Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: December 2017

THE CHRISTIAN – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

What is a Christian? If you asked the Apostle Paul, he might say it was not his favorite term. Yes, it did become a term for the Christ believers, first in Antioch, which means it was used in other places as well.
The long-held opinion has been that it was not a decision by the Antioch church to be called Christians, but rather that they were tagged with that label by those around them. They were never referred to as the Christian Church. In fact, Paul never refers to himself as a Christian, or anyone else, for that matter. As Jerry Sumney points out in his book, “Paul” Paul prefers the idea of being members of the “church.”
Along with the mention of “Christian” in Acts11:26 (Antioch) the only other connection of the term to Paul, is in Acts 26:28, when he is before Festus, Governor of Judea and King Agrippa in Acts 26. After hearing Paul’s testimony, Agrippa asks Paul if he thinks in such a short time, did he expect to make him a Christian? Regardless all the “almost persuaded” sermons and songs, Agrippa is using the term “Christian” in the derogatory, everyday street use of the word.
The final use of the word is in I Peter 4:12. Here the term “Christian” (“If you suffer as a Christian…”) does not hint that it is the term used by the followers of Jesus to describe themselves. It simply says they suffered because of the label they were called by those persecuting them. If you think I’m saying to discard “Christian” I’m not. I just want to set up the rest of this article.
Since “Christian” is the now universally accepted term for a follower of Jesus, what makes such a person a Christian?

Belief in God
No.

Belief in the inspiration of scripture.
No.

Belief that God created the universe.
No.

Belief that God created humankind.
No.

Belief in the Virgin birth.
No.

Belief in miracles.
No.

Belief that Jesus walked on water.
No.

Belief that Jesus died on a cross.
No.

Belief that God raised Jesus from the grave.
No.

Belief that Jesus was raised alive.
No.

Belief in baptism.
No.

Belief in the trinity, or Godhead.
No.

Belief in the resurrection of the dead.
No.

Belief in the return of Christ.
No.
A person can believe all of these things and not be a Christian. A Christian is not someone who believes something. A Christian is someone who lives some thing. A Christian is someone known by their results, not their beliefs.
We can thank James, who said in a context about the quality of the believer, that even the demons believe and shudder. James 2;19. He asks for visible results.
A Christian is someone who takes seriously the answer Jesus gave to a man in Luke 10, when he asked what he needed to do to have eternal life. Jesus asked him how he read the Law. The man knew on what hangs the law and the prophets, and said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said, “Do this an you will live (eternally).” But the man has a problem with the “neighbor” part. So Jesus tells the story of the (good) Samaritan. By the way, Samaritans were not considered “kosher.” They were hardly an example of a person who could have eternal life.
At the end of the story, when the man admitted that it was the Samaritan who fulfilled the Law, Jesus said, “Go and do likewise (and you will have eternal life).”
Was the Samaritan and the Jewish questioner Christian? No. Or were they? If the Jewish man did the same as the Samaritan did, were they not fulfilling what Jesus said would give them eternal life?
At the end of Jesus’ life, as he ends a string of parables in Jerusalem, he talks about the coming of the “Son of Man.” He says all the nations will be gathered before him and he will separate the people as one would separate the sheep from the goats. To those on his right (sheep) he will say they can enter the kingdom prepared for them since the creation of the world. The reason? They treated those in need as a neighbor and in so doing treated Jesus himself. The goats who did not receive the kingdom were those who did not care for those in need, and therefore did not care for Jesus, the Son of Man.
Were all these people Christian? If they were they are not called that. They were called the “righteous.” That’s another way of saying they lived and loved and thought “right.” That’s what a Christian is, or tries to be.
It’s not a matter of getting a perfect score of the “Christian” exam. It’s knowing what answers are righteous, and then wanting to do them.
Keith

