Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: September 2011


Anyone who makes the claim that they are a believer in the God of the Bible knows that the greatest commandment is not one of the ten, but the one that sums up all the rest. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your strength.” The second, which is just like it, according to Jesus, is: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

That those commandments have been and are debatable is evidenced by the question, “What is the greatest commandment” posed to Jesus, which prompted the above answer.

Jesus is then asked to describe who a neighbor is, and we get the story of the “good” Samaritan.

Why are those “great” commands so hard? They are hard because there are people that we simply don’t like. And truth be told, they’re not likable. They are the kind of people we feel violated being around. We want to take a bath after hearing the hatred, bigotry, vulgarity and prejudice that comes out of their mouths. We see them as a detriment to a sane and wholesome society. The words from 11 Peter, “They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed”, seem too soft a description of them. In fact, in context it seems these people were part of the church. If you read the second chapter you
will see the words, “they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed”. Does that sound like some people you either know, or have heard of? Now, let me hasten to say that what I have just said is part of the problem with loving one’s neighbor.

Not all people fit what Peter or I said. The problem comes when we stick everyone in the same slot. When we do that it is easy to separate one “neighbor” from the other. There were no “good” Samaritans if you were a Jew. There were no “good” Gentiles either. There might be an exception to each of those, but generally all Samaritans and Gentiles were not your neighbor in the sense of the commandment to love them. It is Jesus who breaks down the “wall of separation” between people and makes everyone a neighbor. So there are Christians who live as though the neighbor is not a neighbor, but still go to church and say they believe this is the greatest commandment.

We do that when the “wall” of fear and prejudice is maintained between us. Remember the fear that was spread over electing John Kennedy because he was Catholic? At that time there was an historical wall between Catholics and Protestants. But the truth was there were Catholics and Protestants who were “neighbor” to each other, did not fear each other because they knew each other.

Since 9/11 a fear of Muslims has increased. It is too easy and fails the test of Jesus, to read the Koran and the passages that speak of violence and assume all Muslims literally obey what is written, any more than reading the Old Testament and saying all Jews and Christians mimic the violence and instructions that are found there.

We have seen the worst of those who are militant, terrorist, Muslims. The fact that they have been denounced by other Muslims does not satisfy many Christians. Why? Because we are afraid, and when we are afraid we can not love.

Are there people of which to be afraid? Of course. Are their groups of people of which to be afraid? Of course. When someone is raping wives and daughters and killing children, loving that “neighbor” is the last thing on one’s mind. I could say that is rare, but in some parts of the world it is almost routine.

I don’t think Jesus was talking about that. It seems to me that Jesus, because of the “good” Samaritan story, is talking about bigotry, prejudice and hatred toward people who differ in philosophy, color, race, religion, social standing, wealth and nationality, simply because they are different. There is none of Jesus’ love of neighbor in that.

CONNCERNS: Erma Williams’s dad is in now in rehab. Ron Matney has been having stomach problems. Judy McWhorter is in Guatemala this week with Health Talents Int. Pray for her and all those with her as they help those folks. Eleanor Crush remains about the same. Wilma and Jenni Cullum, Joni Beach’s aunt has terminal cancer. Also, her mother is dealing with it as well. Alma Martin, Helen Nicklas, Randy Conner, Mike Breeding and his wife, Tim Elder and all the good works being done that bless the people of the world.

Monday: Matthew 7:7-11
Tuesday: Romans 3:21-31
Wednesday: James 2:14-26
Thursday: Mark 2:1-12
Friday: I Peter 1:3-12
Saturday: Psalm 105:1-45
Monday: Acts 17:16-34
Tuesday: Colossians 3:1-17
Wednesday: John 11:17-44
Thursday: Romans 4:1-8;5:1-11
Friday: I Thess. 5:12-28
Saturday: Psalm 118:1-29

The Alberts have invited us to their home on Smith Mt Lake this evening. The eats will be hot dogs. If you want to bring some fixnin’s that’s good. Maps are available on the table in the foyer. Come around 3 PM.

We ere sorry to hear of the death of Roger Fisher’s brother-in-law. The funeral was in West Virginia.

Are any of you ladies in need of some time and space to work your current craft project? Well we have the answer for you…we are planning our first ladies craft day in the annex, Saturday, October 22nd from 9am until 4pm. I know we have several very crafty ladies in our midst…knitting, beading, smocking and scrapbooking come to mind. Please plan to come and enjoy craft time or just visit with the ladies in the church. Please see Kirsten Pierce for more details.

Once again Life Line screening will be using our annex to do bone scans and other vascular and artery scans. For full details and registration, go to The time will be from 8am to 4pm on Wednesday, October 12.

