All posts by Pat Gustafson

Backpack And Supply Collection

This year the Education Committee will be putting together backpacks to give to children/schools in need during the school year. We are also gathering supplies for the Learning Center.  Our goal is 20 backpacks that we can bless on August 19.  In order to do this, we will need supplies. <!–split–>

The items being collected are based on the Moline schools supply list.  As you can see, they are requesting brands of items.  The items can be brought to the office.  If you know of someone in need of a backpack, contact the office.  If you have questions, give Chris Baumann a call 309-799-7320. Thanks for your help.

Here are the items needed:

  • Money
  • Elmer’s glue sticks
  • Bottles of glue
  • Dry erase markers (expo)
  • 24 count Crayola crayons
  • 64 count Crayola crayons
  • Crayola washable markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Big pink erasers
  • Fiskar scissors,
  • #2 Ticonderoga pencils
  • Pens, (blue, black, red)
  • Black Sharpie marker
  • Wide rule spiral notebooks
  • Headphones
  • Yellow highlighter
  • 12 inch ruler
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Loose leaf paper
  • 2 pocket folders (plastic)
  • 2 pocket folders (paper)
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Clorox wipes
  • Quart Ziploc bags
  • Gallon Ziploc bags
  • Kleenex
  • Paper towels.

LEARNING CENTER: stickers, card stock papers, glue sticks, washable markers, colored pencils, and colored daubers.

New Pictorial Church Directory

Universal Church Directories will be here August 7 & 8  to photograph church members for a new pictorial directory.  Everyone who is photographed by Universal will receive a complimentary 8 x 10 portrait and a directory.  <!–split–>

To sign up, use one of the following methods:

  • Go online go to www.ucdir.com and type code IL116 with password BWM18 (lower-case letters must be used).
  • Or, Roxi Batten will be sitting outside the sanctuary before church to help you select a time slot for your photograph. Photographers will be here 2:00 to 8:30 pm both days.

From The Desk Of Pastor Stan

The past year has been one of the most enjoyable years of my 40 years of Ministry. Since becoming the Pastor here at Bethel Wesley, I have been blessed to shepherd some of the most wonderful people in Methodism. The warmth and acceptance has made it easy for me to adjust in so many ways. I thank all of you and I am constantly praying for each of you to grow spiritually and continue to be the loving and caring congregation that you are. <!–split–>

As we embark upon a new conference year, let’s all continue to support the programs, ministries and outreach efforts that Bethel Wesley is currently engaged in. I am excited to see which direction God is going to take us this year.

I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul’s letter of encouragement to the church at Philippi. Paul’s advice to his friends at Philippi, I believe, proves uniquely relevant for us today. Strange events are taking place in the world. A temptation exists for Christians to panic on one hand or go off on a tangent on the other hand. Some people even claim to have a key to future events and capitalize on their so-called knowledge by exploiting gullible people who follow them blindly. Yet, there are others who have become frustrated with the seeming hopelessness of the world and the condition that it is in. There are also those who have become emotionally incapable of normal Christian living and service.

What will wise Christians do? May I suggest that we follow Paul’s simple yet profound advice to the Christians at Philippi?  Whether God is about to wrap up history or not, we should serve him faithfully now. If God is ready to take us to heaven, we should be ready to go. If, however God wants us to continue to live in this perplexed world, we need to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Why, of one thing we can be certain – our work, no matter how small it may seem, will not be useless nor fruitless if we are serving our Savior!

Ice Cream Social

The United Methodist Women (UMW) of Bethel Wesley  will be dishing up ice cream and goodies – Come and enjoy!

Sunday, 24 June – 4:30 – 6:30 pm – Activity Center

Tickets Available At The Door

Adults $3.   Children (10 & under) $2.  Price includes pie or cake, ice cream & beverage.

