BulletinGold #78 
June, 2007   Vol 7 #4
 

Editorial
----by David Bragg
June has always reminds me of marriage.  June is the month my parents will celebrate their 61st wedding anniversary.  It will also be the month my wife and I celebrate our 26th.  But this year is special for us as it will witness the marriage of our oldest of two children to his High School sweetheart.  How quickly time passes.  What a blessing it has been to see our children grow to maturity, physical and spiritual.

When it comes to better parenting there seem to be experts everywhere.  Shelves are filled to overflowing with “self-help” books on discipline, rearing children and marriage enrichment.  All of these topics are integral in successful parenting but only the Bible, God’s Word, adequately defines successful parenting.

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).  Everything a parent is called to be and do in rearing children is directed towards this one great moment of eternal significance: entrance into the presence of God.  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10) was written with both you and your children in mind.  Only with this in your mind can the task of parenting be properly understood.

Modern society has its share of unprepared parents.  The Bible is clear as to their ultimate goal.  The goal of a parent is not to bring life into this world, nor is it to deposit children safely at the threshold of adulthood.  The parent’s job is incomplete until together, parent and child, enter into glory.  God has given us the ingredients in His Word, the support of his Church and the strength of the family, but the responsibility ultimately rests at the parent's feet alone.

The selections below, bulletin articles, fillers, poems and quotes all revolve around the lofty theme of the home, parenting, the marriage bond, and the Christian family.  May God bless those who, through your use of this material, have the opportunity to impact our society through their example of more closely following God's Word.


David Bragg, co-editor
http://davebragg.blog.com/

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Panning for Gold
- Feature Articles:  


A Father's Instinct
by: David A. Sargent

Three weeks ago, Johan Otter and his daughter, Jenna, 18, were hiking in Montana ’s Glacier National Park . While coming up on a blind switchback, the pair surprised a grizzly bear with two cubs just feet away. *

“This bear is coming right at me,” Otter describes the bear charging him,
“and mouth wide open, you see the FANGS and you see the huge CLAWS.”
The grizzly bit Otter to the bone in his right arm, his left arm and thigh. It also trampled upon Otter’s back.

“I think at that point I actually grabbed it by the throat,” says Otter.
“I mean I was holding onto the bear itself, yeah because I want to hold it with me;
I didn’t want it to go after my daughter. . . ”

Then the bear bit Otter’s head, removing his SCALP!

After a five-minute battle, bitten and broken, Otter finally played DEAD. He hoped his daughter had time to find a safe place to hide. -Reacting instinctively- the bear
was trying to protect her cubs. Otter, also -Responding instinctively- protected his daughter.

“The main thing going through my mind at that point is like, ‘don’t get to my daughter, just stay with me.”

Briefly, the grizzly turned her attention to Jenna. The grizzly bit her in the cheek and on the left shoulder, but Jenna played dead and the bear eventually left. Discovered by other hikers, Otter was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle . He was found to have seven broken vertebrae in his neck and back, three broken ribs, numerous puncture wounds, his scalp torn off at the bone, and his right eye socket crushed. Though battered and broken right now, Otter expects a full recovery. He figures the only thing that matters is that his daughter is okay and ready to start her first year of college.

Consider. . . A Father’s Instinct. It is a loving father’s instinct to protect his children at all costs, even if it means giving his life!

YOU and I are under constant attack by a fierce predator: SATAN (1 Peter 5:8). Satan seeks to DESTROY us by using our own weaknesses against us, tempting
us to sin (James 1:14-15). But it is in the Heavenly Father’s nature to LOVE us and to seek to SAVE us. “Instinctually” He has responded to OUR critical situation by sending His Son to give His life so that we might be saved (John 3:16-17; 1John 4:9-10).

He will save us IF we will: place our faith in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), repent of our sins (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38). And,
He will CONTINUE to keep us safe as long as we CONTINUE to follow Him (1 John 1:7).

It’s a loving Father’s instinct to SAVE. Will YOU accept His offer?

God bless you!

- David A. Sargent, serves the church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile , Alabama . David also authors Living Water, of which this is a sample.  He may be contacted at sargentd@juno. com
 * Information based upon report by Tracy Vedder, http://www.komotv. com/news/ printstory. asp?id=39090

                              

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Mothers Make A Difference
by: Alan Smith

     A teacher gave her class of second graders a lesson on the magnet and what it does. The next day in a written test, she included this question: "My full name has six letters. The first one is M. I pick up things. What am I?"  When the test papers were turned in, the teacher was astonished to find that almost 50 percent of the students answered the question with the word "Mother".
 
