by my friend, Ben
Pa saw it first. He did. It were gettin’ real dark an’ he were comin’ from the barn after checkin’ on Flossie, our milk cow.
He come to the door an’ called to ma an’ me to come out on the porch. He did. He pointed back toward town an’ we saw it. It were one of them sights what made chills run up an’ down your back. It did. The sky were all red-like. It were. Somethin’ were burnin’ an’ burnin’ bad.
I reckon it were as much concern as it were curiosity what made us get into pa’s truck an’ head toward the glow what were lightin’ up the sky.
In town we could see the fire were somewhere out Greasy Ridge Road. It were. Now, Greasy Ridge were one of them roads what were as twisty as a snake. It were. There weren’t too many folks what lived back there no more. But at one time when the oil wells were pumpin’ night an day, it were almost a town itself. It were.
The red glow got bigger an’ bigger an pa said he wondered iffen it were it were across the county line. He did. He reckoned iffen it were them fire trucks from Tucker County wouldn’t even have a chance to get there in time. He did.
As we were comin’ round Penningtons Bend, a fire truck come up behind us an’ pa squeezed over to let it pass. He did. It were about then we could see the burin’ house. It were just a skeleton of flames. It were. The fire truck what were there already were just tryin’ to keep the barn an’ some sheds from burnin’ too. They were.
As we got closer, I heard ma say, “Oh my goodness! That’s the Miller place!” She did. I were surprised that ma knowed the Millers. I were. Course I reckon iffen anyone woulda knowed the Millers it would be ma. She would. It weren’t that ma were nosey or nothin’. It were just that ma were one of them folks what took an interest in other folks. She did. Iffen they needed a helpin’ hand, ma wanted to be able to treat ‘em like a good neighbor. She did.
I knowed them Millers from their two boys, Jeremy and Josh. There were also two sisters, Margie and Bertha, but they weren’t in school yet. They weren’t.
Now them Miller boys were knowed round about as bullies. They were. Most of the kids what were smaller’n them gave them a wide berth. They did. An’ I’d had my time with the two of ‘em. I did.
When pa parked the truck I could see them two girls cryin’ an’ huggin’ their ma. She were crying too. She were. Elwood Miller, the pa, were pacin’ back an’ forth in the yard, hollerin’ at the top of his voice. He were. He were lettin’ out a string a cuss words and profanity like I’d never heard before. I looked over at ma, hopin’ she were too occupied goin’ to comfort Elsie an’ the girls to hear. But she did. I reckon she were more upset by Elwood’s rage than she were his words. She were.
He were sayin’ somethin’ about them boys playin’ with his cigarette lighter an’ catchin’ the Christmas tree on fire. He were. He said iffen he found them he were gonna beat ‘em within an inch of their lives. He did.
When pa asked where them boys were, ol’ Elwood said they’d taken off somewhere. He did. It were right cold that night. Pa took me by the arm an’ said I should come with him. When we were outta hearin’ distance, he told me that in the firelight he’d seen the face of them boys hidin’ behind an ol’ broken-down dump truck what Elwood owned. He did.
Usin’ the shadows, me’n pa come up on Jeremy an’ Josh. We did. In a calm an’ quiet voice pa told ‘em he were just there to make sure they was alright. He did. They knowed iffen they ran the firelight would give ‘em away, so they stayed put. They did. Pa told ‘em he reckoned they’d have to face their pa now or later, an’ bein’s that we were there, it would be better to do it now. He did. They said their pa would near skin them alive, cause he’d done before. Pa told them he weren’t gonna let their pa hurt ‘em. An’ he gave ‘em his word. He did.
When ol’ Elwood saw me’n pa walkin’ with them boys, he come arunnin’ with his fists clenched. He did. I didn’t know iffen I were more scared of him or the things he were sayin’ he were gonna do to Jeremy an’ Josh.
Ol’ Elwood were comin’ so fast pa hardly had time to step between him an’ the boys, who were hunkerin’ down like lightenin’ were about to strike ‘em. They were.Pa raised his hand as iffen to tell ol’ Elwood to stop. But Elwood ran right into pa’s outstretched hand. His face were twisted like some kind of demon. “Git outta my way!” Pa never moved his hand. He said, “Elwood, beatin’ your boys won’t bring your house back, so I can’t let you do it. Look around you.” Elwood hadn’t noticed that cars full of folks from all around what had seen or heard about the fire were fillin’ up the field. Pa never lowed his hand from Elwood’s chest. “Elwood, do you know why they’re here?” Ol’ Elwood went kinda blank. “They’re your neighbors. An’ they want to help, if you’ll let ‘em. You don’t want them to see you beatin’ on your boys on Christmas eve, do you?”
Elwood’s shoulders dropped all hopeless-like. He never looked at the boys. He didn’t. He just walked over to Elsie an’ the girls an’ watched the house finish burnin’ He did
But before an hour or so, the preachers an’ town folk had them Milles a place to stay. They did. Ned Kingsley said he knowed a feller what had one of them steel buildin’s what he wanted to get rid of. It could be taken apart an’ turned into a right good house. It could. Course, it couldn’t be done til after Christmas, but they’d get it done. Iffen Elwood wanted it.
On the way’ home, ma said, “Christmas is what caused all this to turn out good. It is. It’s all because Jesus were born long, ago. That’s what causes folks to have special feelin’s for folks at Christmas.”
I reckon ma were right. She were.
Keith

