Roanoke Church of Christ

Author: admin


(Since many of our bulletin readers are former members of the Roanoke church, this issue is dedicated to the memory of Roger Fisher, who died March 2.)
Union West Virginia is a little over a hundred miles west of Roanoke at the convergence of WVa . Route 3 and US 119. It’s one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone else. It sits on a slight hill in the rolling hill country of the mountain state, in an area full of salt springs and other long closed health resorts.
From Roanoke, at the intersection of Rt.3 and 119, turning right and then right again, is Green Hill Road. It ends at the top of the hill at the Green Hill Cemetery. Most of it overlooks Union. The graves are a collection of history, with many of them dating back before the Civil War. Just over the top of the hill, we laid Roger to rest. The following is a condensed version of Roger’s eulogy.
Roger was a quiet man who never knew how great he was. He was the youngest of eleven children. Life wasn’t easy. He told me he could remember working in the field and garden when he was younger than five. Work was in his blood, and he never stopped
In time, he met a girl named Ruth Fox, from Hinton, Wva. They married and gave their lives to Christ. She was a nurse and suffered from the effects of polio. He became a barber and in 1977 they moved to Roanoke. They were an active part of the Roanoke Church of Christ.
They raised two sons, Steve and Shawn, in the Rainbow Forest area east of town. Even with Ruth’s health problems, their home was always open to the boy’s friends. Each year before church camp they hosted a picnic for the young people.
In the sixties and seventies, when men began to let their hair grow longer and started getting curly perms (something I’ll never understand) the barber business suffered. Roger went to work as an over-the -road truck driver for United Parcel and stayed until he retired. It was in retirement that he started barbering again.
His favorite route was from Roanoke to South Charleston, WVa., across the West Virginia Turnpike, especially in the fall. He would tell me how peaceful it was to look out and see all the fall colors on the mountains.
Their son, Shawn, moved to Erie, Pa., married, and made his home there. Steve stayed in Roanoke, married Carol and together they gave Roger and Ruth two grandsons, Mitch and Rem. They were the delight of their lives.
Roger would never believe what a tower of strength he was. I remember sitting in a hospital room with him when Ruth, who was to go home the next day, suddenly died. He sat by her bed, took her hand, and with words I can’t remember, told her goodbye.
The days and months which followed were hard. We all worried about him. But he kept busy. Work was his therapy. He never missed church, but the light had gone out of his eyes.
Then we saw the light come back. He’d met a widow named Zona, and he saw in her someone with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life. She saw in him what we saw, a truly good and kind man. A man who loved God and let that love flow out to everyone he met. Together they built a lovely home in a newer area of Rainbow Forest, within walking distance of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Many of us have enjoyed being in their home and eating Zona’s wonderful cooking. I remember one of those times when a veritable feast was spread before us. For desert I spied a large coconut covered cake. It was great, and I told her so. She laughed and said she’d run out of time and bought it at Sam’s
Roger loved to fish, and he was good at it, except when he took me. We never caught anything when I was along, though I think he caught a little brim. I think the fish knew, as a preacher, that I would extend mercy, and stayed away.
Actually, just getting out on Smith Mountain Lake was good for him, as it was for me. We’d talk and eat peanut butter and crackers, and on the way back to the dock we’d go fast. So fast that the wind went between my glasses and made my eyes flutter so much I could hardly see.
Roger never missed church unless he was sick or out if town. Children loved him. He gave our grandson, Aidan, his first haircut. And even though they now live in Florida, he would try to hold off getting a haircut until they came to visit so Roger could do it.
I’m sure you can’t find anyone who knew Roger who didn’t like him. I never heard him talk down about anyone
As I said before, he wouldn’t believe the strength others saw in him. I could almost think of Job. Not only did he lose Ruth, but in more recent years, he would lose both of his sons. I don’t know how he dealt with it. Part of it was how he dealt with life, he just kept working and giving himself to others and trusting God.
About two weeks before he died, he’d had a spell of being confused and ended up in the Emergency Room. While there, he had a heart attack and was rushed into surgery where they put three stents in his arteries. He did fine and was anxious to get home.
The day before he died, he came in the office and told me he wasn’t sure he could stop working part time as a barber. He said he planned to keep going to the Rescue Mission once a week to give free haircuts. At one point he said, “Keith, when I was in the hospital, I had a feeling of peace, and I told Zona and Carol that I was ready to go. They didn’t like it much, but right now, I feel the same way, I’m ready.”
In the days before he died he’d asked Zona to get a copy of Vince Gil’s “Go Rest High on the Mountain.” She said he played it over and over. His service ended with the playing of that song. He is now resting with Ruth, high on the mountain, back home in West Virginia.

CONCERNS: Judy (Shivers) Edwards is dealing with several issues as the result of a brain aneurism. Her sister, Ann, is in therapy recovering from a badly broken leg. Del Bolin’s mother has been having some health issues. Joanne Elder now has a new job. Remember Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, also Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Tolly Nicklas, Ray & Darnel Barnes, 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

For our special third Sunday service, we have Doug Bolin, Del’s brother as our speaker. He will be speaking on Modern Parables. Doug and his wife live in PA.
Today is also Super Sunday. Plan to stay after the service for the fellowship meal.
Congratulations to Judy McWhorter upon winning first place in her Quilt Guild Challenge. The theme was “Pieces of Our Lives” and Judy’s was “A Window into My life.”
Judy McWhorter is taking communion to Jan and Gary Overstreet. She is asking if there are those who will help. If enough folks will help, it would only be one Sunday a month or less. See Judy or Keith if
you will help out.
Remember, we will be honoring our graduates at a spring banquet. If you or your child will be graduating from high school, college, or a vocational/training institution, please let Erma Williams know. She may have a list by now but we don’t want to overlook anyone.
The Gideons received $445.00 in their appeal for funds from us to buy Bibles.
We now have a new copier in the library. The steering committee has approved leasing it for five years, with a renewable contract. This means all repairs and toner is covered for the length of the lease.
Due to the completion of a second apartment building, Chester Larry Foy has a new address. It is 1010 Pines Circle, SW, Apartment 421, Roanoke, VA. 24018. Everything else stays the same.


