BulletinGold #71 
November 5, 2006   Vol 6 #9 

Editorial
----by David Bragg

The Bible relates the epic story of the human race and our relationship with the eternal God.  From the first light of Genesis a Divine scheme of life begins to unfold, culminating on the sixth day with the crowning achievement of creation ... man.  Perfection is soon followed by disappointment as man chooses self over God, and suddenly paradise draws to a premature end.

 

As Adam and Eve are forced from the Garden of Eden and barred from the eternal benefits of the Tree of Life (Gen. 3:22, 24), even their selfish choice of the serpent over God did not cut off all hope.  One is promised to come, along with the promise of victory over the Serpent, and the apparent source from which blessings were to be harvested, the Tree of Life, will therefore emerge in the book of Proverbs as a metaphor of eternal life.

 

The Bible concludes with echoes of a great beginning.  The dawn's first light of a final, great eternal day will reveal ... the eternal God, paradise, the Tree of Life, and the One who made the victory possible for those blessed to inhabit the New Jerusalem, Jesus Christ.  The Bible ends with those who choose God over self, gaining the access so long denied as the saints join God in paradise to enjoy forever the Tree of Life (Rev. 22:14).


This issue of BulletinGold revolves around the grand theme of the Bible, in the hope of honoring all those who faithfully teach it to others.  No other endeavor could hope to reap the possible rewards as sharing God's Word with others.  Whether by print or word of mouth, what glorious hope is shared with you share the Bible's message with others.


David Bragg, co-editor
www.davidbragg.org

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Panning for Gold Feature Articles:

A Love for the Truth
By Bob Spurlin


The most compelling need of our day is a love for the truth. Unfortunately there is a deficiency in this regard that is woefully lacking.  When I was a boy my father, grandfather, brothers, and I would go to Bentley’s Barber Shop in Hartselle , Alabama to get a haircut. My grandfather, J. F. Dean, was an elder in the church and was recognized as a walking Bible. Occasionally at the barber shop a question would be raised about some Bible related subject. My grandfather would reply, “the Bible says so and so,” and then he would quote the pertinent scripture. As a child my memory was clear regarding how silent the place of business became when he finished his answer. The presentation of truth silenced the questioner and convicted the hearts of those present. Beloved, there was a day when men and women would shudder at the truth and/or tremble at the spoken word (Heb, 4:12; Acts 24:25).

How do we show our love for the truth? Initially, we should love hearing the truth or gospel proclaimed (Eph. 4:15); Acts 2:41). This writer has noticed over the last ten to fifteen years a lack of appreciation for the truth and the majesty of God’s written word. One brother told a gospel preacher that he should watch what he said because there were sectarian people in the audience. One even remarked that he should not speak on religious error due to certain people being present. Wonder how Peter or Paul would preach today? Would they simply slap people on the back, shake their hands, and then declare some philosophical jargon? Most Bible students know better. If we truly love the truth then joy will soar in our hearts as the spoken word is preached. A love of the truth will cause us to crave and hunger for it like a fine meal (Matt. 5:6). Solomon said, “Buy the truth and sell it not...” (Prov. 23:23). A love of the truth will cause us to submit to it. ( Jam. 4:7-8). Jesus said, “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (Jhn. 14:15).

A love for the truth will also cause one to live it to the uttermost. There can be no greater challenge for our love of the truth than living it daily. Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ, but to die is gain...” (Phil. 1:21). Jesus was the personification of truth and truly exemplified how we should conduct our lives. Luke wrote in his second treatise to Theophilus and said, “concerning all that Jesus began both to do and to teach” (Acts 1:1). Paul said, “only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Phil. 1:27 ASV). Friend a love for the truth is not only the purpose of our being, but everlasting life will be the result of a faithful life.

-- Bob Spurlin, Hartselle , AL (via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere church of Christ , Belvedere, SC.  Ken Chumbley serves the congregation as evangelist, and he may be contacted at church@belvederechurchofchrist.org).   Please visit brother Spurlin's website at http://www.bobspurlin.com.

