Roanoke Church of Christ

Bimonthly Bulletin

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 15-18 – THE NEW ABNORMAL?

There was no “mid-month” Bulletin due to the Wagners being away for a funeral. However, just before I left a flyer came that made me sad. It was from a company who advertized “Roanoke’s and Southwest Virginia’s only realistic interactive virtual firearms training simulator systems.” They offered a full range of gun training. Nothing wrong with that. However, with their “Firearms Training Simulators” they would train “Church Security Teams.”
In a cover letter to churches, there is the reminder that the world is becoming more dangerous and violent with each passing day. There was also the statement about more and more terrorist attacks against Christians in the United States and worldwide. Enter the fear factor.
Are such things on the increase? So it seems. How bad is it? Well, I did some digging and according to the Church Tax and Law website, I discovered that the chances of being killed by an invader in a church building is just about the same as being struck by lightening. I hasten to add, as did they, that we don’t go out into lightening-prone places to worship. However, that does not dismiss the statistics that the death rate is about the same. According to Gallup, 118 million people are in churches each Sunday in the US. Records indicate about 75 shooting deaths take place in churches each year, though that varies, just as do lightening strikes.
Should we fear lightening? Yes, but not to the point we are terrified and go to storm shelters when lightening occurs. Should we fear gun violence? Yes. But not to the point we have to live in paranoid fear.
I know churches all across the land are training armed security personnel. We have friends in a large church in Florida who told us they were informed that there were armed members strategically placed in the sanctuary to take out any one who would try to kill the preacher. They were not told who these people were, only that they were armed and ready. It became a guessing game as to who they might be.
I don’t think our friends were excited about all that, but there was a kind of “This is what our church is doing” flavor to it. And for me, that’s the rub.
We have played “My church is bigger and better than your church” for a long time. Better choirs, better music, better media, etc., etc.. Are we on the verge of saying, “My church has a security force with automatic weapons stationed in gun ports overlooking the sanctuary. They are completely invisible to the naked eye. What does your church have?”
“Oh, we still only have six people with sixteen- round glocks stationed around the building, but we are about to upgrade to automatic rifles.”
What I’m saying is that I worry about church folks getting excited about maybe getting to shoot somebody. Of course, any defense is based on hoping it never has to be used. But we all know that in any war there are those who just can’t wait to kill some (fill in the blank). Is “Locked and Loaded” the newest sign outside churches? I can remember when a church advertized that it was air conditioned and people were appalled that such a tactic would be used to get people inside. Is advertizing armed security next? Is that the new normal? I hope not. That means fear has won.
Our daughter, Holly, had an experience which speaks to what fear can do. She was entering a local Krogers, when she noticed a woman leaving who looked somewhat distraught. She asked what was wrong. The woman said she was mad at herself, but there was a boy in the store who was wearing a hoodie and a backpack. She said it wasn’t his fault, but she could not stay in a store with someone dressed like that. So she left without buying anything. Her fear now owns her, and I know we all understand that in some way, but will it become who we are?
I have no scriptural reference to make for this situation. I also reject any “proof” text for armed church security, but I can almost hear some offered. We feel the need to scripturally prove everything. I’m not looking for a scripture to invalidate armed guards. I can guess how Jesus would reply. I just hope this is not the new normal.
Keith

CONCERNS: Mark McRoy has asked prayers for the Harris family in the death of Troy, who leaves a wife and three boys behind. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Abraham Sirgy’s brother, Gamil (Jimmy), is recovering from a severe heart attack. Judy Hall is still having eye issues. Teryn Gaynor’s mother is being treated for cancer. Bill Schreiner is in the hospital for treatment. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, (Cancer) Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s parents Also Joni’s aunt, Pat Voss, and her niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert and Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas. Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy and Stephanie Rigney. Jenni Cullum is having an issue with her eye. Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 2-7
Monday: Genesis 2:1-14
Tuesday: Matthew 3:1-17
Wednesday: I Thess. 3:1-13
Thursday: Matthew 21:28-44
Friday: II Peter 1:16-2:10
Saturday: Psalm 91:1-16
OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 9-14
Monday Psalm 139:1-24
Tuesday: Matthew 8:1-13
Wednesday: Matthew 12:1-14
Thursday: Colossians 2:8-19
Friday: Revelation 2:1-11
Saturday: Matthew 16:13-28

