Roanoke Church of Christ

Author: admin


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


Can we agree that the theology of the Christian church is basically Pauline; meaning the writings of Paul, the apostle of Jesus, set the foundation for the doctrine of the church? That just means when it comes to scripture, we have much more of what Paul said than the others. So when we read the letters of Paul we see the fundamental teachings of Christianity. This is not to reduce the teachings of Jesus. Enough of that has been done already. It has been my experience that people know more about how to do church right than the ethical teachings of Jesus.
So a fundamental question would be: If Paul describes the function and teachings of the Church, where did all the Hell get in? In all of the instructive writings and warnings of Paul, not one time does he mention Hell. If you want to read the best biblically based study on that, get Edward Fudge’s book, The Fire That Consumes.
I’m not going to examine that doctrine. What I want to know is how did Hell become the central, or one of the central doctrines of the preaching and teaching of the Bible.
Let’s face it. We are all heirs of prior teaching. What was taught in the past is passed on and hopefully improved before being passed on to others. Let me say here that the Bible has been stagnated by those who refuse to let its truth keep growing. Even Jesus said, “You have heard it said of old, but I now say…”
But what about Hell? I’m not historian enough to know when the work of Jesus became a fire escape. It may have happened when someone decided the three different words for death and destruction, should be translated into one English word, “Hell.” My guess is that the doctrine of Hell was so entrenched by then that it was more, dare I say, politically correct, to leave the then popular idea intact.
My question is how did Hell become so central in Christian teaching? As I make a quick trip though the Bible, I see the idea of relationship, closeness between the created and the Creator. People were described as “Walking with God.” Before you know it, God sneaks up on Abraham and says, “Let’s take a walk.” You know how that story went. There was a lot of “relating” that went on, all the way to Egypt. And all along the way, folks died and their bones were often taken with them. But everybody who died went to Hell. That is, they went to the Hebrew place of the dead, which is “sheol’. It was a generic term for “the unseen state.” If you read about it, nobody wanted to be left there. Note: The NIV does a very good job translating “Hell” into “the grave” in the OT.
Moses is minding his own business when God decides to draft him. Sure, God uses a burning bush, but it’s not to toast Moses. You know how that story went. All the way through the OT, God just related with people as much as they’d let him. Some of it was bad and some good, but it was all done without Hell, but not without the tragedy of the grave, and what “the place of the dead” could include. Beyond Psalms and Proverbs, only Isaiah and Ezekiel spend time on “sheol.” Amos, Jonah and Habakkuk each mention it once.
The favorite NT word is “Gehenna,” from the Valley of Hinnom, a valley of desecration which had the historical significance of being a place where children had been sacrificed. In Jeremiah it is a place where the dead, animals and people were dumped. If it was still a garbage dump in Jesus’ day is disputable. It was, however, the symbol of a wasted and destroyed life. Matthew, Mark, Luke and James use it that way eleven times. And Mark’s use of Isaiah 66:24 about the unquenched fire and maggots points to the historical knowledge of Gehenna. Matthew, Luke, Acts and Revelation use the Greek “hades” to describe “the unseen world” of the dead. So Jesus says his kingdom will overcome the gates of hell, meaning the result of death. The gospel offers people life instead of death. Paul says the last enemy is death, (I Cor. 15:26) and that eternal life is a gift from God. (Rom. 6:23) Are there consequences for wrong doing and refusing God’s gift? Yes. But what about the kingdom of God being a found treasure, or a dreamed of priceless pearl? Who decided that approach wasn’t good enough? I don’t know, but something valuable was lost in that decision.
The Prodical son returned home, not because the father threatened to kill him if he didn’t. He returned because he realized he’d chosen the wrong life. When we get that right maybe we’ll understand why Paul could teach the good news of God, and even warn people about their deadly choices, without mentioning Hell.

