6, 2005 Vol 5 #9
a letter of encouragement to her husband,
a soldier in the Confederate ranks during
the Civil War, Martha White Read wrote of
the serenity of Sunday morning's on their
Virginia farm and the need to seek every
possible occasion for spiritual
reflection. Writing of his circumstances
of conflict and weary struggle she
concluded, "I do not think that God ever
placed a man in circumstances in which he
could say with truth "I cannot serve God
here." I believe that the Christian intent
on the service of God can serve him any
where." It is certain that opportunities
to serve others and glorify God are
everywhere. The tragedies of recent
history present great needs in the lives
of individuals who, based on their own
resources, are themselves incapable of
meeting. While the heart of all Americans
have been touched by these events and
needs, as Christians we must recognize
that these are opportunities to heal more
than the physical wounds and feed more
than the physical hunger. These are our
opportunities to offer riches which can
withstand any future storm or tragedy in
As Christians, and churches, we need to be
clear on what is really important. Our
greatest efforts should be directed to
accomplishing that goal to the best of our
ability. In that way we share the vision
of our Master, who exclaimed in Luke 2:49,
"know ye not that I must be about my
Father's business?" The articles that
follow address, in various ways, our need
to seize the many opportunities daily life
presents to us. They remind us as
individual believers and as members of
Christ's church that the mission we have
received calls us to action serving one
another and sharing the Good News of Jesus
with all who are lost. Each of these
writers help us ask ourselves how we are
doing when it comes to our Father's
David Bragg, co-editor
Panning for more Gold
Help the Server Is Down
preacher's articles this issue
That was the
message traveling all over at work last
week. All the computers on campus are
connected to one computer, the
'fileserver', that sits in a closet in a
small building on the back of the
campus. Most of the files for all our
documents, our policies, and all our
patient records are stored on that
computer for everyone to access. After
some changes to the company computer
system, all the 'addresses' for every
computer and printer had to be changed.
Everything went fine until they came to
the last printer. That was changed right
at the end of the day. The next morning
no one could access the file server. It
was 'down' till about two o'clock. While
we could work on our own computers, we
could not get to anything that had been
saved on the fileserver, we could not
access the internet, we could not send
or receive email, either on campus or
off, and few of us could print anything.
The one machine, that everyone relies
on, wasn't working.
That illustrated a vital lesson for us.
What if the most important 'Server' had
remained 'down'? The apostle Paul said,
that Jesus, "Who, being in very nature
God, did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped, but made
himself nothing, taking the very nature
of a servant, being made in human
likeness. And being found in appearance
as a man, he humbled himself and became
obedient to death even death on a
cross!" (Philippians 2:5-8)
Jesus' life was one of service. Every
day he showed us what service is all
about. His life has been the inspiration
for untold numbers of ministries
throughout the centuries and the
changing of attitudes regarding
everything from reading and writing to
healthcare and respect for life and for
each individual. Many people have tried
to teach us to do good things, to do
right things, but no one has had the
lasting and pervasive influence of
Jesus. Jesus was the master server. His
greatest service was his death.
Everyone thought he was 'down'. The
disciples were confused and afraid,
Satan was gloating, the Jewish leaders
were still concerned about what the
disciples might do, and the Romans just
hoped it would all go away. If the
Master Server had really been 'down' all
hope would have been lost (there was no
back-up for Jesus like there was for our
computer system). But Jesus rose from
the grave. That was what made the real
difference. Had Jesus remained dead, his
influence might have reached no further
than that of other teachers or
philosophers. He would have been no more
than another person who taught wisely
then suffered a martyr's death. By his
resurrection he was declared to be the
Son of God (Romans 1:4) and his service
lives on through us, his disciples.
The Master Server is alive and no
back-up plan was necessary.
