BETHANY COMMUNITY CHURCH
October 30, 2011
GREG: Good morning. My name is Greg Ressler. If you don't know me, I'm one of the elders here at
Bethany. It's my privilege to pray for you each week. If you fill out your name on this connection card
and put your prayer request on the back, we will pray for you.
Now, my son two weeks ago stood up here and did the announcements, and during that time he said, "If
my dad tells you he will do something, he will do it." I wish that was always true, but I can tell you, the
staff and elders hold each other accountable and we schedule it. I can tell you, if you put your prayer
request on here, we will pray for you.
This past week, I met with Billy Ennis, and we were discussing some things. One of the things we
discussed was a passage about being slow to speak and quick to listen. I was reflecting on that passage
after we met, because we had talked about how in our relationships, if we can be a little slower to speak
and quicker to listen, wait and listen to the person talk before speaking, things would go better.
It dawned on me that God is perfect at this. He's perfect at being slow to speak and quick to listen. He
listens to everything I have to say.
And then I even thought deeper, and I thought, wait a minute. I get up in the morning, I read my Bible, I
listen to my music in the car, I have my list of prayer things that I spew out at God. I wonder, when it
says, do everything that is written here, do what it says, follow God, I think, God, what do You want me
to do? I'm not hearing You. I then realized, maybe I'm not being quick to listen. Maybe God is saying to
me, would you just shut up and listen for a little bit?
So I think that's the case maybe for a lot of us. I think our minds are running, just thinking about
everything. I bet there's a bunch of people in here thinking, I need to go set this up or that up. I'm going
to pray that we can just quiet our minds and listen.
Pray with me.
Dear God, I know You put something deep down in our heart that makes us want to have a deep
relationship with You and communicate with You and listen to You. God, I pray right now that You calm
each one of our minds, calm our hearts, slow it down so we can worship You, listen to You, and hear
what You have to say to us so then we can, in turn, follow You. In Jesus' name, amen.
JASON: This is a new song this week for you to see and focus on the words so next week we can sing it
together. It's called "Till I See You."
KEVIN: Good morning, everybody. My name is Kevin. If I haven't met you yet, we will have plenty of
time after the service.
Let me welcome the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy.
And I forgot to introduce the new baby last week. Is she here? She's now like 13 whole days old.
She's a cutie. You need to go hold her hand. Really. I mean, when you hold a newborn baby's hand,
you can't not believe in God. You just go, this is a miracle.
AUDIENCE: Hand sanitizer first.
KEVIN: Hand sanitizer. Okay.
Okay. I am so excited. I am not preaching today. Let me tell you a little bit about my 25th anniversary
This is our time line on your left, celebrating 25 years of God's faithfulness. Last week, we took paper
people and wrote our names on it and the year we came to Bethany on the back. If you haven't done
that, do that. You're a part of our story.
But I want to go all the way back to the white space on the left, because in the summer of 1978, I was
fresh out of college. The navy sent me to San Diego, California. I started to look for a church with very
little luck for very many months.
Then some friends came to town who knew of a Lutheran church. We went there. It was an older
boring congregation. So I didn't want to join that. I told the pastor what I was looking for, and he said,
here's a church you ought to go try. I was always grateful. Here at Bethany we want to help people find
the church that's for them in that same way.
So he sent me to this church. I showed up there the first Sunday, and I will never forget it. It was in the
fall of 1978. I walked into this university ministry. It didn't hurt that more than half the kids there were
southern California girls from San Diego State. So I walked in and it felt like heaven already. They did
some music, some announcements that were kind of funny, and then this guy sprinted on to the stage.
And he's been doing it since before then and for 40 plus years in ministry.
I like to refer to our speaker this morning, Dr. Dennis Beatty, as the first pastor I met with a brain. He
began to teach and everyone paid attention. They opened their Bibles, got our their notes, and it was
something I had never seen before.
