Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: January 2019

YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A CONTEXT – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

    I don’t like “cherry-picking” scriptures. That’s when a point is being made, even a legitimate  one, and to enforce it, an out of context scripture is attached. The problem is that in so doing, both the point and the scripture is weakened. The point is either valid or not, and tagging on a scripture that is out of context, damages both.
    Preachers are as bad as anyone,  and they shouldn’t be. That is not to say what they are talking about is baseless, just that attaching a scripture to it does not make it any more authentic, and if the scripture is out of context, the point becomes questionable. 
    A week or so ago a local minister dropped by to say hello. (Not a CofC preacher) As we were talking the phone rang. I let it ring through, telling him it was probably a call for money, or some other help. It was, because as soon as the answering machine came on they hung up. I said I supposed he got those kind of calls. He said yes, but the ones that bothered him were the ones where the people showed up at church services. I told him we had a little of that, but generally it was people who came to the office. I said I’d heard a lot of different stories. At that point his eyebrows raised and I almost knew what he was going to say. He said, “Well, the Bible says he who will not work shall not eat.” He then pointed out how it was wrong to help people who would not work. I told him of some of the people who come seeking help and asked if he knew any place that would hire the likes of them with, say, no public transportation available or decent clothing. The discussion more or less ended there.
    I agree we should not cater to freeloaders, my problem is that he felt the scripture he used sealed it in stone. It’s in II Thess. 2:10, where Paul says, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” Context.  Thessalonians deals with the expected return of the Lord. At the end of  I Thessalonians Paul deals with the issue of when the Lord will return and who will be with him. In 4:14 it says it will be those who have “fallen asleep in him.” In v. 15 he says “…we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left til the coming of the Lord, will certainly not proceed those who have fallen asleep.” In 5:14 he urges them to “warn the idol”. II Thessalonians continues to deal with, among other things, the same issue. He ends with, “…keep away from every brother who is idol and who does not live according to the teaching you received from us. (3:6) He then reminds them that they (he)  worked for their food. Meaning they were not idol, but paid for their food, even if they had the right to be fed. (v. 9) Then he says the man who will not work  shall not eat.  In v. 11 he refers to the non-workers as “busybodies”.
    Context: Those who were not working were members of the church, brothers and sisters. Had they never worked? Or were they now waiting for the return of the Lord and expecting, for some reason, to be fed by the church?  Were they the ones who were causing confusion about the coming of the Lord? What was the “teaching” they were ignoring?  We don’t know. What we do know is they were called “brothers” who had stopped working and expected the others to feed them.
    Are we to assume that no one in Thessalonica would give them a handout? There are some things we do not know, but what we do know is they were part of the church. If the church found itself in a similar situation today, and I have no idea what that would be, could it react the same? Yes. 
    I’ve mentioned before that Jesus teaches without backing it up with scripture. “By what authority does he do this?” A thing is good or bad, true or not by itself. When he said “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is talking you to court…”, he didn’t back it up with a scripture. (Matt 5:25,26) Is it a true statement without a scripture? Of course.
    If I told you that I was God’s son because the Bible said so, how would you react? You would ask me where I got such an idea. If I said in Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11 and Luke 3:22, you would say those words were spoken to and about Jesus, and you’d be right. They are there, but only about Jesus in that context.
    I saw a scripture sited the other day which was used to prove the beginning of human life. It was Jeremiah 1:5.  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to all the nations.” Context: This is God telling Jeremiah that he had been set apart before he was born. It is no more about every person than God’s words to Jesus being God’s son being about all people. Or because Paul was a “Chosen instrument” (Acts 9:15), that we all chosen instruments as well.  
    Issues  about wealth, poverty, life,  death and the environment are important for every human being. Misusing scripture only makes the argument look weak.
        Keith

THOSE TO SERVE IN FEBRUARY
Announcements: Wayne Flora
Serve Communion: Maggie Foy
            Susan Jordan
            Lyn Jordan
            Garrett Williams
Usher: Erma Williams
Communion Care: Connie Crites
Singing:        Scripture:
3-Alan Beach        Martha Foy
10-Karen Branch    James Downing
17-Del Bolin        Judy McWhorter
24-Scott Blessing    Susan Jordan
Communion:        Nursery:
3-Scott Blessing    Connie Crites
10-Mike Branch    Susan Jordan
17-Abraham Sirgy    Holly Wagner
24-Wayne Flora    Holly Wagner
If you cannot serve, call Erma Williams
FEBRUARY BIRTHDAYS
5-Wayne Phlegar    15-Steve Gaynor
25-Karen Branch    28-Nick Bolin
FEBRUARY ANNIVERSARIES
19-Buster & Debra McRoy

