Bimonthly Bulletin

by my friend, Ben

It were the Sunday before Easter when he showed up in town. It were.

The weather being nice an’ all, I reckoned I’d get to town early an’ stop by Reba an’ Charlie’s place to get some of their special country ham an’ eggs for breakfast. I did.
Reba an’ Charlie’s were a little ol’ place what only seated about twenty people, but it were full bout anytime you went in. It was.

As I parked my truck, I saw him standin’ on the wall in the town square. I did. He were standing right in front of that there statue of the Confederate soldier, what reminded folks about that war some ol’ folks still called “The War for Southern Independence.” They did.

I could hear him kinda shoutin’ as he stood there all dressed in black from head to toe. He were. He looked like one a them Long Riders, what I’d seen in them Western Movies. He did. I reckon he didn’t have no guns or nothin’, cause he were holdin’ a big ol’ black book what I were right sure were a Bible. I reckoned I’d drop by an say “Howdy” after I ate my ham n’ eggs. I did.

Now I stood right at six foot two, but with him a standin’ on that there wall, he were quite a towerin’ figure standin’ over me. He were. He were preachin’ about how this prophet said, and that prophet said, an’ in between he’d do a lot a quotin’ them there prophets. He did. What I could hear were how the wrath of the Lord were about to come on all of us. It were. It seems we were all guilty of harlotry, idolatry an’ wickedness, an’ the Lord’s patience were just about to run out. It were.

He were a right imposin’ feller. He were. Some folks took to the other side of the square so they wouldn’t have to come under his words of the comin’ judgement. They did. Ma an’ pa’s pulled their little ones up close, an’ some of them there little ones hid their faces as they walked by. They did.

I knowed he saw me a standin’ there in front a him, cause I saw his eyes move down a little when I walked up. I did. I reckoned maybe he were a tad afraid I might attack him or somethin’. I knowed it wouldn’t take too much of a stretch for some folks here an’ about to run him outta town. I did.

Well, it were gettin’ right on to church time, so I reckoned I’d drop by again after church and see iffen he might like to talk a spell. I did.

After church, next Sunday bein’ Easter an all, Sara Jane an’ her family, along with the Browns an’ the Kentons invited me to go with them over to West Union an’ eat at Mrs McKnight’s Boardin’ House. They did.

As I drove outta the church parkin’ lot I looked toward the town square. I did. Well that there feller all dressed in black were gone. He were. I reckon he were just preachin’ to them folks what either were goin’ to church, or them what weren’t. So I headed out over Push n Pull Mountain toward West Union. I did.

I wondered about that there feller an’ his big ol’ Bible. I did. I wondered iffen he were one of them travelin’ preachers what never stayed in one place. Just comin’ into town an’ reckonin’ iffen they warned folks about the wrath to come, they done what they was supposed to do. Iffen folks didn’t change their ways an’ all, then them travelin’ preachers knowed they couldn’t be blamed for not warnin’ ‘em.

Easter were supposed to be a right perty day. So the day before I fixed a nice ham an’ Ma’s famous macaroni salad. After church me’n ol’ Blue were gonna head up to Hickory Ridge Cemetery an’ spend some time with ma n’ pa. We were.

Since it were Easter an’ all, I decided to treat myself to breakfast again at Reba an’ Charlies. I did. Well, that there feller in black were there agin. He were.

I ate a little faster than usual so I might have a tad a time to maybe wish him a happy Easter, or maybe chat a little. I did.I reckon he saw me comin’, cause he turned away just a tad when I come up. He did. I said, “Howdy! My name’s Ben Harrison!” He lifted his chin as iffen he were talking to some folks across the way. He did. I weren’t about to be rude nor nothing, but I were right interested in what he were doin’. I were. I’d only seen one other feller like him, an’ that were when I were about seven or eight years old. It were.

Pa’d brought me an’ Ma into town for church, an’ this here feller what were all dressed in black were standin’ on the sidewalk right outside the church buildin’. He were. As folks walked by they could hear real clear what he were sayin’. I heard some folks wanted the preacher to go out tell him to go away. They did. But the preacher said the feller were on city property an’ he weren’t hurtin’ nobody. He did.