Over the course of the next several years, I became a pastoral intern under Dennis in Long Beach,
California. In 1980 Dr. Dennis Beatty started a church that encouraged 33,000 college students to hear
the gospel in a 10-day period. I met a girl named Ann during that time that later became my wife.
Anyway, the church that we served in at that time, we asked them to support us to come out here and
start a new church. That absolutely would not have happened without the support of the senior pastor,
Dr. Dennis Beatty, our speaker for this morning. So this church would not be here without this guy, who
is a hero of mine in the faith.
So welcome Dr. Dennis Beatty. Here he is.
DENNIS: The first pastor with a brain. I hadn't heard that before. All that shows is I'm educated beyond
This morning is sort of like déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra says. Of course, I see all these old faces
and it's déjà vu all over again. God has used you to start this church here. I hope someday at my eulogy,
at my funeral, I hope they point out that Bethany Community Church in Laurel, Maryland, is part of my
ministry, a small part but nonetheless a part of my ministry.
I thank God for what He's done here with you these 45 years. I think your friendships show your values.
We tend to be attracted to people who share our Christian values, don't you know. I was attracted to
Kevin immediately. This is a man that God could use to do great things in the Kingdom. And here we're
going to look at Colossians chapter 4, at the Apostle Paul's shipmates on the ministry of grace. There is
a tendency on our part to think of the Apostle Paul as a loner. He rolled into town with a side kick,
preached with great power, would do a couple miracles, and a church would be planted.
But, in fact, Paul always had a team. Here in Colossians 4, he lists some of the men that were
instrumental in some of these church plants. This morning I want to look at these people and help us to
see how we really need each other. Ministry is never a solo undertaking, as some of these mega pastors
like Charles Stanley and Rick Warren like to show. Really, it always takes a team, and these guys would
admit that too.
If you look here, this says our mission is to help people begin and grow in a personal relationship with
Christ. We meet a person often who has a church background but we're not sure whether they have a
personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I believe that mission, which is right here on your pulpit, that
mission is really what we're all about.
Now, we can do other things, but if we don't have people beginning a relationship with Christ, we fail. If
we don't help them to grow their relationship with Christ, we fail. Here, the Apostle Paul lists 10 people
that were on board with him to help that very thing happen.
Now, these are not 10 shipmates on a cruise ship. These are 10 shipmates on a racing yacht. Every
single person has a responsibility. What Paul will help us do is understand how these people have
varying responsibilities which helps the church of Jesus Christ go forward.
The first person we're going to look at are Tychicus and Onesimus, examples of global outreach. "As to
my affair" -- remember, he's writing from prison -- "Tychicus, our brother and faithful servant in the
Lord, will bring you information. For I have sent him to you for this purpose, that you may know about
our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts and with him Onesimus, our faithful brother,
who is one of your number. They will inform you about the situation here."
Now, how would you have liked to have the responsibility to carry three books of the New Testament to
the churches that were going to receive those books? What a privilege that must have been. Now,
Tychicus was a faithful friend. Too often we beat ourselves up because we're not perfect. Do you have
that tendency? Well, you know, how could a sinner like me serve Christ? I'll tell you, God is not looking
for perfection. He's looking for faithfulness, so that if you sin, that means you've fallen. You confess
your sin, you get back up, and you get on the road for Christ again. And it's direction in the Christian life.
Tychicus and Onesimus had the right direction and they got back up and they continued to serve Christ.
And remember how difficult this was. They're in Colossae. They had to go to Rome, which today would
be an hour flight. In the first century, if they went by land, it was 6 or 700 miles. Even if they could
afford a ship across that little peninsula there in the Mediterranean Sea, it still took a couple weeks.
They did this at their own expense. Now, would you travel several weeks just to meet a guy in prison
and take a note from prison back to your home church? I mean, how many of us would do that? These
guys were faithful. You cannot be 100% perfect, but you can be 100% faithful. That's what God uses.
