BulletinGold #200
September 2018  
Vol 18 #9 

September 2018                         BG# 200                         Vol. 18 No. 09
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In this issue ...

 The Bible Matters
By Rob Albright

 Don't Drink the Water
By Alan Smith

 I Love the Mountains
By David R. Ferguson

 A Working Church is God’s Idea
By Joe Chesser

 God Commissions Joshua
By Larry Miles

 The Lord Looks Down From Heaven
By J. Randal Matheny

 Afraid of the Light
By Ron Adams

 Does This Appeal to You?
By Edd Sterchi

 Why Did Jesus Have to Take on Flesh and Humanity?
By Travis Robertson

 Isaiah, the Messianic Prophet
By Jeff Arnette

 Prince of Peace
By Bill Brandstatter

 The Way to Heaven
By David Bragg

The Bible Matters
By Rob Albright

    The Bible is God’s unique communication to all mankind. I know there are many who do not believe the Bible is from God, but those of us who “trust and obey” God’s Word, are experiencing changed lives.
    The Bible is not a book of fables. It is the truth from God (John 17:17). It is historically and archaeologically accurate and that is part of the proof that shows Divine authorship.
    Far too many say it does not matter what Jesus said or did. It does matter (John 8:24; 20:30-31). The things written in the Bible are designed to bring us to have faith (Romans 10:17) in Jesus.
    We read in the Bible how Jesus, the Son of God, died for our sins (Romans 5:8-9) and He arose from the dead for our justification (1 Corinthians 15). Since Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), should we not listen, obey, and abide in Jesus? (Hebrews 5:8-9). 

- Rob Albright serves as one of the ministers at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.nwchurchofchrist.com/ Rob also serves on the board of directors of the Carolina Messenger. Please visit their website at: https://carolinamessenger.wordpress.com/

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Don't Drink the Water
By Alan Smith

    "My husband and I were cleaning the church building one evening and our three-year-old son was 'helping' us. We walked up to the baptistry to make sure nothing was in the water that shouldn't be and our son said, 'You can't drink that water.' I asked him, 'Why can't we drink the water?' and he replied, 'Because it has sins in it.'" (taken from "A Sunday Afternoon With the Preachers' Wives")
    It does seem to make sense, doesn't it? If all our sins are washed away at the point of baptism (Acts 22:16), it's easy to see how a child could mistakenly think they just collect there in the water. If that were really true, it would be important to drain the baptistry frequently!
    I'm thankful, though, that those sins don't collect in the bottom of a pool of water. They don't get piled up in a closet somewhere ready to be pulled out at a later time like a load of dirty laundry. They don't get stored on a hard drive in case a "search" needs to be made to find them. No! Thank God, they are removed, blotted out, wiped clean by the blood of Jesus Christ, and we are able to rise from the water a new creature!
    "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12)

- 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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I Love the Mountains
By David R. Ferguson

    
Although I was born and bred in central Illinois, I love the mountains. I love the thought of them, I love their grandeur, and I love the way they majestically and seemingly endlessly march in procession as far as the eye can see.
    
Maybe there is something about mountains and their connection to God that has drawn people to them, just as people have been drawn to rainbows and their connection to God. The very dwelling place of God Himself is Heaven, and this dwelling place is described as being of the mountains. The psalmist declared, "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. 2Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole Earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. (Psalm 48:1-2)
    
Jesus often retreated to the mountains to spend time with His Father. “And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone” we learn in Matthew 14:23.
    
Climbing the mountain of God is what our Christian walk of faith is all about. It is a steep climb that can seem at times to be dangerous as the storms of life assail us. Our God will shelter us during these times of storm, just as His word promises. Psalm 61:3 tells us, “For Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.” Just as the mountains of God offered protection to the city of Jerusalem, God is also described as offering protection to His people in this manner: “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people from henceforth even forever” (Psalm 125:2).
    
Yes, mountains are so awesome and breathtaking to behold, but they are not our salvation. Our salvation is from THE Rock, Jesus Christ. Whatever you may be dealing with, you may just need to climb up to spend time with the Lord. God wants us to learn to climb to the top and focus every aspect of our life on His will. Let us take out some time this weekend to try it! “From the end of the Earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2).
    
May the Lord bless you and your family today!

