Serving the Lord... and Loving It!

Background for the tax to pay for the Temple expenses…

Everyone who gets counted is to give a half-shekel (using the standard Sanctuary shekel of a fifth of an ounce to the shekel)—a half-shekel offering to GOD. Everyone counted, age twenty and up, is to make the offering to GOD. The rich are not to pay more nor the poor less than the half-shekel offering to GOD, the atonement-tax for your lives. Exodus 30:13-15 (MSG)

We accept the responsibility for paying an annual tax of one-third of a shekel (about an eighth ounce) for providing The Temple of our God with bread for the Table regular Grain-Offerings regular Whole-Burnt-Offerings offerings for the Sabbaths, New Moons, and appointed feasts Dedication-Offerings Absolution-Offerings to atone for Israel maintenance of The Temple of our God. Nehemiah 10:32-33 (MSG)

There was a tax payment expected. Jesus had not yet paid it, and since the religious leaders were looking for ANY reason to discredit Jesus, they looked up his tax record. And this is what happened…

When they arrived at Capernaum, the tax men came to Peter and asked, "Does your teacher pay taxes?" Peter said, "Of course." But as soon as they were in the house, Jesus confronted him. "Simon, what do you think? When a king levies taxes, who pays—his children or his subjects?" He answered, "His subjects." Jesus said, "Then the children get off free, right? But so we don't upset them needlessly, go down to the lake, cast a hook, and pull in the first fish that bites. Open its mouth and you'll find a coin. Take it and give it to the tax men. It will be enough for both of us." Matthew 17:24-27 (MSG)

There is SO much to look at in this story, but I just want to point out two things. First, even though Jesus was “above” the requirement to pay a tax to support the Temple, He chose to do it anyway so that the leaders would have no complaint about Him, which would have hampered His mission. Remember, as we learned this past Sunday, when God gives you a mission—STAY FOCUSED and let nothing distract or delay you.

Second—and I find this fascinating—the way Jesus has Peter get the money to pay the tax is to go fishing! Of course, Jesus could have snapped His fingers and had the money appear. So, why did He want Peter to go fishing for it? I do not know for certain. But two things I do know is that Peter loved to fish and he was obedient to Jesus’ commands even when it didn’t make sense. And that may be the weighty lesson for us. Jesus will often use the passions already placed inside us to accomplish something for The Kingdom, so “serving” Him is very often most pleasant. He’s also just looking for those who He know will be obedient and faithful, whether it makes sense to the person or not.

Choir members are perfect examples. God gives them talent and a passion to hone and use that talent. So they join the choir and do the hard work of working together to make beautiful and meaningful music to serve the Lord. And so, even though it’s hard work, they love to serve the Lord by singing! And sometimes they are asked to sing upbeat songs at funerals, which may not make sense to some, but the choir members know the power of music.

So, the next time The Holy Spirit lays something unusual on your heart to do, and it sounds like it could be fun, seriously consider this little story in Matthew 17 and GO FOR IT! (By the way, the chancel choir and the praise team are always looking for people passionate about music ministry. Just saying…)


Pastor Rusty <><


1. The Indiana United Methodist Church Central District Office has changed the time and location of our Charge Conference. It is now scheduled for 5pm on Sunday, October 17, at Korean First UMC.

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 Sunday, October 10. The cost is $10. You may contact Jeanie Peterson at 317-899-4760 with any questions.

3. Old Bethel is excited to host our annual Trunk or Treat on Sunday October 24th from 3pm-5pm. We are still in need of 15 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! Your trunk can be decorated very simply with a pumpkin and some spider webs or you can get super creative, it is up to you! If you are interested please contact Community Life Minister, Arin Schellenberg at or indicate on this Sunday’s connection card. Thank you for your continued support and help!

4. Third quarter giving statements are available for pick up at the Welcome Center.

5. 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.

6. 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 or 317-359-9651, extension 131.

7. This Sunday’s message notes are below. Sunday, October 10: Living Like Jesus: Handling Stress

Seven principles of stress management from the life of Jesus:

1. The Principle of _______________: Know who I am.

__________ happens when I try to be ____________ I’m not.

2. The Principle of ______________: Know who or what I’m living for.

“I am not trying to do what I want, but only what He who sent me wants.” John 5:30b (TEV)

3. The Principle of ____________: Know my calling.

When I take what ______ made me to do, and I use it for His glory, it becomes my __________!

“I know where I came from and where I am going. But you don't know where I came from or where I am going.” John 8:14b (NCV)

By clarifying my calling I avoid the ___________ of the urgent.

4. The Principle of _____________: Focus on what matters most.

Secret: If Satan can’t get me to be _____, he’ll get me to be _______.

As the time drew near for His return to heaven, Jesus moved steadily onward toward Jerusalem with an iron will. Luke 9:51 (Living)

5. The Principle of ______________: Listen to God.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. Mark 1:35 (NIV)

Consistently walk with Jesus long enough, and I will know when ___ ________.

6. The Principle of ______________: Join a small group.

Then Jesus selected twelve of them to be His regular companions and to go out to preach. Mark 3:14 (Living)

Two reasons we don’t get in small groups: ______ and ____________.

7. The Principle of _______________: Take time to recharge.

Crowds of people were coming and going so that Jesus and his followers did not even have time to eat. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves, and we will go to a lonely place to get some rest.” Mark 6:31 (NCV)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

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