Roanoke Church of Christ

Bimonthly Bulletin


    I don’t like “cherry-picking” scriptures. That’s when a point is being made, even a legitimate  one, and to enforce it, an out of context scripture is attached. The problem is that in so doing, both the point and the scripture is weakened. The point is either valid or not, and tagging on a scripture that is out of context, damages both.
    Preachers are as bad as anyone,  and they shouldn’t be. That is not to say what they are talking about is baseless, just that attaching a scripture to it does not make it any more authentic, and if the scripture is out of context, the point becomes questionable. 
    A week or so ago a local minister dropped by to say hello. (Not a CofC preacher) As we were talking the phone rang. I let it ring through, telling him it was probably a call for money, or some other help. It was, because as soon as the answering machine came on they hung up. I said I supposed he got those kind of calls. He said yes, but the ones that bothered him were the ones where the people showed up at church services. I told him we had a little of that, but generally it was people who came to the office. I said I’d heard a lot of different stories. At that point his eyebrows raised and I almost knew what he was going to say. He said, “Well, the Bible says he who will not work shall not eat.” He then pointed out how it was wrong to help people who would not work. I told him of some of the people who come seeking help and asked if he knew any place that would hire the likes of them with, say, no public transportation available or decent clothing. The discussion more or less ended there.
    I agree we should not cater to freeloaders, my problem is that he felt the scripture he used sealed it in stone. It’s in II Thess. 2:10, where Paul says, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” Context.  Thessalonians deals with the expected return of the Lord. At the end of  I Thessalonians Paul deals with the issue of when the Lord will return and who will be with him. In 4:14 it says it will be those who have “fallen asleep in him.” In v. 15 he says “…we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left til the coming of the Lord, will certainly not proceed those who have fallen asleep.” In 5:14 he urges them to “warn the idol”. II Thessalonians continues to deal with, among other things, the same issue. He ends with, “…keep away from every brother who is idol and who does not live according to the teaching you received from us. (3:6) He then reminds them that they (he)  worked for their food. Meaning they were not idol, but paid for their food, even if they had the right to be fed. (v. 9) Then he says the man who will not work  shall not eat.  In v. 11 he refers to the non-workers as “busybodies”.
    Context: Those who were not working were members of the church, brothers and sisters. Had they never worked? Or were they now waiting for the return of the Lord and expecting, for some reason, to be fed by the church?  Were they the ones who were causing confusion about the coming of the Lord? What was the “teaching” they were ignoring?  We don’t know. What we do know is they were called “brothers” who had stopped working and expected the others to feed them.
    Are we to assume that no one in Thessalonica would give them a handout? There are some things we do not know, but what we do know is they were part of the church. If the church found itself in a similar situation today, and I have no idea what that would be, could it react the same? Yes. 
    I’ve mentioned before that Jesus teaches without backing it up with scripture. “By what authority does he do this?” A thing is good or bad, true or not by itself. When he said “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is talking you to court…”, he didn’t back it up with a scripture. (Matt 5:25,26) Is it a true statement without a scripture? Of course.
    If I told you that I was God’s son because the Bible said so, how would you react? You would ask me where I got such an idea. If I said in Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11 and Luke 3:22, you would say those words were spoken to and about Jesus, and you’d be right. They are there, but only about Jesus in that context.
    I saw a scripture sited the other day which was used to prove the beginning of human life. It was Jeremiah 1:5.  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to all the nations.” Context: This is God telling Jeremiah that he had been set apart before he was born. It is no more about every person than God’s words to Jesus being God’s son being about all people. Or because Paul was a “Chosen instrument” (Acts 9:15), that we all chosen instruments as well.  
    Issues  about wealth, poverty, life,  death and the environment are important for every human being. Misusing scripture only makes the argument look weak.

Announcements: Wayne Flora
Serve Communion: Maggie Foy
            Susan Jordan
            Lyn Jordan
            Garrett Williams
Usher: Erma Williams
Communion Care: Connie Crites
Singing:        Scripture:
3-Alan Beach        Martha Foy
10-Karen Branch    James Downing
17-Del Bolin        Judy McWhorter
24-Scott Blessing    Susan Jordan
Communion:        Nursery:
3-Scott Blessing    Connie Crites
10-Mike Branch    Susan Jordan
17-Abraham Sirgy    Holly Wagner
24-Wayne Flora    Holly Wagner
If you cannot serve, call Erma Williams
5-Wayne Phlegar    15-Steve Gaynor
25-Karen Branch    28-Nick Bolin
19-Buster & Debra McRoy

CONCERNS: Debbie McRoy is recovering from an injured back. Others in Debbie’s family with health problems are a cousin, Linda Alsup and her husband, Prentice. Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell may have to reenter the hospital for cancer treatment. Jo’s cousin, Herald Clark has lung cancer. Teryn Gaynor’s mother is once again in cancer treatment and her step-father is having Parkinson’s issues. Remember Del Bolin’s mother, Alan Beach’s father and Joni Beach’s father. A CF patient friend of Holly Wagner’s, Dante McCadden and his wife and children. Bill Albert is recovering from a back injury. Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law (brain cancer) Among the shut-ins are Wayne Phlegar, Jim and Mary Smith. Also Sheila Jansen and Daughter, Amber Weaver Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Ray and Darnell Barns and Tim Elder
    The Wednesday evening soup supper and Bible study has been disrupted due to several factors the last two weeks. With the severe cold appearing to be past, we look forward to regular services for a least awhile.

    With all of our number who were gone last Sunday, we were blessed with visitors from the area. Pray that they will come back. With regard to that, a ride may be needed for one of them. They live in the Colonia Rd, Ogden Rd area. The ride will be just for worship. Let Keith know if you can help with that.

    The Steering Committee will be talking to several people about doing some painting and repairs around the building Due to the cooler weather, such things as outside painting will have to wait awhile, but some other things can and will be scheduled
    You may have read about the Soup for Seniors drive. This notice is rather soon, because it will end on Saturday, Feb. 9th. That means you will have to remember to bring it next Sunday and it will be delivered on Monday. Items needed are soups (low sodium),peanut butter, crackers and individual breakfast packages. See on line for a longer list.  As you know, we have a food pantry here at the annex. It is stocked by individual contributions and is available for those who are in need who come by the office.