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lakelandchurchofchrist/ or davidferguson61@yahoo.com
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A Working Church is God’s Idea
By Joe Chesser
 
     We are celebrating Labor Day this weekend. According to Wikipedia, Labor Day “constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.” Wouldn’t it be nice if once in a while we would take time to recognize the volunteer work so many Christians give that makes the local congregations stronger and healthier?!
     It has often been said that 80% of the work accomplished in a congregation is done by about 20% of the members. That’s not true of all congregations, but I’m afraid it may be in many churches. On this Labor Day weekend I’d like to remind you that a working church is God’s idea. It’s God’s idea that every member of every congregation be actively fulfilling the work God gives them to do.
     Sometimes Christians are tempted to think of the local church as just another civic organization where the members are free to choose to do whatever they want, or nothing at all. Just pay their dues (put something in the collection) and all will be well.
     God has a different idea. Those who are saved by the grace of God through the blood of Jesus are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10 – emphasis mine). God has an idea what He wants accomplished by His people … and He wants them to do it! When we become Christians God gives each of us gifts/talents, and He expects us to use them (Matt. 25:14-30). “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Rom. 12:6). God places leaders in the church “to prepare God’s people for works of service” (Eph. 4:11-12). He expects “each part to do its work” (Eph. 4:16). By doing so, the whole body, the church, “builds itself in love” (Eph. 4:16). To the Corinthians Paul wrote, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good … and he gives them to each one just as he determines” (1 Cor. 12:7, 11). A working church is God’s idea. He supplies the abilities for each member to use. He supplies the church (body) within which the members do their work. He provides the leadership to equip the members. He provides the reward for those who are faithful in what they have been given and the punishment for those who choose to neglect their God-given work.
     The question is not if you are doing as much or more than others. The question is: are you doing what God has in mind for you to do to build the church!

- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com

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God Commissions Joshua
By Larry Miles

    
After the death of Moses, Joshua led the Children of Israel into the Promised Land. Here in Joshua 1:1-9 we read of the commission given by the LORD Himself. We can make application for ourselves from this  passage on how we are to regard the Word of God.
    
He promises Joshua and us that, if we obey Him He will never forsake us (Joshua 1:5). Joshua 1:7-8 tells us what the LORD told Joshua regarding the Word of God. Christians today must appropriate these verses for themselves. Remember, no truth of God’s Word is truly yours until you find it for yourself in the Bible. We must be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11.
    
Joshua is told to do everything “according to the  Law” that Moses taught him. This tells us that the whole counsel of God is important, that all of God’s Word is true, not just the parts we like (II Timothy 3:16-17). The LORD instructs Joshua not to turn from the center of His  Word. We must be found believing and teaching the same message everywhere we go (II Timothy 4:1-8).
    
In Joshua 1:8 we see the importance of knowing the Word of God; that is, knowing what you believe and why. A Christian who knows why he is one will not fall into apostasy and be led astray by the Devil. Joshua is further instructed to “meditate on the Word, day and night.” Meditating on God’s Word goes beyond studying His Word. It tells us that we have be willing to put in the time needed to grow “in the grace and  knowledge of the Lord Jesus.” We must be like Joshua and be strong and courageous in the Lord, and being willing to share the Word of God with all we come in contact. Joshua had the opportunity  to live out his faith, the same can be said for us. Joshua 1:9 lets us know that wherever we go, the Lord is  with us. God will equip us for service if we will let Him. We must, as the hymn writer says, “take the Name of Jesus With You…” So I say to myself and to you, “Onward Christian Soldiers….” let’s keep the Cross of Jesus uplifted. The world is  lost without Christ—we have been given the opportunity to help them find HIM!

- Larry Miles lives in Louisville, KY and publishes "Larry's Lines" several times a week. Copyright 2018. Visit his website: http://larryslines.com/
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The Lord Looks Down From Heaven
By J. Randal Matheny

The Lord looks down from heaven on our race,
In search of someone wise to seek his face;
But who will praise his name and do his will,
To cease from fools, and find in God his fill?

Now who can worship in his holy house?
He whose lips refuse to gossip or grouse,
The blameless, righteous life, all sin removed,
Will stand forever, a soul by God approved.

Be wise, then, men and women on earth below,
The Lord invites us come, this path we know;
In his communion of love he makes us whole,
In him, our joy, our crown, our glorious soul.

- 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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Afraid of the Light
By Ron Adams
 
    
We can understand why some children are afraid of the dark. They are fearful because they can’t see what is there. But why would some adults be afraid of the light? It’s because they don’t want to see what’s there! “But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light…” Ephesians 5:13.
Fear of Exposure
“And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” John 3:19-20
Light Versus Darkness
    Why all the furor over God, the Bible, and Morality? Why are Christians being criticized for their belief? Why the demand to “turn off the light?” Because darkness conceals, light reveals. Jesus is the light of the world. And His followers are the light of the world.
    Christians are to let their light shine to reveal their good works, so that others may glorify their Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16); and to expose the evil deeds of darkness.
    Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. Ephesians 5:11-12
    May our light shine ever so bright!

