Roanoke Church of Christ

Author: admin


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.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 28, NO. 23&24 – 21st Century Jesus

Let’s start out by admitting that we all make Jesus in our own image. If you deny that you are fooling yourself.
Perhaps it is impossible not to, after all, even those who knew him did it. However, they had a better reason, in my opinion. They were looking for the promised Messiah that the prophets had promised God would send to restore Israel.
I’m not talking as much about that as I am the struggle to see Jesus as relevant in today’s world. Because of the time difference between Jesus and us, we tend to interpret him in our culture. Various literary attempts at this have been tried. The Man Nobody Knew was one, and Joshua was the latest, as far as I know. The Man Nobody Knows was an attempt to recreate Jesus in his own time, as a salesman who was physically fit as he assembled a crack sales crew. He is seen as going home to his upstairs bedroom and looking at his childhood things, as if Jesus had a middle class home.
Most of this ” husky” view of Jesus has come from the emaciated, medieval Jesus of the middle ages. No one wants a wimp for a Messiah. The problem is it assumes that physical strength is the most effective strength. History would prove otherwise. Gandhi was a small man who changed the world around him. The Dali Lama is a respected figure when it comes to peace and moral living. The list could go on, but we all want a Jesus who fits our needs.
Developing a physical picture of Jesus is not a major deal. What is a major deal is reading the teachings of Jesus and then bending them to fit our wishes. To tell the truth, as I view the “Christian” world, I see a vast variety of Jesus images. Which of them are right, or at least closer to the real thing than the others? To answer that I suppose we would have to know the real Jesus. I don’t mean to actually live back then, but to know the Jesus revealed in scripture, which most Christians think they do.
As for me, I know what I have been taught influences me, especially in the areas where Christians have different views. For example, my background was more conscientious objection when it came to war. However, my brother served in the army, and so did other Christian friends. If you know the debate over that, you know, as always, a good amount of scripture was used on both sides.
How do we deal with Jesus today? I saw a depiction of Jesus (head and shoulders) standing behind a child of six or seven, teaching the child how to fire a handgun. My assumption was it was satire, and while it may have been, does it depict a modern understanding of how Jesus would live in today’s world? If you’re reading this on line, please don’t quote scripture or tell me your opinion, either way. I’m not taking an opinion poll. As I’ve said before, scriptural arguments solve little to nothing once the mind is made up.
You see, I’m caught in the dilemma of Jesus as much as anyone. What am I to do with “You have heard that it was said,’Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who want to borrow from you.” ? (Matt. 5:38-42)
Obviously our first thought is to fit these words into a historical framework. How much of it had to do with marshal law, i.e., the Roman government, and did it apply to all “evil” persons, or just those who would insult you? It is at this point we may be serious, but we are in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water. We end up with little to nothing of what Jesus meant.
I think the hardest thing about being a Christ-follower is to find the nature of God in Jesus and then let that mold us, rather than we molding it to fit our wants and desires. Maybe it’s what Paul said when he wrote, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. (Phil. 3:10)

CONCERNS: Martha Foy’s uncle is doing better. Teresa Wilcox asks our prayers for her aunt, Patricia Hall, and her brother, Michael Wilcox, who is having heart issues. Melisha Scruggs asks prayers for her cousin. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones; Teryn Gaynor’s mother (cancer treatment) Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, (cancer) Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s parents, and her aunt, Pat Voss and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas. Sandy Blanchard has died. Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, 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: Saturday: Psalm 11:1-7
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

Jim and Mary Smith will be celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this month. Their children, Donna and PJ are hosting a reception in their honor on July 16th at the Botetourt Room at the Glebe, from 2:00 & 4:00 PM. They have invited us to join them in the celebration. No need to RSVP, and no gifts please.
The invitation and welcome note is on the table in the foyer
As you will see when you enter the auditorium, the TVs have been mounted o the wall. Thanks to James Downing and Mike Branch, with help from Del Bolin and KW they are in place. They will not be functional until all the necessary equipment is assembled and hooked up. When ready they will serve as a virtual song book with the words and music from the pew hymnals. Therefore, the hymnals may be used as well. The set up also allows us to uses other songs via a very reasonable copyright licence. The morning text can be displayed so it can be followed. As we learn more, some announcements will scroll before the service starts, as well as the prayer list.
Keith and Jo Wagner will be on vacation, along with the Downings from July 16th through July 24th. Todd and his family, as well as Hope and Jerry will be joining them at the beach. The first Sunday they will be gone is the third Sunday, so the service will be planned by one of the steering committee. The second Sunday’s speaker will be announced.
The “yard” sale went well, and thanks to Erma Williams, a number of left over things from past VBS programs were sold by her. Thanks to Megan Downing for doing the advertising and signs.
Alan Beach has returned from his check-up at the Mayo Clinic and everything is fine. He and Joni have been spending time in North Carolina helping with her parents, and they helped Alan’s parents relocate to North Carolina.
Roger Fisher has a friend who is taking supplies to flooded WV. Roger will take them to the man. We’ll talk about this on Sunday.


When you read the Bible through as the Sunday morning adult class has been doing, questions develop . When it is read without chapters and verses, the questions may be easier to see. This is what the class has been doing with the first part of the Old Testament from the NIV.
Few, if any readers do this without some prior knowledge or influence. In other words, we already know what is there, or at least we think we do. This may not come from actual reading, but from sermons and other things we’ve heard.
For example, when the elders of Israel decided they didn’t want Samuel’s corrupt sons taking his place, they asked for a king. In the text, God tells Samuel to grant their wishes, but it was not a rejection of him, but of God. So a king was not what God wanted. However, in Deut. 17:14ff God tells the Israelites they can have a king once they arrive in the promised land. There is no sense of rejecting God in the passage, only that it be the man of God’s choosing.
The law of adultery was clear. Both the man and the married woman were to be killed. There is no place in the Bible where that law was revoked. Yet King David commits adultery with Bathsheba, and the idea of capital punishment never enters the picture. Why? By what and whose authority was the law modified?
In Exodus 12 detailed instructions about the Passover are given. It is to be something continually done. Yet in II Kings 23:21ff it says “The king gave this order to all the people: ‘Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God as it is written in the book of the Covenant.’ Not since the days of the judges who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed.” Where was the “word of the Lord” all those years?
I know I may be guilty of “hobby riding” by discussing Biblical understanding again, But in light of the idiotic remarks coming from preachers after the mass shooting in Orlando, I have to vent again.
When we read the books of the law of Moses, we read that the Lord barred from he assembly those who were disfigured in any way. (Deut. 21:16-23) While I’m not sure we can find a place in the OT where such a person was allowed in the assembly, (congregation) we do know such people were not barred from the synagogues in the NT. What changed, and when?
We know from The book of Ruth that the view of Moabites changed. When and how?
The Biblical view of slavery gave way to freedom. And I know about how slaves in the Bible were different than the slaves in America and other parts of the world centuries later. My question is: Why would anyone want to own another person? Sure, treat your slaves right. In some cases they owe you a debt. But could a person view the slave as not a slave, but an equal, and still collect a debt, or take care of their needs? Paul, in his letters, goes a long way in trying to level that playing field. (Gal. 3:28, Eph. 6:9, Col. 3:11)
My “proof list” could be a lot longer, but here’s the point: The most significant changes in the development of the history of Bible are those involving how people are viewed and treated. Why? Because the Bible, without it’s constant historical evolution, becomes a book which can be used for evil. Exodus 21: 20,21 says a slave can be beaten as long as he or she does not die, but recovers after a day or two. This passage was used by slave owners in later centuries to justify beating slaves. However, no one seemed to hold them accountable if the slave died, as the OT said should be done.
The mass killings of men, women and children in the Old Testament reveals the tribal attitude of the time. It was seen as a matter of survival, not as mass murder. This was historically true for all people and nations, not just the Hebrews. The enemy was not seen as an equal, but as a threat to survival. That is still true.
The constant question is if the God portrayed in such bloody violence is indeed, God? The answer is “Yes”. But the key word is “portrayed”. God is always understood within the constraints and confines of the time. To confine God to one moment in time is to essentially destroy God. The knowledge of God is ever expanding and always limited by its point in time. In other words, we understand God within the framework of the world as we know it. However, there is a foundation of understanding God which flows through time. In spite of everything else, the everlasting nature of God is in both testaments. Love God, love your neighbor as you love your self. That is the eternal God.
Those preachers and others who say the deaths of 49 LBGT (and straight) people in Orlando is God-ordained because of statements in The OT are as dangerous as the one who pulled the trigger. They are ignorant of the Bible and God. Debate over scripture is worthless. This is about the spirit of Jesus Christ and they don’t get it.
Do any of these people who quote OT scripture want to recreate the world of Moses? Do they believe the world today should be that world? Do they want adulterers murdered? Do they want tribal wars? Do they want women to be treated as they were at that time? Well, if they do, they can’t have it. Not because they can’t smite their chests and quote scripture, but because the creative power we call God moves continually forward. The problem is in all other fields of study the progress is quicker than in the area of humanity. Added o that is the fact that too often it has been the “God fearing” who have stood in the way of progress in areas of equality and dignity.
In the Bible, the hated Samaritan becomes the hero who lives in such a way as to gain eternal life. The Eunuch is baptized and welcomed into the assembly. The Gentile is seen as a brother. The tax collector and prostitute are seen as real people, worthy of love. Those disfigured are seen as whole. It’s not about quoting scripture. It is about the movement of God, or God’s spirit, moving in the world in such a way that it cannot, and never has been, stopped. Thank God.

CONCERNS: Martha Foy’s uncle, Ronnie Gentry is recovering from a severe heart attack. Teresa Wilcox asks prayers for her aunt, Patricia Hall, who has lymphodema, and her brother, Michael Wilcox, who has serious heaart issues. Teresa has also had some minor surgery. Melisha Scruggs asks prayers for a cousin. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones has heart problems. Teryn Gaynor’s mother continues cancer treatment. Sheila Jansen and her 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, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard is now in hospice care. Ray and Darnell Barns, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Psalm 119:25-48
Tuesday: Matthew 4:1-20
Wednesday: I Corinthians 1:10-31
Thursday: Galatians 5:1-25
Friday: Daniel 3:13-30
Saturday: Colossians 1:3-20
Monday: Genesis 2:15-3:7
Tuesday: Exodus 4:1-17
Wednesday: Hebrews 11:1-18
Thursday: Ephesisns 4:17-32
Friday: II Corinthians 4:7-18
Saturday: Psalm 47:1-9

As you can see, the bulletin looks different. This is because the copy machine is beyond repair, and until we decide on a course of action, the bulletin will be printed on the printer in the office. The steering committee will be looking into how to proceed. The old copier was given to us by Cole & King when they bought a new one when Stephanie Dixon worked there. It served us well, but parts are no longer available.
Today is Super Sunday. As always, it also falls on Father’s Day. There will be some folks gone this weekend, but if you are staying in town, plan to attend. This can be a double treat for dad. If you want to treat dad to a restaurant meal, do it on some evening this week.
Any members of the steering committee who are available after the fellowship meal will meet briefly to be informed about the copy machine replacement situation.
There will be a yard sale here on Saturday. Any members who would like to be involved are welcome. It may be both an inside/outside sale, depending on items and space. It would be a good idea to bring your sale items on Friday evening because people get in a hurry to find bargains early. The start time will be 7AM. Megan and James are out of town today, but if you need information, give them a call.
If you travel up Carlton you can tell work has been done on the area above the handicapped parkingg area. Roger and Mitch Fisher worked there last week. Then our yard man moved it to the curb. Thanks Roger and Mitch!
As was announced last week, we were saddened to learn of the sudden death of Alan Beach’s brother from complications from an artery stent placement. He lived in Albuquerque, NM. He is to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Remember this family in your prayers.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 28 – NAS (Nadab and Abihu Syndrome) or How to Sink an Ark

Just about anyone who has gone to church has been warned not to end up like Nadab and Abihu, the son’s of Aaron, who were toasted because they offered “strange fire” before the Lord. (Lev10:1,2)
Therefore, if we do anything “strange” (unauthorized by direct command, necessary inference or example) we will also be toast. The parentheses is, for many, the divine method of hermeneutics.
Along with NAS we also have the issue of “gopher wood” and the ark. (NIV “cypress” with a footnote that the Hebrew meaning is uncertain.) Somehow, out of this came all those sermons which said if Noah had used one board that was not gopher wood, the ark would have sunk. In other words, like Nadab and Abihu, there would be “strange” wood on board.
Lots of explanations about Nadab and Abihu’s demise have been offered. Among them, that they went into the Holy of Holies where they couldn’t go. Or they made their own fire, rather than using the coals from the ever-burning fire in the tent. Or, all of the above and they were drunk. See Lev 10:8. I would like to add to that the idea that what they did had an Egyptian flavor to it, i.e., a tinge of idolatry. No evidence of that, except anything Egyptian was cursed. This is not an article about all that, but about fear.
Last week a woman stopped by the office to leave her business card. She is a long-time member of the Church of Christ in the area. She and her family worship in Montgomery county, even though they live in Roanoke county. No big deal. Except she told me why. It was based on the constant preaching that just about everything is sinful.
She said (in so many words) she got tired of constantly feeling guilty because she didn’t feel the way she thought she was supposed to. She said fear of being wrong undergirded everything. We had a nice conversation.
Thinking about our talk, I wondered why we start in the Old Testament to understand the nature of God instead of with Jesus, or Paul.
There is not enough room here for all of what Paul would say, but surely we could start with his teaching on grace. We could think about, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Or Romans 8:31-39.
In the gospels we could start with Jesus stating that the commandment on which all the others rested, was the great one about loving God, neighbor and self. Or in Luke 6:35 where Jesus says God “is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” Then we could point out how Jesus treated “sinners” just as he treated everyone else, and how John said ,”God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (Jn. 3:17) We might even say the “through him” means a world in the dark about God, will see God as
God is, through Jesus.
Then there are the prophets. Let’s stop at Hosea 6:6 where we find, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” We might ask if that “strange fire” sacrifice was not really wanted, why not a little mercy on Nadab and Abihu?
I really like Isaiah 56:3-5 where it says eunuchs (those rendered impotent) will be welcomed in the Messianic kingdom with a memorial better than many children. Moses may have turned over in his grave. See Lev. 21:20 & Deut. 23:1
Going back farther, there is David, who has a man murdered to cover his adultery, two infractions of the law, but does not suffer the due punishment.
Here’s the point. Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father.” Jn. 14:9. What did they see before seeing Jesus? God, as taught by those who were their teachers. And, according to Jesus, they didn’t always get it right.
If we start with seeing God in Jesus, then all the rest falls into the historical understanding and need at the time. Which means we can’t sink the ark if we love God.

CONCERNS: Teresa Wilcox has asked our prayers for her aunt, Patricia Hall, who has lymphodema, and her brother, Michael Wilcox who has serious heart problems. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Abraham Sirgy’s brother is at home doing well after a heart attack. Judy Hall is dealing with eye issues. Teryn Gaynor’s mother is having cancer treatment. Remember Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, (cancer). Melanie Gentry will be going to Duke for testing. Joni Beach’s mother and father, and her aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Also, Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, and Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas. Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. She is from the congregation where Del Bolin grew up. Ray & Darnell Barns, Gil Richardson (MS), Deana McRoy and Stephanie Rigney. Jenni Cullum has been treated for an eye problem. 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: Matthew 15:29-39
Thursday: Luke 15:1-10
Friday: Galatians 6:1-10
Saturday; Psalm 19:1-14

Our sympathy to Roger Fisher in the death of his sister in Union, West Virginia, on Wednesday, May 25. The funeral was on the following Saturday.
The Wagners and the Downings are planning an inside/outside sale here on Saturday, June 25. If you would like to join in, please do
Dr. Henry and Katie Dodd are to be in Roanoke the beginning of this month. Dr. Dodd will be interning in pediatrics at Carilion Clinic. (RMH)
They are coming from Memphis, TN and are friends of David and Stacy Maharrey, who told them about us. They have twin girl toddlers. Pray that their move and house hunting goes well.
The brackets for the monitors have been purchased and will be hung soon. Nearly all of the equipment for the visual and media upgrade has either been secured or selected.
Not only will this enhance our worship service via the virtual hymnal, it will also allow us to use and teach other songs as well by using a CCLI copywrite licence. For a congregation our size, it is very reasonable.
The announcements and prayer list can scroll before the service starts, as well as the ability to use other scripture readings for the call to worship. The sermon text can also be shown, so following the reading will be easier.
Significant scriptures from the sermon may be shown, or other visuals to help with relevance.
In a word, the possibilities are limited only by our imagination. Look forward to this net and new step in worship.
Now that schools have let out for the summer, many of you will be traveling. Please let Erma Williams know when you will be away to help her set up the service schedule.
Next Sunday we will be preparing th evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House. If you will help, see Martha Albert or Holly Wagner.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 28, NO. 19&20 – ROME, AD 56 OR SO

Imagine if you will, two Roman men talking at a local watering hole sometime in or around AD 56. Of course, they wouldn’t know it was AD anything, because Dionysius Exiguus hadn’t decided to call it that yet, which he did in 525 (AD).
Androclies says to Antonious, “Tony, have you heard about that new sect of Jews that’s spreading across the world?”
“No. Don’t tell me more are coming! I’ll never understand why the government decided to bring them here in the first place! You know what they did to property values! I’m hoping the Emperor will see how wrong that was and decide to send them all back where they came from.”
“I know, and I hear rumblings that he is getting a little nervous about them. But this is a whole new breed of Jews. As you know, the ones who have been here stick to themselves. They don’t bother us or try to change our beliefs. I’m pretty sure it’s because they think they’re better than us. You know, that chosen people thing.”
“So what’s with the new bunch? What are they all about?”
“I’m not sure, except they claim the king of the Jews has come in a guy named Jesus. Some of them call him the Messiah, which as you may know, is the Hebrew word for king.”
“Well, that won’t fly well with the Caesar. But I don’t see any reason to worry about him. He will be gone in short notice.”
“Oh, they took care of him about 23 years ago over in Jerusalem. They crucified him.”
“So what’s the big deal?”
“They say he rose from the dead.”
“You mean alive? Not just a spirit?”
“So they say.”
“Who’d believe that, and why? We all know about life after death. That’s what the Elysian Fields are. Why would anybody want to improve on that?”
“Well, you know we got most of that from the Greeks. I’m not saying it isn’t true, but it does have some complications. First it was said that the fields were reserved only for the ones chosen by the gods, and then only through some kind of relationship.”
“Yeah, I remember. But the new teaching is that you can earn entrance by living a good life. But it’s still not clear how that happens. It seems the gods can still vote you out. Besides, I’ve seen a lot of dead people, but I’ve never seen any of them after they went under to the hadean world. Have you?”
“No. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true. After all, according to the scholars, the Elysian Fields are at the western edge of the world where nobody has gone. It is supposed to be a place where everything is wonderful with everything you need for happiness.”
“Do you think I failed temple school? I know all about what is supposed to happen! I’m just saying I have some doubts. The Greeks have their own way of thinking about things like that. So how are these new Jews different?”
“From what I can tell, they want everyone to believe in one god, not many.”
“That’s crazy! How could one god take care of everything? You have to have a god for each life event. That way you get the full effect of their individual power.”
Androclies looks up and sees a friend coming. “Hey, there’s Aeneas. He’s been known to talk to these new Jews. Let’s ask him.
“Aeneas! Come on over and I’ll buy you a drink. Me and Tony have some questions about these new Jews. What do you know about them?”
“Well, they’re called Christians now. I hear it started in Antioch. I guess it’s supposed to mean followers of the king, or something like that. They believe that a Jew named Jesus, from some podunk town, is the son of their god. Like all Jews, he taught that there is only one god. However, he was different. They say he wanted everyone to know this one god was loving and kind, not like the precocious gods we know. In fact, love is the main attribute of their god.
“He also welcomed people to this god who were not seen as welcome by the standard Jewish teachings. And, because he was seen by some, as the fulfillment of their Messianic prophesies, he was considered a danger to both nations. So he was killed by both the Jews and the Romans. By Rome, mostly because he was accused of sedition. However, they say he rose from the dead and is alive in the heavens.”
“Ok. But what’s so bad about that? We have freedom of religion in the empire.”
“As I hear it, most of the opposition is coming from among the Jews themselves. It seems his followers, particularly a Jew from Tarsus named Paul, are saying under this new Judaism, people they call Gentiles, people like us, don’t need to be worried about circumcision and all those food rules and the wrath of the gods to be granted entrance into an eternal paradise. Many of the Jews who want to believe in this Jesus guy aren’t buying into that. It seems most of the ones who do are Hellenistic Jews. You know, the ones who found value in both the Jewish and Greek culture.”
“I can see how this can be a danger to us. If we all become Christians all of our temples will be empty. And you know how much we love what goes on at the temple! It will disrupt our family values. Not only that, it will destroy the economy. How will the temple craftsmen stay in business?”
Aeneas said, “This has already happened at Ephesus. The metalworkers almost got him there, but he got away. Now I hear they are bringing him here to Rome to stand trial. On the other hand, the idea of one god who doesn’t want anything from us except love and kindness toward one another can be an attractive proposition”
“So that’s how they earn their eternal life?”
“No. They don’t earn anything. They say it’s a gift they receive when they live like the Jesus guy lived.”
“Not to worry. If they kill this guy, Paul, it will die out quickly.”
“You’re probably right.”

