BulletinGold #101
May 2009   Vol 9 #3

----by David Bragg

    In all the attempts of success, man has sought various measures.  Some measure success by awards, peer recognition, or verbal praise.  For others, the number of digits following the dollar sign measure success.  Some seek success in the trappings of things: cars, houses, "toys."  Success is measured by some in the number of hours spent pursuing their leisure hobby and others by time spent in the office.  None of these measures are nearly as accurate as Mother's Measure.
    Success, to Mother, is measured in spiritual riches and faithfulness to God.  When God is revered and His will upheld, to her you are in first place.  When you unselfishly serve others she knows you learned well the secret of life.  No matter what the world may say, by Mother's Measure you have succeeded.
    To the faithful Christian mother success is not in what their children "have" but who they are.  They cannot fail as long as they can look their mother in her eyes and honestly say, "you did your best."
    The family plays a critical role, not only in modern society but also in the Lord's church.  With both Mother's and Father's Days just around the corner, this is a great time to re-emphasize the family to those impacted by our teaching.  This issue of BulletinGold will focus on the home.

David Bragg, co-editor

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Panning for Gold
- Feature Articles:  

Decreasing the Divorce Rate

by: Jim Faughn

    A few years ago, each party agreed that the other was just the right one. There was a relatively short courtship, but both parties agreed that this was a “match made in heaven” and that they were in this for the long haul.
     Looking back on those days, it can now be admitted that each one saw a few flaws in the other, but they were so excited about the prospect of being together that these flaws were insignificant, to say the least. Each party did whatever was necessary to look and act “just right” in order to please the other.
     They made promises and entered into a contractual agreement. Neither party could see anything that could cause a parting of the ways. What an exciting time the early days were as they experienced the excitement of courtship and enjoyed the thrill of actually being together daily.
     Now, after a number of years, the excitement is gone; some of those earlier promises have been forgotten or ignored; those little flaws seem to have grown into huge problems; the relationship and the people in the relationship have gone through some very tough times. Increasingly, the grass is looking greener elsewhere.
     In fact, there have already been some temptations. Somebody that seemingly has much more to offer has attracted the attention of one or both of the parties. There may, in fact, have been some very enticing phone calls from other parties.
      Beware!  If something doesn’t change soon, the brotherhood will be witnessing yet another “divorce” of a preacher and a congregation. There will be no acrimony. They will part as friends, but they will part and each will be forced to go through the same process again (possibly with the same results after a few years).
     Is there anything that can be done to keep this from happening? The suggestions below are just that --- suggestions. They are neither inspired, nor are they comprehensive. They are merely offered as some things to which some consideration might be given. While they may apply to husbands and wives, they may also apply to congregations and preachers and they may keep both divorce rates down.
-- Don’t ever stop dating. Continue to do things for each other “just because.” Go the extra mile to make the other party feel special. Think “outside the box” on this one.
-- Remind yourself regularly about the good qualities in the other party that were so attractive in the first place. The qualities that really matter do not fade with age.
-- Do your best to live up to all the commitments that were made. If it is impossible to live up to one or more, explain why. Do not assume that “they’ll understand.” They probably do not!
-- Help each other carry the load. A helping hand is very often much more meaningful than either a great sermon or a sizeable paycheck.
-- Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Those who truly love one another do not talk about each other; they talk to each other. They also listen to each other.
-- Look in the mirror. Our Lord warned against seeing the fault in another without correcting our own faults (cf. Matt. 7:3-5). “They” or “he” could, in fact, be part of the reason that things are not as they used to be or as desired. At the same time, part of the problem could be “me” or “us.”
    Long ago, the apostle Paul wrote some words to a church that, if heeded by every congregation and every preacher, would dramatically reduce the divorce rate:
"I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:1-3, NKJV)

- Jim Faughn preaches for the Central church of Christ in Paducah, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org/ or his blog: http://jimfaughn.blogspot.com/

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The Blessing of Mothers
by: Alan Smith

    A first grade teacher seated her students in a circle.  She asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up.  One by one, each child got up and announced, "I'd like to be a nurse like my mother," or "I want to be a banker like my father," or "I want to be a teacher like you, Miss Smith."
     The last child to speak was the most shy and timid little boy in the class. He said, "When I get big, I'm going to be a lion tamer in the circus.  I'm going to face those animals with my whip and chair and make them leap through hoops of fire and obey all of my commands."  Seeing the disbelieving looks on the faces of his classmates that he could ever act so boldly or bravely, he was quick to reassure them,  "Well, of course, I'll have my mother with me."
     Many of us have had the self-confidence to accomplish great tasks because we knew that our mothers would be there to support us.  In a couple of days, we will have a special opportunity to honor mothers.  I think this is a valuable holiday because, if you are a mother, you will likely never much special recognition for the work that you do -  training your children to love God, teaching them compassion, instilling self-confidence within them, developing character and teaching morals.  You will perhaps never be honored publicly, given a medal (or even a certificate), or be compensated monetarily.  All that you do may go unnoticed and unappreciated at times.
     Be assured, though, that there is great value in what you are doing.  On Mother's Day, may you receive the honor due you.
     "Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her." (Prov. 31:28).
     And be assured that someday you will receive the honor from your heavenly Father for the difference you make in the world.
     Have a great day!
- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister for the White House church of Christ in White House, TN, may be contacted at alansmith.servant@gmail.com or at the blog http://tftd-alansmith.blogspot.com/

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Like Father, Like Son
by: Steve Higginbotham

    While at the office this afternoon, I received a telephone call from my 10 year old son.  He said in a very quiet, solemn voice, "Daddy, I was going to mow the yard and I accidentally poured the gasoline where the oil is supposed to go and now the mower won't start."
    Well, my first thought was money.  That mower was nearly $200.00.  So I made sure he understood just how expensive a mistake he had made and I lectured him about being so careless, then I hung up.
     After hanging up the phone, I sat and my desk and rehearsed my words in my mind.  They were a little harsh and weren't very understanding.  Then my mind went back to my own childhood.  I recalled an occasion when I poured the wrong type of gasoline in my dad's new Lawnboy lawnmower, ruining it.  How could I be so hard on my son when I had done the same thing?
     So I left work and drove home to talk to my son.  He was sitting in the chair with a sullen look, not wanting to make eye-contact.  I said, "Matthew, do you want to know what happened to me when I was about your age?"  He looked up at me and said, "What?"  I said, "I was going to mow the lawn for grandma and granddad and I poured the wrong type of gasoline in granddad's lawnmower and ruined it."  Immediately, a smile broke out across his face.  Nothing more needed to be said, but I added one more comment.  I said, "You know Matthew, you're a lot like your dad."
     Parenting is not an easy proposition, and neither is being a child for that matter.  So maybe if we're patient with each other, we'll both learn from our mistakes and grow.
P.S. - Anyone wanting to get rid of a used lawnmower?
- 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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Where Have the Grandmothers Gone?
by: Traci Paseur

