- Rev. Paul Pruitt's Article
- Womens Ministry
- Paul's Pen
- Counseling Corner
- Other News
Happy 70th to Bethel Colony of Mercy and to Israel!
Rev. Paul Pruitt’s Article
In Christ All Things Are New!
Mrs. Donna McCall
Meet Donna McCall,
Director of Bethel’s Women’s Campus
Rev. Paul Ritchie
The Elementary Princilples of Christ
Rev. Don Loss
The Dismantling of the Christian Mind
Testimony of a Bethel Graduate
Update on Bethel’s Women’s Ministry
In Christ All Things Are New!
It is always exciting to have new starts, second chances, an opportunity to start afresh. We all have a sense of that when we conclude a year and bring in a New Year. The men at Bethel identify with 2 Cor. 5:17; “ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” We all have a desire to put our past mistakes, failures and sins away. I am so thankful that the Father has made that possible through the Blood of Jesus Christ. That our past can be forgiven and our present and future is filled with the hope of all of God’s promises!
2018 is a very exciting year for Bethel Colony of Mercy! We are celebrating 70 years of ministry at our annual Homecoming on October 7th! Oh, what a testimony to God’s goodness! We also get to share this year’s celebration with Israel who is commemorating 70 years of independence. What another great picture of God’s faithfulness to His people. A lot of times people commemorate quarters like 25th, 50th or 75th in their marriages and birthdays, and they are great times to celebrate, but in a biblical sense 70 is a very significant number.
Here are some scripture references that show us how 70 is significant to the Lord:
With the two sons who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family, which went to Egypt, were seventy in all. (Genesis 46:27)
The Lord therefore said to Moses, “Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. (Numbers 11:16)
Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the leaders of Israel went up the mountain and they saw the God of Israel. Beneath his feet was what looked like a pavement of sapphire, as blue as the sky. God did not harm these leading men of Israel; they saw God, and then they ate and drank together. (Exodus 24:9 – 11)
This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. (Jeremiah 29:10)
Seventy disciples were sent out by Christ on a ‘training mission’ to preach the gospel to the surrounding area. (Luke 10)
The Bible records Jesus Christ giving at least 70 parables during his ministry. (37 the book of Matthew, 1 in the book of Mark, 21 in the book of Luke and 11 in the book of John)
In the Bible, the number seven represents perfection and the number ten represents God’s law. There are 2 major thoughts with bible scholars about the significance behind 70 in the Bible. First 7 x 10 signifies perfect spiritual order and carried out with all spiritual power and significance. Both spirit and power are greatly emphasized. Second, the number 70 is considered the number of universality or the restoration of all things. If you think about it these two views are in agreement with each other. They go hand-in-hand since the restoration of all things signifies perfect spiritual order and is brought about by all spiritual power. Another way of saying this is that when God’s perfect spiritual order comes, all things will be restored back to God. “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever.” Amen. (Romans 11:36)
In our 70th year we are looking forward to the completion of the renovations that will get us to 100 men and to have property for the women’s ministry.
We have already seen great support from you in the announcement of the women’s ministry and we are excited to share with you that we have hired our Women’s Campus Director, Mrs. Donna McCall. The Lord has been preparing her for years to help women! I won’t tell her story for her. Please take time to read her introduction in this newsletter. She has shared about herself and her heart to help women to be set free through the power of Jesus Christ! We are confident that God has brought her “for such a time as this!” She has already been a spiritual influence in our community and in her church. She has hit the ground running with an excitement and enthusiasm for learning how Bethel’s approach to helping people overcome, to learning all the different functions of Bethel, meeting with potential volunteers, drawing support around the women’s ministry and meeting with other community leaders. Please pray for Mrs. Donna as she transitions into the call to work with women and for us to acquire the property soon. We need much prayer for the right placement of the Women’s Campus as well as for the finances for the purchase of property, buildings and to meet daily operations to do the work that the Lord has called us to do!
As you make your plans for this year you are going to want to put on your calendar October 7th to come and celebrate 70 years of ministry with us!
