This Sunday June 13, 2021

God had a specific message to each of the 7 churches of Revelation. His concern was their testimony and their life.  Some were doing well; some were having a very hard time. Some because of their compromising activities got little commendation.

This week we’re going to look at the church at Philadelphia, the only church where God gave no rebuke, only commendation. This church was essentially functioning as God designed. Their action was a simple statement, but a difficult exercise.  Jesus laid this action out clearly to His disciples’ years earlier. John 13:34-35 ESV

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Sunday I plan to map out why God was so complementary to this church. The Bible explains brotherly love in Rom. 12:10, 2 Thess. 4:9 & 2 Peter 1:7.  Sunday we’ll look deeper into the life of the church at Philadelphia.

I hope you will consider joining us this Sunday at 11 AM for worship and fellowship.

Yours and His,
Pastor Dwane

This Sunday June 6, 2021

We all long for comforting words, especially when life is ragged around the edges. In this “fallen world” we wrestle with illnesses, accidents, disappointments, just to name a few things. We all look for good news, words of comfort, something to give us hope.

As I pondered life today, I thought Paul’s words to the Corinthian church.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Cor 1:3-4 ESV)

Consider the words of Jesus to the Apostle John and His message for the churches found in Revelation 1-3.  At first glance, it seems like God was pointing all the wrongs without hope.  A second look shows us the real heart of God is to bless His people. For the people to see a promising future, they had to turn from their wrong ways to focus on a holy walk with God. Only then can God bless them.

The title I have chosen for Sunday is GOD KNOWS “I know your works – Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die (Revelation 3:2-3).  Later God talks about their ability to overcome the opposition they are facing. Above everything else, God wants to give and receive fellowship with His people. He wants to bless them.  To be blessed, they need to concentrate on keeping Jesus center in their life.

I hope you will consider joining us this Sunday at 11 AM for worship and fellowship. Please consider this my personal invitation to each and every one of you!

Yours and His,
Pastor Dwane

This Sunday May 30, 2021

Compromise is seldom a good option. But we go through the action almost daily. Sometimes we call it negotiation, but in the end we usually give up some of what we had to start with, thinking the next step will be better then what we started with. Our Hope is in giving up we gain something of greater value. It doesn’t always work out that way.

This week we’ll continue our cruise through the seven churches of Revelation, focusing on the church at Thyatira, known for compromise that led to immorality. But in the end God gave this church a new opportunity for victorious living and defeating the forces that brought compromise. Sunday we’ll add some personal application.

Follow your heart this week!  As we celebrate this Memorial Day weekend, begin with enjoying some family time. Take time to pray for our national leadership. Ask God to help them make good decisions for the populace instead of their personal gain. Pray that God brings some miraculous solutions to America’s needs. Pray that God will bring a new level of blessing to the common people of America.
Give thanks for the privilege of living in America. You probably know a family that has people serving in the military, Pray for their safety and encouragement.  Most of these will be away from family so ask God to give some special contact with family that is “back home”.  Take some time to say thank you to those who have served in the military. Because they served, we have a new level of safety today.
Also, pray for our church families who are separated from family members for various reasons. Take time to let them know you care. Pray for families wrestling with matters they don’t want to discuss publicly. Pray they find God’s solution and encouraging direction. Pray for spiritual victory in the lives of those around you.

Make Your Memorial Day celebration begin with Sunday morning at Bethel, worshiping Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  Invite your friends and family to join us at 11 AM. I’m looking forward to seeing you. Praying God’s best for you.

Yours and His,
Pastor Dwane

This Sunday May 23, 2021

This Sunday May 23, 2021 – Since it is my conviction that Israel is the forecast of the world’s future, I have asked Rick Johnson to share a few thoughts on “Israel Today”. As time allows I’ll continue our study of the Seven Churches of Revelation.
 
Our study of the Seven Churches in the book of Revelation is focused on God’s desire for his church to thrive, not just to survive. That is also His plan for you and me.  To each of the churches God brought complement & criticism of the churches actions, or inactions that led to compromise with the world system of their day, regardless of their “Thriving or Surviving”.  We would all like to thrive, not just survive!  Remember, surviving means in spite of everything, “I’m still hanging on”. Thriving means in the midst of all that is going on, “I’m growing, developing and prospering as I lean on Jesus”.  All this makes me reconsider what I may be doing that compromises my effectiveness and testimony before my peers. How is it with you?
 
I hope to worship with you tomorrow! Please join us at 11:00AM.
 
Pastor Dwane

This Sunday May 16, 2021

I hope you’re doing well this week!  Vetra and I learned a great lesson from our rose garden.  Last year we were slow pruning  & fertilizing the roses at the right time and we fought disease, and insect damage all year in spite of the extra treatment with fertilizer, pesticides and fungicides the rest of summer. Without the right care at the right time, regardless of our treatment with they looked sickly all summer. This year we got a good start, at the right time, right stuff and they are doing great.

Our roses survived last year, but they did not thrive. This year, a different story they are thriving, great leaf, stem health and blooms, the product of good health.   The moral of the story, do the right things at the right time and we will stay healthy.  The same applies to our spiritual life and our church. In addition to spending time to stay spiritually healthy, I trust you are also doing things that build strong physical health and character.  In our reflections on the Seven Churches of Revelation we see so many similarities to the church today and many lessons for our personal lives.  Our agenda needs to address those things that make us thrive not just settle for survival.

This Sunday May 16, we will be continuing the series “Surviving or Thriving”. We will look at the things that would let the Church at Pergamum thrive not just survive in their ugly environment. To prepare for Sunday, I encourage you to read  2 Timothy 3:10-17. This note of encouraging  Timothy to be steadfast in the faith was written only 28 years before the warning to the churches of Revelation. Thrive; do not just settle for survival. Churches that were on fire for Jesus in Paul’s day have now found it convenient to back down from thriving to settle for surviving. Sound like today?

