Bimonthly Bulletin


Paul Simon’s song, “Mother and Child Reunion” starts with the lines, “No I would not give you false hope, on this strange and mournful day.”
Simon said the title came from the name of a Chinese dish of chicken and eggs by the same name. What the song actually meant has been a source of speculation.
However, the idea of false hope is an intriguing subject. Is there “false hope”? On one hand, it seems that hope is based on the desires of the moment. Are such desires to be brushed aside? Do we not hope against hope? Yes.
On the other hand, can there be false hope based on a faulty understanding of the source of that hope?
While visiting Rich Crites in the hospital, I saw a man go in and out of a room who looked familiar. I since think I know where I’ve seen him, because he is in a place frequented by the public.
One day as I was getting on the elevator to leave the hospital, he also got on. He asked if I was visiting family or a friend. “A friend,” I said. I asked him the same question. He said it was his wife. I asked how she was doing and he said she had multiple problems. I said I was sorry to hear that, and that was about the time we reached the ground floor. As he exited, he said, “She will be all right. We have claimed the gift of healing.” Which, as I understand it, means they had laid a claim on God, or Jesus, and the therefore, the wife will be healed. I thought of the lines from Paul Simon’s song.
Why do I feel that way? It is not because hope should not be part of he and his wife’s lives. It is because somewhere, somehow, someone taught them they could claim a “gift” and it would be so. As I read the Bible, I don’t find that. I do find those who healed, and sometimes the word “gift” was within the context. On the other hand, in Luke, when Jesus sent out his disciples he just told them to heal the sick. In Matthew it says he gave them authority to heal and cast out demons. I’m not sure “authority” means he gave them the gift of healing, but it might. Even at that, it seems it wasn’t a solid thing because none of them could heal the boy while Jesus was being transfigured. (Mark 9) A search of the New Testament will find scant references to healing beyond the gospels.
Why would healing be, without a doubt, the most sought after gift to claim? Because the problem of illness is the most universal malady there is. No one is immune. Illness also leads to death, and death, Paul says is the last enemy.
In reading through Acts on Wednesday evenings, we came to the part where Paul and his companions were in a violent storm off the coast of Malta. In Acts 27: 20, Luke writes, “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” Of course, they were not lost at sea, but Luke says “we finally gave up hope of being saved.” Who is the “we”? Was it Paul as well as Luke and the others? Yes. Even Paul. He had said before the journey started that they would all be lost. In 27:10 he said, “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.”
Remember, in Acts 23:11 it says, “The Lord stood near Paul and said, ‘Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” Paul never says he will not die on the way because he “claimed” the vision of the Lord that he would stand in Rome. In fact, he accepts the fact that he could die on the way, hence his comment to the commander about the disaster that lay ahead if they set sail.
Even though Paul had a divine commission to preach the gospel of inclusion to the Gentiles, he never felt he could claim the gift of safety. In II Corinthians 1:8 Paul writes that in Asia it was so bad that “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.”
Again, they survived, and Paul said it was to make them trust God more. But the point is, Paul, even though he had a personal commission to do what he was doing, never used that as some claim that God had to keep him alive.
Anyone who reads the Bible knows that the randomness of life presents constant inquiries. The Psalms are full of such questions. The book of Job addresses the problem. And each examination ends with some kind of an answer that is not a complete answer, because the question is asked again and again. It is a question that will be asked as long as time.
I hope the man’s wife recovers. I also know that while he said they had claimed the gift of healing, the very fact that she is in a hospital being treated by doctors, means he believes that “claim” needs some help. So I understand, except I hope he doesn’t feel God did not honor the “claim” and let them down if she dies. Since I don’t know their name, that’s something I may never know, or need to.
What those who believe in God know, is when things happen over which we have no control, we want God to control it for us. I don’t think that is offensive to God. I think it is to be expected. The danger in that is when God has to do what we ask, or claim. In saying that I’m not about to explain why God does or doesn’t do what we ask. Any attempt I’d make at that would fall short, way short. Each of us has to wade through that on our own. Each one of us has to find a hope, or a strength to stand on. What works for one person will not work for the other. Although absorbing their hopes into our lives may help us find our own “rock” on which to cling.
One thing I know, or am pretty sure I know, is putting a claim on God, no matter how many scriptures someone may quote, doesn’t make it so. I think Jesus knew that when he asked, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.”
Keith

