As I prayed about what to write for this edition of New Bethel Weekly I was continually taken back to my 10th grade math teacher. I don’t remember her name, but I remember something she did. The last day before Christmas break she closed her classroom door, told us to put everything away, and began to speak to us. She laid out the gospel, prayed over us, and then offered the gift of salvation to anyone who wanted it. This was in a public school, and she had printed letters for any student to take to the principle explaining what she did. Then she shared why she did it.
When I was her student she had been teaching for 18 years and had been sharing the same message for 10 years. Her 7th year of teaching two of her students committed suicide over the holiday break. She had no idea what was going on in their lives, there were no clues that she picked up on, and she didn’t know if they were saved. Her message wasn’t an attempt to “win souls” but rather an attempt to save lives and hopefully touch that one life that felt worthless and unloved.
You see Christmas is an amazing time. Families come together (I’m in Georgia with my family as I write this), gifts are shared, and an overwhelming feeling of love tends to fill each house. For many, this season is a reminder of our salvation. Some, however, do not know this peace. When they look at the lights, festivity and family, they feel empty inside. There is no hope. If you are reading this and know that this is you, you are not alone.
Jesus loves you. Every story in the Bible, every Sunday message, every door banger and Bible thumper, every song about Jesus on the radio today, is a message of love. The best part is that love is for you personally. If no one except you said yes to Jesus, He still would have given His life for you. This is the promise of the Christmas manger, Jesus’s life for yours. A promise fulfilled with His death and resurrection.
With the acceptance of Jesus, comes hope, joy and love. You no longer have to walk alone, the burdens of your life become shared. Best of all, Jesus is someone who has your best interest at heart. However, He loves you just as you are. Jesus isn’t about control or manipulation. The things He asks of His followers are designed to bring freedom and peace. He does not want your daily decisions driven by the next fix (whatever that vice may be). He shows you places in your life that keep you from accepting unconditional love, and helps you overcome them. He moves you from a place of fear and suspicion, to a place of love and trust.
There is hope today, right now for you. Not only can you have a friend, you will gain a family. No matter how different we look, or act, the message of the whole Church is simply this: Jesus loves you and so do we. If you are lonely, depressed and need some help, there are some great people at 1-800-273-8255 (The National Suicide Prevention Line) waiting to talk to you and help. If you need a friendly word of encouragement or want to talk more about Jesus call me at 919-618-8127. If you want to experience the hope and love of Jesus then pray right now:
Dear God in heaven,
I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that: I am a sinner, I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived and I need your forgiveness.
I believe that Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.
You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.
Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.
Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. Lord Jesus, transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.
Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life. AMEN
Ever week, I close the weekly with I love you, this is not an empty or cute statement. Among the many things Jesus has done for me, He took my cold heart and filled it with love. He truly has given me a love for each of you. I will not be at New Bethel this Sunday, but if you read this and chose to give Jesus a chance to love you, there will be people there Sunday, 10:30am, who would love to welcome you the Family of God. I love ya and Merry Christmas to all.
God in these last days is restoring the church to the glory she was birthed into. During this Christmas season we all have been reflecting on the events that brought the Christ child into the world. I have found myself looking at John the Baptist. It seems that I have “happened” upon this and that passage related to “the prophet of the Most High”. Continue reading “Restoring the Church”
It is finally here! The New Bethel CHRISTmas Extravaganza is finally here! Okay maybe extravaganza is “selling” it a bit too much. Still, this Sunday is our special Christmas Celebration Service which will kick off at 10:30am. There will be a covered dish fellowship following service. Thank you to everyone who has signed up to bring a dish. Pastor Boris is asking that everyone who is bringing food to please have it at New Bethel by 10:15am so you will have time to join us for the full Christmas Service. There is still room for you to sing up, we are a little light on vegetables and drinks, so click here to do so.
It has been a very unique year for New Bethel, with some exciting changes. For those who have stood with us and helped through a few transitions thank you. For our newest members to the New Bethel Family, I know it can seem chaotic at times (transition can bring some chaos), it is my prayer that through it all you have seen the love and grace that defines New Bethel.
I’m writing my year end close now, because this is the last traditional weekly of the year. I hope you will stay tuned for a special Christmas and New Year’s edition of the Weekly. I want you to know it has been a huge blessing to serve you, and with you, this year. Thank you for the love and support you have shown and given me through the year. You are awesome! I love you and look forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, with you this Sunday.
Thank you to everyone who is working to make this Christmas a wonderful time of year for New Bethel. I would like to say thank you to With Love From Jesus (WLFJ) for donating the big awesome tree that now sits in our sanctuary. It is beautiful. As a reminder this Saturday is New Bethel’s partnership day with WLFJ. We meet at 9am at their Raleigh location, 421 Chapanoke Rd. Raleigh NC 27603. This is a great time to minister to the community, and give of yourself.
Our new Courageous Youth leaders, Nick and Keisha are asking for all the Courageous parents to stay after service this Sunday for a quick meeting. The meeting will last about 10-20 minutes. If you are unable to attend please email Nick, firstname.lastname@example.org, for details.
A new stop has been added on our Christmas trail. The Cary Vine group is inviting everyone to go caroling! They will be at Smithfield Rescue Mission Wednesday December 16th, 2015 at about 6:45pm. There will also be a carpool meeting at New Bethel at 5:45 and leaving promptly at 6pm. You are welcome to join either the car pool or meet at the Mission. Smithfield Rescue Mission is located at 523 Glenn Street Smithfield, NC 27577. For questions please contact, Andrea Mathews email@example.com, or Martha Ellington firstname.lastname@example.org, thank you.
Our CHRISTmas celebration is just 10 days away! New Bethel you are doing an awesome job with the sign-up sheet. Thank you to everyone who has already agreed to contribute to our Covered Dish. There are still a number of slots open, such as veggies and side dishes, to be filled. For those who don’t like to cook, we still need drinks, ice, and paper goods. Also, our clean-up team only has Mama Linda Wiggins, she could really use your commitment to helping with clean up. To sign up click here, or go to www.perfectpotluck.com use last name: wilson and password: 7777. Thank you, I love ya, and I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday.