Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: April 2021

It Helps to Have Help

Keith Wagner, March 7, 2021

ROANOKE CHURCH OF CHRIST “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN”

You may have heard a Gideon tell story about a person who picks up a Gideon Bible while in some distress, reads it and accepts Christ as their personal Savior. It’s a story that proclaims the power of the Bible. Or, you may have heard about a person who reads the Bible for the first time, and having done so, knows what they need to know to become a Christian.  In other Words it’s simple. Yes, as a start.  However, where that start takes the person is another matter.

We’ve all heard someone say, “The Bible says what it means and means what it says.” Or, the bible says it, I believe it, that settles it!” No questions just do what it says, and you’d be saved. Anyone who read what it said and didn’t arrive at the same meaning as you, were wrong. There can only be one right meaning. But what if what it said was not what it meant? What if the meaning of the word in one time meant something different in another time? Even better, what if the story (parable) was understood differently by those who heard it and those who would read it centuries later?

Think of how hard it is to convince people that the “talent” as in the parable of the talents, has nothing to do with using one’s natural ability. But that the word “talent” is a translated word for a sum of money.  It is about what one thinks of God, not how one uses God-given ability. “Does anyone believe God is like a harsh man, reaping where you do not sow, and gathering where you did not sow seed”? Matt 25:24.

As I look deeper into the historical and culture meaning of things in the Bible. I am convinced, that while there is enough to start one on the journey of Christianity, help is needed to grow in wisdom and understanding. Hence the meaning of “disciple” or “learner” or more to our understanding, “student.”

It is easy to say if we just love God and our neighbor as ourselves, we have fulfilled the law and the prophets. But when the lawyer asked Jesus who was his neighbor, it was legitimate question. It was a question disgusted in the synagogue each time that scroll was read.  (By the way, during the synagogue service when there was a reading of scripture, there was then a discussion about it.) All sides would be examined. They did not say it said what it meant and meant what it said.

Take for example the “neighbor” question. Certainly, the law of Moses had said the neighbor should be loved. But did that mean the inhabitants of Jericho, and the other cities wiped out by the Israelites?  “Neighbor,” at the time the law was given had a more narrow definition than it did after Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan. James and John had just suggested letting them call down fire on the Samaritans who had just tossed Jesus and them out of their city. (Lk 9:54)

Today, while still struggling with who the neighbor is, because of Jesus and the meaning of the gospel as seen in the life of Paul and the church, we know it means anyone, especially those in need.

Let’s look at another one. When Jesus was preaching the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:17 ff, he said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.” What did he mean? The answer is generally that Jesus kept the Law in every way, every way. But, for example, we see him not keeping it when it came touching lepers and other unclean people. So what do we do with that? We try to understand it as it was understood by those who heard Jesus say it.

To do that we have to dig into Jewish culture at the time. This can be done with the blessing of the internet. If you really want to understand Jewish thinking, go to A. J. Levine, a New Testament and Jewish scholar at Vanderbilt. You don’t have to agree with her to learn from her. She is among a number of scholars who have studied the history of Jewish thought. Here’s what they say about Matthew 5:17ff. In the synagogue and other places of teaching and learning, when a participant has misrepresented the Law in some way in the eyes of another, he would say, “You are destroying (or abolishing) the Law!” When a participant said something, which highlighted the intent of the Law in another’s eyes, the person would say, “What you have said fulfills the Law!”

 So it would be possible for those discussing the Law to have different views as to what it meant. The word “fulfill” had nothing to do with literally keeping every aspect of the Law, but whether the listener believed it was, or was not “fulfilling” the intent of the Law. Therefore, Jesus is not saying he will keep every part of the Law, but that what he does fulfills the intent of the Law.

 Why is something like that important? Because in knowing what the original intent of the words were, keeps the reader from formulating a twisted understanding about how Jesus could keep the Law while seeming to break it. It also answers the question of when he fulfilled it. It was not nailed to the cross when he died. It was fulfilled in the way he lived it.

When someone says Jesus broke the law, someone else hurries to say he didn’t, because of the Matthew passage. What Jesus was saying, and they understood, even if they didn’t agree, was that his actions fulfilled the intent of the Law.

The Jews didn’t have one solid understanding of the Law. They read it, and then reasoned about how to apply it. Adultery and divorce were problems. They agreed on that. But they argued about what constituted a valid reason for divorce. 

The same was true of the Sabbath. They knew it was to be kept, but how? So they made a list of things that could or could not be done on the Sabbath. Those items became the Law. If we say Jesus never broke the Law, only the interpretation of the Law, we miss the point. The interpretation is the Law, i.e., the “fulfillment” of the Law It may always mean what it says, but for it to do that, we need help in understanding what it actually means.

