Roanoke Church of Christ

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Let me start at the beginning, if there is a beginning. When it comes to politics, my mother was a Democrat and my father was a Republican, at least that’s what they said. I never knew them to actually vote. They said it was because each one would void the other’s vote.
I remember being in a schoolyard when FDR died. School was dismissed early that day. A few years later in the same schoolyard, I remember saying I wanted Dewey to win. Why? I heard my father say he should. He didn’t and my world didn’t change as far as I could tell.
I was mad when Truman fired General MacArthur. Then my brother who was in the Army during the Korean “Conflict” told me the President was the Commander-in-Chief of the military and MacArthur had disobeyed an order from the President. My life didn’t change.
Jack Kennedy was a Catholic and that was bad, according to a lot of people, including the church my family attended. He was elected and my life didn’t change. However, it was about that time I started looking beyond my life and looking at my country and the rest of the world.
We moved to West Virginia to start work with a small-town church, and it might have been then we decided to register to vote. In that state you had to chose a party, so we both chose the party of Jo’s parents. But we didn’t vote until several years later. We did get a taste of politics in that little town. One of the elders was a local Justice of the Peace and another was on the county school board, and part of the same political party. The JP held court on Sunday, which I was to understand was illegal.
A member there was on the inside of the local and state politics. He took me to the capital where I met, as I remember, the Governor and one or two of his close sidekicks. He would later go to prison.
When the two above mentioned elders decided to fire me (the elder who wanted me hired had retired and moved away) I was told by my “insider” friend that the school board member had been told to leave the county or go to jail for some kind of misappropriation of funds. I was his last act as an elder. All of the afore mentioned men were part of the political party we’d registered with.
The town had two Methodist churches. One was a white frame building and was called the Southern (Republican) Methodist Church. The other, a fine brick building on the hill by the Court House was known as the Northern (Democrat) Methodist Church. I’m fairly sure they were not “United” Methodists.
As to if the split made a lot of difference, I don’t know. The designations seemed to be more a part of family and personal preference rather than history. They seemed to get along fine.
We had close friends at church who were part of the opposite party from us. Once in awhile I would hear them speak about the corruption of the opposition party, and I didn’t disagree. I was not into politics.
I don’t remember the first time Jo and I voted. I think it was when Jimmy Carter was running. I remember the fear that went around when he said he was a born again Christian. That was a new one. People didn’t know what to do with that. How would that influence his decisions?
It was, as I remember, during the Reagan Administration, that I first heard good friends, the kind that made our lives better, say disparaging things about the other political party. This was done in front of their “brothers and sisters who were part of the “other” party.
This atmosphere seemed to grow, and during the Clinton years it became more exposed. A church member said at a gathering that she wished someone would assassinate Hillary Clinton. When my wife said she surely didn’t mean that, she assured her that she did. I shouldn’t have let it pass, but I did. It wasn’t long before she moved to another church. As we talked, I said I was glad there were two political parties. She said there should be only one-hers.
During that same time, a couple attending a small group meeting of this church, quit the meeting and the church because what was supposed to be a Bible study turned into bashing the political party of which they were a part.
Out of that came open statements that one political party was about Christian values. Which meant the other was not. More than one person has said a person couldn’t be a Christian and be a member of the other party. Which means if you were part of that party you were not a “true” Christian. A friend told me a person she’d known for a long time tried to drag her in a political discussion she didn’t want to have, and when she told her friend, she never heard from her again.
I have a minister friend who had to basically announce in the church bulletin that the church would be a politically neutral zone.
To say this has been part of the history of politics, even causing a war between the States, is beside the point. This is about Christians. You know, like the Christian Jews and the Gentile Christians having respect for one another’s views about Gentile things and Jewish things. It was just too easy to say the uncircumcised Gentile Christian was not a “real” Christian.
Don’t get me wrong, there are “Christians” and then there are “Christians”.The “real” ones are known by how they reflect the qualities of Jesus. I say “how well” because none of us are exceptionally good at doing that, but the difference is evident when we do get it right, or when we get it wrong.
As Christians we are not to be, as Paul would say, “of the world.” That the “world” smears and lies about its opponents is evident. So it behooves Christians to fact- check anything they see posted as truth. And while doing so, respect those who see things differently. It is the “truth” which sets us free. I know Jesus is the truth which sets us free. But you get the point.

CONCERNS: Alisa Flora did very well with her surgery. She may be home by today. Abraham Sirgy asks prayer for a friend, Timothy Johnson. Del Bolin asks prayer for Abby Keeting, a little girl being treated for leukemia. Luke Beach, grandnephew of Alan & Joni. Judy and T. J. Hall. Judy is having eye problems and T. J. with migraines. Teryn Gaynor’s mother continues with cancer treatments. Ben Robertson is job hunting. Tolly Nicklas is in nursing care. Steve Gaynor’s sister. Betty. Gary Overstreet. Melisha Scruggs’ friend, Jeanie, who has a child with health problems. Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jamie Cole, Jim and Mary Smith and Tom Elder. The Thurston boy Judy McWhorter ask prayer for had the kidney transplant and did fine.
Monday: Psalm 40:1-17
Tuesday: John 8:49-59
Wednesday: Philippians 2:14-30
Thursday: Ephesians 2:1-22
Friday: John 19:1-16
Saturday: Colossians 1:3-20
Monday: John 10:1-18
Tuesday: Matthew 13:24-43
Wednesday: Psalm 90:1-17
Thursday: Luke 14:15-24
Friday: Amos 5:18-6:1
Saturday: Psalm 71:1-24

Today we will hear Lyn Jordan tell us about his experience while working with the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala. Susan has been going for several years and this year we sent Lyn along.
He had several new experiences, as does everyone who goes for the first time. We are looking forward to hearing from him today.

Today is also Super Sunday. Along with the other food that is brought, we will have the leftover Bar-B-Que which has been frozen since Labor Day. It consists of pork shoulder and chicken. We were not able to freeze the prime rib because it had been frozen twice before. However, we were able to send it all home with those who came. Plan to stay and enjoy the meal.

Most of us have friend and relatives in Florida. Todd Wagner and his family had no damage to their home in Cape Coral, other then loss of power for about a day. Jen and the children came to Roanoke.
Stephanie Dixon also did fine in Sarasota, with just a loss of power as well.

Vivian will be away for the next three weeks.

There will be a steering Committee meeting in the library after the Super Sunday meal.

The need for peanut butter is ongoing. Feeding America is always distributing peanut butter to families in need. Place it either on the downstairs tale, or on the foyer table.

If you are about to get rid of usable furniture, give Keith a call first.


