• Rev. Russell (Rusty) Allanson

Have you ever found yourself reading through a Bible reading plan and the section for the day seems…well…not that interesting? As a pastor, I’m not sure I should admit this, but I try to always be honest. So, the other day, I’m reading through Genesis 4 then 5, with all the names of people who had offspring, who had other people with lots of names. Well, it wasn’t exactly that dry, but it seemed a bit tedious. You get the idea. As I’ve said before, when you hit those “dry patches” in reading the Bible, it’s really important to pay even closer attention than normal. I’ve learned to look closely for the lesson.


This particular day, I’m mentally knee-deep in the decedents of Adam when I breeze past this character, Enoch. This is what it says…When Jared was 162 years old, he became the father of Enoch. After the birth of Enoch, Jared lived another 800 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Jared lived 962 years, and then he died. When Enoch was 65 years old, he became the father of Methuselah. After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him. Genesis 5:18-24 (NLT2)


That’s it. But do you see what’s different about Enoch? First, he lived 365 years in close fellowship with God. That means his relationship with God was solid. Enoch never grew weary of walking with God. Why? Because he clearly worked hard at be CLOSE to God. I had to ask, would I ever get tired of someone if I lived with them for 365 years? Isn’t that a really long time? And then I thought of my wife and eternity, and I understood. When you completely love someone 365 years is just getting started. Lesson? Work hard at staying in love with Jesus because He’s working hard at staying in love with you.


Second, there are benefits to staying in love with God. “Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.” God allowed Enoch to skip death. And realize this was way, way before Christ died on the cross. What an incredible privilege! Lesson? There clearly are many incredible benefits to remaining in intimate relationship with God throughout our life, and they start with staying in love with Him. Yeah, thanks Enoch...that's a great place to start…every day.


TogetherInChrist,

Pastor Rusty <><


MORE GOOD NEWS AND UPDATES:

1. The Indiana United Methodist Church Central District Office has changed the time and location of our Charge Conference. It is now scheduled for 5pm on Sunday, October 17, at Korean First UMC.

2. Old Bethel is excited to host our annual Trunk or Treat! Please join us on Sunday October 24, 3-5pm in the parking lot as we greet our neighbors with creatively decorated trunks, lots of candy and our very own Celebration Puppeteers. We still need at least 5 volunteers who are willing to decorate the trunk of their car and pass out candy. We will provide the candy. You provide the decorated trunk. Invite your friends, family and neighbors for this fun-filled afternoon.


3. Third quarter giving statements are available for pick up at the Welcome Center.

4. Old Bethel is happy to take part in serving our community a Thanksgiving meal again this year. We are partnering with Shiloh Baptist Church and Driven by Faith Outreach to deliver meals to 600 families. This year's meal will look a little different. We will prepare the food the week of Thanksgiving and we will deliver meals on Thanksgiving morning. In addition to a meal, we will also provide hats, gloves and scarves. It is a joy to serve our community and share our many blessings this Thanksgiving! As in years past, we are asking for donations of food items and of hats, gloves and scarves. If you are interested in donating please check out our online sign up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040445A5AA23A6F58-thanksgiving. We are also looking for volunteers to help prepare the food and deliver the meals. To volunteer, contact Community Life Minister Arin Schellenberg at 317-359-9651 or aschellenberg@oldbethel.org

5. Due to the overwhelming demands of the pandemic on the staff of the Marion County Public Health Department, they will only be offering flu shots at their locations this year. They will not be offering a flu shot clinic at Old Bethel this year. You may contact the Marion County Public Health Department at 317-221-2000.

6. We still need volunteer receptionist for several shifts. The morning shift is 9am-12:30pm. The afternoon shift is 12:304pm. 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.

7. This Sunday’s message notes are below. October 17: The Challenge of Real Commitment


God always sees the ______________ He has personally ____________ within me.


“I know the plans I have for you.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NRSV)


Exodus 19:1-8

In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt--on the very day--they came to the Desert of Sinai. After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.

Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."

So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, "We will do everything the Lord has said." So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord. (NIV)


God calls them to actually begin to live into the __________________ He has in store for them as a ________ ____________. To make that happen, He wants to create a ________________ with them.