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“Ten Things Bible Class Teachers Love In Parents”
By  Kyle Moses

 
This list (borrowed from the New Braunfels bulletin, Truth) has a very important message for us all to understand.
This list is entitled “Some Things Bible Class Teachers Love In Parents”:

1. Parents who attend Bible classes regularly.
2. Parents who encourage their children to attend all Bible class regularly.
3. Parents who encourage their children to be in Bible classes on time.
4. Parents who speak well of the classes.
5. Parents who are fair minded, agreeable, and unselfishly helpful to the teacher with all classroom problems.
6. Parents who appreciate, and express their appreciation for their efforts to help their children.
7. Parents who are real partners with class teachers in the greatest work of the world.
8. Parents who set a time to help their children get their Bible lessons done.
9. Parents who maintain discipline at home so the teacher will have no discipline problems in the classroom.
10. Parents who teach their children proper attitudes of worship, in the classroom and public worship services.

 

Author Unknown


Bible classes are very important. We must be sure that we do all we can to be there. Sometimes, we may not set our
alarm for the right time, we may be ill, or something happens where we just cannot be there. Otherwise, we should make every effort to be at Bible class. Attendance for Bible class is just as important for being at the worship services.

I do not know why, but every place I have ever worshiped, every bulletin I get that shows attendance records, and every preacher or elder to whom I have ever spoken about this topic all affirm that there is a trend in the Lord’s church. Have you ever noticed how the Sunday morning and the Sunday evening service totals are always a
lot higher than those of Sunday morning Bible class and Wednesday evening Bible study? Why is that? Is it because some do not see Bible class as important? Maybe it is because some don’t like the teacher. I do not know. One thing I do know, though, is that those who attend the Bible classes without reserve always say that they learn so much and look forward to it. Some even say that through Bible class, their faith is very often stronger because they come.

Why is it important to come to Bible class? I want to offer two lists. The first list is the importance for children to attend Bible class and the other is to show the reasons for adult attendance.

Children
1. It teaches them how to behave for worship services.
2. They get the basic Bible stories taught to them using resources that parents many times do not have at home.
3. The children have the opportunity to make life-long Christian friends with the Bible class mates, often times
meeting future mates.
4. The children learn how to use their Bibles.
5. Children have the opportunity to learn from knowledgeable teachers that have taken a lot of time to
prepare a lesson especially for them.

Adults
1. Adults can learn lessons more in depth than they can by just listening to sermons alone.
2. Class participation helps to offer different points of view and spawn new thoughts than with sermons or personal
study alone.
3. It can prepare the student to better combat against the false doctrines present in our world.
4. The student is more prepared to teach the lost and dying world the gospel with a stronger knowledge.
5. The adult has a better opportunity to learn from a wider range of resources.

I hope that you will consider these important thoughts as you consider coming to Bible class each Sunday and
Wednesday. With Vacation Bible School approaching, we can apply these same principles.
 
-- Kyle Moses preaches for the church of Christ in Mathis , TX .  He may be contacted at MathisCofC@stx.rr.comwww.mathiscofc.org. or via the congregation's website:

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Abraham–Friend of God
By Jimmy W. Cox

Abraham is the only person to have received this title. “And the Scriptures was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness,’ and he was called the friend of God.” (Jas. 2:23). Also 2 Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8). Let us note some of his qualities.

–He believed God. Jas. 2:23; Heb. 11:8, 9, 17. Faith is required for salvation, but it is not the only requirement. A person can believe, and still be lost. “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (John 12:42, 43); (Jas. 2:17-26).

–Obeyed God. –When told to go to another country, he went (Heb. 11:8).  When commanded to offer Isaac, he did (Heb. 11:17).   We must obey to be saved. “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” (Heb. 5:8, 9).

–Feared God. “And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” (Gen. 22:12). Man’s whole duty is to fear God and keep His commandments. (Eccl. 12:13).

–Had a deep concern for the lost. (Gen. 18:16-33). Every Christian should feel a responsibility to the lost. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” ( Rom. 1:16).  

