Bethany Renew
Midweek Email Devotion
   November 3, 2016   

I welcome you to Bethany Renew! This is our church's weekly online spiritual connection.  Every midweek, you will receive a devotion, essay, sermon nuggets 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! 
Ever wonder what John Wesley said about election? Here is his famous quote:
"I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them
1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy,
2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side."
(John Wesley's Journal, Oct. 6, 1774)

Nov. 6 & 13
Join us in celebrating
service & giving. Hear testimonies from Alan and Moises. 

NOV. 11-12
You are welcome to donate Christmas and other holiday items. If you have question, contact Jaye 253-272-4614

NOV. 13
All hands on deck as  we prepare for Charge Conf.
the next week. 

NOV. 20 
(If you will give a report  click here to access charge conference forms)

Anyone interested with the letter sent by the Council of UMC bishops to the president, click here

When we are in seasons of life that we need a spiritual breakthrough; or a life-change; or you just want to get a better view of Christ (like Zacchaeus), here are 3 attitudes we can learn from Zacchaeus: Be Curious; Be Open; Be Willing .
HIs curiosity was probably stirred by stories he heard from his rich friends and tax workers. You see, Zacchaeus, he's not just a tax man, the Gospel of Luke says, "he was the Chief of the tax collectors." Today, he would be the kind of guy with jets, vacation homes, stocks, and skyscrapers. He drinks only the finest wine; he only wore the most expensive robes. But that day he couldn't care less what he was wearing. He couldn't care less about his reputation. His curiosity was bursting with enthusiasm that he climbed the nearest sycamore tree with no shame nor climbing accessories.
When you are at a season in your life that you want to move forward, or you wanted spiritual health, but there's a crowd that is blocking your way, may your curiosity spark inside like a candle in a cold darkness. May it awaken wonder and fascination. May it stir what they called a "sacred discontent" so you will not settle for the status quo, hiding behind crowds. May curiosity inspire your creativity so you can see that God have placed "sycamore trees" around you so you will climb, ascend, rise and get a better view.
While Zacchaeus was hiding behind the branches, Jesus saw him and called out to him. But he did not see the evil Zacchaeus. He saw his potential for change. He saw beyond the dark labels and saw the inner dormant light waiting for an awakening inside. And he called out, "Zacchaeus!" Which ironically mean, "pure or clean." Its like Jesus was saying, "Hey Zach, your remember your name, don't you?" Well, you still have the chance to embody it. But you need to let me in your house. Would you welcome me in?" And he did. V. 6: he came down from the tree and welcomed Jesus gladly. In spite that people were offended, he opened his home.
There comes a point to our spiritual walk that life demands that we be open. Be open to life's big and little surprises Be open to God altering our neatly designed plans, goals and timelines. Be open because when Jesus invites you to have a meal together, he's not loaded with judgment and blame, but the intent is to restore connection. The purpose is to impart helpful guidance and renewed vitality.
That is to say: be willing to welcome change. Be willing to take baby steps of transformation. And like Zacchaeus, if it's possible, be willing to repair the damage done yesterday. Why? Because those selfless acts will energize you to move forward. Zacchaeus stood up said, "Look Lord, here and now, I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody, I will pay back 4 times the amount"
Someone said, "that's just crazy, he will be left with nothing!" But here is where the power of the gospel comes in. It changes us from within so it manifest from without. In fact this gospel message is only as meaningful as it recreate the grace we receive to acts of service that touches others. That is what Zacchaeus did. That is what we can do when we are curious, open, and willing to receive the grace offerred by the Life-Changer, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Pastor Ferdie Llenado
Bethany United Methodist Church
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