For every ________________ in the Bible, there is a __________________.


A vow is a _____________________ to a special relationship with God, and a __________________ of devotion and dedication—demonstrated by real _____________.


Hypocrisy is NOT acting contrary to the way I feel. Hypocrisy is _____________ contrary to the way I _________________.


As Christ-followers, wedding vows are ___________________ of what we believe, and ____________________ to do whatever’s required to live out that belief.


[Jesus] gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:14 (NIV)


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  • Rev. Russell (Rusty) Allanson

Updated: Oct 13


Background for the tax to pay for the Temple expenses…

Everyone who gets counted is to give a half-shekel (using the standard Sanctuary shekel of a fifth of an ounce to the shekel)—a half-shekel offering to GOD. Everyone counted, age twenty and up, is to make the offering to GOD. The rich are not to pay more nor the poor less than the half-shekel offering to GOD, the atonement-tax for your lives. Exodus 30:13-15 (MSG)


We accept the responsibility for paying an annual tax of one-third of a shekel (about an eighth ounce) for providing The Temple of our God with bread for the Table regular Grain-Offerings regular Whole-Burnt-Offerings offerings for the Sabbaths, New Moons, and appointed feasts Dedication-Offerings Absolution-Offerings to atone for Israel maintenance of The Temple of our God. Nehemiah 10:32-33 (MSG)


There was a tax payment expected. Jesus had not yet paid it, and since the religious leaders were looking for ANY reason to discredit Jesus, they looked up his tax record. And this is what happened…


When they arrived at Capernaum, the tax men came to Peter and asked, "Does your teacher pay taxes?" Peter said, "Of course." But as soon as they were in the house, Jesus confronted him. "Simon, what do you think? When a king levies taxes, who pays—his children or his subjects?" He answered, "His subjects." Jesus said, "Then the children get off free, right? But so we don't upset them needlessly, go down to the lake, cast a hook, and pull in the first fish that bites. Open its mouth and you'll find a coin. Take it and give it to the tax men. It will be enough for both of us." Matthew 17:24-27 (MSG)


There is SO much to look at in this story, but I just want to point out two things. First, even though Jesus was “above” the requirement to pay a tax to support the Temple, He chose to do it anyway so that the leaders would have no complaint about Him, which would have hampered His mission. Remember, as we learned this past Sunday, when God gives you a mission—STAY FOCUSED and let nothing distract or delay you.


Second—and I find this fascinating—the way Jesus has Peter get the money to pay the tax is to go fishing! Of course, Jesus could have snapped His fingers and had the money appear. So, why did He want Peter to go fishing for it? I do not know for certain. But two things I do know is that Peter loved to fish and he was obedient to Jesus’ commands even when it didn’t make sense. And that may be the weighty lesson for us. Jesus will often use the passions already placed inside us to accomplish something for The Kingdom, so “serving” Him is very often most pleasant. He’s also just looking for those who He know will be obedient and faithful, whether it makes sense to the person or not.


Choir members are perfect examples. God gives them talent and a passion to hone and use that talent. So they join the choir and do the hard work of working together to make beautiful and meaningful music to serve the Lord. And so, even though it’s hard work, they love to serve the Lord by singing! And sometimes they are asked to sing upbeat songs at funerals, which may not make sense to some, but the choir members know the power of music.


So, the next time The Holy Spirit lays something unusual on your heart to do, and it sounds like it could be fun, seriously consider this little story in Matthew 17 and GO FOR IT! (By the way, the chancel choir and the praise team are always looking for people passionate about music ministry. Just saying…)


TogetherInChrist,

Pastor Rusty <><


MORE GOOD NEWS AND UPDATES:


1. The Indiana United Methodist Church Central District Office has changed the time and location of our Charge Conference. It is now scheduled for 5pm on Sunday, October 17, at Korean First UMC.

2. UMW Old Bethel’s United Methodist Women invite all ladies to join together for faith, fun and fellowship on Saturday, October 16 for the Annual Ladies Day Apart! This year’s event is being held at Old Bethel and begins at 9:15am with coffee and muffins. The morning’s guest speak is Jennifer Huff from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). After the provided lunch, we will hear from Jim & Bonnie Scott about their 40-year puppet ministry. The day concludes about 2:30pm after communion. Make your reservations between worship services Sunday, October 10. The cost is $10. You may contact Jeanie Peterson at 317-899-4760 with any questions.

