BulletinGold #68 
August 6, 2006   Vol 6 #6
 

Editorial
----by David Bragg
To the general populace of Rome it didn't matter how one chose to live.  It didn't matter which god one revered, if any (Romans 1:23).  They freely worshipped stars, birds, and all of nature equally.

Low moral standards were perpetuated because it didn't matter where one slept or with whom (verse 27).  Fornication, adultery, promiscuity and homosexuality were not even "acceptable alternative lifestyles," they were the norm.

Roman society was beginning to come apart at the seams.  Yet they were frantically telling each other it didn't matter what you do or to whom you do it (verses 19-ff).  They talked behind each other's back and schemed to cheat, deceive and kill their fellow man.  The foundations of parental respect had been replaced with arrogance, strife and hatred because virtue didn't matter.

Sin was ripping through the lives of a society convinced it didn't matter how one lives.  From the darkness of their despair, the shambles of broken lives, we learn that it did.

Three times Paul warned the Romans that God had given them up to sin because it does matter who receives the praise of man.  The Apostle offered them the sound morality of the Christian faith because God's plan for the home does matter.  He called for repentance.  He urged their acceptance of the renewing hope of baptism.  Paul preached Christ to the Romans because it does matter. 

The articles in this month's issue of BulletinGold reflect our belief that it does matter how one lives and for whom one lives.  The Bible, as God's inspired instructions of what we are to believe, how we are expected to live, and why all of this really matters in our lives, is key to our success in effectively serving God in this world, and being acceptable to Him in the eternity.  It does matter but, for many people, only eternity will reveal how much.

David Bragg, co-editor
http://davebragg.blog.com/
Panning for Gold
- Feature Articles:  


The One Message of the Bible

by: David R. Ferguson

The Bible has one message, not 5 or 10 or 100. From Genesis all the way through Revelation the Bible reveals many great truths that all fit together like a glove to reveal the glory and plan of God in His creation, His redemption of mankind and the glorification of His people. It has one coherent, dovetailing message that links the truths of the Old Covenant with those of the New Covenant. The former, with its sacrificial system being made year after year, was but a shadow of the New. The Old Covenant could not make the people perfect: "For the law having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect them that draw nigh." (Hebrews 10:1) With the Old Covenant the sins of the people were remembered year after year, "because it was impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away our sins" (Hebrews 10:3-4). With Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice, the sacrifice was made once and for all (Hebrews 10:10). Our faith in that shed blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us: "Christ Jesus: whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in His blood, to show His righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God…." (Romans 3:24-25)

Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the Old Covenant: "Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished." (Matthew 5:17-18) He has ushered in the New Covenant by His fulfilling of the Old: "For He is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in the flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that He might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace…having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross…." (Ephesians 2:14-15; Colossians 2:14) Jesus Christ, our perfect sacrifice, now acts as mediator of the New Covenant: "And for this cause He is the mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him that made it." (Hebrews 9:15-16)

Jesus offered Himself freely as our Redeemer. He understands what we go through while living in this world. Because He understands, Jesus became that perfect sacrifice by living a sinless life: "For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)  Today, through our Mediator and Redeemer, we may "…draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace…." (Hebrews 4:16) May we do so now!

-- 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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Sell It Not!
by: Mike Sullivan

Prov. 23:23 "Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding."
 
In today's society, and even more tragically, in the Lord's church, "truth" is sold without a second thought. Self satisfaction is easily obtained at the expense of truth by millions every day. The world engages in these transactions every minute without batting an eye. They sell their souls for pleasures and self seeking goals to the Devil's delight. Many of the sins of the day are grounded in selfishness such as abortion, cheating, divorce, fornication, gossiping, lying, stealing, and the list goes on. It's all about "me"!

What is really disheartening though, is when this attitude rears its ugly head among God's people. The world at least might have some excuse (though ignorance will not save them). God's people have absolutely NO excuse and will be held to a higher standard and stricter judgment (2 Pet. 2:21). God's Word is truth (John 17:17). There is no getting around that. It means what it says. We must obey it at EVERY expense to ourselves. SELL IT NOT! If it says that God created everything in six days, believe it - sell it not! Science changes its theories more than an actor changes his outfits. God's Word never changes (1 Pet. 1:23). If it says that their was a flood that covered the whole earth, believe it - sell it not! If it says Jesus is the Son of God, believe it - sell it not! If it says Jesus died for your sins, believe it - sell it not! If God's Word says you must repent and be baptized for salvation, believe it - sell it not! If it says you must live faithfully day by day, believe it - sell it not! Take heed dear brethren, and do not take God's Word lightly, for one day we must all give an account to God on how we responded to His Word in this life (John 12:48). A good thing to remember is that when you sell the truth, you sell your soul! Think about it.