CONCERNS: Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones. Abraham Sirgy’s brother is recovering quickly from a heart attack. Judy Hall is having eye problems. Teryn Gaynor’s mother is receiving cancer treatment. Bill Schreiner is Hospitalized for treatment. He may be home by today. Marjorie Wilson, cancer. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s parents, as well as her aunt, Pat Voss and a niece, Jamie Cole. Wayne Phlegar has been unable to attend lately. Jim Hunter, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder. Jenni Cullum is having an eye problem.

Monday: Genesis 15:1-22
Tuesday: Psalm2:1-11
Wednesday: Mark 5:1-20
Thursday: Hebrews 9:6-14
Friday: I Thessalonians 4:1-12
Saturday: Psalm 130:1-8
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, May 15, the worship service was arranged by Susan Jordan. Del Bolin will be the speaker and he will tell us about his recent medical trip to Nicaragua.
Today is also Super Sunday. You are invited to a fellowship meal in the annex following the service.
If needed, the steering committee will meet in the library after the meal.
We received a call from a doctor in Memphis who is coming to Roanoke to complete a residency in pediatrics. They will arrive around the first of June.
The contact with us came from David and Stacy Maharrey, who went to college with them. David and Stacy gave them a glowing report about how much they loved Roanoke and the Roanoke church. They presently attend at the White Station congregation, a church which has a similar view of the New Testament as do we.
They have twin toddler girls and are looking for a three bedroom house to rent or buy. It needs to be in a neighborhood about twenty minutes from Carilion Clinic Hospital. They have a local realtor helping them, but if you know of such a place, tell Keith and he will let them know. Also, pray about them coming to Roanoke
Thanks to Wayne Flora for fixing the toilet in the annex men’s room. This must be the time for such repairs. A fixture in the main building’s men’s room had to have a major overhaul about a week ago.
In talking about the need for some work to be done around the building, it should be mentioned that some of it does not need to be a part of a scheduled day. If you want to know what you can do on your own, at a time convenient for you, see Keith. Or in some cases, some of you have seen areas which need tending and have taken it upon yourselves to come on an evening and do it. If you need a key to do some inside work, see Keith. If you need supplies, some are already here and others can be purchased.


There was no “mid-month” Bulletin due to the Wagners being away for a funeral. However, just before I left a flyer came that made me sad. It was from a company who advertized “Roanoke’s and Southwest Virginia’s only realistic interactive virtual firearms training simulator systems.” They offered a full range of gun training. Nothing wrong with that. However, with their “Firearms Training Simulators” they would train “Church Security Teams.”
In a cover letter to churches, there is the reminder that the world is becoming more dangerous and violent with each passing day. There was also the statement about more and more terrorist attacks against Christians in the United States and worldwide. Enter the fear factor.
Are such things on the increase? So it seems. How bad is it? Well, I did some digging and according to the Church Tax and Law website, I discovered that the chances of being killed by an invader in a church building is just about the same as being struck by lightening. I hasten to add, as did they, that we don’t go out into lightening-prone places to worship. However, that does not dismiss the statistics that the death rate is about the same. According to Gallup, 118 million people are in churches each Sunday in the US. Records indicate about 75 shooting deaths take place in churches each year, though that varies, just as do lightening strikes.
Should we fear lightening? Yes, but not to the point we are terrified and go to storm shelters when lightening occurs. Should we fear gun violence? Yes. But not to the point we have to live in paranoid fear.
I know churches all across the land are training armed security personnel. We have friends in a large church in Florida who told us they were informed that there were armed members strategically placed in the sanctuary to take out any one who would try to kill the preacher. They were not told who these people were, only that they were armed and ready. It became a guessing game as to who they might be.
I don’t think our friends were excited about all that, but there was a kind of “This is what our church is doing” flavor to it. And for me, that’s the rub.
We have played “My church is bigger and better than your church” for a long time. Better choirs, better music, better media, etc., etc.. Are we on the verge of saying, “My church has a security force with automatic weapons stationed in gun ports overlooking the sanctuary. They are completely invisible to the naked eye. What does your church have?”
“Oh, we still only have six people with sixteen- round glocks stationed around the building, but we are about to upgrade to automatic rifles.”
What I’m saying is that I worry about church folks getting excited about maybe getting to shoot somebody. Of course, any defense is based on hoping it never has to be used. But we all know that in any war there are those who just can’t wait to kill some (fill in the blank). Is “Locked and Loaded” the newest sign outside churches? I can remember when a church advertized that it was air conditioned and people were appalled that such a tactic would be used to get people inside. Is advertizing armed security next? Is that the new normal? I hope not. That means fear has won.
Our daughter, Holly, had an experience which speaks to what fear can do. She was entering a local Krogers, when she noticed a woman leaving who looked somewhat distraught. She asked what was wrong. The woman said she was mad at herself, but there was a boy in the store who was wearing a hoodie and a backpack. She said it wasn’t his fault, but she could not stay in a store with someone dressed like that. So she left without buying anything. Her fear now owns her, and I know we all understand that in some way, but will it become who we are?
I have no scriptural reference to make for this situation. I also reject any “proof” text for armed church security, but I can almost hear some offered. We feel the need to scripturally prove everything. I’m not looking for a scripture to invalidate armed guards. I can guess how Jesus would reply. I just hope this is not the new normal.

CONCERNS: Mark McRoy has asked prayers for the Harris family in the death of Troy, who leaves a wife and three boys behind. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Abraham Sirgy’s brother, Gamil (Jimmy), is recovering from a severe heart attack. Judy Hall is still having eye issues. Teryn Gaynor’s mother is being treated for cancer. Bill Schreiner is in the hospital for treatment. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, (Cancer) Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s parents Also Joni’s aunt, Pat Voss, and her niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert and Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas. Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy and Stephanie Rigney. Jenni Cullum is having an issue with her eye. Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
Monday: Genesis 2:1-14
Tuesday: Matthew 3:1-17
Wednesday: I Thess. 3:1-13
Thursday: Matthew 21:28-44
Friday: II Peter 1:16-2:10
Saturday: Psalm 91:1-16
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

After doing a lot of checking to make sure our media improvements are user-friendly, we have the big stuff ready to install as soon as the hardware arrives. This has been a major interest of several of us, but especially Del Bolin.
What we are doing is not “keeping up with the Jones’” , but moving into a new level of worship experience. The possibilities for visual enhancement are exciting. Look for it.
For years we have talked about the problem with the acoustics in the annex. Ten people singing can almost sound like a hundred, which is good. However, one person’s voice gets lost in bouncing around the acoustical structure so as to almost prevent others from hearing.
A plan to correct that and add to the decor is now in the works.
Stephanie arrived in Florida on Wednesday, after a long, tiring trip. She wishes to thank all those who came out and helped her pack the truck.
Her new address will be placed in the hand-out as soon as we have it. Her phone number and email address remains the same.
A day will be set for us to do some work around the building, both inside and outside. All in all, things on the outside look pretty good, due to some work on the shrubbery by Lyn Jordan and a friend. The area above the handicapped area was treated last year to kill unwanted vegetation and needs to be cleaned out, as well as using more shrub killer.
Inside the women’s downstairs restroom needs some cleaning in order to put Drylock on a wall that has developed dampness.
Stephanie left several books from various types of study, including some of the books we have used in past classes. They are on the library table. If you are interested, stop by and take any of them you want. The rest will be taken to the Rescue Mission, or to some other place they can be of use.


If the subject of this article has a familiar “taste,” it is not intentional. It comes from an attempt to understand the power we so commonly call “God,” the one Jesus said was “Spirit.” (Jn. 4:24 )
Jesus told Philip (and the others) “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (Jn 14:9) Paul refers to Jesus as ‘…the image of the invisible God…” (Col. 1:15) For me that’s a very important concept. From Paul’s relationship and understanding of Jesus, he can say what is invisible, is visible in Jesus. There is no evidence Paul had seen Jesus until, according to his own testimony, he “saw” Jesus on the Damascus road. Even then, it’s not about recognizing Jesus as someone he knew. It was during this and other encounters that Paul realized Jesus was the human image of the invisible God. The writer of Hebrews feels the same way when he writes, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” (Heb.1:3 NIV)
In order for the readers of scripture to “see” God in the image and representation of Jesus, they will have to “see” (understand) Jesus. And while I don’t like to hang an understanding of God on one or two verses of scripture, it seems to me these verses represent a significant understanding of who God is. So how are we to “see” Jesus?
While Paul’s letters give us several teachings about Jesus, there are few which describe his personality as he interacted with people. Nearly all of them speak of his work of love and redemption.
Therefore, for me to “see” God’s invisible nature in Jesus, I need to “see” Jesus. I’m not sure how that could be done without the gospels. I know there are those Old Testament passages about the nature of God’s Messiah. But for the most part they are structured in a poetic and utopian fashion. However it is in the gospels that I can see Jesus interacting with the world through the eyes of the witnesses. If Jesus reflects the exact image of God, then I can understand God by understanding Jesus.
Now, if I can trust these scriptures, as well as my understanding of them, and the Jesus I see in the gospels, it means I can better “see” (understand) God. It means I can let go of the conflict between the pictures of God in the Old Testament and the image of God in Jesus. It means I can “see” how their understanding of God was seen (understood) through the law of Moses.
Are there other ways to understand God apart from Jesus? Yes. But they are incomplete, unless they reveal how God and man have relationship. For example, Paul, in Romans 1:19-20 says “God’s invisible qualities have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” By that he speaks from the position of all ancient people observing the works of nature as a way of understanding the deity.
It is Jesus who brings nature and the reflection of God together in action and in teaching. In Luke 6:35,36 Jesus says, “Love your enemies, do good to them and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful just as your Father is merciful. In a comparison passage, Jesus says, “He (God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45)
That this is the nature of God is played out in Jesus’ own life. He finds no problem presenting a different
understanding of God than those who tried to follow exactly the law of Moses. When he said he did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, he did not mean he was going to obey all the 613 laws therein, even though, if you look, you can find those who say that’s what he meant.
For me it means in Jesus I can see the true intent of the law and the prophets. Moses never said one command was greater than another. But when Jesus was asked, the reply was to love God, neighbor and self. And, in Matthew he also says, all the law and the prophets hang on that. Paul says the same thing in Gal 5:14. So fulfilment of the law is just that, not a strict keeping of such things as the Sabbath, which Jesus said was made for man, and that the Son of Man was Lord of the Sabbath. (Mk 2:27,28)
In these and other illustrations of Jesus’ actions and teachings, I can build an understanding of God I can better try to live out in my life.

CONCERNS: Philip Pierce’s mother is under hospice care. The decision concerning Kevin Cornett’s unborn baby is that the doctors at UVA want to see them again at the end of the month. However, as of now, the baby’s chances are slim. T. J. Hall is having to take it easy due to heart issues. It was good to see Jim White at church Sunday as he recovers from the bike accident. Teryn Gaynor has been visiting with her mother in Ala. as she undergoes cancer treatment. J. R. Hall (Judy and T. J.’s grandson, continues to have tests run on his eyes. Dr. Del Bolin is working with the Baxter Institute in Honduras this week. Scott Blessing’s father had to have a pacemaker and is doing better.
Jim Hunter is having neck and back problems which cause a lot of pain. Continue to remember Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber, Marjorie Wilson (cancer), Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s parents, as well as her aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Wayne Phlegar, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her as she deal with cancer and loss of sight. Mary (MS). She is a friend of Kim
Hall’s. Daniel Ray Barns, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson (MS), Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Mary and Jim Smith and Tim Elder. Jenni Cullum has a growth on her eye, and it seems to be responding to treatment.

Monday: Daniel 5:17-28
Tuesday: Matthew 14:44-52
Wednesday: I Samuel 17:41-54
Thursday: Psalm 70:1-5
Friday: Matthew 7:13-29
Saturday: Psalm 1:1-15

Monday: John 4:27-4
Tuesday: Ecclesiastes 11:1-10
Wednesday: Psalm 86:1-17
Thursday: Genesis 3:8-21
Friday: II Timothy 3:1-17
Saturday: Psalm 84:1-12

Betty Foy died on Wednesday afternoon about 3:30. She was in her bed, surrounded by her husband, Larry, and members of her family.
Had the inside article not been printed, and had there been more time, I could have easily filled it with stories about her, Larry and the family. However, I want all those in and beyond our congregation to know what a strong person she was. In many ways she lived out the scripture where it says, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”
She was born a coal miner’s daughter, in Richlands, VA. It seems from her roots she was blessed with a strong conviction of equality for all people.
Even before she and Larry relocated to Roanoke from Blacksburg, when they visited with Martha and her family, she and I would have these conversations after church. Those introduced me to the person she was.
She had a keen disdain for the prejudice shown toward African Americans and other minorities. She was born and grew up during segregation.
Her desire from her youth was to become a nurse, and she did. She told me of two times in Tennessee when there were “White Only” hospitals, and “Negro” hospitals, which were few and far between. Late one night as she was working, a black man came in and said his wife was about to have their baby, and the black hospital was about 80 miles away. It was a violation of the Jim Crow law’s to take them in. But she found a doctor and they snuck them in and delivered the baby. It could have cost her her job, and probably being banned from nursing, but she would have none of it.
Another time a young black boy had polio and needed an iron lung. There were none available for blacks. Again she made a decision, found a doctor who muttered an expletive about such a system, and at risk of both their jobs, placed the child in a “white” iron lung.
She took those kind of risks for people all her life. We need more like her, and we will miss her. But her example will continue to call out the best in us.


Isaiah 55:8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” That translates to the more common, “God’s ways are not our ways.”
So how is that helpful to me to know? And, how do I know that unless I know what God’s ways are? Are God’s ways always opposite of mine? I don’t think that’s what Isaiah is saying.
It’s always a good thing to read the context. The context is a Messianic vision of the future. Verse nine, in a poetic echo of verse eight says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways.” Verse 11 says, “…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire…” (Let me say here, “God” is the English word for deity. Different languages refer to the same concept using other words.)
If God’s word goes out and accomplishes what was intended, it has to be understood. So at some point, what is said to be God’s ways and thoughts have to become our ways and thoughts.
The normal view of the prophetic writings is that they spoke the thoughts of God. Their message usually was loud and clear. “The Lord said…!” Isaiah and the others certainly wanted God’s thoughts understood.
So how might we imagine understanding something beyond our understanding? How do we understand anything beyond our understanding? How does a child learn to read, write and everything else that maturity requires? They don’t start with a book on physics. It’s cat and dog stuff. Would understanding the concept and power we call “God” be any different? As humankind learns about the world around it, so too it learns about the power behind it known as God.
Look at the text from Isaiah. What cannot be understood by Isaiah and the world at that time, is the universe as we know it today. The “heavens are higher than the earth” expresses the world as it was known then. A flat earth covered by “heavens.” By the way, the word Isaiah used for heavens was a Hebrew word that meant “heaved up things.” Did the power (God) behind what we understand to be the universe, know it was more than that? Yes. Could Isaiah, or anyone in his time even begin to imagin the universe as we understand it today? No. No more than the infant understands peek a boo. Studies show the child actually thinks the person playing is gone. The reasoning power is not yet developed to understand the experience.
Since that is true with human development and reasoning, is that not also the way we understand God? Can we imagine a God who hands Moses a book on cosmology and expect him to understand it and teach it to the Israelites?
As we read the Bible and any historical book, we are reading about a specific time in history and culture. We know very little about the prehistoric period. But what we do know is they had a different understanding of the earth than those who came later. It is easy to understand the attention (worship) they gave to the sun and the moon, or as Genesis says, “the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.”
The image of the sun going down, or setting, and the moon rising and setting would become such a strong idea that we still use those terms. At the same time, we know the sun does not rise and set, nor does the moon. We know it is the earth that moves. And yet, there are educated people who still maintain Earth is the center of the universe.
In reading the Old Testament on Sunday morning, we talked about the importance of blood found there. It was seen as life. Breath was seen as even more important than blood. It was the “nephesh” soul, breath of life. There was no firm knowledge of the brain. The “heart,” “mind” or emotion of man was centered in the “bowels.” That’s where they were on the scale of human development and knowledge. And, if they hadn’t been there at that level, we would not be where we are today.
I think the same has to be true of God, the energy and dynamic power of the universe. We should not limit the yet unknown ways of God by what we do know. God is too great for that. If we limit our understanding of God to a particular time and culture, we take away the divine inspiration that moves us forward in our development and understanding of God.
I don’t want to stretch a text too much, but In I Cor. 3:2 Paul says, “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. In deed, you are still not ready.” My point is this, they had to be ready, spiritually and otherwise, to get what he wanted them to understand. They had to move past a former way of thinking.
In I Cor. 13:11 are Paul’s famous words, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways behind me.” What were those things? Within the context he seems to be talking about his understanding of God based on his former understanding of the Law, God’s law. What would have happened if Paul had not been willing to see God though a different lens than the one he said he had faithfully followed? (Phil. 3:6)
For Paul, the difference was Jesus. And Jesus had such a different understanding of God that it got him killed. Again, I don’t want to misuse scripture, but what did Paul mean when he said, But when the time had fully come, God sent his son…” (Gal. 4:4) Whatever you make of it, Paul said there was a time when it wasn’t time.
Part of the mystery of God knowing what we don’t, is that God is not content with that, but wants us to keep on knowing more and more about what God knows.

CONCERNS: Betty Foy’s health is rapidly failing. Kevin Cornett’s wife’s pregnancy may have to be terminated due to complications from a car accident. They will be going to UVA Medical Center next week for a final opinion. Stephanie Dixon had successful surgery on her nose and is now mending. The medicine is helping Judy Hall with her eyesight problems. More tests are being done on the Hall’s grandson, J. R. concerning his eyesight. Roxie Eanes has died of complications from pancreatitis. She was the great aunt of Nick Bolin’s girlfriend. Philip Pierce’s mother is at home under hospice care. Jim White as he recovers. Remember the following people in prayer as well, Sheila Jansen and her 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, David Albert, Wayne Phlegar, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. She lives in Pa. where Del Bolin grew up. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary, (MS) Darnel Ray Barns, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, (MS) Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder

Monday: Exodus 1:15-2:10
Tuesday: Mark 1:16-34
Wednesday: Genesis 17:1-21
Thursday: Job 42:1-17
Friday: Luke 4:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 63:1-11
Monday: John 10:1-18
Tuesday: Matthew 13:24-43
Wednesday: Psalm 90:1-17
Thursday: Luke 4:1-13
Friday: Amos 5:18-6:1
Saturday: Psalm 71:1-24

Jim was riding his new bike to work on Wednesday morning while it was still dark and three dear ran in from of him on the Grandin Road Extension and he struck one of them sending him over the handlebars. He ended up with five broken ribs, a punctured lung and to hairline hip fractures. After a night in the hospital he is home quickly mending. Martha may need some help as she deals with this and her mothers condition. Give her a call.

Today we will have a special song and devotional service rather than a sermon. It has been developed and conducted by Del Bolin. We thank him for the praise service today

This is also Super Sunday. That means we will have the opportunity to enjoy the fellowship of eating together following the service. The weather looks as if we will have perhaps the last fire in the fireplace as we bid goodbye to winter. Plan to stay.

Keep in mind that whenever someone moves away it often leaves the service they rendered to the church open. If you see something you are willing to start doing that you have not yet done, see Erma Williams. It will be a big help to her as she develops the service roster.

Easter is next Sunday. For those children who come, there will be an Easter Egg Hunt in the yard behind the annex. Bring cameras and take pictures of the fun. Holly Wagner will be in charge of the event. See her about things she may need.

If you came in the front door today you noticed the shrubbery along the building has been trimmed back. We van thank Lyn Jordan for doing that. The shrubs had grown higher than the windows and really needed the care. Thanks Lyn

A brief meeting following the meal.


I preached on the Good Samaritan last Sunday. Original, right? One reason I did it was because I had a real live story to end it with about a family who were “Good Samaritans.” They opened their home to a Mexican mother with four children. And for three months twelve people lived in one house while they got on their feet. During that time, the host family invited their guests to study the Bible with them, as well as attend their church. This was 1971, and they became first Hispanic family to become Christians at that church. Out of that invitation came a university professor, who was also a missionary in Mexico for almost ten years, of whom two of their children are missionaries in China. The church happened to be the College Church of Christ in Fresno, Calif. The Good Samaritan story does not ask who our neighbor is, but to whom will we be a neighbor?
The problem is that Jesus, in telling the story, knew we all want to “justify” ourselves in deciding who the neighbor is. This is why the Good Samaritan (GS) story is accepted, while at the same time allowing us to defend an open prejudice against Samaritan-types. Just as “Samaritan” in Jesus’ day referred to a class of people, rather than the individual, so it is today. Today the primary targets are the Muslims. A person is not a Muslim, “they” are Muslims, meaning they are all alike. However, what Jesus was teaching had nothing to do with religion or nationality.
In the most recent Christian Chronicle, there is the story of Salah Sabdow Farah , a Muslim teacher in Kenya. Islamic Muslims ambushed a bus filled with 100 Muslim and Christian passengers. They demanded the passengers split up into groups of Muslims and Christians. Farah and several other Muslim passengers refused, saying, “Kill all of us or leave us alone.” The report didn’t say any of the Christians said anything like that. Two people died in the attack and Farah was wounded.
Contrast that with the words we hear of hatred and fear from Christian churches across America.
Farah died from his wounds in that December attack. A picture of him in the hospital accompanied the article. Before he died this Muslim teacher spoke to Voice of America. “I ask my brother Muslims to take care of the Christians so that the Christians also take care of us. And let us help one another and let us live together peacefully.” Would Jesus agree with that? That sounds like a statement Jesus would make. It’s a Godly statement, worthy of acceptance.
I found it interesting that the author of the article asked that we pray that Muslims “will come to know and accept Christ.” That’s understandable. But the next “prayer” was to “pray for more Muslims like Farah.” I certainly agree with that. Farah was a Muslim teacher who died as the result of defending Christians. In other words, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Or, in Farah’s case, some of different belief. I might also add that we should pray for more Christians like Farah.
The danger is painting everyone with the same brush or prejudice. All Samaritans are bad, so there can’t be a good one, or countless good ones who act as the “neighbor” should. Muslim terrorists are bad, so all Muslims are bad. The list is sadly and historically endless.
Jesus is asked by the “expert in the law” what was needed to have eternal life. Jesus asked what the law said. The law said a lot more than loving God and the neighbor, but that answer, says Jesus, is the correct one. The correct one for what? How to have eternal life. One question, one answer. However, it’s not enough for the “expert”. So Jesus tells the GS story and asked, “Which one was the neighbor?” Meaning, which one did what it takes to have eternal life? The answer, the one who showed mercy. So the Samaritan, Jew, Muslim, Christian, whoever, fictional or real, who acts like that has done what it takes to have eternal life, so says Jesus.
So it’s not about who you are, it’s about what you are that gives eternal life. For Jesus, it was based on mercy.

VOL. 28 MARCH 6, 2016 NO. 9&10
CONCERNS: Betty Foy is very ill at this time. Hospice is with she and Larry. Stephanie Dixon will be going to North Carolina next week for cancer surgery on her nose, which may require a skin graft. T. J. Hall is dealing with a bad cold. Judy is having vision problems, but the medication seems to be helping. Their grandson, R. J. Is still waiting on tests concerning his vision problems. Joni and Alan Beach will be spending time in NC due to the health of Joni’s parents, especially her mother. Joni also asks prayers for her aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter may need surgery as the result of an accident which happened some time ago. Philip Pierce’s mother is in a Lynchburg hospital being treated for cancer. Teryn Gaynor’s mother continues with cancer treatment. It was good to see Wayne Phlegar able to be with us last Sunday. Remember Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber. Marjorie Wilson, (cancer) Melanie Gentry, David Albert, Sandy Blanchard and those carrying for her. Kim’s friend, Mary (MS), Daniel Ray Barns Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson (MS) Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Jim and Mary smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Psalm 40:1-17
Tuesday: John 8:48-59
Wednesday: Philippians 2:14-30
Thursday: Ephesians 2:1-22
Friday: John 19:1-16
Saturday: Colossians 1:3-20
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: Psalm 84:1-12

Many thanks to Lyn Jordan for removing the sections of the tree which fell in the front yard, as well as all the limbs etc. Wayne Flora had cut it up one evening after work. Also to Mike Branch and Holly Wagner for stacking the broken pieces for easier removal.
If you were not here last Sunday to say goodbye to Jeff and Kirissa, you can catch a picture of them being presented with a going away gift on the church Facebook page, When we get their new address, we will print it in the Sunday handout.
When we come together to worship there are several ways in which we might help. Certain events in our lives can take us out of town or otherwise prevent us from helping during the worship service. First of all, we do appreciate those who so willingly offer to help with the service, as well as those who are asked to fill in at the last minute. However, perhaps we might take some time and ask ourselves if there is something we can do that we haven’t yet done in bringing about the worship service. Take a look at the duty roster and see if there is something you would be willing to do. If you will, contact Erma Williams or Wayne Flora.
The adult class on Sunday is growing due to the study of the Old Testament being read in book form with no chapters and verses. This has produced a lively discussion from the class along with the leading of Del Bolin. There is still time to jump in because we are finding much to talk about without moving too fast.
Several things are in the works. We will be silencing heat and air conditioning noise in the adult classroom. The duct work will be rerouted to the hallway, and storage space will be added beneath the addition to the wall. The blower noise can make it very hard to hear in that room. So if you see a little dust, you’ll know what it’s all about.