WE’RE GETTING CLOSER
After doing a lot of checking to make sure our media improvements are user-friendly, we have the big stuff ready to install as soon as the hardware arrives. This has been a major interest of several of us, but especially Del Bolin.
What we are doing is not “keeping up with the Jones’” , but moving into a new level of worship experience. The possibilities for visual enhancement are exciting. Look for it.
THE ANNEX
For years we have talked about the problem with the acoustics in the annex. Ten people singing can almost sound like a hundred, which is good. However, one person’s voice gets lost in bouncing around the acoustical structure so as to almost prevent others from hearing.
A plan to correct that and add to the decor is now in the works.
STEPHANIE
Stephanie arrived in Florida on Wednesday, after a long, tiring trip. She wishes to thank all those who came out and helped her pack the truck.
Her new address will be placed in the hand-out as soon as we have it. Her phone number and email address remains the same.
SPRING CLEANING
A day will be set for us to do some work around the building, both inside and outside. All in all, things on the outside look pretty good, due to some work on the shrubbery by Lyn Jordan and a friend. The area above the handicapped area was treated last year to kill unwanted vegetation and needs to be cleaned out, as well as using more shrub killer.
Inside the women’s downstairs restroom needs some cleaning in order to put Drylock on a wall that has developed dampness.
BOOKS
Stephanie left several books from various types of study, including some of the books we have used in past classes. They are on the library table. If you are interested, stop by and take any of them you want. The rest will be taken to the Rescue Mission, or to some other place they can be of use.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – NO. 13&14 – UNDERSTANDING GOD

If the subject of this article has a familiar “taste,” it is not intentional. It comes from an attempt to understand the power we so commonly call “God,” the one Jesus said was “Spirit.” (Jn. 4:24 )
Jesus told Philip (and the others) “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (Jn 14:9) Paul refers to Jesus as ‘…the image of the invisible God…” (Col. 1:15) For me that’s a very important concept. From Paul’s relationship and understanding of Jesus, he can say what is invisible, is visible in Jesus. There is no evidence Paul had seen Jesus until, according to his own testimony, he “saw” Jesus on the Damascus road. Even then, it’s not about recognizing Jesus as someone he knew. It was during this and other encounters that Paul realized Jesus was the human image of the invisible God. The writer of Hebrews feels the same way when he writes, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” (Heb.1:3 NIV)
In order for the readers of scripture to “see” God in the image and representation of Jesus, they will have to “see” (understand) Jesus. And while I don’t like to hang an understanding of God on one or two verses of scripture, it seems to me these verses represent a significant understanding of who God is. So how are we to “see” Jesus?
While Paul’s letters give us several teachings about Jesus, there are few which describe his personality as he interacted with people. Nearly all of them speak of his work of love and redemption.
Therefore, for me to “see” God’s invisible nature in Jesus, I need to “see” Jesus. I’m not sure how that could be done without the gospels. I know there are those Old Testament passages about the nature of God’s Messiah. But for the most part they are structured in a poetic and utopian fashion. However it is in the gospels that I can see Jesus interacting with the world through the eyes of the witnesses. If Jesus reflects the exact image of God, then I can understand God by understanding Jesus.
Now, if I can trust these scriptures, as well as my understanding of them, and the Jesus I see in the gospels, it means I can better “see” (understand) God. It means I can let go of the conflict between the pictures of God in the Old Testament and the image of God in Jesus. It means I can “see” how their understanding of God was seen (understood) through the law of Moses.
Are there other ways to understand God apart from Jesus? Yes. But they are incomplete, unless they reveal how God and man have relationship. For example, Paul, in Romans 1:19-20 says “God’s invisible qualities have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” By that he speaks from the position of all ancient people observing the works of nature as a way of understanding the deity.
It is Jesus who brings nature and the reflection of God together in action and in teaching. In Luke 6:35,36 Jesus says, “Love your enemies, do good to them and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful just as your Father is merciful. In a comparison passage, Jesus says, “He (God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45)
That this is the nature of God is played out in Jesus’ own life. He finds no problem presenting a different
understanding of God than those who tried to follow exactly the law of Moses. When he said he did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, he did not mean he was going to obey all the 613 laws therein, even though, if you look, you can find those who say that’s what he meant.
For me it means in Jesus I can see the true intent of the law and the prophets. Moses never said one command was greater than another. But when Jesus was asked, the reply was to love God, neighbor and self. And, in Matthew he also says, all the law and the prophets hang on that. Paul says the same thing in Gal 5:14. So fulfilment of the law is just that, not a strict keeping of such things as the Sabbath, which Jesus said was made for man, and that the Son of Man was Lord of the Sabbath. (Mk 2:27,28)
In these and other illustrations of Jesus’ actions and teachings, I can build an understanding of God I can better try to live out in my life.
Keith

CONCERNS: Philip Pierce’s mother is under hospice care. The decision concerning Kevin Cornett’s unborn baby is that the doctors at UVA want to see them again at the end of the month. However, as of now, the baby’s chances are slim. T. J. Hall is having to take it easy due to heart issues. It was good to see Jim White at church Sunday as he recovers from the bike accident. Teryn Gaynor has been visiting with her mother in Ala. as she undergoes cancer treatment. J. R. Hall (Judy and T. J.’s grandson, continues to have tests run on his eyes. Dr. Del Bolin is working with the Baxter Institute in Honduras this week. Scott Blessing’s father had to have a pacemaker and is doing better.
Jim Hunter is having neck and back problems which cause a lot of pain. Continue to remember Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber, Marjorie Wilson (cancer), Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s parents, as well as her aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Wayne Phlegar, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her as she deal with cancer and loss of sight. Mary (MS). She is a friend of Kim
Hall’s. Daniel Ray Barns, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson (MS), Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Mary and Jim Smith and Tim Elder. Jenni Cullum has a growth on her eye, and it seems to be responding to treatment.

OUR DAILY BREAD: APRIL 4-9
Monday: Daniel 5:17-28
Tuesday: Matthew 14:44-52
Wednesday: I Samuel 17:41-54
Thursday: Psalm 70:1-5
Friday: Matthew 7:13-29
Saturday: Psalm 1:1-15

OUR DAILY BREAD: APRIL 11-16
Monday: John 4:27-4
Tuesday: Ecclesiastes 11:1-10
Wednesday: Psalm 86:1-17
Thursday: Genesis 3:8-21
Friday: II Timothy 3:1-17
Saturday: Psalm 84:1-12

BETTY FOY
Betty Foy died on Wednesday afternoon about 3:30. She was in her bed, surrounded by her husband, Larry, and members of her family.
Had the inside article not been printed, and had there been more time, I could have easily filled it with stories about her, Larry and the family. However, I want all those in and beyond our congregation to know what a strong person she was. In many ways she lived out the scripture where it says, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”
She was born a coal miner’s daughter, in Richlands, VA. It seems from her roots she was blessed with a strong conviction of equality for all people.
Even before she and Larry relocated to Roanoke from Blacksburg, when they visited with Martha and her family, she and I would have these conversations after church. Those introduced me to the person she was.
She had a keen disdain for the prejudice shown toward African Americans and other minorities. She was born and grew up during segregation.
Her desire from her youth was to become a nurse, and she did. She told me of two times in Tennessee when there were “White Only” hospitals, and “Negro” hospitals, which were few and far between. Late one night as she was working, a black man came in and said his wife was about to have their baby, and the black hospital was about 80 miles away. It was a violation of the Jim Crow law’s to take them in. But she found a doctor and they snuck them in and delivered the baby. It could have cost her her job, and probably being banned from nursing, but she would have none of it.
Another time a young black boy had polio and needed an iron lung. There were none available for blacks. Again she made a decision, found a doctor who muttered an expletive about such a system, and at risk of both their jobs, placed the child in a “white” iron lung.
She took those kind of risks for people all her life. We need more like her, and we will miss her. But her example will continue to call out the best in us.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 28, NO. 11&12 – THE MYSTERY THAT IS GOD