When I use the word “religion”, I’m not just talking about Christianity, but all forms of belief in a supernatural, controlling power. There are many such beliefs. More than I have room to discuss here. However, they range from terror and fear to love, peace and tranquility. In general, as practiced, Christianity is infected with all of that, of which some of it good and some not.
For example, in a recent news article, the Word of Faith Fellowship Church in North Carolina was accused of both sexual and physical abuse (including children) by some former members. Of course, you can read a denial of those charges on the church website. If they are true or not will be left up to the court.
Word of Faith Fellowship is a mega- church. Their website shows lots of happy men, women and children. So why would we assume the church is guilty as charged? Because it follows a pattern of the distortion of the teaching of Jesus by many churches.
In this case, as in so many others, the doctrine centers on sin, the devil and demons. There seems to be a fascination with casting out demons and the devil by almost medieval means. If the news report is true, that part of North Carolina is a haven for demons.
I don’t know if the charges against WFF are true, but there is a substantial number of accusers who say they are. One young former member who was interviewed told of going off to college and when she returned home during a break, her father opened the door, looked at her and slammed it in her face. She talked about how she was alone and without a family. No doubt the rejection of her was falsely based on a passage in 11 John. She said she is still a believer, just not their kind. I have also seen this same passage used the same way by other churches, including the Church of Christ.
It involves the fear of God. No one wants to have God’s wrath upon them, even though no one is sure what that might be. However, once a person with assumed power convinces others that they know God’s mind, anything can happen to the weak minded. I read of one woman that gave all her money to a church because she was told it was God’s will. Who wants to go against God’s will? Another woman said her husband chained her in the basement for three months to cause the devil to leave her.
This always happens when the individual turns control of their thinking to others. Remember when some preachers were saying the Harry Potter books taught witchcraft and should not be read? You may even remember the couple in Lynchburg who started the story that the Procter and Gamble symbol of the moon was a satanic symbol and it cost P&G financial losses. You may also remember P&G sued that couple big time. (Have any of you played a record backwards lately?)
It’s sad, but there is an abundance of evidence that there are many Christian churches where fear and trembling is the foundation of their teaching.
As I read the stories of people who have given up on Christianity, I find a familiar pattern. All of them center around how the Bible is to be used and understood. “If you don’t believe part of it, you can’t believe any of it.” Which is a way of squashing any questions about the Bible which challenge the “accepted” understanding. In fact, many people spoke about the atmosphere in churches where questions about the Bible were considered to be dangerous. Doubt was something that meant you were in the clutches of Satan. Questions about the things done in the name of God in the Old Testament were answered with “God can do whatever God wants. God is the same yesterday and today and forever.”All of that is theoretically true. How could you argue with that? Of course, you can, and should.
Humankind always understands the meaning of God according to their historical environment. For example, several places in Matthew 5, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said…” He then quotes an accepted teaching from the past. But he then says, “But I tell you…” Did he say those “old” teachings were wrong and sinful? No. They were in some ways part of the law of Moses. But that view of God is gone.
The greatest danger in religion is when people are told they shouldn’t trust themselves, but trust someone else to tell them what God expects from them. What if they just got a Bible and read the sermon on the Mount?

CONCERNS: Judy (Shivers) Edwards is recovering from a brain aneurism. Her sister, Ann is recovering from a badly broken leg. Roger Fisher spent a few days in the hospital, but is out and doing well. Wanda Musgrove is in Lewis-Gale, room 300. Del Bolin’s mother is having some health issues. Joanne Elder and Martha Foy, as they job hunt. Jim White’s mother, Corol Jones, Sheila Jansen and her Daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Tolly Nicklas, Ray & Darnel Barns, and Gil Richardson. Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Genesis 12:1-20
Tuesday: I Samuel 3:1-18
Wednesday: Philippians 2:1-11
Thursday: I John 4:7-21
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

About this time each year a representative from Gideons International comes to tell us about their work in distributing Bibles.
Today we have with us, John Myers. John will speak before the scripture reading and sermon. Anyone who would like to contribute may do so in the foyer as you leave.

If you will be graduating from a high school, college, vocational/training institution, please let Erma Williams know. Plans are being made for our annual spring graduation banquet.

Remember to set your clocks ahead an hour on Saturday night. It is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.

Almost new. Susan and Wayne Phlegar became grandparents to Briar Rose Grace Phlegar, who was born in Greenville, SC on January 19.

Vivian Dugan will be away for the next three weeks. She will be visiting with her daughter and son-in law over on the coast.

If you enjoy and appreciate the use of the monitors which show the songs, scriptures and other bits of information on Sunday, stop by and thank Erma Williams. She does a great job getting it ready and Garrett helps on Sundays It has expanded our singing, scripture reading and information. Remember our song leaders, as well as others who serve.