Anybody who has coached or anybody with a military command, you know that you better have 100%
faithful athletes or troops in order to accomplish the mission rather than two or three stars. And this is
why very often in sports the teams with these great stars rarely win the championship. It takes a team.
And I commend you for being part of Bethany's team this morning to make the ministry happen here in
Laurel, Maryland, for the glory of Jesus Christ.
Tychicus is one who traveled to be part of Paul's ministry, and Onesimus is a former slave. Now, Paul is
the one who helped them to get out of slavery, because Paul writes a letter to Philemon. In Philemon
13, it says "Onesimus I wish to keep with me, that on your behalf he might minister to me in my
imprisonment." He was writing to Philemon, who owned Onesimus. How could Philemon turn down
that request? I want Onesimus to help me in prison. The guy who led more people to Christ than
anyone in the New Testament says to Philemon, let Onesimus stay with me, release him from his debt.
And you know of course Philemon did release Onesimus from his debt. That's typically the way that a
person entered slavery in the first century. They owed a debt to someone and they agreed to be their
slave for a number of years to pay off the debt. But in this case, Philemon forgave Onesimus.
So here, with Tychicus, the number one characteristic is faithfulness. Maybe you need to pay the debt
of someone like Tychicus. Volunteer staff help churches grow. I met many of you yesterday and today.
There are many professional people here who could use their professional expertise to become a
volunteer staff member and help Bethany grow to what god wants it to be.
The third person here is Aristarchus, who had a changed life. This 25 year portrayal of the ministry here
is such a great encouragement, particularly when you consider all the people that have been baptized
here over the last 25 years. That is an encouragement. There have been many lives changed by this
church. And I want you to know what an encouragement it is to me to stand here 25 years later, see
that you're gathered together as faithful disciples and you've been reaching people for Christ for 25
years. And to think I had a little bitty part of that brings great joy to my heart and great joy to see the
people that I've known back in former ministry serving with you here today.
Now, you have to admit, Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings, Paul said. This week
you didn't think about Aristarchus, did you? This is like most of the people in the New Testament.
They're like you and me, not like Rick Warren or Charles Stanley. Aristarchus is like you and me.
Aristarchus had a great ministry, but we don't really know his name, but guess what? Someday we'll get
to sit down in heaven and have Aristarchus tell us war stories from the first century about the Apostle
Paul. Some of those stories are available to us now. In Acts 19, we find the following happens to
Aristarchus simply because he was Paul's friend. You have to choose your friends wisely, because
sometimes it costs to be the friend of someone who is doing great exploits for Christ.
Acts 19, verse 8. The Ephesians were furious and began shouting. Why? Because when Paul preached
there, he said, there's no such thing as Artemis. They had silver idols to Artemis. So all the silversmiths,
their trade was ruined, their business was ruined, by all these Christians. They didn't care about having
another god. They had all kinds of gods. So preaching Jesus? Don't care. Take our idol sales away?
That's a big deal.
So they started shouting in anger. Soon the city was in an uproar and the people seized Paul? No. They
didn't seize Paul. For some reason, Paul was out of town. They seized Aristarchus, Paul's traveling
companion. And this word "seized" means drag. I don't pronounce these names very often obviously.
So Aristarchus didn't preach against idols. Paul was. But guess who gets beat up because of it?
Aristarchus. Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, the text says, but the disciples wouldn't let him.
They begged Paul not to come to the theater. They told Paul, if they did this to Aristarchus, they would
surely kill you.
Aristarchus was there at that riot, he was on the sea voyage where Paul was shipwrecked, and
Aristarchus was also with Paul in prison. So look at what fun Aristarchus had for being the friend of the
Apostle Paul. He's involved in a riot, he's involved in a shipwreck, and he gets put in prison.