------------ --------- --------- -----

     A woman had quit work to stay home and take care of her new baby daughter.  Countless hours of peekaboo and other games slowly took their toll. One evening she smacked her bare toes on the corner of a dresser and, grabbing her foot, sank to the floor. Her husband rushed to her side and asked where it hurt. She looked at her husband through her tear-filled eyes and managed to moan, "It's the piggy that ate the roast beef."

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     I wrote in yesterday's thought that mothers have a powerful influence, not only over their children, but over the very course of history.  You may have thought that was an exaggeration.  But, think for just a moment about Jochebed.  
 
     Jochebed is not one of the better known characters in the Bible.  In fact, when I mention her name, you probably have to think for a moment about who she was.  But Jochebed was the mother of Moses.  And here was a woman who made a vast difference in what Moses became.  Her faith and her courage led to a plan of action whereby Moses was saved instead of being killed as a baby.  Though Jochebed served only as Moses' nursemaid, she used that opportunity to teach Moses about God, about truth, about righteousness.  She taught him about what his heritage was, what it meant to be a Hebrew.  Imagine what this world would be like if there had been no Jochebed.  Her influence set the course for Moses' life and, in turn, influenced the entire course of history.  She made a tremendous difference in this world.   
 
     Like Jochebed, many righteous mothers have made a difference by their good example and their powerful teaching.  Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.  Many mothers have made a difference in the wrong direction by their bad example and inadequate teaching.  One of the most tragic passages in all the Bible is found in II Chronicles 22:3-4:  "He [Ahaziah, one of the kings of Israel ] also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother advised him to do wickedly.  Therefore he did evil in the sight of the LORD, like the house of Ahab; for they were his counselors after the death of his father, to his destruction."  
 
     I wonder how things would have been different if Ahaziah had had a mother like Jochebed.  But Athaliah, his ungodly mother, made a difference that was tragic.  Her mothering led to her son's destruction and the decline of the whole nation of Israel .
 
     Mothers make a tremendous difference.  The church needs to make every effort to train and develop godly mothers who will make a difference in their homes and in this world in the direction of righteousness.  Thank you for those of you mothers who do.  Though you may not realize it at the moment and you get frustrated as you wonder what good it does to chase down children all day, cleaning up messes and changing dirty diapers, never forget that you make a difference.  A bigger difference than you will ever know.  May God strengthen you and bless you!

     "Listen, my child, to what your father teaches you. Don't neglect your mother's teaching. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and clothe you with honor." (Proverbs 1:8-9, New Living Translation)
 
Have a great day!
 
- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister for the White House church of Christ in White House, TN, may be contacted at alansmith.servant@ gmail.com

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Work, Stress, And Marriage
by: Ken Canfield

Stress is contagious. In this age of high expectations and long work hours, it’s easy for a man to bring his worries and frustrations home and spread them all over the house.

A dad might treat his family like his boss treats him, which can be very destructive. Or, some men might start resenting their family responsibilities and expect to just relax on the sofa when they get home. Of course, that’s an insult to wives, since they have stresses of their own after a day corralling the kids or working somewhere else.”

What can you do?

First, recognize the value of “decompression time.” Take some time in the car—or in your first few minutes home—to adjust your frame of mind. Exercise, read the paper, shower, change clothes. After a few minutes alone, you can shift gears and be ready for family time.

Second, keep communicating—even about the stresses you’re facing. It’s easy for a wife to feel like she’s going through the stressful work situation with her husband. But if she is informed about your work situation and she believes in the value of the work you are doing., that will be a positive factor. Communicating will help both of you stay aware of the stresses and can make you both more forgiving when one of you is in a bad mood.

Third, realize that sometimes bigger steps are necessary.  If you’re stressed out or blaming your family for your tension, or if there’s a growing distance between you and your wife, it may be time to start thinking about a job change.

Looking for a less stressful, more flexible position may cause more stress for a while, but you know you’re doing it for the right reasons. Even if the new position pays less, there’s adjustment that most families can make. And isn’t your marriage worth it?
You know, there are a lot of divorced men and fathers right now—still working in high stress jobs —who regret not making changes sooner to try to save their families.

Dad, don’t let a stressful job slowly erode the foundations of your marriage and family. Take steps to protect it, starting today.

