Saturday, April 30, 2011

Underage Drinking

Spring Garden Township Police Sgt. Robert Lehman keeps score Thursday during a jeopardy quiz teaching parents about underage alcohol abuse at York Suburban High School. Representatives from police departments, traffic safety and other agencies presented to parents (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS -- KATE PENN)

See the complete article in the York Daily Record.

Easter Craft Bazaar

Thanks to Dee for these scenes from the Bazaar!

Mission Central - Ivory Coast, Tornadoes

Urgent Call Issued For Ivory Coast Layette Kit Supplies

Mission Central is urgently seeking layette kit supplies for a shipment to the Ivory Coast to assist displaced people caught in a civil war in that country. "We are in desperate need of supplies for layette kits," said Kathy Briner, director of operations for the Silver Spring Township based ministry. "We are aiming to fill a 40-foot container within two weeks."

The container will be filled with supplies from the ministry's warehouses. In addition to the layette kits, the shipment will include medical supplies; medical equipment; children's and women's clothing; and UMCOR kits. Supplies needed for the layette kits are cloth diapers; onesies or undershirts; infant sized wash cloths; gowns or sleepers; diaper pins; baby sweaters or jackets; receiving blankets. Supplies in kit form or bulk are appreciated. To obtain a list of supplies needed call 717-766-1533. United Methodist Church of the Open Door, Kennett Square, PA is sponsoring this shipment.

The supplies will be sent to Coeur De Femmes in Port-Bouet, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, which is a project for a low- income community-based maternity and primary care center for women and children. Four United Methodist churches in Côte d'Ivoire are assisting displaced people in Abidjan, the country's capital.

Hundreds of people were killed in weeks of fighting between supporters of the country's newly elected president, Alassane Ouattara, and Laurent Gbagbo, the former president he defeated in an election. Ouattara has been installed as the country's president.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief gave a $20,000 emergency grant to support the effort and another $20,000 emergency grant to help feed children.

(Mission Central volunteer Judith Patton is a retired journalist who reported for the Harrisburg PA Patriot-News)
Mission Central Ready to Help In Wake of Tornado Outbreak
Mission Central is ready to send supplies and other materials to UMCOR for distribution to areas hit by the devastating wave of tornadoes this week.

I communicated to Kathy Kraiza, executive director of UMCOR's Sager Brown Depot in Louisiana that we are keeping the folks who were victimized by the tornadoes in our prayers. We are also praying for UMCOR as it responds to this latest humanitarian crisis.

Rob Visscher
Executive Director

Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor, Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, Kansas

Adam Hamilton's messages at Annual Conference will be streamed live!

Signs (8): Empty and Hidden

John 20:1-18

Wow! What a story! Now, it is not just a story. It is, truly, an act of God. And, as a true act of God, it stands outside of our ability to prove. We’d like to be able to hold up a smoking gun, produce a body, offer evidence that is beyond dispute. But we cannot. This is a matter of faith, and no matter how much evidence we may find, the gap can only be closed by faith.

For so much else in the story of Jesus we have solid evidence, even evidence outside of the gospel accounts, that makes very clear the basic shape of Jesus’ life, his work as a teacher and miracle worker, his unique message of the kingdom of God, and his death by crucifixion. However, when it comes to the resurrection, we come up empty. Literally. “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him” (20.2).

Today, we are going to examine the empty tomb and the hidden Jesus, first, in a search for evidence and, second, in the context of God’s new creation.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Egg Hunt

Looking forward to all the fun, this Saturday at 10 am at the Holtzapple estate (1643 Mount Rose Avenue, behind the homes on the roadside).  Rain location: the church.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Recital - Vocals

Pics from the spring recital of Marsha's vocal students, including some of our own young folks.  Much of the evening's music was based on the musical Wicked!  And, as always, the fabulous Bethany tradition of hospitality was fully displayed. Bravo!

