BulletinGold #64 
April 2, 2006   Vol 6 #2

----by David Bragg

Last month we again received correspondence from BulletinGold’s founding editor Donna Richmond.  I thought that many of you would like to know how she is doing since her move from California to Texas and her return to school.  Donna writes, “The Lord willing, I will finish my studies this May and am applying for a job here. Jeremy is doing fine as a junior here majoring in social studies and business. My other son, Michael, graduates from college in California this summer and may be joining us.”  It is always good to hear from Donna and we deeply appreciate the great legacy she entrusted to us in BulletinGold. 

[Our entire brotherhood, and many outside the brotherhood, are grieved over the tragic events revolving around the recent murder of our brother, Matthew Winkler, and the arrest of his wife, Mary Winkler, our sister.  Unlike some, our interest is not focused on speculation regarding these events but rather on "weeping with those who weep" (Romans 12:15) in regard to the Winkler and Freeman families, and the spiritual family of the Fourth St. church of Christ in Selmer, TN. 
What is clearly manifest is that the Devil is working overtime through the various media outlets, especially web and blog sites, marshalling his energy against the Lord's church.  With this in mind, the selections in this issue of BulletinGold revolve around the church's divine mission, upon which we must more earnestly consider.  Therefore, the selections in this issue of BulletinGold revolve around the great need of "seeking and saving the lost" (Luke 19:10).  This foundational obligation deeply influences the individual Christian's relationship with both their Lord and the world.  This challenge is wonderfully introduced in the following article written by Ron Thomas, to whom I yield my usual space.  David Bragg, co-editor; http://davebragg.blog.com/]

The Mission of the Lord's Church

The church's mission is to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus' church does that by preaching the gospel to those who are saved (in order to keep them saved) and to the lost (in order to save them). The message we take into a lost world is that Jesus died to save man from his sins. A simple message, but a message that is roundly rejected by most. Nevertheless, we preach it because it is the message of God (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Another mission of the church is benevolence. The Scriptures teach that we should do good unto all men, especially those of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). When a saint is in need, the Lord is glorified when the saints help that needy brother or sister. When one outside the Lord is in need and the church of Christ can be of help, the Lord is glorified when we extend a helping hand. So, if you wonder from time to time what our mission is, just remember that the Lord's mission is to preach the saving message to those who are lost, to edify the saints with the teaching of God's word, and to render benevolence to those in need.

– Ron Thomas preaches for the Highway church of Christ in Sullivan , IL . He may be contacted at rthomas1@one-eleven.net

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Panning for Gold
- Feature Articles:  

Christ and the Church
by: David A. Sargent

It is not uncommon today to hear people devaluate the church. Some say in effect, "Christ, yes; the church, no." While some profess they love Jesus, desiring even to follow Him, they have little use for "the church." The Scriptures, however, are clear: One cannot have the church without Christ, and one cannot have Christ without the church.

The church was God's idea. God's plan. It is not man-made. In fact, observe the close relationship between Christ and the church. Christ is the head of the church (Eph. 5:22-23a); He is the complete voice of authority. Christ is the Founder of the church. Christ said to Peter, "On this rock [the confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God], I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Mat. 16:18). Christ is the foundation of the church. No building or institution can be stronger than the foundation on which it rests. And for the church, "no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 3:11). Christ is the Savior of the body, which is the church: "For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body" (Eph. 5:23).

Indeed, as has often been noted by some in an attempt to minimize the church; "the church doesn't save anyone." However, Christ saves the church! In fact the church is composed of the saved (Acts 2:47). Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25). We usually judge the value of something by the price we pay for it. For what price was the church purchased? Christ purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). One cannot separate Christ from His church.

A low estimation of the church may be due to a lack of understanding of what the church truly is, as taught in the Bible. There is also a misconception of what the church is all about. One of the most simplistic, yet one of the most beautiful images of the church in Scripture is that of the family of God. As such, the church is designed to be a place of loving encouragement (1 Thes. 5:11; Heb. 3:213) to those who are seeking to follow Christ. Also, it is God's desire for His family, the church, to grow and grow. God wants His family to share the good news about Jesus Christ, as Jesus instructed His disciples: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen" (Mat. 28:19-20).