Also available:  Sloppy Joe or Polish Sausage – $3; Hot Dogs – $2

Artificial Sweeteners May Actually Cause You to Gain Weight

If you think switching to artificial sweeteners will help with weight loss, you may want to put down that diet soda for a moment.   A new meta-analysis published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that artificial sweeteners may be associated with an increased risk of obesity, long-term weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Artificial sweeteners include stevia, sucralose, and aspartame. <!–split–>

Researchers from the University of Manitoba reviewed 37 studies involving 400,000 people for an average of 10 years. Seven of these studies were randomized controlled trials that followed 1,003 people for an average of six months. Researchers said the seven trials failed to show a consistent link between artificial sweeteners and weight loss. The longer-term studies actually showed a higher risk of health problems. “Most people consuming artificial sweeteners do so assuming these products will help them avoid weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. Yet we are seeing the opposite association from multiple studies,” Meghan Azad, PhD, told Healthline. Azad is the lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba.”  “Based on all of the research done so far, there’s no clear evidence for a long-term benefit (of using artificial sweeteners). But there is evidence of potential harm from the long-term consumption of artificial sweeteners,” she said.  Too much sugar  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people in the United States consume too much added sugar.                                                                                                                                                                      These are sugars that are added to foods and beverages when they’re processed or prepared. Naturally occurring sugars in fruit or milk are not considered added sugars. Both the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend people should keep their sugar intake to less than 10 percent of their total daily calories.  For a 2,000-calorie diet, for example, only 200 calories should come from added sugars.  “The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and USDA MyPlate recommend people choose and prepare foods and beverages with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners,” Lauri Wright, PhD, assistant professor in public health at the University of South Florida, told Healthline. “In excess, sugar can contribute to nutritional deficiencies by supplying calories without providing vitamins and minerals. Excess sugar can also cause tooth decay and contribute to obesity, heart disease, and poor control of diabetes. Additionally, sugar causes inflammation, which worsens arthritis and is bad for blood vessels,” she said. Be aware of the consequences Azad said it’s important that consumers are aware of the risks of both sugar and artificial sweetener consumption. “Sugar is receiving a lot of attention lately as a major cause of these conditions. It’s important to study ‘sugar substitutes’ in parallel, to understand their impact on the same conditions. If we don’t do this, consumers may (understandably) assume that artificial sweeteners are a healthy choice — but this may not be true. Reducing consumption of sugar and artificially sweetened products in general is likely a good strategy,” she said.

Azad added that more research is needed to understand the long-term health impact of artificial sweeteners.  “This is especially important given the widespread and increasing consumption of artificial sweeteners in the general population, and the increasing use of artificial sweeteners in our food supply. Over 40 percent of adult Americans consume NNS (non-nutritive sweeteners) on a daily basis,” she said.  Artificial sweeteners are everywhere  Azad noted that studies have also found that some people are exposed to artificial sweeteners without even realizing it. Blood and urine samples taken from people who reported not consuming artificial sweeteners still found traces of the product. “This should inspire consumers to think about whether they want to be consuming artificial sweeteners, especially on a regular basis. We don’t know if they’re a truly harmless alternative to sugar,” Azad said. So which is the better option for weight loss? Artificial sweeteners or regular sugars?  Wright says it’s not as simple as switching from one product to another. “Weight loss is very complicated. It’s not realistic to think that sugar substitutes alone will result in significant weight loss,” she said. She advises that those who want to lose weight should work with a registered dietician. A dietician can help identify lifestyle changes that need to be made and develop strategies to support those changes. “Switching to sugar substitutes may be one strategy, but alone it will probably not have as great an impact,” she said.

Your Parish Nurse,  Kara

From the desk of Pastor Stan – The Lord Is My Shepherd, PSALM 23

A Shepherd To Individuals

“The LORD is my shepherd ….” Who can make this claim? Israel, certainly. Yes, Moses, too. David? God was surely David’s shepherd. When no one, absolutely no one, took the stripling David remotely seriously as the one who would wrest the throne from Saul, the LORD raised up Samuel to anoint him king, selecting him over his brothers who were far more likely contenders. David, himself a shepherd, traditionally thought to be the author of this psalm — surely he can make the claim, “The LORD is my shepherd.” <!–split–>

Yes, when we think of it, there are many scattered throughout what we call the Old Testament who could pray this psalm and mean it: “The LORD is my shepherd.” We have what the letter to the Hebrews calls a great cloud of witnesses who, when they were reduced to nothing, were led, shepherded, provided for by the LORD. Deborah and Barak, Gideon, laying out his fleece, all guided to take on the mighty Philistine charioteers — and prevail. Ruth, clinging to the skirt of her mother-in-law, like Abraham leaving her country and her kindred and her parents’ house. The prophets: Isaiah. Jeremiah, no more than a child, yet speaking the truth to power, and being imprisoned in a dry well for his trouble, brought out again by the intervention of those who had ears to hear God speaking through him.