But he gets to do all that because he's been a faithful disciple. And sometimes, if we have no conflict in
our lives, it's in evidence that we're not very faithful to Christ. I'm not talking about walking up to
people and saying, be dipped or be dammed. That's very bad evangelism. But ultimately, if you make
known in your relationships that Jesus Christ is your God, you will have conflict.
Because we have freedom of religion in America, thank God, we don't have the jailings and beatings like
they did in the first century. Christianity was a persecuted religion because it was contrary to Cesar.
When you do a ministry, there are costs. I think of the signing here this morning. To be involved in a
signing ministry, it's an extra effort. Sometimes the signing doesn't work out because the signing people
have other responsibilities and it's at a great cost that they come and read the sermon in advance and so
forth. It's a great cost to be a signer.
I don't know where God is calling you to pay the price to be a faithful minister. But this I believe. Every
single person in this church is called to pay a price for Jesus Christ. You're called to be part of this
ministry. You need to find the place where you're going to be a faithful disciple for Jesus Christ. So do
you need to pray for a friend like Aristarchus? Or maybe you need to be a friend like Aristarchus. You
will be a faithful friend to someone who is going out and stirring up people and you become part of their
Then three men that Paul sort of links together are Mark, Barnabas, and Justus. (reading slide). This
word "encouragement" is the Greek word paregoric. That will be important because paregoric medicine
in the 21st century has to do with the soothing salve. So these three friends of Paul soothed him,
comforted him, encouraged him.
By the way, Barnabas is a nickname. His real name was Joseph. Apparently the Apostle Paul calls him
Barnabas, which means "son of encouragement." It's very possible that four or five of these names in
the list of these ten men are nicknames that Paul gave these people based upon characteristics.
Onesimus means "faithful." But what great nicknames. How would you love your nickname be
encouragement? Or faithful? Or Patton? That's Kevin's wording for me, by the way, not mine.
But that's the idea here. People from Paul's background encouraged him. Most of the Jewish nation did
not accept Christ as the messiah. So he was alienated from most of his countrymen. But many Jews
came to Christ and even rabbis. Paul had a great identity with these people, because they were like him.
One of the first affinities I had with Kevin and Bob Frazier is we're all military background. So, you know,
there's sort of that experience in the military that you share together, boot camp and the hurry up and
wait phenomenon that's always in the military, the risk factor of serving your country. So Paul here had
an affinity with these men because they were from the nation of Israel, spoke the same language,
Hebrew and Aramaic, had the same transformation from law to grace. They understood the law was
only to point to Christ, the law was not what would deliver them to heaven. And they had community.
How many ex-military do we have here this morning, or current active duty? Looks like we had 8 in the
first service, about 12 here. 25 people in your church with military background. They have an affinity
with each other. That's what Paul is talking about with these people. They have an affinity. Sometimes
you need to know that there's other people like you, because you don't want to be a lone wolf. When
you walk into a church, there needs to be sort of that psychological, a-ha, this feels like the place for me.
I hope that you're welcoming and you seek out guests and see if you can find a point of reference where
you're alike so they can feel like, you know, I can be a part of this fellowship because there are people
here like me. And since we now know scientifically each one of us has a unique DNA, each one of us can
uniquely reach out to other people with uniqueness that we have. Each one of us has been called to a
Now, in this paragraph, Mark is the most interesting person. The reason being, on Paul's missionary
journey, Mark pooped out. Kevin said I could use the word "poop," so blame him. He pooped out and
went home. It doesn't say why Mark deserted Barnabas and Paul. Maybe it got too difficult to travel
under third world conditions. Difficult. Of course we've seen already, to be Paul's friend, you end up
being in a riot, you end up in prison, you end up in shipwrecks. So we can see many reasons why Mark
might desert Barnabas and Paul. Well, we don't know why, but at this point, later, Paul has restored
Mark to his apostolic friendship service. So I asked the question to myself, how was it that Mark, a
deserter, ends up being several years later a part of Paul's key crew team? How did that happen?
