Bimonthly Bulletin

Unless you’re one of those people who think the Pope is the living meaning of Revelation’s 666, you probably like the guy. Or not. It seems he’s on the ropes with some of his own people, as well as others who realize the influence he has.

I like him. I like that he shrugs off all the pomp with which former Popes (and other high ranking people) seem to love surrounding themselves. I like it that he takes a plain, little car instead of the limousine. I like it that he refuses to use the lush quarters reserved for him, but instead lives in a small apartment. But most of all. I like it that he, with his power and influence in the world, speaks of the same things Jesus found important, rather than just spouting ecclesiastical dogma.

You would think that would endure him to all Catholics everywhere. Not so. It seems the Pope is upsetting some folks with his talk about the poor. Rush Limbaugh (who is not a Catholic) called him a “Marxist.” Actually, Limbaugh said the Pope’s words were Marxist. I suppose what someone says might not necessarily reflect who they are, but I think that would make them a hypocrite.

Among the tremblers over what the Pope is saying, is Billionaire Ken Langone, founder of Home Depot. In an interview with CNBC he said he was “feeling ostracized by the Popes messages in support of the poor.” He went on to say he might stop giving to charitable causes unless the Pope stops. (Isn’t there some curse for people who threaten a Pope?) He said that such talk could make the wealthy “incapable of feeling compassion for the poor.” I guess that means if you’ve been told in the law of Moses; “However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you,” (Deut 15:4) you should tell Moses that such talk is likely making you incapable of doing what he has commanded.

Let’s do one more, just for fun. Deut. 15:11. “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your brother and toward the poor and needy in your land.”

There is an interesting twist in those two verses. One says there should be no poor in the land of promise. The next says there will always be poor people in the land and they should be cared for. Is the “should” the ideal and the “always” the reality? If 15:11 states the reality, then even if the land should have no poor, it does. And it does, not because the poor are lazy. It happens because that’s the way life is. Some will have a better chance than others because all things are never equal. Regardless, the poor are to be helped.

Mr. Langone may or may not have used a little soft blackmail on Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York. Langone, who is helping raise 180 million dollars to restore St Patrick’s Cathedral told Dolan of a rich donor who was “worried” about the Pope’s remarks concerning the poor. He said, “I’ve told the Cardinal, ‘Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don’t have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don’t act like the same people in another country.” Really? So greed is not the same country to country? Are some country’s poor different from anothers?

The Cardinal told CNBC that the donor’s concern seemed to be based on “a misunderstanding of the Holy Father’s message.” Good save Cardinal.

When it comes to the 180 million to restore St Patrick’s Cathedral, I’m okey with that. I think historical places need to be kept around. And I don’t think the Pope has come out and said he thinks that money should go to the poor.

My advice to the Pope is that he pull in his reins and get back to preaching the gospel. He should talk about the peace that passes understanding and how the poor should glory in suffering because suffering produces perseverance and how the poor are blessed by God. He should say that all things work together for good to those that love the Lord and stuff like that. If he keeps on talking about the rich sharing their wealth he could end up like another guy who said things like, “Sell what you have and give to the poor and follow me.” Even the Pope should know what happened to him. If not, some wealthy person should take him aside and teach him.

CONCERNS: Alisa Flora broke her tibia and will be going to Duke today. T. J. Hall is having back and vision problems. Del Bolin has a blister behind his eye due to an old injury. While it bothers his vision, the doctor say it will clear in three months or so. Nathan Beach’s recovery will take several months. Kathy Sirgy has had some relief from back pain. Erma Williams cousin, Eleanor Bresee, (ovarian cancer) Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, (leukemia) her mother, Helen Nicklas, and her brother, Nick. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary. Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, and Gil Richardson. It was good to see Jim and Mary Smith able to be with us last Sunday, as well as Wayne and Susan Phlegar. Remember as ell, Rich Crites, Jenni Cullum, Jim Hunter, Deanna McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Del Bolin’s friend, Sharon, Tim Elder and Mrs Matara. Marie Barnett asks prayers for her and her family as they deal with various issues and the declining health of her mother, Mildred.
Wayne Flora’s postmaster, Todd Baumgardner.

Monday: Psalm 119:57-72
Tuesday: Matthew 12:38-50
Wednesday: James 1:19-27
Thursday: Jonah 3:1-4:11
Friday: Romans 6:1-23
Saturday: Psalm 113:1-9
Monday: I Samuel 16:1-13
Tuesday: Mark 15:1-20
Wednesday: Luke 12:1-12
Thursday: I John 2:11-24
Friday: I Peter 4:1-19
Saturday: Psalm 11:1-7

Since 1989 we have had a Labor Day weekend Bar B Que. Each year we get better and better at preparing the pork, chicken and a few years ago we added brisket.

