BulletinGold #90
June 2008   Vol 8 #4

----by David Bragg
   The apostles had been through a lot of pain as their Lord was arrested, unfairly tried, sentenced and put to death.  Perhaps they felt helpless and ashamed because they had forsaken Him in His hour of need.  However, many things were to happen to change their lives: the resurrection, the ascension, the promised Spirit and the beginning of the church.  Now these men who had forsaken their Lord are boldly preaching that Jesus is the Christ.  Because of their preaching, Peter and John are arrested.  Even then they are not ashamed of Jesus, but boldly proclaim their faith in Him (Acts 4:12). 
   It was then that the Jewish leaders saw Jesus, not in a mystical vision but in the lives of these two “unlearned and ignorant men” (Acts 4:13).  That is what a Christian really should be, one who continues to bear the affects of living their lives with Jesus.
   There is not much left in the name "Christian" when Christ is removed.  Likewise, there is not much left in the life of a Christian when Christ is forsaken.  Jesus told His disciples, "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).  Man tells Jesus, "I love you but I think my way is the best in this situation."  Are we greater than the Lord's apostles?  If Christ is our Savior He is also our Lord and Master.  If you were a master, would you tolerate such tampering with your commands?  How can we expect any less from Jesus Christ?
   A Christian is one who belongs to Christ.  He is one who had died with Christ in baptism, and in whom Christ is living and ruling (Gal. 2:20).  Each of us must live our lives in such a manner that it will be clear that we have been with Jesus.

David Bragg
, co-editor

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Panning for Gold
- Feature Articles:  

Each Individual Carries Around a Mental Picture of Himself
by: W. A. Martin

   Each individual carries around a mental picture of himself. This picture was formed and gradually shaped during his formative years from experience with his parents. An individual’s mental picture is referred to as their self-concept. How one perceives himself as really being—his self- image; how he evaluates himself—his self-worth; and how he views the self as wanting to be---self ideal.
   It is from parents that children get their first ideas of how to behave from what they see, what they experience, and what they are told. “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” (Deut. 6:6-9)
   Positive or negative messages make the child feel either wanted or unwanted, loved or unloved, capable or incapable, and worthy or unworthy.  Depending upon the messages sent, the children develop a positive or negative self-concept.  “Set your hearts unto all the word which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do.” (Deut. 32:46)  What we really believe determines how we do our homework. Christ did not just talk leadership, He lived it. He is our example in all things.  We need to behave like we sing, our children are watching us. We need to walk like we talk, our children are following us. The role of the parents is to become what they say they believe.
   Today, so many times the correct answer should be “follow me as I follow the Lord.” In so many ways in the Bible God is saying to our family, “use all the truth while you have the opportunity. Let your children know God has a plan for them early in life, and work to help them work that plan.” If children grow up indifferent about God, someone must answer to Him one day. Parent’s example will live long after they are dead. Yet, parents teaching will be no better than they are.

- W.A. Martin is a part time preacher for the Scurry church of Christ, Scurry, Texas, and edits a bulletin that is sent to 14 churches in the area.  He may be contacted at WAGMartin@sbcglobal.net.

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Nevertheless (Luke 5:1-5)
by: Gene Rowe, Jr.

   The term "nevertheless" is very powerful to say the least.  The definition includes the following:  by whatever means, in spite of that, no matter how, and to whatever degree or extent.  The text of Luke 5:1-5 centers around Christ giving instructions to some knowledgeable fishermen concerning fishing techniques, which really turns out to be a spiritual application taught by a physical lesson. 
   The fishermen had toiled all night and had not caught anything, which subsequently led them to clean their nets, demonstrating that they had given up on catching any fish at that time.  The order coming from Jesus for the fishermen to launch out into the deep and let down their nets must have seemed strange and pointless, seeing they had not caught anything all night. 
   "Nevertheless" is the term Simon used when responding to the command of Jesus, and upon their obedience to Jesus they were not able to handle the massive amount of fish in their nets.  Faith involves belief and obedience, it's a package deal.
   Based on the words of Jesus the fishermen obeyed and enjoyed the blessings of their obedience.  Hebrews 5:8-9 states "though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him."
   Today if we only obeyed the voice of Jesus Christ, and not tradition, opinions, or man's words, there would be unity as He prayed for in John 17:20-21.  Today if we only obeyed the voice of Jesus Christ, the saying, "go to the church of your choice," would be nowhere to be found, seeing that Jesus said, "Upon this rock I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH AND THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT."  (MATTHEW 16:18)
   If we are truly interested in doing what is right in the sight of God we will obey the voice of His Dear Son.  (Matthew 17:1-5)

- Gene Rowe, Jr. is the minister of the church of Christ (Westward Ave.), Texas City, Texas.  He may be contacted at GTrowe67@aol.com

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Strangers and Pilgrims
by: Stefana R. Mugnaini