CONCERNS: Debbie McRoy is recovering from an injured back. Others in Debbie’s family with health problems are a cousin, Linda Alsup and her husband, Prentice. Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell may have to reenter the hospital for cancer treatment. Jo’s cousin, Herald Clark has lung cancer. Teryn Gaynor’s mother is once again in cancer treatment and her step-father is having Parkinson’s issues. Remember Del Bolin’s mother, Alan Beach’s father and Joni Beach’s father. A CF patient friend of Holly Wagner’s, Dante McCadden and his wife and children. Bill Albert is recovering from a back injury. Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law (brain cancer) Among the shut-ins are Wayne Phlegar, Jim and Mary Smith. Also Sheila Jansen and Daughter, Amber Weaver Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Ray and Darnell Barns and Tim Elder
WEDNESDAY EVENING
    The Wednesday evening soup supper and Bible study has been disrupted due to several factors the last two weeks. With the severe cold appearing to be past, we look forward to regular services for a least awhile.

VISITORS
    With all of our number who were gone last Sunday, we were blessed with visitors from the area. Pray that they will come back. With regard to that, a ride may be needed for one of them. They live in the Colonia Rd, Ogden Rd area. The ride will be just for worship. Let Keith know if you can help with that.

SPRUCING UP
    The Steering Committee will be talking to several people about doing some painting and repairs around the building Due to the cooler weather, such things as outside painting will have to wait awhile, but some other things can and will be scheduled
SOUP FOR SENIORS 
    You may have read about the Soup for Seniors drive. This notice is rather soon, because it will end on Saturday, Feb. 9th. That means you will have to remember to bring it next Sunday and it will be delivered on Monday. Items needed are soups (low sodium),peanut butter, crackers and individual breakfast packages. See on line for a longer list.  As you know, we have a food pantry here at the annex. It is stocked by individual contributions and is available for those who are in need who come by the office.

HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

   I need to find zippier titles for my articles. If I saw this one I’d probably not read it. BORING! But boring is all I have, so here it is.
    First of all, no one comes to the Bible, or any other study without prejudice. Even if they’d never read it, or heard of it
    The Bible is book of history and ethics, among other things, such as the concept of God, or for clarity, a divine being. As far as we know there has never been an exclusively atheistic culture. Atheists? Yes. But not a culture where every member was an atheist. If I’m wrong, please inform me.
    As the apostle Paul says in Romans 22:14, which is one of the most significant passages in scripture, “Indeed, 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 conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.” (Italics and bold mine. kw)
    Simply put, Paul says what every anthropologist says: All human groups have rules of conduct which are, at the center, the same. They are not religious, but a part of human nature, important for survival and constructive living.
    Accepting Paul as being true, no matter what background a person originates, they come with ideas about what is right and wrong, regardless their belief in God, gods, nature, animals or whatever. The core ethic of the group is accepted and if that core “law” is broken, judgement occurs by the group.
    On the other hand, nothing is that simple. Are there different interpretations of the laws? Yes, and that can be seen in the Jewish law found in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament. The Ten Commandments are the foundation, the rest is commentary. Therefore, the Jew understands God through the law of Moses. However, the application of that law varied among Jews both ancient and modern, i.e. reformed and orthodox. 
    What about Christians? They all read,  generally, from the same Bible. However, do the Amish, Quakers, Mennonites and others with  pacifistic views of God, respond the same way the “second amendment” Christians do toward the same Bible? Obviously not. 
    Why not? Because each of them has brought the influence of family,  teaching and experience to the Bible. Therefore, the Bible is understood through the lens of those things. 
    Everyone does it. Is it set in stone? No. But moving away from deep-seated ideas is difficult. We might look at the violence toward Paul and the others who welcomed the Gentiles into equality with God. It was the Jews (who had the same law and the prophets) who wanted to stop and even kill Paul for such an understanding of God. The violence of the Reformation Period is a more modern example.
    The Bible is often linked to nationalism. When that happens the Bible is understood to support a certain government, and all other governments are ungodly. Of course, scripture is used to support it, as it is in other similar situations.
    Here’s a question: How many times did an Old testament teacher or prophet quote the law of Moses to prove a point? There may be more, but Malachi 4:4 is about it. What did they use to guide Israel? In every Prophetic letter they use the core value of loving God and the neighbor as oneself. The whole standard of righteousness was (and is) based on that single principle.  When that principle was lost, the nation of Israel was condemned. That’s why over and over again the prophets said all the religious rituals  and sacrifices meant nothing without the core righteousness.  
    So it is today. The core hasn’t changed. In fact it’s in the “nature” of humankind. Did the Jews, with all the prophets and experiences get it right? Once in awhile, maybe. But mostly they were getting it wrong. But, over and over we can read of the “remnant.” Others, not even Jews, who held the core enough to have the acknowledgment of God. In Amos 9:7 Amos has God saying, “Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor (Crete) and the Arameans from Kir?” Something in them caused God to rescue them. 
    In I Kings 19:18 Elijah is told of 7,000 Israelites who have not bowed to Baal. What does it mean? It means that no matter what book or Bible we read, we get it wrong when the core meaning of love of God and our fellow humans is not how we understand the world. Which means a lot of us are getting it wrong. But our faith and hope is that the “remnant” is getting it right, and that as always, they hold the world together when the rest of us don’t, for God’s sake.
        Keith
THOSE TO SERVE IN JANUARY
Announcements: Connie Crites
Serve Communion: James Downing
                   Megan Downing
            Holly Wagner
            Joanne Elder
Usher: Mark McRoy
Communion Care: Blessings
Singing:        Scripture:
6-Karen Branch    Martha Foy
13-Scott Blessing    Mark McRoy
20-Del Bolin        Martha Albert
27-Alan Beach    Holly Wagner
Communion:        Nursery:
6-Mike Branch    Susan Phlegar
13-Wayne Flora    Susan Jordan
20-Abraham Sirgy    Holly Wagner
27-Scott Blessing    Alisa Flora
If you cannot serve, call Erma Williams
JANUARY BIRTHDAYS
5-Alan Beach        8-Anna Ferrell
17-Jim Smith        Abraham Sirgy
22-Logan McRoy    28-Keith Wagner
31-Martha Albert

CONCERNS: Debbie McRoy injured her back and has been unable to get out. She may need surgery. Other’s in Debbie’s  family who have health issues are a cousin, Linda Alsup, and her husband, Prentice. Jo Wagner’s cousin, Herald Clark has lung cancer. He is in North Carolina. Her sister, Judy Powell, is stable at this time. Remember Alan Beach’s father and the rest of the family in the death of Alan’s mother. Also Joni Beach’s dad and Del Bolin’s 
mother. Teryn Gaynor’s parents are dealing with health problems. Her mother is again being treated for cancer. Dante McCadden is suffering from CF. Bill Albert is recovering from a back injury. Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law is being treated for brain cancer.  Others are Wayne Phlegar, Jim and Mary Smith, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and Daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjory Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Ray and Darnell  Barns, Gil Richardson (ALS) and Tim Elder

SYMPATHY
    We were saddened to learn of the death of Alan Beach’s mother, Margaret , died on December 23, in Travelers Rest, SC.
The family asked that memorials in her honor be made to The Churches of Christ Relief Fund. Such a donation was sent.

THE ANNEX
    The work in the annex has been mentioned a lot lately because it is becoming such a nice change. The fans are operational now and will provide the needed air circulation when the building is crowded during hot weather. Thanks to Mike Branch for leading the way in this work.

WEDNESDAY EVENING
    Due to colds and other illness, along with the holidays, we have canceled the Wednesday evening  service lately. Things 

are looking better now and we hope to see you this coming Wednesday for the continued study of the Gospel of John.

HEALTH TALENTS INT.
    The annual report from Health Talents International is on the foyer table. Take a look at it before it is placed on the downstairs bulletin board.

THANKS
    Thanks to Susan Jordan for arraigning the service last Sunday which contained the history behind some of the hymns we sing. Also to those who read and to Scott Blessing for leading the songs.
THANKS
    The family we helped with Christmas sends their thanks. The mother will put some pictures on FaceBook and they will be shared with the congregation.