Dear God,

As one of your children I’m writing to ask you some questions. I know I could call you “Father”, but this is more or less an official letter, you know, about business.
I’m sure you know that a hurricane has struck the Texas coast. It is said to be the worst in their history and the damage will last for months, if not years.
My question is, what did the people of Texas do wrong? I’m not accusing, just asking. You see, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans several years ago, John Hagee, that big-time San Antonio preacher (among several others) said Katrina was your judgement on the sins of that city. So I was wondering, since Hurricane Harvey hit almost all of the Texas coast, including doing historic damage to Houston, its largest city; what sins will John Hagee say brought about your wrath on them? And, is he a hypocrite and false teacher if he does not blame sin on the disaster? He will probably point out that Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church was spared.
While I’m at it, why, with all the evil in the world, are all these disasters mostly blamed on the LGBTQ people? You remember Jerry Falwell blamed the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center on gay marriage and the LGBTQ. He wasn’t the only one. Of course you remember that just before endorsing Mitt Romney for president Roberto Miranda, that preacher in Boston blamed 9/11 on Boston’s lax views on gay marriage because the terrorists flew out of Boston’s Logan Airport.
This Gay matter will all be over soon according to a preacher named Kim Burrell. She says it looks to her like all the Gays will be destroyed this year. It’s September, so I’m wondering, since I’m sure she’s wrong, if those who follow her might be wise enough to see the light?
I know this kind of judgement has been going on for centuries. People believe what they want to. I just have trouble understanding why they continue to follow someone who is proven wrong over and over again?
I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but that guy, Pat Robertson, is always messing up and using your name to do it. His TV show draws I don’t know how many people each day.
A week before the 2008 election Pat told Mitt Romney he would win the election over President Obama. You also remember he asked you to remove President Obama from office. It didn’t seem to phase him when you didn’t do it. Neither does it phase his listeners when none of his predictions, most of which are preceded by “God told me” do not come true.
How did you feel when Rabbi Nolson Leiter not only blamed Hurricane Sandy on Gay marriage, but said the great flood in the Bible was caused for the same reason? I’ve heard a lot of misplaced stuff about the curse of Ham, but this was a new one on me. I don’t expect you to send me an answer. I’ve kind of figured out that you expect us to use the very nature of what is called “the image of God” in us to show love and compassion to all of humanity, as well as figuring out who is using you to create a personal following and avoid them.
I suppose I’m just venting, but as I’m sure you know, venting is good for the soul. Sometime prayer is just getting all the stuff down deep out in the light so it can be observed at arms length. Having said that, I’m still trying to figure out why anything that has to do with sexuality automatically is a call for all kinds of natural disasters? I’ve yet to hear one of the “God is judging you because…” preachers say that in relationship to massive greed and injustice in the courts, or when money is cut to feed children who go to school hungry. Meals on Wheels feeds the elderly and shut-ins, but when funds are cut, the only preachers who say anything are usually called liberals by the “God caused this disaster” bunch. As I read the Bible, these are major “judgement” issues.
As you know, the disaster in Texas, and primarily in Houston seems to show that you have nothing to do with any such disaster judgements. The rain (even too much) falls on the just and the unjust. I realize the “God did it” folks will say all the “innocent” people are collateral damage because of the sins of others. The Bible Belt excluded. However, as we look at these tragedies we find people of all colors and stripes helping others without asking if they are the reason the disaster happened. I think your son said something about the children of this world being wiser than the children of light. I don’t think the “God did it” crowd is very (en) lightened. But I can say when we see the concern and compassion for others, regardless their race or religion or gender preference, we can see Jesus. And we can hear his words, “Insomuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me.”
In closing, I know I don’t need to tell you who I am, but I wonder why “There is none so blind as those who will not see” didn’t make it into the Bible?

CONCERNS: Del Bolin’s mother is not doing well. They are with her this weekend. Also, Leena’s brother, Mike, had a pacemaker installed last Wednesday. Also remember Leena’s cousin Tolly Nicklas. Teryn Gaynor’s mother continues with cancer treatment. Alisa Flora will have surgery at Duke in a week or so. Remember also Gary Overstreet, Steve Gaynor’s sister, Betty, Melisha Scruggs’ friend Jeanie and her sick child, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Gil Richardson Ray & Darnel Barns, Jim & Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Genesis 12.11-20
Tuesday: I Samuel 3.1-18
Wednesday: Philippians 3.7-11
Thursday: I John4.7-21
Friday: Romans 7.13-8:11
Saturday: Ephesians 3.7-21
Monday: Jeremiah 31.23-34
Tuesday: I Corinthians 11:.17-34
Wednesday: Acts 6.1-7
Thursday: Matthew 5.21-48
Friday: Psalm 119.129-152
Saturday: Psalm 67.1-7

“Just wanted to pass along our good news! Nelson Oaks Forsyth was born on August 1st (which is my birthday, so we are birthday buddies) weighing 8lbs 11oz 22 in long. Nelson is a family name from my side ans Oaks is a reference to Isaiah 61, where God will raise up “oaks of righteousness …to rebuild the ancient ruins and restore places long devastated…” He is a happy, healthy baby and is doing very well! Jeff and I are tired and a little overwhelmed, but mostly having so much fun caring for and getting to know our little man. We’d love your prayer as we continue to adjust to our new life.
“Hope all is well in Roanoke and at our dear church! We miss and love you all.”

This is being written before the Bar-B-Que, but as always, thanks to those who helped. It looks like a rainy day is expected, but that has happened before. Once the grill is hot it makes little difference. Our thanks to Jeff Bland for his food gift. It was very special and delicious.
What food isn’t eaten will be frozen and will become the main dish for the Super Sunday meal on the 17th.

If you are replacing any furniture, there is a family in need. See Keith if you are going to replace anything soon and he will call and see if there is still a need.

The steering committee will meet briefly after the morning service to discuss how much we will send to The Churches of Christ Disaster Relief program in Nashville. They have the ability to purchase items at a bulk rate and will deliver to Texas what is needed.
This is an open ended drive for Feeding America. Bring some with you when you come tochurch.


“Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh when will they ever learn?”
(Where have all the flowers gone?)

There is nothing to be learned from the events in Charlottesville. If we didn’t already know what brought this about, it does little good to rehash it.
The face of Charlottesville is the face of our nation, and has been since it’s founding. The racism, bigotry and racial superiority seen there is a reflection of a world-wide culture. There is nothing to learn, just the witnessing of reality.
We can string words together in condemnation of such action, but they do nothing to change the facts. This is America and has been from the beginning. The problem comes when we either deny it or don’t know it.
An interesting moment took place after the events in Charlottesville. The media was interviewing several people concerning their feelings about what had happened. One was a United Church of Christ minister who had been part of the clergy apposed to the KKK, Alt-right, white supremacists etc., Another was a local politician who lamented that this kind of thing could take place in the home of Thomas Jefferson.
After he spoke the minister reminded the viewers that Jefferson believed in white supremacy. (See Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia.) There, Jefferson says blacks are “in reason, much inferior, in imagination, dull, tasteless and anomalous”
He also suggests that males would mate with orangutans.
Racism and white (or European) supremacy, male supremacy etc., has been part of the world century upon century. In fact, it defines history. Every conflict has been based on the assumed rights of one race or culture over the other. So embedded in humanity it is often the minority who will dare say it is evil and morally inexcusable. And even having said it, there can haunt in the nether regions of the soul the idea that it might be so. It’s known as prejudice.
I’ve heard the quotations about how hatred has to be taught, and I agree. However, after the Charlottesville incident, the father of one of the white supremacists announced that he and his family were disowning that son. He went on to say he had no idea where his son came up with those ideas, but they were never part of his family. Other relatives commented that the young man had become “scary” and they wanted nothing to do with him. This is a common response by those who have children who become part of hate organizations. Do we believe the testimony of the family? We have no reason not to. Most of us have seen children of “good” families go bad. It would be easy to say it was the devil. But how is it that the devil finds a way to get in? Children with every reason to become part of such groups that bring terror, don’t. That will, for the time being, remain a mystery.
It would also be easy for the Christian to say it was a lack of teaching about God and Jesus. But the evidence would say otherwise. The resent gathering of supremacists gathered in Seattle to have a prayer meeting. Prayer meetings before Klan rally’s was a common experience.
The burning cross was not an antiChristian symbol, but a symbol that God was on their side. How many of those, Neo Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, White Supremacists (NNKKKWS) in Charlottesville, call themselves Christian is anybodies guess. But there is enough evidence to show that many of them do. The leader of the KKK in Danville says they are a peaceful group who want to protect the supremacy of the white race. He claims Christianity but denies that Jesus was a Jew.
How many openly NNKKKWS sit in churches each Sunday? How many preachers accept their views as “just opinion”? If they do it should not surprise us. Many in Christian churches (CofC included), openly endorsed segregation. Our Christian Colleges were segregated. Northeastern Institute for Christian Education (NICE) in Villanova, Pa. was the first to integrate, in 1959.
Racists were not only accepted in churches, but often were ministers and elders and educational leaders. Racism was not called a sin, but Biblical truth.
How did that change? Mostly grudgingly. Government improvement loans were denied any segregated organization. No blacks, no gymnasium money.
Will Christian ministers refuse membership to NNKKKWS who openly espouse that ideology? Will they ask them to renounce it in the name of Christ? Or will it be viewed as one opinion over and against another. Will it be called sin and evil?
The length of time it took for many Christian churches to call segregation sinful and evil took centuries, and there is still an undercurrent of racism in some churches.
Do I understand how it is easy for a “Christian” to spew prejudicial statements and still feel “Christian.” Yes. Because I also understand how easy it is to be drawn into letting fear and superior feelings find a foothold in me. Regardless, it is still sin and evil.
What bothers and frustrates me is remembering the past. The time when segregation was the norm in many places. When blacks and whites couldn’t legally marry. When black children would not be adopted to a white family, and certainly vice versa. I see all this and the progress made, but I am impatient. I don’t want anyone to suffer discrimination or death while so much time is spent waiting for the minds of people to change. We are always looking back to what used to be that is no longer accepted. Thank God in each period there are those who refused to accept such sin and evil.
Once again the Christian church has a decision to make. It cannot claim to follow Jesus, everyone says that. It will have to maintain its integrity and be known by what it produces. As Jesus said, “by its fruits”.

