Bethany Newsletter – Feb 2019
The surprising ones Jesus loves
In a movie or TV show, usually within the first few minutes, you can guess which handsome guy and which beautiful girl will eventually get together and fall in love. It’s different in the Gospels. They tell a love story that doesn’t follow the expected script.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were sure they were God’s favorites. If God wanted to be with anybody, He would certainly want to be with them. They were proud of how well they did at following the rules. They faithfully went to the temple and kept all the religious rituals. They expected the way the story was going to go was God would reward them more than anyone else because of how good and righteous they were.
Then Jesus came along. He knew the Old Testament better than the religious leaders. His wisdom was like none they had ever seen. He lived a life of integrity and they were unable to find any fault in Him, even though they tried hard to find some. But the people He enjoyed hanging out with and having meals with were sinners and tax collectors. Jesus didn’t follow the script the way the religious leaders thought it was supposed to go. They expected when the Messiah came He would choose them as the ones He wanted to be with. What was Jesus doing, wanting to be with those undeserving sinners?
Jesus chose a despised tax collector, Matthew, to be one of His 12 closest followers. Matthew had a dinner at his house and invited Jesus. And Jesus came. That wasn’t in the script. “When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and “sinners”?’” (Matthew 9:11).
Zacchaeus was another tax collector who had cheated a lot of people out of their money. But in a plot twist no one saw coming, Jesus went to his home. “All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a “sinner”.’” While He was there Jesus made the incredible declaration: “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham” (Luke 19:7, 9).
Jesus treated as wanted, valued and loved a woman from the wrong ethnic group, who had had five husbands and was now living with a man she wasn’t married to. And He used her to bring her town to faith in Him. “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony” (John 4:39).
Those who end up in a relationship with God aren’t necessarily those who are outwardly impressive and have the greatest accomplishments. That’s how the world would write the story. Those who God chooses to be His own are those who confess their sin and trust in what Jesus has done. It’s a crazy and unexpected love story. It’s a story of God’s love for the undeserving. It’s a story of how much God loves us.
On Sunday Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. we’ll be showing the movie, Unbroken: Path to Redemption. It tells the story of Louis Zamperini after he returned from World War 2. He survived being on a raft in the Pacific Ocean for 47 days, and then two years of brutal treatment as a prisoner of war. The movie tells of the trials and challenges he faced when he returned home and God’s work in his life.
We’ll be having a pie social fundraiser for the youth group on Sun. Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. The funds raised will help with the expenses of going to the Free Lutheran Youth national convention in Colorado July 1-6. At the pie social there will be pies to eat and pies to bid on in a silent auction. There will also be sharing about what goes on at FLY conventions. Anybody who would like to make a pie or pies for the pie social and auction will be appreciated.
Pastor Craig will be speaking at a missions conference in Thief River Falls, Minn. Feb 15-17. Pastor John Slivkoff will share the message at Bethany on Sun. Feb. 17.
The Women’s Missionary Federation will meet on Thur. Feb. 14 at 12:00 p.m. at Linda Killion’s home, 1305 Sandy Ridge Road in Gearhart. There will be a potluck of finger foods. Judy Fisher will lead the Bible study. All ladies are invited.
Men’s breakfast will be on Sat. Feb. 2 at 8 a.m. If you’d like to help prepare the breakfast talk with Pastor Craig
Lenten services will begin on Ash Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. and continue each Wednesday until the week before Easter. We’ll have soup suppers each Wed. at 6:15 p.m. If you’d like to volunteer to prepare soup one week you can sign up on the church bulletin board.
Thur. 10 a.m. Sewing group (not on Feb. 14)
Thur. Feb. 14, 12 p.m. WMF
Sat. Feb. 2, 8:00 a.m. Men’s breakfast