BulletinGold #30
December 1, 2002   Vol 2, #10

Editor's Remarks
----by Donna Richmond

We never had much when I was a child, but I didn't feel poor. Christmas was not looking forward to heaps of presents under the tree.  We knew our parents didn't have money to buy gifts, so we didn't expect them.   

However, we looked forward to tramping through the snow into the woods with my father to pick out the perfect tree. Decorating it was a family affair which by tradition could be done only the night before Christmas.  Lots of popcorn and paper dolls made with green and red paper were strung together to encircle that tree, along with our special plastic icicles that glowed in the dark.  Last of all, it was my father's special duty to top the tree with a white star which also glowed.  Then we gathered around to drink mugs of hot chocolate and eat my mother's sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles.  We didn't mind going to bed early, because for breakfast we knew we would have our once a year treat of oranges. 

As the world deluges our senses with its oxymoronic ideas of Christmas as the time to celebrate Christ's birth while we are spending until our credit cards are maxed out, we long for a simpler time with family and friends. No, we don't celebrate Christ's birth, but we praise God every day for sending Him.  Because He came, and because of what He did for us, let us reach out this holiday season to help someone in need.  Whether it be a hug, a smile, a warm meal, an invitation to hear the Gospel preached, or even a gift of money, may we let our light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:19). 

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

Lack of Desire
by: A. C. Quinn

Paul expresses, in simple terms, the meaning of the term "desire" in his letter to the Romans: "Brethren, my hearts desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved" (Romans 10:1). The salvation of his Jewish countrymen was his most ardent wish. He really wanted to see them saved. He had a longing--an insatiable craving for that outcome, and his works throughout his life attest to that desire.

The Lord's church suffers immensely today for lack of desire in those who should be the stalwarts in the faith. For instance, it is not a matter of not having qualified men to serve the church as elders. It is a matter of men not having the desire, which is a qualification in itself (I Tim. 3:1). . Too many men just don't want to serve.

The same is applicable to teaching and preaching. Capable people just don't want to do it. They don't have the desire (I Pet. 2:2). Failure to give, attend services, and all the other things that Christians should do have the same underlying problem--a lack of desire. To the contrary, God's people are to be peculiar and zealous of good works (Titus 2:14).  A lack of desire kills initiative for all future growth of the church and her mission (Mark 1:15-16).

A. C. Quinn preaches for the Celeste Church of Christ 
in Celeste, Texas.

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Listening When I Should Have Been Singing
(But I Wanted To)

by: Bill Brandstatter

This past Tuesday my wife and I attended a gospel meeting at a nearby congregation. It started like most. There were some songs ,a prayer, then the preaching. I was asked to lead the opening prayer. But I couldn't. I was hoarse due to some allergies. As a matter of fact, I could hardly speak. So, I couldn't sing either. As a result, I just listened to the singing.

While listening I learned some very important lessons. First, the singing doesn't have to be spectacular or showy in order to be good. So much "gospel singing" today is done as a performance. The singing at this meeting was simple. The singers were not professionals. Yet, it was beautiful.

Second, I thought of how an instrument would destroy the meaning of the songs. Is it any wonder that Paul wrote:" speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord"( Eph. 5:19)? What Paul wrote was not just his opinion. It was a command from God (1 Cor. 14:37). He repeats the message in Col. 3:16. God knew that singing without the instrument is the best way for songs in church services to be sung.

Third, I felt bad I couldn't sing. How many people can sing but don't. Some will say, "I can't carry a tune in a bushel basket." It really doesn't make any difference, does it? God wants us to sing. When a congregation sings, you hear the whole group, not just the individual. The singing is to be done with the spirit, and with understanding (1 Cor. 14:15). Whether or not the singing is on key or exact is a mute point. We think it has to be just right because of our entertainment mindset. God hears the song that comes from the heart.

I was bothered that I couldn't sing last Tuesday night. However, I was glad I was able to learn some lessons. Actually, I already knew them. What happened just helped me to again see God's divine directive to SING.

Bill Brandstatter worships with the Church of Christ in Vienna, IL .

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Make No Little Plans
by: Russ Lawson

Recently I read an article containing a quote attributed to Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. The quotation hit a note that stirred my soul. Mr. Burnham said: "Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us."

What are your dreams. hopes. aspirations? What were then when you were younger? I received quite a complement from an 86-year-old friend (Jim) the other day. We were talking about someone looking to hire a new man for a job. He said, "They need to get a young man right out of school who still has dreams." My reply was, "Perhaps what they need is someone older who has experience in the field." He replied, "Someone who has been doing the job for 30 years is afraid to take chances; they don't dream anymore."  I paused for a moment and said, "But I've been doing this same job for 30 years."  To which he replied, "Yes, but you're different; you still dream." I hope that is true.

