Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: January 2016


I have a wonderful story to tell. But in order to try to do that, I have to retell a story I’ve told before. I don’t remember if I’ve ever written it down, but I’ve told it.
Several years ago I was in the library when I heard a knock at the office door. Before I could get there, I saw a figure pass the library window. As I opened the door, a tall woman dressed in a long powder blue coat was walking toward the main building. I called out to her and when she turned around I was struck by her regal beauty. She was over six feet tall and I felt I could be looking at a beautiful Zulu princes. The coat she wore could have come from a thrift store, but it could not hide the striking woman who wore it
As she stepped inside, I asked what I could do for her. She said I had helped her with fifty dollars some years before and she wanted to pay it back. Then she handed me a hundred dollars.
I was flabbergasted. It was the first time anyone had ever returned any money. I tried to get her to keep it, but she insisted. Then she reached for the door knob. I was still so shocked, partly by her action, and because I could not remember her, that I gave her a hug, thanked her and went to the desk with the money. Then I wondered how she’d gotten there, because there was no car in the parking lot. By the time I opened the door, she was nowhere in sight. Now I am not one to delve into the mysterious, but my first thought was if I had seen an angel. As I thought about her, I was sure I would have remembered someone so elegant in appearance and stature. She was an unforgettable person, but I was sure I’d never seen her before. Unless she was so beaten down and worn out that she no longer looked as she did then. I also beat myself up because I didn’t even get her name. It was a remarkable experience, and I’ve told it often as a reminder that such people do exist in this world.
I have always felt good about the fact that our combined benevolent effort comes close to ten percent of our annual budget. I also wish I could say it was all well spent. I hear and read that all churches deal with dishonest persons. It would be my estimation that well over half of those who we have helped have been dishonest with me. I’ve caught a few.
Cancer is about the number one word I hear. You would be surprised at the remission rate among those who tell me they have cancer. I wish I knew their doctors. A most recent one had a brain tumor and came to church asking for money. She didn’t know where or when it was to be removed, maybe Charlotte, NC. Didn’t remember her doctor’s name, or have any medical proof of her condition.
On the other hand, there are people, most of whom receive help from the food pantry, and are repeaters, that I know need the help. There are also directly paid utility bills and rent we help with as well
Now, lest you think I’m dumping all this on you, I actually have, for me, a remarkable reason for this article.
On Monday, as I was leaving to keep an appointment, I saw a one or two year old black car pull into the parking lot. I thought it was going to turn around, but it stopped. A tall well-dressed black woman got out and came to the door. When I opened it she said she’d like to make a contribution to the church. Immediately I knew it was the same woman from years ago. She looked fantastic! As I said before, she had a regal beauty about her that was stunning, but now the frumpy blue coat was replaced with short black boots, slacks, matching top and accessaries. She projected more than success, she exuded something I can’t put into words. It wasn’t sex, but it was the feeling of being in the presence of someone who had a dynamic only a few people have. In all my years I’ve never met anyone who had that effect on me. It wasn’t how wonderful she looked that day, because she had the same effect on me when she was wearing the almost dragging-the-ground blue coat. It even went beyond the fact that she handed me another hundred dollars. I felt I was in the presence of a very rare person.
I told her how happy I was to see her and asked her to sit down. She did, but told me she was on her way to pick up her son who is a senior at Patrick Henry High School. I told her how many people I’d told about her, and how she seemed to mysteriously disappear the first time I saw her, and how I’d wondered if she were an angel. She found all that funny. I told her I would love to know more about her life, but I also had the feeling that while she would have told me, had we the time, that was not the reason she came. I even felt the need to allow her the anonymity I thought she wanted. I told her how dumb I felt the last time by not even asking her name. She told me, and I will never forget it.
As she stood up to leave I held up the twenty dollar bills and said, “If you ever need this, it’s here for you, as well as the other hundred.” However, I knew giving the money was something which came from deep in her heart.
As she went to the door I walked around my desk and said, “I do remember the last time you were here, you hugged me. You can’t leave without a hug.” She stood about a head taller than me and when I hugged her words came out of my mouth that surprised me. I heard myself saying, “I love you.” She said she loved me and went out the door.
I’m not sure exactly what it is about her that is so captivating. Beyond having a special energy about her, I can only think it must be the journey. Where was she when we first helped her? How far had she gone when she came in the second time? How far she’d come now was obvious from her appearance and demeanor. Could this be the powerful, occasional result of what Jesus meant when he said, “Insomuch as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to me”? Not that the deed is repaid, but that the gift can change a life, as it obviously had hers. I’d like to think that.

