Roanoke Church of Christ

Bulletins

I Can Only Imagine

NEW LIFE BULLETIN    September 19, 2021

I CAN ONLY IMAGINE *

A Friend of mine who lives in Nashville and is a member of the Church of Christ sent me an e-mail which included an article from The Nashville Tennessean. It had to do with a Church of Christ Christian school in Columbia, TN. It seems five of the teachers attended a Church of Christ that had used instrumental music during a Good Friday service. When this was discovered by the Board of Directors the teachers were told to resign or stop attending that church. One woman who had taught kindergarten there for 27 years decided to retire. However, the Board worked out a compromise. The other four teachers were told they could stay if they promised not to attend the three or four services a year the church had where instruments were involved. Two of them took the deal and the other two resigned to seek other jobs. 

A blogger, who I first thought was being sarcastic but, upon rereading and rereading, was serious, talked about dealing with such things quickly because young minds could be lead astray. He added that no one in their right mind would burn in hell over (as I remember) a harp or a flute. 

Let it be said:  I was raised a cappella and intend to stay a cappella until I die. But I do not believe the use or non-use of instrumental music is an offense to God. For me it is more a complication than an innovation. Have I sung in a worship service with an instrument? Yes, and I would again if the situation put me there. That also means I believe, contrary to some folks, that you can sing hymns and play the piano, or guitar, or whatever on some occasion. Having said that, I can only imagine….

The year is 2208 and the choir for the Church of The Future mega-church is preparing for Sunday’s performance. Actually, like most churches, their services are pay-per-view. The congregants simply slide their credit card through a scanner on the TV, their contribution is collected, and they are ready to worship in the comfort of their own home. Some have said this was the result of global warming, but others say it is not. Most believed it was a carry-over from the pandemic two years earlier. So, the rehearsal is on a ‘‘heavenly” looking set, rather than an old-time choir loft. 

A choir member says to another, “You know, I was reading a little history on church music. Did you know some churches actually sang without instrumental accompaniment?”

“Get out!”

“No! They called it a cappella.”    

“Aka what?”

“A cappella, It means something like as in the chapel. Do you want to try it on the rest of the choir?”

“Why not? We’re always looking for a new way to get viewers and save souls, of course. Hey, you people, gather round! Andronis has an idea. He’s found some religious history where people sang in a method called ‘a cappella.’ It means singing without the use of instrumental accompaniment. Would you like to try it?” Frowns passed over the choir’s faces, especially the orchestra.

“What about us?” asked a violin player. “This is what we get paid to do.”

“It won’t be permanent. We just want to see what it’s like. If it works, we’ll slip it in for next Sunday’s broadcast.”

With some reluctance, and a little fear, they agreed to give it a try. When they did, they were surprised at how well they sounded. One woman turned to the other and said, “All these years I’ve never really heard your real voice. It was wonderful.”

 Of course, there were others who discovered some who seemed to sing well, but actually didn’t. That was okay, but it was a little surprising. They decided, after promising the orchestra it would just be for one Sunday, to try it. When time for the Sunday performance came, they were well-tuned and ready. If they had to say so themselves, they thought they sounded really good. Their delight was short lived. As soon as the service was over the pastor was in a rage. “What was that!? I’ve never heard anything like that in church before. It sounded more like a bar room! Good Christians don’t sound like they’re singing to God in the shower! I want it stopped! Now!”

Then the calls and e-mails started coming in, thousands of them. 90% of them were threatening to cancel their membership. Words like “Devil worship” and “Worldly” were tossed around like leaves in the wind. Some said they had to remove their children from the room so they would not be led astray by the siren song of a cappellaism. A few thought it was different, but beautiful. However, they wondered about adding to what the Bible clearly said about instruments of music and their use in heaven and the Old Testament. They asked if it was done again that it not be on a Sunday broadcast but only on other special days.

