BulletinGold #57 
September 4, 2005   Vol 5 #7
 

Editor's Remarks
----by David Bragg

One important area in the life of every faithful Christian is worship.  Often taken for granted, it may represent one of our greatest untapped sources of spiritual blessing.  Worship has been defined as "reverent devotion and allegiance pledged to God; the
rituals or ceremonies by which this reverence is expressed" (Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary).  Our English word worship is derived from the Old English "worthship," signifying a condition of value or worth which is attributed to God, the recipient of our worship.

Across time worship has included sacrifice, singing, incense, prayers, altars, the ark, communion, vows, offerings, Temples, circumcision and preaching.  What some see as a confusing array of activities is really quite simple.  God authorized various elements of worship in the Old Testament (in anticipation to the coming of the Christ) and others in the New Testament (in celebration of His coming).  Thus the worship of the New Testament church differed from the worship of Old Testament Israel.

Everyone today who sincerely desires to worship in a manner pleasing to God must ask how the early church carried out the expressions of worship authorized by Christ.  This, according to the scriptures, was accomplished on Sundays (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2).  Otherwise there are no limitations placed upon the frequency of singing, prayers and preaching.  In fact the early Christians seemed actively
involved in these areas on an on-going basis (Jas. 5:13; 1 Thes. 5:17).

Worship is an important aspect of the Christian experience.  Each of us should seek a better understanding of it's role so that we might more fully enjoy it's blessings.  It is towards that end that many of the following items are addressed.  They are offered with the prayer that as the Lord's church gathers each member will possess
a deeper understanding of the importance of worship.
                                                           --- David Bragg, co-editor

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

It's Time For Worship!!!
by: Edd Sterchi

It's time for worship, and worship is a time of sacrifice (cf. 2 Kings 17:36).  Under the Old Law, sacrifice was closely connected with worship.  Even though we live under a different covenant today (Col. 2:14; Heb. 8:1-13), our worship of God should still have the aspect of sacrifice.  It should still cost us something.  It should still be a determined  effort of our very best.  It should still be us giving to God.

Now that we are here to worship, let us offer...

...our lips in sacrifice of praise.  Let us praise God audibly and heartily.  Let us sing with feeling and fervor.  Let us give and give again with our voices.  "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name" (Heb. 13:15).

...our hearts in sacrifice of sincerity. Let us be serious and genuine in our worship.  Let us be purposeful in our offerings.  Let our very souls pour forth from the inside.  "For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (Phil. 3:3).

...our bodies in sacrifice of service.  Let us be active and involved.  Let us put forth a great effort.  Let us truly give with our all.  "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1).

...our minds in sacrifice of focus.  Let us concentrate upon God, on who He is and what He has done.  Let us center upon His will.  Let us pay careful attention to what we do and the way we do it. "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24).

Paul admitted that his labors and life was a "drink offering" before the Lord (Phil. 2:17; 2 Tim. 4:6).  He had given his all.  He had emptied himself.  He had left none for self.  Let us give our all in sacrifice of worship before our Maker!

- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  He may be contacted at sterchi@midwest.net

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Why Don't I Get More Out of Worship?
by: Ed Thomason

Sometimes people will indicate that they just did not get anything out of worship today! That statement use to bother me because I thought as a preacher or elder it somehow reflected on me personally and that it was "my" responsibility to make sure everyone got something.

I know as a preacher I should always try to inspire, uplift and challenge us to look deeper into our own lives in self examination in light of the scriptures. (Sometimes I am more successful at this than at other times.) I know it is important for all of us to edify, encourage and inspire one another as best we can. But in the end, we each get out of worship what each of us are willing to give. Consider this quote carefully:

"We do not assemble to receive from men and worship leaders, but to give to God." 

Let us ask ourselves, Did I give God my praise and gratitude in worship? Did I give God my heart and sincere devotion? Did I give God my Best? Did I sing from my heart? Did I generously give as I have prospered? Did I pray with a depth of gratitude for the blessings in my life?

We should not be passive in worship. We should not come with the expectation that those who lead the songs, prayers or share a lesson from God's word have the responsibility of giving me something or stimulating me. Let us come with a desire to draw near God with humility and joyful praise. May our singing be heart felt, our prayers sincere, our giving generous, and may our study of God's word be filled with enthusiasm that "we" bring to worship rather than receive at worship.

