December 29, 2014


A Monthly Publication of
Bethesda Baptist Church

December 29, 2014

“One of God’s glorious gifts to mankind is to bestow upon him the dawn of a new year. New opportunities and challenges are before him. A chance to try again, to make another endeavor to successfully accomplish the ambitions which were perhaps cast aside with discouragement in the year past. Life is full of beginnings. As one stands at the gate and with doubtful hand draws aside the curtain and peers into the unknown, he begins today by taking his first step across the threshold of the new year. It is already a beautiful year because it is another year of Our Lord.”
C. E. Cowman

Upcoming Activities

A new church year begins this Thursday and that means opportunities for fellowship!  One of the more significant January fellowship activities is our January Bible Study which meets each Sunday evening during the Discipleship Training time (5 p.m.).  The 2015 study is on Deuteronomy and you are greatly encouraged to come and be a part of our time together.

Lottie Moon Christmas Offering

WE REACHED OUR GOAL of $1300, in fact, we surpassed it!  Our final tally will be announced next Sunday in our worship service.

Thank you to everyone who gave.  You are truly a generous people!

Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee brought their recommendations for the various church positions to the church for approval at our December business meeting and they were approved.  The new officers, teachers, and committee members begin their work with the new calendar year.  Thank you to the committee for their diligent work.

Though the most difficult task that committee faces each year is complete until late 2015, there remain a few positions still open which means the committee has not ceased their efforts.  On the table in the foyer is a list of all volunteers and the positions they hold for next year plus which positions remain vacant.  Please take a sheet and pray about the open positions!


As noted earlier, the new committees begin work on Thursday.  Your first order of business per our bylaws is to meet.  Here is the section from our present Constitution and Bylaws:

Committee Officers.
a. The first order of business at the first meeting of each committee following elections is to select committee officers.
b. Committee officers shall consist of a chairperson and a secretary unless otherwise designated.
c. Chairperson: Shall preside over and direct the meetings; shall ensure that the business at hand is discussed in an orderly and Christian way; and shall ensure that proper and necessary recommendations and actions are taken by the committee
d. Secretary: Shall prepare and maintain all committee records, including minutes of each meeting.  Shall have available to the board of directors the minutes of each meeting
The committee shall report the selection of its officers at the next church business meeting.
So, to those on committees, thank you for serving!  Now, get together and elect your officers!

Proposed Changes

At the December business meeting, the Nominating Committee presented several proposed changes to our bylaws.  These were moved and seconded and, per our bylaws, will be voted on at our January business meeting.  You are encouraged to pick up a copy of these proposed changes (many having to do with committees) from the table in the foyer.  If you need an electronic copy, please request one from Sandy Brandel.

Also, last spring a committee was formed to consider modifying our Constitution to adopt the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message in lieu of the 1963 statement.  The committee studied the 2000 version and is recommending the church amend our Constitution to indicate the 2000 version is our statement of faith.  If you would like a copy of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, see the pastor on Sunday and he will give you one.  Or, if you are online, you can read the statement at .

“In nature, we see God above us.   
In a convicted conscience, we see God against us.   
in the GOSPEL,  
we see ‘God with us’.”

Pastor’s Postscript

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2)

These words were among the last ones ever written by the Apostle Paul.  He wrote them to Timothy, one of his converts, mission partner, and, at the time of their writing, the pastor of the church at Ephesus.  I suspect most pastors view Paul’s charge to Timothy as also a charge to them.  I know I do!

Since coming to Bethesda in the fall of 2009, I have ministered with a specific plan in mind.  This plan has been based on what I believed the Lord wanted done both inside and outside our church.

For the past couple of months I have reflected on my first five years as your pastor.  First, I assessed those things I believed the Lord wanted accomplished from that plan over this period of time.  Some of them have been accomplished and some have not.  Next I sought His direction concerning the future of our church for this year, five years, and ten years out. Then I spent the last week putting pen to paper and documenting some specific plans for our church over the next ten years.

I am sharing these plans with our deacons at our January 7th  Deacons’ meeting.  After receiving their feedback, I will share my thoughts with the entire church, possibly as early as the January 14th business meeting.

Ultimately our goal at Bethesda is to glorify our God in everything we do!  There is so much more we can do together!

Happy New Year and may Christ richly bless you in 2015!

Pastor Bruce

December 1, 2014

A Monthly Publication of
Bethesda Baptist Church

December 2014

Upcoming Activities

The activities for the month are provided in the December calendar.  Here are the exceptions for December to our usual schedule.

* The final Discipleship Training of 2014 will be Sunday, December 14 at 5 p.m.  There will be no DT on the 7th, 21st, or 28th.
* There will also be no prayer meeting on the last 2 Wednesdays of the month (24th and 31st).