 Added to all this was a call from the Lion Network, on which their show was broadcast. Lion said they had received threats from viewers to boycott the network unless they did something about the lascivious music they’d seen on The Church of The Future’s broadcast. Lion said COTF’s contract would be rescinded unless they signed an agreement not to sing in such a fashion ever again. COTF agreed and passed out loyalty forms for each choir member to sign. A church across town decided they were missing their market share of those who liked “bar room” singing and started a Saturday night service where the choir sang a cappella. It was called “Hum Don’t Strum Saturday Night.” I can only imagine…… 

*From 2008 

   Keith Wagner 

THOSE TO SERVE IN SEPTEMBER

Announcements: Mike Branch or Connie Crites 

Ushers: Lyn Jordan

Singing:19-Wayne Flora,

              26- Del Bolin

Scripture: 19 & 26- Susan Jordan

Communion: 19- Keith Wagner 

                        26-Wayne Flora,

SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAYS

22-Carolee Crosen

25-Mark McRoy

 25-Judy McWhorter

 29-Ann Claris “AC” Fuller

CONCERNS: Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s Sister, Jan, and brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet. Gary is in Hospice care. Deanna McRoy is recovering from cancer surgery in Atlanta. Joni & Alan ask for prayers for their son, Nathan, and his family. Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie, please continue to pray for her health.  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 and is on immunosuppressant medicine. Pray for Steve Gaynor’s family.  A friend of Mark McRoy’s, Charlie Duvall, has constant pain and is facing several surgeries. Phil Peters, a friend of Holly Wagner, has stage 4 Pancreatic cancer.  Jim Hunter has been diagnosed with an autoimmune deficiency and will be going to UVA September 29th. Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. Pray for Debbie McRoy’s cousins, Linda Alsup and Erica Halford.

 ALSO REMEMBER: Wendy Davis & Sons, Judy & Bud McWhorter, Stacey Smith, Bonnie & Judd Beaver, Martha Albert, Steve Nicklas and Family, Alan & Joni Beach, Kerry & Sula Hay, Wayne & Susan Phlegar, Lebreska Whitaker, Nick Hodges, Ruby Crosen, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, and Tim Elder

SUNDAY SERVICE  &  CLASS

     This Sunday September 19th, Sunday Class (9:30) and service (10:30) will be OUTSIDE behind the Annex building.  

SUNDAY EVENING

We have evening services at 6:30pm for those who are unable to attend Sunday Mornings. Hand out postcards to spread the word.

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS

Brian will be discussing the book Saved from What?  Please join us at 9:30 am, in person or online with YouTube.

SUPER SUNDAY- 9/19

Our third Sunday fellowship is back. We will be following COVID-19 protocol, and will be eating outside, wearing a mask and gloves when serving.

YOUTH GROUP

We will be hosting kids from the Rescue Mission. This event will take place twice a month, starting on Friday, October 1st.  If you would like to help let Brian know.

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 / PRAYER

Stop by the building! Or Join the Zoom prayer meeting at 7pm. Meeting ID:871 5121 9038 Passcode: RCofC

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87151219038

THURSDAY NIGHT

The study of the book Saved from What? is on Thursday nights at 6:00pm at the Mileti home and on Sunday mornings at 9:30am. This will be a great on ramp for someone you have been witnessing to.

NEW LIFE IN CHRIST

Congratulations to Alyssa Mileti, who was baptized in the Roanoke River last Sunday. Way to go, Alyssa!!!

Scriptural Truth

NEW LIFE BULLETIN    September 5, 2021

SCRIPTURAL TRUTH * 

 Most preachers I know who hang on to their old sermons find upon review, that they wouldn’t preach them again. It’s not that what they said at the time was untrue, it’s just that they’ve moved on in their understanding of both scripture and the world. Of course, some themes continue to run through all sermons, but the glue that holds the sermon together is something stronger and deeper than any one period of time. 

This poses the question: If preachers could live two hundred years or so, would their sermons continue to become obsolete? Would there ever be a time when they had “eternal” sermons? Sermons that, with the passing of time, would not change regarding their application to the surrounding world. I don’t think so. In fact, I believe it is part of the great expansion of knowing God and God’s world that will prevent it from being so. You will also note I said “application.” The topic may be Jesus’ words about loving one another. That theme will not change. What will change is the application, or perhaps we might even say the “hermeneutic,” meaning the method of interpretation.

