BulletinGold #81
September 2007   Vol 7 #7
 

Editorial
----by David Bragg

     A scene commonly found in the four Gospels describes multitudes, eager for instruction or healing, migrate toward the rumored location of Jesus' next stop.  Many of those who followed Jesus recognized Him to be a great teacher.  Some acknowledged Him as a great prophet.  A few correctly identified Him as the long awaited Messiah.  But James had no faith in Jesus.  While the blind saw, the lame walked, the deaf heard, James continued in his refusal to believe that his older brother was anything more than just an ordinary man (John 7:5).

     Then came the cross.  The hoard of believers evaporated, leaving behind a distraught family and discouraged disciples.  Together they huddled for strength and comfort, rejected by all others.  They would find the comfort so desperately needed in their grief from the most unlikely source: the very One over whom they were grieving.  After all of the time they had spent with their Lord, and all of His declarations of what had now been fulfilled, none of them were prepared to see Him suddenly appear in their midst, despite the security of their locked room.  That day they saw His risen form, His wounds clearly evident but His life undeniable.  It was likely an appearance such as this that brought James to finally believe (1 Corinthians 15:7)!  Now he believed that it had been God's power surging through Jesus' miracles, verifying the truthfulness of His spoken words.  Now he believed that those who had heralded the coming of the Messiah had accurately spoken of Jesus.  He would spend the rest of his life proclaiming Jesus as the Savior of the world.

     James' life would be far from easy.  He would lose many of his friends and associates in the unbelieving world.  His faith in Jesus as the Christ would eventually cost him his life, which he would lovingly sacrifice over the next decades in preaching and serving Christ.  The church of Christ he so deeply loved would likewise be persecuted and scattered.  He would work diligently to maintain that church's unity against those who would threaten it (Acts 15).  James would gain a reputation as "a pillar in the Jerusalem church" (Galatians 2:9), and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he would pen the most beautiful epistle in the New Testament.  James' letter is highly practical, containing basic lessons on how to live in daily obedience to Christ for the glory of God.

     The very practical challenge of first recognizing Jesus as our Lord and Master, and then of living each day in obedience to Him as such fills each of the items you will find in this issue of BulletinGold.  We are thankful for each of our contributors for sharing their work with us, and for each of our subscribers who will share them with others who will find a deeper, stronger faith through reading their local church bulletin or newsletter.

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

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Panning for Gold
- Feature Articles:  


Christ

by: Walter Scott1

     Christ is called the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2), and no literal sentence perhaps is adequate to the idea of His glory which this metaphor throws in the mind.  The sun is the great center to the system; the immediate source of all light, life, heat, and vegetation; hence, Jesus is all these in the spiritual world.  How delightful to the soul of the Christian to know that our blessed Lord is spoken of under, perhaps, one hundred and twenty different figures in the Holy Scriptures.

     In figures from the animal world, He is life (John 14:6), Lamb of God (John 1:29), Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5), and the horn of salvation (Luke 1:69).

     In the vegetable world, He is the Root (Revelation 22:16), Offspring (Revelation 22:16), the vine (John 15:1), first-fruits (1 Corinthians 15:20), and Branch of righteousness (Jeremiah 33:15).

     And among minerals, and in the higher parts of our system, He is the Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4), Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16), light of the world (John 8:12), and, of course, Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2).

     In society, He is the Man (1 Timothy 2:5), second Man (1 Corinthians 15:47), and Son of Man (Matthew 9:6), Seed of woman (Genesis 3:15), seed of David (2 Timothy 2:8), seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16), only begotten of the Father (John 1:14), beloved brightness of the Father's glory (Hebrews 1:3), express image (Hebrews 1:3), only begotten (John 3:16), first born (Colossians 1:15), first begotten from the dead (Revelation 1:5), First and Last (Revelation 1:11), glory of the Lord (Isaiah 40:5), head of the body (Colossians 1:18), heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2), image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), Son of God (Matthew 14:33), Son of the Most High (Mark 5:7), Servant of God (Acts 3:26), bread (John 6:35), true bread (John 6:32), bread of life (John 6:35), bread of heaven (John 6:41), stone refused (1 Peter 2:4), cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6), even head of the corner (1 Peter 2:7).

