Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: January 2017

HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL? – ROANOKE CHURCH OF CHRIST “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

You get the idea expressed in the statement above. Are you an pessimist or an optimist? Is the world getting worse or better?
On any given day it would be easy to say the world is flushing itself into the sewer. The news media is full of events which can easily convince us the world has gone crazy. I could fill the rest of this article with examples of that, but that would only add to the despair we feel over the current events of violence, ignorance and fear.
Is there an answer to the half empty half full question? Of course. Which you decide best describes your view of the world and will determine how you see the future. Will the world end in a cosmic explosion (fire) because God couldn’t take it anymore? Will there be a new heaven and a new earth? Will Jesus rule the earth from Jerusalem, as so many believe? Will the earth be redeemed, as Paul seems to say in Romans 8:19,20? ”The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not only by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
Without trying to explain that, it does seem Paul looks to a time when the earth will be “liberated from its bondage to decay.” One can only imagine what he means by that. However, it seems to say God will not give up on the earth, even if it is beyond our imagination.
So what does that have to do with the half empty, half full glass? Just this. Rather than God giving up on the world and humankind, God will finish what God started.
A passage which has been a sort of guide for my understanding of God and God’s purpose in creation, is in Luke 14:28ff. It has to do with counting the cost of being a disciple, but it involves more than that. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, every one who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build but was not able to finish.”
Jesus then tells about a king who prepares for battle, and wisely counts his troops before fighting to see if he can win.
It’s in the context of counting the cost of following him. However, is it not also fair to assume God knew how to complete what God started? If God had an idea in the beginning, did God somehow miss something so that the plan was derailed and would have to be abandoned? Did God count the cost? I think God did. To be God means to be able to finish what was started and win over anything which would attempt to stop it. How could God ask us to be something God is not? If we are able to decide if we can finish what we started, win what we attempt,, should not God do the same?
So for me, no matter how bad things look, I see the glass as half full. It’s not easy when I see the human carnage around the world. I’m not even sure at times the scales of life’s balance are balanced. For example, we see the ugliness in the almost unbelievable beating, hostage taking and humiliating of an intellectually challenged teenager by a “friend” and three others in Chicago recently. As I said, the list could go on and on. However, in such cases there is often the response of those who see the glass half full. In the case of the Chicago teen, a sizable sum of money has been sent to him. Will that remove the trauma of his ordeal? No. But it is a way for people to show him there is another world out there, rather than the one in which he found himself.
I’ve tried to think of the progress of the world over time from a non-God point of view. I’m a believer in the divine force we call God, but I wonder how I would view the world if I didn’t believe that.
What if I believed it all started by some spontaneous combustion of matter and moved through time, (if there was time) each speck gradually moving to a higher order of development? Would I not see that “higher” development as a good thing? Is evolutionary development a good thing? Or is it something which will finally reach a point in which it has no meaning? In other words, will the future be half empty, or half full, or empty? Will human development create better humans, or worse?
I’m not really up on deep atheism, but I would think if I believed as I think the atheists do that I’ve listened to, that as the species adapts to the world around it, it changes for the better. But as I said, I’m not an expert on evolution, so maybe not.
My question is about how I view the world. Can I, looking back through human history, see the cup getting fuller, or more empty? I choose to believe it is getting fuller. As I look back and see the continuing development in all the fields of human endeavor, I believe in a better future. Does that mean we humans can’t destroy what we have? No. I believe there is more to us than meets the eye. I believe there is in humankind the potential for the breath of God. The image of God if you will. It is the part of humankind that seeks justice and expresses love. It is the part that, as Jesus said, would give its life for a friend. It is the part that gives its life for a perfect stranger. It is the part that takes humans into danger to rescue those they don’t even know who are sick, afflicted, and trapped in human suffering.
Is it half and half? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s like the waves of the sea, where there are high points and low, high tides and low. Maybe it’s like light and darkness. The darkness comes, but then there comes the light. And the light drives out the darkness.
How do we know how much darkness we can disperse with “This little light of mine”? All we can do is try and believe it is true, for God’s sake.
Keith