CONCERNS: Judy McWhorter’s friends, the Thurstons, have had several painful family issues lately. Nathan Beach is recovering well from a heart issue. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, (leukemia) Kim Hall’s friend, Mary, (MS) Betty Foy’s sister, Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson and Gil Richardson. It was good to see Wayne Phlegar out Sunday. Rich Crites, Jim Hunter, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood and Jenni Cullum. Helen Nicklas is not doing well. Remember Mary Smith, Tim Elder, Marie Barnett and her mother, as well as Mrs Mataro and Todd Baumgardner.

OUR DAILY BREAD: DEC. 22-27
Monday: Isaiah 53:1-12
Tuesday: Matthew 28:1-20
Wednesday: Ezekiel 34:1-16
Thursday: Acts 15:1-11
Friday: Psalm 14:1-17
Saturday: Revelation 21:22-27

OUR DAILY BREAD: DEC. 29-Jan 3
Monday: Psalm 139:1-24
Tuesday: Matthew 8:1-13
Wednesday: Matthew 12:1-14
Thursday: Colossians 2:8-19
Friday: Revelation 2:1-11
Saturday: Matthew 16:13-28

SUPER SUNDAY
Today is Super Sunday. Stay and enjoy the warm fire and good food following the service.
STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING
The steering committee will meet in the library following the Super Sunday meal.
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
The service Wednesday evening will be a Christmas service of songs and readings held in the auditorium. It will start at 6:00 PM and last about a half hour. There are a few folks who go out to eat following the service. If you want to join them, please do.
THANKS
Megan and James Downing have given the church four long white table clothes. They are made of a type of material that resists stains and washes up well.
A NEW CLASS
As you can see by the posters, a new class will be starting on January 11th. This will give everyone time to get back in tune after the New Year Weekend. The class will be similar to a book or reading club format.
Each person will be reading the NIV New Testament at home, written without chapters and verses, and then sharing what they learned with the class. This will include several questions concerning the material.
Book are available and more can be ordered if the supply runs out. See Mike Branch or Susan Jordan for more details.
SYMPATHY
Erma Williams has informed us that her cousin, Eleanor Brezee has died. Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family,
THE DIRECTORY
We hope to publish the new directory after the first of the year. We still have a few of you who have not filled out a new information card for the office file, and from which we will get the correct information for the directory. If you don’t remember if you filled out a card, ask Keith.
As soon as we have the information, pictures will start t be taken.
THE POINSETTIAS
The poinsettias will be “adopted” on the eleventh of January. Please feel free to take one home, or to someone who will enjoy it.

Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Their eyes dark and wide, faces as beautiful as any angel’s could be. Innocence flows from them as they hold onto the hands of someone they trust. Why are they here, instead of playing in a yard or street? They climb the “berm”, some with only one shoe. Looking into their eyes is to see nothing but their empty innocence. They are simply there because they have been brought.
Where are they? They climb the “berm” to reach the boarder of Jordan. Their own country has become a death trap, where parents and children mean nothing unless they convert to a radical view of Islam. So they leave everything behind and seek sanctuary in another country.
The faces of the children rarely reflect the gravity of their situation. They are, after all, just children. Children, who as long as they can feel that familiar hand in theirs, and hear the voices of those who love them, move forward to wherever they are taken.
The horror of what they have seen lies buried deep within their soulful eyes. There are few, if any smiles, and no childish laughter. One can only imagine the scars on their souls. Just the eyes, staring at nothing and yet everything.
Those who cry are afraid of being separated from loved ones. Those who are dying of starvation have eyes that do not see and souls that no longer care.
If those who promote the violence and death would look into those children’s eyes, really look at the amazing innocence, beauty and trust, would it change anything? It should, but it is doubtful that the enemy really sees the children at all.

Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Beautiful faces, with ringlets of dark hair flowing down, framing the picture of innocence. Eyes as deep and dark as the well of life itself.
They follow the others, some holding the hands of a sibling, or a parent, usually a mother. There is something safe about a mother’s hand.
They are not fleeing from an ideological conflict. Theirs is a different kind of terror. Their children are the prizes of those who would use and exploit them. The country in which they live has lost control of the criminal element which also uses and sells girl children into sexual slavery.
They have traveled miles and miles, helped along the way by those who understand their plight. Some have died, but death seems better than what they are leaving behind.
They too reach a boarder, but crossing is not easy, if at all. If they are turned back, the hands of the children will still be held, and they will follow wherever they are led in their innocence, because that’s what a child is.

Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and whit, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.

They sit in a huddled mass. Little girl faces that only hours ago were filled with anticipation, now are filled with the fear and dread of the unknown. There are no mother’s hands to hold.
Their dark brown faces are stained with tears. Their eyes empty and without hope as they wait their captor’s next move.
Their only crime? Going to school. Their joy? Gaining the learning to be able to have a better life, both for themselves and their country.
They have been taken away by those who are afraid of what they will become if they become equals.

Sing the song and give thanks that all over the world, people of all religions and ideologies have seen the eyes of the children and reached out in the love and compassion of God.
Keith

CONCERNS: Anna Ferrell says the Harry Tuck family is recovering from several painful experiences and appreciates our prayers. Judy McWhorter has a good friend and family, the Thurston’s who need our prayers due to both illness and death in the family. Keith’s sister will leave rehab soon. Nathan Beach is well enough to travel and is doing well. Erma Williams’ cousin, Eleanor Bresee (ovarian cancer) Lee Nicklas, Leena Bolin’s aunt, (leukemia) Kim Hall’s friend, Mary, Betty Foy’s sister, Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, and Gil Richardson. Wayne Phlegar has pain issues on certain days. Remember Rich Crites, Jim Hunter, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood and Jenni Cullum. It is always good to see Mary Smith able to be with us. Others to remember are Helen Nicklas, Tim Elder, Mrs Matara, Marie Barnett and her
family, and Todd Baumgardner, who is awaiting a kidney transplant.
OUR DAILY BREAD: DEC. 8-13
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 DAILY BREAD: DEC. 15-20
Monday: Matthew 7:7-11
Tuesday: Romans 13:21-31
Wednesday: James 2:14-26
Thursday: Mark 2:1-12
Friday: I Peter 1:3-12
Saturday: Psalm 105:1-45

THE CHRISTMAS PARTY
Even though this bulletin is being printed before the Christmas Party, enough of the planning and anticipation is proving it to be a success. You can’t miss when our award-winning Chef Jeff Bland does the main course. As always, Judy McWhorter outdoes herself each year decoration, along with the help of others, who, if I tried to name them, I’m sure I would miss one or two. Those who brought deserts and side dishes are also to be thanked.
Del Bolin promises to be back on track as our MC next year. He was missed.
ALSO: Judy McWhorter, Erma, Anna and several others worked to decorate the tree and the annex for the party. CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
On Wednesday evening December 24, there will be a Christmas Eve Service here at the building. It will be the same format as before, with perhaps some changes. It will start at 6:00 PM and last
about 30 minutes.
NEW ENGLAND VILLAGE
Judy McWhorter and her sister, Jan Overstreet have assembled their mother’s “New England Village” in the annex. They will have a special viewing on Super Sunday, Dec. 21 from2:00 – 5:00 PM. However, if Judy is around after a service, she will be glad to show it to you.
Judy and her sister do this each year in memory of her mother. This is the first time it has been on display here/
CONGRATULATIONS
Keith & Jo’s granddaughter, Melanie Beaver, (Megan Downing’s sister and Holly’s niece) will graduate from Marshall University on the 14th. She will be entering Law School in the fall to seek a degree in International Law.
CHRISTMAS PRESENTS
Many of you received an email concerning a woman who has asked for help with gifts for her two daughters. They are ages 9&13 and they wear sizes 14 & 16. All kinds of clothing and underclothing is needed. She also called and asked if we might include her 14 month old grandson. He likes Barney stuff, but anything for a child his age will work.