We had two different cuts of brisket and one was outstanding. Perhaps next year we can use that cut again. Also the pork was a different cut, the kind used at a regional Bar B Que restaurant. We had very good results with it.

Please let Chef Jeff Bland know how much you enjoyed it. We started about 6:00 AM. Jeff came early but had to leave before it was time to eat. And thanks to all of you who came and made the day special for all of us who cooked the meat, as well as bringing more food than we’ve seen for a while at the Bar B Que. It was a great day.

Among the visitors was Melissa Keller, who attended here while at Roanoke College and Jeff and Tammy Hunter.

We had a good amount of pork and some chicken left over. It has been frozen and we hope you will enjoy it on Super Sunday

Today we will have the pleasure of hearing from Susan Jordan concerning her week at the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala.

Since we have made some changes in the order of worship, with the collection taken at the end of the service, remember there is a collection box on a right rear pew as you enter. If you wish, you may deposit your contribution when you arrive.

Even though for many of you the information for the directory has not changed, please fill out a new card. These also serve as a handy record for the office, as well as the basis for the directory. We haven’t upgraded these cards in several years so please take the time to fill one out. Also, the directory is not a “membership” list, just a list of folks who worship here.

I’m not about to tell you I understand everything in the Bible. But I have discovered that what I thought I understood can be wrong. I have discovered that some of it has to do with perspective.

For example, if I read the book of Genesis and the following history of the Jews, I can have a bad view of how women were treated. There is no doubt that women were basically property in most cases. They had little to say about the conditions under which they lived. So it is easy to see those conditions as the way it was supposed to be, and that God said it was the way it was supposed to be. So if I didn’t like it, I’d have to lump it, or find some way of explaining it away by saying that’s the way things were back then, which is also true. That would also be true of polygamy.

I was listening to something from a guy named Timothy Keller, who put a different spin on what could be going on back then.

He pointed out that among the most distasteful things we see men doing was having more than one wife. They bought them, worked deals for them and collected them like trophies. How those wives felt about it was beside the point. But what Keller pointed out was that if we read the Old Testament closely, we will find that there is not one case where polygamy was a happy situation. Every polygamous marriage caused problems. Well, we don’t know about Lamech and his two wives, except he brags that his ancestor Cain was (somehow) avenged seven times, but in killing a man who had injured him he was avenged seventy-seven times.

Abraham shows up and we know how that hand-maiden-wife thing worked out. Jacob will end up with two wives and there were problems. Then there are the kings. In the story of the kings the many wives they collected were a constant source of conflict. In fact, In Deuteronomy 17:17 Hebrew kings, when anointed, are to be told not to have many wives. The example would be both David and Solomon.

So, one way of looking at polygamy in the Old Testament is to look at how it turned out, rather than that it was a good thing. Which, according to the record, it never really was. Looking at the outcome should teach us, as well as those who want to justify it, to see it differently.

However, while I agree with Keller’s point, there is still the question as to why those prophets who spoke for God did not more openly condemn the practice. It may be because it was so culturally intrenched, that in their minds it was not a bad thing. That the rule in Deuteronomy is not sited is probably due to the books of the Torah not yet being assembled. At this point much of the law was oral tradition.

Another thing he pointed out was the constant rule that the oldest son was the one to receive the inheritance. However, in every case in the Old Testament, it is the younger son who receives the blessing that seems to count. Ishmael is the first born, and is blessed by God, but it is Isaac who is seen as the child of the promise. Esau is the first born, but it is Jacob who receives the true blessing from his father. But Esau does very well himself.

Jacob’s (now Israel) first born was Reuben, but Levi and Judah will have more prominence, and Joseph is the favored one who saves the day. Jacob does the same thing when he blesses Joseph’s sons. Gen. 48:14.

These culturally accepted rules of birthrights are being subverted at every hand in the Old Testament, especially in Genesis.

Another example of this is slavery. When someone says the Bible condones slavery, they are right. However, we think of slavery as the type that enslaved Africans, kidnaped and brought to America and other countries, where they were slaves for life. This was not the way slavery was in the New Testament. However, that is not to say it was the ideal. Paul’s letter to Philemon shows that, as well as other places where he encourages slaves to attain their freedom. That slave owners in America used such passages to tell slaves God wanted them to obey, was a perversion of the context.

