BulletinGold #61 
January 1, 2006   Vol 5 #11
 

Editor's Remarks
----by David Bragg

Happy New Year!  There's something about the beginning of a new year that makes us pause and reflect on our lives.  As Christians, we should be carefully examining our lives against the truth of God's Word on a daily basis (2 Corinthians 13:5).  With the dawning of 2006, as the world focuses on making resolutions for the new year, we ought to use this opportunity to take deliberate stock of our lives.  The need of the hour is not to flippantly make resolutions that go nowhere.  Now is the time to make, and encourage others to make, life-changing commitments born of careful consideration of sincerely examining ourselves.

 

Those who read your church bulletins, listen to the lessons taught from the pulpits, or are taught in more private settings should be encouraged to look beyond the immediate hype of January 1st.  Otherwise, as this new year gradually loses its "newness,"and the focus on resolutions declines, life continues on much like the previous year.  It  requires great diligence to live the Christian life.  Someone has said, "Between the great things we cannot do and the small things we will not do, the danger is that we shall do nothing."

 

Many of the selections included in this month's issue of BulletinGold focus on our need to live a faithful, pure lifestyle in Christ.  He alone can forgive the past while fortifying the believer for the future.  And what a grand and glorious future He gives us as Christians!

 

David Bragg, co-editor

www.davidbragg.org

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

He Is Risen
by: David R. Ferguson
 

 

"He is risen." These were the words spoken by the angel of the Lord to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary as they approached the tomb where Jesus had been buried some 2000 years ago. This angel had come from heaven, he rolled back the stone from the tomb, and then he sat down on top of the stone to proclaim to the world that Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was no longer in the tomb. Death itself could not hold Him; He had broken free! This angel brought the greatest message of hope the world has ever heard: "He is risen!" Yes, Jesus died " for our sins according to the scriptures." He was buried, and He arose again the third day according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). And He continues to live to this very day in order to:

 

Save us. Every accountable human being on earth, since sin entered into the world through Adam, has the propensity to commit sin. "Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned:--" (Romans 5:12) All of us must be forgiven of our sins by being born again, or else we will be condemned to spend eternity in everlasting punishment in hell. No one is able to save himself, but Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, can and will save any and all that will believe and trust in Him as their Savior. Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by Me."

 

We have hope in Jesus Christ. Hope is what keeps us alive and going even in the face of our most dire and severe desperation. When circumstances and surroundings get so bad that we may even contemplate dying, hope comes and points us through the darkness to a better time and place. "Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me ." (Psalm 23:4) Because Jesus lives, there is brightness illuminated on the horizon. Paul refers to it as "that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ." (Titus 2:13) We are confident of His continued cleansing us of all of our sins as we continue to walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7).

 

Jesus Christ is our advocate. When we have been immersed into Jesus Christ for the remission of our sins we are the born-again, blood-washed, heaven-bound children of God. However, we are only sojourners here. We are not yet home, and we are not yet glorified. At our best, we are weak and no match for the conflicts of life when we struggle alone. But since we serve a risen Savior, we know that Jesus Christ lives and watches over us and fights on our behalf.  Yes, Jesus can and will help us no matter what the problem may be we are facing. We truly serve a risen Savior! He is leading the way to our home in heaven! May God bless you today and every day!

 

-- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon , IL .  He may be contacted at davidferguson61@yahoo.com

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Making a Covenant With Your Eyes
by: Edd Sterchi

 

Remember singing "be careful little eyes what you see"?  Well, there's a lot of truth to that statement.  We need to be very selective in what we put in front of our eyes, whether it be television, movies, live theater, sporting events, magazines, or anything else we can decide to look at.  Job said that he made a covenant with his eyes (Job 31:1).  It is high time we did as well.  What would a covenant with our eyes consist of?  Consider the following suggestions from the Scriptures.

 

1 John 2:16, "For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world."  A covenant with our eyes means that we will realize that Satan sometimes tempts us through visual means and we will be wary of that. 

 

Psa. 101:3, "I will set nothing wicked before my eyes."  A covenant with our eyes means that we will do our best not to place anything improper or immoral in front of them.

 

Luke 11:34, "The lamp of the body is the eye.  Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light.  But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness."  A covenant with our eyes means that understand that our eyes are input devices and that if we bring good things in through them, good things will be produced by us (and vice versa).

 

1 Pet. 2:13-14, "...They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls.  They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children."  A covenant with our eyes means that we perceive that we are influencing others toward evil when we use our eyes incorrectly.

 

Rev. 3:18-19, "I counsel you to...anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent."  A covenant with our eyes means that we will repent when we see wrong things, cleanse ourselves from that situation, and resolve never to see those harmful things again.

 

So have you made a covenant with your eyes?  Since God made your eyes, let us all strive to use them the way He designed.  It is important that we watch out for what we watch!

 

- Edd Sterchi is the minister of the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg , Illinois .  He may be contacted at sterchi@midwest.net 

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God's Windfarm
by: John Telgren

 

It sounded strange to me at first. In a recent conversation, some were talking about a "wind farm." I had some of the strangest images in my head until they described what it was. I had seen pictures before, but didn't know this was called a wind farm. In some parts of the country where the wind blows constantly, they install a field full of giant windmills to harness the natural energy of the wind.

