Roanoke Church of Christ

Bimonthly Bulletin


This is being written on May 9. According to a fellow named Harold Camping, the end of the world will arrive on Saturday, May 21. I’m not sure about the time, but my guess would be about midnight. That way the event could light up the sky and the actual “rapture” would be on Sunday, the day of the resurrection of Jesus. (I have since learned that it will be at 6:00PM.)

This day is not to be confused with the day of destruction which, according to some, the Maya Indians predicted. That date is December 21, 2012.

In a recent article I read about the May 21st end of time, there was a picture of one of the adherents of this idea who was handing out warning material in Washington, DC. It said he worked for the Department of Homeland Security. I don’t know about you, but I feel a little shaky being protected from attack by a guy who can’t see past May 21. I also wonder how his bosses will feel on Monday, May 23, when he has to decide to come to work or not. It might be a good time to ask for a vacation, starting with the 21st. After all, if he’s right he’s not going to need it, and if he’s wrong a few days to get his explanation together seems wise.

I know I’ve commented on this need for the end of time before. If you do a little research you will find that it goes way back in time. I don’t know when the first time was, but it is a continuing passion through the centuries.

I can’t help those who believe Mr. Camping, but as to the Maya prediction, according to National Geographic scientists who have studied the Mayas, they say their rather amazing calendar simply ends the “long count” on December 21, 2012. What happens next is a “rollover” and everything starts again. Of course, like any scary idea or conspiracy theory, facts mean nothing because facts only get in the way.

There is also the “Galactic Alignment” theory that goes with the Maya calendar. It is that the planets are going to line up on that date in such a way as to cause the catastrophe. According to NASA scientists this alignment happens each winter. So much for that, if you believe NASA.

I’m sure there is a psychological explanation for this “end is near” mania. As an amateur observer it seems one of the limitations of being human is the inability to believe the world will not stop when we get off. It’s as if on one hand some Christians say they can’t wait to get to whatever their idea of heaven is, but they can’t imagine the rest of us not going when they go. The most common expression of end time expectation is that it will happen in the person’s lifetime who says it’s coming. As I’ve said before, that seems a bit selfish and egotistical to me. Why deny others the opportunity to experience both the joys and the challenges of life?

Research done among college women during the time of potential nuclear holocaust, (the 60s) indicated a substantial number of them were willing to have casual sexual encounters because they believed they would never live long enough to have a marriage and a family. If you think that was just an excuse for promiscuity, here are some of the feelings that have been expressed in light of Camping’s prediction. CNN followed Camping’s evangelists in Florida. Some had left jobs, wives and children at home. One of them, Ariania Ramrajie, of Ocala, Fla., said on that day the sun will turn red like blood and the earth will open up and bodies will be strewn everywhere. She says,”It scares me that some people are going to die, and I think I’m one of them. I’m trying to do good things, but I’m afraid I’m doing something bad.” Ariania is seven years old. Some women have said they’ve thought about killing their children because they don’t want them to have to go through the pain of the end. Others are avoiding having children at all.

In trying to analyze this trend, I would say there is a correlation between the person’s age and degree of happiness as to their end time views. In a recent article about the May date, in a survey taken, by the Pew Research Group, 41% of Americans (Christians) believe the end will come before 2050. What was not revealed was the age and economic situation of those polled. My guess would be that a very large majority of those polled believed they would live, barring some accident or illness, until 2050. I don’t hear many people who are financially comfortable or securely retired talking about the eminent end of the world. I know Harold Camping is well into his 80s, but his followers appear to be much younger.
I think one word determines our view of the future. That word is “imagination”, or perhaps theologically, “vision”. When people have no imagination or vision, their view of life stagnates and dies. Are Camping’s folks imagining the end of time? No. They are letting Mr. Camping’s idea become theirs. Putting what he has said together with their world view, it is easy for them to accept what he and others like him throughout the ages have said.

There may be other reasons for this desire for it all to end soon, but to me the lack of imagination is a big one. Contrary to indications, many Christians can’t imagine or believe the earth could be millions of years old, if we can even use the term “years” to describe it. Tell a Christian that you can imagine a time when the very things we now feel are absolute scientific truths will be replaced by new “truths” and watch their face. I’ve seen it time and time again, that shake of the head and furrowed brow. Those kind of ideas are too big for them. But if we ask who the people are who have advanced humanity, we always end up with the dreamers. Those who can imagine, who can visualize. When we remind ourselves that God’s ways are not ours we need to apply that to the end of what we call time.

Poet Robert Browning wrote, “Oh that a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” When we can’t reach for more than we can grasp, we are not what we were created to be, and that includes imagining the unimaginable. Keith

CONCERNS: Josh Brown, Mike and Sandy’s son, is in the hospital in Huntsville, Ala. suffering from dehydration from a yet unknown source. Janet McWhorter is now home from rehabilitation for a breathing problem. Joanne Elder started a new job on Monday! Erma Williams is still looking. Those remaining on the prayer list are Eleanor Crush, who is being treated for cancer, Jamie King, auto accident, Maci Winebarger (recovering well after cancer surgery. Randy Conner, terminal cancer. Remember also his wife, Debbie and the children. Mike Breeding and his wife. Joni Beach’s mother (cancer), Helen Nicklas, heart related problems. Joyce Matney is feeling some better. Connie Crites’ father, heart related problems. Roger Fisher’s nephew in Florida has responded a little to cancer treatments. Wilma and Jenni Cullum and Tim Elder. Pray also for the workers at Health Talents Int. and Bread For A Hungry World.

Monday: I Peter 1-11
Tuesday: Luke 2:1-10
Wednesday: Proverbs 2:1-15
Thursday: Romans 15:1-13
Friday: I Thess. 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 115:1-18

Monday: II Thess. 1:2-12
Tuesday: Matthew 1:18-25
Wednesday: John 2:1-11
Thursday: I Thess. 1:2-10
Friday: II Timothy 2:1-13
Saturday: Isaiah 40:1-11

Dear church family,
Words can’t express our appreciation for all you have done for me and my family during Myron’s illness and death. The many visits to the hospital, the beautiful cards, the lovely floral arrangement and especially your prayers. I feel blessed to have such a wonderful church family.
The spread of food for us was delicious as well as beautiful. Many thanks to all who had a part in it.
In Christian love,
Vivian & Family
A donation in Myron’s memory was made to the church by a relative of the family.

Today, May 15, is Super Sunday. That means good food! Next month Super Sunday, as always, will be on Father’s Day. So, fathers get ready for a big meal that day.

Measurements have been taken and prices examined to hang venetian blinds on the foyer windows. The heat from the summer sun makes it hard to cool that area as well as the auditorium. Placing blinds on the windows will keep out the heat in the summer and when raised will let in the sun’s heat in the winter. The repaving of the parking lot is still moving forward as well.

One of the things this church wanted to do when it built the annex was that it be used for things other then routine church activities. It has been a busy place this spring with Joanne Elders Kirous group using it as well as a Wild Flower group and a wedding shower as well as training local people in using Vacation Bible School material.

The office will be unmanned this week while Keith and Jo Wagner are gone. Wayner Phlegar will speak in Keith’s absence. Keith will speak again on May 22. Thanks to Wayne for filling in. Richard and Connie Crites will also be gone a few days. If any checks need to be written see either Mike Branch or Wayne Flora.

The elusive directory is stranded. We have determined to get family pictures of two or three more families, but various things and activities have prevented getting them in one place at the same time. As soon as we get those picture we will be on our way.


First of all, let me say I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to what I’m about to say. We like affirmation. I like affirmation. So when my team wins I feel like I’m part of a winning team. Somehow. So when I read of a member of the Church of Christ who has made a public name for their self, I feel affirmed that I am on a winning team. Somehow.

It seems I’m not alone in this. I keep seeing these sort of things. And I like them. But my question is, why? Do I somehow need to be reassured that my team has some players that are good at sports, winning beauty contests, doctors of note, news people and politicians? The answer is apparently, yes. I say, “So and so is a member of the Church of Christ.” Why? Perhaps it’s because we (I) are a little insecure with who we are. There is no doubt that we may have our reasons, but we are still part of that family. We are here because they were there, good or bad.

If that’s why we (I) need to be reassured that people who have public recognition are on my team, we (I) need to get over it. As the Churches of Christ we have our place in the world of Christianity, and it is more than for “star” power. The following are excerpts taken from an article by Ted Campbell, Associate Professor of Church History, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, which was printed the Cross Lanes WV Church of Christ bulletin recently. When affirmation comes from a theologian, it is more than “star” power. It is entitled, “Here are five reasons why the Churches of Christ may be right after all.”

