Roanoke Church of Christ

Bulletins

REFLECTING

New Life Bulletin ~ 7/18/21

Every once in a while something happens that causes me to reflect on an article I wrote in November 1990. It was entitled “Christian Paranoia.” The article caused me to be challenged to a debate, as well as be ”written up” by a guy over in West Virginia.

Among the things that upset them was my comparison of certain belief systems which mirror one of the definitions of paranoia, i.e., “A tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others.” Boy, I could have a political heyday with that! But I’m interested in how that continues to control some churchgoers.

In the original article, I referred to the kind of teaching I heard as a boy. The kind of teaching that is sadly still going on. It was a view of God as a God of lists and rules. If you crossed the line it was curtains for you. Strict obedience to the rules was required. Noah and his “gopher” wood ark was one great example. If Noah had decided to use one board that wasn’t “gopher”, then all would have been lost. It would be years later that I learned that gopher wood was an ambiguous term that might mean any of three woods, fir, cypress, or cedar. Others said the best definition is “pitched wood”, which would make sense since the wood would need to be sealed.  Along with the ark was the story of Nadab and Abihu and their “strange fire.” Every time a preacher did something different and shook some other preacher up, he was accused of introducing “strange fire.” It was my denial of such a view of God that raised the hackles of a couple of area preachers.

In the nearly thirty years since I wrote that article, little has changed among those who hold that kind of fear over people’s heads. Sadly, there are those who find comfort in deluding themselves into believing they can actually be pleasing to God by simply keeping a list of rules.

Before getting to the heart of all this, let me clarify something. Christians do things that God wants done. Could those things be called “rules”? Yes, I suppose. However, it is the motivation behind the doing that is of the most importance. Christians do things because they have been saved by the love and the grace of God. They do not do those things to receive the love, the grace, and the salvation of God. There’s the rub.

It may be a little too harsh to say that such people who live under that kind of belief system are in an abusive relationship, but the similarities are there. In both cases the person stays where they live in constant fear because they have been made more afraid of what will happen to them if they leave. It is one thing to know what abuse to expect. It’s quite another to be faced with the possibility of something worse. Eternal damnation, for one.

It is also important to keep such people from going “outside” the safe area. They will be told anything they see, read, or hear “out there” will hurt them more than they can imagine. Fear is the constant method of restraint.

Of those I have met who broke free from such confinement, I find that it usually came from peeking over the wall or hearing something that told them there was a whole new world of faith out there. Or it can be just “having it up to here” with being afraid and controlled. In other cases, it might be a divorce or witnessing the prejudice that can be rampant in some religious circles.

I also find that the younger generation is asking questions and demanding answers that once were (and in some places still are) considered taboo. As long as the “sheltered” are kept at home and in a controlled religious atmosphere, they are content. But when they reach the outside world (a good thing) they are confronted with a world view much larger than they imagined. For some, this can begin in high school. For others when they start to college. It is there they find questions that were either refused to be discussed, or answers that do not answer but cast dispersions on those who ask. Say the word “evolution” in a group of Christians and see how many are thinking, “Oh yes, the evolution of a species,” versus those who are thinking, “That stuff is a denial of God.”

Mike Branch once asked the Sunday morning adult class to express our views of heaven and hell.  At least one person used the word “up”. Of course, that person knows there is no “up” but rather an “out”. At one time “up” was all we knew. Today we know there is an unimaginable “out” out there in what, for the lack of a better word, we call “space”.

Each day we are faced with more and more challenges to what we believed yesterday. I think this is good. As I’ve said before, we will not grow as we should if we stop at one point and say, “This is all there is.”

As a Christian, what concerns me is the way people are held captive by those who see God as a God who demands exactness in all we do. In worship they wi1l say there is an exact pattern that must be followed. In life the only way to live pleasing to God is to do exactly what they tell you, and of course, they back it up with scripture.  Are they sincere? I want to be careful here. I believe some are. It has been for them a safe haven. However, far too many times it has been a position of abusive power. It has been a way of controlling the thinking of the people and thus assuring their position of power. On one hand it may be all the person in control knows. That does not excuse it, in my opinion. What it does is allow me to understand they are sincere, even if they are sincerely wrong. On the other hand, it is the refusal to allow anyone to question their authority (?) and power.

In some ways they are as afraid as those they control by fear. What if all those years of using their power was not the right way? How would it look for them to admit (little to no chance) that they were wrong? Their power would be taken away and given to someone else.

On the other hand, I’ve seen the transition in those lives that, by the grace of God, somehow began to think more openly, lovingly, and more grace filled. All of them express it in terms of being released from bondage. I’m thankful to be one of them.

Keith

THOSE TO SERVE IN JULY

Announcements:

Joanne Elder

Ushers:

Holly Wagner

Singing:

18-Del Bolin

25-Karen Branch

Scripture:

Mark McRoy

Communion:

18- Wayne Flora

25- Mike Branch

JULY BIRTHDAYS

 17- Andressa Mileti 19- Jim Hunter

 21-Brock McRoy 25-Oliver Hogan 

 26- John Bolin

CONCERNS: Judy McWhorter had knee surgery on Tuesday and is recovering. Last week’s visitors Bill & Melinda Crigger are at UVA, Bill has a cancerous tumor. Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie, is in a nursing home doing PT twice daily and gaining strength. She is looking forward to going home in a week or two.  Please continue to keep Erma Williams’ family in your prayers.  Erma’s sister, Lorretta, has a serious six-month oncology treatment plan. Please continue to pray for Alisa Flora’s nephew, Ethan Gentry, and her sister, Melanie Gentry. Wayne Flora’s parents, Sylvus and Martha Flora, and sister, Jan. Teryn Gaynor’s mother Brenda Windham has cancer that metastasized into her colon (again) and her liver. She is doing chemo and will get another scan in a couple of months. Leena Bolin’s brother, Steve (Covid lung scarring), Steve’s ex-wife (possible ALS) and son (bi-polar).  Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s sister, Jan, and brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet. Gary is now in the hospital.  Megan Downing’s aunt, Stacey Smith, will be checked monthly for a while. Megan’s grandmother Bonnie Beaver has 1 more week of Chemo.  Jim Hunter has been diagnosed with an autoimmune deficiency and will be going to UVA in September. Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. 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, Cory (medical student of Del Bolin), Calesta Saunders, Alan & Joni Beach, Kerry & Sula Hay, Judd Beaver, Lebreska Whitaker, Wayne & Susan Phlegar, Nick Hodges, Ruby Crosen, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Jo-Ellen Griffith, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, and Tim Elder.

MINISTER’S REPORT:

*Movie Night:

We will be showing A Bugs Life July 16th

at 6:30 in the Annex. Please pray about and get

the word out on this weekly summer event.

*Sunday Evening:

We have started evening services at 6:30pm for those who are unable

to attend Sunday Mornings.

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS

Del Bolin is back, please come join us for the Study of “The Acts of God in the Book of Acts” at 9:30am, in person or online with YouTube.

ONLINE YOUTUBE SERMONS

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

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

WEDNESDAY NIGHT

Join the Zoom Meeting on the study of Matthew at 7pm.

Meeting ID:873 6718 6931

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

THURSDAY NIGHT

We are continuing to gather at the Miletis’ on Thursday nights at 6:00pm to pray and work through the church vision statement. This has also been a great time for fellowship, come join us.  Please RSVP to let the Miletis know if you plan on coming.

LOOKING FOR A ROOM TO RENT

Angela Cavalier is looking for a room to rent; she needs to be out of her current location before July 31st.  Please let Joanne know.

“I CAN’T”

New Life Bulletin 7/4/21

Whenever we Christians talk about prayer, most of us admit we have our struggles with it. Why are some prayers answered, while others just as worthy, and nearly identical, are not?

Of course, we have also been taught to say things like, “All prayers are answered, but sometimes the answer is ‘No.’”

Another part of any discussion on prayer has to do with God’s will.  What is God’s will? Is it anything that happens which we may or may not like or may or may not understand? In other words, is everything God’s will?  There are those who say so. But for me, that would make Jesus’ instructional prayer to disciples somewhat empty. Jesus said to pray that God’s will would be done on earth, as it is done in heaven. That can’t mean that since everything that happens on earth is as well.  Why would we pray for something to happen that can’t be changed? To do so would be mouthing an empty, phony, phrase.  

Rather than starting with all the questions about what the will of God is, perhaps we should start with what Jesus and the other New Testament writers actually say God’s will is?

