2008 Vol 7 #12
|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
Do Not Believe
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).
“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 email@example.com or through
the church’s website: http://pulaskistreetchurchofchrist.com/index.htm
A SOLDIER WAS finally
coming home after having fought in
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
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
subscribe, send ANY message to: firstname.lastname@example.org Mike may
be contacted at email@example.com
You Expect Me
To Believe That?
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
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
The universe was created by an
all-powerful, all-knowing God. That I
- 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 - firstname.lastname@example.org You may
also visit their website at www.arthurchurchofchrist.com
What Are You
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.
businessman finally said, “My good
never make much money that way.”
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.
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,
inviting, keep praying, keep teaching,
and keep loving. That’s how the church
- Phil Sanders preaches for the
Concord Road church of Christ in
Brentwood, TN. He may be contacted
at email@example.com or through the website: http://www.god-answers.org
Get Real With
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
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
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.
just honest and full of tenderness.
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.
puts it this way.
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
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
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.
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/
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
person’s 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 “success” or “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
- Bill Brandstatter
preaches for the church of Christ in
Vienna, IL. He may be contacted at
misc. goodies this issue
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or through the church’s
“Lady, God himself couldn’t sink
Those chilling words
were uttered by a deck hand of the
Titanic to a passenger who had asked if
the ship was really “unsinkable.”
“unsinkable?” Yes! –
is unsinkable—when it has found a
resting place in the Word of God.
unsinkable—when it is built on nothing
less than Jesus’ blood and
unsinkable—when it bears all things,
believes all things, hopes all things,
endures all things.
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 - email@example.com You may also visit their
website at www.arthurchurchofchrist.com
Needed: More Rope Holders
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
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
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
9. Don’t neglect
your reputation. It is what people will
be thinking of when they hear your name
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hearts of Gold
When I say... "I am
I'm not shouting
"I'm clean living."
I'm whispering "I
Now I'm found and
When I say..."I am a
I don't speak of
this with pride.
I'm confessing that
and need CHRIST to
be my guide.
When I say... "I am
I'm not trying to be
I'm professing that
and need HIS
strength to carry on.
When I say... "I am
I'm not bragging of
I'm admitting I have
and need God to
clean my mess.
When I say... "I am
I'm not claiming to
My flaws are far too
but, God believes I
am worth it.
When I say... "I am
I still feel the
sting of pain,
I have my share of
So I call upon His
When I say... "I am
I'm not holier than
I'm just a simple
who received God's
good grace, somehow.
- Maya Angelou; via
The Lantern, Highway church of Christ,
Sullivan, IL Visit their website
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
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 --
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.
It’s not what you’d do with a
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
How often we wish
for another chance
Helen Steiner Rice
To make a fresh
A chance to blot out
And change failure
It does not take a
To make a brand new
It only takes a deep
To try with all our
To live a little
And to always be
And to add a little
To the world in
which we're living.
So never give up in
And think that you
For there's always a
And the hope of
- 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
& sayings for bulletins and signs
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.
you to recognize a mistake every time
you repeat it.
Experience is a
hard teacher, but fools learn from no
A religion that
will not get you to the appointed
assemblies of Christians will not get
you to heaven.
religion seems to be much easier than
- 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
“He who falls in
love with himself will have no
rivals.” (Source unknown)
learned that it takes years to build
up trust, and only seconds to destroy
“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 - email@example.com You may also visit their
website at www.arthurchurchofchrist.com