- Ken Canfield, President of the National  Center  for  Fathering; via The Family Friend, a monthly newsletter published by the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  It is an excellent resource for articles relating to the family.  To learn more consult he congregation' s website: http://www.calvertc hurchofchrist. com                              

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How To Fight Fair
by: Edd Sterchi

This may seem like a strange topic to put in church bulletin, but I was reading Eph. 4 the other day, and when I came to a certain section, it dawned on me that it can be used to teach us to “fight” fairly. Now, by “fight,” I mean handling disagreements. If you are in any type of a relationship - family, friend, business, or even church - differences are bound to arise. How do we handle ourselves and the situation when they come up? Eph. 4:25-32 gives us some great pointers:

Let truth rule. “Let each of you speak the truth” (v.25). Falsehoods and dishonesty are weapons of Satan, and he delights in differences tearing people apart. Always speak the truth about the situation and how you feel.

Speak with and not to. “Speak...with his neighbor” (v.25). Make sure the discussion is a two-way street. Speak and listen with an open mind and heart.

Remember the relationship. “We are members of one another” (v.25). Remember that you are speaking to someone you have something in common with. Honor and respect them properly. Keep the greater picture in mind.

Stay in control. “Be angry and do not sin” (v.26). Not all anger is wrong, but anger is always wrong if we let control us. Keep a cool head.

No festering. “Do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (v.26). Resolve to get squabbles taken care of quickly. The longer Satan is given to work, the more damage he can do. Satan’s brew becomes more potent when brewed in our hearts.

Recognize what is from Satan. “Nor give place to the devil” (v.27). Recognize the areas of your life where Satan is at work and avoid those places. Recognize Satan’s devices and do not let him use them. Recognize if Satan is the one driving the wedge and deal with it accordingly.

Be part of constructive solutions. “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good” (v.28). Don’t spend your time doing destructive things. Also, in this is recognizing that we may be a part of problem and we may be who needs to change. Always be willing to do so.

Build up with positive words. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for...edification” (v.29). Say things that will help, not hurt; that will heal, not harm. Stay optimistic and express your optimism.

Remember God’s will. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit” (v.30). The Spirit of God inspired the Bible. Honor Him by honoring His words. Don’t say or do anything that would violate His will.

Check your attitude. “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you” (v.31). Don’t put up your dukes, put up love. Make sure you are acting out of a sincere heart. Get rid of preconceived negative notions.

Make sure it ends with kindness and forgiveness. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (v.32).

Now, shake hands and come out “fighting” fairly.

- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg , IL .  He may be contacted at sterchi@midwest. net                              

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Home Improvement
by: Lance Cordle

TLC gave us “Trading Spaces” and “While You Were Out”; ABC has a hit with “Extreme Home Makeover.” In western Kentucky a couple of years ago, local news media sponsored a “Trading Spaces”-type project. All of these programs have one thing in common: People saw conditions in their houses that they knew could be improved, and they were willing to work to make those improvements.

An interesting thing is that some of the same people who are so willing to make changes in order to improve the physical dwelling place of their family are not willing to make necessary changes to improve their family. The divorce rate is just one of  the indicators of such an existing condition. There are also  many  marriages where the mates are emotionally detached—just going through the motions of staying married, but remaining miserable. Why not take the same initiative evident in physical home improvement and put it to work in improvement of the family—the real home?

Here are some ways to begin the “renovations:”

Communicate clearly with your mate. It is truly amazing how long  a person can go in marriage and not realize that something is wrong. Their mate will know, but either that mate will not communicate clearly, or  the other ignores the signals. As one family expert says, communication is the “lifeline of your marriage.”

Read books on marriage and the family. The subject of family relations is a “hot” issue. (Everybody’s got a family, and all of them have issues!) Consequently, there  are many books on this topic.. Not all of them are of equal value. Do some research; ask friends if they have read useful books; seek advice from someone you trust.

Search for information on the internet about family relationships. Again, be selective in your choices.  Seek advice, and keep your primary sources on the web to about two or three good solid sites.

Set aside large blocks of time to be with your mate and children. There is no substitute for dedicating  time and energy  to  the most  important people in your life. You will not regret doing this; you will regret not doing it.