As stated, God wants his will done on earth, and he wants us to be involved in doing it. That’s the “May your will be done.” But what is God’s will?  In my trusty concordance I couldn’t find very many places where it said, “God’s will is so and so”. There are lots of places that talk about doing God’s will, but not specifically what God’s will is. Of course, doing good and all that is God’s will. I’m talking about what does God do, or has done, which is what the New Testament calls God’s will.  The most directly worded scripture is II Peter 3:9, at least in the KJV.  There it says, “God is not willing that any should perish”. The NIV says God does “not want”. By the way, I Timothy 2:4 says basically the same thing.  So, if God doesn’t “want” it, then it’s not his will.  When it says God is not willing (i.e., it is not God’s will) that any should perish, does that mean no one will perish? No. Is it God’s will then that they do? No. So, in this case, and I believe in nearly all others, God’s will being done also involves the person who is willing for God’s will to happen. Are there exceptions? Perhaps. But, if it is God’s will that no one perish, and that requires our “willingness”, how does that relate to God’s will as we pray?

When Jesus prayed in the garden that God’s will that he dies be changed, was Jesus helpless to change it himself? No. He could have walked out of the garden and back to Galilee before Judas and the soldiers got there.  Why didn’t he? Because he was committed in his life and heart to do what needed to be done. But God’s will being done rested on Jesus’ willingness to do it as well. 

For example, is it God’s will that humans sin? I hope you say no. If we pray that God will stop all sin and God doesn’t, should we conclude that sin is God’s will? No. How would that prayer be answered? Is it with a “No”, or “I can’t”? Sin is stopped when humans bring their will into God’s will. 

You may say that God could stop sin. You could say that, but how would you know it? Sin is recognized as sin by contrasting it with good. There has to be an up to have a down, and an in to have an out, sin to have virtue.

When I pray that the texting, blue toothing, drinking driver misses me or my loved one, am I asking that they hit the person behind or in front of me?  Sadly, in a way, yes. But more to the point, I am asking that I or my loved one be alerted, sharpened even, by God’s presence, and that the “terror” be spotted by me (them) or by the police, or that they are somehow awakened to their stupidity (sin) so that no one is killed. If I don’t get the answer, I asked for, was it God’s will? Did God answer, but say “No”? Or “I can’t because of sin”?  

If I, or a loved one has a deadly disease, and I pray for a cure and not get it. What’s God’s part in that?

Let me put it this way, and I don’t want to simplify a complex problem, but what if God would try to explain it to me? Would he say, “From the very beginning I gave you life and the world.  I told you to take care of what I gave you. We’re in this together. If you want to throw it away, I can’t and won’t stop you.  

“As we continue on this journey there will be things you want that you can’t have, at least not when you want them. But because you have asked, together we will seek to make it happen. If I, did it all for you, you would never grow. There would be no future if I gave you the future now. There would be no discovery if there was nothing to discover.  Life would have little or no meaning. This is your time, and in your time you and I will take the steps of future discovery together. What we discover now will be the knowledge those who come after you will use to continue with doing my will. 

“You will find the answers because you asked the questions. It is when you ask me “why” that together we move deeper into finding an answer.  But remember this, sin, the evil humankind does, has, and always will, stop my will. When you refuse to accept the ignorance of today, that becomes tomorrow’s progress and discovery.  Each step is based on the one below it. Without that lower step there are no more. 

“Some of your disappointment in what you ask me for will be because of what, for a better term, I call ‘Foolishness’. These are not so much sin, but carelessness, the things you call ‘accidents.’ 

“If your son or daughter goes on a hike and slips and falls to their death, and you had asked me to keep them safe, was it my will? No. It may have been because your child took a foolish risk. It may have been because someone who was to provide safety measures failed at their job. It may even have been a loose rock. It’s the things like loose rocks, lightning, floods, falling trees, and other such natural disasters that really cause you to ask questions. I understand, but there is a randomness about the whole of creation. So, in order for my will to be done on earth by both of us, sometimes I just can’t. If I, did you would stop learning and doing the things that give you growth, value, and dignity, and I won’t destroy that.”

            Keith 

THOSE TO SERVE IN JULY

Announcements: Joanne Elder  

Ushers: Holly Wagner

Singing: 

4-Wayne Flora 11-Karen Branch 

18-Del Bolin 25-Karen Branch

Scripture: Mark McRoy 

Communion:

 4 – Keith Wagner 11- Mike Branch

 18- Wayne Flora  25- Mike Branch

JULY BIRTHDAYS         

9-Nathan Flora 13-Samuel Blessing

15-Lauren Mileti 16- Zona Fisher 

17-Andressa Mileti 19- Jim Hunter  
21-Brock McRoy 25-Oliver Hogan

26- John Bolin   

  JULY ANNIVERSARIES

2- Jake & Ann Claris “AC” Fuller

4- Wayne & Susan Phlegar                        

CONCERNS: Please keep Erma Williams’ family in your prayers – her father, Bill Breazeale passed away last week.  The funeral was Monday, June 28th in Maryland. Burial will be in Missouri. Erma’s sister, Lorretta, has a serious six-month oncology treatment plan.

Please continue to pray for Alisa Flora’s nephew, Ethan Gentry, and her sister, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Flora’s parents, Sylvus and Martha Flora, and sister, Jan. Teryn Gaynor’s mother, Brenda Windham, has cancer that metastasized into her colon (again) and her liver. She is doing chemo and will get another scan in a couple of months. Leena Bolin’s brother, Steve (Covid lung scarring), Steve’s ex-wife (possible ALS) and son (bi-polar) would also appreciate your prayers.  Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s sister, Jan, and brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet. Gary is now home.

Megan Downing’s aunt, Stacey Smith, will be checked monthly for a while. Megan’s grandmother Bonnie Beaver has 3 more weeks of chemo treatments. Jim Hunter has been diagnosed with an autoimmune deficiency and will be going to UVA on September 29th.  Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie, has health issues.  Please pray for Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole and Debbie McRoy’s cousins, Linda Alsup and Erica Halford. Deanna McRoy has a kind of cancer that can return at any time.  

ALSO REMEMBER: Medical student of Del Bolin, Cory.  Calesta Saunders, Alan & Joni Beach, Kerry & Sula Hay, Judd Beaver, Lebreska Whitaker, Wayne & Susan Phlegar, Nick Hodges, Ruby Crosen, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Jo-Ellen Griffith, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, and Tim Elder.

 MINISTER’S REPORT:

  * Movie Night – We will be showing TOY STORY on July 9th at 6:30 in the Annex. Please pray and get the word out on this weekly event.      

   *SUNDAY EVENING:  

  We have started holding evening services at 6:30 pm for those who are unable to attend Sunday Mornings. However, due to the 4th of July holiday, there will be no evening service on July 4th.                                                        

 SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS 

  Del Bolin will be out of town for the next two weeks. We are putting a hold on the study of Acts.  Keith Wagner will be teaching for the next two Sundays; topic will be determined. Please come join us.        

   ONLINE YOUTUBE SERMONS *

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

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

  *We anticipate not having YouTube service this week, but will start back on Sunday, July 11th.       

  WEDNESDAY NIGHT

        Join the Zoom Meeting on the study of Matthew at 7pm.

Meeting ID:873 6718 6931

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

  THURSDAY NIGHT 

             We are continuing to gather at the Mileti’s home on Thursday nights at 6:00pm to pray and work through the church vision statement. This has also been a great time for fellowship. Come join us.  Please RSVP to let the Miletis know if you plan on coming. 

  FOOD PANTRY 

         Items needed: grape jelly, any kind of cereal, canned pineapple, kids’ fruit snacks, Rice A Roni (chicken flavor).

When Your Freudian Slips

New Life Bulletin ~ 6/20/21

I received a publication published by a group of churches in the Carolinas. The front-page article caught my eye. It was on modest dress, naturally, for women. The article didn’t surprise me, but some of the comments were, to me, rather shocking. 

The author states, “Ladies, speaking as a man, I can tell you how difficult it can be to avoid lusting after women who aren’t my wife when most of them show off their cleavage and thighs.” I’ll get back to that.

 Then he refers to the taking of the cruise ship, Santa Maria in 1967. He says the women on board went out of their way to hide their bikinis and put on modest clothing to keep them from being raped. He adds, “They knew exactly what skimpy clothing would cause men to desire.” I’ll get back to that.

 He tells of reading a sociologist’s interview with some young men, one of which “expressed deep anger and resentment towards women for ‘sexually teasing’ him” by “what they wore and acted around him, only to later have the power to, with the threat of an accusation of rape deny him the fulfillment of those urges.” (Bold and italics mine kw)           

Another guy talked about “the power they <women> have to deny him the satisfaction of those urges.” Another said he wanted to “get back” at such women.