Question: If the Gospel is good news, what was all the news before? Of course we couldn’t say it was bad, but in what way was the Gospel better?
As I’ve sometimes seen and heard the “Gospel” proclaimed, it doesn’t seem to be much better news than the old news, i.e., the old law with it’s rules and regulations.
Take a quick journey with me through the Bible. Almost before you know it, we arrive at Abraham. There is hardly a breath before God decides the violence and cruelty of the earth deserves a cleansing flood. Since there’s nobody left but Noah’s family, there is no need for circumcision. Then there’s that thing about the tower and then Abraham.
Abraham is considered “righteous” because of his faith, not because of his works. He prospers without any real rules. He just lives his life, has a few battles, meets the king of Salem, a strange guy named Melchizedek, who is a “priest” of the Most High God. Which is interesting, because he is a Canaanite king. There is no promised land or children of Israel yet. So it seems there were other “righteous” guys out there besides Abraham.
There is no list of rules for them to follow. No Sabbath Day violations to worry about. (Didn’t they know God rested on the Sabbath?) No real sacrifices to please God. Finally God’s promise of offspring to Abraham comes true. His decedents are probably like all the other families. Jealously, greed, cheating each other, weird sexual things happening, and all of it without a lot of rules and regulations. In time, because of dysfunctional family ties, Jacob’s (Israel) son, Joseph, gets sold to some Egyptians. In Egypt he tells the king that God has a plan for Egypt. There it is again. God dealing with the “others.” The plan is that with the impending famine, there should be a tax on the grain, with one fifth going to the government storehouses. During the famine it was to be sold back to the people. Gen. 47 says Joseph’s plan eventually cost the Egyptians everything they had just to survive, and therefore allowed the king to own all the livestock and land. The result was that the Egyptians became the king’s slaves.
During all this is the story of reconciliation between Joseph and the brothers who sold him, as well as the whole tribe of Jacob moving to Egypt. Things go well until a king (Pharaoh) came along who had no connection to Joseph. He found the “Israelites” to be a strange people, who happened to inhabit the strategic doorway for the enemy to invade the land. Since everyone else belonged to the government, why not them?
Keep in mind, they did nothing to deserve this as some kind of heavenly punishment. It just happened to them because they were aliens. However, it seems they never forgot who they were. On the other hand, how they worshiped is unknown, but it would seem from future incidents that they pretty much bought into the polytheistic gods of Egypt. But God didn’t smite them, and they were there, according to sources, anywhere from 215 to 400 years. Two hundred fifteen is probably more correct. So they had no rules and regulations except whatever was left of the covenant with Noah, and maybe circumcision.
Along comes Moses and leads them out of Egypt. And possibly, because they had been in Egypt so long, they were so saturated with everything Egyptian, a new covenant is established, the Law of Moses. The Law may be summed up in situations like Nadab and Abihu, the Sabbath day rules and a bunch of others found in the books of the law. In other words, mess up and you’re toast, and in the process a lot of animals and fowl have to die. I can only speculate why the way it was with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was tossed out for the Law of Moses. We’re never sure how happy Israel was with the law, even with Psalm 119. But they seem to keep on breaking it over and over and receiving due punishment for so doing.
How strictly the Law was kept during the time of the Judges and Kings is anyone’s guess. A close look at those books do not show much about strict adherence to the Law of Moses. In fact, idolatry is a constant problem, even to the point of sacrificing their children. Ps. 106:35-38 is just one example. So the story of the Law of Moses is that it never seemed to work in a satisfactory way. Otherwise, why would idolatry be so attractive? The result, according to the prophets, is that the Israelites were carried off into exile. It is after the return during the reconstruction of Ezra and Nehemiah that an attempt at strict adherence to the Law of Moses was initiated. It was during and after this time that the Law of Moses became bound to the “oral tradition,” the interpretation of the law by the scribes. At this point, obeying the law and the traditions became a way of “binding” God to the person. Therefore, the Law became the Savior. This became a new idolatry. Man could save himself by adherence to the law. In fact, some scribes equated the tora with God.
In the years which followed, religion and Greek politics began to merge. As to the actual daily worship and strict adherence to the law, we can only see glimpses from the New Testament. But the rigidity of tradition and law seem to be evident.
Along comes Jesus and the good news. He wants to place God back in the center of the relationship with man, rather than relationship with the law. He tells his disciples to go and announce that the kingdom of God is at hand. As to what that meant is subject to a lot of different ideas. However, it should also be noted that in Luke 4, Jesus says it is related to the prophesy in Isaiah which has to do with freedom. In Luke 17:20,21, when asked when the kingdom would come, Jesus said the kingdom was not something to be seen, but to be experienced in the heart. In Romans 14:17 Paul said the kingdom of God is “Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Galatians 5:1 announces that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Free from the yoke of any enslaving doctrine. In the Lord’s prayer, the prayer is that God’s kingdom and will is connected to what we do on earth.
So if there is “good news” does that mean the prior news was bad? That’s cutting it close. But Paul, in Romans almost says that. While he loves the Law, he also knows it placed a constant burden of failure on the adherent.”The good I would do I do not do etc.”. (Rom. 7) He sees in Jesus the revelation of a God that loves and does not condemn. “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (8:1) There is also a new law, the law of the Spirit of life, which has freed him from the law of sin and death. That “law of the Spirit” breaks down the barriers between people. It takes away the idolatry of believing God only loves us when we get it right according to rules and regulations. The sad thing is, too much of Christianity still operates that way.
CONCERNS: Betty Foy, R. J. Hall, Judy and T. J.’s grandson is having vision problems, but the MRI showed no brain damage. More tests will be done. Along with pink eye, Judy is also seeing a doctor for vision problems. Teryn Gaynor’s mother is starting cancer treatment. Joni Beach’s parents, her aunt, Pat Voss, and her niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter had a good report from his doctor. Sheila Jansen and Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson (cancer) Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. (Cancer and loss of vision) Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (MS), Darnel Ray Barns, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson Deana McRoy Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Jeremiah 31:23-34
Tuesday: I Corinthians 11:17-34
Wednesday: Acts 6:1-7
Thursday: Matthew 5:21-48
Friday: Psalm 119:129-152
Saturday: Psalm 67:1-7
Monday: John 1:1-18
Tuesday: Luke 18:1-4
Wednesday II Corinthians 1:3-11
Thursday: II Corinthians 1:23-3:11
Friday: Job 1:13-2:10
Saturday: Psalm 97:1-12

We were saddened to learn of the death of Wendy (Hall) and Jeff Davis’ little granddaughter, Anna Belle, who died as the result of an infection. The funeral was last Friday in Texas.
We knew the time would come when Jeff Forsyth would finish his training as a physician’s assistant and he and Karissa would probably relocate. The time has come. Jeff will be working in Wilkesboro, NC. They have found a house and will be moving soon. They have been a wonderful encouragement to us while here and have lent their talents in various ways. We know that they will continue to be a blessing in their new location. We will present them with a going away gift next Sunday. The snow last week delayed it being ready.
Today is Super Sunday. Since it will be the last Super Sunday Jeff and Kirissa will be with us it will also be a good opportunity for us to individually express our love and appreciation for them. The kindling wood will be dry enough for us to have a roaring fire in the fireplace and the temperature outside will be on the mild side, so plan to stay.
A Brief steering committee meeting will be held in the library after the Super Sunday meal.
As you can see, the snow and ice brought down a very large section of the tree in front of the main entrance. No damage was done to the building, however, there is a lot of clean-up work to be done. One of the things the steering committee will discuss is if we’d like hire someone to do it. Kevin Cornett has offered, but we have not talked about cost. It may lay there for awhile until the ground drys a little so as not to tear up the yard when it is moved.
Vivian Dugan will be visiting with her daughter and son-in-law over on the coast for a few weeks.
Del Bolin has started a new class on Sunday mornings. It involves reading the Old Testament n book form with out chapters and verses. The goal is to see things otherwise lost in a traditional reading. It is to be read at home and then discussed on Sunday. Books are available in the foyer
A reminder: When the temperature is going to be near freezing on Wednesday evenings, there will be no service.