The Witness
Volume 40, Issue 13
March 30, 2022
"What's Deserved?"
During Sunday night’s broadcast of the Oscars, popular comedian, Chris Rock, made a joke about actor and singer, Jada Pinkett Smith’s, haircut. Within seconds, Smith’s husband, actor and film producer, Will Smith, marched on stage and slapped Rock in the face for insulting his wife. After returning to his seat, Smith yelled profanities at Rock, ordering him not to speak his wife’s name again. Following the awkward silence that fell over those in attendance, Rock finished his presentation, left the event, and Smith won an Academy Award for Best Actor. Since then, social media, talk shows, local and national news outlets have been flooded with coverage and reactions to this shocking scene. The majority of these discussions have revolved around the word “deserved.”
In 2018, Jada Pinkett Smith went public with her diagnosis of alopecia, which is an autoimmune disorder that caused her hair to begin falling out. The amount of hair loss is different for everyone with this condition. Some people will lose small amounts of hair on their scalp that can easily be concealed, while others will lose much more. Smith’s experience with alopecia has been a difficult journey that has resulted in significant hair loss. During her talk show two years ago, she described the terror she felt when large chunks of hair began falling out in the shower. As her conditioned worsened, her fear turned to grief as she transitioned to shorter hairstyles, and eventually, made the difficult decision to shave her head completely. Though alopecia has not threatened Smith’s physical health, managing the physical changes this disorder has created has been a painful experience for her mentally and emotionally.
Empathizing with Smith’s well-documented struggle with alopecia, many have voiced that Rock deserved to be slapped for his insensitive joke. If teasing someone about their physical appearance was not bad enough, how could anyone publicly make fun of another person for the side-effects of a disorder that is out of their control? For them, Rock deserved what he got, and Smith deserves to be applauded for defending his wife. For others, Rock’s punishment did not fit the crime. Not only was he unaware of Smith’s condition, but he was doing what comedians are paid to do—what the Academy hired him to do as its host. For them, Rock did not deserve to be treated this way. Instead, they believe Will Smith deserves to be punished for assault.  
Though I am typically unconcerned with most celebrity news, this story caught my attention because of its emphasis on the word “deserved.” By definition, to deserve means to be worthy of, qualified for, or have a claim to reward, punishment, or recompense. What we deserve is what we have earned. In Hinduism, this is called Karma—one’s actions bring upon oneself inevitable results, whether good or bad. Popular culture often references the idea of Karma with statements such as, “What goes around comes around.” In Christianity, this is called Judgment—God rewards the good and punishes the bad. Christians often refer to this biblically by declaring, "You reap what you sow (Job 4:8; Galatians 6:7).”
           Though personal responsibility and accountability are scriptural, Christians must tread lightly when we speak of what someone else deserves. Though it is natural to make that assumption, Jesus was clear about the dangers of casting judgment. Preaching on this topic, Jesus declared: 1 “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get (Matthew 7:1-2).” According to Jesus, the criteria we use to determine what someone else deserves will influence the criteria God uses to determine what we deserve. Thankfully, through Christ we are promised God’s infinite grace—God’s loving refusal to give us what we deserve. Despite what we have done, how far we have fallen, or how low we have sunk into the muck and mire of sin, by God’s grace, we are forgiven. What sin earned, God was unwilling to give.
           Whether team Smith, team Rock, or team Who cares?, may this situation and the world’s response encourage us all to pause and consider the underserved, unending grace of our God in Christ. Though this gift cannot be earned, it is not free. What God’s grace provides for us, it requires from us. “Forgive, and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37).” As those who have received God’s underserving grace, may we have the courage and humility to share it with an undeserving world. 
-- Travis
This Sunday, April 3rd
Come worship with us Sunday at 8:45 or 11:00 AM. Travis' message is "Crisis of a Mary," and the scripture reference is John 12:1-8. We hope you'll join us for Sunday School at 9:50 AM; if you don't yet have a Sunday School class, let us know and we'll get you plugged in!
Youth Choir Mission Tour
The full $200 payment for this year's Youth Choir Tour to Florida is due this Sunday, April 3rd. Please make sure your name is on the sign up sheet in the choir room, as well. Our trip is scheduled for June 4th-9th. Itineraries and permission forms will be available May 1.
Upcoming Children's Ministry Events
THIS SUNDAY, APRIL 3RD: Art from the Heart (4:00 PM), Children's Pizza Dinner (5:00 PM), and CIA (5:30 PM) will all take place on the FIRST Sunday of April and will be our last meeting for this school year.