- Larry Meissner preaches for the North
E Street church of Christ, San
Bernardino, CA. He may be contacted at
David A. Sargent
ago in South America, a crew of Peruvian
Sailors, heading toward the Amazon
River, came upon a strange sight. A
Spanish ship was anchored off the coast
and all the sailors were stretched out
on the deck of the ship. As the
Peruvians drew closer, they saw that the
Spaniards were in terrible physical
condition. Their lips were parched and
swollen. They were literally dying of
"Can we help you?" shouted the
Peruvians. The Spaniards cried out,
"Water! Water! We need fresh water!"
The Peruvian sailors, surprised at this
request, told them to lower their
buckets and help themselves. The
Spaniards, fearing they'd been
misunderstood cried back, "No, no! We
need FRESH water!" But they received the
same reply from the Peruvians to lower
their buckets and help themselves!
They finally did lower their buckets
into the ocean waters, but when they
brought the buckets on deck they
discovered -- to their amazement --
FRESH WATER! Unknowingly, they had been
anchored for days at the mouth of the
Amazon River. They were too far from
land to see the coast, but not too far
from the mouth of the River. There they
had access to fresh water in abundance.
Dying of thirst, the sailors had given
up all hope. All that they needed to do,
however, was to lower their buckets.
Like these sailors, many today are dying
of "spiritual thirst" unaware that
"Living Water" is well within their
The Scriptures record for us the account
of a Samaritan woman of deeply immoral
background who went out to Jacob's well
at noon to draw out some water. She may
have been physically thirsty, but Jesus
detected in her a greater, "spiritual
Jesus said to the woman at the well:
"Whoever drinks of this water will
THIRST AGAIN, but whoever drinks of the
water that I shall give him will NEVER
THIRST. But the water that I shall give
him will become in him a fountain of
water springing up into everlasting
life" (John 4:13-14). The woman
responded, "Sir, give me THIS water,
that I may not thirst, nor come here to
draw" (John 4:15).
It seems that this woman was dying of
"spiritual thirst" and resigned to
continue bearing her GUILT and SHAME.
But Jesus informed her that FORGIVENESS
and LIFE could be hers if she would just
"let down her bucket."
Like that woman, YOU and I have a sin
problem, and "the wages of sin is DEATH"
(Romans 6:23). Yet, Jesus invites us to
" lower our buckets" in faith and
obedience so that we may take in the
Living Water that quenches our thirst
and satisfies our souls. To drink of the
Living Water - we must believe in Jesus
(Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in
repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess
Jesus before men (Matthew 10:32), and be
baptized (immersed) in the name of Jesus
for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts
2:38). Then, we must continue to drink
from the "Fountain of Living Water"
through our faithful obedience (1 John
Thirsty? Let down YOUR bucket and take
in the Life-giving Water!
God bless you!
- David A. Sargent serves as the
minister for the church of Christ at
Creekwood, Mobile, Alabama. He may be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
|But I am only one
World hunger and poverty.... are things
that we wish we could fix but we say to
ourselves... "But I am only one." And so
we shrug off our sense of responsibility
since the task is too great for just one.
World pollution and environmental
destruction.... are things that we wish we
could fix... but we say to ourselves. "But
I am only one." And again we shrug off any
sense of personal responsibility in
solving this problem. Disease and
Disaster... Illness and Illiteracy...
Sorrow and Suffering are all worldwide
tragedies that we wish we could fix....
but again we say to ourselves. "But I am
When we see ourselves in "a global
setting" we feel helpless and little. We
may look toward heaven with a quiet sigh.
We may shrug our shoulders and concede
that we can't fix this or that and learn
to just look away from the problems. This
kind of response may be why when we hear
the Great Commission preached to us we
almost want to scoff: "Go into all the
world and make disciples? The entire
world? Sure preacher!" When it comes to
all the lost souls in this world we wish
we could fix that problem but we say to
ourselves, just like we always do when
thinking globally. "But I am only one."
And so we sigh, shrug, and shake off any
sense of personal responsibility because
the task is too big for one.
Perhaps it helps to narrow our focus from
global to local and ask the following
questions: Is my neighbor hungry? Can I
help do something about pollution in my
community, What can I do to care for the
sick or diseased in my home town, Can I
tutor a child or adult to help them learn,
Can I be of any comfort to someone I know
in my family or circle of friends? Can I
share Christ's invitation with those who
live in my neighborhood?
sharpen our focus to just our corner of
the world, we can no longer evade our
responsibility as easily with a shrug or
scoff. We cannot respond with our typical
response. "But I am only one" any more.
