BulletinGold #109
January 2010   Vol 9 #11
 

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BulletinGold #109
January 2010
Vol. 9 Num. 11
Editors:
David Bragg
Edward Thomason
BulletinGold
BulletinGold is published the first Sunday of each month to help Church of Christ bulletin editors and writers share Bible-based, doctrinal material for church bulletins and Christian writing. You received BulletinGold because you subscribed. If you received this copy from a friend and would like to subscribe, please send a blank email to: BulletinGold-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Be sure and reply to the letter sent to your email by YahooGroups. If you need to unsubscribe, you may do so by sending an email to: BulletinGold-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
 
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In This Issue:
Articles
Nuggets
Poems
Quotes
How Old Are You?
By Jerrie Barber
Refined Gold
By Ronald Bartanen

When Trouble Comes
By Mike Riley

Important vs Urgent
By Bryan Kirby

The Formula For Success
By Edd Sterchi
A Time For Every Purpose
By Steve Higginbotham

It's A Jungle Out There
By Hardie Logan

Trying Times
By Joe Chesser
Why The White Hair?
The Clock of Life
By Robert H. Smith
A Lovely Light
Do What You Can


quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs


New Postings At
BulletinGold
Extra
Editorial by David Bragg
With the beginning of the New Year this BulletinGold focuses attention on the importance of properly appraising our fleeting life, the need for regular self-evaluation, and of inevitable accountability before God.  It is with these thoughts in mind that the following short article appeared to be the perfect introduction:

Time For a Spiritual Checkup?

By Gerald Cowan
 
     Examine yourselves to prove that you are Christian and that you are continuing in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). Sometimes a physical checkup is made, not because one feels sick, but to be reassured of good health, or to determine if there are incipient problems one is not aware of. Why not do the same thing spiritually?
     There are several areas of one’s spiritual condition that need periodic examination: (1) one’s relationship with God, (2) one’s own spiritual growth and development, (3) one’s function in the church and relationship with other Christians,  (4) one’s relationship with those outside the church and one’s ability to represent  Christ and the church effectively.
 
- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola church of Christ in Dongola, IL.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com


Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
How Old Are You?
By Jerrie Barber

    When asked about one’s age, some people lie, some deny, and some camouflage the true number. But anyone who is living is getting older. What can my attitude be toward increasing age?

Appreciate Individuals, Not Age Groups

    It is unwise to make a general statement about infants, pre-schoolers, teenagers, young adults, middle-agers, or old folks. Every person is worth more than all the world-regardless of age (Matthew 16:26).
     Youth has the advantage of energy, enthusiasm, optimism, and usually a longer time to develop potential.
     Older years bring added happiness if the increased age is accompanied by wisdom, pleasant memories, and service to God. “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31).
     Let us look for the best in each person we meet., recognize it, encourage it, and try to develop it regardless of the age of the individual.

We Are Becoming the Person We Will Be

    Some day most of us will meet an old person. He may be grumpy, ill-tempered, and hard to get along with. Or he may be gracious, wise, and helpful. But the good news is that I can choose this person that I must live with, because that person will be me. You and I are becoming the person we will be.
     Tennyson expressed it this way:
Ah, what shall I be at fifty
       Should nature keep me alive,
If I find the world so bitter
       When I am but twenty-five?

Live Today, Content

     Recalling the “good ol’ days” is not a new practice. “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For you do not inquire wisely concerning this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).
    All of our time and thoughts should not be on the future to the exclusion of being productive today (Matthew 6:34).
    We should serve well today, regardless of the number of birthdays. “For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11).
     Years ago, a little boy wrote a man and ended the letter with the statement, “I hope you live all your life.” This can only be done when we thank God for today and today’s opportunities and eliminate the excuses, “I’m too old,” or “I’m too young.”
     Rather we can say, “Thank God, I am alive. I will do what I can today.”

- Jerrie Barber; 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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Refined Gold
By Ronald Bartanen

"[Y]e greatly rejoice…that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:6-7).

    While the trying of our faith is not something we would look forward to, the scriptures are plain that it is something we should expect. Specifically, many of such trials may well come through persecution. Paul wrote the young evangelist, Timothy, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). Thus he sought to steel him against the fiery darts of a hostile enemy. The more godless a society becomes, the more intense the persecution will become. Although as Americans we have long been sheltered to a great degree, we find the godly values we hold dear increasingly under attack, and we who hold these values to be slandered.
    Why should this surprise us? When we read accounts of the world’s hostilities against such as Daniel and his companions in the book of Daniel, or of other Old Testament prophets, and certainly of the early Christians, we would marvel that we should be exempt. Did not Jesus forewarn His followers, saying, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you" (John 15:19)?
    If our lives and teachings mirror the life and teachings of our Master, whom the world crucified, why should we expect the world to love us? Was Jesus not ridiculed? Was He not misrepresented? Was He not unjustly accused? We cannot expect the world to be any more tolerant of those that bear the name of Christ than it was tolerant of Christ Himself.
    However, that which sustains us is the expectation of the "praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." It is our hope, affirmed in God’s word, that is the foundation of the believer’s life. George Keith in the late 1700s wrote in the hymn, How Firm a Foundation" (a verse not in our song book):
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie
My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design,
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL.  He may be contacted via the congregation's website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com


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When Trouble Comes
By Mike Riley

    When life begins to tumble in, when trouble comes, when there seems to be a new crisis every day and when it appears all our dreams are being shattered, what can we do? Is there anyone we can turn to for help? Is there any word of encouragement or advice?
     The answer to all of these questions is a resounding YES! We can turn to God through His Son Jesus Christ. We can also find in God's Word the advice and encouragement we need. One book was written especially to deal with the problem of human suffering and that is the book of Job.
     Job was faithful to the Lord when he lost his possessions and even his children. He remained steadfast when his friends criticized him and even when his wife said to him, "Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die" (Job 2:9).
     The book of James presents Job as an example of endurance for all who are suffering to consider. "Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy" (James 5:10-11).
     Job surely must have been as Moses who looked to the eternal reward rather than just the immediate problems in his life. It paid off for we read, "So Jehovah blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning" (Job 42:12). Job would have triumphed even if he had not been blessed in this life.
     May we all remember Job if we are ever tempted to give up.

 - via the Lake Hills Letter, weekly bulletin of the Lake Hills church of Christ in Chattanooga, TN.  Shane Robinson, preaches for the congregation, and he may be contacted through their website at http://www.lakehillschurchofchrist.org/


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Important vs Urgent
By Bryan Kirby

Important - of much or great significance or consequence; mattering much
Urgent - compelling or requiring immediate action or attention; imperative; pressing

    Sometimes, we get the two mixed up. Important versus urgent. There is a big difference between the two. For example, high blood pressure is important; cardiac arrest is urgent. Things that are important as well as things that are urgent both carry a certain amount of significance. In the religious world, we often classify the urgent as only important and the important as barely significant. This mistake can be fatal.
     One good example is that of baptism. Generally speaking, when someone responds to the gospel message of Christ, we immediately want to baptize them – and rightfully so. Many in the denominational world do not understand the urgency of baptism or the fact that our faith and obedience comes in contact with the saving mercy and grace of God in that watery grave. I personally know people that have waited MONTHS to be baptized after their response to a denominational calling. The importance of baptism is also minimized in many religious groups today. Some will say that baptism is only an outward symbol of an inward change when in reality baptism is so much more than that. When we submit to God’s command to be baptized, then and only then are our sins washed away (Romans 6:1-6, 1 Peter 3:21, et al).
     It is easy to see the misunderstanding that others have about baptism and how they confuse the urgent and important. What about the rest of us? We have so many things we need to work on in our daily lives that need urgent attention, but we do nothing. There are also scores of important things that we need to attend to as well, but again, we do nothing. How many relationships need to be mended? This is important, and with eternity and judgment looming before us, it should be urgent as well. What about the sin in our lives that we haven’t given up yet? How about the prayers we need to offer, the visits we need to make, the neighbors and family that need to know about Jesus? Aren’t all of these things important AND urgent?
     Don’t let evil take over your life because you fail to understand the urgency of the gospel. British philosopher Edmund Burke is famously quoted as saying, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing.” This happens a lot when we simply think we can do it later!
 