One of the characteristics of some Christians is to find a passage of scripture, or actually, to hear someone else use, or misuse a passage of scripture, and then give it a meaning never intended. For example, in Psalm 90:10 it says, “The length of our days is seventy years, or eighty, if we have strength.” If you do a web search for Ps. 90:10 you will find person after person who takes that literally, and works all kinds of magic to make it so. Doing this shows the difficulty we have with the language of the Bible. Of course, when we read Song of Solomon, (Song of Songs) we jump to say all that erotic language is metaphorical. I particularly like the one that says it’s all about the church.
I was thinking about the Proverb (22:6) which says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” I thought about how people often seem to believe that it says if you teach your children in the right way, no matter if they turn from it, they will always return to the way of their early training.
Again, if you do a web search, or any search, you will find a multitude of comments about how that has to be literally true. At least one had the wisdom to say the statement had to be understood in its literary context, which is correct. However, reading a sample of the comments point to some divine instruction which, when done properly, secures the child for life. The problem is how to do it right, and there are many answers for that as well.
It is curious to me that the proverb never says. “Teach the child the commandments of God, and when he is old he will keep them.” Which may mean, as many feel, that these proverbs were a collection of “wisdom sayings” collected from several cultures. So the statement would be a general statement based on observation, rather than scientific “nurture/nature research.
Few people would argue that early childhood training and environment has no effect on how the child will turn out. However, using this text as a literal, absolute truth, presents problems. In what should the child be trained? Since we’re reading the Old Testament the natural answer would be in the Law. But it doesn’t say that. Who is to be responsible for the training? Again, since it is the time of patriarchal leadership, one would assume the father. One other question might be asked: Is there punishment if the trainer gets it wrong? None is mentioned.
So let’s see if this proverb is general, observational wisdom, i.e. truth, or is it a literal truth that when done as God commands, will always work.
Well, there’s Cain, who murdered his brother. Bad training? Then a whole string of bad guys cause the flood. I guess you could say almost everybody lost in that deal.
Abraham comes along and his two sons don’t get along. Let’s blame Sara, she’s the one who invited her husband to father a first born with her slave.
Then there’s the dysfunctional family of Isaac and Rebekah. Rebekah helps the younger son, Jacob, to dupe poor old dad into giving the blessing to him instead of the older son, Esau. Well, it all works out and they are both blessed with much land and stuff.
Jacob has twelve sons, and they decide to kill little brother Joseph, but sell him into Egypt instead. Who failed there?
Then Moses comes along and leads the Israelites out of Egypt, which seems to require that he leave his wife and sons, and marry an Ethiopian woman.
In the irony of all this, the first king of Israel, Saul, is seen as a really bad guy. But his son, Jonathan is probably the first best kid in the Bible.
The heartthrob of the kings is David. His son, Amnon, rapes his only (recorded) daughter, Tamar. Another son, and Tamar’s blood brother, Absalom, has Amnon killed. Who failed there?
We could talk about the sons of Eli, Samuel’s mentor, or even Samuel’s sons. Each of them had wicked sons. Whom do we blame? They never returned to the way they had been taught, if taught at all.
These little proverbial sayings all express a general, often, philosophical truth, but not a literal, absolute truth. The problem comes when we read the Bible as if every statement is an absolute truth, and then demand everyone else read it the same way, or be called a heretic.
Of course, the reader has to (or should) decide from several positions if the words are literal or otherwise. Even most people who say they take the Bible literally, don’t. They may say the earth was created in literally six days and that the Eden story is literal, but when it comes to the book of Revelation, they change. Maybe.
Looking at some of the major prophetic books, where the vision of the Messianic kingdom is described, predatory animals exist together in peace. The child will not be bitten by snakes. In Ezekiel 47, a river will flow from the temple, one way to the Mediterranean and the other to the Dead Sea, where it will make the waters fresh. It’s exact length and depth along the way is given. Do some believe this is literal? Yes, but most of those who see the Eden story as literal, take this to be symbolic.
There are other passages like this as well. When Jesus uses apocalyptic language in Matthew 24:29, which is from Isaiah, and concerned Babylon, it and other such expressions, like the trumpet sounding and every eye seeing him, are taken literally.
What does it matter? Not much if it expresses a personal faith. But when it becomes a doctrine, an authoritative teaching which everyone must agree on to be a true Bible believer, it becomes a serious problem. A problem, which historically, caused heads to roll
Perhaps the real issue is that such things as these in the Bible must be tested first by the Bible, and that requires more examination than just passing on what someone else claims the Bible says.
Keith
CONCERNS: Anna Ferrell has some friends who have asked for our prayers. They are the Harry Tuck family. The son, Greg (44) had a heart aneurism that burst while his father was having surgery for another issue. Greg is in recovery. The mother, Mary Ann is weighed down with the trauma of all this. Both Jim Smith and Bud McWhorter are doing well. Betty Billings, (Keith’s sister) is in rehab in Alabama. Nathan Beach is still on the mend and plans to be in the states soon for a visit. Continue to remember Erma Williams’ cousin, Eleanor Bresee, Leena Bolin’s mother, Helen Nicklas and Leena’s aunt, Lee Nicklas who has leukemia. Betty Foy’s sister, Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson and Gil Richardson, Rich Crites, Jim Hunter, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Jennie Cullum, Tim Elder, Mary and Jim Smith, Marie Barnett and family, Mrs Matara and Todd Baumgardner, who is awaiting a kidney transplant.

