’s concern a little better. If you felt it was threatened it is likely you will go to what degree is necessary to protect it. Those who adversely affect the Lord “house” will have to address the Lord at His proper time.
    Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump (5:6)? In this particular context, the apostle Paul addressed the saints expressing his disappointment that some within the congregation were much too willing to let a brother engaged in sin continue in that same sin without correction. In other words, the saints should have insisted upon him stopping the sinful activity, but they did not. In fact, as you can see by the question, they were “glorying” in this matter! What a shame! The local congregation, the elders especially, have an obligation to address sinful behaviors in the saints. In other words, when the elders (and the saints within the congregation) are made aware of sinful behavior, there is a need to address the one or the ones so involved. For what purpose? Two reasons. First, to save the soul engaged in the destructive/sinful behavior. Second, to take the old sinful leaven out of the new lump (church) so the church is not negatively affected more than it already has been (cf. Acts 20:28). We will address the others in future bulletin articles.

- Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH. He may be contacted through the congregation's website. http://sunrushchurchofchrist.com/
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Strength and Riches Through the Holy Spirit
By Larry Miles

    We serve an Awesome God and Lord Jesus Christ! All three parts of the Godhead are present in our walk of faith. When we are in the presence of Deity, we “bow our knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,”  (Ephesians 3:14). Throughout the Old and New Testaments when godly people came into the presence of God, adoration was the order of the day.
    Even when we are not physically bending our knees in praise of our Heavenly Father, we are to be in a spirit of adoration. Just like  it says to “pray without ceasing,” which does not mean that we are constantly praying; rather it means that we are to be in a spirit of prayer, ready to pray when the need arrises. I think it is the same here. Our hearts and minds must be bended in adoration to the Lord.
    Christians are a part of “family of faith” mentioned  in Ephesians 3:15. We share a common faith with every Christian in the whole world. We share a common salvation (Jude 3).
    As has been  stressed many times in the Epistle of Ephesians, God has  great things in place for His children. His riches are  endless and He wants us to have all the blessings a  loving Father has for His children,
    He wants us to live our life with the might of God present through the work of the Holy Spirit who indwells  us. Like I said in the very first article of this series, God is not a stingy God, not wanting to bless us; rather, He rejoices in blessing us.
    We have the Holy Spirit of God indwelling us (Acts 2:38). We must take advantage of that blessed truth and live daily in the Spirit. We must want all God has for us. All the blessings of God must be received so that we can grow in the Lord Jesus and help others find and enjoy the marvelous light of the Gospel.

- Larry Miles lives in Louisville, KY and publishes "Larry's Lines" several times a week. Copyright 2009. Visit his website: http://larryslines.com/
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A Man After God’s Own Heart?
By Seth Myers

    In 1 Samuel 13:13,14, the prophet Samuel tells the then-current king of Israel that none of his sons will sit the throne after him; instead, he says, “Jehovah hath sought him a man after his own heart” to be Israel’s second king (14). That man’s name was David.
    But the thing is, when we read about David’s life in the Scriptures, without getting into the gory details, what we learn about the “man after [God’s] own heart” is that he was, frankly, a mess. Thus, the question arises: In what way, exactly, was David “a man after [God’s] own heart”? There are two keys to answering this question.
    One key is the description found in 1 Sam. 18:14—“And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and Jehovah was with him” (cp. 5,15,30). This is encouraging—for even though, as a rule, David “behaved himself wisely,” we also see that, at times, he did not (2 Sam. 11). And so it is with us today. But there’s more.
    The other is David’s psalms. It has been said that in 2 Samuel, we see David’s actions; but in the Psalms, we see his heart. That’s not to say that heart actions; for such is positively NOT the case (cf. Matt. 7:21-23). Rather, David’s heart led him to confess and forsake his sin (cf. Psa. 32:3-5).
    Perhaps “mess” is a bit harsh on David; for there is another word that accurately describes his “messiness”: human. The key to what made David “a man after God’s own heart” was his own heart; or, because of his good heart, David always took care of his sin, making it right with God (cf. Psa. 51).

- Seth Myers preaches for the Highway Church of Christ in Sullivan, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: https://hwycoc.com/
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Absentee Fathers
By David Bragg

    The father's image may have been reflected in Timothy's face and build. His mannerisms may have been mimicked by his young son. He may have given his name to the boy who so quickly grew to manhood. It doesn't take much of a man to give those things.
    Eunice taught Timothy how to live (2 Tim. 1:5). She introduced him to a loving God and molded his heart by divine truths (2 Tim. 3:15). At her knees he learned right from wrong, to respect God and to serve others.
    Timothy grew, thanks to his mother, to be respected by all who knew him (Acts 16:1-2). Paul saw in him the spark of a servant kindled under a mother's loving touch.
    Meanwhile Timothy's father is noticeably absent. It is as if his contributions ended at birth. Could his father appreciate the man Timothy had become? Was this man, shrouded in a world Timothy chose not to share, the one who planted in Timothy the fear that would dog his every step as an adult (1 Tim. 5:12)?
    Timothy is an object lesson in a long line of inspired pronouncements for fathers to provide the leadership for which God ordained them. The call for fathers to stand tall in their children's eyes runs deep in the soil of the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy chapter six Moses issued a challenge to fathers that remains especially applicable today. Do not assume that your children know you love them; spend enough time with them in meaningful communication that no doubt about it remains.
    Think of the great strides Timothy enjoyed for the cause of Christ through the investment of his mother. Imagine how much greater Timothy's achievements for good could have been had his father been a father.

- 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/
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The Eagle Soared
By J. Randal Matheny

The eagle soared against the bluest sky,
He rode the winds, which carried his sharpened cry,
With outstretched wings, he dipped and rose with ease,
A master musician playing the slightest breeze.

Below, the poultry scratched the dirt for corn,
For grub and seeds, on ground well beaten and worn,
To chickens such flight seemed risky and extreme,
They never dared to lift their eyes and dream.

- 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) 2018 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
attributions.

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