We also can be friends of God. “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:14).  You are either for God, or against Him. “No man can serve two masters . . . You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matt. 6:24).

- 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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All For a Bowl of Soup
By Lance Cordle


You remember the story—Esau, the outdoorsman, came in from the field and was very hungry (“famished” Genesis 26:29, NASB). His brother, Jacob, had cooked a container of lentil stew (NASB) and had it there as Esau came in from his outdoor activity. He reacted in a way that is familiar to most people—he claimed he was starving and about to die (both not literally true). Jacob, being a shrewd individual, saw his brother for what he was, a profane, worldly man (See Hebrews 12:16,17). Jacob demanded the birthright (the right to a double share of their father’s possessions at his death). This was indeed a ludicrous trade—a tremendous inheritance in exchange for a bowl of soup—but Esau took it.

This transaction took place a long time ago, but it is not so far removed from our time. Virtually every day, people make trades similar to that of Esau—exchanging the important things in life for things that are far less valuable. Consider the following possibilities:

¨ A high school student trades his integrity and good reputation for “honor” by cheating on a test that is just a matter of academic record.
¨ A young lady trades her good name and purity for the opportunity to belong to the “popular crowd” in high school.
¨ A woman trades her family and future for a temporary affair with a man who wanted her merely for momentary pleasure.
¨ A man trades his health for a job that will keep him occupied for thousands of hours and leaves him with no time for his family.
¨ A church trades the stability of God’s word for the great number of people attracted by loose doctrine and entertainment.
¨ A society trades solid moral principles that insure the stability of governments for ever-changing, ever-descending values that have been proven to destroy civilizations.

Esau later regretted his decision. Years of frustration, anger, and bitterness could have been prevented if he had not been so foolish in his decision about the soup.

May we take the lesson of Esau and be careful in all our decisions to choose wisely.  Because, ultimately, we stand to lose our eternal inheritance if we trade  for a “bowl of soup” (Matthew 16:26; 1 Peter 1:4)     

-- 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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A Vote Against The Bible
By Steve Higginbotham

 
This past week, on June 16th, a major religious body in the United States , at their national convention, voted against two proposals that expressed opposition to all same-sex unions.  My response to such an action is twofold:

·                               First, how much presumption does it take to vote against a biblical truth? Who does man think he is, voting against the edicts and pronouncements of God?  Do people think majority rules when it comes to God's revelation?  Do people really think they can "vote God out of office" by reaching a majority decision against God and his platform as set forth in Scripture?  Apparently so.

·                               And second, how much presumption does it take to vote, for or against, any biblical matter?  Why would anyone be "voting" on any biblical or moral issue?  Has not God already spoken?  Does not Scripture already "thoroughly furnish us with answers to doctrinal and moral matters? (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Is truth determined by a vote?  Let God be true and every man a liar.  Friends, no vote needs to be taken, rather people need to open their Bibles!

Apparently, people need to be reminded that truth is not what we make it, but what God stated.  Morality is not determined by a vote, but by the revelation of God.  Rather than "voting," wouldn't people be better off just obeying the word of God.  After all, there is the reminder of Moses echoing through the ages that states, "Do not follow a multitude to do evil." (Exodus 23:2).

-- Steve Higginbotham, author of the e-mail devotional, MercE-mail, preaches for the South Green Street church of Christ , Glasgow , KY.   He may be contacted at shigg@glasgow-ky.com.  Copyright © 2006, South Green Street Church of Christ, Glasgow , Kentucky .  Permission is granted to copy these articles.

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The Parable of the Prodigal Son
By David Ferguson


The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the most widely known of Jesus' parables. Additionally, it is also Jesus' longest parable, comprising 22 verses (Luke 15:11-32). In The Parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus reaches the apex in His response to the charge against Him, leveled by the scribes and Pharisees who asserted, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." And how did Jesus respond to this murmuring? He responded by delivering three parables in which He illustrated quite emphatically His Father’s great and undying love for those who are lost: The Parable of the Lost Sheep, The Parable of the Lost Coin, and The Parable of the Prodigal Son.
 
