BulletinGold #106
October 2009   Vol 9 #8

BulletinGold #106
October 2009
Vol. 9 Num. 8
David Bragg
Edward Thomason
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:
The Hall of Shame, David A. Sargent
The Mouse, The House, and the Truth, Lance Cordle
Before You Click “FORWARD,” Bryan Matthew Dockens
Inadequate, Westley Hazel
What Is Sin? By Travis L. Quertermous
Are You Deceived?
Grudges, Tom Moore
Are You Wasting Yourself?
I'd Choose Fortune Over Fame, J. Randal Matheny

There Is Never A Day So Dreary, Lilla M. Alexander
You Tell On Yourself
Highs and Lows, Amy Clarke Ellis
Sunshine and Rain, Clay Harrison
quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs

New Postings At
Editorial by David Bragg
    Matthew appears to imply that, while awaiting his inevitable death at the hands of King Herod, John the Baptist struggled over the true identity of Jesus as the Christ.  From the seclusion of Herod’s prison messengers were sent by John to Jesus during the early days of the latter’s ministry (Matthew 11:3).  While the messenger’s may have been sent on this mission to more deeply impress them that Jesus was indeed the long anticipated Messiah, it may also be a reflection of, at least on some level, a few lingering doubts in John’s mind as his time upon the earth was drawing to a close as to whether Jesus was the Christ.  Either way, the messengers returned from Jesus bearing the Lord’s affirmative reply.  As the devil waged a war by sowing doubts in the mind of John the Baptist, Jesus planted assurance, sufficient for John to secure victory over whatever doubts may have plagued him.  On that day, at least, the world lost.
    A similar campaign was played out in the mind of Judas as he must have weighed the dangers of discipleship against the price on the Master's head (Matthew 26:14-16).  Encouraged by the positive reception of the Jewish religious leaders, and captivated by the easy profit to be gained, the arrangements were made to meet outside the garden of Gethsemane to close the deal.  The truths often spoken by Jesus had no place in the traitor's heart, and that night the world won.
    The war of the world is waged every day within the human heart.  The trenches are filled with those drafted into this conflict, facing the atrocities of this spiritual war.  What makes this war’s causalities even more tragic is the fact that most of them came to the front lines unarmed.  Without the “Sword of the Spirit,” resistance is fruitless and defeat certain.
    The world will show no mercy for those the devil will claim.  The goal of this month’s BulletinGold is to help those who will read your weekly bulletins and church newsletter’s to arm themselves for this relentless battle.  Today the conflict continues too close for comfort, and the need for each to arm yourselves for the most important “war of the world,” the conflict of Satan for our souls (Ephesians 6:13-17).

David Bragg

Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
The Hall of Shame
By David A. Sargent

    The following editorial appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune:

“Marion Jones owned the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney . A world-class sprinter and long jumper, she won five medals - three gold and two bronze - in track and field. Attractive, articulate, intelligent and talented, she was America 's darling.
And the world was her stage...

“For nearly two decades, from a high school track in California to a college stadium in North Carolina to the starting blocks at international venues, Jones out jumped and outran them all.  But in the end, she couldn't run from the truth!

“Jones, 31, was faster than a speeding bullet because she was higher than a kite on anabolic steroids. Her name first surfaced in 2003, when she was linked to the company accused of supplying baseball's Barry Bonds with performance-enhancing drugs. Then, in 2006, she tested positive for steroids.

“Through it all, Jones denied, denied, denied.  And, as it turns out, she lied, lied, lied! To her fans, her family, federal investigators AND to herself!

“Facing federal charges for lying to investigators, Jones pleaded GUILTY!

"On Saturday, standing on the steps of a federal courthouse in New York City where she will be sentenced early next year, Jones admitted to using steroids both before and after the 2000 Olympics. ‘It's with a great amount of shame that I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust,’ she said.

“And with that admission, Marion Jones staggered across the finish line for the final time, announcing her retirement from track and field. In an instant, she went from champion to cheater; from the "Hall of Fame" to the "Hall of Shame.” *

    Marion Jones’ painful ordeal reminds us of a GREAT TRUTH: “Be sure, YOUR sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).  It may happen swiftly or it may be revealed in time, but one day, ALL sin will be exposed (2 Corinthians 5:10).
    The TRUTH IS: Marion Jones is NOT the only one that has made some terrible choices, nor is she is the only one that has tried to cover them up.  “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  Each and every one of us has “had our picture hung” in the “Hall of Shame.”
    The GOOD NEWS is: Forgiveness is available – to Marion Jones and to ALL of us!  God gave His Son to die on the cross to pay the price for our sins (Eph 1:7).  He will forgive those who come to him in faith, believing in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) in Jesus’ name (Acts 2:38). He will continue to forgive those who continue to strive to follow His Word faithfully (1 John 1:7).
    Although each of us has been recognized in the “Hall of Shame,” through Jesus we may have our names recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Forgiveness and Life (Revelation 21:27).
    Won’t YOU trust and obey 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

