Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: September 2016


Thanks to Charlie Daniels for the destination. No offence to Georgians.
The devil decided to make a call on the western hemisphere and stopped by Georgia, probably near Atlanta.
Inside Hell (the little devils called their Georgia center that) there was a flurry of activity. Beevil, the administrator, had called a meeting of all the disciples to tell them Old Scratch was dropping by, so they needed to be on their worst behavior. Old Scratch was NOT the name they would use. That would be “Master.” But even little devils have to be, well, little devils.
Satan arrived and he and Beevil went to the communication center. It was abuzz with activity. “I’m impressed, Beevil”, said Satan. “It looks like there is a lot of devilish activity going on in the region.”
“It’s nasty work, but somebody has to do it. Just a little joke there Master, we all love being devilish.”
“Well, as you know, I’ve been busy in Europe, Asia and Africa, just going to and fro overseeing my work. But I kind of lost touch with the West. As you know, even we on the dark side have to keep improving. So I wanted to stop by and see how the work was going.”
“Master, you know about the internet, right?”
“Of course. It’s not called the world wide web for nothing! It has been one of the most effective tools for us in modern history. The reason we are so good at what we do is because we can take something as productive and good as the internet and twist it for our use.
“You might not believe it, but I’ve seen young graduate devils blush at what they see written on the internet.”
“But those people already belong to us, at least most of them. Our goal is the godfearing people, The way we work with them is not generally awful language, but fear, prejudice and half truths.
“First we set them up by injecting a little unfounded fear, after all, we are your children. O Father of Lies. Then we send them looking on the net for that which will prove the fear is real, It’s rather amazing how we do it. Your devoted servants can make up anything that will increase hatred and fear, post it on a web site with some official title and they believe it. Not only that, but they will pass it on without even checking to see if it’s true. From there we can only guess how far it will spread. And, even if they rescind it, most of those who read it still believe it. You’d be surprised how many humans work for you and don’t even know it. There’s one guy out there who denies that the Columbine shooting took place. Remember that? And the killing of the children at the Sandy Hook School. He denies that as well.”
“Nobody believes him, do they?”
“Master! Humans believe whatever we want them to once we get in their heads. You see, the best way to use a, lets say, Christian, is to separate their religious performance from their actual thinking. In other words, and I hate to quote you know who, but we make the tree look good, but the fruit is rotten.”
“That’s all well and bad, but what are you doing that is new and innovative?”
“Come with me Master. We are going to the newest Control Center. It’s our version of the NSA.”
“What makes it different than the internet?”
“It’s more personal. It gets right into the down and dirty. We jokingly call it Octopus, because it can stretch in all directions and stick to anything it touches. It’s actually called Facebook, and it’s one of the most advanced forms of communication on planet earth.”
“I know about Facebook! Do you think I’m an idiot!? People love it.”
“We know! It is actually a wonderful thing, if I dare say. But our job is to use it for our purpose. Any good thing has the potential to be used for bad. As you know, on Facebook somebody befriends somebody and they befriend somebody and soon we have an ever-expanding network of people. All we have to do is use the same principals we do on the net, and boom, we’re half way around the world!”
“Again, our main target is Christians, they know that Paul guy said, ‘Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,’ you know, think on those things.”
“When it comes to social media they seem to miss that. By the way Master, you quote scripture almost like a believer!”
“Watch you tongue, Beevil! The Macon County line needs a swamp keeper!”