There is much that could be said about this parable, but I will keep my comments brief. The Parable of the Prodigal Son continues the theme of rejoicing, and even adds to it. The first half of the parable illustrates rejoicing over a sinner who returned, while the second half more directly counters the situation Jesus faced: the criticism of the religious establishment about His willingness to be with sinners. Jesus, by telling the parable in the manner in which He did, admonishes those who do not rejoice in the message of repentance and salvation extended to sinners, the very sinners the scribes and Pharisees detested. The message is made abundantly clear: if even God and heaven rejoice over the repentance of one lost sinner, should we on earth do anything less?
 
In the first two parables the lost were found by searching. But in The Parable of the Prodigal Son the younger son was found by waiting. During this time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, the spiritually lost were already coming to Jesus. There was no need for Him to seek them out. They had been spiritually dead and were now showing interest. They desired to be taught by Jesus, because as Matthew recorded, "…the multitudes were astonished at His teaching: for He taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes." (Matthew 7:28b-29) Yes, Jesus received them and yes, He did eat with them. His willingness to reach out to those despised individuals would have encouraged them to keep the laws they already knew and to continue to listen to Him for more instruction in God's way of righteousness.

But the parable is not pertinent simply to those first century Jews Jesus was teaching. The lessons to be gleaned are timeless messages for all as they depict so vividly the great love our Father has for His lost children. He rejoices over and honors every sinner who comes to repentance through obedience in baptism. He comes toward us. This theme of joyful acceptance, as similarly illustrated in the first two parables of this chapter, dominates the beginning of this parable. This is the lesson illustrated by the Father: He is always ready to welcome a returning child!

-- David Ferguson preaches for the Lake Land church of Christ in Mattoon , IL .  He may be contacted at davidferguson61@yahoo.com.

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Nuggets and Quick Riches - misc. goodies this issue

 

A $2,800 Bible!?!

 
The shaky conditions of his economy led the Roman Emperor, Diocletian, to declare an all-out price-fixing in history’s first attempt to curtail inflation.  The edict, proclaimed in A.D. 300, set the price of beer, soap, food and even the Bible!
 
To afford a complete Bible at the emperor’s price, the average American would probably have to mortgage his house.  Under the edict you were charged for a Bible on this basis: A scribe’s work was price-fixed at $2.80 per 100 stychoi (one stychos equals one line of Homeric 16 syllable verse).  For carefully copying 18,302 stychoi - the complete New Testament - he would receive the fixed figure of $512.45 (in today’s currency) and not a drachma more or less.  For copying the complete Bible he would receive $2,800.  You paid, in addition, the cost of the papyri (a type of paper), which was in short production and price-fixed under the luxuries category.
 
Just think, for $3.00 you can now buy a Bible with full color maps - at a savings of $2,797.00!  How many Bibles would you have at $2,800.00 each?  How much would you read the Bible if you paid $2,800.00 for it? It’s the same Book either way.
 
- Selected; via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ, Harrisburg , IL .  Edd Sterchi serves as their minister, and he may be contacted at
sterchi@midwest.net

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Wisdom from a Lady
By Boynton Merrill

“A few years ago a college girl, greatly troubled, turned to me in her anxiety. For some months we talked and wrote, and then one day I knew that she had come onto solid ground. For this is what she said in a letter to me: ‘I see now that God does not save me on the outside. It is this way: when you are safe on the inside, you are safe on every side.’ She has found the only security that really counts.”