Because when it comes to lost souls in our
own neighborhood, one is enough to make a
- Ed Thomason preaches for the New Madrid
church of Christ, New Madrid, MO, is
co-editor of BulletinGold, and webmaster
for BulletinGold.com and PreachToday.com
and may be contacted at email@example.com
|A Preacher's View
A lady called
a plumber to fix a leak in her sink.
They talked about the problem and the
plumber agreed it was not a big problem
and even told the lady how the problem
could be solved. Yet the plumber showed
no signs of wanting to get involved to
fix the problem. In fact, when the lady
asked the plumber when he could fix the
problem, the plumber gave all kinds of
excuses why he didn't have time to fix
Would you hire that plumber? I don't
think so. I don't even know if you could
hire that plumber. In fact, if that was
the way the plumber regularly ran his
business, he might not be in business
long. He doesn't understand the term
"service" which is the nature and core
of his business.
In the church, deacons are all about
serving. A deacon is a male that has
been assigned a task and is held
responsible for that task to God, to the
body and to the leadership of that body.
Serving is what being a deacon is all
about (Acts 6:1-6).
If men are not willing to show they are
willing to serve, in general, they will
not make good deacons. The Bible talks
about this very thing. 1 Timothy 3:10
But let these also first be tested; then
let them serve as deacons, being found
How is one to be tested? Maybe in the
way they live their life. Take a man
that is never available to do anything
with the church, would that man make a
good deacon? Could it not be argued that
the church should see his "willingness
to serve"? And could it not also be
argued that sense the church doesn't see
his "willingness to serve" that actually
causes him to fail in being worthy to be
1 Timothy 3:13 For those who have served
well as deacons obtain for themselves a
good standing and great boldness in the
faith which is in Christ Jesus. Serving
is definitely something God looks at.
After all, He was the one that put the
word there. Yet a man cannot serve in
just words. He must also show service in
his willingness, his example and by his
actions. Is it not by these that he
passes the test?
Far too often we are willing to put men
into a position and hope they will grow
into that position. I for one think this
is not in keeping with the context of
these passages in Timothy. As it says,
"let them first be tested, then let them
serve as deacons "
- Hardie Logan is the minister for the
Marshfield Church of Christ in
Marshfield, WI. He may be contacted at
|The Gift of Life
At 1:15 a.m.
on the morning of July 22, 2005 I looked
into the bathroom mirror. I looked at
the face of a man who had looked a year
earlier and seen a strange inflammation
below his jaw line that he couldn't
account for. The node was now gone. Two
surgeries, radiation, and another six
months later I was now considering the
fact that by the sheer grace and
providence of God I was only a day away
from seeing my 32nd birthday.
I thought of what it meant to live in
the 21st century. I thought of living
during any other day or time when I
would not have had the possibility to
live or even to find a solution to the
illness. I thought about my upcoming
scan. I also realized that the Lord
could come at any moment in time: Before
I had been born, before I would see my
32nd birthday, before I could finish
coming to the conclusion I was about to
We cannot understand every work of our
Creator. We cannot know all about why
earthly time continues or how long it
will last. We cannot know exactly what
God has prepared for us to venture into
tomorrow. All we can know is that the
precious gift of life is what we have
And that is when I figured it out. If it
had been God's plan for me to endure
cancer in the days of Abraham, or during
the first century, or even a hundred
years ago, living or dying was not the
issue. How long I might spend on the
earth from here on was not the issue.
After all, no doubt there had been
numberless individuals who had
experienced this very situation and gone
on. The only thing that matters is what
we do with the time that has been
allotted to us. 10 years, 20, 30...80,
compared to eternity are not as
significant as we make them out to be.
But obedience to the author of eternal
life, this is living.
What are you doing with the gift?
