Bethany Renew
Midweek Email Devotion
   August 18, 2016   


WELCOME!  
I welcome you to Bethany Renew! This is our church's weekly online spiritual connection.
Every midweek, you will receive a devotion, a prayer, or an essay that are intended to stir up conversations and ideas of how we will proceed on the path of renewal. Feel free to forward this email to anyone who you think will be interested in receiving these readings.  You are welcome to respond or make com ments, or otherwise just sit back and enjoy your weekly readings and reflections!  

MEMORIAL SERVICE 
Celebrating 
 the Life of 
 Jean Janson
August 21
3:00 p.m.


MOVIE NIGHT
Aug. 24, Wed.
7:00 p.m.
"Peanuts Movie"
A family event for everyone. Its also an outreach to the NA kids. Please consider volunteering. Ask Joanne or me for details. 

CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR NANCY
She is progressing with her recovery really well. Hopefully she will be able to go home this weekend. Let us continue to pray for her recovery.

RALLY SUNDAY 
 w/ BACKPACK BLESSING
During the
Sept. 11 Worship

POKEMON DAY
Sept. 10
Set up a pokemon table. Offer drinks, chargers, bathroom to pokemon players. To volunteer or for more info, talk to Corey. 



Coming soon:
FOOD BANK APPRECIATION
SUNDAY
We will give details later. 


Coming soon:
FRIENDSHIP ROOM
 MAKE-OVER
 Date will be announced later.


"GOD WENT 
TO SUMMER
 MOVIES"
Starting July until August I will give a sermon series where all messages will be illustrated by films (plots or characters). Its gonna be fun!


















Hebrews 11 starts with these words: Faith is the assurance of the things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. This whole section is known as the "faith chapter." And this chapter is a reflection of the author's intention to strengthen the faith of the early believers who were enduring some intense persecution, imprisonment, and martyrdom. So the author, one after another, laid down stories after stories of man and woman of faith. From Abel, Enoch, and Noah to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses. From Gideon, Barak, Samson, to Jephthah, Samuel, and David. With their exploits, adventures, sacrifices, and sorrows. In spite of the twists and turns, ups and downs, they stayed faithful on the path of their calling. And then the author ended with 3 key ways so we can do the same (Ch. 12:1-2)
1. LAY ASIDE THE WEIGHTS
NIV translation says, "Throw off everything that hinders." The Living Bible says, "Strip off anything that slows you down." In our faith journey, sometimes, we carry:
  • backpacks full of weights sometimes of regrets, sometimes of guilt.
  • or sometimes a heavy "carry-on-bag" of worries and concerns.
  • Or maybe the weights of shame; the loads of fear.
Why do we travel heavy, when we can lay down these weights? --so we can actually move forward, or we can actually enjoy the journey! The invitation in Matt. 11 is still open: "Come to me those of you who are tired." Because the goal of the journey is not to have a perfect set of luggage and suitcases, or backpacks full of stuff. The goal of the journey is to travel light. And traveling light (according to Max Lucado) means "trusting God with the burdens you were never intended to bear."
2. RUN WITH PERSEVERANCE
Here is a little background: the author was probably thinking about an ancient Greek athletic called: "foot races, " where athletes were pushed beyond their physical limit to gain the honor of victory. The encouragement is "persevere" because God did not promised a straight, flat, stress-free faith-journey
  • This is a journey that involves deep dark valleys,
  • This is a journey that sometimes includes extreme, steep mountain,
  • This is a journey with seasons of dry deserts.
The author says, "let us run the race with perseverance" with the encouragement in # 3:
3.  LET US FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS (v.2)
We look unto Jesus, because if we constantly look at our problems then our faith will be discouraged. We look unto Jesus, because if we are lured to look at distractions, then our faith will get damaged. Fixing our eyes on Jesus can mean that we need to ignore voices that will say, "its too late to start over."  Or "you are not smart enough; not good enough, or you will not measure up."
Verse 2 says let us fix our eyes on Jesus because he is the one who endured the cross. He is the highest model of endurance. But not only that, it also says he is the perfecter of our faith. Meaning, the very source of energy that will push us to move forward--God is able to supply that too.
 
HERE IS ONE LAST THING:
Verses 29-34 narrates stories of people passing through the sea, conquering kingdoms, escaping the sword, or stories of weaknesses being turned into strengths. Then in v.35, something drastic will change. The author starts to narrate stories of torture, or believers being imprisoned, stoned to death, persecuted, mistreated, or people being destitute because of their faith. For the author, all these are examples of faith.
I believe that victories and letdowns are not literal depiction of our inner faith condition. They can be manifestations of faith. But faith per se is not situational. Faith is internal. Sometimes faith looks like stories of victory, provision, healing. But sometimes faith is also the internal strength even when sickness, and problems, crisis remains. People look at the achievements and say, "that's faith." Some people look at failures and say, "that must be a lack of faith." But God looks beyond the trophies and failures; healing and the sickness; poverty or riches and God looks at the heart. Because in our heart lays the true condition of our faith.
BENEDICTION
And so this week may we go on with the blessing of faith. In faith, may we lay down our burdens. In faith, may we run with strength.  And in all situations, may we look upon Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Amen.  

FACEBOOK AND WEBSITE
Please like our new Facebook Page at Bethany United Methodist Church.
Please click here.
Visit our website for other church info, and you can listen to sermons: bethanytacoma.com

BOUNTY FOODBANK
MONDAYS 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Pastor Ferdie Llenado
Bethany United Methodist Church
personal email: ferdiellenado@hotmail.com
new church email: bethanytacomaumc@gmail.com
visit us at bethanytacoma.com