   I need to find zippier titles for my articles. If I saw this one I’d probably not read it. BORING! But boring is all I have, so here it is.
    First of all, no one comes to the Bible, or any other study without prejudice. Even if they’d never read it, or heard of it
    The Bible is book of history and ethics, among other things, such as the concept of God, or for clarity, a divine being. As far as we know there has never been an exclusively atheistic culture. Atheists? Yes. But not a culture where every member was an atheist. If I’m wrong, please inform me.
    As the apostle Paul says in Romans 22:14, which is one of the most significant passages in scripture, “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.” (Italics and bold mine. kw)
    Simply put, Paul says what every anthropologist says: All human groups have rules of conduct which are, at the center, the same. They are not religious, but a part of human nature, important for survival and constructive living.
    Accepting Paul as being true, no matter what background a person originates, they come with ideas about what is right and wrong, regardless their belief in God, gods, nature, animals or whatever. The core ethic of the group is accepted and if that core “law” is broken, judgement occurs by the group.
    On the other hand, nothing is that simple. Are there different interpretations of the laws? Yes, and that can be seen in the Jewish law found in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament. The Ten Commandments are the foundation, the rest is commentary. Therefore, the Jew understands God through the law of Moses. However, the application of that law varied among Jews both ancient and modern, i.e. reformed and orthodox. 
    What about Christians? They all read,  generally, from the same Bible. However, do the Amish, Quakers, Mennonites and others with  pacifistic views of God, respond the same way the “second amendment” Christians do toward the same Bible? Obviously not. 
    Why not? Because each of them has brought the influence of family,  teaching and experience to the Bible. Therefore, the Bible is understood through the lens of those things. 
    Everyone does it. Is it set in stone? No. But moving away from deep-seated ideas is difficult. We might look at the violence toward Paul and the others who welcomed the Gentiles into equality with God. It was the Jews (who had the same law and the prophets) who wanted to stop and even kill Paul for such an understanding of God. The violence of the Reformation Period is a more modern example.
    The Bible is often linked to nationalism. When that happens the Bible is understood to support a certain government, and all other governments are ungodly. Of course, scripture is used to support it, as it is in other similar situations.
    Here’s a question: How many times did an Old testament teacher or prophet quote the law of Moses to prove a point? There may be more, but Malachi 4:4 is about it. What did they use to guide Israel? In every Prophetic letter they use the core value of loving God and the neighbor as oneself. The whole standard of righteousness was (and is) based on that single principle.  When that principle was lost, the nation of Israel was condemned. That’s why over and over again the prophets said all the religious rituals  and sacrifices meant nothing without the core righteousness.  
    So it is today. The core hasn’t changed. In fact it’s in the “nature” of humankind. Did the Jews, with all the prophets and experiences get it right? Once in awhile, maybe. But mostly they were getting it wrong. But, over and over we can read of the “remnant.” Others, not even Jews, who held the core enough to have the acknowledgment of God. In Amos 9:7 Amos has God saying, “Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor (Crete) and the Arameans from Kir?” Something in them caused God to rescue them. 
    In I Kings 19:18 Elijah is told of 7,000 Israelites who have not bowed to Baal. What does it mean? It means that no matter what book or Bible we read, we get it wrong when the core meaning of love of God and our fellow humans is not how we understand the world. Which means a lot of us are getting it wrong. But our faith and hope is that the “remnant” is getting it right, and that as always, they hold the world together when the rest of us don’t, for God’s sake.
Announcements: Connie Crites
Serve Communion: James Downing
                   Megan Downing
            Holly Wagner
            Joanne Elder
Usher: Mark McRoy
Communion Care: Blessings
Singing:        Scripture:
6-Karen Branch    Martha Foy
13-Scott Blessing    Mark McRoy
20-Del Bolin        Martha Albert
27-Alan Beach    Holly Wagner
Communion:        Nursery:
6-Mike Branch    Susan Phlegar
13-Wayne Flora    Susan Jordan
20-Abraham Sirgy    Holly Wagner
27-Scott Blessing    Alisa Flora
If you cannot serve, call Erma Williams
5-Alan Beach        8-Anna Ferrell
17-Jim Smith        Abraham Sirgy
22-Logan McRoy    28-Keith Wagner
31-Martha Albert

CONCERNS: Debbie McRoy injured her back and has been unable to get out. She may need surgery. Other’s in Debbie’s  family who have health issues are a cousin, Linda Alsup, and her husband, Prentice. Jo Wagner’s cousin, Herald Clark has lung cancer. He is in North Carolina. Her sister, Judy Powell, is stable at this time. Remember Alan Beach’s father and the rest of the family in the death of Alan’s mother. Also Joni Beach’s dad and Del Bolin’s 
mother. Teryn Gaynor’s parents are dealing with health problems. Her mother is again being treated for cancer. Dante McCadden is suffering from CF. Bill Albert is recovering from a back injury. Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law is being treated for brain cancer.  Others are Wayne Phlegar, Jim and Mary Smith, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and Daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjory Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Ray and Darnell  Barns, Gil Richardson (ALS) and Tim Elder

    We were saddened to learn of the death of Alan Beach’s mother, Margaret , died on December 23, in Travelers Rest, SC.
The family asked that memorials in her honor be made to The Churches of Christ Relief Fund. Such a donation was sent.

    The work in the annex has been mentioned a lot lately because it is becoming such a nice change. The fans are operational now and will provide the needed air circulation when the building is crowded during hot weather. Thanks to Mike Branch for leading the way in this work.

    Due to colds and other illness, along with the holidays, we have canceled the Wednesday evening  service lately. Things 

are looking better now and we hope to see you this coming Wednesday for the continued study of the Gospel of John.

    The annual report from Health Talents International is on the foyer table. Take a look at it before it is placed on the downstairs bulletin board.

    Thanks to Susan Jordan for arraigning the service last Sunday which contained the history behind some of the hymns we sing. Also to those who read and to Scott Blessing for leading the songs.
    The family we helped with Christmas sends their thanks. The mother will put some pictures on FaceBook and they will be shared with the congregation.