     The year 2000 is now twentyfour days old. What modern times we live in . . . And, my, how these times have changed. I have a birthday approaching and my age is so very insignificant. It doesn’t matter because times have changed and I find it discouraging.
I was raised in the church and am so very grateful that my grandmother made a way of life for me. Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights were for worship. No questions asked. As a child, I willingly admit to that burst of excitement if for one reason or another we didn’t go to church. But, for the most part, my childhood days of worship were happy times and I felt the comfort of God’s word even then. Sunday afternoons were spent around the dinner table enjoying a wonderful meal that my grandmother had prepared.  During those days, you didn’t dare take a bite until the blessing was said. I’ve seen my grandmother give thanks over a bowl of beans and a piece of cornbread. Where have the blessings gone? I ask because I don’t know. Maybe we don’t want to offend anyone by offering a blessing and we don’t want to embarrass ourselves shamefully by doing the honor of giving thanks. We should give thanks that we even have the opportunity to give thanks.
     I just can’t remember a day that I spent with my grandmother when she didn’t refer to God and His glory. I remember, not so long ago, driving with my grandmother on a beautiful fall afternoon. The leaves were turning their beautiful shades of orange and red, and my grand-mother said, “Only God can make a tree.” Of course, I had noticed the fall colors, but paid attention instead to my needs, my schedule, and basically, my life. My life at that time had absolutely no room for, or any need to be mindful of “God’s trees.”
     On a similar outing on a spring day she began to admire the big white fluffy clouds in the sky. She commented on how beautiful they were and that hey looked like “you could sit on top of them and let your feet hang off.” I can still hear those words, but the daily commute to punch the time clock has created tunnel vision that blocks out God’s wonders. Where has the appreciation of God’s beauty gone? Again, I ask because I don’t know.
     Perhaps the drive to be there and get it done has blinded us so much that we don’t allow ourselves the moments to remember just how small we are in God’s beautiful universe.
     My yesterdays are filled with God, His blessings, and a good map with clear directions to His door. My today is filled with anguish over the fact that I didn’t lose the map, but intentionally put it away in favor of going my own way—My own way, which has left me lost and without purpose. My tomorrow, I pray, will be filled with hope and reassurance from God that I may take up His map and make my journey through life on the right path. Thanks to my grandmother, I know how to read a map.
     Growing up, I can remember my grandmother making us turn away from the television when a beer commercial came on. In recent days, watching anything on television with my grandmother has just gotten to the point that I become embarrassed. And fearful of what  she might see simply because you just never know what’s coming.
     Today’s world needs grandmothers. Someone to speak openly about God and someone to remind us continually of His plan for us and to remind us of His blessings.
     So now I ask, “Where have all the grandmothers gone?” I’m just not sure. I do know that my grandmother has started her journey home. Just a few more hours and her work here will be done. Soon, there will be one less grandmother and one less teacher. Thank God for grandmothers who are sent from above. I hope God has a beautiful cloud awaiting my grandmother’s arrival. One that she can sit on and let her feet hang off. While she’s there I hope she will look down at me, through God’s trees, and see me reading my map, the map that will lead me to God’s door, and hopefully, to a place on a the cloud beside her, forever.

—Airport Church of Christ bulletin, Valdosta, GA; via The Family Friend, a monthly newsletter published by the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  It is an excellent resource for articles relating to the family.  To learn more consult the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com

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I Am A Grandfather!
by: E. Dean Kelly

     Our “little” girl (she’s been married almost three years now) came home the other day from the doctor’s office where what we had suspected had been confirmed, she is expecting our first grandchild. A few days later she went back and had her first sonogram. She brought home the picture and said, “There the baby is-our little Lima Bean.” She wrote: Today we had our first ultra sound! It was incredible. I am 9 weeks along tomorrow and the due date is November 9th. Who knew that this early in the pregnancy I would be able to see what I saw. Tommy and I talked about it before we went into the doctor’s office and had decided that we would most likely not be able to tell what part was the baby this early. How could we be wrong with our vast amount of knowledge and experience on the subject (much sarcasm applied). What we saw was small but amazing! I could we see him/her moving around and I could see the little heart beating. It was no bigger than a lima bean (that’s what I’m calling him/her right now, “my little lima bean”) but it was very easy to see. And then the lady doing the ultra sound turned up the sound and you could hear the heart beat! I’ve heard a bunch of women describe this before, but the feeling that you have when you see that little being that is inside of you and hear its little heart beating is indescribable!!
     I started telling people, very proudly, that I am going to be a grandfather. I am hereby recanting that statement. I believe with all my heart that I am now a grandfather, and that my daughter is a mother-now. Everything that happens from here on happens to her living child. No one (except God) knows right now if it is a boy or a girl. But anyone who is honest knows that the baby lives and is our grandchild, and Carol Leah and Tommy’s child.
     I saw some placards on television last night: PROTECT A WOMAN’S RIGHTS-DON’T OUTLAW ABORTION. I am angered with a righteous anger when I see this stupidity. When a beating heart is cruelly crushed and stopped, that is murder as surely as if someone took a gun and shot a newborn. But that is not the subject here.
     I pray that our grandchild is healthy and will stay that way as he/she enters the world outside, and as it grows. May it have a long life of happiness and peace.
     I quiver as I think about the world into which our grandbaby will be born. Right is called wrong, and wrong is called right on every hand. Movies, television, music, and friends will be pulling this little one in his/her life to come and serve evil. May God be with this baby’s parents, grandparents, all those who can influence him/her for good. May the child have a willing spirit of service to God. This world can be overcome and defeated, but it is not easy.
     However, I thank God that the baby is being carried by a mother who will not abuse it now, or after it is born. I am thankful that, Lord willing, he/she will be carried in the arms of parents that will care for, love, and nourish her/him. I am thankful that, Lord willing, he/she will be carried in the arms of parents that will care for, love, and nourish her/him. I, above all, am thankful that this baby will learn about God, that he/she will sing “Jesus Loves Me” before singing “Barney,” or “Blues Clues,” etc. This youngster will be given every chance to go to heaven because of strong Christian parents who love each other, God, and him/her.
     I join with my daughter when she concludes: “I pray every night that this little baby will be as healthy as possible and will make it through all of the dangers that come along with pregnancy. It is still early but I already love him/her with all of my heart!!” AMEN.