     In office, He is king (John 18:37), Advocate (1 John 2:1), Anointed (Psalm 132:10), anointed with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38), Apostle (Hebrews 3:1), Bishop of souls (1 Peter 2:25), captain of salvation (Hebrews 2:10), Counselor (Isaiah 9:6), Deliverer (Romans 11:26), Governor of My people (Matthew 2:6), Jesus (Matthew 1:1), Savior (Luke 2:11), King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2), King of Israel (John 1:49), King of kings (Revelation 19:16), Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16), only Potentate (1 Timothy 6:15), Lord of all (Acts 10:36), Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6), prince of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5), Prince of life (Acts 3:15), Ruler in Israel (Micah 5:2), shepherd (John 10:16), good shepherd (John 10:11), great shepherd of the sheep (Hebrews 13:20), and the true and faithful witness (Revelation 3:14).

- Published by Walter Scott in the 1830's in a paper called "The Evangelist" (Note: Scripture references added by Edd Sterchi); 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   You may visit their website at www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org


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The Indescribable Gift of God's Love
by: Patrick Hogan


     "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory." (1 Timothy 3:16)

     In this passage Paul reflects upon what he terms "the mystery of godliness."  The first element of this mystery  is "God was manifested in the flesh."  Obviously this is a reference to the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  Matthew 1:22 quotes from the prophet Isaiah: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."

     In many ways the fact that God would be manifest in the flesh is truly a mystery.  Hebrews 2:14-18 and Philippians 2:5-9 both elaborate on the idea that in Jesus God was truly "with us."  Part of the mystery is how this was accomplished - how deity could become human.  For me, a greater mystery is why He would do this.  I realize that the simple answer is "because He loved us."  Still, the question remains as to why He would love us so much the He would leave the place of peace, honor, glory and security in heaven to subject Himself to the chaos that sin and man's rebellion had brought into this world.  Knowing that He loved us enough to humble Himself and to die in our place should prompt us to humble ourselves before Him.  While we may not be able to understand why He would love us this much, we can realize that we have been given an unspeakably marvelous gift and be drawn to Him by His love (see John 12:32).

- Patrick Hogan serves as an elder and one of the ministers for the Shady Acres church of Christ in Sikeston, MO.  He may be contacted through their website: www.shadyacreschurch.com  

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Subway Savior
by: David A. Sargent

     On Tuesday afternoon, January 2, Cameron Hollopeter, a 19-year-old film student, began suffering a seizure and stumbled down a New York City subway platform onto the tracks.  Without help, Hollopeter may have been severely injured or killed because a subway train was making its way into the station on the tracks where he lay.

     But Wesley Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker, came to his rescue.  Autrey jumped down to the tracks, rolled with Hollopeter into a shallow, grimy drainage trough between the rails as the southbound No. 1 train came into the 137th Street/City College station.

     The train’s operator applied the emergency brakes when he saw someone on the tracks but could not stop the train before two cars passed over Autrey and Hollopeter.  Autrey shielded Hollopeter from the train passing over them with a clearance of only a couple of inches.  Neither man suffered any harm from the incident.

     “Mr. Autrey’s instinctive and unselfish act saved our son’s life,” said Larry Hollopeter, Cameron’s father, with his voice cracking with emotion.

     Because of Autrey’s heroic actions, Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented him with a Bronze Medallion and called him “the Hero of Harlem.”  Autrey has received other gifts of appreciation including $10,000 from Donald Trump, a trip to Disney World, a year’s worth of free subway rides, and $2,500 from the New York Film Academy to start a scholarship fund for his two daughters (who witnessed their father’s brave actions).