Keith

THOSE TO SERVE IN MARCH

Announcements: Connie Crites

Ushers: Leena Bolin / Mike Branch

Singing: Karen Branch 7th

 Del Bolin 14th, 21st, 28th  

Scripture: Susan Jordan

Communion: Keith Wagner

MARCH BIRTHDAYS

3-Vivian Dugan

5- Bonnie Blessing

12-Buster McRoy

29- James Downing

31- Erma Williams

MARCH ANNIVERSARIES         

10- Alan & Joni

 CONCERNS: Friend of Mark McRoy, Mr. Calesta Saunders is paralyzed from waist down from a spinal stroke. Pray for Erma’s sister Lorretta. She has had multiple surgeries.  Susan Jordan’s father, Kerry Hay, recovering from heart procedure. Angela Cavalier will have knee surgery in March.  Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet, he is recovering at Raleigh Court Rehab.  Megan Downing’s aunt Stacey Smith with ongoing cancer treatments. Also pray for Megan’s grandmother Bonnie Beaver has stage 4 ovarian cancer and surgery is being scheduled.   Alan Beach will be continuing treatment at UVA keep him and Joni in your prayers. Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie health issues. Alisa Flora’s sister, Melanie Gentry, stage three cancer. Please keep whole family in prayer.

Please pray for friends of Keith Wagner, Jo-Ellen and son Joe Griffith both are having health issues.  Teryn’s Mother, Brenda Windham cancer, continue to pray for Martha Albert who is in Alabama for a while.  Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. Pray for Wayne & Susan Phelgar to continue to stay safe and healthy. Pray for Debbie McRoy’s cousins, Linda Alsup and Erica Halford. Deanna McRoy has a kind of cancer that can return at any time. 

ALSO REMEMBER: Rhonda McRoy,  Martha Albert, Holly Wagner, Andressa Mileti, Ruby Crosin, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Tim Elder.

FOOD PANTRY PARTICIPANTS REQUESTING PRAYERS: Mary Ann Cook knee problems, Albert Cook health issues has no energy, Betty Otey requesting general prayers for well-being and health.

 WEDNESDAY NIGHT ~ We are Studying the gospel of Matthew via web conferencing at 7pm. This is an interactive session   that can be joined by computer or phone call.
Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87367186931

   Meeting ID: 873 6718 6931
   One tap mobile

   No Passcode: 

CONGRATULATIONS ~ Maggie Foy has been accepted to UVA. She will start in the Fall. No major yet. Congratulations Maggie!          

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS ~ We are continuing our Sunday school class at 9:30am. Del Bolin will be leading the class on the study of “The Acts of God in the Book of Acts. The class we continue in the auditorium under the COVID guidelines.

ONLINE YOUTUBE SERMONS

We continue to provide services online. The Roanoke Church of Christ YouTube channel link below:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdNYzpUNlXl5tCx3Mest5kA

RESCUE MISSION TRAINING ~ Please prayerfully consider serving with the Roanoke Rescue Mission in their Agape After Care Program as outlined by Ms. Natalie Kline. Contact the office if you are interested in attending the training.

OFFICE HOURS ~ Brian Mileti’s office hours will be Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Cell phone # (540) 521-2112

Please call before coming to the office.

CHURCH WORKDAY ~ We are planning a Saturday outside workday soon. Will let you know date & time.      

OLDEN DAYS

FEBRUARY 21, 2021

(By Sean Dietrich)

I had a dream. It was a vivid dream. It was sunny. I was in my childhood Sunday school classroom, alone. It was like nothing had changed.

The paned windows were slung open. It was a magnificent day outside. The daylight was so bright it hurt your heart. The sound of starlings came from the trees.

It was your typical church classroom. There was a flannel board, with paper Bible-story characters stuck to the felt. I stood to examine the storytelling board for old time’s sake.

Apparently, some kids had taken Sharpies to the cutout characters because Paul and Silas were defaced. Paul was smoking a cigarette, and Silas had a tattoo of a woman on his forearm. The kid responsible for this would be sentenced to hard time mowing the church lawn until he was forty.

My attention moved from the classroom when I heard a sound. A melodic noise coming from the other room. People singing. I knew this song. I can still remember the words.

“O there’s sunshine,
“Sunshine in my soul,
“Blessed sunshine,
“Blessed sunshine in my soul…”

It’s been a while since I’ve heard this standard. Heck. It’s been a while since I’ve seen that many people in one room, singing, smiling, exchanging germs.

But in my dream, it was olden times. I wandered into the tiny sanctuary. The sight made my insides turn to Jello. Just seeing those recognizable faces, the battered pews, the towhead children holding hymnals.

I saw the whole gang. There was elderly Mister Dan, balding, with a crown of white fuzz around his head. He was red faced, because he was bad to drink.

And old Miss Eleanor, wearing her weird hat. I think they buried her in that hat.

And look! There’s my cousin! He’s so young! Look at him, standing next to my aunt. And who is that standing beside… Wait! That’s me! There I am! I’m 5 years old, wearing khakis and a button down. Was I really that little?

On the platform was our music minister, waving arms back and forth, keeping time. His elderly wife, Miss Lydia behind the Mason & Hamlin piano, swaying like Ronnie Milsap.