CONCERNS: Roger Fisher is recovering from carotid artery surgery. Judy Hall has been dealing with an infection in the eye she had the cornea transplant. Former member, Shelda Miller is recovering from ankle replacement and asks our prayers. Also, her husband, Dwight, will have hip surgery. Rachel Mitchell continues to have back and neck problems. Gary Overstreet is still rehabing at Raleigh Court. Joanne Elder and Martha foy are job hunting. Continue to remember Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s aunt, Pat Voss and Joni’s niece, Jamie Cole. Wayne Phlegar, Leena Bolin aunt, Lee Nicklas, as well as a cousin, Tolly Nicklas, who has serious health issues. Also Leena’s friend, Chris Campbell who has had a stroke. Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

OUR DAILY BREAD: JAN. 16-24
Monday: Psalm 46
Tuesday: John 14:1-11
Wednesday: Psalm 23
Thursday: Isaiah 26:1-4
Friday: Matthew 5:1-16
Saturday: I John 2:7-11; 15-17
OUR DAILY BREAD: JAN. 23-28
Monday: Exodus 3:1-15
Tuesday: Matthew 9:14-34
Wednesday: Ecclesiastes 12:1-14
Thursday: II Corinthians 5:11-21
Friday: II Samuel 11:1-27
Saturday: Psalm 121:1-8

SUPER SUNDAY
Today (1/15) is Super Sunday. After having to cancel services due to the ice, cold and snow, it will be a welcome time to enjoy the warm fire, food and friendship. When we have these times of not being together to worship it makes a difference in our lives. Plan to stay and enjoy the meal.

THE SERVICE TODAY
Since this is the third Sunday, the service will be directed toward readings songs and praise.

THE WAGNERS
With the weather canceling the service last Sunday, the announcement that Keith and Jo would be gone to Florida for a few days was not seen. Their children and grandchildren bought them tickets to go see Todd, Jen and the children. They left on Thursday, 1/12 and will return on Thursday 1/19.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
If the steering committee wants to meet and review our financial status, several reports to aid in that will be in the library for the steering committee to review in relation to the 2017 budget if they feel the need to do that. The lack of being able to meet together has hampered getting this done.

SYMPATHY
The congregation was saddened to hear last Sunday of the death of Lyn Jordan’s brother, Brian, who passed away on December 26th.

THE ADULT CLASS
Today will be the first day the adult class will enjoy the quiet of the classroom since the cold air return has been diverted to the hallway. Be sure as you go by to look at what a good job Wayne and Nathan Flora did on this project. Again, thank you so much guys.

POST-TRUTH – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

I saw those words somewhere before they appeared in an article in The Christian Chronicle. The article was written by Erik Tryggestad, a Journalism teacher at Oklahoma Christian University.
“Post-truth” was selected by the Oxford Dictionary as its 2016 word of the year. It is defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” In other words, “Don’t confuse me with facts.”
The phrase “post-war” is a good one. It means the war is over. Post-truth” means truth is over, gone, no more. At least expected truth. “Post-truth” is often directed at the news, TV and radio media, and would also include other outlets such as the internet, Face Book, etc.
I don’t like the Oxford definition. While it makes its point, it disguises the fact that “post-truth” means truth is gone. When truth is gone, what you have left is a lie, or “untruth.” Maybe it was the best Oxford could do, but it seems a sloppy definition to me.
When someone makes a statement with the intent that it be believed, it should be the truth. Does that mean it always is? No. We can all get our facts messed up. But when a statement is made in which the intent is to influence the personal bias or fear of the hearer without a factual basis, that’s a lie. It’s when you make a statement and then say, “I don’t know if it’s true or not. I’m just saying.” Mission accomplished.
Did you ever wonder how many people believed the religious leaders when they accused Jesus of being a glutton and a drunkard? Which for some people would be worse than the accusation that he was a friend to “tax collectors and sinners.” Was a tax collector worse than the “sinners” or vice/versa?
I’ve heard preachers and teachers say the glutton and drunkard thing was just an accusation, that it had no basis in fact. In other words, Jesus didn’t sometimes enjoy eating a lot, or drinking wine. If that were true, the accusation that he was a friend to tax collectors and sinners would have no basis in fact as well.
When we read the gospels we are reading what the writers wanted us to know in order to enter the kingdom of God, as lived out and taught by Jesus. They don’t tell us much about the street talk. John does tell us that after Jesus talked about them needing to drink his blood and eat his flesh, that was enough for many of them, and they lost interest in his message.
How much slander did Paul have to endure? Reading his letters it would seem a lot. Did they out and out lie about him? Yes. But they did it in such a way as to make it sound true. They used the time-worn method of insinuation.
I’d have to ask the social annalists if we are in an actual post-truth period. What I think is, that with the almost unlimited outlets for the dispersion of information, truth is a fleeting thing. So fleeting that when someone lies there is no real price to be paid for it. In fact, the Oxford definition has some of it right. Post-truth is that which appeals to emotion and personal (prejudicial) belief, rather than objective facts. That seems to mean if you can get enough people to believe the lie, then the truth does not matter. Those who recognize the lie are simply unbelievers. Hitler was a master at that.
Any passing on of information is based on a position or subject. Just as this article is based on the Chronicle article. The writer or speaker then makes it a point to add to the discussion. The conclusion is already reached, all that is needed is to fill in the gaps. Is that always bad? No. It becomes bad when the preconceived position is tainted or slanted to make the desired statement. We all do it. The problem is the issue at hand. If the end result means little more than winning a silly argument, it’s not that serious . But when it involves the lives of others, and the dismantling of their dignity and reputation, or the promotion of oneself, that’s another matter. That’s the problem we all face.
When Jesus said the truth would set us free, he was talking about the truth his life and purpose in the world. The hardest part of that for us is not what to do in church, or what to believe about certain doctrines. The hardest part is living out the integrity that lets our “yes” be “yes” and out “no” be “no.”
Keith