CONCERNS: Judy Hall is in Lewis Gale Medical Center ICU. She may be moved to room 546 . She developed an abscess in her Jaw and it had to be opened and drained on Wednesday. She will remain in ICU for awhile and requests no visitors until she improves. Deanna McRoy is dealing with a serious reoccurrence of cancer. Scott Blessing is having continuing back problems. Abby Keeling has finished her last leukemia treatment. Both Teryn Gaynor’s parents are having health problems. Remember both Alan and Joni Beach’s parents, Jamie Cole, Joni’s niece; Del Bolin’s mother; Tolly Nicklas, Leena Bolin’s cousin, (late stage ALS). Josh Thirston (kidney transplant) Laura Schreiner has been unable to attend lately. Melisha Scruggs friend, Jeanie, who has a child with various health issues. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Melanie Gentry. Wayne Phlegar, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

OUR DAILY BREAD: DEC. 18-23
Monday: I Samuel 16:1-13
Tuesday: Mark 15:1-20
Wednesday: Luke 12:1-12
Thursday: I John 2:1124
Friday: I Peter 4:1-19
Saturday: Psalm 11:1-7
OUR DAILY BREAD: DEC. 25-30
Monday: Joshua 24:14-28
Tuesday: Acts 9:1-9
Wednesday: James 5:1-18
Thursday: I John 1:5-2:6
Friday: Hebrews 12:1-14
Saturday: Psalm 138:1-8

TODAY
The worship service today will be conducted and directed by Del Bolin. It will be a service of praise in which we may have the opportunity to learn some new songs. Thanks Del for doing this.

SUPER SUNDAY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
Today is also Super Sunday. It is also the time when our concentration is on Christmas. The annex has been arranged in a festive way, as well as a warm fire in the fireplace. You may also visit Judy McWhorter’s New England Village as well as seeing the quilts displayed on the walls. Plan to stay.

NEXT SUNDAY
Next Sunday is the day before Christmas. We will have only the morning service, (just as always) but the service will consist of the annual Christmas Eve service.
The songs of the season will be sung by the congregation and the corresponding scriptures will be heard by way of a professionally recorded reader.
The congregation will read the call to worship and the benediction. Communion will be at the end of the singing service, with Let There Be Peace on Earth as the closing song. The order of the service will be in the hand-out next Sunday.

PANERA BREAD
The folks at Panera Bread told Mike Branch that some of those who have picked up the bread in the past are not doing it. This means there are one or two other days it can be picked up by us, or if you know another group who can use it to help out in the way the Rescue Mission does, let him know if you know someone, or you will pick it up.

