Roanoke Church of Christ



By my friend, Ben

It were Christmas Eve an’ I were headin’ home after the service at the church, but I had one more stop to make. I did. On the seat beside me were a special cake I’d baked. It were a secret recipe passed on to ma by her ma, an’ accordin’ to ma, her ma’s ma before her. That cake were one a the things that made Christmas special as far back as I could remember. It were.

Why I had that cake with me were because I’d remembered ma’d baked one for ol’ John William Jackson the Christmas before she died. She did. Ol’ John were known as the Scrooge of Hickory Ridge. He were. He were even known to yell at folks what were carolin’ on the street. T’ tell the truth, he even looked like the pictures of Scrooge I’d seen. So I were a bit surprised when ma told pa to drive her out to ol’ John’s place so she could give him one a her special cakes. I were. Fact were, it seemed a bit of a waste to me. It did.

Just like I’d heard he’d do, ol’ John came out on the porch with his shotgun raised slightly. That is, until he saw it were ma. It were perty much agreed on that anybody what would hurt Lizzy Harrison would go straight to hell, right on the spot. So ol’ John lowered his gun an’ come out to the truck. He did. Ma got out an’ handed him that there cake. She said, “Merry Christmas, John.” Well, ol’ John looked a little like he’d seen Marley’s ghost. He did. Then he said he didn’t believe in Christmas an’ didn’t need no
present. Ma said her cake weren’t no present, it were a gift. An’ a gift were somethin’ what were more important to the giver than the one what were the receiver. She did. She told ol’ John she knowed he were a gentleman an’ he wouldn’t want to hurt a lady’s feelin’s. She did. Well, ol’ John looked at her an’ never said a word. He just took the cake an’ went in the house. He did

I don’t know why, but after all these years I had the notion that ma wanted ol’ John to have another cake. I did. So there I were headin’ down Stinkin’ Creek Road takin’ ol’ John ma’s Christmas cake.

It were nigh on to eight o’clock an as dark as could be when I drove up to the house. Ol’ John’s dog told him I were out there, but I made it to the porch before he got the door open. I did. He looked right upset. He did. The gun was a little higher than I were comfortable with. Fact were, it were right about my chest. I told him my ma sent him one of her Christmas cakes. I did. He said, “Yer, ma’s been dead for ten years!” I told him I knowed that, but I reckoned ma thought it were about time for him to have another one. I did. As he took the cake I told him Merry Christmas. He told me to “git” an’ slammed the door.

On Christmas mornin’ before I could head out with some presents for Sara Jane an’ Billy Joe’s kids, ol’ Blue let out a string of howls. He did. I looked out an’ saw ol’ John Williams’ truck passin’ the barn an’ headin’ for the house. It were. When I stepped out on the porch he were getting’ outta the truck with a little box in his hands. He were. I were relieved that he didn’t have no gun with him. I were. He come right up on the porch an’ said, “Boy, I’m here to tell you a story.” I invited him to come on in, but he said the porch would be fine. He did. He said, “Boy, you see this box?” He opened it an’ inside there were a watch case. Inside that were a wristwatch. Ol’ John said, “That there’s a Hamilton. They made ‘em up in Pennsylvania, but they don’t make ‘em no more. I heard they’re gettin’ to be collector’s items. My pa only wore it on weekends an’ special occasions.” He held it out to me an’ said, “I want you to have it. Your ma an’ pa were good folks. An’ I ain’t got no kin worth havin’ no how. When I die they’ll show up like vultures. So I want you to have this ol’ watch. It ain’t been wound in years, so be careful iffen you decide to wear it.”

Almost before I could thank him he shoved it into my hands an’ were headin’ to his truck. He were. I said “Merry Christmas John William!” I did. He didn’t look back an’ just waved his hand as if to dismiss the whole idea. He did. But I knowed ol’ John William had softened up just a tad. I did.

CONCERNS: Jo Wagner’s cousin, Donna Brutto is being treated for stage four bladder cancer. Judy Hall is able to travel a little and was with us last Sunday. Charlie Green, Sam’s (from VBS) father, is recovering from heart problems and has diabetes, as well as being unemployed at the time. Jenn McCready, who works in Del Bolin’s office, has a severe eye infection that may blind her. A friend of Garrett Lee Williams suffered eye damage in an accident and they hope to restore his sight in the damaged eye. Ron Matney has been having health problems lately that have kept him away. It was really good to see Helen Nicklas at church last Sunday. Eleanor Crush remains about the same as does Wilma and Jenni Cullum. Continue to remember Alma Martin, Joni Beach’s mother, The Kincannons in Russia, Randy Conner, and Tim Elder, as well as the various works we support.

Monday: John 15:12-27
Tuesday: I Corinthians 13:1-13
Wednesday: John 6:35-51
Thursday: Matthew 17:14-23
Friday: I Peter 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 125:1-5

Monday: I Peter 1:1-11
Tuesday: Luke 2:1-15
Wednesday: Proverbs 2:1-15
Thursday: Romans 15:1-13
Friday: I Thessalonians 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 115:1-18

We were saddened to Learn of the death of Brad Hager’s father, Earl. After 102 years, most of which was lived in both the political sector and education, he died at home in Logan, WV. Brad was with him. Earl had also studied with a local minister and was baptized into Christ recently. The funeral was in West Virginia.

We received a thank-you note from the Samaritan Inn downtown. The Steering Committee, at Rich Crites suggestion, agreed to buy clothes from Goodwill take them to the Inn. Along with the clothing was peanut butter, jelly, coffee creamer. It is on the downstairs bulletin board.
Also, this from Tess Anderson, who Alan Beach put us in contact with: “Alan Beach delivered a fruit and candy basket to me yesterday. You’ve been so kind to remember me for several years now. Alan said there was a check attached and I thought, “How sweet, a few dollars for Christmas dinner.” But when I opened it I could not believe it-$500.00! What an answer to prayer, a blessing from God and His people. Thank you SO much. Words do not convey how grateful I am.” This card is also on the bulletin board. Also on the bulletin board is a thank-you note from Debbie Quick Conner with Carillion Hospice. They use the annex each year so those who have lost loved ones can make memorial ornaments for their Christmas trees

The Steering Committee has worked on the 2012 budget and Rich Crites will soon be reporting on our work here in 2011, as well as some things we hope to do in 2012.

At one time we collected peanut butter for the regional food bank. Now we would like to have a peanut butter drive for the Samaritan Inn. The food bank gives food to the needy. The Samaritan Inn makes peanut butter sandwiches to feed those who live primarily on the street. Next time you shop get a jar and place it on the table downstairs and they will be delivered.


The title has nothing to do with the line from the song that goes, “From here to the Great Unknown.”

To explain the title, go back in time with me to the sermons you’ve heard. My guess is that you heard about Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, John the baptizer, Jesus, Peter, Paul and a few others. Probably at some point in each of those sermons the preacher held one or two of these folks up as examples of how we should be. We left church wondering when it would be our time to build an ark, or kill a Goliath, or be crucified like Jesus, and go into all the world like Paul. Anything less seems to fall short of what is a “real” Christian. In other words, we were always “falling short of the glory of God.” That is until we get our act together and became like the people the preacher held up before us.

There is also that hairy problem of the Holy Spirit. If we were taught that the Holy Spirit was the Bible, problem solved, almost. Now all we had to do was duplicate the instructions in the New Testament and we would be safe. We would be lead by the Spirit of the Word, as it were. Among the problems with that is the person who could quote the most scripture would be considered the most “full of the Spirit”. (“Which version of the Holy Spirit do you want? KJV, ASV NKJV or some other? We have it in hardback and soft leather?”) We would also become literalists, which to the thinking student of scripture is impossible. So we need to find a way to decide which passages to follow and which to not. This, of course, is true even if we are not among those who believe the Spirit is the Bible.

I said the Holy Spirit is a hairy problem because when we see the passages that speak of the “indwelling Spirit” we also have to deal with them. That’s where the rub comes in for most of us. We are told that the Spirit gives us “spiritual gifts”. So we look around and we don’t see anything. If someone asks what our gift is, we are stuck. Those who try to display what they feel is theirs, seem to ruin it, if indeed they have it right. Which I think in most cases of self-recognition, they don’t. All I can say here is I think the gifts of the Spirit are best seen in us by others, and accepted by us in faith.

However, as a reading of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians indicates, the concept of the Spirit giving gifts can be a problem. As seen in the first letter, the “visible” gifts were the most sought after. But as time passed and they seemed to fade in and out of church life, so some explanation needed to be made. At some point it was decided by some that those “visible” gifts were only for a certain time and place. Therefore, they no longer existed, hence the Bible itself became the Holy Spirit. Regardless the excitement about that view and the scriptures used to defend it, it didn’t and won’t hold water, more less the Holy Spirit.

Left without a “The end!” from God, some set out to find the treasures of the lost Spirit. Meaning they wanted visible proof of the Spirit in their life. In
some cases visibility became the test as to if the person had the Holy Spirit or not. This led to some faking and hypocrisy. It also leads to frustration and disappointment as well as constant questioning of oneself.

In the New Testament there is never any doubt that the confessing person (Christian) does not receive God’s Spirit in their life. I’m not going to list the scriptures that would confirm that. My interest is in what a “spiritual” person is supposed to look and act like.

What does a spiritual person look like? Are there some “Christians” in any church who lack the presence of God’s Spirit in them? Don’t we look for the Moses’ and the Abrahams, and the Pauls? How many do we find that we can put our finger on and say it? On any given Sunday all across the world, churches are filled with believers who come, involve themselves in worship, and leave. If they were told to list their particular Holy Spirit gift at the door, how many could? How many would feel very accepted if they couldn’t? Why we feel that way is because those who preach and need to keep the wheels of the church turning, as well as being driven by the need to convert the world to Christ, need more wheel turners and converters. In other words, more people like Paul are needed. In fact, if you’re not aspiring to be like Paul you’re not very spiritual. “Why haven’t you been beaten or shipwrecked!?”

Now, let’s look at the actual picture in the New Testament, at least as we have it. We know about Peter and Paul and a few other “evangelists”. We are told that on the day of Pentecost three thousand folks were converted and “added” to the church. What happened to all of them? Did they all go off preaching? Some did. But behind those who did, were the great unknown. Those who never went beyond the edge of the town or city in which they lived. They assembled to worship and praise God and went out and loved their neighbors. We can imagine (because we still see it) that they did deeds of goodness and kindness. Hopefully they never wondered if they had received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Hopefully they were never made to feel unspiritual because they didn’t feel the need to express visible proof of the indwelling Spirit by displaying their gift (talent).

Are there unspiritual people who say they are Christians? Yes. What’s the test? For Paul it was the result, the “fruit” of the Spirit’s presence. In Galatians 5:22ff Paul says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love. Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Strange, but there’s no “speaking in tongues” or “prophesying” there. Neither is there a “Be a giant for Christ”, though any one of those might cause someone to be, but not everyone.

Most of us are part of the great unknown, except to God who lives in us and makes God visible in the above (yes, visible) attributes. Do we have to be good at all of them equally to have the Spirit? No. Salvation is not by gifts,
but grace
. Keith

CONCERNS: Judy Hall is still recovering from back surgery, but hopes to be able to be out soon. Both she and T. J. have had health problems lately. Garrett Lee Williams’s friend who suffered an eye injury is still being treated in hope of restoring his vision. Jenn McCready, a therapist that works with Del Bolin has a serious eye infection that may cost her to lose her sight. Eleanor Crush remains about the same, as does Wilma and Jenni Cullum. Helen Nicklas has recovered from pneumonia and is feeling better. Remember the Kincannons as they teach in Russia. Also Alma Martin, Joni Beach’s mother, Randy Conner, Ron Matney, and Tim Elder.

Monday: II Thessalonians 1:2-12
Tuesday: Matthew 1:18-25
Wednesday: John 2:1-11
Thursday: I Thessalonians 1:2-10
Friday: II Timothy 2:1-13
Saturday: Isaiah 40:1-11

Monday: Matthew 2: 1-12
Tuesday: Matthew 2:13-23
Wednesday: Genesis 31:36-50
Thursday: Acts 9:19b-31
Friday: Psalm 122:1-9
Saturday: Psalm 140:1-13

Our thanks to the young people for doing an excellent job directing the worship service last Sunday. It was impressive to say the least. Brice Reid did a very good job presenting the story of the Prodigal son, and all those who read and made announcements spoke clearly and distinctly. Apologies to AC Branch who was overlooked and we missed her prayer. Soon, AC!

A special thanks from Keith to all of you who stayed after last Sunday’s service for a reception in recognition of his 50 years of preaching. Also to Brice Reid and the other young people who decided to do it.

Another nice thing about last Sunday was the visitors who came. It was really great to see Diane and Lewis Sturm, who came from Ohio. Jessica and Perry Downing (Megan Beaver Downing’s in-laws) from here in Roanoke, and Harriette and Ralph Shivers just happened to be in town for a business meeting. It was almost a homecoming weekend.

Even though this is being written before the adult Christmas party, there is no doubt everyone enjoyed themselves. A thanks to Del Bolin who served as this year’s MC. Also to Erma Williams for decorating and Judy McWhorter who arranged the menu, and to those who took on special things such as providing the appetizers and desserts.

We will have a Christmas Eve service. We will meet at 6:00 PM and read the story and sing the songs. Afterwards some go out to eat afterwards and everyone is invited.

Because Christmas falls on Sunday this year, we will only have a 10:30 worship service. There will be no Sunday School. This will give more time for the children (Christmas is for children of all ages) to have some time before church, as well as families getting together for the enjoyment of this special day.

As the year ends let’s remember we have been there for each other in both joy and in sorrow. That’s family.


by my friend, Ben
Thanksgivin’ bein’ over an’ all, I still had me a long weekend ahead. I did. So on Friday me’n ol’ Blue got in my truck an’ headed into Hickory Ridge. We did

After eatin’ at the Mountain Lion, we walked around town talkin’ to folks about did they have a nice Thanksgivin’ an all. It were right warm for late November an’ folks were real thankful for that. They were.

It were nigh on to three o’clock when we headed back to the farm. Ol’ Blue jumped up in the truck an’ took his seat next to me. Since there were just the two of us, he perty much claimed that seat for himself. He did.

We was on the straight stretch before Shively’s corner when ol’ Blue sat up tall an’ his tail thumped the seat like he knowed the feller standin’ on the road up ahead. He did. Far as I could tell, he were a total stranger to me. He were. But ol’ Blue seemed to take a fancy to him. He did. Now that were a tad strange, ‘cause ol’ Blue didn’t take to strangers right off. He liked to sniff ‘em out first. He did.

As we got to the feller, I looked to see iffen he raised his thumb wantin’ a lift. I did. He just looked at us an’ smiled. Ol’ Blue’s tail were goin’ crazy. It were. An’ it were right then somethin’ struck me. I weren’t sure what it were, but I stopped the truck an’ backed up. I did. As I pulled up next to him I asked iffen he needed a
ride. He said not particularly, but did I want to give him one.

Now it weren’t my habit to pick up strangers unless they seemed to be needin’ some help. But since I were a sight bigger’n him, unless he were armed, I reckoned I could be neighborly. I did. An’ there were ol’ Blue. Iffen there were ever a good judge of people, it were ol’ Blue. An’ ol’ Blue sure took to this feller. He did.

When I asked where he were headin’ he smiled an’ said nowhere an’ everywhere. Well, I gave him an invite to have supper with me’n ol’ Blue. I did. With that he got in next to ol’ Blue as iffen they were old friends. He did.

I asked him iffen he were from around these parts, an’ he said he were an’ he weren’t. Then he asked me iffen I weren’t Ben Harrison. That took me back a tad, but I told him I were. He said he knowed my ma an’ pa. I told him I reckoned I knowed everyone my ma an’ pa knowed, an’ I didn’t know him. He smiled an’ said it were one day when I were in school that ma an’ pa’d offered to help him out.

When we got to the house I asked him what his name were. He smiled an’ said folks put too much stock in names. That seemed a might strange to me, but I were taught to respect a person’s privacy. I were.

I fixed some of the leftovers from Thanksgivin’. I did. He didn’t say nothin’ as he ate. It were afterwards that he told me about his meetin’ ma an’ pa. He said he’d come to town to deliver a message to a feller, but a storm had caused the road to flood leadin’ up to where he lived. So he were sittin’ at the post office waitin’ for the storm to pass when ma an’ pa come in. They did. He said ma offered to take him home with ‘em till the storm passed. He did.

Ol’ Blue come over an’ put his head on that fellers lap. He did. The stranger rubbed his head an’ said, “You know, a dog can read the character of a person. Ol’ Blue here loved your ma a lot. He knew she was a good person, just like I did when she invited me out here years ago.”

He looked at me an’ said. “Ben, don’t ever forget how blessed you are. I know you lost your ma an’ pa when you were just a boy, but with the raisin’ your ma an’ pa gave you, an’ the other folks here an’ about, you’re a better person than you think you are. Always be thankful for that. In fact, that’s the message I came here to tell you.” With that he got up an’ stepped out the door. By the time I got to the porch he were nowheres in sight. He weren’t

The warm sun woke me up an’ it were Friday mornin’. That feller were just a dream. He were. But I had me this real warm feelin’ about ma as I fixed me’n ol’ Blue breakfast. I did. An’ I reckoned me’n ol’ Blue’d head to town. I did.

CONCERNS: Judy Hall had back surgery last week. She is home, but will be laid up for awhile. Eleanor Crush is about the same. Helen Nicklas is recovering from pneumonia. Martha Foy’s friend, Sharon Breeding, whose son died recently. Jenn McCready, (serious eye problems) she works with Dr. Bolin. Margaret and Tom Kincannon as they teach the gospel in Russia. Remember Wilma and Jenni Cullum, Alma Martin, Joni Beach’s mother, Randy Conner and Tim Elder. Ron Matney has been dealing with stomach problems. His nephew, Mike Breeding and his wife need our prayers.

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

Monday: John 4:27-42
Tuesday: Ecclesiastes 11:1-10
Wednesday: Psalm 86:1-17
Thursday: Genesis 3:8-21
Friday: II Timothy 3:1-17
Saturday: Psalm 84:1-12

Next Sunday the service will be lead by the young people. They will do everything but lead the singing and give the communion devotion. None of them were quite prepared to take either of those two actions yet. Del Bolin will lead the singing and Wayne Flora will do the communion. Brice Reid will be delivering the message.
One box of goodies for those serving in Afghanistan has been sent. Another will be sent soon and in it will be the cards we signed as well as Santa hats, Christmas lights and other things. If you haven’t picked up a few hot wheels cars, the children love getting them from the soldiers.

Martha Foy delivered Sharon Breeding’s thanks for the help we were able to give her to bury her son.

The Adult Christmas Party for this year will be Saturday, December 17, I the Annex. In the next week or so there will be recipes passed out for us to bring. The main course has not been set yet. A sign-up sheet is one the table in the foyer. Please let it be known if you are attending as soon as possible.

Every year or so we update the bulletin mailing list. With more and more people using e-mail, we want to encourage you to receive it via that method if you can. You can send your e-mail address to Keith @ and you will be added to the list. However, for those of you out of town who still want a hard copy, we are glad to send one to you.

We will also be checking the list to see if there are those no longer interested in receiving the bulletin.

Christmas fall on Sunday this year. In past years when this has happened we have omitted Sunday school and only had a worship service. This enables families with children to enjoy some time together before coming to church. We will decide if a later time for the worship service would be better. By the way, we will still have the Christmas Eve service as always.


The title comes from both the Bible and the title of a book by Michael Pearl. Pearl’s book uses Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go…”

If you go to the internet and type in Pearl’s name you will find an abundance of information about him and his ideas of child discipline. One is to use a piece of ¼ inch PVC plumbing supply line as a “rod”, as in “spare the rod and spoil the child”. Those who have used his methods have been convicted both of murder and child abuse.

Now, many of us have been “switched” as children, some to the point of drawing blood, which is a beating. It could have been a belt, a leather shaving strap, whatever, it was a beating.

I can remember at least one or two spankings I received as a child. As I remember, both of them had more to do with my mother’s anger than my infraction. Both were with a pancake turner, a spatula. What is also interesting is that at least one of them, if not both, had to do with food. The one I can well remember had to do with pork chops she’d overcooked. My mother was a good cook, but these were dry as a bone in the desert. I was trying to get it down, but couldn’t get enough saliva moving to soften it up to swallow. So I gagged. Not a good idea when your mother has worked all day and then tried to fix a meal. After a gag or two, out came the weapon of choice.

When I think of spankings I seem to find a good number of them involve food. I’m not sure why refusing to eat, or even gagging brings about such anger. I know I have been guilty of getting upset when my children refused to eat what was prepared. I wonder, since food and love are psychologically tied together, if the rejection of food by the child is inwardly seen by the insecure parent as a rejection of their love. I’ll leave that to the experts. Man! That pork chop was dry!

I know endless stories could be gathered and turned into a massive book (“the world could not contain…”) about how mom and dad beat the kids and they all turned out to be great, with a second equally large volume about how that does not work. Statistics show a large percentage of people who murder, abuse and otherwise cause pain, have been abused themselves, either emotionally or physically.

While searching the internet for information on Michael Pearl, I ran across a video taken in a church, where the woman conducting whatever it was she was conducting, had a large number of children around her. None of them looked to be ten years old. She had them chanting something. Then she began to tell them how bad they were and how they were phonies and sinners. The camera went from face to face showing the tears and torn emotions and their little hands raised to indicate they were indeed as bad as she said. What bothered me as much as the joy the woman seemed to have “damning” these children, was that somewhere there were parents who approved of her actions.

What makes a parent look at their children and see something that has to be broken before it can be whole? On the adult level what breaks the stubborn spirit is not God, but the circumstances the person goes through. The father in the story of the prodigal son did not toss his son into a strip joint full of prostitutes and then the pig pen. These were the results of the son’s choices. Does that mean the child should be left on it’s own to learn? That depends. If they are learning to be a person among other equal persons, there will need to be, “Johnny, that’s not how you are going to act.” What measures are taken to enforce that may vary, but not by trying to beat the action out of Johnny.

Why is it so easy for some parents, to allow another person or persons, to misuse supposed Bible-given power, to reach the point, as one family did, that beat their child to death for Jesus?

I understand some children have serious behavioral and mental problems. I can understand how that could strain the resolve of any parent. I have heard of children who are so dangerous they might kill the other children in the home. That must be heartbreaking to the parent who just wants to love and care for their child. Nothing about human nature or the lack of it is simple. I’m speaking about the average family who turns to a Christian (?) minister or teacher for advice on child rearing. It is simply wrong to use those passages from the Bible that were written for a different time and understanding.

Sadly, too many people are fond of picking out Old Testament passages and treating them as if they were (and are) the law for all times. The law about stoning a rebellious child is one. Stoning girls who couldn’t “prove” their virginity is another. Even an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is claimed by some. Some advocate stoning homosexuals.

But what happens if we actually read the book? What a novel idea! What happens if we read the stories of Israel? How many children would have been stoned in the books of Kings and Chronicles? Let’s see, Eli’s sons, as well as Samuel’s. David’s son, Absalom. Then there’s Saul’s son, Jonathan, who broke a kingly death sentence command, but was spared, just to name a few. How many women committed adultery and were spared? Think Bathsheba, for one, and add David as well. What about the marriage laws? Read the story of a half-brother who wanted his half-sister in II Sam. 13:1-14, especially vs. 13. By the way, there were prophets of God who never said a condemning word about the breaking of these laws, or polygamy, for that matter. The people who broke these laws are often the heroes of the story. Think Samson.

Some say, “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” That could be a statement of faith. But usually it is about a narrow, closed-minded view developed by fear and prejudice that has found a scripture that can be used to support their preconceived ideas.

It’s hard to meaningfully sing “Jesus loves the little children” and think of him beating them at the same time.

CONCERNS: Judy Hall is recovering from a broken bone in her back. A friend of Martha Foy has lost a son, her name is Sharon Breeding. Ron Matney has been ill for a few weeks with various problems. Jenn McCready, who works with Dr. Bolin, has a serious eye problem. Former members Margaret and Tom Kincannon are in Russia teaching the Bible. Helen Nicklas has been dealing with pneumonia. Eleanor Crush is about the same. Jennie Cullum is having some problems with arthritis. Remember Wilma Cullum, Alma Martin, Joni Beach’s mother, Randy Conner, and Tim Elder.

Monday: Genesis 2:1-14
Tuesday: Matthew 3:1-17
Wednesday: I Thessalonians 3:1-13
Thursday: Matthew 21:28-44
Friday: II Peter 1:16-2:10
Saturday : Psalm 33:1-22

Monday: Genesis 28:10-22
Tuesday: Matthew 18:1-14
Wednesday: Luke 5:1-11
Thursday: II Samuel 12:15b-25
Friday: Acts 19:23-41
Saturday: Psalm 91:1-16

Our hearts go out to Connie Crites and the rest of her family in the death of her father. It was somewhat expected due to an inoperable aneurism near his heart. He was 92. He was found in his favorite chair by a son who lived with him. The funeral was Saturday in Wisconsin.

We were excited to learn that Brad Hager’s father was baptized a week or so ago in West Virginia. As we have mentioned before, he is 92

Today, November 20, is Super Sunday. Keep this in mind and plan to attend the fellowship meal following the service today. November birthdays and anniversaries will be served first. Enjoy!

It has been a tradition here for several years not to have a Wednesday evening service the day before Thanksgiving. Due to those who are traveling, or expecting guests, as well as the food preparation, we just want that evening to be one of anticipation for Thanksgiving. So, no evening service, Wednesday, the 23rd.

A box of goodies is about to be sent to some of our troops in Afghanistan. Erma would like to include Christmas lights and some Santa hats. See her about these items and when she needs them. Her plan is to send the first box this week.

Here are some dates you need to take note of. The teenage luncheon will be December 4 in the afternoon. The teenage class will conduct the service on December 11. The date for the annual adult Christmas Party is scheduled for Saturday, December 17. Look at your calendar now to set aside that date.

Our thanks to Wayne Phlegar and Del Bolin for bringing the sermons during the Wagner’s vacation. Lots of good comments were expressed. ALSO: Thanks to Judy McWhorter for sharing with us her experiences at the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala, as well as her experiences with the people of the country.

If you would like to receive the bulletin via e-mail, please let it be known. Hard copies will be on the foyer table.


Way back in my, or my wife’s life, I don’t remember which, an English teacher said good grammar was like well played music or a song beautifully sung.

What that illustration is all about is how something sounds. Good grammar sounds good to the ear. You don’t have to be an English major to hear a sour note in a sentence. Neither do you have to be musically inclined to hear a sour note in a tune or a song.

Growing up we used to say and hear, “Ain’t ain’t in the dictionary.” It may be now, I haven’t looked. I use the word “ain’t” when I’m writing dialogue. But my ear hurts when I hear someone say it. On another level, it is only the love of the person being sung to that gets most crowds through the singing of “Happy Birthday” without ear strain. Those of us who enjoy the reruns of The Andy Griffith Show know well the program where Don Knotts (who had a good voice) sang off key and messed up Santa Lucia. We also know what it’s like to sit and listen to someone fracture the English language, and I don’t mean with an accent or regional dialect. I can pretty much handle “Gitter done!” But “I ain’t got no” gives me shivers.

The Psalms are written in a form of Hebrew poetry. They have a certain rhythm and style. Taking that into consideration we should not be surprised to read things in the Psalms that sound “sharp” or perhaps “flat”. A good example would be the apostle Paul saying a loveless life is a sour note. It has no harmony. It’s a one note band or a one note song. (I Cor. 13)

What does all of this have to do with scripture? Just this: If an understanding of scripture or an explanation of scripture “sounds” off key, hurts your ears (the opposite of that is not “tickling the ears”), then it is a good idea to look and listen again.

Our hearts and spiritual hearing is developed by what we have already heard, and that conditions the way we hear and understand. When Moses was up on the mountain with God, Joshua, waiting below, heard sounds coming from the base camp in the valley. What was going on was the singing and dancing around the golden calf. In Exodus 32:17, what Joshua told Moses was, “There is the sound of war in the camp!” What made him interpret the sounds of dancing and shouting as war? He was a warrior. He has warrior’s ears. So his first impulse is to think it was war.

Jesus spoke of those whose hearing was dull and whose hearts were hard. How did they get that way? By what they had been taught and perhaps experienced. They understood and interpreted life and God based on that. That’s true with all of us and it makes it hard to see or hear anything but what we have already seen and heard, even if the sound hurts our senses. Such a passage might be Psalm 137:8, 9 where Babylon is cursed. “Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us—he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” Not a pretty picture. But if we take it in its poetic context and not get too literal and assume, as some have, that this looks like God will bless those who kill Babylonian babies, we may imagine this is what the Jews saw done to their own children when the Babylonians invaded their land. Still not pretty, but more of a reflective curse than an actual instruction. However, we should be repulsed but not surprised to see such violence, even among the Jews. Remember Jericho?

We are all subject to our time and place in history. Social influences that influenced one generation will not influence those to come. Even the Bible is understood based on what is happening at the time. Think about the use of scripture to support slavery and the inferiority of blacks. Think about the scriptures used to denigrate women as inferior and not worth as much as men in the vote and in the workplace.

How are we to do our best to make our relationship with God and others sound more like well-played music or words well spoken? I think first and foremost we need to realize that not just incorrect grammar hurts the ear, but so do incorrect words that express incorrect thinking. Jesus spoke a deep psychological truth in saying it is not what goes into the person that condemns, but what come out (of the mouth). What we say betrays who we are. If we insist on using sexist, racist, bigoted, prejudicial language, we betray who we are at our core.

This is true as well when it comes to the application of scripture. A young male or female will find themselves filled with new, exciting and natural attraction toward the opposite sex. If they hear the typical sermon on the words of Jesus about looking at someone with lust in the heart, for them it will be like the day the music died. Someone will need to retune them.

If the scriptures on marriage and divorce are applied without due consideration, there is no harmony. For example, if a woman’s husband beats her, but does not commit sexual adultery, she is told she can divorce but not remarry. So the sweet melody of “It is not good for man (or woman) to be alone” goes sour.

Perhaps the most significant words in both the Old and the New Testament are the words of Jeremiah repeated in Hebrews 8:10, 11. “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they shall be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me.”

Those are lyrics and music too large for me to completely grasp, but to even try requires that I trust the ear of my heart to hear the symphony of God’s love and grace in life and in applying scripture, as well as God’s trust that I can hear the song and sing it to others. Maybe that’s what the Psalmist meant when he wrote, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

CONCERNS: T. J. Hall developed meningitis while he and Judy were in Kentucky. He is doing better now. Also, while there Judy fell and broke a bone in her back, so she will be wearing a brace for awhile. A physical therapist in Del. Bolin’s office has an eye infection that may cause her to lose her eyesight. She has just returned from her honeymoon. Her name is Jenn McCready. Erma Williams’ dad is still in rehab. Brad Hager’s father is having some health issues. He is 102. Former members, Margaret and Tom Kincannon have asked for our prayers while they are in Russia teaching the Bible. Jenni Cullum is having what seems to be problems with arthritis in her lower body. Wilma Cullum, Eleanor Crush, Alma martin, Ron Matney, Joni Beach’s mother, Helen Nicklas, Randy Conner, and Tim Elder.

Monday: Job 1:1-12
Tuesday: Jeremiah 1:4-19
Wednesday: Matthew 11:1-19
Thursday: Romans 2:1-29
Friday: Revelation 18:1-20
Saturday: Psalm 93:1-5
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

Today, October 16, is Super Sunday. The leaves are changing and the is a little nip in the morning air, so what better way to spend time after the morning service than to enjoy a good meal together.

