Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: July 2014


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.


In the process of preparing to write a wedding ceremony, I was thinking about an appropriate passage of scripture to insert. All the usual ones ran through my mind. Somewhere in that list was the things Paul said in the letter to the Ephesian church. By the way, I’ve never used these passages and never will in a wedding ceremony. However, I have heard them used as such, so they floated through my mind.

In chapter 5:22-33 there are the familiar instructions about husbands, wives, Christ and the church. Verse 22 begins: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is head of the church, his body, of which he is the savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Let the games begin!)

That, and other such scriptures are usually read as absolute, narrow instructions But you will notice that wives are never told to love their husbands, and the church is never told to love Christ. So the cold, literal reading is that wives do not have to love their husbands and the church does not have to love Christ. All that is demanded is submission. Hang onto that.

Beginning at Verse 25ff, Four times Paul tells men they must love their wives. He uses Christ’s love for the church as an example. Verse 33 is key to the discussion. “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Some translations use the word “honor” rather than “respect.”

Once again we are told the wife must respect, or honor her husband. Which seems to include submission. The husband is not told to respect or honor his wife, just to love her, which may include both honor and respect, without the submission. However, it doesn’t say that.

My reason for being picky here is because of the way I have heard this passage used in all kinds of “happy marriage manuals,” in sermons and in classes.

Here’s how it works. Men need respect (honor) more than love. This seems to me to indicate men’s egos are somewhat frail and need that constant boost that love alone will not give. If wives boost their husband’s egos by honoring them and submitting to them in everything, then the husbands will return that with love. That’s what the marriage manuals say. However, that’s not what Paul said. Paul has to tell (order) the men to love their wives four times in eight verses. He does not say to do it because she loves him back or respects him. He compares it to Christ loving the church. We might ask here if Christ only loves the church when it honors and respects him? (If you say “yes” you’re wrong.) Paul also compares loving the wife to the man loving himself.

Now let me tell you why I will not use this in a wedding ceremony. The context for Ephesians is problem solving. First, why would Paul have to tell wives to submit and respect their husbands? Wasn’t that part of the normal culture between the Jews and Gentiles? From social studies it would seem to be. What happened to cause Paul to issue instructions?

A close reading of the letters to the primarily Gentile churches, including Paul’s personal letters, such as those to Timothy, indicate the announcement that a world savior had come, and would soon return, changed social attitudes. In Corinth, the women were throwing off the veil and praying and prophesying (proclaiming) publically. This display of being free from the accepted social norms of marriage would leave the wrong image of the church. It would be much like the woman announcing that she was now free in Christ and would no longer wear her wedding ring because it was a sign of being bound to a husband.

There is also some indication in I Corinthians 7 that the women are free to separate (divorce) from their husbands, for no stated reason, except they must not marry someone else. I Cor. 7:10,11.Notice Paul says she should remain unmarried, and never condemns the practice.

In I Timothy2:9,10 the instructions given to women, (though seldom seen this way) is that to dress as they were, made a public statement that they were no longer under any man’s control, but were free and independent women. It made them look similar to the prostitutes and other loose women. Paul does not want that to be the image the world sees of those who are serving Jesus, even though he does believe Christ has set both men and women free who are in Christ. We might ask here if Paul was giving permission for men to dress any way they wanted, since he said nothing about that. We should also state openly that if the way those women were dressing then, no longer leaves the same impression, then it is alright today.

We might also ask in Chapter 3 if the women were excused from the qualities required of the men, since Paul only told the women, (deacons, or wives of deacons and elders) “In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.” V. 11

Reading the Bible a certain way opens us to all sorts of problems. If lists are exclusive, then they only apply exclusively. Is it wrong for a wife to love her husband? Is it wrong for a husband to respect his wife? Is it wrong for a husband to submit himself to his wife? By the way, Paul starts that section with verse 21, which should not be separated form the following verses. It says, “Submit yourselves to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Some say that verse defines it all. It is mutual submission. I agree with that, but I would add another element. The passage should not be read in a vacuum, but in relationship to the teachings and attitude of Jesus, as well as understanding the reason it was written and the cultural norms at the time.

Failing to do that stops our growth and understanding of the Bible.

CONCERNS: Both T. J. And Judy Hall will be having medical tests this month. Jim Hunter will also see a New doctor about his back in August. Alan Beach’s father is in rehab recovering from a badly broken leg due to a fall. Erma Williams cousin, Eleanor Bresee (ovarian cancer), Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas (leukemia), Leena’s brother, Nick, (cancer), Judy McWhorter’s brother’s step-daughter is recovering from a near fatal heart attack. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (Parkinson’s) Martha Foy asks prayers for Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson and her aunt, Sue Huels, who is Betty Foy’s sister. Rich Crites, the Phlegars, Gary Overstreet, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, and Sharon. Also Jenni Cullum, Helen Nicklas, Tim Elder, Mary Smith and Mrs. Matara. Marie Barnett asks prayers for herself and her family. Todd Baumgardner (Wayne Flora’s postmaster) is on dialysis.

Monday: Exodus 14:10-31
Tuesday: Isaiah 2:1-14
Wednesday: Romans 14:1-9
Thursday: John 5:1-18
Friday: Genesis 4:1-18
Saturday: Psalm 146:1-10
Monday: Psalm 62:1-12
Tuesday: Luke 20:9-26
Wednesday Matthew 15:1-20
Thursday Micah 6:1-8
Friday: John 16:16-33
Saturday: Psalm 99, 100

Congratulations and best wishes to AC Branch and Jacob Fuller on their wedding. They were married on July 12, at the Hotel Roanoke.

After the honeymoon at Holden Beach, NC, they will be living here in Roanoke.

Along with moving the communion service, the steering committee wants to change the way the offering is taken. For the time being it will be taken as it always has, but when the logistics are worked out there will be several offering boxes placed in convenient locations in which your contribution may be placed. The goal is to make it possible for the collection to be placed in these boxes as you enter, so the one counting the money can do so during part of the song service. Any contributions dropped in as you leave can then be counted in much less time and turned in to be deposited. This is both an experiment and a test of faith. There will still be a prayer of thanksgiving for the offering at the end of the service. This can also serve as reminder if you have missed doing it coming in.

Today is Super Sunday. Stay and enjoy the fellowship meal in the annex.

Following the Super Sunday meal the steering committee will meet in the library.

Prayer concerns are usually on the back page, but this is worthy of the front page. As you may know, Judy McWhorter told us about her brother’s step daughter, who, at 39 years old, had a massive heart attack. This left her in what was considered a “brain dead” condition. After several days of not brain activity, the family was faced with a terrible decision about stopping artificial life support. But one day she licked her lips upon command. Judy says she is now walking the hospital halls regaining her strength. She is still serious and has much ahead of her, so keep her in your prayers.

The pews removed for wheelchair access will be modified and replaced as soon as we can get together and do it


If you get a concordance and look up the word “religion” and “religious” you will find it is used about five times. I say “about” because the word is translated from two or three Greek words into the English, “religion” or “religious.” Not being a Greek scholar, I’ll leave that to the translators.

My reason for making the point is twofold. First, to a nonbeliever (atheists) religion is generally a bad word because it is also tied to superstition, even in the New Testament. Since superstition is based on a fallacy, religion is as well. And we would agree that many are based on superstition. There is even superstition among Christians.

So most atheists say religion of any kind is baseless. Which brings me to my second point. Not all atheists see it that way.

An avowed atheist who gets the bulletin, and who shows evangelistic zeal in trying to convert me, sends me (among several others) lectures by Daniel Dennett, who teaches Philosophy (among other things) at Tufts University. If you want to listen to an atheist who loves the Christian religion, listen to Dennett. He will use most of the usual atheistic arguments, but he is different because he says Christianity has moral values worth preserving. He even loves going to an Episcopal church in Boston. He loves the sermons, and goes especially for the high church music. On Christmas he gathers in his home a group of people to sing the great Christmas carols. And he says none of this “Frosty the Snowman.” I would assume, therefore, that he has great appreciation for Jesus as a teacher of good moral values.

Let me say if you hear him once, that’s enough. Like all “circuit riders” he has little new to say, which is not a criticism of him. Speakers of all kinds do the same thing.

In his own way, Dennett makes a valid point about the value of the teachings of Jesus. They are worth keeping and they are worth doing. Why? Because as Dennett points out, even from his belief that morality is the result of evolution, they are good for humanity. Which brings me to my second reason for this article.