OCTOBER BIRTHDAYS: 1-Mary Smith 4-Laura Schreiner 4-Garrett Lee Williams 10-Brice Reid 14-Connie Crites 15-Mary Willa Foy 20-Lyn Jordan 20-Melisha Scruggs 24-Teryn Gaynor 24-Susan Phlegar 27- T.J. Hall
OCTOBER ANNIVERSARIES: 3-James & Megan Downing 8- Mike & Karen Crush Branch 9-Scott & Bonnie Blessing 19- Jeff & Sherry Bland
CONCERNS: Judy and T. J. Hall. Teresa Robertson asks prayer for her aunt, Patricia Hall, another aunt, Reva Almond, and Teresa’s son’s girlfriend, Kayla. Martha Foy ask our prayers as see seeks a new job. Remember also, Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Teryn Gaynor’s mother, Sheila Jansen and her daughter Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach and family as they deal with the death of their mother, Betty Voss. Also, Joni’s aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter is now able to work a little, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, and a cousin, Tolly Nicklas, as well as a friend, Chris Campbell. Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: I Peter 1:13-25
Tuesday: Psalm 95:1-11
Wednesday: Matthew 14:13-33
Thursday: Romans 12:9-21
Friday: I Timothy 1:12-2:7
Saturday: Psalm 116:1-19
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 congregation was saddened to learn of the death of Joni Beach’s mother, Betty Voss. She died at home Sunday evening, September 25, after a long battle with cancer.
The funeral was held in Sanford, NC on Friday, September 30 and the burial just over the hill from their home.
Full details can be seen at the Boles Funeral Home in Sanford web page.
A sign-up sheet is on the table in the foyer for the Peaks hike and picnic. Please sing the list soon so we can know the interest in continuing doing this. Not as many climb to Sharp Top, but others enjoy the picnic afterward. It takes a lot of work and help to get everything up there and ready, so let your wishes be known soon.
The peanut butter drive for Feeding America will conclude next week. Bring a jar of peanut butter next Sunday and place it on the downstairs table or the one in the foyer.
We’ve been talking about the work Roger Fisher has done on the area above the disabled parking area. A fellow who did some tree work for the church saw it and decided he’d give us a freebie and finish it up. If you have been part of this church for thirty or more years, you have never seen that area look so clean. All that remains is some ground cover that can be removed in the spring if need be.
T. J. And Judy Hall have decided on a condominium in North Carolina, instead of a house. They will close on it in a week or so. The date of their move will be soon after that.
On Super Sunday this month we will hear from Susan Jordan about her week with the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala.. As we’ve mentioned before, Susan’s enthusiasm about the work there has inspired her sister and two others to go with her. Susan will tell us about how the trip effected them


The title sounds more serious than what I’m about to say, but it sounds more Biblical than, Let Us Think Together.
My question is how are some things important (God said) at one time, and not important (God said) in another with no scriptural explanation as to why?
Last Sunday I was talking about Peter’s visit to Cornelius, and the vision of the sheet which came from heaven filled with all kinds of animals, both clean and unclean, according to the law. (God said) I quipped that Peter did not remind the angelic voice (God?) that it was not he who decided to call some animals unclean, but Moses. (God)
When did that law change? Jesus never said anything about it, except Mark, writing after the fact, in Mark 7:19, says Jesus declared all foods clean. I did find one Jewish writer who said Jesus wasn’t talking about food, but more-or-less about eating with unwashed hands. If they ate clean “undefiled” food with unwashed hands it was till clean food. I don’t think Mark saw it that way.
The issue in Acts 10 is not food, but people. However, food is used to teach the truth. Peter sees it as about food. He is told to kill and eat. He replies, “Surely not Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” Peter thinks it’s about food. Before he could decide what to do, the sheet is gone. As Peter ponders all this, the men from Cornelius arrive with the message about their Gentile friend. About this time Peter gets a message from the Spirit (God) which tells him to go with the men. By the way, as best we can tell, they were Gentiles, and yet Peter invites them into the house to spend the night. Somewhere along the line Peter begins to think the sheet is about people, and possibly indirectly also about food.
When Peter arrives at Cornelius’ house, he reminds him “That it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him.” He then says that God (in the sheet thing) had told him that he should not call any man impure or unclean.” Amazing revelation! He also says he now” knows that God accepts men (and women) from every nation who fear God and do what is right.” Double amazing! All kinds of walls started crumbling!
But my first question is, do we believe what Peter believed? And do we qualify it? My second question is, was the sheet about food, people, or both? If it wasn’t also about food, what value did it have? Unclean people also ate unclean food. Unclean food was a deeply rooted teaching from the Law of Moses. (God) Peter’s remark that he’d never defiled himself with unclean food, or unclean people, as in Gentiles, shows it was still a, dare I say, kosher teaching. At what point are we told this Old Testament teaching (by God) had been repealed? As I said, Mark alludes to Jesus doing it, but after the fact. It doesn’t seem Peter understood Jesus as having declared all foods clean. So how does such an ancient and significant law (from God and still maintained by kosher Jews today) get flipped in a matter of moments?
The answer is in Peter’s remark to Cornelius. “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism…” How did Peter come to realize that “truth”? Sure, a close reading of the prophets suggested it, along with Jesus’ sermon in Nazareth, but Peter’s attitude suggests it hadn’t been a repealed (by God) teaching from scripture. And yet he has seen a “truth.” He has seen a truth “beyond the sacred page.” A truth which came in a sheet in a “vision” with some help from the Spirit of God. No chapter and verse. No proof text. Just a vision and God’s spirit. I think we could say Peter had a revelation.
In Romans 8:14ff Paul talks about “those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God.” He adds that the same Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
What it means for “our” spirit to be “Spirit led” is debatable because of how it is understood, or misunderstood. However, that the Spirit of God is involved with “our” spirit (whatever that is) is a clear conclusion for Paul. And it would also seem that “sons” (children) of God are led by the Spirit of God. The tired and false idea that the Spirit of God is the Bible, thankfully has all but disappeared. Does the Bible lead? Yes. But people who claim to be led by it go off in all directions, and always have.
What does it mean to be led by the Spirit? As I view scripture as a source, it seems to me the most notable moments of Spirit leading have to do with people’s lives. Was Abraham led by the Spirit? Was Moses moved by the Spirit of God in the bush? Were the prophets led by God when they railed against the injustices of the rulers? When it says, “The Lord spoke,” concerning a prophet or anyone, was there always a voice? Or was it that movement (spirit) inside that says to tell the truth?
When it said Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, what was the purpose, and the outcome? The purpose was to sort out what kind of Messiah he would be, and he chose to be the only one that would get God’s message into the world.
Peter had no chapter and verse telling him the food laws of Moses (God) had been dumped. Yet in a vision of a sheet filled with unclean animals and a “vision- voice,” Peter connects with a “truth” and he knows he has to break the law. “It’s against our law for a Jew…” (Acts 10:28)
It is God’s spirit testifying to our spirit that an idea, or “law,” no mater how old and biblical, and started for whatever reason, which destroys the truth Peter realized, must be set aside. You can be sure the Spirit of God never leads anyone to reject someone who fears God and does what is right.
Peter’s experience falls in line with something I keep saying: All Old Testament laws were given for a time and needed situations. Jews stopped selling their daughters. (Ex. 21:7) They stopped having rebellious sons stoned. (Deut. 21:18-21. See David and Absalom. The list could go on and on.
Just imagine what the world would be like if we understood it the way Peter did.

CONCERNS: Along with the cornea transplant, Judy Hall has had some other health issues to deal with. Erma Williams brother-in-law, Greg Lantz is doing better. Teresa Robertson’s aunt, Patricia Hall is dealing with lymphodema and another aunt, Reva Almond also needs prayers. Remember also these folks, Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Teryn Gaynor’s mother, Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjory Wilson and Melanie Gentry. Joni Beach’s parents health is declining and she is spending time with them in NC. Her aunt, Pat Voss and a niece, Jamie Cole also need prayer. Pray for Wayne Phlegar, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas and Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
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: John 15:12-27
Tuesday: I Corinthians 13:1-13
Wednesday: John 6:35-51
Thursday: Matthew 17:14-23
Friday: I Peter 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 125:1-5