THE BALANCE – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

Is the glass half empty or half full? We all know people who say only an blind and diluted person would say half full. In fact, there are those who think the glass is quickly emptying. It’s not a matter of time running out, though it might, it’s a matter of civilization becoming a moral cesspool. Take a room of a hundred people and ask about the future and my guess it will be about 50/50 as to if it will be better.
There is truth in the phrase, “That’s how I see it.” How we view the world around us is the result of how we see it. It is also a fact that two people may see the same world and come away with different opinions. How is that possible? That’s the question philosophers and social scientists have been studying for centuries.
Was Jesus a half full or a half empty guy? I can almost hear the gears of scripture grinding. The prophets paint a pretty dim picture in the Old Testament. But they also speak of the restoration of Israel in glowing and utopian terms. But what about Jesus?
If you look on the internet about Jesus being pessimistic or optimistic, you will find multiple ideas. Some laughable, to say the least. There are lots of quotes from the prophets about how the Messiah would not be someone who would attract us, a man of sorrow, despised and afflicted etc. Poor Jesus, with all those descriptions he didn’t have a chance. “Be careful not to look like you’re having too much fun out there eating and drinking with the sinners, Jesus!”
Some say Jesus was neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but realistic. Who can define realism? Is there such a thing as realism? Is realism the end of hope and faith?
The dictionary definition of realism and all its associated words, does not really define reality. “The practice of accepting a situation as it is and dealing with it accordingly.” Great. Is the situation really “as it is” or is it as I perceive it to be? Is it possible that the big black thing coming at me in the dark woods is not a bear, as the accepted situation appears to be, but rather a big black dog? We tend to define reality according to our situation, even if the situation isn’t the reality we assume it to be. (Even my head is spinning after saying that!) So let’s get back to Jesus.
I confess I’m looking at Jesus from a half full philosophy of life. That doesn’t mean I am never pessimistic, like how I feel about the way things are in the political climate of the country. But as a follower of Jesus, I want to know as best I can in my somewhat prejudiced mind, how he viewed the world for which he was going to give his life. Did he see it as a lost cause? Did he know that even though he would die trying to bring about the kingdom of God on earth as it was in heaven, it would never happen? When I say the kingdom of God on earth, as Jesus did in his prayer in Matthew 6, I mean the earth as God would have it to be. Did Jesus believe that was possible?
This begs the question of why he did what he did. Did he know what God wanted was not possible, even though he would teach it as though it was? Did he, as many do, see himself as simply a sacrifice to pay God for the dept of the world’s sin?
Here is how I see Jesus. His life was to teach people the will of God. No better summation of that can be found than in the sermon on the mount in Matthew and the sermon on the plain in Luke. Any life that lived out those moral and ethical teachings would be the life God wanted for humankind. Doing it would be the kingdom of God on earth as it is in the mind of God i.e., “heaven.”
Did he know that he, as the prophets before him, would be rejected and even die? Yes. Did knowing that stop him from teaching the will of God? No. Did knowing that he would be rejected mean that he had failed? No. Failure is to do nothing. Success is to know that each one who teaches the nature and love of God, will change the world. Did Jesus do that? I think so. That’s why I believe he knew his life and death was worth it, and that in doing what he did would keep the world in balance. Evil would never be more powerful than God (good).
So when I get pessimistic I find the news stories about random and unusual acts of kindness. I experience a young person holding open a door for me with a smile and a “Hello.” I remember a little boy in a Chinese restaurant who wished us “Happy Thanksgiving” as we paid our check.
Do I feel that way all the time? No. But I believe in God’s world, if nothing better, it stays balanced.
Keith

CONCERNS: Debbie and Buster McRoy’s daughter-in-law, Deanna, has had a reoccurrence of cancer. Judy Hall was hospitalized for about all of last week with a painful blocked saliva gland. She is to be released today, 12/3. Scott Blessing weather related has back problems that has kept him at home. Both Joni and Alan Beach’s parents are having health problems. Remember also Joni’s niece, Jamie Cole. Gary Overstreet is now home. Continue to remember Teryn Gaynor’s mother as she has cancer treatment. Del bolin’s mother, Tolly Nicklas, Leena’s cousin, is in hospice care with late stage ALS. Abby Keeting, the little girl being treated for leukemia. Josh Thirston, recovering from a kidney transplant. Laura Schreiner has been unable to be out lately. Melisha Scruggs friend, Jeanie, who has a small child with various health issues. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

SAYING GOODBYE
We are both happy and sad that Ben Robertson has found a job in his field. However, it will take him to Manassas. He will start on Dec. 11. Over the years Ben has been with us, he has been a part of every part of the church life. With his kind and quiet strength he made us all better.

CHRISTMAS SUPER SUNDAY DINNER
As we did last year, our special Christmas dinner will be the Super Sunday meal on Dec 17. Plan to bring a special dish and enjoy the decorated annex.

THE NEW ENGLAND VILLAGE
Judy McWhorter has set up her New England Christmas village in the annex. She does this in honor of her mother’s memory.
This year it looks especially beautiful due to the hanging quilts she has hung along the walls. Stop by the annex on Super Sunday and look at it.

CHRISTMAS SERVICE
Over the years we have met on Christmas Eve for a Christmas service. This year Christmas in on a Monday. It has been suggested that we do the Christmas Eve service at the morning service on December 24, rather than in the evening.
That service, for those who haven’t attended a Christmas Eve service, will consist of singing the songs of Christmas and hearing the corresponding scriptures read.
The communion service and offering will be at the conclusion and the final song will be “Let There Be Peace on Earth”

THANKS
Thanks to Holly Wagner for setting up the Christmas tree in the annex. Also to Leena Bolin for the beautiful decorations both in the auditorium and the annex. To Wayne Flora for helping hang the quilts and Adam Fleming for replacing the annex lights.