Roanoke Church of Christ

Author: admin


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.


You know the game. A picture is filled with things and people, and somewhere hidden therein is red and white striped-beanie-capped, with matching pullover shirt, redheaded, bespeckled, Waldo. It’s hardly the Pearl of Great Price, but finding him is still fun.
All the other items and characters and surroundings are secondary. The single most important thing is to find Waldo. Everything else in the picture is supporting Waldo. And why not? Waldo is the reason for the picture, the book and the whole Waldo world. Finding him is all that matters.
It may be a stretch, but I think the Bible is often treated like a Where’s Waldo puzzle. Only in this case, it’s where’s a doctrine of God. When God, or some idea about God is found in one place, everything else in the picture (the context) is irrelevant.
Take for example an oft quoted passage from Jeremiah 1:5. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Add to that Psalm 139:13 which says, “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” If you are looking for scripture to prove when life begins and you use these, you have found Waldo, nothing else matters.
This is also true if you use apposing scripture, such as Genesis2:7, which says God formed man “and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Or Job 33:4 which says, “The spirit of God made me; the breath of the almighty gives me life. Also there’s Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones where it says, “I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” (33:5)
If you do some research you will find these two opposing views are used to prove, by the Bible, when life begins. They both find Waldo, and nothing else in the picture matters.
The problem with all this is that finding when life begins gets limited to the Biblical passages never intended for that purpose. Both sides claim they have the God-given truth on the subject and have the scriptures to prove it.
If you think I’m choosing sides, you’re wrong. I think both sides are wrong because they ignore the whole picture. The Biblical picture is often abstract. It’s not always literal. For example, the conception process does not involve God “knitting” anything together. If you asked the Psalmist if God “knit” together the children of their enemies, you’d get a “No way!” If the language is literal, then God isn’t a very good “knitter.” Because some children are born conjoined, some with their hearts on the outside, some with part of a would-be twin attached on them somewhere. The list of birth defects is almost endless. In the case of these passages, the language is both metaphoric and poetic.
The same is true with God “forming” Jeremiah in his mother’s womb. It is a way of telling Jeremiah he was “set apart.” If all humans are “formed: by God, aren’t all humans also “set apart” as was Jeremiah?
The connection between breath and life’s beginning can be understood by observation. If it wasn’t breathing, it wasn’t living. The opposite was also true. However, no one saw God blow into a baby’s mouth to give it (life) breath. However, it could be that someone may have done that at birth and saw the result. It is also probable that the mysterious and invisible thing called “breath” (spirit) was easily seen as being from God.
On the subject of birth I could include Psalm 51:5 “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” The doctrine of original sin hangs on this verse. To me, it’s a Waldo surrounded by context and hyperbole.
What all this is about being how the Bible is used to prove a preconceived goal, i.e., to find Waldo.
For example, The Old Testament says not to kill. Some are quick to point out it actually says not to murder. Which is probably a valid point, especially when you could be” killed” for working on the Sabbath, rebelling against parents, committing adultery, among others. On the other hand, Jesus didn’t seem too thrilled about either murder or killing.
If we add to that the command to love one’s neighbor as oneself, we find ourselves stumbling over “killed” people from Egypt to Jericho and beyond.
The abuse of the Bible is to use it for something for which it was not intended. For example, John 6:53ff Jesus said,”I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drinks his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” Who takes that literally? Those who believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation. Which is that in some divine way the bread and the wine become the actual flesh and blood of Jesus.
Admittedly, that conclusion was an attempt to find (Waldo) a deeper relationship with God. However, it is based on a literal interpretation of Jesus’ words, which most of Christendom rejects. But the words are still there, so for some a case can be made for a literal understanding, along with the “twist” about the moment the change actually happens.
What do we want to find in the Bible? That list is the subject of hundreds of books, many of which are bad, to say the least. The question we need to ask is what does the Bible want us to find? The answer is relationship with God. How do we do that? By looking at those in the Bible who had a relationship with God. In this sense it’s like looking for Waldo, except we aren’t looking for what we want, but what brought others, and hopefully us, closer to the Creator.
We also look for Jesus and his moral and ethical teaching. As we do, we fight the temptation to make he and his teaching look like us, rather than we like him.

CONCERNS: Joanne Elder’s job is being eliminated. She will have 60 days pay before she has to take unemployment benefits. Martha Foy is also seeking a new job due to cutbacks at CHIP. Teresa Robertson has asked for prayers for her aunt, Patricia Hall, also another aunt, Reva Almond, and her son’s girlfriend, Kayla. Remember Carol Jones, Jim White’s mother. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s family as they deal with their grief. Also, Joni’s aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, a cousin, Tolly Nicklas, and a fried, Chris Campbell. Ray & Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Malachi 1:1-14
Tuesday: John 3:1-15
Wednesday: Psalm 65:1-13
Thursday: I Peter 2:1-10
Friday: Matthew 4:1-11
Saturday: Exodus 15:1-18
Monday: Psalm16:1-11
Tuesday: Matthew 20:1-16
Wednesday: Amos 3:12-4:5
Thursday: Hebrews 10:19-39
Friday: Ephesians 5:3-20
Saturday: Psalm 148:1-14

Because today is the third Sunday of the month we will have a special service, rather than the usual sermon. Today we will hear from Susan Jordan and her sister, concerning their trip to Guatemala and the work of Health Talents at the Ezell Clinic.
Another feature we will enjoy today is the ability to see the videos and pictures Susan brings on the new video monitors.
Today is Super Sunday. Please plan to stay following the service for the meal in the annex.
The Peaks of Otter Hike and Picnic was undecided as of bulletin time. Several options are available, and they will be discussed. The number interested this year was down, and scheduling conflicts for others caused the event to be rethought. It will be discussed today.
We have several people who are away. The Halls are visiting children. Del and Leena Bolin are on a medical trip for a week. Martha Albert will be visiting family and friends in Texas until early November.
With regard to the Halls, we were happy to hear they are putting off moving to North Carolina until spring
Congratulations to AC (Branch) Fuller upon graduating from Virginia Western with a nursing degree. She has also passed her INCLEX test and is a now an RN. She starts tomorrow with Carilion Hospital in the mothers and children section. Way to go AC!
Thanks to all of you who brought peanut butter for Feeding America.
The black walnut tree behind the annex has an pretty abundant year. If you want to do the work to get the meat out, go get all you want.
If you haven’t visited the church website in awhile, you need to drop by and see it. Also, the Facebook page is another place to go to find information.


Thanks to Charlie Daniels for the destination. No offence to Georgians.
The devil decided to make a call on the western hemisphere and stopped by Georgia, probably near Atlanta.
Inside Hell (the little devils called their Georgia center that) there was a flurry of activity. Beevil, the administrator, had called a meeting of all the disciples to tell them Old Scratch was dropping by, so they needed to be on their worst behavior. Old Scratch was NOT the name they would use. That would be “Master.” But even little devils have to be, well, little devils.
Satan arrived and he and Beevil went to the communication center. It was abuzz with activity. “I’m impressed, Beevil”, said Satan. “It looks like there is a lot of devilish activity going on in the region.”
“It’s nasty work, but somebody has to do it. Just a little joke there Master, we all love being devilish.”
“Well, as you know, I’ve been busy in Europe, Asia and Africa, just going to and fro overseeing my work. But I kind of lost touch with the West. As you know, even we on the dark side have to keep improving. So I wanted to stop by and see how the work was going.”
“Master, you know about the internet, right?”
“Of course. It’s not called the world wide web for nothing! It has been one of the most effective tools for us in modern history. The reason we are so good at what we do is because we can take something as productive and good as the internet and twist it for our use.
“You might not believe it, but I’ve seen young graduate devils blush at what they see written on the internet.”
“But those people already belong to us, at least most of them. Our goal is the godfearing people, The way we work with them is not generally awful language, but fear, prejudice and half truths.
“First we set them up by injecting a little unfounded fear, after all, we are your children. O Father of Lies. Then we send them looking on the net for that which will prove the fear is real, It’s rather amazing how we do it. Your devoted servants can make up anything that will increase hatred and fear, post it on a web site with some official title and they believe it. Not only that, but they will pass it on without even checking to see if it’s true. From there we can only guess how far it will spread. And, even if they rescind it, most of those who read it still believe it. You’d be surprised how many humans work for you and don’t even know it. There’s one guy out there who denies that the Columbine shooting took place. Remember that? And the killing of the children at the Sandy Hook School. He denies that as well.”
“Nobody believes him, do they?”
“Master! Humans believe whatever we want them to once we get in their heads. You see, the best way to use a, lets say, Christian, is to separate their religious performance from their actual thinking. In other words, and I hate to quote you know who, but we make the tree look good, but the fruit is rotten.”
“That’s all well and bad, but what are you doing that is new and innovative?”
“Come with me Master. We are going to the newest Control Center. It’s our version of the NSA.”
“What makes it different than the internet?”
“It’s more personal. It gets right into the down and dirty. We jokingly call it Octopus, because it can stretch in all directions and stick to anything it touches. It’s actually called Facebook, and it’s one of the most advanced forms of communication on planet earth.”
“I know about Facebook! Do you think I’m an idiot!? People love it.”
“We know! It is actually a wonderful thing, if I dare say. But our job is to use it for our purpose. Any good thing has the potential to be used for bad. As you know, on Facebook somebody befriends somebody and they befriend somebody and soon we have an ever-expanding network of people. All we have to do is use the same principals we do on the net, and boom, we’re half way around the world!”
“Again, our main target is Christians, they know that Paul guy said, ‘Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,’ you know, think on those things.”
“When it comes to social media they seem to miss that. By the way Master, you quote scripture almost like a believer!”
“Watch you tongue, Beevil! The Macon County line needs a swamp keeper!”

OCTOBER BIRTHDAYS: 1-Mary Smith 4-Laura Schreiner 4-Garrett Lee Williams 10-Brice Reid 14-Connie Crites 15-Mary Willa Foy 20-Lyn Jordan 20-Melisha Scruggs 24-Teryn Gaynor 24-Susan Phlegar 27- T.J. Hall
OCTOBER ANNIVERSARIES: 3-James & Megan Downing 8- Mike & Karen Crush Branch 9-Scott & Bonnie Blessing 19- Jeff & Sherry Bland
CONCERNS: Judy and T. J. Hall. Teresa Robertson asks prayer for her aunt, Patricia Hall, another aunt, Reva Almond, and Teresa’s son’s girlfriend, Kayla. Martha Foy ask our prayers as see seeks a new job. Remember also, Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Teryn Gaynor’s mother, Sheila Jansen and her daughter Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach and family as they deal with the death of their mother, Betty Voss. Also, Joni’s aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter is now able to work a little, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, and a cousin, Tolly Nicklas, as well as a friend, Chris Campbell. Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: I Peter 1:13-25
Tuesday: Psalm 95:1-11
Wednesday: Matthew 14:13-33
Thursday: Romans 12:9-21
Friday: I Timothy 1:12-2:7
Saturday: Psalm 116:1-19
Monday: John 1:35-51
Tuesday: Revelation 1:4-20
Wednesday: I Corinthians 6:7-20
Thursday: Luke 17:11-19
Friday: Philippians 2:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 98:1-9