How does one become a member of God's family, the church? To those who were convicted of their sin and believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, Peter said, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). "Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them" (Acts 2:41). "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47). Only the Lord can add one to His church when one obeys the Gospel as Peter and the apostles presented it. Has the Lord added you to His church?

-- David A. Sargent is a minister of the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile , Alabama .  You may visit their website at: www.creekwoodcc.org                             

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by: Ron Adams

A motto is a brief statement used to express a principle, a goal, or an ideal.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

Christians are in an ongoing battle against evil, wherein goodness and righteousness are continually opposed. Recently it occurred to me that some of the official mottos and slogans of the United States armed forces have application for Christian "soldiers."

AN ARMY OF ONE ( U.S. Army).  Personal responsibility to self, group (church) and leader (Jesus).  Be a working part of the body (church).
BE ALL YOU CAN BE ( U.S. Army).  Find and use your potential for the Lord.
SEMPER FI ( U.S. Marines) "Semper Fidelis" Latin for always faithful.  "Faithful" is what Christianity is all about.
ONCE A MARINE, ALWAYS A MARINE.  Once one joins the followers of Jesus Christ, no looking back.
NOT SELF, BUT COUNTRY "Non sibi sed patriae" often cited as the Navy's motto.  Christians are to be Christ-centered, not self-centered.
ONE OVER ALL "Uno Ab Alto" ( U.S. Air Force).  Regard one another as more important than self.  Have concern for others.  Bear one another's burdens.  Do good to all men.

-- Ron Adams is editor of Thursday's Thought, a weekly inspirational message.  To learn more visit:  http://thursdaythought.homestead.com                                

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Digging Coal
by: Rick Woodall

In my home state of West Virginia many are in sorrow over the loss of life due to the recent mining disasters. There is a common thought that is always in the back of one's mind as you grow up as a child in the hills of Appalachia . "Will Daddy come home?"

It's not that one wants to think that way. History books tell the story all too well. Looking back at the mining industry in my lifetime we find this fact. There are friends and even preachers that have lost their lives in the depths of the dark dungeons. The miners in America have helped us structure some of the values for job management among our peers. Long before there was an automobile America was mining coal. The employees of these mining companies have a rich history of how they stood up for their rights to make this occupation and other jobs better for future generations.

I know few people that say, "I would really love to be a miner." Yet, these dedicated men and women know to make life better for their children they must work. In West Virginia there is a surplus of coal.  Some of the coal waits to be dug out of the ground. The future of this business has just recently been realized as new demands have caused a new interest in reopening closed mines that still have a great surplus.

Have you ever gone down into a mine? I was asked to go one time. As we stood at the elevator door waiting to go some three hundred feet below the ground, here is what I will always remember. I remember the sound of the cables as the elevator ascended to the earth. I recall the door opening and entering the elevator. I looked at the expression on each man's face. I recall the silence inside the elevator as no one said a single word as the pulley carried us to the depths of the earth.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to all the families that are in heartache as they continue this journey with many unanswered questions. In reality we all have many unanswered questions. My gift reminds me to take God's hand and let Him lead us on. Just like these brave men that did what they had to do on a daily basis, let us be thankful.

"Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work--this is a gift of God." –Eccl 5:19

Have a great week.

- Rick Woodall is the minister for the Milan church of Christ in Milan , Michigan . His weekly devotional message, Life Thoughts, can be heard on the World Wide Web at this address: http://www.milanchurchofchrist.org/page3                               

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Simple Truth
by: Ron Bartanen

    I recall reading of a famed mathematician who had to hire a bookkeeper to do his books.  He said that simple math confused him! His mind was occupied with the profound, but had no room for the simple.

    Theologians delight in wrangling over controversial issues to which the Bible gives little, if any, attention, while at the same time missing and even ignoring what we might call simple truth.  While there is certainly deep and profound truth in this sacred volume, that which is of first importance must take preeminence, for it pertains to salvation.  Consider the simple truth as recognized by the first Christians:

    Jesus was believed, and preached as the Son of God.  When Philip preached Jesus to the Ethiopian, and the Ethiopian wished to be baptized, he first confessed, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:37).

