What is a sabbatical?

In the March Missions and Ministry meeting I shared with the church that the Personnel Committee has graciously granted me a sabbatical, which I am planning on taking this summer. I’d like to use this newsletter article to share a few details about the sabbatical starting with, what is a sabbatical?What is a Sabbatical? During […]

Why did God allow this to happen to me?

Why? One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive as a pastor is, “Why?” “Why did God allow THIS to happen to me?” Usually, “THIS” refers to something upsetting or tragic, but occasionally someone will ask the “Why” question in reference to something miraculous. Randy Hill is one such person. Randy and Tricia […]

The Future of Your Church is Already in Your Pews.

March will be a BUSY month at Bethel. I’ve got several highlights that I’d like to share with you. First, on Sunday March 3, we’re going to update the congregation on our Vision process during the worship service. We’ll share with the congregation the next steps in how we are planning to live into our […]

Where do I notice God’s Presence?

I appreciate a good question. A thoughtful, well timed question can often change our outlook, our perspective, maybe even change our life. Jesus was a master at asking great questions. Think of the time in Matthew 16 when Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” That one question forced Peter to think through all he knew of […]

Knowing, Growing, and Going in the Love of Christ.

As we enter into the new year, we have three exciting events in January that align with our vision of Knowing, Growing, and Going in the Love of Christ. Curtis Salyer House Party – Wednesday, January 3rd, 6-7:30 p.m. Join us for a special evening of food, fellowship, and fun, inspired by the wisdom of […]

O Come Emanuel

Advent. Webster’s dictionary defines Advent as the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. For Christians, Advent is a time to celebrate the coming of Christ. We celebrate by setting aside four Sundays devoted to four different Advent themes: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. But according to a devotional I read by Nancy Wolgemuth […]

Thank you Lord!

Thank you Lord! As we look to Thanksgiving there are many things for which I am particularly thankful. My family and the love we share. Our church and the love that binds us together. Health. Vocation. And of course at the top of my list, and I suspect your list, is Christ. I’m thankful for […]

God’s Love has Defeated Death

Death. For much of this year, our family has been awaiting a death. Finally it came. It was July 14th. The doorbell rang and it pained me to answer it, because I knew death was knocking and when I opened the door there would be no turning back. I reluctantly opened the door and the […]

Bethel’s Future Story

For the last eight months our church has been prayerfully seeking God’s vision for His church. We’ve met numerous times to pray, dream, think, hope and discern Bethel’s future. At our latest gathering on July 30th, we listened to and discussed three stories written to describe what the church might look like in 2035. Wow! […]

Gideon Sunday

We have a couple of visitors coming to Bethel in August and I want to make sure you know about them. I also want toencourage you to invite your friends to encounter God through these two very gifted speakers. Our first visitor is Dean Mattern and he’ll visit Bethel on Sunday, August 13th. This will […]

Godly Father

My wife Karen was recently sent some pictures of her father when he was in high school. His name is Gray Younce. Unfortunately, Karen doesn’t have many pictures of him from his younger years, so these photos were a delightful surprise. Karen said, “Having these pictures to look at was a wonderful experience for me. […]

The right place, the right time

In June, we started a sermon series on Daniel, and there is a fascinating verse in Daniel 1:9 that captured my attention. You may remember that the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem in 605BC and King Nebuchadnezzar took a number of Jews into captivity and they remained in exile there for 70 years. Daniel was among that […]

Sharing Our Faith Isn’t Always Easy

Do you find it difficult to share your faith with someone? As a pastor, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that sharing my faith is challenging for me. Evangelism is not one of my spiritual gifts plus, I have not had that many positive experiences when I did share my faith. I recall one afternoon […]

Remembering Curtis Salyer

If you’ve attended Bethel for any length of time you’ve likely heard the name Curtis Salyer. Curtis wasresponsible for bringing the Gideon Ministry to Bethel. The Gideons do a phenomenal job of placing Scripture inhotels, doctors’ offices, schools and many other places. The number of people who have come to Christ through this ministry are […]

Discovering How Awesome God is by Creating Minerals

On January 20th our Church gathered for our “Vision Kickoff Weekend” and what a weekend it was! Wow! We had great attendance and your enthusiasm, care and concern for Bethel was evident. One of the Bethel’s strengths that was highlighted during that weekend was how supportive and caring we are for one another. Several people […]

Share and Prayer Triplets: Praying for God’s Vision

How well do you know some of your fellow church members? For example, did you know that Dennis Glazener makesFlintlock long barrel rifles? Or that Coleman Goodman once owned a fire engine? Or that Aleta Jenkins is a publishedauthor? She’s written and published a book of poetry. Did you know that David Wilson is an […]

Discovering God’s Vision for Bethel Part 2

Happy New Year Bethel! I’m praying 2023 will be a year filled with an abundance of blessings for you and your family and for our church. This is going to be an exciting year for us because we are going to focus on seeking God’s vision for Bethel. We have sat aside January 20-22 as […]

Discovering God’s Vision for Bethel Part 1

When we think of the Christmas story, I suspect that the first image that comes to mind is the manger and rightly so. As we approach this Christmas season, I’d like to offer you another image, that of Magi, or wise men. Matthew 2:1 says, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in […]

God Still Seeks and Speaks

It was fall 2018 and Walt Ingram was in a dark place. “As dark as I’ve ever been,” Walt said. From the outsidelooking in, things probably appeared sublime. Walt had an accomplished career working for a civil engineering firmwhere he’d worked for over 30 years. He said, “I was making a lot of money, running […]