The congregation was saddened to learn of the death of Joni Beach’s mother, Betty Voss. She died at home Sunday evening, September 25, after a long battle with cancer.
The funeral was held in Sanford, NC on Friday, September 30 and the burial just over the hill from their home.
Full details can be seen at the Boles Funeral Home in Sanford web page.
A sign-up sheet is on the table in the foyer for the Peaks hike and picnic. Please sing the list soon so we can know the interest in continuing doing this. Not as many climb to Sharp Top, but others enjoy the picnic afterward. It takes a lot of work and help to get everything up there and ready, so let your wishes be known soon.
The peanut butter drive for Feeding America will conclude next week. Bring a jar of peanut butter next Sunday and place it on the downstairs table or the one in the foyer.
We’ve been talking about the work Roger Fisher has done on the area above the disabled parking area. A fellow who did some tree work for the church saw it and decided he’d give us a freebie and finish it up. If you have been part of this church for thirty or more years, you have never seen that area look so clean. All that remains is some ground cover that can be removed in the spring if need be.
T. J. And Judy Hall have decided on a condominium in North Carolina, instead of a house. They will close on it in a week or so. The date of their move will be soon after that.
On Super Sunday this month we will hear from Susan Jordan about her week with the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala.. As we’ve mentioned before, Susan’s enthusiasm about the work there has inspired her sister and two others to go with her. Susan will tell us about how the trip effected them


The title sounds more serious than what I’m about to say, but it sounds more Biblical than, Let Us Think Together.
My question is how are some things important (God said) at one time, and not important (God said) in another with no scriptural explanation as to why?
Last Sunday I was talking about Peter’s visit to Cornelius, and the vision of the sheet which came from heaven filled with all kinds of animals, both clean and unclean, according to the law. (God said) I quipped that Peter did not remind the angelic voice (God?) that it was not he who decided to call some animals unclean, but Moses. (God)
When did that law change? Jesus never said anything about it, except Mark, writing after the fact, in Mark 7:19, says Jesus declared all foods clean. I did find one Jewish writer who said Jesus wasn’t talking about food, but more-or-less about eating with unwashed hands. If they ate clean “undefiled” food with unwashed hands it was till clean food. I don’t think Mark saw it that way.
The issue in Acts 10 is not food, but people. However, food is used to teach the truth. Peter sees it as about food. He is told to kill and eat. He replies, “Surely not Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” Peter thinks it’s about food. Before he could decide what to do, the sheet is gone. As Peter ponders all this, the men from Cornelius arrive with the message about their Gentile friend. About this time Peter gets a message from the Spirit (God) which tells him to go with the men. By the way, as best we can tell, they were Gentiles, and yet Peter invites them into the house to spend the night. Somewhere along the line Peter begins to think the sheet is about people, and possibly indirectly also about food.
When Peter arrives at Cornelius’ house, he reminds him “That it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him.” He then says that God (in the sheet thing) had told him that he should not call any man impure or unclean.” Amazing revelation! He also says he now” knows that God accepts men (and women) from every nation who fear God and do what is right.” Double amazing! All kinds of walls started crumbling!
But my first question is, do we believe what Peter believed? And do we qualify it? My second question is, was the sheet about food, people, or both? If it wasn’t also about food, what value did it have? Unclean people also ate unclean food. Unclean food was a deeply rooted teaching from the Law of Moses. (God) Peter’s remark that he’d never defiled himself with unclean food, or unclean people, as in Gentiles, shows it was still a, dare I say, kosher teaching. At what point are we told this Old Testament teaching (by God) had been repealed? As I said, Mark alludes to Jesus doing it, but after the fact. It doesn’t seem Peter understood Jesus as having declared all foods clean. So how does such an ancient and significant law (from God and still maintained by kosher Jews today) get flipped in a matter of moments?
The answer is in Peter’s remark to Cornelius. “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism…” How did Peter come to realize that “truth”? Sure, a close reading of the prophets suggested it, along with Jesus’ sermon in Nazareth, but Peter’s attitude suggests it hadn’t been a repealed (by God) teaching from scripture. And yet he has seen a “truth.” He has seen a truth “beyond the sacred page.” A truth which came in a sheet in a “vision” with some help from the Spirit of God. No chapter and verse. No proof text. Just a vision and God’s spirit. I think we could say Peter had a revelation.
In Romans 8:14ff Paul talks about “those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God.” He adds that the same Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
What it means for “our” spirit to be “Spirit led” is debatable because of how it is understood, or misunderstood. However, that the Spirit of God is involved with “our” spirit (whatever that is) is a clear conclusion for Paul. And it would also seem that “sons” (children) of God are led by the Spirit of God. The tired and false idea that the Spirit of God is the Bible, thankfully has all but disappeared. Does the Bible lead? Yes. But people who claim to be led by it go off in all directions, and always have.
What does it mean to be led by the Spirit? As I view scripture as a source, it seems to me the most notable moments of Spirit leading have to do with people’s lives. Was Abraham led by the Spirit? Was Moses moved by the Spirit of God in the bush? Were the prophets led by God when they railed against the injustices of the rulers? When it says, “The Lord spoke,” concerning a prophet or anyone, was there always a voice? Or was it that movement (spirit) inside that says to tell the truth?
When it said Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, what was the purpose, and the outcome? The purpose was to sort out what kind of Messiah he would be, and he chose to be the only one that would get God’s message into the world.
Peter had no chapter and verse telling him the food laws of Moses (God) had been dumped. Yet in a vision of a sheet filled with unclean animals and a “vision- voice,” Peter connects with a “truth” and he knows he has to break the law. “It’s against our law for a Jew…” (Acts 10:28)
It is God’s spirit testifying to our spirit that an idea, or “law,” no mater how old and biblical, and started for whatever reason, which destroys the truth Peter realized, must be set aside. You can be sure the Spirit of God never leads anyone to reject someone who fears God and does what is right.
Peter’s experience falls in line with something I keep saying: All Old Testament laws were given for a time and needed situations. Jews stopped selling their daughters. (Ex. 21:7) They stopped having rebellious sons stoned. (Deut. 21:18-21. See David and Absalom. The list could go on and on.
Just imagine what the world would be like if we understood it the way Peter did.