“First, they have a profound insight into Christian music and its place in worship. I’m not sure I buy the rational that says that because the New Testament doesn’t mention musical instruments, congregations should not be forced to sing with them.”

“There’s something utterly wonderful about the sound of human voices blending together in harmony. I wonder if we have gone too far with our instrumental fetish in worship.”

“Second, they’ve sure got the right name. If you think about, I mean think about it from the perspective of a friendly outsider, ‘Methodist’ and ‘Presbyterian’ and ‘Baptist’ are not really names for Christian groups. Even ‘Catholic’ sounds a little pretentious and ‘Orthodox’ a little snitty. ‘Church of Christ’ sounds pretty straightforward by contrast.”

“Third, the Churches of Christ celebrate the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. Churches of Christ folk haven’t fallen for Protestants’ quirky idea that words can suffice in place of bread and wine” (Campbell had attended the Preston Road congregation to write the report) “It reminded me of the simple prayers over the bread and the wine in the second century Didache document.”

Fourth, there is really only one Church of Christ. That’s one of the cardinal claims of the ecumenical movement of the twentieth century, and the Churches of Christ are way out front in making us aware of that claim. You don’t have to buy the ‘hard shell’ version of the Church of Christ to own that basic truth.”

Fifth, and perhaps most importantly, the simplicity of the Churches of Christ allows them to focus on what is most important, namely, the Gospel of Jesus. There was no congregational creed beyond the songs we sang…”

One visit does not a church make. But Campbell’s observations have to do with what he witnessed about that which we in the Churches of Christ may at times feel inferior. Campbell said the Churches of Christ had “not a lot of technological razzmatazz, not a lot of heavy emotion, not an elaborate or sophisticated liturgy, they just get the job done.” Another person may have found this to be quaint and outdated, but here is a teacher of theology who came away impressed. So I offer this just in case you may be feeling a little insecure, which we (I) need to get over. The full article and other related ones can be read at

CONCERNS: Eleanor Crush (cancer), Maci Winebarger is being treated for cancer as well. Jamie King is recovering from a car accident. Janet McWhorter is undergoing rehabilitation for breathing related problems. Randy Conner has what seems to be terminal cancer. Remember his wife, Debbie and family. Mike Breeding (heart related problems) and his wife are not well at this time. Joni Beach’s mother, and Helen Nicklas, as she deals with her heart related problems. It was so good to see her at church last Sunday. Joyce Matney, Ron’s wife has been having some stomach problems. Connie Crites father, Roger Fisher’s nephew in Florida (cancer), Wilma and Jenni Cullum, and Tim Elder. There are those still seeking permanent employment, among them are Joanne Elder and Erma Williams. The work of Health Talents Int, Bread For A Hungry
World and for the world itself as its people are torn with war, strife and need.

Monday: John 1:1-18
Tuesday: Luke 18;1-4
Wednesday: II Corinthians 1:3-11
Thursday: I Cor. 5:1-18; II Cor 1:23-2:11
Friday: Job 1:13-2:10
Saturday: Psalm 97:1-12

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

This is painful and awkward. As this is being written, Myron Dugan is taking the last breaths of his full, 90 year old life. The reason it is written now, on a Thursday, is because everyone who reads this and knows Myron and Vivian and what they mean to this church will be informed and can pray for Vivian and the family in this time of grief and loss. The next bulletin will be in two weeks.

Myron felt a little under the weather on Sunday, April 10 and even though he’d dressed for church, he decided to stay home. By the next Sunday he was worse and went to the Emergency Room at Lewis-Gale. He was immediately admitted with double pneumonia and a possible fungal infection in his lungs. By Monday evening he was in intensive care. Each day he grew weaker, but for those who visited, that strong, firm signature handshake was still there as well as a smile. By Easter Sunday things were not looking good and they told Vivian and the children there was no hope, that they would keep him comfortable until the time came. He slipped deeper and deeper into sleep.

As we all know, he has always been robust and active, so with all machines turned off, as was his wish, set well before he got sick, he breathed for several days on his own with just a little oxygen to keep him comfortable.

The Dugans have been part of this congregation for over fifty years. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in March. Their love story has inspired all who knew them, and their love could be seen in the way they looked at each other.

NOTE: Myron died at about 3:00 on Thursday, April, 28. Any funeral arrangements will be in the newspaper. Other things will be collaborated by the congregation when the time comes.


Thanks to some of us who were available and three paid workers from the Rescue Mission, as well as Jim Hunter, who borrowed a log splitter, we were able to clean up the area behind the annex and make it look good for the Easter Egg hunt.

The poison ivy has been treated and will continue to be kept under control now that we can get to it. There is still some more work to be done to finish it off.


“So you’re the newbie? What’s your name?”


“That’s a good Italian name. I’ll bet it’s Anthony.”

“Yeah. I was named after my father.”

“Well, Tony, my name is Philip. This is my last one. After today I’m transferring to another duty. I took this position because my wife wanted me in off the streets. She was afraid I’d be killed. What made you chose this job?”

“I need to be able to go home at night. I have a little boy who has some birth defects. It takes all my wife has to care for him and our other children during the day.”

“Sorry to hear that. Listen, one of the things about this job is we are expected to do it right. I take a certain pride in what I do. You see, being the person who takes another person’s life is an important thing. If you’re going to last at this job, and I’ve been doing this here and there for twenty years, you’re going to have to realize that being an executioner is not personal. We are here to fulfill the laws of the land. We don’t judge or feel anything for the criminal. They have been tried by the court and we carry out the sentence. It’s no difference than going to arrest someone. We carry out orders. We don’t make the laws.”

“I know. I also know we didn’t cause the criminal to do whatever it was that caused the them to be caught and convicted. But this being my first time, did it bother you the first time you were part of an execution team?”

“Yeah, and that was the last time I let it get to me. I couldn’t sleep the night after the execution. I made the mistake of looking into his eyes. He was just a young kid who had joined a terrorist group and killed one of our officers. He was just a dumb kid, but he committed a capital crime. There is no stability of law if people think they can go around killing police officers. But I looked at him. He was so frightened. His eyes begged me to somehow save him. His knees collapsed and he wet himself as the officers handed him over to us. He was sobbing and shaking all over as I spread his arms out and strapped them down. I thought I was going to be sick. To tell the truth, after it was over I was. But that was a long time ago. It’s not a matter of getting hardened to it, at least not for me. It was a matter of law. It has to be done according to the law. We live in a world of laws. Without law we would have chaos in the streets. People have to believe in and respect that fact that the laws are made for their protection and the betterment of society. So let me give you some advice, don’t look the prisoner in the eye. Now, I’ve seen some of them who stomped up as if they were stronger than death itself. I’ve heard them cussing and daring me to give them a chance at my throat. I’ve looked at them, hard. I stare them down and I’ve even laughed in their face. Those are the animals out there who have lost any humanity they might have had at birth. As time passes, you will be able to tell when they are brought to you if they are afraid or not.”

“Have you ever worried about killing someone who was innocent?”

“Look Tony, no one is innocent who gets to this point. If they aren’t guilty of what brought them here, they are guilty of what should have brought them here but they got away with. No one comes here with a clean record.”

“No one? What about that kid you talked about?”

“Okey, but he committed a capital crime against a police officer. The law says that is a crime worthy of the death penalty. And I agree. Sure, there are some cases where it is a first offense, but it is a capital offense. You have to keep in mind this has nothing to do with us. It’s the law and we are here to carry it out. One other thing. Some who do this like to be cruel and taunt the prisoner. I don’t do that. We both know what they go through before they get here. I don’t like to add to that. The law has spoken and that’s enough. Get ready, I think they’re on the way.”

“Philip, we both believe in the law, but what would happen if a brother, or some other close relative were sentenced to death on your shift?”

“That would never happen because I would ask to be relieved and it would be granted.”

“So there’s more to it than just the law. There are times when the person is more than just a lawbreaker condemned to die. And in each case there could be someone who is related in some way that feels pain for that person. I know the law has no heart, but people do.”

“Of course! But justice is blind. Justice only carries out the law, it has no heart or eyes. Now, when they bring him to us, lay him down and secure his arms and I’ll get his ankles.”

“Do you think anyone will be here to say goodbye to him?”

“I doubt it. Don’t you know what he was convicted of?”


“He’s the leader of a terrorist group who wants to overthrow the government. He has followers scattered all over the place.”

“Did he kill anyone?”

