Bethany Renew
Midweek Email Devotion
 14 April  2016   

I welcome you to Bethany Renew! This is our church's weekly online spiritual connection.
Every midweek, you will receive a devotion, a prayer, or an essay that are intended to stir up conversations and ideas of how we will proceed on the path of renewal. Feel free to forward this email to anyone who you think will be interested in receiving these readings.  You are welcome to respond or make comments, or otherwise just sit back and enjoy your weekly readings and reflections!  

SARAH ROEMER, missionary of GBGM to TCH, will come this Sunday (17th) to give a short 5-minute presentation about Tacoma Community House. 


The Filipino pastors are collecting unused mugs or travel mugs that has the word Washington or Oregon in it. These will be included in the welcome bags for the 50 General Conference delegates that are coming from the Philippines. If you want to donate mugs give them to Louie or me. 

Patti Robbins
 Those who are interested are welcome to stay after worship on the 24th for a short meeting with Patti and Pastor Ferdie

During the N.O.W. meeting on Sunday, all are welcome to join the discussion on the change of worship time. 
 Suggested times:
 11:00 am and 
10:30 a.m. 
(Or others?)
We would like to hear from you. Please participate.

May 10-20
Oregon Convention Center
Join me in praying for the delegates, bishops, clergy, laity, congregations, and small groups across the denomination into a spiritual preparation for the 2016 General Conference. 
For more information in praying for the GC, click here.

DOUBT (JOHN 20: 24-25)
Adam Hamilton 
Michael was a guide on my first trip to Israel. He was Jewish, but it was obvious he knew more about Jesus than the average Christian...At one point, away from the rest of my group, I asked him, "Michael, you seem to love Jesus, yet you are not a Christian. Tell me about this." He said, "I do love him. I love what he taught. I love what he did. I love the way he cared for the sick and the broken. I grieve the tragedy of his death. My only problem is that I can't find the faith to believe in the Resurrection."

I think Jesus had great empathy for doubters. He knew the Resurrection would be hard to believe, which is why, after appearing to Thomas he said, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed" (John 20: 29 NIV).

The first time I read Matthew and Mark's Gospels I was not yet a Christian. I too, found the Resurrection difficult to believe. Finally, as I read Luke's account, it began to make sense. I asked myself, "What would be different if the Resurrection had no occurred?" Jesus would have died on the cross, just the same. But this death would be a defeat, not the prelude to a victory. Evil would have won. Hate, fear, and bigotry would have been the victors. The apostles would have returned to fishing. Paul would never have met the risen Christ. The Great Commission would never have been given. The great message of redemption, forgiveness, and hope would not be known throughout the world.

It finally hit me that the story had to end with the Resurrection if in fact it was God's story. Evil could not have the last word. Death could not have the final say. I came to trust that God, who called forth the universe through this creative power, also had the power to bring about Christ's resurrection from the grave. Realizing this, I came to trust that the tomb was empty and the women, the disciples, and Paul had in fact seen the risen Christ.

God raised his son from the dead. I not only believe this, I'm counting on it. But I still have empathy for those, such as Michael, who struggle with doubt. I assured Michael that he was in good company-that the earliest disciples of Jesus struggled with the Resurrection, too. I invited him to keep following Jesus' way and to continue pondering the meaning of the Resurrection.

"Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief." Thank you for your patience with doubters such as Thomas. Help me to trust in the Easter story and to know that because you love, I will also live. Amen. 

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