Well, I can tell you it's because Mark had three kinds of friends. I ask yourself this morning to ask
yourself if you have these three kinds of friends. First, Barnabas, son of encouragement. There's no
mystery about why Mark was encouraged by Barnabas. That's what he was all about. I understand you
have an encourager here, Debbie Hoffman. That's sort of her ministry. You need to understand that we
need people who encourage us like a Barnabas. I call that a friend with a hug. So that was one key to
A second key to Mark's recovery was Paul himself. Now, Paul refused to take Mark on the next
missionary journey. He believed that Mark needed to learn the lesson that if you're not faithful, you
lose privileges. And I call Paul the friend with a stick. It reminds me of a story I read about a zoo in
Australia. They had a hippo on display. The hippo was lethargic. He laid around all day. The poor hippo
was depressed. He had no other hippo to keep him company.
In the children's part of the zoo, the petting zoo, there was a goat that was too aggressive, kept butting
the children. They had to take him out of the petting zoo.
They said, I wonder if we put the goat in with the hippo, if it might sort of liven the hippo up a little bit.
Sure enough, it did. The goat started to butt the hippo, which didn't hurt him because they have thick
skin. So the hippo would get up and walk around. The goat would butt him. The goat was happy having
someone to butt. The hippo was happy having someone pay attention to him. And what seemed to be
an unlikely friendship ended up being a great friendship.
Sometimes that friend with a stick, we don't feel like that's a friend. They're hitting me with a stick, we
say. But you know, sometimes when we're not faithful, we need somebody to come alongside us and
say, you know what, you need to pick up your life here.
I remember my first senior pastor -- I don't know if I told you this, Kevin -- after about six months, he
said, Dennis, I have one sentence of criticism for you. I go, uh-oh, here it comes. "Walk slowly through
the lobby," he said.
"What does that mean?"
He told me, "When you go from point A to B, you don't look at anyone or talk to anyone. You just go
straight through. Sometimes people take that as a disappointment. You don't greet people." I had to
have a pastor with a stick help me to see that greeting people on Sunday morning is so important. We
need friends with sticks.
The third person -- remember, now, we have a friend with a hug, a friend with a stick. And the third is
Peter. We know that Peter and Mark had a relationship. What was Mark's problem? He deserted the
mission. Had Peter ever deserted the mission of Jesus Christ? How about denying Christ publicly three
times? Do you think that qualifies? It certainly does. So Peter is a friend with a pat on the back. You
know, "Mark, it's all right. I know what it means to fail in the mission. I denied Christ." And sometimes,
if someone else has failed in the same area that you have failed and they have experienced recovery, it
helps you to experience recovery. And I thank God for the recovery movement. I know that you have a
recovery ministry here. I think Ruth Walls, who has been involved in alcohol and drug addiction as a
nurse, and of course she's sitting in this service. I see the blond back there. And so by her expertise in
alcohol and drug recovery, a huge percentage of the homeless population have these kinds of issues and
she's able to come alongside and help them to recover.
So this morning, maybe one of the most important things you can ask yourself is, do I have a friend with
a hug, a friend with a stick, and a friend with a pat on the back in my life? Recovery is so important.
They need to be a paregoric, a soothing relationship in our lives.
Then Epaphras here. Epaphras changed lives through prayer. He made a community -- oops. Let's go
"Epaphras, who is one of your number --" (reading slide).
The word in that quote "laboring" also means wrestling. So you might ask yourself, why am I not a man
or woman of prayer? It's because it's hard work. You have to be in shape. You have to be alert. You
have to make commitments. I so much this morning appreciated praying with Kelvin and Frank before
the first service. How many of you want to come early to church? It seems the 9:00 service people have
a difficult time getting here at 9:00. You not only come to the 9:00 service but you come early to pray.
It's hard work. That's what prayer is. It's hard work. It's a great ministry to be called to. Laboring.