“No. But treason and terrorism is a capital crime. It’s simply a matter of killing the snake by cutting off it’s head. If there is anyone here to witness his death it will probably be only a few family members. His mother will likely be here. You can always see the mothers out there. There’s something about a mother’s love that never fades.”

When the man arrived, Tony made sure he didn’t look at the prisoner’s face. He concentrated on his arms and hands. He’d heard that some who are about to die have extraordinary strength.

“Hey Tony. This one comes with special circumstances. He’s got his own sign.”

“What does it say?”

“King of the Jews.”


Mary Smith was able to be with us last Sunday and she looked great! Eleanor Crush is receiving treatment for her cancer. She is at home. Pray for little Maci Winebarger as she recovers from surgery for very serious cancer. Jamie King, Stephanie Dixon’s boss’s daughter, has been moved to Raleigh Court Healthcare for rehabilitation from a car accident. She is expected to make a full recovery. Randy Conner has malignant cancer. Remember his wife Debbie and his family. Mike Breeding (heart problems), Joanne Elder and Erma Williams, as well as others who need employment. Joni Beach’s mother is about the same. Alan Beach had a good review at Mayo this time. Just a few places need to be watched and eventually treated locally. Connie Crites father is getting more and more frail each day. He has heart related problems as does Helen Nicklas. Roger Fisher’s nephew in Florida seems to be responding well with his cancer treatment. Remember Jenni and Wilma Cullum, Tim Elder, the people in the world who are dealing with strife, hunger, loss of homes and life, and the political unease in several
places. Remember the work of Health Talents Int. And Bread For A Hungry World.
A thank you card from Bryon Lewis, who made a presentation for the Gideons notes that we gave $545.00 toward placing bibles around the world. The card is on the downstairs bulletin board.

Monday: Hosea 11:1-9
Tuesday: Matthew 10:24-39
Wednesday: Exodus 16:1-36
Thursday: Luke 7:36-50
Friday: John 13:31-38;18:15-27
Saturday: Psalm 103:1-22

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
The announced work day for Saturday was postponed due to the weather. So we are going to try again this coming Saturday. We need to do some cleaning up behind the annex before the Easter Egg Hunt next Sunday. This will be mostly stacking cut branches where we can cut and use them for kindling, as well as cleaning off the hillside and the area where the trees have been cut. In case of rain on Saturday, KW will be working back there a little during the week. This will be the kind of work for both men and women. Nothing really heavy, just moving limbs and such.

On Easter Sunday we will have our annual Easter Egg Hunt for the little ones. Holly Wagner and her helpers will fill and hide the eggs. We do not need any plastic eggs. If you will, bring one bag of any of the following wrapped fun-sized candy. Skittles, M&M, or Fruit Snacks..

The “hunt” will take place as soon as the service is over and it will be behind the annex and in the annex yard. It is for children up to the third grade.

Today, April 17, is Super Sunday. Hopefully the rains will be over and we can all enjoy the beautiful spring colors as well as the good food and fellowship. Be sure to stay for the meal following the service. You will also be able to see the difference the tree cutting has made behind the annex.

From Mary Smith: Dear Church Family, “Thank you” are two small words, but they express my great appreciation for your prayers, expressions of concern, your visits, the food and the money offers of help during my confinement.

To the church youth group, you made my day when I opened your card and read all your names! May God bless you.
In Christ, Mary Smith.

We also received letters from our ABC children, Luis Alexander Perez Nicolas and Nery Noe Perez Nicolas. They are hand-made and will be read this morning and then they, along with all the other cards, will be placed on the downstairs bulletin board.


by my friend, Ben
I saw Ira Jeffords comin’ up the holler before ma did. O’ Blue saw him too. He did. Ol’ Blue had a thing about him an’ folks. He did. An’ he didn’t take to Ira. He didn’t. I reckon Blue weren’t alone in that, cause Ira were one of them tax assessors. He were.

Ira’s job were to come around every year an’ assess your property, how many rooms were in your house an’ estimate all your personal property. It were not all that uncommon to hear that some folks had told Ira to stay offen their property or else.

Well, ma heard ol’ Blue let out a growl-like bark an’ come to see what were goin’ on. She did. Ol’ Blue headed off toward the barn as Ira got outta his county truck. He did. I didn’t dislike Ira, I just didn’t like the way he treated folks. It seemed to be well-known that Ira would cut down on his estimates for friends and relatives. It were. Pa’d heard the rumor more’n once that Ira would take money to cut estimates. He had. So I were a tad relieved that pa were at the saw mill when Ira came. I were.

When ma saw who it were, she called out to Ira an’ told him to come on up on the porch an’ have a big cold glass a sweet tea. She did. I were wonderin’ iffen Ira were prone to shavin’ assessments a little for sweet tea. I were.

Well, Ira took out one a them big red railroad handkerchiefs an’ wiped the sweat offen his face an’ told ma he’d love to have some sweet tea. He did. She asked iffen he’d like to come inside, but he said sittin’ on the porch would be fine. He did.

Ira were one of them big men what looked like they didn’t do much hard work. He were. But he still sweat a lot. He did. When he sat down in pa’s ol’ rocker, I were afraid it might break. I were.

After he sat down an’ took a big ol’ swaller of that tea, he opened his tax book. He did. He said he reckoned we still had the same number of rooms we had the last time he were here. Ma said that were right. Ma said we were savin’ up for a septic system an’ indoor plumin’ but they weren’t quite there yet. She did. Ol’ Ira raised one of his bushy eyebrows an made a note, tellin’ ma she were obligated to let the county know of any improvements. He did. Ma said she knowed that.

He wanted to know what kind of truck pa were drivin’. He did. Well, I could tell ma were a tad put off‎ by that question, an’ she said, “Ira, I reckon you already know the answer to that, bein’s that you’re the county assessor an’ all.” She did. Ira shook the ashes offen the cigarette he’d lit onto the porch an’ I could see a little grin come over his face. I could.

Now I were ready for Ira Jeffords to finish his business an’ get on offen our property. I were. Well, about that time he asked ma iffen he could have another glass a tea. He did. Ma said she’d be glad to get him one, an’ she did. He took the glass an’ said he were goin’ down to the barn an’ check out the livestock an’ equipment. He did. Inside I were kinda hopin’ he surprise ol” Blue an’ maybe Blue’d run him off. I were.

Well, after piddlin’ around longer in the barn than I were comfortable with, Ira come walkin’ back toward the house. He did. Just as he got to his truck he said, “Come here boy an’ fetch this here glass an’ give it to your ma.” He did. I looked at ma an’ she nodded for me to get it. She did. Ira mumbled a thanks for the tea an’ said he’d send out the tax bill in a month or so. He did. With that he drove off raisin’ a cloud a dust that took five minutes to settle. He did.

I went into the kitchen where ma were gettin’ supper ready an’ I asked he how she could be so nice to someone like Ira Jeffords. I did. I were wonderin’ iffen she were afraid that iffen she weren’t, he’d raise our taxes. I were. Well, ma stopped peelin’ potatoes an’ sat down at the table. She said, “Benny, it’s a right hard lesson to learn, but we shouldn’t treat folks the way they might treat us. I don’t treat Ira the way I do to make him be good to us. I treat him the way I do because it’s right. Iffen I treated Ira the way he treats folks, wouldn’t that make me just like him? Now Benny, I ain’t sayin’ I’m better’n Ira. I’m just sayin’ it don’t do no good not bein’ good to other folks. Even the Lord treated tax collectors like everyone else. He did.” Well, I knowed ma were right, but it were gonna take a heap a work for me to like Ira Jeffords. It were.
CONCERNS: Eleanor Crush continues with chemotherapy. Mary Smith is improving each day. Jamie King, the daughter of Stephanie Dixon, is in the hospital recovering from an automobile accident. Maci Winebarger is having chemotherapy and things look good. Mike Breeding and his wife. Joanne Elder and Erma Williams as they look for employment. Alan Beach went to Mayo Clinic for a check-up. Joni Beach’s mother is about the same. Helen Nicklas is not doing well at this time. Randy Conners has a serious type of malignant cancer. Andy Arnold needs our prayers. He has stepped away from his treatment program. Roger Fisher’s nephew in Florida is about the same. Remember Wilma and Jenni Cullum. Jenni had carpal tunnel surgery last week. Also Tim Elder, the work of Health Talents International and Bread For A Hungry World, and those around the world who are trying to recover from political and natural disasters

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: Acts 4:32 – 5:11
Psalm: 99:1-9

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

If you look behind the annex you can see that the trees we wanted cut are on the ground and cut up. As soon (perhaps April 16) as we can get the log splitter here we will be preparing the wood for next year’s use. We will need folks who can clean up the hillside as well as those who can cut some trees that have been on the ground for some time. Once the hillside is clean we will look at perhaps planting some redbud trees and other ornamental small trees. Get you chain saws and other tools ready.