 Near the end of the article the author writes, “Our sons would go through puberty without being bombarded with sexual temptation by the female skin they see all around them, only to be denied (again, my emphasis kw) fulfillment and thus grow more and more angry and resentful towards women in general.” What? 

Now, first of all, I’m shocked, not only at what he says about men and their need to “fulfill” themselves. I’m also shocked that the editor of the journal printed it instead of telling the guy to get help.

 He seems to feel that any attraction between the sexes, although he is only concerned for men, is lust. I hope he is not saying the rapid beating of the young man’s heart when he sees a beautiful young woman means he is lusting. I hope he’s not saying that when two people first see each other, and there is that “spark” and, after 50 years of marriage, they still call it “love at first sight,” it was lust.

Is there lust? Of course. But rape is not lust. Rape is power, and anger, not lust. Lust is when, as Jesus said, one person (man) wants what is not his to have, i.e., another man’s wife or daughter.  Is the great love story in Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) a story of lust or love? There’s a lot of skin being talked about there! In Genesis 24:16 it says Abraham’s servant saw that Rebekah was “very beautiful.” Does that mean he wanted to fulfill his “urges”?

What bothers me is the writer’s choice of words. Is he really having that much trouble with other women? Does he really just want to “fulfill his urges”? Maybe. 

About the women on the cruise ship. What woman under those circumstances would do anything else? Terrorists rape, not to “fulfill urges” but to humiliate, defile, and have power. 

He seems to justify the rather frightening behavior of the young men who were angry and “wanted to get back” at women because of the way they dressed. These guys need help! In fact, they may be dangerous! Any man who sees human sexual relations as his right to “fulfill his urges” is so far off base he’s playing in a different park and not with a full deck.

 Is there something to be said about crossing the line about what is worn? Sure. Can a man or a woman “entice” the other person by what they wear? Yes. But that’s not always a sin. “The birds and the bees do it.” It becomes a sin when it is misused, or in the case of prostitution, money, and in some cases, power. Think Heidi Fleiss.

 Let’s not mess up the young person by confusing their human development. If we do that, we will have more of both sexes seeking only to “fulfill their urges.” 

 Keith 

THOSE TO SERVE IN JUNE

Announcements: Connie Crites 

Ushers: Leena Bolin / Holly Wagner

Singing:  20 & 27 Del Bolin  

Scripture: Susan Jordan  

Communion: 20 – Keith Wagner  27- Wayne Flora

JUNE BIRTHDAYS    

21- Wayne Flora   29- Joni Beach 

JUNE ANNIVERSARIES

25-Lyn & Susan Jordan

26-Dillion & Laura Hogan

CONCERNS: Jim Hunter has been diagnosed with an autoimmune deficiency and will be going to UVA for further tests on September 29th.  Please continue to pray for Alisa Flora’s nephew, Ethan Gentry and her sister Melanie Gentry. Wayne Flora’s parents, Sylvus and Martha Flora, and sister, Jan. 

Teryn Gaynor’s mother Brenda Windham’s cancer has metastasized into her colon (again) and her liver. She is doing chemo and will get another scan in a couple of months. Newlywed medical student of Del Bolin, Cory, was recently diagnosed with a rare cancer. He has had two rounds of immunotherapy. Leena Bolin’s brother, Steve (Covid lung scarring), Steve’s ex-wife (possible ALS) and son (bi-polar).  Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s sister, Jan, and brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet. Gary is now home. Megan Downing’s aunt, Stacey Smith, finished with her chemo treatments but will go back each week to get CT scans.  Megan’s grandmother (Bonnie Beaver) surgery went well, and she will have 3 more treatments every 3 weeks.  Erma’s sister, Lorretta, has a serious six-month oncology treatment plan that begins this week.  Also remember Erma’s Dad & Mom. Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie, has health issues.  Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. 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: Calesta Saunders, Alan & Joni Beach, Kerry & Sula Hay, Judd Beaver, Lebreska Whitaker, Wayne & Susan Phlegar, Nick Hodges, Ruby Crosen, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Jo-Ellen Griffith, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, and Tim Elder.

 MINISTER’S REPORT:

        * Movie Night – We will be showing TOY STORY,

          July 9th at 6:30 in the Annex. Please pray and get

          the word out on this weekly event. 

         *Sunday Evening:           

           We will be starting evening services on June 27th at 6:30pm for those who are unable to attend Sunday mornings.                                        

  SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS         

      Please join us for the study of “The Acts of God in the  Book of Acts. At 9:30 am, in person or online with YOUTUBE.  

  ONLINE YOUTUBE SERMONS

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

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

 WEDNESDAY NIGHT

        Join the Zoom Meeting on the study of Matthew at 7pm.

Meeting ID:  873 6718 6931

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

 THANK YOU 

         The Mileti’s would like to thank everyone for their commitment on Thursday night for fellowship and praying through the Church’s vision statement.    

Was Jesus Afraid of God?

New Life Bulletin ~ 6/2/21

The answer to that question is an absolute no! Why? Because, as it says in I John 4:18 “Perfect love drives out fear.” (NIV) Was that Jesus’ perfect love for the Father? In Jesus’ case, perhaps we might say so. But in the text, it is God’s perfect love for us that drives (casts) out being afraid of God.

I received more than the usual comments concerning a recent article about fear. Fear, or being afraid is the greatest barrier to everything right and good in the world. And yet, at the same time we read in the Bible that we are to fear God. It is interesting to me that so many people are afraid to let go of the word “fear” as in “Fear God and keep his commandments”.

I feel a little like Paul here when he was trying to explain grace to the church in Rome. I can anticipate those who will say, “So you’re saying we can shake our fist in the face of God and get away with it!” Or perhaps like Job’s wife we might assume if Job curses God, death will be the immediate result.

Can we shake our fist in God’s face (if God has a face) and get away with it? Yes. It happens all the time and there hasn’t been much “smiting” as the result. Of course, we would say that God will get “fist shakers” in the end. Well and good. However, the greater question, and the one I think so many of us have so much trouble with is, “Why would you want to shake your fist in the face of perfect love?” Yes, yes. I know about Job. But do we really want to compare the concept of God examined in that book with the view of God held and taught by Jesus? Maybe you, but not me. Why? First of all, if I believe Jesus was indeed the one-of-a-kind son of God, then I believe him when he says God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.” (Luke 6:35) Or Luke 12:32, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” Meaning what? Meaning that God does not want them (and us) to be afraid God will take relationship with him from them.

Did Jesus ever say to fear God?  Yes. Once.  He told them as he was explaining what it would be like if they followed him, (and it is recorded in Matthew and Luke) not to be afraid of those who could only kill their bodies, i.e.., take their life, but to fear the one who could both kill them and then destroy everything about them, i.e., their souls. He was using a comparison. If being killed is what they feared most, they should fear the one (God) who had the power to keep them from eternal life if they denied God.

 If you look in a concordance you will find that Jesus spends more time telling people not to be afraid than he ever does the opposite.

 One of things that complicates fearing God is that (wisely, I think) the Hebrews had several words for what is translated “fear.” The most used word for fear is “reverence.” Just think how differently our mind would recall scripture if it read, “Revere God and keep his commandments.” Or “The Reverence of God is the beginning of wisdom.”

Another thing is that the words are not consistent in their usage, at least if you are not a Hebrew. For example, Abraham is told in his vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram.” The word there is the same as the one translated “reverence.” It would be hard to believe Abram was told not to hold God in “reverence.”

 The Greeks also had a couple or more words for “fear.” The most common is phobeo. As you can see, it’s the word we know as “phobia.” 

As I said earlier, I’m interested in how Jesus wanted us to know and understand God. And it seems to me Jesus, as well as the other writers of the New Testament, believe being afraid of God diminishes our love and relationship with him.

Jesus never spoke of being afraid of his heavenly father. Is it the quality of a good, God-like father, to cause his children to be afraid of him? I don’t think so. However, I’m not an expert on fatherhood. Ask my kids. But if I ever wanted them to be afraid of me, I can’t remember it. Were there things when, in anger, I made them afraid? Yes, but thankfully not many. As you can tell, I can remember those more than they. The reason? Because it was a time when I did not act like a father should. As I’ve aged (became a grandparent), I’ve learned there are other ways to be a parent.

 I always love it when someone says. “Well, my father took the strap to me all the time, and I turned out pretty good!” My question is, “So what? Does that mean you did the same thing to your kids?” 

Again, I cannot get the image in my mind of a good father being the type that his children fear, i.e., are afraid of. The type that the children must ask the mother if they can speak to him. The kind that gets to eat the best food first, and the mother and children eat the leftovers. The kind that will punish severely the breaking of his rules with no mercy or grace. The kind that causes the children to hide when he comes in from work. The kind the children want to love but can’t. And yet cannot help trying.

