BulletinGold #75 
March 2007   Vol 7 #1

----by David Bragg
An old legend tells of a prince with a crooked back.  Despite his physical limitations he remained very proud and strong.  So it was not surprising to his subjects when he called the most skilled sculptor among them and commissioned him to make a statue in the image of the prince.  The instruction was clear, "Make a statue of me, but with a straight back.  I would see myself as I might have been."

Upon completion the statue was presented to the pleased prince.  It was so impressive many clamored for the statue to be placed at the palace gate for all to admire.  The prince, however, refused and ordered it hidden in a secret part of his private garden - a place he alone could visit.

Time passed and many forgot about the magnificent statue.  But the prince would visit it each day.  He would stand before it and imagine what it would be like to stand straight and tall.  Months became years until someone noticed the prince's back was becoming straight.  He was becoming the man in the statue.

Each one of us, and everyone with whom the items contained in this issue of BulletinGold is in the constant process of becoming either a useful tool for Christ or Satan.  It is our prayer the we all turn to Jesus for guidance in our spiritual development.  Having done that, two of the most important questions we must strive to answer is:  "Am I becoming more like Jesus or more like the world?" and  "Who am I becoming?"

David Bragg, co-editor

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Panning for Gold
- Feature Articles:  

Misplaced Priorities
by Craig Evans

     Last night while watching ESPN I saw a news story about the death of Barbaro.  After hearing the news story I decided to look at some articles to find out more about him.  Here are some of the interesting things that I found.

       Barbaro, called Bobby by his friends, was a young talented athlete that was injured back in May.  He has endured several surgeries, but finally died after infection had set in.  Since his injury, the country has been on “Barbaro Watch” with daily reports in the national media.  He was described as honest and blameless, and friendly.  It was noted that after everything he went through he was never mean.  When his doctor was asked why people were so drawn to him, he replied, “He was so good looking” as he held back the tears.  One news caster told how Barbaro had changed people’s lives, and David Switzer referred to him as a hero.  During his illness 1.2 million dollars was donated to help with medical expenses, thousands of get well cards were sent to him, and a $500,000 Scholarship has been started in his name to help those who have the same type of injury.

     The problem is Barbaro was a horse.  What if?...

Prayers were offered for all of the people who are lost instead of a horse without a soul.
Thousands of cards were sent to people who can read and understand instead of a horse who cannot.
Widows and orphans were visited instead of traveling to Pennsylvania to see a horse who did not know you were there.

$1.2 million was spent on medical bills for the poor, and $500,000 fund was set up for children.              

     I am not anti-animal.  I have always had pets, and enjoyed wildlife.  I would just like to bring some perspective.  Horses are not heroes that change lives.  Jesus is a hero that can change lives, and by leading people to him we can change lives.

-- Craig Evans serves as Youth Minister for the Calvert city church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted at Office@calvertchurchofchrist.com

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Commitment of a Solider
by: Cory Waddell

On Jeopardy one night, the final question was "How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns?"— All three missed it—

1.  How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why?  21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why? 21 seconds for the same reason as answer number 1.

3. Why are his gloves wet? His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time and if not, why not? He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

5. How often are the guards changed? Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to? For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5' 10" and 6' 2" tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30."

Other requirements of the Guard: They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform {fighting} or the tomb in any way. After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin. The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror. The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are:

President Taft, Joe E. Lewis {the boxer} and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, {the most decorated soldier of WWII} of Hollywood fame. Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty. In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington, DC, our US Senate/House took 2 days off with anticipation of the storm.

On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment.  They respectfully declined the offer, "No way, Sir!" Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment; it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a serviceperson. The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930. God Bless and keep them. … These soldiers willingly give up what some call “joys of life” so they can guard one of our nation’s most cherished monuments. They call this “not just an assignment, [but] the highest honor that can be afforded to a serviceperson.”

