BulletinGold #52 
April 6, 2005   Vol 5 #2
 

Editor's Remarks
----by David Bragg

Welcome to the "inaugural" issue of BulletinGold under new co-
editors. Let us begin by properly recognizing our deep appreciation
for Donna Richmond, who as a church secretary not only conceived of
the need for such a practical ministry but also developed and
maintained it through some of life's most difficult hurdles. So when
my good friend and co-editor Ed Thomason informed me of Donna's
situation, and the possibility of this work being hindered, along
with a proposition of working together to maintain its viability,
possibly until Donna feels that she can resume her post as editor, I
was happy to accept.


So to Donna's many subscribers I wish to pledge that we will do our
very best to bring to you each month the high quality Bulletin (and
sermon illustration) tool that you have grown to trust over the
years. We hope that you continue to use BulletinGold, recommend it to
your friends, share your articles with us for consideration, and
provide us with any ideas you may have on how we can do a better job
in serving you.

And to Donna, who recently wrote to Ed Thomason in an email that she
was happy with the new arrangement, and that BulletinGold "needs some
fresh wisdom, and you are the ones to provide it," you have provided
a great service to the Lord's work (it takes two preachers to try to
take your place). None of us will ever know just how many hours you
have invested into this ministry but we all thank you for your
efforts. It was certainly not time wasted.

David Bragg
Co-editor

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

Wasted Time?
by: David Bragg

Modern art appreciation is in the "eye of the beholder." A case in
point was a work in Maine entitled, "Learn How to Fly Over a Very
Large Larry." While it is obvious that the "artist," Daniel Bozhkov
of Bulgaria, spent considerable time on his project, it seems most
came away asking the same question, "Why?"!

With the passing of each second one's life (Isa. 40:6; Ps. 102:11;
Job 7:7; Jas. 4:14), along with the unique opportunities it offers
(Gal. 6:10), slips forever out of reach. Christians must be alert to
every possible chance to share God, His Son, and His Word to those
they encounter, especially at the regularly scheduled assembles. In
the June 2004 Gospel Advocate Colquitt Nash wrote, "In 1957, Life
magazine labeled the time churches give to Bible classes or Sunday
school the most wasted hour of the week" (Making the Important
Effective, 32). Careful preparation can insure that when the church
assembles it will not be deemed "wasted time" by those who attend.

Many spiritually minded individuals attest that the scant time
devoted to public study and proclamation of God's Holy Word is far
from "wasted." It is also a great mistake to confine Bible study and
evangelism to those few hours each week. Study, prayer, ministry, and
daily integrity as a Christian throughout the week will prepare the
worshipper/Bible class student for the weekly assemblies. Being thus
prepared, this Christian family can eagerly anticipate their time
with other believers. For those who are unprepared and lack spiritual
focus, the Christian assembly may contribute about as much value as
Bozhkov's hayfield, which he flattened into a crop-circle portrait of
TV talk show host Larry King, when all is said a done it seems to be
just a waste of time.

David Bragg, Cape Girardeau, Missouri http://cape@churchofchristwebs.com

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Makes You Think, Doesn't It?
by: Edd Sterchi

The following is an excerpt from my diary of my most recent trip to
Africa. It was written pertaining to one of the lessons I heard at
the "Africans Claiming Africa" conference:

The evening session consisted of more country reports and the keynote
address. It was given by Fidelis Udofia of Nigeria. It was a thought-
provoking sermon based upon the question God asked Moses in Exod.
4:2, "What is in your hand?" Basically his points were:

1) If you have something in your hand, you have an opportunity.
2) If you have something in your hand, you have a responsibility.
3) If you have something in your hand, you have accountability.

He continued and clarified by using the example of a gun. Put a gun
in your hand, and you have all kinds of opportunities, good and bad.
You can maim or kill a person unjustly, or you can kill an animal to
feed someone. You can use it threateningly to take something that is
not yours, or you can use it to improve your own skills. Put a gun in
your hand and you have a responsibility - a responsibility to use it
properly and safely. Put a gun in your hand and you have
accountability. You will have to answer for how you did or didn't use
it - to the legal system, to others in your life, and to God.

