BulletinGold #55
July 3, 2005   Vol 5, #5
 

Editor's Remarks
----by David Bragg

"Evangelism" is the theme running through much of this month's issue of  BulletinGold.  Sharing our faith is essential for the perpetuation of the Lord's church in succeeding generations, not to mention our own salvation as we are commanded to fulfill this sacred responsibility (Matthew 28:18-20).  Evangelism is, therefore, a question of obedience rather than convenience.
As always, we are thankful for each and every contributor, whether their contribution be in the form of materials to be published for the benefits of others or in helpful suggestions on how we can improve in making BulletinGold a valuable resource to those responsible for getting out their congregation's bulletin or newsletter each week.

David Bragg, co-editor
editor@bulletingold.com

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

A Parable Of A Lighthouse

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, they went out day or night tirelessly searching for the lost. Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous.

Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little life-saving station grew. Some of the new members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that
a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea.

So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in an enlarged building. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they re-decorated it beautifully and furnished it as a sort of club. Less of the members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired life boat crews to do this work.

The mission of life-saving was still given lip-service but most were too busy or lacked the necessary commitment to take part in the life-saving activities personally.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin, and some spoke a strange language, and the beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club's life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal life pattern of the club. But some members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the life of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. They evolved into a club, and yet another life-saving station was founded.

If you visit the seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, only now most of the people drown.

-- Author unknown; adapted by Steve Rudd; Via The Encourager, Calvert City Church of Christ, Calvert City, KY

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Baptism
by: David R. Ferguson

This past Sunday I was privileged, thrilled and delighted to witness a fantastic occurrence: I was present to watch a young man die! I witnessed this event firsthand along with several others, so I know that it happened. I watched as this young man died and was buried, and yet no one who saw this event was sad.

It is true that no one was sad, but that does not mean there were no dry eyes in that audience. Even though I did not know the young man personally, I found some tears well up in my own eyes as his death was manifest. Many had actually prayed for this death for a long time, and tears of joy trickled down their faces as they watched
their prayers being answered as this young man surrendered his life to death.

How could anyone be happy with the death of a young man? How could anyone not only wanted, but even prayed for the moment this young man would die who, by all outward appearances, seemed to be in the prime of his life and in perfect health? Those in the audience, and those who had prayed for this moment, were now rejoicing for this young man chose to be immersed into Jesus Christ, washing away his sins (Acts 22:16)!

Our sinful nature must die in order for us to have eternal life in Christ. Paul wrote, "But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him; knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died unto sin once: but the life that He
liveth, He liveth unto God." (Romans 6:8-10) When we die unto sin we come alive unto God in His Son: "Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus." (Romans 6:11) Once we are alive unto God through His Son, we are also members of His family, and heirs to His fortune: "The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him." (Romans 8:16-17)

It is only through obedient baptism that one accesses the cleansing power of Jesus' blood: "Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:3-4) It is only through baptism that one becomes clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27) Won't you choose to die to self and to sin, and walk in newness of life with Christ, that we along with the heavenly host may rejoice for your death, too?

May God bless you!

-- 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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The Gospel Is For All
by: Ed Sterchi

One thing that impresses me more and more every time I go to Ghana is the fact that the gospel is for all. I did a lot of studying in the book of Acts for my teaching on this trip. In the book of Acts alone, we can clearly see the principle of the gospel being for literally everybody. Note the different classes of people to whom the gospel
was taken in the early church: 
- The Jews (Acts 2:37-47) 
- "Both men and women" (Acts 5:14)
- The Samaritans (Acts 8:5ff)
- An African (Ethiopian) office holder (Acts 8:27-39)
- An educated, fanatical, religious leader (Paul - Acts 9:17; 22:1-16)
- A good, decent, God-fearing man who also was a soldier (Acts 10:1-4; 34-48)
- A politician (proconsul - Acts 13:12)
- A businesswoman (Lydia - Acts 16:13-15)
- A heathen jailer (Acts 16:25-34)
- "Prominent" people (Acts 17:12)
- Some people who had prejudged reputations (the Corinthians - Acts 18:7-8; "to be a Corinthian became synonymous with living a licentious life" - Barnes Commentary)
- Religious people mistaken as to the plan of salvation (Acts 19:1-5)
- Folks who practiced occult (Acts 19:18)
- On and on we could go, but you get the idea!
There are no classes excluded in the gospel of God. It is good for the young and the old. There is no barrier between gender, race, or social status (see Gal. 3:28).

Friends, we need to take the gospel to all, for the gospel is for all. As the song so aptly states: "Of one the Lord has made the race, Thro' one has come the fall; Where sin has gone must go His grace: The Gospel is for all.Say not the heathen are at home, Beyond we have no call; For why should we be blest alone? The Gospel is for all. Received ye freely, freely give, From every land they call; Unless they hear they cannot live: The Gospel is for all."