This past year we started a social media series called “Because You Asked”. You can find it on our YouTube channel, Facebook and our Website. It has helped answer many questions some folks have about Bethel. Others have found it beneficial as they may be directing someone who needs help. And, others share in hopes that someone they know may listen. This past year was a start with audio only but we added video in January. Please consider following us on those platforms and asking questions and sharing with others that need the help and the hope of the Gospel.
Pastor Paul & Stacy Pruitt
Meet Donna McCall,
Years ago God planted a vision in me to be able to help women. I had no idea what it would look like or where it would happen. I just knew I wanted to do whatever it was God wanted me to do. That vision is going to become reality at Bethel Colony of Mercy this year!
A native of Caldwell County, I was not brought up to attend church or even knowing much about God. I knew He existed but that was about it. I was fairly obedient until I hit my later teens / early twenties. Rebellion is what I call it. I had to get out and experience the world. Drinking, parties, drugs, all those things that take you down a road you wish you had never traveled. I was worse off than the prodigal son. I did not even know a loving father would take me back if I ran home.
Needless to say, getting into all those bad things brought consequences. I was in bad relationships where I was made to feel badly about myself. At times I was even at the point of trying to take my own life. In 1980, I was in a car accident. I will never forget the ambulance worker coaxing me to stay awake. Being very intoxicated it would have been easy to drift off. Drifting off would have meant an eternity in hell. Thank God, I stayed awake.
I wish I could say that was it – that I found Jesus Christ and all was well. I did find Him. I asked Him to come into my life during my three months stay in the hospital. Not your typical salvation prayer though. I just looked up from my bed and said; “God, if you are real, I need you. HELP!” Now I knew God a little better but not good enough. After a few years and a few valley experiences, I found myself back in the bars. I had gone from bad to worse. Just like the Scripture in Matthew 12 where the unclean spirit went back to the house and brought other unclean spirits with him. That was me. If I had not tried it before, I would try it now.
So here I was. An absolute mess. Bad marriage. Four children. All the baggage the enemy wanted me to carry. Guilt, condemnation, low opinion of myself, etc. The enemy came in to steal, kill, and almost destroyed. But, that verse; 1 John 1:9; “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Forgive and purify, oh yes, forgive and purify. I took Him up on that.
God started a work in me that day in 1994. He had to teach me how to talk to Him and listen to Him. His word became my life-line. He took this shy, shame-ridden person and showed her how He could make something new. He showed me how to live without a crutch. I did not need a man, a bottle, or a drug to be complete. He was all I needed and His grace was enough.
God has been so good to me. He showed me how He loved. A love like no other. A love meant to give away and share, not just to keep hidden for myself. He also showed me He could and would restore the years eaten away by the enemy. Lack and not enough was my testimony as I was in my mess. Blessings and favor have been my testimony since I learned to give and it will be given back in more measure than I gave. God has blessed me with a godly husband, Tommy, who is very supportive and will be a vital part of the ministry to which He has called us. Oh, I can never thank Him enough for what He has done in my life!
My desire as I begin a new direction as the Director of the Women’s Campus of Bethel is to show others what God has shown me. I want to show the people bent over with shame and defeat that they are loved by our Father. The past does not determine our future. They can experience the goodness of God while here on this earth. (Psalm 27:13) My desire is to have every woman who comes into our home at Bethel to arise to the calling God has on her life. I want them to know God has a plan and purpose for them. My aim is to show those around me they can be happy and free with only the help of the Comforter, the Counselor, Holy Spirit.
Have I been affected by alcohol, drugs, and addictions? Yes, both personally and in my family. What do I want to do about it? I told the devil years ago he would regret the day he drug my family into the circle of drugs, alcohol, and destructive behavior. I told him I would come into his camp and take my family back, and not only mine but others as well. My declaration is through the power of the name of Jesus and the authority God says I have in that Name. I will do all I can through Christ to make that happen. I surrender my life to Christ and move forward as a willing vessel for His service at Bethel Colony of Mercy.
The Elementary Principles
#1 Repentance from dead works – “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” Hebrews 6:1-2 These principles are the foundation of our faith as Christians. Before we can go on to perfection (maturity).
True repentance has requirements: One must be renewed in the spirit of your mind, which is to say I’ve changed my mind and my heart mentally, emotionally and spiritually in regard to my actions contrary to God’s word or commandments and principles. The Bible reports that as a man thinks in his heart so is he. Therefore it requires an agreement with the heart of man and the head of man. The conscious mind of man and the subconscious mind of the heart which is often reflected through feelings. True repentance will result in a change of direction, a change in purpose and a change in your future.
When you come into agreement with God it will lift the barrier which hinders God’s blessing as He only blesses that which will accomplish His plan and purpose.
Jesus declared the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Repentance is the first step in getting right with God. Repent from dead works is the first of six major doctrines of the Christian faith. Therefore this will be the primary subject of this article. Repentance is where we start however as long as we live in the flesh and in this sinful world there will be times that we will continue to live a life of repentance and thank the Lord that He is not yet finished with us. We are a work in progress from a baby to a child to a young man leaving the ways of a child and becoming a mature person equipped for every good work. True repentance will bring us closer to God because we will be more in agreement with God. God loves the sinner but hates sin. When we become close enough to God and truly in love with Him, sin will not be so attractive but should become repulsive. Therefore, the more we love God and the more we hate sin because we have become more like God. That is what He is looking for in us.
There are many ways that we can fool ourselves. Just to name a few: when the heart of a man does not love God more after repenting most likely he had the wrong motive. It is false repentance. When repentance truly affects a man it will affect his heart, “for as you think in your heart so are you”. We can change our actions for our own benefit but if it does not change our cause to that which benefits the kingdom of God even though it may be a small step when it benefits the kingdom of God it will also benefit you.
For by faith you are saved. Colossians 2:6 “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him”. Everything that we get from God comes through the doorway of faith. Therefore repentance is an act of faith as we reach out to God, who will draw near to you when you draw near to him. James 4:8.
Another way we can be fooled is when we experience an emotional repentance but there is no after-effect because it had not been in the heart of the inner man but in the emotion of the moment. There may be tears or other physical effects however it should begin a change in you. Again I go back to James 4:8-10. There has to be more than the words of repentance. It has to move the heart of man before it is effectual. Also there may be fear of being caught and perhaps punished for our ungodly conduct but we soon turn back to our sinful ways. Again, as a man thinks in his heart so is he. It is hard for us to love God, love our sin and expect our life to change. When we begin to hate our sinful ways, change will happen. I’m not talking about hating ourselves, as can often happen with people who are living in sin, I’m talking about hating the sin which is a big difference.
You might talk against sin among godly people but still in a love affair with your sin. James 4:4 calls it adultery or adulteress. Otherwise a play actor, which is simply what the word hypocrite means – the play actor. Some people are pretty good at play-acting but often times they think they’re fooling everybody but really they’re making a fool of themselves. I’m sorry but that’s just bluntly telling it like it is.
Another way we fool ourselves is when we convince ourselves if we do not engage in the greater sins that our smaller sins don’t really count. Again God loves the sinner but hates the sin. We are only fooling ourselves and missing the blessings that God would bestow upon us because they keep us from His presence. The joy of the Lord is our strength. There’s no joy in that kind of lifestyle. A relationship with God is what we need to experience the peace and joy of the Lord and His presence in our lives on a daily basis.
Another way to fool ourselves is a self-serving motive for repentance; “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” I Peter 2:24 We are the body of Christ as believers on this earth, representatives of light in the dark world to bring glory to Him and thirst and hunger to those in darkness to know the victory that you and I are experiencing in this dark world. Our motive for repentance must be one that brings glory to our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus. You may well say what’s in it for me and I’m going to tell you it is “Christ in you the hope of glory”. Colossians 1:27.