He concluded with these words: "Now, put a Bible in your hand..."

Edd Sterchi is the minister of the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, Illinois.

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Jesus Knows
By Bryan McAlister

Too great is the amount of information in the book of Hebrews to
relay in one brief article. Of the numerous lessons, perhaps the most
practical to our lives we learn, Jesus left heaven and came to earth
for our benefit, to learn of us, to understand us, and to help us as
we make our way back to heaven.

Troubles can monopolize our lives if we are not watchful in our
management of them. That is certainly not to say we can schedule our
trouble in life at times when it is more convenient (wouldn't that be
great!). It is to say though, when troubles arise, if we are equipped
in our understanding, we will be better able to handle those
difficulties. We are promised adversity, and should meet it with a
calculated response. Part of that response involves our awareness of
Jesus' sympathizing ear (Heb 2:14).

Jesus is described as one who sits in heaven, literally waiting to
help us in our lives on earth. He serves as our Mediator,
communicating the adversities we face to God, when we pray through
the Son. Those who have confessed the good confession, Jesus as the
Son of God, are encouraged to not only remain true to this
confession, but also remember what it truly means to our lives. If
you have made the confession of faith, that Jesus is the Sovereign
Son of God, you believe He is able to help, when others do not
understand your temptation (Heb 2:17). Having confessed Jesus as the
Christ, you affirm His purity of sacrifice for your sins as
being "free" and "freeing" of your bondage to sin (Heb 9:26). With
the confession of Jesus as the Christ, you admit that He will aid
your life even when you are bombarded with troubles (Heb 13:5). Now
the question is, do you live this way?

Among the requirements placed upon us in receiving help from God, key
to our aid, is approaching the throne of grace, in order that we
might obtain mercy and grace to help in our need (Heb 4:16). Sadly,
many of God's people will ridicule God for their adversity, without
ever examining their response in the midst of the trial. You see
friend, God requires you and me to come boldly to His throne, in time
of need (Heb 4:16). It sounds simple, but when I am in need of help
and sympathy from God, I need to ask! Likewise, it may sound too
easy, but when I ask in boldness, it will be granted.

Perhaps God's help will come in the form of a brother or sister in
Christ calling on me out of concern. Maybe my peace will come through
time spent in study of God's message to me. I may even find peace
when I pause for prayer and conversation with my Lord. Whatever the
case, my God will grant me His grace that I may continue on to the
place where indeed resides true rest from all my troubles.

Bryan McAlister is the minister of the Jackson church of Christ in Jackson, Missouri

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Dealing With The Unexpected
by: David Ferguson

Many are dealing with unexpected surprises and sorrows in life. It is
human nature to desire to control what is happening in our lives, but
there will always be things happening to us over which we are simply
powerless. These are the times in which our faith must sustain us
regardless of our obstacles. These are the times in which we must
turn our lives over to God, and trust in Him fully to provide for us,
and comfort us, as only He can do.

None of us is immune from tragedy. We need to prepare ourselves for
the unexpected events that await us, both great and small, and we can
do so by spending time in God's word, and by increasing our prayer
life. Just as the body needs food to enable us to live healthy
physical lives, so too, our spirits need a daily diet of spiritual
nourishment that only comes from an intimate knowledge of God's word.
It is this intimate knowledge of our Father that will give us
the "peace that passeth understanding" and "shall guard your hearts
and your thoughts in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)

We have a victorious Savior in our corner acting in our behalf. The
pain you bear was borne by Him at Calvary. He knows you, and He knows
what is best for you. Turn to Him and He shall comfort you, for it is
in Him that our victory is maintained. Keep your mind focused on Him.
There is nothing in your life that is bigger than Christ, if you will
simply turn it over to Him.