CONCERNS: Rich Crites will be in rehab at Raleigh Court Health and Rehab, room 119 while he rebuilds his strength. Roger Fisher’s brother, Woody Fisher, is in failing health. Debra McRoy’s cousin, Harold Tidwell, has stage 4 brain cancer as well as heart problems. Larry Foy’s brother fell and is not doing well. Jim Hunter is still having issues related to diabetes. Former member, Betty Shepherd’s kidney’s have failed and she needs a transplant. T. J. Hall is still having problems getting his blood pressure regulated. Wayne Phlegar has been unable to get out lately. Remember Bill Albert’s son, David

OUR DAILY BREAD: JUNE 22-27
Monday: Matthew 22:1-22
Tuesday: Colossians 1:21-2:7
Wednesday: John 6:52-71
Thursday: Romans 7:1-12
Friday: Matthew 23:1-22
Saturday: Psalm 114:1-8

OUR DAILY BREAD: JUN. 29-JULY 4
Monday: Matthew 22:23-40
Tuesday: John 2:13-25
Wednesday: Proverbs 3:1-18
Thursday: Jonah 2:1-10
Friday: Matthew 23:23-39
Saturday: Psalm 127:1-5

NEW LIFE
On Sunday evening, June 7th, Margaret (Maggie) Foy was baptized into Christ here at the building.
It is always wonderful to see the children of parents who have taught their children, as well as the children being exposed to and taught by their church experience, respond to the love and grace of God.
CONGRATULATIONS
Congratulations to John Bolin, who was elected Hidden Valley High School’s senior class president for the 2015-16 school year.
CONSTRUCTION
As you can see, the construction of the sidewalk by the city in front of our property, while cutting into some of the parking spaces, has provided us with two redone entrances to the parking lot.
According to the contractor, they will be relining the parking area so as too not reduce our parking, at least by too many spaces.
PHOTOS FROM THE GRADUATION BANQUET
James Downing took and posted pictures from the graduation banquet. If you would like to see them, go to our web site: ronokechurchofchrist.com Thanks James and to all who made it a wonderful evening with food and fun.
THANKS
You may or may not have noticed that the back pew on the side toward the hill has been shortened so that it lines up with the rest. When we developed the handicapped restroom we also had to widen the area from the handicapped parking area door in front of the cry room. This meant the removal on one short pew and adjusting the other, which did not match the alignment of the rest. Jim White has taken care of that.
We will also replace the short pew that was originally there with a shorter version. Thanks Jim!
SUPER SUNDAY
Today is Super Sunday. It is also Father’s Day. Stay and treat dad to a meal.

