The Witness

Volume 40, Issue 49

December 7, 2022

Finding Peace

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

Last Sunday we lit the second candle of Advent, the Candle of Peace. Peace is one of the central themes of Advent. As we discussed, Jesus was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy that called Israel’s coming Messiah the “Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7).” When the angels appeared to the shepherds, they ended their message by saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests (Luke 2:14).” When Simeon saw baby Jesus in the Temple, he thanked God that he could now die in peace for he had seen the Messiah (Luke 2:29-33).”

Though the meaning of peace can vary, the peace we are promised in Christ is one that gives “rest to our souls (Matthew 11:29).” This is not a peace we can choose; it is one that only Christ can provide. We do not achieve rest for our souls; we receive it from Christ. However, in Paul’s words to the Philippians, he describes something we can choose in order to prepare ourselves and the world to receive Christ’s peace. As he delivers his final exhortations in the fourth chapter of his letter to the church in Philippi, he singles out Euodia and Syntyche. Though we do not have much information about these two women, we know that they were prominent leaders in the church at Philippi who were well known and respected in the community. Unfortunately, for reasons unbeknownst to us, Euodia and Syntyche were in the midst of a heated disagreement when Paul wrote this letter. Paul was very distraught about their fallout because he knew how important they were to the church’s mission.

In response to their conflict, Paul encouraged them that the peace of Christ, which surpasses all understanding, was available to them and had the power to guard their hearts and minds despite their hurt and pain. But first there were two things they had to do, in order to be prepared to receive it. He instructed them, Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Though God’s peace was not something they could achieve, it was something they would receive if they were willing to be gentle with everyone and rejoice in all things.

Rejoicing in the Lord always is not the same as rejoicing in the Lord for all things. God does not expect our praise for the suffering we face, but Paul did believe in the power of choosing to rejoice in God’s goodness in the midst of our pain. This mindset does not deny or overlook our pain, but is a choice to see more than just our pain. The same is true for gentleness. Rather than an avoidance of conflict, gentleness is a way to approach conflict that reminds everyone involved “the Lord is near.” As Paul wrote to the Galatians, gentleness is one of the Fruits of the Spirit required by all who wish to live and be guided by the Spirit. According to Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount, it is the gentle who will ultimately inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).”

In a world where pain and suffering, conflict and discord abound, peace is something we all want, but can struggle to find. It is something we long for personally; it is something we pray for globally. And yet, according to Paul, peace is not something we can reach on our own. We cannot will ourselves or our world to be at peace. We can choose, however, to be gentle with everyone and find reasons to rejoice in everything. This is not an attempt to deny our pain, but instead, a choice to see beyond our pain. A decision to trust that through Emmanuel “the Lord is near.” That knowledge—knowing God’s nearness—is the source of a peace that may not change our circumstances, but will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus forevermore.   

-- Travis

This Sunday, December 11th:

The Third Sunday of Advent

The theme for this third Sunday of Advent is JOY, and the Chancel Choir and Orchestra will present this year's Christmas Musical, "A Weary World Rejoices." Susan, Cody, Holden, & Riley White will light our Advent wreath. If you cannot join us in person, please tune in through our website or Facebook group page.

REMINDER: From now through January 1st, we have a modified Sunday morning schedule, with One Combined Morning Worship service at 10:30 AM each week and Sunday School at 9:15 AM. (No Sunday School on Christmas Day.)

Holiday Worship Schedule

Following is the remainder of our Advent and holiday worship schedule:

  • Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 18th - 9:15 AM Sunday School, 10:30 AM One Combined Morning Worship Service. Our Children's Choirs will perform, and several baptisms are scheduled!
  • Christmas Eve, December 24th - 5:00 PM Worship Service.
  • Christmas Day, December 25th - 10:30 AM One Combined Morning Worship Service (NO Sunday School).
  • New Year's Day, January 1st - 9:15 AM Sunday School, 10:30 AM One Combined Morning Worship Service.

Wednesday Nights @ VBC

* TONIGHT – Family Christmas Event! Dinner begins at 5:30 PM for those who signed up, and our Family Event will start at 6:15 PM (no Children's Choirs). Plan to join us for a time of fellowship with crafts, music, a mission project (see request for Rescue Mission items below), cookies, & cocoa!!

* December 14 – Menu: ham, mac & cheese, sweet potatoes, bread, and dessert. Ministry Matters begins at 6:15 PM. Youth will visit the Rescue Mission for a Christmas Dinner & Party. Children's Choirs will have their Christmas parties. And adult choirs will meet as usual. This will be our last Wednesday night meeting this year.

Dinner reservations are due by 5:00 PM the Monday prior to each dinner by calling 540-343-7685. Costs are $7/adult (ages 13+); $5/child (ages 4-12); children 3 and under are free; max per family (living in the same household) is $20; first-time guests are complimentary; takeout boxes are 50 cents/each.