Super Sunday is October 16. Make plans to be there and enjoy the fellowship meal.

October 16 is also the day of the Peaks of Otter Hike and Picnic. A sign-up list is on the table in the foyer. You only need to sign if you are going to be at the picnic. Also, if it is a pretty day and you plan to ride the bus up, be sure to get there in time because the tickets sell out quickly. The picnic will start about 5pm.
An early warning. It may be that the downtown post office will no longer be a sorting center for our local mail. Mail mailed in Roanoke will go all the way to Greensboro, NC to be sorted and then sent back to Roanoke for delivery! This means the local bulletins may not arrive before Sunday. If you have e-mail and have not yet used it to receive the bulletin, this might be a good time to sign up.


By my friend, Ben
Ma’n pa both believed in the right an’ privilege of votin’. They did. I reckon that’s why ma got called for grand jury duty, cause she were a registered voter. She were.

Now that meant pa’d have to take her over to West Union to the county seat, which he were none too happy about. But ma Said it were her civic duty. She did. She also said the grand jury usually only took one day. An’ she were right. She were.

When me’n pa went to pick her up in the afternoon, she were real quiet-like. She were. When we got home an’ she’d finished supper, she went out on the porch with a cup of coffee an’ sat down. I knowed somethin’ were troublin’ her. I did. So while pa were takin’ care of some chores before the light faded, I sat down next to her an’ told her I were wonderin’ what were wrong. I did.

She said, “Benny, you remember Alice Caldwell, an’ how she shot an’ killed her husband, Arvil?” I told her I did. I also knowed that Arvil Caldwell were known to wail on Alice an’ the kids when he were drunk, which were about every payday. Most folks wondered why she stayed with him, but ma’d said she had nowheres to go, bein’ they had four kids an’ all.

“Well Benny, the grand jury today had to decide iffen Alice should be bound over to trial for shootin’ Arvil. Benny, we were told that lots of grand juries would rather not try the case, but just pass it on for trial. Our job was to see iffen we believed Alice should go to trial an’ not just let someone else do our job.

“So we listened to testimony from the state police and the District Attorney. They talked about how Doc Janson had, tried to fix Alice’s teeth several times after Arvil’d beat her. They talked about Doc Wilson fixin’ her burses an’ broken arm after a beatin’. But she were afraid to press charges.

“Then Jack Bradford, the state policeman what handled the case told us how Arvil were killed. It seems he come in after a night of drinkin’ an said he were gonna kill Alice cause his supper were cold. All the kids told the same story cause they could hear the screamin’ from their bedroom. Alice went an’ got the 22 pistol Arvil owned so he couldn’t use it on her’n the kids. She did. Then she told the kids to go to barn an’ hide in the loft. She knowed Arvil were too drunk to climb the ladder. She could hear Arvil cussin’ that he couldn’t find the gun, so she ran to the barn an’ hid with the kids. She did. Officer Bradford said when he told the kids what’d happened to their pa, not a one of ‘em cried, an’ the oldest boy said she shoulda killed him a long time ago. He did.

“Alice said she an’ the kids stayed in the barn until she heard Arvil drive off in his truck. She did. She told the kids to stay home while she walked into town to give the gun to the judge and see iffen she could file for divorce. While she were walkin’ to town she saw Arvil’s truck sittin’ in front of Charlie Barns place. Charlie’s house sat up a hill from the road, an’ she didn’t see hide nor hair of Arvil. Then she remembered some clothes she’d bought for the baby what were in the truck. So she opened the door quiet-like to get them out. Just about that time Arvil an’ Charlie come out on the porch an’ Arvil spotted her. He did.

“Accordin’ to Charlie, Arvil started down the hill hollerin’ at Alice that he were gonna beat her to death. Well, Alice pulled out that 22 an’ told him to leave her alone. Charlie said Arvil told her she weren’t woman enough to shoot him an’ he grabbed a broken fence post an’ went toward her. He did. It seems like Alice weren’t able to shoot Arvil, cause she kept backin’ up. She did. But then she stepped in a ditch an’ as she fell she pulled the trigger. Well, Benny, one single 22 short hit Arvil right in the heart an’ killed him on the spot. It did.

“None of us folks on the grand jury believed Alice did it on purpose, an’ we could tell the policeman and the District Attorney didn’t neither. But Arvil Caldwell were dead. Some folks said they felt funny settin’ anyone free without a trial what had killed someone. They did. Frank Hamlin reminded us that our job was to decide iffen she were guilty enough to send to trial. So when we all voted, there were some who hesitated, but we let Alice go. We did.”

