Roanoke Church of Christ

Bulletins

THE WORSHIPER* – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

I enter the room used for worship,
The one we hesitate to call a sanctuary.
I smile at others and we exchange small Talk.
But soon I find I am confronted with myself.

I wonder about the years that have passed,
And if I made the progress I should have?
So many things have been left undone,
And dreams have faded into a fog of doubt.

It’s amazing how simple life looks when
You are young,
And how soon it takes on new complications.
What was absolutely certain and Unchangeable,
Have become uncertain and have changed.

I didn’t intend it to be this way.
I didn’t sit down and say,
“I will make this mistake.
I will let this important thing get away from Me.”
But time is the spoiler which erodes And corrodes.

I wonder how alone I am?
Do the ones who sit within my reach,
Whose singing voices I can hear,
Know the disappointments and fears I’ve Known?

The minister has just said God loves me.
Does he know anything about me?
Does he have any realization at all
As to what it would take for God to love Me?

Sometimes I wonder why I come to this Place.
I feel like a moth drawn to the flame;
A flame which is said to purify,
But seems to want to totally consume me.

What would happen if the heavens Suddenly opened
And the secrets of my life poured out?
Would the minister still say God loves me,
And would the others still smile and be Friendly?

The tears now silently slip down my Cheeks.
I wipe my eyes and notice
I have been Discovered.
Will they ask me if they can help,
Or will they think I’m a fool?

Do they realize how hopeless I feel,
How crazy it seems to keep coming to this Place;
A place of hope, a place where change is promised,
And yet each day seems worse
Than the one before?

Lord, I would seek your face.
I would look Into your eyes
And pray I would see the softness
I’ve heard is there;
And in some real way,
I might see the soul of God.

My God.
If I could just see your mouth
And Know that when I approach, you smile.
That you might even laugh with me
As I hear you say, “I love you”

Could I possibly in this moment,
Father, Reach out and take your hand?
Could I feel the very strength of God,
Given willingly to me?

Could it be,
If I looked into your eyes
And heard you tell me you do love me,
And I Touched your hand,
Would you take me in your arms like a Small child?

Father, could I leave this place today
With my hand in yours as you lead the way?
Could I know I can be just what you want Me to be?
Please Father, look at me, smile at me, touch me!

    Keith

*These are a combination of thoughts I’ve felt and have also been expressed by others over the years.

THOSE TO SERVE IN MAY
Announcements: Connie Crites
Serve Communion: Lyn Jordan
Susan Jordan
Holly Wagner
Garrett Williams

Usher: Jeff Bland
Communion Care: Wayne Flora
Singing: Scripture:
5-Karen Branch Martha Foy
12-Del Bolin Marta Albert
19-Scott Blessing Joanne Elder
28-Scott Blessing Judy McWhorter
Communion: Nursery:
5-Mike Branch Susan Phlegar
12-Scott Blessing Susan Jordan
19-Abraham Sirgy Holly Wagner
28-Keith Wagner Alisa Flora

If you cannot serve, call Erma Williams

MAY BIRTHDAYS
2- Jay Thompson 7-Debra McRoy
20-Sherry Bland

MAY ANNIVERSARIES
22- Abraham & Kathleen Sirgy
26-Delmar & Leena Bolin

RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE
Marta Albert leads this work along with Holly Wagner

    ROANOKE CHURCH OF CHRIST “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN-MAY 5,2019

CONCERNS: Judy McWhorter is still recovering from knee surgery. She had her staples removed on 5/1/19. She is now able to walk with a cane and no longer needs a walker. She will be starting out patient therapy next week. Which means she will be able to drive. Please keep her in your prayers. Teryn Gaynor’s mother’s tumor has enlarged and is awaiting a treatment plan. Also: Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers. Gary Overstreet. Bill Albert. Jim Hunter. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson. Melanie Gentry. Wayne Phlegar. Jim and Mary Smith annd Tim Elder.

ROANOKE CHURCH OF CHRIST
NEW LIFE
Editor/Minister
Keith Wagner


CHURCH WORK DAY
There is still work to be done around the church. Our next work Saturday is May 11th. Please join us to help make our church beautiful. There is a sign up sheet in the annex next to the entry/exit door. Can you accomplish any of the items? Is there something we missed? You can pick a project and work on your schedule also. Please make any notes, as appropriate, so all will know the status. Plans are to have a different monthly Saturday to provide a variety of opportunities for each of us to lend a hand. Next date will be June 1st.

SUNDAY MORNING
The Sunday morning class is finishing a study of the book of Acts. Come and join in. A new study will be selected soon. It you have suggestions, come and share them.

WEDNESDAY EVENING
Please come join us on Wednesday
for our weekly supper and bible study. Feeds your body and soul at 6:00 pm. We’re studying Romans. There’s always room for you.

THANKS
Thanks to Connie Crites for the flowers in front of the annex. Erma was also involved as well.

CONGRATULATIONS!
Nick Bolin will Graduate this month from Virginia Tech with a Master’s Degree in History, with a Certificate in Public History.

        2019 GRADUATES
If others will be graduating this year or know someone who will, see or call Erma Williams.  

THAT TIME – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

   That cross,    Stained with sins
    To painful to tell
    As it stands stark 
    Against the darkening sky;
    Pronouncing its judgement 
    To the world

    That hill,
    With its history of
    Past victims to numerous
    And shameful to tell.
    A monument to man’s
    Judgement
    Or inhumanity.

    That hand 
    With fingers extended.
    Then clinched tight,
    Almost obscuring the nail
    Driven deep into the palm.
    Beads of sweat dot the face
    Of this dying man.

    That head
    Hanging heavily,
    Swaying from side to side;
    Its thorny crown
    Grotesque against the sun.
    From the heaving chest 
    Come the sighs of death.

    That face,
    Eyes tightly shut.
    Then wide open;
    As though seeking
    A comforting word.
    The tongue wets the lips
    Against the fever.

    That man,
    Hanging on that cross
    Hears the weeping,
    The scornful laughter,
    Tastes the hyssop  
    As a voice from somewhere
    Says he was a son of God.

    That peace,
    The rest of death.
    When pain and time stops.
    Life is over.
    It is finished.
    Its purpose fulfilled.

    That tomb,
    Dark and foreboding;
    Mouth gaping wide,
    Ready to consume its 
    First guest.
    Ashes to ashes 
    Dust to dust.

    That stone,
    Rolled into place.
    The grave has its prize.
    Now sealed tightly against     
    Intruders and even God.    Now things can return
    To normal.

    That moment,
    A stirring.
    Life surges in.  
    Arms and legs
    Stretch as if from sleep.
    The stone resists,
    But begins to move.

    That morning,
    A bird sings,
    As  the first rays of sunlight
    Kiss the spring flowers
    Near the open tomb. 
    Footprints in the dew
    Lead to a risen Savior.

                    Keith

CONCERNS: Judy McWhorter had knee replacement surgery last week. She us doing fine. Debbie McRoy will not have surgery. No blockage was found in Doug Bolin’s heart. Doug is Del’s brother. However, he still has a problem. These people are dealing with cancer: Teryn Gaynor’s mother (her husband has advanced Parkinson’s). Jeff Bland’s mother, Patricia.  Ray Barns, (his wife, Darnel also so has heath problems) Judy Powell and Harold Clark. Former members, Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law, David. Deanna McRoy, Debbie McRoy’s cousin, Linda Alsup and husband, Prentice. Others to remember are the parents of Joni and Alan Beach and Wayne Flora. Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. Gary Overstreet, Jim Hunter, Bill Albert, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Donte McCadden (CF) Marjorie Wilson, Tim Elder, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, and Melanie Gentry 
.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD!
    On Saturday, April 13, at 1:45 AM, Lucas James Downing arrived in this world. He weighed in at 6lbs, 14oz and 19 inches long.
    Needless to say, James and Megan are proud as punch, as are grandparents and extended family. Lucas is the first Great-grandchild of Keith and Jo Wagner. 

WELCOME BACK
    Jonathan Densby and his family are with us once again. He will be teaching the  adult class and presenting the morning sermon. Jonathan is one of the men the steering committee is interviewing to become the minister as Keith retires. Be sure to meet the family today.

EASTER EGG HUNT
    There will be an Easter egg hunt following the morning service. It will take place in the yard behind the annex. Holly Wagner will give the go signal. Children should meet her at the back door of the building. This is for all preschool children.

SUPER SUNDAY
    Today, April 21, is Super Sunday. Plan to stay for the fellowship meal following the morning service. If you haven’t met the Dansby’s, this would be a good time.

THANKS
    Thanks to everyone who came out on the work day. You may also notice as you come into the building that the landings and porches have been resurfaced as well as the side walks power-washed.Erma and Garrett Williams and Wayne Flora painted lines on the parking areas.

VIVIAN DUGAN
    Vivian Dugan will be away longer than she expected due to Cathie and Jeff traveling.

JUST THINKING – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

   At some point in my ministry I became more and more fascinated with the person of Jesus. Much of my church life had left me with a view of him as an antheral, otherworldly type, with just enough humanity to keep him on the ground. I think  leaving that view in people’s minds is an insult to the man he was.
   Therefore, I want to stretch our thinking by looking at what Jesus did know, what he did not know, and what he seems to say he wanted.
    What did he not know? We are told in Luke 2 that he “grew in wisdom and stature.” In Matthew, Mark and Luke say when asked about what Jesus warns is coming, he replies that no one knows, including him. Only the Father knows. These warnings, read carefully, refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred in AD 70. Even though Jesus could see the storm clouds forming, even he did not know the exact time. If you insist on extending these verses to the end of time, the result is still the same. In Hebrews it says Jesus “learned by the things he suffered.”
    What did he know? He knew the will (reign/kingdom) of God was to come on the earth. He prayed, “May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” He said in Lk. 4, quoting Isaiah, that the spirit of the Lord was on him and had anointed him to preach good news to the poor, freedom for prisoners, sight to the blind, release the oppressed and proclaim it was the year of the Lord’s favor. In Lk.11:20, he said if he cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of god was here. What does it appear he wanted? For God’s will to be done on earth and that he was here to make it happen.
    Did he want to overthrow Rome by force? No. He said the kingdom of God was like a mustard seed which grew quietly. He said the kingdom was like yeast, which also worked from the inside. He said the kingdom was inside of us. And yet, he often does things which seem to be forming an army of resistance. When he fed the five thousand men in Mk.6, he had them sit in groups of fifty and a hundred, which was the way troops were divided. When he feeds the multitude in Jn 6, the crowd saw this as sign that he was the to led them as a military king.
    When he looked at Jerusalem and said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often have I longed (wanted) to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing”, did he mean it? (Mt.23.37) Did he come to try, or to die trying?  Did he know it was hopeless, or did he think he might have a chance? 
    From where we stand, we have a hard time imagining he believed he could bring about the will of God on earth. But all through his life and teaching, he taught about how the will (kingdom) of God was supposed to be…on earth. 
   He knew, as all the prophets before him, that God’s will for the earth was not about military force. I haven’t done an exhaustive search, but I can’t find a prophetic book that says war will restore God’s will in Israel. All of them speak of mercy and justice, in one way or another. Jesus know the Messianic goal was as a reformer. Someone to whom the people would listen to and follow. He also knew all prophets suffered for their message, sometimes even dying. Did they hope they would be heard, or did they know they would fail? Why do it if you know it will make no difference. The joke on Jonah is that he wanted to fail at Nineveh, but succeeded. The irony of that story should not be lost on us.
    As for me, looking at the man Jesus, I think from what I read, that he hoped the Jews would listen, and that from Jerusalem to the rest of the world, the will of God on earth would be spread, as the prophets like Isaiah and others had said.  As his story unfolds, for awhile, thousands believed his message. At some point, however, as was the result of all reforming prophets, he saw the cross as a possibility if he kept on proclaiming the will of God. Should he give up? Should anyone give up because they reach the place they know they may not complete the work to be done? That’s not the way we move forward. Jesus may have come to the place he knew God’s will would not be complete in his lifetime. But he never stopped trying to bring it about. In fact, he realized that it takes the supreme sacrifice to make it happen.
    Will the will of God succeed? It’s up to us.
        Keith
NOTICE
Keith is starting his retirement, but will be working part time during the transition period as the church decides future plans. Therefore, following issues of the bulletin may contain reprints from years past. This will mean some changes in the mailing list.

THOSE TO SERVE IN ARIL
Announcements: Mike Branch
Serve Communion: Connie Crites
            Joanne Elder
            Martha Foy
            Garrett Williams
Usher: Erma Williams
Communion Care: Blessings
Singing:         Scripture:
7-Del Bolin        Martha Albert
14-Scott Blessing    Mark McRoy
21-Karen Branch    Debbie McRoy
28-Del Bolin        Susan Jordan
Communion:        Nursery:
7-Abraham Sirgy    Susan Phlegar
14-Wayne Flora    Susan Jordan
21-Abraham Sirgy    Holly Wagner
28-Keith Wagner    Connie Crites
If you cannot serve, call Erma Williams
APRIL BIRTHDAYS
23-Maggie Foy    25-Del Bolin

CONCERNS: Jeff and Sherry Bland have had flu-like symptoms.  Debbie McRoy has back surgery in the near future. Those are suffering from cancer and under treatment are Judy Powell and Harold Clark, (Jo Wagner’s  sister and cousin), Ray Barns, (pray for his wife, Darnell) Teryn Gaynor’s mother, (Teryn’s step-father has advanced Parkinson’s). Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in law, David. Debbie McRoy’s cousin’s husband, Prentice Alsup, and Deanna McRoy. Others with health issues are Jim Hunter, Jamie Cole,(Joni Beach’s niece) Donte McCadden, a CF patient, The parent(s) of Wayne Flora, The Beach’s and Del Bolin. Gary Overstreet, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Remember, Amber was paralyzed in an accident years ago and cannot speak. Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

                      IF A TREE FALLS ON A SWING SET, DOES STATE FARM HEAR IT?
    (State Farm is used only as an example) A pine tree from our property fell on a neighbor’s swing set up on Laburnum. They called to see what we could do. As you may know, it’s “An act of God” which means nobody is responsible according to insurance companies. Wayne Flora went to the home and with the owners help, cut up the tree. Thanks Wayne. You were like a good neighbor, you were there..

CONGRATULATIONS!
    Our own Bonnie Blessing took home the first prize ribbon for the Viewers Choice Award at the Burgland Center Quilt Show. Each attendee was given material in which a slip of paper was to show the most liked. Bonnie’s won. It was a four year project with about 7,400 hand-stitched pieces. Way to go Bonnie!

                                                        JONATHAN DENSBY RETURNING
    The Steering Committee has invited Jonathan and his family to return. He will be speaking on Easter Sunday, March, 21.
    The steering committee needs feedback from the congregation about Jonathan. If you were not hear when he spoke last time, it can be heard on the church face Book page.

                                                         SPRING CLEAN-UP DAY
    We are looking at a date this month for a clean-up day at the building. April 20, or some later date is suggested.
AWAY
    Alisa Flora is in Alabama, visiting with her sister, Melanie. She will return this week.
SUPER SUNDAY
    Easter falls on Super Sunday this year. Plan to stay for the fellowship meal following Jonathan’s sermon.

“PEDIFUL PEDIFUL” – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

Jed Clampett used to say that when he referred to something dim-witted second cousin Jethro Bodine said or did.
I found those words floating through my mind as I looked at a copy of Does God Exist, a quarterly published by John Clayton. Clayton is one of the best among the Churches of Christ in making science and religion compatible and relevant. He has no problems saying he believes in evolution.
Evolution meaning: “An unfolding type of change.” Everything evolves. Science, Business, education, even theology. And that last one is the rub. This has caused Clayton to be branded by some in the C of C.
He tells of not long ago receiving a call from an 80-year-old retired science teacher and widow of an elder, who had taught Sunday School with a half-century experience of teaching children, who was told she could no longer teach because, in her words, “You aren’t much of a Christian because you believe in evolution.” Then, not much later another woman called and said she had been removed from teaching her second grade Sunday School class because, “You believe in science.” “Holy Charles Darwin, Batman! Are we still in the dark ages?!” Or, as Jed Clampett would say, “Pediful! Pediful!”
Such an attitude toward science from religious circles comes partly from refusing to understand scripture within its historical and literary context.
Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” To say, as some do, that this means God selects the sex and personality of every person, is to say what it does not say. It is a poetic way of giving God the glory for one’s life. Neither does Psalm 51:5 teach that we are born sinners. The Psalm, traditionally accredited to David after his adultery with Bathsheba, says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Is this a direct quote from God? No. This is David reflecting on his sin and expressing his deep remorse, so much so that he sees himself “bad to the bone!” God never said that, nor did Jesus.
Perhaps the things said about Judas come to mind. If you believe he was created to betray Jesus and had no choice, then give him a break. He did what he was created to do. He fulfilled the will of God. Name your next kid Judas.
However, these and other such examples fall into the literary context. The Gospels were written after the Epistles.
Jesus died, rose from the dead (defeating the last enemy) and ascended. The Gospels are told from that context. Therefore, salvation from sin and death came from all of the pieces falling into place. Without those elements, the story of salvation falls apart. Therefore, in its own way, it is the will of God. Could Jesus have turned away from the cross? Yes. In fact, it is in his refusal to escape the cross that he reveals the love and grace of God. His death and resurrection changed everything.
It’s the things which fall into the poetic context that cause some to reject science. To take poetry and say it means God develops each person like an individual knitting project is to misunderstand and misuse scripture. To understand human birth and development, we need to look at science. Evolving science has brought us from believing that children born with a birth defect is a curse from God, to understanding in most cases, the root cause. The tragedy of religion gone wrong is that in some areas even today, children born with something as simple as a cleft pallet are seen as cursed by God.
The fear of the advancement of human knowledge (science) has historical roots in religion. Perhaps, among scriptures about God’s thinking and man’s thinking, is the story of Eden, where it appears that humans try to become God. It messed up everything. Just about every venture into scientific discovery has been seen by some as an attempt to become God.
I can remember when I was in early grade school, seeing one of those National Enquire-type magazines proclaiming in fearful type, “Test-tube Babies Are Coming!” At that age I was having enough trouble with where babies came from without replacing the stork with a test-tube!
What I’m saying is this; let’s give God a break and stop blaming him for everything we don’t understand that goes wrong. “Wrong” is a relative term. What we may see as wrong in the beginning, can become a blessing (a right) when we look back on it. This is often true in the case of a child born with an affliction. However, while we may become thankful, the affliction was caused by physiological reasons. Children born with two sets of reproductive organs are said to be the result of a mix up in the chromosomes at a critical point of development. It is science that helps us to understand and deal with what some religions would say is the will of God.
Any advancement of science that alters the accepted “natural” flow of life is often seen as an affront to God. We sing that God is the “Ruler of all nature” but we dam up rivers to produce irrigation and electricity. We build flood walls to hold back water from its “natural” flood course.
We alter biology by cross-breeding of plants and animals. But when it comes to humankind we feel we are imposing on God. The Bible was used to make black/white marriage illegal for years.
Is it possible to upset human development and create Frankinstiens? Who knows. What about cloning? I know of a lawyer who had the DNA from a son who died young stored, hoping to clone him so he could have the chance at life he failed to have. These are issues where faith and science need to come together.
Faith in God can help by maintaining the sanctity of life while not misusing scripture in any way. We can stand in awe of the knowledge that is part of our God-given creative nature. We have come this far, and with wonder and reverence, continue for as long as life lasts.
Keith

CONCERNS: Jim Hunter had to have more of his foot remove due to diabetes. Debbie McRoy will be scheduled for back surgery in the coming weeks. Her cousin, Linda Alsup has health issues and her husband, Preston is being treated for cancer. Judy McWhorter had a bout with bronchitis last week. Teryn Gaynor had the flu last week. Those being treated for, or recovering from cancer are: Ray Barns, (pray also for his wife, Darnell) Judy Powell, Harold Clark (Jo Wagner’s sister and a cousin) Teryn Gaynor’s mother, (also her step-father has Parkinson’s) Former members, Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law, David and Deanna McRoy. Donte McCadden, a CF patient, Jamie Cole, Joni Beach’s niece. The aging parents of Wayne Flora, the Beach’s and Del Bolin. Continue to pray for Gary Overstreet, Jim Hunter, Bill Albert, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Tim Elder and Jim and Mary Smith.
WELCOME
We welcome today, Jonathan Dansby and his family. Jonathan comes to us from Duke University, where he will graduate in May with a Master of Divinity Degree. He is the first minister speaking with the steering committee and the church concerning the position of pulpit minister.

SUPER SUNDAY
Today is also Super Sunday. The fellowship meal in the annex will follow the morning service. Plan to stay and get to know Jonathan and his family.

MARCH 31
On Sunday, March 31, we will have the annual visit by a representative from the Gideon’s Int. A short presentation will be made before the scheduled service, and he will be taking a retiring offering after the service in the foyer.

THE BULLETIN
It has been decided that the Bulletin will continue to be printer bi-monthly. The middle of the month issue will contain an article which will continue to fill the inside, with the front and back carrying the concerns and the news. The last-of-the month bulletin will contain an article as well as the list of those who will be serving the congregation, along with a list of birthdays and anniversaries.

VISITOR
Last Sunday, Andy Todd visited with us. He is with the Food and Drug Administration. He has a girl friend in Cincinnati, and visits her when he can.

WHAT IF? – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

When I was in high school, living in a home with no air-conditioning, in the early morning hours of summer when I wanted to sleep, the strains of “Ah Sweet Mystery of life at last I’ve found thee. Ah at last I know the secrete of it all” pierced my brain. It came from an aspiring singer a few houses away, who also had no air-conditioning. She would sing it over and over honing what I suppose was a rich, operatic voice. I use that as an introduction to the article for no other reason than it still reverberates in my brain when I think of the mystery of life. So lets take a little journey in life’s mystery.
What if the Pharaoh of Egypt who honored Joseph would have put out an edict which said, “From this day forward and forevermore, the house of Joseph shall be a welcome and protected people in our land. It is and let it be so”. As you know, instead “there arose a Pharaoh in Egypt who did not know Joseph.” We can understand that, being that the Hebrews had been there about 400 years. But what if they had been protected by law? What if there was no need for an exodus?
What if, under this new idea they were protected and multiplied and in time out-numbered the Egyptians? Since they had been in Egypt all those years they had only a legendary attachment to the God of Jacob and Joseph.
According to the little research I’ve done, their religion was a mixture of Abrahamic oral tradition and Egyptian practices during that 400 years. What if the fertile crescent of Egypt looked more “promising” than the land of Canaan? The small detail of an edict of protection (citizenship) could have changed the course of history.
So what? We can’t change history, but history can change us. We can learn from the mistakes and ignorance of the past. As the saying goes, if we don’t we’re bound to repeat them.
For some, the great mystery of life is if life is preordained, or haphazard? It is easy for some to say it is all planned by God to the last detail. Say, for example, the question of how long you are going to live and how you will die? Does God know? What does the “all Knowing”, the omniscience of God mean?. I have no comfort in believing that God knows how and when I’m going to die. Why? Because I don’t know, and I don’t have any information about it , nor do I want to. The only persons I know who know how and when they are going to die are those about to be executed, or terminally ill. Were I such a person I would have little comfort in believing it was the unchanging will of God. So if God knows, it does me no good. The comfort comes from knowing I will have lived with meaning and purpose, and trusting God to be loving.
I’m not talking about people having near death experiences or second chances. I’m talking about believing God planned, and therefore, causes everything to happen in a life.
Our response to the nature of God is to say things like, “God allows.” Really? How do we know that? Because if it happens, and does not fit within our comprehension we have to explain it in some way. Saying something happens without God causing it seems to somehow diminish God.
Does it diminish God to believe in a world (or universe) designed to operate within certain laws, and that humankind exists in relationship with those laws, and suffers when those laws are broken? We see evidence of that every time we look at history and even today.
The intervention of God into life is a mystery, compounded by its “beyond our controlness.” But to live as though God moves with us, rather than preordaining every happening, gives me a relationship where I can be thankful for life and accept the painful things as part of having that life. But it also means eliminating as much of that pain and suffering as I can, and helping others to do so. And in so doing, believing that is the work of God, and not the undoing of God’s will.
Everything is in hindsight. We cannot change history. All we can do is change the present. We build on both the ignorance and wisdom of the past, while believing there is a purpose and power beyond us which inspires us to dream big dreams and overcome great barriers as we reach out to the meaning of being made in the image of God. And that is God’s predetermination. The rest is up to us.
Keith

THOSE TO SERVE IN MARCH
Announcements: Wayne Flora
Serve Communion: James Downing
Megan Downing
Susan Jordan
Lynn Jordan
Usher: Mark McRoy
Communion Care: Holly Wagner
Singing: Scripture:
3-Scott Blessing Judy McWhorter
10-Alan Beach Connie Crites
17-Del Bolin Martha Foy
24-Karen Branch Holly Wagner
31-Alan Beach James Downing
Communion: Nursery:
3-Abraham Sirgy Susan Jordan
10-Scott Blessing Susan Phlegar
17-Keith Wagner Holly Wagner
24-Mike Branch Connie Crites
31-Wayne Flora Holly Wagner
If you cannot serve, call Erma Williams

MARCH BIRTHDAYS
3.Vivian Dugan 5-Bonnie Blessing
12-Buster McRoy 13-Bill Albert
29-James Downing 31-Erma Williams
MARCH ANNIVERSARIES
10-Alan & Joni Beach
19-Bill & Martha Albert

CONCERNS: Debbie McRoy is going to have back surgery as soon as it can be arranged. Jim Hunter will have to have more of his foot removed due to diabetes. Mark Floyd, a friend of Judy McWhorter’s fell from a horse and had to have brain surgery. The Reiss’ son, David is still being treated for brain cancer. Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole will have brain tests at UA Birmingham. Ray Barns had an adverse reaction to chemo and they are seeking alternative treatments. Keep his wife, Darnell in prayer as well. Remember also Deanna McRoy, Debbie McRoy’s cousin Linda Alsup and husband, Prentice who has cancer. Others dealing with cancer are Teryn Gaynor’s mother, Judy Powell and Harold Clark (Jo Wagner’s sister and a cousin) The parents of Wayne Flora, The Beach’s fathers and Del Bolin’s mother. Donte McCadden (cf) Wayne Phlegar, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Jim and Mary Smith Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry and Tim Elder.

BULLETIN CHANGE
As Keith moves closer to retirement, the bulletin will be published monthly, rather than bi-monthly. The weekly handout will contain news and notifications. Other needed information between bulletins will go out via email.
THANK YOU
From Megan & James Downing: “A big, heartfelt thank-you to everyone who attended the baby shower yesterday. (2/23) We are so excited to start this new adventure, and cannot wait for Luke to meet our wonderful church family. Your love, support, and prayers have meant so much to us and we are extremely grateful. All our love, Megan and James Downing
GUEST SPEAKER
On Super Sunday 3/17 Jonathan Dansby will be speaking. He will teach the adult class as well. Jonathan is a prospect to replace Keith. He will graduate from Duke this may.
KEITH’S RETIREMENT
Keith’s retirement will be somewhat gradual. The first changes will take place in April when he only preaches twice a month. This will decrease in time as the search for a new minister proceeds. When the new minister comes, he will do the office duties he ha s done since Wilma Cullum retied tow days a week. How long this will continue depends on several factors.
JIM HUNTER
Jim Hunter is waiting for a hospital room. Martha can’t be with Bill at the lake and Jim here in town. Jim has a god support group, but there are times when a little extra would help. He is confined to the upstairs while at the Skylark house. He can use rides to the doctor, as well as daily needs. His phone # is 540-797-8030. Call and if you go to the house he will tell you how to get in.
AWAY
Vivian Dugan will be will her other daughter until May 1.

YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A CONTEXT – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

    I don’t like “cherry-picking” scriptures. That’s when a point is being made, even a legitimate  one, and to enforce it, an out of context scripture is attached. The problem is that in so doing, both the point and the scripture is weakened. The point is either valid or not, and tagging on a scripture that is out of context, damages both.
    Preachers are as bad as anyone,  and they shouldn’t be. That is not to say what they are talking about is baseless, just that attaching a scripture to it does not make it any more authentic, and if the scripture is out of context, the point becomes questionable. 
    A week or so ago a local minister dropped by to say hello. (Not a CofC preacher) As we were talking the phone rang. I let it ring through, telling him it was probably a call for money, or some other help. It was, because as soon as the answering machine came on they hung up. I said I supposed he got those kind of calls. He said yes, but the ones that bothered him were the ones where the people showed up at church services. I told him we had a little of that, but generally it was people who came to the office. I said I’d heard a lot of different stories. At that point his eyebrows raised and I almost knew what he was going to say. He said, “Well, the Bible says he who will not work shall not eat.” He then pointed out how it was wrong to help people who would not work. I told him of some of the people who come seeking help and asked if he knew any place that would hire the likes of them with, say, no public transportation available or decent clothing. The discussion more or less ended there.
    I agree we should not cater to freeloaders, my problem is that he felt the scripture he used sealed it in stone. It’s in II Thess. 2:10, where Paul says, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” Context.  Thessalonians deals with the expected return of the Lord. At the end of  I Thessalonians Paul deals with the issue of when the Lord will return and who will be with him. In 4:14 it says it will be those who have “fallen asleep in him.” In v. 15 he says “…we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left til the coming of the Lord, will certainly not proceed those who have fallen asleep.” In 5:14 he urges them to “warn the idol”. II Thessalonians continues to deal with, among other things, the same issue. He ends with, “…keep away from every brother who is idol and who does not live according to the teaching you received from us. (3:6) He then reminds them that they (he)  worked for their food. Meaning they were not idol, but paid for their food, even if they had the right to be fed. (v. 9) Then he says the man who will not work  shall not eat.  In v. 11 he refers to the non-workers as “busybodies”.
    Context: Those who were not working were members of the church, brothers and sisters. Had they never worked? Or were they now waiting for the return of the Lord and expecting, for some reason, to be fed by the church?  Were they the ones who were causing confusion about the coming of the Lord? What was the “teaching” they were ignoring?  We don’t know. What we do know is they were called “brothers” who had stopped working and expected the others to feed them.
    Are we to assume that no one in Thessalonica would give them a handout? There are some things we do not know, but what we do know is they were part of the church. If the church found itself in a similar situation today, and I have no idea what that would be, could it react the same? Yes. 
    I’ve mentioned before that Jesus teaches without backing it up with scripture. “By what authority does he do this?” A thing is good or bad, true or not by itself. When he said “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is talking you to court…”, he didn’t back it up with a scripture. (Matt 5:25,26) Is it a true statement without a scripture? Of course.
    If I told you that I was God’s son because the Bible said so, how would you react? You would ask me where I got such an idea. If I said in Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11 and Luke 3:22, you would say those words were spoken to and about Jesus, and you’d be right. They are there, but only about Jesus in that context.
    I saw a scripture sited the other day which was used to prove the beginning of human life. It was 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 all the nations.” Context: This is God telling Jeremiah that he had been set apart before he was born. It is no more about every person than God’s words to Jesus being God’s son being about all people. Or because Paul was a “Chosen instrument” (Acts 9:15), that we all chosen instruments as well.  
    Issues  about wealth, poverty, life,  death and the environment are important for every human being. Misusing scripture only makes the argument look weak.
        Keith

THOSE TO SERVE IN FEBRUARY
Announcements: Wayne Flora
Serve Communion: Maggie Foy
            Susan Jordan
            Lyn Jordan
            Garrett Williams
Usher: Erma Williams
Communion Care: Connie Crites
Singing:        Scripture:
3-Alan Beach        Martha Foy
10-Karen Branch    James Downing
17-Del Bolin        Judy McWhorter
24-Scott Blessing    Susan Jordan
Communion:        Nursery:
3-Scott Blessing    Connie Crites
10-Mike Branch    Susan Jordan
17-Abraham Sirgy    Holly Wagner
24-Wayne Flora    Holly Wagner
If you cannot serve, call Erma Williams
FEBRUARY BIRTHDAYS
5-Wayne Phlegar    15-Steve Gaynor
25-Karen Branch    28-Nick Bolin
FEBRUARY ANNIVERSARIES
19-Buster & Debra McRoy

CONCERNS: Debbie McRoy is recovering from an injured back. Others in Debbie’s family with health problems are a cousin, Linda Alsup and her husband, Prentice. Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell may have to reenter the hospital for cancer treatment. Jo’s cousin, Herald Clark has lung cancer. Teryn Gaynor’s mother is once again in cancer treatment and her step-father is having Parkinson’s issues. Remember Del Bolin’s mother, Alan Beach’s father and Joni Beach’s father. A CF patient friend of Holly Wagner’s, Dante McCadden and his wife and children. Bill Albert is recovering from a back injury. Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law (brain cancer) Among the shut-ins are Wayne Phlegar, Jim and Mary Smith. Also Sheila Jansen and Daughter, Amber Weaver Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Ray and Darnell Barns and Tim Elder
WEDNESDAY EVENING
    The Wednesday evening soup supper and Bible study has been disrupted due to several factors the last two weeks. With the severe cold appearing to be past, we look forward to regular services for a least awhile.

VISITORS
    With all of our number who were gone last Sunday, we were blessed with visitors from the area. Pray that they will come back. With regard to that, a ride may be needed for one of them. They live in the Colonia Rd, Ogden Rd area. The ride will be just for worship. Let Keith know if you can help with that.

SPRUCING UP
    The Steering Committee will be talking to several people about doing some painting and repairs around the building Due to the cooler weather, such things as outside painting will have to wait awhile, but some other things can and will be scheduled
SOUP FOR SENIORS 
    You may have read about the Soup for Seniors drive. This notice is rather soon, because it will end on Saturday, Feb. 9th. That means you will have to remember to bring it next Sunday and it will be delivered on Monday. Items needed are soups (low sodium),peanut butter, crackers and individual breakfast packages. See on line for a longer list.  As you know, we have a food pantry here at the annex. It is stocked by individual contributions and is available for those who are in need who come by the office.

HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

   I need to find zippier titles for my articles. If I saw this one I’d probably not read it. BORING! But boring is all I have, so here it is.
    First of all, no one comes to the Bible, or any other study without prejudice. Even if they’d never read it, or heard of it
    The Bible is book of history and ethics, among other things, such as the concept of God, or for clarity, a divine being. As far as we know there has never been an exclusively atheistic culture. Atheists? Yes. But not a culture where every member was an atheist. If I’m wrong, please inform me.
    As the apostle Paul says in Romans 22:14, which is one of the most significant passages in scripture, “Indeed, 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 conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.” (Italics and bold mine. kw)
    Simply put, Paul says what every anthropologist says: All human groups have rules of conduct which are, at the center, the same. They are not religious, but a part of human nature, important for survival and constructive living.
    Accepting Paul as being true, no matter what background a person originates, they come with ideas about what is right and wrong, regardless their belief in God, gods, nature, animals or whatever. The core ethic of the group is accepted and if that core “law” is broken, judgement occurs by the group.
    On the other hand, nothing is that simple. Are there different interpretations of the laws? Yes, and that can be seen in the Jewish law found in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament. The Ten Commandments are the foundation, the rest is commentary. Therefore, the Jew understands God through the law of Moses. However, the application of that law varied among Jews both ancient and modern, i.e. reformed and orthodox. 
    What about Christians? They all read,  generally, from the same Bible. However, do the Amish, Quakers, Mennonites and others with  pacifistic views of God, respond the same way the “second amendment” Christians do toward the same Bible? Obviously not. 
    Why not? Because each of them has brought the influence of family,  teaching and experience to the Bible. Therefore, the Bible is understood through the lens of those things. 
    Everyone does it. Is it set in stone? No. But moving away from deep-seated ideas is difficult. We might look at the violence toward Paul and the others who welcomed the Gentiles into equality with God. It was the Jews (who had the same law and the prophets) who wanted to stop and even kill Paul for such an understanding of God. The violence of the Reformation Period is a more modern example.
    The Bible is often linked to nationalism. When that happens the Bible is understood to support a certain government, and all other governments are ungodly. Of course, scripture is used to support it, as it is in other similar situations.
    Here’s a question: How many times did an Old testament teacher or prophet quote the law of Moses to prove a point? There may be more, but Malachi 4:4 is about it. What did they use to guide Israel? In every Prophetic letter they use the core value of loving God and the neighbor as oneself. The whole standard of righteousness was (and is) based on that single principle.  When that principle was lost, the nation of Israel was condemned. That’s why over and over again the prophets said all the religious rituals  and sacrifices meant nothing without the core righteousness.  
    So it is today. The core hasn’t changed. In fact it’s in the “nature” of humankind. Did the Jews, with all the prophets and experiences get it right? Once in awhile, maybe. But mostly they were getting it wrong. But, over and over we can read of the “remnant.” Others, not even Jews, who held the core enough to have the acknowledgment of God. In Amos 9:7 Amos has God saying, “Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor (Crete) and the Arameans from Kir?” Something in them caused God to rescue them. 
    In I Kings 19:18 Elijah is told of 7,000 Israelites who have not bowed to Baal. What does it mean? It means that no matter what book or Bible we read, we get it wrong when the core meaning of love of God and our fellow humans is not how we understand the world. Which means a lot of us are getting it wrong. But our faith and hope is that the “remnant” is getting it right, and that as always, they hold the world together when the rest of us don’t, for God’s sake.
        Keith
THOSE TO SERVE IN JANUARY
Announcements: Connie Crites
Serve Communion: James Downing
                   Megan Downing
            Holly Wagner
            Joanne Elder
Usher: Mark McRoy
Communion Care: Blessings
Singing:        Scripture:
6-Karen Branch    Martha Foy
13-Scott Blessing    Mark McRoy
20-Del Bolin        Martha Albert
27-Alan Beach    Holly Wagner
Communion:        Nursery:
6-Mike Branch    Susan Phlegar
13-Wayne Flora    Susan Jordan
20-Abraham Sirgy    Holly Wagner
27-Scott Blessing    Alisa Flora
If you cannot serve, call Erma Williams
JANUARY BIRTHDAYS
5-Alan Beach        8-Anna Ferrell
17-Jim Smith        Abraham Sirgy
22-Logan McRoy    28-Keith Wagner
31-Martha Albert

CONCERNS: Debbie McRoy injured her back and has been unable to get out. She may need surgery. Other’s in Debbie’s  family who have health issues are a cousin, Linda Alsup, and her husband, Prentice. Jo Wagner’s cousin, Herald Clark has lung cancer. He is in North Carolina. Her sister, Judy Powell, is stable at this time. Remember Alan Beach’s father and the rest of the family in the death of Alan’s mother. Also Joni Beach’s dad and Del Bolin’s 
mother. Teryn Gaynor’s parents are dealing with health problems. Her mother is again being treated for cancer. Dante McCadden is suffering from CF. Bill Albert is recovering from a back injury. Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law is being treated for brain cancer.  Others are Wayne Phlegar, Jim and Mary Smith, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and Daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjory Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Ray and Darnell  Barns, Gil Richardson (ALS) and Tim Elder

SYMPATHY
    We were saddened to learn of the death of Alan Beach’s mother, Margaret , died on December 23, in Travelers Rest, SC.
The family asked that memorials in her honor be made to The Churches of Christ Relief Fund. Such a donation was sent.

THE ANNEX
    The work in the annex has been mentioned a lot lately because it is becoming such a nice change. The fans are operational now and will provide the needed air circulation when the building is crowded during hot weather. Thanks to Mike Branch for leading the way in this work.

WEDNESDAY EVENING
    Due to colds and other illness, along with the holidays, we have canceled the Wednesday evening  service lately. Things 

are looking better now and we hope to see you this coming Wednesday for the continued study of the Gospel of John.

HEALTH TALENTS INT.
    The annual report from Health Talents International is on the foyer table. Take a look at it before it is placed on the downstairs bulletin board.

THANKS
    Thanks to Susan Jordan for arraigning the service last Sunday which contained the history behind some of the hymns we sing. Also to those who read and to Scott Blessing for leading the songs.
THANKS
    The family we helped with Christmas sends their thanks. The mother will put some pictures on FaceBook and they will be shared with the congregation.