Worrying over that in which you have no control has a debilitating
effect by distracting us from that over which we do maintain control.
There are many brothers and sisters in Christ who love you and care
greatly about you, even more than you ever know. Turn to them, and
allow them to help bear your burdens, "and so fulfill the law of
Christ," (Galatians 6:2).

The choice is ours, and ours alone. No one can take that from us. We
can either let our burdens be a discouragement and a hindrance to our
spiritual growth, or we can take control by choosing to exercise our
faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ, regardless of what Satan
tosses our way, and find ourselves even closer to God our Father. He
loves us! In fact, He loves us so much that He gave us His very own
Son to bring us back to Him even when we had willfully walked away
from Him! That is how much He loves us!

David R. Ferguson is the minister of the Lakeland Church in Mattoon, Illinois

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The Anchor Holds
by: David A. Sargent

This very day many are suffering in dire circumstances of war and
natural disaster. Our hearts and our hands go out to those who have
suffered unimaginable trauma.

A question looms in the minds of those affected:
Is there ANY hope?

When faced with difficult circumstances, the Psalmist was also on the
verge of despair. He wrote: "My tears have been my food day and
night, while men say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?'" (Psalm
42:3). Yet, he reminded himself of the ONLY true source of hope in
any and every circumstance: "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so
disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God" (Psalm 42:5).

Is there any hope? YES! Our hope is in God.

A preacher was putting the finishing touches on a sermon that he was
soon to deliver when his telephone rang. Answering the phone the
preacher heard the words of a student: "Last night my child died."
The preacher thought to himself, "What can I say to him?" Then he
made up his mind: "I will say to him what I would say to anyone. It's
captured in this gospel song [by Edward Mote]:

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the Solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

Because of Christ, one may proclaim along with the writer of the book
of Hebrews: "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure
and steadfast" (Hebrews 6:19). An anchor is used to provide
stability, even in the times of storm.

In the same way, one's hope in Christ gives stability in the storms
that life brings.

This hope extends beyond the storms of this life - even beyond the
grave - to an eternity with God in the Paradise of Heaven (Revelation
21:4).

The basis of this hope is a relationship with God -- who loved us so
much that He gave His Son to die for our sins so that we might have
hope beyond the troubles of this life. We can share in this hope if
we will believe in Christ and trust Him (Acts 16:31), repent of our
sins (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), be
baptized (immersed) for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38),
and "LIVE" in this hope by continuing to follow Him (1 John 1:7; 3:3).

Are YOU downcast and disturbed with the struggles of this life? Put
YOUR hope in God. He ALONE is our Savior and our God - the anchor for
our soul.

And the Anchor holds!

David A. Sargent is a minister with the church of Christ at Creekwood
in Mobile, Alabama. Archived issues of "Living Water" can be viewed
and accessed at: http://www.creekwoodcc.org

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Quick Riches
----misc. goodies this issue

Jesus Christ
--J esus, Son of God Eternal
--E verlasting Lord is He,
--S avior of a world of sinners,
--U niversal King to be,
--S ought us, brought us victory.

--C hrist is due all adoration,
--H umbly born to save our race,
--R uler of the whole creation
--I ntercedes and gives us grace,
--S aves us from sin's condemnation,
--T ruly worthy of all praise!

Author unknown (via Ruth Patterson, Hinesville GA)

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Avoiding Poverty
by: Lance Cordle

A recent feature story on a local television station caught my
attention: "How Young People Can Avoid Poverty." Being a Christian,
knowing that God is concerned about those who are poor, and living in
a nation that has something of a social conscience, I was interested
to know that someone sees ways to help young people avoid such a fate.

In fact, I think these factors should be broadcast as broadly as
possible. My expectation is however, that they will not. The main
reason they will not is that at least one of them is considered
a "moral choice" and the combination of the three "smacks" of
religious "ought-ness." You be the judge; here they are:

1. Finish school.
2. Get married.
3. Wait until at least your twenties to have children.

Lance Cordle is the pulpit minister of the Calvert City church of
Christ, Calvert City, Kentucky. (Via "The Family Friend," March 2005,
published monthly by the Calvert City church).

