The Witness

Volume 41, Issue 16 - April 19, 2023

Strong and Courageous

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’s assistant, saying, “My servant Moses is dead. Now proceed to cross the Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the Israelites. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, as I promised to Moses. . . . I hereby command you: ‘Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go’” (Joshua 1:1-3, 9).

When was the last time you felt too scared to do something you needed to do? This is a consistent conversation at the Russell home that usually takes place in the middle of the night. One of the boys will wake up scared about something (a bad dream, a ghost in their room, a snake in their bed, a robber breaking into our house, or a noise outside their window) and will ask if they can sleep with us. Every night, we give the same answer—no. After assuring them that there are no ghosts, robbers, or snakes (I hope!) in our home, we go through the options with them. You can either sleep in a sleeping bag beside our bed, go sleep in your brother’s room, or read a book in your bed until you are ready to go back to sleep. Sometimes this process goes smoothly, other nights it does not. Instead of choosing one of the options we provide, they may respond with something like, “I just can’t do it; I’m too scared.”

I imagine Joshua may have felt similarly in the passage above. He had just received the saddest and scariest news of his journey with the Israelites: Moses is dead. And now, God expected Joshua to cross the Jordan River and lead the Israelites into Canaan. For decades, Joshua was able to rely on Moses. Now the decisions were up to him. Just as Moses had been celebrated for the people’s successes and blamed for their failures, Joshua would now assume that responsibility. The future of God’s people was now up to him. I am sure he had moments when he probably thought to himself, “I just can’t do it; I’m too scared.” In preparation for the journey ahead, God not only assured Joshua he would be with him, he also commanded him to “be strong and courageous.”

Carter has this same Bible verse in a frame, hanging over his dresser: “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). He has it memorized. On the nights he cannot sleep, I often bring it to his attention. As he has heard me say many times, courage is not about being fearless; without fear there is no courage; courage is the ability to do something that frightens us. It is a willingness to speak and act despite our fear. It is choosing to do something we need to do, even though we are scared. And yet, courage is not developed or exercised in isolation. As God declared to Joshua, it is choosing to be strong in the face of overwhelming odds and difficult circumstances because we choose to trust the One who is with us.

Carter and Parker have to be reminded of this in the middle of the night after a bad dream, in order to do what they need to do—sleep in their own bed. Joshua needed this assurance after Moses’ death, in order to do what God was calling him to do—lead Israel into the Promised Land. What is something you need to do, but do not want to do? What is something God may be calling you to do, but you feel too scared to do it? Whatever it may be, may we choose to be strong and courageous by choosing to trust the One who is with us wherever we go  -Travis 

This Sunday, April 23rd

Wally Mayo will begin his three-part presentation on science and the Bible during worship this week. This Sunday's sermon is "God of Wonders: A Creation Study." The second installment of his presentation will take place during Adult Bible Study next Wednesday, April 26th, and it will wrap up during Adult Bible Study Wednesday, May 3rd.

We will also hear from the VBC Handbell Choir during both morning services this Sunday. If you cannot join us in person, tune in through our website or Facebook group page. All usual Sunday afternoon and evening activities are scheduled, as well as the Preteen outing including lunch and snow tubing (see below)!


3rd - 5th graders, plan to join us this Sunday, April 23rd, 12:00 - 5:00 PM for lunch, snow tubing at Liberty University's Snowflex venue, and a trip to Crumbl afterward. Lunch will be provided. The cost for tubing is $15/person. Please complete this required waiver and bring it with you to the event (copies are also available in the church office). See Donna Thomas with any questions.

If you are going to Passport Kids Camp this summer, the final $100 payment is due May 1st. Please also return the VBC Medical Release form and this year's Passport Kids Camp form.

Wednesdays @ VBC

Tonight we will have all of our usual Wednesday evening activities, including dinner (burgers, macaroni salad, baked beans, and dessert - 5:30 PM) for those who signed up. Join us for Youth missions at 6:00 PM (going to the Rescue Mission); Adult Bible Study (on Psalm 95 tonight), Children's Choirs, and Praise Team rehearsal at 6:15 PM; and Chancel Choir rehearsal at 7:30 PM.

Following are the menus for the next several weeks:

  • April 26th - pot roast, tomato & noodles, salad, roll, and dessert
  • May 3rd - stuffed green peppers, quiche, grilled chicken, broccoli salad, mac & cheese, green bean casserole, bread, and dessert
  • May 10th - chicken salad on croissant, pickled beets, BLT pasta salad, and dessert
  • May 17th - meatloaf, spaghetti, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, bread, and dessert

Please note that May 17th will be our final set of Wednesday night events until next fall. We will also have a Ministry Matters meeting that evening instead of the scheduled meeting in June.

Please sign up for dinner (or make changes to your reservation) by 5:00 PM each Monday prior to dinner. Dinner costs: $6/adult (ages 13+), $4/child (ages 4-12), children 3 and under are free, and the max per family living in the same household is $18. First-time guests are free.

