Most of you are familiar with the story of Job. As you know, Job was an upright man who did everything right. But then, God allows Satan to take everything away from him. A lot of us have an initial problem with this because it seems like God and Satan are messing with Job only to watch him struggle—like a rat running a maze that the researchers keep changing. Which is not the case. And the beginning and the end of Job’s story bookend the tragedy and struggle we find in the middle, but also makes it clear that God cares deeply for Job. There is a part of the story that is often overlooked though that I think is really important for us. It is what God’s fence placed around Job meant for him then, and also what it means for us today.
One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil.” Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.” Job 1:6-11 (NRSV)
Satan is really clear about what’s difficult for him about Job--the thing that, in the end, will frustrate any attempt at breaking Job’s patient resolve. It is the fact that God has placed a fence—a holy and insurmountable fence—around Job. And if Satan wasn’t so stubborn, he would’ve given up right then. But he didn’t. Friends, if we have claimed Christ as our Savior and Lord, God’s fence is around us too.
Think about what a fence does. First, whatever is within the fence is owned by someone. No honest person will fence in something that does not belong to them. The fence around us says that we belong to God. It is also a recognition that we do not belong to ourselves.
The second thing a fence does is tell us that that whatever is within the fence is important…it is precious. Otherwise, no one would go to the trouble and expense of installing and maintaining the fence. Friends, if God has placed a fence around you, He declares with that action that you are precious.
The next thing a fence does is protect whatever is precious inside it. A good fence will keep enemies out. And while it will not keep predators from attacking, it will keep the predators from making contact. An exception would be if the one being attacked ventures too close to the fence, and ends up within the enemy’s grasp! There’s a lesson for us…let God’s fence do its job. Do not tempt the enemy.
Next, a fence declares that whatever in inside is separate from whatever is surrounding it. Jesus said about His followers in John 15:19, “You do not belong to the world…that’s why the world hates you.” And later in John 17:15, Jesus, in his prayer to his Father asks, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.” That means that God’s fence is around us because of Jesus.
Another thing is we recognize that whatever is inside the fence is useful. In a Christ-follower’s life, that means important things. In Matthew 5:13, Jesus tells us, “You are the salt of the earth.” To understand what that means, think about the three functions of salt: to flavor, to preserve, and to create thirst. Christ-followers are called to add flavor to life, to preserve life, and to create in others a thirst for Jesus.
Finally, the fence allows for greater endurance. If it is solid, the fence preserves those inside the fence—it can protect from the wind, and slow down the adverse effects of weather. As he’s encouraging Christians, James writes in 5:11, “You have heard of Job’s perseverance.” He’s pointing to Job as an example for Christians to follow. The word for perseverance used here means to endure. It means to keep on going in the face of disappointment, frustration, suffering, and even defeat.
The point is that even though we have to endure, God’s fence surrounding us is proof of His abiding care, never-ending love, protection, help, and purpose. And that fact ought to make a difference in how we live in our every day.
Pastor Rusty <><
MORE GOOD NEWS AND UPDATES:
1. Because of the concerns around the uptick in COVID/delta variant numbers, we have pushed back the resumption of Sunday Morning Fellowship/Coffee Hour. This is mainly due to not having enough volunteers at this time. Stay tuned for updates.
2. The Gathering, as it has been known in the past, will not return this fall. Rather, the Intentional Faith team is VERY excited to invite YOU to a visioning meeting for the new and improved version that focuses on fostering new and closer relationships with our neighbors! The format, we believe, will be around FOOD! Please come to the first meeting where every voice is important. It will be at 7:00pm on Tuesday, August 31. As an in-person meeting, there will be plenty of room for distancing. Please come help shape what God is calling us to do in this VERY EXCITING NEW MINISTRY!