I told ma I thought they’d done the right thing. I did. I asked her why she were so troubled. I did.

She said, “Benny, whenever a life is lost, even iffen it’s a life as bad as Arvil Caldwell’s, it’s a troublin’ thing. An’ when a good woman, even iffen we let her go free, has to be known as someone who killed her husband, that’s troublin’ too. An’ when you’re one of the persons what has to make the decision about someone bein’ killed an’ someone goin’ free, that’s also a troublin’ thing. It ain’t that I think I did wrong; it’s just somethin’ what troubles a body when a life is lost.

“You see Benny, the Bible says that God takes no delight in the death of the wicked, or anyone. An’ I reckon folks what want to live like God wants ‘em to, have to work real hard not to rejoice in the death of anyone, no matter how bad they was. Arvil were a bad man. He were. But he once were a little baby bein’ held in his ma’s arms, I reckon. Maybe not. Maybe he were beat by his pa. Maybe his ma didn’t want him. I don’t know. All I know is all that he could’ve been, he weren’t. An’ all he might have become, he won’t, cause he’s dead. An’ Benny, as sick as I feel when I think of what he done, he were still loved by God. The Bible says God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

“So Benny, I’m a tad troubled because I had to make a decision today that I know were right, but the sadness and the seriousness of it hurts my soul. Do you understand?”

I told her I did, but I’ll have to leave lovin’ Arvil Caldwell to God, at least for awhile. I would.

Ed. note: The story of the Caldwell’s is true, I’ve forgotten the real names, but I sat on that grand jury.

CONCERNS: Erma Williams’ dad is still in the hospital recovering from a staff infection, possibly as the result of knee surgery. Eleanor Crush is about the same, but was able to take a little ride last week. Alan Beach is at the Mayo Clinic in Minn. for his check-up. Roger Fisher’s sister is about the same. She lives in West Virginia. It’s good to see the prayer list getting shorter. Remember Helen Nicklas, Wilma and Jenni Cullum, Alma Martin, Mike Breeding and his wife, Joni Beach’s mother, Randy Conner, Tim Elder and all those around the world who are doing the will of God on the earth.

Monday: Genesis 12:1-20
Tuesday: I Samuel 3:1-18
Wednesday: Phil. 4: 8-23
Thursday: I John 4:7-21
Friday: Romans 78:13-8:11
Saturday: Ephesians 3:7-21

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
As you can see, the parking lot has been sealed, treated and lined all the way down. It makes the property look much better and well maintained.

This is only the beginning of several improvement projects we are considering.

Connie and Richard Crites are grandparents again. Kelly and Jeff had a baby boy, Daniel Richard. That makes the total grandchildren, boys 4, girls 0. Mom dad and baby are doing fine. Also, Jeff is to be installed as the associate pastor of the church they attend.

Our next worker going to the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala is Judy McWhorter. She will be leaving on October 1. We also enjoyed the reports given by Susan Jordan, Mike and AC Branch, concerning their trip to the Clinic last month.

The table downstairs is starting to show good sings that you are thinking about the things we want to send to our troops in Afghanistan to make their lives a little easier. The needs are individual packets of water flavoring, such as Crystal Lite, etc., slim jims wet wipes, cracker snacks, home made cookies and small toys for the children. Let’s hope and pray that this will be a short effort and these young people will soon be home.

Today (Sept. 18) is Super Sunday. If you are a visitor that means we will be having a fellowship meal in the annex behind the building after the worship service. Please stay and eat with us if possible.

It’s time to start signing up for the Peaks of Otter hike and picnic, which as always is on Super Sunday in October. That’s a month away. Erma Williams, who has set this up and secured a picnic spot etc., will not be with us this year. But she has still taken care of it. Thanks Erma.

The steering committee will have a meeting in the library after today’s meal. See a member if you have a need.


“Members of the jury; in my summation I would like to refresh your memory as to the testimony you have just heard. When I am done, I’m sure you will come back with a proper verdict.

“My opponent will tell you that God did not punish New Orleans with hurricane Katrina. But you have heard testimony that God brought about that terrible event due to the sin that runs rampant in that city. He will try to tell you that the earthquake that shook Washington DC. was not the result of God’s displeasure about that city’s ratification of gay marriage. However, several Christian preachers, as well as at least one rabbi, have testified otherwise. He will try to tell you that the recent hurricane that struck the state of New York had nothing to do that state also making gay marriage legal.

“You have heard from no less than the Bible itself. You have heard about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. You have read about the plagues in Egypt. You have almost heard the walls of Jericho fall.

“I would remind you again that God’s only son calmed a storm. All natural events are the direct result of God’s direct action.

