Bethlehem Connect August/September 2019 - Page 2

A Year of Character Development Upcoming Sermon Series: by Pastor Mary Pechauer Dear Friends in Christ — Whether or not you’re a Game of Thrones fan, chances are you’ve heard of the show that captured the imaginations of millions around the world. When the final season aired this year, a record 17.4 million people tuned in. I was one of them. There were parts of the series that I could have done without, but the storyline and characters drew me in, keeping me engaged for eight years! Critics suggest that the show’s popularity was due in large part to the moral complexity of the characters: the “good” ones had flaws and the “bad” ones had something redeeming. Character development is vital to every compelling story. It’s true for the bible. It’s true for you and me, too. This year our worship experience will be centered in 52 bible stories — one for each week of the year. So many of the stories are connected. They cross reference people, place and time. There’s often a lot going on and we miss important elements that help make the characters come to life. "When you fall in love with a story and care about the characters, the story becomes a part of you." Is There More to Life than This? As humans, we long for meaning and belonging. We find it in work and play and people around us. Yet, we hope our lives are somehow part of a larger story, that we’re connected to a purpose that transcends our pursuit of status and stuff. We long, in short, for relationship with the one who made us. How do we speak of such things? And how do we grow in faith? August 4 August 11 August 18 August 25 September 1 Ephesians 1:3-14 Ephesians 3:14-21 Ephesians 1:15-23 Ephesians 6:10-20 Ephesians 4:1-16 So with each bible story we’re going to focus on figuring out who’s who, how people are connected, what their back story is, and why we should care. We’re hoping you’ll fall in love with the stories — maybe for the first time, or maybe you’ll fall in love with them all over again. When you fall in love with a story and care about the characters, the story becomes a part of you. You look forward to what’s next. It influences the choices you make and the values you hold dear. Our hope is that focusing on these foundational bible stories and characters will open each of us to the power of God’s story as it continues to unfold in and through us for the sake of the world. See you in church — Pastor Mary Now What? What’s Next Follow Up Conversations Minneapolis campus, Wednesday, August 28 at 7:00 – 8:30 pm OR Saturday, September 7 at 9 – 10:30 am; Minnetonka campus, Wednesday, September 4 at 7 – 8:30 pm Last summer we invited the congregation to participate in a conversation about what’s next for Bethlehem. Over 180 people came to the seven different sessions. We listened. We learned. We shared thoughts about where and how God was leading us to be church. We’d love to circle back and share what’s been happening this past year — where we’ve been, what we’re learning and where we’re going. We hope you’ll join us for more conversation around these important discoveries. Light refreshments will be served. 2 Next CONNECT deadline for the October/November issue: September 10, 2019 The format is bi-monthly. Submissions can be sent to Leah Johnson, CONNECT newsletter online