Preparing for Online Worship Sunday, March 29

 

Hey everyone!  We are getting ready for a second week of Online Worship.  Please join us at 10am through Facebook Live.  Invite neighbors and friends to join us too.  Below you’ll find the lyrics to two worship songs Josh will lead.  Also, the Family Discussion Guide is included for you and your family to share in the Word together. 

As we prepare for Sunday, I invite you to prepare your heart and your home to worship.  Here are a few ideas to consider as you and your family get ready: 

  1. Make sure your screen is ready. Check your internet connection, and make sure your device is ready for streaming about 9:30.  Go ahead and have it set up in an area where everyone participating can see. 

  2. Have your breakfast and coffee ready before 10am. Once the live stream starts, it’s important to be before the screen ready to hear and engage. Don’t let the ding of the microwave, or the gurgle of the coffee pot draw you away. 

  3. Pray together before 10am. Take time with your family and pray together.  Praise God for who He is and has promised to do.  Ask God to move in your time of worship today.  Ask Him to speak to you and give you faith to respond in obedience.  Pray for those who are affected by the virus, and those who are battling it.  Pray for your neighbors.  Trust God is at work for our good and His glory. 

  4. Listen to the sermon starting at 10am with a notebook. Don’t be surprised if the sermon sounds a little different than when you’re gathered in the sanctuary.  Not only will the quality of sound be different, but the presentation may sound more like teaching than preaching.  I encourage you to take notes on what God impresses on your heart and mind.  Taking notes will also help you stay focused. 

  5. Spend time answering the Family Discussion Questions when the sermon ends. These questions are to help you reflect on the ideas in the sermon and personalize these ideas to your situation.  You can share this discussion as a family, or individually.  Parents and children alike will benefit from reflecting on how God will use His word in your life. 

  6. Give your tithes and offerings. Though the church isn’t gathering together during these times, the ministries of the church have not ceased.  Ministry teams are continuing to minister to one another, and facility operations are still running.  I encourage you to continue giving your tithe to the Lord faithfully.  You may give online or through the mail. www.lovingbethel.com 

  7. Family Guide.  Click on this link to access worship songs and Family Guide.  March 29, Family Guide
 
from Elizabeth Hart, Music Minister

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

 

Hello, Bethel Family. I miss being with you so very much. Please be safe and be kind to yourselves while we are apart and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I have a confession to make, it has been a struggle for me to adjust to working from home. The stress and anxiety kept building in me and caused terrible headaches. I don’t know if any of you can relate but I wanted to share with you what GOD has been teaching me in these days of COVID-19 and social distancing.

 

First, GOD reminded me to sing. When fear overwhelms us our first thought isn’t to sing praise but that’s exactly what will conquer fear. In the old testament there are stories of the worshippers going to battle in front of the warriors. Just think with me for a moment, we’re going to battle and the praise on our lips are the bullets that are putting holes in the devil’s lies. That makes me smile. I’ve started singing “Jesus Loves Me” when I wash my hands. It makes me focus on GOD instead of fear (and I know that I’ve washed them for at least 20 seconds). GOD is so very faithful to us and our response of praise to him can bring us joy. “God is good, all the time. He puts a song of praise in this heart of mine. God is good, He’s so good…all the time.”

 

Second, GOD reminded me to read his word out loud. Friends, this didn’t come easy, I had to choose to turn my thoughts from my fears and speak the words of truth from the Bible. Saying Bible verses out loud is powerful because it strengthens our faith. Romans 10:17 tells us “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Every day I need my faith strengthened and especially during these times. So, just wondering if you have ever tried to not think about something only to realize that’s still all you are thinking about? I’m trying to not think about my fears so that means I need something else to focus on and to think about. That’s where Philippians 4:8 helps because GOD tells us what to think about! Woohoo! He is awesome and gives us what we need to keep our eyes on him. I took each part of the verse and wrote down something I am thankful for GOD doing or showing me in the past few days.

 

Whatever is true – My roommate Cindy who prays over me with Your words of truth that I am loved by you, chosen by you to do your will, made by you to love others deeply and freed by you to live loved.

 

Whatever is noble – The birds singing in the trees and the flowers blooming that bring joy to my heart.

 

Whatever is right – My nephews Sam and Troy calling to facetime with me and share about their week as they are going to online school. Thank you for all the laughter as they ate their lunch and their 3-year-old brother Zeke kept saying he was a dragon.

 

Whatever is pure – A special, close time with a few friends while listening to the message about Zacchaeus on Sunday.

 

Whatever is lovely – The new deck on the back of Cindy’s house that was given to us so we can enjoy the sunshine while we eat lunch.

 

Whatever is admirable – My brother Jonathan who called me on the phone to talk through my struggles with no judgement.

 

Anything excellent – Our friend Lola encourages us with her laughter. She is staying with us right now because she cannot go home to Nigeria.