 All preachers use sources for their sermons. Those sources are closely guarded secrets because most of them are either too good to reveal, or they are “borrowed” (plagiarized) from a compatible and hopefully reliable source. The stealing is not as critical as who you steal from. You can buy copies of Martin Luther and Charles Hadden Spurgeon’s sermons and even preach them if you want to preach sermons outdated by time and language. Were they insightful? Yes, for their time and place. Good themes? Yes, and those themes can be used and expanded upon, but preached word-for-word their application and illustrations belong to another time and culture. In other words, those sermons, as is, would be as irrelevant and tasteless as “peas porridge in the pot, nine days old.”

 As I said, the problem with “borrowing” is who you borrow from. If the preacher continues to only use source material from past preachers of his own thinking, he will be stuck in the past and will think only as they thought. I once knew a preacher who did read beyond Church of Christ preachers, but only from those of the l9th century. He is still thinking in that same century and is a leader in the watch dogs of orthodoxy in his area.

 If you are a preacher or a student of preaching, you might disagree. But I would ask why your old sermons seem too dull, or, for lack of a better word, too awful to be used again without a lot of updating and modification? Were they true? Hopefully. Then what happened? The world happened. The world constantly presents us with deeper and better ways of understanding and applying scripture. By that I mean the world (humankind) keeps on growing in its knowledge and understanding of itself. This, I believe, is the will of God. Without it we would still be in some prehistoric, primal darkness.

 It is in cooperation with the continuing growth of human wisdom and understanding that the truth of scripture also grows. Therefore, at one time, apparently honest men could preach that slavery was the will of God because it was not condemned in scripture. On the other hand, equally honest men and women began to see the world of slavery and scripture in a different light. So, the same scriptures began to be understood in a different and better way. This would also be true of the value and place of women, both in society and in the church. Science and medicine are other fields that have presented (however slowly) believers in scripture with the challenge of new understandings and applications. One can only imagine what things we accept today as an acceptable application of scripture that time and human understanding will challenge us to change.

 I suppose for some this is heretical and dangerous thinking. We want solid ground for our truth, and we want our truth to be unchangeable. However, our “truth” as truthful as it is, is not necessarily God’s truth for all time. That truth must be gained one step, one day, one experience at a time. This is true in every field of endeavor, so why not in the understanding of God? 

Can you imagine someone in the first century telling the apostle Paul to pick up a phone and call the church at Corinth? Such an item in his hands would have seemed evil. Why didn’t Paul know about airplanes and television? Because those steps of knowledge had not yet been taken. And when those steps are taken, we always look back at where we were and are thankful we took them. 

But the question still lingers: Is yesterday’s truth tomorrow’s truth? In many cases, yes. But in other important areas of human (and spiritual) development, they are not. And because it does involve the lives of humans and the continuance of the earth, it also involves how scripture is used. 

For example, in Galatians 4:8,9, Paul tells them they “were slaves to those who by nature are no gods.” He then asks, do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? Question: Was what had enslaved them real or not? How can a “no god” be real? What had enslaved them was the superstition, the belief in all these “no” gods. However, from this and other passages like it, we take an ancient belief in all kinds of “beings” and turn it into a doctrine about a battle going on in heaven. And yet we will acknowledge that the “Lord’s prayer” speaks of doing the will of God on earth as it is done in heaven. Does God get God’s will done in heaven or is “heaven” out of control? In Colossians l:16-18, Paul says about Jesus, “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” Paul then says, “…so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”

 When we use the truth of scripture without separating it from the time and culture in which it was written, we strangle the eternal truth for the world we live in today. As we learn new truths, we should not be among those who use scripture to enslave those it was meant to free. 

*From 2008 

   Keith Wagner 

THOSE TO SERVE IN SEPTEMBER

Announcements: Mike Branch or Connie Crites

Ushers: Lyn Jordan

Singing: 5 & 12- Karen Branch

19-Wayne Flora, 26- Del Bolin

Scripture: 5 & 12- Ruby Crosen,

 19 & 26- Susan Jordan

Communion: 5 & 26- Wayne Flora, 

 12 & 19- Keith Wagner

SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAYS  

 13-Joanne Elder

22-Carolee Crosen

25-Mark McRoy

25-Judy McWhorter

29-Ann Claris “AC” Fuller 

CONCERNS: TJ Hall’s son-in-law, Jeffrey Davis (Wendy’s husband) passed away on 8/29/21 of Covid related issues. Deanna McRoy is recovering from cancer surgery in Atlanta. Joni & Alan ask for prayers for their son, Nathan, and his family. Judy McWhorter is recovering from knee replacement surgery and COVID-19. Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie, is home, please continue to pray for her health.  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 and will start immunosuppressant medicine. Pray for Steve Gaynor’s family. Charlie Duvall, Mark McRoy’s friend, has constant pain and is facing several surgeries. Phil Peters, Holly Wagner’s friend, has Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer.  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.

