News Articles:

Rev. Paul Pruitt’s Article
Good News! It Requires a Response

A Woman’s Perspective
Mrs. Donna McCall
Have You Surveyed the Wondrous Cross?

Paul’s Pen
Rev. Paul Ritchie
Dealing Wisely in the Affairs of Life

Counseling Corner
Rev. Don Loss
Crucified to the World

Testimonies:

Testimony of a Bethel Women’s Campus Graduate
– Cameron Joyce

Other News:

Bethel Lawn Care

Good News!  It Requires a Response

We are approaching Resurrection Sunday and, if you remember last Easter, it was the first holiday that we faced with Covid-19 and the reality of not being able to see family during a precious day that most enjoy together religiously.  If you think that was tough think about the first Easter starting with what we call “Jesus’ triumphal entry” into Jerusalem or “Palm Sunday”. A lot happened in that Holy Week between Palm Sunday and Easter.

Let me recap the events of Holy Week for you. On Monday and Tuesday, the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders escalated. On Wednesday, Judas Iscariot met with the religious leaders and arranged for Jesus’ betrayal. On Thursday, Jesus met with His disciples in the Upper Room and shared the Last Supper with them. Later that same night He was arrested while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Early Friday morning, Jesus was tried before Pilate and sentenced to death. By Friday evening, Jesus was crucified, dead, and buried. Saturday was a Sabbath day of rest.

And so, we come to Sunday morning. Only seven days had passed since the triumphal entry, but so much had happened in between.

Imagine how the disciples felt at this moment. They were in shock from the events of Thursday and Friday. They were in mourning over the death of their Lord and friend. And they were hiding in fear for their own lives. Jesus had warned them that the road to Jerusalem was the road to suffering and the cross, but somehow, they did not understand. But now Sunday morning had arrived, and everything was about to change.

In the beginning of chapter 24 we see the women coming to anoint Jesus’s body with spices. They come out of love and respect to take care of the body and also they believed Jesus was dead. As you can imagine, what a surprise they got when the stone was rolled away and Jesus’ body was not there.  Then two angels raised this question in verses 5-8:

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’”   Then they remembered His words.

Jesus told his followers again and again what would happen to Him when they got to Jerusalem. He told them that He would suffer. He told them that He would be crucified. He told them that on the third day He would rise from the dead.

So, Jesus’ arrest should not have been a surprise to His followers. Jesus’ crucifixion and death should not have been a surprise either. And even Jesus’ resurrection should not have been a surprise. Jesus told them about all these things in advance. And yet somehow the meaning of these things escaped them. It was only after these things had happened that they remembered his words and put it all together.

And so it was that these women showed up with spices at Jesus’ grave on Easter morning looking for a dead man. The angels rightly asked them: “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”

That is the good news of Easter. Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death and the grave. He rose from the dead on Easter morning. He is alive and well today. You will not find Him among the dead, for He is among the living. And He offers new life to you. The Bible tells us that those who trust in Christ, we will share in His resurrection. The fear of death and judgment is taken away. That’s good news when we’re in a pandemic, right? In fact, that’s good news anytime! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

When we receive news especially this Good News, it requires a response.

How have you responded…what is your response? We see several responses highlighted in chapter 24.

First, there was the response of the women. We see the women’s response in verses 9-10: “When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.”  They responded by believing and sharing! 

Now, they must have been frightened. They must have been confused. They certainly did not understand all that had happened. But there was one thing they could do. They could share what they knew. They could share that Jesus’ body was no longer in the grave. They could share that the angels said He had risen from the dead. The women believed, and they shared their faith with others.

Do you believe that “Jesus is Lord?” And, do you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead? If so, then you need to share your faith with others. Jesus died, but He rose again from the dead. He is alive forevermore. That is good news! And good news is for sharing.

Don’t keep the good news of Easter all to yourself. That would be selfish! Share with everyone you know the good news that God sent His Son to die for sinners, and that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. What better way to respond to the good news of Easter than to share it with others! That’s our first response – believe and share.

Second, was the response of the apostles, or at least their initial response. The women’s response was believe and share. The apostles’ response was don’t believe, and do nothing! Look at verse 11: “They did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.”  The apostles did not believe, and so they did nothing.

Now, I am happy to report that the apostles later changed their minds about this, but their initial response mirrors the response of so many people today. They don’t believe in all this Jesus stuff. It all seems like so much nonsense to them, and so they do nothing. They dismiss the story of Jesus outright. They continue to live their lives as though nothing happened that first Easter morning.