I jokingly tell Melody, my wife of 35 years, that if nothing else, our life hasn't been dull; it's always been an adventure.  How do you see your life?  Are you stuck in a rut afraid to be more than you already are?  I read a quote many years ago that has stuck with me.  "The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth." I  remember that quote and have to ask myself sometimes just which one I am in.

Do you make little plans or big ones; do you have great dreams or small ones? I like what the apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:13 where he says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  He gives us hope, but keeps things in the proper perspective, also.  I personally believe that we can do just about anything we put our mind to doing.  We far too often tend to start out on some great journey, towards some objective, and then just get worn out, tired or discouraged.  The key, though, to being able to continue on life's great adventure is that we draw our strength from the right place!  That source of strength, encouragement and vigor
must be our God.

My prayer is that God will empower each of us to plan great plans and dream great dreams.  Not just for our glory, but also for the benefit of God and the people.

God Bless,
Russ Lawson, Greenville Church of Christ, Greenville, OH
Email: rlawson@bright.net
Click here for life and health: http://www.integrisdream.com/rlawson
Click here to learn more about Rice Bran:

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Quick Riches
----misc. goodies this issue

Building Commitment Into Our Marriages
by: Charlie Thomason

1.   Look at your marriage license often.

2.   Revisit your wedding vows frequently.

3.   Constantly look for ways to meet your spouse's needs and special wishes from  their frame of reference.

4.   Commit to never being alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not your marriage partner.

5.   Keep your hands to yourself.  (i.e. discriminate between appropriate and inappropriate touch).

6.   Consider the damage and destruction that infidelity and divorce would bring to your children and other family members.

7.   Keep the romance alive with spontaneous loving acts of kindness.

8.   Determine to only speak well of your mate in their absence.

9.   Read good books, listen to good material, and attend helpful seminars on relationship building.

10. Pray for God to deliver you from the evil one (Matthew 6:13).

Charlie Thomason preaches for the Faith Village Church of Christ in
Wichita Falls, Texas

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

Repentance is Renewal
by: Rose Ann Noey

As we go from day to day,
As we walk along the way,
We sin.

Tell me, Lord, what can I do?
How can I my soul renew? -
My life to mend?

Can I toss those sins so grim
And submit my life to Him?

For forgiveness, I would ask,
Then set my mind onto the task.
Forgive me, Lord!

Set my mind, my precious Lord,
Set my heart and purpose t'ward
Your Ways.

As we walk in His Light,
We can put our sins to flight -
Walk day by day.

Rose Ann Noey worships with the Church of Christ at 
Lincolnway in Columbia City, Indiana.

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A Small Man . . .
by: H. L. Gradowith 

Last night, while reposed in a sweet peaceful sleep,
Some scenes passed before me that caused me to weep;
Though I saw not his face - his deeds were displayed,
And his feet from the path far away had strayed.

I examined his thoughts - though I know not how -
And the things that I saw I will tell you now:
I saw anger and hatred day after day,
I shuddered to think anyone felt that way.

There were countless opportunities wasted,
And far too many sinful pleasures tasted;
There was selfishness that showed itself in greed,
And far too much stress placed on want and not need.

There was little forgiveness in this man's life,
And he seemed most happy when wrapped up in strife;
There was a record of offences long past -
I was amazed at how long such things can last!

There was jealousy and envy all around,
And I've never seen such childishness abound;
There was but little mercy in this man's heart,
And from him I desired at once to depart!

wondered to myself if this person knew
That judgment awaits us when our lives are through;
He sure didn't live like he gave it a thought -
His only concern seemed to be getting caught.

There was little to recommend this poor soul,
He seemed nasty and unpleasant on the whole;
I could see what he did, and what he believed,
But who this man was I had yet not perceived.

I longed to return to my sweet peaceful sleep,
And the lessons I learned I resolved to keep.
His true identity I longed then to see:
And friends - though it's hard to admit - it was me.

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

Jesus paid a debt He did not owe.  I owe a debt I cannot pay.

The Lord gives us our talents, but we have to develop them ourselves.

A smile is something that adds to your face value.

Most often, falling into sin is not a blowout, but a small leak.

Consider the hammer:  It keeps its head.  It does not fly off the handle.  It keeps pounding away.  It finds the point, then drives it home.

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