BulletinGold #23
May 5, 2002   Vol 2 #3
 

Editor's Remarks
----by Donna Richmond

As many of you know, Ed Thomason, the preacher for the New Madrid Church of Christ in New Madrid, Missouri, is the web master for BulletinGold and hosts it on his website. I had not visited Ed's website for some time. Last week I was working on our bulletin and needed some ideas, so I went to http://www.PreachToday.com
I was surprised at all the new resources Ed has added to his site. He has many sermon ideas and helps for preachers, as well as Bible study resources, commentaries, online bible studies, youth resources, devotionals, and helpful bulletin resources. Check it out for yourself!

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

The Church and Unity
by: Frank Berthold

Today, we see many churches seeking to follow the lead of the Restoration Movement. I admire their tenacity in seeking nondenominational Christianity, but they are misunderstanding the nature of the thrust. What many today are attempting to pass off as "nondenominational Christianity" is actually "interdenominational Christianity." A good dictionary is helpful in an understanding of the two terms.

To begin with, one must understand the term "Denomination." It means, "a large group of religious congregations united under a common faith and name and organized under a single administrative and legal hierarchy. One of a series of kinds, values, or sizes, as in a system of currency or weights. A name or designation, especially for a class or group." (American Heritage Dictionary) The term "Non" simply means "not". (AHD) Therefore, nondenominational simply means, "not a denomination." In other words, not of a group which is divided from and only part of the whole. Jesus prayed for unity (John 17:21), and Paul described the basis of that unity in Ephesians 4:4-6. Jesus never wanted His body divided into many different parts by groups. We are not members of the whole by groups, but as individuals.

The confusion of the world today concerning nondenominational Christianity is that they are seeking for their denomination to be a denomination of the whole. Therefore, what they really seek is "interdenominational Christianity." The term "Inter" means, "between, among, in the midst of, within, mutual or reciprocal." (AHD) It is another name for "ecumenical" - "of worldwide scope or applicability, universal. Of or relating to the worldwide Christian church. Concerned with establishing or promoting unity among churches or religions." (AHD)

There is only one way to establish unity among believers, and that is to follow God's word and it only. Therefore, all manmade creeds and doctrines which cause the division must be discarded, and God's word must have the final authority in matters of both faith and its resulting practice. When that is done, then and only then, can men say they are "nondenominational."

Therefore, when seeking a church to which you desire to belong, you must determine the nature of that church. Do you seek a nondenominational church or an interdenominational church? Do you seek to serve man's law or God's law exclusively? "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15) Exclusively!

Do not be deceived by the desires of man. If Jesus prayed for unity, we should seek it. If Paul told us the basis upon which that unity is founded, we can then achieve it. This unity can and does become a reality among men who deny themselves and take up His cross (as their own) and follow Him!

I admire their desire for unity. But every denomination believes it is either the only true church or the best expression of the true church. If not, it has no purpose for existing other than division. None of us want to be guilty of willful division. There is no biblical precedent for a divided theology; therefore, there is no theological basis for denominations. Unity must be based upon God's word, not upon man's.

Frank Berthold preaches for the Chadbourne North Church of Christ at 3216 North Chadbourne in San Angelo, Texas 76903. "I have made many changes to our home page and put in study links on the Links Page. If you haven't been there in a while, please take a look. And as always, if you know of a church or Bible study link I should add, please let me know. Frank " http://members.aol.com/FBERT0038/index.html

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The Law of Love
by: A. Jay Kelly

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2

It has been said the problem with understanding this verse isn't that we don't understand the need to restore the sinner, but that we can't decide who is spiritual!

The context of Galatians is legalism, so it would make sense that this passage would at least have something to do with legalism.

I don't believe the warning here concerns those teaching false doctrines, although one could make an application there. The warning is for those who would seek to root out the faults of others and "fix them."

We all recognize the "quick-draw" who is ready to withdraw from anyone who is sinning, drawing an ever tighter circle until they finally withdraw from themselves. But, what about the one who "just wants to help" by involving the entire church in what may be a very embarrassing situation for the one they are "helping"? Sometimes, in the process of helping our brethren, we find out things that would ruin them if the wrong people found out. Some of those things may be so far in the past as to have even happened before they were Christians. Some may simply be personal struggles with which they have either asked us for help, or which we have become aware.

Don't misunderstand; unrepented sin needs to be dealt with, many times publicly. There are also situations we may not be emotionally or spiritually equipped to handle and that need to be turned over to someone better equipped. But how would we feel if, already burdened by the load of a sinful situation in which we were struggling, the one person we thought would help broadcast our weakness far and wide?

Jesus never "fixed" anybody. He just restored relationships. Maybe that's our mission, too.

A. Jay Kelley is the evangelist for the church of Christ in Colby, Kansas. His e-mail is jkelley@nwkansas.com

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He Had Compassion
by: Lawrence Barr

"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick" (Matthew 14:14). While Jesus came to this earth to save men from their sins, he often healed the sick and exercised the power of God in other miraculous ways. These deeds are called "signs" or sometimes "miraculous signs" because they show him to be approved of God. But that is not the whole story; the gospel writers tell us that He did those miracles out of compassion!