Announcements: Martha Albert
Serve Communion: Connie Crites
Lyn Jordan
Susan Jordan
Mary Willa Foy
Nurseries: Jack Thompson
Usher: Jim White
Communion Care: Williams
Singing: Scripture
4-Scott Blessing Steve Gaynor
11-Del Bolin AC Fuller
18-Scott Blessing Debbie McRoy
25-Karen Branch Mark McRoy
Communion: Nursery:
4- Abraham Sirgy Alisa Flora
11-Wayne Flora Debbie McRoy
18-Abraham Sirgy Holly Wagner
25-Mike Branch Megan Downing

SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAYS: 13-Joanne Elder 25-Mark McRoy 25-Judy McWhorter 29-AC Fuller

CONCERNS: Zona Fisher is recovering well at home after gal bladder surgery. Judy Hall is recovering from a cornea transplant. Erma Williams brother-in-law, Greg Lantz is having issues requiring surgery. Teresa Robertson’s aunt, Patricia Hall is suffering from lymphodema, another aunt, Reva Almond also needs prayers. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Melisha Scruggs cousin, Teryn Gaynor’s mother as she recovers from cancer. Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjory Wilson and Melanie Gentry. Joni Beach’s parents, as well as an aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter is doing much better. Wayne Phlegar is still rather shut in. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Daniel 16:6-28
Tuesday: Mark 4:26-41
Wednesday: Psalm 136;1-26
Thursday: Matthew 7:1-6
Friday: Acts 23:11-35
Saturday: Psalm 115:1-21
Monday: I Peter 1:1-11
Tuesday: Luke 2:1-10
Wednesday: Proverbs 2:1-15
Thursday: Romans 15:1-13
Friday: I Thessalonians 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm115:1-18

There is always some risk writing about an event before it happens, which is the case here. However, at this point the weather looks iffy, so we’ll deal with it. KW decided to try beef short ribs instead of brisket this year. The brisket can be a little stringy, even if cooked a long time, so a change was made. If it didn’t work we’ll make it right next year.
Also a big thanks to those who came early to pull the pork and chicken. And especially those who brought all the fixens to make the meal wonderful.
We always seem to have leftovers, and they will be enjoyed by anyone who would like to stay after the Sunday service. All the rest will be frozen and eaten on Super Sunday.
Judy and Bud McWhorter celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last month. Their daughters are honoring them with a celebration on Saturday, September 10th in the annex. They have invited us to join them in this occasion. The time is 7:00 PM. The only present to bring is your presence.
We’ve been pointing out how good the area above the disabled parking area looks since Roger Fisher took it on as a project. The property line up there is not well marked, but Roger talked to the neighbor at the adjoining property and he said he would like to see all of the brush and undergrowth gone. He even worked on the area near his yard.
This has been a forgotten area and it needs t be finished. The weather has been hot, but let’s plan a Saturday this month when it cools down to finish cleaning up what is left. And thank Roger for getting this going.
Susan Jordan will be away for the next three weekends. She will give us her report on her week at the Ezell Clinic on Super Sunday
As we develop the visual technology your feedback concerning font size, background color and other helpful ideas are improving our worship each Sunday.


