BulletinGold #60 
December 4, 2005   Vol 5 #10
 

Editor's Remarks
----by David Bragg

Perhaps you have noticed a few layout changes with last month's BulletinGold in our effort to spruce up the monthly newsletter's appearance. We appreciate the assistance of James Guy, editor of the Seed group, in making this transition and in ironing out the kinks.

Something unexpected occurred last month, probably unconnected with the aforementioned changes, that reminded me of the "James Bracy love letter." Temporarily stationed in California while answering our nation's call to service, and separated from his wife in Virginia, James wrote to his wife, Sallie, expressing his deep love for her. The letter made it as far as the local California post office and that's where it stayed, for forty-six years. Workers renovating the post office in April 2001 found the letter lodged between two walls in the mail room. About the middle of last month we discovered a number of e-mail messages that had not been properly transferred into our e-mail accounts. I'm really glad it didn't take forty-six years for them to be discovered. These writers add to the diversity of contributors that help make BulletinGold special.

In the articles that follow you will find a number of those "lost e-mails." As you read these you will understand why we appreciate all those who contribute their work for us to share with our subscribers. Also, we hope you will see that, although we have taken steps to spruce up the appearance of BulletinGold, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to remain true to God and His Word, a mission we are convinced you also share.

David Bragg, co-editor
www.davidbragg.org

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

Where Are You Heading?
by: Rick Woodall

Thinking of all the significant blessings we possess can be quite overwhelming. We are a blessed people living in a country rich in freedom and independence. Individuality gives each of us the opportunity to reach out from our dreams and journey along this path of life with goals of being all we ever wanted to be. Let me remind you as you make your day-to-day voyage though life of one certain fact. You are designed to depart this life. The greatest architect known to mortal man designed each of us to expire.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.- Heb 9:27
For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. – James 4:14

Knowing these things can make us sad. We try so hard not to think about the end result of our days. Satan saturates our minds with hectic activities that generate forgetfulness for the important things that really matter. As my gift reminds me, "we are a forgetful people."

It is the Word that prompts me to reawaken the inner conviction to bear in mind that the journey has a destination. 

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. - 1 Pet 1:24-25

That is why I choose to Preach.

The old question suggests, "Where will you be when you get where you're going?"

- Rick Woodall is the minister for the Milan church of Christ in Milan, Michigan. His weekly devotional message, Life Thoughts, can be heard on the World Wide Web at this address: http://www.milanchurchofchrist.org/page3 

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The Truth Is Not Our Real Enemy
by: W. A. Martn

The truth is not our real enemy. Sin and error are our real enemies. Truth must be evident in one's life not put away in cold storage. "Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction and understanding." ( Prov. 23:23). The truth is, Christ doesn't merely rule the church: He rules the world! Those who live in rebellion to his laws are not only accountable to those laws, they will be judged by them (John 12:48).

Jesus was unique! He was one of a kind because of that for which he stood. He did not back away from issues, but dealt with them in truth. He was known as one who taught with authority, honestly. He dealt with the issues in the light of truth. He revealed truth in such a way as to tie all things together. He never let the truth suffer under any circumstance, we must not. We back off from truth and become soft on Bible issues that will make the difference whether a person will go to heaven or not. The soldiers said about Jesus: "Never a man spake like this man."

The question is not whether the methods work, but rather what the Bible says. Christ did not use gimmicks to bring men to Him. We have to believe if we settle for less than the truth that is exactly what we get. The challenge to man is to deal with the whole truth, not in personalities. If we want God's best, we must give our best. Some would modernize the church to fit modern man. You cannot "update" that which is never out of date. Progress, so-called has not brought a change in man's needs. We still need direction, forgiveness, comfort, hope - in short, we still need Christ.

The truth is not our real enemy. The danger is being satisfied, not saved. We should not deceive ourselves into thinking God is satisfied because we are. The danger is making a good living while forgetting God. Israel escaped the bondage of Egypt only to perish longing for what they left behind. We might dispute it, argue against it, and even try to discredit it, but authority has spoken (Matt. 28:20). All the right kind of teaching in the world will not help us if we are not the right kind of hearer. (John 8:32)

The truth of the matter is salvation depends upon doing the will of God regardless of the cost. The question is not, "Can we?" but "Will we?" You see it all depends upon the level of our commitment. The escalator to spiritual success is out of order, you have to climb the stairs.

- W. A. Martin preaches part-time for Scurry church of Christ, Scurry, Texas And is editor of a bulletin mailed and distributed to several thousand homes and churches. He may be contacted at WAGMartin@SBCglobal.net

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Control
by: Ron Adams

Every time a catastrophic storm hits, we are once again reminded that we have no control over the weather. Experts can forecast, inhabitants can be warned, and people can prepare, but no one can stop or control a storm. Our power to control external forces is practically non existent. This includes the actions of others. We have no control over what others think and do. However, we have complete control over how we think, act, and react.

