Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I write this on the day prior to our departure for Haiti. We are so grateful for your generous support and, especially, for your prayerful partnership with Caleb and me. We are proud to carry the name and the gifts of Bethany Church along with us on this journey. And, we look forward to sharing our story on Sunday March 11 in worship.

We’re heading into Lent, the season of preparation for the Great Three Days of Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter. In the ancient church, this became a time to educate new believers, to prepare them for baptism, and to remind everyone of the central focus of our faith: the cross of Jesus Christ. On Sundays, our message series, “Scandalous: The Foolish Grace of God”, will come from 1 Corinthians and Galatians, around the theme verse of 1 Corinthians 1:23, “We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolisness to Gentiles”. A nerd note: The Greek word translated “stumbling stone” or “offense” is the root of our English word scandalous; and the word for “foolishness” is the root of our English word moronic. On Thursdays at our Lenten dinners, we will learn from Craig Groeschel, founding pastor of LifeChurch.tv (yes, a crazy name), in the teaching series, The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as if He Doesn’t Exist. It is an exciting time to learn and grow together, and it is a wonderful opportunity to invite a friend.

We have another great opportunity beginning mid-March: Financial Peace University, a video and discussion course from Dave Ramsey. Our own Ray Sandy will be facilitating the entire process. The course is designed to teach biblical principles for managing finances – it’s all God’s to begin with! – to move toward financial freedom and peace by reducing debt, expanding savings, and practicing generosity. It is built for anyone – so invite a friend! The preview night is Monday February 27 at 7:00 pm in the Gathering Place.

Finally, a blessing prayer from the apostle Paul, from my recent reading:
And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that tin the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:9-11).
Together on the journey!
Pastor JP

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