Editor’s Note: Thomas Harry Hatfield V was born on October 28, 2006 to Tommy and Carol Leah (Kelly) Hatfield.

— via The Family Friend, Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY. 

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Nuggets and Quick Riches
-    misc. goodies this issue

Happy Father's Day

A man was walking through the deep snow when he heard the voice of his oldest son saying: “I’ll step in Father’s tracks.” He was trying to do it, and two younger brothers were at the same thing. The father went to the house of prayer to seek God that evening, thinking, “If I lead my sons thus, I’ll make tracks for heaven.”

- 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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Happy Mothers Day
by: Rick Woodall

    "And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?"  Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
    Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, "Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children." - Deu 4:8-10
    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth."  - Deu 11:18-21
    From these two Old Testament verses I derive my life thoughts for Mothers day 2008. In these scriptures we see the urgency to teach. The things to be cultivated are real life experiences of how God worked in the lives of the generation before. It is hard to teach these things to the next age bracket if one has let the cares of this world take their heart and mold it into something other than uncontaminated devotion.
     If a parent is not full of enthusiasm for what God has done for them how can they pass it on?  I personally do the things I do today not out of tradition or habit but out of true loyalty to the cause. My parents taught me the realism of God. Â That loyalty came from wonderful teachers. Holding God the Father in the highest regard is not something that just rubs off on an individual. I can still hear my mother cleaning house and singing the hymns that we grew up with. She often shared with us how things would just seem totally impossible if not for God superseding our standard of living
    My gift reminds me that if you were blessed to have a mom who sat down with you and shared her personal connection with the all powerful architect of every thing we are and everything we are to be. Then my friends your eyes have been open to a better life here and a better life beyond.
    In the back of my mind I wonder, how many are faithful today because of a Mom who was a teacher who kept her heart full of the wonders of God.
- 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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Giddap, Dad

The men who ride in rodeos
Need to be tough, of course—
But they should have a two-year-old
And spend time as a horse!

- Lavonne Mathison, Sourcebook for Speakers; 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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My mother kept a garden, a garden of the heart.
She planted all the good things that gave my life its start.
She turned me to the sunshine and encouraged me to dream, fostering and nurturing the seeds of self-esteem.
And when the winds and rains came she protected me enough,
But not too much because she knew I needed to grow strong and tough.
Her constant good example always taught me right from wrong,
Markers for my pathway that will last a lifetime long.
I am my mother’s garden.
I am her legacy and I hope today she feels the love reflected back from me.

