December 2008 Vol 8 #10
In 1912 C. P. J.
Mooney wrote an amazing editorial that
opened with the words, "There is no
other character in history like that of
Jesus." He goes on to point out
that Plato was a great thinker, Aquinas
a great philosopher, Napoleon a great
soldier but Jesus was the Son of God,
Savior of the world, "the perfect
man." His timeless thoughts have
been printed annually in Memphis, TN's
Francis wrote that Jesus, although born
in obscurity and living unencumbered by
possessions and worldly honor, after
nineteen centuries remains "the central
figure of the human race."
continued, "I am far within the mark
when I say that all the armies that ever
marched, and all the navies that were
ever built, and all the parliaments that
ever sat, and all the kings that ever
reigned, put together, have not affected
the life of man upon this earth as that
One Solitary Life."
We have now
come to that special day above all the
rest when we are to remember and give
special honor to Jesus Christ. It
is not the day of His birth, for that is
unknown to the entire human race.
It is not the day of his death or
resurrection, for these too are not
known with certainty but are
memorialized by Jesus Himself in our
weekly observance of the Lord's Supper.
The one special
day we must remember Jesus as our Lord
is "today." With the dawn of each
new "today," if we will exalt the One
who died to save the world, we can live
in Him and thereby change the world for
P. S. As
much of the world will pause to consider
Christ this time of the year, and as
most will recognize the rapidly
approaching New Year, this month's
BulletinGold focuses on a deeper, more
serious reflection of the mission and
meaning Jesus' life, death, and
resurrection, and the real impact those
truths should have in shaping our swift
sojourn of life in preparation for and
in anticipation of our eternal, heavenly
The Only Gift
David A. Sargent
A man came home from work late again,
tired and irritated, to find his
5-year-old son waiting for him at the
door. "Daddy, may I ask you a
"Yeah, sure. What is it?" replied the
"Daddy, how much money do you make an
"That's none of your business! What
makes you ask such a thing?" the
father said angrily.
"I just wanted to know. Please tell
me. How much do you make an hour?"
pleaded the little boy.
"If you must know, I make $20 an
Looking up, the boy said, "Daddy, may
I borrow $9 please?"
The father was furious. "If the only
reason you wanted to know how much
money I make is just so you can borrow
some, then you march yourself straight
to your room and go to bed. Think
about why you're being selfish. I work
long, hard hours everyday and don't
have time for such childish games."
little boy quietly went to his room
and shut the door. The father sat down
and started to get madder about his
little boy's questioning. How dare he
ask such questions only to get some
money? After an hour, he calmed down
and started to think he might have
been a little too hard on his son.
Maybe there was something he really
needed to buy with that $9. And, he
didn't ask for money often.
father went to his son's room and
opened the door. "Are you asleep,
son?" he asked. "No, Daddy, I'm
awake," replied the boy.
been thinking. Maybe I was too hard on
you earlier," said the father.
"It's been a long day, and I took my
aggravations out on you. Here's the $9
you asked for."
The little boy sat up straight,
beaming. "Oh, thank you Daddy!" he
Then, reaching under his pillow, he
pulled out some more crumpled bills.
He counted the money; then looked up
at his father. "Why did you want more
money if you already had some?" the
I didn't have enough, but now I do,"
the little boy replied. “Daddy, I have
$20 now...... Can I buy an hour of
your time?" *
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The only
gift is a portion of thyself.”
There is Another who loves you and me
and longs for an enduring relationship
with us. He demonstrated His
love for us by giving us a tremendous
gift: the gift of HIMSELF (Galatians
sins separate us from God but Jesus
gave His life as payment for our sins
so that we can be reconciled to
Him. “For there is one God and
one mediator between God and men, the
man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as
a ransom for all men -- the testimony
given in its proper time” (1 Timothy
we will respond in loving obedience
through: faith (Acts 16:30-31) and
repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing
Jesus (Romans 10:9-10), and being
baptized (immersed) in His name (Acts
2:38), then our sins are washed away
and we can be reconciled to God. Then
as we continue to follow Him
faithfully, He will continue to
cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
gave more than a “portion” of Himself
for us; He gave His ALL.