It’s a partial quote from Paul in I Cor. 13 where he talks about rather than thinking like a child, he matures in his thinking. He doesn’t say what thoughts he had as a child he set aside as an adult. I would like to think, because of the context, that he was talking about his understanding of many things about God.
I would love to be able to hear him discuss all the “childish” things he once believed that he no longer did. Can we imagine an apostle saying he had some infantile religious ideas which he was now required by his intellectual growth, to discard? My head swells with the thought of it!
After all, it was his illustration. He must have had something in mind when he said it. Was it something a rabbi said that he came to realize was wrong? Was it the prayer Jewish boys prayed that said. “Thank God I was not born a Gentile or a woman?” Was it that Gentiles should not be called, “dogs”? How much of it was attached to religious prejudicial teaching? For him to use it in the context in which he did, it would seem to me he had the incomplete (childish) ideas about God on his mind.
Did Peter have the same experience when he went to see Cornelius? The (scriptural) teaching about unclean things and people was well known. But when Peter saw Cornelius he said,”God has shown me that I should not call any impure or unclean.” (Acts 10:28)
When did God decide that? Was there a meeting called among the leaders of Israel to amend that law? What an amazing step into maturity Peter took!
Paul was a well trained in Jewish law. He and others like him studied the same books of law and the prophets. How did he become different? What made him become the enemy of those others he studied out of the same books with? You see, that is the question: How can people read out of the same book, in this case, let’s call it the Bible, and arrive at different conclusions? Before you give an answer, remember, Paul believed these ideas about God for years before he had his conversion experience. Ideas I think he now calls “childish.”
All through Christian history, there has been one book read as a guide, the Bible. And yet all those people (religious leaders) had different ideas about how to apply it.
During the Reformation, those who differed with the more powerful were killed as heretics. Remember, same book. In the colonies, there was state religion, which varied somewhat between colonies. However, in the New England colonies, the main religion was a blend of Anglicanism and Congregationalism, better know as Puritanism.
Puritan preachers were said to be well educated and well versed in scripture, the same scripture you and I read. Yet they saw all other Christian groups as “dissenters”. In 1768 one man wrote of the “selectmen” parading the streets compelling everyone to go to church with threats of the stocks or confinement.
What is interesting is that with the coming of Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Quakers and others, the Puritans, not because their view of scripture had changed, but by the sheer volume of the arrivals, became more open. Had they matured?
However, Baptist (and others like them) suffered persecution, because they did not baptize children for original sin. According to court documents in Virginia, Baptist preachers were “pelted with apples and stones”, “nearly drowned by 20 men”, “pulled down and hauled by the hair,” “tried to suffocate with smoke”, “tried to blow up with gun powder”, “Shot with a shot-gun”, and “whipped by the sheriff”, among others.
Another issue which went on for years was slavery. All reading the same book, but there were those who saw having slaves differently than others. Who were those who put away “childish” thinking when reading the scriptures concerning slaves?
What about historical inequality, especially among blacks? Everyone read the same Bible. Black/white marriage was illegal in many states until the late 60s. It was supported with scripture. Looking at today, who do you think put away immature (childish) thinking?
When it comes to discrimination today, all and any of it, using the same Bible, who is putting away immature (childish) thinking?
Let’s take a little trip back through the history of ideas held by Christians (and some still do) that a more mature outlook has dispelled. And as we do, let’s keep in mind that the situation hasn’t changed.
How about working women outside the home? When was the last time you heard a sermon on “A woman’s place is in the home? Back in the 40s or 50s. What about women wearing slacks or worse, pants suits to church? There’s something in the Bible about that. Or, that “second covering” you know, a hat of sorts on the woman’s head. Or long hair on men? Remember the outrage and scripture quoting when men let their hair grow?
From casual dress to dress coats and ties at the communion table, the arguments have all come from the same book, the Bible. If all those ideas were “scriptural truth” where did they go?
Divorce and remarriage. O my, how that has changed! How could it, if the Bible said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” Has the understanding of marriage, divorce and remarriage “matured”? As you look at those who have had to deal with it, who has the most mature attitude? Keep in mind that the Jews always looked at such issues over and over again to see what was best.
Everything about God is about people. Childish ideas divide and discriminate. Childish ideas diminish and promote injustice.
Do you think Paul was referring to some action in the temple worship, or do you think he was thinking about people?

CONCERNS: Judy (Shivers) Edwards (Ralph and Harriette’s daughter, had surgery in Norfolk for an brain aneurism. She is now in critical condition. Her sister, Ann, fell and broke her leg at Judy’s home. Keep this family in prayer. Remember Shelda and Dwight Miller. Gary Overstreet hopes to be home by the end of the month. Rachel Mitchell is having back and neck issues. Joanne Elder is job hunting as is Martha Foy. Remember Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones. Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Melanie Gentry, Douglas Dorn, from the Blacksburg congregation, Wayne Phlegar, Tolly Nicklas, Ray and Darnell Barns, Gil Richardson, Jim & Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
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 is the third Sunday of the month. The worship service will be sans sermon. We thank Judy McWhorter for arranging the service and Akan Beach for leading the singing, as well as those who will be taking part.

Today is Super Sunday. The weather so far this winter has been unusually warm, and continues to be on Sunday. We have no fires in the fireplace this year. Come and enjoy the weather and the company of good friends.

The steering committee will meet in the library following the Super Sunday meal. Copies of the financial report will be available.
Several of the young people are traveling with Holly to Winterfest in Gatlinburg this weekend. They plan to be back in time to eat with us. Keep them in your prayers.

Each year about this time, a representative from the Gideons comes to tell us of their work distributing Bible across the world. On March 5, someone from the Gideons will be with us. He will give a short talk before the sermon and then take a retiring gift at the door after the service from anyone who would like to contribute.

Thanks to Martha Albert and those who help her prepare the Sunday evening meal once a month at the Ronald McDonald House.


