At Least You Are There
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.
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.)
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.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)
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)
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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