May 31, 2016

A Monthly Publication of 
Bethesda Baptist Church

May 31, 2016

 Church Picnic!

The annual Bethesda Baptist Church Picnic begins at high 
noon on Saturday, June 18th at our church.  The church will 
provide the meat as well as lemonade. 

Families are asked to bring a side dish or a dessert and, 
if you don’t want lemonade, something to drink.

Come out and join us for some good Christian fellowship!

Bethesda Church Picnic
Saturday, June 18

Wednesday, June 8th 
7 p.m.


Happy Birthday to the following Bethesda family members:

* Ken Romans on the 13th 
* Samuel Bounds on the 16th 
* Austin Wildgrube on the 26th 


and Happy Anniversary to:

* Dennis & Pam DePriest on the 7th 
* Jeff & Alicia Mueller on the 12th 

The Book of James

Having completed our exposition of Paul’s letter to the 
Romans, beginning this Sunday we turn our attention to what 
is likely the oldest of the New Testament books: James. 

Come and hear the Word of God this Sunday! 

The Luther Monthly

Martin Luther was very much a theologian. He lived and 
breathed theology and loved teaching, preaching, discussing, 
and arguing the doctrines of the faith. His love of theology is 
one of the reasons he adored the Gospel of John, the Epistle to 
the Romans, and Paul’s letter to the Galatians. However, 
concerning the less theological and more practical book of 
James (which we begin this Sunday), here is what the good 
doctor had to say:

“In fine, Saint John’s Gospel and his first epistle, Saint Paul’s 
epistles, especially those to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, 
and Saint Peter’s first epistle,--these are the books which show 
thee Christ, and teach thee everything that is needful and 
blessed for thee to know even though thou never see or hear 
any other book or doctrine. Therefore is Saint James’s epistle 
a right strawy epistle in comparison with them, for it has no 
gospel character to it.”

As far as I know, Luther never denied that James was inspired 
by God. Actually, on my bookshelves are some of Luther’s 
sermons. One that he preached and was first printed in 1536 
is on James 1:16-21. I do not believe Luther would have used 
this text for any sermon if he did not believe it was the Word 
of God. 

In the above quote Luther says “in comparison with them” 
which I believe supports that opinion. His problem with James 
was likely two-fold. First, as I have already mentioned, James 
does not contain a great deal of teaching on the doctrines of 
the faith which Luther thoroughly enjoyed. That doesn’t 
mean there is an absence of theology in the book, rather, there 
are simply no extended discussions on the person of Christ, 
justification by grace through faith, or other doctrines.

A second problem I believe Luther had with James is the fact 
that his Roman Catholic opponents misused James chapter 2 
in their attempt to defend justification by works. For Roman 
Catholics, Luther’s idea that one could be saved on the basis 
of his faith in Christ alone was heresy. They read James 2 to 
imply that salvation required the performance of good deeds 
(e.g., baptism, observing the mass, confession, penance, etc.). 

James chapter 2, as we will see, is not at odds with Romans 
chapter 3. James is not teaching a salvation requiring works. 
The Roman Catholics are wrong in their understanding of the 
text and Luther was wrong to lessen the value of James when 
compared with other books of the New Testament.

The Epistle of James is the inspired Word of God. It is far 
more practical and less theological than many of the Pauline 
epistles. Nevertheless, as Scripture it is profitable to us. 
So let’s see what we can learn from this small but very 
powerful book!

Pastor’s Postscript

As I mentioned at the beginning of my sermon on Sunday, 
while we spent over 2 years in the book of Romans, there is so 
much more gold to be mined from that book that I almost feel 
guilty leaving it! Yet I sense God wants us to move on to 
other texts.

Given our society’s demand for “satisfaction now” and our 
short attention spans, I applaud you who regularly attend our 
worship and listen to the preaching of the Word. There are 
some (perhaps many based on what other preachers tell me!) 
who do not like preachers who preach from one book for 
many weeks. They believe such expository preaching “robs 
them” of other parts of God’s Word. Personally, I believe 
expository preaching is the best way to proclaim the Word of 

Some time ago I took some time and prayed about my future 
direction in preaching the Word. Given my age as well as my 
commitment to preach expository messages, I realized I will 
never be able to preach through every book of the Bible. So I 
decided to focus on the New Testament for my sermons.

