Bethany Newsletter – August 2018
A kinder, gentler and better way
During his campaign for president 30 years ago the first President George Bush spoke of a longing for a kinder and gentler nation. He also described those who volunteer and serve others as being like a thousand points of light, bringing comfort, inspiration and hope with service shining bright in the midst of a dark world.
The call for a kinder, gentler nation was mocked by many 30 years ago. It still sounds strange today in our society that is so often mean, cruel and violent. At times our culture seems to be going the opposite direction of kinder and gentler.
The vision of a multitude of humble servants shining like a thousand points of light was a confusing concept to some 30 years ago. Recently it was described again as not making sense. Kindness, gentleness and humble, sacrificial service doesn’t make sense to the world. The world understands putting yourself first; looking out for your own interests and not the interests of others. The world understands promoting yourself and boasting about what you have done. The world understands being assertive and going for what you want, even if it means knocking others down to get it.
Gentleness and kindness seems strange to the world. Meekness appears to be weakness. At first Jesus’ own brothers didn’t understand His humble service and how He would do great deeds but not want to draw attention to Himself. “Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world” (John 7:4). Letting people know how great you are – that makes sense to the world. But that’s not Jesus’ way.
Pilate couldn’t understand Jesus failing to fight back and defend Himself when He was attacked. “‘Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.’ But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed” (Mark 15:4-5). The world’s way is stand up for yourself and return insult for insult. Jesus’ way of silence and meekly letting them nail Him to the cross amazes and confuses people.
First Timothy 6:11 says to “pursue … gentleness.” When we pursue gentleness we will also find other things we are pursuing such as joy and peace and hope. Because we are chosen and loved by God we pursue the path that He calls us to. It is the path that is best, even though it doesn’t make sense to the world. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Jesus said it and He meant it. “I will remove from you your arrogant boasters. … But I will leave within you the meek and humble” (Zephaniah 3:11-12). Arrogant boasters intimidate and impress some in the present, but they are not to be feared. Those who mock gentleness and meekness have no future. It is the meek and the humble who trust in the Lord who win. By God’s grace they get to look forward to a victorious and glorious future.
The Women’s Missionary Federation will meet on Thur. Aug. 16 at 11:30 a.m. at Amy Boyovich’s. All ladies are invited.
There will be no men’s breakfast in August.
The deacons and trustees will meet on Tues. Aug 7 at 6 p.m.
A new Sunday school year will start Sept. 9. Sunday school will be that week and each week after that at 9:30 a.m. with classes for all ages. It’s a great time of studying God’s Word with others. You’re encouraged to be in prayer for the Christian Education committee, Sunday school superintendent and teachers as they make plans for the new school year.
Pastor Craig will be gone on a sabbatical the month of August. He will be working on a dissertation. Pastor Herb Hoff will be sharing God’s Word on August 5 and 12. Pastor John Slivkoff will share the Word on August 19 and 26.
The Clatsop Emergency Food Bank is located at 1stPresbyterian Church, 1103 Grand, Astoria. It is in need of volunteers. One area of service is the Monday morning food pickup. This involves picking food up from Costco and delivering it to the Food Bank. There is also a need for volunteers to give out food from 2:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. The minimum request is for volunteers to commit to one day a month. The Food Bank is open from Monday to Friday, 3 to 4 p.m. For more information or to volunteer call the Food Bank president, Bill Landwehr, 503-791-5548, or the director, Julene West, 503-338-9636 or 503-325-7351.
Work is being done this month on the building at Bethany. A lift is being put in to go from the sanctuary level to the basement. In the basement some of the walls are being replaced with panel walls that can be opened up for larger gatherings. Your prayers for the project are appreciated.