The Witness
Volume 40, Issue 3
January 19, 2022
Out of Sync
Have you ever felt like life was a bit out of sync? Have you ever faced a time where one disruption led to another, and the rhythm of life seemed strangely off beat? That is certainly how I would describe the last several weeks for my family. From spending our family Christmas gathering in the Emergency Room after Whitney’s mother took a terrible fall, to almost two weeks in quarantine as Covid, double ear infections, a stomach bug, and the Paraflu all made their way through our home, to being snowed in and missing our third Sunday in a row away from our church family, life has seemed relentlessly out of sync over the course of the last three weeks. Plans have changed, routines have been interrupted, and expectations have been disrupted by so many things out of our control.

Feeling out of control is not something most of us enjoy. It can be disorienting and debilitating; it can be frustrating, exhausting, and paralyzing. For most of us, feeling in control of our lives gives us a sense of confidence and assurance. It can inspire us to set goals and empower us to achieve them. Control is one of the underlying ingredients for most of us that helps us to feel in sync. It produces a rhythm we can keep, a beat we can find. Control gives us a sense of security.

And yet, as much as we desire control, feel empowered by control, and do our best to maintain control, it is interesting that scripture says very little about control. In his letters to early churches, Paul encouraged Christians to practice self-control, even designating this discipline as one of the Fruits of the Spirit. James echoed these words, exhorting early Christians to practice self-control by “taming the tongue.”

Though the Bible speaks frequently about the discipline of self-control, taking responsibility for our actions and being mindful of our choices, scripture says very little about taking control of our lives. In fact, when it comes to the Kingdom of God, Jesus seems to teach that there is more to gain by losing control than in the security of finding it. “Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will find it (Luke 17:33).”

Whether you feel in complete control of your life, or like me- a little out of sync, I hope you will join us on Sunday as we unpack what Jesus had to say about control. Using a couple of powerfully descriptive images, Jesus not only reveals the limitations of our control, but offers an alternative that will accomplish far more than anything we could possibly achieve on our own. Gaining control can be empowering; losing control can be hard. And yet, according to Jesus, it is precisely in our losing that we find him. I look forward to seeing you soon! 
This Sunday, January 16th:
This Sunday, Travis is scheduled to be back in the pulpit. His message is "Control is Conditional," and the scripture is Luke 17:22-37. All Sunday evening activities (Adult Handbells, Youth Choir and Extreme, and Pandemonium Steel Drums) are on their regular schedule.
Wednesday Night Activities
Tonight all activities are on, as scheduled: dinner (5:30 PM), Adult Bible Studies, Thrive Youth, & Children's Choirs (all at 6:15 PM), Praise Team rehearsal (6:30 PM), and Chancel Choir rehearsal (7:30 PM).

Tonight, we will be continuing our Parenting with Love and Logic series at 6:15pm in the small dining room. We will be exploring the consequences and empathy. These lessons are great for parents with children of all ages! See Whitney with any questions.

We're taking a week off from the Spiritual Disciplines in the Narrative of Joseph study tonight because Kim has two teenagers at home in COVID quarantine. Instead, Travis will be leading Bible study tonight in the gym.

Next week's menu: January 26th - Smothered Pork Loin Chops in Gravy, Stuffing, Baby Limas with Corn, Dinner Rolls, & Dessert. Dinner begins at 5:30 PM. Costs are $6/adult, $5/child (ages 4-12), children 3 and under are free, max per household is $18, first-time guests are free. Please sign up by calling the church office at 540-343-7685 no later than 5 PM Tuesday.
Children and Teen Bible Reading Plan
Travis challenged us earlier this year to incorporate Bible reading into our weekly habits. It’s important to model this behavior for our children and to help them build these habits as well. Use this Bible reading plan (click here) with your child of any age to cover important biblical stories for our youngest church members. Happy Reading!
Thrive Student Ministry
We have had lots of waiting and delays over the past several weeks, but I am really HOPING we will finally be back together this Sunday for Extreme! Our Youth Student Leadership Team has several important items to discuss. If you are on this team, please make plans to attend at 4:00pm in the youth living room! (If snow becomes a factor again this Sunday, we will plan on a Zoom meeting!)
Sunday, January 23rd:
  • Youth Leadership Team Meeting- 4:00pm in the youth living room
  • Youth Choir- 5:00pm
  • Snack Supper- 6:00pm
  • Extreme- 6:15pm
Preteens Event
Preteens will meet at Vinton Bowling on this Sunday, January 23rd at 4:00 PM. Your cost for bowling will be covered; please bring money for snacks. If there is a weather cancellation, Sarah will post it on the Kids' Facebook page.
Wednesday Women
Wednesday Women will begin a new study February 2nd, which will connect readers to the history of Jesus' life and the stories of the Bible in a new way. It will follow season 1 of the television series The Chosen to discover, “What does it actually mean to be Chosen?” Join Susan Jones on Wednesday mornings from 10-11:30 am in the Disciple Center. Cost of the book is $16. Please sign up in the church office; books are available now.
Sweet Hour of Prayer
You are invited to join a new group formed specifically to pray for our church. On the 4th Thursday of each month, we meet for one sweet hour of prayer. We meet at 10 AM in the Berean classroom across the lobby from the church office. Your prayers and presence would be very welcomed. Please consider joining us this month on January 27th at 10 AM. If you have any questions, please contact Cathy Abraham at 540-977-2930.
JOY Seniors Activities
The JOY Seniors are collecting non-perishable food items for the Soup for Seniors Drive during the month of January: soups, canned vegetables, canned fruit, crackers, peanut butter, Carnation Instant Breakfast, canned meats, tuna, and oatmeal. Low salt, nutritious items are preferred. Please place donations on the Missions Table near the Welcome Center or in the collection box inside the double doors of the New Ministries Building. If you want to make a monetary donation, one of the JOY Seniors will shop for you. Be sure to make out your check to "VBC Joy Seniors" and indicate "Soup for Seniors" in the memo line of the check or on the envelope with money in it. Thank you in advance for helping our elderly neighbors in need.