   Whenever I travel, I always feel strange.  Sort of uncomfortable and out of place.  Living out of a suitcase always does that to me.  Whether it is a week-long vacation or a couple of days visiting family, I don’t really feel normal until I get home.  I am prone to a touch of homesickness.  Having lived in a lot of places over the past few years, this doesn’t really make much sense, but I feel this way nonetheless.  As I was thinking about this, it suddenly occurred to me: “This is how Christians are supposed to feel everywhere!”
Beloved, I beg of you, as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.  --- 1 Pet 2:11-12
   Peter tells us, in no uncertain terms, that we are pilgrims and travelers in this world, no matter where we are.  That means we should expect to feel out of place, away from home. Worldliness and Humanism teach that this Earth is our beginning and ending place, that we have our span of eighty years and then we cease to exist.  “Get comfortable,” they say, “because this is all there is.”  But God’s Word paints a totally different picture. In the verses preceding those mentioned above, Peter calls us (as Christians) a “Holy Nation.”  Thus, by “Gentiles,” in verse 12, he means ANYONE not of our number.
   The point Peter is making is that we, as Christians, are currently citizens of the Kingdom of God, the same idea Paul expressed in his letter to the churches at Philippi and Colossae.  We are here as visitors, not residents.  Essentially, we spend this time on Earth to get our passports stamped.  If this is true, then we should no more feel comfortable in Charleston or Jacksonville than we would on the moon.  One of the great messages of the Bible, even of the Epistles of Peter, is that this world is temporary and will not last forever.  If, in just a few days, we may pine for our Earthly home, how much more should we long for our Eternal Home, that place of promise where our TRUE citizenship lies?
For we are citizens of a heavenly kingdom, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. –Philippians 3:20-21 

- 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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Just Some Things to  Remember
by: Andy McDougal

   Jesus Christ is the head of the Church. Ephesians 5:23 - For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the savior of the body.  Colossians 1:18 - And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.
    Jesus Christ has all power and authority.  Matthew 28:18 - And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.
    Jesus Christ is our mediator to God. 1Timothy 2:5 - For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 1Timothy 2:6 - Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.  1John 2:1 - My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.  John 14:6 - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.  John 14:13 - And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 
    Jesus Christ is consistent.  Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
     These thoughts came to me after I had glimpsed some television footage of one of the world’s religious leader’s arrival in the United States and some of the activities associated with him.  Remember only our Lord Jesus Christ can rightfully claim any of the above points, no man can!

- Andy McDougal works with the Easton church of Christ in Easton, Maryland.  He may be contacted at bugman55@verizon.net  You can visit the congregation’s website at: http://churchofchristeastonmd@yahoo.com

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What Do You Hear?
by: David A. Sargent

   A Native American and his friend were walking near Times Square, New York. The streets were filled with people, across multiple lanes cars were honking their horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, and sirens were wailing. Suddenly, the Native American stops and says, "I hear a cricket."
   His friend is astounded, "What? You must be crazy. You couldn't possibly hear a cricket in all of this noise!"
   "No, I'm sure of it," the Native American said, "I heard a cricket."
   "That's crazy," said the friend.  The Native American listened carefully for a moment, and then walked across the street to where some shrubs were growing. He looked into the bushes and sure enough, he located a small cricket. His friend was utterly amazed.
   "That's incredible," said his friend. "You must have super-human ears!"
   "No," said the Native American. "My ears are no different from yours."
   "But that can't be!" said the friend. "I could never hear a cricket in this noise."
   "Yes, you could," came the reply. "Here, let me show you....."  He reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and dropped them on the sidewalk. And then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they noticed every head within 5 meters turn and look to see if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs.
   "See what I mean?"  asked the Native American. "It all depends on what you're listening for...... what's important to you."
   What do YOU hear?  What’s important to YOU?
   In the midst of the noise, distractions and cares of life.... there is an ALL-IMPORTANT message that each of us needs to hear.  It is the message of salvation from sin through Jesus Christ.  It is the Gospel, the "GOOD NEWS" that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again (1 Cor 15:1-3).  Those who HEAR and OBEY this message are saved from their sins. 
   To OBEY the message, we must: place our faith in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38).  Then we must CONTINUE to heed His instructions so that His blood can CONTINUE to cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
   “He who has EARS to hear, let him HEAR” - the Word of God (Matthew 11:15), and may he OBEY what he hears!  Because “blessed are those who HEAR the word of God and KEEP it!" (Luke 11:28).
   Have you HEARD the Word?  Will you now OBEY it?

- 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

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Nuggets and Quick Riches
-    misc. goodies this issue

When No One Seems to be Listening

by: J. Randal Matheny

   Saturday’s UPLift thought, on that discomforting moment when you’ve the idea no one is paying you any mind.
   When no one seems to be listening, speak all the more carefully and clearly: for your words will be weighter for the one.
   UPDATE: This found its way into a quatrain:
When no one seems to hear,
More clear and careful speak;
For one, who won’t appear,
Will find your words unique.
   That one may not be in evidence, but he is there, in the shadows, behind you perhaps, or in front of you, but turned with his back toward you.
   You think no one hears, yet you wish they did. You may even protest.
   But in the reflecting silence, an ear is listening, pondering, mulling on your words. And those words in that moment may have life-changing effect.
   What do you say?