 Let me tell you a true story. A family we know adopted a little child from an abusive mother. The adoptive mother told me the child would often come to her and say, “Mommy, do you want to spank me?” It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to know that the child had love and punishment all mixed in together. The only time the natural mother touched that child was to whip her. And yet, as is so often the case, the child, knowing no other form of parental security, “loves” that abusive parent and seeks any contact they will give. We may say, “Well, those evil people better fear God!” Right! But evil people don’t respect or even believe in God. So what good is it to tell them they’d better watch out? The Bible primarily speaks to believers. Look past all the fear stuff and see the great love and faithfulness of God all through the Bible. And especially remember God’s absolutely perfect love, realized, takes all the fear of God away, as it should in the life of any loving parent. We can be worse than God, but not more loving.

 Keith

THOSE TO SERVE IN JUNE

Announcements: Connie Crites 

Ushers: Leena Bolin / Holly Wagner

Singing: 6 & 13 Karen Branch

                20 & 27 Del Bolin  

 Scripture: Susan Jordan  

Communion: 6 & 27- Wayne Flora

 13- Mike Branch, 20 – Keith Wagner   

 JUNE BIRTHDAYS    

 4- Brian Mileti

13- Mike Branch 

13- Susan Jordan 

21- Wayne Flora 

29- Joni Beach 

JUNE ANNIVERSARIES

1Garrett & Erma Williams

9-Wayne & Alisa Flora

25-Lyn & Susan Jordan

26-Dillion & Laura Hogan

CONCERNS: Jim Hunter has been diagnosed with an autoimmune deficiency and will be going to UVA for further tests on September 29th. Alisa Flora is now home from traveling.  Please continue to pray for her nephew, Ethan Gentry and her sister Melanie Gentry. Wayne Flora’s parents, Sylvus and Martha Flora, and sister, Jan. Newlywed medical student of Del Bolin, Cory, was recently diagnosed with a rare cancer. He has had two rounds of immunotherapy. Leena Bolin’s brother, Steve (Covid lung scarring), Steve’s ex-wife (possible ALS) and son (bi-polar).  Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s sister, Jan, and brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet. Gary is now in Community Hospital in rehab for another week or two. Megan Downing’s aunt, Stacey Smith, finished with her chemo treatments but will go back each week to get CT scans.  Megan’s grandmother’s (Bonnie Beaver) surgery went well, and she will have 3 more treatments every 3 weeks.  Erma’s sister, Lorretta, has serious health issues and is awaiting an oncology treatment plan.  Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie, has health issues. Teryn Gaynor’s mother, Brenda Windham, has cancer. Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. 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: Calesta Saunders, Alan & Joni Beach, Kerry & Sula Hay, Judd Beaver, Lebreska Whitaker, Wayne & Susan Phlegar, Angela Cavalier, Nick Hodges, Martha Albert, Ruby Crosen, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Jo-Ellen Griffith, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, and Tim Elder.

MINISTER’S REPORT:

     Movie Night – Working through the logistics of setting up a weekly movie night for the summer. Begin praying about this special outreach.  

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS            

   Please join us for the study of “The Acts of God in the Book of Acts. At 9:30 am, in person or online with YOUTUBE.  

  JUNE 17th 

  Dinner and Fellowship on Thursday, June 17th at 6:00pm at the Mileti’s. Their address is 2739 Gleneagles Rd. Salem, VA 24153. To pray over the Church’s vision statement.  Please RSVP to let the Mileti’s know if you plan on coming. 

  ONLINE YOUTUBE SERMONS 

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

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

 WEDNESDAY NIGHT

 Join the Zoom Meeting on the study of

 Matthew at 7pm.

Meeting ID:873 6718 6931

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

 CONGRATULATIONS 

 Maggie Foy graduated from Hidden Valley High School on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.  Way to go Maggie!  

 NEW ROOF 

 Thank you to Vinton Roofing for putting on the new roof over the Annex and the basement addition.  They had the new roof put on in two days.  

STEERING COMMITTEE

 Has decided to wait another month or two on resuming our traditional communion service.  We will continue to use the packaged communion cups until further notice. 

The Fear Factor*

New Life Bulletin ~ 5/23/21

If I were making a list of the things that would make me drop out of being involved in organized Christianity, or any religion, it would be the fear factor. I have reached the age where I can reflect on sixty or so years of Christian experience, as well as “historical” Christianity. What I see is that fear dominated, and still dominates a major segment of Christianity. I know there are many Christians who do not fit this pattern, but those who do make the most noise. There is no mystery in that, fear is always noisy, and often violent.

 It’s difficult to write about “Christianity” in the general sense of the word because there is also the narrow meaning as well.  For me, the narrow meaning is to have an understanding of Jesus that fulfills his teaching, attitude, actions and way of viewing the world and humankind in my life, as best I can. Rather than saying “Christianity” it might be better if I say “God-fearing” people, with the recognition that Christianity is the focus.

Aside from the God-fearers’ resistance to Galileo and the crusades, which was a long time ago, I think of the irony of two opposing armies in just about any war in history, both doing battle in the name of the same God.

I think of the resistance to the emancipation proclamation by God-fearing people, and the fear of what freedom for slaves might mean.

I think about the God-fearing resistance to women’s suffrage and equal rights for women and the fear that it was somehow against God’s pattern. I remember all those sermons on how the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) would destroy the American family. The fear factor. I think about Birmingham, Montgomery, Jackson, and other cities whose God-fearing people burned churches and killed civil rights workers. I remember the ugly pamphlets that were passed out by God-fearing preachers, warning of the coming ruin if we integrated. All based on fear. 

I think about how we, and I mean Christians in general, viewed the divorced and remarried. I still have a tract that was popular (and may still be in some quarters) that ended with a statement that said something like, “Like the lepers of old, the divorced woman should shout ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ to warn innocent young men of her condition.” Again, the fear factor of losing one’s soul if they married a divorced woman. 

 It was nearly always the women who were blamed. I can think of at least two whose husbands either left them for a younger woman or beat and abused them, who, upon divorcing, or being divorced, were removed from the teaching program of the church. I think how often it was “the authority of scripture” until that elder or preacher had a child who ended up divorced. Most of the time a new understanding of scriptural authority was developed. Even sadder were those who refused to look again at what they believed.

I think of human rights. It seems every time we take a step forward, we seem to take two steps backward. After a certain calm came Charlottesville, a lovely college town invaded by those carrying Tiki torches on the University of Virginia campus chanting “Jews will not replace us!”

We had never heard of “systemic racism” repeated over and over in reference to our societal condition, even though we knew it existed. It was now in our faces and could not be ignored.

 As the corruption among the Central American nations increased, more of those came north seeking asylum. That increased the old fear that those of color would eventually outnumber the whites and take away our freedoms. Rarely did anyone suggest that the color of a person’s skin did not determine their moral character. This view means if you look different, dress different, worship different, you are to be feared. 

 Think about the years and years of harmony which ended due to ignorance and slander ~ Asians became the enemy because of Covid-19.

 I think how often “God fearing” people, quoting scripture, have perpetrated that kind of fear and prejudice. And I am reading more and more of Christian clergy who are giving up on the institutional churches due to the increased insistence that these fear-based ideologies be part of the church’s message.

I think how often God-fearing people have stood in the way of science. God-fearing people have been an easy sell for the idea that science is out to destroy God.  How can anyone or anything, destroy God?  Perhaps it is the belief in God that they fear science will destroy. Belief in God is based on faith not science. “Faith is not the foundational interest of science.”

History has recorded far too many places where the God-fearing have stood at the edge of a new frontier of Science, Medicine, or exploration and denounced it as being against God.  

Does humankind have the ability to destroy itself? I suppose so. Could God? Of course, although looking back I can see no reason why. 

What I have to remember is that all these “God-fearers” do not really define Christianity.  Jesus does that. And I need to remember that down through the ages there have been those who, in Christ’s name, have been more afraid of not moving forward, of not exploring and asking questions, of not demanding human equality and dignity, than of being afraid of fear.

