Roanoke Church of Christ

Bimonthly Bulletin

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 28, NO. 5&6 – RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH

It was a little traumatic for me to type the title for this article. It brings back memories of some really bad sermons I’ve heard. I chose it from the King James Version because no other translation uses “dividing”. Which bodes the question: Is the word of truth dividable?
Dr. Pat Harrell, the New Testament teacher who changed my life, liked to give us compare and contrast tests. I love them, but I know others who don’t.
These tests challenge the student to search out and find answers by investigation, rather than by tradition.
On Wednesday evening we have been studying Paul’s letters, and in I Timothy 5 we looked at what has to be one of the oddest recommendations Paul ever made. It’s about “enrolling”, or “putting widows on the list”. He says only widows over sixty (along with some other qualities) can be put on the list. The “list”, or the “roll” seems to be those widows who will be aided financially as they work for the good of the congregation.
Paul’s reason for eliminating fifty-nine year old widows is because they will be overcome by sensual desires and want to marry. (v. 11) He also says when they do it means they have “broken their first pledge”. Which seems to mean they had pledged themselves to serve Christ, like nuns.
The context is broader than this, but in my past, the discussion has centered on who is a “real” widow and who isn’t, as well as what the obligation is for the church toward widows. We dare not help a widow who does not meet the qualifications.
That’s not what I’m interested in here. I’m interested in how we “divide” the word. Paul instructs: “So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children …” It seems plain that Paul wants marriage for women, and in this case, young widows under sixty. So, is that an “undividable” truth? When we read the Bible we tend to isolate ourselves in the moment. We do not “compare and contrast”.
We know what Paul said to Timothy. What about what he wrote to Corinth? In I Cor. 7:1 he says, (NIV) “Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.” He will tell them why they can, but his counsel is clear. In v. 8 he says, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say it is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.” (Italics and bold mine. KW)
If you see a problem here, or a bump in the road, you aren’t dividing right. If you isolate either one of these passages from the context, and turn them into a ridged law, you are wrong.
I Corinthians was written about AD 53-54. Something is going on in the world which causes Paul to advise: “Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.” He repeats that several times. In v. 26 he refers to the “present crisis.” And in v.29 he says “…the time is short.” This conditions everything he says.
I Corinthians 7 is one of the most fascinating chapters in the New Testament because it deals s with situational decisions which under other circumstances would not be the same.
In I Timothy, (date about 62-67 AD) the situation has apparently changed, therefore, Paul’s advice, though still rather conditioned, is different than in an earlier letter. Neither should be taken as a rule for all time.
For me, the Bible presents us with an understanding of God at various stages of history. Things which are seen as unacceptable at one point in time will be seen with a different understanding in another. The eunuch will not be welcome in the assembly of Israel because he is unable to procreate. A very sad condition for a man, especially in a tribal culture.
It would be foolish, and ungodly to assume God hates eunuchs, though it might be read that way. However, compare and contrast the law of Moses with the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah says in 56: 4, “For this is what the Lord says: To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant (which one? KW) to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters.” The situation changed, not God.
That’s the way to rightly divide the word of truth.
Keith

CONCERNS: Betty Foy is very ill at this time. RJ Hall, T.J. and Judy’s grandson is having problems with his eyes. Teryn Gaynor’s mother is being treated for cancer. Remember Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver in your prayers. Mary Wilson (cancer) Melanie Gentry has a broken foot. Alisa is with her. Pray for Joni Beach’s parents as well as her aunt, Pat Voss and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter, Wane Phlegar, David Albert , Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (MS) Darnel Ray Barns, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

OUR DAILY BREAD: FEB. 8-13
Monday: Jeremiah 341:23-34
Tuesday: I Corinthians 11:17-34
Wednesday: Acts 6:1-7
Thursday: Matthew 5:21-48
Friday: Psalm 119:129-152
Saturday: Psalm 67:1-7
OUR DAILY BREAD: FEB. 15-20
Monday: John 1:1-18
Tuesday: Luke 18:1-4
Wednesday: II Corinthians 1:3-11
Thursday: II Corinthians 1:23-3:11
Friday: Job 1:13-2:10
Saturday: Psalm 97:1-12

THE SNOW The last traces of the heavy snow are just about gone. Thanks to Mike Branch and Holly Wagner for opening up the entrance ways to the building after the parking lot was plowed.
As you know, the city built a sidewalk all along the property. As we understand it, It will be our obligation to clear it of snow within a reasonable time after a snowfall. It’s far too much to shovel, so this time it wasn’t. The folks who clean the parking lot do not do sidewalks, so we will need to find someone we can hire who has a snow blower.
None of the folks below us on Brandon tried to clear their sidewalks. However, in the future the city may enforce clearing them. So if you know someone who does that kind of work, tell Keith.
NEW CLASS STARTS TODAY
The adult class will be introduced to a new study of the Old Testament in Del Bolin’s class today. It will not be the complete OT, just the first five or so books. It is in book form without chapter andverses. Assigned sections are to be read at home and then discussed in class.
THE GIDEONS
Each spring a member of the Gideos comes and tells us about the work of placing Bibles around the world. This year it will be Sunday, March 13.As always, a “retiring” offering will be taken in the foyer after the service for those who want to contribute.
AN OPPORTUNITY
In both last week’s and this week’s hand-out, a notice about a mother who has a thirty-some year old daughter who is paralyzed as the result of a car accident about a year and a half ago, that has also left her unable to speak. The mother has not asked for help, but the grandfather of the injured girl has asked if perhaps some of us might drop by when the mother is visiting, just to let her know we care. I’m not placing their names here, just in the hand-out, along with the mother’s phone number. If you would like to visit with her and her daughter, the daughter is in the Salem Health & Rehabilitation Center, across from the VA Hospital.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 28, NO. 3&4 – SOMETHING GOOD

I have a wonderful story to tell. But in order to try to do that, I have to retell a story I’ve told before. I don’t remember if I’ve ever written it down, but I’ve told it.
Several years ago I was in the library when I heard a knock at the office door. Before I could get there, I saw a figure pass the library window. As I opened the door, a tall woman dressed in a long powder blue coat was walking toward the main building. I called out to her and when she turned around I was struck by her regal beauty. She was over six feet tall and I felt I could be looking at a beautiful Zulu princes. The coat she wore could have come from a thrift store, but it could not hide the striking woman who wore it
As she stepped inside, I asked what I could do for her. She said I had helped her with fifty dollars some years before and she wanted to pay it back. Then she handed me a hundred dollars.
I was flabbergasted. It was the first time anyone had ever returned any money. I tried to get her to keep it, but she insisted. Then she reached for the door knob. I was still so shocked, partly by her action, and because I could not remember her, that I gave her a hug, thanked her and went to the desk with the money. Then I wondered how she’d gotten there, because there was no car in the parking lot. By the time I opened the door, she was nowhere in sight. Now I am not one to delve into the mysterious, but my first thought was if I had seen an angel. As I thought about her, I was sure I would have remembered someone so elegant in appearance and stature. She was an unforgettable person, but I was sure I’d never seen her before. Unless she was so beaten down and worn out that she no longer looked as she did then. I also beat myself up because I didn’t even get her name. It was a remarkable experience, and I’ve told it often as a reminder that such people do exist in this world.
I have always felt good about the fact that our combined benevolent effort comes close to ten percent of our annual budget. I also wish I could say it was all well spent. I hear and read that all churches deal with dishonest persons. It would be my estimation that well over half of those who we have helped have been dishonest with me. I’ve caught a few.
Cancer is about the number one word I hear. You would be surprised at the remission rate among those who tell me they have cancer. I wish I knew their doctors. A most recent one had a brain tumor and came to church asking for money. She didn’t know where or when it was to be removed, maybe Charlotte, NC. Didn’t remember her doctor’s name, or have any medical proof of her condition.
On the other hand, there are people, most of whom receive help from the food pantry, and are repeaters, that I know need the help. There are also directly paid utility bills and rent we help with as well
Now, lest you think I’m dumping all this on you, I actually have, for me, a remarkable reason for this article.
On Monday, as I was leaving to keep an appointment, I saw a one or two year old black car pull into the parking lot. I thought it was going to turn around, but it stopped. A tall well-dressed black woman got out and came to the door. When I opened it she said she’d like to make a contribution to the church. Immediately I knew it was the same woman from years ago. She looked fantastic! As I said before, she had a regal beauty about her that was stunning, but now the frumpy blue coat was replaced with short black boots, slacks, matching top and accessaries. She projected more than success, she exuded something I can’t put into words. It wasn’t sex, but it was the feeling of being in the presence of someone who had a dynamic only a few people have. In all my years I’ve never met anyone who had that effect on me. It wasn’t how wonderful she looked that day, because she had the same effect on me when she was wearing the almost dragging-the-ground blue coat. It even went beyond the fact that she handed me another hundred dollars. I felt I was in the presence of a very rare person.
I told her how happy I was to see her and asked her to sit down. She did, but told me she was on her way to pick up her son who is a senior at Patrick Henry High School. I told her how many people I’d told about her, and how she seemed to mysteriously disappear the first time I saw her, and how I’d wondered if she were an angel. She found all that funny. I told her I would love to know more about her life, but I also had the feeling that while she would have told me, had we the time, that was not the reason she came. I even felt the need to allow her the anonymity I thought she wanted. I told her how dumb I felt the last time by not even asking her name. She told me, and I will never forget it.
As she stood up to leave I held up the twenty dollar bills and said, “If you ever need this, it’s here for you, as well as the other hundred.” However, I knew giving the money was something which came from deep in her heart.
As she went to the door I walked around my desk and said, “I do remember the last time you were here, you hugged me. You can’t leave without a hug.” She stood about a head taller than me and when I hugged her words came out of my mouth that surprised me. I heard myself saying, “I love you.” She said she loved me and went out the door.
I’m not sure exactly what it is about her that is so captivating. Beyond having a special energy about her, I can only think it must be the journey. Where was she when we first helped her? How far had she gone when she came in the second time? How far she’d come now was obvious from her appearance and demeanor. Could this be the powerful, occasional result of what Jesus meant when he said, “Insomuch as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to me”? Not that the deed is repaid, but that the gift can change a life, as it obviously had hers. I’d like to think that.
Keith

CONCERNS: Betty Foy is at home but is being treated for a pleural effusion. Teryn Gaynor’s mother had cancer surgery and will start chemotherapy as soon as possible. Remember as well, Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Amber is 35 years old and is paralyzed from the neck down as the result of a car accident. She is in the Salem Health & Rehab Center. We have been asked just to meet Sheila at the Center and offer encouragement and whatever else we can do. To know when she will be there you can call her at 529-7809. Among others who need prayer are Marjorie Wilson (cancer) Melanie Gentry, (Alisa Flora’s sister) Joni Beach’s parents, also her niece, Jamie Cole, and her aunt, Pat Voss. Also Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. She has cancer and is blind. Kim (Hall’s)
friend, Mary (MS) Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

OUR DAILY BREAD: JAN. 18-23
Monday: 1 Timothy 6:11-21
Tuesday: Psalm119:89-112
Wednesday: Mark 2:15-3:6
Thursday; Acts 8:4-24
Friday: Luke 22:39-53
Saturday: I Corinthians 15:42-58
OUR DAILY BREAD: JAN. 25-30
Monday: Mark 14:26-42
Tuesday: Acts 1:1-14
Wednesday: Psalm 42:1-14
Thursday: Acts 5:17-32
Friday: Hebrews 2:10-18
Saturday: Psalm 107:1-43

WEDNESDAY EVENINGS
Last year it was decided that when the temperature goes below freezing, the Wednesday evening Soup Supper and Bible Study will not meet. The annex is not well insulated and it takes all day and the fireplace to get close to comfortable at freezing. Because the Super Sunday meal is during the warmer part of the day, we seldom have to cancel that. We will notify the “regulars” via phone and email.
SUPER SUNDAY
Today (1/17) is Super Sunday. Please plan to stay and enjoy the time together with food and fellowship
By the way, this will be the last time Judy McWhorter’s New England Village will be on display.
THE BUDGET
last Sunday, Del Bolin presented the 2016 budget. It should be said that you generous giving continues to allow us to help with Heath Talents Ezell Clinic, the Health Talents ABC Program, The Christian Relief Fund, local benevolence, as well as to maintain and improve the property.
In case you didn’t know, The Christian Relief Fund is the old Bread For A Hungry World. The work in Dallas/Fort Worth combined with a similar work out of Amarillo. Much of their work is in Africa where they improve the health and education of African children by drilling wells.
Copies of the budget will be
available in the foyer.
THE SUNDAY MORNING ADULT CLASS
Del Bolin has started the preliminary discussion for a class reading the Old Testament books combined with the prophetic letters in chronological order.
Books have been ordered and if you would like to have one and be part of the class, let Del know
THANKS
Thanks to Martha Albert and her “crew” for preparing the evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House on Sunday. The “crew” varies and you are welcome to join
Don’t forget to save the pull-tabs from aluminum cans..

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 28, NO. 1&2 – JESUS, DID YOU KNOW?

Those who see Jesus as “Fully human and fully divine” more or less believe he knew everything God knew. There are some scriptures that could be used to dispute that. .
What did the writers of the New Testament want their readers to know about Jesus? None of them reduce him to just a sacrifice. In fact, the primary Gospel writers not only center on his character and teaching, but also the resurrection. You don’t need to raise a sacrifice from the dead. In fact, it is the death of the sacrifice that fulfills the demand.
What happened when Jesus was baptized? All three synoptic writers say the Spirit of God descended on him. Did that Spirit “indwell” him, or just sit on him? God sitting on God? What did the voice from heaven mean? Was Jesus talking to himself? Or was this a pivotal moment for this one who is now, for the first time in scripture, called a son of God? And if Jesus was God (“and the word was God.” Jn. 1:1) and God cannot be tempted, (James 1:13) how does that work? This is a good place to show that all things are not completely answerable with scripture. For example, Psalm 106:13-15 says the Israelites tempted God and he gave in to them. Of course, everyone has an explanation for these scriptures based on their own theological foundation.
Looking at the whole scene surrounding Jesus’ temptation, it is impossible to ignore his humanity, as well as how he made his decisions. He never claimed in his answers to the temptations to be God. He claimed to serve God alone.
When did Jesus know he was going to be killed? It would seem from the moment he decided to do the will of God at his baptism and as the result of the temptation. He knew the fate of every prophet who spoke as God wanted. He also knew that no Messiah-types had ever escaped death. In a word, he knew what every reformer knows, what they feel compelled to do is worth the cost of their life. Jesus was in a long line of those who would willingly die for reformation.
It seems to me that Jesus’ goal is often reduced to dying on the cross to appease the wrath of God. By the way, that is never said. And if John 10:30 means anything, Jesus saw he and the Father as being one. So we have God being satisfied about sin by punching himself in the nose.
Jesus’ goal, as stated by him, was to gather Jerusalem (Israel) under his wings as a hen gathers her chicks. Matt. 23:23 & Lk. 13:34. You will also notice that Jesus mentions that they had killed the prophets before him. So was Jesus hoping for repentance, or was he stating what he knew before he was born? If it was all predetermined, why even say he wanted to redeem them?
Then there is the agony in the garden before his arrest as told by Matthew and Luke, “Let this cup pass from me.” So offensive is this idea, that one commentator said it actually meant “Let me drink as deeply from this cup as I possibly can.” Is this God appealing to God?
On the cross, according to Matthew 27:46, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?” Matthew could have left that out. Others did. But there it is and it disturbs some people. Was Jesus quoting Psalm 22? Why would he do that? Did God, as some people feel the need to say, turn away from Jesus because God cannot look on sin? If that’s true, then what good is a sin offering if God can’t look at it? The Old Testament says God saw the sin sacrifices and offerings of the people. Another question: Can God forsake God?
Am I making Jesus too human? I don’t think that is possible. There is nothing wrong with being human. It seems to be the way God wanted us to be.
“But Jesus didn’t sin.” Was that because he was God, or because he was all God wanted humans to be? Is there anything Jesus taught which was the will of God that is beyond human doing? If so, how are we to even get close to doing God’s will?
Perfect humanity is also perfect divinity. Jesus said he gave his life to “ransom” us. (Matt.20:28, Mark 10:45) Ransom from what? From what every reformer gives their life for; from life that fails the test of humanity, i.e., sin.
The “oneness” of Jesus and the Father is in Jesus’ “Not my will, but your’s be done.” For that, the New Testament says 24 times, “God raised him up.”That’s the “Christ the Lord” I can follow.
Keith