In an email someone sent me, a Christian author, Benjamin Corey, in a preview of his book, “Invites us to reorient our lives not on Christian religion, but on the person of Jesus.” Since I haven’t read the book, my feeling is that this Christian author and atheist Daniel Dennett are saying about the same thing, except from a very different foundation. They both seem to be saying there is something apart from the Christian religion that is not the same as the person, i.e., the teaching and purpose of Jesus.

If I were to say that, I would put it this way: There can come a time when the institutional values may become more important than the values of the founder. In other words, we can end up with an ecclesiastical framework that confines the one we claim to serve. That ecclesiastical framework then becomes the sole purpose for existence.

Does, that mean there is no structure from which the truth of Jesus’ purpose can proceed? No. In the book of Acts and some of Paul’s letters, as well as the letters of John, we see the need to separate the meaning of the purpose and teaching of Jesus from that which is not. But I’mpretty sure Corey’s statement that the Christian focus should be on Jesus, rather than the Christian religion is not about that.

While it may seem contradictory to say there is a difference between the Christian religion and Jesus, while it should be, it is not. Let me put it this way: Places of higher learning are supposed to be focused higher education. Most of those places are also involved in sports, which in some cases are almost at a professional level. If funding and advancing the sports program becomes more important than funding and advancing learning they become separate entities.

The same is true with the Christian church. When the organization becomes more important than the intended teachings of the organizer, the meaning and purpose for its existence is lost.

CONCERNS: Alan Beach’s father fell and broke his hip, so Alan and Joni are in Tennessee. Judy Hall is to have a stress test on her heart. Zona Fisher is ill with what seems to be a virus that is hanging on. Keep her and Roger in your prayers. Erma Williams cousin, Eleanor Bresee, (Ovarian cancer). Lee Nicklas, Leena Bolin’s aunt has a form of leukemia. Kim Hall’s friend, Mary (Parkinson’s). Martha Foy asks prayers for Sandra Anderson and her aunt, Sue Huels and Gil Richardson. Sue is the sister of Betty Foy. Continues praying for Leena’s brother, Nick, Susan and Wayne Phlegar, Rich Crites, Jim Hunter, Gary Overstreet, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, and Sharon, a friend of Del Bolin. Remember also Jenni Cullum, Helen Nicklas, Tim Elder, Mary Smith and Mrs Matara, the mother of a friend of Jim Hunter. Marie Barnett asks prayers for her and her family, especially her mother, Mildred. Wayne Flora’s postmaster, Todd Baumgardner, is on dialysis.

Monday : II Thessalonians 1:2-12
Tuesday: Matthew 1:18-20
Wednesday: John 2:1-11
Thursday: I Thessalonians 1:2-10
Friday: II Timothy 2:1-13
Saturday: Isaiah 40:1-11
Monday: Exodus 1:15 – 2:10
Tuesday: Mark 1:16-34
Wednesday: Genesis 17:1-21
Thursday: Job 42:1-13
Friday: Luke 4:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 63:1-11

A key was found in the area of the new rest room off the cry room. It does not fit the paper towel dispenser. It is brass with “soov CAT 74″ stamped on it. If it is yours, see Wayne Flora..

Our thanks to Scott Blessing for conducting service today. Alan and Joni had to go to Tennessee because Alan’s father suffered a fall. Alan provided Scott with the material he was going to use, and Scott agreed to step in. The Wagners are in Nashville for a weekend family reunion. They will be returning today.

Today begins the change in the communion service. It will now be before the sermon. Also: the steering committee has been looking at ways of separating the contribution from communion. In the near future you will be asked to deposit your contribution in two or three collection boxes in the back of the auditorium, either upon arriving or leaving. The prayer at the end of the service will include a blessing for your offering. This will, of course, take some getting adjusted to. There will be reminders along the way, and announcements in both the order of worship and from the one opening and closing the service..

For several years we have been one of several groups that can pick up the unused bread at Panera. Our night is Thursday just before closing, which is 10:00 PM. The bread is then taken to the Rescue Mission. Erma Williams and Susan Jordan ask your help in getting this done, and several of you have volunteered. However, the more who will do this, the less each one will have to do it. If you can’t drop the bread off at the Mission, bring it to church on Sunday and someone will deliver it that day.

Congratulations to Melisha Scruggs on the completion of her Certified Nursing Assistant studies. When she starts to work she plans to continue on toward become a Licenced Practical Nurse. Great going Melisha!