CONCERNS: Teryn Gaynor’s mother had to stop the cancer treatments for a few weeks. Alisa Flora will have surgery at Duke next month. Tolly Nicklas, Leena Bolin’s cousin. Gary Overstreet had cataract surgery and now can enjoy much better sight. Steve Gaynor’s sister is improving each day. Melisha Scruggs asks prayers for a co-worker named Jeanie, who has a child with serious heath issues. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray & Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: John 1:1-18
Tuesday: Luke 18:1-4
Wednesday: II Corinthians 1:3-11
Thursday: I Corinthians 5:1-8
II Corinthians 1:23-2:11
Friday: Job 1:13-2:10
Saturday: Psalm 97:1-12
Monday: I Timothy 6:11-21
Tuesday: Psalm 119:89-112
Wednesday: Mark 2:15-3:6
Thursday: Acts 8:4-24
Friday: Luke 22:39-53
Saturday: I Corinthians 15:42-48

Former members, Jeff and Karissa Forsyth are the overjoyed parents of a baby boy. His name is Nelson Oaks Forsyth. He was born August 10th.

Lyn and Susan Jordan have returned from working a week at the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala. We look forward to hearing their experiences soon.
Nick Bolin is back, or soon will be, from an internship with Amazon is Seattle. Mom and dad are on a “working” cruse where Del is lecturing as they travel.
Megan and James Downing are spending a week at the Outer Banks with James’ parents.

Today is Super Sunday. We will have our fellowship meal in the annex following the morning service. If you are a visitor consider yourself our guest.

This third Sunday of the month’s service has been arranged and conducted by Wayne Flora. Our thanks to him for his preparation. It will consist a service of readings and songs.

A family of seven is in need of any kind of furniture. They are involved in a civil suit where a landlord rented them a house he did not own and robbed them of most of what they had. Let Keith know if you have anything you a about to replace.

This year’s Bar B Que will be on Saturday, September 2nd. A sing-up list is on the foyer table. While not mentioned as a preference, this year via a gift, we will be smoking some prime rib as well as pork and chicken. Bring food that goes with Bar-B-Que.
We plan to eat about 4:00 PM


Imagine a room just off the large arena-type room in which the Roman Senate met, in say, 125 AD. The Emperor is Hadrian. He and a few hand-picked senators were discussing how to expand the Roman Empire. Hadrian was not as interested in maintaining all of his predecessor, Trajan’s acquisitions, but he did have an interest in social change and civic improvements.
Senator Lucinius was first to address the issue at hand. “Emperor Hadrian, I come to you today to speak about a sect rooted in Judaism. You are familiar with them, as they are sometimes called ‘Christians’ or followers of a Jew name Jesus. They see him as Christ, you know, a king. However, our government, after years of persecuting them, decided many years ago to treat them as we treat other Jews. As long as they pay their taxes and obey the law, they are left alone.”
“I’m aware of these Christians. So what’s the issue we need to discuss,” asked Hadrian.
“For a number of years there have been a growing number of Italians and Romans who are responding to the message of Christianity. Even a sizable group over the years from the royal palace itself. Among those have been people of means who have becoming followers of this Jesus fellow.”
“Do you think they are planning an over through?”
“No, it’s not that. They are very much citizens of the Empire. Perhaps Dionysus could explain it better. He has more contact with them than I have.”
“Emperor Hadrian, I humbly ask your indulgence as I speak about this important matter. We do not think these Christians are a danger to the Empire. In fact, we think they are an asset. For example, Brutus Maximus owns one of the largest toga manufacturing complexes in the Empire. He has factories in all the regions, all the way to Spain. He has become one of several businessmen who are Christians. It seems our system of government is good for business.”
“Of course it is. After all we are ruled by me with help from the Senate. Now, what’s that got to do with some of our citizens becoming Christians?”
The third Senator, Attianus, said, “Let me tell him! Great Emperor. Rather than appearing to be against Christians, we should incorporate them into our process of government. Especially since they seem to be growing faster than any other religion. Even Greeks have converted.
“What we were thinking is giving any Christian businessman an exemption from government taxes.”
Hadrian leaned forward in his seat and with a frown said, “Be careful what you say! Taxing the populace is what puts food on our tables and pays for our vacation homes on the Mediterranean. Our military might rests on taxes. Everything operates on taxes! Now you are proposing letting some people out of paying them!”
Attianus looked afraid to speak, so Lucinius took over. “Lord Emperor, here’s how it will work. We will raise the taxes on the workers, not the owners. With this plan more businesses will open and more people will be working and the economy will flourish.”
“How high will we tax the workers under this new plan? As you know, there is already discontent among those countries we have occupied about the tax rate.”
“Emperor, it’s about the haves and the have nots. It’s always been that way. Some are born to work and others are born to live off of the work of others. What we are doing is just expanding the field. People will work for whatever they are paid, rather than starve. The Christians will jump at the chance at being a greater part of our government.”
“I’m not excited about giving anyone, even a Roman Christian a lot of power.” Said Hadrain.”
“Not to worry. We can pass a law preventing that.”
Hadrian said, “I also hear these Christians operate by a different set of ethics than do others . What makes you think they will go for something that will denigrate others? And what if some of those who work for them become Christians? What makes you think they will take advantage of those I hear they call brothers and sisters?”
Attianus smiled and said, “That’s an interesting point. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. But we know It’s all about the money. Isn’t it Emperor? It’s all about the money.”

CONCERNS: Tolly Nicklas, Leena Bolin’s cousin’s health continues to decline. Gary Overstreet is at home. Steve Gaynor’s sister, Betty, is slowly improving. Melisha Scruggs asks pray for a co-worker named Jeanie, who has a child with multiple health issues. Remember also Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, who is doing well after heart surgery. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Due to an accident, Amber can only communicate with her eyes. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray & Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Matthew 18:10-20
Tuesday: Romans 14:1-18
Wednesday II Thess. 3:1-16
Thursday: Genesis 45:4-28
Friday: Mark 19:17-31
Saturday: Psalm 67:1-10

Monday: Ephesians 1:3-14
Tuesday: Philippians 1:3-18
Wednesday: II Corinthians 9:6-15
Thursday: Luke 5:17-26
Friday: I Timothy 6:1-10
Saturday: Psalm 111:1-10

Dr, Bolin will be in Honduras with another doctor and twenty-eight medical students for a week or so. They will treat over a hundred patients a day. Keep all of them and the people they treat in your prayers.

