BulletinGold #9
August 5, 2001   #9

Editor's Remarks
----by Donna Richmond

It is great to be back publishing BulletinGold.  I want to thank all of you who wrote me to encourage me and tell me and the boys that your prayers were with us.  We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ.  I know your prayers ascending to God's throne in our behalf have helped.  We are managing.  I am still looking for a job, so please ask the Lord to guide me in that endeavor.  Michael starts college August 20, and Jeremy starts his senior year the same day.

A big thank you to all who sent me articles for BulletinGold over the last two months.  We shall surely use them sooner or later.  May I encourage those of you who write for your church bulletin to contribute an article. 

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

by Bill Brandstatter

    Has anyone every disappointed you?  Perhaps you expected something
from someone and they failed to deliver. Has this ever happened with you and God?  Did you expect something from God and He failed to deliver???? God appears in a number of ways in the Bible.  At times He is very active.  At other times He seems distant and remote.
    David asked, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Ps. 22:1).  Yet, another Psalmist wrote "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."  Why did God seem so distant to David, yet so near to another Psalmist?  Habakkuk
cried, "O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear!" (Hab. 1:1).  Yet, on another occasion, Habakkuk wrote, "O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid " (Hab. 3:2).  Why does God seem to come and go?  Why does He appear, and then remain hidden?  Part of the answer to the above questions may be man's perception of God.  There were times when God allowed "bad" things to happen to His people (Deut. 8:3).  These were only "bad" to the people at the time.  God had planned a far greater purpose.
    God is not a man (Numb.23:19).  Solomon stated, "For God is in heaven, and thou upon earth. "(Eccl. 5:2).  God does not think like man.  Man does not think like God (Isa. 55:8,9). We cannot know exactly what God is thinking at all times, nor what His will is for us. (1 Cor. 2:11).  God does not think like man does.
    At times God appears to be hiding.  That is the way Isaiah put it.  The Messianic prophet stated, "I will wait on the LORD who hides His face from the house of Jacob; and I will hope in Him."  Isa. 8:17. Notice even though God seemed to be hiding, Isaiah still had hope.  Later on in the same book, Isaiah writes:  "Verily thou are a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour." (Isa. 45:15).  At times, perhaps, God seems to be hiding.
    Yet, he is a very present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1).  How can God on one hand appear to be hiding, and on the other be ever present?  Perhaps the answer lies in our perception of God and what we expect of Him.  God has laid choices before man (Deut. 30:15).  Many in Bible times were faced with choices.  Abraham, Moses, David, Joseph, and many other Bible characters had choices to make. Sometimes wrong choices were made.  Did that mean God was not with them?  Of course not.  It simply means that God often will not intervene in the normal affairs of man.  God does not eliminate problems, but he helps us through them (1 Cor. 10:13).  Many in the Bible suffered greatly.  Yet, God was always there to see them through the difficult times. Remember the promise in Heb. 13:6-- "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  We need not think God is not with His children.  At times He may seem distant when He may actually be closer than we think.  Paul may have recognized this when he wrote: "Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."  (2 Cor. 12:9,10). 

Bill Brandstatter has preached for the Vienna church of Christ in Vienna, Illinois, for five years.  

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by Lawrence Barr

    I'm not sure, but I believe that much of the religious world today makes an assumption based (in their minds) on the truth that we are saved by grace and not by works see Eph. 2:8-10).  The assumption is that since we are saved by grace, God does not hold us accountable for doing things a certain way.
    I beg to differ with that assumption.  Even the passage mentioned above tells us that we are "created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Eph. 2:10, NIV).  These are good works which God prepared.  If he prepared them in advance, then He tells us what they are.  So grace leads me to do what God tells me to do (naturally, not with the idea that I can now merit salvation).
    Of course, we can go to the Old Testament and pull out the story of Saul and see how he failed to obey God in the case of Agag and the Amalekites (I Samuel 15).  God, by his grace, had put Saul in the position of King. The truth is, when God gives us his gracious gifts, he expects us to obey.
    In Romans 6, we learn that when we were baptized into Christ, we died to sin and self and rose to walk in newness of life.  So I am no longer following my own desires, but His!  That should be enough to encourage me to put every practice up to the light of the will of God.  After all, He bought me!