Was this your initial response? Does it all sound like so much nonsense to you? But think about it. What if it were true? Don’t you at least want it to be true? Of course, you do! Anyone who has ever buried a loved one in the ground would absolutely wish it were true. But the apostles’ initial response to the report of Jesus’ resurrection was to reject it completely. “They did not believe and therefore did nothing.”

So, are those your only two options? Either believe that Jesus rose from the dead or don’t believe? At first it would seem so. But you know, there is one other option. And we find this third option illustrated for us by Peter’s response. Look at verse 12 with me now: “Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.”  Peter checked it out for himself.

If you are not sure what to make of Jesus’ resurrection, there is a third option you can take rather than simply rejecting it as nonsense. You can do what Peter did. You can check it out for yourself.

Can I encourage you to share with someone how Jesus set you free? Can I encourage you, if you know someone in bondage to share with them a place that can help them, to check it out for themselves, and to see Jesus is exactly who He says He is. Let’s share the good news together and see men and women set free from the bondage of addiction!

Pastor Paul & Stacy Pruitt
Executive Director

 


Have You Surveyed the Wondrous Cross?

Survey, to look at carefully and set a value on, the cross. The cross set on a hill at a place called Golgotha, the place of the skull. The skull that so many wear on a shirt and have as a tattoo on their body. It meant death for those who were destined to hang on the cross there. The cross, the symbol so many wear around their neck not even recognizing what took place there. Take a look; have you examined what went on there?

Jesus, the Son of the Living God, died there. The Man who never knew sin until the day He took it upon Himself for all mankind. The weight of that sin was probably a lot harder to carry than the heavy wooden cross He had to bear. He did not deserve what happened there. He took the sin of drug abuse, adultery, alcoholism, stealing, etc. Your sin and mine.  He carried it all the way to this cross. John 1:29; “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  This cross where He cried out “It is finished”.  

What is finished? The perfect sacrifice had been led to the slaughter and the blood was shed for the remission of sin. Not His sin but my sin and your sin.

This sin Jesus carried had separated us from our Creator, God. We could not get to Him without having a go-between, an advocate. This Advocate which hung on that cross had us on His mind. He could not walk away and leave us where we were. He wanted us to fellowship with God and God to fellowship with us. He willingly gave up His life for that on this cross.  John 10:17-18;  “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself…”

Can we set a price on the cross of Christ? The height, the depth, the length, and the width of the impact of the cross is more than we can imagine. Ask a person who has been an addict for over half their life what it means to know God forgives their sin and offers them a relationship with Him. Ask the person caught up in adultery who lost their marriage and family but they discovered what happened on this cross and found healing from all the hurt.  Ask the orphan who found a big family because of this cross.  Ask the people who are caught up in fear and pain right now who know they can talk to God about it because of this cross.

What price will you pay for the Cross of Christ?  Will you give up the things which are standing in the way of your relationship with God? Will you make the decision to follow Jesus?  Will you read your Bible and pray?  Will you take up your cross which will never require as much as Jesus’ cross did?

Romans 12:1-2I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

We can never repay Jesus for all He did for us on the cross. But, we can show Him how thankful we are and how much we love Him. We can lay aside all the sin that so easily besets us, trips us up and follow His example. We can forgive others, love others, encourage others, be a good example for others.

The Cross of Christ is empty. He did not stay there. He had much more to do and He wants to do it through you! Colossians 1:27; …Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Where mercy flows,

Donna McCall,
Director of Women’s Campus



Paul's Pen

Dealing Wisely in the Affairs of Life    

Within the covers of the Holy Bible are the answers needed to deal wisely in the affairs of this life as well as the life to come, which is eternity. The word prosper is used several times in Joshua 1: 5-9.  It implies dealing wisely in the affairs of life, not only in this life, but a wise man, while he is dealing wisely in this life, will want to also be dealing wisely in regards to his eternal life, or he is not a very wise man, otherwise a fool.  Matthew 6:33 says that if you gain the whole world and its wealth and lose your soul for all eternity you have played a fool’s game with the devil, and you lost.  So be sure that you understand this is not a game and you cannot afford to lose. If Jesus is not in your heart (I said, “heart; not head, which is dead faith”) your destiny is, for all eternity, in the lake of fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels and is not a place you want to be, for eternity is a long –  – long – time.

