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. 

THE WAY OF THE MASTER

Posted by Jeff Byerly on Friday, February 28, 2014 @ 5:20 PM

 

I have been looking at a few examples of Jesus’ conversations. As I have been demonstrating, Jesus worked differently with each person he met. So far, the woman at the well needed living water and a religious leader needed to start over. In each case, Jesus listens, reveals truth, and sometimes explores more questions. Today we will look at yet two more different encounters.

A rich young man asks Jesus a question about what he must do to inherit eternal life. That question is familiar to those of us from the twentieth century church, but the answer may appear to be confusing. First, Jesus answers the pupil’s question with a review of the Law. He doesn’t say the Law is not sufficient. The young man immediately responds with something like, “I have kept all the Thou shalt nots! I’ve known them since youth and continue to walk within the boundaries of the Law.”

Jesus then confronts the young man with how one could be so wealthy and keep the Law. So Jesus asks him to sell his possessions and give them to the poor. Then he could follow Jesus without any difficulty. In so doing Jesus shifts the man’s thoughts from what he shouldn’t be doing to what he should be doing. Of course, many of us remember that the man was disappointed that it would cost him so much. And so he left in despair.

We all know the damages from clinging to worldly wealth and not releasing it to be used for God’s kingdom. However, I am not sure why Jesus would answer a question about eternal life without mentioning God’s love, sin, his sacrifice, and the man’s faith needing to rest in Jesus himself. He refers to the Law and then the man’s own wealth to let the man know what he must do to inherit eternal life.

Jesus was looking for a life change from the man. Let’s compare this story with another from Luke’s gospel in the next chapter.

Once when Jesus visited Jericho, he walked through town and stopped under a sycamore tree, where a short-statured man had climbed up to see him pass by. Jesus notices him, and asks to stay at his home. Of course, many of you remember that the town thought Jesus had made a mistake – having picked someone of negative character; for Zacchaeus was a traitor to the state of Israel, working for the Romans as a tax collector, and using his position to take advantage of others. That was the reputation of tax collectors, and Zacc was no different apparently.

Zacchaeus was excited to welcome the traveling rabbi. We don’t know the conversation that took place. We do know that Zacc promises to change his ways. He was going to give away half of his possessions to the poor right off the top, and then add to that the damages from cheating the residents of the town. Luke doesn’t offer a reason for such a change. He just states that Zacc changes his outlook based on Jesus’ visit.

Luke doesn’t tell us that Zacc understood his sin, or that he was going to attend the synagogue, or that he was aware that Jesus was God’s Son who would die for his sins. He just says that Zacc changes his outlook on life, and does what Jesus told the rich young man to do. He gives his wealth away. He changes his outcome and the outcomes of others.

Jesus says quite adamantly, “Salvation has come to this house! Zacc is among the house of Abraham! He’s in! He gets it!” Who knows what other sins Zacc had to defeat, or what demons he suffered under. It wasn’t just his wealth that was out of line with God, but it was enough of a heart-change for Jesus.

This makes me seriously wonder about canned approaches to sharing the Gospel. First, I think we gloss over the real obstacles to someone following Jesus (see discussion above); secondly, we limit the gospel to a sin management transaction; and probably most importantly, we make the person a project rather than getting to know the person and their needs before offering them a spiritual offer to their real life issues.

Here’s to our opportunities to listen and share in many conversations.

 

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