- Author unknown; via The Shady Acres Servant, the weekly bulletin for the Shady Acres church of Christ, in Sikeston, MO.  Johnny Hester preaches for the Shady Acres church of Christ, in Sikeston, MO.  He may be contacted through the church's website at http://www.shadyacreschurch.com

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

Someone is Watching

by: Edward "Jack" Smith

Each Sunday God would watch him
in his old familiar stance,
snug his tie into his collar,
tuck the tail into his pants,
button up his vest,
put his suit coat on just so,
pull the hanky from the pocket,
buff each shoe across the toe.

Each Sunday God would watch him
lift his Bible from the table,
mark the page where he was reading
about Christ, or Paul, or Abel,
gently close the book
between his thumb and left four fingers.
So many years he carried it thus,
his fingerprints still lingers.

Each Sunday God would watch him
attend worship and take part
in prayers, in praise, in Amens,
and offerings from the heart.
After service he would tarry
to bid each one good-bye.
Each Sunday God was watching,
and as his child, so was I.

I watched him try to live for Christ,
faithfully every day.
I listened to him talk with God
until I learned to pray.
I watched him and learned how to love,
to be humble, and how to give.
Now, someone else is watching me
and learning how to live.

- Edward "Jack" Smith, Poet Laureate of Dorchester County, SC, is a member of the Summerville church of Christ, Summerville, SC.

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It Takes a Mother
by: Helen Steiner Rice

It takes a mother’s love to make a house a home,
A place to be remembered, no matter where we roam.
It takes a mother’s patience to bring a child up right
And her courage and her cheerfulness to make a dark day bright.

It takes a mother’s kindness to forgive us when we err,
To sympathize in trouble and bow her head in prayer.
It takes a mother’s wisdom to recognize our needs
And give us reassurance by her loving words and deeds.

It takes a mother’s endless faith, her endless confidence and trust,
To guide us through the pitfalls of selfishness and lust.
And that is why in all this world there can never be another
Who will fulfill God’s purposes as completely as a mother.

- 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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Mothers Are ….

Blowers of noses and washers of ears.
Smoothers of bumped spots and wipers of tears.
Bathers of babies and umpires of spats.
Finders of boots and mittens and hats.
Helpers with lessons and makers of beds.
Shakers of dust cloths and combers of heads.
button-sew-oners and winders of clocks.
Menders of dresses and darners of socks.
Tellers of stories and readers of books.
Doctors of heartaches and hearers of prayers.
Generals directing all family affairs.

- Author 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 http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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A Father's Prayer

Dear God, my little boy of three
has said his nightly prayer to thee;
Before his eyes were closed in sleep
he asked that thou his soul would keep;
And I, still kneeling at his bed,
my hand upon his tousled head;
Do ask with deep humility,
that thou dear Lord, remember me;
Make me, kind Lord, a worthy dad,
that I may lead this little lad
in pathways ever fair and bright
that I may keep his steps aright;
O God his trust must never be
destroyed or even marred by me;
So for the simple things he prayed
with childish voice so unafraid;
Dear Lord, kind Lord, remember me.

- Author Unknown

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

“A man’s character is like a fence—it cannot be strengthened by whitewash.”

“The greatest glory of a freeborn people is to transmit that freedom to their children” (William Havard; from Trib-Bits, Decatur, IL Herald).

- 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

About the time we learn to make the most of life, the greater part of it is gone.

Cold feet may be a sign your soul is wearing out.

Many things that are learned by experience should not have been learned at all.
Sometimes a man holds opinions and sometimes they hold the man.
The most sought after labor saving device for a woman is a man with money.
There is a difference between the books that men make and the Book from God that makes men. The Bible is often rejected by the world which is put off by people who supposedly are produced and directed by it. How could anyone be expected to accept and respect a Bible which Christians neglect and a God they represent so poorly?

As a plant upon the earth, so man rests upon the bosom of God. He is nourished by unfailing fountains and he draws, at his need, inexhaustible power” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

- 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

Modesty is the first line of defense for sexual purity (1 Timothy 2:9-10)

- A Long, Hot Summer, Neil W. Anderson, editor, Gospel Advocate, September 2007, p. 3.

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