CONCERNS: Along with the cornea transplant, Judy Hall has had some other health issues to deal with. Erma Williams brother-in-law, Greg Lantz is doing better. Teresa Robertson’s aunt, Patricia Hall is dealing with lymphodema and another aunt, Reva Almond also needs prayers. Remember also these folks, Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Teryn Gaynor’s mother, Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjory Wilson and Melanie Gentry. Joni Beach’s parents health is declining and she is spending time with them in NC. Her aunt, Pat Voss and a niece, Jamie Cole also need prayer. Pray for Wayne Phlegar, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas and Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
Monday: Exodus 14:10-31
Tuesday: Isaiah 2:1-14
Wednesday: Romans 14:1-9
Thursday: John 5:1-18
Friday: Genesis 4:1-18
Saturday: Psalm 146:1-10
Monday: John 15:12-27
Tuesday: I Corinthians 13:1-13
Wednesday: John 6:35-51
Thursday: Matthew 17:14-23
Friday: I Peter 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 125:1-5

Today is Super Sunday. Along with the regular meal we have the leftover bar b que which was frozen after the Labor Day weekend event. Plan to stay for the meal and the fellowship.
Wayne Flora will be the worship leader for today’s service. We thank him for his willingness to serve.
The third Sunday service in October will be done by Susan Jordan, in which she will tell us about her week with Ezell Clinic in Guatemala.
We were saddened to learn of the death of former member, Rex White, who died August 31in Columbia SC. A military burial was scheduled for Fort Jackson is that same city.
Last Sunday evening was a special time at the Ronald McDonald House. Our own (and Roanoke’s) Chef Jeff Bland and a friend and fellow chef from Florida, provided the evening meal for the guests. From all reports it was a big success with lots of second helpings. Thanks Jeff, and pass it on to your friend.
A sign-up list is on the foyer table for this October Super Sunday event. Interest was down a little last year, so let’s be sure our wishes are known as soon as possible as to how many want to continue it.
We received a card from Stephanie addressed to “My sweet church family.” In it she thanks everyone who helped with her move to Sarasota, Fla.
She has now settled in her new place to live (on a golf course) and is working as a private duty nurse.
She says her new church family has “adopted” her as we did, and that they are a loving group of people. The full note is on the foyer table. If you missed her new address in the hand-out it is 6281 Timber Lake Dr. H-5, Sarasota FL 34243