Service Schedule

Sundays 

Traditional Service 8:00 am

Sunday School 9:15 am (adult and children's options available)

Contemporary Blend 10:30 am (child care available)

Junior Church (K-5th Grade) 10:30 am

BYM Sr (8th thru 12th grade) - 6:00 pm

 

Wednesdays

Choir Practice 6:30 pm

Prayer Meeting 7:30 pm

Kidz Klub (age 4 thru 4th grade) - 6:30 pm

BYM Jr (5th thru 8th grade) - 6:30 pm

Men's and Ladies' Bible Studies - 6:30 pm

Directions

We are located at 155 Reedsville Road, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972

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If you need to contact us, please call our office at (570) 739-2241. For office hours, click here.

Wet Cement Theology

 A blog from Jeff Byerly at Bethesda EC Church

The world doesn't need another know-it-all theologian. My goal is simply to search the Scriptures, analyze current theological dicussions, respond to the events of the global, national, and local communities in which I live, and share my life incarnationally in order to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. As I do this please realize that I am wrong from time-to-time and more often than I think. :-) I am also naturally skeptical and often doubt convictions that are held tightly by many others. I invite you to dialogue with me in this same spirit--to explore how Jesus intersects with our world and to keep our sanity as we view this world from his kingdom perspective. 

BITTERSWEET REFLECTIONS

Posted by Jeff Byerly on Friday, July 26, 2013 @ 3:15 PM

This past Monday, I had the opportunity and privilege to listen to Leonard Sweet at Evangelical Seminary. He was witty and humorous as usual, but the message he gave us was not a pleasant one for Protestants—we are losing ground, while others are advancing around the world. He revealed how we have been handed, and still embrace a lot of junk from the Enlightenment. After stating that the printing press was the most anti-social invention of all time, he goes on to help us understand that books brought a separation of influence between the learner and the community. For the first time, the presenter was no longer necessary to be in the room for information to be passed along. Book learners were adopting ideas into their lives from outside the community. This helped to launch the concepts of Enlightenment individualism, which became rugged individualism, then radical individualism, narcissism, and finally solipsism, exemplified by Charlie Sheen.

He continued to help us unpack the need for changes in our identity, communication, and “work” within this culture. I think these are important topics, so I will provide some links for more information from Lisa Delay’s blog: http://lisadelay.com/blog/2013/07/25/the-tyranny-of-the-left-brain-thoughts-from-len-sweet/ and http://lisadelay.com/blog/2013/07/27/power-of-image-play-and-identity-thoughts-from-len-sweet/?preview=1&_ppp=d65be6a240.

During the lecture, I sat at a table of friends and would unpack some of the topics with them and with our bishop during the breaks. I went home wondering what in the world we are trying to accomplish as Protestant evangelicals. I reflected on earlier musings I had learned from Jim Ehrman, an associate from Yale, who taught some of us about postmodern thought and unveiled similar revelations that were in Sweet’s lecture. The next day I got a Facebook message from a good friend that revealed a similar angst that these sessions usually create in me. He wondered what I and another were going to do with what we learned.

I shared a few take-aways with them, but then the discussion transitioned toward a deeper focus (at least for me) that looked at how to conduct ministry in this generation. So let me ask you, “What in the world are we building?” Or perhaps, “What is your church trying to accomplish and doing as a result?”

Here is my serious reply to this question: I've been resigned for some time that a major renewal that will be lasting is not happening in our generation. I believe that we are more like Moses (wandering with God's people in the desert) and laboring to hold space for the next generation of Joshuas to take the Promised Land. So ultimately, I will die on Mt. Pisgah without entering the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 34:1-5).

I do believe that God is doing something in our midst though—it is not the prevalent story for which I had hoped. But let me ask you, “What was the prevalent story of the Israelites before they took Jericho?” It was two-fold—they were God’s chosen, given an inheritance in the Promised Land. But that was not their reality—they had just spent over forty years as nomads with no home, as wanderers bumping into colonies of people all around God’s intended destination for them. I sense in a metaphorical way, American Christians are in a land wandering, without a prevalent identity. (One of Sweet’s points was to develop our identity.)

However, when the Israelites realized they actually were God's people, and embraced it as their renewed identity, Jericho falls! So I'm looking for Joshuas in this culture. I am investing everything I have into them—vision, wisdom, courage, and patient endurance. As I embrace this, my role in discipleship becomes clearer. I am not teaching Bible verses for the sake of knowing the Scriptures. I am clustering together remnants in my communities that will carry the mission forward, and I am supporting them with all the fortitude I can muster, because I want them to grasp hold of it! For this next generation will rise and take the land!

So my job is not to advance the kingdom by building the big dynamic church with the ultimate worship experience. This is really chaff in comparison to God’s desire for our land. Once the “success” model of doing church hits the wall, these pockets of kingdom remnant followers will be emerging to lead the Protestant/Evangelical church toward the Promised Land. My job is to hold space. This is not passive work. It involves exploration of possibilities, pushing the envelope/boundaries of what defines the church, and staking off new territory for others to play for the King! Holding this space allows new entrepreneurial and apostolic imaginations to take root. It isn’t pretty work—but it is rewarding when you know the goal.

As for me (and probably you too), we will learn what it truly means to die to Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live …” (Galatians 2:20). We will die on Mt. Pisgah. But then again, it never was our game plan to build something that God himself was not doing. Maybe that depresses some of you, but for me, I follow One who laid down his life, his reputation, and his all for the world.

Essentially, this was the task for Moses too. After all he had done for God’s people, he would never enter God’s Promised Land, but instead would develop his servant Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:1-8). That’s our work today. Find a few Joshuas in your midst and pour the essentials of discipleship into them and stop trying to build some “religious” empire on earth—it’ll only turn to chaff before your very eyes.

I don't have it all figured out, and I am often a poor example of this daily exercise. Nor have I laid down my life enough, but it does now define my work—holding space for the remnant—which clarifies my identity and work within God’s economy for the future.

Tim Seiger said...

Posted on Friday, July 26, 2013 @ 3:55 PM -
True, too true. Exciting to know our role and depressing at the same time. Hang in there, you are not alone :).

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