DIED so that we might LIVE!
YOU respond to His great love on His
terms and LIVE for Him?
- 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: http://www.creekwoodcc.org
and the Holidays
James C. Savage
Overeating . . . Overspending . . .
one’s as easy as the other this time of
year. Overeating we understand: there’s
a lot of good food out there. But
overspending? Why are so many people
tempted to overspend during the
holidays? There are many reasons.
Sometimes we just don’t keep up with
what we’re spending and before we know
it, we’ve overspent. Regardless of how
unintentional it is, though, all those
bills still have to be paid off-not the
best way to start the New Year.
experts in motivation, marketing
professionals know all the right buttons
to push to make us want whatever they
are advertising. Little jingles, cute
slogans, eye-catching pictures—all have
their effect on us in
less-than-conscious ways. The result?
Overspending before we know it, even on
things we really didn’t want.
Wrong use of
gifts. Sometimes we overspend because we
try to use gifts in the wrong way: we
think that buying the perfect gift will
cause someone to love us, or that buying
a large number of gifts will impress
others, or that buying a particular gift
will make up for some wrong we’ve done.
We all want to be loved and thought of
as generous people. None of us wants to
be Scrooge that disappoints and ruins
Christmas for everyone else. Knowing
this, advertisers, often imply that
giving “things” will create happiness,
make others admire us, even love us.
Trying to do the
impossible. Sometimes we overspend
because we try to do the impossible: we
try to create the “perfect” Christmas
from some television show, or we try as
adults to make up for something we
wanted as a child but did not get.
Remembering our own childhood
disappointments, we try to protect our
children from such feelings. We try to
create “perfect” experiences for them,
to give them everything they want to
make them happy.
Temptation to Overspend: So what do we
do? How do we resist the temptation to
overspend? Here are some suggestions.
1. Set a budget and
stick to it. Keep track of what you’re
spending and stop when you’ve reached
your limit. A little self-discipline now
can save you a lot of heartache and
stress when the bills come rolling in.
2. Ignore as
best you can the slick advertising hype.
Learn to argue with those little jingles
and cute slogans that lure you into
buying what you don’t need. Hold your
ground and be firm. Tell yourself, “No,
I don’t need it, and I won’t buy it.”
3. Aim for a
good Christmas, not a perfect Christmas.
There is no “perfect” Christmas except
in the make-believe world of TV fantasy
or childhood dreams. Holidays in the
real world are usually a mixture of
getting what we want and of being
disappointed, of having a pretty good
meal and of something being burned, of
laughing with family members and of
being irritated by their little quirks.
We live in the real world of human
relationships, not the make-believe
“perfect” world of fantasy TV. But
Christmas does not have to be perfect to
be good. Aim to have a “good” Christmas,
not a “perfect” Christmas.
4. Stop trying to do
the impossible. Material things seldom
if ever create long-lasting happiness.
Trying to buy the perfect toy or perfect
gift to make someone happy is doomed to
fail. New gadgets might intrigue us for
a while, but we will quickly discover
new things that we need or want “to make
us happy.” Happiness is ultimately an
inside job—we decide inside to be happy,
even if things around us are less than
perfect. While good parents often give
their children what they want, they know
that overspending for that perfect gift
to make their children happy seldom if
ever works. Showing their children how
to be self-controlled in spending, and
helping them handle disappointments, are
more valuable gifts, ones they will use
time and again in the real world.
5. Don’t substitute
gifts for doing what is right. If you
have wronged someone, apologize and ask
for forgiveness. Don’t try to ease a
guilty conscience by overspending on
that real love is based on who we are
and how we relate to others, not on what
we can or cannot buy. The more important
gifts in life are relational in nature
and often cost no money at all: gifts
like companionship, attention, time,
care, and service. Playing with a child,
taking a walk with a spouse, listening
to a loved one, sharing a cup of coffee
or tea with a friend, drinking a coke
together, watching a sunset or sunrise
together, taking a child fishing, making
a craft with your children to send to a
shut-in, baking cookies together,
feeding ducks on a pond—what wonderful
gifts for a friend, family member, or
recognize and thank God for all that He
has already given you. And help others
do likewise. Teach your children to
recognize and appreciate God’s gifts,
given and received every day: gifts such
as good health, the ability to walk,
run, see, hear, do, think, play, work,
love, create, along with a host of
freely everyday, not just on holidays
like Christmas, and God gives of
Himself, not just stuff. Indeed, as
James so rightly put it, “every good and
perfect gift is from above, coming down
from the Father of the heavenly lights.”