Pray for your family.  Please remember that your marriage vows were made before God as well as human witnesses. To borrow another phrase, “If something (your family) is worth worrying about, it is worth praying about.”                                                            

- Lance Cordle preaches for the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City , KY.   He may be contacted through the congregation' s website: http://www.calvertc hurchofchrist. com                               

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God's Plan For Families
by: David Ferguson

God’s plan for families has always been that of intimacy. One of the greatest things we have to be thankful for is the gift of our family. Godly families provide an environment whereby we can discover intimacy with ourselves as we discover ourselves through our loved ones.
 
It was in the first eleven chapters of the Bible that God divulged His sovereignty as He revealed Himself as Creator and Ruler of the universe. When God disclosed Himself to Abraham in Genesis 12, God’s desire for intimacy with us began to unfold throughout the history of God seeking salvation for His children.
 
Intimacy is essential for our families. Paul says, "He who loves his wife loves himself" in Ephesians 5:28b. You can't love your wife without loving yourself. You can't love your husband without loving yourself. If we would love each other in the family the way Christ loves the church each of us would get the love and respect we seek.
 
God fully revealed Himself to us through Jesus Christ in order that He might have an intimate relationship with each of us as we become members of His heavenly family. God held nothing back as He fully revealed the full force of His love through His Son. The love God reveals for us is the one sure way that God truly magnifies His glory.
 
Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40, " ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (NIV) Love for others generates a deeper love for ourselves, for true love will discover reciprocation. Christianity is the only religion that truly teaches us how to love ourselves as we seek to love others. This is the heart and core of Christianity. Discovering God’s love for yourself is possible through the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is this message that fully discloses God’s love for us. That is why Paul admonishes us to love our wives as Christ loves the church. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:25-28, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." (NIV)
 
May the Lord bless you and your family!

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

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Nuggets and Quick Riches
-    misc. goodies this issue


A Family Is. . .

Not a house, but a home.

Not strangers, but friends.

Not drudgery, but opportunity.

Not emptiness, but love.


- Via Families 2000 & Beyond, March 2001; via The Family Friend, a monthly newsletter published by the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  It is an excellent resource for articles relating to the family.  To learn more consult he congregation' s website: http://www.calvertc hurchofchrist. com                               

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Fathers To The Rescue

The year was 1940 . . .
The French Army had just collapsed under Hitler’s onslaught. The Dutch had folded, overwhelmed by the Nazi regime. The Belgians had surrendered. And the British Army was trapped on the coast of France in the channel port of Dunkirk .

Two hundred and twenty thousand of Britains ’ finest young men seemed doomed to die, turning the English Channel red with their blood. The Fuehrer’s troops, only miles away in the hills of France , didn’t realize how close to victory they actually were.
Any rescue seemed feeble and futile in the time remaining. A “thin” British Navy—”the professionals”—told King George VI that, at best, they could save 17,000 troops. The House of Commons was warned to     prepare for “hard and heavy  tidings.” Politicians were paralyzed. The king was powerless. And the allies could only  watch as spectators from a distance.

Then as the doom of the British Army seemed imminent, a strange fleet appeared on     the horizon of the English Channel—the wildest assortment of boats perhaps ever assembled in history: trawlers, tugs, fishing sloops, lifeboats, pleasure craft, smacks and coasters, sailboats, even the London fire-brigade flotilla. Each ship was manned by   civilian volunteers—English fathers sailing to rescue Britain ’s exhausted, bleeding sons.

William Manchester writes in his epic novel, The Last Lion, that even today, what happened in 1940 in less than twenty-four hours seems impossible—not only were all the British soldiers rescued, but 118,000 other Allied troops as well.

Today the home is much like those troops at Dunkirk . Pressured, trapped, and demoralized, it needs help, your help. With the highest divorce rate of any nation on earth, we need an “all-out” effort by men and women “sailing” to rescue the exhausted and wounded family casualties. We need an effort by common Christian couples with faith in a common God.

- Story told by Bob & Jan Horner, via Jacksonville, AL church bulletin; via Families-2000 & Beyond; via The Family Friend, a monthly newsletter published by the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  It is an excellent resource for articles relating to the family.  To learn more consult he congregation' s website: http://www.calvertc hurchofchrist. com                           

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The Marriage Myth

Most people get married believing in a myth; they imagine that marriage is a beautiful box full of all the things that they have longed for: companionship, sexual fulfillment, intimacy, friendship. The truth is that marriage at the start is an empty box. You must put something in before you can take anything out. There is no love in marriage; love is in people, and people put love into
marriage. There is no romance in marriage; people have to infuse romance into that marriage. A couple must learn the art, and form the habit, of giving, loving, serving, keeping the box full. If you take out more than you put in, then the box will be empty.

