BulletinGold #86
February 2008   Vol 7 #12

----by David Bragg
The most cutting, and perhaps the most familiar, of all the parables told by Jesus is the one we term the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10).  Building on the Jew’s well-known hatred of the Samaritan race (John 4:9; 8:48), Jesus tells of how an unnamed Samaritan, at great cost and inconvenience to himself, responds to the need of a fallen traveler.  Amazingly, this despised outsider must have sorted through the multitude of excuses for not getting involved only to step over them for the one reason to help: a fellow man’s desperate need.

The Samaritan’s act stands in stark contrast to the apparent lack of compassion exhibited by a priest and Levite, also traveling down the Jericho road.  Of all members of the Jewish family, the priest and Levite, religious leaders, would be expected to offer a caring hand.  Instead, they pass by with only a quick glance of the situation.  The ones most motivated to care didn’t.  Instead, after only a moment’s hesitation, they continue down a road paved with good intentions leading to a most unpleasant destination.

This February issue of BulletinGold will focus on the basic motivator in Christianity, love.  Love undergirds everything that we believe.  No greater love can be imagined than God’s love illustrated in Jesus, God’s own Son who willingly died for the whole world (1 John 2:1-2).  Love moves those willing to repent to obey Christ.  Likewise, love moves faithful Christians to serve their fellowman in need.  Like the Good Samaritan, every Christian is called to love those in need.  No greater need can be found than one’s need to see and embrace in obedience God’s great love for them.

David Bragg, co-editor

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Panning for Gold
- Feature Articles:  

You Do Not Believe
by: Jeremiah Tatum

It is very peculiar that we, as a body of believers, are often accused of not believing in certain things. Here is a list of ideas that, from time to time, people claim about us:

1. “You are the folks who don’t believe in miracles.” This, of course, is not true. We believe in every miraculous event recorded in the Bible. We believe that God can perform any miracle He wishes to perform whenever He wishes to perform it. If we did not believe in miracles, we would have no hope, because the resurrection of Christ is the greatest miracle of all (1 Cor.15:1-20).
2. “You are the folks who don’t believe in prophecy.” This, of course, is not true. We believe in every Biblical prophecy recorded. We believe in the prophecies concerning judgment and eternity yet to be fulfilled. We believe that the prophecies about Christ in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the incarnate God, who has accomplished His work (John 5:39; Luke 24:44).
3. “You are the folks who don’t believe in music.” This, of course, is not true. We believe in every example of musical worship displayed by the New Testament church. We believe that this is the pattern we are obligated to follow (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12).

4. “You are the folks who don’t believe others are saved.” This, of course, is not true. We believe “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). We believe “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:38).  We believe “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). We believe that “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).
It is not that we do not believe in these things. It is simply that, concerning these, we choose to believe God’s commandments, rather than man’s opinion.  “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” (Acts 15:11).

- Jeremiah Tatum preaches for the Pulaski Street church of Christ in Lawrenceburg, TN.  He may be contacted at jeremiahtatum@bellsouth.net or through the church’s website: http://pulaskistreetchurchofchrist.com/index.htm

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by: Mike Benson

A SOLDIER WAS finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam...

He called his parents from San Francisco. "Mom, Dad -- I'm coming home, but I've a favor to ask. I have a friend I'd like to bring home with me." "Sure," they replied, "we'd love to meet him."

"There's something you should know," the son continued, "he was hurt pretty bad in the fighting. He stepped on a land mine and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere else to go, and I want him to come and live with us.

"I'm sorry to hear that son. Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live." "No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us." "Son," said the father, "you don't know what you're asking. Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden to us. We have our own lives to live, and we can't let something like this interfere with our lives. I think you should just come on home and forget about this guy. He'll find a way to live on his own."

At that point, the son hung up the phone. The parents heard nothing more from him.

A few days later, however, they received a phone call from the San Francisco police. Their son died after falling from a building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide.

The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son. They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didn't know -- their son had only one arm and one leg.

THOUGHT: The parents of the story are like many of us. We find it easy to love those who are good-looking or fun to have around, but we don't like people who inconvenience us or make us feel uncomfortable. We would rather stay away from people who aren't as healthy, beautiful, or perhaps smart as we are. We want to love people who are easy to love. Thankfully, there's someone Who won't treat us that way. Someone who loves us with an unconditional love.

