All posts by Pat Gustafson

“Generosity – A Path to True Discipleship”

October is Stewardship month.  During this month, you are encouraged to be generous with your time, talents, gifts, and service to support Bethel Wesley.

In mid-October, look for a letter from the Finance and Stewardship Committee with more information on our theme – “Generosity – A Path to True Discipleship”, and a pledge card requesting for you to prayerfully consider your support of Bethel Wesley for 2019.  On Sunday October 28th, we will have commitment services to collect the pledge cards.

Please pray for Bethel Wesley, our conference, and what part of God’s generosity you can share to support our mission of being a ”True Disciple” of God.

— Finance and Stewardship Committee

October is Pastor Appreciation Month

We’re counting on the Bethel Wesley congregation to let   Pastor Stan know how much we appreciate his time and talents.  We have not planned any special events, but will leave it up to each individual to decide how you wish to let him know what a blessing he has been to you.  Hugs, cards, gifts, kind words are just some suggestions!

– Staff Parish Relations Committee

COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a serious lung disease that, over time, makes it hard to breathe. COPD is used to describe a variety of lung diseases, including, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. An estimated 24 million people have COPD today, but about half do not realize it. <!–split–>

Many people mistake shortness of breath as a normal part of aging or a result of being out of shape, but that is not necessarily the case. COPD develops slowly, so symptoms may not be obvious until damage has occurred. Common symptoms include an ongoing cough, a cough that produces a lot of mucus, shortness of breath (especially during physical activity), wheezing and chest tightness.

Those most at risk are smokers, former smokers over the age of 40 and people who have had long-term exposure to other lung irritants like secondhand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes and dust. Additionally, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, a rare genetic condition known as AAT deficiency, can increase the risk of developing COPD.

If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, you need to get tested by your doctor. Spirometry is a simple breathing test that your doctor can use to tell if you have COPD and, if so, how severe it is. Early screening can also identify COPD before major loss of lung function occurs.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for COPD. However, if you do indeed have COPD, you need to know that there are things you can do to help manage symptoms and protect your lungs from further damage, including:

  • Quit smoking: If you smoke, the best thing you can do to prevent more damage to your lungs is to quit. To get help, the National Cancer Institute offers a number of smoking cessation resources at gov or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. You can also ask your doctor about prescription anti-smoking drugs that can help reduce nicotine cravings.
  • Avoid air pollutants: Stay away from things that could irritate your lungs like dust, allergens and strong fumes. Also, to help improve your air quality at home, you can remove dust-collecting clutter, keep carpets clean, run an exhaust fan when using smelly cleaning products, bug sprays or paint, ban smoking indoors and keep windows closed when outdoor air pollution is high (see govfor daily air-quality reports).
  • Guard against flu: The flu can cause serious problems for people who have COPD, so you should get a flu shot every fall and wash and sanitize your hands frequently to avoid getting sick. You can also ask your doctor about getting the pneumococcal immunizations for protection against pneumonia.
  • Take prescribed medications: Bronchodilators (taken with an inhaler) are commonly used for COPD. They help relax the airway muscles to make breathing easier. Depending on how severe your condition, you may need a short-acting version to use only when symptoms occur or a long-acting prescription for daily use. Inhaled steroids may also help decrease inflammation, reduce mucus and prevent flare-ups.

For more information, visit the COPD Foundation at copdfoundation.org or call the COPD information line at 866-316-2673.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of “The Savvy Living” book.

FROM THE DESK OF PASTOR STAN: “The Undivided Heart” by Carolyn Moore

Most anyone who has ever held a part time position in a church will be the first to tell you there is really no such thing as “part time” in church work.  “Part-time” is a carrot they dangle so they can get you on the payroll and soak up every minute of you, but maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.  This work, however, is not meant to be carried out with our leftover time or leftover money.  Jesus never gave us that option.  He calls those who follow earnestly to take up  crosses, die to self, leave it all on the table.  We are even told that those who preach and teach are held to a higher standard.  “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers,” James warns, “because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1). <!–split–>

If the only option open to us is wholeheartedness – being wholly devoted to God and his work – then how do we know we have it?  What is the litmus test for wholeheartedness?  What spiritual work must we tackle before we can give ourselves completely to this vocation of serving Jesus?  We know from both Scripture and experience that it isn’t our skill set that gets us there, nor is it our awesome connections or superior ability to do everything just right.  This business of wholeheartedness is a spiritual operation.  It is what it says it is:  heart-level wholeness.

What does it mean to become whole, by biblical standards?  Surely it begins with Paul’s advice to work out your own salvation daily with fear and trembling.  Stay in it, Paul advises, and wrestle with what it looks like in your life.  Let the daily wrestling expose the cracks and wounds.  Deal with the unholy fears that paralyze you, leaving you stranded out there in the desert, unable to make the journey into the promises of God.  Acknowledge your doubts, and dare to believe God can handle them. To become wholehearted, we must deal with our wounds and hesitations, fears and doubts, even as we develop eyes to see what God sees.