- Ron Adams publishes F.Y.C., a monthly publication. Bible references are from the NASB except where another translation is referenced. Back issues are archived at http://ra10ar.com Be thoughtful and kind. All rights reserved. © 2018
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Does This Appeal to You?
By Edd Sterchi

    A church that is nondenominational - striving to restore the organization, doctrine, and actions of the church of the New Testament without the problems and trappings of a man-made structure. A church like this would truly be striving to be the Lord’s church (Matthew 16:18; Colossians 1:24).
    A church with no creed but the Bible - exalting Christ as the only head of the church and His gospel as the only source of authority and doctrine, knowing that adding to or taking away from the New Testament authority is dangerous and deadly (Galatians 1:18; Revelation 22:18-19).
    A church with spiritual and truthful worship (John 4:24) - worshiping simply as the first-century Christians were instructed to do. Since the Lord built the church (Matthew 16:18) and purchased it with His blood (Acts 20:28), shouldn’t He be the one to determine how the church worships Him?
    A church that is active and zealous for the Lord - evangelizing, edifying, doing benevolent deeds, and exalting the Lord in everything it does (Titus 2:14).
    A church whose members are striving for righteousness - knowing that the church will be presented to God perfect and holy (Ephesians 5:27), but in the meantime, doing their best to live pure and holy lives and aspiring to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
    A church that feels like a family and where love is expressed - fulfilling the Lord’s command to “love one another” (John 13:34-35), having pure and sincere fellowship with one another and with Christ (1 John 1:3,7).
    We in the churches of Christ are doing our very best to be this church. We invite you to join us to help make this effort a reality.
    If you have any questions about our worship service or concerning anything we do as a church, we encourage you to talk to our elders or myself.

- 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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Why Did Jesus Have to Take on Flesh and Humanity?
By Travis Robertson
 
    Why did Jesus have to take on flesh and humanity? This question was always on my mind growing up in the church. Why did Jesus have to come in the flesh? Since He is God, why couldn’t He just say this is the way we are going to do things now for you to be saved from your sins. I found it hard to understand why God had to come in the flesh. The Hebrew writer gives us some answers in this area. Read Hebrews 2:9-18.
                He became flesh so that He could die. Vs. 9
                He became flesh so He could render powerless the one who had the power of death. Vs. 14
                He became flesh to release people from the fear of death. Vs. 15
                He became flesh to become a faithful high priest as a result of his suffering. Vs. 17a, 18
                He became flesh to make propitiation for the sins of mankind vs. 17b
Jesus has done all of this for us, so that we might be reconciled to God. If that isn’t love I don’t know what is. Jesus left His home in Heaven to save us, to appease God’s wrath because of our sins. Let’s not waste His sacrifice. Let’s press forward knowing what He has done for us so that we can help others also.

- Travis Robertson preachers for the Lake Norman Church of Christ in Huntersville, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://lakenormancoc.org/
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Isaiah, the Messianic Prophet
By Jeff Arnette