- Bryan Kirby serves as an Associate Minister for the Goodwood church of Christ in Baton Rouge, LA. He may be contacted through the church's website at http://www.goodwoodchurch.org/


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The Formula For Success
By Edd Sterchi

    I was waiting for the oil in my van to be changed the other day when I picked up a magazine called “Success.”  Always looking for advice on the topic, I began flipping through the pages.  In it was an article written by the popular motivational speaker Zig Ziglar on the three keys to success.  They were:
    Purpose.  One has to have a goal in mind and a way to reach that goal to truly achieve.  Too many people wonder around aimlessly and then wonder why they never succeed.  A purpose gives us something to strive for - something to achieve.
    Passion.  One must greatly desire the purpose to be attained - so much so that it drives him to do whatever is necessary to reach it.  A purpose will rarely be realized unless one is truly passionate about it.
     Performance.  Purpose and passion are worthless without good, old-fashioned hard work.  That’s what it takes to get from point A to point B - success doesn’t come to you, you must go to it.
     What struck me as I read the article was the fact that these are exactly what it takes to succeed in Christianity, as well.  Christian, consider the following:
* Do you have a purpose to your Christianity?  Do you set Christian goals to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Pet. 3:18)?  Is every decision on earth made with the ultimate goal of attaining heaven in mind (Col. 3:1-2)?
* Do you have passion for your Christianity?  Do you have a zeal and fervor for serving the Lord (Titus 2:4)?  Do you have a driving love for the Lord, and are you always joyful and excited to be a Christian (1 Pet. 1:8)?
* Do you have performance in your Christianity?  Do you labor daily for the Lord (Heb. 6:10)?  Do you harmoniously involve yourself with the church in every way possible (Eph. 4:11-16)?
     Let Paul’s words in Phil. 3:12-14 inspire us to heighten all of these in our Christian lives: “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Jackson church of Christ in Jackson, MO.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.jacksonchurchofchrist.com


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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
A Time For Every Purpose
By Steve Higginbotham

    Yesterday was a day of contrast.  It was a day full of contradiction.  Sorrow and joy.  Tears and laughter.  The past and the future.  You see, yesterday I performed the funeral for a dear Christian lady, 91 years of age.  Then a couple hours later, I watched as my oldest daughter graduated from High School.

     To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven... (Ecclesiastes 3).  Life's changes are constant reminders of the brevity of life, and the speed at which life passes.  How could I have a daughter who graduated when the memories of my own graduation have not faded in my memory?  How could the little girl that I carried in my arms be old enough to, in a couple months, venture off on her own to college?
     Of course, James was right.  Life is but a vapor that appears for a short time and then vanishes away (James 4:14).  Life's lessons from yesterday were...
    * Use your time well.
    * Cherish the moment.
    * Don't wish your life away.
    * Don't lose sight of your goal.
    * Finish what you set out to accomplish.
    * Remember you're being graded.
     Whether you're eighteen, forty-four, or ninety one...it doesn't matter.  Those lessons, if remembered, will serve you well.
  
- Steve Higginbotham is the minister for the South Green Street church of Christ, Glasgow, Kentucky.  He may be contacted at shigg@glasgow-ky.com  [Copyright © 2008, South Green Street Church of Christ, Glasgow, Kentucky.  Permission is granted to copy these articles.]


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It's A Jungle Out There
By Hardie Logan

    One day, deep within the never place of the jungle, all the animals came together to form what they called an alliance. There were zebras, lions, turkeys, deer, in fact all the animals of the jungle were there.
     "We've had enough of this fighting between us," said Mr. Water Buffalo, "what we need to do is remember the love of God and that we are children of God and stop all this fighting and fussing and destroying one another." As Mr. Water Buffalo spoke, the crowd was electrified. "Amen" was the cheer. It seemed everyone was in agreement.
     "Uh, I'm not so sure about this", said Ms Deer, "I don't see how this kind of thing will work in the jungle. You see we all live by different doctrines of life and all these doctrines of lives will clash. I just don't see how we can rectify all that and have the fellowship you are talking about."
     All the other animals chided Ms Deer for being negative. "We all follow the same God. We all know God teaches us to love one another. Surely when God's people come together like we are trying to do, it gives glory to God. Quit being so hung up on YOUR personal doctrine and be more loving and kind to others. God is love or don't you believe that?"
     So all the animals of the jungle met, including Ms Deer. They talked about the good they could do because they were so big in numbers. 
     They talked about how they can glorify God better. Their singing was so loud it could be heard for miles outside the jungle.
     Then it was Mr. Lions turn to speak. He stood up and said, "I think we should have more meat in our fellowship meals." There was a loud and thundering gasp by all the vegetarians there. Mr. Lion went on to describe how meat has protein and how the body needs protein. There was a long silence when Mr. Lion finished speaking. Ms Deer was last seen running back into the jungle.
     Many denominations are trying to get everybody to be just one. There are even some in the church that have fallen into that "doctrinal trap" and support it. Yet in all this there lies the unrelenting truth. Truth doesn't bend to support the man made-doctrines of the world. The world must bend to truth.
     How can people who do not believe in Jesus have fellowship with the believers? How can those who follow the teachings of Jesus have fellowship with those that do not? Is this what God wants?
     "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?" – 2 Corinthians 6:14