Two questions come to my mind:  (1) How do I keep my spiritual  commitment strong for Jesus in these times of political, spiritual and social harassment and compromise?  (2) How does a Bible centered church stand strong during our time of harassment, perhaps ultimately persecution?

Another issue we’ll be discussing on Sunday is the difference between harassment and persecution. The American church today is facing a lot of harassment, but we are not yet facing real persecution.  The church in some parts of the world is facing serious persecution; martyrdom, trafficked, buried alive, starved, made homeless because of their faith?  If it comes to that, will we have what it takes to stand?

Invite your friends and family to join us at 11 AM.

Pastor Dwane

This Sunday May 9, 2021

This Sunday May 9, we will be continuing the series “Surviving or Thriving”. How often do you feel alone, like no one seems to care what’s going in your mind and heart? You’re not even sure God knows or cares?  Most of us sometimes feel this way; some times the feeling hangs on for a long time.  That’s when you need a word of comfort from God and a friend, a reminder that you are important!

This week’s subject is the Smyrna Church, an upscale community that leveraged the church in every way possible to discredit their Christian testimony. In spite of the public pressure, they were so faithful to God He had no reprimands to them!   Sunday’s topic is “Experiencing God when I’m challenged”. Revelation 2:8-11

To celebrate Mother’s Day Sunday, celebrate with a special recognition of the Mother in your home. Then, come celebrate what God is doing for all of us at Bethel, as we worship and continue our study of the seven churches of Revelation.

Invite your friends and family to link arms with us as we learn and grow in the weeks ahead.

Pastor Dwane

This Sunday May 2, 2021

This Sunday May 2, we will be continuing the series “Surviving or Thriving”.  The message title is “Heart Trouble”, the story of the Ephesian church recorded in Revelation chapter 2. This church was a leading church in the New Testament. It was strong and promising for biblical maturity and community outreach, but check out the message of God to the same church in Revelation 2:1-7.

I encourage you to read Revelation 2:1-3:22 several times before Sunday, it will take you 2-3 minutes for a read through. With each reading look for the words of complement and warning God gave each of the churches, especially think of the Ephesian Church. Consider what God said and how you think it applies to their surviving or thriving. Do you see any principles that apply to your personal life?

I invite your participation in this relevant series.  Invite your friends and family to link arms with us as we learn and grow in the weeks ahead.

Pastor Dwane

This Sunday April 25, 2021

April 25, 2021 – Church at 11 AM!
 
I’m excited about the next series, “Surviving or Thriving”, which begins this Sunday. The main point of the series is to look at the seven churches of Revelation as they heard the message of God through John the Apostle. There will be lots of personal application for our walk with Jesus too.  Surviving carries with it the meaning of an existence, enduring an affliction or adversity. Thriving means we are prospering, growing, and flourishing. We all want to be thriving instead of accepting the “settle for it” situation.
   
Sometimes we find ourselves in “golden handcuffs”, things are too good to let go of the status quo but not good enough to be excited. Can we move from surviving to thriving? The short answer is YES!  The, church is God’s instrument to change the world and it all begins with local churches like Bethel.
 
Rev 1:10-11 ‘I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, ‘Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.’”
 
To each of the seven churches there was rebuke and exhortation.   In the current condition of our churches, God would “rebuke and exhort” many of our practices. There is too much formality but not enough genuine, “being the church God wants”. How can we change our “settle for it condition”, our surviving mentality, to a thriving experience?
 
Before we get critical about the status of the churches of S.E. Asia at the end of the first century, let’s look at what they faced. Roman leadership was cruel and inhumane to say the least. The culture lived a deviant fast paced sexually oriented routine. Ethically and socially their culture was a  “had to have it” generation. The church compromised to survive in employment or business and socially.  Their cities were high end economically and the occult was very active.   
 
Unfortunately our culture to an increasing extent is looking more like this every day.  Review God’s  encouragement,rebuke and commendation to them, then consider our pathway today. Lets’ consider the ways we can move from surviving to thriving in our church and in our personal lives
 
I invite your participation in this relevant series.  Invite your friends and family to link arms with us as we learn and grow in the weeks ahead.
 
Pastor Dwane

This Sunday April 11, 2021

When confronting today’s culture, without question, our religious freedom and society’s moral integrity are in serous jeopardy.  Morality as we have known it includes the sanctity of life, and the privilege of speaking against immoral behavior, transgender propagation, and single sex marriage has been protected, as all are opposed in scripture and the United States has been a Christian nation.  Until now, from the pulpit, on the streets, and in public gatherings, pastors and people were free to speak against immorality at all levels.

Not so today! American liberty is in a critical downward spiral. It is becoming law breaking to speak against any of these subjects because it is deemed insensitive, exclusion, or hate speech. The world is looking for “fun”, personal peace and lasting satisfaction, but they are looking in the wrong places, and chasing after the wrong things.  

Sunday I’m asking you to look with me at the book of Habakkuk. The prophet lived in a day similar to ours.  He did not find peace in the waywardness of the day or the judgment that was going to follow. He found peace in knowing what it means to walk with God by faith (Habakkuk 2:4b). Habakkuk addressed these issues with the nation of Israel. He explains how the people of God are to live in times of national or spiritual crisis. In these times. where do we turn for help?  He will point us to the help we need. In the United States, we are facing similar struggles.

Sunday’s theme is uncompromising truth on marriage, gender and sin.  I hope to see you this Sunday!

Pastor Dwane