- James C. Savage, Ph.D, LPCC, LMFT,
Director of LifeStories Christian Care
and Counseling Services, Mayfield ,
KY. Via The Family Friend, a
monthly newsletter devoted to family
related issues published by 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
Have you started setting your goals
for next year? Let me encourage
you to set a goal that would greatly
benefit you, the Lord’s church, and
the world around us. This
goal is simply to build and strengthen
your relationship with God. You
may be asking, “How can I attain that
Read and study God’s word. God
blessed us with His word complete and
inerrant. By reading it we
develop faith, find comfort, and are
directed in the way we should
live. There are many
opportunities for us to increase our
knowledge of God’s word.
Spend time in worship to God.
The congregation comes together to
worship at least three times a
week. There are also youth
devotionals and gospel meetings.
Talk to God. Prayer is a gift of
a loving, listening Father who is
always there to help.
Build relationships with God’s
congregation has numerous activities
that assist us in fellowshipping one
another, but don’t just depend on
activities. Open up your home
and share a meal with another
family. Christian friends are a
Bring someone to Christ. Look
for opportunities to study with the
lost so they might be saved.
Restore the lost. You may know a
Christian who in unfaithful and
walking away from God. Pray for
them and admonish them to be restored
Be benevolent. If you see a need
that you can meet, then meet it.
You will make a difference.
May we all set a goal of
“Strengthening our Relationship with
God.” It is definitely a goal
that will benefit you, the Lord’s
church, and the world around
Evans serves as youth minister for the
Calvert City church of Christ in
Calvert City, KY. He may be
contacted through the congregation's
To Help Us
Live Better Lives
Jimmy W. Cox
There are lessons in the Scriptures
which will help us live better lives,
if we will be constantly aware of
The great value of our soul– Our soul,
or inward person, was made in the
image of God. (Gen. 1:27). Our soul is
of great worth–even more than the
whole world. (Matt. 16:26).
Always be aware that we will be
judged– (2 Cor. 5:10)– "For we must
all appear before the judgment seat of
Christ, that each one may receive the
things done in the body, according to
what he has done, whether it be good
or bad." "Every idle word that man may
speak, they shall give account . . .
in the judgment."
Live every day as if it were the last
day– (Matt. 24:44)– "Therefore you
also be ready, for the Son of Man
(Christ) is coming at an hour you do
not expect." – We do not know the day
we will die. "What is your life? It is
even a vapor that appears for a little
time and then vanishes away." (Jas.
In eternity you will be in heaven or
hell.– "And these will go away into
everlasting punishment, but the
righteous into eternal life." Now is
the time to prepare for eternity.
"Christ is the way, the truth, and the
life." (John 14:6).
A greater degree of faith. We must
believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of
God, and as our Saviour, and obey His
ever command in order to become a
Christian. But we must increase our
faith. A regular study of God’s Word
will give us a stronger faith. "So
then faith comes by hearing, and
hearing by the word of God." (Rom.
words for doing what is right,
encourages us to do even more good. We
should encourage one another. "And let
us consider one another in order to
stir up love and good works." (Heb.
10:22) .Jesus commended the widow.
must so live that they set a good
example– "Let your light so shine
before men, that they may see your
good works and glorify your Father in
heaven." (Matt. 5:16). "For to this
you were called, because Christ
suffered for us, leaving us an example
that you should follow His steps." (1
Become a Christian– Believe in Jesus
Heb. 11:6; Confess Christ Matt.
