The Witness
Volume 39, Issue 48
December 1, 2021
"God Positioning System"
Last week, we spent some time on the road in order to be with our family for all of the Thanksgiving festivities. Though I have learned the best routes for us to take when driving to NC, I still use the GPS on my phone to ensure I do not miss a turn or exit. Because my watch is connected to my phone, not only does my phone give verbal instructions when a turn or exit is approaching, but my watch also vibrates in unison with these directives. These reminders really help to keep me on track. When I get distracted talking with Whitney, helping the boys with something they need, or listening to music, it is easy to get off course.

I have noticed that the intensity of my phone’s verbal instructions and my watch’s vibrations vary depending on how close I am to the suggested route. The closer I am to the intended path of my GPS, the more it will call out to me when I make a wrong turn. The farther I get from the designated route or the longer I stay off of it, the less my GPS devices continue to buzz, beep, vibrate, and call out to me. Last week, when we pulled off the interstate and turned into a Sheetz gas station, the GPS on my phone repeatedly told me to make a U-turn and my watch vibrated incessantly. However, the longer we stayed at the gas station, the quieter each one became. The screen on each device clearly indicated that we were off course, but the bells and buzzers to indicate this error grew faint.

Rather than a Global Positioning System (i.e. GPS), scripture reveals that we were created with a God Positioning System. As those created in God’s image, God’s very essence is intricately woven into our innermost being. In John, Jesus said to his disciples: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him (John 14:23).” Paul wrote to Timothy, “Through the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, guard the treasure which has been entrusted to you (2 Timothy 1:14).” He also wrote to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (1 Corinthians 3:16)?” All throughout the New Testament, we are reminded that God did not just create us, but continues to live and abide, speak and move within us. This is our very own God Positioning System built within us that sets our course, directs our steps, and seeks to keep us on a path that travels with God and ultimately lead us home to God.

Like my phone’s GPS, this God Positioning System not only sets our route, but it too calls out to us when we get off course. After Adam and Eve’s sin, scripture records: “But the Lord called out to Adam, 'Where are you' (Genesis 3:9)?” When Moses needed to take a detour from herding sheep to freeing God’s people, “God called out to him from the bush, 'Moses, Moses' (Exodus 3:4b)!” When Elijah took a wrong turn and ended up lost in a cave, God’s still small voice called out to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah (1 Kings 19:13b)?” All throughout scripture, when God’s people made a wrong turn, missed their exit, strayed off course and lost their way, like the GPS on my phone and watch, God’s voice called out to them. However, the longer God’s people stayed off course, the more God’s voice seemed to grow dim. This can be heard through David’s plea: “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me (Psalm 13:1)?”