And finally, David’s direct descendant, the one we call Lord: Jesus Christ — yes, certainly he can pray this prayer, as he prayed, on the cross, the lament contained in the psalm immediately preceding this one. The LORD delivered him out of the very jaws of death.

This psalm and its promises are surely accessible to all of these. Even in the New Testament, those first apostles could surely lay claim to this statement, “The LORD is my shepherd.” When they could do nothing but cower in a locked room, suddenly, the Lord, the risen Lord, Jesus — the Good Shepherd — was there among them, showing them his hands and his side, sending them forth to proclaim the Good News to a world hungry for it. Saul, later Paul, yanked off his horse by the Good Shepherd’s staff as he made his way to Damascus to give those first Christians reason to cry out, “The Lord is my shepherd!” — Paul, persecuted, beaten with rods, given the 40 lashes minus one, and going on to raise up churches throughout that Empire that thought it ruled the world; certainly he had as much claim to the words, “the LORD is my shepherd” as any in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Our Shepherd, Too

But what about us? What about me? Can we be so bold as to make this claim, “The LORD is my shepherd?” Can we move beyond reciting, yet barely daring to believe, these verses as words we were required to memorize as children? How, when, do these words, “The LORD is my shepherd,” become, not just words in the Bible, but our words, even my words? How do I lay claim to these words and make them mine? May I be so bold …?

Let’s look at what comes after the psalmist makes his claim, “The LORD is my shepherd.” I will, the psalmist says, lie down in green pastures. I will surely find myself beside, not troubled waters, but still waters. My soul shall be restored. I will discover right paths, and even in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for the LORD, who is indeed my shepherd, will lead me.

Surely the psalmist makes a bold claim in the first verse: “The LORD is my shepherd.” But then the bold claims, by necessity, stop. Yes, I will find myself lying in green pastures — but they will not be pastures I will have sought out or constructed; it is the LORD who will lead me to them. I will rest beside still waters — yet it is the LORD who will take me there. I myself, in my own wisdom, haven’t a clue where they are or how to find them. I cannot find my way to them any more than sheep — let’s face it, notoriously stupid animals — can find their own way to adequate pastures and watering holes.

In making the bold claim, the LORD is my shepherd, the psalmist must move immediately to the understanding that if the LORD is the shepherd — then I must be the sheep. And herein lies the proverbial rub for us denizens of this postmodern world, this self-sufficient, independent culture. We would rather wander in the wilderness than admit that we even need a shepherd. We hold in contempt the very idea that any God worthy of the name — worthy of us — would stoop to be something so lowly as a shepherd. We don’t want a “shepherd,” anyway; we want a warrior king to turn us into a triumphant army of which we will be co-commanders.

 Our Need For God

If we would lay claim to this claim, made by so many throughout the centuries, we need also to lay claim to our need for God. If I would pray, The LORD is my shepherd, I have to relinquish my claim that I will find my own way forward. If I would have the LORD as my shepherd, if we would call the LORD our shepherd, we have to let go of our expectation that we will find pastures for ourselves, that we with our technology and our “can-do” spirit will wrest water for ourselves from whatever rock dares stand in our way.

Would we claim the LORD as our shepherd? Then we need to let go. We need simply to rest in the presence of the LORD, seek the LORD’s guidance in prayer, both personal and  collective, let go and let the LORD lead. If we would have the LORD as our shepherd — let us first off acknowledge that the LORD is our shepherd.

And then — may the LORD lead us forward, to green  pastures, still waters. May the LORD take us down our right path. Even if our right path takes us into the very Valley of the Shadow of Death — we in our humility will be bold, in that we will fear no evil, for we will know our shepherd, and we will know that the shepherd — our shepherd — will be with us  always.