I may have written an article using this title before, but when you’ve written as many as I have you tend to forget. On the other hand it might be just a sequel.
The Bible is the most quoted and misquoted book in the world. It is mostly used to undergird an already held position or idea. Seldom is it quoted in such a way as to create investigation and dialogue. It is the nail that nails down a point, and therefore the point becomes solid and untouchable, because the Bible says.
This use of scripture has been deeply rooted for years in some methods of preaching. I remember a man telling me a preacher should never say, “I think”, when it came to preaching. He should always say, “The Bible says’ and then read or quote a scripture. All this somehow meant he was preaching the truth.
When I first moved to Roanoke in 1988, I inherited a bulletin mailing list. I just sent out the bulletin using that list. It went to many of the general area Churches of Christ. One article ticked off a local preacher and he challenged me to a debate. He printed the challenge and the article in a little journal he sent out to several states. A preacher in WV wrote a rebuttal to my article in which he stated with great indignation that I had not quoted one scripture to prove my point, therefore, my article had no merit. He was right about the scripture, the merit was a matter of taste. In other words, attach a scripture to it and you can say anything and it is true, at least if you agree with the writer and others like him.
For example, in a letter to the editor a few days ago, a writer said Donald Trump was right to build a wall between the US an Mexico because Nehemiah told the people to build the wall around Jerusalem. I know, I tore at my clothing too as I read that. However, it is one of hundreds of examples where scripture, is attached to a biblical/political position. “You can’t be a Christian and be a Democrat.” “You can’t be a Christian and be a Republican .” Both read the same Bible, both quote it and yet they reach different conclusions. Why? If one is more Christlike than the other, why? What is Christlikeness? The answer will depend on our preconceived, comfortable ideas, usually backed up by scripture.
I also realize that in writing about this, I am putting myself in the position of saying I have the answer. Well, I’m trying.
As I see it, quoting scripture to prove a point, or assuming it will change someone’s mind, is largely a fantasy, unless there is an atmosphere of open dialogue and investigation. When was the last time you read a letter to the editor that said, “Wow! Billy Bob’s quoting of scripture changed my mind and blew me away!”?
What does change a person’s mind? Emotion. All thoughts come from and carry with them emotion. In fact “emotion” comes from the French, “disturb”. That being true, we think and act out of our emotional disturbances. Reason has little to do with emotion. Even if we feel we have made a reasonable choice (and it might be) the source for the choice is emotional. Some feeling inside us makes the decision seem rational. If it is will be determined by the outcome.
When Luther saw the abuses of the Catholic priesthood, it had nothing to do with who knew and could quote the most scripture. It was about an emotional response to what was seen as a violation of human dignity, and in Luther’s case, God. This is true of every reformer, social or religious.
But the question still remains: What can cause our emotions (minds) to change? How is it that someone can be hardened against an idea or concept, and then become completely for it? Not everyone gets blinded on the Damascus road. Is it education? Is it learning about the person or thing which is seen as something to be feared? Yes. By the way, fear is probably the strongest emotion, next to love. Let me insert a scripture here and let it mean whatever you think it means. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (I John 4:18) Without applying the text, is it fair to say in any situation, fear and love are conflicting emotions? It seems they are.
Removing this from a Biblical context, would it still be true? Yes, in any context. Even Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is based on feeling safe and secure, and loved, the opposite of being afraid. So if fear is the emotion which motivates the person, will love change fear to love? That’s the question. When it does it is usually by seeing love in action. Face to face as it were. To that extent, love is a force. It is the force which has changed the world for the better throughout history. It is a mysterious, invisible force or wind/breath that moves humankind forward and deeper and deeper into the power of love. That force, wind, breath, is the word for spirit. There is a spiritual force that breaths into humankind a spirit/power to better the world around it in every field of study. It is the force that moves inside us to demand that we see others as equals. It is the force which disturbs us in areas of inequality, discrimination and hatred. It is the force in every time and place that demands justice and mercy. It is the force that freed the slaves. It is the force that gave women the right to vote, as well as equality in all fields. It is the force that broke down walls of racial and national separation. It is a force that cannot be quoted into someone. It is a force that disturbs or does not disturb, until the person yields or refuses to yield to its force. In poetic terms it is described in Genesis as the creative force (wind/spirit) of God. It is the restless force that has brought about every change which love demands in all of history. It is a never-ceasing wind which blows humanity toward peace and harmony. Just stand on the mountaintop of history and see how many destructive, unjust and hateful things this force has blown away. It is the force of the Spirit of God.

CONCERNS: Teresa Robertson’s aunt, Patricia Hall (lymphodema) and her aunt, Reva Allmond. Judy Hal had a cornea transplant on Wednesday and is doing fine. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Melisha Scruggs cousin; Teryn Gaynor’s mother; Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver; Marjorie Wilson (cancer) Melanie Gentry is recovering from a stroke; Joni Beach’s parents, her aunt Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter has been able to get back to work a little . Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Lena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, deana McRoy, Stephanie
Rigney, Jenni Cullum, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: II Thessalonians 1:2-12
Tuesday: Matthew 1:18-25
Wednesday: John 2:1-11
Thursday: I Thessalonians 1:2-10
Friday: II Timothy 2:1-11
Saturday: Isaiah 40:1-11
Monday: Matthew 2:1-12
Tuesday: Matthew 2:13-23
Wednesday: Genesis 31:36-50
Thursday: Acts 9:19b-31
Friday Psalm 122:1-9
Saturday: Psalm 140:1-13