"I am the light of the world. He who
walks in Me shall not walk in darkness,
but have the light of life."-John 8:12
- Jeremiah Tatum preaches for the
Pulaski Street church of Christ in
Lawrenceburg, TN. He may be contacted at
firstname.lastname@example.org (This article appeared
in The Encourager, the weekly bulletin
of the Calvert City church of Christ in
Calvert City, KY.)
|Greater Love Has
Jimmy W. Cox
"Greater love has no one than this, than
to lay down one's life for his friends.
You are my friends if you do whatever I
command you." Primarily, we think of
Christ's death on a cross. But His love
is shown in many other ways.
Man was created in the image of God. No
other creature was given a soul, or an
eternal inner man. Gen. 1:27.
The Bible is a gift of God's love. In it
God speaks to us by His Son. Heb. 1:1-2.
The Holy Spirit brought the Bible to
mankind. 1 Pet. 1:11. God's Word will
endure for all time. Mark 13:31 "Heaven
and earth will pass away, but My words
will by no means pass away." Each person
needs to study and obey the Bible, in
order to be saved. I Tim. 4:16.
The church, a token of God's love. It
was bought by the blood of Christ. Acts
20:28. The Lord adds the saved to the
church. Acts 2:47. The church is the
Bride of Christ. Eph. 5:25-27, The Bride
must remain watchful and pure, always
ready for the return of Christ. Matt.
Promise of eternal life grows out of
God's love. John 3:16. All material
things will perish. 2 Pet. 3:10.
Christians will become immortal, and
will live forever. 1 Cor. 15;52.
But Christ is the greatest manifestation
of God's love. "But God demonstrated His
own love toward us, in that while we
were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Rom. 5:8. Our Lord went about doing
good, and healing all who were oppressed
of the devil. Acts 10:38. He suffered
and died for mankind. Matt. 27:28-35.
But Christ was resurrected for the
benefit of mankind. Matt. 28:6-7.
Salvation through Christ began to be
preached, 50 days after Christ's
resurrection. Acts 2:31-41. Christ is
also our High Priest. "For we do not
have a High Priest who cannot
sympathized with our weaknesses, but was
in all points tempted as we are, yet
without sin." Heb. 4:15.
To enjoy all the benefits of God's love,
become a Christian: Believe in Jesus,
Heb. 11:6; Repent of your sins, Acts
2:38; Confess Christ, Rom. 10:9-10; Be
baptized into Christ, Acts 2:38, Rom.
6:3-5. Remain faithful, Rev. 2:10.
- Jimmy Cox lives in Sandy Hook, MS and
attends the Columbia church of Christ in
Columbia, MS. He may be contacted at
Nuggets and Quick Riches
Ten Most Wanted Individuals
goodies this issue
1. The person
who has a ready smile and a pat on the
back for others.
2. The person who can see his or her own
faults before he sees the faults of
3. The person who gives his or her
money, time and talent without thought
4. The person who gives himself or
herself totally into a project and then
gives credit for its success to his or
5. The person who is willing to say, "I
was wrong. I am sorry."
6. The person who will look at
temptation squarely and say "No."
7. The person who brings his or her
children to church rather than sending
8. The person who puts God's business
above any other business.
9. The person who tries to be the right
example to every individual rather than
talk about it.
10. The person who has a passion to help
rather than a passion to be helped.
- Kevin Rayner preaches for the Oak Tree
church of Christ, Rochester, MN. He may
be contacted through this website:
|Ten Tips On How
To Get Along With People
chains on your tongue; always say less
than you think. Cultivate a pleasant,
persuasive voice. How you say it often
counts more than what you say.
2. Make promises sparingly and keep them
3. Never let an opportunity pass to say
a kind word to somebody. Praise good
work done, regardless of who did it. If
correction is needed, criticize
helpfully, never in a destructive
4. Be genuinely interested in others.
Let everyone you meet feel that you
regard him or her as a person of
5. Be cheerful. Keep the corners of your
mouth turned up. Hide your pains,
worries, and disappointments under a
6. Keep an open mind on all
controversial questions. Discuss without
arguing. It is possible to disagree and
yet be friendly.