 

or praiseworthy – The gift of music to sing at the top of my lungs (and Cindy and Lola not complaining about it).

 

As I read these Bible verses out loud my spirit became calmer. Next I read the verse and what I am thankful to GOD for showing me out loud. I invite you to take a few minutes and write out your own thoughts. What do you want to dwell on to give thanks to our great heavenly Father? Consider starting a gratitude journal where you write down 3 things or 5 things or 10 things that you are grateful to the LORD for each day. Perhaps you want to keep it by your bed to record them before you go to sleep and the next day you can share them with your PBS Group and Facebook friends. Then let’s sing our favorite song of praise to our King as we wash our hands for 20 seconds. The GOD of peace is with us.

 

Is Church Cancelled? 
by Pastor Jeromy

Over the last week many wondered whether church has been cancelled.  The answer is simply “No,” church is not cancelled.  In fact, church isn’t an event that may or may not take place on the calendar.  It isn’t a building that may or may not be closed.  Church is every believer following faithfully in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Most churches are doing their part in the fight against COVID-19 by moving services and gatherings to online platforms.  I’m grateful for the opportunities technology affords us to remain connected to one another through this unusual time.  Church has not been cancelled, but instead we are pressing forward in faith and obedience. 

Here are a few reminders from Scripture for the church during this time. 

  • We miss gathering. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:25 During this time we are not neglecting our assembly, but are serving as responsible citizens, honoring the requests of our nation’s leaders to protect the public health.  I miss seeing all of you on Sundays and in Prayer and Bible Study Groups.  I know you miss the encouragement too.  This is temporary, and I look forward to gathering with you again. 

  • Until we gather again, let us warn those who are lazy. 1 Thessalonians 5:14, “Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy.”  Every believer has a responsibility to serve others.  Let’s not fall into the couch potato syndrome but consider how to help others in need. 

  • Let us “encourage those who are timid” 1 Thessalonians 5:14. These are turbulent times for many around us. Fears and anxieties over the unknown are overwhelming some.  We must encourage our neighbors, friends and family. 

  • Let us “take tender care of those who are weak” 1 Thessalonians 5:14. The COVID-19 virus can affect anyone of any age, but is most harmful to the elderly, the young, and the sick. How beautiful it is to see Christians loving and serving those in need during this time.

  • Let us “see that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people” 1 Thessalonians 5:15. How do you feel when you’re in the grocery store aisle waiting to pick up an item, and the young mother in front of you snaps at you for waiting behind her?  When an argument over a pack of chicken starts, how do you respond?  Be patient with everyone, and trust God will take care of you and your family. 

  • Let us “always be joyful” 1 Thessalonians 5:16. As Christians, we have every reason to be joyful even in times like these. Jesus is our Lord and our Victory.  Nothing in this world can overcome you or defeat you.  Through Jesus we have all we ever need for eternity.  Pain, suffering, anxiety, and fear are no match for Jesus. 

  • Let us “never stop praying” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. We are a church who prays. We pray to the God who created all things by His powerful word, and we seek His good, acceptable and perfect will be done. We plead with God to work wonders in the lives of our community.  We desire to see God glorified all around us.  Let us pray.

  • Let us “be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. In every circumstance, let us show gratitude.  God is working through this crisis.  We are watchful for what He will do to strengthen and shape us.  We are thankful for His sanctifying work in and around us. 

Let us be church in our homes, on our streets, and in the community.  Church is certainly not cancelled. 

Happy Sunday, March 22!  I pray that you, your family and neighbors are healthy and well during this time.  This morning during your routine take time to prepare for worship with us and your family.  The sermon will be streamed on Facebook Live at 10am, and then available on YouTube.  Below is a Family Guide you can follow after the sermon to dig into God’s Word together.  Also, scroll down a little farther for tips on how to prepare this morning for online worship.  May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  

March 22, Family Discussion Questions

Directions:  Thank you for listening to the sermon today.  I encourage you to open your Bibles together and walk through these questions.  Share your answers with one another and encourage one another in the Word.  Let God impress His Word on your hearts as a family.  This can be done together, or individually.  Remember your goal isn’t to get through all the questions, but to get God’s Word through you. 

Open your Bibles to Luke 19:1-10.  Have someone read aloud, or take turns reading portions of the passage.  Then discuss some of the questions below together. 

 

  1. What is one thing that you learned new in the passage? Did something stick out to you in a new way? 


  2. Pastor Jeromy highlighted the idea that no sinner is too far from God that Jesus can’t reach them. Do people sometimes feel too far from God they are unreachable?  Have you ever felt God couldn’t forgive you? 


  3. Jesus was seeking Zacchaeus and invested His time with Zacchaeus. Who do you know needs Jesus?  Do you know if your neighbors follow Jesus? 


  4. What are some ways you and your family can invest in your neighbors so that you’d have opportunity to share Jesus with them? In these days, we have a special opportunity to give encouragement and share with our neighbors how God is working even through these hard times. 


  5. How does this passage change the way you relate to others?


  6. What is one thing this passage leads you to do in obedience?


  7. What does this passage prompt you to pray for specifically?


Take time and pray together.  Pray that you will listen to God’s word and respond in obedience.  Ask God to help you identify those around you who need to hear about Jesus, and to recognize opportunities to share.  Be willing to follow through when the opportunity comes. 

Preparing for Online Worship Sunday 

By Pastor Jeromy

It has been quite a week for us all, right?  None of us have experienced these circumstances before, and we are working to keep things operating.  I am glad for the efforts of health workers, teachers, principals, and churches serving the needs of the community.  Families are adjusting to the closures and extended time together, and its hard at times.  We are learning as we go. 

Worshipping online from the comfort of your living room is different too.  I’ve thought through what Sunday morning will be like as I preach in an empty room.  I’ll miss the handshakes and conversations with you, and the joy of simply gathering together.  So, as we prepare for Sunday, I invite you to prepare your heart and your home to worship.  Here are a few ideas to consider as you and your family get ready: 

  1. Make sure your screen is ready. Check your internet connection, and make sure your device is ready for streaming about 9:30.  Go ahead and have it set up in an area where everyone participating can see. 

  2. Have your breakfast and coffee ready before 10am. Once the live stream starts, its important to be before the screen ready to hear and engage. Don’t let the ding of the microwave, or the gurgle of the coffee pot draw you away. 

  3. Listen to worship songs before and after 10am. As a family talk about some of your favorite worship songs.  Find and play them on YouTube.  You may choose to sit and listen to these songs quietly or sing along as a family in worship.  Let these songs lead you to respond to God’s Word in faith. 

  4. Pray together before 10am. Take time with your family and pray together.  Praise God for who He is and has promised to do.  Ask God to move in your time of worship today.  Ask Him to speak to you and give you faith to respond in obedience.  Pray for those who are affected by the virus, and those who are battling it.  Pray for your neighbors.  Trust God is at work for our good and His glory. 

  5. Listen to the sermon starting at 10am with a notebook. Don’t be surprised if the sermon sounds a little different than when you’re gathered in the sanctuary.  Not only will the quality of sound be different, but the presentation may sound more like teaching than preaching.  I encourage you to take notes on what God impresses on your heart and mind.  Taking notes will also help you stay focused. 

  6. Spend time answering the Family Discussion Questions when the sermon ends. These questions are to help you reflect on the ideas in the sermon and personalize these ideas to your situation.  You can share this discussion as a family, or individually.  Parents and children alike will benefit from reflecting on how God will use His word in your life. 

  7. Give your tithes and offerings. Though the church isn’t gathering together during these times, the ministries of the church have not ceased.  Ministry teams are continuing to minister to one another, and facility operations are still running.  I encourage you to continue giving your tithe to the Lord faithfully.  You may give online or through the mail. 

Time with Family
by Pastor Jeromy

“Social distancing may end up becoming family distancing,” joked Jimmy Fallon.  Let’s be honest, some of us may be feeling the need for some time away.  So many families have been affected by the closure of school, restaurants, stores, jobs, etc. Now parents and kids are spending lots of extra time together that none of us anticipated.  What do we do with all this extra time together?  Here are a few ideas that will help us make the most of our time together. 

 

  1. Eat around the table together. I love Psalm 128:3-4, “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.”  When we spend time together around the table, we share life, laugh together, and get to know one another more.  In the busyness of life, when sports, appointments, homework and other things draw us apart, right now we have the blessed opportunity to gather. 

  2. Play together. My kids have been wanting a flat-swing for a long time now.  The other day I climbed a 14-foot ladder (dangerous I know) and hung one from the limb of pecan tree.  The last couple days they’ve spent so much time pushing one another on this swing.  I’ve gotten dizzy spinning on that swing.  Playing together is a memory maker.  Find those swings, board games, video games, and other activities you can do together.  You might even go for a hike but keep a social distance.

  3. Learn together. Right now, in South Carolina, every student is a homeschooler.  Some parents are more than prepared for this, and others feel like they are in over their heads.  Much thanks to the schools and teachers for all their hard work.  Parents, as your kids begin their schoolwork, engage with them.  Have your kids teach you what they are learning.  Find art activities for your kids to do, and songs they can sing together.  Parents communicate with one another what works in your home as you guys learn together. 

  4. Pray together. By now most parents have talked with their kids about the coronavirus.  Remind them that God is in control.  Help them understand that there are people hurting and in need all around the world.  We are all doing our part to protect others from the virus by staying home.  The most important thing we can do is pray for everyone.  As a family take time to pray for the government, health officials, teachers, neighbors and trust God to work. 