CONCERNS: Betty Foy is at home but is being treated for a pleural effusion. Teryn Gaynor’s mother had cancer surgery and will start chemotherapy as soon as possible. Remember as well, Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Amber is 35 years old and is paralyzed from the neck down as the result of a car accident. She is in the Salem Health & Rehab Center. We have been asked just to meet Sheila at the Center and offer encouragement and whatever else we can do. To know when she will be there you can call her at 529-7809. Among others who need prayer are Marjorie Wilson (cancer) Melanie Gentry, (Alisa Flora’s sister) Joni Beach’s parents, also her niece, Jamie Cole, and her aunt, Pat Voss. Also Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. She has cancer and is blind. Kim (Hall’s)
friend, Mary (MS) Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: 1 Timothy 6:11-21
Tuesday: Psalm119:89-112
Wednesday: Mark 2:15-3:6
Thursday; Acts 8:4-24
Friday: Luke 22:39-53
Saturday: I Corinthians 15:42-58
Monday: Mark 14:26-42
Tuesday: Acts 1:1-14
Wednesday: Psalm 42:1-14
Thursday: Acts 5:17-32
Friday: Hebrews 2:10-18
Saturday: Psalm 107:1-43

Last year it was decided that when the temperature goes below freezing, the Wednesday evening Soup Supper and Bible Study will not meet. The annex is not well insulated and it takes all day and the fireplace to get close to comfortable at freezing. Because the Super Sunday meal is during the warmer part of the day, we seldom have to cancel that. We will notify the “regulars” via phone and email.
Today (1/17) is Super Sunday. Please plan to stay and enjoy the time together with food and fellowship
By the way, this will be the last time Judy McWhorter’s New England Village will be on display.
last Sunday, Del Bolin presented the 2016 budget. It should be said that you generous giving continues to allow us to help with Heath Talents Ezell Clinic, the Health Talents ABC Program, The Christian Relief Fund, local benevolence, as well as to maintain and improve the property.
In case you didn’t know, The Christian Relief Fund is the old Bread For A Hungry World. The work in Dallas/Fort Worth combined with a similar work out of Amarillo. Much of their work is in Africa where they improve the health and education of African children by drilling wells.
Copies of the budget will be
available in the foyer.
Del Bolin has started the preliminary discussion for a class reading the Old Testament books combined with the prophetic letters in chronological order.
Books have been ordered and if you would like to have one and be part of the class, let Del know
Thanks to Martha Albert and her “crew” for preparing the evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House on Sunday. The “crew” varies and you are welcome to join
Don’t forget to save the pull-tabs from aluminum cans..