Today is Super Sunday. If you are a visitor it means we will have a fellowship meal in the annex following the service. You are invited to be our guest for that meal.
Even though several of the committee are away, there are still a few items that need to be touched on. Among them are thoughts and ideas on how to use and improve the visual technology we are now using.
The meeting will be in the library following the meal.
Concerning the use of the video screens, last Sunday was our maiden voyage and we can thank Erma Williams for her work on that. We will need to train others to help when she is gone.
A sign-up list has been placed on the foyer table for the bar b que. Please let it be known if you plan to attend, and your preference of chicken, pork, or both. As always, the meat will be provided, all the rest is o be brought by those attending. The time for the meal is around 4:00PM. If you can arrive earlier and help set up and pull the pork, please let Keith know.
If you drive up Carlton and look at the area above the handicapped parking you will see a major improvement in the bushy section on the hill. Roger has been working on this off and on, and it’s time to bring in some help to clear the small trees and undergrowth. As far as the property line is concerned, the neighbor up the hill would like to see it all cleared out as well. Let’s plan a Saturday to finish it.
Susan Jordan and her fellow travelers are back from the Ezell Cline in Guatemala. We look forward to her report. Vivian Dugan will be spending a few weeks with her daughter on the coast.


The book of Jonah may be the most significant book in the Old Testament, as well as in scripture. It’s a wonder it made it into Old Testament canon. It would seem the appeal was so great that to not include it would have been a denial of God-breathed truth.
As a child listening to the story of Jonah, I had no knowledge that Ninevah was in Arab country. I also found that the folks in that area, especially in Nineveh, were rather barbaric. They beat the stuffings out of Israel about any time they wanted. So we can understand why Jonah would not want anything good for Nineveh. I’ll leave it up to the honest reader to make modern day comparisons.
I realize there is no strong doctrine of an afterlife in the Old Testament. Notice I said “strong.” So my concern is more about justification. Can a Ninevite (and anybody else) be justified (saved) by God? If so, how? How were the Ninevites “saved”? After Jonah’s delightful message of “Forty days from now, Nineveh will be destroyed” reached the king’s ears, the king put on sackcloth, sat in the dirt and made this proclamation: “Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything: do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.” (NIV) They did and it worked, even if Jonah didn’t want it to.
That’s it?! That’s all?! What about the Sabbath? God rested on the seventh day and it seems all humankind was to do the same, so what about the Ninevites? Did they have to keep the Sabbath? Was the Sabbath just a Hebrew thing? What about all the other things in the Law of Moses which had to be done or avoided to please God? If there were things which were universally abominations to God, wouldn’t anyone who violated them commit abomination? Did the Ninevites have to observe the food laws? Not according to Jonah. It says, “When God saw that the people had stopped doing evil things, he had pity on them and did not destroy them.”
Jonah’s response is, “You are a kind and merciful God, and you are very patient. You always show love, and you don’t like to punish anyone, not even foreigners.” Who was a foreigner? Anyone who was not an Israelite, or convert.
What did the Ninevites get? Covenant? Reprieve? Relationship? Reprieve, yes, as long as they stopped doing evil. Was that a covenant? “I will not destroy you as long as you do good.” What about relationship? “You are a kind and merciful God, you always show love.” Did that mean they went to heaven if they continued to avoid evil? Or just safety from being destroyed? Take your pick. What “evil” were they guilty of, or was it the ‘general’ evil of humanity?
Question: Does what worked for the Ninevites still work for anyone, regardless who they are? If not, why not?
What about Amos 9:7? “Are not you Israelites the same to me as the Cushites?” declares the Lord. Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?”Did these people of other “exoduses” keep Hebrew law? If not, what law were they judged by?
The prophets were the first reformers of Hebrew theology. They were the ones who saw God as did Jonah. Hosea attacks the sacrificial system, the foundation of Israel’s obedience to God, and says for God, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” (6:6)
Reading the prophets it is clear that God is seen as judging all people for their evil ways, and not just the Hebrews. When that judgement took place it had nothing to do with a failure to keep Hebrew laws such as the Sabbath, or laws of purity. It had to do with a lack of knowing who God was, and therefore giving themselves to idolatry and the results of the evil practices of that belief
Paul, in Romans 2, says “When Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law , they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.“
Those natural things were not the law of Moses, they were what the Ninevites knew to do to be what God wanted them and all of us to be. That’s what saves us.

