- Rev. Paul Pruitt's Article
- A Woman's Perspective
- Paul's Pen
- Counseling Corner
- Other News
Rev. Paul Pruitt’s Article
A New Question
A Woman’s Perspective
Mrs. Donna McCall
Is There A Restart Option?
Rev. Paul Ritchie
You Must Be Born Again
Rev. Don Loss
The Diminishing Conviction of Sin
Testimony of a Bethel Men’s Campus Graduate
Testimony of a Bethel Women’s Campus Graduate
Bethel’s 71st Homecoming and Bible Conference Information
Golf Tournament Information
Bethel Lawn Care
I have run into some folks that do not understand what you mean when you say “You must be born again.” I don’t quite get that statement; ”the second birth”. Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, in John chapter 3, was also confused about this business of a second birth.
“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him. ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him. ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘you must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said to him, ‘how can these things be?’”
Christians may often say to someone ‘you must be born again’ and they may have the same question as Nicodemus, but will not ask that question so they may go through life and miss the answer rather than ask that very pointed question. I went to Cleveland, Ohio for the very purpose of seeing my first cousin Bob who was 91 at the time and has been around Christians. His son is a Christian, but Bob had never been born again. So, I’m going to give you the same answer that I gave him and maybe it will help you someday with someone else with the same question. It would be good if we ask the question, “Do you understand the term, you must be born again.” Often times you’ll find they don’t know what you’re talking about but do not want to appear ignorant and will not ask.
By the Scripture given we know that there are two births, one of the flesh and one of the spirit. We also know from the Scripture that it is absolutely necessary there be a second birth if we are to see the Kingdom of God. That being the case, if we know what the first birth is like then we can figure out what the second birth is like, as they must both be the same. The first birth is of the flesh, the second birth being of the same procedure but of the spirit.
For the first birth (of the flesh), the mother will open herself up to the father and he will deposit a seed of life to give life to her egg. His DNA is in that seed. When the seed fertilizes the egg there will be a blood spot occur. This is the true birthday of the child that will now develop in the womb. The womb is simply a temporary place that gives nourishment during a space of time. All that this blood spot needs is time and nourishment as it develops. The DNA of the mother and of the father is that which provides a map for this baby’s development. The normal time in the womb is nine months at which time the water, which the baby has been surrounded in, breaks and the baby moves into the birth canal. The birth canal is a tight place and going through it into the world outside of the womb a dramatic experience. A whole new dimension of light instead of dark, no longer in a sack of water, the amniotic fluid which has protected the baby for the past nine months is gone. The baby trades a place of confinement for unlimited space. He has developed to the place that he no longer needs to be in the womb and is now ready to live in a world with other people and of course still needs the tender loving care of a good mother without which it will not be able to maintain life on its own.
Now for the second birth which must be like this first one except in the spirit rather than the flesh. The Lord’s prayer reveals that God is our Father, Jesus is not our father. He’s God the Son. The Holy Spirit is not our Father although He is active; the Holy Spirit is the one who baptizes us into the body of Christ, 1st Cor. 12:13 & 27. Romans 8:9 declares that if we do not have the Spirit of Christ in us, we are none of Him. The spirit of Christ is the God DNA, the seed of the life of God that God the father sends into our spirit. New life has been added to our being. This happens when we open ourselves up to God the Father and He deposits within us the Spirit of Christ, the seed from our Heavenly Father just as in the first birth. That is why we cannot live a Christian life without the life of Christ, the seed of God now within our spirit. We are a spirit, we live in a body and we have a soul. The soul and spirit are not the same. Scripture tells us where God can divide the soul and spirit. We are a spiritual being and the spirit of God lives in our spirit. The soul is made up of our reasoning ability, our emotional ability and our ability to make choices. The womb of the new Christian is life on this earth where we start out as a babe, then a child, then finally a teenager and then leaving the teens to become an adult which is also a process. As we mature as Christians, we move through the stages to finally become mature adults equipped for every good work.