Here’s another one, (not from Keller) and I have to admit it will change how I preach about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. When we think of “hem” we think of the hem on the cuff of our pants, skirt, or robe. The tassels that were commanded in Judaism were originally, as far as history can tell, the tassels on the end of a long robe, which is the image we get from the story of Jesus and the woman. However, with the passing of time the “garment” “tallit” in Hebrew, became the prayer shawl worn around the shoulders. It also had tassels which could be “enlarged” to make one seem more holy. So it is likely that when the woman touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, she was touching the hem of his prayer shawl, which makes sense. She was not bent over, just sick. In a crowd it would be easy for her to touch one of the tassels that hung from the shawl. The tassels were the most personal and holy part of the shawl, so that was the best place to sneak in a touch which represented his personal power.

I did find it interesting that while Keller did a good job in the wives and first born categories, he fell back into his own assumption when he talked about Moses and the Passover. He was talking about the seriousness of obeying God and he said, (this is a quote) “God said to Moses, ‘You all deserve to die because of your sins. Slay a lamb and put the blood on the doorpost and find shelter under the blood of the lamb. And when the angel of death passes over you won’t be paying for your sins.”

If you read Exodus 11&12 where the instructions for the Passover are detailed, the word “sin” or the idea that Israel’s sin, or lack thereof had anything to do with the death angel passing over them is just not there. What they escaped was death, not sin. So even when we do a pretty good job of understanding in one area, our presuppositions may get us in another.

CONCERNS: Stephanie Dixon had an evaluation at the UVA Medical center on Wednesday. Her brother, Dwayne will suffer no permanent damage from a nail puncture in his eye. Betty Branch had knee replacement surgery on Wednesday and should be home by today. T. J. Hall will see a neurologist next month. Nathan Beach is recovering from a virus which inflamed the area around his heart. Erma Williams’ cousin, Eleanor Bresee’s cancer is advancing. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, (leukemia). Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary; Martha Foy’s aunt, Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, and Gil Richardson. Also Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick and her mother, Helen. The Phlegars, Rich Crites, Jim Hunter, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood and Sharon, a friend of Del Bolin. Also remember Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, Mary Smith, Mrs. Matara, Marie Barnett and her family and Wayne Flora’s postmaster, Todd Baumgardner. Bud McWhorter’s knee surgery has been postponed.

Monday: Joshua 24:14-28
Tuesday: Acts 9:1-9
Wednesday: James 5:1-18
Thursday: I John 1:5-2:6
Friday: Hebrews 12:1-14
Saturday: Psalm 138:1-8

Monday: Malachi 1:1-14
Tuesday: John 3:1-15
Wednesday: Psalm 65:1-13
Thursday: I Peter 2:1-10
Friday: Matthew 4:1-11
Saturday: Exodus 15:1-18

The time slipped up on us, but there is just thirteen days until the Saturday Bar B Que. A sign-up sheet is on the foyer table. All you need is to write your name and the number who are attending. We’ve done it so many years we now know how much pork, beef and chicken to fix based on your preference over the years. However, we do need the number who will be attending. As always, the meat will be provided. Those coming will bring the extras. We hope to eat around 4:00 PM Invite your friends and family.

After more discussion, the steering committee has decided that the contribution will still be collected as before, but at the end of the service. The collection box on the rear pew may still be used by those who so chose. The collection will be accompanied by a song, after which the one making announcements will offer closing comments and a closing prayer, which will include thanksgiving for the offering. The service will close with a final song. Thanks for your help as we make these changes

Susan has returned from the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala and we hope she can give us a report about her week there at next Sunday’s service.

Today, August 17, is Super Sunday. These occasions give us time to be together and enjoy fellowship as a family. Plan to stay and eat following the service.

There is some brief business there steering committee needs to address. They will meet in the library after the Super Sunday meal.

We have had to cancel Wednesday evening services on two occasions due to the hot weather and the inability to cool the annex and not knowing quite why this was occurring now and not before. It seems one of the electrical phases coming into the annex had failed, so the air conditioner was only working at half it’s efficiency. The AEP problem also fried a circuit in the smaller unit. It has all been repaired and things should be fine.

While writing last Sunday’s sermon, I noticed a familiar passage that suddenly wasn’t as familiar as I remembered. It is Paul’s statement on Mars Hill in Acts 17:24,25. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else”

What I saw was clouded by what I have heard. We get that, “does not live in temples built by human hands” thing. But what about the, “And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he gives all men life and breath and everything else.”?

If this is true, why is it you can hear over and over such statements about God demanding (commanding) that we praise him, and that we serve him and so forth? Why is it we can hear so much about a God who wants worship toward him to be exact in order to please him? How much of the Old Testament lingers in our view of God?
What do we do with Jesus’ comment that he came not to be served, but to serve? Matt. 28:20 Who did Jesus serve and how? How are we to serve and worship God? If you examine the writings of Paul, you find very little about worship. Rather than “acts of worship,” Paul seems to see worship as service. Rom. 12:1 In other words, worship to God is service to others.