CONCERNS: Teryn Gaynor’s mother is having cancer tests. Update from Teryn today. Martha Albert’s son, John and his family suffered some loss in the Texas tornado. Betty Foy is now back in their apartment at Brandon Oaks. Marjorie Wilson, (cancer) Melanie Gentry (Alisa Flora’s sister Joni Beach’s mother and father, as well as her aunt, Pat Voss and her niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, Bill Albert’s son, David. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas. Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. Sandy has cancer and has gone blind. She is from the church Del Bolin grew up in. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (MS). Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Jim & Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

OUR DAILY BREAD: JAN. 4-9
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 DAILY BREAD: JAN 11-16
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

JOHN HUNTER AND FAMILY
The recent tornado that went through Garland, Texas, passed a few houses from John’s. John is Martha Albert’s son.
After a night of wondering, as they took shelter in the safest room in their house, they were restricted from going outside due to the danger of downed power lines.
When some degree of normal was established, they discovered that a voltage surge or lightening, had destroyed all their electrical appliances. At this time they are getting help from several Church of Christ related agencies, including the CofC disaster Relief folks out of Nashville. We’ll know more as the days pass. Keep them and all those who are suffering in your prayers.
NEW YEAR-NEW CLASS
For several months Del Bolin has taught the Sunday morning adult class. He is now looking a what to study as we enter the new year.
Del’s class is a place where all things religious and spiritual are open for examination and discussion. So the new class will be build on that same structure. One of the ideas put forth is to study the Old Testament in a chronological way. That is, to read the prophetic writings and the recorded historical events at the same time.
THANKS JUDY MCWHORTER
The New England Village Judy McWhorter displays in the annex in her mother’s memory, will be gone soon. It was a real treat for those who got to see it. Thanks Judy.
THE CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
We had one of the largest crowds in some time at the Christmas Eve Service. About twenty went to Denny’s afterward.
THE POINSETTIAS
Next Sunday will be “Adopt a Poinsettia Day.” This year they are very hardy and should do well. Remember, leave the plastic containers under the plants.
THE NEW YEAR
What will 2016 bring? God only knows. On Christmas Eve we sang “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. It’s a wonderful thought. Perhaps we can make that more a part of our lives.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 27 YEAR END – THE CHRISTMAS TREE

By my friend, Ben
As I cranked up the ol’ Farmall ol’ Blue heard it an’ come a runnin’. He did. I were headin’ out to the north forty to cut me a Christmas tree. I were.
I picked up ol’ Blue an’ put him on the seat. I did. When we got to the top a the hill I’d let him down. I would. He were gitten’ on in years an’ the hill kinda took more outta him now. It did.
We was headin’ back to the stand of pines pa’d got from them conservation folks years ago. We were. Not only did they hold the hillside pa’ planted ‘em on, but they made a nice shelter for the deer. They did. It also gave us a good place to get our Christmas trees. It did. It were real nice that they were several different kinds of pines. So we had our pick each year of what kind to cut. We did. Most of the time around July, me’n pa would head out to them trees to shape ‘em. We would. Then in the fall ma’d come back with us an’ pick out the one she wanted. She would. Course, in time, them trees got way too big for Christmas trees. They did. So me’n pa would pick out one we knowed ma would like an’ top it. We would.
When I got just past the ol’ oak tree at the top of the hill, I stopped to let ol’ Blue down. I did. The rest of the way to the pines weren’t steep, an’ he were ready to set out on his own. He were.
I knowed he’d try to pick up a deer scent, an’ maybe run it a tad. He would. He weren’t able to stay at it as long, but I knowed it still made him happy. It did.
It’d snowed about four inches durin’ the night, an’ ol’ Blue already had his nose covered as he were sniffin’ around in it. He did. I reckoned he’d settle for a rabbit track iffen he couldn’t pick up a deer. I did.
As we passed through the cut in the woods, I saw the tree. It were perfect an’ tall, standin’ as if it were guardin’ all the rest. It were. That were ma’s tree. It were. We’d cut trees from the stand every Christmas, but not ma’s tree. It were the one what she fell in love with the third year after pa’d planted ‘em. It were. We never knowed what it were, but she told pa never to cut that tree. An’ he didn’t.
Lookin’ at that there tree I remembered the first Christmas after ma died. I did. She’d died in October, when it seemed to me everthing else were dying too. It did. So me’n pa hardly had time to think about Christmas before it were on us. It were.
It were two days till Christmas an’ pa never said nothin’ about gittin’ a tree. He didn’t I reckon I understood, cause Christmas were all about ma an’ Jesus. It were. She’d start weeks before, bakin’ an’ gittin’ things ready to give to some folks what didn’t have much. She did. The house would start smellin’ like gingerbread an’ other Christmas smells. It would. But that day it were all quite-like an’ didn’t smell like nothin’. It didn’t. I knowed pa were missin’ ma real bad like I were, so’ maybe
it’d be better iffen we skipped Christmas.
I remember goin’ to bed that Christmas eve. Even ol’ blue knowed somethin’ were wrong. He did. Cause he come over to the bed an’ laid his head on it, lookin’ me in the eye, an made a little whine. He did. I pulled the covers down an’ he knowed I were wantin’ him to get in, an he did. I wrapped my arms around him an’ cried. I did.
It musta been after midnight when I heard some movement in the house. I knowed pa’d already be seein’ what it were about, so I kept quiet. I did. Blue raised up, an sniffed the air an’ laid back down He did. That made me ponder, cause ol’ Blue didn’t take to strangers, that is until he knowed they weren’t gonna do nobody no harm.
I knowed somethin’ were going on in the livin’ room. I did. So I got outta bed an’ opened the door. There were pa, decoratin’ a Christmas tree. He were. He saw me at the door an’ stopped what he were doin’ He did. He said, “ It’s for all of us, Ben. But mostly for your ma. She’s gone, but as long as there’s Christmas, an’ folks doin’ good, she’ll always be with us.” I didn’t say a word. I just started pickin’ up the trimmin’s an helpin’ pa finish the tree. I did.
The morning light were startin’ to break by the time we was finished. It were. Pa sat down in his big ol’ chair an’ lit his pipe. He did. Pa didn’t really smoke. But in the winter an’ on some special times, he’d knock off a bowl of Prince Albert. He would. Course, when ma were alive he’d step outside, or go down to the barn. But on Christmas, ma’d smile an’ he knowed he could sit in his chair an’ puff. He did.
Bein’s that we’d been up mosta the night, we were both sleepy, so pa put out his pipe and pushed back in his chair. He did. I laid on the couch an looked at the tree. There weren’t no presents under it, which I reckoned were all right, cause ceptin’ for the tree, it didn’t seem like Christmas. It didn’t.
Ol’ Blue heard it first an’ woke me’n pa. He were kinda growlin’ at the door. He were. It weren’t no warnin’ growl. It were more like an’ excitin’ one. It were.
Me’n pa looked out the window and saw two pick-ups and a car pullin’ up in the yard. We did. It were some womenfolk from down at the church. It were. There were Dorothea Mains an’ her boy, Harold. Ma’d cooked for them when Dorothea’s husband, Julian, were in the hospital with a ruptured appendix. She did.
Well, them folks come in with all the food me’n pa could want. They did. They said they knowed it were gonna be a sad Christmas for us an’ they wanted to make it as happy as possible. They did. An’ before they left they’d reminded me’n pa of a bunch of the nice things ma’d done for ‘em over the years. They did.
Now it were just me’n Blue. Pa were gone too. He never took to church much. But I still remember that Christmas. I do.. An’ I reckon them folks what brought us Christmas dinner helped pa to see what ma saw in the meaning of Christmas. Especially the meaning of Jesus’ love in the world. I do.
Keith
CONCERNS: Gary Overstreet is now at home after therapy. Betty Foy continues therapy at Brandon Oaks. Melanie Gentry (Alisa Flora’s sister) is still having problems with vision and balance. Marjorie Wilson, (cancer) Joni Beach’s mother and father, the Voss’s, as well as her aunt Pat Voss and a niece Jody Cole. Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert and Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas. Remember also Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her as see deals with cancer and sight loss. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (MS) Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