10:32-33; Be baptized into Christ Acts
2:38, Rom. 6:3-5; Be faithful– "Be
faith until death, and I will give you
a crown of life." Rev. 2:10.
W. Cox lives in Sandy Hook, MS and
attends the Columbia church of Christ
in Columbia, MS. He may be contacted
misc. goodies this issue
Is Jesus The Reason For The Season?
Travis L. Quertermous
virgin birth of Jesus Christ is one
the cardinal doctrines of true
Christianity, as well as one of the
greatest events in world history
(Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; Luke
2:1-20). But what of the holiday known
as Christmas? Can it be found in the
The simple truth is that the Bible
does not give us the date of Jesus’
birth and there is no Scriptural or
historical evidence that the apostolic
church celebrated an annual holiday in
honor of it. Some Christians began to
celebrate Christ’s birth by the end of
the 2nd century A.D. December 25 was
arbitrarily chosen by church officials
in the 4th century, but even this is
probably an error. On the night of
Jesus’ birth, the shepherds were
“living out in the fields, keeping
watch over their flocks by night”
(Luke 2:8), thus indicating a date in
the spring or summer. The fact is that
the word “Christmas” was not even
coined until the 11th century.
of Christ believe in the practice of
New Testament Christianity. We reject
the creeds, dogmas, and traditions of
men. Since Christmas is not authorized
as a religious holiday in the New
Testament, we do not observe it as
such. For us, it is a secular holiday
and a season of giving, but not the
birthday of our Savior. Are you
interested in simple,
non-denominational Christianity? Then
why not contact us today to learn
Travis L. Quertermous preaches for the
church of Christ in Dexter, MO.
He may be contacted at email@example.com or through
the church’s website: http://www.dexterchurchofchrist.com/
What Kind of
Christmas means different things to
different folks. To some, it is
a celebration of “Jesus' birthday,”
although in all likelihood Jesus was
not born in the winter.
Shepherds would not be watching their
flocks in the fields at night at this
time of year. December 25, in
fact, was instead the date celebrated
in the heathen world as the birth date
of the Sun God. To others, it is
simply a time of good will and family
included—see Christmas not as a “holy
day” instituted by God, but
nevertheless as a national holiday—a
day in which we can rejoice as the
world is reminded of the coming of the
Savior into the world. It is
never an evil thing to be reminded of
still others would rid the day of all
religious connotation, lumping it
together with New Years as a part of a
secular “Winter Holiday.” Some
stores, while raking in the money from
the occasion, even instruct their
clerks to not say, “Merry Christmas,”
but instead, “Happy Holidays.”
Secularists, supported by such as the
ACLU, would allow children in public
(governmental) schools to be
restricted to singing about “Rudolph,
the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or “Santa
Claus Is Coming to Town”, while
forbidding “O Little Town of
Bethlehem.” Sad! Sad!
the way, what kind of Christmas are
you having this year?
once wrote something like, “Though
Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem
be born, it availeth thee not except
He be born in thee.” He came to
be received as our Redeemer.
Have you accepted Him as Savior and
Lord in your life? Have you believed
the Gospel, repented of sins,
confessed your faith and been baptized
in His name in acceptance of
salvation? [Mark 16:15-16; Matthew
10:32; Acts 2:38])
Bartanen preaches for Arthur church of
Christ, Arthur, IL. He may be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
or via the congregation's website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com
Year, Let Us Be Reminded Of...
...the New Song
that the Lord can put into our hearts
...the New Name the Lord has given to
His people (Isa. 62:2).
...the New Covenant we now live under
...the New Commandment of love that we
are to express (John 13:34).
...the New Creation that we have been
made in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).
...the New Way we are to live our lives
...the New Jerusalem we are to look
forward to in heaven (Rev. 21:2).
“He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold,
I make all things new.’” (Rev. 21:5)
- Edd Sterchi preaches for the
Harrisburg church of Christ in
Harrisburg, IL. He may be
contacted at email@example.com
"Happy New Year!"
That greeting will be said and heard for
at least the first couple of weeks as a
new year gets under way. But the
day celebrated as New Year's Day in
modern America was not always January 1.
