Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: August 2016

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – NO. 30&31 – THE BIBLE SAYS

I may have written an article using this title before, but when you’ve written as many as I have you tend to forget. On the other hand it might be just a sequel.
The Bible is the most quoted and misquoted book in the world. It is mostly used to undergird an already held position or idea. Seldom is it quoted in such a way as to create investigation and dialogue. It is the nail that nails down a point, and therefore the point becomes solid and untouchable, because the Bible says.
This use of scripture has been deeply rooted for years in some methods of preaching. I remember a man telling me a preacher should never say, “I think”, when it came to preaching. He should always say, “The Bible says’ and then read or quote a scripture. All this somehow meant he was preaching the truth.
When I first moved to Roanoke in 1988, I inherited a bulletin mailing list. I just sent out the bulletin using that list. It went to many of the general area Churches of Christ. One article ticked off a local preacher and he challenged me to a debate. He printed the challenge and the article in a little journal he sent out to several states. A preacher in WV wrote a rebuttal to my article in which he stated with great indignation that I had not quoted one scripture to prove my point, therefore, my article had no merit. He was right about the scripture, the merit was a matter of taste. In other words, attach a scripture to it and you can say anything and it is true, at least if you agree with the writer and others like him.
For example, in a letter to the editor a few days ago, a writer said Donald Trump was right to build a wall between the US an Mexico because Nehemiah told the people to build the wall around Jerusalem. I know, I tore at my clothing too as I read that. However, it is one of hundreds of examples where scripture, is attached to a biblical/political position. “You can’t be a Christian and be a Democrat.” “You can’t be a Christian and be a Republican .” Both read the same Bible, both quote it and yet they reach different conclusions. Why? If one is more Christlike than the other, why? What is Christlikeness? The answer will depend on our preconceived, comfortable ideas, usually backed up by scripture.
I also realize that in writing about this, I am putting myself in the position of saying I have the answer. Well, I’m trying.
As I see it, quoting scripture to prove a point, or assuming it will change someone’s mind, is largely a fantasy, unless there is an atmosphere of open dialogue and investigation. When was the last time you read a letter to the editor that said, “Wow! Billy Bob’s quoting of scripture changed my mind and blew me away!”?
What does change a person’s mind? Emotion. All thoughts come from and carry with them emotion. In fact “emotion” comes from the French, “disturb”. That being true, we think and act out of our emotional disturbances. Reason has little to do with emotion. Even if we feel we have made a reasonable choice (and it might be) the source for the choice is emotional. Some feeling inside us makes the decision seem rational. If it is will be determined by the outcome.
When Luther saw the abuses of the Catholic priesthood, it had nothing to do with who knew and could quote the most scripture. It was about an emotional response to what was seen as a violation of human dignity, and in Luther’s case, God. This is true of every reformer, social or religious.
But the question still remains: What can cause our emotions (minds) to change? How is it that someone can be hardened against an idea or concept, and then become completely for it? Not everyone gets blinded on the Damascus road. Is it education? Is it learning about the person or thing which is seen as something to be feared? Yes. By the way, fear is probably the strongest emotion, next to love. Let me insert a scripture here and let it mean whatever you think it means. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (I John 4:18) Without applying the text, is it fair to say in any situation, fear and love are conflicting emotions? It seems they are.
Removing this from a Biblical context, would it still be true? Yes, in any context. Even Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is based on feeling safe and secure, and loved, the opposite of being afraid. So if fear is the emotion which motivates the person, will love change fear to love? That’s the question. When it does it is usually by seeing love in action. Face to face as it were. To that extent, love is a force. It is the force which has changed the world for the better throughout history. It is a mysterious, invisible force or wind/breath that moves humankind forward and deeper and deeper into the power of love. That force, wind, breath, is the word for spirit. There is a spiritual force that breaths into humankind a spirit/power to better the world around it in every field of study. It is the force that moves inside us to demand that we see others as equals. It is the force which disturbs us in areas of inequality, discrimination and hatred. It is the force in every time and place that demands justice and mercy. It is the force that freed the slaves. It is the force that gave women the right to vote, as well as equality in all fields. It is the force that broke down walls of racial and national separation. It is a force that cannot be quoted into someone. It is a force that disturbs or does not disturb, until the person yields or refuses to yield to its force. In poetic terms it is described in Genesis as the creative force (wind/spirit) of God. It is the restless force that has brought about every change which love demands in all of history. It is a never-ceasing wind which blows humanity toward peace and harmony. Just stand on the mountaintop of history and see how many destructive, unjust and hateful things this force has blown away. It is the force of the Spirit of God.
Keith

