Happy July, Bethesda.
I have two recent stories to share that I believe help illustrate Bethesda being Bethesda. Let me tell you about Barry and Joanne, and let you consider who may be the Barry and Joanne’s in your life.
Barry is a high school youth recently connected to our Wednesday evening group. Barry was invited by Hailey who was invited by Karl who returned to Bethesda four years after attending our Wildkids Day Camp. Barry has quickly grown comfortable with this brand new church thing. He has attended Sunday Worship twice, the Memorial dedication, and (incredibly) overslept and ran to an 8am Saturday Men’s Breakfast in June! At the same table sat Barry, myself, Emet, Bob Rhodes and Kirk Gunson, and new member and breakfast attendee, Jeff Caswell. This random collection of young and not-soyoung men exemplifies what Bethesda strives to be. A House of Mercy for all.
Joanne is the granddaughter of Pr. Nielson, who served Bethesda nearly a century ago! She has some long friendships at Bethesda (Clatys, for example), but has not made it to church for a long time. Bethesda member, Sydney Wilson, first met Joanne in their “neighborhood” of Terpening Terrace and realized her long history with our congregation. Sydney arranged for me to visit the two of them and share the Lord’s Supper. I’ll simply say it was a special occasion, long overdue.
Barry and Joanne have each received the Lord’s Supper this summer because Bethesda is a House of Mercy. “Each one, reach one” has been an evangelism cliche for years. However it does illustrate just how the Holy Spirit works one relationship at a time. As our Lord taught us, “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37). The potential harvest for Bethesda’s future mission should blow our minds if we take time to consider it. Our “labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). The Spirit works as we keep our eyes and hearts open, remain curious, and take the step to invite someone along. I’m no mathematician, but “each one, reach one” should double the head count at the Lord’s table. Can you imagine?
Grace and Peace,
All handouts from Pastor Tom’s last sermon series can be found here:
Handouts from current sermon series: