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GOODNEWSletter Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church 264 Evergreen Rd., North Fort Myers, FL 33903 239-995-0988 MARCH 2009 Are you paying attention? Why? Do you think that I might have something important to say? Why? The thing is, my own words are not all that important. But I, as a Christian, have the obligation to speak on behalf of God. So, do you pay attention to what God has to say to you? Really? Why- is it because God is important to you? Do you pay attention to God because of the comfort and peace he offers you through his word? Are you speaking on behalf of God to others? Why not? You are a Christian. It is your obligation. More than that, it is a privilege to speak God's words to someone. People all around us need encouragement, especially today when people are still losing their homes and their jobs. People all around us, Christians and nonChristians, need the practical peace God offers in his word. Saint Paul is regarded as the greatest missionary, apart from Jesus himself, to ever walk the earth. He proclaimed the love of God in every situation—no matter where he was or what was happening to him. God and his word was always more important than Paul himself. So Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians: Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (9:16). Has the gospel worked in your heart to the point that you can say the same? Are you compelled to proclaim the gospel? If you are honest with yourself, you would have to admit that you have not felt compelled to proclaim the gospel of God to others for encouragement or to non-Christians. I have to admit the same. There is a good reason for this: we are not paying attention. If we were paying attention to God's words of encouragement and love we would not be able to keep the Good News to ourselves. You see, this is not just any good news, this is THE Good News! That's right—I'm talking about Jesus! Jesus is the comfort we seek to proclaim to a dying nation. Jesus is the encouragement we want all people to have as they struggle in poverty and weakness and sin. We have the obligation, more than that, the privilege, to proclaim Jesus to people who are just like we are: forgiven, justified, loved, secure, children of a heavenly Father. Are you paying attention now? Good. Proclaim.

Pastor Daniel Burgess

The Liturgical Year Throughout the next 9 months we will be highlighting the Church Year (also called the liturgical year). During this series you may discover something you had not known before about what we do as a church and why we do it that way. The Season of Lent "Lent is a time for giving things up," we tell ourselves. Yes, it is. But for a good reason. Lent is the time we remember how much our Lord Jesus Christ gave up for us. In former times, Christians were told to give up eating meat on Fridays during Lent. The reason? It was on Friday (Good Friday) that Jesus gave up his flesh, his life, for us. So every time someone had a meatless meal on Friday, that person was supposed to think, "I'm giving up meat today because on a Friday Jesus gave up so much for me. Thank you, Jesus!" That is a good practice. But church bodies have often gone too far in making that practice a command. It is not a command from God to not eat meat on Fridays. Why did the One we have seen and heard to be God's beloved Son have to give up his life for us? The very first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, tells us that story. On Ash Wednesday we learn again how Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord God in the Garden of Eden. God had created Adam "from the dust of the earth," the Scriptures say. God had given Adam and Eve everything in the Garden to eat—except the fruit of one tree. "In the day you eat of that one, you will die," God warned them solemnly. But they were tempted by Satan and they disobeyed. God confronted them in the Garden: "What have you done?" and reminded them of the consequences: "You are dust, and to dust you shall return." That's why many Christians observe Ash Wednesday by wearing ashes on their foreheads. That's also why the Scripture readings for Ash Wednesday urge us to "return to the Lord, your God" by confessing our sins and seeking God's forgiveness. Those are the thoughts we should try to keep on our minds throughout the Lenten season. A couple of items to note here. One is that

the length of time Jesus spent in the wilderness was 40 days. That's how long our season of Lent is, and that's why. But in Jesus' day, those days in the wilderness were probably supposed to remind his followers of the 40 years the Children of Israel spent in the wilderness after they had crossed the Red Sea on their way to the Promised Land. Another item to note is what happened to Jesus in the wilderness. The devil was waiting there to tempt Jesus to sin. We recognize the tactic, because we saw it back in the Garden of Eden, where the serpent was just waiting for Eve to come by. The devil is still trying to get people to "return to dust." The season of Lent does a good job of reminding us of that. History Although Easter is the oldest Christian season, the observance of Lent appeared between 200-300 AD. Lent was a time of preparation for persons being instructed in the Christian faith before their baptism. Following the model of Jesus' time in the wilderness, new adult converts practiced Lenten penance and prayer for 40 days while waiting to receive their baptism, confirmation and first Lord's Supper at the Saturday evening vigil before Easter. Today Lent calls us to take time out and look back on the impact of our baptism on our lives. How are we doing, we who have died to sin and come alive to new life in Christ? In repentance we ask our Lord to clear our hearts and lives of sin's self-centeredness. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday's somber repentance and leads us to Holy Week's bitter story and Easter's joy in Christ's resurrection. These 40 days (excluding Sundays) are the first half of a larger rainbow arch, centered over Easter. The other half includes the Easter season's 50 days in which we celebrate Christ's resurrection and our baptisms. Lent: an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "spring."