OUR DAILY BREAD: DEC. 21-26
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
OUR DAILY BREAD: DEC. 28-JAN 2
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

THE CHRISTMAS PARTY
We had a wonderful and fun time at this year’s Christmas party. Judy McWhorter lead the team of Erma Williams and Holly Wagner in decorating and Judy prepared the main course of roasted pork loin. Thanks to everyone who came and made the evening complete. It was especially nice to see Stacy and David Maharrey here for the party and to celebrate Jeff Forsyth’s graduation.
The occasion included the awarding of a handmade quilt made by Judy McWhorter, to Jo and Keith Wagner. It will hang in the annex until after the holiday season. The title is “Elegant”.
WEDNESDAY EVENINGS
The Wednesday evening soup supper and Bible study will not meet again until January 6 due to those who will be away and the bussiness of the season. We are in I Timothy and will continue on through the letters of Paul.
SUPER SUNDAY
Today (Sunday 12/ 20) is Super Sunday. If you missed the Christmas party you can still enjoy the tasty pork loin that was served. The leftovers were frozen and will grace the table for today’s fellowship meal. Plan to join us.
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
There will be a simple service here on Christmas Eve. As in the past, we will sing the songs and listen to the story of Jesus’ birth from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
It has also been a tradition for those who choose, to go out to eat together following the service.
STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING
Available steering committee members are asked to meet in the library after the Super Sunday meal. The budget for next year needs to be addressed.
THE POINSETTIAS
The Poinsettias in the windows will stay until after the first of the year. On January 10th they will be up for adoption.
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE
Thanks to all those who worked and cooked at the Ronald McDonald House this year. Plan to be part of it next year.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – THE WAR ON CHRISTMAS

Don’t get excited about the title. I just used it to stay contemporary. However, I do want to make some reflections.
I grew up in a church atmosphere of a war on Christmas. My family didn’t buy into it, but the preachers convinced a good number of folks that it was wrong. I’m glad my mother, who was pretty much the guide for our theology, didn’t take those preachers all that seriously.
The theological reason to be against Christmas was that it was not “authorized”. In other words the Bible didn’t say to observe the birth of Jesus, and we didn’t do anything which didn’t have chapter and verse. Or so we said.
Among the other reasons was that December 25 was linked to a pagan holiday. The Christmas tree was also a pagan symbol. So if you want to be swallowed up in anti-Christmas stuff, go on the internet. One site, the Hope of Israel Ministries was delightful. It said by rearranging the letters in Santa Claus, you can get “Satan’s Claws.” Go figure.
Now, when it came to scripture, they were loaded. The one they used which I also remembered, was Jeremiah 10:3,4, which, just for fun, I’m quoting from the Contemporary English Version. “Their religion is worthless! They chop down a tree, carve the wood into an idol, cover it with silver and gold and nail it down so it won’t fall over.” That, by the way is a very good translation of what was going on in the historical and Biblical context. Now, listen to how the HIM folks translated it. “For the CUSTOMS of the people are VAIN: for one CUTTETH A TREE out of the FOREST, the work of the hands of the workman, with an ax. They DECK IT WITH SILVER AND GOLD; they fasten it with nails and hammers, that it move not.” Coincidence? I think not!
I grew up in a city that was all white, except for “our Negroes”, two or three families near the Cincinnati boarder. Christmas scenes were all over, as well as on government property. That’s the way it was, and I liked it, especially the holiday from school and the presents under the (pagan) tree. I was actually pretty good at keeping Christ out of Christmas. Not because of any real theology, but because the religious stuff got in the way of the rest of it. Since I was part of the only true church, those (boring) local preachers who came to the school to read and tell us about Christmas, were false teachers, even if I didn’t have anything against them personally, except they were slowing me from starting my two week escape from school. I didn’t realize that the John Birch Society, in 1959, would say I was part of a communist plot. The JBS had been influenced by Henry Ford’s “The International Jew” in which he stated the Jews where plotting to take over the world and “launch a war on Christianity.” Taking Christ out of Christmas was part of the Jewish/Communist plot.
Was Christmas celebration a right, established by the founders(?) of the country? No. In fact, the Europeans who settled here were anti Christmas because of both its Catholic and pagan background. Christmas was banned in Boston from 1659-1681. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. However, in Jamestown, Captain John Smith said it was celebrated without incident.
After the American Revolution, anything English was bad, including Christmas. In fact, Congress was in session on December 25, 1779. The day wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.
So what about Christmas, with all its pagan and unauthorized trappings? Which prompts the question: Does the original meaning of something always define its use? The snake in the Garden of Eden was a bad symbol. When the snakes bit the children of Israel, Moses had a bronze snake (a graven image) made to heal them as they looked at it. Later it became an idol of sorts and had to be destroyed. Today, the snake(s) on a pole is the sign of the medical profession, but it is a pagan (Greek) symbol. Which symbol is the right one? The one at the moment, just like three( magi)wise men at manger scenes. So take the best of the Christmas season and be merry. After all, a thing is only as good as the way it is used.
Keith

CONCERNS: Gary Overstreet has had to stay in the hospital (RMH) while the fluid is drained as an aftermath of his heart surgery. Continue to remember Garrett Lee Williams friend, Hannah. Joni Beach ask’s prayers for her mother and father, as well as her niece, Jody Cole. Remember also Jim Hunter, Wayne and Susan Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard, who has cancer and blindness. Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

OUR DAILY BREAD: DEC. 7-12
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 DAILY BREAD: DEC. 14-19
Monday: John 1:5-18
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

THE CHRISTMAS PARTY
This year’s Christmas Party is on Saturday evening. There is still time to sign up. The list is on the foyer table. Remember, if you want to be involved in the fun gift exchange, bring a $5.00 or so gift. In the past we have tried to by local items rather than imported, but anything will do.
This year’s theme is An Elegant Christmas. So if you have some fancy duds, dress up and shine. But the most important thing is to come and enjoy the evening together.
The appetizers will be served about 5:30. The meal will start around 6:00.
Our thanks to Judy McWhorter and her helpers in bringing this event about. Thanks to Holly Wagner for setting up the tree and fluffing the limbs for decorations.
THE NEW ENGLAND VILLAGE
Once again Judy McWhorter as set up in the annex, her mother’s New England Village. Each year she gives a different set up. Stop by and take a look.
CONGRATULATIONS
Jeff Forsyth will graduate from the Jefferson Collage of Health Sciences with a diploma as a physician’s assistant. He and Kirissa will be relocating to Winston/Salem, North Carolina next year. So we’ll have a little more time with them and be able to express how much their worshiping with us lifted and strengthened us.
By the way, they were able to work out a month to month deal with their landlord, and appreciate how many offers they received for housing until they move.
THE BULLETIN
Due to a computer problem, (freezing) some of you who receive the bulletin locally via the mail, will notice your copy may not arrive before Sunday. As mentioned before, since Roanoke mail is now sent to Greensboro and then back, the local bulletins may not arrive before Sunday regardless. However, there are always copies on the foyer table. The out of town bulletins will be sent
BE MINDFUL
During this holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving, many of us will be traveling. This makes it harder to schedule those who serve the congregation on Sunday. Be ready to fill in and help.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 27, NO. 33&34 – SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