The birth canal of the second birth is when we go through the dramatic experience of death and again like on the first delivery we burst forth into a whole new realm called Heaven. Thus, we first have a conception with God the Father who has sent the Spirit of His Son Jesus Christ, which has entered into our spirit to produce a new creature in Christ. We are now a new creature because the life of Christ is what makes the difference. However, we are a babe then a child or toddler and so on, through the same transitions as in the flesh, one stage to another. We were made of the dust of the earth, in the image of God and His likeness. Genesis 1:26. In the second birth, we are now children of God. As we mature, we become sons of God Romans 8:14; “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” We are babies, toddlers then children in verse 16 and 17, fully in the family as inheritors. However, it is a different Greek word that is found regarding the sons of God in verse 14. They have learned how to be led by the Spirit of God; hear His voice and obey His instructions.
Bob’s response was, ”Now I know what you are talking about, I understand it, now it make sense to me.” I had the same response from a man of the Jewish faith who I had the opportunity and privilege to meet. He was saying; “Every time I meet Christians they try to convert me. This is the first time I understood what they meant by a second birth.” Actually it’s the only way that it fits. God bless you and your family. Maybe it would help somebody else to understand the process of being born again.
May the Lord bless you,
Pastor Paul Ritchie
One of the main reasons for the rising tide of guilt, shame, anxiety, and depression is the diminishing conviction of sin. Many professing Christians are among this particular group who are living in sin. The spirit of complacency has been the catalyst to drifting towards the love of sin. Where once upon a time they were walking in the city of God, they are now walking in the city of the world. Instead of walking in the fellowship of the body of Christ they are walking in friendship with the world. “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” There has been a wind of easy living in the company of sin. Sin has become irrelevant in their walk with Christ. Sin which was once at the forefront of their mind is now buried somewhere in the back of their mind.
Having shoved the seriousness of sin out of the conscious when confronted in the Scriptures with their sin, they will have one or more of several responses. 1. Their sin will have no effect on them and they will perceive no danger. There is no conviction to make a change. 2. They will be somewhat effected, acknowledging the sin pointed out, but there is no urgency in the soul to part with it. 3. With a perception of spirituality in their heart, they will pray about the sin. In the meantime, they willfully choose to remain in disobedience. The saying, “An ounce of obedience is worth a pound of prayer” is apropos. 4. Another common response to refusing to come to terms with sin is the love of God. “He understands my sin and is not offended with it.” The justification of the sin has blotted out the conviction of sin. Hence, the diminishing conviction of sin.
When admonishing a person of the need to receive counsel, at times it will fall on deaf ears. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.” They will conjure up imaginations to justify their disobedience.
The sad ending to this foolishness is, in many cases, drifting into an unsound mind. The first crisis or pressure that shows up devastates them. Having gone back to walking in the world, they have no spiritual resources to rely on. The temptation to rely on drugs or alcohol to relieve the anxiety or depression will likely be ignited at this point. Disobedience has been seated in their soul. Walking in the flesh has become the norm. “Fleshly lusts war against the soul.” I Peter 2:11. The devil jumps on this train and “takes him captive to do his will.” II Timothy 2:26. All they have left is their sinful heart and the devil.
Subsequently, the loss of assurance of their salvation will set in. The darkness lived in has given ground to the spirit of the antichrist. “—-even now many antichrists have come by which we know it is the last hour.” I John 1:18. This spirit of antichrist will obstruct the desire for communion with God. It will bring confusion in the soul. It will cloud the Scriptures for the backslidden and disobedient believer. Having lost the communion and presence of God, exasperation, despair, and fear will engulf the soul. Pressures will mount up like a mountain. Satan, the Tempter, will strike at this opportune time offering the panacea for a sure fix for this guilt, shame and suffering. The Dragon, the counterfeit savior, will serve up a platter of prescription drugs, street drugs, and bottles of alcohol for relief. Without hesitation, the weakened soul will grasp the forbidden fruit to escape reality and relieve the hopelessness that is being felt. The devil’s chains will then secure his subject to torment him. This is the gate of hell. An illustration of Dante’s Inferno is relevant for this futility. As Dante passes through the gates of hell, an inscription on the gate reveals a terrible fate. “Abandon all hope, all ye who enter here.” This is the snare that awaits those on the broad road of addiction.
But God, by His grace, is longing to rescue you. “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19. Do not believe the lie that there is no hope. Come out of the world which has brought this terrible affliction of hopelessness. Repent of your complacency concerning sin. Repent of your season of sin that has darkened your soul. Return to the Lord Jesus Christ. “Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” Jeremiah 3:22. Many have a heavy burden of sin on their shoulders. Now is the time to call upon Jesus to forgive you for your sins. Now is the time to get back in fellowship with the Lord and His Church. Now is the time to return to the Word of God and prayer. He longs for you, for every believer is the Bride of Christ. He loves you. Call your pastor or a godly saint to come alongside you for encouragement and prayer.
