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Day 19 - Wednesday, 3/2

What Do You Want Me to Do for You?

Matthew 20:29-34

Jesus is always on the move in the Gospels, so it isn’t surprising in this Scripture reading to find him going from one place to another. On this day, two men shout out to him from the side of the road. The people in the crowd try to keep the men quiet. (Maybe they want to prevent a disturbance, or just make sure they can hear anything Jesus might say. Maybe they think Jesus is too busy or too important to stop for these two people.) But the men call out even louder to Jesus.

Instead of continuing on, staying on schedule, and doing what’s expected of him, Jesus stops, stands still, and asks the men a question. He focuses on what they need and what only he can give. They say, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” Out of compassion, Jesus touches their eyes. And with their sight restored, they follow him.

As Lord of all we might expect Jesus to ask people, “What can you do for me?,” but that never happens. In fact, in the Gospels, Jesus asks “What do you want me to do for you?” more often than any other question. And he doesn’t just ask—he listens for the response. The response from the two men shows who they believe Jesus is and what they believe Jesus can do. They believe that Jesus is Lord and that he can make them see again, and they immediately follow him.

Who do you believe Jesus is? What do you believe he can do? What do you want him to do for you?

Questions to Ponder

  • In your life, where or when do you need to “stand still?” How can you begin to do this?
  • What needs do you believe Jesus can meet? What do you want Jesus to do for you?

Prayer for Today

Loving Jesus, help me to see you, trust you, worship you, and follow you. Amen.

Day 13 - Wednesday, 2/24

But Who Do You Say that I Am?

Mark 8:27-30
Certainly people living in his time wondered who Jesus was and what he could do. The disciples tell Jesus that some people see him as another John the Baptist, or maybe the great prophet Elijah come back to life. Others think he might be another in a long line of prophets. Then Jesus gets down to business by asking a serious, probing, and transformative question: Who do you say that I am?”

It’s easy to talk about what other people think or believe. We don’t have any stake in that. In the world today we can find people with all kinds of views about who Jesus is or isn’t. But who do you say Jesus is? This isn’t just a question for the disciples. It’s a question for you and for me, and for the community of faith. 
Jesus uses questions as a way to deepen discipleship and grow faith. The question “Who do you say I am?” is an invitation into deeper relationship with Jesus and with others. In transforming the way we see Jesus, ourselves, and the world, it transforms our lives. 

Questions to Ponder

  •  What major misconceptions about Jesus have you heard? 
  • Think about how you would describe Jesus to a friend who has had no connections with the Bible or the church. Who would you say Jesus is? 


Prayer for Today

Jesus, you are God with us and Son of God. You are my Savior and the Savior of the world. You are my Lord and the eternal Lord of all creation. Keep me always close to you.

In your holy name I pray.


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.


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. 


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