Signs (7): Resurrection and Life

John 11

Why would God want a dead cat?
(Punch line from story told by Mark Webb)
“I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25, Jesus)

Tie-ins with the entire text of John:
John 2, the first sign
“discreet suggestion” (Brown, 431) (John 2:3 and 11:3)
“glory” and “faith/believe” (same Greek word for faith and belief) (John 2:11 and 11:4, 15, 40; see Brown, 432)
Cana: “Revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him” (2.11)
“For God’s glory, that the Son may be glorified through it” (11:4)
“So that you may come to have faith” (believe, 11:15)
“If you believed, you would see the glory of God” (11:40)

“the life was the light of all” (John 1:4)
Healing the blind man – light of the world (John 9)
Raising Lazarus – resurrection and life (John 11)

“glory” defined in John’s gospel as Jesus’ death (John 12:23-24)
Caiaphas the high priest, in response to this sign: “It is better ... to have one man die for the people” (John 11:50)
Prologue: “And we beheld his glory, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)

Objection: Jesus stayed two days longer (John 11:6)
The direct response to the objection:
Apparently, John wants us to understand that Lazarus died right away
When Jesus arrives, Lazarus has been dead 4 days . . . 1 day to send the message to Jesus, 2 days of delay, and 1 day for Jesus to travel to Bethany (Brown, 431)

But what is behind the objection? Why is it that when we need Jesus most, it seems that he is nowhere to be found? That is a much bigger question than the one resolved by counting days in this story. And, the appropriate answer differs in each particular situation.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Signs (6): Sight and Blindness

Psalm 146 (call to worship)

2 Kings 6:8-19 (children)
John 9 (message)
This is such a delightful story, and there is so much here that would deserve separate and extended consideration:

There is no direct line between “evil”, bad things that happen in life, and “evil”, doing or being sinful.
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned” (Jesus, 9.2-3)
“You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” (9.34)
We are so focused on finding fault when something bad happens. This story suggests that we should let that go.

Witnessing is a path to knowing God. “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (Philemon 6, NIV). Don’t wait until you know everything – the man who had been blind didn’t. It’s not about what you know, it’s all about who you know – Jesus. The progress of the man’s witness:
“The man called Jesus” (9.11)
“He is a prophet” (9.17)
“His disciple” (9.27)
“From God” (9.33)
“Lord, I believe” (9.38)
You root for this guy in his interactions with the authorities, compared to the other healed man earlier in the gospel who became an informer rather than a disciple (John 5) – Jesus does not have a perfect record with his witness, even with people he heals.

Questions in John's Gospel

Our message series up to Easter is based on the cycle of signs in John's Gospel. Our staff, council, and one of our small groups has also been reading John. Another outstanding feature of the gospel is the use of questions to drive the story and the conversation. Jesus often answers questions with questions. (Don't you just hate it when someone does that?)

I was so amazed by the questions that I started recording all of them, and have posted the document for any curious readers. Enjoy! Several of the chapters in John have 15 or more questions. The list from chapter 1 is below.

Chapter 1

Who are you? (Priests and Levites, of John, 1.19)
What then? Are you Elijah? (1.21)
Who are you? (1.22)
What do you say about yourself? (1.22)
Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet? (1.25)
What are you looking for? (Jesus to two of John’s disciples, 1.38)
Rabbi, where are you staying? (1.38)
Can anything good come out of Nazareth? (Nathanael, 1.46)
Where did you get to know me? (Nathanael, 1.48)
Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? (Jesus, 1.50)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Signs (5): Way on the Water - 2

The message in our series by Laura, shared at our 9:00 service on April 3.
Scripture:  John 6:16-21, Psalm 77, Exodus 14 (NIV, The Message, Living Bible)

Have any of you ever travelled interstate 95, to the southern states on the east coast for a vacation? Well, for the past twenty plus years I have followed that route every summer to get to my mother’s beach home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for our family vacation. Somewhere around the mid point of the state of Virginia you will find a billboard sign that announces that you are 175 miles from the South of the Border. This is a tourist attraction set between the North Carolina and South Carolina state lines. This sign encourages you to plan on stopping in and visiting with its mascot, Pedro, as a part of your journey. Now you may think that having a sign like that might be a little foolish, so far away from the destination. Well for those of you who have travelled this route you know for a fact that the sign in Virginia is just the first of many. There are hundreds (according to the internet) of these signs scattered along Rt. 95 exclaiming that you should not miss their attraction. These signs are designed with witty statements and bright colors.