Lawrence Barr preaches for the Indiana Church of Christ at 225 East Pike, Indiana, PA 15701.

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by Jay Kelly

    Then Agrippa said unto Paul, With but little persuasion thou wouldest fain make me a Christian.  Acts 26:28 Though I usually use the NIV, I used the American Standard Version because I believe it has the meaning, at least in this passage.  These are the saddest words in the Bible.  Though the alternate version found in the NIV is also possible, I do not believe it is correct in the context.
    Agrippa was a man well acquainted with Jewish customs and the scriptures from which they came.  He knew the prophets and believed that one day a Messiah would come. Here was Paul, once a Pharisee and a powerful man among the Jews, now a prisoner in chains awaiting the judgment of a Roman.  But he didn't plead for his life; he spouted platitudes about love and peace and forgiveness.  He tried to convert his captors!  Paul was a man on a mission, to convert the entire world to Christ. 
    He didn't care what happened to him or where he was.  He was going to stay on-message, to use a current political term.  Paul was an evangelist.  He didn't build a relationship with people for years and years and never tell them about God's plan for their salvation. I know we can be too pushy, but we can also be the most loving, Spirit-led people in the known universe and fail because we don't tell anyone about the distinctive plea of Christianity!  However, not even the most fervent plea will succeed in converting everyone. Agrippa acknowledges the persuasiveness of the argument, but he is unwilling to change. Sometimes change comes at what is perceived to be too great a cost. Friends, family or other things are just too important.  Our challenge is to remain like the great apostle, who answered, "I would to God, that whether with little or with much, not thou only, but also all that hear me this day, might become such as I am, except these bonds."
    Agrippa just didn't quite get it, but that didn't stop Paul from staying with the message.  It shouldn't stop us, either. 

Jay Kelley preaches for the church of Christ at 510 E. Fourth in Colby, Kansas 67701

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Quick Riches
----misc. goodies this issue

(Acts 8:26-39) 
by Mel Martin

He obeyed God.  Romans 6:17.
He obeyed the truth.  John 8:32; 1 Cor. 13:6; 1 Peter 1:22.
He obeyed the Gospel.  Romans 1:16; Acts 15:7; 2 Cor. 4:3.
He had been baptized for the remission of his sins.  Acts 2:38.
He received proper teaching.  Matthew 28:19; John 6:44.
He put on Christ.  Galatians 3:26, 27; 2 Cor. 5:17.
He demonstrated his love.  John 14:15; 1 John 5:3.
He was born again.  John 3:7; 1 Peter 1:23; Luke 8:11.
His sins were washed away.  Acts 22:16.
He became a wise man.  Matthew 7:24.
He became an heir.  Romans 8:17.
He became a member of the church of Christ.  Matthew 16:18;  
      1 Cor. 12:13;   Ephesians 1:22, 23.
He now has a right to the tree of life and can now enter in
      through the gates into the city.  Revelation 22:14.

Mel Martin preaches for the Lincoln & Tunnell Church of Christ at 416 North Lincoln, Santa Maria, CA 93458

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

by Rose Ann Noey

A chorus of voices will be raised
Ever resounding with notes of praise
In Heaven's bright city of love.

What music will ascend to the throne on high?
Will it be earth's best in days gone by,
In those grand halls above?

Can a choir of voices set before kings
Even match a song from the heartstrings
Of one who loves the Lord?

A song from the heart is the music with love
That will sound the sweetest in the home above
And strike the loveliest chord.

So with your heart song sing loud and clear,
And I will listen for your song so dear,
Swelling your chest with love.

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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Endow me, Lord, with strength to face
The bitter trials of life,
Instill within my troubled soul
Your peace amidst the strife.

Lord, plant a song within my heart
That I might praise Thee still --
While storms rage on, grant me the faith
To rest within Your will!

Author Unknown, taken from the Morro Bay, California, bulletin

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

Be ye fishers of men.  You catch them, and God will clean them!

If God is your copilot, swap seats!

Deciding not to choose Jesus is still making a choice!

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