30 Days in Proverbs



1 Proverbs 1 2 Proverbs 2 3 Proverbs 3 4 Proverbs 4 5 Proverbs 5 6 Proverbs 6 7 Proverbs 7 8 Proverbs 8 9 Proverbs 9 10 Proverbs 10 11 Proverbs 11 12 Proverbs 12 13 Proverbs 13 14 Proverbs 14 15 Proverbs 15 16 Proverbs 16 17 Proverbs 17 18 Proverbs 18 19 Proverbs 19 20 Proverbs 20 21 Proverbs 21 22 Proverbs 22 23 Proverbs 23 24 Proverbs 24 25 Proverbs 25 26 Proverbs 26 27 Proverbs 27 28 Proverbs 28 29 Proverbs 29 30 Proverbs 30-31

Birthdays and Anniversaries Happy Birthday:

Mike Gerbasio Corey Hickman Dorothy Bublitz Noah Lozen Marian Schadler Judith Murphy Jim Smith Abigail Fletcher Ruth Bradley Velma Norberg

March 12 March 14 March 15 March 20 March 21 March 23 March 23 March 25 March 30 March 31

Happy Anniversary D.B. and Betty Futrell March 1 Allan and Cynthia Champlain March 3 Bernard and Harriet Held March 12 Roger and Donna Jensen March 20

LWMS Spring Rally March 14 (Saturday) will be the next Lutheran Women's Missionary Society Rally. It will be held here at Bethany.

Guest Preacher We will welcome Vicar Joel Russow from Summerville, SC on March 15th. He will be here to speak to us about God's Word. Please give him a warm welcome!

March Bonfire and Movie Night Friday, March 27 will feature our next movie night. Come and enjoy great fellowship around a roaring bonfire and treat the family to a free night of entertainment with a free, family-friendly movie shown on the back of the church building.

Free Lunch and Bible Study

Marshmallows to roast will be available along with hot chocolate and apple cider. The bonfires will be lit at 6:30 PM and the movie will start at 7:00 PM.

One day a week we will offer a free lunch to anyone who walks in. The lunch will be offered only one day a week for one hour. Those who come to the lunch are expected to stay for a Bible study led by Pastor. This is geared to help the homeless and the hard-up people in our immediate community. We will need several volunteers throughout the week to make this work.

If you have an interest in helping to set-up and run the Movie Night, please speak with pastor.

Access Florida

Genesis Bible Study Every second and fourth Monday of the month we will continue our study of the entire Bible. We are currently in the Book of Genesis. This month we will meet on Mondays, March 9 and 23. The classes are available at 2 different times: 1:30 PM and 7:00 PM. Even if you have not attended before, you can jump in anytime! Join us for some quality discussion and an overview of the Book of Genesis! We take a chapter each class.

Wednesday Worship Our regular Wednesday worship services continue every Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM. These are easy-to-follow services which precede the Sunday service—same readings and theme. Come and check it out!

This is an opportunity for us to assist people who need help finding government assistance (for example, signing up for welfare, disability, Medicare/Medicaid, etc.). We will provide at least one computer and offer hours in which we will be "open" to the public. Those who use our facilities for this program will then be invited to join Pastor for a one-on-one mini-Bible study.

Angel Food Network We have the opportunity to provide food on a monthly basis at a very low cost. This is a once-amonth program for about 2 hours a day. People in our community can sign up for low cost, good food, and then pick them up at our facility. This will get people in the community into our buildings, visiting with our people. We would need 3-4 volunteers for 3-4 hours one day a month. Anyone can sign up for this program. If you spend $200 a month on groceries, this program should save you about $50-75 a month. If you spend $300 a month, this program should save you about $100 a month on groceries. Again, anyone can sign up for this program. There are no qualifications or limitations. We plan to begin to distribute food in March. Sample menus are available on the Angel Food Network Website:

Ladies, You Are Invited. . . Ladies, you are invited to an afternoon tea. Join the Women's Ministry for an afternoon of fellowship with a cup of tea and treats. Come with the title of your favorite book of all time. Bring the book if you like. Please RSVP to Susan Halverson by March 24, 2009—239-543-3124. The date of the Ladies Tea: Saturday, March 28, 2:00-4:00 PM. It will be at Susan Halverson's home in Sabal Springs.

When You Are Online. . . Check out Bethany's Website: You can also read the latest GOODNEWSletter in a e-zine (internet magazine) at: and search for Bethany Lutheran Also, look for a video broadcast of our worship services on our website as well as on Mogulus at: You can also catch up with Pastor Burgess on Twitter: And at And on

Bethany's March GoodNews letter  
Bethany's March GoodNews letter  

A decription of the amazing things God is doing at Bethany Lutheran, North Fort Myers, FL.