Do not misunderstand my decision to mean that I consider the 
Old Testament of no value. To the contrary, it has so much to 
offer. No, my decision to focus on the New Testament is 
simply based on the amount of time I have left to preach and 
the need to proclaim the message of Christ. The New 
Testament is the best place for doing that.

There will likely be some Sundays when I take a “time out” 
and preach a message from the Old Testament. At the 
moment the adult Sunday School class is looking at an Old 
Testament book. So your pastor has not “disowned” the Old 
Testament! But until God changes my mind, I will continue to 
preach through New Testament books.

Beginning this Sunday we turn our attention to the book of 
James. I do hope you make every effort to join us each week 
as we see what God has for us from this wonderful book.

May the Lord bless your June! 

Pastor Bruce

June 9, 2014

A Weekly Publication of Bethesda Baptist Church
June 9, 2014


Join us for an Outback B-B-Q!

Our church picnic is THIS Saturday, June 14 beginning at 4 p.m.   Bring your lawn chairs and any type of umbrella you want to use for shade plus any games you may like to play in addition to our planned activities.

The church will provide the hamburgers, hot dogs, and buns.  Bring 2 side dishes and a drink.  If you would like a brat instead, just bring it and our master griller will fix it for you!

You are welcome to bring family, friends, and neighbors.  Just call Debbie or Karla so they have a good headcount and can purchase the meat accordingly.


Upcoming Activities

1. BUSINESS MEETING, Wed., 7 p.m.
2. Church Picnic, Saturday, 4 p.m.
3. Sunday School, Sunday, 9:15 a.m.
4. Worship Service, Sunday, 10:30 a.m.
5. Discipleship Training (“The Attributes of God”), Sunday, 5 p.m.

Congratulations to…

Austin Wildgrube in graduating from Francis Howell Central this past weekend!

Business Meeting

Our monthly business meeting is this Wednesday at 7 p.m.  Some of the items we will be deciding this month are:

* Georgia Baggett & Glenda Averett’s request for membership in our church.
* Amendment to Section 6 on the Deacons of our church bylaws.
* Possibly some recommendations from the Nominating Committee.

So join with us as we try to discern God’s will for our church.

Coming Sunday…

We begin the body of the book of Romans this Sunday by looking at Romans 1:8-10 in a sermon entitled “Prayer and the Gospel”.

Spurgeon Speaks

“He is kind to the unthankful and the evil, and makes His rain to fall upon the field of the miser as well as on the ground of the gracious.”

New Additions to Our Church Library

* Several works of author Janette Oke including:
– “Love’s Enduring Promise”
– “When Hope Springs New”
– “Love’s Long Journey”
– “When Calls the Heart”
* On CD, a sermon by John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church, entitled: “Sanctification and Sins of the Mind”

Sermon Seconds

Here is Martin Luther with some thoughts on a Christian being both a sinner and the “beloved of God”.

“Paradoxically, a Christian is both right and wrong, holy and profane, an enemy of God and a child of God. These contradictions no person can harmonize who does not understand the true way of salvation. Under the papacy we were told to toil until the feeling of guilt had left us. But the authors of this deranged idea were frequently driven to despair in the hour of death. It would have happened to me, if Christ had not mercifully delivered me from this error.

We comfort the afflicted sinner in this manner: Brother, you can never be perfect in this life, but you can be holy. He will say: “How can I be holy when I feel my sins?” I answer: You feel sin? That is a good sign. To realize that one is ill is a step, and a very necessary step, toward recovery. “But how will I get rid of my sin?” he will ask. I answer: See the heavenly Physician, Christ, who heals the broken-hearted. Do not consult that Quackdoctor, Reason. Believe in Christ and your sins will be pardoned. His righteousness will become your righteousness, and your sins will become His sins. …

A Christian is beloved of God and a sinner. How can these two contradictions be harmonized: I am a sinner and deserve God’s wrath and punishment, and yet the Father loves me? Christ alone can harmonize these contradictions. He is the Mediator.”

Pastor’s Postscript

I encourage every member of our church to attend our picnic this coming Saturday at 4 p.m.  Maybe you do not wish to participate in any of the games.  Maybe you have no one to bring with you.  That’s fine.  Bring your drink and a couple of side dishes to share and then enjoy the time of fellowship where we may share our joys (and sorrows) with one another and get to know each other better than we do.  Such fellowship enables us to better pray for one another in the coming days.  It is important in your growth as a Christian to spend time with your Christian family and that means more than just Sunday mornings!  I look forward to seeing you there.