Isaiah 55:8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” That translates to the more common, “God’s ways are not our ways.”
So how is that helpful to me to know? And, how do I know that unless I know what God’s ways are? Are God’s ways always opposite of mine? I don’t think that’s what Isaiah is saying.
It’s always a good thing to read the context. The context is a Messianic vision of the future. Verse nine, in a poetic echo of verse eight says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways.” Verse 11 says, “…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire…” (Let me say here, “God” is the English word for deity. Different languages refer to the same concept using other words.)
If God’s word goes out and accomplishes what was intended, it has to be understood. So at some point, what is said to be God’s ways and thoughts have to become our ways and thoughts.
The normal view of the prophetic writings is that they spoke the thoughts of God. Their message usually was loud and clear. “The Lord said…!” Isaiah and the others certainly wanted God’s thoughts understood.
So how might we imagine understanding something beyond our understanding? How do we understand anything beyond our understanding? How does a child learn to read, write and everything else that maturity requires? They don’t start with a book on physics. It’s cat and dog stuff. Would understanding the concept and power we call “God” be any different? As humankind learns about the world around it, so too it learns about the power behind it known as God.
Look at the text from Isaiah. What cannot be understood by Isaiah and the world at that time, is the universe as we know it today. The “heavens are higher than the earth” expresses the world as it was known then. A flat earth covered by “heavens.” By the way, the word Isaiah used for heavens was a Hebrew word that meant “heaved up things.” Did the power (God) behind what we understand to be the universe, know it was more than that? Yes. Could Isaiah, or anyone in his time even begin to imagin the universe as we understand it today? No. No more than the infant understands peek a boo. Studies show the child actually thinks the person playing is gone. The reasoning power is not yet developed to understand the experience.
Since that is true with human development and reasoning, is that not also the way we understand God? Can we imagine a God who hands Moses a book on cosmology and expect him to understand it and teach it to the Israelites?
As we read the Bible and any historical book, we are reading about a specific time in history and culture. We know very little about the prehistoric period. But what we do know is they had a different understanding of the earth than those who came later. It is easy to understand the attention (worship) they gave to the sun and the moon, or as Genesis says, “the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.”
The image of the sun going down, or setting, and the moon rising and setting would become such a strong idea that we still use those terms. At the same time, we know the sun does not rise and set, nor does the moon. We know it is the earth that moves. And yet, there are educated people who still maintain Earth is the center of the universe.
In reading the Old Testament on Sunday morning, we talked about the importance of blood found there. It was seen as life. Breath was seen as even more important than blood. It was the “nephesh” soul, breath of life. There was no firm knowledge of the brain. The “heart,” “mind” or emotion of man was centered in the “bowels.” That’s where they were on the scale of human development and knowledge. And, if they hadn’t been there at that level, we would not be where we are today.
I think the same has to be true of God, the energy and dynamic power of the universe. We should not limit the yet unknown ways of God by what we do know. God is too great for that. If we limit our understanding of God to a particular time and culture, we take away the divine inspiration that moves us forward in our development and understanding of God.
I don’t want to stretch a text too much, but In I Cor. 3:2 Paul says, “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. In deed, you are still not ready.” My point is this, they had to be ready, spiritually and otherwise, to get what he wanted them to understand. They had to move past a former way of thinking.
In I Cor. 13:11 are Paul’s famous words, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways behind me.” What were those things? Within the context he seems to be talking about his understanding of God based on his former understanding of the Law, God’s law. What would have happened if Paul had not been willing to see God though a different lens than the one he said he had faithfully followed? (Phil. 3:6)
For Paul, the difference was Jesus. And Jesus had such a different understanding of God that it got him killed. Again, I don’t want to misuse scripture, but what did Paul mean when he said, But when the time had fully come, God sent his son…” (Gal. 4:4) Whatever you make of it, Paul said there was a time when it wasn’t time.
Part of the mystery of God knowing what we don’t, is that God is not content with that, but wants us to keep on knowing more and more about what God knows.
Keith

CONCERNS: Betty Foy’s health is rapidly failing. Kevin Cornett’s wife’s pregnancy may have to be terminated due to complications from a car accident. They will be going to UVA Medical Center next week for a final opinion. Stephanie Dixon had successful surgery on her nose and is now mending. The medicine is helping Judy Hall with her eyesight problems. More tests are being done on the Hall’s grandson, J. R. concerning his eyesight. Roxie Eanes has died of complications from pancreatitis. She was the great aunt of Nick Bolin’s girlfriend. Philip Pierce’s mother is at home under hospice care. Jim White as he recovers. Remember the following people in prayer as well, Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, (cancer) Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s parents as well as her aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter, David Albert, Wayne Phlegar, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. She lives in Pa. where Del Bolin grew up. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary, (MS) Darnel Ray Barns, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, (MS) Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder

OUR DAILY BREAD: MARCH 21-26
Monday: Exodus 1:15-2:10
Tuesday: Mark 1:16-34
Wednesday: Genesis 17:1-21
Thursday: Job 42:1-17
Friday: Luke 4:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 63:1-11
OUR DAILY BREAD: Mar. 28-APR. 1
Monday: John 10:1-18
Tuesday: Matthew 13:24-43
Wednesday: Psalm 90:1-17
Thursday: Luke 4:1-13
Friday: Amos 5:18-6:1
Saturday: Psalm 71:1-24

JIM WHITE
Jim was riding his new bike to work on Wednesday morning while it was still dark and three dear ran in from of him on the Grandin Road Extension and he struck one of them sending him over the handlebars. He ended up with five broken ribs, a punctured lung and to hairline hip fractures. After a night in the hospital he is home quickly mending. Martha may need some help as she deals with this and her mothers condition. Give her a call.

TODAY
Today we will have a special song and devotional service rather than a sermon. It has been developed and conducted by Del Bolin. We thank him for the praise service today

SUPER SUNDAY
This is also Super Sunday. That means we will have the opportunity to enjoy the fellowship of eating together following the service. The weather looks as if we will have perhaps the last fire in the fireplace as we bid goodbye to winter. Plan to stay.

REMEMBER
Keep in mind that whenever someone moves away it often leaves the service they rendered to the church open. If you see something you are willing to start doing that you have not yet done, see Erma Williams. It will be a big help to her as she develops the service roster.

EASTER
Easter is next Sunday. For those children who come, there will be an Easter Egg Hunt in the yard behind the annex. Bring cameras and take pictures of the fun. Holly Wagner will be in charge of the event. See her about things she may need.

THANKS
If you came in the front door today you noticed the shrubbery along the building has been trimmed back. We van thank Lyn Jordan for doing that. The shrubs had grown higher than the windows and really needed the care. Thanks Lyn

STEERING COMMITTEE
A brief meeting following the meal.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 28, NO. 9&10 – WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE?

I preached on the Good Samaritan last Sunday. Original, right? One reason I did it was because I had a real live story to end it with about a family who were “Good Samaritans.” They opened their home to a Mexican mother with four children. And for three months twelve people lived in one house while they got on their feet. During that time, the host family invited their guests to study the Bible with them, as well as attend their church. This was 1971, and they became first Hispanic family to become Christians at that church. Out of that invitation came a university professor, who was also a missionary in Mexico for almost ten years, of whom two of their children are missionaries in China. The church happened to be the College Church of Christ in Fresno, Calif. The Good Samaritan story does not ask who our neighbor is, but to whom will we be a neighbor?
The problem is that Jesus, in telling the story, knew we all want to “justify” ourselves in deciding who the neighbor is. This is why the Good Samaritan (GS) story is accepted, while at the same time allowing us to defend an open prejudice against Samaritan-types. Just as “Samaritan” in Jesus’ day referred to a class of people, rather than the individual, so it is today. Today the primary targets are the Muslims. A person is not a Muslim, “they” are Muslims, meaning they are all alike. However, what Jesus was teaching had nothing to do with religion or nationality.
In the most recent Christian Chronicle, there is the story of Salah Sabdow Farah , a Muslim teacher in Kenya. Islamic Muslims ambushed a bus filled with 100 Muslim and Christian passengers. They demanded the passengers split up into groups of Muslims and Christians. Farah and several other Muslim passengers refused, saying, “Kill all of us or leave us alone.” The report didn’t say any of the Christians said anything like that. Two people died in the attack and Farah was wounded.
Contrast that with the words we hear of hatred and fear from Christian churches across America.
Farah died from his wounds in that December attack. A picture of him in the hospital accompanied the article. Before he died this Muslim teacher spoke to Voice of America. “I ask my brother Muslims to take care of the Christians so that the Christians also take care of us. And let us help one another and let us live together peacefully.” Would Jesus agree with that? That sounds like a statement Jesus would make. It’s a Godly statement, worthy of acceptance.
I found it interesting that the author of the article asked that we pray that Muslims “will come to know and accept Christ.” That’s understandable. But the next “prayer” was to “pray for more Muslims like Farah.” I certainly agree with that. Farah was a Muslim teacher who died as the result of defending Christians. In other words, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Or, in Farah’s case, some of different belief. I might also add that we should pray for more Christians like Farah.
The danger is painting everyone with the same brush or prejudice. All Samaritans are bad, so there can’t be a good one, or countless good ones who act as the “neighbor” should. Muslim terrorists are bad, so all Muslims are bad. The list is sadly and historically endless.
Jesus is asked by the “expert in the law” what was needed to have eternal life. Jesus asked what the law said. The law said a lot more than loving God and the neighbor, but that answer, says Jesus, is the correct one. The correct one for what? How to have eternal life. One question, one answer. However, it’s not enough for the “expert”. So Jesus tells the GS story and asked, “Which one was the neighbor?” Meaning, which one did what it takes to have eternal life? The answer, the one who showed mercy. So the Samaritan, Jew, Muslim, Christian, whoever, fictional or real, who acts like that has done what it takes to have eternal life, so says Jesus.
So it’s not about who you are, it’s about what you are that gives eternal life. For Jesus, it was based on mercy.
Keith

VOL. 28 MARCH 6, 2016 NO. 9&10
CONCERNS: Betty Foy is very ill at this time. Hospice is with she and Larry. Stephanie Dixon will be going to North Carolina next week for cancer surgery on her nose, which may require a skin graft. T. J. Hall is dealing with a bad cold. Judy is having vision problems, but the medication seems to be helping. Their grandson, R. J. Is still waiting on tests concerning his vision problems. Joni and Alan Beach will be spending time in NC due to the health of Joni’s parents, especially her mother. Joni also asks prayers for her aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter may need surgery as the result of an accident which happened some time ago. Philip Pierce’s mother is in a Lynchburg hospital being treated for cancer. Teryn Gaynor’s mother continues with cancer treatment. It was good to see Wayne Phlegar able to be with us last Sunday. Remember Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber. Marjorie Wilson, (cancer) Melanie Gentry, David Albert, Sandy Blanchard and those carrying for her. Kim’s friend, Mary (MS), Daniel Ray Barns Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson (MS) Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Jim and Mary smith and Tim Elder.

OUR DAILY BREAD: MARCH 7-12
Monday: Psalm 40:1-17
Tuesday: John 8:48-59
Wednesday: Philippians 2:14-30
Thursday: Ephesians 2:1-22
Friday: John 19:1-16
Saturday: Colossians 1:3-20
OUR DAILY BREAD: MARCH 14-19
Monday: John 4:27-42
Tuesday: Ecclesiastes 11:1-10
Wednesday: Psalm 86:1-17
Thursday: Genesis 3:8-21
Friday: II Timothy 3:1-17
Saturday: Psalm 84:1-12

THANKS
Many thanks to Lyn Jordan for removing the sections of the tree which fell in the front yard, as well as all the limbs etc. Wayne Flora had cut it up one evening after work. Also to Mike Branch and Holly Wagner for stacking the broken pieces for easier removal.
THE FORSYTH’S
If you were not here last Sunday to say goodbye to Jeff and Kirissa, you can catch a picture of them being presented with a going away gift on the church Facebook page, When we get their new address, we will print it in the Sunday handout.
WORSHIP
When we come together to worship there are several ways in which we might help. Certain events in our lives can take us out of town or otherwise prevent us from helping during the worship service. First of all, we do appreciate those who so willingly offer to help with the service, as well as those who are asked to fill in at the last minute. However, perhaps we might take some time and ask ourselves if there is something we can do that we haven’t yet done in bringing about the worship service. Take a look at the duty roster and see if there is something you would be willing to do. If you will, contact Erma Williams or Wayne Flora.
THE SUNDAY ADULT CLASS
The adult class on Sunday is growing due to the study of the Old Testament being read in book form with no chapters and verses. This has produced a lively discussion from the class along with the leading of Del Bolin. There is still time to jump in because we are finding much to talk about without moving too fast.
JUST A WORD
Several things are in the works. We will be silencing heat and air conditioning noise in the adult classroom. The duct work will be rerouted to the hallway, and storage space will be added beneath the addition to the wall. The blower noise can make it very hard to hear in that room. So if you see a little dust, you’ll know what it’s all about.