*Revised article from 2009       

      Keith Wagner

THOSE TO SERVE IN MAY 

Announcements: Mike Branch 

Ushers: Lyn/Susan Jordan 

Singing:  23 & 30 Del Bolin 

Scripture: Holly Wagner   

Communion:23 Keith Wagner      

                      30 Wayne Flora

MAY BIRTHDAYS                              

20-Sherry Bland 

MAY ANNIVERSARIES 

22-Abraham & Kathleen Sirgy

26-Delmas & Leena Bolin 

CONCERNS: Jim Hunter has been diagnosed with an autoimmune deficiency and will be going to UVA for further tests.  Alisa Flora will be staying in Alabama for a few weeks to be with her sister Melanie, who has Stage III cancer and nephew, Ethan Gentry.  Ethan had brain surgery, and he has a long-complicated recovery ahead of him.  Wayne Flora’s parents, Sylvus and Martha Flora, and sister, Jan. Newlywed medical student of Del Bolin, Cory, was recently diagnosed with a rare cancer. He has had two rounds of immunotherapy. Leena Bolin’s brother, Steve (Covid lung scarring), Steve’s ex-wife (possible ALS) and son (bi-polar). Friend of Mark McRoy, Mr. Calesta Saunders, is paralyzed from a spinal stroke.  Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s sister, Jan, and brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet. Gary is now home. Megan Downing’s aunt, Stacey Smith, finished with her chemo treatments but will go back each week to get CT scans.  Megan’s grandmother’s (Bonnie Beaver) surgery went well, and she will have 3 more treatments every 3 weeks.  Erma’s sister, Lorretta, has serious health issues and is awaiting an oncology treatment plan.  Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie, has health issues. Teryn Gaynor’s mother, Brenda Windham, has cancer. Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. 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: Alan & Joni Beach, Kerry & Sula Hay, Judd Beaver, Lebreska Whitaker, Wayne & Susan Phlegar, Angela Cavalier, Nick Hodges, Martha Albert, Ruby Crosen, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Jo-Ellen Griffith, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, and Tim Elder.

MINISTER’S REPORT:

      Movie Night – Working through the logistics of setting up a weekly movie night for the summer. Begin praying about this special outreach.  

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS           

    Please join us for the study of “The Acts of God in the Book of Acts” at 9:30 am, in person or online with YouTube.  

CHURCH WORKDAY

   Thank you to all who came out and worked! We got a lot done. Stay tuned for future dates for additional workdays. 

RESCUE MISSION / AGAPE AFTERCARE TRAINING     

   The Agape After Care training program will be on May 23rd from 1:00pm to 4:00pm in the auditorium. Please consider joining us! You can learn more about it before making a commitment. After Church, feel free to go to lunch, then come back for the training. 

ONLINE YOUTUBE SERMONS

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

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

 WEDNESDAY NIGHT

   Join the Zoom Meeting on the Matthew at 7pm. Meeting ID:873 6718 6931https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87367186931

CONGRATULATIONS 

          Congratulations to John Bolin on his graduation from Virginia Tech! He majored in Applied Economic Management with a concentration in Poverty Studies. 

 NEW JOB 

          Congratulations to Nick Bolin! He will be starting his new job with Amazon and will be moving to Seattle, Washington, by August. 

 PRAY FOR PEACE IN ISRAEL!

The God Lottery

New Life Bulletin ~ 5/2/21

Do you remember the “Miracle on the Hudson”? It was in 2009. Cpt. Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger and his co-pilot set US Air flight 1540 with 155 on board down on the Hudson River in New York, when the engines were damaged after striking a flock of birds.

 This article was written not long after that incident. In the article I recalled the pilot and crew talk about doing what they had been trained to do, and the great results that followed that training. I remembered all the letters to the editor about this accident in the local paper.  

In one of them a woman said God had taken control of the pilot’s hands and guided the plane past the buildings of New York and set it down in the Hudson. In response to that, another woman asked if it would not have been easier for God to have moved the birds. Good point. This, of course did not set easy with those who want God to have complete and total control over everything. The pilot’s training and cool head had little to do with the outcome. 

Another respondent said if God had moved the birds no one would have seen the miracle. Yet another said for God to move the birds would have been the easy way, and God never does anything the easy way. I would have to ask God about that. 

It seems to me that if God is to be credited with all the things that go right, God should also get the blame for all the things that go wrong. In other words, why would God save a plane one day and let another crash the next? Why would God let a drunk driver kill a family on the way to church and just miss someone in the other car who is not a good person at all?

These tragic moments present us with the question of the ages – why? The answer, or the search for the answer, is perhaps the oldest question in time. 

Many ancient people believed God, or the gods (an goddesses) were capricious. A good example would be the Greeks. If something bad happened, it was because the gods were displeased. Or they were fighting among themselves and someone on earth just happened to be in the line of fire. There was no explanation for it, but there was also the constant attempt to appease them.

 In other societies when nature came down hard on them, they were sure they’d made the gods angry. Illness ‘was caused by God, or the gods. There were fertility gods that could cause a woman to be baren or fruitful. Since the Bible is a book about human beings, these questions are asked there. In most cases they were answered with the same logic of the surrounding world. Rich. Blessed by God. Poor. Cursed by God. Healthy. Blessed by God. Sick. Cursed by God. Any number of examples of this can be found in scripture. However, as Christians, we believe that Jesus revealed the true nature of God. So, how did Jesus handle these questions?

 First of all, the idea of God choosing between people for disaster and blessing to show God’s power is not part of Jesus’ teaching. In fact, he says God has no partiality and sends the life-giving rain on the just and the unjust. He says God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 

When the disciples asked Jesus about bad things being a sign of God’s judgement, (Luke 13:1-5) he told them if they didn’t stop thinking like that, (to repent) they too would perish. Of what was he telling them to repent? The thinking that God caused, allowed, did, things like that. They would perish because they would never understand the grace and love of God if they continued to think God acted that way. That should tell us that the idea that God causes human tragedy for some heavenly purpose, is a terrible one that blocks us from knowing God. Yes, I’ve read the Old Testament.

 There is a tricky place in John 9 where the blind-born man seems to be a candidate for divine judgement. Jesus refuses to put the “sin” label on either the man or his parents for the blindness. But then (and the translation makes a difference here) he says, “This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (NIV)

 Did Jesus mean God caused this man to be blind and live-in blindness all those years just so he could bring Jesus into his life? Hardly. However, there are those who believe that and somehow find comfort in it. Or is Jesus saying these tragedies are the areas in which the true nature of God can be seen and understood? That is, that God does not make people blind. And yes, I know about Paul and the Damascus road. Question: If the blind man or any blind person stayed blind and became a one-of-a-kind musician, filling the world with the wonder and beauty of music, would the work of God not be seen in that life as well? Would Jesus teach that the only way a person could have the work of God in them was if they were robust and in good health?

Did Jesus ever teach that God’s work was to heal everyone via a miracle? No. Of course, there is the advancement of science and medicine that has reached amazing levels of health and well-being today. 

This brings up the matter of context. There is an immediate context and then the broader context of the body of teaching. In other words, something may be said that seems to say one thing, but when viewed in the context of the whole teaching of Jesus and the rest of the New Testament, it does not fit. If Jesus seems to say one thing and then either does not do it, or does the opposite, we need to make what he said fit the body of his teaching, not make the body of the teaching fit a single statement. This is especially true in the above examples.

 I also find it interesting that when Jesus wanted people to see the work of God, he didn’t make his miracles the primary focus. He talked about the lilies of the field and the birds in the air. Normal stuff. And yet if we miss the wonder of the normal, we will never see God. In fact, what was the clearest, most profound way to see the nature and work of God? Jesus said it was in showing kindness and compassion toward those who need something from us. The sick. Those in prison. Those who are hungry. Those who need clothing. He dared to say that in doing for them we are doing for him. If we want to bring God into the “miracle on the Hudson”, let’s see God at work in the training, care and dedication of a pilot and crew, not as some divine lottery we either win or lose.

             Keith Wagner

THOSE TO SERVE IN MAY 

Announcements: Mike Branch 

Ushers: Lyn/Susan Jordan 

Singing:   2 & 16 Karen Branch 

                  9, 23 & 30 Del Bolin 

 Scripture: Holly Wagner   

Communion:2,16 & 30 Wayne Flora

                       9 & 23 Keith Wagner  

          MAY BIRTHDAYS

2- Jay Thompson 7-Debra T. McRoy 

19-Jake Fuller 20-Sherry Bland 

        MAY ANNIVERSARIES 

22-Abraham & Kathleen Sirgy

26-Delmas & Leena Bolin 

CONCERNS: Wayne Flora’s parents Sylvus and Martha Flora and sister Jan. Newlywed medical student of Del Bolin, Cory, recently diagnosed with rare Cancer. Leena Bolin’s brother Steve’s family members recent diagnosis of ALS and Bi-polar. Alisa & Wayne Flora’s nephew, Ethan Gentry has brain surgery scheduled for May 4th. Friend of Susan Jordan, Lebreska Whitaker is recovering from a bilateral mastectomy. Friend of Mark McRoy, Mr. Calesta Saunders is paralyzed from waist down from a spinal stroke.  Susan Jordan’s parents, Kerry and Sula Hay, as Kerry is recovering from heart procedure. Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s sister Jan and brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet, Gary will be having surgery on Friday 4/30.  Megan Downing’s aunt Stacey Smith with ongoing cancer treatments. Also pray for Megan’s grandmother Bonnie Beaver has stage 4 ovarian cancer and will have surgery on May 5th.  Megan’s grandfather Judd Beaver who has Parkinson’s. Erma’s sister, Lorretta, has serious health issues and is awaiting an oncology treatment plan. Alan Beach is doing well and is working full-time, while continuing Immunotherapy treatments 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 the whole family in prayer.  Teryn’s Mother, Brenda Windham cancer. Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. 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: Wayne & Susan Phelgar, Angela Cavalier, Nick Hodges, Martha Albert, Ruby Crosen, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Tim Elder.

