May We Pray So Boldly?
In Acts 3, John and Peter end up healing a beggar who had been lame from birth. The fallout from this miracle is exponential and eventually lands them both in front of the council to be questioned. The disciples, not ones to let an opportunity for presenting The Gospel go by unused, end up preaching powerfully to the entire council. (Talk about preaching to a room of unfriendlies!) Here’s where we pick up the story…
The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves.
“What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.
But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:13-20 (NLT2)
Who knows how these council members were affected, but it is what happens next that fascinates me…
As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them--you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying, ‘Why were the nations so angry? Why did they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepared for battle; the rulers gathered together against the LORD and against his Messiah.’
“In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will. And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:23-31 (NLT2) (Emphasis mine.)
The effective result of Peter and John’s bold preaching was not necessarily conversions of the council members, although they probably happened, but it’s the boldness it gave to the other believers. John and Peter didn’t drop a pebble into a still water pond with their preaching--they dropped a boulder! The result was not a ripple. It was a wave. And that wave moved through some 5,000 believers, and then continued through the rest of the world. Note: “Then they (meaning every believer) preached the word of God with boldness.”
My friends, preaching is NOT reserved for only clergy folks. It is the joy and responsibility of EVERY believer of Jesus Christ. This preaching is not about climbing into a pulpit, but having real conversations about who Jesus is in your life. So, get ready to preach. Your opportunities to share Jesus are barreling straight at you in this next season. Decide AHEAD OF TIME to trust The Holy Spirit, and open your mouth!
Please Note: Friends, I started adding these little articles that accompany our weekly email updates to help keep us better connected and moving forward in our faith during the pandemic, when meeting together was so very difficult. With the pandemic difficulties being overcome, little by little, and with Pastor Adriane coming on-board, this is my last article. However, please note that we will continue, for the foreseeable future, the weekly updates to help keep everyone connected.
Pastor Rusty <><
MORE GOOD NEWS AND UPDATES:
1. Pastor Adriane is very busy finishing up her responsibilities at her present appointment as well as preparing to join you all at Old Bethel for this next wonderful and exciting season of ministry together. To help her feel welcome, I ask that you send her cards and kind notes of welcome and pray for her. Please note: this is NOT a time to consult her or ask her anything, but only to SHOWER HER WITH CARDS AND NOTES OF LOVE AND WELCOME! Please pray for her and let her know that you are! And if you are so inclined, please consider sending her a card or note every week between now and her arrival! Speaking from personal experience, Old Bethel does many things well, but you are outstanding is loving people! Consider showing that love, in a “big way,” to your new Lead Pastor. –Pastor Rusty <>< Her home address (with her permission) is: Rev. Adriane Rockhill
751 Lakeview Dr.
Noblesville, IN 46060
2. Applications for Summer Fare Grants are available at the Welcome Center in the lobby. Submission deadline is November 28, 2021. Place completed applications in the Summer Fare mailbox in the reception office. You may contact Mike Tucker or Dan Wilson with any questions.
3. The Old Bethel & Partners Food Pantry is collecting Kleenex and Paper Towels to distribute to our shoppers this Christmas. These items are a huge blessing to the families we serve and are greatly appreciated. If you are able to donate, please drop these items off at the pantry or at the church. If you have any questions please contact Community Life Minister Arin Schellenberg.
4. Everyone is invited for a fun afternoon of Cookies & Caroling! Join us in Fellowship Hall on Saturday, December 4, 1-3pm as we get in the Christmas spirit together - through song! Invite your children and grandchildren because Mr. & Mrs. Claus will be joining us!
5. The Youth Group are going shopping for Operation Shoebox gifts December 5, during their normal meeting hours 12-2. They will be filling shoe boxes full of goodies to send to those who are in need. If you would like to join them in filling a box please contact Pastor Tonya at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. UMW Cookie Walk (& More): Saturday, December 11, 10am-2pm. Select an assortment of homemade cookies for your holiday parties and gatherings. Cookies will be weighed and sold per pound. This event is open to the public and proceeds benefit missions. You may volunteer to donate cookies and/or help with the event by calling Jean Zerkel at 317-894-3646. Last minutes gift shoppers will also have the opportunity to select vintage and hand-crafted items such as decorated towels, quilted heart ornaments, aprons, cookie cutter wall hooks, and vintage ornaments, jewelry and more. Contact Dianna Fred at 317-909-3366 with questions.
7. Meijer Simply Give Campaign benefits Old Bethel & Partners Food Pantry. During the holiday campaign, the Double Match Day opportunity will be held on Saturday, December 11. For every $10 Simply Give card purchased on these dates, Meijer will provide an additional contribution of $20, bringing the total to $30 for a single customer purchase. All Simply Give cards must be purchased at the Meijer at East Washington Street.
8. December 12 from 6-7:30pm, our Youth Group is hosting a Christmas party for the newly formed Community Youth Group which includes Old Bethel youth and the youth of Faith, Good Shepherd and Cumberland United Methodist Churches. If you would like to donate food or small prizes for this event please indicate so on today’s Connection Card.
9. The Old Bethel & Partners Food Pantry and the Old Bethel Preschool are partnering to sponsor four families from the community for Christmas this year. Look for the Giving Tree in the middle of the lobby beginning this Sunday, November 28. It will be decorated with paper ornaments listing gifts for each member of the families. If you would like to help bring Christmas to the homes of these families please grab an ornament off the tree. We ask that you wrap the presents and place them back under the tree with the ornaments attached to them. Please have the packages turned back in by December 17. Monetary donations are also welcome. If you have questions, please contact Preschool Director Shannon Schwoebel at email@example.com.
10.The Celebration Puppeteers will present Three Wise Men and a Baby Friday, December 17, at 7pm. Invited your friends, family and neighbors to join in the fun! You may indicate your willingness to donate cookies for this event on today’s Connection Card.
11.We still need volunteer receptionist for several shifts. The morning shift is 9am-12:30pm. The afternoon shift is 12:304pm. 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.
12. This Sunday’s message notes are below. November 28, the first Sunday of Advent: 86,400 Seconds
_________-____-__________, or JIT Inventory was introduced to assembly lines as a way to save the money normally spent on purchasing and storing huge inventories.
For JIT to work, there must be a relationship between the parties—a relationship that is based on ______________ and ____________.
Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”
When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.”Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there.
And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.”
In giving Joseph three dreams, God gives him just _________ he __________, just _________ he _________ it, to keep his family safe.
God gave Joseph the direction he needed, just when he needed it. God didn’t lay out the entire ____________ or the _____________ or the _____________ ahead of time.
Following God is ALWAYS a matter of ___________, not ____________.
Two things we need to see in this story:
1. God does indeed communicate with us in a ________ we can _______________. The short story is that the struggle is with _______________, not ________.
2. When God _____________, Joseph _________ something!
As Joseph demonstrates, the ____________ for decision when God is involved is always __________!