We have a couple of visitors coming to Bethel in August and I want to make sure you know about them. I also want to
encourage 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 be Gideon Sunday. I listened to Dean’s testimony at a Gideon Pastor’s Conference in 2022. I’ve heard a lot of testimonies on how people came to Christ and I believe Dean’s testimony is one of the most dramatic, heart wrenching testimonies that I’ve heard. I won’t give away too many details, but Dean’s testimony involves the abuse of drugs, alcohol and he even had several stints in jail. The story of how he found Christ is an incredible work of God and I truly believe you will be encouraged by his testimony. This is a great opportunity to invite your friends or neighbors who may be teetering on the edge of faith or to invite someone who doesn’t know Christ.
Gideon Sunday is near and dear to me as I’ve seen the impact of their ministry through faithful church members like Curtis and Debbie Salyer and David Gillespie. You may recall that Debbie moved to Myrtle Beach after Curtis passed away, she is hoping to be in attendance for Gideon Sunday. We’re delighted to welcome her back home to Bethel. We always take up an offering on Gideon Sunday to support their good work. I have a goal for us this year. Let’s raise $2,000! I don’t believe we’ve ever broken the $2,000 barrier; this seems like a fitting way to honor our friend Curtis and I believe we can meet that goal.
Our second visitor/speaker is my former Old Testament seminary professor, Dr. Mark Biddle. He’ll be with us for Sacred Circle on August 16th, 23rd and 30th. On the 16th he’ll talk about “Demystifying Daniel.” Daniel chapters 7 through 12 are tough reading and he’s going to share one way to approach these difficult chapters. Then on the 23rd and 30th he’ll share with us how to read scripture “as a whole.” For example, we can pick out an issue in scripture and the Old Testament might say one thing and New Testament text might say something different, but what if we were to pull
back and look at the issue through the lens of the whole Bible? We may get a sense of where God might be leading us with that particular issue. Take the issue of revenge for example. In Exodus 21:24 we read, “An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”
Someone could read this one stand-alone verse and assume God approves of revenge. It’s a different story in the New Testament when Jesus says in Matthew 5:38-39, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” Then further in Matthew 5 Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” How do you go from revenge in the OT to loving your enemies in the NT? I’d like to invite you to attend our Sacred Circle in August to find out the answer. The Sacred Circle starts
at 6 p.m. and ends at 7 p.m.
One final thing, if you take a look at what we have on offer in August we have a “snapshot” of what the Christian life
looks like. With Dean Mattern, you’ll hear the Gospel presented in a dramatic way. Accepting the Gospel is our entry into the Kingdom. Once we’ve accepted Christ, we’re not finished, in fact we’re only beginning. Christ calls us to a life of faithful discipleship and that’s what Dr. Biddle will offer us through our Sacred Circle. I hope and pray you’ll attend these August offerings and that people will come to know Christ and the power of his love and grace. May God bless Dean Mattern, Mark Biddle and our Bethel Church family.