7. Never engage in gossip. Make it a
rule to say nothing about another unless
it is something good.
8. Be careful of other people's
feelings. A laugh at another's expense
is rarely worth the effort, and it may
hurt where least expected.
9. Pay no attention to cutting remarks
that others may make about you. Learn to
live above such comments.
10. Don't be too anxious about your
rights and having favors repaid. Let the
satisfaction of helping others serve as
its own reward.
- Selected; via THE SOWER, the weekly
bulletin of the Arthur church of Christ
in Arthur, IL.
|Quote of Note
"One medical doctor I was talking with not
long ago, said that he believed probably
as much as 60% of the physical maladies
that men suffer from today really have
their base in the fact that we are not
living right. For example, high blood
pressure can be caused by us going against
our conscience. . . Indeed only if we come
to [God] and relate continually to Him in
a sincere effort to obey Him continually,
can we have this peace of the great God of
peace." Earl Edwards
- Via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin
of the Calvert City church of Christ in
Calvert City, KY.
Hearts of Gold
He Will Change You
H. L. Gradowith
If He has not
changed you, then He is not in you,
For, whoever you are, He'll not leave
you the same;
He has a place for you, there are things
you must do,
For example, each day there's temptation
There's a new direction and a new heart
There's a new love to feel and a new way
He'll help you through struggles and
He'll help you through pain,
He will save you from sin and set your
He'll help you help others, and sow the
He'll lead you in the Way that leads up
He'll point you to lost ones and help
you see the need
To tell them of Jesus, ah, the Old, Old
And what's more, He'll be there when
your heart is breaking,
He will soothe and comfort and help you
make it through,
He'll be there to help you when your
soul is aching,
He'll take your tired old heart and make
it good as new!
He'll take your many sins, all the wrong
things you've done,
Though they be as crimson, He'll make
you white as snow!
He'll wash them all away in the blood of
He'll bless you and help you as t'ward
Heaven you go!
He'll fit and prepare you for the things
yet in store,
For the trials you'll face, and the
Great Judgment Day;
And someday your feet will stand on
Heaven's Fair Shore,
When from this world of sin at last
you've flown away!
- For more information on H. L.
Gradowith and GRADOWITH POEMS e-mail
http://www.geocities.com/fp5699/ - the
website of Tim Smith, minister of the
Enon Church of Christ in Webb, AL.
|God is in Every
God is in
Therefore I live for today,
Certain of finding at sunrise,
Guidance and strength for the way;
Power for each moment of weakness,
Hope for each moment of pain,
Comfort for every sorrow,
Sunshine and joy after rain.
God is in every tomorrow,
Planning for you and for me,
E'en in the dark will I follow,
Trust where my eyes cannot see.
Stilled by His assurance of blessing,
Soothed by the touch of His hand,
Confident in His protection,
Trusting His promises grand.
God is in every tomorrow,
Life with its changes may come,
He is behind and before me,
While on the horizon is Home!
Home - where no thought of tomorrow
Ever can shadow my brow,
Home - in the presence of Jesus,
Through all of eternity - WOW!
- Selected; via the weekly bulletin of
the Harrisburg church of Christ in
|Let Me Be Aware!
God -- let me
Let me not stumble blindly down the
Just getting somehow safely through the
Not even groping for another hand,
Not even wondering why it all was
Eyes to the ground, unseeking for the
Soul never aching for a wild winged
God, let me be aware!
God, let me be aware!
Stab my soul fiercely with others' pain,
Let me walk seeing their horror and
Let my hands, groping, find other hands,
Give me the heart that divines,
Give me that courage, wounded, to fight,
Flood me with knowledge, drench me in
Oh keep me eager just to do my share,
God, let me be aware!
& sayings for bulletins and signs
louder than words." -- Carolyn Wells
"A man's accomplishments in life are the
cumulative effect of his attention to
detail." - John Foster Dulles
"It is no use saying, 'We are doing our
best.' You have got to succeed in doing
what is necessary." Winston Churchill