     The book of Isaiah is a favorite of many Christians for good reason. Therein, we learn so much about our God, His character, and His plans for the future. Isaiah is often called the Messianic prophet for good reason. He spoke more about Jesus and the future kingdom of God than anyone else in the Hebrew Scriptures.
     Isaiah was a man completely given over to the idea that Israel’s purpose was to be a Messianic nation to the world. A nation through whom one day a great and wonderful blessing would proceed from God and be for all peoples. He was continually dreaming of a day when that great and wonderful work would begin. In fact, John 12:41 says that Isaiah “… saw his glory and spoke of him.” (ESV)
     Did you know that forty-seven of the sixty-six chapters in Isaiah are quoted or directly referenced in the New Testament? He was so instrumental to the first-century mindset that he is literally called by name twenty-two times and is credited with over three hundred direct quotes in the New Testament. Isaiah was and always will be an important book for the faithful child of God to understand.
     His name means “The Lord Saves” and speaks to the message he preached. He repeatedly preached a message that focused on a faith that trusts in God enough to let Him save you.
     According to Scripture, it seems that Isaiah had two sons, one named “Shear-jashub” (Isa. 7:3) and another named “Maher-shalal-has-baz” (Isa. 8:3). He was a prophet to the Southern Kingdom of Judah at a time when the Northern Kingdom was being invaded and was eventually destroyed by the Assyrians. His life and work spanned the reigns of four different kings: Uzziah (2 Chron. 26:1), Jotham (2 Chron. 27:1), Ahaz (2 Chron. 28:1), and Hezekiah (2 Chron. 29:1). According to the Talmud and Jewish tradition, which was accepted by most of the early church fathers, Isaiah was killed by Manasseh (2 Chron. 33:1, 9) by nailing him to two pieces of wood and sawing him in half (Heb. 11:37).
     The book of Isaiah, with its 66 chapters, contain more lessons and important ideas than we can cover in one short article. With that in mind, I wanted to point out just a few of these lessons to you.
     First, God still loves a rebellious and unrepentant nation (Isa. 1) and intended to fix the problems that separated them from Himself. This teaches us all that God still loves us, despite our failures and stubbornness. No matter how many times we fail Him, and that’s a lot, our great and glorious God still loves us and wants us to return to Him.
     Second, God is constantly calling His children back to Himself for cleansing and renewal (Isa. 1). Sometimes that means hardships and difficulty (Isa. 1:25) but the end goal is always restoration and renewal. Like a refiner smelts the precious metals to remove the impurities, God allows hardships and He allows it for our good (Heb. 12:10; Rom. 8:28-30).
     Isaiah teaches us about a God who loves so deeply and longs for fellowship with so intensely that He will send His own son to be our Savior (Isa. 53); to atone for sins and reconcile us to Himself.
     If you haven’t read Isaiah recently, let me encourage you to give a read. You’ll be glad you did.

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://centralhaywoodchurchofchrist.com
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Prince of Peace
By Bill Brandstatter

     Jesus was referred to in the Bible as the Prince of Peace (Isa.9:6). What does the word “peace” mean biblically? Was Jesus the person to end all wars and stop all conflicts? He said He came not to bring peace, but a sword (Mt. 10:34). He meant He didn’t come to bring physical peace, but He did come to give man peace between himself and God. When I look at peace, I also think about the current situation in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. Will there ever be peace in that area? Let us look at some things that must be done for peace in any area to be achieved. These items could apply to peace in the home, country, heart, or any place where peace is desired and needed.
     First, there must be the right disposition. A person who doesn’t want peace is not going to agree to anything that will promote it. Christians should surely have a disposition toward peace. Paul admonished, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18). A Christian who is always concerned about his way will never feel real peace. 
     Second, there must be the right desire. Obviously, this point is forever connected to the first. Christians ought to not only desire peace but to seek it and pursue it (1 Pet. 3:11). Some preachers today only want to argue. They have never met a fight they didn’t like. The Bible must be defended; however, we must pursue the avenues of peace whenever possible.
     Third, there must be the proper design. The word “design” is used here to mean purpose. If a person just makes a show of peace to please someone, that peace will not last. The kind of peace Jesus can give is nothing like the peace the world may offer (John 14:27). Some may seek certain avenues such as drugs, alcohol, or other means in order to get peace, yet those are all the wrong avenues. Peace must be for the right reason and from the right motive. 
     The peace that God gives passes our understanding; but, in order to have this peace that passes understanding (Phil. 4:7), I must be faithful to God. I must understand that my purpose in life is to glorify God (1 Cor. 6:19, 20). God did not put me here just to enjoy life and to be comfortable. I am to serve Him (Rom. 12: 1). In doing this, I can enjoy a peace that the world does not know, but that all Christians know and enjoy. (Phi. 4:7)

- Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://marionchurchofchrist.com/
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The Way to Heaven
By David Bragg

    In October 1707 the British Royal Navy's 90-gun warship, the HMS Association, was leading a string of 21 ships home from the Mediterranean Sea. On the night of October 22, the ships entered the English Channel. Suddenly the Association struck rocks off the Isles of Scilly and, along with three other ships, sank. Observers reported that the Association sank in less than four minutes. All 800 men on board the Association were lost. Those perishing on the other vessels brought the death toll to nearly 2,000 souls making the incident "the greatest maritime disaster of the age" (Wikipedia; six-degrees.com).
    Investigation revealed that the accident was the result of mistakes in the navigation tables. Although the Association's commander, Captain Edmund Loades, thought he was taking a safe path through the English Channel, he was in fact on a collision course with disaster.
    From ancient sea voyages to modern space navigation, the danger of miscalculation and human error is ever-present. No such danger is attached to the Christian’s journey to Heaven. Jesus reassured His disciples, and us, that He knows the way (John 14:1-4). And why not? He came from there. For Him it is home. He alone is uniquely qualified to blaze a trail from earth to Heaven. And His is the only trail that can be trusted to bring us to God (John 14:6).

- 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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