3. Through Old Bethel’s College Connect Ministry, our prayer is that students attending school, both locally and away from home, are encouraged and prayed for as they are making crucial life decisions. We pray they stay connected to Jesus while they are away and we pray for all the major life decisions they are discerning. There are still a couple ways for YOU to be involved in this ministry - a) Being an intentional prayer partner to one specific student (we still need one female); b) Being part of a team who sends monthly cards/letters. You only need send ONE letter to ONE student ONE time during the school year (we still need one male and one female). If you are interested in being a part of this vital connectional ministry in any way, please contact College Connect Coordinator Lynda Preston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. The Preschool is hiring a few part time teachers and substitute teachers. If you or someone you know are interested in this position please contact the preschool director Shannon Schwoebel, email@example.com.
5. Old Bethel is currently seeking someone for the position of Choral Accompanist for the 9:30 traditional worship service. It is our prayer that we can fill this vacancy before August 25 when the new choir season begins. Please share the job posting on the church Facebook page. For more information, contact SPRC Chair Joe Pellman or Myrna Galbraith, Director of Traditional Worship.
6. Old Bethel & Partners Food Pantry is incredibly blessed to partner with Meijer on East Washington street for their Simply Give Campaign. This campaign runs from now until October 2nd. Visit their store and purchase a $10 Simply Give card and Meijer will donate an additional $10. However, if you make your donation at their store on Saturday August 14 or Saturday August 28th for the Double Match days, Meijer will turn your $10 donation into $30. You can also pick up these cards in the lobby of the church. Thank you for continued support of the Old Bethel and Partners Food pantry!
7. School Supply Drive: Through August, we are collecting school supplies for our community partners at Pleasant Run Elementary School. We are only collecting the following items: kids scissors, pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, washable markers, glue sticks, 24-count crayons, rulers, and pencil boxes/pouches. You may place your donations in the special marked collection tub in the lobby.
8. We are hosting a fun, free, family event for everyone to take part in! This event, Back to School Bash, will take place on Saturday September 11, 11am-1pm. The purpose is to highlight area nonprofits, businesses and youth serving organizations in hopes of providing resources to all who attend. Participating vendors are invited to set up a table, bring informational handouts and be ready to share ways to get involved! The entry “fee” is a school supply to distribute to all the event guests. We are also highlighting many ministries from our church and inviting our neighbors to take part! In addition to the booths we will have free lunch and our bounce house and playground will be ready for play! We would love for you to join us in the fun! To volunteer, contact Community Life Minister Arin Schellenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Looking to get out of the house for a little bit? We still have openings for volunteer receptionist for Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 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 email@example.com or 317-359-9651, extension 131.
10.This Sunday’s message notes are below.
August 15: My Life: Work…
It’s critical to understand that the ________ and the _______ is far more important than the _________ of what I do.
Seven Keys that will focus my approach to work that will enable God’s blessing:
S ______________ working ___________________ wherever I am.
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” Ecclesiastes 9:10a (NIV)
_________________ is based on the “why” of my working.
U ____________________ who I’m really _____________ for.
Do your work willingly, as though you were serving the Lord himself, and not just your earthly master. In fact, the Lord Christ is the one you are really serving, and you know that he will reward you. Colossians 3:23-24 (CEV)
This changes work into _________________.
C _______________________ on building my ________________.
“We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character…” Romans 5:3-4a (TLB)
God puts an idea in my mind, it is __________________. The devil puts an idea in my mind, it is ___________________.
Every temptation is not just an opportunity to do bad. It’s also an opportunity to do _______.
C ___________ about ___________ I work with.
“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NRSV)
E ______________ what is ______________ of me.
“Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best.” Colossians 3:22 (Mes)
E ____________________ my __________ with continual learning.
A dull axe requires great strength; be wise and sharpen the blade. Ecclesiastes 10:10 (TLB)
All leaders are __________________.
D _________________ my effort to be used for __________ purposes.
Commit your work to the Lord, then it will succeed. Proverbs 16:3 (TLB)
Whatever I want God to ______________, I give it to Him first.
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