  5. Read the Bible together. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  God expects us to know His word together.  Right now, we aren’t gathering in children’s ministry, youth ministry, or Prayer and Bible study groups.  Today, your family is your small group.  In our house, we take turns reading a chapter and simply talking about it together.  Let your kids pick a Bible passage and read it to you.  Consider what God is teaching you through it, and then pray that you all obey. 
 
Seeking the Lord in Hard Times
by Pastor Jeromy 
 

O Lord, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!  Psalm 90:13-17

The verses above are a portion of a prayer Moses prayed.  Moses followed God and led the Israelites to freedom from Egyptian slavery according to God’s commands.  The people of God faced many hardships as they traveled to the land God promised them.  Often, they were hungry, thirsty, and even fought in battles.  There are a few observations from Moses’ prayer during these times, and I encourage you to follow His example. 

  1. Moses prayed. During the hardships Moses prayed to God. His prayer acknowledged the authority and presence of God in their lives (Psalm 90:1-6).  He admitted the peoples’ sin before God and God’s justice (Psalm 90:7-8).  Moses praised God for His power and supreme authority over life (Psalm 90:9-11).  Moses prayed for God’s will to be done in their lives and for His glory to be on display in them (Psalm 90:12-17)   Are you setting aside time to pray through this time? 

  2. Moses recognized the power of God’s presence. He called out to God and pleaded for His return to them.  The people had walked through hard times, and often their struggles were exacerbated by their own sin and straying from God’s will.  Moses’ prayer demonstrates a desire for turning away from sin and turning back to God.  When we confess sin and repent, our fellowship with God is restored, and we experience His goodness, His unfailing love, and joy.  Are you humbling yourself before God, denying self, and seeking His presence? 

  3. Moses wanted to see God work through them. God’s way is always best.  Even when we don’t understand, or like the circumstances we find ourselves in, God desires to work great things in and through us.  No circumstance can derail God’s plan of redemption.  In times of crisis we often question how God can bring any good from it.  Moses knew God would do glorious things in them when they are seeking Him.  God will even use His people to do great things when we are seeking to do His work.  How is God working in and through you during this time so that He is on display before your family, your children, your neighbors? 

 

 

How to Care for My Neighbors from Josh Consalvo

We are currently in uncharted waters, navigating our way through this nationwide pandemic of the coronavirus. While our government officials and medical personnel work on the front lines of stopping the spread of the virus, we are left to figure out how exactly to press forward during this “new normal.” While we hope this “new normal” is short-lived, there are some steps we can take to be responsible citizens, as well as God honoring Christians during this time. 

In Mark 31 we read:

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

We want to be a neighbor-loving church. Here are some practical tips for loving your neighbor well amidst this troubling time. 

Practice Consistent and Excellent Hygiene

Washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water several times a day is a highly effective means to kill germs. This alone is a great front-line defense to stopping the spread of this virus and others. Do your best to keep your hands away from your face with unwashed hands. Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. Wipe down countertops, door knobs, remotes, and any other household items that are being touched often.  

If you are experiencing any symptoms, or are around someone who has, stay away. 

Drink lots of water, avoid strenuous activity, and be patient. Of course, this is always easier said than done, but use your best judgement when deciding your course of action. 

Introduce Yourself to your neighbors/Exchange Numbers

Loving your neighbors requires intentional effort. Introducing yourself is a great way to start the lines of communication. Let the people around you know you are available and willing to help with any needs they may have. Ask them how you can serve them during this time. You don’t know the situations your neighbors are in, and you don’t know how much good you can do for a neighbor by simply being available to them. This is not only a great way to love your neighbor now, but it can also lead to meaningful relationships and Gospel conversations. 

If you know someone who lives alone, ask them if they want you to check in on them

We often cannot control our circumstances. The reality is that our community will have people who are living alone. They may not need for you to check in on them, but it cannot hurt to ask. If they have family, grandkids, or other neighbors checking in on them consistently, great! If not, it’s an easy way to show God’s love to people in need. 

If you are particularly good with technology, offer to help your neighbors

Technology is a wonderful thing, so long as people know how to use it properly. Offer to help your neighbor order groceries online, deal with online pharmacy orders, purchase something off of amazon, or even set up a Netflix account. While some of these online conveniences may be trivial, helping your neighbors stay calm in the midst of a panicked world can be just as important to the stopping of the spread of the virus itself.  

Finally, serve first. 

As a church and as Christians our default setting should be to serve first. Be generous with your time, money, and supplies. If someone is short a roll of toilet paper, be the first to spare one for them. If someone needs some groceries, offer to make the trip for them. Be a light in the darkness, and be hope in a time of uncertainty. Showing Christ can be as simple as a warm smile, a servant’s heart, and even giving up a roll of toilet paper.