The Witness

Volume 41, Issue 13

March 22, 2023

A Living Hope

The Chancel Choir will present the Musical "A Living Hope" this Sunday, April 2. It is a collection of hymns rooted in the hope that we find through Jesus' powerful resurrection. Solosists will include: Lori Rodgers, Susan Foster and Randy Whitmer. A small instrumental ensemble will accompany the group. Including: Flutes- Cindy Gardner and Gretchen Miller, Clarinet- Tim Arbogast, Horn- Shelby Byrus, Trumpet- Thomas Graham, Piano- Wanda Melchers, Strings- Kera Moore, Camellia Delk and Cathy Fisher, Bass Guitar- Gari Melchers. A procession of palms from our children, communion and a meditation from Rev. Travis Russell will be a part of the morning's festivities. Invite your neighbors and friends to come and celebrate the risen Christ with us this Sunday at 8:45 and 11:00. 

- Chris

Informational versus Formational

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the person of God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Last Sunday, I used Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones to emphasize the importance of God’s Word. As we discussed, God’s Word is a multifaceted concept. In his book Shaped by the Word, M. Robert Mulholland Jr. explains that “The Word of God is the action of the presence, the purpose, and the power of God in the midst of human life (41).” In the Old Testament, God’s presence, power, and purposes were experienced in and through the nation of Israel. In the Gospels, God’s presence, power and purposes were fully revealed in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ—the Word made flesh. In the Book of Acts, God’s presence, power, and purposes were seen through the gift of the Holy Spirit working through the disciples, apostles, and early church. All throughout scripture, God’s Word was active and available through a variety of revelations.  

When we speak of the Word of God, it is important to define exactly what we mean because it is such a complex phrase. As the Gospel of John describes, the Word of God made flesh is Jesus; he is the source of life, the light of all people (John 1:4). As Paul described to Timothy, scripture is the inspired Word of God. It is not the source of life or the light of all people. The written Word of God prepares us to receive the Word of God made flesh whose power and presence is available to us through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Scripture is not the source of life, but it does uniquely and intimately connect us to that source. If we are not consistently reading and hearing the written Word of God, then we are not ready to receive the Word of God made flesh through the power of the Holy Spirit.

And yet, to ensure that scripture is able to do within us what Paul described to Timothy, there is something we must do. According to Mulholland, the transformative impact of scripture requires that we make a shift in the way we read it. We must move from an informational model to a formational model of reading. Informational reading certainly has its place in life. Assembling a piece of future requires informational reading—reading the instructions for the purpose of putting the pieces together correctly. Reading the owner’s manual to our car requires informational reading to ensure we understand the components of our vehicle and how to operate it properly.

Informational reading is necessary in our world, but it is not the way in which scripture was intended to be read. Informational reading supplies us with information about something we want to know, a skill we want to develop, a goal we want to achieve, a solution for a problem we want to solve, or an answer to a question we want to explain.

Formational reading is different. Rather than using the material to achieve our purposes, formational reading is intended to shape our purposes. Informational reading is meant to inform us; formational reading is meant to transform us. Instead of enlightening our minds, formational reading changes our minds. This is what Paul wanted Timothy to understand about scripture. God uses it to teach us, reprove us, correct us, and train us. Instead of helping us to know something more or do something better, God speaks through scripture to ensure we are being formed by something different than our own plans and purposes. The point of the written Word is to connect us with the Word made flesh so that our lives become transformed by his presence, power, and purposes. As Mulholland describes in The Deeper Journey, “God’s presence becomes the context of our daily life, God’s purposes become the matrix of our activities, and the values of God’s kingdom shape our life and relationships (139).”

As we read the written Word of God this week, may we seek to be formed rather than simply informed. May we ask: God, what are you seeking to say to me through this passage? What is your Word of address to me? Lord, help me to be attentive to how your presence, power, and purposes are shaping me through these words. 


This Sunday, April 2nd

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, and the Chancel Choir & Orchestra will present this year's musical, A Living Hope, at both morning worship services. Travis' message is "God's Love Is Enough," and the scripture is Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29. If you cannot join us in person, tune in through our website or Facebook group page.

