September 13, 2015

Last Sunday was “Holy Cow Sunday” for us.  How could it be?  🙂

Our attendances were abysmal as we had people gone in all six directions (N-S-E-W-up-down).  We were so thin that Pastor Seth seriously considered not having the choir sing because all the parts might not be covered, but they did sing & it was lovely.  🙂  The offering was the least since I have been here at Bethel in almost ten years.  Yikes, it was certainly a “Holy Cow,” what in the world is going on day.

But in spite of all of that, there were some wonderful blessings from the Lord!  🙂  We had two new couples in the morning & one of them came back for the evening service!  🙂  That really encouraged my heart for sure!  Another super blessing was the violin offertory by Mrs. Elizabeth Gallagher.  Her thoughtful, sensitive string solo of “Before the Throne of God Above” was tenderly energetic & powerful.  Pastor Seth accompanied her from the piano & it was delightful for all of the audience!  I preached from II Chronicles 13:1-18 on “Confidence in God Even When You Are Outnumbered.”  I got really mixed response from it too.  There was more nodding off than usual, but there were some encouraging words from folks who spoke of its blessing to them.  Huh, “Who would have thunk it?”  🙂  Maybe I was mostly the problem because I was in pain during the whole message.  🙁  I had a bit of skin cancer taken off my right ear a week ago & the surgeon took a patch of skin to cover the hole.  Sunday morning the Band-Aid that covered the skin patch fell off just as I was beginning the message & my collar was rubbing it raw the whole message!  🙁  Talk about a raw sermon!  So maybe it was more me than the nodders last Sunday.  🙂

The evening service had a new low number of attenders too.  🙁  That is always discouraging to a preacher.  But again, there were blessings galore in it.  The choir sang, “Press ON” which was just what the doctor ordered for me & everyone else, I think.  🙂  The congregational singing was excellent too.  Then Mr. Charles Peterson played “It Is Well” on his fleugel horn.  It was majestic & powerful, & with the words on the video screen, they enhanced the message considerably.  He was accompanied on the piano by Mrs. Emily Blewett.  Speaking of keyboardists, sadly last Sunday was the final day for our long term excellent organist, Mrs. Gayle Gould.  They are moving to Colorado this week to be near their grandchildren.  Now … who can fault a grandparent for that?  🙂  But still, we will miss her greatly!  I preached a topical message on P-R-I-D-E.  It had good response from the audience & seemed to connect with them.  The testimonies were also rich & vibrant in the evening.

So PTL for each & every blessing of the “Holy Cow” Sunday.  I wouldn’t want it like that every Sunday, but it sure makes us appreciative of “the usual Lord’s Days.”  🙂  But through it all, to God be all the glory!

 Pastor Stertzbach