The Apostles, after being beaten for speaking in the name of Jesus, "... went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." (Acts 5:41-42) They had full control over how they reacted.

Paul and Silas were in chains in the inner prison in Philippi with their feet fastened in stocks, "But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God." (Acts 16:25). They were confined--but in heart, mind, and conscience they were free.

Remember, we will be judged, not by what others do to us, but by what we do. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10) We have full control over how we think, act, and react.

- Ron Adams, Editor of Thursday's Thoughts, a weekly inspirational message. He may be contacted through this website: http://thursdaythought.homestead.com

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Imitate Me
by: Andrew Laux

As Christians, we should always set a good example for others to follow. However, when we look closely at our lives, we often realize that we would not really want others to follow in our footsteps.

Usually we know ourselves better than anyone except, of course, God. The apostle Paul knew the importance of living a life that others could follow, and thus be pleasing to God. He often encouraged others to follow his example. Why? Because he knew he was setting the right example for them! Consider what he said to the Philippians: "Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern." (Phil. 3:17) Could we honestly, without hesitation, ask people we truly care about to follow us as a "pattern" of Christianity today? Do we want them judged with the same judgment we will receive?

Paul could say this because he knew that he was doing everything within his power to imitate Christ; and if others would imitate him they would have the same reward he was to receive. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Tim. 4:7, 8)

Paul frequently encouraged Titus and Timothy to set a good example. To Titus he said: "in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you ". (Titus 2:7, 8) And to Timothy: "…be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (1 Tim. 4:12)

Think about it; what kind of example are we setting in "good works", "doctrine", "reverence", "incorruptibility", "sound speech", "word", "love", "spirit", "faith", "purity"? We should encourage others to follow our example but must live lives worthy of that desire.

- Andrew Laux is an Elder for the South Anchorage church of Christ, Anchorage, Alaska.. He may be contacted at sacoc@gci.net

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Worship
by: Ken Chumbly

In the local North Augusta Star this week is an article about a "Let's Join the Church" day to be held today (September 25,2005) at a prominent local denomination. The article continues, "Any one who has been thinking of joining the church is encouraged to complete a registration form, turn it in to the office, the church Welcome Center or one of the ministers prior to the beginning of worship on Sunday." It continues, "Those turning in registration forms are asked to sit in the reserved seating at the front of the church worship center."

Clearly, the "church" that is referenced is the denominational group meeting in the area and not the Lord's church. Further, where do they come up with the idea of people "joining the church"? Such sounds like one joining the local golf club or the Rotary club. The Bible never speaks of one "joining the church." Rather, those who obey the Gospel, those who are saved, are added by the Lord to the church (Acts 2:47). Furthermore, the prospective member is told only that one has to fill out a "registration form" and then sit in the "reserved seating." No indication is given of there being anything else that one must do in order to be accepted into the membership? No indication that one has to have even responded to the Gospel in the way that the denomination teaches or of one having been baptized in any way or, for that matter, for any reason. Just show up, fill out the registration and now you have "joined the church" and are now considered a member. Is it any wonder that we have many people who "go to church" but have no real idea about Christianity, particularly as it is revealed in the pages of the word of God.

There is an article in the previous week's edition of the North Augusta Star, that speaks of something that could indeed prompt a number of worldly people to want to "join the church." In that article, there is information given of a change in its schedule of services and activities. It announced that there would be a time for "Community." This is described as being "a casual and contemporary worship service, including a praise band and drama team along with such occasional features as drama vignettes and video clips," the information being provided from a statement issued by the church. Clearly, the teaching of the Bible has no bearing upon what is considered "worship." Where is the Bible authority for the use of "a praise band" or "drama team"? The Bible authorizes singing in worship (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) but such singing is to be congregational in nature, "teaching one another." There is no authority for the use of instrumental music let alone the use of a "praise band." Further, where does the Bible speak of using a "drama team" or the use of "dra ma vignettes" as part of worship that is pleasing to God? Clearly such becomes "vain worship" (Matthew 15:9) and is not acceptable to God. The whole object of these "worship" activities is to please man, not God! It turns the worship of Almighty God into an entertainment. No wonder they think they can increase the membership by providing such "entertainment" and tagging it as "worship"! However, they are late in providing such as sometime ago, a number left them to form another "church" in which what is now being provided was a big part of what they sought to do in providing this entertainment under the guise of worship.