2 Cor. 13:5a "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves."

 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 Letter From God?
by: Lance Cordle

Mail sent to a church can be very interesting, indeed. Regularly, there are bulletins, bills, and newsletters. Many times there are requests for support of mission work. Then, every once in while, comes something truly different. Such was the case earlier this week, when a letter was opened that bore the following words: “A MESSAGE TO THE CHURCHES OF THE WORLD FROM THE MOST HIGH GOD.” It is certainly not every day that you see a letter claiming to come from God!

As for the letter itself, it contained very condemnatory language. It warned of impending judgment upon the world for the current sinful state of affairs. It threatened mass destruction (including nuclear warfare) upon all mankind, but especially the United States of America. The violence on TV, drugs, defiled sex, drugs, and abortion were all given as reasons for the sure and imminent judgment of America and the world. The whole letter, in fact, was a call to repentance. The closing line made it clear the message was to be seen as originating from God himself: “I am Your Father in Heaven, yea Jehovah, Most High God.” It was, indeed, a very troubling letter.

I believe  God is displeased with  the  current  atmosphere of evil (1  Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21). I believe God is going to judge  the world (including America) for their deeds (Acts 17: 30, 31; 2 Corinthians 5:10). However, I believe these things because of God’s clear Word, the Bible, not because they were written in a letter that signs His name. In fact, I do not believe the letter came from God.

The prophets of God had credentials. Isaiah saw a vision of God (Isaiah 6:1); Jeremiah was given words by God (Jeremiah 1:9); Paul saw Jesus (Acts 9). These men were clearly sent by God and could back up their claim. We have their writings and can easily work our way through the evidence that they are  from God. However, the letter above came from a ministry that has no such credentials. (By the way, no Scripture was quoted in the letter).

What troubles me most, is that sin does need to be rebuked and people do need to be warned of judgment. Yet, some people will see letters like this and automatically conclude that all who claim to speak for God (including those of us who strive to use the Bible properly) are religious zealots who speak for God without authority. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the sprits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world”  (1 John 4:1, NASBU).
                                                    
- 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 Bible is Full of Mistakes
by: Craig Evans

There are many critics of Christianity and the Bible. They claim the Bible is just another book filled with mistakes and discrepancies and therefore it must be unreliable and cannot possibly be the inspired Word of God.  We know that to be untrue.  The Bible is the inspired Word of God, written by 40 men over a period of about 1600 years unified in theme and purpose without contradiction.  Having said that, I do believe there are mistakes in the Bible.  Here are just a few that come to mind:

- Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3)

- Cain killed Abel  (Genesis 4)

- Moses struck the rock (Numbers 20)

- David committed adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11:12)

- Peter denied Christ  (Matthew 26)

When we make mistakes there are consequences.  Adam and Eve were sent out of the Garden, Cain was a wanderer that would have great trouble growing food, Moses was not allowed to enter Canaan, David's family would self-destruct, and Peter was exposed as a big-mouth who was weak in a clutch moment.  The Bible has mistake after mistake, but the Bible contains the greatest answer for those mistakes: "Forgiveness."   

There seems to be numerous people who shy away from Christianity because they believe it is impossible to live the perfect life, therefore they refuse to try.  The truth is, it is impossible to live perfectly (only Jesus was able to complete that task), and because of that we  should all be drawn to Christ.  Our sins are deadly (Romans 6.23), but Jesus gives us life.  When I see all those who sinned in the Bible, I see the need for Christ's coming and dying for every person.   Jesus' blood washes our mistakes away when we turn to Him.   Jesus' purpose was to save us from our sins (Mt. 1.21).  We should live each day with that in mind.  Let our confidence never waiver in God's love for us, and may that serve as an encouragement for us as we live each day. 

-- Craig Evans is the youth minister for the Calvert City church of Christ in Calvert city, KY.  He may be contacted at Craig@calvertchurchofchrist.com                              

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The Resume of Jesus Christ
by: James C. Guy

Address: Ephesians 1:20
Phone: Romans 10:13
Website: The Bible. Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior and Jesus

Hello. My name is Jesus -The Christ. Many call me Lord! I've sent you my resume because I'm seeking the top management position in your heart.

Please consider my accomplishments as set forth in my resume.