“So, members of the jury, after hearing such a preponderance of evidence, you have no other rational choice but to render the verdict that indeed, all such things are the action of God!”

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it has been my job to give you enough evidence to render a fair and impartial verdict in this case. This will not be easy, since we
are trying this case in absentia. God is not here to either deny or admit the charges.

“Therefore, we must again review some of my opponent’s charges. As we do, we must try to understand that man’s understanding of God is joined to his understanding of the world in which he lives. At one time the world seemed flat. That was a reasonable observation. Since the live-giving rain and sun came from above, and earthquakes and volcanoes came from below, generally things from above were good and things from below were bad. In the natural advancement of knowledge we have come to understand that all theses things are a part of the earth on which we live. We know that earthquakes happen because of the shifting plates beneath the earth’s surface. Photographs exist of the underwater changes that take place after an earthquake. It is just as much a part of our world as a volcano. We also know that in ancient times volcanoes were seen as the result of an angry god. Young women and small children were thrown in them as a sacrifice to appease the god, or gods. It has been some time since a preacher blamed a volcano on sin.

“So, without direct testimony, other than an ancient understanding of God, how are we to understand this? Since all of you were selected because you believe in God and that Jesus was God’s unique son on the earth, then it would be safe to say we must take his words as truthful. You will remember he was quoted during the course of my defense as saying, ‘If you have seen me you have seen the Father’. You will remember the testimony from the gospel of Luke where Jesus was told he was not welcome in a Samaritan village and two of his followers asked for permission to call fire upon the city, and Jesus not only refused, but rebuked them. In the same book, Jesus said that God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Also in Luke we looked at the time when they came to Jesus and asked if God caused towers to fall on people and people to be slain because they were worse than others. Jesus said no, and told them unless they changed their view about God acting that way, they too would perish.

“Remember we read the story of the man born blind and Jesus was asked if it was God’s punishment for some sin, his or his parents, Jesus told them God did not act that way, and then, by healing the man he showed them how God would act. And finally, because I feel the case has been made, remember we read the passage where Jesus said God gives the blessing rain on the just and the unjust, and how a good father gives good gifts to his children. Your decision will not only be a reflection on God, but it will reflect what kind of person you are as well.”

CONCERNS: Wayne Phlegar had a treatment for his back. It may take a week or so for it to take effect. Connie Crites’ father is about the same. Two of her brothers are dealing with cancer. Daughter Kelly is close to delivering a new baby boy. Upon surgery it was determined that Tooney, the daughter of a friend of Judy McWhorter’s, thyroid was not cancerous. Remember also Helen Nicklas, Eleanor Crush, Wilma and Jenni Cullum, Alma Martin, Mike Breeding and his wife, Joni Beach’s mother Randy Conner, Tim Elder and the work being done by those who care about others who have suffered hardship and loss in resent natural events as well as those with Health Talents Int. BFAW and others like them all across the world

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

Monday: John 1:1-18
Tuesday: Luke 18:1-4
Wednesday: II Cor. 1:3-11
Thursday: I Cor. 5:1-8
Friday: Job 1:13-2:10
Saturday: Psalm 97:1-12

Even though this article is being written before the actual Bar B Que, its success is sure (minus some unforeseen problem). The weather was to be perfect, the meat was ready; the cooker was in shape, the patio and surrounding area cleaned and the cooks ready. Chef Jeff brought out some new ways to make the brisket, pork and chicken even better than before.

The actual cooking started about twenty hours before the meal was served. Between forty and fifty people were expected. What more can be said than thanks to all who worked to make it happen. The Peaks of Otter picnic is next.

One more week on the peanut butter drive for the hungry. If you can, bring a jar or two.

It may take a little readjusting to switch from peanut butter to the things we will be sending to those serving in Afghanistan, but don’t forget we need individual packets of water flavors such as crystal lite, etc., slim jims, wet wipes, cracker snacks, small toys for the children, and home-made cookies. There is a box on the downstairs table where the peanut butter is for these items.

The Pulaski congregation has sent an invitation to attend a gospel meeting featuring two speakers from the Tri-Cities School of Preaching. It ends Wednesday. Services at 7:00 PM. For more information see the downstairs bulletin board

If you like gospel music, Gold City will be in concert on October 7, at the Grandin Court Baptist Church on Brambleton Ave. The cost is $10.00 per person and tickets are needed. According to the flyer, seating is limited. Tickets are available at the church. The flyer is on the downstairs bulletin board.

As soon as possible we will hear from Susan, Mike and AC about their week at the Ezell Clinic working with Health Talents Int. We have also received two notes from the children we help with the ABC program in Guatemala. If possible they will be read at the morning service.