Bimonthly Bulletin

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.

After reading the last bulletin, where I examined the real issue with Sodom, (and Gomorrah) A friend sent me this e-mail: “So, actually I’m a Sodomite, as are most believers.” He then quoted Ezekiel 16:49. “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and the needy.” The context is about how Jerusalem and other Jewish-linked peoples are acting.

Because of space, in the last article I didn’t mention that the author of the article I was reviewing not only started his diatribe on a false foundation, but he then went on to say something like, “And that’s not all they (Sodom) were guilty of, and then quoted some Old Testament scriptures. Actually, it is the scriptures that explain what was really Sodom and Gomorrah’s problem. So let’s, as they say in detective dramas. “Follow the evidence.”

Remember, the most common view is that the Israelites were in Egypt for about 400 years. It is estimated that Abraham lived about 250 years before Moses. Therefore, the story of Sodom had been around about 150 years or so before it was ever mentioned in the Bible.

Following the evidence, Sodom is first mentioned beyond the book of Genesis in Deut. 29:23. There, in a warning about what would happen if the covenant was not kept, it says, “It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah…” A similar thought is expressed in 32:32.

Almost 700 years passes before anyone else writes about Sodom. Isaiah 1 again refers to Israel becoming “…a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption.” In vs. 9, 10 it says unless God had left some survivors, they would have become like Sodom…” They were called “rulers of Sodom” and “people of Gomorrah.” In 3:9 they are accused of parading their sin like Sodom. So they were “homosexuals”?

In Jeremiah 23:14, in a rant against Israel’s false prophets, he writes, “I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness. They are like Sodom to me…” In 49:18 and 50:40 he uses Sodom as an example as to how God feels about Edom and the Babylonians. In each case it has to do with their wickedness toward those around them. In one citation from Lamentations, it says, “The punishment of my people is greater than that of Sodom.” That’s pretty bad!

It is Ezekiel who uses Sodom in a string of verses in Chapter 16 which gives us the best description of Sodom’s sin. He doesn’t mention Gomorrah. The whole chapter should be read, but basically he calls Jerusalem a prostitute (v. 35) and goes on from there. The body of the Sodom text is vs. 46-56. The key verse is v.49. (See above with emphases on “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom”) Verse 49 is also interesting. “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.” Really!?

Both Amos (4:11) and Zephaniah (2:9) use Sodom and Gomorrah as examples as to how God will judge wickedness among the people.

It is in the New Testament where the clear pictures from the Old Testament about Sodom are enhanced. In Matthew and Luke, (for some reason the KJV inserts it in brackets in Mark) there is Jesus’ lament over the rejection of his message. In Matthew 10:5-16 it has to do with sending out the out the twelve with message that the kingdom of God was near. In 11:20-24 it had to do with his rejection at Korazin and Bethsaida. In both case he said it would be more “bearable” for Sodom and Gomorrah than those people. In Chapter 11 Tyre and Sidon get thrown in the mix. Luke 10 echos the same idea as Matt. 10.

It is Jude (v.7) alone who expands on the evil of Sodom by comparing it to some “godless” men who had slipped in among them and were like Sodom and Gomorrah in that they were involved in “sexual immorality and perversion.” (NIV) There’s the evidence. What’s your verdict about the sin of Sodom? And about what my friend said about us who believe?

CONCERNS: Melisha Scruggs has ask for prayer for one of her instructors who works full time and is the care giver for her mother who has Alzheimer’s disease. Martha Foy asks our prayers for Sandra Anderson, her aunt, Sue Huels and Gil Richardson. Remember also Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick, Hannah, a classmate of Garrett Lee Williams Jim Hunter, Gary Overstreet, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, and a friend of Del Bolin’s named Sharon. Jenni Cullum, Helen Nicklas, Tim Elder, and Mary Smith. Also Mrs Matara, the mother of a friend of Jim Hunter.

Monday: Matthew 18:10-20
Tuesday: Romans 14:1-18
Wednesday: II Thess. 3:1-16
Thursday: Genesis 45:4-28
Friday: Mark 10:17-31
Saturday: Psalm 105:1-45

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

Today (3/2) we have with us Dwayne Castell. Dwayne is a spokesperson for the Church of Christ Disaster Relief Effort Inc. out of Nashville.

Along with the lesson, he will be telling us about how the CofCDRE can help us in the event of a disaster such as the big flood of 1985. Recently they took tractor trailer-loads of bottled water to the folks in West Virginia during the recent chemical spill in the Charleston area. .

Ready or not its time to spring forward. Saturday, March 8 is the end of EST. So before going to bed, set your clocks ahead one hour. After the Winter we’ve had any kind of “spring” sounds good, even if it means losing an hour’s sleep to welcome Daylight Savings Time.

An architect Mike Branch contacted has submitted plans for converting the restroom off the cry room into a handicapped facility. It is not going to be as complicated as we thought. We are talking to someone who will do the work and we hope to start soon and not be inconvenienced too long. We may need some help moving a pew to the large classroom downstairs to prepare the room.
ALSO: The overhead lights in the annex have been failing at a record rate. Plans are moving toward improving the acoustics and a new lighting system which will enhance an already charming facility.

Thanks to Martha Albert, Wayne and Alisa Flora, Holly Wagner and Mary Willa Foy for preparing the evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House last Wednesday

As we help the troops in Afghanistan with breakfast items as they prepare to withdraw form that country, it has been good to hear the comments of appreciation passed on to us from Cris Phlegar. Hopefully they will all be home by next year. Please keep them in mind and pick up a list of items needed from the table in the foyer. Be sure to add to that list such things as coffee, sugar and creamer.

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