May Jesus be magnified in all you do and say this week!

Pastor Bruce

June 2, 2014

STIRRINGS AT BETHESDA – A weekly publication of Bethesda Baptist Church

June 2, 2014



Join us for an Outback B-B-Q!

We call our church picnic an “Outback” BBQ because it will be held “outback” of our church building!  Our church picnic will be held on Saturday, June 14 beginning at 4 p.m.   In case of rain we’ll move the picnic indoors.

Bring your lawn chairs and any type of umbrella you want to use for shade.  We are also asking everyone to bring a drink and 2 side dishes.  The church will provide hamburgers, hot dogs, and buns and we’ll BBQ them “outback”.  If you would like a grilled brat instead, just bring your own and we’ll grill it!

Our picnic will include an inter-generational kick ball game.  If you have other ideas (games, etc.) bring them along!

To help us with planning the picnic, there will be a sign up sheet on the table in the foyer.  Invite your friends, families, and neighbors!

“Love that looks upward is worship.  Love that looks outward is affection.  And love that stoops is grace.”
Donald Barnhouse
Upcoming Activities

1.  Bible Study & Prayer Meeting, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
2.  Deacons’ Meeting, Wednesday, 7:45 p.m.
3.  Men’s Breakfast and Book Study, Saturday, 8 a.m.
4.  Sunday School, Sunday, 9:15 a.m.
5.  Worship Service, Sunday, 10:30 a.m. 
6.  Discipleship Training (“The Attributes of God”), Sunday, 5 p.m.

Congratulations to

Dennis & Pam DePriest celebrating their wedding anniversary on Saturday, June 7!

Coming Sunday

We complete the salutation of the Epistle to the Romans in our exposition of Romans 1:7, “The People of the Gospel”. 

Spurgeon Speaks

“That is a sweet name for every truly converted man, ‘called of Jesus Christ.’  He has called you personally.  He has called you effectually.  He has called you out of the world.  He has called you into fellowship with Himself—‘the called of Jesus Christ.’”


Yesterday, Georgia Baggett and Glenda Averett presented themselves for membership to Bethesda Baptist Church by transfer of letter!  We rejoice that the Lord has led these dear ladies to our fellowship and we welcome them!  If you were not able to be here yesterday,  make sure you greet them next Sunday and welcome them to our congregation.

Per our church bylaws, their request for membership will be formally voted on next Wednesday, June 11, during our monthly business meeting.

Amendment to the Bylaws

A reminder that we will vote on an amendment to our church bylaws at the June 11 business meeting.  This amendment is fairly lengthy (3 pages) and completely replaces section 6 of the bylaws on Deacons.  Copies of this amendment are available on the table in the foyer of the church.  Of, if you would like an electronic copy, just let the pastor know.  If you have questions, please direct them to Pastor Bruce.

Julie’s Mission Trip

Julie is in San Diego on her mission trip.  Please keep her in your prayers and consider helping her with the cost of this trip.

Sermon Seconds

I spent a few moments in yesterday’s message discussing grace in general because I truly believe we do not take the time to seriously ponder all that God has done for us.  Everything in our life is a result of the grace of God for we do not even deserve to be alive.  In verse 5, however, Paul is discussing the saving grace provided by the Gospel.  While God’s grace is continually poured out upon us, Paul writes “we have received grace”.  He is talking about specific grace we (Christians) have received in the past and the most specific act of grace any Christian can point to is the grace God gave him in salvation!

Let us praise God every day for all He graciously does for us.  But especially let us praise Him for the salvation that He purchased for us and provided to us!

Pastor’s Postscript

This past Saturday I had the privilege of marrying my grandson to his fiancé in our building.  The service went very well and many of those in attendance complemented the church facility on its appearance both inside and outside!  What a tremendous testimony of stewardship this is for each of you and especially our Trustees who have the responsibility for the building.  My hat is off to you for all your time and efforts!

While I applaud all the Trustees, I do wish to single out two:  Rich Norvell and Jon Bounds.  Thank you both for all you did over the past couple of weeks to prepare the facility for the wedding.  I am grateful.

May our Lord bless your entire week!