     Metropolitan Transportation Authority Executive Director Elliot Sander called Autrey’s action “a death-defying act of bravery.  We truly have not seen anything like this. … He was at the RIGHT PLACE at the RIGHT TIME and did the RIGHT THING.”*

     Because of Wesley Autrey’s unselfish act, he has been called, “the Subway Savior.”  He is deserving of our admiration and appreciation.

     Autrey’s valiant deeds remind us of another Savior who, at "just the right time," came to OUR rescue  (Romans 5:6).

     Because of our sin, YOU and I are “on the track” to certain death and destruction (Matthew 7:13-14; Romans 6:23).  But JESUS came to our rescue!

     To save us from sin, Jesus descended from His heavenly platform to meet us in our point of need (Philippians 2:5-8).  He gave His life to rescue us from certain death (1 Thessalonians 5:10).  Through His sacrificial death, He has opened the way for us to receive a reward: ETERNAL LIFE with Him in heaven (Romans 6:23).

     His GIFT of salvation, however, must be accepted.  The reward is available to those who will believe Him (Acts 16:30-31), repent of sin (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 sins (Acts 2:38).

     Because of Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins, Jesus is the "Savior of ALL" those who will TRUST and OBEY Him.  He is deserving of our love, our loyalty, and our lives.

     Won’t you accept the Gift on His terms?

- David A. Sargent, minister for the church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: www.creekwoodcc.org

* Details gleaned Associated Press article, “Subway Savior Showered With Praise” at MSNBC.com -- http:///www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16469039/

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God, The Marriage Counselor
By Hardie Logan

     In our Sunday morning Bible class, we are studying the topic of marriage. It is a deep subject and a very needed subject to study. For many couples, it is a long overdue subject.

     Years ago in Chicago, I was faced with getting involved in the lives of marriages that had problems. As we worked though some of the issues in some of those marriages, I began to realize the church needed to realize that some in the flock needed help. It didn't take me long to realize that I felt ill-equipped to counsel the people that had come to me. Believe me, I raised lots of prayers about the problem.

     Then somehow, I was brought back to basics. The Bible is the basic foundation for everything that comes from God. Every thing a Christian faces can be handled with the Word of God. God gives us this promise.

     2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.   

     2 Peter 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,

     God has provided for His people! Everything that is needed for people of God to be complete; everything that is needed to live a life of godliness, God has provided. Including help in marriage.

     People were and are looking for marriage counselors. God's people actually want to be counseled by people that are not Christians on how to live the kind of marriage God wants them to live. That didn't make any sense to me then, and still doesn't to this day. And yet that is exactly what happens in many cases when a marriage has problems.

     It was God that instituted marriage, not man. It was the courts of the land that has made a mess of marriage, not God. It is God's Word that can straighten it all out, but first, we must get back to the Word of God and what God has to say about marriages.

- Hardie Logan preaches for the Marshfield church of Christ, in Marshfield, WI.  He may be contacted at xnman01@gmail.com

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The Power of God
b
y: Jimmy W. Cox


    Sin is the power of Satan unto damnation. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is the only power that can break the grip of sin and set men free. (Rom. 1:16).

    God’s convincing power. The hearing of it, or the reading of it, produces faith. (Rom.10:17; Acts 18:8).

    God’s convicting power. He who listens to it soon becomes aware of his guilt. "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do." (Acts 2:37); See Heb. 4:12.

    God’s enlightening power. It reveals to man God’s plan of salvation. (Mark 16:15,16) "And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." See also Acts 2:37-38, and 2 Peter 1:5-8.

    God’s restraining power. It points out evil and warns man of its danger. (Gal. 6:7-8) "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." See also Rev. 21:8.

    God’s constraining power. The love it reveals and the hope it instills lead men onward to a life of obedience and eternal blessedness. (Rom. 2:4) "Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?" Also 2 Cor. 5:14).

