BulletinGold #59 
November 6, 2005   Vol 5 #9
 

Editor's Remarks
----by David Bragg

In 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 this life.

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 business.

David Bragg, co-editor
www.davidbragg.org

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

Help the Server Is Down
by: Larry Meissner

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 LMeissner@aol.com

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Thirsty?
by: David A. Sargent

Some years 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 thirst.

"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 reach!

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 thirst"

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 1:7).

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 sargentd@juno.com

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But I am only one
by: Ed Thomason


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 only one."

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?

When we 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 difference.

- 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 ed@mydoghouse.com

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A Preacher's View
by: Hardie Logan

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 the problem.

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 blameless.

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 a deacon?

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 xnman@charter.net

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The Gift of Life
by: Jeremiah Tatum

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 make.

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 today.

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 ajtatum4@aol.com (This article appeared in The Encourager, the weekly bulletin of the Calvert City church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.)

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Greater Love Has No One
by: Jimmy W. Cox

John 15:13-14 "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. 25:13.

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 coxsandyhook@yahoo.com

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

Ten Most Wanted Individuals
by: Kevin Rayner

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 others.
3. The person who gives his or her money, time and talent without thought of return.
4. The person who gives himself or herself totally into a project and then gives credit for its success to his or her helpers.
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 them.
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: http://www.geocities.com/otchurch

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Ten Tips On How To Get Along With People

1. Keep 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 faithfully.
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 manner.
4. Be genuinely interested in others. Let everyone you meet feel that you regard him or her as a person of importance.
5. Be cheerful. Keep the corners of your mouth turned up. Hide your pains, worries, and disappointments under a smile.
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.

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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.

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

He Will Change You
by: 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 to tame..
There's a new direction and a new heart to gain,
There's a new love to feel and a new way to be;
He'll help you through struggles and He'll help you through pain,
He will save you from sin and set your spirit free!
He'll help you help others, and sow the Gospel seed,
He'll lead you in the Way that leads up to glory!
He'll point you to lost ones and help you see the need
To tell them of Jesus, ah, the Old, Old Story.
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 His Son,
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 group visit http://www.geocities.com/fp5699/ - the website of Tim Smith, minister of the Enon Church of Christ in Webb, AL.

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God is in Every Tomorrow

God is in every tomorrow,
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 Harrisburg, IL.

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Let Me Be Aware!
by: Miriam Teichner

God -- let me be aware!
Let me not stumble blindly down the ways,
Just getting somehow safely through the days,
Not even groping for another hand,
Not even wondering why it all was planned,
Eyes to the ground, unseeking for the light,
Soul never aching for a wild winged flight,
God, let me be aware!
God, let me be aware!
Stab my soul fiercely with others' pain,
Let me walk seeing their horror and stain,
Let my hands, groping, find other hands,
Give me the heart that divines, understands,
Give me that courage, wounded, to fight,
Flood me with knowledge, drench me in light;
Oh keep me eager just to do my share,
God, let me be aware!

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

"Actions lie 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

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