Bethany Renew
Midweek Email Devotion
 8  June 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!  

June 24-26
Puyallup, WA
Please pray for all conference participants, especially our church delegates: Pastor Ferdie and Fred Hanson 
May God's wisdom be upon Bishop Grant. God's spiritual blessing to all agenda.

Do you have a hymn that you want to sing during worship? Please email me back. I want to hear from you. We go by the lectionary, so I will find a Sunday where your hymn will fit the text's topic. Thanks!

(Deadline to register: May 29)
click here for promotional video.

"A Way Forward"
Some of you are asking about some form of summary, or letter from GC or AC about the human sexuality resolution and other items. Here are 3 links I recommend: 
Council of Bishop's letter to UMC: 
(click here)
For statement of Council of Bishops:
(click here)
For a balanced, harmony-driven reflection by Adam Hamilton: 

Here is a premise: we all go through seasons of death.In that lowest place, we can all encounter God. That encounter results in a spiritual resurrection. Using the Letter U-Model as an analogy, the downward line that hits a low valley curve represents our death experience. The upward line represents a period of renewal, which we can call as our spiritual resurrection.
v. 12: As Jesus approached the town, a dead person was being carried out-the only son of a widow. In ancient culture, a widow is seen as a spiritual misfortune. But a widow, whose only son just died, was viewed as a total tragedy. It is a representation of extreme sorrow.
In the same way, in our faith life, seasons of death will come. Sometimes literally, sometimes symbolically.
Sometimes circumstantial, sometimes internal. Sometimes it is an illness, a financial crisis, or the end of a relationship. Or maybe it is when your soul is going through a painful transition.
Whatever they are, they are seasons when it feels like you're dying inside. And like this widow in our story, we grieve for the death of our former vitality and certainty. We grieve for the former days when our health was vibrant; or when our bank account was abundant; when our dreams and ambitions were many.
But there are periods when life seems to slow down.  And in it is during this big transitions that we go through the valley curve of the letter U, where it is dark, uncertain, deep, it feels like dying.
v.13: When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her.
I don't know why we go through inner death and valley lows. But one thing I know, it is also at those lowest points where a life-changing spiritual breakthrough happens:
 When the Presence of God is more real and saturating,
The Grace of God seems more abundant,
The Compassion of Jesus will be very near, felt.
Because God is there, not just as a Provider or Sustainer, but also as a Compassionate Presence who suffers with us in the crisis. Like the unspeakable pain parents feel watching their child suffer, so also is the compassionate heart of Jesus when we go through dark valleys of life.
And V. 14 Jesus said, "Young man, I say to you, get up." Then the dead man sat up and began to talk and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
After a valley low, is an upward path to recovery. After a death-like struggle, is a resurrection-like restoration.  And yes, the problem may still be there. And bouts of discouragement will still come every now and then. Or we may not be able to reverse the consequences of the wrong choices we've made. 
But ever more so gradually, a spark of hope will flicker in your heart. Your emotional muscles are getting stronger. Part of you wants to remain the valley of death, but just like the young man in our story, part of you is also hearing Jesus call saying, "Get up." 
Something is telling you, its resurrection season.
And in spiritual resurrection, I believe this is crucial: for us to actually get up, get help, or get reconnected
Because in every resurrection story, there is a part that we need to play.
Whether it is asking for counseling;
Or letting go of toxic regrets and resentment;
Or it is spending time in prayer and silence.
Simple spiritual exercises that leads to a recovering, healthy spiritual life.
During times of valley low, when you feel you're dying inside, may you hear the voice of Jesus saying, "get up." May you know that though you feel powerless at that moment, the faithfulness of God will be enough. 

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Please click here.
Visit our website for other church info, and you can listen to sermons:

MONDAYS 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Pastor Ferdie Llenado
Bethany United Methodist Church
personal email:
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Sitka United Methodist Church | 303 Kimsham Street | 1104 Edgecumbe Drive | Sitka | AK | 99835