You see, before coming to die for us, He loved us. We need to keep that thought before us at all times. When we are sick with sin or disease, when we are down, we need to know that Jesus cares because He loves us.

Just follow Him as he preaches and sees the crowds hungry and tells his disciples to provide food. On one occasion 5,000 men (besides women and children) were fed. On another, 4,000 were fed.

Now what do you suppose He wants us to learn from this compassion of His? Certainly we should be reassured when we are ill or troubled that He cares! But beyond that, He wants us to care about others. One evidence to a sick and sad world that the Christ is God in the flesh is the works of service that Jesus’ followers do all around the world.

So you want to be like Jesus? Look for works of service, ways to show love to other people. Every one of us has some ability to help others. Whatever that ability might be, it is sanctified in service to others in the name of Jesus. Not only so, but knowing that people are lost is inseparable from doing something to relieve their physical and emotional suffering. Have compassion! Jesus did.

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

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Throwing Stones
by: A.C. Quinn

Speaking unkindly of the mistakes and failures (sins) of others without considering their own sins is a practice all too common among the public in general and Christians in particular. While such as it occurs in the world is unacceptable, it should be totally unspeakable among Christians.

Someone has rightly said, "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones." This adage speaks volumes to the hypocrisy of those who forget that they, too, are human, and that God does not categorize sin on a continuum from large to small. Sin is the transgression of God's law (John 3:4).

The Pharisees, intent upon tempting the Lord, brought a woman before him whom they accused of being taken in the act of adultery. "Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?" (John 8:5). It is true that Moses so commanded (Deut. 17:7); however, they forgot a major element in that command: the witnesses who brought the sinner forth were to be the first to stone him. Jesus, knowing the hearts of these deceitful Pharisees, added a most significant requirement before which they could not stand: "...He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone" (John 8:7). These self-righteous Pharisees were convicted of their own consciences and so departed "...beginning at the eldest, even unto the last...." (v.9). Jesus did not condone the sins of the adulterous woman, nor did he justify the self-righteousness of the Pharisees who departed convicted of their own consciences, and no doubt, ashamed.

The Lord taught another potent lesson similar to that of "casting stones." It is another regarding the self-righteous magnifying the sins of others while they refuse to reflect upon their own sin. This is the case of the mote and the beam. "...And why beholdest the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye" (Matthew 7:3-5).

Brother Burton Coffman makes this observation in his commentary on Matthew: "One who judges others is compared to a person presuming to cast a splinter out of his brother's eye while a plank is in his own eye! This is a vivid picture of a person who ignores his own grievous sins while trying to correct the relatively minor shortcomings of another. The mote and the beam represent the disparity between that which is tiny, insignificant, almost invisible, and that which is obvious, flagrant, and obtrusive. The mote hunter is the nitpicker, the specialist in fine, disputed points, who focuses on the most minute deviations while ignoring far more basic and important considerations."

Christians should forgive the trespasses of brothers (Matthew 6:14-15). They should help bear the burdens of their brothers (Gal. 6:2). They should love one another with pure hearts (I Peter 1:22). By doing these things, they will not be engaged in "throwing stones."

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

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Quick Riches
----misc. goodies this issue

Weathering the Storms of Life

Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks?

The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it. The eagle does not escape the storm.

It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.

Contributed by: Roy Crutcher who preaches at the Broadview Church of Christ in North Lauderdale, Florida. He also hosts the Challenge The Truth TV Program, which is sponsored by the Broadview church. http://hometown.aol.com/ChallengeTruth/TV.html

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Great Mothers and Grandmothers
by: Mel Martin

1. Great moms express appreciation (Colossians 3:15, Philippians 4:6).

2. Great moms realize that little thing do make a difference, even if they are taken for granted. It is encouraging for a child to see constant reminders in little things that say "I love you."

3. Great moms have an innate willingness to forgive (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:12, 13). There is the realization that no child is perfect, but all have weaknesses and need forgiveness.

4. Great moms give emotional support. They weep when a child weeps and rejoice over even the most trivial of victories. The child knows that someone cares, believes in him, is there for him, and wants what is best for him.

5. Great moms have a sense of humor. They do not laugh at their child, but with their child. They are not afraid to laugh at themselves.

6. Great moms handle disagreements and conflicts in love. They are fair even when their child does not know what fair is.

7. Great moms change, tolerate change, and accept the unchangeable.

8. Great moms keep secrets. Moms like to talk about their children, but they know that some thing are only for them to know. They never betray a trust.

9. Great moms pray for their children. They pray not so much for worldly success, but that their children's souls may be saved in the day of judgment.

10. Great moms become friends. It is true that great moms are moms for life; but really, they are much more than moms.

11. Great moms share their faith and values. (Proverbs 22:6, Deuteronomy 6:7). The bonds of mutual faith and values will last through the years.