    God’s cleansing power. All who yield to its gentle sway are washed, sanctified, made free from the stain and the guilt of sin. (Acts 2:38) "Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

    God’s exalting power. In the last day it will raise the sainted dead and clothe each with immortality and incorruption. Read I Cor. 15:50-54; I Thess.4:16-18. The gospel is a blessing to all who believe it, obey it, and follow its gentle light. The gospel is for "all nations and every person. "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15).

- Jimmy Cox lives in Sandy Hook, MS and attends the Columbia church of Christ in Columbia, MS. He may be contacted at cc0c@Bellsouth.netmail

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Prepare for Defense
by: Stefano R. Mugnaini

     Most Christians rarely, if ever, study Christian Evidences.  However, it is a topic that is of limitless importance to any believer.  For many of us, it is enough to accept that we believe because "we have faith" or "we just know."  While this may make sense to us of the household of faith, what does it do to the secularists that seem to be everywhere about us?  The fact is, just unfounded belief in God is no different than teaching some man-made doctrine because we "feel in our heart that it is true."  God intends us to have a rational, thinking faith.  He desires that we put the same effort toward defending Christianity as we do defending specific doctrines.

     In 1 Peter 3:15, we are told to "sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."  Paul echoed this exhortation when he told Timothy to "preach the word, be ready in season and out of season" (1 Tim 4:2).  Likewise, Jude said that we are to "earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints" (vs. 3).  The essential message behind all these statements is the same: we as Christians must be ready to defend our faith.  This may mean explaining to others why it is reasonable to believe in God.  This may entail dealing with certain arguments against this.  We may be called upon to refute false religious teachings, such as false teaching about human origins.  We cannot be effective as a defender of the faith if we are not prepared to respond to the growing skepticism and secularism that is so prevalent in our society.

     We must recognize that the Bible, in and of itself, could not be produced by mere mortals.  We must understand that there is limitless evidence in nature of God's existence.  And we must understand that the Bible fully reveals God to us, while also revealing His perfect will for us.   Often in the Lord's church, we are very good at explaining why we worship without instruments.  We can show numerous verses regarding the biblical teaching about baptism, the total authority of Scripture, the truth about Heaven and Hell.  These are all good and noble topics to study and things that every Christian should know.  However, I believe that, by the statements of Paul, Peter and Jude, we have as great a duty to defend the elementary principles upon which Christianity is built.  Our beliefs that God is, and that the Bible is His Word, serve as the very foundation upon which our faith in Christ rests.  We must be ready to defend that foundation before men if they are to accept all what is built upon that foundation.

- Stefano R. Mugnaini preaches for the Cairo church of Christ in Cairo, GA, He may be contacted at ssmugnaini@syrupcity.net

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Nuggets and Quick Riches
-    misc. goodies this issue


Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?

     Have you ever taken a few moments of your time just to meditate on this question?  Have you ever stopped to think why Christ came to earth?  Consider:
 
1) Jesus came to earth to do the will of His Father  (Heb. 10:7; John 6:38).
 
2) Jesus came to earth to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14; John 3:17; Rom. 5:8-0).
 
3) Jesus came to earth to reconcile man back to His Creator (1 Pet. 3:18; Eph. 2:16; Rom. 5:19).
 
4) Jesus came to earth because God loved us (John 3:16; 1 John 4:19).
 
Why did my Savior come to earth, And to the humble go?
Why did He chose a lowly birth? Because He loved me so!
 
Why did He drink the bitter cup Of sorrow pain and woe?
Why on the cross be lifted up? Because He loved me so!
 
Till Jesus comes I'll sing His praise, And then to glory go,
And reign with Him through endless days, Because He loved me so!

- Selected; 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   You may visit their website at www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org

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The Six S’s of the Savior
by: Edd Sterchi

      Jesus came to the earth to...

    ...Seek - “for the Son of Man has come to seek...that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

    ...Serve - “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve...”(Mark 10:45).

    ...Suffer - “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God...” (1 Pet. 3:18).

