Monthly Archives: June 2014

Cleaning House

Company’s coming to stay with us a couple days. These are missionary friends we met in the Philippines and have not seen in several years. They’ve never been in our home, so we’re looking forward to the opportunity to reconnect.

When company comes, especially out of town overnight guests, we get busy. The house gets extra cleaning, furniture might get moved around a little, and the yard gets some special attention. I don’t think we’re being disingenuous – there’s just something in all of us that wants to put our good foot forward, make a good impression, and appear calm and chaos-free.

Let’s be honest – besides the neat-nicks among us, our homes are not always perfectly tidy. The dirty laundry doesn’t always hit the hamper, undealt-with mail languishes on the table, and the detritus of life finds countertops and coffee tables. We fear that someone may drop by and see what we are really like in the midst of a busy week. And yet, if we happen upon a friend’s “au naturel” house we’re not offended. Is this double standard hypocritical?

It depends on attitude. One person scrubs down the house for fear of how others will judge them if it is less than spotless, while another puts in the extra effort as an act of love for the guest. Same exterior result, different internal motivation. But the self-centered way will drive you crazy, while the other-focused effort brings joy. To realize, “I’m creating a homey welcome for my guests” makes mopping and dusting strangely satisfying.

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This weekend at Bethany Church you’re going to notice a fresh look to our parking areas – fresh sealant and parking lines on the asphalt. You’ll notice the usual excellent work of the Sod Squad keeping grass green and sidewalks edged. In the evening you’ll notice attractive energy-saving LED street lamps, and soon you’ll be logging on to a new website. The Stewardship team is working on a plan to improve our restrooms and apply an overdue coat of paint to the building exterior in the near future, and a design team is exploring ways to freshen the look of our stage area.

Why you ask? Because taking care of our facilities is responsible stewardship. The building and grounds belong to the Lord, and he has entrusted them to us. We also want to create an attractive and welcoming environment for friends and neighbors. This is not driven out of fear or pride for what others will think of us – it’s an act of love to the unsaved and unchurched friends we are seeking to introduce to Jesus. Creativity also reflects the nature of our Heavenly Father, the First Artist and Almighty Creator. We want our facilities to say, “Welcome, relax, be at home and at ease, in a place where you will hear the Good News of God’s great love for you.”

Hebrews 13:2a reminds us, “Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers.” That’s why I’m excited to see some fresh changes. If it means I need to contribute some extra effort or extra funds, I’m willing, because I love our friends and neighbors enough to give them a fresh and clean welcome. I’m not trying to impress anyone, I just want to show our love by making the wonderful Bethany facilities an even better place to hear the Good News and be introduced to Jesus our Lord.

 

Brian Wiebe- Lead Pastor

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Violet’s Pest Control

Recently, our kids were playing with some friends out in the church play yard after Mommy and Me.  The girls were congregated around a corner of the yellow play house, crouched down in the dirt, looking intently at something captivating.  Suddenly, my 4 year old, Evy, came running toward me, crying and afraid.

“They’re biting me!”  she cried, as she frantically rubbed her legs.

Sure enough, a rebel legion of kid-biting ants had infiltrated the church play yard.  Evy, the brave scout, had met the enemy forces.  We quickly brushed the ants from her legs and shoes before asking, “So where did all these ants come from?”  She pointed back to where her 3 year old sister, Violet stood.  As I jogged to curious Violet, I realized that she was standing right in the middle of a concentrated colony of black ants.  I carried her (heroically, at arms’ length!)  away from the pile only to find that her shoes, legs, and little, white dress were swarming with black ants!  Three of us, Annette, Megan, and I, worked together quickly to brush off all the ants.

When the situation settled down and we’d all caught our breath, Annette remarked to Megan and me that she’d have to tell Bob (the church custodian, janitor, maintenance guy, and all around superhero of helpfulness) about the ants so he could take care of them before Sunday morning.  Perhaps he had some ant spray or some other magical chemical to destroy them?  As Annette walked over to talk to Bob, tiny warrior Violet, fresh from the battle, fought fire with fire, saying,

“Dear God, please make the ants go away.  In Jesus name, Amen.”

Then she trotted off to the playground while Megan and I stared at each other incredulously, saying, “Why didn’t we think of that?!” photo (9)

When Bob valiantly entered the scene, Megan and I joked that his help was no longer needed.  Violet had called in the big guns.  But we weren’t really joking… were we?  Perhaps Violet’s prayer was all that was needed to solve the ant problem.  Surely, the Creator of living things could completely relocate this massive army of ants in a miraculously timely manner before church on Sunday!  Violet believed this and her faith-saturated prayer was the most practical option in her untainted mind.

“Now this I know:

The LORD gives victory to his anointed.  He answers him from His heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of His right hand.  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” 

Psalm 20:6-7

When you’ve got a problem that needs solving, where do you start?  When you need a victory, to whom do you look for help?

On Sunday morning when the girls went to check on the ant situation they found only a few lonely villains left.  It was definitely a prayer victory for Violet; she’d effectively used her shield of faith.  We didn’t even ask whether Bob had intervened after all.  Violet’s method was more practical, more logical than bug spray.  God’s track record for solving problems is undefeated.

So here’s my challenge for you:  Next time you’ve got a problem, try the most logical approach.  Pray FIRST.

Crystal Nachtigall

 

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