Qualifications

I founded the earth and established the heavens, (See Proverbs 3:19)
I formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis 2:7)
I breathed into man the breath of life, (See Genesis 2:7)
I redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Galatians 3:13)
The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life through me, (See Galatians 3:14)


Occupational Background

I've only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49).
I've never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or disrespectful.
My employer has nothing but rave reviews for me, (See Matthew 3:15-17)


Skills Work Experiences

Some of my skills and work experiences include: empowering the poor to be poor no more, healing the brokenhearted, setting the captives free, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are bruised, (See Luke 4:18).
I am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6). People who listen to me shall dwell safely and shall not fear evil, (See Proverbs 1:33).
Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to cleanse you of your sins, (See I John 1:7-9)


Educational Background

I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge, wisdom and understanding, (See Proverbs 2:6).
In me are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (See Colossians 2:3).
My Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path, (See Psalms 119:105).
I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See Psalms 44:21).


Major Accomplishments

I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting of all times, (See Genesis 1:26).
I laid down my life so that you may live, (See II Corinthians 5:15).
I defeated the archenemy of God and mankind and made a show of them openly, (See Colossians 2:15).
I've miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead!
There are many more major accomplishments, to many to mention here. You can read them on my website, which is located at: www dot - the BIBLE. You don't need an Internet connection or computer to access my website.


References

Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healings, salvation, deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance


In Summation

Now that you've read my resume, I'm confident that I'm the only candidate uniquely qualified to fill this vital position in your heart.

In summation, I will properly direct your paths, (See Proverbs 3:5-6), and lead you into everlasting life, (See John 6:47).
When can I start?

Time is of the essence, (See Hebrews 3:15).

- James C. Guy is the minister of the Canal Heights church of Christ and THE BIBLE SAYS website at: http://biblesays.faithsite.com
                               

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The Authority of God's Word
by: Ron Boatwright

The Bible is the authoritative Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword." When God says something, it is going to happen. Nothing can stop it. Not only is the Word of God living and powerful, but it will last forever.  1 Peter 1:23 says, "the word of God lives and abides forever." The Word of God will follow us into eternity.

The Bible is God’s instruction to us on what we must do so we can go to heaven. Jesus says in John 8:32, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Only by knowing and following God’s Word can anyone be saved and go to heaven. If one doesn’t know and obey God’s Word, he will spend eternity in the burning fires of hell. This will be a horrible place to be.

God’s Word is the authority or standard by which all people will be judged on Judgment Day. Jesus says in John 12:48, "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him, the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." People may ignore God’s Word now, but on Judgment Day they will not be able to ignore it.

God does not intend for His authoritative Word to be changed by man. We read in Revelation 22:18-19, "If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book, and if anyone takes from the word of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life." Either way he will be lost. People are not taking God seriously.  Even though the world may neglect it, we must not neglect to follow God’s authoritative Word if we want to go to heaven. Hebrews 2:3 says, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him."  There is no escape if one neglects to obey God’s authoritative Word.

-- Ron Boatwright  Conway, AR;  via Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin for the Belvedere church of Christ, Belvedere, SC.  Ken Chumbley, who serves as their evangelist, may be contacted at church@belvederechurchofchrist.org                            

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Nuggets and Quick Riches
-    misc. goodies this issue


The Story of the Bible
by: Steve Higginbotham

What's the Bible all about? What's its major theme? If you were to write a "Cliff Notes" on the Bible, and be as brief as possible, what would you say about it?

Well, at least one concise way to sum up the story of the Bible requires only five words. They are:
Three Gardens And Three Trees.

Think about it.

The Garden of Eden & The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (The Fall of Man)
The Garden of Gethsemane & The Cross of Christ (The Sacrifice for Man)
The Garden of God (Heaven) & The Tree of Life (The Eternal Salvation for Faithful Men)


This concise summary hits the beginning, middle, and end of human history; addresses its most pivotal moments. Three gardens and three trees ... that's the story of the Bible in a nutshell.

- Steve Higginbotham preaches for the South Green Street church of Christ, Glasgow, KY.  He is also the editor of the e-mail based MercEmail.  He may be contacted at shigg@glasgow-ky.com  Copyright © 2006, South Green Street church of Christ, Glasgow, Kentucky.                             

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Olny Srmat Poelpe Can

(The following was sent to me on the Internet.  Read through it quickly, without dwelling on each individual word, and you'll surprise yourself.  I believe it is an illustration of how wonderfully God has designed the human brain.  We are, indeed, "fearfully and wonderfully made" [Psa. 139:14]).

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.

The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.  Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

If you can raed tihs psas it on !!

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted a ron33dor@yahoo.com                               

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A Traveler's Guide To Heaven 

ACCOMMODATIONS: Arrangements for accommodation must be made in advance (John 14:2).

PASSPORTS: Persons seeking entry will not be permitted past the gates without having proper credentials and having their names registered with the ruling authority (Revelation 21:27).

DEPARTURE TIME: The exact date of departure has not been announced. Travelers are advised to be prepared to leave at short notice (1 Corinthians 15:52).