All we know about the birth of Jesus is contained in two of the Gospels, Matthew and Luke. Matthew wraps it up in seven verses. No mention of the trip to Bethlehem, nor of an angel talking to Mary, but just to Joseph.
The language in Matthew is interesting in that while Mary was “pledged” (engaged) to Joseph, he is referred to as her husband, and that he considered “divorcing” her as the law would have required. He did not because he was a “righteous” man. We are also told Joseph “took Mary home as his wife.”
Let’s notice a few things. The “pledge” was considered a marriage which would require a divorce to break. Mary is called Joseph’s wife and he is called her husband. He is called a righteous man because he was not willing to do what the law required with a public divorce. How he could have done that “quietly” I’m not sure.
The next thing Matthew tells us takes place maybe two or more years later. The Magi from the East arrive in Jerusalem looking for the Christ of the Jews. King Herod wants to put an end to this probability and orders all the boy babies around two years old in and around Bethlehem to be killed. An angel warned Joseph and he took his wife and son to Egypt until Herod died.
There is no mention of angels singing in the highest, crowded inns or mangers. That’s all in Luke. Historically, Luke’s account was accredited to Mary, Jesus’ mother. Luke alone has the visit with Elizabeth and the song Mary sings during that visit.
The details in Luke about the birth of Jesus are intimate and personal. The crowded inn, the manger, the shepherds and the angelic singing are all told as witnessed by Mary.
In Luke, her pregnancy is not a problem for Joseph. There is no mention of any distress on his part about the coming child. Luke simply says, “He (Joseph) went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.” (Lk. 2:5) Even though nine months have passed, they have not yet married. Did they ever have an “official” marriage? If so, we are never told. But remember, the “pledge” to marry was as strong as the marriage itself, and Jesus is recognized as Joseph’s son.
The next thing we experience in Luke is the presentation of Jesus at the temple for his circumcision on the eighth day of his life.
Then he is twelve years old and even though the family has made the trip annually to Jerusalem for Passover, this year was different. Though not stated, there was probably a bar mitzvah- type event in which Jesus (now a man as far as learning and keeping the law was concerned) decided to stay and listen and learn from the teachers of the law. This four-day seminar got him in hot water with mon and dad. Again, Mary being the central figure in the story is the one who scolds him. Luke adds, “But his mother treasured (remembered) all these things in her heart.”
Eighteen years, more or less, pass until we meet him again at the lower Jordan standing in line waiting to be baptized by his cousin, John.
In Matthew Jesus returns from Egypt and the next thing we are told is he is about thirty and is waiting to be baptized. Both Mark and John begin with Jesus as an adult.
So what am I going to do with all this? It is Christmas, and all the sights and sounds of the birth of Jesus surround us. I want to place his birth in perspective. How many other children were born that night in Israel? How many around the world? How many died at childbirth? How many only lived a few days or weeks?
Mortality rates in the ancient world are hard to trace. In Greece many (mostly men) lived into their seventies. However, some studies say about 40% of both men and women would die before that age, not because of aging, but disease, accidents and war.
But on a night somewhere in Bethlehem, a baby boy was born. He had no idea what lay ahead. All he wanted was to be fed and to feel secure, and I’m sure he cried. He would grow into a little boy. Did he have friends who died? Did he get sick? Yes, even though there are those who would frown at that idea. Would the physician heal himself?
Did he and the other children play as all children do? Yes. He was one among thousands who were born on that same night around the world.
At what point did he feel a sense of his destiny? Some would say at that moment in Jerusalem at twelve years old. I don’t think so. Was there no other Jewish boy with the same attraction to learning the law of his fathers? Perhaps Luke hints at that when Jesus responds to Mary’s scolding, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” However, he may have been saying,”Where else do you think I’d be?” Luke says they didn’t understand what he was saying to them. He adds that he went home to Nazareth with them and was “obedient to them.” I suppose that meant the next year at Passover he didn’t hang out at the temple, at least without asking permission. Luke concludes this period of Jesus’ life by saying, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
At what point during these “in between years” did Jesus feel a sense of calling? We don’t know. I would take Luke’s “wisdom and stature” to mean as he matured. Like so many other meaningful people in history, it became stronger each day.
What we do know is by the time he came to John to be baptized, a decision had been made, and that decision would be tested, both by the voice from heaven and the temptations of power which followed. But the course was set.
From that holy night in Bethlehem, to a holy morning by an empty tomb, come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

CONCERNS: Continue in prayer for Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell; Jamie Cole, Joni Beach’s niece; Alan Beach’s sister-in law has health issues, as do the aging parents of the Beach’s, Wayne Flora’s parents; Del Bolin mother; and Teryn Gaynor’s parents. Donte McCadden, a CF patient, is in UVA medical Center, and not doing well. Wayne Phlegar remains home-bound with circulation issues. Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in law is being treated for brain cancer. Others are Deanna McRoy, Linda Alsup and husband, Prentice; Bill Albert; Jim Hunter; Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson. Melanie Gentry, Ray and Darnell Barns, Gil Richardson (ALS); Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Today we will have our third Sunday special service.

Today is also Super Sunday. It is also the Sunday we enjoy being together during the Christmas season. The annex is all decorated and bright. The wood is in the fireplace for a nice warm fire, and there will be food on the table.
The annex looks especially warm and inviting with the new light s and Judy McWhorter’s quilts lining the walls.
The Christmas Tree has been decorated, so everything is ready. Come!
Also, the sign-up list was just a way for those decorating to know about how many table decorations to set up. If you didn’t sign up, don’t worry, there is plenty of room and food.

Our thanks to those who did the decorating. To Holly Wagner for setting up the tree and fluffing the limbs. To Judy McWhorter and Leena Bolin for decorating, and someone might have been overlooked, but thanks to all of you.

This will be the last bulletin in 2018. We are in a period of family, reunion, remembrance and looking toward the New Year. As we do so, we are grateful for this church family and how much we love and need each other. It makes the song “Lean on Me” a reminder of who we are and what we commit to each other with God’s love.

Remember the Christmas Eve service at the building. It will start at 6:00.

Steering Committee Announcement


Good Morning congregation!

I’ve got good news, and good news, and that equals great news for Keith and us!

Our most favored senior minister has been trying to find a way to retire for several years. But because of his affection for the flock here, not wanting to appear to be abandoning you and me – his church family, and several unexpected turns in the life road over the last couple of years, he has delayed his formal retirement. Until now.

You may already know that at one time he and Jo were thinking they’d retire, pack up, and move to Florida to be near Todd – a Florida ‘feet up in the warm southern sunshine’ kind of plan. However, they seem to find Roanoke a comfortable home, and this church family a loving and secure place for their next phase in life’s journey.

So 2019 will find the steering committee – Del, Judy, Martha Foy, Wayne, Susan and me more actively steering us, guiding this little fishing boat across some new waters – I’m trying for a biblical metaphor here, though none of us has any walk-on-water experience.

And we’ll be soliciting your input as well. Input along three parallel tracks :

1.coming up with a list of potential guest speakers, and inviting these new voices for Sunday messages; this to complement Keith as he slows back to preaching only one Sunday a month,

2.recruiting an associate minister to at some point possibly take on the traditional role Keith has filled for the last 30 years,


3.examine our church family’s needs, wants, wishes, and spiritual character as we transition and transform, who we are in God / in Christ / in the Holy Spirit…

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

…along our church family’s path. To try to determine the fruits and gifts of our congregation in a refreshed and more visible and discernible way than we may currently be aware. Keith pointed out last Sunday some of our folks and their particular projects of benevolence and works for and with the community within the immediate family and around our neighborhood.

Please give Keith and Jo a supportive and encouraging hug, not one of goodbye, but of a welcome and “we’ve got your back” encouragement for their transition. As Keith and I have discussed, and I know, retirement can be a real challenge!

There will be much work to do, much self-examination, much stepping back and looking at who we are and where we want to head, and we’re going to all need to be positive and supportive and prayerful. Please know that the Steering Committee is counting on everyone here, our whole church family, to pitch in, throw us your thoughts and ideas. A former member, who has moved away, recently gave us a thumbs up by saying, and I quote “Roanoke Church is the kind of church the world needs”. Almost made me tear up, then of course I immediately felt a pretty big weight of responsibility land on OUR shoulders.