Last Sunday Judy Hall asked that we pray for their new “rescued” pound pup who escaped from their care. Happy to announce that she is back safe and sound, and slowly adjusting to her new home.

The Salem Red Sox is having a Faith Night at the ball park on July 29th. There will be Christian music, family entertainment, and 1,000 T-shirts to the first arrivals. The gates will open at 5:00 P. M.
General admission is $6.00 and box seats are $8.00. Sorry, but the flyer didn’t come.

Many of us remember Melissa Keller who worshiped with us while she was at Roanoke Collage. Rich and Connie Crites became her away from home parents. While she was teaching at a college in Eastern Tennessee, she met and married a man who is also a member of the church. He has a daughter from a former marriage and they now have a baby boy on the way.
They have decided to give back to the church, and are now at Crowley’s Ridge College in Paragould, Arkansas. With her PhD. in Biology, they will both increase the status of this small Church of Christ college. What a good story!

The area Roger Fisher cleaned on Carlton has grown up in weeds. Our Yard man will not mow there because it has some rocks and small stumps. If you have a day you can help, let Keith and Holly know and they will join you.


You have heard a Gideon tell stories about those who pick up a Gideon Bible while in some distress, read it and accept Christ as their personal Savior. The story proclaims the power of the Bible. Or, you may have heard a preacher talk about a shepherd who was given a Bible and read it while tending his sheep. When he was done he knew what he needed to do to become a Christian. In other words, it’s simple. Yes, as a start. However, where that start takes the person is another matter.
Many of us were told the Bible “meant what it said, and said what it meant.” No questions need be asked, just do what it said and you’d be saved. Anyone who read what it said and didn’t arrive at the same meaning as you, was wrong. There can only be one right meaning. But what if what it said was not what it meant? What if the meaning of the word in one time meant something different in another time? Even better, what if the story (parable) was understood differently by those who heard it and those who would read it centuries later?
Think of how hard it is to convince people that the “talent” as in the parable of the talents, has nothing to do with using one’s natural ability. But that the word “talent” is a translated word for a sum of money. It is about what one thinks of God, not how one uses God-given ability.
In the last few weeks, having read something, I have been looking deeper into the historical and culture meaning of things in the Bible. I am convinced, that while there is enough to start one on the journey of Christianity, help is needed to grow in wisdom and understanding. Hence the meaning of “disciple” or “learner” or more to our understanding, “student.”
It is easy to say if we just love God and our neighbor as ourselves we have fulfilled the law and the prophets. But when the lawyer asked Jesus who was his neighbor, it was illegitimate question. It was a question disgusted in the synagogue each time that scroll was read. (By the way, during the synagogue service when there was a reading of scripture, there was then a discussion about it.) All sides would be examined. They did not say it said what it meant and meant what it said.
Take for example the “neighbor” question. Certainly the law of Moses had said the neighbor should be loved. But did that mean the inhabitants of Jericho, and the other cities wiped out by the Israelites? “Neighbor,” at the time the law was given had a more narrow definition than it did after Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan. (If we can believe they listened to him.) James and John had just suggested letting them call down fire on the Samaritans who had just tossed Jesus and them out of their city. (Lk 9:54)
Today, while still struggling with who the neighbor is, because of Jesus and the meaning of the gospel as seen in the life of Paul and the church, we know it means anyone, especially those in need.
Let’s look at another one. When Jesus was preaching the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:17 ff, he said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.” What did he mean? The answer is generally that Jesus kept the Law in every way, every way. But for example, we see him not keeping it when it came touching lepers and other unclean people. So what do we do with that? We try to understand it as it was understood by those who heard Jesus say it.
To do that we have to dig into Jewish culture at the time. This can be done with the blessing of the internet. If you really want to understand Jewish thinking, go to A. J. Levine, a New Testament and Jewish scholar at Vanderbilt. You don’t have to agree with her to learn from her. She is among a number of scholars who have studied the history of Jewish though. Here’s what they say about Matthew 5:17ff. In the synagogue and other places of teaching and learning, when a participant has misrepresented the Law in some way in the eyes of another, he would say, “You are destroying (or abolishing) the Law!” When a participant said something which highlighted the intent of the Law in another’s eyes, the person would say, “What you have said fulfills the Law!”
So it would be possible for those discussing the Law to have different views as to what it meant. The word “fulfill” had nothing to do with literally keeping every aspect of the Law, but whether the listener believed it was or was not “fulfilling” the intent of the Law. Therefore, Jesus is not saying he will keep every part of the Law, but that what he does fulfills the intent of the Law.
Why is something like that important? Because in knowing what the original intent of the words were, keeps the reader from formulating a twisted understanding about how Jesus could keep the Law while seeming to break it. It also answers the question of when he fulfilled it. It was not nailed to the cross when he died. It was fulfilled in the way he lived it.
When someone says Jesus broke the law, someone hurries to say he didn’t because of the Matthew passage. What Jesus was saying, and they understood, even if they didn’t agree, was that his actions fulfilled the intent of the Law.
The Jews didn’t have one solid understanding of the Law. They read it, and then reasoned about how to apply it. Adultery and divorce were problems. They agreed on that. But they argued about what constituted a valid reason for divorce. Jesus said, “Don’t even think about it.”
The same was true of the Sabbath. They knew it was to be kept, but how? So they made a list of things that could or could not be done on the Sabbath. Those items became the Law. If we say Jesus never broke the Law, only the interpretation of the Law, we miss the point. The interpretation is the Law, i.e., the “fulfillment” of the Law.
It may always mean what it says, but for it to do that, we need help in understanding what it actually means.

CONCERNS: Tolly Nicklas, Leena Bolin’s cousin, is in rapidly failing health. Gary Overstreet is now at home. Steve Gaynor’s sister, Betty, suffered a broken hip and had surgery. This is a setback in her recovery from a fall and a stroke. Melisha Scruggs asks prayers for a co-worker named Jeanie, who has a child with multiple health issue. Remember also Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray & Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: John 8:21-27
Tuesday: Luke 22:14-30
Wednesday: Luke 12:13-34
Thursday: Psalm 51:1-9
Friday: Acts 4:2–5:11
Saturday: Psalm 99:1-9, 100:1-5

Monday: John 17:1-26
Tuesday: Revelation 19:1-16
Wednesday: Luke 16:19-31
Thursday: Matthew 9:1-13
Friday: I Corinthians 10:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 105:1-48

Today’s service will consist of Mike Branch’s experiences while on a humanitarian mission in the Sudan. We have been looking forward to this since he returned. Some who are unable to be here have asked that it be filmed. It will be made available when they return. Thanks to James Downing for the camera work and the finished product.

On this Father’s Day we wish each father a great day with family and friends.

As always, Super Sunday falls on Father’s Day. We hope as many of you as possible will be able to stay for the Super Sunday meal following the service today. If by chance you are a visitor, please consider yourself our guest.

The local baseball team associated with the Boston Red Sox, is having a Faith Night at the ball park on July 29th.
There will be music and other family oriented entertainment. T-shirts will be given away to the first 1000 folks to arrive. The gates will open at 5:00 P. M.
General admission tickets for that night will be $6.00 and $8.00 for box seats.
A flyer will be made available next week for those who want to sign up for games tickets.

Remember the Rescue Mission is asking for donations of school items for children whose family can’t afford to buy them. The information is on the table in the foyer.