ALSO REMEMBER:  Stacey Smith, Bud McWhorter, Jan & Gary Overstreet, Bonnie Beaver, Martha Albert, Steve Nicklas and family, 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, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, and Tim Elder.

SUNDAY EVENING:        

          We have evening services at 6:30pm for those who are unable to attend Sunday Mornings. Please be sure to pick up and hand out the postcards.

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS  

          This Sunday, 9/5/21, Brian will be discussing Discipleship.  Please join us. Then the following Sunday Del Bolin will pick back up with the study of “The Acts of God in the Book of Acts” at 9:30 am, in person or online with YouTube.  

PIG ROAST- 9/4/21      

        We will have a COVID-19 friendly pig roast along with a showing of “God’s not Dead,” a movie-in-the-yard. We will gather around 5:30pm and plan to eat around 6:30pm, when the meat is ready.  Movie will start at sunset, about 7:45pm. This is an outreach event.

  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: 842 3705 2443

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84237052443

THURSDAY NIGHT 

          We will begin the study of the book Saved from What? on September 9th at 6:00pm at the Miletis’ home.  It will also be discussed on Sunday mornings at 9:30am. This will be a great on-ramp for someone you have been witnessing to.  Books are in. See Brian.

YOUTH GROUP 

          We will be hosting kids from the Rescue Mission. This will be a twice-a-month event starting in September on Fridays. If you would like to help, let Brian know.                                                

 THANK YOU                             

     We want to thank Mike & Karen Branch for having a church get together at the lake house on 8/22. Everyone who attended enjoyed the time of fellowship. 

FOOD PANTRY

     Food Pantry items needed: peanut butter, Chef Boyardee Ravioli and Beefaroni, and skillet meals like Hamburger Helper.

The Will of God

ROANOKE CHURCH OF CHRIST “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN   AUGUST 15, 2021

TIIE WILL OF GOD 

The way people talk about the will of God, you’d think it would be quite simple. For a whole lot of people, the will of God is everything that happens, at least as they see it. After all, if God is all powerful and knows all, then everything that happens must be God’s will. Of course, there’s that little issue of things that are opposed to everything God, as love, isn’t. Evil, for example. For that the answer is usually, “God allows it.”

 Another question is, are there things that just happen because that’s the way the life is structured? A woman asked me a while back if I thought the fact that she had a flat on a tire that was in good shape, was the will of God. What would you say? Would you tell her God allows things like that to happen or tell her sometimes in life you get a flat? I haven’t seen her since to ask if she discovered the reason the tire went flat. My guess is she ran over something. One might say God caused her to run over something to teach her a lesson. Two nice men helped her with the tire. There you have it. God caused her to have a flat tire so she could learn that there are nice people in the world. If they mugged her, she would have learned the opposite. 

A year or so ago we were watching a NASCAR race on a Sunday afternoon. Yes, I watch NASCAR races. Actually, I sleep during the race, and I find they are still going in the same circle (or oval) when I wake up. It reminds me of life. They even rerun all the exciting (depending on your definition of exciting) parts. Again, life is like that. We seldom forget the dumb mistakes we make, and they are subject to instant recall. And at times, don’t we all feel we are going in circles? Alas, I have strayed away from theology and into philosophy. 

During the said race, Mark Martin wrecked near the end just as the door opened for him to win. Interviewed afterward, he said, among other things, “It was the will of God.” Meaning to Martin that it was God’s will that he didn’t win. Now, Mark Martin is known to be one of the nicest drivers in NASCAR. No doubt he is also religious. But somehow the idea that God willed the mistake that he or some other driver made to keep him from winning made me wince and smile at the same time. It’s not that I don’t think God watches NASCAR (along with the Dallas Cowboys), it’s just that blaming or crediting the loss to God falls short of what I believe.