Pray for Keith and Jo…
Pray for the Steering Committee…
Pray for our church family…

Pray with me… “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭51:10-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:23-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Blessings to us all,
Mike Branch, for the Steering Committee


Some Christians want nothing to do with the Old Testament. (The Hebrew Bible) They say it was “nailed to the cross.” A misapplication of Col. 2:14. Others say it is still important because it was and always will be God’s word. But Paul says in Gal. 5:3 that demanding one part of the law be kept (circumcision) requires keeping it all.
When the “law” is mentioned, it usually means the Law of Moses contained in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, or generally the first five books of the Old Testament.
Orthodox Jews still “keep” those laws, with the exception of animal sacrifices. Reformed Jews (who gave them permission to reform the law?) have modified the law by retaining the spiritual and holy parts while dropping some of the “holiness” codes. For example, those which begin in, say, Leviticus 18. However, lets look at 19:19. “Do not mate different kinds of animals. (That’s how you get a mule.) Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven with two kinds of material.” The list in Leviticus is interesting and revealing.
There are reasons for all this, and my answer might not jive with others. I am not interested in the answer now, but rather the reason modern Jews have tossed so much of that sort of thing away. I haven’t researched the reasoning, but I’m sure it had nothing to do with their love of the law or of God. However, and if you can prove me wrong, please do so with facts, I think the modern Jew realized many of the things in the law were part of their survival in the surrounding culture and when that changed, these “laws” were obsolete.
Were they right in doing that, and by what authority did they do so? By what authority do we Christians pick and choose passages from the law of Moses and not use them all as Paul said we must?
I’ve said all of this to make this point: How much of the Bible including the New Testament, should we understand in it’s historical and cultural context? For example, if a beloved preacher or some other significant man was dying, would we advance the medicine used on King David when he was old and dying? In I King 1:ff it says, “When King David was old and well advanced in years, he could not keep warm, even when they put covers on him. So his servants said to him, (David?) ‘Let us look for a young virgin (an unmarried young woman) to attend the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord king may keep warm.
“Then they searched throughout Israel and found Abishag, a Shunamite, and brought her to the king. The girl was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no intimate relations with her.” The gaps are easily filled in as to why she had to be a beautiful virgin.
Was that appropriate for the time? Well, there were no law against it! Would that be an appropriate treatment for today? No, but that’s how they understood medicine illness and well being at the time I’m pretty sure even an orthodox Jew would not see that as kosher.
Her’s my point, and I know I’ve made it before: We must continually understand scripture in light of current wisdom and knowledge. I know there are people who believe the sick should be anointed with oil (by the elders) as it says in James. I also know that for some this has a special, even powerful meaning. But is it mandatory? Did it have a meaning then that it does not have now? What about foot washing? There are strong examples about it’s place and meaning in the Bible. Is it mandatory? What made much of Christendom decide it was based in custom? Can it have a current significance? Yes. But by what principle was it discarded as a requirement?
Are women required to wear a veil when in church, or as some say, “A second covering”? According to Paul, in I Cor. 11ff, the woman who prayed and prophesied had to wear a veil. That was the original meaning of covering; across the face and head. Her hair was to be long, whatever long was at the time, and a man’s hair was to be short, what ever short was for that time. By what authority was it decided that was based on customary understanding and not the law of God? Do some still demand it? Yes, but not most. Why?
Just as the eunuch, once rejected is accepted, the spirit of God requires that we do not leave our understanding of God trapped in historical understanding.

Announcements: Wayne Flora
Serve Communion: Lyn Jordan
Susan Jordan
Judy McWhorter
Garrett Williams
Usher: Holly Wagner
Communion Care: Williams
Singing: Scripture:
2-Karen Branch Susan Jordan
9-Alan Beach Holly Wagner
16-Del Bolin Mark McRoy
23-Scott Blessing Mike Branch
Communion: Nursery:
2-Alan Beach Alisa Flora
9-Abraham Sirgy Connie Crites
16-Scott Blessing Holly Wagner
23-Mike Branch Joanne Elder
If you cannot serve contact Erma Williams
2- Jack Thompson 7-Megan Downing
13-Alisa Flora 20- Dillon Hogan
20-Carson McRoy 25-Rhonda McRoy
27-Martha Foy 28-Jeff Bland
30-Cathie Martin
3-Jeff & Cathie Martin
23-Gary & Jan Overstreet

CONCERNS: Jo Wagner’s sister is at home. Jamie Cole, Joni Beach’s niece deals with hydrocephalus issues. Alan Beach’s sister-in law is having health problems, as are the parents of the Beach’s. Other family members dealing with aging are Wayne Flora and Del Bolin’s mother. Donte McCadden has CF. Teryn Gaynor’s parents also have health issues. Debbie and Ray Reiss’ son-in law (brain cancer) Wayne Phlegar, Deanna McRoy, Linda .Alsup and husband, Prentice, Bill Albert, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Ray and Darnell Barns, Gil Richardson (ALS), Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder

The annual Christmas Eve Service will be on Monday evening at 6:00. More information in the next bulletin.

Those of you who attended the last Super Sunday meal could see how the improvements to the annex are coming. Even if you didn’t stay look in some time when the annex is open and see the improvements.

The Christmas tree will be up in the annex this week. Wednesday evening we will spend a little time decorating it.

Rather than having a separate party, we have been combing the annual Christmas Party with the Super Sunday meal in December. Erma has placed a sign-up sheet on the table in the foyer. More information in the next bulletin as to the menu and other items

Aside from family members who visit during the Thanksgiving holiday, we had visitors from Pottstown, Pa. Who were passing though and worshiped with us.

The Wednesday evening soup supper and Bible study is now back on track.


My favorite Bible teacher in college did something I’d never experienced before. He often gave tests using the compare and contrast method. Now, comparing and contrasting texts, especially those in which the “contrast” bordered on differences was new to me. Not only was it new, but it upset my general approach to the Bible, but I loved it.
My background with the Bible was pretty much “it said what it meant and meant what it said”, period. So to approach the Bible with a compare and contrast method was new and exciting to me.
On the other hand, it presents challenges. For example, compare and contrast among those who practice nonviolence and those who uphold the views of the NRA; the application of Matthew 5:38,39, “You have heard that it was said, ’Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.”
You see, we read the same words, but we hear them differently. Of course, we were not there when they were spoken. We are unable to assess the words within their context. This leads us to understand and apply them to our present context and perceived reality.
Let’s take a test. It’s not compare and contrast, or even the dreaded essay type. Let’s make it multiple choice. I know true or false allow a 50% chance of guessing it right, but it’s my test. By the way, this is an open book test. I’ll tell you where the questions originate. We’ll start in Matthew 25:31ff.