As Christians, are we willing to commit our lives and sacrifice “joys of life” because of the great honor of being called a child of God? Many times being one of God’s people requires some kind of sacrifice. I am reminded of Luke 9:23 when Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him DENY HIMSELF and take up his cross DAILY.” Consider the perception you have of the Christian walk. Is it burden or is it “the highest honor that can be afforded to a holy serviceperson.”

-- Cory Waddell preaches for the Woodland Oaks church of Christ; via The Mathis Messenger, the weekly bulletin of the Mathis church of Christ, Mathis, Texas.  Kyle Moses serves the congregation as preacher.  He may be contacted by email at MathisCofC@stx.rr.com or via their website: www.mathiscofc.org

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Pocketbook, Party, or Principles?
by: Joe Slater

November 7 is election day.  Maybe you think you’ve heard more than you want to hear about it already.  But God’s word sheds some needed light: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice, but when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Prov. 29:2).  “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).

In some cases, calling any candidate a “righteous” person might require quite a stretch!  It’s easy to become a cynic and say, “Politicians!  They’re all the same!”  But sometimes clear differences exist; it is our privilege and duty to prayerfully and carefully decide for whom we will vote.  What criteria should we use?

Some people vote their pocketbooks.  That philosophy says: “I will support whichever candidate will do the most to increase my personal material wealth.”  Others vote their party.  While parties may not receive the loyalty they did in the past, there are still those who would vote for the devil himself rather than support someone in another party!

There are, of course, legitimate economic concerns; and even party affiliation may play a valid role in our decisions.  But shouldn’t Christians be concerned about greater things than these?  What about our principles?

Since one of the God-given duties of civil government is to promote what is good and to punish evildoers (Rom. 13:3), it behooves us to determine where the various candidates stand on important issues.  What values do they embrace?  What, according to them, is “good” and what is “evil”?  How do their positions square with the Scriptures?  Many specific examples could be listed, but some obvious and outstanding ones are abortion, homosexuality, and drugs.  The moral fabric of our nation is being torn to shreds, and Christians who ignore moral principles in the voting booth bear some of the responsibility.

Economic concerns are not unrelated to morality.  God has been, is now, and always will be in control of the welfare of nations.  It is He who gives the power to obtain wealth (Deut. 8:18).  Not even the most brilliant economic policy can succeed without God's blessings (see Haggai 1:1-11).

Let us be clear: government cannot save us.  A righteous nation will not be legislated into existence.  Civil authorities can, however, promote what is good and help to provide a decent environment in which to live.  Christians can exercise their influence as the “salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13) by supporting candidates of high moral standards.

-- Joe Slater; via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  Edd Sterchi serves as one of the congregation's ministers.  He may be contacted at sterchi@midwest.net

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A Genuine Bargain In Religion
by: Gerald Cowan

It takes more than a reduced price to qualify as a real bargain. Some fixed price items can be bargains too, if what you get is worth more than you pay,  even at full undiscounted price.

     People may be bargain hunters in religion too. They seek a religion that provides benefits greater than the cost. What they often end up with is something that cannot provide their real spiritual needs, but people will accept it because of the reduced cost and commitment on their part. They want to be accepted and approved even though they make a minimal contribution in service, money, etc.

     True Christianity is "fair traded." The price is not negotiable but fixed. Its price cannot be lowered or raised.  The cost is complete surrender and commitment of oneself to the Lord, willingness to be added to the one and only true church by the Lord Himself and to function only under His headship.

     Even with the extremely high cost Christianity is a bargain. The forgiveness of sins, ability to cope with the demands of life, endless spiritual blessings, and the promise of heaven at the end of it - this far outweighs the cost.

     It is worth noting that the cost for the Christian is less than what it cost Jesus Christ to provide salvation and heaven for sinners. Be glad you don't have to pay that price.
-- 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

It Depends Upon You and Me, and People Like Us

The average age of the great world civilizations has been two hundred years. All great nations have passed through this sequence:
     From bondage to spiritual faith.
     From spiritual faith to great courage.
     From courage to liberty.
     From liberty to prosperity and material abundance.
     From prosperity to selfishness.
     From selfishness to complacency.
     From complacency to apathy.
     From apathy to dependence.
     From dependence back again to bondage.
Where does our civilization, these great United States of America, stand in this cycle? Our country is a few decades older than the average. Are we following the cycle? It is not inevitable. But it depends upon you and me and people like us, and our relationship to God. With God's guidance and strength - not to mention His love and grace - we can change the world. Remember that the Christian's hope does not rely upon statistics and formulas, but upon God and our faith in Him.