Brethren, the denominations are not alone in seeking to provide such unauthorized "entertainment" under the guise of "worship." There are some who claim to be "churches of Christ" who have gone the same route. Such may please men but such is, also, an affront to Almighty God who has given instruction as to HOW he is to be worshipped.

- Ken Chumbley preaches for the Belvedere church of Christ in Belvedere, SC. He may be contacted at church@belvederechurchofchrist.org

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God of Second Chances
by: Stefano R. Mugnaini

"Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'"---Mt 18:21-22

This passage is yet another example of the soon to be apostle's misunderstanding of the message of the Christ. Peter was accustomed to keeping the letter of the Law, while Jesus strove to teach the attitude behind it. The Law taught that forgiveness was a chore, a requirement, something to check off the "to-do" list of righteousness; Jesus saw it as the mindset His followers must have. Not a limited action, but a continuous state of the heart. We know that Jesus was not telling Peter to forgive 490 times; rather He was commanding him to continuously forgive others. By what Jesus tells Peter, and the parable that follows, we see a quality that is absolutely essential for the child of God.

Beyond reflection on how we should live, however, there is a lesson to be learned about the nature of our God. This passage shows us that He is a God of second chances. In Ephesians 5:1, Paul told us to "be imitators of God."

Sometimes it is helpful to explore the reason behind a commandment. I believe it is because of God's willingness to forgive us that He demands the same attitude from us toward others. Jesus never made a demand on us that He was unwilling to carry out Himself. Hebrews 4:15 says we have in Christ a High Priest who is sympathetic to our weaknesses and temptations. Our mediator doesn't demand from us what He Himself wouldn't give. Indeed the history of the Jewish nation was a tale of the overwhelming forgiveness of the Lord.

Our God's willingness to give us opportunity after opportunity is nowhere made clearer than on the Cross. As His only Son hung on the tree to pay the penalty for our sins, He asked the father to forgive us our ignorance.

There are many that claim God is a God seeking to condemn and destroy. Many struggle with forgiving themselves for things they have done, ways they have rebelled against God. But the Bible is an unfolding of God's plan to reconcile us to Him, and Christ's insistence that His followers forgive others is indicative of how much the Lord desires to forgive us. Indeed, He desires that "none should perish, but that all should come to repentance." The sacrifice of Christ ensures that when we turn back to God, He always offers another chance.

- Stefano R. Mugnaini preaches for the Cairo church of Christ in Cairo, GA, He may be contacted at ssmugnaini@syrupcity.net

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Nuggets and Quick Riches
----misc. goodies this issue

The Lord's Church
by: Ron Thomas

We use the phrase "The Lord's Church" a good bit. What exactly do we mean by this? This is a good question and one worthy of elaboration. In Matthew 16:18, our Lord said He would build His church and the gates of Hades would not prevail against it. Two things about what our Lord said that are important. First, it is His church, not a man-made institution. Our Lord built it and set up all things relative to its existence. Man-made institutions (denominations), on the other hand, are built by man because of personality frustrations, doctrinal frustrations, and perhaps other things as well. The one underlying problem, though, is that it is less about what the Bible says and more about what man wants. Second, and something very important, the gates of death cannot overcome it. The Lord's church can never be defeated by the forces of Satan. Man-made institutions are certainly going to be overcome. The Lord's church has God protecting her; man-made churches do not have this protection. While individuals within the church may "give up their faith" and thus loose their soul, as an institution—it will never fall. Staying with the Lord in His church—faithful to His holy will because of our love to Him guarantees our salvation.

- Ron Thomas preaches for the Highway church of Christ in Sullivan, IL. He may be contacted at rthomas1@one-eleven.net

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Are Your Sure of Salvation?

Can you be sure of salvation? The answer is, "YES!" Consider the following. What God has done to assure your salvation:

? Jesus Christ, God's Son, shed His blood to take away your sins  
    (Matt. 26:28).
? He arose from the dead to present His blood to the Father in heaven that you might be justified (Romans 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:1-4).
? He is in heaven to serve as Priest, officiating in the behalf of 
    believers (Hebrews 8:1). While salvation is by grace (unmerited 
    favor), there can be no assurance of salvation apart from the
    acceptance of Christ by faith (Eph. 2:8). Have you-
? Believed the Good-News-Message that Jesus, the Son of God, died 
    for your sins, was buried and rose again? (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
? Repented of sin, with a commitment to accept Jesus as both Savior 
    and Lord? (Acts 3:19; 17: Titus 2:11-14)
? Confessed your faith in Christ? (Matt. 10:32; Acts 8:37)
? Demonstrated your faith in the crucified, buried and risen Savior by 
    being baptized (Gr.: immersed) in water, and rising to a new life in 
    Christ as a new creature? (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-4; 
    Gal. 3:26-27)
? Abiding faithful to Christ? (Rev. 2:10)

DO YOU HAVE THIS ASSURANCE? 

