• Rev. Russell "Rusty" Allanson

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)

Sisters and brothers, it doesn’t take much work to find bad news. Bad news has always been used to encourage people to surrender control or even give up on a dream. Whether it’s starting your own business or seeking that promotion or moving out of a problematic situation, or simply trying to better yourself, there is never a shortage of people who want you to fail, because your failure benefits them somehow. It’s one of Satan’s favorite tactics. If you can be discouraged in the beginning, you will never reach the end. Makes sense, right? And so, the naysayers have their day because we listen to them. It is a fact: who or what you listen to and focus on will mean the difference between victory and defeat…every time.

There are those who want us to drop back down into the despair of the pandemic. Now I'm not saying don’t pay close attention to what’s new, and based on actual science, maybe modify some behavior temporarily…just maybe. What I AM saying is that there are LOTS of people who still want to use fear to control you, and they will use whatever is handy to distract you or change your focus. And COVID is pretty handy right now. I’m hearing this from lots of people, so I’m asking you to do a quick “gut check” on your level of actual peace in your heart and mind right now.

Please read the Scripture above again…slowly…and maybe a third time right now, and then come back here when you’re done.


What stands out to you? It is very likely God is telling you something in these words right now. What is it? Could it be that your level of real peace is pretty low? If so, why? What does His Word say about that? If you want “that” kind and level of peace, you need to do what? Friends, let Jesus guard you heart and mind, but that won’t happen unless you do what?

I’m doing it because His Word is true every time, and despite the bad news around me, my level of true peace is deep right now. How about you?


Pastor Rusty <><


1. Attention College, University & Trade School Students! If you are (or you are the parent of) an active member of Old Bethel and will be attending college, trade school or university this fall, and would like to receive encouraging notes and care packages during the school year through Old Bethel’s College Connect Ministry, please let us know by August 1, by emailing College Connect Coordinator Lynda at lpreston@oldbethel.org.

2. Through Old Bethel’s College Connect Ministry, our prayer is that students attending school, both locally and away from home, are encouraged and prayed for as they are making crucial life decisions. We pray they stay connected to Jesus while they are away and we pray for all the major life decisions they are discerning. There are several ways for YOU to be involved in this ministry, including but not limited to a) Being an intentional prayer partner to one specific student; b) Being part of a team who sends monthly cards/letters. You only need send ONE letter to ONE student ONE time during the school year; c) Adopting a specific student for his/her birthday; and/or d)Being part of teams who assemble final exam care packages. If you are interested in being a part of this vital connectional ministry in any way, please contact College Connect Coordinator Lynda Preston at lpreston@oldbethel.org.

3. As we return again to two worship services next Sunday, the Staff Parish Relations Committee invites the full congregation for cake and conversation in celebration of the musical contributions of June Hannah between services next Sunday. As we all know at Old Bethel, a celebration is never complete without cake, and we want to properly convey our thanks to June for her tenure as a leader in this congregation. Please join us next Sunday, August 1.

4. The Old Bethel Travelers are back on the road! Join us October 6 for a bus trip to Derby Dinner Playhouse in Clarksville, Indiana where we’ll see The Mousetrap, an Agatha Christie mystery. The cost is $70 and checks must be made to OBUMC and either left in the Old Bethel Travelers mailbox in the church reception office or mailed to Brenda Maley, 1640 Park Chase Place, Indianapolis, IN 46229. Seats are limited and checks must be in by August 8. You may contact Brenda at 317-894-1178 with any questions.

5. School Supply Drive: Through August, we are collecting school supplies for our community partners at Pleasant Run Elementary School. We are only collecting the following items: kids scissors, pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, 8-count washable markers, glue sticks, 24-count crayons, rulers, and pencil boxes/pouches. You may place your donations in the special marked collection tub in the lobby.

6. Beginning Sunday, August 1, when we resume two worship services, our Parish Nurses will also resume taking blood pressures from 10:30-11:00am each Sunday. One nurse will be available for this half hour. Masks and hand sanitizer will be available for your use and all equipment will be cleaned between each patient.

7. Our annual Youth Group Open house is August 1! Parents of a youth students, both new or old you are invited to join them after service for a lunch and to learn about youth group. Youth group will be right after. Parents are welcome to stay or come back at 2 to pick up their students.

8. Next Sunday, August 1, is Centurion Cup Sunday. Bring your Centurion Cups to the altar. These donations go to the Angel Fund which provides one-time assistance to those in our community in crisis situations. To become an Old Bethel Centurion, contact Ric Gasaway at 317-894-1431.

9. Summer Fare is August 26, 27 and 28. Volunteer sign up continues through August 8 at church on Sundays or you may contact Janet or Mike Tucker. Janet Tucker 317-989-4562 or janet@mwtucker.com. Sign up early to get your choice of jobs.

10.Do you knit or crochet? The Prayer Ministry provides prayer shawls to those facing life’s challenges. Patterns and yarn are available if needed. Contact Marge Ohl at 317-894-0862 or Lynda Preston at 317-359-9651.

11.As we explore the possibility of resuming the Wednesday night Gathering, please contact Pastor Rusty if you are or interested in helping lead a small group class or discussion for one or both of the class sessions this fall or if you have any questions. Classes will run 6-6:55pm and 7:05-8:00 pm.

12.Looking to get out of the house for a little bit? We still have openings for volunteer receptionist for Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon shifts. You can work each week or every other week. OR you might like to be a sub and serve when others are on vacation. Building traffic is slowly increasing and having receptionists to answer the phone is a GREAT help to our administrative staff! Contact Administrative Assistant Lynda Preston at lpreston@oldbethel.org or 317-359-9651, extension 131.