Also, repentance needs to deal with specific sins not all bunched up. Forgive us our sins, name them one by one even as God would have you to name your blessings one by one. Remember, repentance is a change of mind both in the head and in the heart and when so done, it will affect you. There is no remittance for sin except by the shedding of blood and we need to repent, seek forgiveness, and release our list one by one into the hands of God to be washed away and made white as snow. John the Baptist declared; go forth and bring forth the fruit of repentance. True fruit can be seen by those around you. The Bible reports that they will know them by their fruit. True repentance will bear fruit the fruit of the spirit found in Galatians 5:16, 22 through 25.
Romans 8:13; “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” God cannot only lift you from the guilt and shame of sin through repentance, forgiveness, and through the blood of Jesus, but He can also help you in this matter of dying to the flesh killing the old habits of the flesh.
My prayer is that this may help you draw closer to our Lord Jesus and experience the peace of the Prince of Peace.
God bless you,
Pastor Paul Ritchie
The Dismantling of
the Christian Mind
One of the reasons that some fall back into the spirit of the world is the failure to equip themselves. Even equipping oneself, one can fall back into the bondage of the world. The Christian mind must be determined and committed to the Person of Christ, the Word of God and the fellowship of the saints. As Tim J. Nettles writes in the foreword of the book, The Armies of the Lamb, The Spirituality of Andrew Fuller; “He who would enroll in the Lord’s army must entertain…no hesitation of his loyalty….”. If one’s loyalty falters, the dismantling of the Christian mind will become evident.
Once the mind is disengaged from spiritual things it is fair game for “the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” I John 2:16. The Christian mind ensnared by the spirit of the world will soon be captive to the spirit of the world. John Owen in his work, The Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually Minded, writes, “If the world can fill the minds, the thoughts, and affections, it will to some, fortify the soul against faith and obedience, and in others weaken all grace.”
When one is tempted and drawn away by his own desires the spirit of loyalty to the faith will cave to abiding in the spirit of the world. Subsequently, unrestrained lusts, having its sway, will strip any Christian mindedness. Having arrived in this atmosphere the Christian mind suppresses the truth and remarkably jettisons from his conscious the evil of sin. Sin no longer resisted in the mind brings a habitual disposition of worldliness.
A further dismantling of the mind occurs with a spirit of indifference. The Christian mind has abandoned the vitality and desirability of the faith. Faith is no longer mysterious, romantic and delightful. It is a faith no longer worth fighting for. There is no will to fight. There is no longer a testimony that can bear witness that he is a child of God. Consider the commendation of the apostle Paul to Timothy in I Timothy 6:1-2. “But you, O man of God …pursue righteous… Fight the good fight of faith….”
Colonel Bull Simmons, special forces, who led the Son Tay Raid to rescue 500 prisoners of war held captive by the North Vietnamese Army in November, 1970 made a profound statement; “History teaches that when you become indifferent and lose the will to fight, someone who has the will to fight will take over.” This is an excellent metaphor to the carnal Christian who has lost the will to fight for the faith. Consider one who will take up the fight against the wayward soul. The adversary, the devil, will now torment those who have entered into his domain of worldliness. “…The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” . I John 5:19 “…your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8.
The Christian whose mind has been dismantled has no chance against the assault upon his soul. He will subsequently succumb to the wiles of the devil. The devil will use pressures, troubles, and discouragements to drive the soul into the dungeon of addiction, depression, fear, bondage, anger, hopelessness, suicide, and multitudes of other afflictions. If the devil is not considered in this suffering, redemption will be difficult because he is ill equipped and has lost the will to fight.
Furthermore, the Christian mind has collapsed by not heeding the warning the apostle Paul gave the Church in Ephesus. “This I say, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned, Christ, if you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus.” Ephesians 4:17-21. It is no match for the world, the flesh and the devil in this condition. “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:6.
One in this condition is not hopeless. Return to the Shepherd of your soul. God is longing to bring you out of the valley of the shadow of death. The children of God are precious in His sight. They are the Bride of Christ. Repent of your waywardness in the wilderness of sin. Re-establish your walk and affection for the fellowship with the body of Christ, biblical preaching, teaching, and worship. Renew your Christian mind. You will be called blessed again. “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart.” Psalm 119:1-2.