David knew he was off-track when God’s voice seemed to fall silent, when the bells and buzzers of God’s directions grew faint. And yet through Jesus, God revealed that he is with us; he promised that he will never leave nor forsake us. What David did not fully understand, but Christ would later reveal, is that God is never absent from us, but sometimes we can be absent from God. As we navigate our way through life, it can be easy for us to get distracted, miss our turn, and get off-track. Thankfully, we have a God Positioning System built within us that sets our course, directs our steps, and seeks to keep us on a path that leads to God. The more we follow this route and do our best to stay close to it, the clearer we will hear God’s instructions buzz, beep, and call out to us when we need to make a turn, take a detour, or stay straight. If those signals have grown dim in our lives, it’s a fairly safe bet that we’ve wandered off course. The Advent season is a perfect time to begin making our way back. Through Advent, we are reminded that no matter where we are on life’s journey, God is with us; He is within us. The more we head in his direction, the louder his voice can be heard and the clearer his instructions will be that ultimately lead us home to God.
Sunday Worship, December 5th
The Second Sunday of Advent
Please plan to join us for worship this Sunday at 8:45 or 11:00 AM (Sunday School at 9:50 AM). Travis' sermon is "God's Favor," based in Luke 1:26-38. If you choose to worship virtually, please access our livestream through our website or FB live.
Plan to join us this Saturday at 3:00 PM for our annual
Steel Drum Concert!
Bible in a Year Reading
Read this week:
The Old Testament: 1 Chronicles 24-29; 2 Chronicles 1-4
The New Testament: 1 Peter; 1 John
Old Testament Prophecy: Micah; Nahum
Gospels: Luke 12-28
Meditate: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8
Prayer: My God, you continue to show me what is good and what you require of me. Guide me as I learn to walk humbly with you so I may be able to do justice and love kindness. 
Wednesday Night Dinners & Activities
We have three Wednesday night dinners in December, beginning tonight. Adult Bible Study, Thrive Youth Group, Children's Choirs, and adult choir rehearsals follow dinner. (Please note that we will have a Ministry Matters meeting next Wednesday, December 8th in lieu of Adult Bible Study.) Please click here for tonight's study notes and see below for dinner menus for the next two weeks.
December 8th - Soup & Salad Dinner: Drew's Homestyle Potato Soup, Fresh Fruit,
Garden Salad, Cornbread, & Dessert
December 15th - Christmas Dinner: Ham, Aunt Pat's Potatoes, Green Beans, Rolls, & Holiday Desserts
Iced tea, lemonade, & water are available every Wednesday. *Coffee is also now available!* Costs are $6/adult, $5/child (ages 4-12), children <4 are free, max per household is $18. Sign up by calling the church office at 540-343-7685 no later than 5 PM the day prior to dinner. We cannot take late registrations.
2021 Christmas Craft & Vendor Fair
Our Christmas Craft & Vendor Fair is this Sunday from 1:00 until 4:00 PM in the gym! Plan to come do all your LOCAL Christmas shopping. We have over 20 vendors scheduled, many with one-of-a-kind, handcrafted items. We also have vendors representing some nationally recognized companies, such as Mary & Martha, Usborne Books, Color Street, & Pampered Chef. The VBC youth and preteens will be selling snacks, a "meal deal," beverages, and baked goods, as well as offering a gift wrapping service. All snack and gift wrapping proceeds go to support this summer's Passport Camps expenses for our children and preteens. Spread the word, and bring a friend!
JOY Seniors Trip to Attic Theater
REMINDER: This Friday, December 3rd is the final date to sign up for our December 11th day trip to Attic Theater (to see "Welcome to Mitford") and Bellacino's. You must sign up and pay for your theater ticket ($12/person) by Friday in order to secure your spot. Your only other cost is your dinner, which you will pay for at the restaurant. We will depart VBC at 1:30 PM. Please contact Barbara Shutt with any questions.
Thrive Student Ministry
Upcoming Dates:
This Sunday, December 5th, 11:15am- Christmas Craft and Vendor Fair- Any funds raised at the vendor fair will go directly towards camp cost for any student that participates! (If your student is unable to attend December 5th but would like to participate, please let me know! I have some jobs that can be done before or after!) Meet in the gym at 11:15am for an exciting afternoon! A hot dog lunch will be provided and a pizza dinner before kids head to choir at 5:00pm. No Extreme after a day of hard work!
Regular Schedule: Wednesdays, 12/8 and 12/15; Sunday, 12/12
Sunday, December 19th: Progressive Dinner -Bring a gift for our Christmas gift exchange. Return to the church around 8:00pm. (There will be no Youth Choir 12/19.)
Monday, December 20th: Provide Dinner for the Children’s Shelter at the Rescue Mission
-Meet at the church at 3:45pm. We will keep you updated through text on return time. 
Children's Christmas Boxes