O HOLY NIGHT – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

All we know about the birth of Jesus is contained in two of the Gospels, Matthew and Luke. Matthew wraps it up in seven verses. No mention of the trip to Bethlehem, nor of an angel talking to Mary, but just to Joseph.
The language in Matthew is interesting in that while Mary was “pledged” (engaged) to Joseph, he is referred to as her husband, and that he considered “divorcing” her as the law would have required. He did not because he was a “righteous” man. We are also told Joseph “took Mary home as his wife.”
Let’s notice a few things. The “pledge” was considered a marriage which would require a divorce to break. Mary is called Joseph’s wife and he is called her husband. He is called a righteous man because he was not willing to do what the law required with a public divorce. How he could have done that “quietly” I’m not sure.
The next thing Matthew tells us takes place maybe two or more years later. The Magi from the East arrive in Jerusalem looking for the Christ of the Jews. King Herod wants to put an end to this probability and orders all the boy babies around two years old in and around Bethlehem to be killed. An angel warned Joseph and he took his wife and son to Egypt until Herod died.
There is no mention of angels singing in the highest, crowded inns or mangers. That’s all in Luke. Historically, Luke’s account was accredited to Mary, Jesus’ mother. Luke alone has the visit with Elizabeth and the song Mary sings during that visit.
The details in Luke about the birth of Jesus are intimate and personal. The crowded inn, the manger, the shepherds and the angelic singing are all told as witnessed by Mary.
In Luke, her pregnancy is not a problem for Joseph. There is no mention of any distress on his part about the coming child. Luke simply says, “He (Joseph) went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.” (Lk. 2:5) Even though nine months have passed, they have not yet married. Did they ever have an “official” marriage? If so, we are never told. But remember, the “pledge” to marry was as strong as the marriage itself, and Jesus is recognized as Joseph’s son.
The next thing we experience in Luke is the presentation of Jesus at the temple for his circumcision on the eighth day of his life.
Then he is twelve years old and even though the family has made the trip annually to Jerusalem for Passover, this year was different. Though not stated, there was probably a bar mitzvah- type event in which Jesus (now a man as far as learning and keeping the law was concerned) decided to stay and listen and learn from the teachers of the law. This four-day seminar got him in hot water with mon and dad. Again, Mary being the central figure in the story is the one who scolds him. Luke adds, “But his mother treasured (remembered) all these things in her heart.”
Eighteen years, more or less, pass until we meet him again at the lower Jordan standing in line waiting to be baptized by his cousin, John.
In Matthew Jesus returns from Egypt and the next thing we are told is he is about thirty and is waiting to be baptized. Both Mark and John begin with Jesus as an adult.
So what am I going to do with all this? It is Christmas, and all the sights and sounds of the birth of Jesus surround us. I want to place his birth in perspective. How many other children were born that night in Israel? How many around the world? How many died at childbirth? How many only lived a few days or weeks?
Mortality rates in the ancient world are hard to trace. In Greece many (mostly men) lived into their seventies. However, some studies say about 40% of both men and women would die before that age, not because of aging, but disease, accidents and war.
But on a night somewhere in Bethlehem, a baby boy was born. He had no idea what lay ahead. All he wanted was to be fed and to feel secure, and I’m sure he cried. He would grow into a little boy. Did he have friends who died? Did he get sick? Yes, even though there are those who would frown at that idea. Would the physician heal himself?
Did he and the other children play as all children do? Yes. He was one among thousands who were born on that same night around the world.
At what point did he feel a sense of his destiny? Some would say at that moment in Jerusalem at twelve years old. I don’t think so. Was there no other Jewish boy with the same attraction to learning the law of his fathers? Perhaps Luke hints at that when Jesus responds to Mary’s scolding, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” However, he may have been saying,”Where else do you think I’d be?” Luke says they didn’t understand what he was saying to them. He adds that he went home to Nazareth with them and was “obedient to them.” I suppose that meant the next year at Passover he didn’t hang out at the temple, at least without asking permission. Luke concludes this period of Jesus’ life by saying, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
At what point during these “in between years” did Jesus feel a sense of calling? We don’t know. I would take Luke’s “wisdom and stature” to mean as he matured. Like so many other meaningful people in history, it became stronger each day.
What we do know is by the time he came to John to be baptized, a decision had been made, and that decision would be tested, both by the voice from heaven and the temptations of power which followed. But the course was set.
From that holy night in Bethlehem, to a holy morning by an empty tomb, come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.
Keith

CONCERNS: Continue in prayer for Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell; Jamie Cole, Joni Beach’s niece; Alan Beach’s sister-in law has health issues, as do the aging parents of the Beach’s, Wayne Flora’s parents; Del Bolin mother; and Teryn Gaynor’s parents. Donte McCadden, a CF patient, is in UVA medical Center, and not doing well. Wayne Phlegar remains home-bound with circulation issues. Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in law is being treated for brain cancer. Others are Deanna McRoy, Linda Alsup and husband, Prentice; Bill Albert; Jim Hunter; Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson. Melanie Gentry, Ray and Darnell Barns, Gil Richardson (ALS); Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

SPECIAL SUNDAY
Today we will have our third Sunday special service.

SUPER SUNDAY
Today is also Super Sunday. It is also the Sunday we enjoy being together during the Christmas season. The annex is all decorated and bright. The wood is in the fireplace for a nice warm fire, and there will be food on the table.
The annex looks especially warm and inviting with the new light s and Judy McWhorter’s quilts lining the walls.
The Christmas Tree has been decorated, so everything is ready. Come!
Also, the sign-up list was just a way for those decorating to know about how many table decorations to set up. If you didn’t sign up, don’t worry, there is plenty of room and food.

THANKS
Our thanks to those who did the decorating. To Holly Wagner for setting up the tree and fluffing the limbs. To Judy McWhorter and Leena Bolin for decorating, and someone might have been overlooked, but thanks to all of you.

THE YEAR END
This will be the last bulletin in 2018. We are in a period of family, reunion, remembrance and looking toward the New Year. As we do so, we are grateful for this church family and how much we love and need each other. It makes the song “Lean on Me” a reminder of who we are and what we commit to each other with God’s love.

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
Remember the Christmas Eve service at the building. It will start at 6:00.

Steering Committee Announcement

…FOR SUNDAY MORNING ANNOUNCEMENT_DECEMBER 2, 2018…Roanoke Church of Christ

Good Morning congregation!

I’ve got good news, and good news, and that equals great news for Keith and us!

Our most favored senior minister has been trying to find a way to retire for several years. But because of his affection for the flock here, not wanting to appear to be abandoning you and me – his church family, and several unexpected turns in the life road over the last couple of years, he has delayed his formal retirement. Until now.

You may already know that at one time he and Jo were thinking they’d retire, pack up, and move to Florida to be near Todd – a Florida ‘feet up in the warm southern sunshine’ kind of plan. However, they seem to find Roanoke a comfortable home, and this church family a loving and secure place for their next phase in life’s journey.

So 2019 will find the steering committee – Del, Judy, Martha Foy, Wayne, Susan and me more actively steering us, guiding this little fishing boat across some new waters – I’m trying for a biblical metaphor here, though none of us has any walk-on-water experience.

And we’ll be soliciting your input as well. Input along three parallel tracks :

1.coming up with a list of potential guest speakers, and inviting these new voices for Sunday messages; this to complement Keith as he slows back to preaching only one Sunday a month,

2.recruiting an associate minister to at some point possibly take on the traditional role Keith has filled for the last 30 years,

and,

3.examine our church family’s needs, wants, wishes, and spiritual character as we transition and transform, who we are in God / in Christ / in the Holy Spirit…

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

…along our church family’s path. To try to determine the fruits and gifts of our congregation in a refreshed and more visible and discernible way than we may currently be aware. Keith pointed out last Sunday some of our folks and their particular projects of benevolence and works for and with the community within the immediate family and around our neighborhood.

Please give Keith and Jo a supportive and encouraging hug, not one of goodbye, but of a welcome and “we’ve got your back” encouragement for their transition. As Keith and I have discussed, and I know, retirement can be a real challenge!

There will be much work to do, much self-examination, much stepping back and looking at who we are and where we want to head, and we’re going to all need to be positive and supportive and prayerful. Please know that the Steering Committee is counting on everyone here, our whole church family, to pitch in, throw us your thoughts and ideas. A former member, who has moved away, recently gave us a thumbs up by saying, and I quote “Roanoke Church is the kind of church the world needs”. Almost made me tear up, then of course I immediately felt a pretty big weight of responsibility land on OUR shoulders.

Pray for Keith and Jo…
Pray for the Steering Committee…
Pray for our church family…

Pray with me… “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭51:10-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:23-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Blessings to us all,
Mike Branch, for the Steering Committee

WHAT IN THE WORD? – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN

Some Christians want nothing to do with the Old Testament. (The Hebrew Bible) They say it was “nailed to the cross.” A misapplication of Col. 2:14. Others say it is still important because it was and always will be God’s word. But Paul says in Gal. 5:3 that demanding one part of the law be kept (circumcision) requires keeping it all.
When the “law” is mentioned, it usually means the Law of Moses contained in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, or generally the first five books of the Old Testament.
Orthodox Jews still “keep” those laws, with the exception of animal sacrifices. Reformed Jews (who gave them permission to reform the law?) have modified the law by retaining the spiritual and holy parts while dropping some of the “holiness” codes. For example, those which begin in, say, Leviticus 18. However, lets look at 19:19. “Do not mate different kinds of animals. (That’s how you get a mule.) Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven with two kinds of material.” The list in Leviticus is interesting and revealing.
There are reasons for all this, and my answer might not jive with others. I am not interested in the answer now, but rather the reason modern Jews have tossed so much of that sort of thing away. I haven’t researched the reasoning, but I’m sure it had nothing to do with their love of the law or of God. However, and if you can prove me wrong, please do so with facts, I think the modern Jew realized many of the things in the law were part of their survival in the surrounding culture and when that changed, these “laws” were obsolete.
Were they right in doing that, and by what authority did they do so? By what authority do we Christians pick and choose passages from the law of Moses and not use them all as Paul said we must?
I’ve said all of this to make this point: How much of the Bible including the New Testament, should we understand in it’s historical and cultural context? For example, if a beloved preacher or some other significant man was dying, would we advance the medicine used on King David when he was old and dying? In I King 1:ff it says, “When King David was old and well advanced in years, he could not keep warm, even when they put covers on him. So his servants said to him, (David?) ‘Let us look for a young virgin (an unmarried young woman) to attend the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord king may keep warm.
“Then they searched throughout Israel and found Abishag, a Shunamite, and brought her to the king. The girl was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no intimate relations with her.” The gaps are easily filled in as to why she had to be a beautiful virgin.
Was that appropriate for the time? Well, there were no law against it! Would that be an appropriate treatment for today? No, but that’s how they understood medicine illness and well being at the time I’m pretty sure even an orthodox Jew would not see that as kosher.
Her’s my point, and I know I’ve made it before: We must continually understand scripture in light of current wisdom and knowledge. I know there are people who believe the sick should be anointed with oil (by the elders) as it says in James. I also know that for some this has a special, even powerful meaning. But is it mandatory? Did it have a meaning then that it does not have now? What about foot washing? There are strong examples about it’s place and meaning in the Bible. Is it mandatory? What made much of Christendom decide it was based in custom? Can it have a current significance? Yes. But by what principle was it discarded as a requirement?
Are women required to wear a veil when in church, or as some say, “A second covering”? According to Paul, in I Cor. 11ff, the woman who prayed and prophesied had to wear a veil. That was the original meaning of covering; across the face and head. Her hair was to be long, whatever long was at the time, and a man’s hair was to be short, what ever short was for that time. By what authority was it decided that was based on customary understanding and not the law of God? Do some still demand it? Yes, but not most. Why?
Just as the eunuch, once rejected is accepted, the spirit of God requires that we do not leave our understanding of God trapped in historical understanding.
Keith

THOSE TO SERVE IN DECEMBER
Announcements: Wayne Flora
Serve Communion: Lyn Jordan
Susan Jordan
Judy McWhorter
Garrett Williams
Usher: Holly Wagner
Communion Care: Williams
Singing: Scripture:
2-Karen Branch Susan Jordan
9-Alan Beach Holly Wagner
16-Del Bolin Mark McRoy
23-Scott Blessing Mike Branch
Communion: Nursery:
2-Alan Beach Alisa Flora
9-Abraham Sirgy Connie Crites
16-Scott Blessing Holly Wagner
23-Mike Branch Joanne Elder
If you cannot serve contact Erma Williams
DECEMBER BIRTHDAYS
2- Jack Thompson 7-Megan Downing
13-Alisa Flora 20- Dillon Hogan
20-Carson McRoy 25-Rhonda McRoy
27-Martha Foy 28-Jeff Bland
30-Cathie Martin
DECEMBER ANNIVERSARIES
3-Jeff & Cathie Martin
23-Gary & Jan Overstreet

CONCERNS: Jo Wagner’s sister is at home. Jamie Cole, Joni Beach’s niece deals with hydrocephalus issues. Alan Beach’s sister-in law is having health problems, as are the parents of the Beach’s. Other family members dealing with aging are Wayne Flora and Del Bolin’s mother. Donte McCadden has CF. Teryn Gaynor’s parents also have health issues. Debbie and Ray Reiss’ son-in law (brain cancer) Wayne Phlegar, Deanna McRoy, Linda .Alsup and husband, Prentice, Bill Albert, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Ray and Darnell Barns, Gil Richardson (ALS), Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
The annual Christmas Eve Service will be on Monday evening at 6:00. More information in the next bulletin.

THE ANNEX
Those of you who attended the last Super Sunday meal could see how the improvements to the annex are coming. Even if you didn’t stay look in some time when the annex is open and see the improvements.

THE CHRISTMAS TREE
The Christmas tree will be up in the annex this week. Wednesday evening we will spend a little time decorating it.

THE ANNUAL CHRISTMAS DINNER
Rather than having a separate party, we have been combing the annual Christmas Party with the Super Sunday meal in December. Erma has placed a sign-up sheet on the table in the foyer. More information in the next bulletin as to the menu and other items

VISITORS
Aside from family members who visit during the Thanksgiving holiday, we had visitors from Pottstown, Pa. Who were passing though and worshiped with us.

REMEMBER
The Wednesday evening soup supper and Bible study is now back on track.