    Jesus was believed and preached as the sinner's sin-offering.  "He made him to be sin for us.that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

    Sinners accepted Jesus by faith, repenting of sin, confessing Christ and being baptized.  To those brought to faith in Jesus as the Christ, Peter said, "Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38).

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

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Flying With the Wings of the Gospel
by: David R. Ferguson

I recently ran across a powerful little poem written by John Bunyan.  It's one of the best statements I have ever heard about the difference between the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Please read below to see how it relates.

"Run, John, run, the law commands,
But gives us neither feet nor hands.
Far better news the gospel brings:
It bids us fly and gives us wings."

In other words, in the Old Covenant God gave commandments, but by and large did not give the divine procedure that would overcome the deadness and rebellion of the heart.  But in the New Covenant, which God set up at the cross of Christ, God gives even harder commands, but He also gives the power we need to fulfill them through faith: "that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace.  remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, to which end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire of goodness and every work of faith, with power.." (Romans 8:4-6; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11)  We are duty-bound to run, even though our feet are willfully frozen in the ice of sin.  We can't run in ourselves, and so the commands of the law condemn.  And the gospel is not different in having no commands, no conditions.  Flying is harder than running.  With the gospel, however, we can not only fly, we can soar! Although this sounds difficult, with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).  Some glad morning I'll gladly take my wings of the gospel and fly away to be with the Lord forever!

-- 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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Living For Christ Through His Church in the World
by: Gerald Cowan

There are no Christians outside the church. The Lord adds one to the church when they are saved (Acts 2:41, 47). Although the church is not of the world it is certainly in the world. The gospel of Christ is to be preached because that message alone brings us the salvation that is in Christ (James 1:21-22, Luke 18:11). Some claim, “one church is as good as another.” But that is no truer than saying one Lord or one Savior or one religious book is as good as another.
God’s eternal purpose for the church and each member of it includes edification, setting an example that others can safely follow, perpetuation of the word, and opposition to all error in doctrine and practice.
Our threefold obligation to the world is: teach it, save it, bring the peace of God to it. Our threefold obligation to the church itself is: edify and strengthen it, protect its purity, and preserve unity and peace in it.

-- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola church of Christ in Dongola , IL .  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com    

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Nuggets and Quick Riches
-    misc. goodies this issue

Jesus is All in All
        He is:
            Peace for the fearful,
            Refuge for the lonely,
            Triumph for the trials,
            Overcomer for the challenged,
            Conqueror for the lowly,
            Strength for the weak,
            Restoration for the addicted,
            Encouragement for the downtrodden,
            Mercy for the sufferer,
            Grace for the sinner,
            Forgiveness for the offender,
            Life for the lifeless,
            Victory for the oppressed,
            Delight for the desperate,
            Hope for the hopeless,
            Gladness for the sorrowful,
            Love for the unloved,
            Righteousness for the unrighteous,
            Wholeness for the broken,
            Stability for the chaotic,
            Abundance for the deprived,
            Deliverance for the depressed,
            Honor for the humble,
            Rest for the restless,
            Bravery for the fainthearted,
            Comfort for the confused,
            Triumph for the defeated,
            And could I say more?
            Yes, I could, for "He is."         (selected)

- Selected; via the bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ, Harrisburg , IL .                            

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Here's To...

HERE'S TO the single mother who always get's the kids around to Sunday School and Worship services every Sunday that she possibly can.
HERE'S TO the married woman or mother who's husband won't attend worship services yet she gets there whenever possible.
HERE'S TO the single person who really has no one to motivate them but themselves and yet still seem to be on time for the assembly of the saints.
HERE'S TO the widow who still feels incomplete and never really over the grief of losing their mate, yet still are faithful and active in the church.
HERE'S TO those who have aches, pains, disabilities, and any number of ailments that could keep them away from church services, but don't allow them to.
HERE'S TO the child of unbelieving parents that gets to all the Bible classes they can by any means available.
HERE'S TO the people who seem like life has just thrown every grief and woe their way, yet remain steadfast and true to Jesus and His church.
HERE'S TO their dedication, which should motivate the rest of us to be at every assembly of the church that we can possibly make!