Pastor Bruce

May 26, 2014

STIRRINGS AT BETHESDA – A Weekly Publication of Bethesda Baptist Church – May 26. 2014

Julie’s Mission Trip

Julie will be leaving tomorrow (Tuesday) for 10 weeks in San Diego.  Keep her and the team in your prayers.  After services yesterday I was told some of the team were driving to San Diego and had their cars break down in route.  So especially pray for them as they try to get the necessary repairs made and to San Diego in time.

You may still contribute to help with the cost of Julie’s trip if the Lord so leads.

Upcoming Activities

1.  Bible Study & Prayer Meeting,  Wednesday, 7 p.m.
2.  Wedding at Bethesda, Friday & Saturday.
3.  Sunday School, Sunday, 9:15 a.m.
4.  Worship Servicer, Sunday, 10:30 a.m.
5.  Discipleship Training (“The Attributes of God”), Sunday, 5 p.m.

Congratulations to…

Bruce Walker celebrating ANOTHER birthday on Tuesday.

Coming Sunday

We continue our look at the salutation to the Epistle to the Romans as we examine “The Provision of the Gospel” from Romans 1:5-6.

Church Picnic!

If you check the June calendar you will see our church picnic is two weeks from this coming Saturday on June 14 (Flag Day) at 4 p.m.

More information to follow in upcoming newsletters and bulletins.  Mark your calendars!

Spurgeon Speaks

“He (Jesus) was a Man, therefore He died, but He rose again for He was more than Man—‘declared to be the son of God in power’.”

Amendment to the Bylaws

We will vote on an amendment to our church bylaws at the June 11 business meeting.  This amendment is fairly lengthy (3 pages) and completely replaces section 6 of the bylaws on Deacons.  Copies of this amendment are available on the table in the foyer of the church.  Of, if you would like an electronic copy, just let the pastor know.  If you have questions, please direct them to Pastor Bruce.

5th Sunday Q & A Fellowship

COMING IN JUNE:  our second “5th Sunday Q & A Fellowship” on June 29.  Submit your questions early and mark your calendars!

Sermon Seconds

Paul penned verses 3 and 4 in Romans 1 using symmetry.  Let me show you:

v. 3 – “was descended” is a participle meaning “the one having become”; v. 4 – “was declared” is a participle meaning “the one having been marked out

v. 3 – “from David” is a prepositional (ek) phrase meaning “out of seed of David”; v. 4 – “by the resurrection of the dead” is a prepositional (ek) phrase meaning “out of resurrection of dead ones”

v. 3 – “according to the flesh” is a prepositional (kata) phrase meaning exactly what it says. ; v. 4 – “according to the Spirit of holiness” is also a prepositional (kata) phrase with that meaning.

Paul intended for the structure of these two verses to be extremely similar.  In doing so, he has communicated some of the greatest Christological (“about Christ”) truth in the Scripture!  Yes, His Son is a human (verse 3).  Yes, His Son is God (verse 4).

That’s wonderful and awesome at the same time!


The following is from an article by A. W. Pink

The Lord Jesus was completely God, but he was also completely man. This is something to be believed and not for proud reason to speculate upon. The personhood of Jesus is not a fit object for intellectual diagnosis; rather must we bow before Him in worship. … While then there is much about the person of Christ which we cannot fathom with our own understanding, yet there is everything about Him to admire and love: foremost are His deity and humanity and the perfect union of these two in one person. The Lord Jesus was not a divine man, nor a humanized God; He was the God-man. Forever God, and now forever man. …

The One born at Bethlehem was the divine Word. The Incarnation does not mean that God manifested himself as a man. The Word became flesh; he became what He was not before, though He never ceased to be all He was previously. He who was in the form of God and thought it not robbery to be equal with God “made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7). The babe of Bethlehem was Immanuel – God with us – He was more than a manifestation of God. He was God manifest in the flesh. He was both Son of God and Son of Man. Not two separate personalities, but one person possessing two natures – the divine and the human.

 “The resurrection only declared him to be what he truly was.”
James Denney

Pastor’s Postscript

Since our newsletter is usually only 2 pages, I have little space remaining this week.  I will be brief (yes, it is possible for me to be brief).  Bethesda Baptist, you, the good people who comprise this church, are a blessing to me!

Have a wonderful week and may God grant some of your desires along with all of your needs!

Pastor Bruce