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 link: Counseling Corner Archives
Testimonies of recent Bethel Graduates
(Please pray for these and all of Bethel’s graduates)
Ryan Mims, 2019 Graduate – Bethel Men’s Campus
At 24 years old, I was dead in my trespasses and sin, listening to the devil’s lies, falling into his traps. He had me fooled into thinking there was no God, and that, if there was a God, He didn’t love me. I struggled with drug addiction, sexual immorality, a life of crime, and doing evil.
I wasn’t raised in church. When I was very young my parents got a divorce. I really didn’t understand how that affected me until later. Satan will do anything to get you down and try to take you out.
For many years, I had a spirit of suicide in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough, that I should just end it. I tried many times with hands full of pills, Russian Roulette, and many other countless attempts but God had other plans for me. At the age of 13 I started smoking weed to try and feel better about myself – and when people say that weed isn’t a gate-way drug that is so far from the truth because once weed stopped working to help me cope with the life I was living, I moved on to pills and cocaine. Finally, my dad found out about one suicide attempt and put me in counseling. Then my counselor drug tested me and off to my first rehab I went at the age of 15. But, once I got home all I did was manipulate my dad into trying it when he was in really bad pain and in bed. I saw that he was hurting so being the devil’s advocate, I was like I know something that will help. Because I was addicted and lost in sin, I didn’t care who I hurt or took down with me. We both spun out of control into full-blown cocaine and pill addiction. This time we both had to be sent off. I thought I was cured from my addiction by using Suboxone, but that was only a lie. A few years went by, after a DUI, I lost my license, all from Suboxone and Xanax, which was prescribed by a doctor.
One of the lowest points in my life was when I was homeless and ended up in Jacksonville Beach begging for money and not wanting to live another day. I wound up in jail for six months and said I was going to live right when I got out. When I finally got out nothing changed, I went right back to the sin and the darkness. The only difference was I was back in Alma around my family and had a job so I tried to hide the things I was doing. That never works. The people closest to you always know it. Actually your lying to yourself when you think you’re hiding it. Two felony charges and then back to jail. Thinking my life was in shambles and never going anywhere, I had hit rock bottom this time. I was sick of the life I was living – jails, institutions and death.
That’s when the Holy Spirit started working in me. I knew I needed to change. Since none of the other rehabs or 12 step programs worked, I knew Jesus was the only solution. I got in touch with my jail chaplain, R.B. Gaskins, and he told me about a place named Bethel Colony of Mercy, where if I truly wanted to change Jesus would meet me there. Jesus met me! He left the 99 to come and find me, and saved me from my sins and my trespasses. On December 30, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. I became a new creation in Christ Jesus, redeemed from my sins and my name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, with my spot in Heaven reserved.
The joy and the peace I had at that very moment was unlike anything I had ever felt before. A couple of weeks into the program I had been praying about what I should do with my life. He revealed to me His plan through His word. After that night of prayer, I found a Bible on a corner table. I opened it and it said Luke 4:18 on the front cover, so I turned there, and this is what it said; “The spirit of the Lord is on me because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, and to set free the oppressed.” This is why I feel I’m called to ministry. On the back cover it said, “stay here and get wisdom and understanding, do not move until I tell you to move.”
My father died of a massive heart attack on March 7, 2019. I had a choice to make when I left Bethel. Turn back to drugs and sin, or lean on God and get through this the way God intended. I chose to live by His Scriptures and His word of life so that I may receive His promises of joy, peace, love, and happiness in my life. A peace that surpasses all understanding. I felt like this was God’s way of telling me that it was time to come home, make a stand, change my life, and live by His words. The power of Jesus is so amazing – it’s indescribable. Jesus did a work in my dad three weeks before he passed away when he came to visit me at Bethel because he was able to see the man Jesus had transformed me into. My dad died clean and sober. When my dad was there with me he got saved, so I have to believe he is waiting on me. I returned home and my mother and I now have the best relationship we have ever had. Never put limitations on what God can do and the relationships he can put back together. While being home, I’ve had some difficulties, but nothing I can’t overcome through the power of Jesus. Once Jesus changes you, you have to stay around like-minded people and find a good church family to keep feeding your spirit, or you will fall back in to sin. If you do live by His Scriptures, and are willing and obedient there is no need for worry or lack of confidence in your future. As Christians, God will never leave us or forsake us. There’s no need in worrying about death either because we don’t die, we just graduate.