When I was a little girl, I often had nightmares. I’d wake up petrified and run for my parents’ room.  I wanted my mother’s comfort.  But it was dark, and things in the dark look ominous. If there was anything on the floor of their bedroom – clothes, bedroom shoes, anything that could be misinterpreted in the dark – I’d end up standing paralyzed in the doorway, just feet from their bed, unable to reach my mom for fear of what that thing on the floor might be.  I always assumed the worst.

Carry the remnants of those early fears into adulthood and they begin to look remarkable familiar to many of us. We allow all kinds of things to generate fear within, to stand between us and the comfort we so desperately need.  We become afraid of getting too close to others, afraid of losing control, afraid of going too far with God, maybe even afraid of succeeding (too much pressure!).  We can become paralyzed by irrational fears.  The writer of Leviticus has our number.  He describes a conversation between God and his people.  If the Israelites continue to disobey, their land will be devastated and the people will be scattered.  “And for those of you who survive, I will demoralize you in the land of your enemies.  You will live in such fear that the sound of a leaf driven by the wind will send you fleeing.  You will run as though fleeing from a sword and you will fall even when no one pursues you.  Though no one is chasing you, you will stumble over each other as though fleeing from a sword.  You will have no power to stand up against your enemies” (Leviticus 26:36-37 NLT).

(CONTINUED NEXT MONTH)

Fellowship Luncheon

Thursday, August 23 – Noon – Activity Center

MENU:

We will be celebrating our Swedish heritage with a mini Swedish smorgasbord – including meatballs, potato sausage, rice pudding and more!

RSVP to Steve & Mary Ann Harvey at 786-2062.

Nurse’s Notes — August Is Back To School Month

T’was the night before school started,

When all through the town,

The parents were cheering.

It was a riotous sound!

By eight, kids were washed

And tucked into bed…

When memories of homework…filled them with dread!

New pencils, new folders, new notebooks, too!

New teachers, new friends…their anxiety grew!

The parents just giggled when they learned of this fright

And shouted upstairs-…

GO TO BED-IT’S A SCHOOL NIGHT!     Author unknown

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When most adults think about exercise, they imagine working out in the gym, running on a treadmill, or lifting weights.

But for kids, exercise means playing and being physically active. Kids exercise when they have gym class at school, during recess, at dance class or soccer practice, while riding bikes, or when playing tag.

The Many Benefits of Exercise

Everyone can benefit from regular exercise. Kids who are active will:

Besides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better. They’re also better able to handle physical and emotional challenges — from running to catch a bus to studying for a test.

The Three Elements of Fitness

If you’ve ever watched kids on a playground, you’ve seen the three elements of fitness in action when they:

  1. run away from the kid who’s “it” (endurance)
  2. cross the monkey bars (strength)
  3. bend down to tie their shoes (flexibility)

Parents should encourage their kids to do a variety of activities so that they can work on all three elements.

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/exercise.html?WT.ac=p-ra#catstaying-fit

From The Desk Of Pastor Stan

This article is from the United Methodist “Good News” publication. 

I wanted to share it with you . . .

 “Outwitted by God” by James V. Heidinger II

Maxie Dunnam was reluctant to write God Outwitted Me: The Stories of my Life (Seedbed).  He feared it might appear self-serving.  And after all, he had already written some 40 books and felt that he had told the stories about his life as he was  living it.  While he was urged by many to write such a work, we are deeply indebted to his wife, Jerry, for the nudge that was “the final straw that pushed me over the edge.”  She urged him to write it if for “no other reason, for our children and grandchildren.” <!–split–>

As I write these words, I find myself wanting to thank Jerry repeatedly for that nudge.  I also thank J.D. Walt and the Seedbed team for publishing this rich, relevant, and deeply moving memoir.  The word memoir, rather than autobiography, is Maxie’s choice.  “I’m reminiscing and reflecting,” he writes.  “Some may even say I’m ‘preaching and teaching’ about my experiences.”  These are, indeed, the stories of his life, and Methodists around the world will be deeply moved, instructed, and blessed by them.  Bishops would do well to recommend it to their pastors.

Maxie Dunnam was born in deeply rural Mississippi in 1934, when the country was still feeling the seismic effects of the Great Depression.  He knew poverty and deprivation and paints vivid word pictures of the bleakness of his childhood years.  His home had no electricity or plumbing, and a pathway led down to the outdoor toilet with its memorable, pungent odors.  He recalls the 200-yard trek the family made to get water from a spring.

It was from this humble, backwoods setting that Maxie Dunnam, at age 13, responded to the Gospel he heard preached by Brother Wiley Grissom at Eastside Baptist Church.  As he went forward, his father was right behind him to profess faith in Christ.  The next Sunday, they both were baptized at nearby Thompson Creek.  I admired Maxie’s telling of Brother Grissom’s influence on his life.  Though the Baptist preacher had only a 5th grade education, Maxie showed no condescension toward the uneducated Baptist preacher who had brought him to Christ.  Maxie noted that later, while president of Asbury Theological Seminary, he often thought of Brother Grissom.  “Memory of him kept me aware of the fact that calling and anointing are as important (ultimately, maybe more important) as education.”