* “Hall of shame: Steroidal sprinter Marion Jones inducted.”  Tribune editorial.  The Salt Lake Tribune .  10/8/2007.  http://www.sltrib.com/ci_7121459

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The Mouse, The House, and the Truth
By Lance Cordle

    I had it all figured out I was going to write an article and entitle it "The Mouse and the House."  In that article  I was going to repeat the highlights  of a story that had been circulating the weekend of January 8, 2006. That story involved a mouse that was thrown into a pile of burning leaves and, according to the story, ran from  the fire to the house of the man who threw the mouse on the fire.  The Associated Press carried the story and various newspapers across the country printed it.
    The article was going to be easy to write. I was  going  to  talk  about  the  potential of small things a mouse burning down a house would illustrate the possibility of  something bad as well as good  being started by a small thing. I was also going to include the observation that  just as throwing a live mouse onto a fire leaves could cause another fire actions have consequences. Still further, I intended to  say that  sometimes, a thing done to intentionally inflict harm can lead to our own harm. And finally, I was going to make the point that sometimes, we think we have things under control, and they  get out of control very quickly.
    All of these lessons are valid and have been confirmed by the Bible  as well as by human experience and all of these would have been wrapped up neatly in the story of the mouse and the house, with but one small problem: the story is not true. Wanting to confirm the story, I used the internet and found that a follow up article had also been  released  by  the  Associated Press. Yes, the man threw a mouse on burning leaves; yes the man's house burned but  the fire was not started by a burning mouse. The man himself says that the mouse was dead. He thinks the fire spread the normal way rushing through the dry grass near the house and engulfing it. It is thought that the story of the mouse running out of the fire simply was the result of active imaginations and faulty communication.
    And so, the thoughts which so easily fit together and flowed so freely, have to remain in the realm of imagination because the mouse did not actually  burn the house. Instead of lessons punctuated by an extraordinary circumstance, I am left with an object lesson about the veracity of the things we hear and tell. Stories can be believed, cause quite a stir, cover a great distance, and contain elements of truth  but still be false.
    The Bible says, "See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire" (James 3:6). Let us exercise caution in  the news we hear and tell.

— Lance Cordle preaches the Calvert City church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com

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Before You Click “FORWARD”
By Bryan Matthew Dockens

    Before forwarding that next e-mail, consider the following:

IS IT MORALLY CORRECT? Inasmuch as “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance” (Proverbs 15:13) it is nice to send and receive jokes and humorous stories, but care must be exercised in doing so. The scriptures describe “coarse jesting” as behavior that should “not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints” (Ephesians 5:3-4). If it contains sexual humor, thus trivializing sin (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4), it is coarse and should not be forwarded. If it contains “filthy language” (Colossians 3:8) it is likewise coarse and should not be forwarded. If the joke itself is harmless, but contains gratuitous profanity, just delete the offensive words before sending it.

IS IT FACTUALLY CORRECT? Remember that “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight” (Proverbs 12:22). If you are less than certain that the information received is accurate, then verify it before sending it on. Websites like snopes.com exist for the single purpose of vetting rumors and urban legends. Information that cannot be validated is not worth sharing. This is especially important when the content is critical of another because “whoever spreads slander is a fool” (Proverbs 10:18).

IS IT SCRIPTURALLY CORRECT? If the email has obvious Scriptural errors/concepts, then delete it. If it promotes any denominational doctrine that is not in the Bible, then do not forward it. With your email address attached to the forward, you could be linked to misleading information - what you share could lead others astray (James 3:1). If it is Scripturally accurate, but does not contain Scriptures, do the people you are sending it to a favor and add in the Bible verses that back it up.

- Bryan Matthew Dockens (adapted)

One final email forwarding tip: Clean up the email before sending it on by deleting all of the previous email addresses and “reply” and/or “forwarding marks” if possible.

- 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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By Westley Hazel

    Do you remember the first time you were trying to work up the courage to ask that special someone out on a date? Do you remember the first time someone asked you to get up in front of other people and do anything? Do you remember when you applied for that dream job that you really wanted? Do you remember the first time you held your children in your arms? If you can remember any of these times in your life, you probably also remember those thoughts about why you are not good enough, not qualified, etc. You felt inadequate to fulfill this great calling.
    The bad news is that we are inadequate. In 2 Corinthians 3:5 Paul wrote about himself and us saying, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves...” In John 15:5, Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” We like to think that if we are smart enough, strong enough, or work hard enough, we can at least do something.  Jesus says that is not true. We are inadequate and can do nothing of eternal consequence.
    The good news is we are not dependant on our own strength in this life. Paul continues in 2 Corinthians 3:5, “...but our adequacy is from God.” Jesus says that when we abide in Him we can bear “much fruit.” Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” The great things which we are inadequate for in this life, we can accomplish through God who makes us adequate.
    We have no need to feel inadequate when life challenges us. This is not because we are so great, because we are not, but the God that we serve is. His strength and power can make even the seemingly impossible a reality. Thank God for His adequacy! May I learn to lean on Him more than myself.