1. In v. 32: Does “All the nations” mean :
a. All the Jews
b. All the Christians
c. Everyone on the earth
d. All of the above.

2. Also v.32: Are the sheep
a. Jews
b. Christians
c. The righteous from all nations
d. All of the above.

3. Are the goats
a. Jews
b. Christians
c. The unrighteous from all nations
d. All of the above.

4. Are the “hungry” and “thirsty,” v.35:
a. Jews
b. Christians
c. The hungry from all nations
d. All of the above.

5. Is the “stranger”
a. Jews
b. Christians
c. Anyone from all nations
d. All of the above.

6. Are those who need clothing
a. Jews
b. Christians
c. Any one
d. All of the above.

7. Are the “sick” v.36:
a. Jews
b. Christians
c. Those from all nations.
d. All of the above.

8. Are those in prison:
a. Jews
b. Christians who have been persecuted
c. Everyone
d. All of the above.

9. Who are the “least of these” v.45:
a. Jews
b. Christians
c. Anyone from all nations
d. All of the above.

10. In Luke 6:20, Are the “poor”
a. Those oppressed by the rich
b. The poor in spirit, i.e., Matt. 5:3
c. Those who have their treasure on heaven
d. All of the above.

11. When Jesus said to love one’s enemies. He meant:
a. Jewish enemies
b. Gentile enemies
c. Anyone who fits the label
d. All of the above.

12. When Jesus said if anyone tales your coat (cloak) give them your shirt (tunic) as well. Did he mean:
a. A fellow Jew
b. A fellow Christian
c. A poor person
d. Anyone.

13. Who is Jesus talking too in Luke 6: 20- 26:
a. Only his disciples
b. His disciples plus others
c. To everyone
d. All of the above.

14. When Paul wrote in Romans 2:14,15: “Indeed, when Gentiles who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them,” did he mean:
a. The ones Jesus mentioned in Matt.25
b. The ones Peter mentioned in Acts 10:34: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.”
c. All of the above
d. (I couldn’t help myself) Compare and contrast the above statements with John 14:6: “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
The real test is how we apply our answers.


CONCERNS: Jo Wagner’s sister. Judy Powell is recovering at home. Jamie Cole, Joni Beach’s niece deals with continuing hydrocephalus issues. Alan Beach’s sister-in law, Tamela Beach has health issues. Also both of Joni and Alan’s parents. Wayne Flora ‘s mother, Martha. Del Bolin’s mother, Carrie. Remember the family of Dr. Christopher Mills, one of Del Bolin’s students who died suddenly. Donte McCadden, a young father with CF. Debbie and Ray Reiss’ son-in-law, David who is being treated for brain cancer. Teryn Gaynor’s mother and step dad; Wayne Phlegar is having more leg issues. Deanna McRoy; Debbie McRoy’s Linda Alsup and husband, Prentice; Bill Albert and Jim Hunter; Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver; Marjorie Wilson; Melanie Gentry and family; Ray and Darnell Barns; Gil Richardson; Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Today is the third Sunday of the month. On these Sunday’s we have someone or something different conduct the service. Today we will be learning about the writer of the songs we sing, as well as the motivation for the song itself . Susan Jordan, with help from others will do the readings and Del Bolin will lead the songs. Thanks Susan for doing the research.

Today is also Super Sunday. The fellowship meal will take place in the annex following the morning service. At the time of this printing on Thursday, it is cold and rainy. If it clears off enough, we will have a fire in the fireplace.
Also, the new fans are in place with additional lighting on each one. If you haven’t seen the annex since these additions, plan to stay and enjoy the ambience, the meal and good company.

Erma Williams has provided note cards for the Thanksgiving notes. If you haven’t taken one, do so because they will be read during the service today. They are on the foyer table.

Over the years we have canceled the Wednesday evening service before Thanksgiving because of travels and busy schedules. That will be true this coming Wednesday as well.

Among those who will be away is Martha and Bill Albert, along with Jim Hunter. They will be in Alabama.


The title comes from a well-know phrase, “Warts and all.” It is generally used to say that the truth and facts are being revealed. In other words the whole ugly truth and nothing but the ugly truth.
Its supposed origin comes from when Oliver Cromwell’s portrait was being painted by Sir Peter Lely. Cromwell, knowing the custom of painters making their subjects look better than they were, told Lely to “Paint me as I am, warts and all.” However, the evidence is that Cromwell never said that. Yet out of a made-up phrase we have a common-use statement. Question: Does the fact that Cromwell never said those words mean Lely never painted Cromwell’s portrait?
“Doctor Livingston, I presume.” Words often used in comic relief referring to the meeting of reporter Henry Stanley with the elusive Scottish missionary, Dr. David Livingston. It became the famous line from that meeting. However, the evidence is that those words were not spoken. Question: Because the words were factious, does that mean Stanley never met Livingston?
Admiral Farragut never said, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” He said, “Damn the torpedoes! Four Bells. Captain Drayton, go ahead. Jouett, full speed.”
Queen Victoria never said, “We are not amused.” Gilbert and Sullivan wrote that into the musical, HMS Pinafore.
James Cagney never said, “Mmm, you dirty rat” in the Movie White Heat.
Marie Antoinette never said, “Let them eat cake (brioche) during the French Revolution.
In none of his books about Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Connan Doyal never had Sherlock say, “Elementary, my dear Watson.”
Johnny Weissmuller never said, “Me Tarzan, you Jane.”
Captain Kirk never said, “Beam me up Scotty.” He said “Beam us up Scotty.”
Neither Eleanor Roosevelt, Anne Bolyn nor Marilyn Monroe said, Well-behaved women rarely make history”
It was David Hannum, who was suing P.T. Barnum for fraud, who said, “There’s a sucker born every minute”, not Barnum.
Nathan Hale did not say. “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” It was a supposed summation of his thoughts by his sister about his death.
It was Israel Putman who said the order was, “Don’t fire ‘til you see the white’s of their eyes”, not Andrew Jackson.
No one on Apollo 13 said, “Houston, we have a problem.”
Gandhi never said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
And finally, Voltaire never said, “I disagree of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Two sources are given for that statement, both in comments which were said to sum up Voltaire’s thinking.
Now, having given you a jump-start in the next game of Trivial Pursuit, let me review and ask a fundamental question.
Did Cromwell’s not saying, “Paint me etc.,” mean the painting never took place?
Did Stanley not saying “Dr. Livingston…” mean they never met?
The fact that Farragut never said, “Damn the torpedoes …” mean the battle of Mobile Bay never took place?
Did misquoting Marie Antoinette, Queen Victoria and James Cagney, mean they were not real people in real situations?
Are the works of Arthur Connan Doyal, fiction though they are, tainted by a famous line never uttered?
Is the history of Nathan Hale suspect because it attributed to him something he never said?
The answer to all these situations is, of course, “No”.
Question: Why is it then that when critics read the history of the Jews, the Hebrew Bible (OT) if they find anything that doesn’t line up (a simple example is the different numbers in Kings and Chronicles) they decide the Bible isn’t reliable? This is also true when reading the life of Jesus in the Gospels.
Admittedly, most of this has been caused by Christians who feel that if one line doesn’t match the other, the Bible can’t be trusted. This has caused all sorts of biblical gymnastics to smooth out, defend and sanitize passages seen as problematic. Notably, that the “Song of Solomon” (Song of Songs) is turned into an allegory rather than a poem about the love of a man and a woman. That some in the Jewish community see it as an allegory for God’s love for Israel is fine, as long as the original meaning isn’t denied.
If any historical document or person has to be discredited because of misquotations or misplaced “facts”, no historical evidence could be trusted.
All study and research is based on comparing and contrasting the sources and reaching a conclusion as to what is relevant and what is not. It is the relevant that is the foundation for truth, even in the Bible.

Announcements: Judy McWhorter
Serve Communion: Connie Crites
Maggie Foy
Steve Gaynor
Holly Wagner
Usher: Jeff Bland
Communion Care: Susan Phlegar
Singing: Scripture:
4-Scott Blessing Martha Albert
11-Karen Branch Joanne Elder
18-Del Bolin Steve Gaynor
25-Scott Blessing Debbie McRoy
Communion: Nursery:
4-Abraham Sirgy Susan Jordan
11-Wayne Flora Alisa Flora
18-Scott Blessing Holly Wagner
25-Wayne Flora Susan Phlegar
If you cannot serve, call Erma Williams.

6-Jo Wagner 15-Leena Bolin
28-Tim Elder 29-Jeff Martin

CONCERNS: Jo Wagner’s sister is now at
home. Keep the following people in your prayers: Wayne Flora’s parents, Del Bolin’s mother, Teryn Gaynor’s mother, Joni and Alan Beach’s parents, Debbie and ray Reiss’s son-in-law, Deanna McRoy. Linda Alsup and husband, Prentice, Gary Overstreet, Bill Albert, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and Daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry and family, Wayne Phlegar, Jim and Mary Smith, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Tim Elder and Leena Bolin’s friend dealing with stress issues.

Megan and James Downing are going to be parents! Which means Jo and Keith Wagner will be great-grandparents. The baby is due in April. According to former member, David Maharrey, using some research, looking at the sonogram, it’s going to be a girl. We’ll have to wait and see.
By the way David and Stacy are having a boy in December.

Remember the Wednesday evening Soup Supper and Bible Study is now meeting again on a regular basis.. The study of the Gospel of John continues

Mike Branch continues with the study of the book of Acts.

After being gone over a month, it is nice to see Vivian Dugan back among us.

Even though this bulletin has the date of November 4th, most of you receive it via Email, so the reminder to set your clocks forward before going to bed on Saturday might be helpful.

A few years ago we had the children write Thanksgiving notes to be read. Then the congregation got involved. Considering the sad events of the past few months, if you’d like to write such a note they will be read on Super Sunday before Thanksgiving.


As I look back, I’m not sure how I got here. I started out to become a Church of Christ preacher. I knew what Church of Christ preachers said and how they said it. Even before college I gained a reputation as a preacher, which convinced me even more that I should be one.
Then came collage. It was there, with the influence of men (and women) I began to be more and more interested in What the Bible taught, rather than what I had heard preachers preach.
It had it’s scary moments, especially when I realized there were parts of Bible I never heard taught or preached. Paul’s view of ethics was captivating. All I had heard was that we should never do anything that would cause someone to “stumble.” Which meant when someone complained about some issue with which they disagreed, like eating in the same building where worship took place, you yielded to their demands Where to eat was never an issue in the church I attended in Cincinnati as a child.
I soon learned as a young preacher, that the Bible had regional interpretations. When the folks in Cincinnati decided to go bowling after church, or scheduled a bowling party with any deacons and elders who wanted to go, all bowling alleys in Cincinnati served alcohol. There was usually a cocktail lounge nearby. No big deal. We went. We also played rummy, canasta and other “face card” games. No big deal. However, when I started to preach, I found regional, or should I say, sectional areas where bowling where any alcohol was sold, was off-limits to Christians, as was playing any face-card game. Rook was fine, it didn’t have the Devil’s face on the cards.
Tobacco was not preached against in areas where church members made much of their living from growing it. However, women wearing too much makeup, too much jewelry, and short hair. (Determined by inspiration to mean any hair shorter than the shoulders) was fair game. The hair applied to men as well. By the way, this was not just the CofC preachers who took the Bible to say things like that, lots of others did as well. This would indicate that such an understanding of scripture was not only regional, but cultural as well. What I mean by cultural ( a word not liked by a sizable number of preachers) is that upon examination we discover that the cultural period of history in which we live determines how we interpret scripture. I need not list examples to prove this. The way we used the Bible to support slavery, segregation and women is argument enough.
One verse branded on the brains of Christians, was and is, 1 Thess. 5:22 (KJV) “Abstain from every appearance of evil.”As I remember, most preachers said, “Abstain from the very appearance of evil.”
Again, there is no need for me to explain that verse, except to say it simply says, in modern English, “Stay away from all kinds of evil.” But even that is subject to interpretation. What appears to be evil to one person may not appear evil to another. Please keep in mind that Paul thinks Christians have enough sense to know what he is talking about. We are the ones who have to make the lists. He is not telling Christians to decide what has the appearance of evil and then hold everyone to it. I’ve mentioned before a man who would not drink root beer out of a brown bottle any place where he might be assumed to be drinking real beer. Did he want others to do he same? It was pretty evident that he though they should, for fear of the appearance of evil. Need I even need to mention how many times Jesus failed the “appearance” test.
The above are just some of the issues which have caused me to keep digging to understand the Bible in its own time and place in history. That is not to say that the moral and ethical teachings are limited by time and culture. The fundamental teachings in the Sermon on the Mount in both Matthew and Luke call us to a standard far beyond a general world view.
That being said, I think the Bible should be examined and studied from every angle. We should consider that the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) belonged to the Jews, and was interpreted by them, long before Jesus was born. Therefore, in the last few years I have been looking at how the Jewish teachers understood and understand the Hebrew Bible.
In some ways I think Christians have “Christianized” the “Old Testament”. I’m not talking about hunting down all the possible prophesies about Jesus. I’m talking about making the OT fit a more accepted understanding.
An easy example is when Christians talk about “biblical marriage” in defense of a one woman and one man union. If we want to use Adam and Eve, let’s face it, Adam didn’t have a choice. But Adam’s son Cain has a grandson who “takes” two wives. Abraham ‘s wife Sara is childless, so she tells him to take her Egyptian servant as a “wife”. (Gen. 16:3 NIV) We know how that worked out!
Later, Jacob married two sisters, and we know about the kings of Israel and their concubines and wives. There is no condemnation of polygamy. That’s hardly new news. However, there is a law in Deuteronomy 25:5 which instructs the brother of a deceased man who has no heirs, to marry the dead brother’s wife. No exception is provided if the surviving brother happens to already be married. “Christainizing” the text insists that the Levirate marriage be done only if the surviving brother is not married. In fact, little is said about the marital status of the Levirite. There was even a way to avoid doing it. (See the book of Ruth) But Levirate marriage was a very serious issue. Since polygamy was common, and Jacob had married two sisters, it would not be beyond the surviving brother to have two wives. That being said, the law Levirate marriage soon disappears in Judaism, which should mean even scripture is subject to time and culture. Keeping that in mind can help us find the real meaning of the Bible.