Children's Christmas boxes will be available this Sunday on the first floor in the children's hallway. Each family will be able to share one box throughout the season of Advent. Once you pick up a box, please be sure to add your child's name to the list next to the table so that we can make sure each family has received a box. As always, be sure to tune in to the Children's Facebook page for updates and details about the activities. Merry Christmas!
Art from the Heart
Mark your calendars for December 12th, when kids ages 4 - 5th grade are invited to Art from the Heart, 4:00 - 5:00 PM. Please note that there will NOT be a pizza dinner or CIA this month, but we hope you will join us for a fun hour of art, fellowship, and special treats!
Donald Helms
The Village on Pheasant Ridge
4448 Pheasant Ridge Road #404
Roanoke VA 24014-5206
November 28, 2021:
8:45 AM
In person - 175
Online - 103
11:00 AM
In person - 184
Online - 113
Sunday School - 202
Thank you to the Dorcas Class for donations to the Blessing Box and Boys & Girls Club, and to the Disciples Class for their gift to the Community Assistance Fund.
Christian sympathy is extended to Kathryn Sowers in the death of her cousin, Bonnie Bierer; to Jo-Ann Lonker, Todd, and Whitney and families in the death of husband and father, Steve Lonker, on November 30th; and to Steve & Darlene Marshall and family in the death of his mother, Betty Marshall, on November 30th.
Please extend a warm welcome to two new members who joined this past Sunday by profession of faith: Spencer Boyd and Mason Moses. Spencer is the daughter of Trey & Stephanie Boyd, 1013 Halliahurst Avenue, Vinton VA 24179. Mason is the son of Ashleigh & Tim Pinion, 639 Olney Road, Vinton VA 24179. A baptismal service is being planned for December 19th. Welcome, Spencer and Mason!
Children's Basketball
The deadline for registration for Children's Basketball for Kindergarten - 5th grade is this Friday, December 3rd. Please stop by the Church Office to complete a registration form, or simply click here to print your form (please complete the form appropriate for your child's age/grade level.) This year's fee is $40 per participant, payable by cash or check to VBC.
Lottie Moon Post Office
The Lottie Moon Post Office is available at the Missions Tables as an option for "mailing" your Christmas cards to church members and regular attenders at 25 cents/card. All proceeds benefit the Lottie Moon Foreign Missions Offering.
Children's Volunteers Are Needed
Children's Worship volunteers are needed every Sunday. Thanks to all those who regularly help out. A new volunteer sign-up has been created, with dates through January. The new year is a great time to get involved in a new ministry!! Please click here to sign up.
Blessing Box
Items currently needed for the Blessing Box: liquid dish detergent, toilet paper, Spam, Hamburger Helper meals, Manwich, potted meat, boxes/bags of instant potatoes, and muffin mixes. Items can be turned in at the Missions Tables. Our church and community thank you!
The deadline to order poinsettias to decorate our sanctuary this Christmas season is this Sunday, December 5th. Poinsettias will be purchased from Martin's again this year at a cost of $10/each. You may order in honor or memory of a loved one. Please stop by the church office to place your order by Sunday.
The Giving Tree (formerly "Angel Tree")
The Giving Tree is available in the Welcome Center with tags for children from local elementary schools and Keystone Community Center. Please pick up your tag(s) as soon as possible; make sure to register your name in the Welcome Center to correspond with your tag(s) so that we can keep track of each child's gifts. Two gifts (one clothing and one toy/interest) are requested with each tag. Gifts can be purchased, wrapped, and returned to the church no later than Monday, December 13th. Please write the tag # on each gift before returning them to the church. Thank you!!!
Dish Towels Needed
The kitchen is in need of serviceable dish towels for Wednesday night dinners. They can be gently used or new, but we prefer nothing fancy. Please drop off your dish towels in the church office. Thank you!
"Be a Piece of the Puzzle" Adoption Fundraiser for Joseph and Kristi Miller
As we begin the Advent season and anticipate the birth of the Christ child, a family in our church is also eagerly awaiting a child. Joseph and Kristi Miller have gone live for a domestic adoption this week.

The Millers have struggled for many years with infertility. They have gone through three fertility treatments, two surgeries, one miscarriage and more tests than one would expect to have in a lifetime.

After lots of prayer and discernment, the Millers plan on welcoming a child into their home, not grown inside or by them, but grown in their hearts. They are excited to see where God takes their family, made of abundant love.

Would you be interested in being a piece of the puzzle that brings a child into a home filled with God’s love? Join us in our community adoption fundraiser for the Millers. You can purchase a piece of their puzzle, available in the church lobby, for a donation of $5 (or more!) per piece. Begin putting the puzzle together as a symbol of our support for the Millers.

Once the puzzle is complete, new baby Miller will have a puzzle hanging as a reminder of the love this community shares for their family.

Donations can be made via cash or check/online donation to Vinton Baptist Church with the memo line: Puzzle Adoption Fundraiser for Joseph and Kristi Miller.