Bethany Newsletter – Nov 2018
Thankfulness begins inside
Saturday mornings during Sept. and Oct. are busy at the soccer complex in our area. Ten fields of nicely mowed grass are full all morning with kids of various ages playing. Soccer balls are everywhere. The number of kids on each team is limited so that everybody gets a chance to play. It’s a quite different situation than the soccer game I watched when I was in South Africa.
Once a week some missionaries bring a couple soccer balls to an area in the community where they serve. It’s a field of dirt with more gravel than grass. There were two goals but neither goal had any netting. There was only one field so there was only one game. Whatever kids showed up were welcome to play. The day I was there each team had 25 kids. Even though they were running on and falling on dirt and gravel, none of the kids had shin pads or the other protective gear American kids so often have. The two 25-member teams played for about an hour and then the missionaries got them together in a circle and shared with them about Jesus and prayed with them. Most of the kids went away with a smile on their face. It was maybe one of the highlights of their week.
I wonder how many U.S. kids and parents would be smiling if they were told they were going to play on dirt and gravel with 25 kids on a team. Unfortunately, even though they get to play in conditions considered luxurious to many in the world, some aren’t smiling much. Some playing on grass are joyful and content, and some aren’t; just like some playing on dirt have joy and contentment and some don’t. Whether a person is joyful, peaceful and content is not determined by whether you get to play on nice grass fields or on dirt. It is not determined by how much money is in your bank account or how big your house is or how nice a car you drive.
The apostle Paul said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:11-12). Whatever the circumstances, whether in plenty or in need, whether playing soccer on nice grass or rough dirt, contentment can be found. It is not determined by our circumstances. True contentment comes from knowing God and His goodness and grace.
Thankfulness is key to contentment. Whether we are enjoying the best conditions or dealing with tough conditions, we can find something to complain about and reason to be thankful. The question is: what are we looking for and what we are focused on? “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines … yet I will rejoice in the Lord” (Habakkuk 3:17-18). Though we may lack things of this world at time,; though we may face challenges, we can rejoice because God is always good and His love for us endures forever.
Thanksgiving Day service will be at 10:00 a.m. It will be a time to remember the many good things God has done and praise Him and give thanks for His many blessings. There will be music, a message and time for sharing testimonies of thanksgiving to the Lord.
The Women’s Missionary Federation will meet on Thur. Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. at the church. Linda Takalo will lead the Bible study. All ladies are invited.
Men’s breakfast will be Sat., Nov. 10 at 8 a.m. If you’d like to help prepare the breakfast talk with Pastor Craig.
Nov. 11 is Collection Sunday for Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. The shoe boxes will then be distributed to needy children around the world. Bring your box to the church by Nov. 11 so that it can begin its journey. Empty boxes and information about putting together a box are available at the church. The youth group will be delivering the boxes to Seaside on Mon. Nov. 12. We’ll meet at the church at 6 p.m.
Free Lutheran Youth National Convention will be July 1-6, 2019 in Estes Park, Colo. It is for all youth who have finished 6thgrade and older. Early registration will be Jan. 31. For more information about the convention you can go to flyconvention.org.
On Sunday, Nov 18 at 6 p.m. we’ll have a pancake feed/fundraiser to raise money for youth who will be going to the FLY convention. After we eat pancakes Pastor Craig will show pictures from his recent mission trip to Mongolia.
On Sunday, Nov 4 at 6 p.m. we’ll show the movie On Wings of Eagles. The movie Chariots of Firetells the story of Eric Liddell as an Olympic runner. This movie tells of his life as a missionary in China during World War 2 and his testimony for Christ while a prisoner of war.
The book Organic Outreach for Ordinary People: Sharing Good News Naturallyby Kevin Harney is a book with helpful thoughts on how to share the good news of Jesus with others. A time of discussing the book and how we can better share the good news will be taking place on Sun. Nov. 11 at 6 p.m.
Andrew and Alexis Olson and their children will be with us on Tuesday, Nov. 13. They are preparing to go to Tanzania to serve as missionaries with Lutheran Bible Translators. They’ll be with the Astor Good News Club in the afternoon and then at church in the evening. We’ll be serving food at 6 p.m. followed by the Olsons sharing about the work of translating the Bible into the language of a group of people in Tanzania.
Sat. Nov. 4, 8:00 a.m. Men’s breakfast