Our Great God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is by His very nature a Giver. For all eternity, the persons within the Godhead have lived in a perfect state of love, giving and receiving amongst themselves. Out of this abundance, God created humanity to share in this loving relationship.
Each and every one of us is given Spiritual Gifts, talents and abilities by God’s Spirit to serve His Kingdom and each other. When we find a place to use our gifts in service, we find our true identities as sons and daughters of God.
One example of this at Bethel has been the ministry of Jordan and Rae McEwan. Last year Jordan and Rae started to attend Bethel. God has given them a passion for Bible Translation and they hope one day to work overseas translating the Scriptures for people-groups who do not have the Bible in their own language. At Bethel they have found a place to use their gifts in service. Rae writes:
“When Jordan and I met Grace and Fred Tomek and learned of the ESL program that Bethel supported, we were ecstatic. We had been looking for a way to minister to the community using our training in linguistics and the passion God had given us for languages.
Grace and Fred suggested that an Easy English Bible Study was needed as there were those who wanted to practice what they were learning in the ESL classes Monday nights, but also wanted to learn more about God. So this past Spring, Jordan and I chose the book of Mark and were blessed with at least 4-6 students, some nights, even more.
We were amazed by the questions that were put to us by the students as we made our way through the Gospel. It really reflected to us their deeper desire to understand who Jesus is beyond just learning English. We cannot wait to start up again in the Fall!”
It is a beautiful sight to see the Gifts of the Spirit at work in our community!
The United Way has a vision to see 1000 families from Bannerman and its adjacent neighbourhoods lifted out of poverty for good. They are inviting our church to get in on the ground floor of this initiative.
When I first heard The 1000-Families Initiative presented some months ago at a “Bannerman Partners” meeting (a gathering of community leaders that meets at our church), I immediately felt it was an answer to prayer. Bethel chose to locate in Bannerman because the church believed God was calling us to invest in this neighbourhood.
Over the years we have prayed earnestly that we could shine Christ’s light here by being good neighborhood partners. In recent months, God has been marvelously opening doors for community involvement in ways we had not imagined. This initiative is just the latest example. It dovetails beautifully with our dreams for Bannerman, and to some extent is being made possible because of work we are already doing here. (For example, the Abundant Communities initiative we support, the Bannerman Partners group we launched, and the WECAN food basket ministry we recently started, all have, or will, play a part in making the United Way’s plan successful).
Anna Bubel, the main organizer for the initiative, wants many different people and groups to be involved, because lifting families out of poverty requires more than a financial handout. For families to stay out of poverty for good, they need an array of supports that provide the “hand up” that can make their upward steps permanent.
All interested people from Bethel are invited to a meeting on Saturday, June 4, from 1-4 p.m. to be held in Multipurpose Room #4 of the Clareview Community Rec. Center. The meeting’s aim is to introduce some of the many partners who have already committed to supporting the initiative, to gather more partners, and then to envision how the 1000 families will be selected and then involved into the program.
If you feel moved to take part, contact Anna Bubel ( 780-425-4122 / firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ryan Pedde (email@example.com) to let them know you will be there.
We are launching a new series of messages called Unleashed. It is all about learning to live in active cooperation with the Holy Spirit to advance God’s Kingdom on earth. This Sunday is the perfect day for the launch of this series, since it is Pentecost, the day on which we remember the outpouring of God’s Spirit on the church.
I am really excited about this series for several different reasons. First of all, the truths we are going to explore changed my life, personally. When I discovered that God is active in and around us by His Spirit, and that He is inviting each of us to live interactively with Him, my faith took a fresh and exciting turn.
Second, I have seen these truths bring joy to others and transform whole churches. When Christians live in the Spirit’s power, their lives become richer and their church community becomes more deeply vibrant.
Finally, the challenges we face today are simply too great to confront in our own power. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we can hope to bring healing to the desperate situations we find in the world—including in our own lives and families.
To help bring this series home, we have prepared an Unleashed Companion Guide. It gives simple exercises you can do to apply the concepts presented in each week’s message. You will find these guides in your mail slot and on the Welcome Desk in the church foyer. We are also encouraging people to interact with others about what they are learning on the church’s Facebook page.
I am looking forward to this journey. I’m glad to be taking it with you.
Life is a mystery. While we as followers of Christ know who we are taking the journey with, we often are not completely sure where God is going to take us! The Youth Mystery Retreat began years ago with this in mind. We schemed as youth leaders how we could surprise and challenge youth with a weekend of adventure.
The most recent Youth Mystery Retreat was April 22-24. The retreat took 30 youth and 10 adults to Saddle Lake First Nation, Lloydminster, and a Bison Farm in Vermilion. At these three stops we worshiped, served and enjoyed each other’s company.
A real highlight was Saddle Lake. At Saddle Lake, we stayed at a large youth center. Philip Lee, a friend of Bethel, and Missionary to First Nations people, was our host. The youth of Bethel interacted with and built relationships with Philip’s Saddle Lake Youth. After an evening of worship, play, and prayer, we set out to go to the Blue Quill residential school on Saturday.
We received a tour of one of the last residential schools left standing in Canada from two survivors. Alsena and her husband Alec shared their heart-wrenching stories of being taken from their homes as young children to live at the school. Children taken from their homes were stripped of their hair and given a number which would serve as their name for the next many years. We heard stories of horrific abuse and the terrible aftermath of a generation of young people traumatized by the events.
Most startling to us was the fact that at many of these residential schools all of this was all done in “Jesus Name.” As a group we wrestled with this difficult history and had an extended time of sharing. The testimonies around the circle were very powerful. Our youth spoke with great compassion to Alsena and her husband Alec. They listened well and sought to understand. I could relate to one volunteer leader who shared how powerful the experience was in breaking long held prejudices and sparking a heart of love for First Nations people. The group agreed that the real Jesus was not represented in these schools and that we should try to show His love to all people regardless of ethnicity or cultural background.
As we drove away to go to our next “Mystery Location” I got a text from Philip. He said that our visit had a profound effect on the people we visited. They said that they would like to come and check out Bethel. What an incredible compliment. I am thankful for such a wonderful group of youth who represented the true Jesus so well.
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