Monday, April 22, 2024

Author Spotlight

This week we are focusing on the writing of just one of our contributors. Our featured author this week is Joe Slater who works with the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. Joe's writings have been reproduced in BulletinGold from the very beginning and we continue to appreciate his articles.

Also, allow me to express my appreciation to Cathy Hardman who, this week, has begun posting articles here on our webpage. Cathy and her husband Tom are members of the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC.

Count To Ten?

By Joe Slater


    Few things bring us more regret than words we have spoken. Especially when a situation is heated by emotion, we tend to speak harshly rather than letting our speech be “with grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6).

    I remember a piece of advice: “Count to ten” before saying anything. Even ten might be insufficient, but the principle of thinking before speaking finds much support in Scripture.

    “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 29:20). That applies, by the way, to additional settings besides anger. Simple off-the-cuff remarks can devastate someone’s feelings even though you didn’t intend it.

    But angry words are the culprit more often than not. An excellent song admonishes us: “Angry words, Oh, let them never from the tongue unbridled slip.” The writer obviously referred to James 1:26 where the Lord’s brother wrote, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.”

    Just as a bridle controls a horse, we must control our tongue (i.e. our words). Hear again the wise King Solomon: “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back” (Proverbs 29:11). Someone protests, “I was just speaking my mind!” Perhaps so, but might it not have been better if you had thought it through first?

In a multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).


Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

The Rest of the Story

By Joe Slater


    The late Paul Harvey often ended his commentary with some interesting tale having an unexpected twist. His trademark ending: “And now you know . . . the rest . . . of the story. Good day!”

    Knowing “the rest of the story” often keeps us from making fools of ourselves. Wise Solomon observed, “The first one to plead his cause seems right until his neighbor comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17). Indeed, there are at least two sides to every story, and many can “spin” their particular side to make it sound conclusive. But when someone else presents “the rest of the story,” what first seemed obvious may become far less clear. That’s why defense attorneys cross examine the prosecution’s witnesses and vice versa. The jury needs to hear all sides to reach a just verdict.

    After the conquest of Canaan, the Transjordan tribes erected an altar to symbolize their identity with the tribes west of the river in the worship of the Lord. The western tribes, however, feared that their eastern brethren were establishing a rival system of worship in rebellion to the Lord, so they prepared for war. Fortunately, before firing a shot, the eastern tribes asked their brethren to explain why they had built that altar. Hearing “the rest of the story” satisfied them that no apostasy was occurring, and no war was called for (Joshua 22:10-34).

    Let us strenuously avoid the common tendency to rush to judgment! Someone said that a falsehood can run halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes tied. And for whatever reasons, people tend to believe the worst. Speaking for myself, I’ve been called everything from a “liberal” to a “Pharisee.” And those are just the ones I know about!

tJoe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Must You Tell Everything You Know?

By Joe Slater


    Perhaps you’ve read “Anne of Green Gables” (or seen the videos, or both). “Tales of Avonlea” is a follow-up series of made-for-television programs featuring some of the same characters in the same quaint little town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island about a century ago.

    One of the many recurring themes in both the books and the television shows is the propensity of people to gossip. What someone said or did decades ago is hashed and rehashed. Who was seen with whom, and what it might mean, becomes grist for the rumor mill, replete with speculation, arguments, exaggeration, and an abundance of jumping to conclusions. Ironically, not even church diminishes the desire to dredge up dirt. No sooner have services concluded than the backbiting begins anew in their Sunday best! Of course, the author presents it in such a way that we say, “Shame on them! I would never do that!” But is that always true?

    “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter” (Proverbs 11:13). Someone protests, “But everything I said is true!” Let’s suppose that’s true. The question is, “Must you tell everything you know?” Even if something is true, you might do better to keep it quiet. What if some salacious scrap of scandal surfaced about you? Would you want anyone who learns of it to broadcast it to the world?

    Someone smarter than I recommended three tests before speaking: 1) Is it true? 2) Is it kind? 3) Is it necessary? I have a hunch that heeding those three tests would result in far less gossip.

    “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases” (Proverbs 26:20).

    You really don’t have to tell everything you know!

Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:


By Joe Slater


    If classes at your school haven’t started already, they soon will. We wish all of our students, teachers, and staff a safe and productive year!

    I wish I had paid better attention and tried harder in school! I did well in subjects I liked (math, science, music). But poor grades in history, geography, and art evidenced my childish and foolish immaturity. Art still holds little appeal to me, but since becoming interested in the Bible I have regretted my extremely limited grasp of history and geography! It turns out that what “a bunch of dead guys” did and said actually makes a difference to us!