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
Testimony of a Bethel Graduate
We’ve heard many powerful, painful, and precious stories through the years Bethel Colony has been ministering to men in addictions. While the people and places are different, the common denominator through it all is the sinful choices leading to horrible places with damage done to addicted men and those around them who suffer through loving commitments.
One such story stands out and was retold in a letter. While the details are far reaching, here are some of the ones that I took from a five-page handwritten letter that made its way across a desk that has seen notes and cards of both the encouraging and devastating kind. This Bethel graduate was brought up in a church setting with dysfunctional parents who were on their own spiritual journey offering little to their son. Tragically, he was molested by a youth pastor. While excelling in sports and with many school friends and rising popularity, experimenting with drugs and alcohol became a beachhead for what would become unthinkable addictions.
By 18 he was selling drugs. He was married at 22 and nine months later became a father. Living a double-life, a hardcore addiction became a $3,000 per month financial liability with a primary drug supplier being sentenced to 30 years in prison for attempted murder of a police officer. While going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings to get help he stayed sober for 360 days but the truth of a sexual affair came out and divorce followed. The pain that a slowly dying life brought about led to a 100% commitment to reckless living resulting in brutal fights, severe staph infections, car & motorcycle wrecks and a DUI after a nine mile high-speed police chase.
President of a motorcycle club, a prodigal son found community and a family he had always longed for. Liquor, meth, pills, pot and other destructive substances didn’t seem to keep him from excelling at work. But a co-worker told management of his severe addictions and they gave him a single choice. “Get help or you are terminated.” Angry at the man who he felt betrayed him, he asked his motorcycle gang to break both that man’s legs. Not long after that, a lost, lonely and broken man found his way to Bethel Colony of Mercy. After 14 days and in a night of desperation here is what he said:
“I told God if he would take my anger and hatred away I’d serve Him until the day I died. I felt the presence of Jesus more than any dope I’d ever taken. Over the coming weeks the Holy Spirit prompted me to call the “hit” off the man who’d turned me in and after 65 days I left Bethel a new man, burned a $3,000 porn collection and married my live-in girlfriend of six years. I bought a minivan to take people to church! I can say that every relationship in my life is better. I’m a Godly husband, better father and as a whole, a better person!”
2014 Bethel graduate
Not every story is this dramatic. But they are all real, raw and threaded with God’s righteousness when rebellious souls yield to the healing balm of God’s enduring love.
Update on Bethel’s Women’s Ministry
This is the year! 2018 will be the year that Bethel Colony of Mercy opens a Women’s Campus! We are so excited to celebrate 70 years of ministering God’s grace and deliverance to men and to open our doors (at a different location) to women! I trust you have read Mrs. Donna McCall’s introduction and, as you read, felt her heart for this work God has called her and Bethel to. She and three of Bethel’s board members continue to meet every week to pray and discuss moving forward. The most pressing need at the printing of this letter is the property acquisition and the funds to open our doors! We continue to pray with a burden on our hearts for the women that God wants to restore through the ministry of Bethel Colony. We are diligently asking, seeking, and knocking for God’s will concerning the location for this ministry. Please keep praying for the property and facilities to accommodate the immediate need and the potential growth for us to reach as many women as we can.
The Lord has been doing some amazing things since we made the announcement in October of 2016! He has been bringing new support from people who believe in what is already going on at Bethel and who are looking for the same kind of faith-based program for women. Bethel has already gained new prayer warriors, potential volunteers, a director and over $54,405.86 in donations for the Women’s Campus!
Praise the Lord with us and please keep praying!
If God is leading you to support Bethel’s Women’s Campus,
please make sure you mark your donation for the women’s ministry.
From November 1, 2016 to October 31, 2017 Bethel Colony:
serviced 465 men
served 90,045 meals
held 156 worship services
held 364 teaching sessions
and, provided one-on-one counseling for each man in the program.
Cost to Bethel:
$22.22 per day per man x’s man days here
$1821.72 per day operating expenses
$12,787.05 per week
$55,410.55 per month
$664,926.58 per year
(These numbers do not include other construction and remodel)
Bethel Colony of Mercy’s
2017 – 2018