BulletinGold #18
December 16, 2001   #18
 

Editor's Remarks
----by Donna Richmond

In the last issue of BulletinGold, I asked you to send me addresses of website providers that offer a free or low-cost website which members of the church can use. I am looking for website providers with ties to the church which are free of denominational links and worldly advertisements. If you know of such a website provider, please tell me about it.

So far, the only such website provider of which I am aware is http://www.church-of-christ.org. Brother Garcia offers not only low-cost websites, but includes helps for building websites. Church-of-christ.org contains the world-wide directory of the churches of Christ, links to ministries, brotherhood publications, schools, bulletin board, discussion groups, and many other helps. Indeed, it is the most complete website in existence for members of the church. If you have never been there, check it out.

Let me take this opportunity to wish all of you and your families a safe and happy holiday season.

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

NO ROOM IN THE INN
by Roy A. Crutcher

And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7

Read Luke 2:1-7. Did you ever wonder why there was no room in the inn? Did you ever wonder why the inn keeper did not make room for Joseph and Mary?

I think it would be safe to assume, based upon verses 1 and 3 of our text, that there was a great influx of people into the city at that time. Just visualize a convention in some small town where all the motels are filled. If you have ever been to Disney World/Epcot during vacation season, you know what I mean. Many of the motels read, "NO VACANCY." We can all relate to this. It is understandable, then, why there was "no room in the inn." Also it is understandable that the inn keeper was not aware of whom he had turned away when he had to say to Joseph and Mary, "Sorry, no vacancy." Had he known that Mary was to give birth to the Savior of the world, I feel quite sure that he would have made available the very best of accommodations.

But the real question is not why same uninformed Inn keeper of 2,000 years ago had "no room in the inn." The burning question is, WHY IS IT THAT SO MANY INFORMED PEOPLE, 2,000 YEARS LATER, CONTINUE TO DENY THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD ROOM IN THEIR HEARTS?

Permit me to suggest a few reasons:

[1] MANY ARE TRUSTING IN THEIR OWN GOODNESS [Romans 10:I-3]. Like those of whom the apostle Paul writes, there are many who are ignorant of God's righteousness and seek to establish a righteousness of their own. They believe that their own moral excellence [according to their standards], is going to save them; therefore, they have no room in their hearts for Jesus.

[2] MANY ARE TRUSTING IN THEIR OWN SUFFICIENCY but Paul says that "our sufficiency is from God." [II Cor. 3:5]. So long as a man trusts in his own sufficiency, there will be no room for the Lord In his heart.

[3] SOME TRUST IN THEIR OWN WISDOM [I Cor. 1:22-23], but like self-sufficiency, wisdom, when it comes from man, cannot give man that which he has need of. Those who trust in the wisdom of men have so room for Jesus In their hearts.

[4] SOME REFUSE ROOM FOR JESUS BECAUSE OF THEIR LOVE FOR THE WORLD ll Tim. 3:4; 4:10. Many are the lives that are overcrowded with the wrong things. These lives are cluttered with "stuff" rather than being filled with things spiritual. These people have made no room for Jesus in their hearts.

HOW ABOUT YOU? DO YOU HAVE ROOM FOR JESUS?

Roy A. Crutcher preaches for the Broadview church of Christ in North Lauderdale, Florida. He also serves as host of the TV program, CHALLENGE THE TRUTH, a production of the Broadview church and OCTN [the One Church Television Network]. He may be contacted at: racrgc@aol.com  or ChallengeTruth@aol.com 
Challenge The Truth TV Program
 

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IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS!
by Lawrence Barr

I always get excited this time of year! Though the warm weather lately has seemed a bit strange, there is still a festive air around us. Though I grew up in a home where Christ was often spoken of, we still did not observe a "religious holiday" on December 25. We did thank God for all the good food we had and we were cognizant that the idea of giving to others first came from God. He is the Great Giver.

Through the years I have observed the practices and teachings of others concerning Christmas. Though the date and many of the trappings come from a pagan origin, I am sure that people do not intend any of the pagan ramifications as they remember the birth of Jesus on that day. Factually, we do not know the date (nor even the year) of Jesus’ birth. The date, December 25, has a 1/365 chance of being the right date. So we would be wrong to teach that date as the actual birth date of our Lord.

But would we be wrong to remember His birth on that date? Well…. would we be wrong to remember his birth on any other date? Of course not! His birth is a major event recorded in scripture. His birth is important because to be the Divine Son of God and human at the same time would require that He be born in the way the Bible tells us He was. God never gave a command, though, about birthdays. There are many parts of the world today where the anniversary of one’s birth is never remembered. Birthdays are a cultural matter.

So what do we do about people observing December 25 as a special day unto the Lord? In the words of Romans 14:5, 6, "One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God." So, we rejoice that people observe a special day, or that they observe all days as the same, unto the Lord. And we will talk to our neighbors on this special day and observe to them how thankful we are that Jesus was born (and died, was buried and raised from the dead)!

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TRACES LEFT BEHIND
by David Bragg

Just what it was Luke did not choose to confide, but through it a courage is clearly shown unlike anything natural to these Galilean fisherman. The Jews took note. Peter and John possessed something that reached beyond formal education. These were not skills gained by training. Woven into their very character were clear traces of Jesus (Acts 4:13).

Could these be the same fishermen who just weeks before cowered in fear at their master's midnight arrest? Where was their courage as Jesus suffered such indignity at the hands of Pilate? In a shroud of shame and silence from His apostolic camp, Jesus alone faced public humiliation and rejection. The Master died with hardly a trace of His apostolic followers.

As the tomb was closed and sealed, it appeared the cause had been crushed. The disciples lingered nearby. The tomb was watched, ironically, more closely by His foes than by friends (Mat. 27:62-66). Beating within the heart of that tomb was the pulse of a great cause that could never die - the heartbeat of divine love and the nucleus of obedience. With these the power of death would soon be broken, and God's Son would arise. With these Christ's church will survive the ages of unbelief because of just a comparative few who continue to bear in their lives the same traces of Jesus.

David Bragg is the minister of the Cape Church of Christ, 328 S. West End Blvd., Cape Girardeau, MO 63703; phone: (573)335-7336; website:http://pages.sbcglobal.net/dbragg/bulletin.html   email: capecoc@hotmail.com. Our bulletin is posted weekly on the "Electronic Bulletin Board" section of our website and is available via e-mail upon request.

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Quick Riches
----misc. goodies this issue

THE BIBLE 
by Mel Martin

Origin
2 Timothy 3:16 -- "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."
2 Peter 1:21 -- "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

Purpose
Psalm 119:105 -- "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
2 Timothy 3:16,17 -- "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
John 20:31 -- "But these things are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."

Indestructible
Matthew 24:35 -- "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
1 Peter 1:25 -- "But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."

Warning
Revelation 22:18, 19 -- "for I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."

Mel Martin preaches for the Church of Christ at Lincoln and Tunnell 
in Santa Maria, California.

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

FALTERING STEPS 
by Rose Ann Noey

Lead me, Lord, upon Your Path, My feeble steps, they falter.  
At times, these trembling steps I take Are all that I can muster.
I need Your help to get me through; Without You, Lord, I stumble.
I tried to do it on my own, But, Lord, I took a tumble. 
Now, I'm back upon my feet.  I've set my destination. 
Lord, hold my hand and guide me on, Forgive my hesitation. 
I'll lean on You the best I can.  Sweet Lord, I need You so! 
With You to help my feeble steps, I'll make it now, I know!

Rose Ann Noey lives in Logansport, Indiana, and attends the Yorktown Road Church of Christ at 406 Yorktown Road, Logansport, Indiana.

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MUD PUDDLES AND DANDELIONS

When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my yard. My kids see flowers for Mom and blowing white fluff you can wish on.

When I look at an old drunk and he smiles at me, I see a smelly, dirty person who probably wants money and I look away. My kids see someone smiling at them and they smile back.

When I hear music I love, I know I can't carry a tune and don't have much rhythm so I sit self-consciously and listen. My kids feel the beat and move to it. They sing out the words. If they don't know them, they make up their own.

When I feel wind on my face, I brace myself against it. I feel it messing up my hair and pulling me back when I walk. My kids close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it, until they fall to the ground laughing.

When I pray, I say thee and thou and grant me this, give me that. My kids say, "Hi God! Thanks for my toys and my friends. Please keep the bad dreams away tonight. Sorry, I don't want to go to Heaven yet. I would miss my Mommy and Daddy."

When I see a mud puddle I step around it. I see muddy shoes and dirty carpets. My kids sit in it. They see dams to build, rivers to cross and worms to play with.

I wonder if we are given kids to teach or to learn from? (And Grandchildren)
No wonder God loves the little children!!


"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."


Author Unknown, contributed by Russ Lawson, Greenville Church of Christ, Greenville, Ohio.

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TAKE TIME 
Author Unknown


Take time to live. Killing time is suicide. 
Take time to work. It is the price of success.
Take time to be friendly. It is the road to happiness.
Take time to laugh. It is the music of the soul.
Take time to play with children. It is the joy of joys.
Take time to be with your Christian family. It is a source of encouragement.
Take time to read God’s Word. It is a guide for your soul.
Take time to pray. God is your source of help and strength.
Take time to live for God. It is the road to heaven.

"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:15-17

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A FRIEND
Author Unknown

I went out to find a friend,
But could not find one there.
I went out to be a friend
And friends were everywhere.

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

When Christians work together, they divide the effort and multiply the effect.

Blaming your faults on your nature does not change the nature of your faults!

Swallowing of pride seldom causes indigestion.

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