Sisters and Brothers, is it time for YOUR water break? We are in a marathon! The task of outlasting this pandemic is difficult, long, and at times grueling. The way you complete a marathon is to not quit. And I’m told from experienced people that means pacing yourself and never skipping a water break. Because if you do not pay very close attention, your body will wait until you are in trouble before it tells you that you need the water. I contend, the same is true with your spirit in faith.
Hebrews 12:1-4 instructs us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.” (NLT2)
Pastor Steven J. Cole writes:
“Many years ago, a young woman who was a drug addict found my name in the phone book and began calling me frequently. She was married with two small children, but she was hooked on drugs. She had no concept that normal people sleep at night, and so she would call at 2 a.m. from some phone booth where she was stoned out of her mind.
She professed to believe in Christ, and said that she wanted to follow Him, but she had no idea of what that meant. On one occasion when she was relatively sober, I described in detail what a daily walk with Christ looks like. I explained what a daily time in the Word and prayer was like, what obedience to the Bible means, how to think like a Christian, etc.
When I was done, I asked, “Have you ever done anything close to what I’ve just described?” She said, “Yeah, I did that once for two weeks, but it didn’t work.” She thought that she had given it a fair try in two weeks! I explained to her that the Christian faith isn’t a two-week sprint. It’s a lifelong marathon.
The Christian life is a lifelong, grueling race that entails some long hills to climb and some swampy marshes to plod through. To make it to the end, you need self-discipline to get into good shape, you will need to maintain your motivation, and you will need sustained effort. No one enters a marathon with the thought of dropping out after a mile. Finishing well is everything. In this race, you are not competing with other believers. We’re all on the same team. We’re competing against the enemy of our souls, who opposes God’s kingdom and wants us to drop out.”
I know there are times when you want to give up and give in to despair. I know there are days when you don’t feel like reading the Bible, praying, offering hope to other people. I know because in these difficult days, it is natural to grow weary. But remember friends, when this happens, it is a clear and certain indicator that you forgot to take your spiritual water break. This pandemic—and your whole life of faith—is a marathon. You don’t need to finish first, but you need to finish well. Regularly take a break and spend some serious time with your Lord. He will refresh you and will reorient you toward the finish line. And He will cheer you on!
Remember that I love you, and I’ll see you in Worship!
Pastor Rusty <><
Contrary to any rumors you may have heard (originating at this week’s parking lot lunch), reservations remain necessary for in-person Sunday worship. Currently, you may make worship reservations for the entire month of August if you wish by calling the church office at 317-359-9651 or emailing email@example.com. Remember your telephone number must be included with your reservation request and reservations are due by 10am each Thursday.
Please consider donating to finish outfitting the second apartment for Family Promise. You may do so by clicking this link https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b044caaaa2ba2fb6-another (If the link does not work, simply copy and paste the address into your browser.)
We celebrate our community partnership with Pleasant Run Elementary School. While we currently are unable to tutor students as we have done the last several years, we can still help. 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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Summer Fare as we are used to has been canceled. HOWEVER, the Summer Fare Steering Committee is planning a Summer Fare Celebration for Old Bethel members and attendees. Note, this event is dependent on State and County restrictions and is NOT open to the public. Your free dinner will include a fish sandwich, coleslaw, baked beans, chips, and a cookie. Bring your own soft drinks or water. RESERVATIONS are required by AUGUST 15. You will go through the Drive Thru to pick up your dinner. Then you may tailgate in the parking lot, picnic in the grove or take your dinner home. To make your reservation, contact Janet Tucker at 317-989-4562 or email@example.com.
Unfortunately, due to all the complications from the pandemic, the annual “Singing on the Lake” at the Richwines' for this year HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
Because of some recent suspicious email activity, just remember that Pastor Rusty will NEVER solicit money for any reason outside of normal Old Bethel communication channels.
This Sunday (August 2) we will celebrate The Lord’s Supper in Worship. If you are joining us at home via either Live Stream at 10am or an archived version through our YouTube channel, remember to procure your Communion Elements prior to worship. If you will be joining us in-person, we will be using single-serve communion cups.
Here are the instructions for in-person Communion:
a) You will pick up a small Ziploc bag with the communion elements inside when you check-in at the door.
b) Please take that bag (one for each person in your party) with you into the sanctuary.
c) At the appropriate time, you will remove the self-contained cup from the bag. Note that there are TWO TABS on top of the cup.
d) You will open ONLY THE FIRST/TOP TAB to remove the wafer,
e) THEN you will remove the SECOND TAB to open the cup of juice. (The wafer is stored between the two tabs to keep it separate from the juice.)
f) Hold the elements until we partake together.
g) When you have finished with the cup and tabs, please place them back inside the Ziploc bag and dispose of the bag in the basket located on the floor in front of the table as you exit.
Yes, that sounds much more complicated than it actually is, but as always, we want you to know everything so you’ll feel comfortable and more able to simply relax and WORSHIP our amazing Lord!
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have difficulty manipulating the small tabs on the communion cups, know that the elements inside will be consecrated through the worship service. So feel very comfortable taking the cup and bag home STILL INTACT for you to partake once you’re at your kitchen table or wherever you will be more comfortable.
8. The Message Notes for this Sunday’s Message are below.
August 2, 2020: Life of Faith: My Mission on Purpose
“The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me—to tell people the Good News about God's grace.” Acts 20: 24b (NCV)
"You will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8 (NIV)
No one is a __________ _______________ on what God has done in my life than me.
“Through [Jesus] we received both the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others…” Romans 1:5a (Msg)
My Mission: Just say, "This is _______ ___________ in my _________."
Two reasons why it is so important that I fulfill my mission:
1. Because I’ve been given a ______-________ _____________!
“I am proud of the Good News, because it is the power God uses to save everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16a (NCV)
My ____________ is the power God uses to get people into ____________.
2. Because _________ are desperate to hear the _________ _______ of Jesus Christ.
When [Jesus] looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers!...” Matthew 9:36-37 (Msg)
The __________ is far more ready to _________ the Good News of Jesus than are most ______________ ready to ___________ it.
In 100 people, there are _____ who are at least nominally interested in spiritual things.
So, when I share the Good News, most of the people already ___________ the basics.
What's the key? (See Matthew 9:37) I’ve got to ________ ___________!
The same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world and changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard it and understood about God's great kindness... Colossians 1:6 (LB
The greatest thing I can do with my life is help somebody else ______ ___ _____ with __________ _________.