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 28, NO. 7&8 – WHEN THE GOOD NEWS ISN’T SO GOOD

Question: If the Gospel is good news, what was all the news before? Of course we couldn’t say it was bad, but in what way was the Gospel better?
As I’ve sometimes seen and heard the “Gospel” proclaimed, it doesn’t seem to be much better news than the old news, i.e., the old law with it’s rules and regulations.
Take a quick journey with me through the Bible. Almost before you know it, we arrive at Abraham. There is hardly a breath before God decides the violence and cruelty of the earth deserves a cleansing flood. Since there’s nobody left but Noah’s family, there is no need for circumcision. Then there’s that thing about the tower and then Abraham.
Abraham is considered “righteous” because of his faith, not because of his works. He prospers without any real rules. He just lives his life, has a few battles, meets the king of Salem, a strange guy named Melchizedek, who is a “priest” of the Most High God. Which is interesting, because he is a Canaanite king. There is no promised land or children of Israel yet. So it seems there were other “righteous” guys out there besides Abraham.
There is no list of rules for them to follow. No Sabbath Day violations to worry about. (Didn’t they know God rested on the Sabbath?) No real sacrifices to please God. Finally God’s promise of offspring to Abraham comes true. His decedents are probably like all the other families. Jealously, greed, cheating each other, weird sexual things happening, and all of it without a lot of rules and regulations. In time, because of dysfunctional family ties, Jacob’s (Israel) son, Joseph, gets sold to some Egyptians. In Egypt he tells the king that God has a plan for Egypt. There it is again. God dealing with the “others.” The plan is that with the impending famine, there should be a tax on the grain, with one fifth going to the government storehouses. During the famine it was to be sold back to the people. Gen. 47 says Joseph’s plan eventually cost the Egyptians everything they had just to survive, and therefore allowed the king to own all the livestock and land. The result was that the Egyptians became the king’s slaves.
During all this is the story of reconciliation between Joseph and the brothers who sold him, as well as the whole tribe of Jacob moving to Egypt. Things go well until a king (Pharaoh) came along who had no connection to Joseph. He found the “Israelites” to be a strange people, who happened to inhabit the strategic doorway for the enemy to invade the land. Since everyone else belonged to the government, why not them?
Keep in mind, they did nothing to deserve this as some kind of heavenly punishment. It just happened to them because they were aliens. However, it seems they never forgot who they were. On the other hand, how they worshiped is unknown, but it would seem from future incidents that they pretty much bought into the polytheistic gods of Egypt. But God didn’t smite them, and they were there, according to sources, anywhere from 215 to 400 years. Two hundred fifteen is probably more correct. So they had no rules and regulations except whatever was left of the covenant with Noah, and maybe circumcision.
Along comes Moses and leads them out of Egypt. And possibly, because they had been in Egypt so long, they were so saturated with everything Egyptian, a new covenant is established, the Law of Moses. The Law may be summed up in situations like Nadab and Abihu, the Sabbath day rules and a bunch of others found in the books of the law. In other words, mess up and you’re toast, and in the process a lot of animals and fowl have to die. I can only speculate why the way it was with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was tossed out for the Law of Moses. We’re never sure how happy Israel was with the law, even with Psalm 119. But they seem to keep on breaking it over and over and receiving due punishment for so doing.
How strictly the Law was kept during the time of the Judges and Kings is anyone’s guess. A close look at those books do not show much about strict adherence to the Law of Moses. In fact, idolatry is a constant problem, even to the point of sacrificing their children. Ps. 106:35-38 is just one example. So the story of the Law of Moses is that it never seemed to work in a satisfactory way. Otherwise, why would idolatry be so attractive? The result, according to the prophets, is that the Israelites were carried off into exile. It is after the return during the reconstruction of Ezra and Nehemiah that an attempt at strict adherence to the Law of Moses was initiated. It was during and after this time that the Law of Moses became bound to the “oral tradition,” the interpretation of the law by the scribes. At this point, obeying the law and the traditions became a way of “binding” God to the person. Therefore, the Law became the Savior. This became a new idolatry. Man could save himself by adherence to the law. In fact, some scribes equated the tora with God.
In the years which followed, religion and Greek politics began to merge. As to the actual daily worship and strict adherence to the law, we can only see glimpses from the New Testament. But the rigidity of tradition and law seem to be evident.
Along comes Jesus and the good news. He wants to place God back in the center of the relationship with man, rather than relationship with the law. He tells his disciples to go and announce that the kingdom of God is at hand. As to what that meant is subject to a lot of different ideas. However, it should also be noted that in Luke 4, Jesus says it is related to the prophesy in Isaiah which has to do with freedom. In Luke 17:20,21, when asked when the kingdom would come, Jesus said the kingdom was not something to be seen, but to be experienced in the heart. In Romans 14:17 Paul said the kingdom of God is “Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Galatians 5:1 announces that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Free from the yoke of any enslaving doctrine. In the Lord’s prayer, the prayer is that God’s kingdom and will is connected to what we do on earth.
So if there is “good news” does that mean the prior news was bad? That’s cutting it close. But Paul, in Romans almost says that. While he loves the Law, he also knows it placed a constant burden of failure on the adherent.”The good I would do I do not do etc.”. (Rom. 7) He sees in Jesus the revelation of a God that loves and does not condemn. “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (8:1) There is also a new law, the law of the Spirit of life, which has freed him from the law of sin and death. That “law of the Spirit” breaks down the barriers between people. It takes away the idolatry of believing God only loves us when we get it right according to rules and regulations. The sad thing is, too much of Christianity still operates that way.
Keith
CONCERNS: Betty Foy, R. J. Hall, Judy and T. J.’s grandson is having vision problems, but the MRI showed no brain damage. More tests will be done. Along with pink eye, Judy is also seeing a doctor for vision problems. Teryn Gaynor’s mother is starting cancer treatment. Joni Beach’s parents, her aunt, Pat Voss, and her niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter had a good report from his doctor. Sheila Jansen and Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson (cancer) Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. (Cancer and loss of vision) 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: FB. 22-27
Monday: Jeremiah 31:23-34
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. 29-MAR. 5
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

SYMPATHY
We were saddened to learn of the death of Wendy (Hall) and Jeff Davis’ little granddaughter, Anna Belle, who died as the result of an infection. The funeral was last Friday in Texas.
MOVING
We knew the time would come when Jeff Forsyth would finish his training as a physician’s assistant and he and Karissa would probably relocate. The time has come. Jeff will be working in Wilkesboro, NC. They have found a house and will be moving soon. They have been a wonderful encouragement to us while here and have lent their talents in various ways. We know that they will continue to be a blessing in their new location. We will present them with a going away gift next Sunday. The snow last week delayed it being ready.
SUPER SUNDAY
Today is Super Sunday. Since it will be the last Super Sunday Jeff and Kirissa will be with us it will also be a good opportunity for us to individually express our love and appreciation for them. The kindling wood will be dry enough for us to have a roaring fire in the fireplace and the temperature outside will be on the mild side, so plan to stay.
STEERING COMMITTEE
A Brief steering committee meeting will be held in the library after the Super Sunday meal.
THE TREE
As you can see, the snow and ice brought down a very large section of the tree in front of the main entrance. No damage was done to the building, however, there is a lot of clean-up work to be done. One of the things the steering committee will discuss is if we’d like hire someone to do it. Kevin Cornett has offered, but we have not talked about cost. It may lay there for awhile until the ground drys a little so as not to tear up the yard when it is moved.
AWAY
Vivian Dugan will be visiting with her daughter and son-in-law over on the coast for a few weeks.
NEW CLASS
Del Bolin has started a new class on Sunday mornings. It involves reading the Old Testament n book form with out chapters and verses. The goal is to see things otherwise lost in a traditional reading. It is to be read at home and then discussed on Sunday. Books are available in the foyer
WEDNESDAY EVENINGS
A reminder: When the temperature is going to be near freezing on Wednesday evenings, there will be no service.

“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.