 

The windmills did not get there by windmill seeds, but by the building efforts and vision of people who saw a rich source of energy that was untapped.

 

Our Lord also has provided a rich source of energy for us. Notice the following passages that speak of that energy.

 

"The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit (John 3:8)."

 

" 'He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; John 7:38-39)."

 

".that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.(Eph 3:16)"

 

The Spirit whom Jesus gives is an endless source of power. It flows constantly like rivers of living water. However, just like the wind that blows constantly, we cannot see it, only its effects.

 

But wind doesn't do any good unless we harness its power. The Spirit will do us little good if we don't allow it to lead us and strengthen us. We need to set up our windmills and allow the Spirit to energize our spirituality and propel us to growth and maturity.

         

Okay, we can understand the analogy well enough, but where does the rubber meet the road? How can we make practical use of it?

 

Here are some suggestions on how to install our windmills. The first comes from 1 Thess. 5:19 which tells us, "Do not quench the Spirit." We are to keep it burning. The context of this verse tells us how to do it:

 

1. Always rejoice (1 Thess 5:16)

2. Pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17)

3. Give thanks in everything (1 Thess 5:18)

 

The second part of the list comes from Ephesians 4:30 which tells us, "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God." We are to make the Spirit joyful by living according to His goals for us. The context of the passage tells us that this involves how we treat one another.

 

4. Speak no unwholesome words, only edifying ones to give grace (Eph 4:29).

5. Put away all bitterness, anger, slander, clamor and malice (Eph 4:31).

6. Be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to one another, just as our Lord is (Eph 4:32).

 

So the windmill involves a dual focus of our relationship to God through prayer and thanksgiving, and focus on our relationships with one another. When we strive to do these things, our windmills are up and facing the wind of the Spirit that breathes his strength onto us and energizes us to do what we ought to.

 

Where is your windmill facing?

 

- John Telgren preaches for the Leavenworth church of Christ , Leavenworth , KS .  He may be contacted through the church's website: www.leavenworthcoc.com

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Purity of MInd
by: Bryan McAlister

 

Someone once aptly said, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste". When Jesus encountered the "mind-set" of the Pharisees, He was less than tolerant with the heavy burdens they placed upon the people of God. Of all the people Jesus encountered, He was the most critical of the Pharisees (See Matthew 23). In one instance of their meeting Jesus taught the great lesson of what actually brings defilement to a man's life.

 

Matthew 15 opens with the Pharisees accusing Jesus and His disciples of defilement because they had not observed their imposed tradition of hand washing (15:2). Yet Jesus spoke to the futility of such traditions, for they are rooted in man's understanding, and not God's revealed plan. Furthermore Jesus explained, whatever goes into a man's mouth is eliminated (15:17), but the things which proceed out of the mouth, originate in the heart, and these defile man (15:18). The word used for heart in vs. 18 is a word, which indicates the nature of man, the conviction of man, and the mind of man.

 

Jesus taught that from the heart, and the mind, come the things of an evil nature. Among the sampling He provides, he began with "evil thoughts". Has any person ever seen an evil thought? We can conceive certain things in the mind, and we can think on certain thoughts, but no one ever has to know. Yet Jesus explained such thoughts are wrong, for they corrupt not only the mind of the individual, but their relationship with God. Our true self is revealed in our heart and mind, for therein lies our real treasure and desire. It is therefore necessary we have a mind centered and focused on things of a heavenly nature, lest we are consumed by the contents of our minds.

 

How many spiritual relationships between God and man are jeopardized because man fails to change his mind, elevate his mind to a higher standard? The Bible speaks of the mind in various states. We can learn of (and possess) an anxious mind (Luke 12:29), a debased mind (Romans 1:28), a carnal mind (Romans 8:7), a fleshly mind (Colossians 2:18), and a corrupted mind (II Corinthians 11:3). At the same time though, scripture clearly teaches we have the option of possessing, the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16), or a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7), filled with purity (II Peter 3:1). The ultimate mind for the people of God to possess, is a by-product of possessing the mind of Christ, that being the one mind, or same mind of God's people. Paul talked about this one mind, as did Peter. Each promoted among God's people a cooperation of harmony, trust, support, and compassion. Paul would point to the oneness of Christ for our necessity to be of one mind (I Corinthians 1:10ff.), while Peter would bring to bear the suffering Christ, and now our duty to do the will of God. However, we cannot be of the same mind, if we continue to expose our minds to acts and information of carnal substance (Romans 8:7). Likewise, should our minds be set on things of the past, we are hindered in changing our minds to the mind of Christ (Phil 3:13-14). Let "this mind" the mind of Christ Jesus our Savior be the mind you willingly possess.

 

-- Bryan McAlister is the minister of the Jackson church of Christ in Jackson , Missouri .  He may be contacted through the congregation's website, www.jacksonchurchofchrist.com  

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How Are You Doing?
by: Lance Cordle

 

  A common greeting among people today is the phrase, "How are you    doing?" It is commonly asked in a concerned, yet light-hearted way. We usually expect the answer, "Fine." We appreciate being asked about our personal welfare. It would do us all good to pause and ask ourselves, "How am I doing?" Maybe some of the following questions will spur your thinking:

 

  • Are you rejoicing in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4)?