12. Great moms die with dignity with their children calling them blessed. There is nothing so precious as a mother who has faithfully fulfilled her duty and died in the Lord.

Mel Martin preaches for the Lincoln & Tunnell Church of Christ in Santa Maria, CA.

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You Know You're a Mom When...
Author unknown

1. You count the sprinkles on each child's cupcake to make sure they're equal.

2. You can't bear to give away your children's baby clothes. It's so final.

3. You hear your mother's voice coming out of your mouth when you say, "Not in your good clothes!"

4. You stop criticizing the way your mother raised you.

5. You hire a sitter because you haven't been out with your husband in ages, then spend half the night checking on the kids.

6. You say at least once a day, "I'm not cut out for this job!" You know you wouldn't trade it for anything.

7. You cry when you take them to the first day of kindergarten and when they graduate from high school.

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Grandma's Glasses

A little boy said to a playmate: "When I get older, I want to wear glasses just like grandma wears. She must have a special kind because she can see much more than most people."

"She can see when folks are hungry or tired or sorry, and she can even see what will make them feel better. She can see how to fix a lot of things to have fun with, and she can see what I meant to do, even if I didn't do it right. She can see when I am about to cry, and she knows what to do to make him feel better."

"I asked her one day how she could see so good, and she said it was the way she learned to look at things as she got older. So when I get older, I want a pair of glasses just like Grandma's so I can see good, too."

Author Unknown, borrowed and adapted.

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

More Precious Than A Rose
By Scott Hoover

I sat on the park bench just the other day,
And watched as the little children came to play.

Each child had a mother who was tagging along,
To make sure they played safely, that nothing went wrong.

Each time a child fell they would run to her arms,
And know the assurances that her loving voice charms.

For a child can look in their mom's wondrous eyes
And see love outpouring and feel safe as she sighs.

Then I thought about mothers whose children are grown
And realized that loving assurance is still the best known.

For even children who are older need love now and then,
To remember they are special and that they can win.

For mothers don't give up even when we make mistakes,
They're still right there loving no matter what it takes.

God gave us flowers to brighten our days
To help us see beauty as we go on our ways.

But he gave each of us a Mother and everyone knows
That this gift is
more precious than even the sweetest rose.

Scott Hoover preaches for the Comanche Church of Christ in Comanche, Oklahoma 73529. He has written over 200 poems on most Bible characters or events. If you need a poem for your bulletin or to illustrate a sermon, you can email Scott at tshvlh@pldi.net, and he will send you one

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Sharing Christ
by: Serena Voss

"Lead me to some soul today" we sang
And all week long that message rang.

Inside my head and heart, I prayed
"Lord who can I reach for you today?"

Just at that moment my neighbor walked by
And I said to myself, "Okay, I'll try.

But, first I need time to study and rehearse,
To make sure I know book, chapter and verse."

Then armed with my proof texts and Bible outlines,
I approached her to study and she said, "That's fine."

The verses poured out in a steady stream,
'Doctrinal Purity' was my theme.

Besides, many claim to follow Christ
But they do it man's way, thinking that will suffice.

Well, after the session was nearly through,
I said, "Have you questions?" She said, "Just a few.

It's obvious you know your Bible quite well,
You've talked about Heaven and touched on Hell.

You've even shown proofs that the Bible is true,
But you've not yet told me what Christ means to you.

How is your life different? How do you cope?
Is there any real joy or any real hope?"

I stared at my outlines, then put them away.
And I changed and shared gently the Man called 'The Way.'

As that simple old story began to shine through,
My friend came to Jesus, not the what, but the Who.

Editor's note: I found this poem at http://members.aol.com/FBERT0038/index.html

Frank Berthold said it was given to him some years ago 
and had a big impact on him.

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The Upward Move
by: Sally Harris Cleghorn

There's a move coming up that I long for,
When this life reaches the end;
It will be to a better neighborhood,
And there will be no fences to mend.

Where my Lord has built me a mansion,
And where the streets are of purest gold.
It is a beautiful place called heaven,
Where no one will ever grow old.

My neighbors will all be happy,
We'll never know sadness or pain;
Earthly cares will all be forgotten,
And our Savior forever will reign.

The sin that hindered our happiness,
And was tempting us night and day;
Will never again dwell among us,
Even the memory will be wiped away.

I'll be happy to get to my mansion,
I'll trade in my sorrow and tears;
This place is not just a dream for me,
I've been reading about it for years;

Sally Harris Cleghorn does the bulletin for the Hazel Park Church of Christ, 1123 East Woodward Heights Blvd., Hazel Park, Michigan 48030.

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

The path of a good woman is indeed strewn with flowers, but they rise behind her steps, not before them.

Some parents could do more for their children by not doing so much for them.

Children seldom misquote you. They repeat what you shouldn't have said word for word.

Church growth does not consist of counting those present, but in caring for those absent.

God often prepares us for victory by a taste of despair.

 

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