In the back of the chapel, near the door, stood Mister Fred, who always watched the door. He never moved. He was our usher. He carried a modest stack of leaflet bulletins just in case a visitor happened by.

Funny. We actually believed that some hapless passerby would visit a tiny, 26-person congregation out of a clear sky, just because. Which seems a little far-fetched when you think about it. After all, when was the last time you stopped by a strange church in the middle of the woods uninvited?

But do you know something? That is exactly what happened one day.

I remember one Sunday morning a woman and her three kids walked through the doors during preaching. She was new to our area, and nobody knew her.

You could see she was embarrassed when she realized she had interrupted the sermon. Her face went flush, she slid into the back pew, head down. She had long stringy hair, her clothes were old. And her kids looked like they hadn’t had a bath since the Kennedy Administration.

What happened next lives in my memory forever. The preacher could have kept the service going and let her blend into the back row without drawing attention to her. But elderly pulpiteers would rather die than deny a heartfelt welcome to even the least of these.

He flew off the pulpit, unbuttoned his coat, arms outstretched, and gave every member of that family a handshake. He declared service was over.

At first, it was so awkward you just wanted to die. But then, everyone got into the spirit of it. They all took turns shaking the woman’s hand, welcoming her, introducing themselves. Then someone told us kids to take the woman’s children outside and play.

Play? On a Sunday morning? We were confused. Church wasn’t even over yet.

“Yes! Go! Play!” said Miss Wilma. “Make the new kids feel welcome. Now shoo! Get out here before I beat your butt.”

You didn’t have to tell us more than once. We unhitched our clip-on neckties and our feet only touched the ground twice. There would be no butt beatings that day.

The woods behind the church were among the most legendary in the world. They were home to the remains of an old millhouse, abandoned Buicks, and a creek loaded with mudbugs. We all played until we ruined our clothes with grass stains and creek water.

Inside the building, you could hear everyone chatting and laughing. Fellowship had begun. Which meant that the sacrament of fried chicken was about to be observed.

Finally, everyone left for Sister Alpharetta’s house to gorge themselves on fried poultry and Sunday dinner. A good time was had by all.

By the time it was dark, the newcomer woman was as much a part of that tiny church as the guy who hung the steeple. Which meant she would never have to pay a plumber or electrician again. Neither would she lack a babysitter. Or a car. Or groceries. All she had to do was make a phone call. They made her the maintenance lady. They gave her a part-time salary.

That woman went to church until she died. Last I heard, one of her kids is a doctor in Houston.

When my dream was over, I awoke. I found myself lying in bed. There was a pandemic going on. The world had seemingly gone downhill in a hand basket. Except it hadn’t. Not in my heart. Because there was sunshine.

Blessed sunshine in my soul.

 Sean Dietrich

From Sean of the South

(Recommended by Susan Jordan)

FEBRUARY BIRTHDAYS

25-Karen Crush Branch

28-Nick Bolin

CONCERNS: Pray for Erma’s sister Lorretta. She has had multiple surgeries and currently in WV Hospital. Continue to pray for Rhonda McRoy and family. Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet, he is recovering at Raleigh Court Rehab.  Megan Downing’s aunt Stacey Smith with ongoing cancer treatments. Also pray for Megan’s grandmother Bonnie Beaver has stage 4 ovarian cancer and surgery is being scheduled.  Please pray for Susan Jordan’s Dad regarding his heart procedure. Alan Beach will be continuing treatment at UVA keep him and Joni in your prayers. Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie health issues. Alisa Flora’s sister, Melanie Gentry, stage three cancer. Please keep whole family in prayer.  Please pray for friends of Keith Wagner, Jo-Ellen and son Joe Griffith both are having health issues.  Teryn’s Mother, Brenda Windham cancer, continue to pray for Martha Albert who is in Alabama for a while.  Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. Pray for Wayne & Susan Phelgar to continue to stay safe and healthy. Pray for Debbie McRoy’s cousins, Linda Alsup and Erica Halford. Deanna McRoy has a kind of cancer that can return at any time. 

ALSO REMEMBER: Martha Albert, Holly Wagner, Andressa Mileti, Ruby Crosin, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Jess Perkins, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Tim Elder

WEDNESDAY NIGHT We are Studying the letter of Jude via web conferencing at 7pm. This is an interactive session that can be joined by computer or phone call.
Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87367186931

Meeting ID: 873 6718 6931
One tap mobile

No Passcode

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS will be starting back this Sunday February 21, 2021, at 9:30am. Del will be leading the class on the study of “The Acts of God in the Book of Acts”. The class will continue in the auditorium under the COVID guidelines.

ONLINE YOUTUBE SERMON We continue to provide services online. The Roanoke Church of Christ YouTube channel link below:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdNYzpUNlXl5tCx3Mest5kA

STEERING COMMITTEE

The Steering Committee will be sending out the 2021 budget soon.  

Please review the budget when you receive it. There will be a meeting after church on March 28th, to discuss the 2021 budget.  If you are unable to attend the meeting, please email or contact the Steering Committee to with any questions or concerns.