- Westley Hazel preaches for the Tompkinsville church of Christ in Tompkinsville, KY.  He may be contacted at weshazel@windstream.net

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What Is Sin?
By Travis L. Quertermous

     The Bible makes it clear that sin is mankind’s greatest problem and that every accountable person has sinned against God. The apostle Paul wrote that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). He also wrote, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Note that the word “death” is used here as the opposite of “eternal life.” Thus, it is not just the death of the body, but the eternal separation (or death) of the soul in hell that is the just punishment for sinning against a holy God.
      But just what is sin? Contrary to what many teach, sin is not a condition in which one is born. It is not like a spiritual birth defect one inherits from one’s parents or even from Adam. This doctrine is called “original sin” or “hereditary depravity,” but it is not taught in the Bible. In fact, Scripture teaches, “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son” (Ezekiel 18:20).
      1 John 3:4 tells us what sin is: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (KJV). Sin is disobedience to God’s law—it is a crime against God. Everyone who has reached the age of accountability (Deut. 1:39; Isa. 7:16) has sinned against God and is doomed to eternal punishment. But God has provided forgiveness in Jesus Christ and obedience to His gospel (2 Thess. 1:7-9; Acts 2:37-38). Have your sins been forgiven by God? Why not let us help you to be saved from your sins?

- Travis L. Quertermous preaches for the church of Christ in Dexter, MO.  He may be contacted at minister.church@sbcglobal.net or through the church’s website:  http://www.dexterchurchofchrist.com/

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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
Are You Deceived?

* A man is DECEIVED if he is a hearer and not a doer of the Word (James 1:22).
* A man is DECEIVED if he says that he has no sin (1 John 1:8).
* A man is DECEIVED when he thinks himself to be something when he is nothing (Galatians 6:3).
* A man is DECEIVED when he thinks himself to be wise with worldly wisdom (1 Corinthians 3:18).
* A man is DECEIVED when he seems to be religious and does not bridle his tongue (James 1:26).
* A man is DECEIVED when he thinks that he will not reap what he sows (Galatians 6:7).
* A man is DECEIVED when he thinks that evil company will not corrupt good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33).
* A man is DECEIVED when he thinks that the unrighteous will inherit the kingdom of God (heaven) (1 Corinthians 6:9).

Now Satan will try to DECEIVE you to not pay attention to the above. Will you let him?

- Selected; via Edd Sterchi.  Edd preaches for the Jackson church of Christ in Jackson, MO.  He may be contacted at eddsterchi@charter.net or through the congregation's website: http://www.jacksonchurchofchrist.com  Edd adds this note:  “I receive a lot of “forwarded” emails from a lot of different individuals.  While I enjoy reading most of them, and while a lot of them end up in my “famous” files to be referenced at some point in the future, the following article should be well noted by all of us who forward emails and links in the Internet.”

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By Tom Moore
   One day a visitor leaned on the fence around the farm while he watched an old farmer plowing with a mule.  After a while the visitor said, “I don’t like to tell people how to run their business, but you could save yourself a lot of work by saying ‘Gee’ and ‘Haw” to the mule instead of just tugging on those lines.”
   The old farmer pulled a big handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his face.  Then he said, “Reckon you’re right, but the mule kicked me five years ago and I ain’t spoke to him since.”
   The moral of the story seems obvious.  A grudge is harder on the one holding it than the one it is held against.
   The apostle Paul declared, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Col. 3:13).  If God through His mercy will forgive your sins—surely we can forgive those who have offended us.  Think about it.

- Tom Moore preaches for the Avenue T church of Christ in Temple, TX.  Tom is also one of the editors of “Seek Ye First,” a free quarterly gospel journal.  He may be contacted through the congregation’s website: http://www.avenuetchurchofchrist.com

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Are You Wasting Yourself? 

You may not have heard it said, but it is true nonetheless: You can’t waste time or spend time, or even save time. Telling one to not waste time is like telling fish in the ocean not to waste water. Actually, what we do has no influence or impact on time at all. Time remains constant, no matter what we do. We can waste our opportunities. But really, what we waste is ourselves. Next time you start to say, “I’m just wasting time,” change it to, “I’m just wasting myself.”