SUNDAY, APRIL 24TH: Preteens will enjoy a fun afternoon at Treetop Quest in Explore Park. Cost is $19. Let Sarah know you plan to attend so that she can secure your ticket.

PASSPORT KIDS' CAMP: If you registered for Kids' Camp, make sure your calendar is marked for FUN June 15 - 18 at Eagle Eyrie!

CAN YOU HELP US OUT? Please sign up to help out in Children's Worship and/or the Nursery. We need volunteers every Sunday. Click here for the sign-up sheet, with dates available through May.
Thrive Student Ministry
Youth Volleyball: There will be no volleyball games tomorrow due to spring break. We will practice Sunday at 1:30 PM, and games will resume Thursday, April 7th. Click here for the volleyball game schedule (note that there is a separate page for each of our two teams).
Youth Worship Class: In this Wednesday night gathering (6:15 PM), youth learn about the role and importance of each element in worship.

DNOW: A weekend of missions and discipleship April 8th - 10th. Sign up NOW! Cost is $60/person. Click here for the sign up sheet and more info.

Summer Camp: Week of Hope Mission Trip June 26th - July 1st in Charleston, SC. Sign up NOW with a $100 deposit. There will be a Parent/Student Pre-trip Meeting April 24th at 4:00 PM. Click here for trip details and participation form.
Wednesday Dinner, April 6th
Our dinner menu next Wednesday is herb-roasted pork loin OR boneless chicken breast with parmesan potato wedges, chef's choice vegetable, dinner bread with butter, and dessert. Adult Bible study, Children's Choirs, Youth Worship class, and adult choir rehearsals will proceed according to the usual schedule.

Please note that there will be NO Wednesday night activities April 13th. We will skip Wednesday night programming in order to focus on the Maundy Thursday Tenebrae service scheduled for April 14th at 7:00 PM in the sanctuary.
JOY Seniors
Crystal Springs Steam Pump Tour Tuesday, April 12th. We will depart VBC at 9:00 AM and will have lunch at The Roanoker. Your only cost is your lunch. Sign up today!