- Via THE SOWER, the weekly bulletin of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL.

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Life Is What You Put Into It
by: Kevin Rayner

Life is what you put into it. It is what you dream and how hard you work to make those dreams come true. What you make of your life is no one's responsibility but yours.

In 1974 doctors discovered that Quincy Jones had two brain aneurysms.

"Please, God, not now," he cried. Quincy had played trumpet for years, and he still had too many dreams to let it all end now. One of America's top black jazz artists, he had worked with Lionel Hampton's band and eventually formed his own group. Quincy had worked on Broadway and still had a promising career ahead of him as a trumpeter when medical problems forced him to face the reality that he could not return to his beloved instrument. He would have to apply his musical talents elsewhere.

Quincy Jones is a perfectionist. He channeled his formidable musical ability into composing, directing, and producing, and soon began to attract the attention of some of the entertainment industry's most influential people. His attention to detail is legendary. He works and works to make the music just right, then works some more to see if he can make it perfect. Jones produced and conducted the "We are the World" recording, wrote the score for Roots and The Color Purple, and also produced Thriller with Michael Jackson, one of the most successful record albums of all time. He has been nominated for sixty-eight Grammy Awards and has won nineteen. Stephen Spielberg summed up Jones's intensity of life in a Sixty Minutes interview: "He takes a minute and finds two minutes of enrichment out of one minute of living."

"I recommend that you take care of the minutes, for the hours will take care of themselves." —Chesterfield

You think about it! 

- Kevin Rayner preaches for the Oak Tree church of Christ, Rochester, MN. He may be contacted through this website: http://www.geocities.com/otchurch

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Spiritual Aqueducts
by: John H. Morgan

Our life in Christ can be compared to an aqueduct, the stone waterways that brought water from nearby mountains into parched cities in Italy and Spain, and that are still used in some countries today. The objective foundation of our spiritual lives, the Word of God, is like the huge stone aqueduct itself. The subjective elements, our daily experience of Christ, is like the fresh water flowing through it.

Some Christians neglect the Word and seek only the subjective experience. But without the solid Word of God to contain and channel that experience, the experience itself drains away into error and is lost.

Other Christians boast well-engineered aqueducts based on extensive knowledge of the Bible, but they are bone dry. They bring no refreshment. Strong spiritual lives require both a strong knowledge of the Word of God and an intimate daily relationship with Christ.

- John H. Morgan, via the SEED e-mail list. To subscribe / unsubscribe to the SEED e-mail list, click here: http://biblesays.faithsite.com/content.asp?CID=6372

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

A Prayer For Every Day

Every day I need you Lord, but this day especially,
I need some extra strength to face whatever is to be.
This day more than any day I need to feel you near,
To fortify my courage and to overcome my fear.
By myself, I cannot meet the challenge of the hour,
There are times when humans help, but we need a higher power.
To assist us bear what must be borne, and so dear Lord, I pray -
Hold on to my trembling hand and be near me today. 

- Author Unknown

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God Gives Me Time

God gives me time to love the right,
Though crowded are my days,
He gives me time to find delight
In quiet thoughts of praise.
God gives me time to rise above
All little, petty things
And feel the comfort of His love,
The joy His presence brings.
God gives me time to share the load
Of these less blest than I,
Then walks beside me on the road
With grace to satisfy.
God gives me time -- oh, I would spend
Each precious moment well,
For when God's gift of time shall end,
I must bid earth farewell! 

-Author unknown

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Let Jesus Lead
by: Rose Ann Noey

It's not about being religious
Nor the motions that we go through.
It's conforming to the Will of the Father
And fulfilling His Purpose for you.
We turned our lives over to Jesus
When we dipped in that watery grave;
But we ramble through life without guidance
And trip through the world's evil haze.
A Christian can't guide his own footsteps,
For that is rejection of God.
Our lives were bought by the Saviour,
His pathways only to trod.
The ruler of Christians is Jesus -
Our own will to be crucified,
To work the works of the Spirit,
To have the Spirit as Guide.
What other sacrifice give Him?
What other would He accept?
Our service is a reasonable service,
For our souls in His Hand will be kept.

- Rose Ann Noey attends the church of Christ at Lincolnway, in Columbia City, IN

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

People are where they are because that is exactly where they really want to be - whether they will admit that or not. -- Earl Nightingale
"To give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." -Samuel Ullman
"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will." -- George Bernard Shaw 
"Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip." -- Will Rogers

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