OUR DAILY BREAD: NOV. 17-22
Monday: Isaiah 53:1-12
Tuesday: Matthew 28:1-30
Wednesday: Ezekiel 34:1-16
Thursday: Acts 21:37-22:16
Friday: Psalm 14:1-7
Saturday: Revelation 20:11-21:9
OUR DAILY BREAD: NOV. 24-29
Monday: Psalm 40:1-17
Tuesday: John 8:48-59
Wednesday: Philippians 2:14-22
Thursday: Ephesians 2:1-22
Friday: John 19:1-16
Saturday: Colossians 1:3-20

THE CHRISTMAS PARTY
The Christmas Party this year will be on Saturday, December 6. It seems early to mention it, but that’s just three weeks away.
A sign-up sheet will be on the foyer table next Sunday. More information and details about recipes etc., will be forthcoming. Remember, a $5 gift for the gift exchange. We have been concentrating on local products for gifts if possible.
We will also be looking for some form of entertainment, so if you can help, please let it be known.
We also want to thank Del Bolin for being our MC for the last two years. Some scheduling and timing issues have prevented him from doing it this year.
A NEW ADULT CLASS
The Sunday morning adult class will start a new study of the New Testament on the first Sunday in January. They will be reading from the NIV translation of the New Testament arranged as a book, without chapter and verse divisions. This will require at home reading to facilitate discussing in the class. This is similar to the format of a book club. Each week there will be about five questions the class will discuss.
The books are available now in the a downstairs adult class room if you want to pick up your copy.
BULLETIN EMAIL
It seems Google added some extra protection to web sites to protect from spam. This led to anyone who tried to receive the bulletin via visiting the site to be rejected. This has been fixed. On the home page, under “Navigation” go to “The Minister” and click on that. On the Minister’s page you will see a place to sign up for the bulletin. Follow the instructions and if there is any problem email me at kswrev@aol.com
THANKS
Thanks to Martha Albert and Mike and Karen Branch for fixing the evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House last Sunday evening.
REMINDER
If you haven’t yet filled out a directory information card please do so.

Next Page »