In today’s atmosphere of anti Muslim sentiment, have we stopped to ask this question: Where have the Muslims been all this time? Where were they in World War II, or during the cold war? Did they suddenly come on the scene out of nowhere? No. They have been around since Abraham, although not organized until Muhammad came along. He was born 570 AD but traces his linage back to Abraham through Ishmael and Esau. So there were centuries in the land of Ishmael that were preIslamic.
In the years following the arrival of Islam, a monotheistic religion which believed idolatry to be wrong, wars between the polytheistic Meccans and Muhammad’s army were fought. The Quran, written by Muhammad, became the Bible of Islam.
It is interesting that a time in the history of Muhammad, the Jews and Christians was one of mutual acceptance. However, the Jews rejected the idea that Muhammad was a prophet of God. Jews and Christians living in Muslim controlled lands were left to worship as they chose, as long as they paid their taxes. In the coming centuries the tension would increase and the well-known crusades took place, which spread over a few centuries in which millions on all sides died.
While there were battles between the Jews, Christians and Muslims, history does not record a worldwide jihad like we see today. Of course, “worldwide” did not mean then what it does now. While the battles are still religious and political, they are more ideological than territorial.
So why are there Islamic terrorists all over the world today? It is not because of the Quran or Muhammad. It is based on several social factors, and like Jews and Christians, when such factors challenge their belief, they seek a source to validate their actions. Christian extremists kill abortion doctors. In the 1970s in West Virginia, a Christian (?) blew up a bridge to keep the school busses from taking children to school where controversial books were to be used. . The cause for violence is always aggression and fear. The fear of losing something. The fear of change. That’s why Christians killed each other during the Reformation Period.
There are radical Jews, and they are seen as a pariah by other Jews, but they read the same scriptures, but do not act the same..
A radical Muslim can turn to the Quran and find justification for their hatred and anger. Radical Jews can do the same, as can Christians. It seems there are less Jews and Christians who do that than Muslim’s, but it is important to know it is the radical, fundamentalist ones who do, not all of them.
If we were to base our actions on the actions of those in the Bible, people who “heard” the word of the Lord,” we could do as they did. In the Quran 9:5, which is a seventh century book, it says, “Slay the idolaters wherever you find them, arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites.” Just the kind of thing a radical Muslim needs to validate violence.
In I Samuel 15:3, Samuel, speaking for the Lord tells King Saul, “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy them. Do not spare them: put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” You may remember that Saul spared the king as well as everything “that was good.” This brings the wrath of God upon him. Because he did not commit complete genocide, Saul has disobeyed God.
Throughout history, “Amalekite” became the “tag” for anyone believed to deserve “holy” killing. During the Middle Ages, the Catholic popes called Muslims “Amalekites” as a way to justify killing them.
According to Penn State Professor, Philip Jenkins, the Puritans (Europeans) used the I Samuel passage to justify killing native Americans, even saying not to would be disobeying God. In Rwanda in 1994, Huta preachers used I Samuel to justify the total slaughter of the Tutsi’s.
Remember Mit Romney? He’s a Mormon. Remember the anti Mormon sentiment in churches many years ago? Remember the Texas Baptist preacher who got in hot water by calling Mormonism a cult. He also said he would hold his nose and vote for Romney.
If you want, you can look for yourself at the violence in the Book of Mormon on the internet, or read the book. I have looked at the statements on the net, and I find them to be just the same as those who look at the Old Testament and insinuate that because violence is there, it has to be the way modern Jews and Christians act. This is also true with those who read the Quran and insinuate that all Muslim’s act out the violence seen there.. Do some of them? Yes.
I never heard any of the Book of Mormon’s violence mentioned during the Romney campaign. And I’m glad. I don’t know any Mormons who take the book’s violence as a directive for their lives. There may be some, but I haven’t heard of them. I’m pretty sure, despite being a Mormon, Mr. Romney received more votes from conservative Christians than did President Obama.
Scott Peck, who may or may not be considered an authority on human nature, says that fundamentalism in any form, religion, government etc., is a sign of immaturity. I would agree with that, though I might be so arrogant as t say a sign of ignorance, which is the quality of immaturity.
A truth: You find what you are looking for. If you want to find violence in the Bible, or the Quran or the Book of Mormon, you can find it. If you look for the good in those books, you will find it, as you can in all such ethical and moral documents. However, the real issue is, as Jesus said, the fruit that springs from what is read and believed. It will either be good or bad. He also said the fruit we bear would be the telltale sign of who we are. Regardless.
Keith

CONCERNS: Gary Overstreet had successful triple bypass surgery and will spend some time in rehab. Continue to remember Garrett Lee Williams’ friend, Hannah. Joni Beach’s mother and father, her aunt, Pat Voss and her niece, Jamie Cole. Also Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, Bill Albert’s son, David, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. Sandy is from the congregation where Del Bolin grew up. She has cancer and has lost her sight. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (MS) Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Mary and Jim Smit and Tim Elder.

OUR DAILY BREAD: NOV. 16-21
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
OUR DAILY BREAD: NOV. 23-28
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

SYMPATHY
As noted in last week’s order of worship, Roger Fisher’s brother, Woody, died on Monday, November, 2. He had suffered for several months with complications, including diabetes. The funeral was in West Virginia. We extend once agin our sympathy to Roger in the death of his brother.
SUPER SUNDAY
Today, Nov. 15, is Super Sunday. This was not listed in the order of worship for last Sunday, so those of you receiving this via email, please note it and plan to stay for the fellowship meal following the service
STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING
A couple of business items need to be addressed, so we will have a meeting of those steering committee members available on Sunday after the meal.
THE PRINTER
Not in time for this bulletin or the Order of Worship, a new printer will be purchased. We have been using refilled printer cartridges and the print heads may be at fault. However, in trying another one, there was no improvement. A brand new cartridge could be tried, but if that didn’t work, that cost could have been added to a new printer. So a new one will be in use by next week.
THANKS
Thanks to Scott Blessing for filling in for Keith last Sunday while they were in West Virginia. We are blessed with several talented speakers
KARISSA AND JEFF
Keep in mind that Kirissa and Jeff Forsyth need a place to stay for a few months until he finishes his training and they relocate to Winston-Salem, NC. Their lease runs out before they are ready to move. If you know of someone, or can help, let them know.
STEPHANIE DIXON
Stephanie was in Las Vagus last week presenting her research on cancer at a medical convention. The trip was paid for by both Carilion and the Jefferson School of Medical Science.
JACK THOMPSON
Jack is spending a few days visiting the Naval Academy.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 27, NO. 31&32 – REALLY?

In the most recent issue of the Christian Chronicle, there was a discussion about guns in Church. You can guess for yourself the expressed feelings. However, one Alabama preacher who was pro-guns in church, (even though he said he mostly left his Ruger locked up in his office when he preached) justified his weapon-carrying by quoting Luke 22, where Jesus said, “…and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” So with gun and scripture in hand, off he rode.
I’ve heard that scripture used that way before, along with the explanation that Jesus knew without him they would need to defend themselves with weapons, in this case, a sword. Jesus’ reason for saying that is ignored. The next words out of his mouth are: “It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” From this statement, the disciples said ,”See Lord, here are two swords.” To which Jesus said, “That is enough.” Enough for what? To protect twelve of them?! No, two were enough to fulfill the prophetic accusation that he was the leader of an insurrection, i.e., “numbered among the transgressors.”
Buy a gun. Buy twenty of them, just don’t feel you have to justify it by finding a scripture to support it.
I find it interesting that Jesus seldom quoted scripture. The one significant time he did he said , “You have heard it said of old….but now I say to you…” Of course, there are those who say Jesus was scripture. That might be, but those who heard him didn’t see it that way.
What about Paul, for example? Neither does he underline his teachings with constant scripture. He even quotes from the Greek poets. While he felt what he taught was authoritative, he never claimed everything he said was backed up by scripture. In I Corinthians 7 he says in v.12 and 25, that he doesn’t have a word from the Lord, but offers his own opinion. In v. 40 he offers his opinion and says, “…and I think that I too have the spirit of God.” Paul is not afraid to say what he believes to be God’s will, even if he has no “Thus says the Lord” to back it up.
Is scripture important? Of course. It is the foundation of our faith. It provides insight as to the nature of God, and the will of God. There’s everything good about taking a text and doing one’s best to extrapolate the meaning from it for our lives. It is another thing to make up one’s mind about what is wanted, and then go looking for scriptures to prove a predetermined outcome, and I’ve done that.
I know I’ve harped on this before, but I see it so often. A person has made a point, or is writing about a subject, and they need to validate what they have said, so they seek a scripture. Is it always wrong? No. Is it always right? No.
Let’s end with a little narrative. Someone attends worship and there is a praise team, which they believe is unscriptural. They inform someone and rather than argue, the person sets them back by asking their forgiveness, which promotes the following: “Are you going to stop using a praise team?”
“No. I just asked your forgiveness for doing so.”
“So you admit it’s wrong.”
“No. I know it offended you and I asked that you forgive us for that.”
“Forgiveness only works when there is repentance, and repentance means to stop that for which you are seeking forgiveness. Anything less than that is not Godly sorrow, as Paul says in II Corinthians 7:10. To ask forgiveness without stopping the offense is not true repentance.”
“Let me get this straight. When you sin, or whatever requires you to ask forgiveness, you always stop doing what you asked forgiveness for?”
“That’s what the Bible says.”
“So you never sin that sin again?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“But you did have Godly sorrow?”
“Yes.”
“But you will have to ask forgiveness again? True? So how is that true repentance?”
“All I know is you’re wrong.”
Keith

CONCERNS: Roger Fisher’s brother, Woody, is under hospice care. Betty Billings is dealing with shingles. Melisha Scruggs’ cousin has been declared cancer free. Remember Join Beach’s parents, and also her aunt, Pat Voss, as well as her niece, Jamie Cole. Gary Overstreet will have open heart surgery on the 5th. Also Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, Bill Albert’s son, David, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. She is from the congregation Del Bolin grew up. She has cancer and has lost her vision. Kim (Hall’s) friend Mary (MS), Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Mary and Jim Smith and Tim Elder.

OUR DAILY BREAD: NOV. 2-7
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
OUR DAILY BREAD: NOV. 9-14
Monday: Psalm46
Tuesday: John 14:1-11
Wednesday: Psalm 23
Thursday: Isaiah 26:1-4
Friday: Matthew 5:1-16
Saturday: I John 2:7-11, 15-17

OUR SYMPATHY
Sue Huel’s died on Friday, October 23 in Kingsport, Tenn. Sue was Betty Foy’s sister and Martha’s aunt. The funeral was Thursday in Richlands, VA.
On Thursday morning the 29th, James Downing’s grandfather died in Charlottesville, VA. He had been in failing health for the last few weeks.
GREAT GRANDMOTHER
Martha Albert became a great grandmother a little over a week ago. Nash Hunter was born to her grandson, Andy and his wife. They live in Alabama.
AWAY
The Wagner’s will be in West Virginia next weekend. Their granddaughter, Melanie is getting married in Huntington, WV. Keith is officiating. Melanie and her husband, Preston, will be living in Jacksonville, Fla. For the time being.
NEEDED
In case you don’t receive email, Jeff and Kirissa Forsyth need a place to stay from December 1 until they relocate to Winston-Salem at the end of February.
Their lease runs out December 1, and they need a short term place to live. If you have any ideas, let them know.
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE
We have committed to serving the evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House once a month next year. This is a special work which is enjoyed by all who are involved. It is also appreciated very much by those families who have children in the hospital, many of which come from as far away as West Virginia.
FALL BACK
If you receive this via email, don’t forget to set your clock’s back on Saturday.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 27, NO. 29&30 – ONE SIZE DOESN’T FIT ALL, EXCEPT WITH TUBE SOCKS

If you’ve decided to read this article, let me say up front that I believe there are things common to all humankind. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll use Maslow’s list. Physiological, Safety, Love-belonging, Esteem, and Self-actualization. If you want an expanded definition look them up.
However, within each of these categories there is room for individual preference. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Or, gentlemen prefer blonds but marry brunets. You get what I mean. I’m sure there have been studies done, and continuing to be done, on why certain people are attracted to other certain people, and why some are not attracted to those same people. Why do some people chose one vocation over another? Why do we see a particular talent (gift) in one child and not all the siblings? How much does DNA play in all that? So why would we almost insist that people who believe in God, particularly in the teachings of the Bible, all think and feel alike?
Are the individual qualities and desires of one person supposed to be brought in line with the qualities and desires of another? In the area of religion, or “church orthodoxy”, when one person expresses how they live their life, are all the rest supposed to live theirs the same way? Because a religious person likes football and another person thinks it is a waste of time and rather proudly says they’d rather read good books, should those who like football feel less spiritual?
While on vacation years ago, we went to a North Carolina church. We were flying blind, but I knew as soon as I saw the tract rack in the foyer, what to expect. The preacher said, for some reason perhaps known only to him, that when he had to stop his work and take the family on vacation, his idea of a vacation was too take his books and study the Bible. I felt the comment was self-serving. What eldership wouldn’t love to hear that? I thought he should be stoned for working on vacation. I also wondered how many people he made feel they had to be like him to be a super saint?
When it comes to scripture we have the same problem. Paul says he had learned to be content no matter the circumstances. There is certainly a lesson there. But what is it? If you happened to read last Sunday’s paper about the conditions under which many children in the Bristol, Va. live, would you tell them they should learn to be content, even though they do not have food to eat over the weekend? Would you tell the child who comes to school with bruises from the mother, to be content? Would you tell the mother, caught in an abusive relationship, to be content? Other passages can cause the same result, if painted on to cover a deeper issue.
When Paul talked about “modest” clothing, how many times has that been defined by someone according to their hang-ups or standards in a way which indicated those who didn’t agree were somehow sinners? How many times was the culture and the context examined to try to come close to that which Paul was referring?
How many people have read what Paul said about marriage and then defined that to fit themselves and everyone else? In so doing, they set the standard for the rest, making them feel guilty because they don’t feel the same way. I remember a woman who, with three children and a loving husband, said it was better not to be married because of what Paul said in I Cor.7.
I thought about this in the adult class last Sunday morning. Among other things, we talked about forgiveness. A visitor pointed out (as he understood it) that unless we forgive, God would not forgive us. Of course, we all knew the scripture to which he was referring. In my warped mind I was thinking, “Then we’re all in a heap of trouble!” If you think always forgiving others exactly as one should, and of course, asking forgiveness, cleans the slate, what need is there of grace?
Abraham Sirgy said, “What is forgiveness?” The discussion turned to the Amish people who forgave the man who murdered their children in a Pennsylvania town. But Abraham’s question is necessary, what is forgiveness?
In the irony of life, that evening, on 60 minutes, there was a segment about Glenn Ford, a black man freed after thirty years of solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit. The focus was on the prosecutor, Marty Stroud, who tried him. Stroud now says he did it to boost his ego, and that critical evidence was not checked.. He said they even laughed at how easy the case would be. He now sees it as a hole in his life that can never be filled, and it could be seen on his face. A year after Ford was released, he died of lung cancer. No treatment or compensation was awarded him. In the days before Ford died, Stroud went to him and asked his forgiveness for the callous injustice he’d inflicted upon him. Ford refused. You can judge him if you like. Quoting a scripture might even help you make that judgement, but be sure you know what you would do if you were him.
What is forgiveness? Is it a one size fits all? No. Forgiving someone who bumps into you is not the same as forgiving the one who raped and murdered your child. We all know that. Someone who asks forgiveness is much different from someone who says they don’t want or care about receiving it.
I think forgiveness is multifaceted. When we are on the receiving end, we want one size fits all. “You have to forgive me because I asked, and you’re a Christian, and if you don’t God won’t forgive you ever, until you do!” It’s even harder on the giving end.
No one doubts that forgiveness is a healthy thing. But I don’t have a simple, clear-cut answer as to what forgiveness is. What I think I know is amid all the complexities and psychological makeups of humankind, one-sized answers only leave us feeling hopeless and helpless. Maybe it falls into Paul saying to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. . Maybe. Keith

