Finding Your Way Back To God

Can I Find My Way Back?

Most of us would say we believe in God. Maybe at one time, we even felt close to God. Then life just got in the way and we drifted. Wherever you’re from, no matter your past hurts, shame, or regrets, whether you call yourself Christian or not, you have something deep inside you that longs for a connection with God. It’s part of being human.

Join us for our Sunday worship series Finding Your Way Back to God, starting October 15, and discover that God has not forgotten you. In fact, God is running to you with open arms. Sundays at 10:15am starting October 15

October 15    There’s Got to Be More, Read ch. 1-6

October 22    I Wish I Could Start Over, Read ch. 7-8

October 29    I Can’t Do This on My Own, Read ch. 9-11

November 5    God Loves Me After All, Read ch. 12-13

November 12    Now This is Living!, Read ch. 14-16

Every Sunday at Bethesda:

Worship Service   10:15am.

Deep Blue Kids (1st-5th grade) concurrent with Worship.

Nursery            (Infants-K) concurrent with Worship.

Youth Group    (6th-12th grade) 11:30am.

 

Breaking Free

Explore the lessons of the Book of Exodus with us in Pastor Linda’s new sermon series, “Breaking Free.” The first three sermons can be heard by clicking on their titles below. Do you need help breaking free? Come join us every Sunday at 10:15 a.m. as we learn how God wants us to live.

A Weekly Lenten Devotional ~ Easter Sunday

The following is the final installment in our weekly Lenten devotional for families, by Mary Jane Pierce Norton of the UMC’s Discipleship Ministries. We hope this series has helped you to know God a little better, and to prepare for the Resurrection. Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

EASTER — April 16: Alleluia

Scripture: Matthew 28:1-10
Symbol: Butterfly
Discussion & Activity: Attend an Easter Worship Service. List together those things that happened in worship that helped you be aware of God’s love.

Sometimes Easter can be just a day when we eat chocolate, go to church, and are happy for a short time. But Easter gives us reason to be joyful every day. Look at the picture of the butterfly. Think about its beauty that emerges from a dull chrysalis.

Decide on one or two Easter actions to continue during the next weeks that help spread the news of God’s love. Ideas include: continuing to give to a charity; taking food each week to a food pantry; praying for one another; writing a note each week to someone who might be lonely.

Prayer:

God: We say together, “Alleluia” because Jesus rose from the dead.

We see new life around us and we give thanks to you for all the signs of new life.

Help us be joyful this Easter and never forget the wonderful gift Jesus gave to us all. Amen.

A Weekly Lenten Devotional ~ Week 6

The following is the seventh installment in a weekly Lenten devotional for families, by Mary Jane Pierce Norton of the UMC’s Discipleship Ministries. We hope it helps you to know God a little better during these solemn forty days of repentance and preparation.

Week 6 – Week of April 9: The Meaning of the Resurrection

Scripture: Matthew 21:1-11Matthew 26:14-27:66
Symbol: Egg
Discussion & Activity:  Read together Matthew 21:1-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66. This week – Holy Week – we are in the midst of remembering Jesus’ death. You may actually want to start the week reading the first passage from Matthew, then reading the second passage, dividing it up for the rest of the week, ending with Matthew 28:1-20 on Easter Sunday.

Hold the egg in your hand. Think about how within the egg, there is life, but from the outside we don’t always see it. Name other things you see that hold life, but don’t seem to do so just by appearance. Think about plant bulbs, or bare tree limbs.

While we remember Jesus’ death, we also prepare to celebrate his new life.  After being so sad about Jesus’ death, we learn that he is alive, and this fills us with joy! Ask each person in the family to tell of one thing about Easter that makes him or her happy. After each person says what makes him or her happy about Easter; respond by saying “Alleluia!”

Decorate Easter eggs together. We use eggs as a symbol of the new life we have because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Make a list of other things that help us remember new life.

Prayer:

God, as we remember Jesus’ last week, remind us that through bad times and good times, you are with us.