Then as we remember the Lord at His table we will surely see the purpose of our worship-which is to "give" glory to God for what God has already given to us!

***(above quote attributed to F. Furman Kearley)

Ed Thomason preaches for the church of Christ in New Madrid MO and
is webmaster for BulletinGold.com and preachtoday.com

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Faith and Obedience Essential
by: Jimmy W. Cox

"Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth, love one another fervently from a pure heart in sincere brotherly affection." (1 Pet. 1:22). "A pure soul" requires
"obeying the truth" and "loving one another."

That "obedience" is necessary for salvation is also shown in Heb. 5:8-9- "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered; and having been made perfect, He because to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation." Jesus obeyed the Father, and we have to obey the Son and the Father in
order to be saved. Although other things, including "grace" and "faith" are necessary to acquire salvation, we should never make the mistake of "choosing only a few of the necessary things", and leaving off all others.

Eph. 2:8-9- "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God not of works, lest any man should boast." The only person who ever lived "without sin" was Jesus Christ. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory or God". (Rom. 3:23). We can't live good enough to earn our own salvation.  In order to obtain eternal redemption for us, Jesus shed His blood on a cross, as our sin offering. 

Jesus sent His apostles and others to teach the Good News (Gospel) of salvation. Many will hear, but not everyone will obey the commandments. Those who obey will be saved; those who reject or neglect to obey will be lost. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the
will of My Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21). Are you willing to fully "trust in Jesus"? Will you Believe in Jesus Christ as God's Son (Heb. 11:6; John 8:24); Repent of sins (Acts 2:38); Confess Christ before men (Matt. 10:32); Put on Christ in
Baptism (Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-6); Live a Godly, faithful life (Rev.2:10).

-- 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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Your Talk the Talk - Will you Walk the Walk?
by: Lance Cordle

Historian David McCullough has just released a new book entitled, 1776. In it, he recounts the tumultuous year in which our nation was born.  In McCullough's telling of the story, the reader is led to see that, among other things that year, the  United States lost more battles than they won,  had an army that was riddled by disease and desertion, and had many citizens who remained loyal to England. Through it all, however, there were those who remained faithful to the cause-most prominently George Washington. One of Washington's confidants, Joseph Reed wrote concerning the state of patriotism at the time and criticized those he called the "noisiest sons of liberty":  some of the men who were the most outspoken about
independence.  He went on to remark that they tended to be the quietest on the field of battle and that even the very prospect of battle provided an interesting insight into character. In our time, one is led to think of  oft-repeated phrases: They "talked the talk" but did not "walk the walk."

However, such behavior did not begin or end with the Revolutionary War. Cain brought  a  sacrifice  to God, but unlike his brother Abel , he did not  conform to the behavior God desired-wanting to be seen as religious, but unwilling to be obedient (Genesis 4:3,4; Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12). As Moses led the children of Israel
through the wilderness, they were willing to follow him and to be "the children of God" as long as things were going well. However, when the going became challenging, they murmured and complained instead of remaining faithful (1 Corinthians 10:1-10).  The letter  of Christ to Laodiceans (Revelation 3:14-22) shows a picture of group of people who thought they were rich, wealthy, and self-sufficient, but who, in reality, were poor and miserable.

Indeed, even today, there are some people who speak favorably of following God and yet are not willing to  commit their hearts and lives to him. They glibly pledge loyalty to the Lord, attend church services, and wear the name, "Christian." But, in the day-to-day struggle, they fail to put forth the effort: moral indiscretions are committed, honesty is forfeited, and worldliness is embraced. As a result, the name of Christ is  blasphemed, and  the truth is  obscured (James 2:7).

What would have happened in the struggle for American independence if the majority of our citizens "talked the talk, but did not walk the walk"? What will happen if that describes you and me at the Judgment?