CONCERNS: Teresa Robertson’s aunt, Patricia Hall (lymphodema) and her aunt, Reva Allmond. Judy Hal had a cornea transplant on Wednesday and is doing fine. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Melisha Scruggs cousin; Teryn Gaynor’s mother; Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver; Marjorie Wilson (cancer) Melanie Gentry is recovering from a stroke; Joni Beach’s parents, her aunt Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter has been able to get back to work a little . Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Lena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, deana McRoy, Stephanie
Rigney, Jenni Cullum, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

OUR DAILY BREAD: AUGUST 22-27
Monday: II Thessalonians 1:2-12
Tuesday: Matthew 1:18-25
Wednesday: John 2:1-11
Thursday: I Thessalonians 1:2-10
Friday: II Timothy 2:1-11
Saturday: Isaiah 40:1-11
OUR DAILY BREAD: AUG. 29-SEPT. 3
Monday: Matthew 2:1-12
Tuesday: Matthew 2:13-23
Wednesday: Genesis 31:36-50
Thursday: Acts 9:19b-31
Friday Psalm 122:1-9
Saturday: Psalm 140:1-13

SUPER SUNDAY
Today is Super Sunday. If you are a visitor it means we will have a fellowship meal in the annex following the service. You are invited to be our guest for that meal.
STEERING COMMITTEE
Even though several of the committee are away, there are still a few items that need to be touched on. Among them are thoughts and ideas on how to use and improve the visual technology we are now using.
The meeting will be in the library following the meal.
Concerning the use of the video screens, last Sunday was our maiden voyage and we can thank Erma Williams for her work on that. We will need to train others to help when she is gone.
THE ANNUAL LABOR DAY WEEKEND BAR B QUE
A sign-up list has been placed on the foyer table for the bar b que. Please let it be known if you plan to attend, and your preference of chicken, pork, or both. As always, the meat will be provided, all the rest is o be brought by those attending. The time for the meal is around 4:00PM. If you can arrive earlier and help set up and pull the pork, please let Keith know.
ROGER FISHER’S PROJECT
If you drive up Carlton and look at the area above the handicapped parking you will see a major improvement in the bushy section on the hill. Roger has been working on this off and on, and it’s time to bring in some help to clear the small trees and undergrowth. As far as the property line is concerned, the neighbor up the hill would like to see it all cleared out as well. Let’s plan a Saturday to finish it.
ABOUT US
Susan Jordan and her fellow travelers are back from the Ezell Cline in Guatemala. We look forward to her report. Vivian Dugan will be spending a few weeks with her daughter on the coast.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – Vol. 28, NO. 27&28 – CAN A NINEVITE GO TO HEAVEN?

