“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – NO. 13&14 – THIS IS MY STORY
If you read this, keep in mind that I am not rewriting the Bible. You might do it differently, but this is my story of Jesus, and about almost everything important.
Way back when time started, human beings saw strange lights in the area above them. They called that area many things, sky being one of them, as well as heaven, or, the heavens. From the sky came loud noises and flashes of light, as well as rain and hot air, all of which could cause pain, harm and death, as well as life. The mountains sometimes spit out hot liquid or shake and fall on them. The seas could swell up and cover them. So it was easy for them to believe the things they saw and experienced were caused by someone, or something. Finding themselves in such a situation, they tried to make contact with the powers that ruled their world by appeasing them. They sacrificed things they valued, even in some cases, their first born children, especially young girls.
They also tried to please these beings in the sky by building images which they hoped mirrored those they called “gods.” If they wanted good crops, they fashioned a crop god. If it was many sons, they fashioned a god representing fertility. Since there were so many different categories it kept them busy. Needless to say, it was a never-ending job.
However, there were some who thought the idea of a lot of gods was too much and impossible to live and die with. They decided to appease just a one and only god. Since there was only one, they wrote it with a capital letter. But there was still a problem. They knew what was good and what wasn’t. They knew there should be some punishment for what was bad and harmful. So it seemed reasonable that there should be a reward for doing good, which presented another problem. It didn’t seem to work that way no matter how hard they tried. They wrote about it and sang about it. They noticed that the life-giving sun and rain fell on the good and the bad. But at times their many-gods neighbors did better in certain areas then they did. So on occasion, just to cover all the bases, they built an idol or two. It wasn’t that they no longer believed in the one God, it was that it couldn’t hurt to be sure.
There were many who maintained the one-God belief, but one man stood out. He followed his beliefs and in time had two sons, each by a different woman. One went one way and the other went another. They both became leaders of great nations, each believing in the one God.
As time passed one son’s people faced hard times and ended up in a foreign country. They stayed there for four hundred years. During that time they became saturated with the culture and beliefs of that country. So much so that they forgot their past culture and lives. It was so bad they were to become known as the “No people.”
After four hundred years of that, a leader among them was born. He was saved from infant death and ended up being raised by the foreign king’s daughter. As he grew, he felt a deep connection to his own people, who had become seen as dangerous, and therefore, enslaved.
After several incidents, one caused this leader to run for his life. When he finally returned, it was with the almost forgotten belief in the power of the one God. He demanded that his people be allowed to go out into the countryside and worship the one God. His intent was not to come back. After several refusals and related tragedies, the king let them go. So they exited the land and headed to the land promised to their ancestor.
It was not an easy journey. Four hundred years in the country they were leaving had left its mark. At every problem they wanted to go back. When things didn’t go right, or they believed what they were doing was a mistake, they reverted to the ways of the old land and culture. Their leader, and those close to him, realized they had to do everything possible to separate the people from the past. So they banned everything that might remind the people of the culture they had left behind. It was not so much that the things were wrong in and of themselves, but they reminded the people of what they had left behind.
Over the years of their travel, rule after rule about things which took them backwards to what was no more, and blocked them from moving forward and becoming their own people, was banned. This was necessary for their freedom from the past.
When they reached the land of their ancestor, in time, as they became more and more independent of the past, the strict rules were softened. They married people who they were once forbidden to marry, and other customs changed as well. But there was one thing they still struggled with: What was the real nature of the one God who had brought them here? They were still surrounded by people who believed in multiple gods. Like those before them, they also tried to cover all the bases and played around with the “many-god” idea. They still felt if they did right they should not suffer, and asked why the evil people seemed to have it better. Maybe the other gods could do the trick.
Finally a man was born that was so different, he was seen as the one God appointed to reveal God’s true nature. He was so loving and kind people felt looking at him was to see the one God. The message he delivered was so powerful that when he was killed for it, they said God loved the world so much, that this son of his was given to show and save mankind from all the other false ideas about God. They saw in this man that God is love. They saw in this man that God was not against them, but on their side. They saw in this man that they did not have to sacrifice and worry to appease God. Because of that they realized the only sacrifice God wanted was that they lived like the one they called God’s son. Those who did, realized that kind of love cast out all the fears of history and they joyed in living in that amazing freedom.
CONCERNS: Jim Hunter has started chemotherapy. Debbie McRoy’s sister-in-law, Ellen Tidwell, is having heart problems. Del Bolin’s mother is also having heath issues. It’s good to see Bill Branch back after heart surgery. Betty Billings, Keith’s sister is in Raleigh Court Health Care Center, room 12A Bill Albert’s son, David, remains about the same as he awaits a liver transplant. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, has leukemia. Kim (Hall’s) friend Mary (MS), Sue Huels Betty Foy’s sister, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Rich Crites Deanna McRoy, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Tim Elder, Mary Smith and Jenni Cullum also need our prayers.
OUR DAILY BREAD: APRIL 20-25
Monday: I Timothy 6:11-21
Tuesday: Psalm 119:89-112
Wednesday: Mark 2:15-3:6
Thursday: Acts 8:4-24
Friday: Luke 22:39-53
Saturday: I Corinthians 15:42-58
OUR DAILY BREAD: APR 27-MAY 1
Monday: Exodus 3:1-15
Tuesday: Matthew 9:14-34
Wednesday: Ecclesiastes 12:1-14
Thursday: II Corinthians 5:11-21
Friday: II Samuel 11:1-27
Saturday: Psalm 121:1-8
Sunday, April 19 is Super Sunday. The rain should be over and all the spring colors should be at their peak, so what better way to enjoy it than a good meal after the service? Looking forward to being with you.
IT’S ALMOST HERE
Has it been two years? We’ve all watched as Stephanie Dixon made a life-changing decision to become a nurse after going to the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala. Well, the time is near! Here’s the information for about her graduation.
The Baccalaureate Pinning Ceremony will be May 7th at 4:00 PM at the Scottish Rite Masonic Lodge, 622 West Campbell Ave. The graduation ceremony will be May 8th at the Elmwood park Amphitheater on S. Jefferson St. at 9:30 AM.
Stephanie would be honored to have anyone there if they can make it.
She can’t wait to get back to Guatemala, but will need to work awhile before going.
You may have noticed the bright and shiny section of the fence as you came today. Our thanks to Wayne Flora for getting the material and fixing it.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
Former member Jenni Cullum wants us to know that she has moved into her own apartment. This is something she has hoped for and has now been able to do. Her address is 6117 Bliley, Richmond, Va 23225. She has a phone and the number is 804-840-3727.
The Phlegars plan to be gone for a few weeks visiting their son. The Halls will return near the end of the month after being in Texas.
The Sunday morning adult class is being taught for the next few weeks by Del Bolin, with Mike Branch filling in when Del is gone. The discussions have been both interesting and a valuable look at scripture. You’ll enjoy it if you come.