- 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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I'd Choose Fortune Over Fame
By J. Randal Matheny

Both are fleeting, but worse is fickle fame;
No good accrues for lips to speak my name.
With cash I'd choose both how and where to spend,
And balanced books tell where the dollars end.
But having neither, still I live content;
With faith, my numbered days won't be misspent.
God knows my name and guides my faltering feet;
His riches make my paltry life complete.

- J. Randal Matheny edits and writes UPLift, an inspirational ezine. He may be contacted here: <http://randalmathenycom/>. When reprinting this material, please include the following:  Copyright (c) 2009 J. Randal Matheny. All rights reserved.

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Hearts of Gold - poetry
There Is Never A Day So Dreary
By Lilla M. Alexander

There is never a day so dreary
But God can make it bright,
And unto the soul that trusts Him
He giveth songs in the night.

There is never a path so hidden
But God will lead the way,
If we seek for the Spirit's guidance,
And patiently wait and pray.

There is never a cross so heavy
But the nail scarred hands are there,
Outstretched in tender compassion,
The burden to help us bear.

There is never a heart so broken
But the loving Lord can heal,
For the Lord that was pierced on Calvary
Doth still for his loved ones feel.

There is never a life so darkened,
So hopeless and unblest,
But may be filled with the light of God,
And enter His promised rest.

There is never a sin or sorrow,
There is never a care or loss,
But that we may bring to Jesus,
And leave at the foot of the cross.

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You Tell On Yourself

You tell on yourself by the friends you seek,
By the very manner in which you speak,
By the way you employ your leisure time,
By the use you make of the dollar and dime.
You tell on yourself by the things you wear,
By the spirit in which your burdens bear,
By the kind of things that make you laugh,
By the places you go to photograph.
You tell on yourself by the way you walk,
By the things of which you delight to talk,
By the manner in which you bear defeat,
By so simple a thing as how you eat.
By the books you choose from the well-filled shelf,
In these ways and more, you tell on yourself.
So there is not even a particle of sense,
In an effort to keep up a false pretense.

- Selected

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Highs and Lows
By Amy Clarke Ellis

If all the world were broad and flat
How dull the scene would be!
We'd wish instead for hills and vales
With changing views to see.

If all of life were free from care,
Devoid of tears and pain,
There'd be no failure or success --
No summits to attain.

But life is filled with ups and downs,
With happiness and woe.
Our joys are like the mountaintops;
Our sorrows lie below.

The Lord who made the lofty peaks
Designed the valleys too.
And He is there at every turn
To guide our passage through.

- Submitted by Mark McWhorter.  Mark may be contacted at mtmcvb@concentric.net

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Sunshine and Rain
By Clay Harrison

No life is useless and no day is vain,
For God has a purpose for sunshine and rain.
All are discouraged, and everyone cries,
But we're never alone beneath cloudy skies.
All hearts can break...they're fragile as glass,
But God will mend them, and this too shall pass.
Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we fail,
So follow your dream whatever the trail,
For no one's a loser who gives it his best,
And you can stand tall above all the rest.
Those who are faithful are noble at heart,
And no life is useless when God has a part.
Be swift to give praises and slow to complain...
God has a purpose for sunshine and rain.

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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages
A loafer is a person who tries to make both weekends meet.

Continuing to treat a penitent sinner like a sinner is the surest way to drive him back to his sins.

Following the path of least resistance makes both rivers and men crooked.

Sin is sin. It is not changed by the passing of time, the number of participants, or the degree of social acceptance. Sin, unrepented and unforgiven ends in death of the soul.

Wild oats is a crop that needs no fertilizer to produce thirty-fold, sixty-fold, or a hundred-fold.

Two things are bad for the heart: running up stairs and running down people. (Bernard Baruch)

Supervising the improper activities of people does not make them right.
- 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

"A TART TEMPER never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use."  (Washington Irving)

Journalism largely consists of saying 'Lord Jones is Dead' to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive. (G. K. Chesterton)

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

   “Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value—zero.” (Voltaire)
   “A fool can no more see his own folly than he can see his own ears.” (Thacherry)
   “If a man could have half his wishes, he would double his troubles.” (Franklin)
   “No man’s head aches while he comforts another.” (Italian proverb)

- 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

"Worry looks around, sorry looks back, Faith looks up."

- via e-mail from Charles Bragg

Worry is life a rocking chair; it will give you something to do but it won't get you anywhere. 

- via The Shady Acres Servant, the weekly bulleitn of the Shady Acres church of Christ, in Sikeston, MO.  Visit the church's website at http://www.shadyacreschurch.com

The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling. (Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary)

Bacchus hath drowned more men than Neptune. (Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732)

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BulletinGold Extra ---- recent postings on our Blogsite
A Preacher’s Classic
What Is “Beautiful Singing?” By Kevin Williams
Your Church, My Church, Our Church, Or Christ’s Church? By Gerald Cowan
What I Want the Church to Be
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