 If I were to believe everything, and I mean everything, was willed by God, set in stone, predestined and unchangeable, since before the dawn of time, it would cause me to give up on the idea of God. Of course, it would fit the caste system of some religions. Some are created to be servants and cannon fodder, and others are created to be rich and oppress the rest. It sounds a little like natural selection. It’s all fixed and you can’t cross from one group to the other. Of course, if by chance someone does, they were simply in the wrong group to start with, which was also God’s doing. The answer given is the ways of God are not our ways. 

How much does free will come into play, if there is such a thing? I believe there is, but does that also mean personal responsibility? Was it God’s will that David commit adultery and murder? Was it decided before David was born? If so, how could Nathan the prophet find David guilty of sin when it was God’s will? After all, Nathan seems to have the ear of God. Why didn’t he just say, “God says what you did was wrong, but it is his will. And, by the way, the child of this adultery will not live.” Actually, Nathan says from God, “Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?” If it was God’s will, how could it be called “despising” the “word” (the will?) of the Lord? 

On the lighter side, if everything that happens is God’s will, then God picks lottery winners as well as those who win big in Las Vegas.

There is a much deeper issue here. When the disciples asked Jesus how they should pray, one of the things he said was, “May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” What is Jesus saying? If God’s will is everything that happens, why are we supposed to pray that it will be done? And how is God’s will to be done on earth, just as it is done in heaven? How has God’s will been done all through Biblical history? By those who knew God’s will and did it or at least tried. They were called the “righteous.” That meant they stood for what was right and good not that they worshiped God. The prophets railed at the people, telling them God hated their solemn feasts and empty offerings. They said God wanted “mercy, not sacrifice.” Mercy for whom? For those who were oppressed by those who went to the temple and called themselves righteous. All the prophets had the same message. God’s will was that no one should abuse and oppress anyone else. Among the people who claimed to belong to the one God, justice, honesty, and mercy was demanded as God’s will. 

How did Jesus view his part in doing God’s will? He never described the will of God the way we tend to. However, when he first described his ministry, which was surely to do the will of God, he read from Isaiah 61. (Luke 4:10,11) The poor would hear the good news, freedom for those in prison, the blind would see, and the oppressed would be released from oppression. That, to Jesus, was the will of God to be done on earth, and he said he was here to do it. By the way, the “good news” was not that he was going to build a church. It was that finally, the poor would have value before God and not just the rich. It was that the poor were not poor because it was the will of God, which is what they’d been taught.

I don’t know all the mysteries of what might be called God’s will. My faith is based on how I see, as best I can, Jesus doing it. I don’t take one or two verses and make the rest of the Bible fit into them. I try to make them fit the rest of the teachings of Jesus and the others.

When it comes to the will of God for me and you, there is nothing mysterious about it. It’s right in front of us, Do the right thing. Do what Jesus said was God’s will. Love God and your neighbor (for Jesus that meant everyone) as yourself. That’s not simple. But it’s not a mystery.

Keith Wagner

THOSE TO SERVE IN AUGUST 

Announcements: Connie Crites 

Ushers: Joanne Elder

Singing: 15- Karen Branch

22- Del Bolin 29-Wayne Flora 

Scripture: 15- Debbie McRoy,

22- Alyssa Mileti 

Communion: 15- Wayne Flora 

22- Mike Branch, 29- Keith Wagner

AUGUST BIRTHDAYS

11-Garrett Williams Sr. 

20-Scott Blessing 

28- Holly Wagner  

AUGUST ANNIVERSARIES 

17-Mark & Rhonda McRoy 

27-Bud & Judy McWhorter

27-Tim & Joanne Elder 

31- Steve & Teryn Gaynor

CONCERNS: Joni & Alan ask for prayers for their son, Nathan, his wife, Paloma and newborn son, Jon. Judy McWhorter is recovering from knee replacement surgery and is currently doing PT. Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie, is home, please continue to pray for her health.  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).   Megan Downing’s aunt, Stacey Smith, will be checked monthly for a while.   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: Jan & Gary Overstreet, Bonnie Beaver, Martha Albert, 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, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, and Tim Elder.

MINISTER’S REPORT:

MOVIE NIGHT:

Monsters Inc. on Friday the 6th was a big success. We handed out 18 bibles.  Stay tuned for more movies this fall!