Today is Super Sunday. Along with the regular meal we have the leftover bar b que which was frozen after the Labor Day weekend event. Plan to stay for the meal and the fellowship.
Wayne Flora will be the worship leader for today’s service. We thank him for his willingness to serve.
The third Sunday service in October will be done by Susan Jordan, in which she will tell us about her week with Ezell Clinic in Guatemala.
We were saddened to learn of the death of former member, Rex White, who died August 31in Columbia SC. A military burial was scheduled for Fort Jackson is that same city.
Last Sunday evening was a special time at the Ronald McDonald House. Our own (and Roanoke’s) Chef Jeff Bland and a friend and fellow chef from Florida, provided the evening meal for the guests. From all reports it was a big success with lots of second helpings. Thanks Jeff, and pass it on to your friend.
A sign-up list is on the foyer table for this October Super Sunday event. Interest was down a little last year, so let’s be sure our wishes are known as soon as possible as to how many want to continue it.
We received a card from Stephanie addressed to “My sweet church family.” In it she thanks everyone who helped with her move to Sarasota, Fla.
She has now settled in her new place to live (on a golf course) and is working as a private duty nurse.
She says her new church family has “adopted” her as we did, and that they are a loving group of people. The full note is on the foyer table. If you missed her new address in the hand-out it is 6281 Timber Lake Dr. H-5, Sarasota FL 34243


Can we agree that the theology of the Christian church is basically Pauline; meaning the writings of Paul, the apostle of Jesus, set the foundation for the doctrine of the church? That just means when it comes to scripture, we have much more of what Paul said than the others. So when we read the letters of Paul we see the fundamental teachings of Christianity. This is not to reduce the teachings of Jesus. Enough of that has been done already. It has been my experience that people know more about how to do church right than the ethical teachings of Jesus.
So a fundamental question would be: If Paul describes the function and teachings of the Church, where did all the Hell get in? In all of the instructive writings and warnings of Paul, not one time does he mention Hell. If you want to read the best biblically based study on that, get Edward Fudge’s book, The Fire That Consumes.
I’m not going to examine that doctrine. What I want to know is how did Hell become the central, or one of the central doctrines of the preaching and teaching of the Bible.
Let’s face it. We are all heirs of prior teaching. What was taught in the past is passed on and hopefully improved before being passed on to others. Let me say here that the Bible has been stagnated by those who refuse to let its truth keep growing. Even Jesus said, “You have heard it said of old, but I now say…”
But what about Hell? I’m not historian enough to know when the work of Jesus became a fire escape. It may have happened when someone decided the three different words for death and destruction, should be translated into one English word, “Hell.” My guess is that the doctrine of Hell was so entrenched by then that it was more, dare I say, politically correct, to leave the then popular idea intact.
My question is how did Hell become so central in Christian teaching? As I make a quick trip though the Bible, I see the idea of relationship, closeness between the created and the Creator. People were described as “Walking with God.” Before you know it, God sneaks up on Abraham and says, “Let’s take a walk.” You know how that story went. There was a lot of “relating” that went on, all the way to Egypt. And all along the way, folks died and their bones were often taken with them. But everybody who died went to Hell. That is, they went to the Hebrew place of the dead, which is “sheol’. It was a generic term for “the unseen state.” If you read about it, nobody wanted to be left there. Note: The NIV does a very good job translating “Hell” into “the grave” in the OT.
Moses is minding his own business when God decides to draft him. Sure, God uses a burning bush, but it’s not to toast Moses. You know how that story went. All the way through the OT, God just related with people as much as they’d let him. Some of it was bad and some good, but it was all done without Hell, but not without the tragedy of the grave, and what “the place of the dead” could include. Beyond Psalms and Proverbs, only Isaiah and Ezekiel spend time on “sheol.” Amos, Jonah and Habakkuk each mention it once.
The favorite NT word is “Gehenna,” from the Valley of Hinnom, a valley of desecration which had the historical significance of being a place where children had been sacrificed. In Jeremiah it is a place where the dead, animals and people were dumped. If it was still a garbage dump in Jesus’ day is disputable. It was, however, the symbol of a wasted and destroyed life. Matthew, Mark, Luke and James use it that way eleven times. And Mark’s use of Isaiah 66:24 about the unquenched fire and maggots points to the historical knowledge of Gehenna. Matthew, Luke, Acts and Revelation use the Greek “hades” to describe “the unseen world” of the dead. So Jesus says his kingdom will overcome the gates of hell, meaning the result of death. The gospel offers people life instead of death. Paul says the last enemy is death, (I Cor. 15:26) and that eternal life is a gift from God. (Rom. 6:23) Are there consequences for wrong doing and refusing God’s gift? Yes. But what about the kingdom of God being a found treasure, or a dreamed of priceless pearl? Who decided that approach wasn’t good enough? I don’t know, but something valuable was lost in that decision.
The Prodical son returned home, not because the father threatened to kill him if he didn’t. He returned because he realized he’d chosen the wrong life. When we get that right maybe we’ll understand why Paul could teach the good news of God, and even warn people about their deadly choices, without mentioning Hell.