Everybody knows what a “one liner” is. It’s a condensed version of something bigger. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” That’s not an easy one for some folks, but you get the point.
When it comes to the Bible, the reviews are mixed. There are some really good ones that express something bigger in one line. I like Jesus saying, “You strain out the gnat and swallow the camel.” You get the picture. Gnat, little, camel, big. You don’t even have to know that both of them were unclean to the Jews to get the point.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has some really good ones. “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” “The eye is the lamp of the body.” “No one can serve two masters.” “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” You get the point.
The difference between these and other “one liners” folks pluck from the Bible is that these are directed at the individual to teach an individual lesson. However, when it comes to the plucking of scripture from its context, it is always, without exception, a reflection of the person’s preconceived theology about life and others. They provide easy answers to difficult problems, and in the process allow the person to remain aloof.
That’s one of the reasons I’d pass a law preventing any politician from quoting scripture in a public speech. First, they might get it right, which only those who already agree with them would value, while their detractors would say was misplaced. Secondly, such use is in effect saying what they are saying is underwritten by God. Again, their followers would agree, their detractors would not. A smart politician can speak to moral and Biblical principles without quoting the Bible as proof.
On the other hand, Bible people are terrible when it comes to plucking one line scripture to set a foundation for a larger belief.
I can still remember sometimes in 1964 or 65, when a very good, generous, well-healed Christian woman said, (I don’t remember the situation, but you can guess) “Well, the Lord said we’d always have the poor with us.” Jesus did indeed say that. However, I remember thinking that I was among the “poor” because of the salary I was getting. I also remember thinking she was more or less expressing her view of “them” and “us.” I don’t blame her, she only reflected the way she’d been taught to use the Bible.
Jesus did say that in three of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark and John. Neither Matthew nor Mark mention Judas’ role in the story. However, Mark (bless his heart) adds a line with real significance. He has Jesus also saying, “and you can help them (the poor) any time you want.” It is John who says Jesus was speaking to Judas.
Context! What is the context? Jesus has just been anointed with some pricey perfume by Mary. Some of the disciples, Judas in John, complains about the waste and Jesus says to Judas, “You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” Oops, we forgot the whole line, as well as considering what Jesus said in Mark.
The passage has been used over and over to say any attempt to eradicate poverty is a pipe dream of liberals.
CONTEXT! Jesus, according to John, is responding to Judas’ complaint. Judas, John says didn’t care about the poor, but was a thief who stole from the treasury. Jesus says to Judas, “You will always have the poor, but not me.” Jesus was no doubt reflecting Deut. 15:7-11. It’s too long to quote here, but about the poor it says, in v. 10,11, “Give generously to him (the poor) and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you and all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” This also involves the idea of the jubilee year, which would certainly reduce poverty.
Poverty may always exist, but the Bible does not give that as an excuse to do nothing. In fact, quite the opposite. Neither am I so short-sighted as to think in the wonder of time and space, that the earth cannot be managed in such a way so as to be able to provide adequately for its inhabitants. Even Isaiah envisioned “The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.”

CONCERNS: Steve Gaynor’s sister, Betty, is making good progress after a stroke. Gary Overstreet is now at home. Melisha Scruggs asks prayers for a co-worker named Jeanie, who has a child with several health issues. Remember Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Tolly Nicklas, Ray & Darnel Barnes, Gil Richardson, Jim & Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
Monday: Isaiah 6:1-13
Tuesday: Matthew 13:1-23
Wednesday: John 6:1-15
Thursday: Luke 15:11-32
Friday: Genesis 39:1-23
Saturday: Psalm 66:1-20

Monday: Hebrews 4:14-5:10
Tuesday: Matthew 5:17-48
Wednesday: Genesis 1:1-31
Thursday: II Samuel 12:1-15
Friday: Ephesians 6:10-20
Saturday: Psalm104:1-35
Congratulations to Dr. Del Bolin. The following was posted on Monday:
Dr Bolin has been promoted to the academic rank of Professor by the Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Committee and the Board of Directors of VCOM. From the first time he stepped in front of a classroom of undergraduates as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Illinois in 1988, he knew teaching was in his blood. He has been recognized with several teaching awards over the years at various institutions, but this new designation of “Professor” is more than a title to him. It is the culmination of 29 years…13 of them at VCOM.. of passionate dedication to educating. Congrats, Professor Bolin.
Jokingly we were told his official title is Professor, Dr. Dr. Bolin, since he has an MD and a PhD. Del will keep his Roanoke office as well.

Dear Pastor Wagner,
I am writing as one of the advisors for our Virginia Tech-Carilion School of Medicine Christian Medical & Dental Association Chapter. Our students are still talking about the special gift your church family gave us last month for our graduation celebration.
Mike Branch recently sent our student rep. (Andy Plaster) a list of church members who supported the event. God knows each one of them so I won’t list all 14 here…just know that we are so deeply grateful for your church’s expression of love!
Not only is Sunday, June 18th Super Sunday, but it is also the day we will get to hear about Mike Branch’s experiences while on his humanitarian trip to the Sudan. Plan to be here.

JUNE BIRTHDAYS: 13-Mike Branch 13-Susan Jordan 21- Wayne Flora 23-Betty Billings 29-Joni Beach
JUNE ANNIVERSARIES: 1-Garrett & Erma Williams 9-Wayne & Alisa Flora 25-Lyn & Susan Jordan
26-Dillon & Laura Hogan 27-Bill & Betty Branch


There is an interesting situation which takes place during the Passover feast with Jesus and his disciples. They are referred to as “the twelve” which John calls “apostles”. After Jesus has told them one of them would betray him, the gospels tell the story of Judas’ betrayal in slightly different ways. Luke says, “they began to question among themselves”. John says they didn’t know which one it was. It is Matthew and Mark who say each the twelve asked Jesus if he were talking about them, including Judas. All of the gospels call Judas a traitor.

But it is Luke alone who says, “Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor”. Luke’s implication is that Judas was not a traitor when he was first selected to be one of the twelve. I find that interesting. Interesting enough to spend some time wondering what happened to turn him into a man so despised that his name became a curse. So let me do what I can, not to exonerate him, but to perhaps understand him. And in so doing, perhaps understand the Judas in all of us.


I loved synagogue school. I could almost see myself with the great prophets as they spoke of the coming Messiah. I sometimes imagined myself as King David, leading God’s kingdom to its proper place among the nations. But it was at my bar mitzvah three years ago, that I felt the swelling of pride mixed with hatred in my chest. When the elders and the rabbi looked at me and said, “Today you are a man!” and I said, “Today I am a man!”, I knew my destiny. I would find the one who, with his army, would restore the glory of Israel.

Growing up I would ask my grandfather to tell me about our nation. We would sit by the firelight as he spoke of the champions of old. But when I asked him why our people were now under the heels of an oppressor, he just looked sad and told me God would not forget his people. I asked him how long we would have to wait? It had been almost a hundred years since there was any sign of independence. He just hung his head and said he hoped to see the redemption of Israel.

The rabbi’s had taught us about the “Hammer”, a Jewish priest named Mattathias, who killed a Greek official when he tried to make a Jewish man sacrifice to a pagan god. He and his five sons became known as the “Maccabees” It is the Hebrew word for “hammer”, because they struck blows against the enemy. So victorious did God make them, that about a hundred years ago, under Mattathias’ son, Judas, our nation was free to govern itself under God. I was proud to carry the name of such a warrior for God, And I wanted to live up to that name.

Then came the end of the Hasmonean Dynasty and about ninety years ago, after some infighting, the Romans came and took over our land. That was what made the hatred swell in my chest every time I thought about it.