 You and I, are spirits, we live in a body, and we have a soul. Now note the soul and spirit are not the same thing. Hebrews 4:12 says; ”For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  2nd Thessalonians 5:23; “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely: and may your whole spirit and soul and body (a new heavenly body) be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  

Now when we die the body will turn back to dust, but the soul and spirit will go to be with the Lord. So those who have been born again will go to be with the Lord, don’t miss it, it’s a one-way ticket. 2nd Corinthians 5:7-8; “for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

 Now John chapter 3:1-8 is a good picture by Jesus, please read this Scripture carefully. Jesus made a very strong statement using very intense words such as, most assuredly, cannot, must, unless, and born-again, leaving no doubt there is but one way into heaven. The English word again is used twice and inferred a third time.

 We think along a TIME LINE

PAST                    PRESENT                 FUTURE

But the Gospels are written in INTENSITY.  Because again was emphasized so strongly I decided to look up the word in the Strong’s Concordance. I was amazed to find that, that Greek word is only used 3 times in the whole New Testament. The word means to be raised up to the top.  Ephesians 2:6 explains, you are now seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. When you open up your heart to the Heavenly Father He sends the Spirit of Christ into you and you go to the very top.  This all happens with the new birth, all at the same time, praise the Lord! The spirit of Christ contains the DNA of God, Christ in you the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). You are now a new creature in Christ, a new species. Romans 8:9 declares if you have not the spirit of Christ you are none of his. WOW!! It is the only way you can become a new creature in Christ. Christ in you the hope of glory is what enables you to live above the old life.  Acts 4:12 says; “nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

 Isaiah 53:9-11: explains how God is able to accept us because Jesus took our sin “and they made his grave with the wicked- but with the rich at his death, because he had done no violence. Nor was any deceit in his mouth. It pleased the Lord to bruise him (to crush), His own offspring, to put him to grief (pain). When you make his soul an offering for our sins. He shall see his seed. He shall prolong his days, the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”  He (God the Father) shall see the labor of his soul (His Son, Jesus Christ) and be satisfied. 1st Peter 2:24 “who himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree that we being dead to sin might (or should) live unto righteousness by whose stripes we were healed.” This will not help you a bit unless you also ARE satisfied with what Jesus Christ did on that cross.  With his blood HE paid it all for you and me.

The Lord bless you with health and safety in 2021 and especially a closer walk with the Lord Jesus.

Pastor Paul Ritchie

Senior Pastor

 

Counseling  Corner

Reverend Don Loss

Crucified to the World

The death and resurrection of Christ Jesus reveals to us the power of the cross and the message of the cross. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18) Furthermore, for those who believe in Christ, we are no longer attached to the world with all its pleasures, glitter, and lusts for the things of this world. We have been crucified from the love of the world.

“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14) We have been transported from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of His Son. “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of His Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)

The power of the world which held us in bondage has been destroyed by the power of the cross. The love of the world which once ruled our soul has been severed. Because of Christ in us, we are no longer in bondage to our sins, no longer under the burden of our sins, and no longer in love with our sins. The place where our burden of sin was removed was at the cross and there the joy of the Lord entered our souls. We have become new creations in Christ Jesus. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  (II Corinthians 5:17)

Consider the experience illustrated in the great classic of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress when Christian comes to the cross. “He ran thus till he came to a place somewhat ascending, and upon that place stood a cross, his burden loosed from his shoulders and fell off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do so until it came to the mouth of the sepulcher, where it fell in and I saw it no more. Shortly thereafter, Christian sang his song of deliverance.” At that moment, —“the world has been crucified to him, and him to the world.” He becomes a follower and disciple of Jesus. Obedience to His word is a delight. It is his nature. It is well with his soul as he does this.

Having been baptized in Christ, crucified to the world, the need of a habitual mindset of crucifixion is necessary in our walk with Christ.  As Dr. Vance Havner profoundly said, “I’m shipwrecked on God and stranded on omnipotence.”  There must be a mindset of spirituality on the way to the celestial city.  The admonition to Timothy by the apostle Paul has all the elements of good advice.  “But you, O man of God, flee these things (men of corrupt minds and destitute of truth) and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  Fight the good fight, lay hold of eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Since the world has been crucified to us, man yourself with a ready sword when the tempter uses worldly men to allure you back into the kingdom of darkness.  Confront them with firmness and steadfastness. “What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? As God has said; I will dwell with them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Therefore, come out from among them and be separate says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.  I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (II Corinthians 6:14-18)

Beware of the wiles of the devil.  Saint Cyril of Jerusalem warned the Children of Light besieged then by the Arian darkness engulfing the fourth century concerning the Dragon.  He wrote to the catechists of Jerusalem; “The Dragon is by the side of the road, watching those who pass. Beware lest he devour you. We go to the Father of souls, bit it is necessary to pass by the Dragon.”