If the bulletin looks different this time it is because due to our DSL upgrade, we had to replace our rather antique computer. This caused the problem of getting the files we needed from the old to the new, which is not yet finished. We discovered we needed some more hardware to do that. In the meantime, it will take a while to get used to a new word processing program. So you can see the spacing is a little different but we hope to have that worked out soon.

Due to the nasty weather last Sunday and the smaller crowd we were unable to finish getting all the pictures and information we need. The directory will be assembled in the next week or so, with or without being as complete as we would like it. If you want to be sure all the information we have gathered is correct, see Erma today. The camera will be here if you want a picture taken.


I’m sure there is an explanation for the dietary laws of Israel. Simply put, it seems anything that eats other blood-bearing living things is off limits, with some exceptions that have to do with the animal’s foot, or some other characteristic of the bird etc.. It seems to have to do with a belief that eating an animal that had eaten another living thing might give the eater the power or characteristics of both animals, or being made unclean by eating something that had eaten some other living thing’s blood. I’m still not sure why the rabbit is unclean just because of it’s feet. Neither am I sure why a kid goat should not be boiled in it’s mothers milk. (Deut. 14:21) It seems that this, like many of the prohibitions of Moses, had to do with a practice that was done by Egyptians.

If the Hebrews, who had been absorbed by Egyptian culture for 400 years were going to be a distinct and “holy” (different) people, they had to leave behind everything Egyptian. As we read their story we see the constant attempt to go back, or to rekindle the memories of Egypt. The golden calf would be one such an example.

On another level we see the prohibition against “mixing” things like grain, and animals, cloth and even people. While Moses seems to have no problem taking an Ethiopian woman for his second wife, the Hebrews were to remain a pure race. Adultery was more about the result than the act itself. The result was that the birthing place, the womb of a man’s wife, was now made unclean, polluted, adulterated, by another man’s seed. This rendered the woman useless, so she was to be stoned. The man who polluted her was also to be stoned because he had made unclean the place the husband’s offspring could be born pure and carry on his tribal name. The exception was for divorce, which could only be done by the husband. Even before the time of David the marriage purity laws had faded. So Ruth, a Moabite (Moabites were banned for several social and political reasons) becomes the wife of David’s grandfather. So it’s not an Old Testament/New Testament thing.

All of this can be understood within the context of Moses recreating the people of God. Those things necessary for that to happen would fade away the longer they were away from Egypt. However, they were never far form the influence of the world around them, so they were constantly warned about idols and all things pertaining to pagan worship. The Old Testament attests to the fact that they were never very good at avoiding either of those things.

Be that as it may, there is the issue of “The Lord said…” All through the Old Testament in every rule, requirement, law and ordinance, there is attached, “The Lord said…” The tricky question is if this was some actual voice of God, or an attempt at understanding what the God wanted. One of the most important statements in scripture is when Jesus said several times in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, “You have heard it said of old”, each time referring to the law of Moses. Meaning, “The Lord said to Moses” or “The Lord said through Moses. but I say to you.”

So when Jesus said, “But I say to you” (and the “But” is very significant) was he saying, “God said to you, but I say to you”? If what Moses said was what God said, if Jesus is God’s “word”, how could Jesus say, “God said , but now I say”?

God can only speak within the context of time. In other words, if Moses heard God say to build several giant silver birds with jet engines and fly the Israelites to the promised land, Moses would’ve thought he’d inhaled too much swamp gas. Therefore, what Moses does to bring about the desired result, is guided by the voice of God that speaks within the context of Moses’ understanding of how to do it. That being true (I’m sure there are those who say it isn’t) the word (will) of God will always be heard and implemented within the context of the social, moral and theological understanding at the time.

So, back to the original question: When did God start liking pork? From the beginning. The Bible says God created everything and pronounced it good. And we now know that each creature has its place in what can be a fragile ecosystem.

How then are we to decide what is the present will of God and what is not? The common method is the, “If something in the Old Testament is commanded or condemned in the New Testament, it is applicable to the Christian. Not a very good method of interpretation. Then someone added “necessary inference”, meaning if it is inferred in the context. Also not a good method, but it does move toward a broader understanding. There’s also “example”, which is also weak. For example, in Exodus 31:16,17 it says the sabbath was to be kept as “a lasting covenant” vs. 16, “forever” vs. 17. It was also observed in the New Testament and was observed well into the New Testament period by Jewish Christians. And, with good reason. It was to be observed “forever”. The Seventh Day Adventists keep Saturday/Sabbath because the scriptures say to.

Another one is Passover. It was to be done each year according to the law. However, in II Kings 23:22 it says they had not observed a Passover since the time of Joshua and the kings of both Judah and Israel. Passover was observed in both testaments and it is certainly a significant event. However, it, like most of the Old Testament laws were for a particular time and a particular people, the Israelites, not the whole world.

A good explanation for what I’m saying is found in Leviticus 18. After a long list of “abominations” beginning with, “The Lord said to Moses” it says, “Do not defile yourself in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled.”

The importance of this is how we use scripture. Something seen as a danger to bringing about the will of God under certain circumstances may not be necessary in all situations. Avoiding anything Gentile is one of those situations. It is not that God didn’t love Gentiles, or pigs, it was that they were a hindrance at the time.

CONCERNS: Mary Smith had back surgery on Friday. This was done to correct a vertebra. She was told she would walk out the same day, or on Saturday. Eleanor Crush is being treated for pancreatic cancer. A six year old patient of Del Bolin’s, Maci Winebarger, is at St. Judes in Memphis with a malignant tumor on her brain stem. She has a mom, dad, and two brothers and two sisters at home. A website has been set up: Jamie King suffered serious injury in a car accident, She is Stephanie Dixon’s boss’s daughter. Pray for the Pendelton family in the death of husband and father, Matt. Mike Breeding and his wife, Randy Conner, cancer, Joanne Elder and Erma Williams as they seek employment. Joni Beach’s mother is doing better than expected. She has cancer. Connie Crites father (heart problems). Isabelle Simmons and Helen Nicklas, Roger Fisher’s nephew, Jenni and Wilma Cullum. Tim Elder, the people of Japan, the work of Health Talents and Bread For A Hungry World.

FOOD PANTRY: The food pantry has been restocked and tow families has been helped form it.

Monday: Hebrews 4:14-5:10
Tuesday: Matthew 5:17-48
Wednesday: Genesis 1:1-13
Thursday: II Samuel 12:1-15
Friday: Ephesians 6:10-20
Saturday: Psalm 104:1-35

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

Today, March 20, is Super Sunday. We may have to have the air conditioner on! Plan to enjoy the good food and fellowship following the service. Let’s remember those with March birthdays and anniversaries, as well as guests, go first in the serving line.

Due to the weather we haven’t been able to take the outside shots for the directory. We are only short a few photos, so today would be a great day to be sure Erma has an updated picture for the directory. She will be contacting you after the service this morning.

Each year Second Presbyterian Church brings in a scholar for this series. Last year those who went enjoyed hearing Barbara Brown Taylor. This year the speaker will be Diana Butler Bass. She will speak on Sunday evening March 27, at 7:00 PM and on Monday, March 28, at 7:00 PM.This is a free lecture series. She has written several award winning books that deal with the history of Christianity.
As soon as the trees are all cut we will be having a work /log splitting day. This will take a few good hands. We will be using a hydraulic splitter, so we will need loaders and stackers. With the amount of wood we will have we will be able to keep the fireplace working for next year and a few years after that. This early notice is so those of you who need to tune-up your saws can be ready.

We have decided to do one more year (at least) of Vacation Bible School. Erma would like for you to start saving all inside tubes gift wrap comes on, as well as paper towel and bath tissue tubes. There will be a training session coming after Erma conducts one for the area churches that us Group material.

Due to competition Verison has given us DSL internet connection and unlimited long distance calling for a little less than we were paying for our standard service. This means the bulletins can be sent out from the office as well as the service roster. E-mail can also be read, and needed research information can be gained at the office. We will be all hooked up next week.


by my friend, Ben
Jake Hanson’d sent me’n Arval Johnson over to Stanleyville to help Lynell Proctor get his loggin’ truck outta the mud. He did. Lynell were his cousin. He were. Arval were to ride back with Lynell iffen we got it unstuck. Iffen we did, Jake told me to go on home an’ he’n some of the other fellers would stay an’ help ‘em unload. He did.