 MINISTER’S REPORT:

    *Movie Night – Working through the logistics of setting up a weekly movie night for the summer.  

    * National Day of Prayer – Join me on May 6th at Century Plaza Park at 12:00pm downtown.  

 SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS           

Please join us for the study of  “The Acts of God in the Book  of Acts. At 9:30 am, in person or online with YOUTUBE.  

 CHURCH WORKDAY 

    The Church workday will be Saturday, May 15th from 9:00am to 12:00pm. Need your help to clean up around the buildings.  

 ARTISAN SALE                       

Saturday May 1st from 10:00am to 4:00pm weather permitting in church parking lot. They will have pottery, jewelry, Gnomes and more. 

 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             
  
The Agape After Care training program will be on May 23rd at 1:00pm.  After Church, go to lunch then come back for the training. 

  WEDNESDAY NIGHT

        Join the Zoom Meeting on the

 Matthew at 7pm. Meeting ID:873 6718 6931 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8736718693

  NEW JOB

        Anna Ferrell has started a new job this week at Carilion. She is asking for prayers, blessings and peace with all the new changes. 

  VISITING

       Vivian Dugan will be visiting her daughter, Diane for a month.  

THANK YOU

It was an honor to have Rabbi Karl Mardian with Hope of Isreal Congregation at 3735 Chaparral Dr. Cave Spring, VA 24018  to lead our Service last Sunday 4/25/2021.  We really appreciated his time and enjoyed his service.  We ask for you to remember his Congregation in your prayers. If you would like to, please send him a thank you note.  I will place a thank you card on the table in the foyer for you to sign from our church family. 

PICTURES FOR THE DIRECTORY

    Lyn and Susan Jordan are needing updated pictures for the new directory. Please send them a picture or be sure to get with them to take an updated picture. Susan Jordan’s email: shjordan@cox.net 

Having Lunch with Peter

New Life Bulletin ~ 4/14/21

HAVING LUNCH WITH PETER

“Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance.” Acts 10:9b-10.

Peter was in Joppa, staying at the home of Simon, who was a tanner. It was about mealtime, so he relaxes and ends up in a “trance.” He sees something like a large sheet coming from the sky, with the four corners held up. Inside he saw all kinds of four-footed animals, reptiles and birds. A voice told him to, “Get up Peter. Kill and eat.” He says, “No way Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” This happens three times. Does anybody notice that Peter refused a direct command from the Lord? If he had been obedient, what would he have killed and fried? It said all kinds of animals etc., so there must have been a clean one or two. Yet seeing them all mixed in together caused Peter to see them all as unclean and disobeys a direct command. 

Of course, we could say the sheet and its contents were just a trance-thing, not real. But in the trance, Peter is confronted with a real issue. An issue that may have been growing inside him for some time, who and what is clean and unclean before God? With whom would Peter have lunch? 

The Roman soldiers arrive from Cornelius, who stop at the gate. Perhaps, because they were asking for a favor, they are sure to show respect by not entering without being invited. When Peter comes down and hears their request for him to go see Cornelius, he invites them in to be his guests. Which is a little weird, because it was not his house, it was Simon’s.

It seems the Romans spent the night there, and the next day Peter and some of the “brothers” from Joppa accompany the soldiers to Caesarea. Peter enters this gentile house filled with a bunch of gentiles, and says that they know a Jew, under the law, should not be in a gentile home, or even associate with them. However, God had told him not to call any man (person) impure or unclean.

Now, the thrust of the story is to get to the inclusion of the gentiles in the gospel. But let us ask a question: How hard was it for him to actually go?  What we do know, from his comment to Cornelius, he was stepping outside of Jewish law in so doing. Regardless of his quick response, he had reservations, based more on the interpretation of the law, than the law itself. Peter readily admits that he is doing something he was taught not to do, and from how he says it, he had something in the law to back it up. Yet he sidesteps all that. Why? Well, there is the trance. How did he know it wasn’t just a bad dream? The arrival of the Roman soldiers helped with that. 

Peter’s dilemma was not near as great as was Paul’s. For Peter, the relationship between Jews and gentiles was historically vague. For Paul, when he declared that circumcision was nothing he was in violation of a centuries-old God- ordained, covenant. In Genesis 17, after saying that circumcision was an “everlasting covenant” to be kept for all generations to come, it says in v. 13, “My covenant in your flesh (circumcision) is to be an everlasting covenant.” When did God or Jesus change that? Where in scripture is the authority for that change? Paul was commissioned to be the apostle to the gentiles. Fine with the Jews, as long as they kept God’s covenant of circumcision.  It was in the Law, said the Judaizing Christians. 

Both Peter and Paul were dealing with the “unclean”, the outsider, the ones not “God-approved.” We may say that the change they made in their attitude and teaching came, somehow, directly from God, but history has not limited such events to trances and a blinding light. It happens every time someone says, “Do not call unclean what God has made clean.”

In our own time we have seen it. Africans were seen as slaves, and not equal (unclean like a gentile) and scripture was used to prove that. I remember a man back in the early 60s, a good Christian man, who said he could share the Lord’s Supper with blacks, but not at the table in his home. Where did he get that? From his understanding of the Bible. 

When did God send a sheet or a blinding light to tell significant people that this view of the unclean (blacks) was wrong? I believe such people were as inspired by God as was Peter and Paul. “Do not call unclean what God has made clean.”

In I Timothy 2:15, after several statements about women, Paul clearly says, “But women will be saved through childbearing…” The statement by Paul would seem to carry a literal interpretation. 

In Titus 2:4 women are told to “be busy at home…” It was taught from that passage that a woman should not work outside the home or have a career, especially in fields held by men.  Did it take a sheet from heaven or a blinding light to reveal that was an Ungodly view? No.  

In I Cor. 7:40 Paul gives advice to widows about remarriage, and he says, “I think that I too have the Spirit of God,” relating to his advice. In the seventh Chapter v25 he says he has “no command from the Lord” but says he feels his judgement is “trustworthy.” Why does he say that? Because, under the current situation (v26) he believes, it is the right thing to do.

When did Isaiah (who was under the Law) have a trance or see a blinding light when he subverted the Law of Moses concerning eunuchs? (Isaiah 56:1-8)

In II Cor. 3:6 Paul he is a “minister of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” The “letter” is seen as referring to the Old Law. But the New Testament can be used as a “killer” when it does not include those “unclean” that God has made clean.

It is the Spirit of God that moves anyone to seek justice and mercy, regardless of a scripture that says otherwise in its historical or cultural context. Otherwise, we “quench” the Spirit of God.   I Thess 5:19.

             Keith Wagner

THOSE TO SERVE IN APRIL 

Announcements: Judy McWhorter

Ushers: Mark McRoy / Holly Wagner

Singing: 18 & 25 Del Bolin   

Scripture: 18 & 25 Connie Crites  

Communion: 18 & 25 Mike Branch

APRIL BIRTHDAYS

23- Maggie Foy 25 – Delmas Bolin

CONCERNS: Friend of Susan Jordan, Lebreska Whitaker is recovering from a bilateral mastectomy. Nick Hodges one of Holly’s CF friends had COVID, he is now worried about more damage to his lungs. Friend of Mark McRoy, Mr. Calesta Saunders is paralyzed from waist down from a spinal stroke.  Susan Jordan’s parents, Kerry and Sula Hay, as Kerry is recovering from heart procedure. Angela Cavalier is still recovering from knee surgery. Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s sister Jan and brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet, he is now home.  Megan Downing’s aunt Stacey Smith with ongoing cancer treatments. Also pray for Megan’s grandmother Bonnie Beaver has stage 4 ovarian cancer. Megan’s grandfather Judd Beaver who has Parkinson’s. Erma’s sister, Lorretta, has serious health issues and is awaiting an oncology treatment plan.   Alan Beach is doing well and is working full-time, while continuing Immunotherapy treatments at UVAthrough April, 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 the 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. 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, Ruby Crosen, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Tim Elder.

