Dear Bethel Friends members and friends, 03.23.2020
I am sure that you have heard of the governor’s stay-at-home order. We respect the governor and our leadership and we will comply with his order. Therefore, as of now through Monday, April 6th Bethel Friends will be a virtual church. This means that all in-person gatherings are canceled through Monday, April 6th. We want to communicate and support you however we can over these next few weeks, and however long this lasts. So, please take note of the following:
- The sermon will be on Facebook Live the next two Sundays. Make sure you follow Bethel Friends on Facebook. You should also be able to see it at https://bethel-friends-church.freeonlinechurch.com/live
- The link above will only have one live video at a time and that video stays up until the next video. On Facebook you should be able to see all the videos.
- If we have music it will likely be a pre-recorded worship service. I am not sure if we will have music or not.
- On this Wednesday, and the following (April 1st), I will be leading a Facebook live Bible study at 6:00 pm. You can interact and ask questions via Facebook. It should also be available on our website through the link above. After the Bible study I hope to post it to YouTube.
- Bethel Friends has a YouTube channel. I hope to post all the Bible study videos and worship videos on Youtube as well. Our YouTube link is below. You can go to that link and “subscribe” and even ask it to notify you of alerts. The Youtube videos will be posted after the Bible study or sermon, not at the same time.
- There may be Sunday school lessons on Youtube and the website, I am not sure yet.
- I already post daily Scripture reading on Facebook and podcasts and the website. They are on our website under the devotions tab: https://bethelfriendschurch.com/videos/devotion-podcasts/
- please watch our website, email or Facebook for updates.
I am here to help you any way I can. If you or someone you know need help getting to the grocery store or pharmacy please let me know. I am available to help with those types of things so that those more susceptible do not need to go out.
Lastly, a word of encouragement. We have nothing to fear. We have no reason to panic. As President Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” More importantly, the Bible teaches that God is in control. Psalm 46:1-2: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride… I encourage you to let God be your refuge during this time. There is a wonderful hymn titled “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” written by Martin Luther. I have known for a long time that he wrote that hymn while he was in hiding. But I recently heard that he wrote it during the bubonic plague. It is a beautiful hymn to minister to us now. You can read the background and lyrics below.
For your convenience here are the links:
live worship and Bible studies through the website:
Bethel Friends YouTube
A MIGHTY FORTRESS
Words and Music by Martin Luther, 1483–1546
English Translation by Frederick H. Hedge, 1805–1890
God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. (Psalm 46:1, 2)
October 31, 1517, is perhaps the most important day in Protestant history. This was the day when Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk and a professor of theology, posted on the doors of the Cathedral of Wittenberg, Germany, his 95 theses (complaints) against the teachings and practices of the medieval Roman Church. With this event, the 16th century Protestant Reformation was formally born.
The Protestant Reformation movement was built on three main tenets:
- The re-establishment of the Scriptures.
- Clarifying the means of salvation.
- The restoration of congregational singing.
“A Mighty Fortress” was written and composed by Martin Luther. The date of the hymn cannot be fixed with any exact certainty. It is generally believed, however, to have been written for the Diet of Spires in 1529 when the term “protestant” was first used. The hymn became the great rallying cry of the Reformation.
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing. For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe—His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide our striving would be losing, were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing. Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He—Lord Sabaoth His name, from age to age the same—and He must win the battle.
And tho this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph thru us. The prince of darkness grim—we tremble not for Him; His rage we can endure; for lo! his doom is sure—One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly pow’rs—no thanks to them—abideth; the Spirit and the gifts are ours thru Him who with us sideth. Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; the body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still—His kingdom is forever.
Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996), 326.
Lastly, remember the GREAT COMMISSION. When you give to the church your giving supports many ministries around the world. Your giving supports local ministries and overseas ministries. Plus, we are commanded to self-sacrificially give. Even if you are not in church you can give on our website at:
Let’s us remember that we have nothing to fear. Our God is in control and let’s remain in prayer as that is most important (Philippians 4:6-7).
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea…