Roanoke Church of Christ

An Unchanging God in a Changing World II

Roanoke Church of Christ “New Life” Bulletin, April 4, 2021

            In the last bulletin, written in 2013, the premise was that human beings understand and “hear” God within the historical and current thinking in which they live. For example, the human body has not basically changed over the centuries, but our understanding of it has changed dramatically. The same is true of the natural world. For example, in Psalm 12l:6, in a psalm about the protection of God, it says, ” . . . the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.” The belief was that these objects in the sky could do harm, therefore, the psalmist assures his readers that God will protect them from the sun and moon’s harm. While God was seen as the one who “hung” the moon and the sun, and most of the psalms are poetry, God was still understood by their perception of what they believed about the sun and moon.

             The earth was understood to be flat, therefore the idea that human beings could build a tower to go and visit God was seen as possible, even though most of the Jewish rabbi’s saw it as a metaphor about man’s arrogance. If the tower were built, as the story goes, God would somehow be invaded, so the different languages came about to abort this attempt. There are still people who believe if the world spoke one language, it would be a danger to God.

            There was also the belief in a multiplicity of gods in the “heavens.” The commandment not to “have any other gods before me,” implies the belief in other gods. And, one might ask why God did not say, “There is just one God, I am. There are no others, no matter what you may think.”

             Did the commandment not to have, or put, any other god before the God of Israel mean the God of Israel had to be considered superior to the others, they believed existed? There are still people who believe there are “rulers” in the heavenly places who compete with God.

             The belief was, that up there above the “bright blue” was the place where God lived. Over time a better understanding of the universe caused humans to replace the idea of a city above the clouds, with other, more, shall I say, “universal” ideas of the afterlife. But in ancient times in dreams and “visions”, angels (messengers) from God would naturally come down, even on a staircase, as in Jacob’s case. From where else could they come? Not from below. That was considered dark and evil. It was where the dead went. We still bury people in the ground, but few believe there is a place (hades or hell) somewhere in the earth, as I once did.

            God was seen as the one who caused all-natural events.  So strong is this idea that natural disasters are called “Acts of God” by insurance companies. Go to the internet and article after article says God controls the weather. And there is an abundance of Old Testament scripture and Jesus quieting the storm to infer that.  

            I know this is a tough subject, and I certainly leave room for the mystery that is God. But when I read those passages in Deuteronomy and other places that say if the people do what God wants, they will have good weather, and if they don’t they will have bad, I have a real problem with that, knowing what we have learned about what causes weather conditions.  “I think of the people in Texas who froze in a winter storm, or in Alabama, who died in a tornado, or in Nashville who died in near record-breaking floods, and I wonder if they are asking what they did to deserve God’s wrath? What do we do with the knowledge we have from the meteorological fields of science? Is warning people of God’s weather-wrath a sin? What if the ones God was after escape because they were warned? Of course, if you believe God was after them with a tornado, you will also believe that God would make traffic, or a tree block their way and finally get them.

             One entry said God had to be in control of the weather, because God was in control of everything. My immediate response was that God seems to have no control over those “rebellious angels, the “satan”, and sinners in general. It seems the moment God gave humans free will the idea of control went out the window. I think we would also say that God wanted it that way, and once free will was set in motion it was not about to be changed. Could that not also be true about the laws of creation? God is said to have hung the sun and the moon, which is not literally true. But, having been “hung” they will hang until some cosmic event might cause otherwise. Likewise, the atmospheric conditions which surround the earth, varied as they may be, are set in place.

            The weather was understood and explained with the understanding of God at the time of the Bible. To tell them the earth was round, spinning in space, not resting on anything, would have been completely beyond any imaginable understanding in that period of their human development.

             But we still have “The Lord said.” What do we do with that? Question: Would God tell a person something the person had no way of understanding? “No way” being the key words. Does God not speak in ways that can be related to the need and understanding at the time? You see, it is one thing to say, “God said” and to say “God spoke through the prophets.” Which is what it says in Luke 1:70, Matt. 13:35, Acts 3:21 and Hebrews l:1, among others. It can be seen that when God speaks through a person, the words that come out are always framed by the understanding of God at that time. Why? Because anything else would be beyond comprehension. For that reason, the Messianic prophesies have in them promises that only have meaning to an agrarian society, such as is found in Isaiah I l:6-9 &. Micah 4:l-5.

 To me this means we will continue to see and understand the wonder of God better each moment we live.

            Keith Wagner

THOSE TO SERVE IN MARCH

Announcements: Judy McWhorter

Ushers: Mark McRoy / Holly Wagner

Singing:  4– Karen Branch, 11_Wayne Flora, 18 & 25 Del Bolin   

Scripture: 4- Debbie McRoy,

 11, 18, 25 Connie Crites  

Communion:  4,18,25 Mike Branch

11 -Keith Wagner

APRIL BIRTHDAYS

13 – Lucas Downing   15 – Ruby Crosen

23- Maggie Foy 25 – Delmas Bolin

CONCERNS: Friend of Susan Jordan, Lebreska Whitaker is recovering from a bilateral mastectomy. Nick Hodges one of Holly’s CF friends had COVID, he is now worried about more damage to his lungs. Friend of Mark McRoy, Mr. Calesta Saunders is paralyzed from waist down from a spinal stroke.  Susan Jordan’s parents, Kerry and Sula Hay, as Kerry is recovering from heart procedure. Angela Cavalier is recovering from knee surgery.  Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s sister Jan and brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet, he is now home.  Megan Downing’s aunt Stacey Smith with ongoing cancer treatments. Also pray for Megan’s grandmother Bonnie Beaver has stage 4 ovarian cancer. Megan’s grandfather Judd Beaver who has Parkinson’s. Erma’s sister, Lorretta, has serious health issues and is awaiting an oncology treatment plan.   

 Alan Beach is doing well and is working full-time, while continuing Immunotherapy treatments at UVAthrough April, keep him and Joni in your prayers.Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie health issues. Alisa Flora’s sister, Melanie Gentry, stage three cancer. Please keep the whole family in prayer.

Please pray for friends of Keith Wagner, Jo-Ellen and son Joe Griffith both are having health issues.  Teryn’s Mother, Brenda Windham cancer. Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. Pray for Wayne & Susan Phelgar to continue to stay safe and healthy. Pray for Debbie McRoy’s cousins, Linda Alsup and Erica Halford. Deanna McRoy has a kind of cancer that can return at any time. 

ALSO REMEMBER:  Martha Albert, Ruby Crosen, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Tim Elder.

MINISTER’S REPORT

Hello all,
I just wanted to keep you updated on some things that I am working on outside of what you see on Sundays. If you would like to join in any of these action items please reach out, I would love the help, encouragement, and most of all fellowship in this ministry.


CIA – This past week I had the pleasure of meeting with Rev. Gayle Davidson the pastor with Westhampton Christian Church down the road. She introduced me to; Congregations in Action, an area group of folks from different churches that gathered together to serve school aged kids in the immediate area. Please keep posted for ways to be involved with this great group of people.

Chicken and Bibles – Is a go!!! Through two donations as well as a generous partnership with Chick-Fil-A and the Gideons we look to distribute close to 200 bibles and chicken sandwiches on Saturday April 10th from 11:30-12:30 both in our parking lot as well as in the apartment complex next door.


Book Stand – We will be setting up a take a book stand for the front of the church by the sidewalk in hopes of sharing bibles and other Christ centered literature to the community.


Movie Night – I am working through the logistics of setting up a weekly movie night for the summer in grassy area next to fellowship hall.

The Church building– We have had multiple masons come to look at the pointing issues between the bricks. We are about to start checking references and moving ahead with some deferred maintenance projects as well as rebuilding the wall by the handicap entrance.

* We are looking to approve a plan to cost effectively repair the baptismal.

* I have also spoken to a mill worker to reconstruct some of the rotten wood at the base of the columns.

* Next up is reaching out to roofers to investigate some of the issues that are making themselves obvious.

* We should have a new sign out front in the near future as the one we have is deteriorating.

* We had an energy audit of the building and in doing so we were supplied free of charge LED light bulbs for all the screw in fixtures, although the savings of this will be minimal.

Now Of course we are looking to be good stewards of God’s resources so the vetting of contractors and exploring all options does take a bit.

 GIDEONS’ CHICK-FIL-A  OUTREACH

We are partnering with Gideons and Chick-fil-A to give out chicken sandwiches and bibles to our neighbors on Saturday, April 10th from 11:30 to 12:30. Please come help!

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS 

        Please join us for the study of  “The Acts of God in the Book of  Acts. At 9:30 am, in person or online with YOUTUBE.