February 28, 2015

A Monthly Publication of
Bethesda Baptist Church

February 28, 2015

“In fact, anyone who claims to be a Christian yet is not an active member of a church may not actually be a follower of Christ.”
David Platt
President, SBC International Mission Board
Upcoming Activities

* Easter Egg Hunt and Soup/Salad Fellowship.  Yes, Easter is almost here!  Following our worship service on Sunday, March 29, the children will hunt for some Easter Eggs and everyone will join together for soup & salad and a time of fellowship.  Please mark your calendars and watch upcoming bulletins for specific information.

* Our monthly business meeting is Wednesday, March 4 at 7 p.m.  Every member is encouraged to attend as we look to the practical matters of the church.  Join us as we seek the Lord’s leadership in deciding the various issues which confront our church family!

“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
Ephesians 5:25

Wednesday Evening

“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
2 Peter 1:1

We have made some changes to our Wednesday evening prayer service.  First, we are no longer meeting in the auditorium, rather, we are gathering in the Fellowship Hall.  I believe it helps us feel more like the church family we are as we pray.  Second, we have dropped the use of the two sided prayer request sheet that has been part of our prayer meeting since before I came as your pastor.  Instead, we are praying over requests made at the beginning of our prayer time and as the Holy Spirit leads.  Furthermore, we are selecting different Bethesda families each week, gathering their specific requests, and lifting those requests to the Lord.

Our new approach is only two weeks old but I have been blessed by our time together.  We all know the Bethesda membership is not very large (only 37) BUT there are NOT 37 members attending our prayer meetings!  Those of you not joining us are missing out on one of the most important elements of Christian service:  prayer.

Before our prayer time this past Wednesday, I read and shared briefly on the text above, 2 Peter 1:1.  The various translations brought out different aspects of this text and we had a brief discussion on it.  I enjoyed the discussion enough that I decided to engage in just a little personal study and seek some clarification as well as illumination from this passage.

1.  The ESV uses “Simeon” for Peter’s name while other translations use “Simon”.  Both forms of his name are used interchangeably in the NT.  The difference in this verse lies with different manuscripts.  Some of the ancient texts use “Simon” while others use “Simeon”.  I think you will agree it really makes no difference relative to the content.  Peter is doing the writing!

2.  The phrase “have obtained” in the ESV is rendered “have received” in other versions.  “Obtain” almost sounds like the faith they received is something they reached for and got.  But the word translated “obtained” actually means to “obtain by lot”.  In today’s speech we might say “I got lucky!”  You received something you weren’t striving for, it just came.  Surely that is true of our faith.  God alone must provide the faith we require.

3.  “A faith of equal standing with ours” is another phrase we spent some time discussing.  The NAS renders this phrase as “the same kind of faith as ours”.  The King James reads “like precious faith with us”.  The NIV is similar with “a faith as precious as ours.”

The differences come from the word Peter used:  “isotimon”, a word only used here in the New Testament  You may recognize the “iso” prefix from English words such as “isotope” (from the Greek “equal place”), used to describe two forms of the same element.  This prefix means “equal”.  The last part of the word means “honor” or “price”.  So Peter is describing our faith as “equal honor” or “equal value”.  That is why the various translations read slightly differently.  The translators either take the “equal honor” aspect (hence, “equal standing”) or the “equal value” aspect (giving us “like precious”).

The great Southern Baptist Greek scholar A. T. Robertson wrote, “The faith which they have obtained is like in honor and privilege with that of Peter or any of the apostles.”  WOW!  The faith we have in Christ is just like the faith Peter had, a man who was with the Lord, saw the Lord, heard the Lord, walked on water with the Lord, etc.!

That thought alone blows my mind!

Come join us this Wednesday evening as we share some Scripture and then lift our requests to the throne of our heavenly Father.

The Luther Monthly

Since your pastor is fond of Luther, I thought I would invoke some personal privilege and include a Luther quote each month.  Much of what the good doctor says stirs one’s mind as well as “stirs the pot” of discussion!

“Apart from the church, salvation is impossible.”
Martin Luther

Good Friday Service

Easter is the first Sunday of April this year, only a month away.  For the past two years, Bethesda has held a Good Friday evening service and that will be the case once again this year.  Please watch the bulletins over the coming Sundays for announcements relative to our Good Friday service on April 3, make plans to attend, and bring family and friends.

“If you call yourself a Christian but you are not a member of the church you regularly attend, I worry that you might be going to hell.”
Mark Dever
Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.

Some special prayer requests have been shared this week and I want us to keep lifting them to the Lord.

First, former pastor Randy Curless lost his mother this week.  Randy is well known not only by our church but also throughout the St. Louis community.  Please keep him and the family in your prayers.

Second, our brother Nolan Brook is still fighting a high fever which comes and goes.  In diagnosing the problem, doctors have found that three of his lymph nodes are very swollen.  As of this writing, doctors are pursuing the possibility it is the result of a fungal infection actually common in our area.  Please continue to pray for Nolan, those treating him, and his parents.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
Matthew 7:7-8

Special Ministry Opportunity

On Saturday, March 28, Bethesda members may take a tour of our local fire station from 11 a.m. to noon.  Cottleville Station #1 is at the corner of N and Motherhead.  This opportunity is led by our Outreach Committee which is also organizing a meal to take to the station.  We are showing our appreciation for all that the firefighters do.

There will be sign-up sheets in the foyer of the church for those who wish to take the tour and/or donate food.

Ladies Book Study

Ladies, Pam is leading you in a spring book study beginning this month!

The introductory session will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31.  The study will then meet on Tuesdays from April 14 through May 19.  You will be studying the book “He Speaks to Me:  Preparing to Hear from God” by Priscilla Shirer.

This is a great opportunity not only to study a book but also a time to study Scripture and fellowship with one another.  Mark your calendars and watch future bulletins for more information.

Pastor’s Postscript

A public thank you to brother Gary Robnett for stepping in at the very last minute and preaching for me last Sunday morning.  I truly appreciate his willingness to do so.

Furthermore, I appreciate the prayers of everyone at Bethesda on my behalf.  I am feeling much better and more like myself (I don’t know, is that good?).  If the Lord wills I will be back in the pulpit this Sunday.

Debbie mentioned to me last evening how quickly February has gone.  We are already two months through 2015.  Spring will be here before we know it!  I know the Trustees will be having a work day within the next two months, somewhat like our spring cleaning day for our church.

As February ends and March begins, I pray the Lord would pour out His blessings on each of you.  I also pray that He gives us both the wisdom and the desire to serve Him in our community.

May all we say and do bring glory and honor to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Pastor Bruce

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