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. 

YOU HAVE HEARD IT SAID ... (PART 3)

Posted by Jeff Byerly on Friday, December 6, 2013 @ 3:50 PM

You have heard it said that evangelism is verbally persuading people to accept Jesus as their personal Savior, and we better hurry up and do it fast, because all kinds of people will go to Hell is we don’t, and it will be our fault … but I tell you that evangelism involves living under God’s kingdom rule in such a way that declares in all sorts of ways God’s great Story among ourselves and to others, and as a result people are granted opportunities to choose to also live within the same redemptive purposes, in which we participate, but never orchestrated or contrived on our own.

In the 1980s, I received a knock at my apartment in Phoenixville, PA. I opened the door to find two men, who had a couple of questions for me to answer for their survey. The younger of the two asked me, “If you were to die tonight, would you know where you would spend eternity?” Without hesitation, I answered, “Of course!” I had recently been delivered from a strong drug and alcohol addictive lifestyle through the dramatic work of God’s Spirit in my life at the time of my conversion. Then, he continued, “How do you know, and what would you say in order to enter heaven?” I thought it was a trick question, so I thought about two seconds, and basically answered, “I have faith in Jesus Christ.” They looked at each other surprised. I don’t know maybe they didn’t encounter many acceptable answers, or maybe I was their first victim, or maybe they weren’t sure themselves what they were trying to accomplish. Then the questioner said, “Thank you.” They both turned to the stairway to walk upstairs to their next encounter.

You know, I think about that encounter from time to time. I did have things I personally wrestled with in my life, for which I needed help. I also knew of a young single mom in an apartment nearby that was struggling. Conversely, most of my neighbors were elderly (and so I was occasionally reminded to keep my stereo turned down), but they had specific needs too. I remember frequently sitting and talking at one of the picnic tables with Earl who would try to lure the squirrels to sit at his feet while he cracked peanuts for them. Strange example, I know.

But Earl and I would talk about life, and family, and church, and faith, and how we are doing, and neighbors (in positive ways), and squirrels (in positive ways, too). I don’t know if Earl had an encounter with the two men and their visit. But really it wouldn’t have mattered much, would it? I don’t think they were interested in Earl or me. I could tell by the way they scooted on their way from my door after my answers. So what did they accomplish? Did they get to tell their version of the Good News to anyone? To someone that they had never met? To people who were hurting and needed a good meal or assistance with their child?

This brings me to my points.

First, the Good News is not under our control to accomplish. The two evangelists came and left and probably reported back to their church some stats, like: seven doors, five people answered, four people based salvation on works, and two accepted the Good News when they heard it from us. If they had zero, they would probably wonder what they were doing wrong, because Bob was getting five-for-five on every one of his zealous endeavor.s But that couldn’t be because Bob could sell used cars to anyone that set foot on his lot. This approach really negates the influence of the Holy Spirit … and how the Spirit works in ways before the Gospel penetrates any individual, community, society, or nation.

Sadly, undue pressure is applied by over-zealous preachers who have tried to convince their members that people end up in Hell, because they are not confrontational enough with them. If they cared, they would make sure their loved one would not go to Hell. I'm all for bringing the Gospel out of silence, but this work is really God's work and I participate with him in living the truth, confronting evil, and sharing the reason for the hope that is within me, not only to individuals, but within groups, and communities, and societies.

Secondly, the Good News goes forth from person to person! I think this is the point the two men missed by a long shot. They came and left. I gave them a satisfactory answer, I suppose. But then I didn’t need anything else in their estimation. I could have gotten lucky with my answer, but they didn’t know. They never were really interested in me, or my neighbors, or Earl who fed the squirrels. They had an agenda … in their minds, God’s agenda, but in reality, an empty non-hopeful message that didn’t really care about the people or the Good News, really, but rather just getting people to heaven. What was missing? Something that was never missing with Jesus … relationship! Not superficial relationship, but loving relationship. Some could call the actions of the two men loving, but not by Jesus’ standards.

Lastly, the Good News is not just about spending eternity with God … please, see my last two posts. It is not rooted in propositions that I need to mentally accept. The Good News is something to be lived … as a counter-influence to the destructive ways of the world or our limited societal structures. It is revolutionary … and when simply packaged as answers to questions, it becomes, well … irrelevant. It is really theory and not transformative. That’s a big problem!

Next week: You have heard it said that discipleship is …

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