Praying in the Wilderness

One of the things I believe is that God will put the right people, in the right place, at the right time to help us on ourjourney of faith. Michelle Simon also shares this belief. I met Michelle in the early 2000s as we both worked in the community banking industry. Michelle has spent most […]

God Meets Us in Our Grief

Jeffrey Brian Bonner. Thomas Francis Kenney IV. Dylan Jim Wilson. Joshua Bryant Baldwin. Who are these four people and why have I given you their full names? These four people are very near and dear to the hearts of Sharon and Tom Kenney. Sadly, all four are deceased. Jeffrey is Sharon’s son by her first […]

Passionate Love

When I was a student at Virginia Tech, I had the good fortune to study Civil War history under one of the preeminent Civil War scholars of our time, Dr. Bud Robertson. Dr. Robertson once devoted an entire class to “Love in the Civil War.” He read love letters that soldiers and wives exchanged as […]

How to Find Your Vision

Last month I attended a leadership seminar hosted by the Middle District Baptist Association. The keynote speaker was the President of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, John Upton. John presented a lot of practical content, but there was one word that captured my attention – VISION. John shared an interesting perspective on how a […]

God’s Plans & Provision

Last month we had to say goodbye for now to one of Bethel’s saints, Barbara Hale. As I prepared for her funeral, I was reminded of a story that Barbara told me a number of years ago. The story stuck with me and it’s a powerful reminder of the providence and provision of God. I […]

WomenRise

Several months ago Bethel member Kasey Myers introduced me to an organization called WomenRise. It is a great organization that is doing “Gospel Work” to help single moms. Sammie McCabe is in charge of fundraising for WomenRise, which is a program of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. I asked Sammie to share with […]

Working Together

On July 2, 2011, Jane Ruehrwein was sitting in her parked car in Buffalo, NY when she was violently rear-ended. The police officer that responded to the accident thought Jane was dead. Blessedly, she survived the accident, but it left her disabled. She had severe whiplash, injuries to her hips, liver, and a brain tumor. […]

It Starts With Prayer

Part of our mission at Bethel is to BE the church in the community. That mission has taken us beyond the walls of the church to places like Crestwood Elementary School. We’ve had a longstanding relationship with Crestwood where we’ve provided them with backpacks for students who need some extra food to make it through […]

Love in Action

One of my most memorable Christmases was 1998. That year was a particularly tough year for our family and especially for my mother-in-law, Dorothy Younce. We called her “Mama Dot.” In May of 1998, her husband, Gray, died suddenly and unexpectedly. Later that year, Gray’s brother was killed in an automobile accident. It truly was […]

Intentional Discipleship

Several weeks ago I was talking with Kim Meyerhoffer before church and I asked how her daughter Olivia was doing. She said, “She’s doing great. In fact, she wants to talk with you about how the Lord has been working in her life.” Olivia and I connected by phone a few days later and she […]

Faith Driven Lives

For this month’s newsletter I’d like to introduce you to our new  Preschool Director, Heather Kerns. Heather grew up in Chesterfield and attended Monacan High School. She went on to graduate from VCU with a master’s degree in Education. She taught kindergarten for five years at Reams Road Elementary School. Heather’s husband Tommy works as […]

Step of Faith

Two things that I routinely pray for are wisdom and guidance.  I think we all would like some assurance that the decisions we make are in keeping with God’s will. Bob and Ellen Moseley recently faced a major decision and they found themselves asking the Lord for both wisdom and guidance. Their story begins five […]

More Than Conquerors

In the 8th chapter of Romans, the Apostle Paul talks about the many hardships he faced in life as he took the glorious message of Christ to the Gentiles. In Romans 8:35 he mentions how he faced hardship, distress, persecution, famine, and peril. Then in verse 37, he exclaims, “No, in all these things we are more […]

Faith in the Valley

Jimmy and Jean Jackson are two of our newer members of Bethel. Jimmy is a retired plumber and building inspector for Chesterfield County.  Jean worked as an office manager and bookkeeper for an insurance agency in Goochland.  They’ve been married 63 years and have one daughter.  The Jackson’s are very committed to our Lord, in […]

The Providence of God

In the spirit of Mother’s Day I want to share the story of Danica Mladinov. Danica was born on the island of Split off the coast of Croatia (formerly Yugoslavia). Danica immigrated to the United States when she was 17 years old with her mother, Maria Mladinov, and two younger brothers as World War II […]

Rest and Be Thankful

One of my favorite places is Scotland and, in particular, the Highlands of Scotland. The Highlands are a place of majestic beauty, but it can also be a difficult place to travel through, due to the roughness of the terrain, frequent rain and high winds. Roads can be washed out or blocked by fallen rocks. […]

A “New Normal” Perspective

It’s been a year since we’ve been dealing with the pandemic. I almost cannot believe I wrote that last sentence.  One year!  I remember March 2020 like yesterday.  My wife, son, parents and sister-in-law went away for a few days to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We enjoyed driving through the Smoky Mountains, going sightseeing and even doing […]

Pete’s War Room

In 2015 the movie “War Room” was released.  The movie is about a couple who are having marriage problems.  The wife meets a woman named Miss Clara, who is the epitome of a prayer warrior.  Miss Clara has a prayer closet in her house that she calls the War Room.  Miss Clara says, “In order […]

Better Than I Deserve

On November 14th we had to say “goodbye for now” to one of the Saints of Bethel, Gordon Rutland. Gordon and Shirley Rutland were faithful attendees of our Sacred Circle on Wednesday evenings; in fact, they were always among the first to arrive. When they arrived, I’d always ask, “How are you two doing this […]