Morehead City, NC trip May 10-12, including a visit to the History Museum of Carteret County, the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, wild horse dolphin cruise, Cape Lookout National Seashore, and other opportunities. Roundtrip motor coach transportation will be provided by Abbott bus. Costs are listed in the JOY Seniors brochure, and payments can be made in installations. Sign up at the JOY Seniors table.
Joan St. Clair
407 Brookledge Drive
Vinton VA 24179-4429
March 27, 2022
8:45 AM 11:00 AM
In person: 138 In person: 126
Online: 146 Online: 89
Sunday School: 202
Thanks to the Fellowship/Berean Class for their donation to the Youth Trips.
Easter Offering
This year's Easter Offering will be equally split between the following two ministries:
  • VBC Blessing Box - The Blessing Box is the large, red, plastic box located in the edge of the Breezeway. Several times per week, the box is stocked with nonperishable food items and various toiletries for folks to come by and take what they need from the box. This ministry operates independently of the Food Pantry and does not share any Food Pantry funding. It is an alternative for individuals who cannot get to the Food Pantry during its designated hours, or who might need items in between Food Pantry visits. This local ministry has become important in meeting the needs of our community.
  • BGAV Ukrainian Relief - The BGAV is collecting funds, which are being channeled through the European Baptist Federation, to meet the needs of Ukrainians through established partners. The BGAV has asked for both financial and prayer support for these efforts. Please click here for a video explaining how your gifts help. This national relief effort shares the love of Christ to a hurting, war-torn world.
Regarding Ukrainian relief funds, please note that we closed our donation window for the Zubtsov missionary family a couple of weeks ago (this family was not part of our Easter Offering). Any additional funding for Ukraine relief efforts can be funneled through our Easter Offering, as detailed above (our total Easter Offering will be split between the above listed projects). Please click here for a link to BGAV updates from Ukraine. If you would like to make a donation directly to BGAV for Ukraine relief, you will find a donate button at this link.
The Dr. Charlie J. Lovelace, III
Memorial College Scholarship
Attention: High School Seniors! Applications for the $1,000 Lovelace Scholarship are due Monday, April 11th. They are available in the church office, at WBHS, or by clicking here.
Children's Corner
Parents and grandparents, following is a list of resources that your family can use and reuse yearly to facilitate discussions at home about Holy Week, should you choose. All are reading materials and/or hands-on activities:
  • Easter Story Egg - A family activity where each egg has a rhyming story that relates to a particular day in Holy Week, leading up to Easter Sunday. As the children open each egg they will discover the Easter story and the journey of Jesus through Holy Week. Click here to order. Cost is $39.99 and includes a hardcover book and 7 plastic/wood composite nesting eggs.
  • Easter Love Letters from God - Guides children and families through Holy Week with seven beautifully illustrated Bible stories. Following each story, the child will find his or her own letter from God. Children will love the excitement of opening the letters, and parents will love how the letters elaborate on the Bible stories being told. Click here to order. Cost is 12.99 for a hard copy or $4.99 for a Kindle download through Amazon.
  • Holy Week Stones - A family faith kit that involves reading a devotion each day in Holy Week and painting a stone that corresponds with each day. Click here to order. Cost is $10, which covers family devotions for Holy Week and painting stones activity cards and leader guide (digital download).
  • He's Alive Playlist - Yancy Wideman Richmond is a musician and author who won Children's Album of the Year at the 52nd Dove Awards in 2021. She released her first book, Sweet Sound: the Power of Discipling Kids in Worship, in January 2022. You can download her Easter playlist by clicking here.
Pillows on Patrol
We still have packets ready to be picked up at the Missions Tables to make pillows (a sewing machine is needed) for our local police officers to give to children who need comfort during officer involved calls. Please click here for a tutorial on making pillows. Questions? Please see Whitney Russell or Laura Lea Harris. Completed projects can be returned to the Missions Tables or church office. Many thanks go to all who have donated both pillows and fleece blankets!
The April 6th Egg My Yard deadline will be here before you know it! If you have a yard that needs to be "egged," sign up today. Please click here for the registration form, which you can print, complete, and return with payment by April 6th. Forms are also available at the Welcome Center. All proceeds benefit either the youth or children's costs for camp (you get to choose which ministry you prefer).

Please also note that we are collecting plastic eggs and peanut-free candy or toys to stuff into the eggs. Please drop off donations at the Missions Tables.
Donations Needed for Homebound Easter Baskets
Please drop off (by this Sunday, April 3rd) in the appropriate bin at the Missions Tables any of the following items to help fill our Easter baskets for our homebound folks: large print word search booklets, sugar free candies, small hand sanitizers, and small tissue packs. Thanks to all who have donated.

We also need folks who are willing to deliver these baskets the week of April 10-16. (Baskets will be ready for pickup at the church on Sunday, April 10th.) Please see Joanna Williamson if you can help.
Attention: Undergraduate Students & their Parents
The VBC church family has a special Easter treat for each of our undergraduate college students to let them know that we're thinking of them this semester. However, we are in needs of names and addresses again. Please contact Joanna Williamson or the church office (540-343-7685) ASAP with your student's name and current address. We want to make sure that we include everyone, and we want to fully update our list of students. Thank you!
Youth Choir Mission Tour Fundraiser
Charlie Chattin has once again been very busy on behalf of the Youth Choir! We have 30 handmade birdhouses available for sale, with all proceeds benefitting the Youth Choir; stop by the Welcome Center and check them out. Now is a perfect time to place a birdhouse outside and fully enjoy the spring season. Each birdhouse is $20.
Thank you for the flowers sent in support of our family during our difficult time.
-James & Cindy Brown
Thank you to my church family for the many cards, calls and prayers when I was "Homebound of the Week." Since my stroke, I've not been able to attend. I miss you all so much. Please remember me in your prayers. - Lillie Johnston