- 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/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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Did You Hear?

   An elderly lady of the village was very angry because she had not been invited to a picnic her friends were going to.  The morning of the event the hostess relented and asked her to come.
   “It’s too late!” she snapped.  “I’ve already prayed for rain.”
- 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 http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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I've Approved This Message

   How many times have you heard this during this campaign season?  Won’t you be glad when the national election has passed?  Regarding that phrase it is heard at the end of almost every campaign commercial.  I wonder if God could say that about us? 
   Obviously, preachers and teachers need to present a message that would be approved by God.  However, it does not stop there.  Isn’t the life of every Christian a message that is being presented to a lost and dying world?  After all, Christians are to shine as lights in the world, (Matthew 5:14-16: Philippians 2:15). 
   Live so that God could look at the sermon you are preaching by your life and say, “I’VE APPROVED THIS MESSAGE.”

- via The Lantern, Highway church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  Visit their website at http://www.highwaycofc.com

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Attitude Makes the Difference
by: J. J. Turner

When you have an unpleasant task to perform,
                ATTITUDE makes the difference.
When you have a relationship to mend,
                ATTITUDE makes the difference.
When failure has spoiled your day,
                ATTITUDE makes the difference.
When you come to the end of your rope,
                ATTITUDE makes the difference.
When you find yourself among negative people,
                ATTITUDE makes the difference.
When others have control over your career,
                ATTITUDE makes the difference.
When all external supports are gone,
                ATTITUDE makes the difference.
When confronted with challenging circumstances,
                ATTITUDE makes the difference.
When tempers rise and things are tense,
                ATTITUDE makes the difference.
When our feelings and emotions are crushed,
                ATTITUDE makes the difference.
When life has handed you a hand that’s unfair,
                ATTITUDE makes the difference.
When people insist on having their way,
                ATTITUDE makes the difference.
When life calls you to her stage to perform,
                ATTITUDE makes the difference.

- J.J. Turner; -
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 http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

If I Can

If I can plant some little seed of love
That later will blossom in a smile,
It matters not however else I fail,
My life will be worthwhile.

If I can do some little kindly act
That later on may soothe some sad heart's pain,
It matters not what else I do. My life
Will not have been in vain.

- Author Unknown

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Let Me Be Aware
by: Miriam Teichner

God -- let me be aware!
Let me not stumble blindly down the ways,
Just getting somehow safely through the days,
Not even groping for another hand,
Not even wondering why it all was planned,
Eyes to the ground, unseeking for the light,
Soul never aching for a wild winged flight,
God, let me be aware!

God, let me be aware!
Stab my soul fiercely with others' pain,
Let me walk seeing their horror and stain,
Let my hands, groping, find other hands,
Give me the heart that divines, understands,
Give me that courage, wounded, to fight,
Flood me with knowledge, drench me in light;
Oh keep me eager just to do my share,
God, let me be aware!

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The Story of Your Life
by: Wanda Mitchell

Don't say you're not important,
It simply isn't true,
The fact that you were born,
Is proof, God has a plan for you.

The path may seem unclear right now,
But one day you will see,
That all that came before,
Was truly meant to be.

God wrote the book that is your life,
That's all you need to know.
Each day that you are living,
Was written long ago.

God only writes best sellers,
So be proud of who you are,
Your character is important;
In this book you are the "Star."

Enjoy the novel as it reads,
It will stand throughout the ages,
Savor each chapter as you go,
Taking time to turn the pages.

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The Preacher Said It
by: Rick Woodall

The preacher said it must be true,
Even though it makes me sad and blue.
I know tis true, my mind is full,
Because He has attended the proper school.
I don’t know the difference between Paul or John
But the preacher knows – and so we bond.
When someone dares to question me
I give them my preachers’ office key.
When other preachers think they know
I treat them like they are the foe
To some wisdom is summed up with this one thought
My preacher says-so it can’t be sought.
So it goes in the bleachers
Trust in me for I’m the preacher

- 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

A fellow who has to keep declaring he is not a fool is giving others a reason to think he is.

Gossip is like mud thrown at a clean wall. It may not stick, but it always leaves a dirty mark.
Abraham Lincoln’s motto: I will prepare myself and opportunity will come.

- 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

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man.” (Ben Franklin)

- 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

God has a Plan for your Life--He's waiting to tell you about it.
Consult Owner's Manual, It's called THE BIBLE!

- via Greater Springfield church of Christ, in Chicopee, MA.

If anyone speaks badly of you, live so that none will believe it.
If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.

“The three non-negotiables of manhood: integrity, commitment, action.” –Bill McCartney, head football coach

“To belittle is to be little.” 

“Well done is better than well said.”  --Ben Franklin

- 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 http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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