CONCERNS: We’ve learned that Whit Robertson’s brain cancer is now terminal and he is under hospice care. Whit is the teenage son of a good friend of Leena Bolin. They ask prayers that he not suffer. Alisa’s sister, Melanie Gentry will be seeing a specialist soon about her vision and balance problems. Betty Foy was unable to be out and about due to headaches. Her sister, and Martha’s aunt, Sue Huels, is very ill. Hannah, Garrett Lee’s friend, has had something of a relapse with the leukemia and is at Duke. Melisha Scruggs cousin, Autumn, is being treat for brain cancer. Joni Beach’s mother, Betty Voss, as well as her father, are dealing with declining health issues. Joni also asks pray for her aunt, Pat Voss, and her niece, Jamie Cole. Sandy Blanchard is from Del Bolin’s home congregation and is fighting cancer and has lost her sight. Gary Overstreet had open heart surgery on Thursday at RMH. Remember also Woody Fisher, Roger’s brother, Jim Hunter, The
Phlegars, Jim and Mary Smith, Bill Albert’s son, David, Lee Nicklas, Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (MS) Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Tim Elder and Del Bolin as he finishes his medical work in Honduras

OUR DAILY BREAD: OCTOBER 19-24
Monday: Exodus 14:10-31
Tuesday: Isaiah 2:1-14
Wednesday: Romans 14:1-9
Thursday: John 5:1-18
Friday: Genesis 4:1-18
Saturday Psalm 146:1-10
OUR DAILY BREAD: OCTOBER 26-31
Monday: John 1:35-51
Tuesday: Revelation 1:4-20
Wednesday: I Corinthians 6:7-20
Thursday: Luke 17:11-19
Friday: Philippians 2:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 98:1-9

NEW BABY
Late congratulations to Connie Crites on becoming a grandmother again. Mya Maurer was born to Kelly and Geoff on September 23. The boys are getting use to having a sister in the house.
CONGRATULATIONS
Congratulations to Nick Bolin for making the dean’s list at Virginia Tech. Actually, Nick has made it every year since he started, but this was the first time the local paper published the list.
SUPER SUNDAY
Today is Super Sunday. Among the goodies we will enjoy at the meal will be some of the pork and beef which was frozen after the Bar B Que the last of September. Those of you who were unable to attend, be sure to give it a try
THE PEAKS OF OTTER
Today is also the day some of us go to the Peaks Of Otter for a hike, if you are among the young at heart, and a picnic.
As always, if you are riding the bus, be sure to get there as early as possible. The tickets sell out quickly if the weather is nice. It looks to be sunny and in the mid fifties, but remember, it is cooler up there.
We had twenty-one folks sign up for the picnic, however, if you didn’t and want to join us, please do so.
THANKS
Thanks to Susan Jordan for telling us of her experiences at the Ezell Clinic. Her love of going and helping with the medical work done there by Health Talents has inspired others to plan to go with her next year.
ALSO
Thanks to all of you who have prepared the Sunday evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House lately.
CHEF JEFF
If you don’t get the local paper, the Extra section in Wednesday’s edition featured our own Chef Jeff Bland. It was a great article about Jeff’s accomplishments as well as his choice of a healthy lifestyle that not only produced significant weight loss, but in his view, saved his life.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 27, NO. 27&28 – TO WHOM DOES GOD BELONG?

The obvious answer is “No one.” The answer for some is, “A chosen few.”
Every Sunday (I think) the local paper asks a religious question of local (I think) clergy. Last week’s was if Christians and Muslims worshiped the same God. They also try to get two different views on the asked question.
One guy said “No”. Then he began to point out the differences between Jesus and the teachings of Islam. That was not the question. However, in his answer he defined “Christian” as those who believed, among other things, in the trinity, even saying that to deny the trinity, (an unbiblical term) was to deny Christ and therefore the loss of salvation. I did notice, since I had the feeling that he was of the opinion that the Jewish nation was still the “apple of God’s eye”, that he didn’t say the Jews worshiped a different God because they denied the trinity and Jesus as Messiah altogether. Neither did he start with Abraham, the place where both Jews and Muslims start their faith.
When it comes to who worships the “right” God, it becomes more philosophical than theological. In other words, we make God fit our image of God, as have people from time immortal.
A way to answer the Biblical question of who owns God, would be to ask if the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees worshiped the same God as did Jesus? Did Paul worship the same God as did Jesus? The answer is obviously “yes”. If believing in the trinity is a matter of salvation, why didn’t the Jews have such a doctrine? Was their understanding and interpretation of God’s will the same as Jesus’ and Paul’s? Obviously, “No”.
The question is not whether there are different Gods, but how God is perceived. By the way, some Muslims say Christians worship three Gods because of the idea of the trinity, whereas they only worship the God of Abraham. I’m not sure what the preacher would have said if the question was, “Do Christians who worship Theos, (the New Testament Greek word for God) worship the same Allah, (the Arabic name for God) as the Muslims? And is that the same God (Yahweh, YHWH) of the Jews?” And, is “God” (from the Germanic) the only valid name of all those other names?
I think it would be safe to say that among the world’s major religions, the philosophical traits of the one known as “God”, at the center, would be that God belongs to everyone and everything. Or as Paul would say, “Who is over all and through all and in all.” Eph. 4:6 Which would parallel Luke 6:35, “But love your enemies…Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.” Matthew, in the same context, says, “He causes his sun to rise on the good and the evil and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteousness.”
When I was looking up these passages on the internet, (it’s quicker than using my trusty concordance) I found people taking issue with whether God loved the wicked, and quoted scripture to back it up.
Is God the God of “all flesh”? Of course. Coming from a Biblical background, the heart of the Bible is that God is the source of everything. Upon the arrival of Abraham, the Bible follows his decedents and the promise made to him. However, a promise was also made to Ishmael, and the Muslim people’s history follows him.
The Bible centers on Abraham and Isaac’s decedents. Therefore, it is no surprise that the idea of who God is, is based on the relationship of the Hebrews to God. However, there are places in the Old Testament where the idea that God is the God of all flesh can be seen. Moses has no trouble marrying a Midianite and Cushite. In Amos 9:7 it says, “Are not you Israelites the same to me as the Cushites?” declares the Lord. Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?”
Regardless the “God”, what is seen in the life of the follower reveals the nature of the God they worship. The God of Jesus can be seen in what he said and did. The same is true in the Christian and anyone else.
Keith

CONCERNS: Alisa Flora’s sister, Melanie Gentry is much improved at this time. Melisha Scruggs cousin, Autumn, is being treated for brain cancer. Keep in prayer Joni Beach’s parents ,especially her mother, Betty Voss. Also Joni’s aunt, Pat Voss, and her niece, Jamie Cole. Roger Fisher’s brother, Woody, Jim Hunter, The weather has caused those effected by it to suffer aches and pains. Among them, Susan and Wayne Phlegar and Scott Blessing. Remember Bill Albert’s son, David, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. She is from the congregation where Del Bolin grew up. She is fighting cancer and has also lost her sight. Kim (Hal’s) friend, Mary, Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum, her friend, Sean and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD:
Monday: Psalm 16:1-11
Tuesday: Matthew 20:1-16
Wednesday: Amos 3:12-4:5
Thursday: Hebrews 10:19-39
Friday: Ephesians 5:3-20
Saturday: Psalm 148:1-14
OUR DAILY BREAD:
Monday: I Peter 1:12-25
Tuesday: Psalm 95:1-11
Wednesday: Matthew 14:13-33
Thursday: Romans 12:9-21
Friday: I Timothy 1:12-2:7
Saturday: Psalm 116:1-19

THE BAR B QUE
Thank you to all those who came out and helped prepared the meat from the Bar B Que. Even though it rained off and on all day, the pork, beef and chicken turned out great. We prepared it differently this year and from the amount eaten we seem to have arrived with a plan for next year. Also, thank Jeff Bland for getting the pork and beef for us.
MOVING
Jim and Mary Smith have sold their home in Goodview and will be moving into The Glebe this week. This will bring them closer to Roanoke, their doctors and other confidences. The Glebe is an independent living facility in the Daleville area.
FROM CONNIE CRITES
To all of my dear church family
Where do I begin? You have loved us, cared for us, supported us, prayed with and for us over these last 2 1/2 years of Rich’s illness. Every card, call, visit, offer of food, and encouraging word has meant so much.
Peace and comfort came from knowing Rich suffers no more and is in the arms of Jesus.
Bless all of you for your many expressions of love and kindness.
IT’S OCTOBER
October is the month we have the Peaks of Otter Hike and Picnic. We need to plan now as to how many are interested in going. Of course, as we age, less of us are hiking, or riding the bus. But those who don’t have enjoyed the picnic time together as we see the fall colors start to emerge.
The sign-up list will be out soon so the interest in this event can be assessed.
It will be after the Super Sunday meal on October 18.
EZELL CLINIC REPORT
Susan Jordan has been out of town for several weekends and has been unable to tell us about her week at the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala. As soon as she has the time she will once again share her experiences with us.
LAST CALL
Next Sunday there will be a correction list for the new directory. If you see something on your page that is incorrect, write it down and give it to Keith.