- Author Unknown; 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 or through their website: www.harrisburgchurc hofchrist. org                                

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The Ring Bear
by: Richard Hill

A little boy was in a relative's wedding. As he was coming down the aisle, he would take two steps, stop, and turn to the crowd. While facing the crowd, he would put his hands up like claws and roar. So it went, step, step, ROAR, step, step, ROAR, all the way down the aisle. As you can imagine, the crowd was near tears from laughing so hard by the time he reached the pulpit. When asked what he was doing, the child sniffed and said, "I was being the Ring Bear."

- Richard Hill is an elder at the Eureka congregation.    He may be contacted at hill@dtnspeed. net                              

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue


Children
author unkown
 

A dreary place would be this earth,
Were there no little people in it;
The song of life would lose its mirth,
Were there no children to begin it.

No little forms, like buds to grow,
And make the admiring heart surrender;
No little hands on breast and brow,
To keep the thrilling life-cords tender.

The sterner souls would grow more stern,
Unfeeling nature more inhuman,
And man to stoic coldness turn,
And woman would be less than woman.

Life's song, indeed, would lose its charm,
Were there no babies to begin it;
A doleful place this world would be,
Were there no little people in it.

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Honor Thy Father
by: Alvis B. Christiansen

Somehow a fellow can't express
 The feelings he has had
While through the years he's walked and talked
 And laughed and played with Dad.
He cannot put in words the love-
 The pride that wells within,
The admiration in his heart
 Whene'er Dad looks at him.

 

Dad is the hero of his dreams,
 The king upon the throne,
The pattern for that ideal life
 Which he would make his own.
He knows that Dad well understands
 The conflicts in his breast,
And shared the problems he must face,
 Though often unexpressed.

How could a fellow go astray
 Who with his Dad has stood
Within the secret place of prayer
 Before a holy God!
And this my constant prayer shall be,
 That until life is done,
My conduct shall honor him,
 Who proudly calls me "Son."


- 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
                             

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The Prayer of a Military Wife
by: Barbie Howard

I held my breath as the President began to speak
I had to sit down for suddenly I was weak.
I listened so intently, I hung on every phrase.
What he said would determine all my coming days.

When he talks of disarming, I have a personal stake
Because one of those who will fight is my own soul mate.
He's over there, I'm over here, just waiting for the news
When will the battle start?  How many lives will we lose?

I know that I must be strong, I must maintain my faith
But it's so hard when he's in harms' way, working in Kuwait .
With shaking hands I bow my head and say the thousandth prayer.
"God hold my husband in your hands while he is over there."

"Bless the President and give him strength to do what he must do.
I know it's complicated so give him wisdom too.
Protect the other soldiers who are stationed so far away.
Give them courage to face the duties of the day."

"And don't forget the innocent ones who must see this war.
Just like during the Passover, keep harm away from their door.
I know that it is so selfish, but could you help me too?
I need more faith to trust in You, my fears to subdue."

 

"I know that You are in control, You know what is the best.
I pray for Your guidance while we go through this test.
And when the fighting is over, the battle is at an end,
May we have peace at last.  In Jesus' name. Amen."

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Within Your Power
by J. Randal Matheny

Distressed by circumstance,
Afflicted at bad turns,
Disturbed by fateful chance,
Or worried with sad concerns?

The burning pain you feel
Comes not from truthful facts,
However stark or real,
but from how your mind reacts.

Perspective colors all,
Interpret as you will,
Not things that may befall,
But thoughts that harbor ill.

Within your power lies
The choice to change belief;
Inside you, realize
The shift to bring relief.


- 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://randalmathen y.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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Gold Mines
----quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs this issue

One purpose of a wedding ring is to cut off your circulation. 
The smallest good deed is better than the grandest intention
"Experience teaches slowly and at the cost of mistakes." -- James A. Froude
Be good for something. Being good for nothing will never be good enough.

- 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

If you marry the child of the devil, you will have trouble with your father-in-law.
What we obtain too cheaply we esteem too lightly. 
-- Thomas Paine

- via The Lantern, Highway church of Christ , Sullivan , IL   Visit their website as www.highwaycofc. com

Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose with the exception of guppies, who like to eat theirs."
-- P. J. O'Rourke

You make 'em, I amuse 'em. [children] -- Dr. Seuss a.k.a. Theodore Giesel

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