I was fifteen when Ira told me about a man from Nazareth named Jesus. He said there were people who claimed he sounded like the promised Messiah. Ira and I were part of a small band of rebels who fought against Rome whenever we could.

Once I saw a Roman soldier kicking an old man who had dropped the soldier’s backpack he’d been commandeered to carry. I was surprised to see a Roman soldier alone, as they usually traveled in groups. I went to them and said I’d carry the load. As the soldier turned to face me I drove my knife into his belly. I’ll never forget the surprised look on his face as he died. I told the old man to go home and tell no one.

What I did brought the Romans down on the town, trying to find the killer. I knew we would have to be part of a much larger force if we were to win our land back.
I wasn’t expecting much when I went with Ira to see this possible Messiah. I’d heard of too many failures in the past. But when I saw Jesus, I was drawn to him. He didn’t speak about revolution, but about the Kingdom of God, which we all knew was Israel. I knew he would change things.

I was surprised when he asked me to become one of twelve disciples who were part of his closest group of followers. Ira was hurt that he wasn’t called, but said he’d stay in touch and maybe he’d join later.

In the following months I watched him do all the things the Messiah was said to do. He fed thousands with hardly nothing. He healed the sick and raised the dead. The crowd wanted to make him the Messiah,but he refused and went into hiding. I suppose the time was not right because his popularity grew more and more with each passing day.

Then one day he excited the twelve of us by telling us to go out across Israel and tell the people that the Kingdom of God was near. He told us to heal the sick and cast out demons, which to my surprise, I was able to do. It was after that trip that I knew he had everything it took to be the Messiah. However, there was one problem. He never assembled an army, and he never spoke hateful words about the Romans. In fact, he upset the leaders of the Jews by showing the hypocrisy which had become commonplace among the scribes and Pharisees.

I knew an overthrow had to be well- planed, so I went along, watching for the moment he would call for a strike. But as the third Passover approached, he began to talk about going to Jerusalem to die. I was not the only one upset by such talk. Peter spoke for all of us when he objected, and was called Satan for doing do.

As I look back, I think he knew all along I would be the one to try to force his hand. I would put him in a position where he’d have to use his heavenly power. So I made a deal to betray where he could be captured. What good is a Messiah who tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? That had never worked.

It was terrible. He did nothing, and even yelled at Peter when he tried to fight. I realized he was not the Messiah, just an innocent teacher of justice and mercy. But it was too late. When you cause the innocent to be killed, what else can you do but die?

CONCERNS: Kasey Sizemore and family. Doug Bolin, Del’s brother is recovering well after a stroke. Judy McWhorter fell and broke her wrist while in New Hampshire. Gary Overstreet is in Raleigh Court for rehab. Steve Gaynor’s sister, Betty is making slow improvement from a stroke. Judy (Shivers) Edwards is now at home, but still recovering from a stroke. Melisha Scruggs asks pray for a co-worker named Jeanie, whose child has several health issues. Remember Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones (heart surgery) Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson (cancer) Melanie Gentry Wayne Phlegar, Tolly Nicklas, Ray & Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jim & Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
Monday: John 5:19-47
Tuesday: Philippians 1:19-30
Wednesday: Genesis 7:1-24
Thursday: Lamentations 1:8-16
Friday: Romans 8:12-25
Saturday: Psalm 133, 134
Monday: Hosea 11:1-9
Tuesday: Matthew 10:24-39
Wednesday: Exodus 16:1-36
Thursday: Luke 7:36-50
Friday: John 13:31-38 & 18:15-27
Saturday: Psalm 103:1-22

This evening, at six o’clock in the annex, we will honor and celebrate those who are graduating from various levels of education. It is not too late to sign-up to come, but see Erma Williams if you do. She is taking care of the food. Wayne Flora will be the MC for the evening.

As you know, we hosted a graduation banquet for the Virginia Tech/Carlion School of Medicine Graduates in the annex a few weeks back. The following is the thank you note sent by Dr. Aubury Knight.
Dear friends at Roanoke Church of Christ,
On behalf of the Roanoke chapter of the Christian Medical and Dental Association, thank you so much for hosting our graduate recognition. The venue, the food and your hospitality were perfect. I’ve heard many comments since that evening about how perfect the whole evening was.
We look forward to further collaborations.

We were sorry to hear of the death of Kasey Sizemore’s father, Roger. Kasey is the granddaughter of former members, Harriett and Ralph Shivers. The funeral was Wednesday in Salem.

Today is Super Sunday. Plan to stay and enjoy this monthly fellowship dinner.

The Rescue Mission needs several things. As always, they need volunteers. They also need school supplies. A list is on the foyer table, as well as where they can be dropped off.. There is also a pamphlet showing the work of the Mission.

The service today is arranged by Del Bolin. It will be a service of songs and praise. Our thanks to Del and all those who make the third Sundays special. Be sure to thank him, as well as those doing the media. And thanks to James Downing for doing it last week in Erma’s absence.


I don’t usually start an article with a scripture, but this one will. It’s found both in the book of Jeremiah and in Hebrews. When something like this happens, it is generally thought to be of special significance. A well-known example is Joel 2:28,32 being repeated by Peter in Acts 2:17-21. The Messianic prophesy of Joel is said by Peter to be fulfilled in Jesus. Fine.
But what about Jeremiah 31:33-34 being repeated in Hebrews 10:15-17? I wish Paul would have said it, but if you believe Paul wrote Hebrews, then he did say it, Regardless, here it is, and as you read it, note the author said the “Holy Spirit said it, rather than Jeremiah. That seems to me to add force to it in the writer’s eyes. To save space, I’m using the narrative form rather than the poetic form in which it is written.
“The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says, ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds’
“Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’”
For some reason the writer omits after, “on their hearts.” “I will be their God and they shall be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord.’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,’ declares the Lord.”
It would seem to me that if Jeremiah had the authority to say those words for God, the words should be included in understanding what the Hebrew writer said were the words of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s ask some questions. Where did Paul get the authority (Thus saith the Lord) to say circumcision was no longer the law?
Circumcision was part of the law of Moses. Lev. 12:1,2. It was seen as a covenant between God and his people from Abraham’s time forward. It was still seen that way in the time of Jesus. According to Luke, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day. Lk. 2:21. Jesus makes no comment about circumcision pro or con, except in John 7 where the subject is what can and can’t be done on the Sabbath.
In reading Paul’s letters, especially the letter to the Galatians, it is obvious that it was considered a law of God. At what point, and how, did Paul conclude he could declare it no longer the will of God?
The answer can be seen in such passages as Galatians 2:15. “We who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.” It is interesting that he says, “We who are jews by birth… know…” Some Jews seemed to debate that.
As to how Paul reached that point, some might say he was directly taught by Jesus, due to Gal.1:11,12. However, Paul, at times, such as 1 Cor.7:12& 25; II Cor. 8:8-10, uses words like, “To the rest I say this..I, not the Lord. “ “I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.”
“And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter.”
Before commenting on that, consider
the event when Peter was being prepared to go to see Cornelius, a gentile, and we would assume uncircumcised. In the vision he sees a sheet filled with unclean meat. He is told to eat some of it. He refuses, as the Law demanded. As he thinks about this he is told Cornelius wants to see him. When he arrives he has reached the conclusion that the sheet and its contents represented people. And even though he says “It is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him,” he is there.
Cornelius tells of his vision, and from that Peter concludes, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” Acts 10:34 He reaches this conclusion before the Holy Spirit made an appearance.
I think this is what Paul was talking about when he said, “But we have the mind of Christ” I Cor. 2:16b
To know the mind (teaching) of Jesus about God’s love, grace and compassion (written on our hearts) helps us to deal as Jesus would with those issues which do not have a (“Thus saith the Lord”).
It means that we do our best to bring the mind of Christ into every situation where understanding and love is needed. It means knowing Jesus’ mind well enough to step outside the accepted understanding, even of scripture. We know there has been a history of using scripture in a way that excludes people from the love and acceptance of God. Racial issues such as integration, interracial marriage, slavery, and the value of women in all areas of service and work, to name a few.