CONCERNS: Roger Fisher had carotid artery surgery on Thursday. Former member, Shelda (Jean) Miller has asked for prayers as she recovers from ankle replacement surgery. Her husband, Dwight, will have hip surgery this next month. Rachel Mitchell continues to have back and neck issues. Gary Overstreet is still in Raleigh Court for rehab. Joanne Elder is job hunting, as is Martha Foy. Remember Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones. Betty Shepherd got a good report about her cancer. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Wayne Phlegar, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, and a cousin, Tolly Nicklas, who has serious health issues. Also a friend of Leena’s, Chris Campbell who has had a stroke. Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

OUR DAILY BREAD: JAN. 2-7
Monday: Isaiah 53:1-12
Tuesday: Matthew 28:1-20
Wednesday: Ezekiel 34:1-16
Thursday: Acts 21:37-22:16
Friday: Psalm 14:1-7
Saturday: Revelation 20:11-27
OUR DAILY BREAD: JAN. 9-14
Monday: Psalm 139:1-24
Tuesday: Matthew 8:1-13
Wednesday: Matthew 12:1-14
Thursday: Colossians 2:8-19
Friday: Revelation 2:1-11
Saturday: Matthew 16:13-28

THANKS WAYNE AND NATHAN!
The back wall in the adult classroom has a cold air return in it. When the heat or air-conditioning comes on it has been very hard to hear. Several options were discussed and during this time of the year when we have not had Sunday School classes due to the holidays, Wayne decided to take care of it with Nathan’s help. They petitioned off the back wall so the air would be deflected to a vent in the hallway just outside the classroom. This will not only help with the noise, but also with the air circulation.

THANKS TO THE SANTAS
Thanks to all of you who were able on such late notice, to bring toys for the two little six and four year old boys for Christmas.

THE POINSETTIAS
There are seen poinsettias from small to large that need a good home since the holiday season is at an end. If you adopt one, be sure to leave the plastic tray it is sitting in. We use them each year.

WEDNESDAY EVENING SERVICE
The regular Wednesday evening service will resume this Wednesday evening.

ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT
Sometime this month the congregation will hear the annual financial report as well as setting a budget for this year. Even with those who have moved away, the congregation has been able to maintain its 2016 budget, thanks to your generous giving.

THE CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
We had a great Christmas Eve service this year. We had decided to upgrade the song books and printed several more than what we normally use, planning to finish the rest later. We needed about six or seven more than were assembled! However, since we can now project the songs, it all worked out well.
Thanks to Karen Branch for leading us in song, and Leena Bolin and Jo Wagner for the window and table decorations. It looked warm and inviting.