- 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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The Risen Son
by: David Bragg

J. M. McCaleb holds an honored role in the history of our Lord's church. Mission work in the 1890's was typically conducted under the umbrella of a Missionary Society, but McCaleb realized the possibility of churches doing the work as the New Testament taught. That meant informing elderships of his mission plans and raising the needed funds from local churches rather than from a centrally located body or society. The leaders of the Society looked on his efforts as irresponsible. McCaleb set out to prove them wrong. He succeeded.

Through the help of men like W. K. Azbill, McCaleb began to learn the culture of his adopted country. With the aid of David Lipscomb he honed his message of Jesus. On April 12, 1892 J. M. and Della McCaleb, Azbill, two single women and a single man landed in Yokohama, Japan. Their mission was to take the story of the risen
Son to those living in the "Land of the Rising Sun."

The American missionaries refused to reside in the international housing, choosing instead to live among the Japanese. By 1930 McCaleb reported over twenty congregations in Japan with more than 2,000 baptisms, but many of these had become unfaithful. To help cover expenses and dwindling support McCaleb taught English for a nickel an hour. He was forced to leave the country in 1941, just
before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Back in America McCaleb began teaching at Pepperdine University and continued to work with Japanese students. John Moody McCaleb died in 1953. The Japanese Government has declared his home in Tokyo a national historic monument. A more appropriate monument is one left by brother McCaleb himself, our hymn "The Gospel is For All." a fitting tribute to his life's work.

-- David Bragg is one of the co-editors of BulletinGold.  For information regarding his newly published book, Memoirs of a Martyr, a study of the life and letters of Simon Peter, visit his website at http://www.cape.churchofchristwebs.com/ 

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The Facts Of The Gospel
by: Jimmy W. Cox

I Cor. 15:1-8-What ever else the Christian system unfolds in the New Testament, it is first of all a record of historical facts. It is a divine revelation, an unveiling of man, a body of ethical precepts-it became a religious system. In these scriptures a story of fundamental, primary facts are found.

"That Christ Died". This is recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The fact of His death, like the fact of His life, is universally conceded. The apostle Paul takes us back to the saddest scene ever enacted upon the earth, to the darkest day in the world's history. But, the greatest blessing ever offered mankind became available
because of what happened that day. 

(a) As a sacrificial victim: "For our sins". Jesus did not die merely as a martyr, but also as an expiatory offering on account of our sins. John 1:29; I John 3:5; Gal. 1:4; Titus 2:14.
(b) As a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy: "According to the scriptures." It was not just the will of wicked men, but also in fulfillment of God's divine plan for saving man from our sins, that Christ died. Isa. 53:1-8.

"That He was buried." Jesus Christ, being human as well as divine, touched life at every point. He began as an infant at Bethlehem, and ended in a tomb just outside of Jerusalem. He was buried in a borrowed tomb-another point in His humiliation.

(a) In a place of beauty. The tomb was in a garden, a lovely spot fashioned by the hands of a rich man. John 19:38-42.
(b) In a place of purity. It was "in a new tomb wherein was never man yet laid." Matt. 27:60. He who came to resurrection and life, even his body did not see corruption. Psalm 16:10.

"That He has been raised." Jesus' resurrection is declared in Matt. 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20. (a) "On the third day". Jesus foretold this in Matt. 16:21. On the first day of the week, which became the day of worship for Christians. Acts 20:7, I Cor. 16:1-2

"That He was seen by Cephas, by the twelve - by over 500 brethren, by James, by all the apostles, and the last by Paul. All of these were eye-witnesses to His resurrection. Believe in Christ, John 8:24; Repent of sins Acts 2:38; Confess Christ publicly, Matt. 10:32; Be baptized into Christ, Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-5. Live faithfully Rev. 2:10. Enjoy the blessings of eternal life.

-- Jimmy Cox is from Sandy Hook, MS and attends the Columbia Church of Christ.  He may be contacted at coxsandyhook@yahoo.com

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The Seed Is In The Barn
by: W. A. Martin

People are in the church building praying for a good harvest when they have not sown the seed. The seed is in the barn. Christ said: "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest." (Matt. 9:37-38). "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together."(John 4:35-36). "Labour not for the meat which perisheth but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give you."(John 6; 27).

People offer excuses for the seed being in the barn because of lack of understanding about heaven. If people fully understood what is at stake, they would search the scriptures daily to be sure they are right with God. (Acts 17:11). People can't pull the wool over God's eyes because the seed is still in the barn. People's energy, time, and their talents go where their focus is. The Bible does not record one word by the woman when she brought the box of ointment to anoint the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. You don't ask what the Lord meant to the poor widow. When
she cast her two mites into the treasure, the other people had done almost nothing. The gift and the effort speak for themselves.

One day the Lord will return to judge those he left in charge to sow the seed. People's decisions about sowing the seed have always been a reflection of their values. Their decision reflects their values. The word must be taught in such a manner the listener will not have to guess about what God requires of them. People need to stop trying to get more out of their religion than they are willing to put into it. Nothing on earth will take the place of a positive attitude that people can do what the Lord wants them to do about sowing the seed.

One day the Lord will ask about the lost and those out-of-duty, therefore people need to prepare their answers now. People are being graded daily by God on their effort to sow the seed. One day God will pass out the report cards. What then? You have to say if people truly value eternity they will make good use of their time and talents.
Real hope does not put people in a rocking chair until the Lord returns, but it puts them in the field sowing the seed.

-- W. A. Martin preaches part-time for Scurry church of Christ, Scurry, Texas and is editor of a church bulletin sent out to several thousand homes quarterly for the Church of Christ. He has preached for 53 years.

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

Victory In Jesus
by: Ron Bartanen

"Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." (1 John 5:4)

Note that John did not say "Whatsoever is born of God will overcome.", but "overcometh"-a present reality. As believers in Christ, the victory over the world has already been accomplished. To His disciples, Jesus said, "These things have I spoken to you that ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but
be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33. He has won a victory we would, of ourselves, be totally incapable of winning. Those who have identified themselves with Christ in His death and resurrection, being buried with Him in baptism, and raised to "newness of life" (Romans 6:3-4), are the true winners in
life. The troubles of this world fail to daunt us. The reality of the cross and the empty tomb give us the assurance that regardless of out-ward circumstances, we are not the losers.

-- Ron Bartanen, minister of the Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur Church of Christ in Arthur, IL.  He may be contacted at ron33dor@one-eleven.net

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The Story Behind Tupperware
by: Kevin Rayner

While he was still in his teens, Earl Tupper began a small business selling fruits and vegetables to his neighbors. He was good at it and learned quickly about the finer points of salesmanship. This was a big asset to Tupper when, years later, he began a new business. That enterprise, started in 1945, was a line of plastic containers that he dubbed Tupperware. At first, Tupper used the conventional method of marketing his products through retail stores. But after five years of mediocre sales, he began to envision a new plan of action. Recalling his earlier days, when he sold produce directly to housewives, Tupper decided to try this same direct approach in selling Tupperware. It was 1950 when Tupper began selling his plastic containers directly to the people who would use them most. He invited people into homes and
demonstrated the product. Sales were good, better than they had been in retail stores, and it was clear that this approach had considerable promise.

However, it was also clear that Tupper could not sell enough product by himself, so he arranged for housewives to become Tupperware dealers. They could hold "parties" at friends houses, and each hostess would receive a gift. The housewives would have a part- time income, while maintaining their freedom to take their children to school and do the other household chores. By 1954, Tupperware had a network of over 9,000 dealers across the United States. Sales eventually spread to Europe, and today Tupperware is found in kitchen cabinets around the world. A product alone is not enough. You must devise a plan to sell your product, sometimes with a unique method, to your customers. Grenville Kleiser said, "The most successful men have used seeming failures as steppingstones to better things."

-- Kevin Rayner preaches for the Oak Tree church of Christ Rochester, MN.  You can visit his website at http://www.geocities.com/otchurch

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How To Be Useless and Miserable

Be Self-Centered -- Bestow all your affection and care upon yourself, seek your own happiness and well-being to the point of unconcern for the needs of others.

Be Demanding Of Others -- Tell yourself that others are obligated to you, that it is their duty to be concerned about you and look after your best interest, and make no allowance for the least failure on their part to discharge this duty.

Feel Neglected And Become Absorbed In Self-Sympathy -- Convince yourself completely that others do not fulfill their obligations to you, and never allow the least doubt that you are a subject of misfortune and pity.

See Only Good In Yourself And Faults In Others -- For every attitude and act of unrighteousness on your part, find an excuse to salve your conscience while demanding absolute perfection of others.

Observe these rules and you will attain complete uselessness and perfect misery, especially if you make sure others see just how pathetic you are.

If, however, your aim is usefulness and happiness, then you must do the exact opposite: "It is more blessed to give than to receive," and remember that selfishness is among man's most soul-condemning blunders.

-- Selected; via the bulletin for the Harrisburg Church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

God Show Me How
by: Grace E. Easley

God give me wisdom to discern
Just where I am most needed
And grant nobody's cry to help
To me, shall go unheeded.
Let me see into those hearts
Who hide their deepest pain
And show me how to write the words
To bring them hope again.
Lord, You have given me so much
And now I want to share
The Love with which You shower me,
With people everywhere.
Though I brought nothing to this world
And that is how I'll leave it,
May all my poems ring out with Faith,
... The way that I believe it.

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Let Them Know
by: Grace E. Easley

Let somebody know you're caring,
Take the time to listen to
What they want so much to tell you,
For the gentle folks are few.
You are not so high and mighty,
That you cannot spare a smile,
For you never know when you might
Need somebody after-while.

Let somebody know they matter,
Do not turn and look away,
You will someday have to answer,
For the things you do today.
Never be in such a hurry,
That you have no time to do
A kindly deed, else someday God
...Might not have time for you!

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

The only way to "keep the faith" is to share it.

Jesus came to seek and save and lost, what is it that you are seeking?

Silence isn't always golden.  Sometimes it's "guilt." 

"Whatever is in the heart will come up to the tongue." (William
Shakespeare)

"Failure is an event, never a person." (William D. Brown)

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