BulletinGold #14
October 21, 2001   #14
 

Editor's Remarks
----by Donna Richmond

Nearly every day I read in the newspaper or hear on the news that our country is turning back to God. Church attendance has increased during the last month.  Our leaders are praying. While all this is good, being acceptable unto the Lord takes more than invoking His name.  It is more than attending church services. Being righteous in the eyes of God means contacting the blood of Christ through baptism, knowing the will of God by reading His Word, and doing the Lord's commandments. Our leaders cannot be justified when they call on God to watch over our country and with the same voice pass laws which violate His will.  Our people will not be saved by looking to false teachers who do not speak the truth.  Christ said, "This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men." Mark 7:6, 7  He was speaking to the Pharisees and scribes, but I believe God feels the same today. 
    BulletinGold is a small part in helping teach God's eternal truth.  I thank all of you who subscribe, and I thank all of you who send me articles and poems based on the Bible.  We know that "Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; bet he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 7:21  It is only by teaching God's Word that we help others get to heaven, for "Belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Romans 10:17, ASV

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Panning for more Gold
---- preacher's articles this issue

THE CHRISTIAN AND HALLOWEEN
by Manly Luscombe 

    I am often asked about how Christians should treat a holiday like Halloween. The answer is the same as we treat other holidays.
    Religious holiday - No, we should not observe this in any spiritual sense. The origin of this holiday was in the designation of November 1st as All Saints Day. It was a day of prayer and fasting. The night before, "All hallows eve," (shortened to Halloween) was believed to be a night all the evil spirits came out because the next day they would be put in their place. This is similar to Mardi Gras (the festival of drinking and wild parties which leads up to the beginning of Ash Wednesday and the 40 days of Lent). The Bible does not give any instruction to observe such days. In fact, one of the changes from the Law of Moses was the doing away with such commanded holy days.
    Civil holiday - No problem. Most people do not even think about the religious origin of this day. It is a day in which you dress up in some costume, attend parties, and collect candy. In this way, it is only observed as a custom of our culture.
    Behave Thyself - Some use this holiday as an excuse to do mischief and vandalism. This night is not a time to do harm, cause injury or mischief. This holiday must not be used as a justification for doing what is wrong.
    We, as Christians, must remember that all we do in word or deed must be done in the name of the Lord. (Colossians 3:17)

Manly Luscombe preaches for the Church of Christ in Athens, Tennessee. 
The church's web site is: http://members.truepath.com/luscombe/  
email address is: mluscombe37303@yahoo.com

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I HATE LOSING!
by Joe Dale Wilson

    1 Cor 9:24 "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but {only} one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win." (NAS)
    Let's get this straight, I HATE LOSING! It's the competitive juices that flow within me; they always have and always will (much to the chagrin of my wife, bless her heart). Now, does that mean that I'll do absolutely anything in order to win? The answer to that question is an emphatic "NO". 2 Tim 2:5 "And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules." If I get beat at something (anything) fair and square, then congratulations to the guy who worked harder to refine his talents than did I. But, if I was lazy and did not work, then I deserved to get not only beaten but also embarrassed, as well.
    I've tried to teach all three of my boys and both daughters that whenever they walk off the field/court or finish a race or walk out of a classroom after a test or a 4-H/FFA project or a job, that if they can honestly say they've given their absolute best effort, then I'm okay with that and they should be okay with that. However, if they give less than 100% of themselves for whatever reason, then they've cheated themselves (and that holds even if they are fortunate enough to have won!).
    Sometimes they can win or make an "A" without much effort. If they could have done better, then I wanted them to have done better, not one time but every time. I expected them to win if they could, but I expected them to give the other person or team their due if they did not win. While winning is not always a must, doing one's best is!
   Slacking off, coasting and relying on one's past reputation will not make a person a winner or successful. Hard work, perseverance in pain, dedication, and personal discipline will. 1 Cor 9:25 "And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things."
    Sometimes failure is brought on by looking at others and trying to justify self. Sometimes by blaming others, one fails to be as focused on his/her own talent and the task at hand. Teachers, coaches, and employers have heard all the excuses. The winners' circle contains those who were serious about their challenge. In distance racing, it is very doubtful that the most talented person wins, but it is a sure thing, the most dedicated to the task that day will win. He/she did not win on that day alone, and neither did the valedictorian win on the last test of the school term.
    Winners are made in the day to day application of their talents, when no one is there to cheer; when there is no one watching them read or research, or see them lift weights or run, or to hear them just say "NO!" to TV, friends, late hours or drugs. 1 Cor 9:27 "but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified."
    Young People, be the best you can be in every challenge you accept. If it is in employment, band, speech, athletics, in your studies or in living the Christian life, real success is in doing YOUR best! The person you cheat is not your employer, teacher, coach, team or parents. It is the person you see in the mirror. Look that person in the eyes and tell him/her that she/he did his very best, and be proud of what you have accomplished.
    It goes without saying that the team, school, community and our great
nation needs YOU to be your best.

Joe Dale Wilson has preached for the Fargo Church of Christ in Vernon, Texas, for over 17 years.