And "perfect" in that passage doesn't mean perfect. It means complete or mature. Not all of us are
perfect in Christ, but we can all complete our journey. If we sin, we get back up, confess our sin, get
back in the right path again. Complete the journey. Become mature.
So Epaphras, who was a pastor there, as well as Laodicea and Hierapolis, he's the guy whose number
one characteristic was prayer. I know how churches hire pastors these day. They look for good
speakers and leaders. How many job descriptions say, we want a man of prayer? We don't care if he
can lead or speak. We want someone who can pray. This is a guy whose banner is, this is a man of
prayer. We need prayer partners.
And Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings. Luke was a professional physician but he was
also a New Testament minister. He wrote Acts and Luke. Any time it says "we," it's talking about the
Apostle Paul and Luke. They traveled together on missionary journeys. Paul healed people
miraculously; Luke healed them physically. You can identify with Paul because you have thorns in your
flesh too. Whatever disability you may feel holds you back, how about being in prison with a thorn in
your flesh. Do you think that might hold you back? However, the Apostle Paul wrote while in prison and
sent people on missionary journeys while in prison. You do not let your disability and your physical
limitations, you don't let your prison -- we each have different prisons. You don't let your prison keep
you back from doing the ministry that God has called you to. When I think about Luke, I think about the
fact that if you have a profession, if you just listen up for what's happening at church, you will find an
area in which you can use your professional expertise to serve the ministry. And so the deaf ministry is
serving you here this morning. The deaf ministry has a vision to serve your church in Tanzania. Global
outreach. It's the only church I'm personally acquainted with that has a cross cultural deaf ministry.
What a great thing God has given you to do.
And we also need to recognize that not everyone finishes the race. Look here at Demas. Demas
diminished Christ's glory. Of the 10 shipmates, this is the only person that Paul gives no commentary to.
Here are the words about Demas later in 2 Timothy. I can't find it at the moment but I can quote it,
"And Demas has deserted me." What a terrible thing to have put in the eternal record of God, that you
deserted the Apostle Paul. So there's no positive commentary. Here it is. "Demas, having loved this
present world, deserted me." That's just the nature of church. You invest in people -- and I'm talking
about you investing in people in whatever your ministry may be here at Bethany -- some of them don't
stick with it. Some of them are not faithful.
Now, what it will be like in eternity, we don't know. But we know they were not faithful in this life.
But Nympha was faithful. She was faithful to open her home for community impact. It's interesting. I
developed this line about community impact before I realized that I would be here on the community
impact Sunday. So it was very appropriate timing. Now, the way you can impact your community for
Christ is home group Bible studies. Your involvement in that, leading a Bible study in your home, hosting
a Bible study, you are doing a great thing. In terms of health, the worship service and the small groups is
the backbone of every church. If the worship service is healthy and the small groups are healthy, you
will succeed at the call of the great commission to make disciples, to teach them and baptize them.
That's where the great commission happens. I thank God you have 20 small groups here at Bethany. I
thank God for that. I'm looking forward to being a part of your community impact this afternoon. We'll
talk more this afternoon and get acquainted.
This word "read," by the way, read my letter, it's oral reading. It's not reading the manuscript. It's oral
reading. Many people in the Old Testament churches were slaves, who for the most part were
uneducated. So reading the manuscript would be meaningless. They needed to hear God's word out
The next guy here, Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which you have received that you may fulfill
it." John Maxwell writes in his book about all the things that can discourage a pastor. Pastors find we
have the majority of our members know how to do the ministry better than we do. This is a common
phenomenon. Sometimes when so many people speak poorly of the ministry that God has called you
to, then you get discouraged. Apparently Archippus here was discouraged because he had received
some negative words about his ministry. He was the pastor of the church that met at Philemon's house.
The word "fulfill" here usually talks about the fulfilling of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is how we do
ministry. I can do ministry two ways. How the ministry builds up depends on whether I do it with the
power of the spirit and the authority of God. If I do it on my own, a building may go up but be burned
up. If I do it in God's will, with His spirit, with His direction from His word, the church thrives.
Then finally here, (reading slide). So Paul changed lives. But he was not a loner. This is one of the
places in the New Testament where Paul opens up the scripture and lets us see the team he worked
with. You're part of the team here. I know Kevin has the same sentiment that I do. I'll be so surprised if
I'm the best prayer warrior in my church or the best speaker in my church or the best leader in my
church. I'll be so surprised. You see, nobody can be the best at everything. But the pastor needs people
better than he is in all those areas. He needs better teachers and servers and equippers and disciplers
than he is. We really need each other to do New Testament ministry. Paul, the big gun of the New
Testament, did not do it by himself. Here are 10 of his shipmates on a racing yacht. Everyone has a
responsibility. That's the only reason that by the end of Paul's life, we can count about 25,000
Christians, and some of them Jews, who had come to Christ as a result of Paul's ministry, because he put
together a team. We need many tried and true friends. But your best friend is Jesus. Grace. You need
to have the grace of God. Nobody here is good enough to go to heaven. Billy Graham is not good
enough to go to heaven. Kevin is not good enough to go to heaven. I'm not good enough to go to
heaven. Grace of God means that you're smart enough to realize that on judgment day, you need the
grace of Jesus Christ or you will not qualify for heaven.
And I invite you here today, if you're available after the service and you think you're going to heaven
because you're a good person, you have been deceived by Satan. You are not going to heaven because
you're a good person. You can only go to heaven because you have received the gift of grace. I would
love to talk with any of you after the service about what does it mean to enter into a personal
relationship with God through Jesus Christ which I did at the age of 15. I lived the first 15 years of my
life never going to church, not even for a wedding or funeral or basketball game. I was unchurched and I
thought church was for wimps, little old ladies, and children. I did not realize you could be a fully
functioning person and be part of a church, but that was my prejudice and partly my dad's as well.
I hope this message is an encouragement for you. You're really in this ministry at Bethany together. You
really need each other. The elders and staff can't do the ministry. You're not to be observers. You're to
be participants. I commend you because you wouldn't be where you are today 25 years later if you had
not been part of the ministry here. And so glory to God. Give the glory to Jesus Christ in the days to
Father, we sometimes need to revamp our thinking. We think Paul was a big gun, but it's because he
Father, we pray here for Pastor Kevin and the staff and elders, that they would have many teammates,
that the ministry of Bethany would prosper to the glory of Jesus Christ. I ask you in His name, amen.
KEVIN: As we were thinking about this weekend, I was hoping Dennis would experience a little taste of
heaven this weekend. He has impacted every one of your lives though you hadn't met him before this
morning, most of you. His legacy has impacted all of our lives.
We're going to receive our offering before we close the service. I'll ask the ushers to get ready to do
I'm going to pray for us. The money that we bring helps people begin and grow in a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ. That's why we bring the money. Whether we give it online, Greg will tell
you a cool new way to do it. No matter how we do it, the reason we do the money is so people's lives
will be changed forever. I can't think of what would be better to spend our money on than that.
Pray with me, would you?
Heaven Father, it's a good day today. Can I just say I'm really thankful the sun is shining? We know You
are the weatherman. We know You have ordained every detail of our day today.
We do pray that these gifts of our money will do exactly as we intend for them to do, that You would
use them to change people in powerful ways so people may come to know Your son. We pray this
money would bring glory to Jesus this day and every day.
Father, as we prepare for this celebration of community, we ask Your spirit to go into our neighborhood
and stir people to stream on to this campus for them to see the glory of what You made and the glory of
Your son's face shining on the faces of those You have called. So thanks for the ponies and the people
and all the things that have come to make this possible.
Now, God, we just give You this offering in Jesus' powerful name, amen.