While visiting our son and his family in Florida last month, I had a health issue. I suddenly was unstable and felt weak. My doctor had changed my medicine so I wondered if that was it. I called and he told me that could be it, but he needed to see me as soon as I got home.
During the time before we returned, our family kept checking on me. Hope asked if I should go to the emergency room. I gave her a quick answer, adding that I didn’t want to get trapped in Florida. She asked what I meant. I told her I wanted to come home.
What did I mean by that? Not that our son’s home was not a “home” that cared for me. Not that the doctors there were not qualified to treat me. “Home” was the place I felt secure and safe. Home was where my recliner was. Home was all the familiar things which gave me security. Home was where my extended family, the church, was.
I sometimes think in our rush to make everyone a “soul saver” that we overlook the value in the church being a sanctuary, a place of rest. A place where we know we are loved. A place where we can feel safe. That’s what I meant when I said I wanted to come home.
How would you describe “home”? “Home is where the heart is.” That’s probably the most familiar one. It can be seen in the Psalms written during the Jewish exile. It can be seen in the hymns that were written during certain time in history. The spirituals from the slaves sang of “looking over Jordan” to that better home. The swinging chariot “comin’ for to carry me home.” Or, at a later time, “This world is not my home, I’m justa passin’ through.”
All such songs are written from the mood and the moment. It is not a sin to say they do not express where you are at the moment. I’ve never really liked that last song, I quoted, although I sing it because it has good beat.
Without getting theological, as I read the story of creation, the earth was exactly what we needed. If you want to lean heavily on how we blew it, okey. But it is the place I find a sense of belonging. “I see the stars and hear the rolling thunder” works well for me. I also see the church as that “place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.”
Regardless, there is power in “home.” When the military person in some foreign land, even with compatriots nearby, the thoughts that fill the brain will most likely be those of home and family.
What about the “church home”? For the Jewish exiles the “church home” was Jerusalem and the temple. They knew God was greater than the temple, but the temple gave them a sense of security and well-being. Was that often misplaced? Yes. But when they were away it made a difference in their lives.
So when I said I wanted to come home, I meant to the place which offered me the most security at the time. For me, that was the rest of my family, my church family.
As the preacher, I look out over the congregation each Sunday. I see you in your usual pew and I see people who offer me their love and support. And I want them to feel the same about me. It makes a difference when we are together. There is strength that flows through “fellowship.”
I’ve said this before, but there have been days when I didn’t feel like going to church. I’ve also said that unless there was some problem or crisis, I always felt better when I came. I hope that is true for you as well.
I hope the smiles and hugs you receive from this family mean as much as they do to me. The church is the place the touch and feel of God can be experienced. It is the place where God can be the most real.
You may be curious about my problem. We had boarded a plane for Florida and the flight went well. When we got off, it was a very long walk to the baggage claim, and I felt it.
The next morning I could hardly walk, and ended up needing a cane. So a trip that started out walking, ended up returning in a wheelchair.
My doctor sent me to a neurologist, and fortunately I was able to see him in four days. After tests he discovered I had Parkinson’s related tremors. It is treatable and I should notice a major difference in about two months. The day after I started the medicine I was pretty much waking without the cane. At this time I no longer need it. My thanks for your prayers and well-wishes, and especially your hugs.
CONCERNS: Douglas Dorn, from the Blacksburg congregation, is suffering from complications of diabetes. He is in intensive care at Lewis Gale. Melisha Scruggs’ friend’s mother, Sue Hall, is in hospice care from cancer. Former member, Shelda (Jean) Miller is recovering from ankle replacement, and her husband, Dwight had back surgery. Rachel Mitchell is having back and neck issues. Gary Overstreet is still in rehab at Raleigh Court. Remember Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson (cancer) Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s aunt, Pat Voss, and her niece, Jamie Cole. Wayne Phlegar and David Albert. Good news: Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, is in remission. She still has other health issues. The Bolin’s friend, Chris Campbell, has recovered from his stroke. Tolly Nicklas remains about the same. Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Matthew 7:7-11
Tuesday: Romans 3:21-31
Wednesday: James 2:14-26
Thursday: Mark 2:1-12
Friday: I Peter 1:3-12
Saturday: Psalm 105:1-45
Monday: Acts 17:16-34
Tuesday: Colossians 3:1-17
Wednesday: John 11:17-44
Thursday: Romans 4:1-8; 5:1-11
Friday: I Thessalonians 5;12-28
Saturday: Psalm 118:1-29

You may remember Isabelle Simmons. Isabelle had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Several of us attended a fund-raiser for her in March, 2010.
Leena Bolin checked on her progress and was told she is very healthy and doing well. The side effects of the chemo plague her with tooth and stomach problems, but otherwise healthy. Thank you Leena for the update.
Thanks to Wayne Flora and Del Bolin for filling in for Keith while he was on vacation, as well the times he was sick last month.
Due to several interruptions, the financial statement and budget has not yet been formed. However, your generosity has made it possible to deal with the needs and improvements as well as the benevolent work of this church.
There will need to be some work done on the sewer at the preacher’s home. Thank you all for believing in the place of God’s kingdom in Roanoke, and the challenges we face in this new year.

We have enjoyed having visitors with us the last few Sundays. Be sure to greet them


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The regular Wednesday evening service will resume this Wednesday evening.

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

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


by my friend, Ben
Well, it were Saturday an’ Me’n ol’ Blue’d fired up the ol’ Farmall an’ headed out to the back twenty to get us a Christmas tree. We did.
The weather were right warm for December, but I reckoned it would change in a day or two. I did. It just don’t seem like Christmas iffen there ain’t no snow. It don’t.
When we got to the back twenty, an’ it bein’ all warm an’ sunny-like, I sat down in a big ol’ tree stump what pa’d carved into a kinda chair. I did. He’d done it cause the back twenty were one of his favorite places. It were. It were the highest point on the farm. It were. From up here I could see the steam comin’ offen the coolin’ towers over at the Big River Power Station. It were fifteen miles or so as the crow flies, an’ on a clear day you could see it real good. You could.
Ol’ Blue took off through the stand of white pines pa’d gotten from them conservation folks years ago. He had a stand of ‘em on the north forty too, as well as over here. He did.
The smell a them pines trees took me back to all the Christmas’s while ma were still alive. It did. When it come to Christmas, ma were an artist in her own right. She were. She would start savin’ a little bit here an’ there startin’ about the fourth of July. She would. Even though she knowed me an’ pa wouldn’t a touched it, she squirreled it away in a shoe box way back on the closet self. She did. I knowed she knowed pa an’ me knowd all about it. She did. But I reckon it were all part of the joy ma got outta Christmas. It were.
Ol’ Blue come a runnin’ back to where I were sittin’. He knowed every inch of the farm. He did. An’ iffen I’d gone down to the house he’d a come home on his own. He would. There were times he’d just take off on his own. He would. I reckon he needed to have some time just to do whatever he wanted. I reckon dogs an’ folks were kinda alike when it come to that.
He come up an’ put his front paws in my lap. He did. He looked me right in the eye like he were about to say somethin’. Then I heard a deep kinda rumble down in his throat. I did. He’d do that when he were all content- like. He would. So I leaned over an’ got my face real close to his, an’ let out a soft deep rumble myself. I did. I didn’t know iffen we were talkin’ but he got real close an’ rumbled some more. He did. Then he pulled back an’ looked at me as iffen to let me know he were content. He did. Then he laid down at my feet an’ closed his eyes.
As I watched him breathin’, I remembered the day I got him. I did. Pa’d gone over to Pete Sloan’s farm to weld a broken rail on his wagon, an’ he took me along. He did. I liked Pete and Peggy Sloan. I did. Pete were one a them fellers what never met a stranger. He were.
Well, while pa were weldin’ that wagon rail, I were walkin’ in the barn. I were. Next thing I knowed a little pup what seemed only a few days old come yippin’ toward me outta a stall. It did. It were like it knowed me. It were. I picked it up and it were a he. He were. Pete Sloan heard the commotion an’ stuck his head in the barn. He did. He said, “That dagone dog of Kelly Jordan’s got my Molly pregnant. I ain’t sure what I’m gonna do with four pups. I reckon the Hickory Ridge Pound will take ‘em. They’re old enough to be taken away from their ma now.”
I could smell that puppy smell an’ feel him lickin’ my face. I could. It were as iffen he were mine already. It were.
When pa saw me with that pup. I could tell by the look on his face he knowed what I were gonna ask. He did. Pa were a farmer an’ he knowed a good dog were part a livin’ on a farm. So pa said he reckoned I were old enough to have a pup. He did. We weren’t sure how ma were gonna take it. We weren’t. Pa asked what we should name him. Pete said he had a lot of blue tick hound in him. So we called him Blue. The ol’ just got tagged on later. It did.
Well it were as iffen ol’ Blue knowed he had to win ma over. It were. An’ it didn’t take no time before there were a bond between ‘em that were special. It were. Lookin’ back it were as iffen ol’ Blue knowed ma wouldn’t be around too long. Fact is, she took sick an’ died the next November. She did
When I got the tree cut an’ decorated, me an’ ol’ Blue sat as the darkness fell an’ looked at the tree all lit up. We did. Ma’d been gone for years now, but she were alive in everthing about Christmas. She were. An’I remembered one Christmas in particular. I did. It were the one with the train. It were.
Just about Thanksgivin every year, Dan Watson, what owned the feed and hardware store in town would stick Christmas toys in his window. He would. So on them Saturday’s when we went into town, an’ pa’d stop at Dan’s store, I would look at the toys in the window. I would. Well, one Thanksgivin’ Dan put an electric train in the window. He did. It was on a big square track, all black an’ sleek lookin’ with a coal tender an’ five cars. On Saturdays Dan would have it runnin’ real slow-like so you could get a good look at it. It were my dream present. Thing were, we didn’t have no electricity at the farm. We didn’t
Ma knowed I loved that there train. She did. But there weren’t no way I could have it, even iffen we could afford it. So I just dreamed about what it would be like for it to be mine. I did.
Come Christmas mornin’ I woke up to the sound of somethin’ runnin’ an’ a bell a ringin’. Next to the Christmas tree were a train with a tender. It were on a circle track with a bell what rang as it went around. It were a windup train. It were.
An’ I reckon come tomorrow I’ll get it down outta the attic an’ put it by the tree. I will. It still winds up, but ol’ Blue always hated that there bell a goin’ “Ding! Ding! Ding!” He did. So I reckon iffen I wind it I’ll tie up that little hangy-down-thing what hits the track an’ rings the bell. I will. An ma’ll be there too. She will.

CONCERNS: Deloris Johnson, UVA. She is Edgar Blackwell’s sister. Rachel Mitchell is having neck issues. Gary Overstreet, Raleigh Ct. Rehab. Joanne Elder and Martha Foy as they job hunt. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole, Wayne Phlegar, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, as well as a cousin, Tolly Nicklas. Also a friend of Leena’s, Chris Campbell, who has had a stroke. Ray and Darnell Barns, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Psalm 119:1-24
Tuesday: Matthew 12:22-37
Wednesday: Revelation 3:14-22
Thursday: Galatians 2:11-21
Friday: John 15: 1-11
Saturday: Psalm 112:1-10

Monday: Psalm 48:1-14
Tuesday: Romans 11:33-12:8
Wednesday: Luke 15:1-10
Thursday: Galatians 6:1-10
Friday: Romans 6:1-14
Saturday: Psalm 19:1-14

Today (12/18) is Super Sunday. This year, due to travel and scheduling conflicts, this will be our Christmas gathering this year. The annex is decorated and the fireplace will be blazing, and Christmas music playing. Be sure to plan to stay.
Our Thanks to Judy McWhorter, Leena Bolin, Holly Wagner and others who have worked on making the room look so cheery.
We were sorry to learn of the death of Larry Foy’s sister. She lived in Martin Tenn. and was just over a hundred years old.
A service of praise and readings will be held at the building on Christmas Eve at 6:00. Karen Branch will be leading us in the songs and various ones will read the story to us from the gospels.
In years past, several have gone out to eat following the service. Feel free to join the group.
The following changes in our gathering times will be in effect until after the New Year. On Christmas morning, Dec. 25 we will meet for the 10:30 worship service only. This will also be true on New Year’s Day, January 1st. There will be no Wednesday evening service on December 28th due to the number who will be away who usually attend on Wednesday evening.
This year the poinsettias complement the window decorations arranged by Leena Bolin. They will be “adopted” in January.
A family this church helps on occasion has two little boys, 4&6 years old who will not have much for Christmas. We were asked on last Thursday if we could help. That’s not much notice, but their wants are simple. They like cars, trucks and action figures. If you can help, wrap and bring the toys to the building before Saturday.
We have also given this family some of the wood we have behind the annex to heat their house at this time.


If you read church bulletins you’ve seen those “Bible Questions” where you are asked the name of Jabok’s wife, or something like that. They’re fun, but I never do them. Do you? Probably not, unless you’re envisioning winning a Bible Bowl or maybe Jeopardy. So I’m going to test you, even though I know you won’t take the time to answer. Your answering is not the point. The point is you will read the question. Maybe.
Here we go. What is the difference between “blameless” and “sinless?” There are several places in the Bible where we are told so and so was “Blameless before the Lord.” Does that mean “sinless?” If not, why not? Are you blameless? You may say, as do lots of folks on the “net,” that you are blameless because Jesus died for your sins. So blameless and sin are tied together.
In Luke 1:6, speaking of Zechariah and Elizabeth, it says, “Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the commandments and regulations blamelessly.” First of all, lets recognize the death of Jesus was about thirty some years away. They were “upright in the sight of God.” They observed all the commandments and regulations blamelessly.” All of them? How many is that? Ten, or the whole Law? So, even with all that, they were not really without some blame. Were they sinners and blameless at the same time? How?
Here’s one that asks about your idea of inspiration. Does inspiration mean everything in the Bible is literally true? Take for example Psalm 90:10. “The length of our days is seventy years, or eighty, if we have the strength.” Is that true? Contrast that with Genesis 6:3. “Then the Lord said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal: his days will be a hundred and twenty years.’” Which is true?
Before I go on, let me introject here that I’m not challenging the validity of scripture. I’m asking questions about how we interpret scripture, i.e., hermeneutics. In fact, (tongue-in-cheek) hermeneutic questions might be on the final, like “Who is your neighbor?” How you interpret the teachings of Jesus will depend on how you answer that question.
Look at I Cor. 5:5. Paul is dealing with a case of some sort where, “A man has his father’s wife.” He instructs the church to “Hand this man over to Satan, so that his sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.” (NIV) It should be pointed out that the NIV interpreters did some interpolating here. The actual word for “sinful nature” is “body” or “flesh” which is different from “sinful nature”, but is an attempt to help in understanding what Paul meant. What did Paul mean? Some try to link it to II Cor. 2:7, but it doesn’t fit the context.
What about I Cor. 15:29? “Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead?” (NIV) What does that mean? If you look, which you don’t need to, you’ll find various attempts to answer it.
Question: When was the Old Covenant replaced with the New? A long-standing teaching of Colossians 2:13 is that the Old Covenant was nailed to the cross. In other words, with the death of Jesus the Old Covenant was over. If that were true, it sure didn’t show it in the early church.
The cross happened about AD 30 or so. The church met in Jerusalem in about AD 50 to discuss the Jew/ Gentile issue. That’s a good twenty years after the cross. It should also be noted that the meeting was in Jerusalem, surely a place where, if the Old Covenant was nailed to the cross, it would be a primary doctrine. However, in Acts 15:21, James says, “For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogue on every Sabbath.” He said this in relationship to how much of the Old Covenant should be required of Gentile converts.
Since Paul was there, don’t you think it would have behooved him to speak up and say, “I’m about to write to the Colossians and tell them the Old Covenant was nailed to the cross. All this talk of Moses and the law is a moot point. Those nails removed the law, even from we who are Jews.” (The letter to the Colossians is said by some to be written sometime in the 50s.)
I apologize for answering that last question. I just couldn’t help it. Well, I didn’t tell you what was nailed to the cross. I’ll leave that up to you, if you’re interested. But maybe I’ve asked enough questions to make you realize how easy it is to let other people tell us what the Bible means, rather than digging for our selves.

CONCERNS: Rachel Mitchell is having back and neck problems. Gary Overstreet is in Raleigh Court undergoing rehab. Scott Blessing is just about over a bout with gout. Martha Foy and Joanne Elder are job hunting. Former member, Betty Shepherd had cancer surgery and is now at home. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s aunt, Pat Voss and a niece, Jamie Cole. Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, and a cousin, Tolly Nicklas. A friend of Leena’s, Chris Campbell has had a stroke. Ray & Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and
Mary Smith and Tim Elder

Monday: Genesis 15:1-21
Tuesday: Psalm 2:1-11
Wednesday: Mark 5:1-20
Thursday: Hebrews 11:1-18
Friday: I Thess. 4:1-12
Saturday: Psalm 130:1-8

Monday: Genesis 2:15-3:7
Tuesday: Exodus 4:1-17
Wednesday: Hebrews 11:1-18
Thursday: Ephesians 4:17-32
Friday: II Cor. 4:7-18
Saturday: Psalm 47:1-9

Due to scheduling problems, the Christmas “Party” will be more of a Christmas celebration which will take place on Super Sunday, December, 18th. There will be no special menu, just the regular pot luck of Super Sunday. Neither will there be a gift exchange. However, the annex will be decorated and music provided.

A Christmas Eve service will be held at the building. More details in the next bulletin. However, the time will be 6:00 P. M.

Mike Branch is starting a class on the prophet Isaiah on Sunday mornings. There is always good discussion in that class.

The Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office has sent out notice of a scam going on in the Roanoke area. They have asked that we make note of it for our members.
The scam involves someone placing calls and impersonating a law enforcement officer. The caller claims the victim has failed to show up for jury duty. Jail time is threatened if a fine is not paid. Most of you are aware of this scam, but the Sheriff’s Office says it has increased recently and wanted us to put out the word.
If you should experience such a call, the best thing to do is refuse to speak to them and then call the Roanoke City Police at 540-853-2211

The seasonal poinsettias will be in the windows next Sunday. By the way, those of you who attend on Wednesday evening might offer your help in decorating the tree in the annex.

For some time, Judy Hall has given her talents to placing flower arrangements in both buildings. She has asked Leena Bolin to take over that job and Leena has already started. Thanks Leena.


BY my friend, Ben

It’d been quite a spell since it were this warm the weekend before Thanksgivin’ It were. I reckoned it were nigh on to seventy-five degrees. It were. Course the trees had perty much lost all their leaves since we had that there windstorm a few days ago. They did.
It bein’ Saturday an’ all, I reckoned I’d find somethin’ to do so I wouldn’t waste
the day. But right now I were just enjoyin’ sittin’ on the porch in the warm sun an’ rockin’ in Ma’s ol’ rocker. I were.
Ol’ Blue come over an’ laid his head on my leg an’ looked at me with them big ol’ brown eyes. He did. I sure wish I knowed what were goin’ on in that head a his. All I knowed is it were somethin’ good. I did.
After I rubbed his head a bit he headed offen the porch. He did. I reckon he were headed down to the barn to look for a critter or two.
I could see he were favorin’ his right hip. He were. Ol’ Doc Vickers said he had so many different kinds of hound in him he were doin’ good for his age. He did. But that didn’t stop him from gettin’ a tad of arthritis in that hip. It didn’t. So Doc gave me some pills to help with it. He did.
Lookin’ up the lane the other way I could see the big ol’ sugar maple tree on top the hill. I could. It were as red as blood a few weeks ago, but now it stood all alone. Kinda lonely-like.
That were the tree I sat under after Ma’s funeral. I did. It were mid November, an’ it were rainy an’ cold. It were. Pa knowed I needed to do what I had t do, so he let me alone. He did. It were just me’n ol’ Blue sittin’ in the rain under that sugar maple tree. It were.
We didn’t have no Thanksgivin’ that year. Fact is, there weren’t no Thanksgivin’s after that. It weren’t that we were ungrateful. It were just that the smells an’ sounds of Thanksgivin’ weren’t never the same as Ma’s Thanksgivin’s. They weren’t.
There were somethin’ about that ol’ maple tree that took me back to the Thanksgivin’ the year before Ma got sick. It did.
That year she decided to use a recipe for oyster stuffin’. She did. She’d found it in an ol’ cookbook of her ma’s. She did. I reckon Ma wanted to make that oyster dressin’ cause them oysters seemed to make it real special to her. It did. I reckon it were like we were eatin’ rich folk’s food. It were Thanksgivin’ an’ Ma always wanted everthing to be as nice as possible. She did. Cause she loved makin’ me an’ Pa happy the added expense of them oysters didn’t make no matter. It didn’t.
Thing were, me’n Pa weren’t sure we liked oysters. We didn’t. But we knowed Ma wanted Thanksgivin’ to be special, so we didn’t say nothin’ We didn’t.
Well, she stuffed that bird with her oyster dressin’ until it were about to pop. She did. When that turkey were done all that stuffin’ were filled with the turkey juice. It were.
There were one other thing Ma put in that dressin’. It were the giblets. I reckon she done it ‘cause the recipe called for ‘em’. Well, Thanksgivin’ come an’ there were a piece of gizzard hidin’ right in the big spoonful of dressin’ Ma put on my plate. Afor I knowed it, it were in my mouth. It were. It seemed to be growin’ an about to choke me. It were. I didn’t want to spit it out right there in front of Ma an’ Pa, so I ran outside to the back porch. The last time I saw that there piece a gizzard it were headin’ toward the north forty. It were.
I reckon Ma an’ Pa thought I were choking to death, cause they come a runnin’. They did. When they knowed I were alright, Ma asked what was wrong. She did. Now I didn’t want to hurt Ma’s feelin’s none. I didn’t. But I told her I reckon I’d got ahold of the gizzard. I did. I told her I liked her stuffin’ a whole lot, but not the giblets.
We all went back to the table. We did. Ma were all quiet-like for a while. She were. I reckoned I’d hurt her feelin’s. I knowed she’d worked real hard to make Thanksgivin’ special. I did.
Next thing I knowed, Ma let out a little laugh. She did. When me’n Pa looked at her she were smilin’. She were. She said, “Iffen I’da knowed you wouldn’t like them giblets in the stuffin’ I’da left ‘em out.” She did. Pa told her what was important to me’n him were that Thanksgivin’ were just the way she wanted it, giblets an’ all. He did. Ma said what made her the most thankful were all of us eatin’ Thanksgivin’ together around the table. She did. She told us not to worry about any more giblets bein’ in the stuffin’ She did. Then she asked, kinda jokin’-like, iffen we had any other improvements to her stuffin’. She did. Pa looked at me an’ I looked at him. I did. I weren’t about to say nothin’. Not after spittin’ out that gizard. Finally Pa said, “It might be nice to leave out the oysters.” He did. Well Ma broke out laughin’ an’ said next year there wouldn’t be no giblets or oysters in the stuffin’. She did.
Ma were gone by the next Thanksgivin’. She were. So me’n Pa never got to taste no more a Ma’s no giblet an’ oyster dressin’. In the years followin’ Pa would take me over to Miss McKnights Boardin’ House for Thanksgivin’. He would. It were right nice with home-cooked food. An’ there were lot’s a folks who ate there, so it were a little like family. It were.
Five years later Pa were killed in a accident at the sawmill. He were. Me bein’ big for my age I reckon folks didn’t feel no need to think I couldn’t get by on my own, even though I were just fifteen. They gave me a job at the sawmill an’ me’n ol’ Blue went on with our lives. We did.
I reckon I got a lot to be thankful for. I do. Almost ever Thanksgivin’ since Pa died some folks at church have invited me to be with them. They have. I reckon there are all kinds of families in the world. I do. An’ sometimes them what ain’t related are just as much family as those what are. An’ that’s somethin’ to be thankful for. It is.

CONCERNS: Joanne Elder’s new granddaughter, Lilian (Lilly) had to have corrective surgery. It went well, but she will have to be hospitalized a few more days. Gary Overstreet is in rehab at Raleigh Court. Scot Blessing has been down with gout. Both Martha Foy and Joanne Elder are job hunting. Melanie (Brown) Gentry is still recovering. Wayne Flora’s father may have to have surgery soon. Rachel Mitchell is having health issues. Remember Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones. Former member Betty Shepherd has breast cancer. Teryn Gaynor’s mother continues to improve. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Joni Beach’s aunt, Betty Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Wayne Phlegar, David Albert and Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, also a cousin, Tolly Nicklas and a friend, Chris Campbell. Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: I Samuel 16:1-13
Tuesday: Mark 15:1-20
Wednesday: Luke 12:1-12
Thursday: I John 2:11-24
Friday: I Peter 4:1-19
Saturday: Psalm 11:1-7

Monday: Joshua 24:14-28
Tuesday: Acts 9:1-9
Wednesday: James 5:1-18
Thursday: I John 1:5-2:6
Friday: Hebrews 12:1-14
Saturday: Psalm 138:1-8

Joanne Elder is a grandmother again. David and his wife had a baby girl on Nov. 9. The baby weighed 6lbs 12 oz. Her name is Lilian (Lilly). As noted in the concerns section, she had to have surgery for a twisted bowel. She is doing fine.
Also: Judy and T. J. Hall became great-grandparents. Their son Perry’s daughter had twins on Nov. 10. They live in Johnson City, TN.
This is the third Sunday of the Month. That means the service will be different from the regular sermon. Mike and Karen Branch will be conducting the worship service today.
Today is Super Sunday. That means we will enjoy a meal together following the service. It will also be the first fire in the fireplace for the season. Plan to stay.
Due to the Thanksgiving holiday with folks preparing meals and being away with family, there will be no Wednesday evening service on Nov. 24.
The turkey isn’t even in the roaster and we’re talking about Christmas! The reason is that due to so many holiday parties and conflicts, we need to take a look at the best early dates available to the most people.. Please look at you schedule for December and pick out a good date for you. The sign-up list will ask which dates are best for you. All this is needed in order to see when and if the party is scheduled.
Keith will betaking a few days vacation this week. He will be in town, but not in the office as usual.
As we approach the winter months remember that on weather related issues we will send emails to everyone who has an e address. Others will be called, and if time allows, a notice will be on the local television stations. Also. On Wednesday evenings when the temperature is below freezing, there will be no service.


Before all you scientists get wound up, let me explain. President James Garfield was shot by Charles Guiteau in an attempted assassination. One bullet hit Garfield in the arm, the other in the back, not hitting any major organ. We now know that he could have survived the wound had he been left alone. However, twelve different doctors stuck unwashed fingers and instruments into Garfield in an attempt to remove the bullet. One attempt was on the dirty floor of the train station. For most of 80 days they tried to remove the bullet, all the time with unwashed hands and instruments. American doctors at that time believed air caused infection, not germs. They rejected British Doctor Joseph Lister’s belief that germs existed.
Garfield would die from the infection inserted by doctors doing what they believed at the time. Charles Guiteau would say, in view of his execution, something like, “I shot him but his doctors killed him.” He was right.
What happened? Well, some professional arrogance was involved on the part of Doctor Bliss, who took over the case. On the other hand, at the time, as stated, American doctors did not believe in germs. So they used the knowledge at hand, which is all they could do. Were they wrong? By today’s standards, yes, by the standards of their day, no.
Science (and life) can only use what is available at the time to advance. Lister’s theory would become scientific truth.
Let’s move that thought to another area. If someone were asked in Biblical times what caused thunder, they would say, “God” or “gods.” Would they be right? Yes. Why? Because their knowledge of the universe had not yet developed enough to know the cause of thunder and lightening. You may even find some people today who still believe God causes atmospheric events.
I’m not sure when the idea developed that the Bible is a book which contains scientific information of all kinds, beyond theology and philosophy. At some point someone decided that if the Bible wasn’t true about everything, it couldn’t be true about anything. Sad.
I was reading an article online about how the Bible didn’t teach the earth was flat. All the verses which would suggest it did, were dismissed as poetry or symbolism, while all the verses used to support a round earth were taken literally. Convenient.
You can find modern, educated people who, by using the King James Version, prove (?) the earth is the center of the universe. One fellow even said the stars prove it because they are all facing us! (My fingers almost cramped when I typed that!)
The Bible was written over several years during a period of history. It was conditioned by its historical and cultural surroundings just as were the doctors who treated President Garfield. Just as medicine and science advanced, so did the understanding of God.
This can be seen in a close reading of the Old Testament. In Leviticus 21: 16-23 there is a list of physical defects which preclude Aaron’s decedents from “coming near to offer the food of his God.” This was to be “For the generations to come.” Ok. That’s the priesthood. But did God find such imperfect people unworthy, or was that the understanding of God at the time? None of those people were responsible for their condition, even though at the time it was associated with sin. Were they right to reject such people? Yes, according to the knowledge (or lack thereof) of God they had at the time. As time passed they would see God differently, and their relationship with God and each other would reflect that change. Isaiah includes all these people as worthy and welcome, including eunuchs.
Did God change? No. The understanding of God changed and broader views of ethics and culture changed as well. The sacrificial system would take second place to justice and mercy. (Amos 5:21-24)
The Bible is about man’s ever-expanding search for the divine meaning of life, i.e., God. In that search, old wine and old wine skins must be left behind. The clothing of the past will not wear well for the future with God. I wonder if we can begin to grasp the enormity of what Jesus meant when he said that? Do we know he was opening a whole new relationship with God and others?
It’s about relationship. It’s about not letting the old ideas about God and who God loved, define who God loves now, as our knowledge of God in Jesus has advanced. We know what causes thunder and lightening, and much more about the universe than did those before us. We know about germs and infection, and much more. We once denied alcoholism was a disease, but just a sin. We know more about people and what defines human value than Moses and others in history. When we know better, we have no excuse for denial.

CONCERNS: Gary Overstreet was to have surgery on Friday. He will then be in rehab at Raleigh Court. Scott Blessing has been dealing with gout. Joanne Elder will soon be looking for a new job. Teresa Robertson needs prayers. Her family has suffered several difficulties lately. Her aunt Reva is ill and lost a son recently in a car wreck. Another aunt, Patricia Hall is also very ill. Teresa’s daughter in SC had storm damage. And she and Ben have been helping her. Martha Foy is also unemployed at the time. Remember Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones. Former member, Betty Shepherd has breast cancer. Teryn Gaynor’s mother, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s aunt, Pat Voss and a niece, Jamie Cole. Wayne Phlegar, David Albert and Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, a cousin, Tolly Nicklas and a friend, Chris Campbell.
Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Psalm 119:57-72
Tuesday: Matthew 12:38-50
Wednesday: James 1:19-27
Thursday: Jonah 3:1-4:11
Friday: Romans 6:1-23
Saturday: Psalm 113:1-9
Monday: Job 38:1-18
Tuesday: Isaiah 25:1-5
Wednesday: Psalm 37:1-17
Thursday: Luke 18:35-19:10
Friday: John 18:1-14
Saturday: Hebrews 13:1-21
During the high winds of a week or so ago, a large tree in the annex yard split and fell. Wayne Flora came and cut up the tree as well as cutting down the other standing section. He cut that up as well. He then went farther down the yard to another tree which was leaning, and cut it down as well, also cutting it up.
The wood from two of the trees went to a neighbor of the Wagner’s who burns wood, some went to a neighbor of the church, and some went to two families who rely on wood for heat. The other tree will be used by Lyn Jordan for his kiln.
This was a lot of work for one man, so be sure to thank Wayne!
You may have noticed the large cement planters on the office porch. They came from Judy McWhorter’s business. They make the office entrance look nice. Thanks Judy.
Thanks to Jim White for operating the media production in Erma’s absence. Good job Jim. You know that once you learn something you will be used again. By the way, if you would be willing to learn the system, see Erma. The extra help can always be used.
It’s not Thanksgiving yet! However, the annual Christmas party is usually early in December, so it needs to be on our minds.
Look at your schedule for December and see what dates are open for you. Of course, it’s hard to accommodate everyone.
The sign-up list will be out soon and the need to know your wish is important to having the party.
Joanne Elder’s son, David, and his wife, are expecting their second child. It was due last Sunday and it’s a girl. More details later. By the way, Joanne will be in Florida from 11/24 -12/2.
We’ve been having more people come on Wednesday evenings lately. If you haven’t been coming, you should give it a try.