New Bethel Weekly (22 June 2017)

6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.
7 “May peace be within your walls, And prosperity within your palaces.”

                                        Psalm 122: 7-8 (NASB)

There is physically only one place on Earth that the Lord God has set aside as His, Israel. “‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine;’” (Leviticus 25:23).  For this reason alone, there may be no more important place on the whole Earth.  Yet, there is also so many promises associated with the land and the people of Israel that makes this small piece of land important.  Speaking to Abraham, the father of Israel, “And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who [a]curses you I will [b]curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.’” (Genesis 12:3), maybe the most famous of these. Of course, it is also the place where our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, lived, died, was buried, and rose again.

Israel even gives us reassurance that the promises God has given us personally will be fulfilled.  It is amazing that we can read Leviticus 25 and later read accounts of Israel being overrun and restored in scripture.  Not only can we read it, but we can see that promise being fulfilled in modern times.  The most notable being the restoration of Israel, to the world, on May 14, 1948.  God’s promises are not only yes and amen, but eternal!

There are many things that I love about New Bethel and just one of them is the honor we show Israel.  Part of our Morning Prayer Call includes a time to pray for the peace of Israel.  Our WhatsApp Prayer Group regularly has people calling on our members to prayer for specific events happening in the Holy Lands.  We are not only passionate about what happens in our community, but are passionate about the destiny of Israel.

This Sunday will be extra special as two of our own, Judy Biemer and Ellen Cureton, have returned from a recent trip to the Holy Land. They will be sharing about their time there, complete with pictures, stories and even testimonies.  I am so excited to hear what they will say!  In addition to being a special day for us, it is a great chance to invite a friend to experience Israel.

Blessings,

Allen Wilson

 

New Bethel Weekly (15 June 2017)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

                                                                             Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB)

 

 

Two days and two shootings in the news.  The United States seems to love tragedy and hatred.  When it is not in the news, it’s readily available in the form of entertainment.  I cannot even begin to count the number of CSI, Law & Order and true life crime dramas on TV.  Throw in reruns and it seems the message of outrage and violence can fill our minds 24/7.  Where is the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?

 

The truth is, all of those things are the fruit of the Spirit and should be within us.  When Jesus told us to love our neighbors, I am convinced He wanted us to show them love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  When He said we would do “even greater things,”  I am convinced He expected us to get out and help a stranger, neighbor or friend.  I believe a key to bringing freedom to our region isn’t just setting ourselves apart from the world in our hearts and minds, but stepping into the world and shinning.

 

The truth is, we have the answers to every question, problem and/or situation in Christ Jesus.  We ARE the solution in most cases.  My challenge to you is to go be the solution.  Find a person you can help and start helping.  Help fix a broken fence, babysit a young couple’s kids so they can have a night out, teach a teenager how to work on a car, or make lunch and share it with a grandmother.  There are thousands of problems in our area and we have the answers to each one.  You, you reading this, you have the answer!  Just pick one problem and start being awesome!

 

Here’s the kicker, you don’t have to talk about Jesus.  Sure, because He is such a big part of your life, Jesus will come up at some point.  When that happens, go with it and let Holy Spirit speak through you.  Until that happens, just keep problem solving.  The kindness of a stranger is so counter cultural that stories about it go viral on social media.  The world is starving for good news and the Good News.  With that in mind, I encourage you to be strange this weekend.  Be counter cultural.  Show your neighborhood a little more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and a lot less of the other stuff.

 

Blessings,

~Allen Wilson

Your Best is Excellence

 

For over 10 years now I have worked with audio/video (a/v) in various settings.  It started as a curiosity.  My wife is a talented musician and I love hearing her play and sing.  She comes alive when she worships and there is joy that comes across her face whenever she is using her gift.  I noticed early on that when we went to bigger churches or other places with professional sound,  it sounded much better than what our small church (not New Bethel) did.  I thought, “I’m a smart guy, surely we can do better,” and started learning.

Over time, I found that my love for tech and gadgets is a good fit for being a “sound guy.”  I love learning about it, talking with others about their rigs, and seeking out advice from people who are doing it “right.”  Yes, part of great sound is quality equipment, but there is a lot that can be done with knowledge and a shoe string budget.

Had I been in a big church, there would have been people to teach me.  I could have shadowed professionals and learned the craft before flying solo.  This was never a real option for me. I saw a hole, and said, “Hey, I can fill that hole,” and dove in.  I couldn’t produce excellence, but I did my best.  I’m much better, after ten years, than I use to be.  I still don’t have the best equipment, but I am able to bring great sound to New Bethel – most days.  I am now able to share some of the things, with others, that I have learned over the years.

Something that comes up often in groups I have been part of, is waiting to launch a new feature (like webcasting in the tech world, or a ministry in Church) until everything is perfect.  I agree 100% that anything I do should glorify the Lord and not distract from Him.  However, we can miss opportunities while waiting for what we see as excellence. If the small churches I had been part of waited for $1000, $10,000 or $100,000 budgets to have their sound and lights ready for service, I would have missed all of the great personal ministry I received as a new believer.

Currently, at New Bethel we do not have a webcast.  We do offer a podcast of our messages here.  We do use Periscope to broadcast our services live.  Originally, it was just a cellphone, on a stand, pointed at the stage.  All the sound came from our main speakers and through the small mic on the phone.  It sounded hollow and could be hard to hear at times.

Many bigger churches who use Periscope, Facebook Live, or similar use real video cameras, converters and computer software for their casts.  It sounds and looks a lot better than our broadcast.  We still us the cellphone camera, but now feed the audio from our sound board.  This makes our services much easier to hear and now provides our best.  Many a/v folks would have said our Periscope feed wasn’t excellent and still isn’t.  I’m okay with that.

You see, what we are providing is our best.  The purpose of our Periscope feed was never to share the gospel with the world.  It was set up so members of our church family could still join with us when they couldn’t be with us in person.  We have members that serve our community in the Sheriff department.  We have members that travel and share His love all over the country and world.  We have members who are chronically ill or take care of family members who are.  Simply, we have members who are out doing the stuff and can’t always make it to the building for service.  We wanted a way for them to feel connected and be blessed by our corporate service where ever they might be on a Sunday morning.  Periscope provides this opportunity.  If others view our feed and are blessed that is great!  In fact we have had 2 or 3 families visit New Bethel, because they found our Periscope feed.

If we would have waited for all the gadgets to provide an excellent broadcast, we would still be waiting.  Those families might never have visited.  More importantly, our family would still be missing out on what has become a blessing to them.  Just as I learned to improve my abilities as a sound tech over time, we will continue to improve our webcast.  Until then, we continue to provide our best even when our best may not be viewed as excellence.

So why am I telling you all this?  It is not a plug for Periscope.  It is not an excuse for, or to explain, our limited Periscope feed.  It is because the same thing that can be said about our best video service, can often be said about our Christian walk.

Matthew 28:19 tells all of us to go and make disciples.  The Church is supposed to be a place where we train up believers.  We read in Ephesians 4 that, the Church, is to “equip the saints” for the good works. While we are to be trained and equipped, there is no “level” of Christian excluded from Matthew 28.  We are all supposed to go and make disciples.  Yet, in addition to fear holding us back, often believers are waiting to be excellent.

I know this post reads as if I am knocking “excellence.”  I am not. 2 Corinthians 8:7 tells us to excel in everything.  Excel – to be excellent.  In fact I often quote Colossians 3:23 (NASB) “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,”.  If I am doing unto the Lord, then whatever I am doing, I will do with excellence. I just think that what we sometimes see as “excellence” is different from what God sees.

Going back to Periscope.  Excellence can look like a professional set up for webcasting.  Yet I believe what we do now at New Bethel is excellence.  Can we do better? Not right now, but we will.  We are bringing our best to our family, in service unto the Lord.

In our lives we can almost always do better. In our walk with Jesus, I assure you, we can all do better.  But why does that have to stop us from doing our best now?  It shouldn’t.  You may not always have the answer when you share the Gospel with the world, but you should still share it.  There are people dying every day, condemned to hell, and the Church has people sitting around waiting to be excellent.  People who think that because they are new believers, uneducated through seminary, haven’t read the latest books by the current hit mega church pastor, or any number of things, that they are unqualified to share the message.

When the truth, the truth is you are already called to go and make disciples.  Can you be better equipped?  YES!  So do something about it.  Read and study to show yourself approved.  Find a good bible study to be part of.  Shadow and learn from those further down The Way than you are.  Do these things and at the same time make disciples.

There is a hole, Jesus saw it and told us about it in Luke 2:10 (NASB) “And He was saying to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’” and you need to fill it.  We need harvesters.  Dear Lord, we need laborers (this is not said in vain, but a heartfelt cry). You are called to be one.

Stop letting what you see as excellence stand in your way.  Know that your best IS excellence.  Your best will bless. Your excellence will become more excellent over time, but if you never jump in and say I can do better it never will.  You may have read that last sentence and thought, “Yeah, but I can’t do better than those already doing it.”

First, when I started doing sound, there were lots of people doing it better than me.  There still are.  None of those people did it where I was or where I am now.  There are lots of people who can share the Gospel better than you, but there is no one doing so where you are now.  Second, you sharing the Gospel is better than people going to hell.  You are better than the devil. Third, and most important, as a Christian making disciples is what you are made to do.  There are natural born singers, mathematicians, chefs and many other professionals.  There is just something in them that makes them great at what they do.  It is what they were made for.  You, beloved, are made to share the Gospel. With Holy Spirit in you, you are a natural evangelist.

So go live your purpose and be who you are made to be.

LOVE ALWAYS TRIUMPHS

love-triumphs
Lazarus lives because of love:

Now Jesus LOVED Martha and her sister and Lazarus. John 11:5

So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you LOVE is sick.” John 11:3
Then the Jews said, “See how he LOVED him!”
Throughout this passage, we see how Jesus loved Lazarus and his family deeply. The atmosphere of love was abounding.
Jesus (love) showed up in the scene and overcame death. Love overcomes death. Death cannot hold love.  Love can change any situation.
In the midst of doubting people,  Jesus (love) was the only one who believed that Lazarus would live and indeed Lazarus came back to life.
Love believes in all things. 1 Cor 13:7
So we see that doubt or any other human weakness cannot hold Jesus (love) from having His way. Love covers and makes all things right. The word says that love covers all wrongs. All wrongs like doubt and unbelief were covered in this situation and love triumphed over death and Lazarus came back to life.
I want to encourage you today that because God loves you, you will triumph over that challenging situation. Love turns our weaknesses into strengths and we see the turnaround. God is faithful. God is love and love has come today to cause you to triumph. In love, there is always life. Love is the greatest. Love is the most excellent way.
Read John 11:1-44 and see and receive the power of love.
By Marlon Katsigazi

The Branches

Four years ago I received in the mail a bundle of what appeared to be sticks.  They looked like something you would start a fire with.  They were about twelve inches long and a little larger than the diameter of a pencil.  I happened to know that they were not “just” sticks. They contained life in them and properly cared for, would one day produce grapes. Continue reading “The Branches”