From this rural Mississippi setting, came a humble young man who became an effective Methodist minister, served churches faithfully, became the World Editor of the Upper Room devotional, and while there founded the church’s Walk to Emmaus program and helped launch the Academy for Spiritual Formation.  He became a leader in the World Methodist Council, served as senior pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, and then in 1994 was elected President of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.  After serving as seminary president for 10 years, Maxie, along with his wife, Jerry, returned to Christ UM Church in Memphis where he serves today on the staff as minister-at-large along with senior pastor Shane Stanford.  What an extraordinary journey! One senses in this compelling work the pivotal role that prayer has played in Maxie’s ministry, as well as the impressive reality of how Maxie and Jerry were always a team doing ministry together.

In fact, Jerry was a working partner with Maxie in the World Methodist Council.  At the 1991 World Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Jerry envisioned each national church being asked to create in advance an artistic representation of their church in the year prior to coming to the ‘91 Conference.  In the words of Dr. Joe Hale, the late general secretary of the World Methodist Council, “The overall result was a spectacular array of color, coordinated style, and …an international artistry that was stunning.”  One day of the conference, these banners were carried “through the streets of the city in a great procession.”  Jerry’s wonderful vision of artistry has been a part of every world conference since.

Readers walk with Maxie through the incredible racial violence that existed in Mississippi in 1963.  While he was pastoring there, Medgar Evers was assassinated in Jackson.  The civil rights leader had been helping in James Meredith’s efforts to enroll in the University of Mississippi.  The whole nation was seething with emotion and anger.  Maxie was one of twenty-eight Methodist ministers in the Mississippi Annual Conference who gathered to present a statement.  “Born of Conviction,” to the church in Mississippi.  The statement shook Methodism to its foundations as it got wide media coverage in the state.

One feels the emotion as one of Maxie’s most active members, a doctor who had delivered both of their daughters, “stormed into my office, threw a copy of the Times-Picayune (a New Orleans newspaper) down on the desk and shouted, “What the hell is this?  I have never been so disappointed in my life!”  Maxie’s handling of this encounter is a beautiful example of how Christ was forming his mind and character in the early years of his ministry.

Maxie recalls that, “Within 18 months of the signing of the document, 18 of the 28 signers had left Mississippi, two left later, and only 8 continued their total ministry vocation in the state.” In June of 2013, on the 50th anniversary of Evers’ death, the Mississippi Annual Conference was meeting in Jackson.  The conference presented the The Emma Elzy Award, and award celebrating those who had contributed to the improvement of race relations in Mississippi, to “the 28 ministers.”  Eight of the 28 signers who were still living were present.  Maxie was invited and was there along with Keith Tonkel to    accept the award for “the 28.”  Maxie said in his acceptance remarks, “Fifty years ago some young men, now old men, signed a statement, and now this Annual Conference is saying, ‘We appreciate that.’ God outwits us.” (For a complete article about the statement and its impact, see “The Long Arc Toward Justice” by Steve Beard, Good News, July/August, 2013.)

Maxie is know and loved by Methodists around the world probably more than any living United Methodist leader.  They will be blessed and edified by his book.  Here is a pastor who has been effective in the local church, bold in addressing issues facing the nation, a visionary leader at the Upper Room, a prolific author, a seminary president, a voice for renewal (the Houston and Memphis Declarations, and a co-founder of the Confessing Movement), and a mentor to more pastors than we might imagine.

Maxie believes his most significant contribution to the cause of Christianity and the Christian Church was The Workbook of Living Prayer.  It was first published in 1974 and is still in print.  The publisher estimates that more than one million copies have been printed, and it is available in at least six different languages.  These numbers are utterly stunning! Maxie reports having received “thousands of letters from people who have used it” and many have testified “that their lives were transformed, and many others mark their commitment to full-time Christian ministry to the use of the workbook.”

This is a story that needed to be told.  It is a book that needs to be read.  For those who read it, they will find it far more rewarding than they might have imagined.

In the foreword to the book, the Rev. J.D. Walt, Seedbed’s Publisher, tells of having the task of introducing Maxie to a large group of folks gathered for a weekend of preaching and teaching.  He struggled as he stood before the group and asked, “How does one introduce a hero?”  With those words, he broke down and began to weep.  He could only motion for Maxie to come to the stage, and he sat down.  I think I understand.  Maxie has been a great Christian leader of our day, is a man of genuine humility, of Christlikeness, of impeccable integrity, of seasoned wisdom, and a leader grounded in biblical truth and prayer.  J.D., you are right.  He is worthy of being our “hero.”  May the Lord give us more like him.

Family Fun Movie Night – August 17th at 8:30 pm in Bethel Wesley Parking Lot

Round up your kids, grandkids, friends & neighbors for a fun-filled outdoor movie night.  It will be like going to a drive–in movie only free.  There will be popcorn and pop available.  Bring your own chairs, blankets or sleeping bags to relax on during the movie.  “Trailer Made” is the movie that will be shown.  It is about a father and a young son going on an adventure to Africa in the father’s attempt to reconnect with his son.  After they land in Africa, they lose their luggage and their passports.  Come and see what happens to them!  The fun begins at 8:30!