“NEW LIFE” BULLEIN – VOL. 27, NO. 25&26 – THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT IN ROANOKE

“NEW LIFE” BULLEIN-Sept. 20, 2015
VOL. 27, NO. 25&26 THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT IN ROANOKE
On Friday, September 4, at 5:00 P.M. a violent thunderstorm passed through Roanoke, dropping quarter to pea-sized hail across the Roanoke valley. Some parts lost power. Among them was the home of Richard and Connie Crites. Richard had just arrived home on Wednesday. He’d been in a nursing facility after fighting cancer for three years. Thursday was a good day, but on Friday it was hard to tell if he was awake. At 10:25 that night, he took his last breath. Connie, Kirsten and I were with him.
It is almost symbolic that the lights went out the night Richard died. Richard was a light to all who knew him, and for all of us who loved him, a light in our life went out that night.
Rich came from a typical Church of Christ background. You went to church because that’s what Church of Christ people do. You knew what you were supposed to think and do. If you showed up and had your ticket punched, checked off the list of dos and don’t, you went to heaven. He was faithful to this concept for much of his life.
When his first wife decided marriage was not for her, it crushed Rich. No one in his family had suffered a divorce. It was a very low point in his life. However, even though his first wife moved away, Rich still did things for her parents until they died.
In the mystery that is life, he and Connie found each other here at church and began a life together that all who knew them recognized was meant to be.
Even if Rich hadn’t seen it yet, others saw his potential as a servant of God. Not long after his marriage to Connie, he began to think about relationship with God, rather than “checking off the list.”
Those who knew him from the time he arrived in Roanoke, right out of college, to teach Biology at Virginia Western Community College, all saw the change in him. What they saw was a man of integrity, love, service and grace. One can only wonder what he might have been had he not had the experiences that led him and Connie to become the inspiration to others that they were. Both having previous marriages, they became the source of strength to those who needed guidance in starting marriage over.
Rich cherished what marriage to Connie and his place in her daughters lives gave him. The compassion and goodness he’d learned as a little boy, made him a trusted husband, father, friend and teacher.
For a short time in the early 90s while we served as two of three elders, I noticed something special about Rich. He had his ego under control. For a short time there was just the two of us serving as elders. If someone came to me to talk about something, and not him, he was fine with that. The same went for me. If we felt that a confidence wouldn’t be broken, we’d ask each other for help. So often egos get involved in leadership which defeats the process. However, even after he and I resigned and the direction of the church became the function of the steering committee, as well as the congregation, he was still seen as the leader. In fact, more folks turned to him than me, for which I was grateful. You can’t imagine the trivia that occupies some folks mind.
Rich was a reluctant leader. If you know your Bible, most significant prophets and leaders did not believe they were. That’s one of the wonderful things about transformation. It just happens. Of course, in most cases there is a foundation laid. Rich would talk about how his mother was the spiritual leader in their home. He talked about hearing her sing hymns as she worked around the house. This, along with his father’s work ethic laid the foundation for Richard’s life.
Every minister’s family has people in each congregation they serve who, in some way, becomes a place of refuge. These are people who draw you into their lives and make yours better. I could list all of their names from the first church to the present, but none was better than Rich and Connie. Their home, as well as several others, became a place where the church family was often invited. Beyond those occasions were those which involved Jo and me. Invitations to dinner theaters, the Lime Kiln Theater, Mount Rogers and White Top, just to mention a few.
There was also the times it would just be Rich and I. Sometimes up on the Blue Ridge Parkway or at Arcadia, where he would introduce me to all kinds of growing specimens. But mostly we’d talk.
He was a guy from the farm. I was a guy from the city who had left the farm at five years old. But we both never forgot the smell of corn, clover, livestock and the distinct smell of leaves and corn stocks in the fall.
For a number of years before he was no longer able, he was the church treasurer, On Mondays after he retired from teaching, he would come by the office and pay bills. If there were none, we talked about anything and everything that came to our minds.
Beyond the church, countless of his students have praised his personal concern and help in achieving their educational goals. Among those he influenced were the folks at Famous Anthony’s. Restaurant. Even though he hadn’t been able to eat there for some time, at least two of the women wait staff came to the viewing to pay their respects.
Around his neighborhood, Rich was like State Farm, he was there; with a snow shovel, a chain saw, whatever it took as a good neighbor. The world is a little dimmer without him.
At his memorial service he had the last word, and this is what he said: “ I want to thank all of you for allowing me to come into your life. It has been a privilege! As your friend, mentor, teacher, parent husband or family member, I wish you well. I have lived a full life. For each of you, I would urge that you immerse yourself in the love of God and His Son. There is nothing more Valuable in this world. Walking with Them is a wonderful trip.”
Amen.
Keith
CONCERNS: Melisha Scruggs’ cousin, Autumn, is being treated for cancer. Mary Smith spent a few days in the hospital in order to regulate her heart medicine. Roger Fisher’s brother, Woody is still under nursing care. A friend of Betty Shepherd is recovering from an assault. Melanie Gentry is showing some improvement after being in the hospital in Birmingham, Ala. Remember Joni Beach’s mother, Betty, as well as her father and aunt, Pat Voss, and also her niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter is about the same. Also Wayne Phlegar, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, and Bill Albert’s son, David. Former member, Betty Shepherd’s condition has stabilized for the time being. Betty Foy’s sister, Sue Huels is very ill. Continue to pray for Sandra Anderson, Gil Shepherd, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum, her friend, Sean, and Tim Elder.

OUR DAILY BREAD: SEPT. 21-26
Monday: II Thess. 1:2-12
Tuesday: Matthew 1:18-25
Wednesday: John 2:1-11
Thursday: I Thess 1:2-10
Friday: II Timothy 2:2-13
Saturday: Isaiah 40:1-11
OUR DAILY BREAD: SEPT. 28-OCT.3
Monday: Matthew 2:1-12
Tuesday Matthew 2:13-33
Wednesday: Genesis 31:36-50
Thursday: Acts 9:19-31
Friday: Psalm 122:1-9
Saturday: Psalm 140:1-13

SUPER SUNDAY
Today (September 20) is Super Sunday. Several of our folks are out of town, but be sure to stay after the service and enjoy the fellowship meal.
THE BAR B QUE
We have rescheduled the Bar B Que for the last Saturday of this month, which is this coming Saturday. If you were unable to sign up for the first date, don’t worry, there will be plenty of chicken, pork and beef. However, if you did sign up and will not be able to attend, let Keith know.
This time together will honor Rich Crites, who loved the Bar B Que’s and enjoyed preparing the cooked meat for all of us to eat. This will be a time when we can all be together, since it was not feasible to
do so after his memorial service.
Since it is a little later in the month we may not have to worry about the heat and can enjoy the approaching fall weather.
STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING
We need to have a brief steering committee meeting after the Super Sunday meal for all those members who are available. We will meet in the library.
NEW SUNDAY MORNING CLASS
Del Bolin has started a new study in the Sunday morning Adult class. He will be leading the discussion involving the qualities of the Christian life and the Biblical scriptures which apply.
LP RECORDS
Many of you know that in cleaning out Walker Slusher’s house there are many Long Play record albums ranging for Big Bands, Broadway tunes, Symphonies, and classical, as well as some popular songs from decades ago. Some of them are temporarily stored under the pews in the annex. If you enjoy “wax” stop by and pull out a box or two and take a look. Some will be sold to a dealer, and the rest given to thrift stores in the area. ALSO: Walker seemed to collect lamps. If you would like to look and see if you could use one or two, see Keith about going in the house.
In the next week or so the immigration people will come and get what they can use as they settle people in Roanoke who have come to this area and country to start new lives after leaving disrupted countries in the world.