-- Boynton Merrill; via the Lantern, the weekly bulletin of the Highway church of Christ in Sullivan, IL.  Ron Thomas serves the congregation as preacher.  He may be contacted at He may be contacted at rthomas1@one-eleven.net

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Lessons Learned


I've learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is to be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.
I've learned that no matter how much I care, some people just don't care back.
I've learned that it's not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.
I've learned that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes.  After that, you'd better know something.
I've learned that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
I've learned that it's taking me a long time to become the person I  want to be.
I've learned you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.
I've learned that you can keep going long after you think you can't.
I've learned that either you control your attitude or it controls you.
I've learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.
I've learned that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.
I've learned that sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.
I've learned that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.
I've learned that you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life.
I've learned that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

-- Lakeland Bulletin, Mattoon , IL (via The Sower, the weekly bulletin of the Arthur church of Christ , Arthur , IL .  Ron Bartanen is their preacher.  He may be contacted at ron33dor@one-eleven.net or through the congregation's website: www.aruthurchurchofchrist.com 

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Hearts of Gold - poetry this issue

Reading the Bible
 
It is one thing to read the Bible through,
And another to read to learn and do.
Some read it as their "duty" once a week,
But no instruction from the Bible seek.
One reads to "bring himself into repute,"
By showing others how he can "dispute."
Some read because their neighbors do;
Others to boast their reading it through.
Some read it for the wonders there,
Like how David killed the lion and the bear.
While others read it with uncommon care,
Hoping to find a contradiction there.
One reads with father's specs in hand,
And finds the things as father said.
Some read to prove a pre-adopted creed,
Hence understand little of what they read.
For every passage in the book they bend
To make it suit their all-important end.
So many in these latter days,
Have read His Word in different ways.
And few can tell which way is best,
For every party contradicts the rest.
But read it prayerfully and you will see,
Although men dispute, God's Word agrees.
For what the early prophets wrote,
Christ and His church must quote.
So trust no creed that trembles to recall
What was penned by God must be verified by all.


-- Author Unknown; via The Sower, the weekly bulletin of the Arthur church of Christ , Arthur , IL .  Ron Bartanen is their preacher.  He may be contacted at ron33dor@one-eleven.net or through the congregation's website: www.aruthurchurchofchrist.com

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We thank Thee, Lord
By Lois Tiffany

 

We thank Thee, Lord, for waiting years
Though every hope be touched with fears,
Though in the past lie broken dreams,
Yet in the future, now, it seems
As if a Hand will point the way
Our feet should travel day by day --
 
We thank Thee, Lord, for love today,
For willing hands, for hearts that pray,
And though it be a thorny road
O'er which we trudge with heavy load,
Yet by the roadside we may find
The handshake of a comrade kind --
 
We thank Thee, Lord, for beating rain
Through which the sun shines clear again.
We thank Thee for the blinding heat
Of desert over which our feet
Must go, and though our eyes be wet,
And though our hearts be burdened, yet --
 
We thank Thee, Lord, for Jesus Christ
Who, through Thy love, was sacrificed;
Help us to know that He will share
The heavy burdens we may bear;
And as we labor here, to pray
Our lips may swiftly learn to say --
"We thank Thee, Lord."

  

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A Holy Hunger for You

Lord, create in me...a holy hunger for
You and fan it each day like a fire, Till
I'm totally dissatisfied with the things
of this earth and Your glory is my
utmost desire.

Let me seek Your face, Your honor and
wisdom till my soul is consumed by
your flame. Let me inhale your Presence,
wanting more every breath so I'll exhale
of the truth of your name.

May I wake every day with a renewing
of passion and not be content with what
You did in the past. For Your glory is
more than a trophy to hold in the
hope that its memory will last.

Lord, fill me with joy...inexpressible
joy from the depths of Your heart's
flowing treasures. For I've found true
happiness isn't held in my hands
but in the spiritual I cannot measure.

Pour yourself out to me...like only You
can and I will grow wanting more of
Your glory, manifested to me through
the Word in my life and written into my
life story.

Let me die to myself and my selfish
desires so that righteousness overflows
from within. Till You're the last thought
I have at the close of each day and the
first thought as each new day begins.

Amen

-- Sheila Gosney, Copyright 2004; via Thought for the Day, an e-mail devotional presented by Alan Smith, who preaches for the Helen Street church of Christ in Fayetteville, NC.  To subscribe to "Thought For the Day," send a blank email to join-thought-for-the-day@xc.org

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