I don’t usually quote a scripture to start an article. It seems to some if a scripture is quoted it adds authenticity to what follows. That may or may not be true.
In Amos 7:12 it says: “Then Amaziah said to Amos, ‘Get out you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there.’”
It seems Amos was sticking his nose where some folks felt it didn’t belong. Jesus did that. During the last three years of his life, every time he entered Jerusalem for Passover, he was seen by the religious leaders as someone who should go back to Galilee and preach there. Why? Because he was being seen more and more as a potential Messiah.
Before I journey into the land of imagination, I need to point out that not only does Amaziah tell Amos to go back where he came from, but he accuses him of doing it for money. “Earn your bread there…”
Imagine the elders and the chief priests in Jerusalem getting together as Passover approaches. “The Nazarene is coming again this year. My friend in Galilee sent word that he and his followers are gaining in number. There is talk that he will make his move against the Romans this year.”
“What makes anyone in their right mind believe a divided kingdom such as ours can defeat the whole Roman world?”
“The scriptures say the Lord will give the anointed one the victory. He can call down heavenly angels.’”
“You mean like when the Maccabees’s drove out the Seleucids?”
“Well, you have to admit they changed things. They reestablished our religion back to as close to its original form as possible.”
“Right. So what’s the problem? The Romans may own the world, but they leave us alone as long as we pay the taxes and keep the peace.”
“The key word there is peace. If the Romans get wind of a possible revolution they will be on us like flies on a carcass. That’s why we need to do something if he comes to town and stirs up trouble.”
“I heard he snuck into town last Passover. What was that about?”
He could have been casing the place in order to decide on a plan of attack. We know he stays in Galilee the rest of the time.”
“It’s always someone from Galilee. Why doesn’t this Jesus fellow stay in Galilee? Why stick his nose in our business? We are the religious leaders”
“Well, he is seen as a faithful Jew and a rabbi as well. Coming to the temple for Passover is a sign of his devotion to God.”
“Not everyone who comes to Passover is devout. Look at your brother!”
“Let’s not get personal! We could talk about your daughter’s divorce. Our problem is the people. They have either seen him say and do things that are Messianic, or they have heard the rumors about what he appears to have done. They may force him to become a Messiah.”
One of the scholar/scribes piped up with a disturbing bit of history. “He is also called a prophet. Remember Amos? He tried to tell the king reforms needed to be put in place and Amaziah, the high priest told him to go back home and keep his nose out of their business. Do we want to be guilty of killing a prophet of God?”
“Anybody can say they are a prophet! And, by the way, when did anybody ever listen to a prophet? Read Amos again.”
“But what if they had listened to him? Wouldn’t things have been better?”
“We’ll never know. What we do know is we can’t beat Rome, even if we wanted to, and God never sent angels to help in any of the past wars.”
“So, what’s our plan. What if he comes in quietly, as he has in the past?”
“Even when he comes in quietly, when the people hear he is in town, it gets pretty noisy. All we can do is see what happens. If he stirs up any trouble we’ll have to take action.”
“What do you think would happen if we got the Romans to see him as a danger to the peace? Maybe they would crucify him for us.”
“I would rather sit down and talk with him and see what his plans are. If he’s planning a revolt, maybe we could convince him to stay in Galilee. If he starts a revolt there, we can keep our hands clean.”
I’ve taken you on this little imaginary journey to ask a question: How many times in history has a person, or persons, been told to keep their nose out of something and go back where they came from, who actually became the catalyst for meaningful change?
Looking at the life of Paul, how many times was he seen as a troublemaker by the Jews when he preached to the Gentiles?
How many of the great religious reformers were imprisoned or killed because they stuck their nose in where people said it didn’t belong.? The list is as long as history.
Are there people in every situation who have no agenda for good, but are simply trouble makers? Of course. On the other hand, think how many times in history it was the so-called trouble makers who stuck their nose in where they were told it didn’t belong, who changed the history of religion and human rights. You can almost be sure when you hear someone say, “Everything would be fine if he (or she) would just keep their nose out of it” that the issue is something which needs attention, and that it will take as many “nose stickers” as possible to resolve it in a meaningful way. .
Like Amaziah, the priest in Amos’ time, and those who saw Jesus as a threat, too often we Christians do not look like Amos, Jesus, Paul and the others. We look like the ones who saw them as intruders. You never can tell when a prophet of God may stick their nose in where it does belong.
Keith
CONCERNS: Jim Hunter was admitted to Roanoke Memorial on Monday. He had an episode similar to a mild stroke. He has recovered well from that, but had surgery on his foot on Thursday. Still on the concerns list are Debbie McRoy’s sister-in law, Ellen Tidwell, and Debbie and Buster’s daughter-in law, Deana. Her cancer has been in remission, but is a very aggressive kind. Bill Albert’s son, David, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum and Tim Elder. T.J. Hall is having health issues and will see another doctor soon. Both of the Phlegars have been under the weather since returning from their trip.

OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 18-23
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
OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 25-30
Monday: John 17:1-26
Tuesday: Revelation 19:1-16
Wednesday: Luke 16:19-31
Thursday: Matthew 19:16-30
Friday: I Corinthians 10:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 106:1-48

OUR GRADUATES
This year we have several levels of persons achieving graduate degrees. For some of them, these are steps along the way to possible other degrees. From Cave Spring High School is Garrett Lee Williams . Melisha Scruggs became a Certified Nursing Assistant. Laura Abbot (Branch) Hogan received an Associate of Arts Degree from Virginia Western. Stephanie Dixon received a Nursing Degree from the Jefferson Collage of Health Sciences.
We want to do our best to honor all these graduates at an upcoming date when they can all attend. As soon as it can be set we will announce it via the Sunday handout and email. It will be on a Sunday evening.
SUPER SUNDAY
Today (May 17) is Super Sunday. These fellowship meals bring us together in ways our busy world makes harder and harder. Plan to stay and enjoy the fellowship.
STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING
The steering committee will meet in the library after the Super Sunday meal.
They will be looking at some ideas for improvements in areas of our worship together, such as reconditioning the baptistry.
SPRING CLEAN-UP
One of the things the steering committee will discuss are possible dates for us to do trimming and brush clearing above the handicapped parking lot. That area has needed attention for a long time. Our hard work has made the annex yard look much better.
The shrubs in front and around the building also need attention. There is also a little bit of inside things to be done. A cabinet needs to be hung above the toilet in the upstairs restroom, and there is some work to be done on a pew or two.. This can be done in stages, but we need to get started.
THANKS
Thanks to Holly Wagner, Jack Thompson and Mary Willa Foy for preparing the Sunday evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House.

I receive a journal of sorts, and when I read it I feel like I’m reading a foreign language. Its approach to understanding scripture is familiar, but so foreign than mine. A most recent one was filled with why women shouldn’t be seen as equals in church. I wasn’t surprised when I read that Jesus never appointed a woman apostle, as if that sealed the issue. Jesus never appointed a Gentile apostle either. So, what does that mean? Nothing.
Don’t think I’m going on a scripture quoting spree. I believe that is a waste of time. In every issue involving human rights, scripture shooters have held their lines and shot scriptures across the bow at each other. It is always serious, even getting some people killed.
One thing about getting old is that you have a history, it fact, you are history! Before I was born, scripture shooters fired barrages at each other about women’s suffrage, you know, the right for women to vote. What caused suffrage to happen? A force that has never been defeated, human progress and reason. Of course one scripture shooter’s side claimed victory, but the battle was not won there.
I can remember when the man was the divinely chosen head of the family. The wife, or even women, were to be in complete submission to the men around them. I can remember a wedding I attended where the officiant told the bride that her husband had been given authority over her by God, and that she should never correct him, that God would do it. I prayed the two, bright, intelligent couple wouldn’t listen to such drivel! Of course, there were scriptures to support it.
I remember when preachers preached that a woman’s place was in the home, and if she entered the workplace it was not God’s purpose for her and they had scriptures to prove it, In fact, they had more than did the opposition. But guess who won?
Anybody remember integration? Remember the scriptures used to support segregation? How about that “curse of Ham” thing? Throwing Bible bombs at each other didn’t solve it. What did? The greatest power known to man. Victor Hugo said it, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
I remember when Christian Barnard transplanted the first heart in the 1960s. In a chaplain’s seminar we were asked to debate the moral and religious implications. There was a lot more scriptures against it, than for it. You know, “As a man thinks in his heart” and how evil comes from the heart. And we even talked about the possibility of brain transplants. Talk about a moral dilemma! But when I talk about that seminar today, younger people laugh that it was even an issue.
In the 70’s the “role” of women in the church surfaced. It floundered for a while, and then took off. The scripture throwers are still at it, but most young folks see it as nonissue. Why? You know what I’m going to say. The quoting of scripture will not do it, anymore then it did the other issues of equality and human rights. Time thankfully marches on, and so does human development and understanding.
Today, the issue of marriage equality. Scripture is being thrown by both sides. Articles and books are written. Sermons are preached. A recent article in the local paper said since Jesus came to fulfil the Law, all of the Old Testament was still in effect. Problem solved!
Just as all the other human rights issues were not solved by tossing scriptural hand grenades, neither will this one. It will be settled one way or the other and the world will not end.
There are still people who think women are inferior, should stay in the kitchen, not do the same jobs as men and receive the same pay. There are still people who believe in discrimination, no interracial marriage, and all kinds of discrimination; and, scripture will still be tossed around. However, as the rolling tide of time goes on, we may learn better how to love each other and treat each other as we would want to be treated. We’ve done it before.
Keith