The next JOY Seniors Luncheon was originally scheduled for January 25th at noon in the gym; however, it has been postponed until February 22nd, so there's still plenty of time to sign up. The cost is $10/person. Sign up at the JOY Seniors table in the Welcome Center for beans, cornbread, baked potato, dessert, drink & fun!
Fifth Sunday: January 31, 2022
January has a 5th Sunday, and we will be observing our 5th Sunday schedule. We will have Sunday School at 9:15 AM and one combined morning worship service at 10:30 AM; we will enjoy lunch together in the gym afterward. The menu is fried chicken with sides, tea, coffee, and assorted desserts. Please mark your calendars accordingly!
Ginnie Hall
Brandon Oaks Assisted Living #532
3804 Brandon Ave. SW
Roanoke, VA 24018-7016
January 16, 2022:
All services were cancelled due to snow.
Thank you to the Dorcas Sunday School class for their
donation to Soup for Seniors
Yearly Tax Statements
Yearly tax statements are now available to be picked up in the church office. Statements that are not picked up by January 26th will be mailed.
Congratulations to Fred & Jean Swisher, who celebrated 71 years of marriage on January 13th!!
Communications Updates & Services
For many years, our church has used an outside service to deliver mass phone calls, texts, and voicemail messages to our congregation, especially when we have little time to communicate or we need to reach large numbers of people in an efficient manner. The past few days have been prime examples of our need to communicate on short notice. Over the past several years, we have been able to add other means of communication for our church family, such as mass emails and instantaneous notifications through our new VBC app. We also post important notices on our Facebook page. In order to be good stewards and minimize our communications costs, we are in the process of narrowing down the phone numbers in our phone database because so many in our church family prefer email and app notifications. If you currently receive your communications from VBC primarily through email, VBC app notifications, or Facebook and are willing to allow us to remove your number from this phone/text communications database, could you please email Kim Yonce or call the church office at 540-343-7685? (This action would not remove your phone number from our Realm database - only from mass phone informational calls.) If you want to continue to receive important VBC notification through phone call/text, there's nothing that you need to do. Thank you!
Christian sympathy is extended to Reed & Adrena Owens and family in the death of his brother, Jim Owens; and to Debra & David Semones and family in the death of her uncle.   
Missions Moment
This month our Adopt-A-School team is collecting items to fill the clothes closets at our local schools. Counselors and teachers use these spaces for accidents, when children need warm, clean clothing that cannot be provided at home, or when graduating students need nicer clothes to participate in ceremonies. Please drop off your used or nearly new, clean donations all month in the box on the Missions Table! Local schools' clothes closet needs:
  • Socks for boys and girls (all sizes)
  • Boys' sweatpants (sizes 4-12)
  • Girls' underwear (sizes 8-10)
  • Boys' underwear (sizes 8-10)
  • Men's khaki pants (high school sizes)
  • Men's dress shirts (high school sizes)
  • Girls' dresses (high school sizes)
  • Boys' & girls' dress shoes (adult sizes)
Children's Worship & Nursery Volunteers
We need volunteers for Children's Worship and for open spots in our Nursery. We have combined those open volunteer positions into one sign-up sheet. Please consider helping us in these crucial ministries. Click here to sign up (dates available through the end of March). Thanks for serving!
Realm Updates
Realm invitations have now been forwarded by email to all church members and regular participants for whom we have an email address on file. If you did not receive your invitation, please check your spam/junk folder; even though your invitation may have landed there, it is legitimate, and we invite you to create a login for Realm. If you do not find your invitation in your inbox or spam/junk folder, and you would like to create a Realm login, please contact the church office at 540-343-7685 or by emailing

When we sent your Realm invitation we also, by default, opted you into our “online directory,” which means that your name, address, phone number(s), email address, and date of birth (month & day only) are accessible to other people within our church family who have also been invited to Realm. Your info is NOT posted on the general internet. (Essentially, this works very much like a printed directory, where your contact info is available to anyone in our church who has a copy of the directory - or, in this case, has a Realm login.) If you choose to set up a Realm login, you have full control over the privacy settings on your information - you can opt out of the online directory, hide portions of your info, or mark your privacy settings so that only church staff members can access your info. Should you choose not to set up a Realm login, you can call the church office and we can update your privacy settings at any time from our end.

Please note: There are many church members and participants for whom we do not have an email address on file, either because they simply don't have an email address or because it has not been shared with us. We will soon be working our way alphabetically through those folks and automatically adding them to our "online directory" (see above). If you do NOT want to be added to our "online directory," please call the church office at 540-343-7685 and let us know. We will be happy to exclude you from the directory if you prefer.