MINISTER’S REPORT

Hello all, I just wanted to keep you updated on some things that I am working on outside of what you see on Sundays. If you would like to join in any of these action items please reach out, I would love the help, encouragement, and most of all fellowship in this ministry.

            *Men’s Tailgate – Will be on April 24th., Nobleman’s Tailgate at LakeSide Baptist. 

            *Chicken and Bibles – Thank you to all that came out to help with this event on Saturday 4/10/21.  We handed out 89 bibles. We feel that this was a successful event planting God’s word    out into our community. 


            *Movie Night – I am working through the logistics of setting up a weekly movie night for the summer in a grassy area next to fellowship hall.

 SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS

        Please join us for the study of “The Acts of God in the Book of Acts. At 9:30 am, in person or online with YOUTUBE.  

ONLINE YOUTUBE SERMONS

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

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

WEDNESDAY NIGHT

Join the Zoom Meeting on the

 Matthew at 7pm. Meeting ID:873 6718 6931 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87367186931 

CHURCH WORK DATE

      We are planning an outside workday on Saturday May 15th from 9:00 to 12:00 to clean up around the building.   Volunteers needed!!!

 RESCUE MISSION TRAINING

       Susan is working with Natalie Kline from the Roanoke Rescue Mission in their Agape After Care Program to set up training.  A date has not been confirmed yet. Please contact the office if you are interested in attending the training. 

 OFFERING

      Cash and checks made payable to Roanoke Church of Christ can be dropped off at the office, dropped in the basket at the entry door, or checks mailed to 2606 Brandon Avenue, SW; Roanoke, VA 24015.

RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we continue to pause some activities. There will be no Ronald McDonald House ministry. However, donations are still needed for care bags for those who have hospitalized family members.

An Unchanging God in a Changing World II

New Life Bulletin ~ 4/4/21

In the last bulletin, written in 2013, the premise was that human beings understand and “hear” God within the historical and current thinking in which they live. For example, the human body has not basically changed over the centuries, but our understanding of it has changed dramatically. The same is true of the natural world. For example, in Psalm 12l:6, in a psalm about the protection of God, it says, ” . . . the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.” The belief was that these objects in the sky could do harm, therefore, the psalmist assures his readers that God will protect them from the sun and moon’s harm. While God was seen as the one who “hung” the moon and the sun, and most of the psalms are poetry, God was still understood by their perception of what they believed about the sun and moon.

             The earth was understood to be flat, therefore the idea that human beings could build a tower to go and visit God was seen as possible, even though most of the Jewish rabbi’s saw it as a metaphor about man’s arrogance. If the tower were built, as the story goes, God would somehow be invaded, so the different languages came about to abort this attempt. There are still people who believe if the world spoke one language, it would be a danger to God.

            There was also the belief in a multiplicity of gods in the “heavens.” The commandment not to “have any other gods before me,” implies the belief in other gods. And, one might ask why God did not say, “There is just one God, I am. There are no others, no matter what you may think.”

             Did the commandment not to have, or put, any other god before the God of Israel mean the God of Israel had to be considered superior to the others, they believed existed? There are still people who believe there are “rulers” in the heavenly places who compete with God.

             The belief was, that up there above the “bright blue” was the place where God lived. Over time a better understanding of the universe caused humans to replace the idea of a city above the clouds, with other, more, shall I say, “universal” ideas of the afterlife. But in ancient times in dreams and “visions”, angels (messengers) from God would naturally come down, even on a staircase, as in Jacob’s case. From where else could they come? Not from below. That was considered dark and evil. It was where the dead went. We still bury people in the ground, but few believe there is a place (hades or hell) somewhere in the earth, as I once did.

            God was seen as the one who caused all-natural events.  So strong is this idea that natural disasters are called “Acts of God” by insurance companies. Go to the internet and article after article says God controls the weather. And there is an abundance of Old Testament scripture and Jesus quieting the storm to infer that.  

            I know this is a tough subject, and I certainly leave room for the mystery that is God. But when I read those passages in Deuteronomy and other places that say if the people do what God wants, they will have good weather, and if they don’t they will have bad, I have a real problem with that, knowing what we have learned about what causes weather conditions.  “I think of the people in Texas who froze in a winter storm, or in Alabama, who died in a tornado, or in Nashville who died in near record-breaking floods, and I wonder if they are asking what they did to deserve God’s wrath? What do we do with the knowledge we have from the meteorological fields of science? Is warning people of God’s weather-wrath a sin? What if the ones God was after escape because they were warned? Of course, if you believe God was after them with a tornado, you will also believe that God would make traffic, or a tree block their way and finally get them.

             One entry said God had to be in control of the weather, because God was in control of everything. My immediate response was that God seems to have no control over those “rebellious angels, the “satan”, and sinners in general. It seems the moment God gave humans free will the idea of control went out the window. I think we would also say that God wanted it that way, and once free will was set in motion it was not about to be changed. Could that not also be true about the laws of creation? God is said to have hung the sun and the moon, which is not literally true. But, having been “hung” they will hang until some cosmic event might cause otherwise. Likewise, the atmospheric conditions which surround the earth, varied as they may be, are set in place.

            The weather was understood and explained with the understanding of God at the time of the Bible. To tell them the earth was round, spinning in space, not resting on anything, would have been completely beyond any imaginable understanding in that period of their human development.

             But we still have “The Lord said.” What do we do with that? Question: Would God tell a person something the person had no way of understanding? “No way” being the key words. Does God not speak in ways that can be related to the need and understanding at the time? You see, it is one thing to say, “God said” and to say “God spoke through the prophets.” Which is what it says in Luke 1:70, Matt. 13:35, Acts 3:21 and Hebrews l:1, among others. It can be seen that when God speaks through a person, the words that come out are always framed by the understanding of God at that time. Why? Because anything else would be beyond comprehension. For that reason, the Messianic prophesies have in them promises that only have meaning to an agrarian society, such as is found in Isaiah I l:6-9 &. Micah 4:l-5.

 To me this means we will continue to see and understand the wonder of God better each moment we live.

            Keith Wagner

THOSE TO SERVE IN MARCH

Announcements: Judy McWhorter

Ushers: Mark McRoy / Holly Wagner

Singing:  4– Karen Branch, 11_Wayne Flora, 18 & 25 Del Bolin   

Scripture: 4- Debbie McRoy,

 11, 18, 25 Connie Crites  

Communion:  4,18,25 Mike Branch

11 -Keith Wagner

APRIL BIRTHDAYS

13 – Lucas Downing   15 – Ruby Crosen

23- Maggie Foy 25 – Delmas Bolin

CONCERNS: Friend of Susan Jordan, Lebreska Whitaker is recovering from a bilateral mastectomy. Nick Hodges one of Holly’s CF friends had COVID, he is now worried about more damage to his lungs. Friend of Mark McRoy, Mr. Calesta Saunders is paralyzed from waist down from a spinal stroke.  Susan Jordan’s parents, Kerry and Sula Hay, as Kerry is recovering from heart procedure. Angela Cavalier is recovering from knee surgery.  Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s sister Jan and brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet, he is now home.  Megan Downing’s aunt Stacey Smith with ongoing cancer treatments. Also pray for Megan’s grandmother Bonnie Beaver has stage 4 ovarian cancer. Megan’s grandfather Judd Beaver who has Parkinson’s. Erma’s sister, Lorretta, has serious health issues and is awaiting an oncology treatment plan.   

 Alan Beach is doing well and is working full-time, while continuing Immunotherapy treatments at UVAthrough April, 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 the 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. 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, Ruby Crosen, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Tim Elder.

MINISTER’S REPORT

Hello all,
I just wanted to keep you updated on some things that I am working on outside of what you see on Sundays. If you would like to join in any of these action items please reach out, I would love the help, encouragement, and most of all fellowship in this ministry.


CIA – This past week I had the pleasure of meeting with Rev. Gayle Davidson the pastor with Westhampton Christian Church down the road. She introduced me to; Congregations in Action, an area group of folks from different churches that gathered together to serve school aged kids in the immediate area. Please keep posted for ways to be involved with this great group of people.

Chicken and Bibles – Is a go!!! Through two donations as well as a generous partnership with Chick-Fil-A and the Gideons we look to distribute close to 200 bibles and chicken sandwiches on Saturday April 10th from 11:30-12:30 both in our parking lot as well as in the apartment complex next door.


Book Stand – We will be setting up a take a book stand for the front of the church by the sidewalk in hopes of sharing bibles and other Christ centered literature to the community.


Movie Night – I am working through the logistics of setting up a weekly movie night for the summer in grassy area next to fellowship hall.