Celebration of community is going to start in about an hour and a half. So let me tell you about just a
couple of things. See if I can remember.
First, parking. We could run out of that. We really hope that we will. So if you leave the campus and
come back, we want to encourage you to park in one of several places. In the neighborhood over there,
to the driveway of our neighbors up near the Thompson's house. If you need to, you can park here, but
the further away from the building, the better, so our guests can have room.
The car we're going to smash is already out there in the third handicapped spot, a green Ford Explorer.
We're going to change the look of that thing as we pound out poverty. So make your contribution to
LARS, get a free T-shirt, and smash the car.
Anybody hungry? I'm hungry. So we've ordered pizza. If you would like to hang around and have pizza,
the deaf ministry will have their potluck downstairs. But the rest of us, if you want pizza, it's coming.
We'll also have pulled pork a little later in the afternoon, around 4:00 or so. That's all paid for.
Now, lastly and most importantly, serving. We had practically everybody in the room signed up to do
something yesterday. And then the weather came and we didn't get to do what we were going to do
yesterday so we're doing it today. Some people aren't able to come today who could have come
yesterday. So there's a table by the front door. Eileen and Rita are there. Just do what families have
been doing all morning: "Okay, what do you want me to do next?" There's like 20 people out there
right now, "Okay, what do you want me to do next?" If we all do that, we will have a great day today.
I'm just really grateful you're all here to be a part of this.
Now, just before we go, Greg Ressler is going to come up.
We've lost Greg Ressler. Bob Frazier is running to get him.
Okay. I'll tell you what Greg was going to say and let him off the hook. He was going to do the quarterly
financial report. Out on the tables in the back is a newsletter that shows the quarterly financial report.
Here's the good news. Dennis is modeling for me. The good news is we made it through the summer
without having to use the credit line, the first time in five or six years we've been able to do that. That's
fantastic. We're about $13,000 under budget. By the end of the year, I'm confident we will erase that
deficit because the fall is usually better than the spring.
Greg, I've already covered most of this.
This is Greg Ressler, the chairman of our elder board. He's one of those people who has been out there
all morning saying, "What do you want me to do next?"
GREG: What do you want me to do next?
KEVIN: Thank you.
So Greg will tell you about this cool new way you can give. I've covered everything else. Go.
GREG: I forgot that I was supposed to come back up. Remember I said I always do what I said I would
Here's the deal. I don't have the little thing you got in the mail with the numbers on it to show you
visually, but in the mail, you have all of our budget numbers. In those numbers, the bottom line shows
that we've spent about $13,000 more than we brought in. At the top, you'll see that's largely because
we brought in about $13,000 less than we had budgeted. That's not a real big issue though because we
started the year with a surplus of 17,000. So we're not driven into a hole or anything.
What's really exciting for me, it just has been a pleasure this year working with the finances because of
this. Five years or so ago we found that every summer, the giving would be so low, we would have to
scramble to make ends meet. About five years or so, we got a credit line at the bank where we could
borrow $25,000 through the year if we needed to keep things going. For the last several years, we've
had to use that to its max every summer.
This year we haven't had to touch it. We haven't had to borrow anything to get through the year. So
So now that's all I have for the finances. What I can tell you is the books are open. If you have any
questions about that at all, come see me, because there's nothing we're hiding.
Now, for the technical people or the gadget geeks that are out there, if you open your program, and I
don't have one to show you, but in the lower left, you'll see one of those little bar code scanning things
for Smartphones. If you scan that, it will take you straight to the website so you can give from your
phone. So if you like that kind of thing.
Now, my phone that I have doesn't do that so that's why I'm talking my wife into allowing me to order a
new phone so we can scan and give. So it's a biblical reason to get the new phone.
If you have any questions about this, just let me know. Have a great day today out there.
KEVIN: Go serve. If you could help stack the chairs, that would be great.