Heb 10:22- 25 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
- Mike Sullivan lives in Winfield Pa (central Pennsylvania ) and attends the Susquehanna Valley church of Christ . He may be contacted at dnddad@yahoo.com                                

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A Few Rules To Live By

¨  Return everything you borrow.
¨  Stop blaming other people.
¨  Live within your means & within your seams.
¨  Be humble.
¨  Listen more; talk less.
¨  Every day, do something nice and try not to get caught.
¨  Strive for excellence, not perfection.
¨  Be on time.
¨  Don't criticize anyone.
¨  Be kind to other people.
¨  Be even kinder to unkind people.
¨  Take time to study God's Word and pray.
¨  Admit it when you make a mistake.
¨  Understand and accept that life isn't always fair.
¨  Let someone cut ahead of you in line.
¨  Don't argue.
¨  Know when to say something.
¨  Know when to keep your mouth shut.
¨  Don't make excuses.
¨  Don't sweat the small stuff.

                                                    --Author unknown

- 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

You Never Can Tell

You never can tell when you send a word
Like an arrow shot from a bow
By an archer blind, be it cruel or kind,
Just where it may chance to go.

It may pierce the breast of your dearest friend,
Tipped with its poison or balm,
To a stranger's heart in life's great mart
It may carry its pain or its calm.

You never can tell when you do an act
Just what the result will be,
But with every deed you are sowing a seed,
Though the harvest you may not see.

Each kindly act is an acorn dropped
In God's productive soil;
You may not know, but the tree shall grow
With shelter for those who toil.

You never can tell what your thoughts will do
In bringing you hate or love,
For thoughts are things, and their airy wings
Are swifter than a carrier dove.

They follow the law of the universe --
Each thing must create its kind.
And they speed o'er the tract to bring you back
Whatever went out from your mind.

--Gospel Digest, February, 1960; submitted by Mark McWhorter, who can be contacted at mtmcvb@concentric.net

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Too Busy to Study and Pray?
by: Sheila Gosney

Does your schedule keep growing beyond control
Till you're just running around day after day?
And you know you need to, but you just can't see how
To take time to study and pray.
For you take kids to school five days a week
With appointments and deadlines to keep.
Then you have club activities and baseball practices
With barely enough time to sleep.
Most of the time, you feel like you are "running on empty"
Or on "fumes" from the last sermon you heard.
But the God who loves you wants to energize you each day
>From the pages of His Holy Word.
And if you'd make time each day to seek Him and pray
He'd grant a peace when you're frazzled and sore.
For He wants you to grow in the midst of your busyness
And to hunger for Him even more.
So if your life is that hectic, you need to shift gears
And make time with Him a priority each day.
Then you'll be so blessed, convinced and refreshed
That you can't afford not to study and pray.

"I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes; I will not forget thy Word". {Psalm 119:15-16}

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The Greatest Thing You Can Do
by: S. D. Gordon

The greatest thing anyone can do
For God and man is pray.
It is not the only thing,
But is the chief thing.
The great people of earth
Are the people who pray.
I do not mean those who
Talk about prayer;
Nor those who say they
Believe in prayer;
Nor yet those who can
Explain about prayer;
But I mean those people
Who take the time to pray.

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

1. If it's not in the Word forget what you heard.
2. If you're not living with God, you're rooming with the devil.
3. Satan takes you further than you want to go, and keeps you longer than you want to stay.

- Submitted to Ed Thomason's website (Ed is a co-editor of BulletinGold).  He may be contacted at ed@mydoghouse.com

4. God grades on the cross, not on the curve.
5. Prayer: Don't give God instructions; just report for duty!
6. The will of God will never take you to where the grace of God will not protect you.

- Via THE SOWER, the weekly bulletin for the Arthur church of Christ in Arthur , IL . Ron Bartanen serves as editor and preachers and may be contacted at ron33dor@one-eleven.net

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