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The Value Of A Smile

A smile is nature's best antidote for discouragement. It brings rest
to the weary, sunshine to those who are sad, and hope to those who
are hopeless and defeated.

A smile is so valuable that it can't be bought, begged, borrowed, or
taken away against our will. You have to be willing to give a smile
away before it can do anyone else any good.

So if someone is too tired or grumpy to flash you a smile, let him
have one of yours anyway. Nobody needs a smile as much as the person
who has none to give.

Selected (via "The Sower," Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL; Ron
Bartanen, editor)

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

A Smile is Catching

I smiled at Mrs. Jones;
She smiled at Mrs. Brown.
The next thing that we knew,
The smile had the town.
Contagious, infectious-
Whate're the case may be,
It takes a smile to loosen
The jaws of Mrs. Lee.
So when your jaws get rusty
>From drooping with a frown,
You just get hep and loosen up-
With the smile that's going 'round.

(Author unknown; via The Sower, Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL;
Ron Bartanen, editor)

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Still On My Feet
by: H. L. Gradowith

I am tired and weary and I need a rest,
Friend don't get me wrong, I know I have been blest;
But sometimes when storm clouds are hovering low,
And it seems that I have no place I can go
I despair and worry and begin to fall.
And just when it seems that I will lose it all.
It is then that I think of the blood He shed!
And His promise that I shall be safely led
Through the valleys of life to a better land
Where with Jesus someday I will take my stand!
But, still, I'm tired and weary and need a rest;
When troubles come I will do my very best.
Sometimes I wonder if my best is enough.
The roads I have traveled have sometimes been rough.
I've fought many battles and I've braved the heat;
But thanks to His mercy I'm still on my feet!
I'm not sure just how. but, I'm sure I'll make it,
Whatever comes up, I'm sure I can take it!
He'll lead me through hard times to a better land
Where by His side someday I will take my stand!
So when I'm tired and weary and need a rest,
And when my faith is being put to the test,
I'll stop and remember that He's there for me,
I'll rejoice knowing His blood has set me free!
I'll look forward to Heaven where doubt and fear
And pain and sorrow and grief and ev'ry tear
Will at long last by His Hand be wiped away!
Just think of that City! The Unending Day!
I'll trade all life's valleys for a better land
Where with my Precious Lord I will take my stand!

(March 9, 2005) H. L. Gradowith (Tim Smith) preaches for the Enon
Church of Christ near Dothan, Alabama.
See The Humor Archive at Yahoo! Groups:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gradowithsdailyhumor/
See The Poem Archive at Yahoo! Groups:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gradowithspoems/
Gradowith's Homepage:
http://www.geocities.com/gradowith/GradowithsHomepage.html

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I WALKED THE PATH
by: A. C. WILLIAMS

I walked the path of suffering--I thought I was alone;
But soon I learned that others had heartaches like my own.
A legion came to join me--an understanding throng;
To share and bear our burdens--heal suffering with song.

I found courage in their handclasp--I found patience in their calm;
I found hope in faith's assurance--I found healing in their balm.
I'm not alone in suffering--I'm not alone in tears;
For those who weep with those who weep can wipe away my tears.

And too, when sore affliction comes--a dreary, rainy day;
I look inside my heart and find rich blessings stored away.
I take them from a treasure chest--and count them o'er and o'er;
And think how good God's been to men--why don't we trust Him more?

If all were sun and sunshine--if clouds would never weep;
Would little flowers lift their heads--would sowers ever reap?
The valleys down below us, but emphasize the heights;
Low-hanging clouds about us are pierced with shafts of light.

If sickness never hindered, and pain ne'er wracked our frame;
Would days of health be cherished, if suffering never came?
In deeps of life's great ocean, may suffering be pearled;
And in the days of reck'ning be a gem of heaven's world.

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

He died for me so I live for Him

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