Let’s get it straight: The will of God has never been about doing something for God. The will of God has always been about his creatures and his creation. From the very beginning the writers knew this, so we read in Genesis, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man (humankind) in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’” That, and fulfilling what is meant by being made in the image of God, is the will of God. God does not need any of that. It is the “life and breath and everything else” that God provides in creation. When we get that right, how we treat the earth and everything in it, we are doing the will of God. Why would God be pleased with that? Because it is a gift, not to God from God, but to us, and we should appreciate it

You know the rule, “When in doubt, read the instructions.” So how does Jesus serve God? Sure, he went to synagogue, but that was a place where full attention was paid to God and learning more about God, as well as thanksgiving for what God had done. It’s obvious from events Jesus encountered in the synagogue, that going and being there did not mean the same as doing the will of God, i.e., serving God.

In Acts 10:38 it says”…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how he went about doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” (NIV)

My concentration here is that the anointing of the Holy Spirit, which I would assume was to do the will of God, was about doing good to people.

But, on a side note, read that text again. How does God anoint God? Why would Jesus need the Holy Spirit, and why would he need “power” along with the Holy Spirit? And why didn’t Peter say “because he was God,” instead of “because God was with him.”? But that’s another discussion

Jesus served and worshiped God by doing the things God wants for his creation. (See the Sermon on the Mount.) Jesus made it plain in Matthew 25:31-46, that worship (service) to God was found in this statement, “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

The synagogue (church) is important, but true service (worship) goes beyond those doors and into the world. The writer of James also knew that and expressed it in very clear terms.

CONCERNS: Stephanie Dixon will go to UVA Medical Center on the 13th to see a specialist about her skin cancer. Her brother, Dwayne, is recovering from a nail that entered his eye. Things look pretty good, but more surgery will be needed. T. J. Hall is to see an eye doctor. The light is hurting his eyes. Judy Hall will have a heart test as well. Betty Branch will have knee replacement surgery in New Jersey on the 13th. Bud McWhorter also had knee replacement surgery. Helen Nicklas has not been doing well lately. Kathy Sirgy, Abraham’s wife, is having a lot of back pain and may need surgery. Jim Hunter will see a new orthopedic surgeon this month, hoping to help reach a settlement in a law suit involving a car accident he was injured in. Erma Williams’ cousin, Eleanor Bresee, (ovarian cancer) Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, (leukemia) also her brother, Nick who is well enough to have knee replacement surgery scheduled. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary, (Parkinson’s) It was good to see Susan Phlegar up and about after her back surgery. Continue prayers for Rich Crites, Gary Overstreet, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Tim elder, Mary Smith, and Mrs. Matara, Marie Barnett’s family and Todd Buamgardner, Wayne Flora’s postmaster who is on dialysis..

Monday: Psalm 16:1-11
Tuesday: Matthew 20:1-16
Wednesday: Amos 3:12-4:5
Thursday: Hebrews 10:19-39
Friday: Ephesians 5:3-20
Saturday: Psalm 148:1-14
Monday: John 1:35-51
Tuesday: Revelation 1:4-20
Wednesday: I Corinthians 6:7-20
Thursday: Luke 17:11-19
Friday: Philippians 2:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 98:1-9

THE CONTRIBUTION The steering committee has been discussing ways in which the contribution can be separated from the Communion. It has been decided that the contribution will be taken up as before, but at the end of the service following the sermon. There will be a collection song sung during the offering and then the one making closing announcements will say the blessing for the contribution which will include the closing prayer. The one collection box on the rear pew will still be used for anyone who needs to use it.

The upcoming new directory is a list of those who worship here. It is not a membership list, but a convenient list which enables information and ways of communication to be available. Please fill out one of the large cards on the foyer table even if you filled out one for Ben Robertson. These cards are kept in the office because they contain information not in the directory; such as what service you would be willing to render. Leave the filled-in card on the foyer table or hand it to Keith. The sooner this is done, the sooner we can print the new directory.

Susan is once again spending a week working at the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala. Keep her in your prayers and we look forward to hearing about her trip when she returns

There is no hot water in the building today. We were told the old heater had to be replaced after the new rest room was finished. A new one was purchased and low and behold, the old one gave up the ghost before we could replace it. It will be installed tomorrow.

Jordan came forward last Sunday to ask our prayers as she deal with head injury related problems. She is receiving care, but needs to know God is there for her. Jordan is Marie Barnett’s brother’s child.

Our sympathy is extended to Debbie McRoy in the sudden death of the daughter of a special cousin of hers. The funeral was in Tennessee.

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