Bethany Newsletter – Mar 2018
Thankful for one who kept it simple
Some critics looked down upon Billy Graham’s preaching as too simplistic. In a way they were right. He did keep it simple. He kept preaching about Jesus and the cross. He knew everybody needed to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. He kept the focus on Christ, crucified and risen again.
Often when Billy came to the closing service of a crusade, he would tell people, “If there’s only one thing you remember from these meetings, remember this: God loves you.” Pretty simple – and also powerful and life-changing.
Billy believed there was great power in simply and clearly telling people what Jesus had done. When he and his wife received the Congressional Gold Medal, he had the chance to speak before those considered movers and shakers in Washington. Instead of political pronouncements he proclaimed the good news of Jesus and the cross and the resurrection. He knew that was what Washington needed to hear.
After many years of prayer, Billy had the opportunity to preach in the former Soviet Union. A lot of Soviet police attended the services to spy on what was going on. When asked about it, Billy said he was thankful the spies were there. He believed the simple gospel had the power to change the heart of the hardest Soviet spy.
In the 1950s blacks and whites were forced to sit in separate parts of stadiums in the South. That was not how it was to be at Billy Graham Crusades. At an early crusade Billy himself took down the ropes the ushers had put up to keep the blacks out of the white section. White segregationists were furious when he invited Martin Luther King, Jr. to pray at his 1957 New York City crusade. Billy’s life was threatened when he had a crusade in Alabama at which white and black people sat together. But Billy believed the simple gospel was for all people and that “God does not show favoritism” (Acts 10:34-35).
When I was about 10 years old I went to a movie produced by the Billy Graham Association. The end of the movie was a scene where Billy gave an invitation for people to come to Jesus. I began a relationship with Jesus when I was baptized as an infant, but I felt led by God to go forward that evening and recommit my life to Christ. Billy had made it simple enough for my 10-year-old mind to understand. I had sinned but Jesus loved me and He died on the cross for my sins and He wanted to come into my life.
My mother was in a hospital room and a Billy Graham Crusade came on TV. I left to have dinner, not thinking it would be the last time I saw her. I soon got the call that she had died. I thought it was a gracious gift from God that she went to be with the Lord while listening to Billy Graham preach. Only God knows how many others were also ready to meet Jesus, because they heard the simple gospel that Billy preached.
The Women’s Missionary Federation will meet on Thur. Mar. 8 at 1 p.m. at the church. All ladies are invited.
This month men’s breakfast will be later in the month, on Sat. Mar. 17 at 8 a.m. Missionary Matthew Abel will be with us for the breakfast and will do some sharing.
We’ll be showing at the church the movie Son of God on Sun. Mar. 25 at 6 p.m. Son of God tells the story of Jesus from the Gospel of John. It was part of the History Channel’s miniseries on the Bible. You’re encouraged to begin Holy Week by watching a good visual telling of the story of Christ.
Lenten services take place each Wednesday in March, except for Mar. 28, at 7 p.m. We have a soup supper and fellowship time starting at 6:15 p.m. This year we’re looking at the book of Hosea and how that unique love story points ahead to the great love story of Jesus’ love for us.
Missionaries Matthew and Ednay Abel will be with us Sun. Mar. 18. The Abels are missionaries to Brazil. They’ll be sharing during both Sunday school and the worship service about the work God is doing in Brazil.
Our congregation will be hosting the Pacific Northwest district Bible conference April 6-8. Jon and Heidi Nelson, who direct the AFLC Journey Missions department, will be with us and sharing during the weekend. Pastor Ken Moland will also be a speaker as we consider the theme “One in Christ.” We’ll be thinking about how the good news of Jesus is for all people. Trumpet player Joel Finnesgard will be sharing a concert and worship time that Sat. evening. There will also be workshops and Bible studies during the weekend. You’re encouraged to mark your calendars and be in prayer.
Supplies will be shipped to Naknek, Alaska, at the start of May to help with the mission work there. Items for the summer coffee house outreach ministry are needed, as well as blankets and coats and sweatshirts to distribute in villages in the area. You’re encouraged to start collecting items to donate.
Family Bible camp will be June 24-28 at Cedar Springs Camp, Lake Stevens, Wash. Camp is a great time for all members of the family to get away from the day-to-day routine and get into God’s Word.
We’ll be remembering Christ’s death on the cross and celebrating His resurrection with various special Holy Week events. On Maundy Thursday, Mar. 29 at 7 p.m. we’ll have a Holy Communion service and remember Christ giving His body and blood for us. On Easter Sunday, April 1, we’ll have at 9 a.m. breakfast at the church, put on by the men. At 9:45 a.m. there will be a special Sunday school for all members of the family. Our Easter Worship service celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus will be at 11 a.m.
The Astoria Rescue Mission Talent Show will be Sat. Mar. 17 at 3 p.m. at Lighthouse Christian Church. Everyone is invited.