You recall the story, the Israelites wandered through the Wilderness for forty years because they refused to trust God in entering the Promised Land following their release from Egyptian slavery. They obviously had plenty of time to “think” about that rebellion. Later on, looking back to that time in the Wilderness, this is what Moses reminds his people in Deuteronomy 2:7, “For the LORD your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the LORD your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.”
That one verse has SO much to say to us. It says, even though we may rebel against God, He still watches over us and loves us. It says, we don’t have to be perfect for God to continue to care for us. It says, God sees our potential even more than He sees our puniness. It says, it’s okay to fail as long as we don’t use it for an excuse to stay there. It says, we are LOVED far more than we can even recognize on our “good days” and our “bad days” by The God who created us. Yes, that one verse has much to say to us, if we will pay attention.
I’ve been spending time in the “wandering phase” of the Israelites recently. It speaks to me in this time of pseudo-wilderness wandering for us. So much of our daily “world” has been adversely affected by the pandemic, it feels to me almost like we’re wandering around in the wilderness, and most of that wilderness is sand that is constantly shifting underneath me. I find myself constantly being reminded in my prayers that God is still my foundation and certification that my life is still OKAY. It helps me realize there is FAR more going on through this pandemic that I regularly realize. So, I’m counting on God continuing to bless what we do as He watches every step we take in this wilderness.
The more time I spend in sand, the more I realize it is REALLY difficult to run in. But if I take my time and measure my steps, sand is quite manageable. In fact, under the right circumstance, sand is preferable to hard surfaces. So these days, I’m planning ahead more so I can appropriately mentally and emotionally kick off my shoes, relax a little more, as I’m trying to enjoy the feel of sand between my toes. It’s not exactly the “making lemonade from lemons” argument, but it is along those lines.
The fact that I know God is watching us, as He did the Israelites, goes a LONG way in helping me mentally kick off those shoes. Because, on an October night long ago, I chose to trust Jesus with everything. That includes both easy and difficult days. This pandemic has reminded me of that choice I made, and it still holds. I hope you remember the time when you said “yes” to Jesus also. And I pray when you feel yourself walking on shifting sand, that you’ll remember not fight the sand, but instead, trust Jesus again and kick off your shoes and enjoy the feel of it between your toes.
Remember that I’m crazy about you Old Bethel, and can’t wait to be together again!
--Pastor Rusty <><
1. Our first in-person Worship was a wonderful success. Thank you to every person who helped greet, usher, sing, play music, clean, read, operate cameras or attended to the technical aspects, but a huge “thank you” especially to every person who attended and were so very gracious and understanding with doing “all the stuff” like wearing masks and not congregating. It was wonderful to be together. And remember folks, if you’re not ready to attend in-person, that’s perfectly OKAY! Listen to what The Holy Spirit tells you, and then return in-person when you are ready—and not a moment sooner! You are loved, and while you are certainly missed, we’ll be here when you’re ready.
2. This Sunday is VBS Sunday! We will CONTINUE with ONE Worship Service Sunday morning at 10:00 am. Remember, we are letting the reservation numbers tell us when to move to two services. So, PLEASE be sure to make your reservations by THURSDAY at 10:00 am, so we can plan and make needed adjustments for that particular Sunday Worship. Remember also to check the weekly email update that comes to you every Thursday or Friday, or check the website or Facebook page, for any changes. We are taking this one week at time!
3. NEW BIBLE STUDY starting in August. Nancy Bellinger will lead a study based on the book Quicksource guide to Understanding the Bible by Kendell H. Easley. This is book is out of print, but available for ebooks. We have permission to copy the pages – so each person will be able to follow along as we look at 5 questions (main idea, Christian worldview themes, Jesus’ role, key verses) of each book of the Bible and sum up the biblical story of each book. Beginning August 5th at 6pm, we will meet at the church on Wednesdays in Hall D. Please contact Nancy Bellinger at 317-375-0711 if you have any questions
4. As we will not have bulletins for a while, the order of worship may be found at https://www.oldbethel.org/worship
5. The Message Notes for this Sunday are below. Feel free to print them off and bring them with you to Sunday Worship to follow along with The Message—whether in your home or in-person.
July 12, 2020: Life of Faith: Confidence on Purpose
God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.
Ephesians 2:10 (NCV)
The key to significance and satisfaction in life is to let ________ use ______.
For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did… Dt 34:12 (NIV)
Four steps that build confidence:
Step 1: ______ ____ of ___________!
Anyone who doubts is like a wave in the sea, blown up and down by the wind. James 1:6b (NCV)
When you give __________ power in your life, __________________ will tend to control you instead of you controlling ________________.
“Yes, be bold and strong! Banish fear and doubt! For remember, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (Living)
(Doubt is always ___ ___________.)
Two things that rob confidence:
First, ____________ myself to ___________. Second, my _________ _______________.
Step 2: _______ for God’s _____________!
“I promised Moses I would give you this land, so I will give you every place you go in the land.” Joshua 1:3 (NCV)
“I will soon die, as everyone must. But deep in your hearts you know that the Lord has kept every promise he ever made to you. Not one of them has been broken.” Joshua 23:14 (CEV)
Step 3: ________ on The _________.
“No one will be able to defeat you all your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forget you.”
Joshua in 1:5 (NCV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Step 4: ___________ ______ in __________!
The __________ __________ is always the hardest!
Faith is a __________.
“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NLT)
1. What am I doubting that God can do in my life?
2. What should I stop praying about and start doing?
Weekly Update from Pastor Rusty