CONCERNS: Teresa Robertson has asked our prayers for her aunt, Patricia Hall, and another aunt, Reva Almond. Melisha Scruggs asks prayers for her cousin. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones. Teryn Gaynor’s mother has finished her cancer treatments. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, (cancer) Melanie Gentry is recovering from a stroke. Joni Beach’s parents both have health issues. Also her aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter had a good report last week. He’s getting stronger each day. Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Ray and Darnell Barns, and Gil Richardson. Deana McRoy, Jim and Mary Smith, Jenni Cullum and Tim Elder.
Monday: Daniel 5:17-28
Tuesday: Matthew 13:44-52
Wednesday: I Samuel 17:41-54
Thursday: Psalm 70:1-5
Friday: Matthew 7:13-29
Saturday: Psalm 1:1-15
Monday: John 4:27-42
Tuesday: Ecclesiastes 11:1-10
Wednesday: Psalm 86:1-17
Thursday: Genesis 3:8-21
Friday: II Timothy 3:1-17
Saturday: Psalm84:1-12

If we ever had an ambassador to Guatemala, it would be Susan Jordan. Working a week each year at the Ezell Clinic has become her passion. So passionate is she about this medical mission work, that this year her sister and two teacher friends went with her, at their own expense!
Pray for their safety and that these new workers will catch the fire of service that everyone who has gone has experienced. We look forward to hearing from them when they return.
Everything is installed to enable the display of the words and music from our hymnals. The PowerPoint songs should be here by next Sunday. In a test run, after James Downing installed the equipment, the display was clear and readable from all parts of the room. (Thanks James)
As we learn more about what we can do, our hope is to display the announcements before the service starts (hard copies of the order of worship will still be available) and the call to worship. Also, the sermon text can be displayed to make it easier to follow as it is read. The system is wireless and can be operated from a laptop or some ipads. In some cases the song leader may decide to control the display, in other cases there will be a media person(s) taking care of that
Saturday, September 3rd is that date for this year’s Bar B Que. A sign-up sheet will be on the table in the foyer. It is important to let it be known if there is enough who will be in town, or are interested in doing it. Please let your feelings be known as soon as possible.
T. J. And Judy Hall are now looking at a home in Clemmons NC, not Mocksville as stated before. Pray for them as they make this move. More details about the time will come later.
The Bolins are on a family vacation to England before the boys go back to school. With the unrest in Europe, keep them in your prayers. Among others, the Foys are on vacation at Niagra Falls and the Gaynors in Gatlinburg.


In the book of Hebrews it says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” In the context it has to do with those believers who were on the verge of not believing. If you read chapter 11, you might end up with the idea that the writer, in telling all those stories of faithful and trusting people, is also telling his readers since those people had faith, we should also have it just as they did. Perhaps that’s what the writer has in mind, but simply reading or hearing about another person’s “faith” does not necessarily make our search easier. While an individual’s act of faith may inspire us, each of us lays the foundation for our own.
I know most of the usual examples used to “prove” faith, trust, or belief, all of which have the same root meaning. I know about having faith that the plane will fly, and that the rope will hold, and that the father will catch the child when it jumps, and the bridge won’t fall. But in each of these cases, the plane, the rope, the father, and the bridge, can be seen. That’s different than faith in the unseen. So when we talk about faith it is generally connected to God, which is faith in the unseen. The Hebrew writer says faith is “being certain of what we don’t see.” It would be easy to shut the book and say “There it is. Simple as can be.” However, I think the experience of faith is much more involved than that. It seems not to be something we have, but something that has us. It becomes the foundation on which we build our lives and attempt to understand the meaning of life.
To that extent, the believer and the nonbelieiver are alike. We all want to understand what it means to be alive. We might even philosophically ask if what we are is life? How do we know? Who decided to call it “life?” What does it really mean to be alive? Of course, it means not being the opposite of what is defined as life. Let’s leave that to the philosophers. However, there are universal questions about the meaning of human existence.
Descartes’ famous”I think, therefore I am” comes to mind. If you want your head to turn completely around exorcism-stye, read comments on his statement. However, it does pretty much express our explanation for who we are. “I think, therefore I am.”
Since we think, we also question. We wonder about life. Is there any purpose to it? Are we just a meaningless speck of evolutionary dust that happened to develop a higher thought process than the other specks? If so, is that a good thing? Might we not be better off without becoming human life? We have no control over that. That’s life as humans know it. We are faced with continuing questions that demand answers. That is the wonder of being human. We humans are the ones who discover and create. We are the ones who refuse to accept things as they are, but reach for a better understanding of our purpose, if we believe we have one.
What prompts us to ask if life has meaning? And, what is “Meaning?” At what point did humans think life should have a meaning and purpose?
The answer to that, for some people, is plain and simple, it came from God in the beginning. And all believers, regardless if they believe the story of Eden is literal, or if it expresses our existence in ancient terminology, believe that at some point human beings became, for lack of a better word, “human.” And the longer these human beings existed, the more challenges they faced and answered. Each step they took led them to a new opportunity. Each new opportunity led them to new questions to be answered. The foundation under their feet shook, and the area above them brought heat and water and loud sounds. They wanted to know why. It could only be something bigger and more powerful than they. So these strange powers above them and the shaking below them became the power over their lives, at least at that point in time. It would be called by many names, but the most common would be “God,” although that is not the actual Biblical word. It is interesting that with all the controversy over the name “God”, that the word’s origin is ambiguous. It seems to come from the Germanic-European word for “the called upon.” And “the called upon” took on many identities.
The passing of time and increased wisdom and knowledge, reduced much of the superstition. The important questions now came from deep within. They began to ask about the meaning of life. Was there a higher purpose for them as “humans”?
While the natural inclination of procreation was there, humans found something more. In every culture and language they developed a word we commonly call, “love.” Did they wonder where this feeling originated? I’m sure they did, and you can read about it all throughout history. More than wondering about it, they decided it was the highest of all “human” traits. Jesus may be the best-known person to say, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” (Jn. 15:13) but others had expressed the thought before him. In fact, those who asked about the meaning of life, nearly always included the wonder of human sacrificial love. In fact, human love will make a person give their life even for a stranger.
So faith in a Creative Force (God) that is unseen, can have its origin in what is seen. It can ask the meaning of love, and conclude that love, while undeniable, is beyond any physical explanation. They can decide it is the foundation for living with meaning and purpose. Since it is undeniable, what is its source?
The person who chooses faith in God, amid all the things to the contrary, can build on the thought expressed in I Jn. 4:8, “God is love.” Because they also know in some way that love is God. Believing that may not answer every challenge or question, but it can provide a foundation for a life of faith