Well, it were late March an’ by the time we got that truck out it were getting’ dusky-dark an’ startin’ to rain. It were.

I were about an hour outta Hickory Ridge when I saw her. She looked to be all of fourteen or so. When she saw me she raised her thumb like she were hitchin’ a ride. She did. Her hair were all down in her eyes an’ she were soakin’ wet. She were. Well, I knowed I had to stop. I did. When I did she went around an’ got into my truck. I told her she ought to be careful hitchin’ rides. She said weren’t nothin’ could be done to her what her step-pa hadn’t already done. She did. I asked iffen she were runnin’ away an’ she said she just couldn’t take it no more. Then I asked iffen she knowed where she were goin’. She said anywhere were better’n where she’d been. She did. I asked iffen she’d let me take her to the sheriff’s office an’ she said she didn’t want no law.

I asked her name, an she said “Rosella”. She weren’t tellin’ me no more than that. I asked her iffen she had a ma. I did. After a long pause she said her ma didn’t want to believe her when she told her what were goin’ on. She said her ma were so desperate an’ poor she didn’t know what they’d do iffen he throwed them out.

Now, this were a right troublin’ situation for me. It were. I knowed I couldn’t leave her on the road somewheres. An’ I didn’t want her to spend the night in jail an’ then be sent back. At least not until she’d had a chance to tell her story to the right folks. Since she’d told me she were fifteen I knowed I needed help as soon as I could find it. I did. It were then I thought of Sara Jane an’ Billy Joe Bradley. Billy Joe bein’ a doctor an’ all, he’d know just what to do. He would.

So when I got to town I told Rosella what I were gonna do. That it were either Sara Jane an’ Billy, or the sheriff. After tellin’ me just to leave her alone, she finally agreed to go to Sara Jane an’ Billy’s. She did.

Sara Jane let us in an’ she’n Billy listened to Rosella’s story. They did. Since it were getting’ late they agreed that it would be best iffen she spent the night with them. That way they could talk about what could be done for her the next mornin’. They did.

As I drove on home in the rain I remembered a time when me’n ma were ridin’ with pa on a rainy night just like this one. We were. All of a sudden there were this wet cat in the road. Pa swerved to miss it an started to drive on. But ma told him to stop. Now pa weren’t much of a cat person. He weren’t. But ma said she weren’t leavin’ that poor creature out in the rain an’ dark. She did. Well, that cat were scared to death. It were. Pa had to throw a gunny sack over it to keep it from scratchin’ us to death. He did

When we got home ma tried to feed it some warm milk. She did. But it just hunkered down behind the stove. Ma said from the marks on it that somebody’d mistreated it real bad. She said we’d just have to be patient with it. She did.

Sometime durin’ the night it come out an’ drank the milk an’ ate the soft eggs ma’d cooked for it. But it stayed behind the stove. It did. That is until pa went out the back door to do somethin’. Well, that cat lit out that door an’ headed for hard road. It did. It looked back only once an’ jumped into the weeds an’ disappeared. Ma said it probably wouldn’t do no good to try to catch it, cause it’d been so hurt by human folks that it weren’t ready to trust no one. She did.

The next mornin’ on the way to the saw mill I stopped by Billy Joe’s clinic to see iffen they’d decided how to help Rosella. I did. Billy Joe said she were gone when they woke up. He tried to find her but she were nowhere to be found.

I reckon iffen the folks what are supposed to love an’ care for us do us wrong, the scars can keep us from trustin’ anyone to love us, just like that cat ma tried to take care of. I do.

As I drove to work I couldn’t get Rosella offen my mind. I couldn’t. I wondered iffen she were okey. I knowed there weren’t nothin’ I could do ‘cept say a little prayer for her. Which is what I did.

CONCERNS: Mary Smith has been scheduled for release from rehab next Tuesday. They will make a decision on what treatment to be used on Eleanor Crush this week. She has stage three pancreatic cancer. A little six year old patient of Dr. Bolin’s has been diagnosed with a malignant inoperable brain tumor. Her name is Macy. She is now at St. Jude’s in Memphis. Teryn Gaynor’s principal’s husband has terminal cancer. She is Karen Pendelton and her husband’s name is Matt. Also dealing with terminal cancer is the husband of a friend of Erma Williams that some of us also know, Debbie Conner. His name is Randy. Andy Arnold, needs our prayers for strength as he deals with his life situation. Those who remain on our prayer list are: Shawn Bumbalough, Mike Breeding and his wife, Joanne Elder and Erma Williams (employment needs), Joni Beach’s mother, Roger Fisher’s nephew, Barbara McCauley, Jenni and Wilma Cullum and Tim Elder.

Monday: Mark 14:26-42
Tuesday: Acts 1:1-14
Wednesday: Psalm 42:1-11
Thursday: Acts 5:17-32
Friday: Hebrews 2:10-18
Saturday: Psalm 107:1-43

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

Ben and Sheila Robertson will be going to China later this month. Ben will be there on business with GE and Sheila gets to go with him. They will be gone for a little over two months. Ben has provided us with a service list through May. If there are any changes needed let the office know. Or, if you can, find someone to fill in for you.

Also, Richard and Connie Crites will be gone a few weeks this month. They will be going to Wisconsin to see Connie’s father and then visiting with Rich’s family in Illinois.

About this time each year the government worries that we are wasting too much daylight. That being the case, it has asked (required unless you live in one of those states which has seceded from DST) that on March 13 at 2:00 AM we start saving one hour each day. To do this we must set our clocks forward one hour before retiring on March 12. As to what you are to do with the hour you save, the government has not specified. However, we know the IRS will not let you claim it as a deduction. The saved hour is also like manna, it must be used that day. How is up to you.

Three days in March have been reserved by Joanne Elder’s group, Karios. They will be in the annex on Friday evening, March 18th from 6:00-10:00 PM. On Saturday, March 19th from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. And on Saturday, March 26th from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. There are three dates in April as well, along with Erma Williams using the Annex on April 16th for VBS training. Keep these dates handy so you can tell when the annex will be available to use.

There will not be another bulletin before Super Sunday, so while we’re talking about dates. Super Sunday will be on March 20. Last month we had almost everyone who worshiped with us stay for the meal. Let’s do it again this month.

Talk about herding cats! We just about have all the pictures for the new directory. However, please take note that those of you who wanted a warning so you could look better than you already do, we will be finishing up (hopefully) this Sunday if the weather co-operates for outdoor shots.


I mentioned a part of “Blood Done Sign My Name” in a sermon and also said I had not yet read it. Just before we flew to Florida Martha White Foy dropped by to give me a copy as a birthday present and something to read on the plane. Having finished it I would make it required reading for anyone going into the ministry.

It is not a book on how to preach, but rather a book that indirectly deals with what I think are the most important qualities for a preacher. Qualities of which I have often been weighed and found wanting.

The book is written by Timothy Tyson, the son of a white Methodist preacher, who grew up in North Carolina during the 60s and 70s when integration was in full bloom. An experience in Tyson’s early days in Oxford, NC changed his life. It had to do with a friend of his saying. “Daddy and Roger and ‘em shot ‘em a nigger. “ He was referring to the murder of Henry Marrow, a twenty-three-year-old black veteran who had been accused of flirting with a white man’s wife. The eventual trial at which the husband, father-in-law and a step-son were found not guilty, and the events that both preceded and followed the trial make up the bulk of the book.

Tyson’s father, Vernon Tyson, as minister of a Methodist church in Sanford, NC, had tried to bring about racial harmony in his town as racial discourse spread across the deep south. After the events of April 1963 in Birmingham, Ala., Vernon Tyson wrote a letter to the editor of the Sanford Herald saying that all the Sanford churches should open their doors to everyone, regardless of color. He received a scolding letter from the editor, warning him that leaders who went “too far, too fast” ended up without any followers, and maybe without a job. Along with the hate mail that followed, were lowered eyes on the streets, and resentful stares.

In 1963, after the assassination of President Kennedy, Vernon Tyson met Dr. Samuel Proctor, president of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College, and one of the leading black preachers of his time. After hearing Proctor speak, Tyson asked if he would come to Sanford and speak at the Methodist church. Proctor agreed. Both Proctor and Tyson knew that Martin Luther King’s words were true, that eleven o’clock on Sunday morning was the most segregated hour in America, and all-white churches did not welcome black preachers in their pulpits.