Lottie Moon Christmas Offering

Our 2014 goal is $1300 and we have already collected $100.  All money received for the Lottie Moon offering supports our mission activities on fields outside of North America.  We will collect through the month of December.  Please seek the Lord and give as He wills.

“Justification is not a process.  It is a verdict.  It is a singular act of counting someone righteous and acceptable to God on the basis of the righteousness of another, namely, Christ.”  
John Piper

Christmas Party

Our annual Christmas Party will be held on Saturday evening, December 13, beginning at 5:30 p.m.  Every family is asked to bring an appetizer and a drink to share.  If you have any games you would like to play, please bring them as well.  We’ll share the appetizers, play some games, and enjoy the fellowship.  Please make certain not to miss this fun fellowship!

There will NOT be a gift exchange.

Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee is finishing its work at filling open positions for 2015.  If the Lord has convicted you to an area in which you may serve Him, please contact Sandy, Debbie, or David quickly.  We will vote on these nominations at the business meeting on December 10.

“When we possess the benefit of Christ’s death and resurrection, there is nothing wanting to the completion of perfect righteousness.”
John Calvin

Our Newsletter

The time has come for changes to our newsletter.  For five years we have published one almost weekly.  A couple of years ago we began adding the monthly calendar which provides not only the church functions for the month but also the birthdays and anniversaries.  But even good things need changing from time to time.

First, most of our weekly newsletters have become essentially repetitious.  Week after week the items shared by our paper are the same with only minor changes.  Of course, some of the activities vary week to week but these differences are captured on our monthly calendar.  So, publishing a weekly newsletter for our church size is probably not a wise task.  It consumes time and money (paper, ink, stamps) and basically shares the same info found in previous newsletters.  So, beginning with this newsletter, we will publish only once a month.  We’ll send out the newsletter the last week of each month with a calendar for the upcoming month.

Second, going to a monthly schedule will demand earlier input from the various organizations that wish to have information published.  These groups would include the fellowship committee, the mission organizations, and various committees (e.g., Trustees) who are planning specific events for the upcoming month.  Of course, most church members have e-mail so, if something is overlooked in the monthly paper, we can send out a quick e-mail on the matter.

Third, the pastor has “hogged” the newsletter long enough.  While I enjoy writing, I suspect there are others in our congregation who would like to do some writing of their own.  So, I am soliciting for additional newsletter “staff”.  If you believe the Lord would have you take over the entire production of the paper, please let me know!  I will gladly contribute a monthly article.  Or, if that is a bit too much for you, would you like to share an article from time to time?  I would encourage committees who wish to publish information for the church in the newsletter to write their own article and then send it to me to be included in the next edition.

Finally, I am open to any suggestions you may have.  If you have anything for the January edition, it will be published during the last week of December.

May our Lord be glorified in you this week.
Pastor Bruce

November 24, 2014

A Weekly Publication of
Bethesda Baptist Church

November 24, 2014

Upcoming Activities

1. NO Bible Study & Prayer Meeting this week.
2. Sunday School, Sunday, 9:15 a.m.
3. Worship Service, Sunday, 10:30 a.m.
4. Discipleship Training, Sunday,5 p.m.

Operation Christmas Child

As Pam reported yesterday, we packed 54 boxes and had extra items we could not pack since we ran out of boxes.  Nevertheless, those items were sent as well and will be used to fill boxes.  Thank you again for your generosity.

“Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his uplifting prayers in the pulpit. He always found something for which to be grateful. One Sunday morning the weather was so gloomy that one church member thought to himself, ‘Certainly the preacher won’t think of anything for which to thank the Lord on a wretched day like this.’ Much to his surprise, however, Whyte began by praying, ‘We thank Thee, O God, that it is not always like this.’ 
Daily Bread, August 26, 1989.
Christmas Party

Yes, it’s that time of year again!  Our annual Christmas Party will be held on Saturday evening, December 13, beginning at 5 p.m.  Mark the event on your calendar and keep an eye on future newsletters and bulletins for specific information on the party.  Everyone who attended last year had a great time and this year’s event should be as much fun!  You don’t want to miss it!

Lottie Moon Christmas Offering

Southern Baptists have designated the Christmas season as the time when we collect funds to support our international missions endeavors.  This offering, named the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, goes entirely to the missionaries and their work. 

So as Bethesda Baptist begins our emphasis on this offering, I exhort you to seek the Lord as to what He would have you contribute this year to support international missions.

May God once again bless your generosity!

“Thanks to this Great, Sovereign Ruler for the eternal mercy He has.  Despite the rebellion of many of His subjects to His Lordship, He continues to offer His mercy to them even today.  Salvation is possible and available for He is a merciful God.”

Nominating Committee

The Lord has given each of His children spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ.  How does Christ want you to utilize your gifts through our church in 2015?  Please contact Sandy, Debbie, or David, our Nominating Committee, and share your thoughts with them.
Pastir’s Postscript

Our national annual celebration of Thanksgiving was a result of President Lincoln’s proclamation in 1863 which established the last Thursday of November as the date (later changed to the 4th Thursday).  Here is the proclamation in its entirety.

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widow, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and direct your thanks to our blessed God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

May He watch over you this week.

 Pastor Bruce

December 2, 2013

Prayer Requests

* Jon Bounds, illness
* Pete Koelling, health concerns
* Brida’s daughter-in-law, Dawn
* Special prayer for Zachary
* Cynthia Wordlaw, need for a kidney
* Health of Cynthia’s father, mother, and mother-in-law
* Dennis fighting kidney failure
* Sandy & Rachelle, working many hours
* Dan, health concerns
* Marilynn Norvell
* Gene Schulze
* Mark & Julie Johnson and the situation with their Illinois home
* Lottie Moon Christmas Offering
* Our church and need for revival

Upcoming Activities

1.  Women’s Ministry Packing Soldiers’ Boxes, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. AT THE WALKERS.
2.  Bible Study & Prayer Meeting, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
3.  Deacons’ Meeting, Wednesday, 7:45 p.m.
4.  Men’s Breakfast and Book Study, Saturday, 8 a.m.
5.  Sunday school, Sunday, 9:15 a.m.
6. Worship Service, Sunday, 10:30 a.m.
7. Discipleship Training, Sunday, 5 p.m.

“Repentance is to leave
The Sins we loved before,
And show that we in earnest grieve,
By doing so no more.”

Ministry to Soldiers

Ladies, you will meet this Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. at the Walkers home to pack the boxes for the American soldiers in Afghanistan.  There will be Taco Soup for any who are hungry.  If you would like to bring anything else to share, feel free to do so.

If you need directions, please call the pastor or Debbie.

Bethesda Church Directory

REMINDER:  Church directories are available on the table near the door in the foyer.  Please take one for your home.  If you see any mistakes, please contact the pastor and let him know what needs to be changed.

Sermon Extras

In verse 19, Peter calls on his audience to repent and turn back (or away) “that your sins may be blotted out”.  The word translated “blotted out” means to “wipe off or out of”.  It was common in the 1st century for one’s debts to be tracked by making a notation on a wax tablet.  When your debt was paid, the blunt end of the stylus was use to flatten out (blot out, wipe away) your debt on the tablet.

When we truly repent of our sins and turn from our sins to Christ and holiness, God blots our debt off the divine ledger.  Praise God, your debt is gone!

Questions from the Sermon:  I’ve decided to add this section to the “Sermon Extras” article each week.  Here are a couple of questions relative to Sunday’s message.

1.  What is the primary role of a prophet?
2.  How does Jesus Christ fill the role of a prophet?
3.  What is unique about Christ’s role as prophet compared to all the Old Testament prophets?

Christmas Party

The Bethesda Christmas Party will begin at 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 21.  Please plan on joining us for snacks, games, fellowship, and caroling.

Men’s Breakfast

The men will meet this Saturday morning at 8 a.m. for breakfast and our book study.  We will cover chapter 11 in Whitney’s book on “Journaling”.  Even if you have not been reading Whitney’s book, bring your breakfast and join us this Saturday!

Christmas Eve Service

Christmas falls on a Wednesday this year so our Christmas Eve service is scheduled for Tuesday, December 24 at 6 p.m.  Please join us for this brief but inspiring time of worship as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

“I once heard it told
Of a prophet who foretold
Many words which were bold
Yet did not live to be old.

You see, the words that he said
Failed and filled him with dread.
So folks threw stones on his head
And now ‘the prophet’ lies very dead!”

Pastor’s Postscripts

Christmas carols are back!  Hallelujah!  I love singing Christmas hymns since they are so filled with Jesus and the message of the Gospel.

I trust you are using your Week of Prayer guide from yesterday’s bulletin and praying for the missionaries mentioned in that handout.  Each of us is a missionary, commanded by God to take the Gospel to all nations.  Some are led by God to remote lands to fulfill that commandment such as those listed in the prayer guide.  Surely those of us who are brothers in Christ yet remain in their homeland can pray for those called to minister in foreign lands.

Furthermore, we can assist the efforts of these fellow missionaries not only by our prayers but also by our giving.  I am not begging or demanding anyone to contribute to financially supporting these missionaries.  But I do exhort you to seek the Lord and His wisdom when it comes to this offering.  If He leads you to give financially then be obedient.  All the money given to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goes directly to supporting the work of international missions.

And, while we are discussing missions, I encourage each of you to ask the Lord how you might minister in His behalf through our church next year.  If you sense the Lord leading you into service in a particular area, please contact the Nominating Committee (Sandy and Debbie) and/or me and let us know.

May the Lord bless your endeavors this week in spreading His Gospel!