Well, that shoutin’ preacher were talkin’ about the end of time comin’ real soon-like. He said the Lord were comin’ like a thief in the night. He did. He said we’d better pray that it not happen at night, but iffen it did we should have oil for our lamps like them wise virgins. He did.

Later on I asked Ma iffen she thought about what that preacher’d said. I did. She said, “Benny, that feller might be a good man, an’ all, an’ I reckon he believes everthing he’s sayin’. Fact is, what he’s sayin’ is true. Cept I think there are better ways a sayin’ it. Ya see Benny, all of us should live our lives as iffen it might be our last day. But that don’t mean we have to go on thinkin’ about it all the time. It’s more important how we live than worryin’ about bein’ surprised by the Lord, or by dyin’, or whatever. When we think about the end all the time it can get in the way of what we should be thinkin’ and doin’ right now. When we love the Lord and treat folks the way we should, that’s what matters. That’s what bein’ ready means.”

I knowed Ma were right I did. So I stuck out my hand to the man in black and said, “God bless ya, friend.” He never looked down, but he stuck out his hand and I shook it. I did.

CONCERNS: Rich Crites has started a brand cancer treatment that has shown very good results in other patients. Marie Barnett’s mother is growing weaker. Marie asks for prayers for herself and her family. Walker Slusher, who lives near the church building, has an aortic aneurism. The only treatment si blood thinner. Kim (Hall) has a friend, Mary, who has advanced Parkinson’s disease. Martha Foy asks our prayers for her aunt, Sue Huels, and for Sandra Anderson, and Gil Richardson. Continue to remember Gary Overstreet, Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick; Hannah, a classmate of Garrett Lee Williams who is being treated for leukemia; Jim Hunter, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, and Sharon. Also Jenni Cullum, Helen Nicklas. Helen was able to worship with us last Sunday. Mary Smith, Tim Elder, and Mrs Marta.

Monday: John 5:19-47
Tuesday: Philippians 1:19-30
Wednesday: Genesis 7:1-24
Thursday: Lamentations 1:8-16
Friday: Romans 8:12-25
Saturday: Psalm 133,134
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; 18:15-27
Saturday: Psalm 103:1-22

Tody, as we have a special memory of the resurrection of Jesus, we will also be enjoying a fellowship meal together. All of this can be a reminder of the empty tomb and at least two meals Jesus shared with his disciples before his ascension. Let’s enjoy our time together in the presence of the Lord today.
At the time the bulletin was being formulated and printed, because this is Easter Sunday, it was not quite decided, with the day and those who were going away for the weekend, if we would have a steering committee meeting. By today (Sunday) that will have been decide. If one is to take place, and you have something to bring to the committees attention, please see one of the members
The Carilion (Hospital) Health System has a DVD available concerning the end of life decisions and preparedness for that occurrence. Some have viewed it and we plan to borrow it again for a community showing sometime in next month.
The plan is to send out invitations to the Grandin area churches and let them announce it to their congregations.
If you invite someone, be sure to tell them there will be no offering taken. This is being done because it is an important subject to examine and discuss. We plan to have those from our congregation who work in all area of health care to be available for brief statements, questions and discussion.
If you would help out with this, talk to Martha Albert. Complete details in the next bulletin.
Ben Robertson has passed out small service information sheets. If you have one, please fill out what you would be willing to do in serving the needs of the congregation. As we near doing a new directory, larger cards will be passed out which can be kept at the office in order to stay current both for the directory and a quick reference when you call for information.

Fred Phelps represented the wrong side of Christianity. Phelp’s reputation as a hater is well documented through the antic’s of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Phelps died on March 19th.

As long as the Bible is used without reference to the time and culture in which it was written, it will be used for any kind of hatred, prejudice and wrong-headed thinking. This is especially true of the Old Testament, or, as it is, the Hebrew Bible.

Few if any modern Jews, reformed or orthodox, follow the ridged rules of the law of Moses. They see them as necessary for the time, but not for all time. A good example of this can be seen in the difference between the Hebrews during the exodus and after they settled in the promised land.

As soon as Joshua dies, the book of Judges indicates that the people turned to idols and wickedness. The book itself does not contain any mention of law, or the Law of Moses.

The book of Ruth introduces two Hebrew men marrying Moabite women, which was forbidden in Deuteronomy 23:3.

David has an adulterous affair with a married woman and neither one of them are killed as the Law of Moses demanded. David’s son, Absalom shows disrespect for his father, and is not killed as the Law of Moses required.
In Deuteronomy 17:14-20 Moses (God?) Gives instructions for the king they will appoint over them in the promised land. Among the instructions are prohibitions against collecting horses and wives, as well as large amounts of silver and gold. The greatest kings, David, Solomon and others did that and there was no prophet who condemned them for it.
The Passover feast was to be done annually, but in II Kings 23 it says, “Not since the days of the judges who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah had any such Passover been observed.” In II Chronicles 35:18 that story is repeated. The Levitical priesthood existed during that time but apparently had no knowledge or concern about the Passover. That would mean they had lost touch with the written law of Moses. Why? How could that happen when God so plainly spoke to those prophets (God-speakers) of the time of the kings?

If you get a concordance and look at the books of Kings and Chronicles you will find an abundance of “God said” and “The Lord said.” And yet nothing is said about the purity laws, marriage laws, the things “the Lord (God) said were to be done in the books of the law of Moses. Another example is when Amnon raped his half-sister, Tamar II Samuel 13:1-5. This was a clear violation of Leviticus 18:11. Yet she says if asked, David will give her to him. None of those who were God’s voice said anything about the law of Moses.

My point is this, when we talk about the “word of God,” we need to realize that term does not imply that God’s voice is actually heard. It means that the one speaking is speaking for God, based on the need for Godly guidance at the moment. That moment in time is just that, a moment in time. It does not always relate to other moments or situations under different circumstances, as can be seen by closely reading the Bible.

For example, what about circumcision? Where does God say the mark of the covenant with Abraham was null and void? Where did Jesus, who was circumcised, say it was no longer valid? When did Jesus or God tell Paul “Circumcision has no value” Gal. 5:6? How did Paul and others like him come to this conclusion? There was no “Thus says the Lord.” It came about because it actually never had any value, except in the mind of those who saw it as a covenant with God. And yet, in Gen. 17:9-14 it says, “God said to Abraham…” V. 10 says, “This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant that you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.” In V. 13 it says, My covenant in your flesh must be an everlasting covenant.” (Italics mine)

Paul and the other New Testament writers should be a model for us as we do not let one-time solutions be used for current problems. Having the “Spirit” of Christ should help with that.

CONCERNS: Marie Barnett’s mother is very near death and Marie asks for prayers for she and her family. Martha Foy’s aunt, Sue Huels is suffering from a broken hip and other problems. Also for Sandra Anderson and Gil Richardson. Jim Hunter has been told the cancer has returned. He is also suffering back and neck pain as the result of an unresolved accident a few years back. Garrett Lee Williams friend, Hannah, is recovering from leukemia. Continue to pray for Rich Crites, Rich is to start a new treatment on the 15th. His sister is back in the nursing home for awhile. Rich and Connie are leaving Monday to go see her. Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick, and her mother Helen, and Leena as she care for her mother. Also Deena McRoy, Gary Overstreet, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, Mary Smith, Sharon, a friend of Del Bolin’s and
Mrs Marta, the mother of a friend of Jim Hunter’s.

Monday: Isaiah 6:1-13
Tuesday: Matthew 13:1-23
Wednesday: John 6:1-15
Thursday: Luke 15:11-32
Friday: Genesis 39:1-23
Saturday: Psalm 66:1-20
Monday: Hebrews 4:14 – 5:10
Tuesday: Matthew 5:17-48
Wednesday: Genesis 1:1-31
Thursday: II Samuel 12:1-15
Friday: Ephesians 6:10-20
Saturday: Psalm 104:1-35

Mike Branch had an environmental check made on the upstairs restroom to check for asbestos problems. Everything is cleared to go and as soon as the estimates are all in it will be started.
Martha Albert has spent many years as a hospice worked for Carilion Hospital. Recently she viewed a DVD on the last stages of life and how those dealing with it can better understand what is happening. She suggested that we might show this to those in the community as a public service. The Wednesday evening class viewed it and saw a real need for what it says. So we are planning a viewing sometime in late May, if possible. We want as many of our health care workers to be there and be available for their views and to help answer questions.
It will be shown in the annex and we hope to improve the acoustics and the lighting by that time
Thanks to all of you who brought in the breakfast items for the troops remaining in Afghanistan. The unit we have been helping will be leaving soon, and for that we can be thankful. You were able to make a very hard situation a little more bearable by what you have done. Our thanks to Susan and Wayne Phlegar and others who packed and mailed what you contributed.
Easter is April 20. As before, we will have an Easter Egg Hunt in the annex yard for the children. The next bulletin will be Easter Sunday’s. The age for the children is third grade and younger. Holly Wagner will be in charge. Se her for help with the candy-filed eggs.
With the weather changing we will need to schedule a work day around the building. Much of this will be inside work, such as replacing bad ceiling tiles and some other problems with some areas in the restrooms, especially the women’s downstairs restroom. A list will be compiled and a date set soon. If you see other areas of need, let the steering committee know.

By my friend, Ben

It were Saturday and the feller on the TV said it were gonna be a real warm day, which were fine with me. It were. The winter had been right cold an’ were still hangin on, so I were looking forward to bein’ able to get out a bit. Other than workin’ at the lumber yard an’ goin’ to church I’d stayed perty close to home. I did. It’d been so cold the saw mill an’ the yard were shut down for more days than I reckon I could remember. They were.
Nother reason I were glad it were warm were because it were Ma’s birthday. It were. So me’n ol’ Blue were headin’ up to Hickory Ridge Cemetery to spend some time with Ma an’ Pa. We were.
It were too early for anything to be bloomin’, so I didn’t have no flowers to put on her grave. I didn’t. But I did see a few crocus’ startin’ to stick their heads outta the ground. I did.
Since it were Late mornin’, Jeremiah Hatcher had done opened the gate to the cemetery. He always done it early on Saturday an’ Sunday mornin’s, ceptin’ in bad weather. He did.
When we got to the top were ma an’ pa were buried, ol’ Blue took off hopin’ to pick up the scent of a deer or somethin’. He did. I weren’t worried about him cause the cemetery were all fenced in. It were.
I grabbed me the folding chair what I’d stuck in the backa my truck and sat down between Ma an’ Pa’s graves. I did. I could see Hickory Ridge in the valley, all nestled between the hills. It were a right peaceful sight. It were.
I could see the church where me’n Ma went every Sunday mornin’ an’ mosta the time on Sunday nights. We did. Wednesday evenin’ prayer meetin’s were a tad harder, bein’ that pa had to drive us, an’ me an’ him had chores to do when he got home from the saw mill. We did.
As I looked at the steeple on the church buildin’ it took me back to them times when I’d sit beside Ma an’ could hear her singin’ the hymns. It did. Ma had a right good voice, an’ hearin’ her sing “Leanin’ on the everlastin’ arms” made me feel good in a way I didn’t understand. It did. An’ when she sang “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine” I could tell it came from down deep in her heart. An’ I remember tellin’ her I reckoned that were one of her favorite songs. I did. She told me the lady what wrote it were named Fanny Crosbey. She did. She said that Fanny Crosbey were blind at birth, or soon after. An’ that she didn’t let that keep her from lovin’ God an’ trustin’ him with her life. It didn’t. She said when she sang “Blessed Assurance” it were as if she could hear Fanny singin’ it too. She did.
I went back to my truck an’ took out my ol’ guitar. It were really Pa’s. But he’d taught me a few chords before he were killed at the saw mill. He did. I reckon I kinda picked up the rest on my own. I did.
After I tuned it a little I started to sing. “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of his spirit, washed in his blood.”
Since I knowed all the verses, I were just finishin’ “filled with his goodness, lost in his love”, when somethin’ caught my eye comin’ up beside me. It did. I stopped an’ there stood Anna Bell Tucker. I reckon I were so lost in my thoughts I didn’t see her drive through the gate. Her daughter, Emma Sue, had been killed in a car wreck over at Council Gap about a month ago. She were Anna Bell an’ Henry’s only child. She were.
Anna Bell said, “O Ben, I’m so sorry I startled you! I come up to be with Emma Sue for awhile an’ I heard you singin’. It touched my heart so much I wanted to tell you.”
Now Anna Bell Tucker were known to have a right good singin’ voice herself. She were. Fact is, she sang in several of them plays what the folks put on over at the West Union Playhouse. She did.
She touched my shoulder an’ turned as iffen she were leavin’ an’ then stopped. She did. She said, “Ben, would you do me a favor?” I told her I’d be glad to. She asked iffen I would go with her to Emma Sue’s grave an’ sing a song with her. She did. An’ I told her I would. I did.
When we got around the hill she showed me Emma Sue’s grave. She did. She asked iffin I would sing Amazing Grace with her. She said Emma Sue always liked that song. She said, “You know Ben, Emma Sue were testin’ her wings. She stopped goin’ to church with us, an’ I reckon goin’ out with Bradley Carter that night were just her way of seekin’ her own way of livin’. Now the Carter’s an’ us have both lost our children. I don’t blame Bradley, I know he were goin’ too fast, but he couldn’t see that rock slide until it were too late.”
She stepped in closer to me an’ started to sing an’ I joined in. I did. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound! That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.”
Anna Bell’s voice were so clear an’ beautiful I reckoned they could hear us all the way down in Hickory Ridge. I did. An when we were done, she leaned over agin me an’ said, “Thank you Ben.” I gave her a hug an said, “Anna Bell, lets me’n you go up on top of the hill an’ sing a little to all the folks what are buried here.” And so we did. We sang How Great Thou Art an’ The Old Rugged Cross, an’ Shall We Gather at the River. We did.
Then I asked her to do me a favor. I did. I asked iffen she would go to Ma an’ Pa’s graves an sing one of Ma’s favorite songs. I did. She smiled an said she’d like that.
As I strummed my ol’ guitar, Anna Bell Tucker’s sweet, clear voice spread out all across Hickory Ridge.
“I come to the garden alone, While the due is still on the roses; And the voice I hear falling on my ear, The son of God discloses. And he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own; And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.”
Happy birthday Ma