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WHAT CAN'T GOD DO?
Russ Lawson

    Have you ever wondered what God can't do? Someone asked one time, "If God is so powerful, can he make a rock so big that he can't lift it? The response I heard to that (from another preacher) was, "Yes God is "all powerful," but he is not stupid!" If you have asked this type of question, then you are asking the wrong questions. The real question is: What won't God do?
    God has already given His Son so that men and women in this world can live eternally, so He won't do that again. God has already sent the message of Salvation to the world through His son and the Holy Spirit, so He won't do that again. God has already given us our marching orders, to "go into the whole world and preach the Gospel message," and He really expects us to do it, so He won't do that again. God has shown us the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, what is acceptable to Him and what isn't, so He won't do that again. God has revealed to us through the Bible as to what is acceptable worship, so He won't do that again. God has set in place a specific memorial for Himself of the Lord's Supper, so there is no need to do that again.
    You might ask, "How do you know that God has done all of these things and won't do them again?" Well, because the scripture indicates it is that way. Notice what Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:3, "According as his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness..." Also in Jude 3, Jude writes, "Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints."
    Now these passages indicate to us that God has already given us "all things" that we need and that they were delivered (past tense) to the saints once and for all time.
    Ok, I know the real question you are a dying to ask is, "If that is all true, just what is it that God will do for us today?" I could deal with several things, but the main answer is that He gives us peace. Paul writes in Philippians 4:6 -7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
    "Peace that transcends all understanding,"... How? This is a peace that comes to us as Christians which is beyond the understanding of those in the world. Peace because of the promise of a better place, a better home, of better riches, better promises than anything we can have here on this earth. When we are joined to Christ we become part of another kingdom which is not of this old world in which we are temporarily living. When we truly understand that the best is yet to come, we won't fear death... we won't fear what terrorists can do. That is why Paul could write in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
    I guess that leaves the real question ready to be asked... "Have you been crucified with Christ?" Who is really in control of your life... You or God?  May our God grant you peace everlasting.

Russ Lawson, Greenville Church of Christ, Greenville, OH

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THERE ONCE WAS A CHURCH
by Rebecca Hart

    There once was a Church, a Church of Christ that is, that was full of God-fearing men and women who loved God and were obedient to God. They loved one another and cared deeply about the well-being of all who belonged to this body. Don't get me wrong, these people were not perfect, but they were passionate about serving Christ. The love of Christ shined through them in the way they lived and by the way they endeavored to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
    Ephesians 4:1-6 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
    They strived to be obedient to the calling of Christ. They strived to take good care of the brothers and sisters who were hit with life's struggles of poverty, sickness, and in some cases, age. There was never a soul who went hungry or who wasn't helped in times of sickness. The elderly were always looked after when needs arose. When one struggled spiritually, there was always someone who diligently cheered him on with words of encouragement and truths from the Word of God. No one in this congregation ever had to worry about where his next meal came from or how he would pay his rent. You see, the brothers and the sisters truly became like a real family and always took notice of who was in need and made sure these needs were met. Someone was always willing to help. These great Christians knew what it was to sacrifice their time, their energy, their resources, and they truly knew what love was all about.
    Galatians 6:9-10 9And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Rebecca Hart, Minster's wife from the Anderson Church of Christ, Anderson, California DDHart@MSN.com

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PUMPKIN

    A lady had recently been baptized.  One of her coworkers asked her what it was like to be a Christian.  She was caught off guard and didn't know how to answer, but when she looked up, she saw a jack-o'- lantern on the desk and answered, "It's like being a pumpkin."  The co-worker asked her to explain. 

"Well, God picks you from the patch and brings you in and washes off all the dirt on the outside that you got from lying on the ground in the pumpkin patch.  Then He cuts off the top and takes all the yucky stuff out from inside.  He removes all those seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc.  Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all to see.  It is our choice to either stay outside and rot on the vine or come inside and be something new and bright."

--- Author Unknown, from the Morro Bay, CA bulletin.

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

I WILL REJOICE! (Philippians 1:12-18)
by Scott Hoover

Paul, I don't understand you.  
      I've watched as weave traveled all the way to Rome.
You never seem to get discouraged, 
      yet you have traveled so far from home.

I was there when you spoke to King Agrippa, 
      when he told you he almost believed what you said.
When Festus, the governor, spoke to King Agrippa 
      telling him that the Jews wished you were dead.

I was with you as we made the boat trip, 
      where we put into Sidon and you saw your old friends.
When we left and the winds were contrary, 
      where later we failed to listen and the boat trip ends.

I saw you on that boat deck, 
      as you encouraged us all telling us our lives would be spared.
That was after they wanted to kill you, 
      if it had been me I wouldn't have even cared.

I was there when you were bit by the viper, 
      when they accused you of being a fiend.
I was there when you healed those people 
      and they realized it wasn't all that it seemed.

I've watched you go through trials and tribulations, 
      that would defeat any other normal man.
Yet your strength is unbelievable, I wish I could have, 
      it but I don't believe I can.

Julius, you're wrong about your assessment, 
      you too can have this strength.
It comes from Jesus, my Savior, 
      and He gives it for any length. 

Sure the trials I've been through have been difficult, 
      but I have made the conscious choice.
It doesn't matter what life chooses to throw at me, 
      with Jesus I will rejoice! 

Scott Hoover preaches for the Comanche Church of Christ in 
Comanche, Oklahoma 73529.  
He has written over 200 poems on most Bible characters or events.  
f you need a poem for your bulletin or to illustrate a sermon, 
you can email Scott at tshvlh@pldi.net, and he will send you one.

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Gold Mines
----quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs this issue

Giving thanks is a course from which we never graduate.

Our job is not to see through each other, but to see each other through!

Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them.

Be careful of your thoughts.  They might break into your words at any time!

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