Encouragement & Worship Update: April 2

 

Sisters and Brothers,

 

One of my favorite quotes from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”  This quote has stayed with me for years. I love it because it says clearly that, “I know God is trustworthy and I trust God.” (My interpretation.)

 

This is a very ODD time for us all. Regular routines are changing. Old ones are TEMPORARILY not possible. New ones are taking their place. (Read that again.) Friends, the question I have is are you shaping those “new routines” or are you allowing circumstances to shape them for you? Now is not the time to be passive. Just because you may be temporarily confined to your house does not mean you need to become passive in your faith walk. Now is a grand opportunity to re-energize your TOTAL commitment to Jesus. Actively take time to decide, once again, what your real day-to-day RELATIONSHIP with Jesus will be. Of course, you already know His desire for the relationship between you two. But what is your response? How do you actually keep your end of the bargain?

 

Sisters and brothers, be intentional and deliberate in shaping your new routines in this temporary new “world reality.” Keep your eyes on how you want to come out on the other side of it. Focus on “going on to perfection” which is a John Wesley term for becoming more and more like Christ. Christ is perfection, and our goal ought to be continually becoming more like Him is every way. Choose to live as the psalmist wrote in Psalm 16:8, “I have set the LORD always before me, because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” Remember, faith is a choice, and this crisis will not last long, so use the time wisely because each hour is already a gift packed full of God-powered potential.

 

Now for an update on our worship schedule: We are celebrating Palm Sunday THIS Sunday! No, you will not see lots of children and adults waving palm branches, but you will learn a new way to do it yourselves during our worship together! (That’s called a promotional “tease.”) Tune in and you WILL be inspired, uplifted, encouraged, and hear a powerful Word from God.

 

While we are not gathering for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, we ARE coming together to celebrate Easter next Sunday! You will not want to miss this.  The moving music, the life-changing Scripture, the heartfelt worship will all come together as we gather together in our virtual worship.  Please join us!

 

Finally, in light of all the information and “stay-at-home” orders and as a continuing precaution, Bishop Trimble has directed all Indiana United Methodist Churches to not conduct in-person worship gatherings through April, but to continue to worship in electronic means.  Also, Indianapolis Mayor, Joe Hogsett has extended the “stay-at-home” order for all of Marion County, through May 1st.

 

Friends, we are being very creative in the ways we are continuing to be connected.  PLEASE JOIN IN!  Your church family needs you and your virtual presence in the on-line studies, Facebook conversations, virtual worship, phone calls, and in all the ways we have to connect.  And please, don’t forget the tithe. 

God has a plan, and even though He did not cause this crisis (as some persons wrongly suggest), He can and will bring good from it.  And part of that good is learning to be more creative in ways we love each other.

 

Remember that I love you!  And let’s stay together in spirit and worship!

 

TogetherInChrist,

Pastor Rusty  <><

AN INVITATION TO CONNECT: March 27

Sisters and Brothers,

I bring you greetings from our only Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ!

 

How are you doing right now? I suspect, if you are like most, you’re going stir-crazy, are bored, feeling a bit depressed, worried, anxious, angry, irritated, ready to move on, or blissfully happy while being informed. Well, if you’re any of these (except blissful), you are in good company. Your sisters and brothers are tired of separation, even as we understand it. Let me share with you a promise from God TO YOU: Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22 (NIV) However, as with every promise there is a premise. In order to allow the Lord to sustain you, you must first cast your cares upon Him. You have to give them up to allow Him to work on them. God will never pry your cares out of your hand. So, get to casting! Jesus Christ WILL sustain you through this strange time.

 

In the meantime, please JOIN TOGETHER in worship! There will be a great worship experience waiting for you on Sunday morning via our YouTube channel. Just click on the “Video Worship” tab on the upper left side of our homepage. Thanks to our two techno-wizards, there will be words to the hymns, songs, and prayers this week. Remember, the very same Holy Spirit holds us all together!

 

Holding us together is going to become even easier and more complete with the addition of several ways to stay engaged with God and each other, via YouTube and Facebook.

 

Please read this from your Community Life Minister, Arin Schellenberg:

To help us stay connected and engaged, we will be offering different ways to explore our faith together - thanks to the internet. We have put together a schedule so you will know what to look for. Our main source of communication will be through our Facebook page (Old Bethel United Methodist Church), so please check that frequently.

 

Each Sunday evening we will post a link to a YouTube video called, “Chuck Knows Church”. This is a fun and informative series about the objects, symbols and terms used in church. After you view this, check back in on our Facebook page on Monday for a Facebook Live discussion with me about what we learned.

 

Tuesday we will email families our Bible Story for our children in Kid's Church and do a recap of the lesson on Facebook.

 

Wednesday, Pastor Tonya will present a lesson for our preschool on their social media page. She will also do a lesson for our youth group.

Wednesday evenings we will post a link to a Bible Study video, please view this to be prepared for a discussion via Facebook Live on Thursday.

 

Feel free to reach out to me at aschellenberg@oldbethel.org with any questions. 

 

  • Sunday Evenings: view “Chuck Knows Church” via YouTube link

  • Mondays: Facebook Live discussion on “Chuck Knows Church”

  • Tuesdays: Bible Story emailed to families and a recap via Facebook Live

  • Wednesdays: Lessons for preschoolers and Youth Group

  • Wednesday Evenings: Posted link to a Bible Study video

  • Thursdays: Facebook Live discussion on the Bible Study video

 

 

Many, many thanks to our Virtual Visitation Team which continues to connect with each home to listen, help and pray. God moves mightily through these team members, as well as the many who continue to feed MANY families through the incredible ministry of the Old Bethel & Partners Food Pantry. Many of our ministries have found new ways to do God’s holy work. It is AMAZING to witness!

 

Friends, your church continues to offer Hope for every hunger in every heart. That Hope has a name, Jesus Christ. Let us know if we can help you.

 

We are all in this together and we’re here for each other, so GET AND STAY CONNECTED. Share your love in concrete ways with each other, and just watch what God will do!

 

TogetherInChrist,

Pastor Rusty <><

COVID19 related communications from Pastor Rusty

 

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