CONCERNS: Marie Barnett has asked for our prayers for both her and her mother, who is very ill at this time. One of Melisha Scruggs’ instructors is both teaching full time and caring for her mother who has Alzheimer’s. Martha Foy asks for prayers for her aunt, Sue Huels, who was also injured in a fall recently, Sandra Anderson and Gil Richardson. Jim Hunter has been told the cancer has returned, but they are not sure where at this time. Garrett Lee Williams’s friend, Hannah, is responding well to treatment for leukemia. Continue to remember Rich Crites, Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick, and her mother Helen. Deana McRoy, Gary Overstreet, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, Mary Smith, Mrs. Matara, the mother of a friend of Jim Hunter’s, and Sharon, a friend of Del Bolin’s

Monday: John 8:21-47
Tuesday: Luke 22:14-30
Wednesday: Luke 22:13-34
Thursday: Psalm 51:1-19
Friday: Acts 4:2-5:11
Saturday: Psalm 99:1-9; 100:1-5
Monday: John 17:1-26
Tuesday: Revelation 19:1-16
Wednesday: Luke 16:19-31
Thursday: Matthew 9:1-13
Friday: I Corinthians 10:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 106:1-48

On Sunday, March 2nd, Marie Barnett stepped forward and let it be known that she wanted to redirect her life toward God. Marie was baptized a number of years ago, but her life has taken several turns that lead her away from a life with God. She has asked for our prayers as she starts over.
This Sunday (today) is Super Sunday. Hopefully this will be the last time we have a fire in the fireplace until fall arrives. Plan to stay and enjoy the meal
There are some ongoing projects we are working on and hope to advance that need to be discussed. (See the following announcement) The meeting will be in the library after the Super Sunday meal.
The plans have been drawn and a contractor is reviewing them to give an estimate on the cost of making the restroom in the cry room handicapped accessible.
When it is started it will take about three weeks to finish. That does not mean the facilities will not be available, just that there will be some alterations being done. However, there may be a Sunday when it will not usable.
The lighting system in the annex is in need of replacement. Some acoustical changes are also planned along with a new set of lights with fans to circulate the air.
Changes to improve our worship experience is also in the works.
James Downing’s birthday is March 29. Now that we are getting back in the swing of things after the cold weather, we will start collecting information for a new directory. If you know of other birthdays in March, let it be known.
Susan and Wayne Phlegar continue to send breakfast items to the troops closing out the war in Afghanistan. These are really appreciated, so keep on bringing in the items on the list. A few copies can be found on the foyer table. Also, if you were not here to hear about Churches of Christ Relief Effort, information is also on the table.

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