84 degrees in Tucson yesterday! Absolutely beautiful outside.

So here is my candid opinion of the day yesterday at Bethel.  A pastor has a unique view of the services.  Sometimes it looks very different from the pew, but here is how I saw things from the pulpit viewpoint.

Attendance was good yesterday which always helps the pastor in his view of the day!  With the excellent weather & good attendance, we were set for good things already.  From the downside however, Dr. Ed Nelson was not able to be here for our Founder’s Day celebration.  He is 94 years young now & this past week he pulled a muscle or cracked a rib which produced pain for him which prohibited his coming to Bethel yesterday.  We were all saddened by that, but I think we have a remedy for this for next year.  We will plan to Skype him live at our church & at Shining Light Baptist Church if he cannot make the long trip to be here to preach.  So, the Lord willing, we have a plan for next year already.  (I should have thought of that previously, but as they say, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”)

In spite of his absence, we had a wonderful service.  The robust singing of the congregation added a lot to the service.  The choir of five altos, three sopranos, two tenors, & three basses did a splendid job on, “He’s an Unchanging Savior.”  Also kudos to Mrs. Emily Blewett for her excellent accompaniment on the piano for them.  The powerful words & sensitive dynamics of the choir added so much to the touching message of the song.  Then Mrs. Autumn Clark’s trumpet offertory of “Give Me Jesus” was excellent.  Baby Noah’s mom & dad were a blessing to the church family as they played together on trumpet & keyboard with this beautiful arrangement.  Just before the sermon, the congregation sang, “How Great Thou Art.”  That set the tone for an alert crowd to the preaching.  I spoke from Matthew 26:56-73 on “Following Jesus from Afar.”  The congregation was attentive & responsive to the preached message.  PTL for a wonderful time of corporate worship together! 

In the evening Bethel journeyed to Shining Light Baptist Church where we were supposed to have a joint service with Pastor Greg Dawson & his people keynoting Dr. Ed Nelson, but since he could not come, we had a special encouraging time for both churches together!  The host pastor spoke from Isaiah 41:8-10 on “Changes & Transitions.”  It was an encouraging, uplifting message from God’s Word for both congregations which had a particular year in 2019, but for different reasons.  Yet God used it for both bodies of believers for His glory & their encouragement.  PTL for the wonderful time together with them.  SLBC is a church plant from Bethel under Dr. Nelson’s ministry.  And that made it even more special for all of us!

So there you have it from the pastor’s perspective.  It was a good day in many respects.  So we are rejoicing in the Lord from it & looking forward to this coming Sunday with our special guest in the evening service, Dr. Daniel Cherian, the President of South India Baptist Bible College.  This is where Jonathan Carpenter is serving in training young Indian servants to reach the most populous country in the world with the Gospel.  It should be a great evening with a choice servant of God from the other side of the world.  PTL & have a great week, my friends.

Pastor Stertzbach