-- Amadeus Geoff Colquhon di Verdi-Stone, !V  [AKA Gerald Cowan]

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Human Creeds
by: Ron Thomas

It is difficult to appreciate the objections to man-made creeds if you have never seen one, much less submitted to one. I have and can appreciate why this topic is important. In the latest issue of The Christian Chronicle (January 2006), there is an interview with a former Pentecostal preacher (Church of God) who was converted to the Lord's Way. He was asked a question about why he converted and his response, in part, went like this, "AI was impressed with the church of Christ knowledge of the Bible and their attempts to stick as close to it as possible. Because in the Pentecostal movement, you had to have a creed."

What is even more unfortunate is that some in the Lord's church have fallen into a creed mentality as well. For instance, questionnaires are sent out to prospective preachers for a lectureship or employment. These questionnaires may be useful in some respects (I have never refused to answer them), but they are nothing more than a creed. If one does not line up with correct answers according to the author of the series of questions, that person is refused any association. A creed of a different sort!

-- Ron Thomas preaches for the Highway church of Christ, Sullivan, IL.  He may be contacted at rthomas1@one-eleven.net or via the congregation's website: http://highwaycofc.com/sullivan/

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Revive Us Again
by: Ronald Bartanen

     While for some reason Churches of Christ have traditionally shied away from the term "Revival", choosing rather to call our evangelistic meetings "Gospel Meetings", both, I feel, are appropriate.  The Gospel will be preached at the meeting, telling the Good News of Christ, and thus the term "Gospel Meeting" is appropriate.  At the same time, it is always our hope to have true revival-both individually and as a congregation.  The psalmist prayed, "Wilt thou not revive us again; that thy people may rejoice in thee?" (Psa. 85:6)  However, revival should not be a once-or-twice-per-year event, any more than the proclaiming of the gospel should be a once-or-twice-per-year event.  Rather, we need a daily revival of God's strength for each day of our lives.  Let revival not be an interlude of life, but rather a way of

-- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL.  He may be contacted at ron33dor@one-eleven.net or via the congregation's website at www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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A Prayer from Days Past - For Mothers

O God and Father of all mankind, of whom the whole family in heaven and on earth is named, we thank Thee for the homes of our land and for the mothers who grace them:
For their suffering in our natal hour;
For their affection in our infancy;
For their longsuffering when we were sinful;
For the comfort they gave our heavy hearts;
For their loving ministry in the hour of pain.
We recall with sorrow and shamefulness our ingratitude toward our mothers.  Father, forgive us.  Now, we earnestly beseech Thee on behalf of mothers all over the world:
For those who await the hour of suffering;
For those who minister to their firstborn;
For those whose hearts are broken by sinful sons;
For those who are bereft of precious children;
For those who are separated from son and daughter by land and by sea;
For those women who have never known the joy of motherhood and in whose homes the patter of little feet has never been heard.
May we never forget our mothers.  Help us to bear with them even as they have borne with us.  May we minister unto them in their failing years even as they ministered unto us when we were babes in their arms.
In the Savior’s name, Amen.

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

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Build Me a Son

      "Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

     Build me a son whose wishbone will be where his knowledge should be; a son who will know Thee--- And that to know himself is foundation stone of knowledge.

     Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here, let him learn to stand up in the storm; here, let him learn compassion for those who fall.

     Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goals will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

     And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength. Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”

-- General Douglas A. McArthur

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The Stranger in Our House

A few months before I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it.

But the stranger? He was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies. If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present, and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ballgame. He made me laugh.  This stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.

Sometimes Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to her room and read her books. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home ...not from us, our friends or any visitor. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my Dad squirm and my Mother blush.

My Dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in the home, not even for cooking. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked ... And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you were to walk into my parents' den today you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name?...

We just call him T.V.

-- Author Unknown, via Cashmere (WA) church of Christ as re-printed in The Family Friend, a monthly publication of the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  Lance Cordle serves the congregation as local minister of editor.  He may be contacted at Lance@calvertchurchofchrist.com

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

Lord, Is it I?

When the church seems dead;
   The work is slow,
When attendance is off
   The songs too low,
When the prayers of the saints
   Lack fervor and power
When the preacher’s sermon
   Seems stale and sour;
Do you think then; or
   Look with critical eye
Why not ask yourself?
   Lord, is it I?

-- Author Unknown

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Be Ready
by: H. L. Gradowith

The Savior is calling all sinners today:
    Come home before time for you ends;
Someday to the clouds He will call us away,
    Be ready to go with Him, friends?  CHORUS

Be ready to go with the Savior that Day,
    Be ready when He calls for you;
Be ready:  for He'll surely call you away,
    Be ready when He calls for you!

The things that you did yesterday He'll forgive,
    But you'll have to trust and obey;
He died so that in Him new lives we might live,
    Come now; let Him cleanse you today!  CHORUS

The best way to live is to walk with the King,
    A crown of life He holds in store;
When this life is over for you, know one thing:
    He'll welcome you to Heaven's shore?  CHORUS

- 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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The Faithful Few

In every church, in every clime,
When there’s some work to do,
It’s very likely to be done
By just the faithful few.
Many folks will help to sing,
And some are glad to talk,
But when it comes to doing things,
A lot of them will balk.
“I can’t do this,” “I can’t do that,”
 “Excuse me, please, this time,”
“I’d be glad to help you out,
But its not in my line.”
So when the elders look about
For someone who’ll help to do,
They nearly always have to go
And ask the faithful few.
They know full well they’re busy,
And they’re always hard at work.
But they’re sure they’ll not refuse,
Nor any duty shirk.
Someday the Lord will come again
With judgment wise and true,
And then with him to heaven fair,
He’ll take the faithful few!

— author unknown, via “Heart to Heart,” as it was re-printed in The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Calvert City church of Christ, in Calvert City, Ky.

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Will You Pray For Me
by: Debby Anderson

Will you pray for me when I am ill
  Or old or weak or blind?
  Will you pray for me by your windowsill
  When I've nearly lost my mind?
  Will you pray for me when my life is dark...
  When my days on earth are numbered?
  Will you pray for me when I've lost my "spark",
  When my life with sadness is cumbered?
  You will pray for me for many a reason.
  This I can clearly see.
  But will you, no matter what the reason,
  Pray for me???????for ME?

-- Debby Anderson is just one of our many valued BulletinGold group members.  She not only attends the Elgin church of Christ in Elgin, TN, she prepares the congregation's weekly bulletin.

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

    When you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there.
    Quit griping about your church; if it was perfect, you couldn't belong.
    Some minds are like concrete - thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
    A lot of church members, singing "Standing On the Promises," are just sitting on the premises.
    "Be ye fishers of men."  You catch them - He'll clean them.   (Sunnyside's Family Talk)
    Don't put a question mark where God put a period.
    God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called.
    God loves everyone, but prefers "fruits of the Spirit" over religious nuts!"
     You may be only one person in the world, but you also may be the world to one person.
-- via THE SOWER, the weekly bulletin of the Arthur, IL church of Christ..

     Much desire, many plans for progress, and much potential achievement have been derailed and done in by a common ailment called COLD FEET.
     A religion that will not get you to church will not get you to heaven.
     Those who have no interest in the church are generally those who have made no investment in it.
     Some witty person has suggested that America's number-one energy crisis is Monday morning - how to get on track again at work and do something productive. One might also say the number-one spiritual crisis for the church is Sunday - what to do on the Lord's day.

-- via THE ENCOURAGER, the weekly bulletin for the Dongola, IL church of Christ.