BulletinGold #3
March 18, 2001   #3
 


Editor's Remarks
----by Donna Richmond

Welcome to our 20 new subscribers! We now have 410 subscribers. It is my prayer that BulletinGold will help us share doctrinally sound articles and other materials for our bulletins. If you emailed me this week and did not get a prompt reply or any reply, I apologize. My email service has been giving me fits this week. Even with a DSL line! I check my email several times a day and will always get back to you within 24 hours, usually much more quickly. Thanks again to all who shared articles and poetry. If you do not see your article or poem this week, look for it in the next issue. If you write bulletin articles and haven't sent one, please do. Some have written and said their bulletin carries articles longer than 500 words, so this issue's selections are a little longer. 

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

Conditioned!
by Bill Denton

"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night." NASU "A man is first startled by sin; then it becomes pleasing, then easy, then delightful, then frequent, then habitual, then confirmed. The man is impenitent, then obstinate, and then he is damned." -- Jeremy Taylor. There is a method used to deal with various kinds of things that present difficulties. It could be a fear, or something related to a particular job that is unpleasant, or any number of things that a person might want to do, but finds difficult because of some unpleasantness or worse. For example, a medical student may find it almost impossible to make it through an autopsy without fainting. But, little by little, that same student can become conditioned to withstand the sight, sound and smell of all sorts of unpleasant things. A horse might shy at sudden sounds, but little by little, it can be conditioned to ignore the sounds and remain under control. Perhaps one of the most famous experiments is that of Pavlov's dog, conditioned to salivate at the sound of the bell, because there was a connection between the bell and being fed. Unfortunately, conditioning not only works positively, it works negatively. It is entirely possible to become conditioned to accept sin and unholy things, through small bit of exposure to them. We don't see our thinking change, yet what might have offended us at one point may have become perfectly acceptable later, the transition happening because we were exposed to that sinful or unholy thing a little at a time. The movie, Gone With The Wind, created quite a stir when it first came out because right at the end, Clark Gable (as Rhett Butler) had a line with one curse word in it. It's the only curse word in the entire movie. Today, movies are filled with much worse words than the one used by Rhett Butler. Nobody seems to notice. Have we become conditioned? In the early years of television, censors made sure that family values and morals weren't trampled by "artistic freedom." Some said that censorship robbed us of better entertainment, more real-to-life programming, and something better than the plastic characters in nonsensical stories. Maybe. So, instead, today we open up our homes so that we can enjoy everything from the worst sailor's mouth, to nudity, to open sex, to you-name-it. How did we get here from where we started? Conditioning. Books, magazines, music, and every other form of entertainment has treated us the same way. You can use the words, "mature," or "enlightened," or some other description, but the truth is that if it's sinful and unholy, it doesn't matter what you call it. Most people in American society have been conditioned to think nothing of things that would have brought a blush of shame to the cheeks of earlier generations. Today, we don't even know how to blush, much less be ashamed. There is only one way to undo the conditioning that makes it easy to accept the sinful: the repentance of a broken and contrite heart, cleansed by God's forgiving grace, and determined to seek those things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right had of God. 

Dr. Bill Denton preaches for the Church of Christ at 101 Columbus Avenue in Newton, Kansas. He publishes an ezine titled "Cross Ties," and makes his ezine articles available to church bulletins and other non- profit publications. If you would like to subscribe, send an email to: crossties-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. You can visit the Cross Ties web page at the following address: http://www.crossties.org 

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The Bible 
by Lawrence Barr

The third century Christian, Tertullian, said, "Truth does not blush." So why have I, at times felt as though I was blushing when explaining some truth from God’s word? I hope and pray that you have not had such an experience. I am determined never to do such again. God might have decided to just plop kernels of truth into our minds. He might have given us authoritative prophets of the truth in each and every community. Instead, he gave us the Bible, written by over 40 writers over a period of 1,600 years. Certainly, there are some parts that are hard to understand. But if one reads it a few times through, he will come away with a certainty of the ultimate authorship. No group of mere human beings over such a period could have come up with such a consistent representation of the nature of God and how he wants to relate to human beings. So we have the Scriptures, "inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). We must never represent ourselves as being perfect and full of total understanding. But let a question arise and there is a statement of Scripture about it, we should never refrain from saying, "the Bible says....", for to refrain would be to blush. How much more would we blush were someone to say on the day of judgment, "Why didn’t you share that with me?" Another aspect to the truth not blushing is that when we pattern our lives after the truth of God’s word, we will not blush when our lives are compared to that truth. As James said in 1:22, "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves."

Lawrence Barr preaches for the Indiana Church of Christ at 225 East Pike, Indiana, PA 1570  

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WINDSHIELD WIPER Lesson From a Child

One rainy afternoon I was driving along of the main streets of town, taking those extra precautions necessary when the roads are wet and slick. Suddenly, my son Matthew spoke up from his relaxed position in the front seat. "Mom, I'm thinking of something." This announcement usually meant he had been pondering some fact for a while and was now ready to expound all that his seven-year-old mind had discovered. I was eager to hear. "What are you thinking?" I asked. "The rain," he began, "is like sin, and the windshield wipers are like God, wiping our sins away." After the chill bumps raced up my arms, I was able to respond. "That's really good, Matthew." Then my curiosity broke in. How far would this little boy take this revelation? So I asked..."Do you notice how the rain keeps on coming? What does that tell you?" Matthew didn't hesitate one moment with his answer. "We keep on sinning, and God just keeps on forgiving us." Who can drive in the rain again without thinking of this one? 

Marietta Slater sent this in. She does the bulletin at the Augusta Church of Christ, 3500 N. Ohio, Augusta, Kansas 67010 She does not know who the author is.

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Quick Riches
----misc. goodies this issue

CENTER OF THE BIBLE

Center of the Bible What is the shortest chapter in the Bible? (Answer - Psalms 117) What is the longest chapter in the Bible? (Answer - Psalms 119) Which chapter is in the center of the Bible (Answer - Psalms 118) Fact: There are 594 chapters before Psalms 118. Fact: There are 594 chapters after Psalms 118. Add these numbers up and you get 1188. What is the center verse in the Bible? (Answer - Psalms 118:8) Does this verse say something significant about God's perfect will for our lives? The next time someone says they would like to find God's perfect will for their lives, and that they want to be in the center of His will, just send them to the center of His Word! Psalms 118:8 (NKJV) "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." Now isn't that odd how this worked out (or was God in the center of it)? 

Author Unknown, but contributed by Sherry Boor, Lincoln & Tunnell Church of Christ, 419 North Lincoln, Santa Maria, California 93458.

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WHEN WORSHIP IS NOT ACCEPTABLE
Author Unknown 

1. When God is not the object of our worship and the focus of our lives. (John 4:24) 
2. When we worship according to our standard, not God's. (Numbers 3:1-5) 
3. When we offer God our best and not what He has asked. (Genesis 4:3)
4. When our worship is not in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)
5. When men's ways of worship take preference over that which God has directed. (Matt. 15:9) 

 

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

HELP ME, LORD
by Sally Harris Cleghorn

HELP ME, LORD Help me Lord, as I begin this day, 
To encourage others along the way; 
Give me the wisdom and a keen insight, 
To act on things that I know are right. 
Help me bear my brother's load, 
As he is struggling down the road; 
Give me a heart that's soft and pure, 
For then my soul will be secure. 
Let love and kindness dwell in my soul,
And perseverance be my every day goal. 
Help me fight off my negative side, 
And let positive thoughts in my heart abide.
Pierce my heart with Your written Word,
The most precious script man ever heard. 
Let all the words that are written within, 
Help me boldly chase away sin. 
Let me live so others can see, 
That you are truly living in me. 
And if I live 'till the end of this day, 
Hear me Lord, when I kneel to pray. 

Sally Harris Cleghorn Sally has been doing the church bulletin for over 30 years, and now does the bulletin at the Hazel Park Church of Christ, 1123 East Woodward Heights Blvd., Hazel Park, Michigan 48030

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POWER OF WORDS
Author Unknown

 

A careless word may kindle strife, 
A cruel word may wreck a life, 
A bitter word may hate instill, 
A brutal word may smite and kill, 
A gracious word may smooth the way, 
A joyous word may light the day; 
A timeless word may lessen stress, 
A loving word may heal and bless. 

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

If your faith will not take you to worship, what makes you think it will take you to heaven? 

Still religion, like still water, is the first to freeze

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