CONCERNS: Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell is home but still not well. Martha Flora, Wayne’s mother is also having health problems. Teryn Gaynor’s mother (cancer) Former members, Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law, David is still being treated for brain cancer. Deanna McRoy. Linda Alsup, Debbie McRoy’s cousin and her husband,Prentice have health issues. Keep the parents of Joni and Alan Beach in prayer, as well as Carrie Bolin, Del’s mother. Also a friend of Leena Bolin who has stress issues. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber. Ray and Darnell Barnes, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder. Remember those who are recovering from the storms .
On this third Sunday we are pleased to have Del Bolin’s brother, Doug, bring the sermon for today.

This is Super Sunday. If you stay for the fellowship meal you will be able to see some of the change we have made in the lighting. The old lights were getting dangerous due to some issue which kept them overheating and burning out. Since they were at the very top of the ceiling they required a longer ladder than we had.
More lighting will be installed, probably on the fans down the middle and along the sides to give more light for reading. Plan to stay and enjoy the room and the meal.

THANKSThanks to those who came out last Saturday to spruce up the place. Also to those who cooked at the Ronald McDonald House last Sunday evening.

We will be sending money to the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort in Nashville, TN to aid in relief for those suffering from the two recent hurricanes which damaged Florida as well as Georgia and the Carolina’s.

This being the third Sunday, we will have two contributions. One for Health Talents ABC and the regular one for the work here.

We had visitors from Ohio with us last Sunday, which was good because several of our group was away.


My sister, Betty and her husband Kenneth, along with their three year old son, Timothy, left Cincinnati in 1957 for a new start in Mobile, Alabama. Why Alabama? They had become good friends with the minister of our church, Glenn Martin, and his wife, Dee. When Glenn took a church in Mobile, they decided that would be a place to relocate where they already knew someone.
They bought a little house on Ralston Rd, a street where it seemed each house outdid the others with beautiful crape myrtles in their yards.
In the early seventies they moved across the Mobile Bay to Fairhope, a beautiful little town on the bay, which over the years had served as a summer respite for those from Mobile and the surrounding area.
My parents moved to Mobile in 1965, and when we visited them after Betty moved to Fairhope, the Fairhope Pier became a favorite place to fish. Betty’s cottage was about three blocks from the bay park and pier. It was also an easy drive to Gulf Shores.
They became active with the Fairhope Church of Christ until discord took them to Spanish Fort, about 17 miles away. Betty would work at several jobs, among the as a LPN, though she had to stop when they found she was a carrier of TB, even though she had never had it. She and Tim went to work at Engels Shipyards in Pascagoula, Mississippi, a 75 mile one way trip each day. She was trained and worked as a pipe fitter. Her husband took several jobs, among them an insurance salesman.
After the shipyard became too difficult, and nearing retirement, she and Kenneth went to Newton, NC and worked in the textile industry as well as security guards. Upon reaching retirement age they returned to Fairhope. Kenneth would die a few years later from a heart attack.
In the mid eighties she took our mother to live with her after our father died. My parents had moved to where our brother lived in Greenville, SC. The storms and hurricanes began to bother them. Afer our mother died, Betty busied herself caring for an aged neighbor, as well as picking up older women who needed a ride to church. Her years with the Spanish Fort church were among her happiest.
As she aged and her health began to fail, she ended up in a nursing home a block or so from her house where our mother had died. It was not a good place for her, and at Christmas 2014 she came to live with us in Roanoke.
It was a hard adjustment, but she soon fit in and sent everyone a colored picture on their birthday, as well as any other special day she saw in the church directory. She colored to improve the shaking of her hands.
In late July, at 90, she started to fail and lingered until September 8.
As our daughter, Hope (who did the driving) and I arrived in Fairhope I was reminded again why she loved it so much. If you ever get a chance, visit it. The live oaks reach across the streets as if to be touching hands, with Spanish moss as the gift to be received. Crape myrtles, azaleas and other flowers compete for your attention. Quaint shops line the streets and the lights of Mobile can be seen at night from the pier.
As we left the cemetery, both Hope and I commented that we felt good that we could bring Miss Betty home. Keith

The Sunday morning after I had arrived home from Alabama on Saturday, the call came that Bill(y) Branch had died. Bill had entered the hospital only a few weeks before to be treated for a mass in his shoulder. At 90, like Betty, he was getting tired. Soon it became evident that he was slipping away and after a few days in Friendship Manor South, he went home and passed away, surrounded by his family, on September 16th.
The name Bill Branch and the Roanoke Church of Christ are bound together like the strands of a rope. Bill was a foundational part of this congregation before this building was built. It was his place, his spiritual home, even though his spirituality was far and beyond the walls of this building. There is hardly a benevolent work in Roanoke that does not have something of him in it, as his obituary stated.
As far as his personality, I never saw him as anything but enjoyable to be with and his wonderful chuckle. No Super Sunday will be the same without seeing him leave as soon as possible and return with almost enough chicken to feed all of us.
He loved being with people, and the celebration of his life held at the annex was exactly what he planned. Food, music, good friends and good memories shared by the people Billy touched.

(It is with great sadness that the following developed this past weekend)
While Judy and TJ were visiting with their son Perry and family in NC, Judy choked on some food and went into cardiac arrest. She was revived and taken to a hospital, but was not able to recover. With her family with her, as TJ said, “She is at Home with her Father.”
She was cremated and will be placed beside their stillborn child in Louisville, KY at Christmas, which was her favorite holiday.
A celebration of Judy’s life was held in the church annex on September 6.
On Sunday, Sept. 29, Judy was remembered by the congregation during the worship period as we shared memories of her.

All of this has hit us hard. Three deaths in about three weeks. However, as we have done in the past, we will lean on our faith in God, the resurrection and each other as those who have passed would want us to do. As Paul wrote, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
CONCERNS: Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell is very seriously ill after surgery. Martha Flora, Wayne’s mother is having health issues. Teryn Gaynor’s mother, (cancer issues) Former members, Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law, David, is being treated for brain cancer. Deanna McRoy, Debbie McRoy’s cousin, Linda Alsup, is having health issues, and her husband, Prentice is recovering from cancer surgery. Keep both Joni and Alan Beach’s parents in prayer, as well as Del Bolin’s mother, Carrie. Also a friend of Leena’s who is having stress related issues. Remember Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry and family, Ray and Darnell Barnes, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Til Elder.