In all the years that I have travelled that road, I think we have only stopped once to visit Pedro and that was only briefly for a pit stop. For me seeing those signs have nothing to do with the attraction up ahead, but it is a count down to our journey’s end. After we pass Pedro, towering over his domain, I know that in two more hours (if we are lucky) I will have reached the beach house, my destination.

Throughout the Bible there are many stories of journeys. Journeys that didn’t have their destinations clearly marked. Noah probably was wishing when he peeked out of the ark the first time that it would have been nice to see a sign that said, dry land just around the corner. Jacob might have appreciated a sign along the desert road that stated, forgiving brother in 100 yards.

Then there is Moses. God called him to this pretty big job, which took him completely by surprise. He even states “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” I am sure that even though God gave him lots of signs along the way he probably would have felt a lot better if somewhere on that dusty road out of Egypt there would have been a billboard sign saying, “Promised land forty years away”.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Interesting . . . Interested

From the Author's Note to Jim Collins' monograph, Good to Great and the Social Sectors:

A comment he received from another professor during his first year on the Stanford faculty - "It occurs to me, Jim, that you spend too much time trying to be interesting. Why don't you invest more time being interested?"

Friday, April 8, 2011

Signs (5): Way on the Water

The message in the series by Chris at our 11:15 service, on John 6:16-24. Thanks Chris!
We’ve been looking at the signs in John’s Gospel for the past five weeks and seeing the miracles described by John, not only as a witness to God’s amazing power, but also as signs that point us or lead us to something about Jesus.

Last week, the feeding of the five thousand (MEN) and the teaching afterward of the bread of heaven was a sign pointing to or refering to the Passover deliverance and that Jesus was not just a prophet who has come, but the prophet who has fulfilled the hope of our deliverance from death itself. If you remember the scripture from last week, the story of the loaves and fish and the question and answer period about the bread of life was separated by a passage of scripture.

That passage in John’s Gospel is what we are to examine today. Thank you, JP. I say that because at first read, like so many other passages that I have read, I didn’t have a clue about what this passage was other than it was a great story of Jesus walking on the water. For those of us fair skinned people who need SPF 10,000 just to spend a little time on the beach and having to re-apply every time that you come out of the water, being able to walk on water might come in handy to be able to enjoy the beach fully clothed and protected from the sun.

However, I don’t think that is the reason why this miracle appears in the Gospels.


Reading a remarkable book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, by Gregory Boyle.  Some quotes (some of which he is citing others):

. . . this evening ritual was really a story of a father who just couldn't take his eyes off his kid. How much more so God? Anthony De Mello writes, "Behold the One beholding you, and smiling" (p 20).

Citing an unnamed Algerian Trappist, before his martyrdom: "When you fill my heart, my eyes overflow" (p 22).

Jesus, in Matthew's gospel, says, "How narrow is the gate that leads to life." Mistakenly, I think, we've come to believe that this is about restriction. The way is narrow. But it really wants ut to see that narrowness is the way. St. Hedwig writes, "All is narrow for me, I feel so vast."  It's about funneling ourselves into a central place. Our choice is not to focus on the narrow but to narrow our focus (p 31).

Friday, April 1, 2011

Holy Reading

Finished off Eugene Peterson's Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading. A great book on Scripture and reading Scripture, and a great book to provide insight into the process behind his Bible translation The Message. He quotes Julian Green (Diaries p 101, cited in Peterson, p 109):
The story of the manna gathered and set aside by the Hebrews is deeply significant. It so happened that the manna rotted when it was kept.  And perhaps this means that all spiritual reading which is not consumed - by prayer and by works - ends by causing a sort of rotting inside us. You die with a head full of fine sayings and a perfectly empty heart.

Autumn House

The choir helped provide music for the weekly service at the East Market Street location. Thanks to Dawn and Curvin for their leadership. Our own Sylvia and Rodg stopped over as well!