Help us notice the suffering in the world around us. Help us find ways to offer the blessings of Easter to those we can who are in need in our community.

Don’t let us skip too quickly over the suffering just to get to the happiness of Easter.

Remind us that you are there for us in both bad times and good times. Amen.

A Weekly Lenten Devotional ~ Week 5

The following is the sixth installment in a weekly Lenten devotional for families, by Mary Jane Pierce Norton of the UMC’s Discipleship Ministries. We hope it helps you to know God a little better during these solemn forty days of repentance and preparation.

Week 5 – Week of April 2:  The Meaning of the Cross

Scripture: John 11:1-57
Symbol:
 Cross
Discussion & Activity: Read together John 11:1-57. You may want to divide this passage as follows for study and reflection in your family: John 11:1-16; John 11:17-37; John 11:38-44; John 11:45-57. We often stop our reading after Lazarus is raised from the dead. But the consequences of this action are explained in verses 45-57. And because we know the Easter story has to include Jesus’ death on the cross, it is helpful to realize that there were those who had decided that Jesus must die.

Sometimes it is hard for us to talk about Jesus dying on the cross. Because we know that he rose from the dead, we sometimes try to skip over his death. But this was what he was willing to do for people to know of God’s love and care for all.

Pass around the cross. Feel each part of the cross. Recall that the cross on which Jesus died was not a smooth, beautiful object like the ones we wear today. Think about the pain that was part of Jesus’ cross.

Ask each person in the family to say how it makes them feel to talk about Jesus dying on the cross. Remind one another that we use the sign of the cross to remember Jesus even today.

Another food that is part of the Lenten season is Hot Cross Buns. You can make these using prepared cinnamon roll dough or bread dough. Add a cross of white sugar frosting to the tops of the rolls. Eat these as a reminder that Jesus died so that all might know God.

Prayer: 

O God: It is hard to think of Jesus, whom we love so much, being put to death on the cross.

And yet, when we look at the cross, we are reminded that he did this as a gift so that we might be forgiven of our sins.

Thank you for the gift of your son Jesus.  Amen.

A Weekly Lenten Devotional ~ Week 4

The following is the fifth installment in a weekly Lenten devotional for families, by Mary Jane Pierce Norton of the UMC’s Discipleship Ministries. We hope it helps you to know God a little better during these solemn forty days of repentance and preparation.

Week 4 – Week of March 26:  Jesus Helps Us See

Scripture: John 9:1-12
Symbol: Bowl of Dirt

Discussion & Activity:  Read together John 9:1-12. When we read Scripture, we are often confronted with happenings that, to our logical minds, do not seem possible. Think about what you have just read. Jesus puts mud on the man’s eyes, and he sees? How fantastic is that! It had to be miraculous for his followers to witness this. And as the story attests, it was hard for those who saw the man to believe what had happened. How much more difficult it is for us to understand because we can only read the account? We can’t see for ourselves.

The simple message for Lent is that those who follow Jesus are able to see more clearly. Followers of Jesus are able to see more clearly the behaviors we need to exhibit as children of God. Followers of Jesus are able to see more clearly ways to serve God. Followers of Jesus are able to see more clearly the responses demanded of us to situations of injustice.

As you talk about the Scripture, place your hands in the dirt. Mix it with water to make mud. Think about how Jesus placed this on the eyes of the man who could not see.

This is a difficult message for adults – as well as for children and youth. In your family, talk about what difficult decisions you need to make this week. Talk about how you see what the right response needs to be. Talk about ways you see one another as God sees each of you.

Create portraits of each family member. On a piece of paper, draw a face – or just a circle – for each family member. Talk together and decide what words best describe each family member. Write these words in the face or circle. This week, pray for all family members, thanking God for all that they are.

Prayer:

Gracious God: We are reminded that through the teachings of Jesus, we are able to see ways God would want us to live our lives.

And we are able to see each person as a loved child of God.

Help us look at one another as God would look at us.

And may we help one another choose the actions and words that help those around us know of God’s love as well.

In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.