The Church building– We have had multiple masons come to look at the pointing issues between the bricks. We are about to start checking references and moving ahead with some deferred maintenance projects as well as rebuilding the wall by the handicap entrance.

* We are looking to approve a plan to cost effectively repair the baptismal.

* I have also spoken to a mill worker to reconstruct some of the rotten wood at the base of the columns.

* Next up is reaching out to roofers to investigate some of the issues that are making themselves obvious.

* We should have a new sign out front in the near future as the one we have is deteriorating.

* We had an energy audit of the building and in doing so we were supplied free of charge LED light bulbs for all the screw in fixtures, although the savings of this will be minimal.

Now Of course we are looking to be good stewards of God’s resources so the vetting of contractors and exploring all options does take a bit.

 GIDEONS’ CHICK-FIL-A  OUTREACH

        We are partnering with Gideons and Chick-fil-A to give out chicken sandwiches and bibles to our neighbors on Saturday, April 10th from 11:30 to 12:30. Please come help!

 SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS

        Please join us for the study of  “The Acts of God in the Book of  Acts. At 9:30 am, in person or online with YOUTUBE.  

Please invite family and friends to Celebrate Easter with us this Sunday!

ONLINE YOUTUBE SERMONS

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

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

WEDNESDAY NIGHT

        Join the Zoom Meeting on the

 Matthew at 7pm. Meeting ID:873 6718 6931 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87367186931 

CHURCH WORK

      We are planning a Saturday outside workday soon now that spring is upon us more information to follow. 

 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.  We need a few more church members to qualify for the training.

An Unchanging God in a Changing World

New Life Bulletin ~ 3/18/21

From the time I began to pay attention to preachers, teachers, and the Bible, I have struggled with the difference between the concept of God in the Old Testament compared to the teaching of Jesus in the New. The God of the Old Testament had no qualms about destroying men, women, children, and herds of animals.          
I also found it easy for some folks to approach this difference by simply saying that God can do whatever God wants, whenever and to whomever and use whatever means available.  There are places in the Old Testament that would seem to support that. But let’s leave God for a moment and approach this from another angle, i.e., the human body.          
At some point in time (“In the beginning”) a flesh and blood thing was called “human.” Well, that wasn’t the word, but a distinction was made between this creature and the others. What did the first humans know about what made existence (life) possible? My journey down this road may be a little rocky, but bear with me. They knew without breath there was no life, so it was called “the breath of life.” At some point they realized if the blood ran out due to injury, life was gone. So, blood was now added to life. Then, that strange sound in the chest told them when it was silent, life was gone. So now what we call the heart was part of life. How long did this understanding take? We don’t know. What we do know is that the human body did not change in what produced life. It was the same body, but it was being understood better. Each step in understanding produced the next step on which a continuing knowledge was built.
          Think about those throughout history who would fall into the “doctor” category. Step by step they learned by observation and trial and error what treatments for pain and sickness would work. Imagine the moment when the actual process of human reproduction was discovered. Centuries of believing the “seed” was all that was needed gave way to a better understanding of reproduction. And, not without those who refused to believe it at the time. Same body, different understanding. At some point the brain was discovered as an important part of life. In recent years, the term “brain dead” has become the final determination of life’s end. You may have been taught in school about the great controversy when a doctor said there were germs and the hands needed to be washed before treating the person.          
The basic human body did not change, but the understanding of how it functioned did. Where would we be if we still understood the body as it was in ancient times? The history of medicine tells us that those who dared to discard the accepted ways were nearly always seen as wicked and dangerous. Imagine the first time someone cut into a body to perform surgery? Now we have genes, DNA, and the genome. As long as human beings exist, the body will not fundamentally change. What changes is our understanding of it.          
Is that not also true with God? The book of Job challenges the centuries old belief that bad things do not happen to good people. That was how God was understood. It can be seen in the Old Testament writings as well as in the New. (See Luke 13:1-5) All acts of nature were seen as God.          
God’s “voice” was also heard through the ears of how God was understood at the time. Just as the early doctors understood the human body one development at a time, so also those who “heard” the voice God continued to grow in their knowledge of God.                  
So, does that mean the Bible is outdated?  No. The foundation of the Bible from the beginning to the end is based on the great and eternal principle of loving God and one’s neighbor as oneself. In Jesus we have the highest standard of moral and ethical teaching and behavior. And, just as the original principle has not changed, the understanding of it has. Therefore, Jesus could say, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, (by teachers of God) but I say to you.” Maybe that’s why Jesus is called “The Great Physician.” 

Keith Wagner  

THOSE TO SERVE IN MARCH
Announcements: Connie Crites
Ushers: Leena Bolin / Mike Branch
Singing: Del Bolin  21st, 28th  
Scripture: Susan Jordan
Communion: Keith Wagner 

MARCH BIRTHDAYS
29- James Downing
31- Erma Williams  

CONGRATULATIONS
Maggie Foy has been accepted to UVA. She will start in the fall. Way to go!  Congrats Maggie!!! 

CONGRATULATIONS            
Melanie Beaver Thompson was sworn in on 3/17/21 as a practicing lawyer in the state of West Virginia. Congrats Melanie!!!! 

CONCERNS: Nick Hodges, one of Holly’s CF friends, had COVID. He is now worried about more damage to his lungs. A friend of Mark McRoy, Mr. Calesta Saunders, is paralyzed from the waist down from a spinal stroke.  Susan Jordan’s father, Kerry Hay, is back in the hospital due to low BP.  Angela Cavalier is recovering from knee surgery.  Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet, who is now home.  Megan Downing’s aunt, Stacey Smith, is having ongoing cancer treatments. Also pray for Megan’s grandmother, Bonnie Beaver, who has stage 4 ovarian cancer. Megan’s grandfather, Judd Beaver, is currently in the hospital for testing.   Alan Beach is doing well and is working full-time, while continuing immunotherapy treatments at UVA through April. Please keep him and Joni in your prayers.  Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie, continues to have health issues. Alisa Flora’s sister, Melanie Gentry, has stage three cancer. Please keep the 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, has cancer.  Continue to pray for Martha Albert who is back in Alabama for a while.  Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. Pray for Wayne & Susan Phlegar 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, Ruby Crosin, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, and Tim Elder. 

GIDEONS   The Gideons will be presenting their ministry this Sunday 3/21. They partner with local churches to help distribute bibles in over 200 countries.          

GIDEONS’ CHICK-FIL-A  OUTREACH
We are partnering with the Gideons and Chick-fil-A to give out chicken sandwiches and bibles to our neighbors on Saturday, April 10th.  We are looking for church volunteers to help with this event.  Please let Brian know or call the office if you can help. 

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS          
Del Bolin is leading the class on the study of “The Acts of God in the Book of Acts”. Please join us Sunday mornings at 9:30am in person or on YouTube Live.           

CHURCH WORK         
We are planning a Saturday outside workday soon now that spring is upon us.

ONLINE
 YOUTUBE SERMONS
       We continue to provide services online. The Roanoke Church of Christ YouTube channel link is 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 Mrs. Natalie Kline. Susan Jordan will send an email with more information regarding this program. Contact the office if you are interested in attending a training session (a half day).  We need a few more church members to qualify for the training. Please notify Brian or Joanne as soon as possible, so we can set up this training.

OFFICE HOURS     
Brian Mileti’s office hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9:00am to 3:00pm.  Cell phone #(540) 521-2112. Please call before coming to the office. 
   
WEDNESDAY NIGHT
We are studying the gospel of Matthew via Zoom conferencing at 7:00pm.  This is an interactive session that can be joined by computer or phone call. Join the Zoom Meeting by going to this link: 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87367186931
Meeting ID:873 6718 6931
One tap Mobile.  No Passcode.                   

THANK YOU     
We received a thank you card from Joni & Alan Beach thanking the congregation for encouragement and prayers for this past year. The card is on the foyer table.  

BUDGET DISCUSSION     
We will be sending out a separate email with a copy of the 2021 budget for you to review.  We will be having a budget discussion on Sunday April 11th after church. 

EASTER SERVICE POSTCARDS    
Easter Service invitation cards will be in the foyer.  Please pick up a few to pass out to friends and family.

OFFERING
Cash and checks made payable to Roanoke Church of Christ can be dropped off at the office, dropped in the basket at the entry door, or checks mailed to 2606 Brandon Avenue, SW; Roanoke, VA 24015.

NEW FACEBOOK PAGE
Have you checked out our new Facebook page, Church of Christ-Roanoke? It was published recently. ‘Like’ the page and start sharing content to your page. Events and content will now be easier to share. The “old” Facebook group will continue to be used for private announcements, concerns, prayer requests.

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
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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.