Lastly, George McDonald writes in his novel Warlock o’ Glenwarlock“To him that obeys well, the truth comes easy; to him that does not obey, it comes not — The true, that is the obedient man, cannot help seeing the truth, for it is the very business of his being.” This is like a man who boasts in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. _“the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Let us examine ourselves concerning being crucified to the world.

Where the grace blows,

Pastor Don Loss
Associate Director / Director of Counseling

*  If you would like to read previous Counseling Corners we are now archiving by topic/title for your future reference. Click on the link: Counseling Corner Archives

 

Testimony of a Bethel Women’s Campus Graduate

 

I think sometimes God can have a pretty good sense of humor when it comes to how He works full circle in our lives.  As a little girl I attended church camp at Camp Carolwood, now known as Bethel Colony of Mercy Women’s Campus.

Growing up in church, I was extremely involved in my youth group, was vice president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes in high school, and at the time I knew that I believed in God.  But, the pull of the world seemed to have a tighter hold on me that I was allowing God to have.  I have always struggled with my weight and from that I allowed my validation to come from others.  To make myself feel better I always seemed to hold the spotlight to be the center of attention.  First it was with humor, then food, then alcohol, then boys, and on and on and so forth.  I tried to fill my life with all these things and for a very short time I would have joy (or what I thought was joy) and then it would quickly fade away.  For so many years I would live in the vicious cycle of the lies that these things would somehow, someday make me feel worthy…but they never did.  Before coming to Bethel in 2019, I was riddled with anxiety, in a broken marriage, and drinking a lot of my days away just to not feel the hurt that was happening all around me.

On the outside, no one knew what was going on because I have always been able to put on a pretty good show so no one could see the hurt and pain that I was in.  I also was unable to truly get in touch with how I was doing because, in my opinion, at the time being in a place of that much brokenness was a very lonesome, sad, and what I thought to be an embarrassing place where I did not want anyone to know I was.  But little did I know that in my brokenness was where I would find my true self, my true identity in Christ, and as I am learning on a daily basis, the place where I was the least alone because my God was right there with me.

Bethel truly was a blessing from God for me.  I would not be here today had I not been given the opportunity to become a part of the Bethel Family.  The moment I first walked onto the Women’s Campus an unexplainable peace came over my body and I feel that I can say without a doubt that every person who has been through the women’s program would agree.  That kind of peace can only come from God and I hope I continue to chase after that peace daily.  Bethel gave me the tools to take out into the real world, to be able to lean into Christ in all areas, and as a very important person in my life likes to say A LOT…is to take His word in like you’re drinking out of a firehose because you just can’t get enough of it.  We must fill our lives with God every moment of every day because that is the only way we will be able to make it through.  In the good times we must have a plan for the bad times.  So, when the bad times come we are able to take them on with confidence and with God by our side.

I would be lying if I said it was easy in the real world, that I do not struggle, or that just because I have a relationship with God everything is easy.  It’s not.  But, on the days that are hard, when God feels far away, or anxiety creeps in, the ability to reach out to God and ask Him for His help is undoubtedly the easiest part of my day.

Cameron Joyce
Office Manager, Women’s Campus as of February 8, 2021

  


 

Bethel Lawn Care!!!

Bethel’s Lawn Care Service is part of our ongoing program and coincides with our mission statement –  teaching the deliverance message of Jesus Christ. Part of our approach is daily work assignments. Work assignments are designed to teach men responsibility and stewardship. As we help more folks in our community the Lawn Care service not only helps men with responsibility and stewardship but instills a Christian work ethic, provides a skill they can use to get a job and teaches them to give back to their community and to Bethel.

Our goals are to help the men with:

  1. Responsibility
  2. Work Ethic
  3. Integrity
  4. Teamwork
  5. Stewardship
  6. Giving
  7. Living out their faith in public
  8. Lawncare skills
  9. Landscaping Skills
  10. Horticulture Skills

This helps Bethel by:

  1. Helping to fulfill our approach with daily work assignments
  2. Creating more work for the men
  3. Creating ways to give back to our community
  4. Creating more community awareness
  5. Creating an income that helps keep Bethel’s program cost down.
  6. Creating a full-time staff position to oversee this part of the program

 

To schedule your Lawn Care Service, and to check prices,
contact Jeff Hollar, Bethel Lawn Care Manager,
at 828-750-2058.