Bethany Renew
Midweek Email Devotion
   July 7, 2016   

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!  
July 10,  (6:30pm)
Topic this week: 
The Bible and Science
(Chaps 19-21)

if you have not done it last Sunday, try it this Sunday: Imagine you're coming to our church for the first time. What will be your first impression of our church? Make some mental notes, and join us for the N.O.W. meeting after the service.

N.O.W. Meeting
July 10, during Fellowship Hour. 
Members of the committee are expected to attend. Everyone is welcome if you are interested.

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!

July 24-31

Fred and me will give a short presentation about the last Annual Conference 
on July 10 during worship.
Do you have a hymn that you want to sing during worship? Please email me back. I want to hear from you. 

These 2 passages from Galatians to the Gospel have a lot of things to say.
Today, time will only allow me to share two.
HANDS OF HEALING (Galatians 6)
Gal 6:1-"if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore him in a spirit of gentleness." The amplified version would say, "restore him without any sense of superiority."
Meaning, when we offer help, suggestions, assistance, we don't do it from a holier-than-though position. We don't reprove others to stroke our own ego. We don't restore others to feel good about ourselves. We don't offer quick fixes and dismiss someone's burden as small. We don't extend heavy hands, rather we offer healing hands.
Meaning, we offer assistance, counsel, and prayers, in the spirit of gentleness. Reminding ourselves that we too can fall any day (v1). Why should we be gentle? Because we too are sinners, with our own heavy baggage, our own hidden scars, our own uncertainties. Or maybe because we too have messed up once or twice down our old story lane.
Maybe there are days that you need force and strength to change something. But maybe there are times that what we need to do is to offer hands of healing.
There's a saying: "When you are in the dark, don't curse the darkness, rather gently light a candle."
This is taken from what some refer to as the "Lord of the Harvest" passage. When 72 new followers were sent like lambs among wolves. Jesus said, "When you enter a house first say, "Peace to this house." Peace or "shalom" was, and still is, a traditional greeting among Hebrew-speaking communities. It is from this tradition where we got the "passing of the peace."
But maybe Jesus was also saying more. That in our witness, we are not there to offer an argument. We are not there to debate or dispute on behalf of the gospel. We are first and foremost as proclaimers of peace. We are reflections of calmness. We are voices of serenity.
And it is implied in this passage as well that the peace they proclaim is directly connected to the message they bring. Verse 11 says, "The kingdom of God has come near." This is not some future apocalyptic event or a floating celestial castle in outer space.  This is not a kingdom confined in temples, cathedrals, and church buildings.
Its here! It's in your midst. It saturates all places and spaces where it is welcomed! It is God's work of transforming lives.
  • Wherever families are restored, there is the kingdom.
  • Where victims of unfairness are given justice, there is the kingdom.
  • When this gospel of hope is heard, there is the kingdom.
Jesus was saying, "start by saying peace, because this kingdom is with you!" Extend the application a little bit further, we can say, "peace be upon our workplace, school, town, nation, our planet earth.
As peace makers, as peace-givers, we don't need to write a peace treaty or a peace initiative. But as followers of the one we called Prince of Peace, may we choose peace when there is judgment, or conflicts going around. May we speak peace when there are disagreements. May we radiate peace when there is fear.
In simple ways, may you and I be an angel to someone today:  Be GOD'S hands of healing. Be a voice of peace. Amen.

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

Pastor Ferdie Llenado
Bethany United Methodist Church
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