August 13, 2017

Summer is almost ended.  PTL.  🙂

I am so glad that summer is ending.  In the SW desert, summer is our hardest time in terms of the weather.  The withering heat starts in April & by the end of August we are ready for some reprieve.  We look forward to winter which is our best time of the year.  While the North gets snow, sleet, & blizzards, we enjoy moderate temperatures.  The only difficult thing about winter here is all of the snowbirds.  We love to have them, but it jams the streets & restaurants while they are here.  We are happy always to have our snowbirds here at Bethel too.  🙂

Yesterday was wonderful in many ways in our church services.  In the pastoral prayer yesterday, I asked the young adults who just graduated & are heading for college, those going to the military, & those just beginning their career,  to stand so I could pray over them.  I invited a family member from each to stand with them.  Then I asked the Gould Family who just lost their precious dad, the Richards’ Family who lost an uncle this weekend, & Diane & me in the loss of our pastor-friend, Dr. Jim Barrick to also stand for special prayer.  I then solemnly prayed over each in earnest.  It really set the tone for the service & was a precious time together before the Throne of God.  We wanted specifically to let these young adults know that as a church family we treasure them & are praying for them!  I think they got the message.

The choir had a delightful sound in “God of the Ages.”  Pastor Seth had the congregation join the choir for a verse which we always LOVE to do!  It made it special & memorable.  The offertory was a piano solo by Johnathan Burt.  He will be off to Maranatha Baptist University soon, & we will miss him.  PTL for how he has grown in the Lord & in His service in these years.  I then asked the congregation to join me in reading Ephesians 2:8-14 to set the tone for the message “The Promise of Peace.

Following the Scripture reading together, Mrs. Amy Near & her children, Kaitlyn & Sam sang “Trust & Obey” with her.  Miss Anna Carpenter accompanied them on the piano.  The words of that song are so true & so powerful.  Afterwards I asked Amy’s mother if she enjoyed hearing her daughter & two grandchildren sing in the church.  She beamed & agreed readily!  I was not a bit surprised either.  🙂

The evening service at Bethel was the pick of the litter in my opinion.  The service was opened in prayer by Pastor Seth.  The choir number was unique.  Mrs. Emily Blewett accompanied on the piano & Johnathan Burt on the cello.  It gave the choir number a special unique sound that delighted the congregation.  And the words … they were indeed powerful.  PTL.

The offertory was a piano solo by Miss Anna Carpenter.  It was not bombastic but it was solid, professional, & godly.  It was well done in warming our hearts & caused us to focus on the words “Teach me” in the song which were on the screen.  We also had a brief testimony time.  I was particularly blessed by the words of Ethan Delgado who told of his camp experience a couple of weeks ago & the decision that he made.  I had no idea up to that point, but God specifically answered my prayer for him for that week.  PTL.  My heart was expressly blessed indeed.  There were other testimonies also that blessed others I am sure.  I then preached from II Tim. 1:7 on “Keys to Overcoming Fears.”  I was pleased with the message except that one of the diagrams that I wanted to use was not “loadable” on the Power Point at the last minute.  I think it would have helped the message, but apparently the Lord thought it was adequate without.  So that settles that. 🙂

Yesterday was good in very many ways.  One can choose to focus on the joys & victories or upon the miseries & failures around us.  Although I acknowledge the latter, I choose to meditate & rejoice in the former.  God knows all about both.  Since my confidence is in Him & not the circumstances which I humanly see, then all is well because He is absolutely perfect!  And certainly that is always cause to rejoice & praise! 🙂

Pastor S.