When the church members heard about Proctors proposed visit, the telephone rang constantly. A meeting by fifty church members was called and they insisted that the invitation be rescinded. He tried to reason with them, but refused to comply with their demand. Death threats followed, among them threats to dynamite the house. His job was on the line as well.

When Tyson came home from the meeting at the church he was met with the news that a threat had been made to blow up his house and harm his family. He was ready to give in, but his wife gabbed his arms and told him to stand his ground. Even his supporters began to back off. Their comments are almost the “scripture” of churches, “It isn’t worth tearing the church apart over.”

The night before Proctor was to speak there was another meeting called. The board demanded that Tyson call and cancel the appointment. One member pushed the phone across the desk saying, “You can end all this with just one phone call.” Others said it was going to tear up the church. Then Miss Amy Womble, a sixty-year-old first grade teacher, who had taught most of the people in the room, stood up. I won’t tell all her story, but she said something that needs repeating. After saying she knew their preacher and she didn’t know Dr. Proctor, She said, “If there’s going to be any tearing done, we’re going to do the tearing apart ourselves.” Then she went on to remind them that a white boy near Chapel Hill had run his car off the road and was killed in the crash. As they stood waiting for the ambulance to take him to the funeral home, an airman from Pope Air Force Base stopped. He went down to the boy and opened his mouth. He saw the boy’s tongue was stuck in his throat and he ran his finger in and pulled out the tongue. He then gave the boy mouth to mouth resuscitation. By the time the ambulance got there the boy was walking around. The following week they had a big dinner at the fire station for the airman. Then Miss Amy paused and said, “What I haven’t told you is that the boy who had been in the wreck was white, and the airman that saved him was a black man.” She looked around the room and said, “Now which one of you fathers would have said to that airman, ‘Now, don’t run your black fingers down my boy’s white throat’? Which of y’all would have told that airman, ‘Don’t you dare put your black lips on my boy’s mouth’?” Dr Proctor spoke at the church the next day to a packed house.

One of the members who was a wholesale grocery salesman said that when he told a costumer he was supporting Tyson’s asking Dr. Proctor to speak, he was ordered out of the store and told never to come back.

A few years later, in 1966, Tyson was invited to a church at Oxford, NC. There, amid the racial tension of the time, he once again invited a black minister to preach. Once again, he was in trouble, but not as much as before. It would be his stand in trying to bring reconciliation during the riots after Henry Marrow’s killers went free, that sent the Tyson family to Wilmington.

Timothy Tyson’s life was so changed by his father’s courage and the death of Henry Marrow, that he went to Duke and earned his Ph.D. and is now teaching Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin.

As I read the book, I was reminded too much about the times in West Virginia during the sixties and seventies, I stood by far too quietly as Church of Christ preachers passed out their racist, bigoted, material.

It would be nice to say such things are in the past, but they are not. Prejudice of all kinds still raises its ugly head. And, as it was then, far too much of it comes from the pews of churchgoers. And it is always based on the same thing, fear.

CONCERNS: Mary Smith has had a setback. Another vertebra has fractured. However, they are hoping it will heal by her wearing a cast. She will be in rehab a few more days. Brice Reid had an appendicectomy on Wednesday afternoon. He is home and doing fine. Several in the congregation have been sick with chest congestion and head colds. Remember the Hall’s neighbor who has cancer. Mike Breeding has not yet had his surgery. Keep him and his wife in your prayers. Joanne Elder and Erma Williams are still job hunting. Joni Beach’s mother is about the same. Connie Crites father, and Debbie Conner, whose husband, Randy, has what seems to be terminal cancer. Helen Nicklas is about the same. Continue to remember Barbara McCauley, Jenni and Wilma Cullum, Tim Elder, and Roger Fisher’s nephew in Florida, who has cancer, but is responding to treatment. Also the work of Health Talents and Bread For A Hungry World.

Monday: Jeremiah 31:23-34
Tuesday: I Cor. 11:17-34
Wednesday: Acts 6:1-7
Thursday: Matthew 5:21-48
Friday: Psalm 119:129-152
Saturday: Psalm 67:1-7
Monday: I Timothy 6:11-21
Tuesday: Psalm 119:89-112
Wednesday: Mark 2:15-3:6
Thursday: Acts 8:4-24
Friday: Luke 22:39-53
Saturday: 1 Cor. 15:42-58

Sleiman e-mailed last week to say that he had retired from AEP and had taken a position in Houston, TX. He will be leaving Columbus in March and Juliette and the children will follow in June. Maria is a Junior at Ohio State and Danielle is a Junior in High School.

Sunday, February 20, is Super Sunday. As the weather changes what better way to enjoy a good meal and good friends than to eat together. Plan to stay.

We are still in the process of taking updated pictures for the new directory and this Sunday looks to be a nice day. Some of the pictures taken a week or so ago didn’t turn out due to the sun reflecting in the lens. Erma will be taking them after the service and during our fellowship time together.

Our young folks are at Winterfest in Gatlinburg, TN. This weekend and will be returning on Sunday. They hope to be here in time to enjoy the Super Sunday meal with us. Keep them in your prayers as they travel home.

Last week a woman dropped by the office and said she wanted to make a contribution to the church. It seems we had helped her several years ago and she wanted to give back. After being told that was not necessary, she insisted and presented a hundred dollar bill. When asked if that was what we had given her she replied she had only needed fifty-two, but she wanted to give the hundred.
In all the forty some years I have been preaching that is the first time anyone ever did anything like that. Say a little prayer for this unusual woman.

You will notice that the two pictures (of which only one was on the wall until it was taken down for VBS) in the foyer have been hung. Frames for the pictures sent by the chaplain for the troops we helped in Iraq
have been purchased. As soon as a frame and a self for the flag is found, they will be placed on the wall downstairs. Rather than hang the flag it seemed more appropriate to frame it and place it on a self out of the way.


If I were a certain kind of person, which I am not, I might be a little spooked by the fact that just a week after I picked on the “Jesus is coming soon” folks, the newspaper reports there is a group that is now sure of it. It will take place on May 21, 2011. I’m not sure of the time but it will probably be after midnight when it is dark or as the sun shines from the east to the west.

I know these folks do not represent main line Christianity, even though there is a large number of people who are sure it’s soon, but not sure of the date. However, this group, lead by an 89 year old “prophet” (Remember I said some people can’t stand the thought of dying without taking the rest of us with them. This guy doesn’t have that much longer) named, Harold Camping. He is a retired civil engineer, which only means that he is not uneducated, even if he is going to be sadly wrong. How do I dare say that? Because I have my own calculations. All I can say is that if any of those folks own a house in south Florida they will not need after May 21, I’m open for taking it over on May 22 regardless if they go or not.

They are not a large group, but they still have the resources to use traveling caravans of RVS and renting billboards across America, as well as spreading the word in foreign lands.

Now all this is not new and I certainly don’t want to curtail their freedom of belief. But this quote from one of the adherents really bothers me theologically. Allison Warden, of Raleigh, NC, says, “If May 21 passes and I’m still here, that means I wasn’t saved. Does that mean God’s word is inaccurate or untrue? Not at all.”

On May the 22nd I’m not sure what this young woman is going to do. If you are not saved, do you go on believing in God when there is no hope for you? Or do you readjust your ideas about the Bible? I hope she, as well as her leader, change their understanding of scripture. However, when the attitude is sealed in stone, “My understanding of God’s word is accurate and true” there is little hope for change. What often happens is giving up on the Bible altogether. There are any number of atheists who were once believers with a wrong understanding of the Bible.

Anyone who grows in grace and knowledge has to also grow in the way they understand God and scripture. On a simple level, I once was sure how big heaven was. It was literally a 1,500 mile cube, only I used cubits back then. In fact, I’m not sure if 1,500 miles is correct and I don’t care. Because I now understand that to be a figure of speech rather than a literal city. That goes for the street of gold and wanting a mansion that is silver lined as well.

There is the constant need to revisit the views we hold about God. After all, few if any of us got them by revelation. We got them from those who taught us, just as I did the size and literalness of heaven. We are told the Bible is true even before we can absorb it for ourselves. We are told how the Bible is true and warned not to fool with it. It is presented as an untouchable document. Of course, just as these “end times” folks are doing, we accept some person’s idea about what it means. All of us have eaten what someone else cooked for us. Does that make it bad? No. But it must be tested. If we accept Jesus as the one who reveals the nature of God, then we start with discovering who and what he was. That in and of itself is not easy, as anyone who observes the Christian religion can see. We make him in our own image and in our own social and political ideologies. This started soon after Jesus’ death and can be seen in the letters of Paul and it will continue.

What we continually have to do is realize we understand God as we understand the world around us. There is an evolutionary quality to human knowledge and understanding. It takes place in medicine, science, music, art and social interaction. But in the area of God, and all kinds of religions concerning a deity, such an evolution is often considered heresy.

For example, there are those who still defend slavery because it is part of the cultural scene of the Bible. To do so is to miss and to misunderstand the nature of God as revealed in Christ’s teachings. As Elvis sang, “I’m (you’re) caught in a trap.” But it’s not cause I love you too much baby.

CONCERNS: Mary Smith spent some time in Pheasant Ridge undergoing rehab after her back surgery. Hopefully she will be home by the weekend, but if not, she is in room 609B. Judy Hall is mending well after injuring her elbow. Remember the Hall’s neighbor who has cancer. Also Mike Breeding and his wife, Trisha, the Bolin’s friend, Joanne Elder and Erma Williams as they job hunt. Joni Beach’s mother got a good report. Her cancer has not advanced, but it is still serious. Connie Crites’ father. Helen Nicklas is not doing very well at this time. Little Isabelle Simmons has responded very well to her treatment for Leukemia. Debbie Conner, a friend of Erma’s that some of us know, husband, Randy, has cancer that seems to be quickly spreading. Continue to remember Roger Fisher’s nephew in Florida who has cancer, Barbara McCauley, Jenni and Wilma Cullum, Tim Elder, and the work of Health Talents Int., Bread For A Hungry World, the unrest in Egypt and in other needy spots in the world.
Monday: Genesis 12:1-20
Tuesday: I Samuel 3:1-8
Wednesday: Philippians 4:8-23
Thursday: I John 4:7-21
Friday: Romans 7:13-8:11
Saturday: Ephesians 3:7-21
Monday: John 10:1-18
Tuesday: Matthew 13:24-43
Wednesday: Psalm 90:1-17
Thursday: Luke 14:15-24
Friday: Amos 5:18-6:1
Saturday: Psalm 71:1-24

Our Sympathy is extended to Judy McWhorter and Jan Overstreet in the death of an aunt who died in Georgia. Also, former member, Rhonda McRoy’s grandmother died. The funeral was in Alabama.

For those of you who receive the bulletin beyond the congregation, there was no mid-January bulletin due to the Wagner’s being on vacation.

Also, if you have E-mail and you do not receive the bulletin that way you can go to the church website and at the place under the minister’s name there is a “subscribe” button. However, if you already receive the bulletin via E-mail, and you have a new E-mail address, let Keith know and he will see that the old one is deleted and the new one added. This will keep the list from filling with addresses that are no longer valid. As the new directory is completed all E-mail addresses of members who currently receive the bulletin via E-mail will be checked against the new directory. As to the directory, Erma Williams will be taking the new pictures in the weeks to come, probably up till Super Sunday.

Several of our young folks will once again be attending Winterfest in Gatlinburg, TN the third weekend of this month.

If you noticed some parts of trees near or behind the annex, the weather has kept the man doing the work from being able to put his truck on the soft ground. As soon as the ground hardens several more trees behind the annex will be removed.

Since Judy Hall has injured her elbow she will be on the sidelines of knitting the scarves she will distribute to the various groups she has been working with. She needs at least two more knitters to help finish this up. If you can help please see Judy.

Famis Plus is Virginia’s Health Insurance (Medicaid) for children under 19 in low income families. Depending on income, this service for children can be either free or at a small cost. This program is not well known, so if you know someone who needs such help, see the downstairs bulletin board for information.


Listen! Did you hear Rome fall? I grew up living in fear that Gibbon’s reasons for the fall of Rome would be the downfall of every nation, I needed to listen for the thud. I even had a woman tell me about twenty years ago that America had to fall (a president had been elected she didn’t like) because every nation fell after two hundred years.

Who in their right mind would want a nation about the size of Florida to rule all of Europe? Or the idea that the sun never set on Great Briton’s holdings? Isn’t independence a good thing? Isn’t freedom what we all want for ourselves and others?

While I’m talking about falls, when was the last time anyone quoted J. Edgar Hoover? He was almost sanctified in the past, but finding dresses in his closet after he died kind of took the shine off his pronouncements.

I face 2011 the way I’ve faced all the coming years since I “woke up”. I’m both anxious and excited. I’m not surprised that greed and selfishness are still running the politics of the world. That makes me anxious, but not hopeless, I find that within all the corruption there are still those who fight against it, and often win. Neither does the evil in the world surprise me, but I will not let it define my world view. I am amazed at the sacrificial good people all over the world do for others. And I believe that as more and more years come and go some of the evils that plague us will pass with them.

I feel sorry for those people who believe there was some time in the past that was the best of times. They are afraid of the future because they are narrow in mind. Those days never existed, except to them and them alone. When we define the good old days by our singular definition, we make ourselves out to be fools.

I grew up in the fifties. I have fond memories of the “rock ‘n roll” age in Norwood, Ohio. My world was small. The world of southern blacks was not my world. That would come near he end of that decade. When I saw the segregated part of the country my idea of “good old days” faded. They were good for me, but not good for all Americans.

It was near the end of my “good old days” that I realized even though my mother also worked, she could not get a credit card without my father co-signing Nor could a woman buy a house without a man to co-sign the deed, no matter how much money she made and how little he did. So I was excited when the days of equal rights for women came along. My good old days faded a little more.

The technology of television brought pictures from Montgomery, Birmingham, Atlanta and Mississippi into our living rooms. Segregation could only be good days for the prejudiced and bigoted. When it comes to that, I suppose another generation will have to die off to remove the stain of racism. I was in Kroger just before Christmas and two elderly women were talking and blocking the isle I wanted to go up. One was on a riding cart, the other was about four feet eight and bent over. She looked to be in her late seventies. They were talking politics. As they started to move, the small one said to the other, “I vote for the one I think will do the job best.” As I stepped by them I said something about how we did need to find the right kind of people to serve. As I walked away she said her choice was Sara Palin. I didn’t realize she was coming up the same isle where I was picking up an item. I heard her say, “My grandson voted for that thing in the White House! People ought to know better than to put a d–n n—-r in the White House!” All I could do was look at her and say “O my goodness!” and walk away. It is sad that after all these years that feeling is still alive.

I remain excited about the potential of the future. I think those who are always seeing the “rapture” coming are people who don’t want to go unless they take the rest of us with them. It’s as if they can’t imagine a world without them, and the world they see isn’t worth having. The world has to end with them. It’s as if they feel since they have failed to see God’s continuing will being done on earth, that God has to do their bidding and end it all. That seems egotistical to me. The will of God is not conditioned by a person’s lack of vision for the future of the earth
As for me, in 2060 I would like for my grandchildren to say, “Granpa would be so excited to see what the world is like.” And I’d like for them to tell their children so that in 2111 they will say, “I wish great-granpa could see this.” That’s my vision and I’m sticking to it. After all, didn’t Jesus say, in Matthew 12:29, “How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first tie up the strong man?” Has Satan tied up Jesus or Jesus Satan? Your answer will be part of the final.

CONCERNS: Jim Smith is doing well after cataract surgery. Mary is still having back problems. The Hall’s neighbor has cancer. Mike Breeding and his wife need pray for their heath and well-being. Trisha, a friend of the Bolins, Joanne Elder and Erma Williams are still seeking employment. Joni Beach’s mother (cancer), Connie Crites’ father is also dealing with cancer as is Zona Fisher’s niece. Wayne and Susan Phlegar’s son is recovering from being struck by a car while riding his bicycle. The driver did not stop. Also, their friend, Julie, has just about reached the extent of recovery after a serious stroke. Wayne is still having circulation problems in his leg. Remember Helen Nicklas and Isabelle Simmons. Roger Fisher’s nephew (cancer) Barbara McCauley, Jenni and Wilma Cullum, Tim Elder and the work of Health Talents Int. And Bread For A Hungry World and the recovery going on in Haiti.

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

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

The food pantry has been restocked and a few families have benefited from it.

The holiday fruit baskets have all been delivered. This year the baskets were paid for with a donation made in the memory of Polly Altice.

The poinsettias in and around the auditorium need good homes now that their job of beautifying the building for the holidays is over. If you would like one or know someone who would, please take one. Just leave any dish or coaster on which they are sitting.
Richard Crites will be giving a financial report from the steering committee today. He will also be telling us about some ideas and plans for this year.

The information sheets for the new directory have been collected. If you missed updating yours or if there are any recent changes, see Keith.

Judy Hall is once again assembling all knitters to knit scarves for children in the Roanoke schools. She has purchased the material and all she needs is your help again on this good project. She will be back in town soon if you need to talk to her.