-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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The Lord Will See. Do You See?
by: John Telgren

When Abraham offers up Isaac as a sacrifice in Genesis 22, he calls that place Yahweh Yireh, "The LORD will provide." Out of the over 1200 times the word, "yireh" is used, English Bibles translate it "provide" only three times, once in Gen 22:8, and twice in Gen 22:14. In nearly every other occurrence, it is rendered, "see" or "saw" or "look." With that in mind, you can render this verse as, "And Abraham called the name of that place, 'Yahweh will see.' Just as it is said to this day, 'In the mountain of Yahweh it will be seen.' (Gen 22:14)"

"The Lord provides" seems more preferable than "The Lord sees." However, that is not precisely what the word means. So how would those going to the mountain of the Lord find comfort in the fact that God "sees?" God seeing is more than just seeing. The idea of God "seeing" is rich with meaning. Here are a few examples.

".And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of {their} bondage rose up to God. . God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice. . The LORD said, 'I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, . So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, .' (Exo 2:23 - 3:8)."

God "saw" Israel in their bondage, and moves to deliver them. That's why Israel sang comforting songs about God "seeing" them. "The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; From His dwelling place He looks out On all the inhabitants of the earth, Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness, To deliver their soul from death And to keep them alive in famine (Ps 33:13-19)." Mary echoes the same sentiment when she receives the announcement that she will bear the son of God. Here, the Greek word, "epibleplo" is often rendered "he has had regard for." However, it literally means "to see," or to "look upon."

"And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has looked upon state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed (Lk 1:47-48)."

So God is not just a disinterested watcher. When God sees, he acts. He provides. His most wondrous provision was salvation at the cross, when he himself provided his own son for our atonement.

According to the saying in Gen 22:14, when we come to the Lord, it will be seen. In other words, God notices. Since God has noticed, he wants us to notice as well. That is why Jesus told his disciples, "Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest (John 4:35b)."

Jesus is calling us to notice. We live among people who need desperately to come to know God. Do you notice? Your neighbor needs to experience the love and grace of God in his life? Do you notice? Your co-worker is having a bad day. Do you notice? Someone in the body is struggling. Do you notice?

- 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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Who Is Jesus?
by: Stefano R. Mugnaini

Who is Jesus?  This question has been asked by people throughout the world, both in our time and in the first century. Indeed, it was the question of identity that put Him in conflict with the religious establishment of the day.

  In Luke 5:21, we read that the Pharisees and Scribes asked "Who is this that speaketh Blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"  When Herod, in Luke 9, heard of His preaching and healing, he wondered who He was, whether a risen John the Baptizer or Elijah.  He said: "John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?"  When the Pharisees came across a man whose eyes Jesus had opened, they said to him: "we are disciples of Moses, but as to this man, we know not where he is from."  In this case, they meant that they did not know who he was.  Even His disciples asked: "who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" This is a question that was wrangled over by His followers and enemies, disciples and critics.

It is not insignificant, then, that Jesus asked the same question of His followers in Matthew 16:
"13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." 15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the  living God." 17 And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven."

Many answers were proposed to the question, but Peter gave the only one that counted: "You are the Christ, the son of the living God."  This indicates that there was a) only One Savior and b) only one Living God.  This message carries with it several implications for us today.  If there is but one God, and one Savior (as that is what Christ means), then there is but ONE path to salvation.  As phrased by Paul, this is to be "In Christ Jesus."  This means abiding in His teaching, humbling ourselves before Him and being obedient to His gospel.  The truth of the matter is that it is not enough to know WHO Christ is.It is what we do with that knowledge that can make the difference between Heaven and Hell.
     
- 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

CHURCH SIGN BOARDS

-  No God, no peace.  Know God, know peace.
-  Free trip to heaven-details inside.
-  Searching for a new look? Have your faith lifted here.
-  People are like tea bags-you have to put them in hot water before
you know how strong they are.
-  Fight truth decay-Study the Bible daily.
-  It is unlikely that there will be a reduction in the wages of sin.
-  If you're headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns.
- "If Jesus came 10 minutes ago, where would you be"

- Via THE SOWER, weekly newsletter of the church of Christ in Arthur, IL (Ron Bartanen, editor and preacher, can be contacted at ) and Ed Thomason, who preaches for the church of Christ in New Madrid MO and is webmaster for BulletinGold.com and preachtoday.com.

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Giving Involves Our Time, Too!

Not everyone has the same talent or amount of money to give, but we all have the same amount of time, twenty-four hours each day.  The part of that time that we give to the service of the Lord and to others depends upon our love for the Lord, our family
responsibilities, our jobs, and our priorities.  Thomas Edison once said that time is the most important thing in the world.  Benjamin Franklin said that time is the stuff of which life is made.

Today is the time we have to give.  Tomorrow may never be.  The words of Jesus as recorded by John are most noteworthy: "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work" (John 9:4).  The words of Paul are also most appropriate, "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time" (Col. 4:5).

- Selected, via the Harrisburg church of Christ, in Harrisburg, IL.  Edd Sterchi preaches for this congregation.

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Culture and Church
by: Kevin Rayner

I recently heard about how in Holland they are dealing with the drug culture. They are blasting Bach & Beethoven into the subway tunnels to repel the drug addicts. It has been the most effective idea in dealing with the problem. It is also being used in Germany.

The church's challenge has always been trying to take truth into a world with a culture that is resistant to it. Is it possible though that the style of music used to drive away people in society is sometimes the kind that many prefer in worship.

We must be relevant to the culture without changing the content and heart of the message of the gospel.

- Kevin Rayner preaches for the Oak Tree church of Christ in Rochester, MN.  He can be contacted at otchurch@hotmail.com

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

Examine Yourselves

Would I be called a Christian, if everybody knew
My secret thoughts and feelings, and everything I do?
Oh, could they hear Him speaking, in everything I say;
Are the words I utter proving, that I am of "the way"?

Would I be called a Christian, if everyone could know,
That I am found in places, that Jesus wouldn't go?
Oh, could they hear His echo, in every song I sing;
In eating, drinking, dressing, would they see Christ my King?

Would I be called a Christian, if judged by what I read,
By all my recreations, and every thought and deed?
Could I be counted Christ-like, as I now work and play;
Unselfish, kind, forgiving, to others everyday?

- Author Unknown, , via the Harrisburg church of Christ, in Harrisburg, IL.

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Christ Is Its Subject
by: author unknown

This Book contains
             The Mind of GOD
             The way of salvation
             The doom of sinners
             And the Happiness of believers.
 
Its doctrine is holy
             Its precepts are binding,
             Its histories are true,
             And its decisions immutable.

Read it to be wise,
             Believe it to be safe,
             Practice it to be holy.

It contains light to direct you,
             Its is the traveler's map,
             The pilgrim's staff,
             The pilot's compass
             The soldier's sword,
             And the Christian's character
             Here Heaven is opened,
             The gates of hell disclosed.

Christ is its subject,
             Our good its design.
             The glory of GOD its end.

It should fill the memory,
            Rule the heart
            And guide the feet.

Read it slowly,
            Frequently and Prayerfully,
            It is a mine of wealth,
            And a river of pleasure.

It is to you here in this life.
            Will be opened at the Judgment
            And is established forever.

It involves the highest responsibility,
            Will reward the greatest labor.
            And condemns all who trifle with its sacred contents.

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Should He Come on Prayer Meeting Night

Where would I be on prayer meeting night
If my Lord should suddenly come?
At church in my place, or out with the crowd,
Just having some innocent fun?

Where would I be? With the faithful and true
Or at home in an easy chair?
Too weary, too selfish, or careless, perhaps,
To go to the temple of prayer.

Where would I be? At the preacher's right hand,
Or hearing a lecture of worth?
Or out for a ride on prayer meeting night,
If Jesus should come back to earth?

Where would I be? Getting food for my soul,
And praying for those that are lost,
Or absent again -- forgetting the One
Who bought me at infinite cost?

Where would I be? I've excuses enough,
But how would they look in His sight?
Where would I want Him to find me at last,
Should He come on prayer meeting night?

-- "The Builder" as quoted in Gospel Digest, March, 1958

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


"Worship does not satisfy your hunger for God; it whets the
appetite." (Eugene H. Peterson; quoted from Leadership Magazine).
God works - in me, with me, through me, for me.
Our greatest weakness may be our failure to ask for God's strength.
"It's good to be a Christian and know it, but it's better
to be a Christian and show it" (via the Harrisburg Church of Christ bulletin.


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