Today is also our annual Peaks of Otter hike and picnic. It looks to be a beautiful day, so if you are riding the bus be sure to get there in time to get a ticket. They sell out fast. They can be purchased at the gift shop on the Parkway across from the Peaks. The picnic will start about 5:00 PM and we should be done before it gets really dark.

Jo and Keith Wagner will be on vacation until Nov 1. This will be the last bulletin until they return. The next bulletin would have had the service roster for November in it. The service roster will be sent to all members who have e-mail. A hard copy will be placed on the foyer table when the Wagner’s return.

Those who will be preaching for Keith will be announced. Also, an order of worship will be available for Oct 23, but perhaps not for Oct. 30.

Don’t forget when you shop to pick up some of the things we are sending to some troops fighting in Afghanistan. Needed are individual packets water flavors such as Crystal Lite, etc., slim Jims, wet wipes, cracker snacks, small toys for the children and of course, home made cookies. You may place the items on the downstairs table.

For those of you not going to the picnic, well known writer and speaker, Philip Yancy will be speaking this evening at St John’s Episcopal Church this evening. Call the church for the time.

Judy McWhorter has returned from the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala. She also participated in a mobile clinic and learned a lot about the locals. As soon as she feels ready we will have her give us all the details about her experience. She also worked with Harriette Shivers.


Anyone who makes the claim that they are a believer in the God of the Bible knows that the greatest commandment is not one of the ten, but the one that sums up all the rest. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your strength.” The second, which is just like it, according to Jesus, is: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

That those commandments have been and are debatable is evidenced by the question, “What is the greatest commandment” posed to Jesus, which prompted the above answer.

Jesus is then asked to describe who a neighbor is, and we get the story of the “good” Samaritan.

Why are those “great” commands so hard? They are hard because there are people that we simply don’t like. And truth be told, they’re not likable. They are the kind of people we feel violated being around. We want to take a bath after hearing the hatred, bigotry, vulgarity and prejudice that comes out of their mouths. We see them as a detriment to a sane and wholesome society. The words from 11 Peter, “They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed”, seem too soft a description of them. In fact, in context it seems these people were part of the church. If you read the second chapter you
will see the words, “they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed”. Does that sound like some people you either know, or have heard of? Now, let me hasten to say that what I have just said is part of the problem with loving one’s neighbor.

Not all people fit what Peter or I said. The problem comes when we stick everyone in the same slot. When we do that it is easy to separate one “neighbor” from the other. There were no “good” Samaritans if you were a Jew. There were no “good” Gentiles either. There might be an exception to each of those, but generally all Samaritans and Gentiles were not your neighbor in the sense of the commandment to love them. It is Jesus who breaks down the “wall of separation” between people and makes everyone a neighbor. So there are Christians who live as though the neighbor is not a neighbor, but still go to church and say they believe this is the greatest commandment.

We do that when the “wall” of fear and prejudice is maintained between us. Remember the fear that was spread over electing John Kennedy because he was Catholic? At that time there was an historical wall between Catholics and Protestants. But the truth was there were Catholics and Protestants who were “neighbor” to each other, did not fear each other because they knew each other.

Since 9/11 a fear of Muslims has increased. It is too easy and fails the test of Jesus, to read the Koran and the passages that speak of violence and assume all Muslims literally obey what is written, any more than reading the Old Testament and saying all Jews and Christians mimic the violence and instructions that are found there.

We have seen the worst of those who are militant, terrorist, Muslims. The fact that they have been denounced by other Muslims does not satisfy many Christians. Why? Because we are afraid, and when we are afraid we can not love.

Are there people of which to be afraid? Of course. Are their groups of people of which to be afraid? Of course. When someone is raping wives and daughters and killing children, loving that “neighbor” is the last thing on one’s mind. I could say that is rare, but in some parts of the world it is almost routine.

I don’t think Jesus was talking about that. It seems to me that Jesus, because of the “good” Samaritan story, is talking about bigotry, prejudice and hatred toward people who differ in philosophy, color, race, religion, social standing, wealth and nationality, simply because they are different. There is none of Jesus’ love of neighbor in that.

CONNCERNS: Erma Williams’s dad is in now in rehab. Ron Matney has been having stomach problems. Judy McWhorter is in Guatemala this week with Health Talents Int. Pray for her and all those with her as they help those folks. Eleanor Crush remains about the same. Wilma and Jenni Cullum, Joni Beach’s aunt has terminal cancer. Also, her mother is dealing with it as well. Alma Martin, Helen Nicklas, Randy Conner, Mike Breeding and his wife, Tim Elder and all the good works being done that bless the people of the world.

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

The Alberts have invited us to their home on Smith Mt Lake this evening. The eats will be hot dogs. If you want to bring some fixnin’s that’s good. Maps are available on the table in the foyer. Come around 3 PM.

We ere sorry to hear of the death of Roger Fisher’s brother-in-law. The funeral was in West Virginia.

Are any of you ladies in need of some time and space to work your current craft project? Well we have the answer for you…we are planning our first ladies craft day in the annex, Saturday, October 22nd from 9am until 4pm. I know we have several very crafty ladies in our midst…knitting, beading, smocking and scrapbooking come to mind. Please plan to come and enjoy craft time or just visit with the ladies in the church. Please see Kirsten Pierce for more details.

Once again Life Line screening will be using our annex to do bone scans and other vascular and artery scans. For full details and registration, go to The time will be from 8am to 4pm on Wednesday, October 12.

Super Sunday is October 16. Make plans to be there and enjoy the fellowship meal.

October 16 is also the day of the Peaks of Otter Hike and Picnic. A sign-up list is on the table in the foyer. You only need to sign if you are going to be at the picnic. Also, if it is a pretty day and you plan to ride the bus up, be sure to get there in time because the tickets sell out quickly. The picnic will start about 5pm.
An early warning. It may be that the downtown post office will no longer be a sorting center for our local mail. Mail mailed in Roanoke will go all the way to Greensboro, NC to be sorted and then sent back to Roanoke for delivery! This means the local bulletins may not arrive before Sunday. If you have e-mail and have not yet used it to receive the bulletin, this might be a good time to sign up.


By my friend, Ben
Ma’n pa both believed in the right an’ privilege of votin’. They did. I reckon that’s why ma got called for grand jury duty, cause she were a registered voter. She were.

Now that meant pa’d have to take her over to West Union to the county seat, which he were none too happy about. But ma Said it were her civic duty. She did. She also said the grand jury usually only took one day. An’ she were right. She were.

When me’n pa went to pick her up in the afternoon, she were real quiet-like. She were. When we got home an’ she’d finished supper, she went out on the porch with a cup of coffee an’ sat down. I knowed somethin’ were troublin’ her. I did. So while pa were takin’ care of some chores before the light faded, I sat down next to her an’ told her I were wonderin’ what were wrong. I did.

She said, “Benny, you remember Alice Caldwell, an’ how she shot an’ killed her husband, Arvil?” I told her I did. I also knowed that Arvil Caldwell were known to wail on Alice an’ the kids when he were drunk, which were about every payday. Most folks wondered why she stayed with him, but ma’d said she had nowheres to go, bein’ they had four kids an’ all.

“Well Benny, the grand jury today had to decide iffen Alice should be bound over to trial for shootin’ Arvil. Benny, we were told that lots of grand juries would rather not try the case, but just pass it on for trial. Our job was to see iffen we believed Alice should go to trial an’ not just let someone else do our job.

“So we listened to testimony from the state police and the District Attorney. They talked about how Doc Janson had, tried to fix Alice’s teeth several times after Arvil’d beat her. They talked about Doc Wilson fixin’ her burses an’ broken arm after a beatin’. But she were afraid to press charges.

“Then Jack Bradford, the state policeman what handled the case told us how Arvil were killed. It seems he come in after a night of drinkin’ an said he were gonna kill Alice cause his supper were cold. All the kids told the same story cause they could hear the screamin’ from their bedroom. Alice went an’ got the 22 pistol Arvil owned so he couldn’t use it on her’n the kids. She did. Then she told the kids to go to barn an’ hide in the loft. She knowed Arvil were too drunk to climb the ladder. She could hear Arvil cussin’ that he couldn’t find the gun, so she ran to the barn an’ hid with the kids. She did. Officer Bradford said when he told the kids what’d happened to their pa, not a one of ‘em cried, an’ the oldest boy said she shoulda killed him a long time ago. He did.

“Alice said she an’ the kids stayed in the barn until she heard Arvil drive off in his truck. She did. She told the kids to stay home while she walked into town to give the gun to the judge and see iffen she could file for divorce. While she were walkin’ to town she saw Arvil’s truck sittin’ in front of Charlie Barns place. Charlie’s house sat up a hill from the road, an’ she didn’t see hide nor hair of Arvil. Then she remembered some clothes she’d bought for the baby what were in the truck. So she opened the door quiet-like to get them out. Just about that time Arvil an’ Charlie come out on the porch an’ Arvil spotted her. He did.

“Accordin’ to Charlie, Arvil started down the hill hollerin’ at Alice that he were gonna beat her to death. Well, Alice pulled out that 22 an’ told him to leave her alone. Charlie said Arvil told her she weren’t woman enough to shoot him an’ he grabbed a broken fence post an’ went toward her. He did. It seems like Alice weren’t able to shoot Arvil, cause she kept backin’ up. She did. But then she stepped in a ditch an’ as she fell she pulled the trigger. Well, Benny, one single 22 short hit Arvil right in the heart an’ killed him on the spot. It did.

“None of us folks on the grand jury believed Alice did it on purpose, an’ we could tell the policeman and the District Attorney didn’t neither. But Arvil Caldwell were dead. Some folks said they felt funny settin’ anyone free without a trial what had killed someone. They did. Frank Hamlin reminded us that our job was to decide iffen she were guilty enough to send to trial. So when we all voted, there were some who hesitated, but we let Alice go. We did.”

I told ma I thought they’d done the right thing. I did. I asked her why she were so troubled. I did.

She said, “Benny, whenever a life is lost, even iffen it’s a life as bad as Arvil Caldwell’s, it’s a troublin’ thing. An’ when a good woman, even iffen we let her go free, has to be known as someone who killed her husband, that’s troublin’ too. An’ when you’re one of the persons what has to make the decision about someone bein’ killed an’ someone goin’ free, that’s also a troublin’ thing. It ain’t that I think I did wrong; it’s just somethin’ what troubles a body when a life is lost.

“You see Benny, the Bible says that God takes no delight in the death of the wicked, or anyone. An’ I reckon folks what want to live like God wants ‘em to, have to work real hard not to rejoice in the death of anyone, no matter how bad they was. Arvil were a bad man. He were. But he once were a little baby bein’ held in his ma’s arms, I reckon. Maybe not. Maybe he were beat by his pa. Maybe his ma didn’t want him. I don’t know. All I know is all that he could’ve been, he weren’t. An’ all he might have become, he won’t, cause he’s dead. An’ Benny, as sick as I feel when I think of what he done, he were still loved by God. The Bible says God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

“So Benny, I’m a tad troubled because I had to make a decision today that I know were right, but the sadness and the seriousness of it hurts my soul. Do you understand?”

I told her I did, but I’ll have to leave lovin’ Arvil Caldwell to God, at least for awhile. I would.

Ed. note: The story of the Caldwell’s is true, I’ve forgotten the real names, but I sat on that grand jury.

CONCERNS: Erma Williams’ dad is still in the hospital recovering from a staff infection, possibly as the result of knee surgery. Eleanor Crush is about the same, but was able to take a little ride last week. Alan Beach is at the Mayo Clinic in Minn. for his check-up. Roger Fisher’s sister is about the same. She lives in West Virginia. It’s good to see the prayer list getting shorter. Remember Helen Nicklas, Wilma and Jenni Cullum, Alma Martin, Mike Breeding and his wife, Joni Beach’s mother, Randy Conner, Tim Elder and all those around the world who are doing the will of God on the earth.

Monday: Genesis 12:1-20
Tuesday: I Samuel 3:1-18
Wednesday: Phil. 4: 8-23
Thursday: I John 4:7-21
Friday: Romans 78:13-8:11
Saturday: Ephesians 3:7-21

Monday: Jeremiah 31:23-34
Tuesday: I Cor. 11:17-34
Wednesday: Acts 6:1-7
Thursday: Matthew 5:21-48
Friday: Psalm 119:129-152
Saturday: Psalm 67:1-7
As you can see, the parking lot has been sealed, treated and lined all the way down. It makes the property look much better and well maintained.

This is only the beginning of several improvement projects we are considering.

Connie and Richard Crites are grandparents again. Kelly and Jeff had a baby boy, Daniel Richard. That makes the total grandchildren, boys 4, girls 0. Mom dad and baby are doing fine. Also, Jeff is to be installed as the associate pastor of the church they attend.

Our next worker going to the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala is Judy McWhorter. She will be leaving on October 1. We also enjoyed the reports given by Susan Jordan, Mike and AC Branch, concerning their trip to the Clinic last month.

The table downstairs is starting to show good sings that you are thinking about the things we want to send to our troops in Afghanistan to make their lives a little easier. The needs are individual packets of water flavoring, such as Crystal Lite, etc., slim jims wet wipes, cracker snacks, home made cookies and small toys for the children. Let’s hope and pray that this will be a short effort and these young people will soon be home.

Today (Sept. 18) is Super Sunday. If you are a visitor that means we will be having a fellowship meal in the annex behind the building after the worship service. Please stay and eat with us if possible.

It’s time to start signing up for the Peaks of Otter hike and picnic, which as always is on Super Sunday in October. That’s a month away. Erma Williams, who has set this up and secured a picnic spot etc., will not be with us this year. But she has still taken care of it. Thanks Erma.

The steering committee will have a meeting in the library after today’s meal. See a member if you have a need.


“Members of the jury; in my summation I would like to refresh your memory as to the testimony you have just heard. When I am done, I’m sure you will come back with a proper verdict.

“My opponent will tell you that God did not punish New Orleans with hurricane Katrina. But you have heard testimony that God brought about that terrible event due to the sin that runs rampant in that city. He will try to tell you that the earthquake that shook Washington DC. was not the result of God’s displeasure about that city’s ratification of gay marriage. However, several Christian preachers, as well as at least one rabbi, have testified otherwise. He will try to tell you that the recent hurricane that struck the state of New York had nothing to do that state also making gay marriage legal.

“You have heard from no less than the Bible itself. You have heard about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. You have read about the plagues in Egypt. You have almost heard the walls of Jericho fall.

“I would remind you again that God’s only son calmed a storm. All natural events are the direct result of God’s direct action.

“So, members of the jury, after hearing such a preponderance of evidence, you have no other rational choice but to render the verdict that indeed, all such things are the action of God!”

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it has been my job to give you enough evidence to render a fair and impartial verdict in this case. This will not be easy, since we
are trying this case in absentia. God is not here to either deny or admit the charges.

“Therefore, we must again review some of my opponent’s charges. As we do, we must try to understand that man’s understanding of God is joined to his understanding of the world in which he lives. At one time the world seemed flat. That was a reasonable observation. Since the live-giving rain and sun came from above, and earthquakes and volcanoes came from below, generally things from above were good and things from below were bad. In the natural advancement of knowledge we have come to understand that all theses things are a part of the earth on which we live. We know that earthquakes happen because of the shifting plates beneath the earth’s surface. Photographs exist of the underwater changes that take place after an earthquake. It is just as much a part of our world as a volcano. We also know that in ancient times volcanoes were seen as the result of an angry god. Young women and small children were thrown in them as a sacrifice to appease the god, or gods. It has been some time since a preacher blamed a volcano on sin.

“So, without direct testimony, other than an ancient understanding of God, how are we to understand this? Since all of you were selected because you believe in God and that Jesus was God’s unique son on the earth, then it would be safe to say we must take his words as truthful. You will remember he was quoted during the course of my defense as saying, ‘If you have seen me you have seen the Father’. You will remember the testimony from the gospel of Luke where Jesus was told he was not welcome in a Samaritan village and two of his followers asked for permission to call fire upon the city, and Jesus not only refused, but rebuked them. In the same book, Jesus said that God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Also in Luke we looked at the time when they came to Jesus and asked if God caused towers to fall on people and people to be slain because they were worse than others. Jesus said no, and told them unless they changed their view about God acting that way, they too would perish.

“Remember we read the story of the man born blind and Jesus was asked if it was God’s punishment for some sin, his or his parents, Jesus told them God did not act that way, and then, by healing the man he showed them how God would act. And finally, because I feel the case has been made, remember we read the passage where Jesus said God gives the blessing rain on the just and the unjust, and how a good father gives good gifts to his children. Your decision will not only be a reflection on God, but it will reflect what kind of person you are as well.”

CONCERNS: Wayne Phlegar had a treatment for his back. It may take a week or so for it to take effect. Connie Crites’ father is about the same. Two of her brothers are dealing with cancer. Daughter Kelly is close to delivering a new baby boy. Upon surgery it was determined that Tooney, the daughter of a friend of Judy McWhorter’s, thyroid was not cancerous. Remember also Helen Nicklas, Eleanor Crush, Wilma and Jenni Cullum, Alma Martin, Mike Breeding and his wife, Joni Beach’s mother Randy Conner, Tim Elder and the work being done by those who care about others who have suffered hardship and loss in resent natural events as well as those with Health Talents Int. BFAW and others like them all across the world

Monday: Ephesians 1:3-14
Tuesday: Philippians 1:3-18
Wednesday: II Cor. 9:6-15
Thursday: Luke 5:17-26
Friday: I Timothy 6:1-10
Saturday: Psalm 111:1-10

Monday: John 1:1-18
Tuesday: Luke 18:1-4
Wednesday: II Cor. 1:3-11
Thursday: I Cor. 5:1-8
Friday: Job 1:13-2:10
Saturday: Psalm 97:1-12

Even though this article is being written before the actual Bar B Que, its success is sure (minus some unforeseen problem). The weather was to be perfect, the meat was ready; the cooker was in shape, the patio and surrounding area cleaned and the cooks ready. Chef Jeff brought out some new ways to make the brisket, pork and chicken even better than before.

The actual cooking started about twenty hours before the meal was served. Between forty and fifty people were expected. What more can be said than thanks to all who worked to make it happen. The Peaks of Otter picnic is next.

One more week on the peanut butter drive for the hungry. If you can, bring a jar or two.

It may take a little readjusting to switch from peanut butter to the things we will be sending to those serving in Afghanistan, but don’t forget we need individual packets of water flavors such as crystal lite, etc., slim jims, wet wipes, cracker snacks, small toys for the children, and home-made cookies. There is a box on the downstairs table where the peanut butter is for these items.

The Pulaski congregation has sent an invitation to attend a gospel meeting featuring two speakers from the Tri-Cities School of Preaching. It ends Wednesday. Services at 7:00 PM. For more information see the downstairs bulletin board

If you like gospel music, Gold City will be in concert on October 7, at the Grandin Court Baptist Church on Brambleton Ave. The cost is $10.00 per person and tickets are needed. According to the flyer, seating is limited. Tickets are available at the church. The flyer is on the downstairs bulletin board.

As soon as possible we will hear from Susan, Mike and AC about their week at the Ezell Clinic working with Health Talents Int. We have also received two notes from the children we help with the ABC program in Guatemala. If possible they will be read at the morning service.


Each month I receive articles and mail from those with whom I differ when it comes to God and the Bible. You might wonder why I don’t tell them I don’t want their stuff. Well, since it costs to mail me their papers it allows me to feel that I’m doing my part to shut them down.

In a recent editorial, the author, a man who is well-known for his narrow view of scripture, examined evangelism and benevolence. He said the “first priority of the church was to ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” He then described the gospel as, “conveying to the lost the will of Jesus on many things relating to salvation, including faith, repentance and baptism”. I’m not sure what he would include in “many things relating to salvation”.

He then began to warn of the return of the “social gospel”. He complained that at the turn of the twentieth century, some churches placed social concern ahead of evangelism, and that this had lead to straying from the path into social activities such as temperance, civil rights for minorities, women’s voting rights, early education, job training, etc., which, according to him, lead to political liberalism. He did not mention, but it could be assumed, that the opposite leads to political conservatism.

Of course, as we tend to do to prove a point, he quotes selected scriptures to back up his position, all of it defining the gospel as evangelism. He never seems to get what Jesus called the “good news”. He fails to mention that when Jesus announced his purpose for coming in Luke 4:14-21, he said, quoting from Isaiah, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” The “evangelism” in that declaration is quite different from the man who wrote the article.

To justify his position, he sites J. C. Bailey, who was a missionary in India fifty or so years ago. He tells how Bailey and his wife started out relieving the hunger and suffering as much as they could. But then, Bailey, realized they were feeding people who would be “hungry again tomorrow.” They would be filled, but die lost. So he helped the poor as time allowed after preaching what he concluded was the “gospel” to them.

You see, that’s the problem with folks like him, it is either/or, instead or both/and. James 2:14-17.

When Jesus sent out his followers, every time they were told what the good news was. It was “The kingdom of heaven is near”. And in doing that they were to “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, and drive out demons”. Was that not a “social gospel”?

I know someone would remind me that Jesus said, “I must preach the good news to other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” Lk. 4:43. He said about the same thing in Mk. 1:38. However, these statements merely show that Jesus did not stop in one place with his message, the same message he said earlier in the Luke passage was his “good news”.

There is a place in the article where a Freudian aberration surfaces. The author, in defending evangelism as of first importance, says, “The very act of evangelism will help many people fare better in this life. In becoming Christians, sinners cast away many wasteful and foolish habits. Money once spent on alcohol or tobacco, gambling or mind-numbing drugs is now available for food and clothing. Time formerly spent in laziness or carousing is now available for earning a living.” Now we can see his real feelings. These “sinners” aren’t really poor or in need. They have what they need, but they are lazy and wasting it on drugs, alcohol, tobacco and gambling. While that could be true in some cases, the starving children in Somalia are not dying because the money (?) was spent on such things, although I can almost hear the author’s claim that it is somehow their fault.

Jesus refused on more than one occasion to assess fault in illness or human need. He even warned that in so doing, those who did it were in danger of perishing. Lk. 13:5. Jesus came to announce that God’s kingdom was coming to the earth. He said that we pray for God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. When he was able to display that kingdom, it was always about making the lives of the living, better, both physically and spiritually.

The gospel of Jesus can be found in any of the versions of the Sermon on the Mount, (Matt) or the sermon on the plain. (Lk.) It would be very difficult to love ones neighbor as ones self and be passive about their needs. We would not sit in church singing and praising God while the house of the folks next to the church burns down, saying, “Don’t bother me now! I’m worshipping God!”

When Paul is quoted, “We preach Christ crucified”, we need to ask what “Christ Crucified” means. Is that what Peter preached to Cornelius? What did that sheet let down in front of Peter mean if it didn’t mean social barriers were coming down and equality before God was going up? What about baptizing a eunuch? What about Paul integrating the Jewish church with Gentiles? What about, “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”? These were major social issues that were always a point of contention as they are today.

What about social change like slavery? There was no immediate future for the first Christians. In I Cor. 7 Paul gives his rules for living in the present, soon to end, age. Read it. You will find he tells the unmarried to stay that way. He tells women they can leave their husbands, but not for another man. He tells everyone, including slaves to stay right where they are, because he says, “the time is short”. The imminent return of Christ influences the social view of the NT. But as time passed, Christians began to do the “gospel” on earth, as Jesus described it, while looking forward to heaven.

CONCERNS: Wilma Cullum now has a private room. It is room 22, South Roanoke Nursing Home, 3823 Franklin Rd. SW, 24014. Eleanor Crush, Helen Nicklas, Wayne Phlegar, Two of Connie Crites brothers has cancer. One is waiting while the doctors look at available treatments. The other is receiving chemotherapy. Her father is about the same as he deals with his heart. Keep the daughter of Judy McWhorter’s friend in your prayers. Her name is Tooney, and she has cancer. Also Alma Martin, Mike Breeding and his wife, Joni Beach’s mother, Jenni Cullum, Randy Conner, Tim Elder and the work at the Ezell Clinic, the children at the ABC program and Bread For A Hungry World and Roger Fisher and Teryn Gaynor.

