Service Schedule

Sundays 

Traditional Service 8:00 am

Sunday School 9:15 am (adult and children's options available)

Contemporary Blend 10:30 am (child care available)

Junior Church (K-5th Grade) 10:30 am

BYM Sr (8th thru 12th grade) - 6:00 pm

 

Wednesdays

Choir Practice 6:30 pm

Prayer Meeting 7:30 pm

Kidz Klub (age 4 thru 4th grade) - 6:30 pm

BYM Jr (5th thru 8th grade) - 6:30 pm

Men's and Ladies' Bible Studies - 6:30 pm

Directions

We are located at 155 Reedsville Road, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972

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If you need to contact us, please call our office at (570) 739-2241. For office hours, click here.

Wet Cement Theology

 A blog from Jeff Byerly at Bethesda EC Church

The world doesn't need another know-it-all theologian. My goal is simply to search the Scriptures, analyze current theological dicussions, respond to the events of the global, national, and local communities in which I live, and share my life incarnationally in order to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. As I do this please realize that I am wrong from time-to-time and more often than I think. :-) I am also naturally skeptical and often doubt convictions that are held tightly by many others. I invite you to dialogue with me in this same spirit--to explore how Jesus intersects with our world and to keep our sanity as we view this world from his kingdom perspective. 

OFF THE GRID … THE AMERICAN CHURCH (PART III)

Posted by Jeff Byerly on Friday, September 13, 2013 @ 2:37 PM

When we got to Churachandpur in India, one of our team members couldn’t find any vendors selling diet coke. One of the other observant members of the team said, “Well look, do they look like they need diet soda?” The truth was that none of them were overweight, nor was anyone looking malnourished. The other thing we quickly noted was that they appeared content to live in what appeared to us as squalor. Everyone agreed they looked extremely content to live the way they did. And then I remarked, “Does it seem like anyone here suffers from depression or serious anxiety?” I cannot say I know that answer for certain, but I found it a worthwhile question to ponder given our observations of their nature and habits. They had needs, but they were not expecting anyone to solve them for them.

DISTORTION #3: CHURCH AS PHARMACY

THE ILLUSTRATION: In this distortion, the church is viewed by many as a quick fix solution to their problems. Church is the place to bring your family so that we can fix your smart mouthed kids. It’s where the alcoholic and drug abuser can find help to change their lives. Although this can be true, it often takes serious work on the part of the participant for healing to which many are not ready to commit. Yet for many in our culture, the church is viewed as a means to provide band aid solutions or prescribe over the counter pills to solve their issues.

I am not saying that the church does not provide healing … in fact, this is our moniker at Bethesda – a healing community. What I am trying to say is that we live in a culture that wants quick solutions to life’s problems. Many people in serious debt get threatened with eviction almost every month. The sad news is that we receive several calls for assistance each month from people who don’t even know us. They are desperate! It’s amazing how bold some people are in asking or demanding help. “You are a church … this is your job to help us, right?”

We honestly attempt to learn of every situation and the precipitating causes in order to help them, but much of what we offer involves long term solutions, tough medicine, along with immediate help. The problem is that the short-term help is often enough to remove the sense of dread, and they often ditch the long-term solutions. We recently received a call from someone we helped a year ago. When asked if they did anything to solve their problems from the recommendations we gave them last year, they had done nothing. They literally expected money from heaven, whether from the church, government, the lottery, or others.

THE LESSON: When the focus of church becomes the “quick fix,” then we are not helping to solve any ills of the world. I have been part of churches in the past that offer prayer as the only solution to cure the person’s ills … that if people would just be more committed to God, God would take care of them. The leaders would continually be drug into the same hard-luck situations over and over. I remember seeing the same people lined up after services at the altar railings crying the same song over and over. They were trapped in their own dilemma and kept in bondage by their inability to move forward. In faith, they were simply expecting God to do something for them.

THE BIGGER PROBLEM: We do not understand sacrifice. We have a culture that listens to TV evangelists promise them blessings once they commit to follow God, as if we can get something for nothing. Wait a minute! That’s exactly what I did not see in India. No one seemed to expect something for nothing. In fact expectations in India varied greatly from our American ideals. I cannot tell you how often I felt embarrassed by our American impatience and demanding behaviors. We were poor examples of being sacrificial servants. Honestly, it was hard to live as examples to them – they outmeasured us in humility and servitude. Not that it was a contest, but we were really light years off course.

I doubt that we really understand “sacrifice,” – no matter what we say. I know that I’m not very sacrificial. I have wants, expectations, and even demands. I live this way every day without much thought. Think about your own lives.

THE BIGGER SOLUTION: We need to stop dispensing pills and band aids for people, and call the church in general to live beyond the self-centered standards and demands of our society. I cannot stress enough how seemingly irrelevant the church can become if we continue to get sucked into this sociological façade.

We still need to offer help to homeless people, alcoholics, depressed people, distressed families, and people pulled under by every other societal illness. But the cure isn’t usually found in a quick handout. It takes sacrificial living to actually help some people move past their hurts and find healing from God – long-lasting healing. This is needed on both sides ... for them and for us.

I’ll admit. I am not necessarily equipped or ready for this task. It is a glaring weakness for me. But I’m trying to learn new patterns for living the “take up your cross” lifestyle.

Next week, I will examine “The Church As Walmart.”

M Miller said...

Posted on Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 10:15 PM -
I had no idea that the church receives calls askg for help. how sad. does the saying "you don't buy them milk, but you give them a cow" apply to this post? You are right, I no nothing about sacrifice. yes, we sacrifice during our time on our missions trips, but during those times, the blessings out number the sacrifice. And then we arrive home to our warm beds and hot showers. (not to mention shoes, clean water, and buses with AC)

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