Bethany Newsletter – Apr 2019
Trust the power of the cross
If you come to a room with piles of junk that need to be discarded and much cleaning needs to be done, you probably wonder, “where do I start?” We ask that same question as we look around us at problems in the world. Things can seem like such a mess. All kinds of clean-up work is needed. Where do we begin?
The New Testament congregation in Corinth was a messed-up place in need of cleaning. People in the congregation were fighting with each other and even taking one another to court. There was sexual immorality among them that Paul said was “of a kind that does not occur even among pagans” (I Corinthians 5:1). Sometimes their worship services were so full of chaos and disunity that Paul said, “your meetings do more harm than good” (I Cor. 11:17). Where to start in cleaning up such a mess?
In his letter to the congregation in Corinth Paul addresses the issues going on. He appeals to them that “there may be no divisions among you” (I Cor. 1:10). He calls them to “Flee from sexual immorality” (I Cor. 6:18). He urges them to conduct their worship services in an orderly manner. But most of all Paul writes to them about Jesus and the cross and the resurrection.
“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (I Cor. 2:2). The best way to clean up the mess in Corinth was to teach them about what Jesus did at the cross for them. Helping them to know the sacrificial love of Christ was the best hope for helping them unite together in love. If their hearts were truly gripped by the good news that Jesus died for them, they would turn from sexual immorality.
Some of the people in Corinth were evidence of the change Jesus can bring about. In chapter six Paul lists what some of the people were and then he says, “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (v. 11).
The proclamation of the cross and resurrection of Jesus is the most effective way to bring cleansing to messed-up lives. It is tempting to think we’ll clean them up with the verbal equivalent of a power washer. We may think arguing and reasoning and piling on guilt will cause them to clean themselves up. Nobody can clean themselves up in their own power. It is Jesus alone who can do the cleaning that is needed.
“Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified” (I Cor. 1:22-23). Preaching Christ crucified may seem like a simplistic answer when the problems are so complex and some people are so deep into sin and so far from the Lord. The good news of Jesus is the power of God. The message of Christ is of first importance. Jesus died for our sins. He rose to life again and conquered sin and death. That is the truth people most need to hear. That is the truth with the greatest potential for changing lives and changing the world.
On Easter Sunday, Apr. 21, we’ll be celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus at a Community Easter Sunrise service at 7 a.m. at the Astoria Column. There will be breakfast at the church at 9 a.m., followed by a special family Sunday school time at 9:45 a.m. Our celebration of the Resurrection worship service will be at 11 a.m.
On Thurs. Apr. 18 we’ll have a Maundy Thursday Communion service at 7 p.m. It’ll be a time of worship and remembering how Jesus gave His life for us.
The Women’s Missionary Federation will meet on Thur. Apr. 11 at 12:30 p.m. at the church. Please note the change of meeting time. Loretta Grothe will be leading the Bible study and Jan Hansen will be providing dessert. All ladies are welcome.
Men’s breakfast will be Saturday, Apr. 13 at 8 a.m. If you’d like to help prepare the breakfast, talk with Pastor Craig.
Heather Olson, who is from Bethany and now works at the Association Free Lutheran Bible School, will be traveling on mission trips to Czech Republic and Slovakia this July. Your prayer support is appreciated. For more information on the trip and ways you can support, see the church bulletin board.
The Free Lutheran Youth national convention will be July 1-6 in Estes Park, Colorado. 16 youth and adults from Bethany are planning to go. Your prayers as they prepare and raise funds are appreciated.
A congregation quarterly meeting will be held Sunday, Apr. 28 following the worship service. Everyone is welcome as we discuss the work of God’s church.
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 collect items to donate. For information on items that are needed you can go on the internet to aflchomemissions.org/alaska/gift-registry.
Vacation Bible School is being planned for July 15-19, 9 a.m.-Noon, for kids 3-years-old to 6thgrade. You’re encouraged to mark your calendars and start praying for this special time of reaching kids with the good news of Jesus. Volunteers to help in preparation and during the week of VBS are appreciated. Areas in which you can volunteer include decorating, crafts, snacks, games, publicity, registration and assisting in the classes.
We’ll be having a youth night on Sunday, Apr. 7 at 6 p.m. at Pastor Craig’s. We’ll play some games and have some food and some learning time. All youth are invited.
We’ll be showing the movie Miracle Maker: The Story of Jesuson Sunday, Apr. 14 at 6 p.m. The movie tells the story of Jesus in clay-animation. You’re welcome to begin Holy Week watching this reminder of what Jesus came to do.
Family Bible camp will be June 23-27 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. Pastor Wade Mobley, president of the AFLC Schools, will be the guest speaker at camp this year. You’re invited to mark the dates and plan to come along.