CONCERNS: Rich Crites is recovering from a broken arm. Jim Hunter is having cancer treatment and his diabetes is also an issue. Leena Bolin’s aunt’s husband has died. Keep “Aunt Betty” in your prayers. Debbie McRoy’s sister-in law, Ellen Tidwell, is being treated for heart problems. Bill Albert’s son, David remains about the same. Lee Nicklas, Leena Bolin’s aunt has leukemia. Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder and Mary Smith. As you pray, remember all those in the Nepal earthquake.

OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 4-9
Monday: John 1:1-18
Tuesday: Luke 18:1-4
Wednesday: I Corinthians 1:3-11
Thursday: II Corinthians 5:1-8
Friday II Corinthians 1:23-2:11
Saturday: Psalm 97:1-12
OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 11-16
Monday: Mark 14:26-42
Tuesday: Acts 1:1-14
Wednesday: Psalm 43:1-11
Thursday: Acts 5:17-32
Friday: Hebrews 2:10-18
Saturday: Psalm 107:1-43

RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE VOLUNTEERS
Those of you who have volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House are invited to a picnic and ball game at the Salem Red Sox Stadium on May 12th. The gates open at 6:00 PM. The number attending must be turned in by the 5th, so let Keith or Martha Albert know today. Also, don’t forget to save all the pull tabs from cans. These are a vital resource of funds for the house. Also: We have received a thank you card from the house for our volunteers.
A FURTHER NOTE
Concerning Jenni Cullum’s move: Jenni has moved to Bliley Manor, which is a group home for adults with brain injuries. This enables her to be with people all the time who have experienced brain injuries. It allows her the freedom and independence she has wanted. Her phone # in the last bulletin was wrong. It should be 804-840-3724.
CONGRATULATIONS
Stephanie Dixon will be “pinned” this Thursday at 4:00 PM at the Scottish Rite Masonic Lodge, 622 West Campbell Ave. The Graduation ceremony will be on Friday, May 8th, 9:30 AM at the Elmwood Amphitheater on Jefferson Ave. She would love to see anyone who can come.
Stephanie’s journey has been of interest to us because it was after a trip to the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala, she decide to start on a new path and become a nurse.
We also are thinking of other graduates and are planning a time together to honor all of the. More details later
BEN HAS MOVED
Ben Robertson has moved into the house in the Glenvar area. His address, when all settled in, will be 3508 Gene St.,Salem, VA 24153. Several folks helped with the move yesterday.
WELCOME BACK
The Halls have returned from several weeks in Texas, with some stops along the way. T.J. had a wisdom tooth removed when they got home and it has taken a toll on him.
We also learned that Wayne Phlegar fell while visiting their son. They will be home tomorrow.

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