- Hardie Logan preaches for the Marshfield church of Christ in Marshfield, WI.  He may be contacted at xnman@charter.net



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Trying Times
By Joe Chesser

    Things are in a mess. The stock market is falling faster than gas prices. Politicians are slinging mud as never before. Credit is in a crisis. Workers are being laid off, or are losing their jobs altogether. Just when our health is failing, medical costs are skyrocketing. There is a constant threat of terrorists striking us again. McDonalds is raising their dollar menu. On top of that, I can’t seem to lose weight! What a mess we are in.
     So, what can we do? Will Obama or McCain solve all of these issues and restore peace and prosperity? Will the government bailing out failing financial institutions turn things around? Will winning the war in Iraq stop terrorism? One thing is for sure, jumping off of the roller coaster is not the answer. Panic will not help. Worry and depression are options, but not good ones.
     If your hope is in the stock market or politicians or job security, you have reason to be worried and depressed. But if your hope is in the Lord God Almighty, you have nothing to fear, nothing to dread. Nothing!
     It’s times like these that separate those who truly trust God from those who really don’t. I find great encouragement in the story of the three young men living as slaves in a foreign land. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were in a tougher spot than any of us. Their circumstances had so changed that instead of being fed with the king’s rich foods they were now facing certain death by being thrown into a fiery furnace. But their statement of faith in God has encouraged countless Christians throughout the centuries. Let their statement to King Nebuchadnezzar be a source of strength for you when you face fiery trials: "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up" (Daniel 3:17-18).

- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com


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Why The White Hair?
 
     One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink.  She suddenly noticed that her mother had several stands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.
     She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, “Why are some of your hairs white, Momma?”
     Her mother replied, “Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.”
     The little girl thought about this revelation for a while, and then said, “Momma, how come ALL of grandma’s hairs are white?” 

- 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 through their website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com


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Hearts of Gold - poetry
                The Clock of Life
             By Robert H. Smith

The clock of life is wound but once
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.

To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,
To lose one’s health is more,
To lose one’s soul is such a loss
That no man can restore.
 
The present only is our own,
Live, love, toil with a will
Place no faith in “Tomorrow”
For the clock may then be still.

- Robert H. Smith; 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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             A Lovely Light

A candle’s but a simple thing...
It starts with just a bit of string,
Yet dipped with patient hand,
It gathers wax upon the strand
Until, complete and snowy white,
It gives at last a lovely light.

Life seems so like that bit of string...
Each deed we do a simple thing,
Yet day by day if on life’s strand
We work with patient heart and hand,
It gathers joy, makes dark days bright,
And gives at last a lovely light.

- Selected; via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  You may visit their website at http://www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org


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     Do What You Can

We cannot all be heroes,
And thrill a hemisphere,
With some great daring venture,
Some deed that mocks at fear;
But we can fill a lifetime
With kindly acts and true;
There’s always noble service
For noble hearts to do.

We cannot all be preachers,
And sway with voice and pen,
As strong winds sway the forest,
The mind and hearts of men;
But we can be evangels
To souls within our reach;
There’s always Love’s own gospel
For loving hearts to preach.

We cannot all be martyrs,
And win a deathless name
By some Divine baptism,
Some ministry of flame;
But we can live for truth’s sake,
Can do for Christ and dare;
There’s always faithful witness
For faithful hearts to bear.

- Selected; via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  You may visit their website at http://www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org


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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages

"A fat kitchen, a lean will." [Benjamin Franklin]

"Blame is safer than praise." [R. Waldo Emerson]

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

"Birthdays are good for you; the more you have, the longer you live. "

"Criticism is the disapproval of people, not for having faults, but for having faults different from ours."

"A man of words and not of deeds
Is like a garden full of weeds."

"The average man's life consists of 20 years of having his mother ask him where he's going, 40 years of having his wife ask the same question, and, at the end mourners also wondering where he's going."

- 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 through their website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com


"Is it better to be old and bent or young and broke? It's a toss up."

- 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


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BulletinGold Extra ---- recent postings on our Blogsite
What Do You Tell Your Children? By Norman and Ann Bales
The Real Santa Claus By Travis L. Quertermous
‘Tis Season the Season By Shane Robinson
Resolutions By J. R. Chism
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