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Day 7 - Wednesday, 2/20

Where Is Your Faith?

Luke 8:22-25

A friend of mine took a series of classes to learn how to drive Indy race cars. Really fast race cars. The instructor told him, “The most important thing for you to remember is how to come out of a skid when you’re driving 150 miles an hour. When they start to skid, most people focus on what they fear most—crashing into the wall. Instead, you must focus on where you want to go.” In a race car skid, focusing on the problem doesn’t help at all. Focusing on the solution guides you through a skid because what you focus on is often where you’ll end up.

Jesus’ disciples were in a boat, traveling across a lake, when a huge storm arose with thunder and lightning, wind and waves. They were in a “boat skid.” They were not only terrified and in danger of sinking, they were focused on the wind and the waves. They woke up Jesus and said to him, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Jesus awoke, spoke to the wind and waves, and the lake was calm. Then he asked the disciples, “Where is your faith?”

Many of us travel through life at 150 miles an hour, or at least it sometimes feels like that. At that speed, it’s inevitable that we’re going to skid at some point in our lives. And when we do, we ask questions like “Why is this happening to me?” “Why can’t I get my life together?” “Why don’t my good intentions ever work out?” “Why can’t I catch a break, just for once?” Instead of putting our faith in Jesus, we look for quick and easy solutions that don’t help at all.

As the driving instructor said, stay focused on where you want to go. Always look to Jesus. Keep your eyes on him through the storms and skids of life. Put your faith in the one who will pull you through. 

Questions to Ponder

  • Think about a difficult situation in your life that had a positive outcome. What or who pulled you through this difficult time?
  • What or who do you rely on most? Where do you put your faith?

Prayer for Today

God of power and might, calm my storms, calm my mind, and calm my spirit. Let me find rest in you. Ease my anxiety, and let me simply “be.” Let me rest peacefully in your arms.

In Christ’s name I pray.

Amen.

Day 1 - Ash Wednesday 2/13

What Are You Looking for?

John 1:35-42

Lent is a time of spiritual introspection. It’s a time to pause in the midst of a very busy life, a challenging world, and a searching faith. Lent is a time to take a few moments regularly to think and reflect on Jesus, his journey to the cross, his death and resurrection, and what all of this means for our lives of faith.
 
Ash Wednesday is a time to pause, not to look forward to Easter and all the things that lie ahead, but to take things a bit more slowly and reflect on ourselves, our lives of faith, and the decisions we’ve made. Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance, turning from where we’ve been going and turning toward God. Ash Wednesday and Lent are the church’s way of encouraging us to slow down, look at ourselves, and reflect on our faith and the meaning of our lives.
 
We begin this transformative journey through Lent with the first words that Jesus speaks in the Gospel of John. Interestingly, Jesus’ first words are not “Follow me.” Nor are they, “I am the bread of life.” Jesus’ first words in the Gospel of John come in the form of a question: “What are you looking for?” It’s a deep question. What are you looking for as you begin this journey through Lent? How would you like this Lent to be different or more meaningful than previous Lenten seasons?
 

Questions to Ponder

  • What are you looking for as you begin this journey through Lent? Where and when will you take time to pause and think about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection?
  • If you received ashes on your forehead today or in the past, reflect on that experience. What areas of your life are in need of cleansing and renewal?

 

Prayer for Today

Gracious and loving God, be with me as I start this journey through Lent. Guide me into ways of deeper understanding and faith, that I might grow ever closer to you. Help me listen and help me grow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

First Communion

nullDear Bethany Sunday School Families,

When a child is baptized one of the promises that parents make is to provide for their child’s instruction in the faith and to provide them with the opportunity to participate in Holy Communion.  To help families fulfill that promise Bethany provides yearly instruction for participation in Holy Communion.  Participating in Holy Communion is a family decision which is why you may see very young kids as well as older kids receiving Holy Communion. 

Students first grade and up together with their parents are invited to participate in an interactive four-session Holy Communion class.  

This year’s classes will be held on Monday evenings beginning on February 29th from 6:30-7:30 pm and will continue weekly on Mondays thru March 21st.  Pastor Cathy and Pastor Paul will take turns leading the class.  The classes will emphasize the biblical basis for Holy Communion, encourage conversation and introduce a deep sacramental understanding.  As part of our learning together, each student will create a chalice and help with the making of bread that will be served during the Maundy Thursday service.

Students will receive their First Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday, March 24, 2016 during the 7:00 pm worship service. 

 We ask that at least one parent attend the classes with their child. 