3. Old Bethel is excited to host our annual Trunk or Treat on Sunday October 24th from 3pm-5pm. We are still in need of 15 volunteers who are willing to decorate the trunk of their car and pass out candy. We will provide the candy, you provide the decorated trunk! Your trunk can be decorated very simply with a pumpkin and some spider webs or you can get super creative, it is up to you! If you are interested please contact Community Life Minister, Arin Schellenberg at aschellenberg@oldbethel.org or indicate on this Sunday’s connection card. Thank you for your continued support and help!

4. Third quarter giving statements are available for pick up at the Welcome Center.

5. Due to the overwhelming demands of the pandemic on the staff of the Marion County Public Health Department, they will only be offering flu shots at their locations this year. They will not be offering a flu shot clinic at Old Bethel this year. You may contact the Marion County Public Health Department at 317-221-2000.

6. We still need volunteer receptionist for several shifts. The morning shift is 9am-12:30pm. The afternoon shift is 12:304pm. 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.

7. This Sunday’s message notes are below. Sunday, October 10: Living Like Jesus: Handling Stress


Seven principles of stress management from the life of Jesus:


1. The Principle of _______________: Know who I am.

__________ happens when I try to be ____________ I’m not.


2. The Principle of ______________: Know who or what I’m living for.

“I am not trying to do what I want, but only what He who sent me wants.” John 5:30b (TEV)


3. The Principle of ____________: Know my calling.

When I take what ______ made me to do, and I use it for His glory, it becomes my __________!


“I know where I came from and where I am going. But you don't know where I came from or where I am going.” John 8:14b (NCV)


By clarifying my calling I avoid the ___________ of the urgent.


4. The Principle of _____________: Focus on what matters most.

Secret: If Satan can’t get me to be _____, he’ll get me to be _______.


As the time drew near for His return to heaven, Jesus moved steadily onward toward Jerusalem with an iron will. Luke 9:51 (Living)


5. The Principle of ______________: Listen to God.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. Mark 1:35 (NIV)


Consistently walk with Jesus long enough, and I will know when ___ ________.


6. The Principle of ______________: Join a small group.

Then Jesus selected twelve of them to be His regular companions and to go out to preach. Mark 3:14 (Living)


Two reasons we don’t get in small groups: ______ and ____________.

7. The Principle of _______________: Take time to recharge.

Crowds of people were coming and going so that Jesus and his followers did not even have time to eat. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves, and we will go to a lonely place to get some rest.” Mark 6:31 (NCV)


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

* * * * *

  • Rev. Russell (Rusty) Allanson

Updated: Oct 6

It was a tragic surprise to everyone gathered, but it wasn’t entirely unpredictable. The room was the largest in the house which meant it was on the top floor. On the already warm evening and given that heat rises, it made the space a little too warm for comfort. Added to that were all the people crowded into the room, far more than what would be comfortable. The popularity of the speaker made for standing-room-only. On top of all this, what helped push the temperature of the room well into the uncomfortable range were all the candlelight flames lighting up the place. This all made for a quite uncomfortably warm room.


There was some urgency though. The reason so many people gathered and stayed so late in such uncomfortable surroundings was that the speaker would be leaving in the morning, so everyone wanted to come hear his parting words. He spoke as one with authority and his message was riveting…unless you’re a young teenager.


As the gathering stretched into the night, given the temperature of the room, the fact that, for the most part, only adults really “got” his message anyway, it’s no surprise a teenage boy would fall sound asleep. What was a surprise is that the boy had positioned himself in an open window on that third floor room to try to cool down. And there, he fell sound asleep, and subsequently slipped out the window and fell three stories to his death, which was confirmed by a physician in attendance by the name of Luke. Good thing for this kid though, the speaker that evening was the famous “Persecutor-turned-Apostle” Paul.


