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 7)

Posted by Jeff Byerly on Friday, January 3, 2014 @ 2:27 PM

THE KINGDOM

You have heard it said that the kingdom is about going to heaven when you die, because this world is not your home and you are just a-passing through … but I say to you that the kingdom is about the expanding reign of Jesus as king over people who live for him in this world, until his reign is established over all and in all.

First, I think it stands to reason simply, that in order to have a kingdom, one must first have a king. A kingdom must also entail a region of “land” (or sacred space) over which the king rules, and as well citizens who love and serve the king. All of these things put together speak about a society under the rule and authority under one ruler.

Now let’s examine how Jesus described the kingdom. “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand (or has come near).” Jesus proclaimed the good news of the kingdom, encouraged people to seek first the kingdom, and to understand its secrets. He defined how to enter, who was in and out, who was greatest and who was least in the kingdom. He compared the kingdom to a field of plantings, mustard seed, yeast, hidden treasure, a pearl, a net, a great feast, the settling of accounts, and vineyard workers. He bestowed its keys upon his followers, said that he would drink the cup anew with them in the kingdom, and prayed for the kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. During the period between his resurrection and ascension, Jesus taught his disciples about the kingdom, and then commissioned them to be faithful witnesses from their starting point to the ends of the earth. And although often imperfect, Jesus spoke about the Church as the manifestation of his kingdom rule – the embodiment of life in Jesus as King!

Life gets completely sucked out of this vision of Christ’s kingdom when we introduce it as simply our inner experience of personal spirituality. We lose many aspect of our citizenship when we introduce the “personal” pursuit. We can become the main object of the kingdom. Let me illustrate: This can be seen when I say that I receive Jesus “in my heart” as my own personal Savior. If we are correct about this statement, we would mean that I am setting up God’s kingdom rule over my own rule (the throne of my heart). However, I wonder if many people don’t actually live as if they simply carry Jesus with them as a co-pilot (they’ve adopted his principles into their lives). They run their own lives (with some helpful spiritual disciplines and beliefs), and have him available when they need to get out of a jam. Jesus is more of a talisman than a ruler.

And if Jesus is our ruler, then we are citizens, and the call to our citizenship is to love God (with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength), and others as ourselves—the kingdom mandate. This requires us to live in community (with God and others), and deflates our attempts to reduce the kingdom to our own personal spirituality. Kingdom is living under a King, and within a society governed by the kingdom mandate, where we all devote our lives to Jesus and his kingdom vision.

Life that revolves around our own personal spirituality is not the kingdom that Jesus announced or describes above. If it is about me and my personal growth with God (without society), then that is not kingdom. I do not have to sacrifice much (if anything) to that vision – I live with a talisman Jesus rather than following and submitting to the King Jesus.

If you follow the King Jesus and his vision, you are his disciples and citizens of the kingdom (here and now)!

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