Youth Volleyball practice, as well as all usual Sunday afternoon/evening events will take place at their usual times.

If you ordered Edible Easter Eggs, don't forget to pick them up this Sunday in the kitchen between 10:00 and 10:45 AM or between 12:00 and 12:30 PM. Thank you for making this a successful fundraiser for the Preteens!

Wednesdays @ VBC

Tonight there is NO dinner, Youth group, Children's Choirs, or Praise Team due to Spring Break. The Chancel Choir AND Orchestra WILL have their dress rehearsal at 7:30 PM for the Palm Sunday Musical.

Wednesday night dinner and other activities will resume next Wednesday, April 5th. April menus will be available soon.

Thrive Student Ministry's

Youth BBQ Fundraiser

The Youth are sponsoring a BBQ Fundraiser to help fund their mission trip to Nashville! This is Eastern NC style chopped pork BBQ with either vinegar or homemade molasses sauce. Coleslaw is also available. BBQ will be smoked overnight by Brad Radford. Ordering options are 1) 1/4 lb. sandwich for $5.00/each; 2) sandwich, chips, & drink combo for $7.00; 3) one pound container of BBQ for $10.00. BBQ must be pre-ordered by April 19th. It will be available for pickup Sunday, April 23rd following each worship service. Place your order with a teen or in the church office as soon as possible, or click here to order online.

Youth, sign up for our Youth Mission Trip to Nashville June 18th - 23rd. Cost is $175/person. Please click here for all the details. Deposits are due this Friday, March 31st.

The Lovelace Scholarship

Applications are now being accepted for the Lovelace Scholarship, which is awarded each year to a graduating senior who is a member of Vinton Baptist and who will be attending a four-year college or university. The $1,000 scholarship is awarded for the student's first year of school. Applications are available in the church office and should be returned no later than Friday, April 7, 2023.

Looking Forward to Holy Week

This Sunday, April 2nd the Chancel Choir & Orchestra will present our Palm Sunday Musical, A Living Hope, at both morning worship services.

On Wednesday, April 5th we will have all usual Wednesday night activities. Menu TBA.

On Thursday, April 6th we will have a 6:00 PM Maundy Thursday service in the sanctuary.

On Saturday, April 8th we hope you'll join us for our children's/family event, Journey to the Cross, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Everyone is welcome!

And on Sunday, April 9th we will celebrate the risen Christ!

Fun & the Son Play Group

Fun & the Son Play Group is expanding! This interactive play time for children ages newborn - PreK has been so successful that another day has been added each week. Starting April 3rd, the play group will meet Mondays and Thursdays, 9:30 - 10:30 AM. Questions? Contact Betty Jo Overstreet.

Vinton Baptist Church Hope Center

Beginning April 4th, Cathy Abraham, a Licensed Professional Counselor, will offer free, private, confidential counseling for our VBC family. Cathy focuses on marriage and families, co-parenting through divorce and separation, adults and children having gone through childhood trauma, and general life stressors for ages 13 and up. Appointments can be made for Tuesdays at 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, or 2:00 PM. Sessions will take place at the church, and you can make an appointment by calling the church office at 540-343-7685.

Journey to the Cross

Parents and children, please plan to join us Saturday, April 8th from 10:00 AM until noon for our VBS-style family Easter event. This will be a fun, interactive experience. Invite your friends and neighbors!

Please click here if you can help with our stations. See Whitney with questions.

JOY Seniors

A private, guided tour of The Greenbrier is planned for Thursday, April 20th. The cost is $60, plus lunch on your own at Cook's Country Kitchen. Please sign up and pay at the JOY Senior table.

Our first overnight trip of 2023 will be to Lancaster, PA May 9 - 11 to see the Sight & Sound production of "Moses." We will also enjoy a ride on the Strasburg Railroad, visit Landis Valley Farm & Museum, enjoy a dinner/show, and shop at the Farmer's Market. Details at the JOY Senior table, and a payment plan can be set up (see Mary Kendrick).

Join us October 17 - 20 for a trip to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. This trip will also include a riverboat dinner cruise on the Ohio River. Find more details, including pricing, at the JOY Senior table. Payment plans are available (see Mary Kendrick).