 Please let us know of your interest in attending by RSVP’ing the name and grade level of your student by February 7th to Pastor Cathy at cathy.daharsh@bethanylc.com. You are also welcome to call the church office at 815-459-2690.  If you find that you won’t be able to attend the Maundy Thursday service your child can still participate in the classes.  Once a child has received instruction they are welcome to participate in Holy Communion at any time.  

Please contact either of the Pastors if you have any questions. 

Upcoming Bethany Arts Series Concert

nullSunday, February 28, 2016, 4:00 p.m.

John Sherer, Organ Recital

The Bethany Arts Series presents an organ recital by John Sherer on our magnificent Clarence and Agnes Carlson Memorial Pipe Organ.  After the organ’s installation in 2002, our consultant to Bethany’s Organ Task force, David Schrader, stated “The sounds this organ can make under the hands of a good performer are remarkable."

Dr. Sherer has been hailed by critics as “a terrific musician.”  Reviewers have praised him for both his remarkable virtuoso technique and sensitive musical sense.  Since 1996, Dr. Sherer has been the Organist and Director of Music for the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago.  He has led several music missions and choir tours in the United States, England, France, Cuba and Guatemala.  He was also recently selected as one of fifty prominent Chicagoans living with passion and purpose and was featured in the book, “Bright Lights of the Second City.”

The program will include music by Bextehude, Bach and Saint-Saens along with contemporary composers Enrico Bossi and Seth Bingham.  You will not want to miss experiencing Bethany’s pipe organ played by a Master of the Keyboard.  There is no admission charge but a free-will offering will be taken. 

Lent 2016

Questions on the Way to the Cross

“Lent is a time of spiritual introspection. It’s a time to pause in the midst of a very busy life, a challenging world, and a searching faith. Lent is a time to take a few moments regularly to think and reflect on Jesus, his journey to the cross, his death and resurrection, and what all of this means for our lives of faith.” ~Book of Faith: Beyond the Questions by Eric Burtness

nullThis Lent we are encouraging all congregation members as a spiritual practice to read the Book of Faith: Beyond the Questions devotional by Eric Burtness. We have ordered copies of the book which will be arriving this weekend. We are asking for an $8 donation for the book. The book also comes in an eBook form. Here’s a link to order an eBook online.

Please consider taking this forty day journey with our congregation as we think about Jesus questions throughout the Bible. The devotional includes daily readings that begin on Ash Wednesday. During our mid-week Wednesday services we will have congregation members reflect on the question and assigned scripture for the day. 

We are also encouraging families and individuals during Lent to collect money for World Hunger. ELCA World Hunger boxes have been order to use to collect money. The boxes will be arriving soon. 

 

Mid-Week Wednesday Services 

nullAsh Wednesday - February 10What are you looking for? John 1:35-42

  • 11:00 a.m. Worship with Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes
  • 7:00 p.m.  Worship with Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes

February 17Where is Your Faith? Luke 8:22-25

  • 7:00 p.m. Holden Evening Service 
    • Reflection: TBA

February 24But Who Do You Say that I am? Mark 8:26-30

  • 7:00 p.m. Holden Evening Service 
    • Reflection: Pastor Steve Young

March 2What do you want me to do for you? Matthew 20:29-34

  • 7:00 p.m. Holden Evening Service
    • Reflection: Pastor Rafael Malpica Padilla

March 9Do you love me? John 21:1-16

  • 7:00 p.m. Holden Evening Service
    • Reflections: Pastor Mary Carol Strug

March 16 How will you believe what I say? John 5:30-47

  • 7:00 p.m. Holden Evening Service
    • Reflection: Pastor Bob Linstrom

 

Wednesday Lenten Soup Suppers 

null6:00 – 7:00 p.m. in Luther Hall 

February 17 – March 16

On these Wednesday evenings you’ll have a meal that’s all ready for you, warm and tasty. Its simplicity reminds us of this time of Lent.  It’s a meal for the whole family, everyone can sit down together. You can come straight from work, directly from meetings or activities or right from home and be together with your church family for a meal before worship. A free-will offering will be taken to cover the cost of the food. 

  

Holy Week Services

nullPalm Sunday - March 20

  • 9:00 a.m.   Worship with Holy Communion 
  • 10:30 a.m.  Worship with Holy Communion 

Maundy Thursday - March 24     

  • 11:00 a.m. Worship with Holy Communion
  • 7:00 p.m. Worship with Holy Communion and students receiving their First Communion

Good Friday - March 25

  • 7:00 p.m.

Easter Vigil - March 26

  • 7:00 p.m.  Service of Light

Easter Sunday Morning -  March 27

  •  8:30 & 10:30 a.m. 
    Festival Worship with Holy Communion
  •  9:15-10:15 a.m. 
    Continental Breakfast
    Served by the Senior High Youth
    Luther Hall

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