The celebration of the new year is the
oldest of all holidays. It was
first observed in ancient Babylon about
4000 years ago. In the years
around 2000 BC, Babylonians celebrated
the beginning of a new year on what is
now March 23, although they themselves
had no written calendar.
Late March actually is a logical choice
for the beginning of a new year.
It is the time of year that spring
begins and new crops are planted.
January 1, on the other hand, has no
astronomical nor agricultural
significance. It is purely
The Babylonian new year celebration
lasted for eleven days. Each day
had its particular mode of celebration,
but it is safe to say that modern New
Year's Eve festivities pale in
- Via the weekly bulletin of the
Lakeland church of Christ in Mattoon,
IL. David R. Ferguson preaches for
that congregation, and he may be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
may also want to visit the
congregation's website at http://lakelandchurchofchrist.web.officelive.com/default.aspx
|Hearts of Gold
The New Leaf
He came to my desk
with a quivering lip;
The lesson was done;
“Dear Teacher, I want a new leaf,” he
“I’ve spoiled this
I took the old leaf, torn and blotted,
And gave him a new
one, all unspotted,
And in to his sad eyes smiled:
“Do better now, my
I came to the throne with a trembling
The year’s work was
“Dear Father, I want a new year,” I
“I have spoiled this
He took the old year, torn and blotted,
And gave me a new
one, all unspotted,
And into my sad heart smiled:
“Do better now, my
- Author unknown; 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
Avis Corley Porter
It's Two Thousand
Now isn't that just simply great?
God has blessed us to see another New
Let us enter it with thanksgiving and
Another year to live and love,
And worship our heavenly Father above.
Another year to thank Him for the
blessings He sends,
For our broken hearts He so kindly
For the beautiful sunshine and the
For heaping us bear our aches and pains.
For being as near as a Prayer away,
For being with us through the day.
Happy New Year, two thousand eight,
Now isn't that just simply great?
- Avis Corley Porter is a prolific poet
and a faithful sister in Christ from
The old man sat
and thought of what folks would say
About how he had lived when he passed
Would they speak of the many troubles he
Would the good things about him outweigh
Would his self-control stand out, or his
Would his wins or his losses be
As he reviewed his life through the many
He saw much joy mixed with many bitter
He saw many right moves and many
He saw much true love, and, his share of
He saw so many times when his prayers
And he saw many times when evil
He saw himself when he was but a small
So pure and innocent ere by sin defiled.
He saw the lady to whom he gave his
And thought of his love for her right
from the start.
He saw his children as they were being
He thought of his pride as their
He remembered the pain when one went
It always hurt him so to recall that
He thought of the awful loneliness he'd
Of the angst and anguish that made his
He thought of the Savior Whose blood
made him whole,
And of his belief in the Heavenly goal.
He thought of his many companions and
And how some pleasure and some pain
He thought of the changes he would like
And of a few chances he would like to
He wondered why this world had treated
Then decided he'd really rather not
He thought of his loved ones who'd gone
And of the reunion to come on that
He thought of the wrinkles time put on
Wrinkles nothing down here could ever
He wondered when his Savior would call
To that lovely city whence he'd never
He sat there and thought of what people
When at long last his Lord would call
He was tired and weary and ready to go,
Heaven was waiting and he longed for it
- H. L. Gradowith For more
information on H. L. Gradowith and
GRADOWITH POEMS e-mail group visit http://www.geocities.com/fp5699/
- the website of Tim Smith, minister of
the Enon church of Christ in Webb, AL.
Year Closer to God
Helen Steiner Rice
many years of loving God
been golden years well spent,
have brought a golden harvest
deep, serene content.
glorious is the gladness
rich is the reward
all who work unceasingly
the service of the Lord.
I know our heavenly Father
directed you each day
you try to serve and please Him,
you follow in His way.
looking back across your life,
spirit grows serene,
your soul in love envisions
your eyes have never seen.
while the springtime of your life
pleasant to recall,
know the autumn of life
the richest time of all,
great has been your gladness
priceless your reward
through the years you walked with
the vineyard of the Lord.