Pastor’s Blog

by Pastor Todd Bradbury

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 a year of loss and sorrow. Then came Christmas day, a day of joy and celebration, but, thanks to me, things went south in a hurry.

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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 the weekend. We’ve also donated to their clothes closet, provided breakfast for their teachers for a back to school meeting and, most recently, began a prayer partner ministry with their teachers. As we’ve tried to be a blessing to them, they have certainly been a blessing to us. We’ve gotten to know some of their administrators and teachers and we’ve learned how the Lord is at work at Crestwood. One person whose story I want you to know about is Hannah Salisbury. This is her story in her words:
 
Hannah Salisbury
 
In February 2018, I began walking around my school and praying for my coworkers, students, and families.
 I prayed for their salvation  and that those who knew Jesus would be bold in their faith. One day I prayed that Jesus’ name would be spoken in the hallways and classrooms of my school. Jesus soon answered that prayer in bigger ways than I could have imagined. A couple months later as I was teaching a reading group, I realized that one of my second grade students was reading an old Bible. The eight year old boy opened to the front page and started reading the definitions of the words. He told me, “I want to learn more about God, heaven, and hell.” After taking in what I had just heard, I asked him, “Where did you get that Bible from?” The student said, “I got it from our library.”
 
Jesus opened my eyes that day and put it on my heart to get engaging Bibles in the elementary schools in my county. Bibles in which they could read and would be excited to check out of the library. After rallying a team of friends, family, and people from my church, we donated the Action Storybook Bible in all of the 38 public elementary schools in our county. Hannah’s mission didn’t stop with Chesterfield County. The Lord has expanded her vision and she’s now on a mission to get Bibles in every elementary school in the country. To accomplish this vision Hannah began a Non-Profit organization called, “Bibles in Schools.” Hannah is going to visit Bethel on Sunday, November 7th to tell us more about her mission and how the Lord is working through this ministry.
 
As we think about Hannah’s story, please note how it started: With a prayer walk around the school. I hope Hannah’s story will inspire us to think about our prayer life. Prayer is foundational in our relationship with the Lord. Prayer is the oxygen that fuels our relationship with the Lord. When is the last time you prayed? How often do you pray? Have you ever taken a prayer walk? After you read this article, I want to challenge you to stop what you’re doing and pray. Share with the Lord what’s on your heart and mind. Give him your worries and cares and then ask the Lord to speak to you. Then…listen…just sit quietly for a while and pay attention to your thoughts and trust that the Holy Spirit is at work in you, just as the Holy Spirit was at work in Hannah. As you commit yourself to prayer, I believe the Lord will speak to you and lead you to the truth of 1 Corinthians 2:9, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has
conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him.” This is true for Hannah and its true for you and me as well. We hope to see you on November 7th in worship as Hannah blesses us with her story. Until then, may God bless Hannah Salisbury and may God bless you and our Bethel Church family.
Much love to you all. 
Todd


Intentional Discipleship

Intentional Discipleship

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 was excited to share what the Lord has been doing in her life. I’d like to share part of her story with you. These are Olivia’s words: Tyler and I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in December of last year. The decision to move away from our families in Virginia and venture to a new city was tough and unexpected. At the time I had many uncertainties and fears but looking back I know that God was intervening at a pivotal point in my life.
 
Olivia and TylerSoon after moving to Raleigh, we got connected to a bible study group in our apartment complex by talking with friends at the local dog park. This bible study became the beginning of my discipleship journey. People our age gathered on Thursdays to meet and discuss the book of James. At first, I was apprehensive about sharing my thoughts with the group because I had so many questions about the gospel that my fellow peers seemed to have the answers to. I quickly learned that the people I was with were not only open to my questions but
were excited to hear them.
 
I began learning more about the life of Jesus and started to feel a sense of peace. Members of the bible study suggested a local church that may help me strengthen my connection to God. Tyler and I began attending weekly services at this church, and in July I joined a class
called “Exploring Christianity”. This seemed to be exactly the kind of deeper understanding I needed to become closer to Jesus. In the reading of the book of Mark I discovered salvation. A particular parable stood out to me, Mark 4:30-32 “Again he said, “What shall
we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all
seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants.” My faith was planted within me at a
young age, I strayed away from my faith as I got older, and in this moment, I felt like my eyes were open and suddenly I saw that my faith had sprouted tall and strong.
 
On July 15th I rededicated my life to Jesus. I accepted him as my savior and recognized that my eternal sins had been forgiven when God sacrificed his only son on the cross for me. On September 12th I was baptized at the church we are attending in front of friends, family, and loved ones. I feel like a new person. I am following Christ’s will and see the Holy Spirit working within my professional, personal, emotional, and spiritual being. I will go wherever he sends me, and I agree to do whatever he tells me to do because Jesus has done everything necessary for me and my salvation. I am living my life for Him.
 
I was so encouraged by Olivia’s testimony. There was such joy in her voice when we talked. I want us to notice something that I believe to be crucial to her walk of faith. Olivia was intentional about discipleship. She invested time and effort in learning more about Christ. Not only that, but she attended those Bible studies with humility and a real desire to learn. God honored her commitment and desire and powerfully spoke to her. I’d like to suggest that if you’re not in a Sunday school class or small group, please consider becoming a part of a class. Or perhaps consider starting a small group yourself. I believe God honors and blesses the time we spend learning about Him. The peace that Olivia speaks of is available to us all if we diligently seek the Lord. We will hear more of Olivia’s testimony in person when she visits us on Sunday, October 10th. Until then, may God bless Olivia and Tyler and may God bless our Bethel Church Family. 


Faith Driven Lives

Faith Driven Lives

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 a corporate executive at Haley Automotive Group. Heather and Tommy have three sons, Peyton 12, Braxton 9 and Landon 7. The Kerns are a baseball family.

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Step of Faith

Step of Faith

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 years ago

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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 than conquerors through him who loved us.” I love that line, “More than conquerors.” 

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