By now you have heard the results of our capital campaign—that we have received well over our “goal” of $500,000 in pledges toward reducing our debt. I am just amazed at these results. God’s Holy Spirit working through your pledges has blessed us beyond expectation. I’d like to thank Pastor Tim Rossow, Jim Cullen (the chairman) and the whole capital campaign team, and you for serving as God’s instruments to support ministry here at Bethlehem.
Usually, capital campaigns end with building something. The previous capital campaign supported the building of the Community Center. Each time we built a building on our campus, a capital campaign helped us to accomplish the build. So, what are we going to do with the funds realized by paying down our mortgage?
Let’s build something!
Our mission statement is: Building the family of God through relationship with Jesus Christ. So, we are—by God’s grace—always building something. In 2020, we are focusing on building the “infrastructure” here at Bethlehem. I had hoped to “launch” a number of new home-based or church-based Bible study groups this past September. We did begin one new one—and there are a few leaders who are interested but not able to commit right now. But our LORD has given us new opportunities in giving us this new year—2020.
“…built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone.”
I have worn corrective lenses since I was in the Fourth Grade. I am very much aware of clear vision—20/20—because I don’t have it. Maybe, you’re the same way. So, here we tumble into AD 2020—the Year of our LORD 2020. His year, His gift—for us to see clearly. How do we see clearly? He opens our eyes as we read His Word.
Paul writes to the Ephesians: “So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone.” We are built on the foundation of His Word. We build on His Word.
So, we began in January, spending time with Jonah—seeing our stories as similar to Jonah’s. During the Lenten season, we will get involved in the “Red Letter Challenge”—which will challenge you as we read and listen to Jesus’ words in the Scriptures. Maybe, you have a “red letter” edition of the Bible—with Jesus’ words in red. It’s cool (to me) that the red ink appears in Acts, Second Corinthians and Revelation when Jesus’ words are recorded as well.
Following the Easter celebrations, April and May Sundays will provide us with an opportunity to read Psalm 23 again, leading up to Confirmation Sunday. This year, we hope to welcome six young people as they confirm the promises made in their baptisms for themselves. Beginning that June, we will do something I have not done before. Each sermon—whether on a Sunday or a mid-week Advent, Christmas Eve/Day, Lenten or Holy Week—will focus on the message of a book of the Bible. We will “read” through the Bible during our worship services.
Let’s see what the LORD builds among us as we spend time in His Word!
Joy in the journey!
Pastor Jeff Shearier