Jeremiah 29:11 says; “I know the thoughts I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a hope and a future.”
Amanda Lee, 2019 Graduate – Bethel Women’s Campus
My life has been upside down over the years and even knowing that all I needed to do was surrender I couldn’t fully do it this year! I kept on telling myself that when I get to Bethel then I would make things back right with God. God hit me hard on Easter Sunday morning service. While sitting behind my family and looking at them, God spoke to me. “How will you ever help them or anyone else if you will not let Me help you?” I finally did what I needed to do. I gave my life back to God. On May 13th, I came to Bethel Colony. That first week I wanted to go home. But God!!! He got me through and is continuing to help me. He is changing me into the woman of God He has called me to be.
To God be the glory! I know that by coming to Bethel and being there with Mrs.Donna and all the other women there that God pulled me up out of a pit. He put exactly the right people in my life to turn me around and for me to use this testimony for His Glory! He’s still reaching down farther than we can lift up.
God is doing some amazing things at Bethel Colony Women’s Campus and He’s restoring lives there. This is a good seed to sow into. If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction then please talk with them about looking into Bethel. I personally know there is someone there wanting to talk to them, pray with them, and help them!
Amanda asked forgiveness for her actions and started seeking God again while she was at Bethel. She was baptized on July 4th to symbolize the old life was gone and her new life had begun. Praise God for all He did for Amanda while she was with us. She is coming back to help in October. She wants the presence of God that impacted her to impact others so she is coming to Bethel Colony Women’s Campus as a volunteer this time.
Donna McCall, Bethel Women’s Campus Director
It’s that time of year again!
Bethel’s 71st Homecoming Celebration
is coming up on Sunday, October 6, 2019!!
Then, we will be encouraged, equipped, and inspired by
Dr. David Kistler during our 2019 Bible Conference.
Evangelist Dave Kistler was born into a pastor’s home and came to Christ at the age of 5. During his teenage years, he began preparing for a legal profession. However, at the age of 16, he sensed the overwhelming call of God to preach the gospel. Following his college and seminary training (during which he obtained an undergraduate degree in Bible and Graduate degrees in Pastoral Studies and Divinity-including Biblical Languages), Dave joined the staff of a large church in Florida, leading a youth group of 125 teens. After two years in youth ministry, he yielded to full-time evangelistic ministry.
For over 30 years, Dave, his wife Betsy and children (Rachael, Nathan and Hannah) have traveled the world proclaiming the gospel and the word of God. Included in his ministry is an evangelistic outreach to major cities via a 2000 seat tent. Since 2001, Dave has conducted three crusades in Washington, DC, and two in the Pentagon. As a result of those evangelistic endeavors, he has started an ongoing ministry to elected officials in the nation’s capital called “HOPE To The Hill.”
Evangelist Kistler’s ministry (HOPE Ministries International) has ministered in England, France, Belgium, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Mexico, the West Indies and Africa, as well as in almost every state in the nation!
Come and hear Dr. Dave Kistler preach
Bethel’s 71st Homecoming message on Sunday, October 6th.
Bethel’s Homecoming Celebration begins at 9:00 a.m.
Then, be blessed by his godly messages at our annual
Monday, October 7th through Friday, October 11th
9 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily
2019 GOLF TOURNAMENT
Ole Still Golf Club
Saturday, October 5, 2019
Registration: 8 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
SHOTGUN START – 9 a.m.
Captain’s Choice – 4 person teams
($220.00 per team)
Entry fee: $55.00 per person
(includes lunch and prizes)
• Free range balls during
• Return round of golf for $20.00
• $5.00 RAFFLE :
– Round of golf for 4 with carts
– 2 golf shirts
– 2 hats
– 2 dozen golf balls
Get your team together and contact Nick Rabah or Cathi Loss at 828-754-3781
or email@example.com for more information or to sign-up for the tournament.
Bethel Lawn Care!!!
Call Jeff Hollar at Bethel
for prices and to schedule an appointment.