    That’s even more obvious when it comes to Bible characters. They were real people who lived in real places at real times in history. What they did and what God did through them and for them affects us! Knowing that Joseph’s cup was in Benjamin’s sack teaches us important lessons, and it’s not just so we can give the right answers playing “Bible Trivia”! (There is nothing trivial about the Bible!)

    As we finished our study of Judges and launched into the life of Paul, someone pointed out that if the tribe of Benjamin had been completely wiped out (as it nearly was in Judges 20-21), there would have been no apostle Paul. What an astute observation! What happened back then is important!

    Let’s redouble our determination to take Bible study seriously. Let us learn not merely to regurgitate facts, but to understand who God is, who we are as His people, and how we can glorify Him in worship and by serving others in His name!


- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Deliberately Avoiding The Limelight

By Joe Slater

    Today at formal banquets the host and hostess are expected to indicate where each guest is to be seated. Certain seats are for those deemed more important or honored than others. In first-century Palestine, guests seem to have seated themselves wherever they pleased with the understanding that the host might ask them to move. Jesus, having been invited to eat at the home of a ruler of the Pharisees, took advantage of this custom to teach about humility.

    “So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best seats . . .” (Luke 14:7). Sitting with the important people might make you look important, at least for a while; but, as Jesus said, the host might very well “say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place” (14:9).

    Why not purposely take the lowest place? Then the host might “say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (14:10-11).

    Jesus never sought to draw attention to Himself. In fact, He took pains to avoid it. He let His teaching and His works speak for themselves as He did the Father’s will. He modeled the humility commended by Solomon: “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2).

    Even if no other mortal notices or honors you, be assured that God takes note. “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5;6).

- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Overcommitted Lifestyles (Part 1)

By Brian Mitchell

    One of the most dangerous tendencies of the average American today is the tendency to over commit themselves. Unfortunately, this is a problem that has affected the Lord’s people as well. Often we commit to too many activities and concerns that are unrelated to the work of the Lord and thus hinder us in our abilities to serve the Lord effectively and fruitfully. Many times we find ourselves in the same predicament as Martha—Lk.10:41-42.
    Unlike the other problems we have discussed, the difficulty in dealing with this particular problem, is not that we don’t recognize that we have it. “Being too busy is a lot like the weather; everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it.” Overcommitted lives are is one of main culprits in the weakening of our spiritual health and effectiveness. Because our lifestyles are often overcrowded, we have little time for spiritual renewal and growth. Because we are busily engaged in going to and fro we have little time left to commit to that which is most important in life.
    Why are we so busy? Two of the primary reasons we are so overloaded is our materialistic addictions and our overemphasis on recreation and entertainment. We spend so much time working, building a career and making money. We spend too much time on entertainment, recreation, sports, travels, and hobbies. Result—we have little time left to devote to the work of the Lord—including building up ourselves spiritually, strengthening our brethren, worshiping the Lord, and seeking the lost.
    Are over committed lifestyles really a problem for us? We often tend to make light of the problem of overcrowded lifestyles with the excuse that it is only a temporary situation. The Problem—the situation is usually not temporary. “There is nothing more permanent than a temporary situation.” While we may convince ourselves that we are only working too much, playing too much, and doing everything else under the sun too much for a while; the fact is that we seem to move from one set of busy circumstances to another.
    The result is that life often becomes an unbroken chain of temporarily overcommitted situations. Even when our overcrowded lives do only last for a time, the problem is that during those times we often miss many opportunities; some of which we will never get again. Our ability to say no to ourselves in relation to our commitments, in many cases closely resembles addictive behavior. “We are suffering the negative effects of a culture that offers too much choice.” “Rather than mastering our activities, they are mastering us.”
    Many Americans, and sadly some Christians, live by two basic and mistaken assumptions. We assume that we have the right to do anything we want to do—we don’t. We believe that there is a way to do everything we want to do without our priorities suffering—there isn’t. The word sacrifice is often not even allowed to enter into our minds when we are contemplating the things we want to do. We often lament that we just don’t have enough time to do everything we need to do, and if something has to get cut from the list, more times than not it is those spiritually related activities we should be involved in.
    The fact is that we all get only 168 hours per week and finding the time to do everything we need to do is not a problem of how much time we have, it is a problem with how we spend the time we have. No one can do all of the things they want to do, without shortchanging some of the things they need to do. Some choices have to be made, and some possibilities have to be given up.

- Brian Mitchell serves as a minister with the Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at