Rescue Mission Children's

Christmas Gift Bags

During our Family Christmas Event TONIGHT we will make Christmas bags for the children at the Rescue Mission. If you would like to donate any of the following items, please bring them with you to the event tonight: Walmart/McDonald's gift cards, small or travel size board games, fun athletic socks/slipper socks, Chapstick, lotion, cute hand sanitizers, books, brushes/hair bows, mini characters (Minecraft, Roblox, super heroes), small plush toys, journals, coloring books, pens/crayons/colored pencils. Our goal is to stuff at least 15 bags of goodies!

Thrive Student Ministry

Tonight our Youth will participate in our Family Christmas Event here at the church! On Sunday there will be no Youth Choir. Instead, we'll have our Christmas Party & Progressive Dinner 5:00 - 7:30 PM. On Wednesday, December 14th our Youth Missions Group will help with a Christmas Dinner & Party at the Rescue Mission.

Christmas Brunch Fundraiser: December 18th

This Sunday, be sure to purchase your tickets at the Welcome Center for our December 18th Christmas Brunch Fundraiser, which will take place in the gym following the combined worship service and will be hosted by the Preteens. This event is a fundraiser for the Preteen trip to Passport Camp this summer. Tickets are $10/person. The menu includes pancakes with toppings, bacon/sausage, eggs, pastries, fresh fruit, holiday punch, coffee, etc. Thanks in advance for your support!

Sandra Williams

Park Oak Grove Apt. 204

4920 Woodmar Drive SW

Roanoke VA 2408

December 4, 2022:

  • 10:30 AM Worship: 360
  • Sunday School: 201

Thank you to the Pairs & Spares Sunday School Class for their donation to the Food Pantry.

Thank you to the Open Door Sunday School Class for their donation to the Food Pantry.

Christian sympathy is extended to Jim Nelson and Mason Drew and family in the death of Sue Nelson December 4th.

Christmas Giving Tree

There are still tags available on the Giving Tree if you would like to pick one up. We are also accepting monetary donations to purchase gifts for any remaining tags. All gifts should be purchased, wrapped, and returned no later than Tuesday, December 13th. If you are interested in helping wrap or deliver gifts December 14th or 15th, please let Whitney know. Thank you for helping make Christmas possible for these students!

Please extend a warm welcome to Jackson Kendrick and Junior Steele, who both joined VBC last Sunday by profession of faith.

Jackson is the son of Sara Kendrick, and their address is 5114 Baldwin Court, Roanoke VA 24019.

Junior is a member of the Wade & Donna Jackson family, and their address is 230 Bowman Street, Vinton VA 24179.

Junior and Jackson, we are so proud of you and welcome you in Christian fellowship!

Children's Worship Volunteers

Please consider volunteering to help in Children's Worship in December. Click here for the current sign-up sheet. If you're interested but not sure what's involved, reach out to Sarah.


Family Christmas Tree

It's not too late to add an ornament to our Family Christmas Tree! If you are new to VBC, or if you have simply never donated an ornament representing your family, please bring your ornament and place it on our tree this season. Please notate your name/family's name and the year "2022" on your ornament. When Christmas is over, we will store all ornaments here at the church to be used on next year's Family Christmas Tree.

Updated List of Needs for the Blessing Box

Pop Tarts, cereal, shampoo for women, Spam, Ramen Noodles, cornbread mixes, any type of individual snack (chips, Fruit Roll Ups, graham crackers), any type of snack crackers (peanut butter, cheese, white cheddar, etc.). All donations can be turned in at the Missions Tables. Thank you!

Lottie Moon Post Office

The Lottie Moon Post Office is open at the Missions Tables. You may use it to "mail" Christmas cards to church members. Simply bring your Christmas cards for church members, place them in the appropriate cubby in the Post Office (organized alphabetically), and contribute 25 cents/card. All proceeds benefit the Lottie Moon Foreign Missions Offering. Members, drop by the Lottie Moon Post Office from time to time during the Christmas season to check for any cards that you may have received.

Helpful information from the Finance Committee:

  • The Building Fund is used to track donations for major church construction or renovation projects or to pay any loans used to finance major construction or renovations. We do not have any church construction or renovation projects at this time, so the funds are held for future use.
  • The Capital Needs Fund is used to pay for mechanical components, fixtures, furniture, or other assets needed by the church that would typically have a useful life longer than one year. It is often used for maintenance projects involving HVAC systems, roofing or other building repairs, or can be used to purchase new furniture or equipment such as cameras, projectors, sound equipment, or computers.

Play Group Coming to VBC in January

If you have a young child in your life (newborn - PreK) and would enjoy fellowshipping with other families, we have a new play group forming just for you! Beginning January 5th, our Fun & The Son Play Group will meet on Thursdays, 9:30 - 10:30 AM in the Kindergarten room on the first floor of the children's wing. We will provide interactive play opportunities for babies and toddlers and their families. Each child must be supervised by an adult parent, grandparent, or guardian for the full hour. Come out and spend some time playing with others and getting to know neighbors and friends. Questions? Interested? See Betty Jo Overstreet.

Thank you so much for the donations you gave me for the clinic! It is much appreciated and is much needed. Your kindness and generosity will help many students that come through these doors. Thank you again!

Alisha Wood, RN, BSN

WBHS School Nurse

December 2022 Calendar