1-Mary Smith 4-Laura Schreiner 3-James and Megan Downing
4-Garrett Williams 14-Connie Crites 8-Mike and Karen Branch
15-Mary Willa Foy 20-Lyn Jordan 9-Scott and Bonnie Blessing
24-Teryn Gaynor 24-Susan Phlegar 19-Jeff and Sherry Bland
27-TJ Hall

For those of you receiving hard copies of the bulletin, you will notice a little “crowding” in this issue.
There was no “mid-month” issue printed due to the death of my sister, and my travels to Alabama to bury her, which took place during that week.
As you will read inside, as a congregation we have had recent moments of sorrow, from Betty’s death and then the following week, the death of Bill Branch, and then the sudden death of Judy Hall the week following.
It was good to see Ben Robertson with us last Sunday. He is still in Manassas, but would like to be back in this area. Say a prayer about that.
The annex lighting and air circulation is coming along well. The fans will be installed later, due to a size issue with the originals.
Several weeks before Betty Billings became ill, she asked if there was something she could do for the church. The new chandeliers in the annex was her gift.
Jonathan Edward Elder and Cara Lee Hoopes were married on October 4, in a ceremony at Fincastle. We wish them many years of happiness.
We will resume our Wednesday evening service on October 10. WE will continue with the study of John’s Gospel.
The tree that fell during Florence has been cut up and the wood given away. However, there are some limbs etc. which need to be cleaned up.


In the last bulletin article I stumbled upon something that caused me to ask some questions about how the Law of Moses was delivered and applied. That question had to do with the daughters of Zelophehad coming to Moses with the request that their father’s inheritance be given to them since their father died having no sons.
What I noticed was that since the question had to be asked, the apparent answer up to that point was that daughters did not directly inherit, but that it was given to some other male relative. This seems to be a new situation brought up by five independent women.
By the time this happens in Numbers 27, the Law had been signed, sealed and delivered and Joshua had been anointed the new leader of Israel. The question has to do with how flexible the Law was when it came to new situations? If God gave it in full content, why was there a need for Moses to, as it says in v.5 “So Moses brought their case before the Lord”? I also find it rather delightful that the Lord says the women are right, they deserved the inheritance.
Now, I could ask if God forgot that law when the Law was being given, but it seems to me to say something more important. It seems to say the Law was not beyond being understood in a broader way than it might seem. That the law was flexible in that each new situation could be “taken before the Lord” for a resolution. Something similar happens in Leviticus 24: 11,12. The son of an Egyptian father and an Israelite mother blasphemed”the Name” during a fight and they inquired about the will of the Lord. He was stoned. In Numbers 9:8 the question came up concerning the Passover and some who were unclean because they came in contact with a dead body: Could they observe Passover? It says the Lord told Moses they could. Again in Numbers 15:34 it is about a man gathering wood on the Sabbath. Even though the Sabbath law had been given on Sinai it says in v. 34 the man was taken into “custody because it was not clear what should be done to him.” The Lord, through Moses condemned him to death.
Note that the Sabbath law had been given long before this. It said in the nutshell that no work could be done by any person or animal on the Sabbath. However, what “work” meant was not clearly defined. Therefore, as situations would arise, decisions about possible violations would have to be brought “before the Lord” for resolution. What that means seems to be, Moses praying for guidance.
As we know, those who would interpret the Sabbath (the Talmud) would eventually come up with 39 categories with 39 detailed instructions for each category. We’re not told how God felt about that.
We also know that view of the Sabbath was a problem for Jesus. Since the Law didn’t specify in detail what “work” was, it became a burden that the religious rulers imposed and the Jews twisted to suit their needs.
Let me add one other consideration. The second Commandment said there could be no “images” of any living thing. The NIV does a good job here by using “idol” instead of image.
How was “idol” or “craven image”defined? On the mercy seat there were several images of animal-like creatures. Were these “craven” images? No. Why? Because they were understood to represent the power and majesty of God, not God, or a (false) god. If we add to that the bronze snake Moses held up in the wilderness (which seems a little borderline), we see the reason the Jews would shy away from any craven image. The snake later became an object of worship way up in the time of Hezekiah. That resistence to “images” would carry over to Jesus’ day and even today.
What’s my point? All through their history the Jewish rabbis have read the Law and the prophets and then did their best to interpret and apply those commandments. Did they come to a unanimous agreement? No. And we need to keep in mind the Hebrew scriptures belonged to them and they were serious about getting it right. So if they don’t interpret it they way we would, we need to respect that they were (are) as sincere as we are.
So just as they took scripture and applied and interpreted it according to situations as they arose, so should we. Of course, we might say Moses had some kind of direct line to God, but we would have to say the same thing about the prophets who often wrote, “And the word of the Lord said to…”
Perhaps this flexibility is what Paul was thinking about when he said, “He (God) has made us confident as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” II Cor. 3:6. I would suggest reading that in context, or all of chapter 3.

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

CONCERNS: Betty Billings is in hospice care in room 106, Raleigh Court HRC. BillBranch remains in RMH while they prepare him for rehab at Friendship Manner on Starkey Road. Gary Overstreet is now at home. Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell; Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law is still waiting on a biopsy of his remaining brain cancer. Del Bolin’s mother, Carrie, is dealing with aging issues. Deanna McRoy; Joni and Alan Beach’s parents; Teryn Gaynor’s mother has resumed cancer treatment. Remember Leena Bolin’s friend who is dealing with family stress. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver; Marjorie Weaver; Melanie Gentry and family; Wayne Phlegar; Ray and Darnel Barns; Gil Richardson; Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder

At the time of this writing, the weather and everything else looks good for the Labor Day Weekend Bar-B-Que. Thanks to everyone who helped.

We have an estimate for redoing the lighting in the annex and as soon as possible, the work will start.

Please remember to lock all doors in the building and annex when you leave. They have been found unlocked recently.

Feeding America is once again having a peanut butter drive. Peanut butter is a good source of nutrition and tastes good too. Place the jars on the table across from
back staircase or on the table in the foyer. The drive is through August, but they say they can use peanut butter all the time.

The Dale Ridge congregation is having Ladies Day on Saturday, September 15. The guest speaker is Angela Tanksley from Knoxville, TN. More information can be found on the table in the foyer.

VISITORS While the Bolin’s others may be away this weekend, we had Alan Beach’s brother and sister-law with us last Sunday.

The Wednesday evening Bible study is in the Gospel of John. On Sunday mornings the study is from the book of Acts.