  • Are you busy "making memories" with those precious little children who will someday be "grown and gone" (Proverbs 22:6)?

  • Are you wiser as the result of learning the lessons given by that teacher called "Experience" (Proverbs 21:11)?

  • Are you wealthier because God has blessed you with skill, wisdom and opportunity (1 Corinthians 16:2)?

  • Are you nearer to heaven because of the grace of God and your faithfulness to Him (1 Timothy 1:12-15)?

  • Are you content in knowing that God will work all things together for your good (Romans 8:28)?

  • Are you taking advantage of every opportunity to do good to all men (Galatians 6:10)?

  • Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom (Acts 8:4)?

  • Are you content with the things that you have (Hebrews 13:5)?

  • Are you forgiving others as God as forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32)?

  • Are you fervent in your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ (1 Peter 1:22)?

  • Are you endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3)?

  • Are you thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18)?

  • Are you trusting in the Lord with all your heart (Proverbs 3:5)?

  • Are you looking forward to the coming of Jesus (2 Peter 3:12)?

 

"For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, that you are walking in the truth" (3 John 3, ESV). 

 

- Lance Cordle preaches for the Calvert City church of Christ in Calvert city, KY.  He may be contacted at Lance@calvertchurchofchrist.com 

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

The Church Has Let Me Down
 

Does this describe the way you feel?  If it does, let me warn you.  Don't expect to get more out than you put in.  If you choose to stand aloof from the church, refusing to participate in her programs of work, fail to support her financially, and only occasionally attend worship services, the church will always disappoint you.  On the other hand, if you become very active in everything the church here is involved in, read your Bible and pray every day, visit the shut ins, fellowship with fellow Christians, etc., you will be amazed at how much your view of the church will change.

 

- Selected; via the bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ, Harrisburg , IL .

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Just Do It....

ADMIT God's book (the Bible) is His message to you

SUBMIT to the authority of God's book

COMMIT the words of God's book to memory

TRANSMIT the message of God's book to others

 

-- author unknown/ adapted

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Be Willing To Take A Chance
by: John W. Paper

 

     The one-talent-man was afraid to take a chance on losing his master's money so he hid it in the earth (Matt. 25:18).  One thing that is worse than a quitter is the man who is afraid to begin.

     Abraham Lincoln said, "The leading rule for a man of every calling is diligence; never put off until tomorrow what you can do today."

     "He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill.  Our antagonist is our helper." -Edmund Burke.

     God does not ask how many talents one has; He asks for

 

- via THE SOWER, published weekly by the Arthur church of Christ in Arthur , Illinois (Ronald Bartanen serves as their minister and the newsletter's editor).

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

I Shall Not Pass Again This Way

The bread that bringeth strength I want to give;

The water pure that bids the thirsty live.

I want to help the fainting, day by day.

I'm sure I shall not pass again this way.

 

I want to give the oil of joy for tears,

The faith to conquer crowding doubts and fears;

Beauty for ashes may I give alway.

I'm sure I shall not pass again this way.

 

I want to give good measure running o'er,

And into angry hearts I want to pour

The answer soft that turneth wrath away.

I'm sure I shall not pass again this way.

 

I want to give others hope and faith;

I want to do all that the Master saith;

I want to do aright from day to day.

I'm sure I shall not pass again this way.

 

- Anonymous; submitted by Mark McWhorter.

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One Year To Live

If I had but one year to live

One year to help, one year to give,

One year to love, one year to bless

One year of better things to stress;

One year to sing, one year to smile

To brighten earth a little while,

One year to sing my Master's praise

One year to fill with work my days;

One year to strive for a reward

When I should stand before my Lord,

I think that I would spend each day

In just the very self same way;

That I do now, for from afar

The call may come to cross the bar,

At anytime, and I must be

Prepared to meet eternity,

So if I have but one year to give

A pleasant smile, a helping hand,

A mind that tries to understand

A fellow-creature when in need;

'Tis one with me - - I take no heed

But try to live each day He sends

To serve my gracious Master's ends

 

                                          Unknown

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Yesterday, Today
by: Clay Harrison

 

Yesterday is a reminder

of days both good and bad,

The trials that taught us lessons

and good times we have had.

The future still is waiting

as a dream awaits the night

To become a reality

before the morning light.

 

The past may bring us memories

to treasure through the years,

And the future keeps the dream alive

despite our doubts and fears.

But, oh, my friend, we have today

to live, and laugh and cry...

A day our Lord has given

that soon will pass us by.

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

You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely. 

Correcting faults is like tying a necktie. We can do it more easily on ourselves than on others.

"To give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." -Samuel Ullman; THE SOWER, Arthur ( Illinois ) Church of Christ .

I've been on a diet for two weeks and all I've lost is two weeks. Totie Fields

"Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisers."

A moment of worldly pleasure may be followed by an eternity of regret. 

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