Acts 20:7-12

On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight. The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps. As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below. Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!” Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left. Meanwhile, the young man was taken home unhurt, and everyone was greatly relieved. (NLT2)


Okay, so maybe the long-windedness of Paul wore the kid down. Maybe he had been working in the field all day and was tired. Maybe he had stayed up too late the night before playing video games. Who knows? So the kid is really to blame for falling asleep and causing his own death. But at least he was there. At least he had attempted to stay awake as evidenced by him relocating himself in the window. He didn’t do that because he wanted to sleep, but to stay and continue listening. At least he was there. And even though he messed up, God poured mercy and grace on him. And from that day on he could count himself one of a very small unique group of persons who had been brought back from the dead.


Okay, so maybe this Sunday’s sermon isn’t spellbinding. Perhaps the preacher’s delivery is not exactly riveting. At least you are there. And because of that, God pours His mercy and grace into you. (Oh, and…I’ll talk to the preacher for you. Just don’t snore.)


TogetherInChrist,

Pastor Rusty <><


MORE GOOD NEWS AND UPDATES:


1. Due to the overwhelming demands of the pandemic on the staff of the Marion County Public Health Department, they will only be offering flu shots at their locations this year. They will not be offering a flu shot clinic at Old Bethel this year. You may contact the Marion County Public Health Department at 317-221-2000.

2. UMW Old Bethel’s United Methodist Women invite all ladies to join together for faith, fun and fellowship on Saturday, October 16 for the Annual Ladies Day Apart! This year’s event is being held at Old Bethel and begins at 9:15am with coffee and muffins. The morning’s guest speak is Jennifer Huff from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). After the provided lunch, we will hear from Jim & Bonnie Scott about their 40-year puppet ministry. The day concludes about 2:30pm after communion. Make your reservations between worship services Sundays, October 3 and October 10. The cost is $10. You may contact Jeanie Peterson at 317-899-4760 with any questions.

3. The Youth Group is going to Lark Ranch Saturday, October 9. We will leave the church at 11am and return at 4pm. Students must bring $10 for admission plus any spending money parents want to give them. If your student would like to attend please contact Pastor Tonya at 317-359-9651 or tdavis@oldbethel.org

4. We are excited to host our annual Trunk or Treat! Please join us on Sunday October 24, 3-5pm in the parking lot as we greet our neighbors with creatively decorated trunks, lots of candy and our very own Celebration Puppeteers. We need several volunteers who are willing to decorate the trunk of their car and pass out candy. We will provide the candy, you provide the decorated trunk! If you are interested please contact Community Life Minister Arin Schellenberg at aschellenberg@oldbethel.org or 317-359-9651. We will also start accepting donations of individually wrapped pieces of candy in the month of October.

5. Looking to get out of the house for a little bit? We still have openings for volunteer receptionist for Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon shifts (12:30-4pm). 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.

6. This Sunday’s message notes are below. Sunday, October 3: Living Like Jesus: Accomplishing Mission


“In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world.” John 17:18 (msg)


“You will be my witnesses—in Jerusalem, in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world.” Acts 1:8b


Seven principles to do as I try to reach others for Jesus Christ:

1. The Principle of ______________________.

The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them on ahead in pairs to all the towns and villages he planned to visit. Luke 10:1 (NLT)

Get ___________!


2. The Principle of ______________________.

“Don't take along any money...” Luke 10:4a (NLT)

Depend only _____ ___________.


3. The Principle of ______________________.

“Don’t take…a traveler's bag, or even an extra pair of sandals.” Luke 10:4b (NLT)

Keep it ________________.


4. The Principle of ______________________.

“And don't stop to greet anyone on the road.” Luke 10:4c (NLT)

Stay ________________.


Mission is not something I do ___________ in life _____________ I’ve done everything I’ve _____________ to do.


5. The Principle of ______________________.

“Whenever you enter a home, give it your blessing. If those who live there are worthy, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you.” Luke 10:5-6 (NLT)

Begin with a _______________.


6. The Principle of ______________________.

“When you enter a town, don't move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide you.” Luke 10:7a (NLT)

Intentionally _____________ the __________ to build __________________.


7. The Principle of ______________________.

“…heal the sick.” Luke 10:9a (NLT)

Don’t begin with my agenda. Begin with their ___________ or ___________.


Anybody can be won to ____________ if I find the key to their heart, which will always be a __________ or a _____________ or an __________________.


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