    ...Sacrifice - “...as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Eph. 5:2).

    ...Sanctify - “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate” (Heb. 13:12).

    ...Save - “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners...” (1 Tim. 1:15).


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

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God Is Still Love

     A man traveling through the country noticed that the weather vane on the roof of the farm building bore the phrase “God is Love.” He was troubled about it and asked the farmer, “Do you think God’s love is as changeable as that weather vane?” You miss the point sir,” replied the farmer, “It is on the weather vane because no matter which way the wind is blowing, God is still love.”  “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (I John 4:16).

- via Bulletin Digest; 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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Pleasing Everybody

     A Sunday School teacher was questioning her pupils after a lesson on God's omnipotence. "Now children," she asked, "is there anything God can't do?" One lad enthusiastically thrust his hand into the air. The teacher, feeling certain that the boy had missed the point of the lesson, asked halfheartedly, "Well, just what IS it that God can't do?" Replied the boy: "He can't please EVERYBODY, Miss!"

- Kevin Rayner preaches for the church of Christ in Tecumseh, OK.  He may be contacted at otchurch@hotmail.com or through these websites:  http://www.geocities.com/otchurch/index.html
http://home.windstream.net/highlandcoc/

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue


Jesus

Whatever the question
He is the Answer (John 14: 6).
Whatever the problem,
He is the Solution (Matthew 11: 2 8-29).
Whatever the hurt,
He is the Healer (Luke 4:18).
Whatever the bondage,
He is the Liberator (John 8: 32).
Whatever the burden,
He is the Deliverer (John 16: 33).
Whatever the need,
He is the Supplier (Matthew 7: 7-8).
Whatever the sin,
He is the Forgiver (Hebrews 10: 12-17).

- Selected; 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   You may visit their website at www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org

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God the Artist
by: Margaret Peterson

The Artist of the universe
Has never ending ways
Of crowning nights with starry joy
And blessing all our days.

He uses colors rich and bold
But also soft and varied.
His autumn hues from distant views
Seem sweetly, gently married.

No spot on earth however small
Slips by His gaze forgotten.
Bright skies of blue are dressed up, too.
With clouds that look like cotton.

He loves the dark lines that He draws.
He also loves the dim
But mostly He just loves to "draw"
Our hearts and souls to Him.
                             

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A Good Example

There was a little postage stamp,
   No bigger than your thumb.
But still it stuck right on the job
   Until its work was done.
They licked it, and they pounded it
   ‘Til it would make you sick;
But the more it took the lickin’,
   The tighter it would stick.

Let’s be like the postage stamp
   In playing life’s big game,
And stick to what we know is right
   And we can’t miss our aim.

-Unknown; 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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The Crown of Life
by: Rick Woodall
                  


All your life has been a test
As you try to do your best.
Sometimes never good enough
Life can be so cruel and tough.
 
Please don’t let it get you down
As you run upon this ground
Keep on trying - aim to finish
Doubts will taunt and then diminish.
 
The secret to tirelessly keeping strong
When the challenge seems so long
Spirits worn, you’ve lost your grit.
Passions gone you feel unfit.
 
But deep within you feel the love
That you have for God above.
With new breath-you run secure
You feel new, alive and sure.
 
As you cross the finish line
You broke through the ribbon fine.
Defeating all the pain and strife
You receive the crown of life.
 
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has  stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to  those who love him.”  -James 1:12

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

The Sword of the Spirit is not given to us for splitting hairs.

Much of the trouble and confusion in the world results from a peculiar combination: a narrow mind and a wide mouth.

Mediocre persons are always at their best.

- 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

Our arms are the only ones God has to hug His children.

It is the duty of the preacher not only to comfort the distressed, but to distress the comfortable.

The way some use the Sword of the Spirit one would think it was made for splitting hairs.

Facts are God’s arguments; we should be careful never to misunderstand or pervert them (Tryon Edwards).

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

If you think you're perfect, try walking on water.