CONCERNS: Teresa Robertson has asked prayers for her aunt, Patricia Hall, who has lymphodema. Melisha Scruggs asks prayers for her cousin. Remember also Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Teryn Gaynor’s mother (cancer treatment) Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson (cancer) Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s parents, as well as her aunt, Pat Voss and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter is doing better. Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas. Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith, Jenni Cullum and Tim Elder.

Monday: Ezekiel 16:1-22
Tuesday: I Corinthians 14:1-12
Wednesday: Philippians 3:2-21
Thursday: Luke 9:46-50
Friday: Luke 6:17-26
Saturday: Psalm 124:1-8
Monday: I Peter 1:1-11
Tuesday: Luke 2:1-10
Wednesday: Proverbs 2:1-10
Thursday: Romans 15:1-13
Friday: I Thess. 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 115:1-18

Too late for the last bulletin, but God’s blessings, our best wishes and congratulations go to Ben Robertson and Teresa Wilcox with regard to their marriage on July 1st. Wayne Phlegar did the honors at the Phlegar’s home in Salem.
Today is Super Sunday, which means there is a fellowship meal following the service. As the third Sunday, it is also the Sunday arraigned by a member of the steering committee. Today’s service has been planed by Mike Branch.
As the Wagners return from their vacation, next Sunday’s speaker will be Wayne Flora. Thank you Wayne for filling in.
If you look up Carlton to the area above the handicapped parking, you will notice a very nice improvement in the brushy area up the hill. This area has needed tending for years. Roger Fisher has been working on it and there is a major difference. It’s been a real work in progress. Thanks Roger. ALSO: Mike Branch did some trimming around the front porch and steps. Thanks Mike.
Roger Fisher delivered all the aide materials to his friend, who then filled a trailer with ours and other’s materials and took it to the flooded areas in West Virginia. By the way, there is no more need for bottled water. It is being sent to rescue missions. Also, no clothing. If you missed out, see Roger and find out if his friend is going again, and what they need.
T. J. And Judy Hall have decide it is time for them to relocate nearer their sons in North Carolina. They are looking around Mocksville, which will put them about and hour in between Perry and Joey. They will be with us for awhile as the details are worked out.
Depending on the need, the steering committee may or may not meet today after the Super Sunday meal. There may be interest in the progress of our media upgrade. If there is a need, a meeting will be called.