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.
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
11-Garrett Williams Sr.
28- Holly Wagner
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.
Monsters Inc. on Friday the 6th was a big success. We handed out 18 bibles. Stay tuned for more movies this fall!
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:
Join the Zoom Meeting on the study of Matthew at 7pm.
Meeting ID:873 6718 6931
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.
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.