Those who see Jesus as “Fully human and fully divine” more or less believe he knew everything God knew. There are some scriptures that could be used to dispute that. .
What did the writers of the New Testament want their readers to know about Jesus? None of them reduce him to just a sacrifice. In fact, the primary Gospel writers not only center on his character and teaching, but also the resurrection. You don’t need to raise a sacrifice from the dead. In fact, it is the death of the sacrifice that fulfills the demand.
What happened when Jesus was baptized? All three synoptic writers say the Spirit of God descended on him. Did that Spirit “indwell” him, or just sit on him? God sitting on God? What did the voice from heaven mean? Was Jesus talking to himself? Or was this a pivotal moment for this one who is now, for the first time in scripture, called a son of God? And if Jesus was God (“and the word was God.” Jn. 1:1) and God cannot be tempted, (James 1:13) how does that work? This is a good place to show that all things are not completely answerable with scripture. For example, Psalm 106:13-15 says the Israelites tempted God and he gave in to them. Of course, everyone has an explanation for these scriptures based on their own theological foundation.
Looking at the whole scene surrounding Jesus’ temptation, it is impossible to ignore his humanity, as well as how he made his decisions. He never claimed in his answers to the temptations to be God. He claimed to serve God alone.
When did Jesus know he was going to be killed? It would seem from the moment he decided to do the will of God at his baptism and as the result of the temptation. He knew the fate of every prophet who spoke as God wanted. He also knew that no Messiah-types had ever escaped death. In a word, he knew what every reformer knows, what they feel compelled to do is worth the cost of their life. Jesus was in a long line of those who would willingly die for reformation.
It seems to me that Jesus’ goal is often reduced to dying on the cross to appease the wrath of God. By the way, that is never said. And if John 10:30 means anything, Jesus saw he and the Father as being one. So we have God being satisfied about sin by punching himself in the nose.
Jesus’ goal, as stated by him, was to gather Jerusalem (Israel) under his wings as a hen gathers her chicks. Matt. 23:23 & Lk. 13:34. You will also notice that Jesus mentions that they had killed the prophets before him. So was Jesus hoping for repentance, or was he stating what he knew before he was born? If it was all predetermined, why even say he wanted to redeem them?
Then there is the agony in the garden before his arrest as told by Matthew and Luke, “Let this cup pass from me.” So offensive is this idea, that one commentator said it actually meant “Let me drink as deeply from this cup as I possibly can.” Is this God appealing to God?
On the cross, according to Matthew 27:46, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?” Matthew could have left that out. Others did. But there it is and it disturbs some people. Was Jesus quoting Psalm 22? Why would he do that? Did God, as some people feel the need to say, turn away from Jesus because God cannot look on sin? If that’s true, then what good is a sin offering if God can’t look at it? The Old Testament says God saw the sin sacrifices and offerings of the people. Another question: Can God forsake God?
Am I making Jesus too human? I don’t think that is possible. There is nothing wrong with being human. It seems to be the way God wanted us to be.
“But Jesus didn’t sin.” Was that because he was God, or because he was all God wanted humans to be? Is there anything Jesus taught which was the will of God that is beyond human doing? If so, how are we to even get close to doing God’s will?
Perfect humanity is also perfect divinity. Jesus said he gave his life to “ransom” us. (Matt.20:28, Mark 10:45) Ransom from what? From what every reformer gives their life for; from life that fails the test of humanity, i.e., sin.
The “oneness” of Jesus and the Father is in Jesus’ “Not my will, but your’s be done.” For that, the New Testament says 24 times, “God raised him up.”That’s the “Christ the Lord” I can follow.

CONCERNS: Teryn Gaynor’s mother is having cancer tests. Update from Teryn today. Martha Albert’s son, John and his family suffered some loss in the Texas tornado. Betty Foy is now back in their apartment at Brandon Oaks. Marjorie Wilson, (cancer) Melanie Gentry (Alisa Flora’s sister Joni Beach’s mother and father, as well as her aunt, Pat Voss and her niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, Bill Albert’s son, David. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas. Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. Sandy has cancer and has gone blind. She is from the church Del Bolin grew up in. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (MS). Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Jim & Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Matthew 6:1-18
Tuesday: Psalm 96:1-13
Wednesday: Matthew 6:19-34
Thursday: Luke 23:26-43
Friday: James 1:5-18
Saturday Romans 8:26-39
Monday: John 8:21-47
Tuesday: Luke 22:14-30
Wednesday: Luke 12:13-34
Thursday: Psalm 51:1-19
Friday: Acts 4:32-5:11
Saturday Psalm 99:1-9

The recent tornado that went through Garland, Texas, passed a few houses from John’s. John is Martha Albert’s son.
After a night of wondering, as they took shelter in the safest room in their house, they were restricted from going outside due to the danger of downed power lines.
When some degree of normal was established, they discovered that a voltage surge or lightening, had destroyed all their electrical appliances. At this time they are getting help from several Church of Christ related agencies, including the CofC disaster Relief folks out of Nashville. We’ll know more as the days pass. Keep them and all those who are suffering in your prayers.
For several months Del Bolin has taught the Sunday morning adult class. He is now looking a what to study as we enter the new year.
Del’s class is a place where all things religious and spiritual are open for examination and discussion. So the new class will be build on that same structure. One of the ideas put forth is to study the Old Testament in a chronological way. That is, to read the prophetic writings and the recorded historical events at the same time.
The New England Village Judy McWhorter displays in the annex in her mother’s memory, will be gone soon. It was a real treat for those who got to see it. Thanks Judy.
We had one of the largest crowds in some time at the Christmas Eve Service. About twenty went to Denny’s afterward.
Next Sunday will be “Adopt a Poinsettia Day.” This year they are very hardy and should do well. Remember, leave the plastic containers under the plants.
What will 2016 bring? God only knows. On Christmas Eve we sang “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. It’s a wonderful thought. Perhaps we can make that more a part of our lives.