Announcements: Martha Albert
Serve Communion: Connie Crites
Lyn Jordan
Susan Jordan
Mary Willa Foy
Nurseries: Jack Thompson
Usher: Jim White
Communion Care: Williams
Singing: Scripture
4-Scott Blessing Steve Gaynor
11-Del Bolin AC Fuller
18-Scott Blessing Debbie McRoy
25-Karen Branch Mark McRoy
Communion: Nursery:
4- Abraham Sirgy Alisa Flora
11-Wayne Flora Debbie McRoy
18-Abraham Sirgy Holly Wagner
25-Mike Branch Megan Downing

SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAYS: 13-Joanne Elder 25-Mark McRoy 25-Judy McWhorter 29-AC Fuller

CONCERNS: Zona Fisher is recovering well at home after gal bladder surgery. Judy Hall is recovering from a cornea transplant. Erma Williams brother-in-law, Greg Lantz is having issues requiring surgery. Teresa Robertson’s aunt, Patricia Hall is suffering from lymphodema, another aunt, Reva Almond also needs prayers. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Melisha Scruggs cousin, Teryn Gaynor’s mother as she recovers from cancer. Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjory Wilson and Melanie Gentry. Joni Beach’s parents, as well as an aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter is doing much better. Wayne Phlegar is still rather shut in. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Daniel 16:6-28
Tuesday: Mark 4:26-41
Wednesday: Psalm 136;1-26
Thursday: Matthew 7:1-6
Friday: Acts 23:11-35
Saturday: Psalm 115:1-21
Monday: I Peter 1:1-11
Tuesday: Luke 2:1-10
Wednesday: Proverbs 2:1-15
Thursday: Romans 15:1-13
Friday: I Thessalonians 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm115:1-18

There is always some risk writing about an event before it happens, which is the case here. However, at this point the weather looks iffy, so we’ll deal with it. KW decided to try beef short ribs instead of brisket this year. The brisket can be a little stringy, even if cooked a long time, so a change was made. If it didn’t work we’ll make it right next year.
Also a big thanks to those who came early to pull the pork and chicken. And especially those who brought all the fixens to make the meal wonderful.
We always seem to have leftovers, and they will be enjoyed by anyone who would like to stay after the Sunday service. All the rest will be frozen and eaten on Super Sunday.
Judy and Bud McWhorter celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last month. Their daughters are honoring them with a celebration on Saturday, September 10th in the annex. They have invited us to join them in this occasion. The time is 7:00 PM. The only present to bring is your presence.
We’ve been pointing out how good the area above the disabled parking area looks since Roger Fisher took it on as a project. The property line up there is not well marked, but Roger talked to the neighbor at the adjoining property and he said he would like to see all of the brush and undergrowth gone. He even worked on the area near his yard.
This has been a forgotten area and it needs t be finished. The weather has been hot, but let’s plan a Saturday this month when it cools down to finish cleaning up what is left. And thank Roger for getting this going.
Susan Jordan will be away for the next three weekends. She will give us her report on her week at the Ezell Clinic on Super Sunday
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