Bethany Newsletter – June 2018
Trust not try
“You suck. Try harder.” That was the main message Jim Belcher heard in church growing up. After reading that recently, it has been much on my mind. That is probably because I know Jim is not the only one who grew up thinking that is the main teaching of Christianity. “You suck. Try harder” is the basic message a lot of people hear in churches and youth groups and at home. I’ve been to Christian events that were basically an hour of being told to try harder. I’ve left discouraged because I knew I wasn’t doing well, but I didn’t know how I could try any harder.
Many people are trying hard. Some are trying hard because they feel guilty. They hope they can do enough good to make up for the bad they have done. Some are trying hard because they are worried about what people think, and they long to make a good impression. Some are trying hard because, like the Galatians in the New Testament, they say they believe a person starts a relationship with God by faith, but they seem to think staying with him, growing in Him and serving Him is all about how hard you work. “After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? … Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?” (Galatians 3:3, 5).
The call is not to try harder but to trust more. Trust the promises of God’s Word more. Trust God when He says your sins are forgiven because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Trust the Lord when He promises to take care of you and keep you safe. Trust God when He says He loves you and wants you to be with Him forever.
It is humbling to have to admit our best efforts at trying harder are never going to be good enough to meet the demands of God’s perfect law. We keep falling short. What Paul said about himself is true for us: “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18). We can’t try hard enough, but the wonderful good news is Jesus did enough at the cross for us.
I came home once from a conference where the theme was mostly, “You suck. Try harder.” I wasn’t motivated to try harder. Instead I felt like giving up. But then God reminded me of the good news of Jesus. God’s love for us isn’t based on how well we do. He loves us and wants us even though we keep falling short. Our sin has been paid for by the perfect sacrifice of Christ. My salvation is secure because of Jesus. We try to serve Him, but we won’t always get it right. But we can always trust in the mercy and grace of God.
Jud Wilhite wrote, “… conquering our idols and habitual sins is ultimately a matter of being swept up by His love rather than gritting our teeth and trying harder.” Instead of gritting your teeth, open your heart and get swept up by God’s amazing love.
The annual conference of our church body, the AFLC, will be in Dickinson, N.D., June 12-15, under the theme: “That You May Know” from I John 5:13. The annual conference is a time of spiritual renewal for our church body. Business of the association is also conducted. On June 12 the Women’s Missionary Federation of the AFLC will meet. You’re encouraged to be in prayer for the conference. Pastor Craig will be attending from Bethany.
Vacation Bible School will be July 9-13, 9 a.m.-Noon, for kids 3-years-old to 6th grade. Pray for this special time of reaching kids with the good news of Jesus. Pray about who you’ll invite to come. 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.
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. Registration forms with more information are on the entryway table at church. The cost of the camp is free for those who are attending for the first time. Transportation to camp is available.
Men’s breakfast will be Saturday, June 9 at 8 a.m. If you’d like to help prepare the breakfast talk with Pastor Craig.
Woman’s Missionary Federation will meet Thur. June 14 at 1 p.m. All ladies are invited.
Bethany’s outdoor worship service and church picnic will be at Cullaby Lake, Sunday, July 15, starting at 11:00 a.m.
Sunday, June 3 will be Confirmation Sunday during the 11:00 a.m. worship service. Confirmation involves two years of instruction in the basics of the Christian faith. After those two years the students are invited to confirm their faith in Jesus and make vows of their desire to follow Him. Being confirmed this year are Kaylee Falleur, Josie Morinville and Karmen Stutznegger.
On Sunday, June 3 we will have a potluck following our 11:00 a.m. worship service. We will be honoring graduates and confirmands of our congregation.