Wednesday Women

Wednesday Women will be back beginning April 12th! We will explore Melissa Spoelstra's Isaiah: Striving Less and Trusting God More, which is a 7-week study (ending May 24th). We will meet 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM in the Disciple Center. Please secure your own book if at all possible; they are available through Scripture Truth (Fincastle), Amazon, Christianbook, and Lifeway. Otherwise, the church can order one for you at a cost of $23/book if you sign up by April 4th. Regardless of whether you need a book or not, please register in the church office so that we can prepare for you. Questions? See Susan Jones.

Passport Kids' Camp (for Preteens)

3rd-5th graders are invited to sign up for Passport Kids' Camp at Eagle Eyrie June 14th - 17th. A $75 deposit is due this Friday, March 31st. The remaining balance is due May 1st. Click here for all the details.

Science & the Bible: A Creation Study

This study, led by Wally Mayo, will kick off Sunday, April 23rd and continue Wednesdays at 6:15 PM on April 26th and May 3rd. Don't miss this enthralling study on what the Bible says about the creation. We will also look at how the latest science relates to what the Bible tells us. More details coming soon.

Linda Mayhew

Our Lady of the Valley #337

650 N. Jefferson Street

Roanoke VA 24016

VBC Easter Offering

This year's VBC Easter Offering will be distributed equally among the Boys & Girls Club, Keystone Community Center, and GraceInside Prison Chaplain ministry. Please mark your gift "VBC Easter Offering" or use the appropriate envelope.

Annie Armstrong Easter Offering

Now is the season for giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. The GOAL for our church is $2,450.00. There are special envelopes in your box of church envelopes, as well as in the church pews. This offering is used to help support missionaries in Canada, the U.S., and Central and South America. It helps to start new church plants, to provide for college campus ministries, and in various other ways of supporting missions.

Honoring Ethel Dickerson's

Service to WMU

On Sunday, March 19th a surprise reception was held to honor Ethel Dickerson for her years of service to the Vinton Baptist, Roanoke Valley, and Virginia WMU organizations. Members of our two WMU circles, Alma Hunt and Helen Siner Wood, donated funds to purchase a brick in Ethel's honor, to be installed in the Walk of Faith at the national WMU headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama.

Ethel served our church WMU and the Roanoke Valley Baptist WMU as director. She served on the Virginia Baptist WMU committee that chose and purchased the property for Crossroads Camp & Conference Center, the Virginia Baptist camp located in Lowesville, Virginia.

A note from Ethel: Thank you to the Vinton Baptist WMU for the honor bestowed on me Sunday as well as the reception with so many of my friends there. I so appreciate being recognized by my peers for work done joyfully in service to my Lord over the years.

Can You Help with Children's Church?

We are in need of teachers and helpers for Children's Church for each service every Sunday. If you can volunteer, please click here to sign up. Dates are available from now through the summer. If you'd like to help, but you're not sure what's required, please reach out to Whitney.

Bible Reading Plan

Numbers is proving to be more interesting than I anticipated! We've got the Israelites refusing to follow God into the Promised Land, and Moses pleading for mercy for them; we find an earthquake swallowing up Korah, Dathan, & Abiram, as well as fire burning up 250 of their followers; and then we read about a wayward prophet and a donkey that talks! There are multiple incidents that involve themes of leadership, control, obedience, disobedience, and mercy.

Just a few questions for you to ponder at this point:

1) When have you heard clear instructions from the Lord and chosen to follow him? What happened? Did the experience help you trust God more or not?

2) When have you heard clear instructions from the Lord and chosen NOT to follow him? What happened? How did it make you feel? Did you wish for (or get) another chance?

3) Would you have begged for mercy for the Israelites the way that Moses and Aaron did in these chapters? Why or why not?

4) What would you have done if your donkey talked to you?!?

If Click here for a printable copy of our Bible reading plan.


The potted calandiva plant with sweet little pink flowers you sent for Emmett was beautiful. Thank you, Ethel Yonce

April 2023 Calendar