Monday: Hosea 11:1-9
Tuesday: Matthew 10:24-39
Wednesday: Exodus 16:1-36
Thursday: Luke 7:36-50
Friday: John 13:31-38
Saturday: Psalm 103:1-22

Monday: Matthew 6:1-18
Tuesday: Psalm 96:1-13
Wednesday: Matthew 6:19-34
Thursday: Luke 23:26-43
Friday: James 1:5-18
Saturday: Romans 8:26-39

Our sympathy is extended to Teryn Gaynor in the death of her father. He died on August 12, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The body was cremated. The family will have a memorial service Labor Day weekend.

This weekend the young people are at the Floras enjoying another annual Crazy Country Christian Challenge. It started on Saturday, August 20, at 9:30 AM and will conclude this afternoon. If you want some idea of what they will be doing, see the pictures on the downstairs wall.

It’s just about two weeks until the Bar B Que. We plan to start cooking even earlier this year so the meat can be slow cooked, smoked and tender. There will be beef brisket, pork and chicken. Some of our regulars are going to be out of town this year, so please let us know soon how many of you are attending. A sign-up sheet is on the foyer table. We will eat about 4:00 o’clock. Remember to bring all the fixin’s and we’ll provide the meat. It all takes place on Saturday, September 3.

The stack of peanut butter for the local food bank is growing. It will be delivered at the end of the month. When you shop, pick up a jar and place it on the table in the foyer, or the one downstairs This is one other way we can help feed those in need in our area.

We now have a contact in Afghanistan through Erma Williams. We will be sending such items as individual packets of water flavors, crystal lite, etc., slim jims, wet wipes, cracker snacks, small toys for the children and of course, home made cookies. We already have a contribution for this and so we are moving ahead.

Today 8/21 is Super Sunday. Our monthly meal will follow the service. If you are a visitor, please consider yourself our special guest for this meal.

Mike, AC and Susan are back safely from working at the Ezell Clinic and we hope to have a report from them very soon.


Did you know God has expanded his business? We know he is supposed to be in the prayer answering business. (I wonder how badly God wants us to answer his prayer, you know, “thy will be done” and all that?) We also know, according to TV evangelists, that God is in the money business, you know, just waiting to make us rich. It’s the old “hundredfold, heaped up and pressed down” approach. Too bad the apostle Paul and the others didn’t know about that. We also know that God is in the calling business. Even though no one else seems to hear the call except the one who said God called. And we are now hearing that God is busy calling certain people to the political arena, not to be confused with the arena well-known to the early Christians. We also know that God is in the planning business, i.e., making sure everything we do in our life is actually God’s plan for us.

It is out of this last one that now, at long last, God has opened the whole new business of match making. That’s right, God is now making sure Mr. and Miss Right get together. If you go to the internet, or watch television, you will see advertised “Christian dating services”. You will actually hear someone say that you can find God’s match for you at their service.

Now, I know God is big enough to handle a dating service, while at the same time dealing with the massive starvation, wars, political corruption, power and greed in the world. It is even possible that a match-making service would be a snap compared to the rest of it, but I doubt it. After all, all that other stuff seems to be completely out of control, and marriages aren’t doing that well either.

God, as a loving God, wants to love us and bless us. The problem comes when we tell God how to love and bless us. We can be like the child who says, “If you love me, give me what I want.” Or if we want blessed, we want to tell God when and how. Of course we want God’s blessings. We know there are things beyond our control or ability, so we ask for help from the one who has no limitation. What we need to feel is that since God does loves us, we can trust God to always do the loving thing. That also means we cannot expect God to show partiality in his love. He gives the rain to both the just and the unjust. It is not that God gives what we want, but that God gives what we need. And even there, if you are a mother in Somalia who is looking at her starving, dying child due to the drought, that hardly answers her need. Such questions are avoided by those who know God’s business.

I suppose God was waiting for the internet to come along so he could get into the match-making business. Even God can sell no line before its time. So in helping all those who have God on their side in this endeavor, I offer the following theme song. If you are old enough, the tune is to “Mr. Sandman”. And don’t forget to put in the “Bung, bung, bung, bung” at the end of each verse.

Mr. Godman, bring me a dream,
Make them the cutest that I’ve ever seen.
Give them two lips like roses and clover,
And let them read their Bible over and over.

Mr. Godman, bring me a dream,
Don’t have nobody to call my own.
Please, according to your plan,
Mr. Godman do what you can.

Mr. Godman, bring me a dream,
Make them so cute and squeaky clean.
Give them the word that I’m not a rover
Then tell them that their lonesome nights are over.

Mr. Godman, I’m so alone,
Don’t have nobody bone of my bone.
Please, while the grass is still green,
Mr. Godman bring me my dream.

Mr. Godman, bring me a dream,
Give them two eyes like peaches and cream.
Give them a heart as big as the ocean,
Come on, get this match-making thing in motion.

Mr. Godman, just someone to hold,
Would be so great, before I’m too old.
Please, please, please, I pray,
Mr. Godman, bring me a dream.

All major credit cards accepted.


CONCERNS: Eleanor Crush is now under hospice care. Wilma Cullum is now at the Roanoke Nursing Home, room 5-A. Jenni is still at Pheasant Ridge. Helen Nicklas is doing some better. Teryn Gaynor’s father has terminal cancer and has only a short time to live. Wayne Phlegar was to have back treatments for pain as soon as it could be arraigned. Two of Connie Crites’ brothers are being treated for cancer. The daughter of a friend of Judy McWhorter’s will have her cancerous thyroid removed soon. Her name is Tooney. Keep these folks in your prayers as well: Alma Martin, Connie Crites’ father (heart problems) Mike Breeding and his wife, Joni Beach’s mother, Randy Conner, (cancer) Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, our folks who are in Guatemala working with Health Talents Int. at the Ezell Clinic, the work of Bread For A Hungry World.

MONDAY: John 8:21-47
TUESDAY: Luke 22:14-30
WEDNESDAY: Luke 12:13-34
THURSDAY: Psalm 51:1-19
FRIDAY: Acts 4:32-5:11
SATURDAY: Psalm 99:1-9, 100:1-5

MONDAY: Isaiah 6:1-12
TUESDAY: Matthew 13:1-23
THURSDAY: II Samuel 12:1-15
FRIDAY: Ephesians 6:10-20
SATURDAY: Psalm 104:1-35

Our hearts and prayers go out to Roger Fisher and the rest of his family with regard to his son, Shawn, who experienced multiple organ failure last week which makes his death immanent. Roger has been by his side since he was notified of the situation. Shawn lives in Erie, PA. More details when Roger returns.

It’s not dangerous, but it is explosive, meaning the second annual Crazy Country Christian Challenge, to be held at the Floras. It will be Saturday and Sunday, August 20-21. It starts at 9:30 on Saturday morning and will conclude on Sunday afternoon at 3:00. A big thanks to Wayne, Alisa and Nathan for all the work they put in to making this a really fun weekend for our young people. There are pictures on the wall downstairs from last years outing.

The Labor Day weekend is fast approaching. There is a sign-up sheet on the foyer table. Let us know as soon as possible if you plan to attend. We will eat on Saturday, Sept. 3, about 4 PM. This year we will be slow cooking all night, starting the evening before. Each year we try to improve the taste and quality of the pork, beef brisket and the chicken, so don’t miss it!

We once again have the opportunity to help those now serving in Afghanistan. Erma Williams has a contact there. We will be collecting individual packets of water flavors, crystal lite, etc., slim jims, wet wipes, cracker snacks, small toys for the children like hot wheels and balls, etc., and, of course, homemade cookies.

Remember to but a jar of peanut butter when you shop. The local food bank has asked our help in doing this. If you pick up specially marked jars of Peter Pan, there is a sticker on the lid. If you send the code on the label a family will be fed by the company that makes Peter Pan. Of course any good brand will do, but buy the brand you would use at home.