Thrive Student Ministry's Youth BBQ Fundraiser

It's not too late to place your order for Eastern NC style chopped pork BBQ! All proceeds benefit the June youth mission trip to Nashville. You will have options to pick up vinegar or homemade molasses sauce, as well as coleslaw. 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. Please place your order today. It will be available for pickup this Sunday outside the glass doors of the New Ministries Building following each worship service. Place your order in the church office or at dinner tonight, or click here to order and pay online.

JOY Seniors

If you signed up for tomorrow's trip to The Greenbrier, plan to depart the VBC parking lot at 7:30 AM. We plan to return approximately 3:45 PM.

Our May trip to Lancaster, PA is full! You can, however, sign up for the wait list in case someone drops out. Full payment is due by this Friday, April 21st for those who have signed up.

The April JOY Luncheon is next Tuesday, April 25th. Lunch will be ordered from Chick-fil-A ($10/person). Sign up and pay as soon as possible at the JOY Senior table, where you can also make your lunch selections. Entertainment will be provided by Rick Dellinger. Please plan to join us for fun and fellowship.

At the request of JOY Senior participants, a surprise trip has been added to explore downtown Roanoke Saturday, May 6th. We will leave VBC at 9:30 AM and ride as a group to downtown Roanoke, where you can plan your own adventure around the many shops/restaurants, Farmer's Market, Market Building, Center in the Square, Mast General Store, a trolley ride, and of course the Strawberry Festival. We will depart downtown at 2:30 PM. Please sign up at the JOY table as soon as possible so that we will know which bus to take.

Christmas in July will be celebrated with a JOY Senior trip to Wohlfahrt Haus Thursday, July 13th to see the matinee play "A Sanders Family Christmas," which will include 25 Southern Gospel Christmas favorites! The cost of the trip is $60, which includes lunch, the play, tax, and a tip. Only 26 seats are reserved, so sign up and pay to secure your spot. Your payment is your reservation.

Internet/Phone Disruption Next Monday

Please note that on Monday, April 24th we will be having some work done in the church office that will disrupt our phones and internet service. We hope that this will be only a brief disruption sometime during the hours of 10 AM and 12 PM, but we wanted to make our church family aware in case you try to reach us and cannot. Please wait a few minutes and try again.

Please Note: There will be no Seniors on the Move tomorrow.

Fifth Sunday Schedule & Luncheon

Sunday, April 30th is a 5th Sunday, so we'll be on our special 5th Sunday schedule: 9:15 AM Sunday School, 10:30 AM Combined Worship, and a luncheon/fellowship following worship. For lunch we'll have hard and soft tacos, chips and salsa, various sides, assorted desserts, and coffee, tea, & lemonade. Please plan to join us!

Thrive Youth Ministry

We're continuing to cheer on our Youth Volleyball team each week! Take a moment to wish them well!

We are planning on a regular schedule this Sunday, including supper and Extreme.

Final payment of $100 is due by May 1st if you're planning to go on our Nashville mission trip. We still have space if you have not yet signed up!

PGA Youth Camp has been scheduled at Camp Alta Mons for July 28th - 30th. The cost is $90 for the weekend. Registration forms will be available soon.

Vinton Baptist Church Hope Center

Cathy Abraham, a Licensed Professional Counselor, is offering free, private, confidential counseling for our VBC family (members and regular attenders). 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.

Lillie Johnston

Clearview Manor #402

1150 Vinyard Road

Vinton VA 24179

Thank you to the Pete Creasy Sunday School class for their donation to the Nashville Youth Mission Trip and to the Food Pantry.

Thank you to the Fellowship of Deacons for their donation to the Food Pantry.

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

Blessing Box

The following items are needed for the Blessing Box: pancake mix (any kind), syrup, and liquid dish soap. Donations can be dropped off in the appropriate bin at the Missions Tables. Thank you!

Christian sympathy is extended to David & Debra Semones and family in the death of his aunt, Ruth Rider.

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

We're already halfway through Deuteronomy in our Bible reading plan! Fee & Stuart, in How to Read the Bible Book by Book, provide a framework for chapters 12 - 26 . They refer to these chapters as the Deuteronomic Code because they restate God's law "(deutero-nomos = 'second law')." They explain that laws pertaining to worship are found in 12:1-16:17, followed by laws relating to government leadership in 16:18 - 18:22. These are then followed by laws dealing with community relationships in 19:1-25:19, and these reference commandments 6-10 of the Ten Commandments. This middle portion of Deuteronomy repeatedly warns the Israelites away from idolatry. It also anticipates the temple which will eventually be built in the Promised Land. It prophesies about the types of leaders that are to come in the future. Another "recurrent concern" deals with "social justice, especially caring for the poor and needy." Finally, chapter 26 provides the conclusion of the Deuteronomic Code.

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

Thank you for our Easter box with all the goodies, and especially for the visit from Rita Martin.

Fred & Jean Swisher

April 2023 Calendar