SUNDAY EVENING:

We have evening services at 6:30pm for those who are unable to attend Sunday mornings.  Please be sure to pick up and hand out the postcards.

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.

PIG ROAST- 9/4/21

We are planning a Pig Roast for Saturday of Labor Day weekend. We will need a headcount of those who will be in attendance.

This is an outreach event! Please invite others. Let us know if you are coming. Will be showing a movie outside later that night.

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 study of Matthew at 7pm.

Meeting ID:873 6718 6931

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

THURSDAY NIGHT

On September 9th at 6:00pm at the Miletis’ home, we will begin the study of the book Saved from What? Also, it will be on Sunday mornings at 9:30am. This will be a great on ramp for someone you have been witnessing too. We need a headcount so we can order the books.

AUGUST 22nd

Mike & Karen Branch are having a church get together at their lake house on 8/22. Lake house address is 585 November Lane, Wirtz, VA 24184

Time: 12:30- 4:00pm. Having Bojangles chicken & fixins’ and iced tea.  You can bring anything else if you wish. Let Mike or Karen know if you are coming.

THANK YOU CARD

We received a Thank you card from Breazeale family, “To thank you for your kindness and sympathy at a time when it was deeply appreciated.  Thank you very much for your support during this difficult time.  The white roses, mums, lillies and blue hydrangea arrangement in a blue vase was beautiful.  We deeply appreciate your caring, concern and prayers.”

FOOD PANTRY ITEMS NEEDED

We need peanut butter, Rice & Roni – chicken flavor, Ramen Noodles – chicken flavor, mac & cheese, sliced peaches, pineapple chunks, vegetable soup, Chef Boyardee – Beef Ravioli, Chef Boyardee – Beefaroni, Knorr rice side packets – Chicken Flavor, Idaho Potatoes in packages, and crackers.  

NEW SCHOOL YEAR

Please keep teachers, students, staff, and all school personnel in your prayers as they start a new school year. 

Are We on the Same Page; or Do You See What I See?

ROANOKE CHURCH OF CHRIST  “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN” AUGUST 1, 2021          

ARE WE ON THE SAME PAGE: OR DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?

 In my early years I was taught that we could all see the Bible alike. That meant everyone should see it the way the folks I went to church with saw it. Of course, we didn’t say it that way because we had “chapter and verse” for everything we believed. It made for a comfortable religion but with uncomfortable results.

 Even when I found that there were other Churches of Christ that were much like us, but only used one cup for communion, or didn’t have Sunday School, or, as I was to continue to discover, a whole lot of other differences, the feeling was that if they could just see the whole truth, they would agree with us. I wish I could say that type of orthodoxy has gone away, but it hasn’t. And by the way, that way of viewing the Bible is not limited to the Churches of Christ.

 I actually think not seeing the Bible alike can be a good thing as long as it doesn’t pervert the message of the Bible. You’re saying, “Okay, Keith, you’re in a contradiction here.” What I mean is, as long as the Bible is not used to enslave people, take their money, promote illicit behavior, and basically all the things the believers in both the Old and New Testament were derided for doing, then honest differences are a good thing. For example, we have a constitution, The Constitution. It’s pretty obvious that we don’t all see it alike. We even have a Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution for us when we need help. Before you think I might be proposing an authoritative interpretive body for the Bible, I’m not! Big time not! My point is that even on the Supreme Court there are differences in interpreting the Constitution. That’s one reason liberals worry about conservatives being appointed to that Court, and conservatives worry from the other direction. Both believe they are right in their understanding of that important document. Both are sure that if the other side opened their eyes, they would see it as they do. It’s never going to happen, and I’m okay with that. Do you know why? Because dictators want everyone to agree with them in all matters decided by them. It makes for the most efficient form of government.

 But how would we ever make any progress if someone did not disagree with the status quo? And what makes one person see things differently than the other? What if we all wanted the same make of car? What if we all wanted the same man or woman for a husband or wife? The creative balance of the world rests on differences. I think that includes, in a very important way, how we understand the Bible. Why? Because if we are believers in the Bible, how we understand it determines how we live and how we treat others.

 If we take a look at the history of those who believed in the God of the Bible, we can see a progression in the way they understood who and what God was. I say “was” because understanding the nature of God is ever changing. That’s why Jesus could say, “Moses told you that, but I’m telling you this.” Do you get the idea that Moses and Jesus didn’t see things alike?