CONCERNS: Del Bolin’s brother, Doug, has had a stroke. He is stable and improving rapidly. Gary Overstreet fell on Tuesday and is in RMH room 786. Steve Gaynor’s sister, Betty, is making slow recovery from a stroke. Others recovering are the Phlegar’s grand niece following a bone marrow transplant; the Radford student Del Bolin knows who was injured in a car wreck. Judy (Shivers) Edwards (stroke) and her sister, Ann. (broken leg); Melisha Scruggs co-worker whose child has serious health issues. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson, Tolly Nicklas, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray and DarneBarns, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
Monday: Isaiah 6:1-13
Tuesday: Matthew 13:1-23
Wednesday: John 6:1-15
Thursday: Luke 15:11-32
Friday: Genesis 39:1-23
Saturday: Psalm 66:1-20
Monday: Hebrews 4:14 -5:10
Tuesday: Matthew 5:17-48
Wednesday: Genesis 1:1-31
Thursday: II Samuel 12:1-15
Friday: Ephesians 6:10-20
Saturday: Psalm 104:1-35

The Banquet for our graduates will be held on Super Sunday evening, May 21st in the annex at 6:00. Those being honored from High School are Jack Thompson and Mary Willa Foy, (Hidden Valley) Brock McRoy, (William Byrd) Hailee McRoy, (Franklin County) From collage, Garrett Williams, (Virginia Western) and Nick Bolin from Virginia Tech. Nick will be entering graduate school at Tech as well.
As summer approaches more of our church family will be traveling. Susan Jordan will be away most weekends until July. Mile and Karen Branch will be away every weekend of this month. Megan and James Downing will be gone for a week, starting yesterday. Let us know if you are going to be away.
We are anxious to hear about Mike Branch’s humanitarian trip to the Sudan. However, because he will be gone most of the month, he will tell us about it on Super Sunday in June
Susan Jordan tells us that this year Lyn will be able to go with her when she serves at the Ezell Clinic. They will go in August.
If you receive the local paper, you may have noticed a front page article about a young woman graduate from the Carilion/Virginia Tech Medical School who is specializing in a certain area of research. She was among the graduating students who attended a banquet held here in our annex. A week or so age. This outreach to the medical school was developed by Martha Albert and aided by several of the congregation who brought food and helped serve. Among the group was also Andy Plaster and his wife.
Afterwards one of the instructor/ doctors thanked us for the warm atmosphere of the room as well as the reception all of those who provided and served the food. Thanks to all who made this successful.


by my friend, Ben
It were still right dark when me’n ol’ Blue got to the gate at Hickory Ridge Cemetery. It were. It would be nye on to an hour before I’d see the dim light of the risin’ sun off to the East. It would.
When the headlights on my truck shined on them big iron gates they was already open. I reckon Elwood Gibbs’d done been here an’ gone. Elwood were the caretaker an’ it were his job to be sure the gates was open, specially on Easter mornin’. It were.
I reckon you could call Elwood a kinda hermit. He were a miner til he got a little crippled-up in a mine cave-in. He did. It weren’t bad enough to keep him outta the mines, but he never went back. He didn’t. He told me one day when I were visitin’ ma an’ pa’s graves, that when he saw them rocks comin’ at him he told God iffen he lived he’d never go back in the mines. He did.
Folks what knowed him all his life say it changed him. He started stayin’ off to himself. He did. So when the job takin’ care of the town cemetery opened up, he took it. He did.
He lived in a little house on the backside of the cemetery what went with the job. Since he stayed to his self, an’ didn’t talk much, the kids here an’ about thought he were kinda spooky. They did. Folks in town said they sometimes saw his flashlight goin’ in an’ out of the graves late at night. They did. They reckoned Elwood were lookin’ for trespassers. Some folks said he mighta been talkin’ to the dead. They did. As for me’n ol’ Blue, we got along fine with Elwood. We did. Fact is, since he knowed I’d had key to the gate for years, iffen he’d see me’n ol’ Blue at ma an’ pa’s graves he’d come by to pet Blue an’ sit a spell. He would.
It’d been a right mild winter, an’ this Easter mornin’ were as warm as any I could remember. It were. So when I parked my truck I dropped the tailgate an’ sat there lookin’ out over Hickory Ridge. I did. I reckon there couldn’t be a better place in the whole world to live. Hickory Ridge were all I could want. It were.
As I sat in the darkness, a gentle breeze come along an’ made me think of spirits. It did. I don’t mean them ghost-type spirits. I mean the ones what remind us of folks we love. Kinda like they’d kissed us.
It made me think of Ma, an’ I reached into my truck an’ got my guitar. I did. I nearly always brought it with me when I come up here. I do.
Thinkin’ of Ma made me think of them Easter mornin’s when she were up before dawn, fixin’ a special Easter breakfast for me’n Pa. It did.
There were this one time I woke up an’ found her sittin’ on the porch in her rocker, holdin’ her favorite cup of coffee. She were. She smiled an’ held out her hand an’ took mine. She did. She said, “Benny, can you imagine what it were like for the Lord to have woke up on Easter mornin’? Do you reckon he were scared, bein’ all wrapped up in them cloths what they’d buried him in? I wonder what it were like, it bein’ dark an’ all, an’ him not knowin’ where he were.
“I reckon by the time he got his self unwrapped, the stone were already rolled away from the openin’ to the tomb. An’ I reckon as he sat up he said, ‘Thank you Father! Thank you!’ That’s what I woulda said. I would.
“I wonder where he went after he was able to walk? The Bible say’s the tomb were empty when them women got there to finish his burial. Do you reckon he walked around that there garden, an’ maybe found a place to sit an’ pray? I reckon he needed to know what to do next, bein’ alive again an’ all.
“Do you think he saw them folks what come to the tomb, but decided not to let ‘em see him right then? I wonder iffen when he saw Mary cryin’ that he just couldn’t stay away? An’ I wonder what it were like for her when she heard him say her name?”
I told Ma I reckoned some day she could ask him herself. I did. She smiled an’ rocked back an forth lookin’ at the sun what were just startin’ to come up. She did. Iffen I’da knowed she were gonna get sick the next year, I reckon I wouldn’t a said what I did. She never saw another Easter Mornin’. She didn’t.
Down in Hickory Ridge I could see some folks stirrin’ about an’ I knowed they’d be headin’ up this way for the Easter sunrise service perty soon. I did. So I strummed on my ol’ guitar an sang one a Ma’s favorite songs.
“I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses; and the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses. And he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own; and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”
Ol’ Blue come back from whatever he were doin’ an’ jumped up in the truck beside me. He did. He got real close to me like he did when he wanted some attention. He did. As I rubbed his chest I wondered how many times Ma had imagined walkin’ in that garden alone with the Lord? I did. I don’t know nothin’ much about what happens after you die, but I can see Ma openin’ her eyes an’ sayin’, “Thank you Father. Thank you.” An I reckoned maybe the next thing she would see is the one Mary saw in that other garden all them years ago. I did.
The mornin’ sun would soon be breakin’ over the hills an’ I knowed it would move across ma an’ pa’s graves. It would. Ma’d picked them grave spots cause she said when the time come she wanted her an’ Pa to be lookin’ toward the farm an’ the risin’ sun. She did.
As I stood by Ma an’ Pa’s graves I said, “Happy Easter Ma an’ Pa. I reckon when the time comes I’ll open my eyes an’ I’ll see your smile an’ your eyes all sparkly -like, the way they were on the porch that Easter mornin’ years ago. I will.