KneEmail: "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:7-8).

- Mike Benson edits an on-line devotional entitled KneEmail.  To subscribe, send ANY message to: kneemail-subscribe@welovegod.org  Mike may be contacted at mlbenson@wowway.com

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You Expect Me To Believe That?
by: Phil Greer

In the beginning there was nothing. And suddenly for no reason nothing exploded and created everything. You expect me to believe that?

At some point, by chance the right chemicals happened to float together at just the right moment to be struck by an electrical charge and become life. You expect me to believe that?

Somewhere two non-human mothers each gave birth to a human child. They were born at the same time and in the same place, one was male and one was female. These two new “humans” gave birth to the human race. You expect me to believe that?

One of the descendants of these first humans was born with a knowledge of right and wrong. No longer driven by instinct, this person suddenly was making decisions based on a morality for which there is no real explanation. You expect me to believe that?

I’m sorry. I don’t have that much blind faith. It’s all just too farfetched to be anything more than a fairy tale. I can’t believe intelligent people claim it is “science” (cf. 1 Timothy 6:20).

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:10). I can believe that without stretching my imagination into the realm of the impossible.

The universe was created by an all-powerful, all-knowing God. That I can believe!

Phil Greer, Springfield, Ohio; 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 at - ron33dor@yahoo.com  You may also visit their website at www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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What Are You Making?

by: Phil Sanders
While on a trip to Switzerland, an American businessman was watching a Swiss clockmaker carving the case of an ornate cuckoo clock. As the businessman watched the clockmaker carve out the case, he was astounded at his slow rate of progress.
The businessman finally said, “My good man, you’ll never make much money that way.”
“Sir,” the clockmaker replied, “I’m not making money, I’m making cuckoo clocks.”
It is easy at times to forget what our real task is.
The world is so interested in the bottom line and efficiency, they forget the real value of workmanship and quality.

I am amazed at times with people’s desires for “church growth.” Some will compromise almost everything they believe if they can “reach” one more person. Some have replaced worship with entertainment, preaching with skits, and evangelism with testimonials.

There is really no substitute for genuine New Testament Christianity. You can swell any group, but true church growth takes love, truth, hard work, and patience.

Paul said, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ - from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Eph. 4:15, 16).

Let’s keep inviting, keep praying, keep teaching, and keep loving. That’s how the church grows.

- Phil Sanders preaches for the Concord Road church of Christ in Brentwood, TN.  He may be contacted at phil@god-answers.org or through the website: http://www.god-answers.org

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Get Real With Love
by: Rick Woodall

In the midst of all the trials that come our way is the test that we endure when we hear a lifetime of sermons on the subject of love and appreciation for one another as Christians only to see it malfunctioning.  It becomes very clear that we are familiar with all the passages in the scriptures that deal with the method but fall short in carrying this out to completeness.

This came to light when a missionary from Nigeria spoke a couple of years ago at a congregation I was serving in.  He said, We are good at knowing but not too good at loving.  He was talking about the church as a whole. One of the things that moved my thoughts is the way the church is growing in Nigeria.  I researched their evangelism and the results bring me to a people that are involved in the hearts of the problems of the community.  With outstretched hands they reach out with no political intent.  Its just honest and full of tenderness.

Its a real disappointment to most of us when there is always some underlining scheme for our interest in others. What we need is outreach that is distinctive to Gods plan.

The Bible puts it this way.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27).

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart (1 Peter 1:22).

There is a great truth that prevails here.  My gift has taught me that if we are not sincere in our love for others it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the results. We will not be getting first century or twenty first century Nigerian results.  People can tell the difference.

- Rick Woodall is the minister for the Yorktown Road church of Christ in Logansport Indiana. His weekly devotional message, Life Thoughts, can be found through this address:  http://mysite.verizon.net/yorktownroadchurchofchrist/

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Smithfield Ham Christians

by: Bill Brandstatter
Smithfield hams are noted for their unique peanut flavoring. Some might think that the flavoring is injected during processing. But, the flavor actually comes as the result of hogs feeding on the peanut plants in southern Virginia. The pigs digest the peanuts and the flavor is still in the meat long after they have been butchered. What is digested affects what is produced.
The same is the case with Christians. What is digested is what is produced. Jesus said, But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. (Matt. 15:18). He adds to this by stating, Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matt. 12:34). It stands to reason that if a person is occupied with thoughts of violence all day, there will be some change in that persons character as the result. It is therefore, pertinent that we put into our hearts only the best.  Paul indicated a similar idea when he wrote,Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Gal.6:7, 8).
Paul was a person that was happy despite the circumstances. In a Roman jail he wrote, I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content (Phil. 4:12). What caused Paul to be content in such adverse circumstances? He digested the right thoughts in advance. He put in his mind pleasant things. Notice Phil. 4:8- “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. We too, can be content no matter the situation if we meditate on these things as Paul did.
If we spend our time putting good in, good will come out. The world tells us of crisis. We hear about terrorism. We read and are occupied with thoughts of successor failure. The thoughts and ideas of the world can often spoil the best of Christians (Col. 2:8). Let us rise up above the world and be people of contentment and peace. What we digest will come out. People will see our light (Matt. 5:16). They will notice our conduct (1 Peter 2:12). God will be glorified.
- Bill Brandstatter preaches for the church of Christ in Vienna, IL.  He may be contacted at djpreacher@juno.com

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Nuggets and Quick Riches
-    misc. goodies this issue


by: Stefano R. Mugnaini
“The best diagnosis of the human condition is in the first few pages of Genesis.”  So said Nigel Cameron, in reference to all the problems that exist in the world.  Man has tried, with futility, to save himself.  The enlightenment philosophers in France in the 1700’s attempted to build a nation based on Humanism-they produced a reign of terror and tens of thousands dying on the guillotine.  Such was not an issue of poor implementation of valid strategy, it was misunderstanding of the real problem with mankind: Sin. 
There is, however, hope.  God, in His eternal wisdom, has provided for our salvation from the beginning of time.  His plan for salvation was realized in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  He freely offered Himself as a sacrifice, that we may be reconciled to God.  He only requests that we respond to the sacrifice.  At the beginning of the church, in Acts 2, the people asked what they must do, and Peter’s response was simple.  “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, for the remission of sins.”  Have you submitted to God, or are you still futilely trying to live life on your own terms?  

- Stefano R. Mugnaini preaches for the Essex Village church of Christ in Charleston, SC.  He may be contacted at smugnaini@comcast.net or through the church’s website: http://www.essexvillage.org/index.php

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“Lady, God himself couldn’t sink this ship.”

Those chilling words were uttered by a deck hand of the Titanic to a passenger who had asked if the ship was really “unsinkable.”

Is anything “unsinkable?” Yes! –
   FAITH is unsinkable—when it has found a resting place in the Word of God.
   HOPE is unsinkable—when it is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
   LOVE is unsinkable—when it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Ladies and gentlemen: when you have anchored your soul in the Haven of Rest, nothing can sink your ship of Faith, Hope and Love.
– Viewpoint; 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 at - ron33dor@yahoo.com  You may also visit their website at www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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Needed: More Rope Holders
by: J. G. Garr
We credit Paul for leading multitudes to Jesus, but he had to have help.  For instance, he was nearly murdered in Damascus at the beginning of his career.  He escaped because some unnamed disciples let him down outside the city walls in a basket.  Thank God for those who held the rope!
Bringing a lost soul to Jesus is a tremendous accomplishment.  Yet one man can’t do it alone.  Too many details must be tended.  Someone has to invite the sinner to hear the gospel.  The message must be taught.  The lost man needs to see people demonstrate the Christian character.  When he meets with the church, the man of the world must be shown love and attention.  He must feel the interest of others about his lost condition.
Not all Christians are equipped to teach the scriptures to the lost.  But, every Christian can do something to help bring about a conversion.  You may not be a Paul … but you can help hold the rope.
- J. G. Garr; via The Shady Acre Servant, the weekly bulletin of the Shady Acre church of Christ, Sikeston, MO.  For more information, visit the church's website at http://www.shadyacreschurch.com