 Does that mean Moses was wrong? No. Moses was dealing with issues and problems and a cultural situation different from that of Jesus. What Moses said at that time was what needed to be said to keep the people of Israel intact and unique. 

As to our Constitution, when it was written, the culture, at least among the Colonies, accepted African slaves as part of the economy. Then our forefathers said, “All men are created equal.” They did not interpret that the way those who came later would. Where would we be as a nation and as a people if that former understanding had not been challenged by someone who didn’t see it the same way? 

Such is true of the Bible. I know people today who say slavery can’t be condemned because it isn’t condemned in the Bible. That was said for several years. But the fight against slavery was fought the hardest by those who believed the Bible. Who saw the Bible correctly? And how would it have been if they all saw it alike, as supporting slavery? There were Christian proponents and Christian opponents to slavery and more recently, to integration. Perhaps there still are, but I hope most Christians see any discrimination as against God, even though scriptures will still be waved in support of a past understanding.

 I said recently to someone, “In order to be on the same page you have to be on the same page.” Redundant?  I know. But my point is, if we are not even in the same book, we can’t be on the same page, and I don’t mean the Bible. I mean in the way we think. I don’t think the way I did when I was a young adult. Why? I wish I could put my finger on it, but I can’t. Neither do I want to leave the impression that I’ve got all the answers, and everyone should see things as I do. Even the thought of that scares me. But as to how I reached this time and place in my relationship with God and Jesus, I think it was a combination of things. If I had to define it, I would say it had to do with getting involved. If you’ve been taught to shun the divorced, and you decide to get to know such a person and hear his or her story, your eyes get opened, and you find yourself on the same page in loving and understanding him or her. 

If you had been taught not to play with a black or foreign child, and you did, you would make your decision about that child based not on color or ethnicity but on character. Your eyes would be opened, and you’d be on the same page. Does that mean you’d think alike and agree on everything? Of course not. But the one thing you would come to agree on is the value of the other person as a contributor to your own well-being.

 What could we learn if we got to know someone who isn’t like us, on a different page and who sees things differently? Are we afraid to see with their eyes and read their story? How else will they want to see and read us? 

When our presuppositions are challenged, it is unsettling. But looking back, hasn’t that been how we have grown in Christlikeness and become more like the One who ate with the outcasts?

      Keith Wagner

THOSE TO SERVE IN AUGUST 

Announcements: Connie Crites 

Ushers: Joanne Elder

Singing: 1 & 15 Del Bolin, 8 & 22 Karen Branch, 29 Wayne Flora

Scripture:1 & 15 Debbie McRoy, 8 & 22 Alyssa Mileti

Communion: 1 & 29 Keith Wagner, 8 Del Bolin, 15 Wayne Flora, 22 Mike Branch

 AUGUST BIRTHDAYS             

10-Laura Hogan

11-Garrett Williams Sr. 

20-Scott Blessing 

28- Holly Wagner  

 AUGUST ANNIVERSARIES

17-Mark & Rhonda McRoy 

27-Bud & Judy McWhorter

27-Tim & Joanne Elder 

31- Steve & Teryn Gaynor

 CONCERNS: Joni and Alan ask for prayers for their son, Nathan, his wife, Paloma and newborn son, Jon. Judy McWhorter’s knee replacement, pray for a speedy recovery. Erma’s sister, Lorretta, is in the midst of a six-month oncology plan. Please continue to pray for Alisa Flora’s Nephew, Ethan Gentry, is now at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA., and her sister Melanie Gentry. Wayne Flora’s parents Sylvus and Martha Flora and sister Jan.  Please continue to pray for Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie, who has health issues. Leena Bolin’s brother Steve’s family members/ recent diagnoses of ALS and bi-polar. Teryn Gaynor’s mother Brenda Windham has Cancer that metastasized into her colon (again) and her liver.  Megan Downing’s aunt Stacey Smith will be checked monthly for a while.  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: Bonnie Beaver, Jim Hunter, Visitors Bill & Melinda Crigger, Medical Student of Del Bolin, Cory. Alan & Joni Beach, Kerry & Sula Hay, Judd Beaver, Calesta Saunders, 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, Tim Elder.

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