The book of Jonah may be the most significant book in the Old Testament, as well as in scripture. It’s a wonder it made it into Old Testament canon. It would seem the appeal was so great that to not include it would have been a denial of God-breathed truth.
As a child listening to the story of Jonah, I had no knowledge that Ninevah was in Arab country. I also found that the folks in that area, especially in Nineveh, were rather barbaric. They beat the stuffings out of Israel about any time they wanted. So we can understand why Jonah would not want anything good for Nineveh. I’ll leave it up to the honest reader to make modern day comparisons.
I realize there is no strong doctrine of an afterlife in the Old Testament. Notice I said “strong.” So my concern is more about justification. Can a Ninevite (and anybody else) be justified (saved) by God? If so, how? How were the Ninevites “saved”? After Jonah’s delightful message of “Forty days from now, Nineveh will be destroyed” reached the king’s ears, the king put on sackcloth, sat in the dirt and made this proclamation: “Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything: do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.” (NIV) They did and it worked, even if Jonah didn’t want it to.
That’s it?! That’s all?! What about the Sabbath? God rested on the seventh day and it seems all humankind was to do the same, so what about the Ninevites? Did they have to keep the Sabbath? Was the Sabbath just a Hebrew thing? What about all the other things in the Law of Moses which had to be done or avoided to please God? If there were things which were universally abominations to God, wouldn’t anyone who violated them commit abomination? Did the Ninevites have to observe the food laws? Not according to Jonah. It says, “When God saw that the people had stopped doing evil things, he had pity on them and did not destroy them.”
Jonah’s response is, “You are a kind and merciful God, and you are very patient. You always show love, and you don’t like to punish anyone, not even foreigners.” Who was a foreigner? Anyone who was not an Israelite, or convert.
What did the Ninevites get? Covenant? Reprieve? Relationship? Reprieve, yes, as long as they stopped doing evil. Was that a covenant? “I will not destroy you as long as you do good.” What about relationship? “You are a kind and merciful God, you always show love.” Did that mean they went to heaven if they continued to avoid evil? Or just safety from being destroyed? Take your pick. What “evil” were they guilty of, or was it the ‘general’ evil of humanity?
Question: Does what worked for the Ninevites still work for anyone, regardless who they are? If not, why not?
What about Amos 9:7? “Are not you Israelites the same to me as the Cushites?” declares the Lord. Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?”Did these people of other “exoduses” keep Hebrew law? If not, what law were they judged by?
The prophets were the first reformers of Hebrew theology. They were the ones who saw God as did Jonah. Hosea attacks the sacrificial system, the foundation of Israel’s obedience to God, and says for God, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” (6:6)
Reading the prophets it is clear that God is seen as judging all people for their evil ways, and not just the Hebrews. When that judgement took place it had nothing to do with a failure to keep Hebrew laws such as the Sabbath, or laws of purity. It had to do with a lack of knowing who God was, and therefore giving themselves to idolatry and the results of the evil practices of that belief
Paul, in Romans 2, says “When Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law , they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.“
Those natural things were not the law of Moses, they were what the Ninevites knew to do to be what God wanted them and all of us to be. That’s what saves us.
Keith

CONCERNS: Teresa Robertson has asked our prayers for her aunt, Patricia Hall, and another aunt, Reva Almond. Melisha Scruggs asks prayers for her cousin. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones. Teryn Gaynor’s mother has finished her cancer treatments. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, (cancer) Melanie Gentry is recovering from a stroke. Joni Beach’s parents both have health issues. Also her aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter had a good report last week. He’s getting stronger each day. Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Ray and Darnell Barns, and Gil Richardson. Deana McRoy, Jim and Mary Smith, Jenni Cullum and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: AUGUST 8-13
Monday: Daniel 5:17-28
Tuesday: Matthew 13:44-52
Wednesday: I Samuel 17:41-54
Thursday: Psalm 70:1-5
Friday: Matthew 7:13-29
Saturday: Psalm 1:1-15
OUR DAILY BREAD: AUGUST 15-20
Monday: John 4:27-42
Tuesday: Ecclesiastes 11:1-10
Wednesday: Psalm 86:1-17
Thursday: Genesis 3:8-21
Friday: II Timothy 3:1-17
Saturday: Psalm84:1-12

OUR WOMAN IN GUATEMALA
If we ever had an ambassador to Guatemala, it would be Susan Jordan. Working a week each year at the Ezell Clinic has become her passion. So passionate is she about this medical mission work, that this year her sister and two teacher friends went with her, at their own expense!
Pray for their safety and that these new workers will catch the fire of service that everyone who has gone has experienced. We look forward to hearing from them when they return.
THE MEDIA PROGRESS
Everything is installed to enable the display of the words and music from our hymnals. The PowerPoint songs should be here by next Sunday. In a test run, after James Downing installed the equipment, the display was clear and readable from all parts of the room. (Thanks James)
As we learn more about what we can do, our hope is to display the announcements before the service starts (hard copies of the order of worship will still be available) and the call to worship. Also, the sermon text can be displayed to make it easier to follow as it is read. The system is wireless and can be operated from a laptop or some ipads. In some cases the song leader may decide to control the display, in other cases there will be a media person(s) taking care of that
THE ANNUAL BAR B QUE
Saturday, September 3rd is that date for this year’s Bar B Que. A sign-up sheet will be on the table in the foyer. It is important to let it be known if there is enough who will be in town, or are interested in doing it. Please let your feelings be known as soon as possible.
CORRECTION
T. J. And Judy Hall are now looking at a home in Clemmons NC, not Mocksville as stated before. Pray for them as they make this move. More details about the time will come later.
THE BOLINS
The Bolins are on a family vacation to England before the boys go back to school. With the unrest in Europe, keep them in your prayers. Among others, the Foys are on vacation at Niagra Falls and the Gaynors in Gatlinburg.