* * * * *

  • Old Bethel UMC

  • Rev. Russell (Rusty) Allanson

In 1 Corinthians 14:24-26, The Apostle Paul tells us, [If] some unbelieving outsiders walk in on a service where people are speaking out God's truth, the plain words will bring them up against the truth and probe their hearts. Before you know it, they're going to be on their faces before God, recognizing that God is among you. So here's what I want you to do. When you gather for worship, each one of you be prepared with something that will be useful for all: Sing a hymn, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight. (MSG)

I have been asked, “If we aren’t able to have Summer Fare, why are we having worship outside when there is no tent?” My answer is that, while everyone (me included) will miss Summer Fare terribly this year, unbelievers still need to be respectfully and effectively exposed to The Saving Gospel of Jesus Christ in every way we can. Summer Fare definitely is a huge way we publicly witness to our life of faith to our neighbors and others, as we humbly serve together. And the “Big Tent Worship” that followed has offered opportunities for our neighbors to “drop in” to our worship without the usual “perceived barriers” associated with regular sanctuary-based experiences.

So, offering outdoor worship as a special worship event is a way of reminding our neighbors, whether they drop in during the worship event or not, that Old Bethel is STILL in the business of doing the most important thing God calls us to do: OFFER THEM CHRIST. And friends remember, this is what we do EVERY DAY in EVERY WAY! We offer the world Jesus Christ by sharing the truth of His presence, His love, His power, and His reality in a world far too full of hurt. And perhaps, as people join us, they will take seriously the invitation to join together with us every Sunday morning in-person and on-line as we worship the True Savior of the World. And even if people simply “drive by,” they will be reminded that, as the Bride of Christ, The Church STILL has answers to the deepest questions they will ever have in life, and maybe it’s time they try to discover those answers. God has a plan!

In-person inside, in-person outside, or on-line, please join together this Sunday and every Sunday as we worship the One who makes any of this possible!


Pastor Rusty <><


  1. The weather is forecast to be perfect, so grab your bag chairs and come find a place in the front parking lot this Sunday as we worship at 10:00 am. There will be plenty of room for keeping six feet separation, and we’ll have song sheets to sing along with the wonderful gospel group, “Witness.” And don’t forget your mask for when we sing together. (Or as always, we will have masks available for you.) The sun should be at your back and the temperatures comfortable, so wear your shorts, or a jacket, or a hat and come take advantage of this special witness event. This service will also be livestreamed as well as archived on our YouTube channel.

  2. Our church building is able to be open for in-person worship, Preschool, Bible studies and groups because we have made safety and health a priority. Please remember masks are required in all common areas of the church. Not only is this a current State mandate, it is an act of love. Help keep our staff healthy and our doors open by wearing a mask. Church staff and volunteers are thrilled to see people back in the building and we appreciate everyone wearing a mask, keeping their distance and using hand sanitizer.

  3. Reservations remain necessary for in-person Sunday worship. Currently, you may make worship reservations through the month of September (for the entire month or week-by-week) by calling the church office at 317-359-9651 or emailing info@oldbethel.org. Remember your telephone number must be included with your reservation request and reservations are due by 10am each Thursday.

  4. We continue to be blessed by and grateful for the National Guard’s service at the Food Pantry. As we express our gratitude through the hospitality of meals and snacks, we are still in need of Sports Drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, etc) and single serving cookies. You may deliver your donations to the church Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm. If you order online you may have your donation delivered directly to the church. You may also make a monetary donation, designated “Helping the Helpers” for the purchase of snacks and meals.

  5. The Preschool is in need of gently used little girls and boys short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, shorts, and pants in sizes 2T through 6. Also needed are brand new socks and underwear in sizes 2T through 6. There is a tub in the lobby for your donations. You may contact Preschool Director Shannon Schwoebel at preschool@oldbethel.org or 317-359-9651, ext. 140 with any questions.

  6. We continue to collect items for our community partners at Pleasant Run Elementary School. The school is in need of very specific items – pencils, small individual pencil sharpeners, erasers, pencil boxes or bags, kid size scissors, and glue sticks and the recently added 24-count crayons. Through September, we are collecting these items only. There is a tub in the lobby for your donations. You may contact Nancy Bellinger at 317-375-0711 or nancybellinger@att.net with any questions.

  7. The Message Notes for this Sunday’s sermon are below. Feel free to print them out and bring them and a pen with you to worship. Sunglasses optional.

August 30: Why I Am Here

Nihilism: If there is no God, then life has no _______________.

Good News: _____ am part of God’s plan!

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 (NIV)

The Bible doesn’t spend much time talking about _____ God created the universe, but it spends a lot of time talking about _______.

[God] made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. Isaiah 45:18b (NLT)

“God is the one who made all things, and all things are for His glory. He wanted to have many children share His glory...” Hebrews 2:10 (NCV)

We were created so that God could _______ ___.

“Long before He laid down the earth’s foundation, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love.” Ephesians 1:4 (Mes)

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex. Your workmanship is marvelous--how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born.” Psalm 139:13-16b (NLT)

God has a ______,a ________,and a _______ for my life.

Such amazing news has three critical implications for my life:

1. My ________ has sanctity.

I am set apart for God’s ___________ ______.

2. My ____________ has dignity.

Real dignity comes from the fact that God considers me valuable enough to ______ _____.

“God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life…He paid for you with the precious life blood of Christ…and He did this for you.” 1 Peter 1:18-20 (NLT)

What matters to God is what direction my feet are headed on ___________________, 2020.

3. My _________ have destiny.

“All the days planned for me were written in Your book before I was one day old.” Psalm 139:16b (NCV)

God looks at what I do compared to my _______________.

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