We are having some trees cut behind the annex that were in danger of falling on the building. This will give us additional wood for the fireplace as well as make the area look better. Once the weather clears and drys out the large branch leaning toward the front of the main building will be cut off. This might also be a good time to once again warn you that the large trees along Brandon Ave. are old and limbs are dying and falling off. Be careful where you park on windy days and when there is heavy snow or ice on the trees.

A nice number of you came to the Christmas Eve service. It was especially nice to see families (some from out of town) gathered together for the service.

This year Kirsten Pierce read the story for the children (and the rest of us) and we enjoyed Karen Branch leading us in the songs of the season. Thanks to both of them and all who attended for making it a good experience. For some the evening was topped off by eating out afterwards.


I put the ol’ Farmall into “mule gear” as pa used to say, so it wouldn’t get away from me as I started down the steep hill by the big oak tree. I did.

Me’n ol’ Blue’d gone back to the north forty to get us a Christmas tree. Pa’d planted bout a hundred trees what the conservation folks had given away about ten years before he died. He did. Over the years we’d gotten all our trees from that there stand of Fraser Firs. We did. Most of them were so big now I were just cuttin’ the upper parts for my tree. Then I’d go back in the spring an’ hitch the tractor to the roots an’ pull out the stump. I would

I’d let the town folks at Hickory Ridge have a big tree for the town square for the past few years. I did. I were hopin’ to replant them trees just so the deer would have a place to bed down. I were. I reckon I’d have to see Bailey Lawson who were the extension agent an’ see iffen I could get some more. I would. Course, come July I’d have to go back an’ trim ‘em up so they’d look good to cut. I would.

As that ol’ tractor’s gears groaned against the weight, ol’ Blue were runnin’ here an’ there tryin’ to pick up a rabbit or maybe a deer scent. When he found one he’d let out that big ol’ howl of his’n to let anyone what cared know that he’d been successful. He did.

Bumpin’ along the lane I got me to thinkin’ about Christmas an’ all. I did. It were just the best time of the year for ma. It were. We didn’t have much, but ma always found some way to make it seem like a royal feast. She did. Lookin’ back I reckon she squirreled away money little by little all year long just for Christmas. She did. An I reckon her love for it were equally divided between her love for the Lord and me’n pa. I do. The very idea that the Lord would come to us as a little baby, growin’ up just like any other little boy never ceased to excite ma. It didn’t. An’ come Christmas she were all smiles as she talked about the birth of Jesus. She were.

I remembered the time when Stanley Watts came as the preacher at the church. It were when I were about seven or eight years old. Stanley weren’t with us very long. I reckon part of the reason were his attitude, which some folks called narrow minded. Fact is, Lindy Adkins once told ma Stanley were so narrow minded iffen he were a woman one earring woulda suited him fine. She did.

Stanley were all about keepin’ the rules an’ not doin’ anything what God hadn’t commanded. He were. The only Christmas I remember him bein’ around, he had this here sermon about how Christmas was based on a pagan holiday an’ how Christians had to “come out from among them pagans an’ their ways.” He did. He said there weren’t no place in the Bible what authorized havin’ no birthday party for Jesus. He did. He said iffen Jesus wanted us to have a special time to remember his birthday he’d a told us. He did. He also said that December 25 were nowheres near the time Jesus were born, an’ it were a pagan day too. He did. So as far as he were concerned the true Christian wouldn’t even put up no Christmas tree cause not only did it represent paganism, but iffen anyone drove by an’ saw it in the winder, they might do the same thing an’ maybe lose their soul to an eternal hell. He did.

I remember tellin’ ma that Donny Kirk were one of them Jehovah’s Witnesses an’ he didn’t believe in Christmas neither. So I reckoned Preacher Stanley were just like Donny. I did. Ma smiled an’ said she didn’t reckon they were, but she didn’t say why. She didn’t.

After Stanley’s sermon I were a tad troubled. I knowed how much ma loved the Lord an’ Christmas, so while she were cookin’ Sunday lunch that day I asked her about what Stanley said. I did.

She looked at me with that smile that told me she were about to take my face in her hands an’ hug me. Which is what she did. Then she told me she weren’t one to have roast preacher on Sunday, an’ how she were hopin’ Stanley would somehow catch the real meanin’ of the Lord bein’ born an’ all. She did.

She checked on the chicken in the oven an’ sat me down at the kitchen table. She did. Then she sat down an’ said, “Benny, there are rules an’ then there is the spirit of the rules. When your pa an’ me tell you what we expect of you, we leave it up to you to decide how to do those things. In other words, we want you to understand why we want you to do them. I reckon that’s what you’d call the spirit of doin’ what we ask. Just doin’ it without knowin’ why gets it done, but it don’t help you to become a good boy. Do you understand?”

I asked her iffen it were like the time she wanted me to try to like Mandy Green. Mandy were a girl at school what bothered me all the time. She did. Well, one day I saw Jeffery Stowers hit Mandy an’ knock her down. I did. She were cryin’ an’ I gotta holda Jeffery an’ told him to help her up an’ tell her he were sorry. I did. He knowed better’n to mess with me an’ he did what I told him. He did. Mandy kept right on bother’n me, but I felt good being able to help her. I did.

Ma said it were somethin’ like that. She did. Then she said, “Benny, remember all the times you’ve taken your pocket knife an cut one of my flowers an’ brought it to me an’ told me you loved me? It weren’t even no special day, cept you made it special for me. Benny, I didn’t tell you to do that, did I?. An’ I didn’t tell you those were already my flowers anyway, did I?” I told her I reckoned she hadn’t. “Well Benny, I reckon the Lord knows I know December 25 ain’t his birthday, an’ that he ain’t asked for me to remember it. But I reckon since he loves me more’n I love you, he won’t be upset with me bringin’ him some flowers outta his garden even iffen he didn’t tell me to. An’ that’s why I love Christmas so much. It gives me the chance to show my love for him comin’. It Does.”

I wished ma were here to decorate the tree, cause every time she did it were like she were givin’ the Lord some flowers outta his garden. It were. An’ I reckon he loved it just the way she loved mine. I do.

CONCERNS: Mary Smith had a set back but is slowly improving. Jim had cataract surgery last week. T. J. And Judy Hall’s neighbor (cancer). Joanne Elder and Erma Williams are still job hunting. Joni Beach’s mother (cancer). Connie Crites father, Zona Fisher’s niece, Mike Breeding, Helen Nicklas. The Bolin’s friend, Trisha. Roger Fisher’s nephew (cancer). Wilma and Jenni Cullum, Barbara McCauley, Tim Elder and the people at Health Talents Int, Bread For A Hungry World and the work of recovery in Haiti. Also, remember those who were displaced when Polly Altice’s house burned.

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

Monday: Isaiah 6:1-13
Tuesday: Matthew 13:1-23
Wednesday: John 6:1-15
Thursday: Luke 15:11-32
Friday: Genesis 39:1-23
Saturday Psalm 66:1-20

Once again we enjoyed the Christmas Party and the good fun and fellowship. The meal was wonderful and a special thanks to our own Chef Jeff Bland for getting the meat and fixing it to perfection! Also thanks to all who brought all the other goodies that made for a great evening.

Another big thanks to Erma Williams and Judy McWhorter for decorating. Erma and Garrett Lee brought the tree over and after it was set up, fluffed out the branches. Erma worked many hours bringing the final touches and Judy gave it her own touch with the table settings. Thanks to everyone who participated it was a wonderful evening.

The funds collected for the health and rebuilding of Haiti were sent to two different places. Half was sent to Helping Hands Int. They are digging wells so good water can be had to contain the cholera epidemic. The other half went to the Southwest Church of Christ in Ada, OK to help with rebuilding houses. Thanks for you help.

Thanks to Erma and the rest of the youth teachers for arraigning the trips to see the latest Narnia movie and the Christmas tree exhibit at the Hotel Roanoke Convention Center, and of course, the lunches before the trips.

Judy Hall is asking those of you who knitted scarves last year to do it again. In case you haven’t started and you can help, she is furnishing all the material. Once they are finished they will be given to those school children in the Roanoke area who need them.

As announced last Sunday, we will soon be taking clothing (shirts, jeans, Men’s underwear size 32-36) to the Samaritan Inn. They clothe those who spend much of their time on the street. These should not be new items due to the sad fact that they can be beaten up and taken from them. Shoes, belts, socks (the socks can be new) of all sizes can also be used. Check your closets and see if there’s anything you can give there folks.