BulletinGold #22
April 7, 2002  Vol 2 #2
 

Editor's Remarks
----by Donna Richmond

Every church bulletin usually contains the names of the church's sick and shut-in members. It is not unusual to pick up a bulletin and read a catalog of mankind's ailments and sorrows. These seem unavoidable, for as we age, our body wears out. Various diseases attack us. It is part of our mortality.

Even though our physical bodies are wearing out, Paul reminds us that "our inward man is renewed day by day." (2 Cor. 4:16) He adds, "For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens." (2 Cor. 5:1) We are all longing for that day when "that what is mortal shall be swallowed up of life." (2 Cor. 5:4)

Yes, it breaks our hearts to see our brethren, our closest family and friends suffer from the diseases and ailments of this life. Yet we know that we are all terminal. It's just a matter of time before we go the way of all flesh, as God has decreed. The Christian, however, can see heaven through his tears and know that what lies ahead far outshines what this life has to offer. Let us pray for and comfort one another as we strive for that home free of suffering and pain.

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

The Holy Preacher
by: Ron Thomas

Is the preacher "holier" than other members of the congregation that do not preach? The answer is no. Note what Peter said, "Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, 'Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.' Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, 'The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,' and 'A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.'' They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:1-10, NKJV, emphasis added, rt)

You'll note that Peter spoke of Christians, not preachers. Why is it then that people contact the preacher when trouble or affliction of differing sorts arises? The answer lies within the denominational structure.

Over the years denominationalism has practiced what is known as a "pastoral" system of leadership. It is almost axiomatic that people of the congregation will call upon one that is a (or, the) leader. In denominations the preacher is generally the leader of the church. But in the Lord's church that is not so. The leaders are the elders. If the leaders are the elders, why is it they are not called upon first? Sometimes they are, but on other occasions they are not for various reasons. Sometimes it is a matter of "lack" of confidence, and sometimes it is a matter of convenience that the preacher is called. If it is the former, then the elders need to do some serious soul-searching about the positions they hold. If it is the latter, then that is a little more understandable.

But in either case, the Christian should be able to call upon any other Christian and feel just as strong and confident that the person they call upon will be of great help. The Bible says that the prayer of a righteous man (any Christian) will avail much. It does not say that the prayer of a righteous preacher avails over and above the righteous non-preacher, does it? Well, of course not.

No, the preacher is not holier than any other Christian. He might have a few more answers to difficult questions, but he is just as holy as a faithful sister in the congregation desiring to serve the Lord and the brethren.

Ron Thomas is the preacher at the Highway church of Christ in Sullivan, Illinois.

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God Heareth Not Sinners
by: Jason Carter

In John 9, we read of Christ healing a blind man. When the Pharisees discovered he was able to see, they disputed what had happened. They claimed the blind man was not who he claimed to be, but someone who just looked like him. His parents, however, attested that he was their son.

The Pharisees continued to question the man who formerly could not see, and in John 9:31, he said, "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth."

This is a true statement, recorded by the apostle John in his account of the gospel. Most of the time, we use this verse among others to show the necessity of obedience to the Lord and to refute the "sinner's prayer." While this is a true application of this verse, it goes deeper.

Who was the man speaking to? The Pharisees, who considered themselves the most righteous among all of God's people. We need to take this point into consideration: Even though the Pharisees considered themselves righteous, this blind man called them sinners. He showed them their need. They refused to hear. We must not have this attitude today.

Without Christ, we are weak. With Christ, we are strong. God will hear us and bless us as His obedient children. However, when we live in willful disobedience, He will not hear. Our iniquities separate us from the Father, and until we repent, He will hide his face from us, and He will not hear (Isaiah 59:2).

Solomon calls the prayer of the upright God's delight (Proverbs 15:8), but later says, "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination" (Proverbs 28:9). We must keep our ears open and obey what God says if we expect God to keep His ears open to our prayers.

Jason Carter preaches at the Orchard Hills church of Christ 
at 1630 N. 9th St. in Covington, Indiana. http://www.tctc.com/~orchardh/articles/index.htm

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Holiness in the Temple
by: Lawrence Barr

I grew up with the song, "The Lord is in His Holy Temple, Let all the earth keep silence before him." Funny thing, we always sang that song at the beginning of a period of public worship! (You will see shortly, why I say, "funny").

This last Tuesday night in our Bible study we talked about Jesus cleansing the temple (John 2). We discussed why certain things were not considered holy for practice in the temple. That brings up what we should be doing in God’s temple today.

What is the meaning of the temple today? In what should we be careful to be holy? Some feel that there are certain things that should not be done in our church buildings (anything from drinking a cup of coffee to children selling Girl Scout cookies). But is the comparison fair? Are our church buildings the equivalent of the temple in Jesus’ day?

In 1 Corinthians 3:16, Paul told the Corinthians that they (the people) are the temple of God. He said that if anyone destroyed God’s temple God would destroy him. In chapter 6:19, Paul said that a Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that the Christian should therefore avoid immorality.

Keep the temple clean? By all means. Protect, build up, make holy the people of God. Never defile God’s holy people. Live your life so that Jesus’ name is not shamed in your deeds. But in the church building, we ought to be able to do anything that is right (just like in any other building) and nothing wrong.

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

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

Dedicated to the Metro Church of Christ
by: Rick Woodall

They sing of a church in the wildwood, the most wonderful place in the dale.
But, I know a church in the city where humbleness and sacrifice prevail.
It's a place where your not disappointed by life's worldly pleasures of greed.
A place where we follow the Bible and reach out by planting the seed.
It's made up of God's chosen people who want to be one with the Lord.
A people who know disappointment and hold on to God's golden cord.
When we all get together in heaven - what a wonderful site to behold.
For it wasn't our own dim perfection. The Lord paid the price for the fold.
They try to be all that they can be - and they sometimes give you a smile.
With a song in their hearts as they journey.
Knowing the meaning of God's second mile.
I have been a part of their kindness. And all of the Love they possess.
It's the best Church in the city. Come see if your life is a mess.
You won't be judged or committed to a stereotype kind of fault.
You'll be met with great expectation and find the savior you sought.
As you travel down life's weary pathway - you're searching for a place to belong.
Come to the church in the city and listen to the words of the song.
Oh! Come to the church in the city
the most wonderful place you could sail.
For it's made up of wonderful Christians,
Who live by the Lord's springing well.

Rick Woodall worships at the Metro Church of Christ at 40100 Dodge Park, Sterling Heights, Michigan. http:// www.qix.net/~metrococ/index.html Rick gives his permission for you to place the name of the church you attend in the title if you want to use the poem in your bulletin.

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Sin's Pull
by: Rose Ann Noey
Slowly, slowly, sin can pull us.
Sin distracts us from our God.
Sin can dull our moral judgement
When toleration gives its nod.
 
Sadly, sadly, sin beguiles us,
Wraps us in its thick black cord.
If we flirt with sin so lightly,
We'll forget our patient Lord.
 
Gladly, gladly, God receives us
If we turn away from sin.
Turn toward Him in repentance.
His open arms accepts us in.
 
Lovely, lovely, God describes us
As we're fit to be Christ's bride.
When God sees us, He sees Jesus
If we will in Christ abide!

Rose Ann Noey worships with the Yorktown Road Church of Christ 
in Logansport, Indiana.

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

Looking for a new life? God takes trade ins.

Faults are thick where love is thin.

Almost anyone will make a better friend than enemy.

The best way to "save face" is to keep the bottom half shut!

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