CONCERNS: Mike Branch while he is in the Sudan. Steve Gaynor’s sister, Betty, is still unresponsive after falling as the result of a stroke several weeks ago. Judy (Shivers) Edwards is slowly recovering from the result of a brain aneurism, as is her sister, Ann, due to a broken leg. Keep Del Bolin’s mother in your prayers. Jim White’s mother came trough heart surgery and is recovering. Sheila Jansen and Daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Tolly Nicklas, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: John 8:21-47
Tuesday: Luke 22:14-30
Wednesday: Luke 12:13-34
Thursday: Psalm 51:1-19
Friday: Acts 4:2-5:11
Saturday: Psalm 99:1-9; 100:1-5
Monday: John 17:1-26
Tuesday: Revelation 19:1-16
Wednesday: Luke 16:19-31
Thursday: Matthew 9:1-13
Friday: I Corinthians 10:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 106:1-48

Today is Easter Sunday. It is also the third Sunday, which means we have an alternative service. Today’s service has been arranged by Wayne Flora. Our thanks to Wayne for his willingness to serve in this way.
Today is also Super Sunday. We will be eating together in the annex after the service. If you are visiting with us, please consider yourself our guest for the meal.
Since it is Easter Sunday, and some folks are gone or have family visitors, the steering committee will only meet if necessary. However, copies of the latest financial statement are on the library table.
Due to the age of the toilet in the women’s restroom in the main building, it was unable to be repaired. A new one has been installed, as well as in the women’s restroom in the annex.
Total Action for Progress, a local service, as sent us several pieces of information concerning programs they offer related to domestic violence.
You can find pamphlets on the foyer table and more information on the downstairs bulletin board. On the downstairs information there are tear-offs with needed telephone numbers. If you know someone who could benefit from this service, please take notice.
James Downing , who developed our website, has sent the results from March. For a small congregation, the results are good. 377 visited the site. 126 used Google Maps to find us. 16 asked for directions, and 1 called the church.
The banquet for our graduates will be held on Super Sunday evening, May 21st in the annex. The time will be 6:00.


If you look up the statement, “God created us in his image, and then we returned the favor”, you will find it is attributed to more people who claimed to have said it than those who claimed George Washington slept here. The best guess may be Voltaire. Regardless, it’s a pretty true description of how we view and relate to God.
Have we created God in our own image? Yes. And in saying that I do not mean there is no God beyond our own creation. What Voltaire and the others mean is we have taken the concept of God and shaped it into something which looks and thinks like us.
Historically this “shaping” has taken on the form of something powerful which can be seen, usually an animal. The golden calf of Egypt is an example. We still say, “Strong as an ox. Wise as an owl. Swift as a dear. Sly as a fox.” Even Jesus referred to Herod as a fox.
On a higher level, since God is invisible, (spirit) we tend to transfer our creative ability to Jesus. For those of European descent, Jesus becomes the famous Warner Sallman painting of Jesus with flowing golden hair. The Asians have him looking Asian. Rarely do you see an African Jesus, but there are some and the list is growing.
While each group understands the other, each one is a little (or a lot) put off by any representation but their own. So we create Jesus in our own image. There are those who see Jesus as the great warrior on a white horse, as depicted in John’s revelation. Clint Eastwood knew about that concept and incorporated it in several of his Western movies. However, perhaps one of his best was in Gran Torino. While not portraying a Jesus-like person, the main character gives his life to save a young man.
It goes without saying, even though I’m saying it, that the image (character) of Jesus in most Christian circles is that of a middle class man who minds his own business and stays out of any public controversy. A good example of this is the reaction toward those ministers who joined the freedom marches in the South as it struggled to throw off the chains of segregation. I can still remember the criticism toward those ministers who marched. They were told to go back home and preach the gospel. Even worse were those who protested the Viet Num War. Am I saying Jesus would have marched with Martin Luther King Jr.? If I say yes, it seems I’m making Jesus as I want him to be. If I say no, it seems I’m making him like most of us who preach. I can’t think of anything he did like that except the clearing out of the sellers in the temple. On the other hand, I believe he was cut from the cloth of the prophets, since the prophets also declared the will of God. So if I look at the prophets, I see very visible, public challengers to anything which allowed the powerful to deny justice and mercy to those who had no power.
If I look at Jesus I see someone who publically exposed the hypocrisy of the religious leaders who were also the local politicians. I see him cause public controversy when he violates the traditional view of the Sabbath. I see him expose himself so much to controversy that he is executed as an insurrectionist.
So how am I to see him as he is? I will try to see him in action and see what he speaks out against. I will listen to what he says is the will of God. I can find God’s will in what he said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, as well as the sermon in Luke and in his other teachings. I can also see God through Jesus. In John 14:9, in response to Philip’s asking Jesus to show them (God) the Father, Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” So in the character and nature of Jesus I can see the character and nature of God.
Jesus also so told Philip, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” (V. 10)
Voltair and all the others are right when they say we create God in our own image. It’s next to impossible not to, with all the influence and teaching that goes on around us. We see far more Pharisees than we do those who look like Jesus. In using the Pharisees, I mean those who see keeping the rules and tradition as the most important thing. The ruler of the synagogue was right when he said there were six other days on which healing could be done, rather than practicing medicine (healing) on the Sabbath. (Lk. 13:14 ) The woman had been bent over for eighteen years, one more day wouldn’t have made a difference. Why push the rule? Good question. The answer tells us a lot about Jesus and God.

CONCERNS: Steve Gaynor’s sister, Betty, has had a stroke. When it happened she fell and hit her head. It has been over a week and she is still in a coma. She lives in Delaware. Judy (Shivers) Edwards is recovering mobility from a stroke. Her vision is also slowly returning. Her sister, Ann, is recovering from a broken leg. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, had a heart attack last week. She is at home, but the outlook is not good. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Tolly Nicklas, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Matthew 18:10-20
Tuesday: Romans 14:1-18
Wednesday: II Thess. 3:1-16
Thursday: Genesis 45:4-28
Friday: Mark 10:17-31
Saturday: Psalm 105:1-45

Monday: Ephesians 1:1-14
Tuesday: Philippians 1:3-18
Wednesday: II Corinthians 9:6-15
Thursday: Luke 5:17-26
Friday: I Timothy 6:1-10
Saturday: Psalm 111:1-10

April Birthdays 23-Maggie foy 25-Del Bolin

Thanks to Lyn Jordan for trimming the shrubs in front on the annex. He also took some of the wood from behind the annex as well. Since the winter was so mild, we had an excess of wood which we had not yet split. It was going to rot if not used.
The spring banquet for graduates is fast approaching. If you haven’t let Erma know if you have a child, or you are graduating from high school, college, or a vocational/training institution, do so now.
Judy McWhorter has been taking communion to Jan and Gary Overstreet. If you can help by doing in one Sunday a month, let her know.
Congratulations to Jack Thompson and Nick Bolin. Jack has been accepted at VT and is also looking at the Naval Academy. Nick has been accepted into the VT Graduate program.

If you see red water in the toilet bowls, it’s not a plague. We have had problems with a water leak that has been hard to find. It seems to have been in the main building downstairs women’s restroom. It has been checked and repaired, but we want to be sure. So if you red water, don’t panic.

We have had visitors from here in town as well as from Georgia. One of them wrote on the back of the visitors card how much they appreciated this lovely church family and looked forward to visiting with us in the future.
We also had a returning local woman who has moved here and said the reason she came back was that she received a follow-up call from her last visit from Connie Crites. These kindnesses do make a difference.