TICKETS: Your ticket was purchased by a Friend named Jesus. It should be claimed and its promises kept firmly in hand (John 5:24: Hebrews 5:8-9).

LUGGAGE: No luggage whatsoever can be taken (1 Timothy 6:7).

IMMIGRATION: All passengers are classified as immigrants, since they are taking up permanent residence in a new country. The quota is unlimited (Hebrews 11:16).

AIR PASSAGE: Travelers going directly by air are advised to watch daily for indications of imminent departure (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

VACCINATION/INOCULATIONS: Injections are not needed, as there are no illnesses or diseases there (Revelation 21:4).

CURRENCY: Supplies of "treasures" may be forwarded to await passenger's arrival. Make deposits as large as possible (Matthew 6:20).

CLOTHING: A complete and appropriate new wardrobe is provided for each traveler (Isaiah 61:10).

RESERVATIONS: Booking is now open. Since departure time is unknown, you should apply at once. If you wait, it may be too late (2 Corinthians 6:2).

To learn more, please consult real traveler's guide - the Bible.

- Selected; via the weekly bulletin of the  Harrisburg church of Christ, Harrisburg, IL.  Edd Sterchi, preacher and bulletin editor, may be contacted at sterchi@midwest.net 

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue


The Truth
by: H. L. Gradowith

A body filled with pain,
A spirit worn and tired,
A life that's lived in vain,
The best years long expired.
A world that's cold and dark,
Friends nowhere to be found,
A life that leaves no mark,
A voice that makes no sound.
A heart that feels no love,
A dream that time has killed,
Neck arched to look above,
All hope has long been stilled.
A longing to embrace,
And, O! to laugh once more!
No smile upon this face,
No loving arms in store.
Someday all this will pass,
Someday, indeed, someday,
Then ease will come at last,
But why the long delay?

- H. L. Gradowith  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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A Student's Prayer
by: Johannes DeViet

Almighty God whose covenant grace
a thousand generations praise,
give us, and students ev'rywhere
your Spirit's help, that we may dare
to stand in life with open eyes,
discerning between truth and lies.
 
Dear Father, guide us by your Word
which we so many times have heard;
let Christ our only refuge be,
to whom in faith we ever flee.
Lord, keep us healthy, safe, secure,
our walk upright, our life-style pure.
 
Teach us with joy our way to go,
say, "yes", to you, to Satan, "no";
to seek your praise with all our life,
to falter not when others strive
your rule, your law-word to disclaim;
with boldness to confess your Name.
 
O, Lord, in Jesus Name we ask:
prepare us for a worthwhile task
of service which, in all we do,
helps humans, and gives praise to you.
"Amen", we sing now without fear,
for you, our covenant God, will hear.                                 

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My Bible
by: Amos R. Wells

When I am tired, the Bible is my bed;
Or in the dark, the Bible is my light;
When I am hungry, it is vital bread;
Or fearful, it is armour for the fight;
When I am sick, 'tis healing medicine;
Or lonely, thronging friends I find therein.

If I would work, the Bible is my tool;
Or play, it is a harp of happy sound.
If I am ignorant, it is my school;
If I am sinking, it is solid ground.
If I am cold, the Bible is my fire;
And wings, if boldly I aspire.

Should I be lost, the Bible is my guide;
Or naked, it is raiment, rich and warm.
Am I imprisoned, it is ranges wide;
Or tempest-tossed, a shelter from the storm.
Would I adventure, 'tis a gallant sea;
Or would I rest, it is a flowery lea.

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

"THE BIBLE is the chief moral cause for all that is good, the best corrector of all that is evil in human society; the best book for regulating the temporal concerns of man and the only book that can serve as an infallible guide for future felicit"  (Noah Webster, 1833).

"It's not dying for a faith that's so hard; 'tis the living up to it that is difficult" (Thackeray).

A prayer to be prayed more often: "Dear Lord, please keep your arm around my shoulder, and your hand over my mouth."

"Lord, thank you for this beautiful day! Please help me to see the beauty in every day, and help others to see the beauty in your wonders.  Guide me through perils toward your brilliant light.  Amen" (Kate E. Ritger, Prayer in All Things).

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted a ron33dor@yahoo.com


"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment" (Jim Horning).

“And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years” (Abraham Lincoln).

-- Via the Mathis Messenger, the weekly bulletin of the Mathis church of Christ, Mathis, TX.  They may be contacted at MathisCofC@stx.rr.com

 

Dignity is one thing that cannot be preserved in alcohol.

- Via The Lantern, the weekly bulletin of the Highway church of Christ, Sullivan, IL.  Ron Thomas serves the congregation as minister and bulletin editor and may be contacted at rthomas1@one-eleven.net

 

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