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Rules For Growing Christians
1. Don’t neglect your Bible. It is your sword for conquest, your hammer for construction, your guiding light (Rev. 1:3).
2. Don’t neglect your prayer time. It is the breath of the soul (Luke 18:1).
3. Don’t neglect your worship. It is your greatest opportunity to express your thanksgiving before your Savior (Phil. 3:3).
4. Don’t neglect your part in the church. It is your heavenly family upon the earth, and you help it to thrive (Eph. 4:11-16).
5. Don’t neglect your kindness to others. It is how we show the love of Christ flowing through us (Heb. 13:16).
6. Don’t neglect your body. It is the capital on which you will do the Lord’s business the rest of your life (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
7. Don’t neglect your mind. It is the seat of creativity and inner strength (Phil. 4:8).
8. Don’t neglect your laugh. It is the medicine that will help keep your heart healthy and happy (Pro. 17:22).
9. Don’t neglect your reputation. It is what people will be thinking of when they hear your name (Matt. 5:14-16).
10. Don’t neglect your duty of the Great Commission. It is how people are led to Christ (like you were - Matt. 28:19-20).
- adapted by Edd Sterchi. Edd preaches for the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  He may be contacted at sterchi@midwest.net

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

by: Maya Angelou

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean living."
I'm whispering "I was lost,"
Now I'm found and forgiven.

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need CHRIST to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
and need HIS strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
and need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
but, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain,
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
who received God's good grace, somehow.
- Maya Angelou; via The Lantern, Highway church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  Visit their website at www.highwaycofc.com

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Get Off Your Seat
by: J. Randal Matheny

Get off your seat and on your feet;
Make fresh and raw the plate you eat.
Go take a stroll for sun and air,
And clear the mind of every care.
Take charge today of physical health,
So much a part of your worldly wealth.
Without a fight you'll go to pot;
To get in shape requires some thought,
A plan and working up a sweat --
Don't despair, you'll get there yet.
Control yourself by a diamond will,
You've things to do besides get ill.
By putting your body under the rod,
You'll long enjoy this blessing of God.
- J. Randal Matheny, missionary and minister, is the publisher of Uplift, an on-line and e-mail devotional.  He may be contacted through this website: http://randalmatheny.com/doku.php?id=uplift
When reprinting this material, please be sure to include the following:  Copyright (c) 2006 J. Randal Matheny All rights reserved. You may forward the email to friends as is. You may not alter it in any way or remove any text or attributions.

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Present Tense
It’s not what you’d do with a million,
If riches should e’er be your lot;
But what you are doing at present
With the dollar and a quarter you’ve got.
- via The Shady Acre Servant, the weekly bulletin of the Shady Acre church of Christ, Sikeston, MO.  For more information, visit the church's website at http://www.shadyacreschurch.com

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Another Chance
by: Helen Steiner Rice

How often we wish for another chance
To make a fresh beginning.
A chance to blot out our mistakes
And change failure into winning.
It does not take a new day
To make a brand new start,
It only takes a deep desire
To try with all our heart.
To live a little better
And to always be forgiving
And to add a little sunshine
To the world in which we're living.
So never give up in despair
And think that you are through,
For there's always a tomorrow
And the hope of starting new.
- via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  Lance Cordle preaches for the congregation.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com

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

A chip on the shoulder usually indicates there is solid wood higher up.
Good habits are like fine porcelain, easily broken. Bad habits are like a cast iron pot, often unbreakable.
If you are completely satisfied with yourself you would be well advised to get a different role model.
“Make yourself an honest man and you can be sure there will be one less rascal in the world.”  – Carlyle.
Experience enables you to recognize a mistake every time you repeat it.
Experience is a hard teacher, but fools learn from no other.
A religion that will not get you to the appointed assemblies of Christians will not get you to heaven.

Arguing about religion seems to be much easier than practicing it.

via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Dongola church of Christ, Dongola, IL.  Gerald Cowan serves the congregation as minister.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com
“A man has deprived himself of the best that there is in the world who has deprived himself of this—a knowledge of the Bible.”    –Woodrow Wilson
“He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals.” (Source unknown)

 “I’ve learned that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.”

“It is never too late to become better.”

- 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 at - ron33dor@yahoo.com  You may also visit their website at www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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