Jesus says in Matthew 25:14-15, “Once there was a man who was about to leave home on a trip; he called his servants and put them in charge of his property. He gave to each one according to his ability: to one he gave five thousand gold coins, to another he gave two thousand, and to another he gave one thousand. Then he left on his trip”.

In those days there weren’t any banks, so when this rich man left for his long trip, he entrusted his property to his servants. When he returned, he asked for an account from the servants; he wanted to know what they had done with his money.

This is called stewardship — it is related to the old English word for “manager.”

The first law of financial freedom is the law of possession: Everything you have belongs to God. You are only a manager!

We are called to be stewards of our time. We are called to be stewards of our influence. We are called to be stewards of our health, our relationships, and our opportunities. God calls you to be steward or manager of everything you have.

You may say, “But wait a minute! I worked for my money, and now you want to tell me it isn’t mine?” Where do you think you got your body to work for your money? Where do you think you got your mind to work for it? Where do you think you got the energy to work for it? Where do you think you got the intelligence to work for it? Everything you have is a gift from God. You don’t really own anything in life; it’s all on loan.

You only get to use God’s money while you’re here on Earth. He’s loaned it to you for a few decades. He loaned it to somebody before you, and he’s going to loan it to somebody else after you die. You don’t own it; the Master owns it all. It’s all under management.

Do you know what the sign is that you’ve forgotten the law of possession? When you think your money is yours, you worry about it. You feel a pressure and stress that you weren’t meant to have.

Money management is a spiritual discipline. God is actually watching how you handle his money to see what spiritual riches he can trust you with in heaven. This might make you feel pressure, but there is actually freedom in the law of possession.

When you remember that God is the owner and you are the manager, you’ll worry a whole lot less and focus more on managing God’s money well.

Tammy and I are praying for you and your family today! Email us.

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

Your gifts are changing lives! Click here to give online- Thank You for your gifts!

Do you show people grace?

It’s what God wants us to do, but it’s not always easy to do because we are so often focused on ourselves.

It’s easier sometimes to be selfish instead of gracious.

We see the slow checker in the grocery store line as a five-minute interruption to our day rather than somebody who might be struggling to keep his job, somebody who just got the worst news of his life a few minutes earlier.

We see the one in our family who’s struggling right now as a drain on us rather than seeing their hopelessness over a desperate situation. We see the person who cut us off on the freeway as the physical embodiment of Satan instead of just a jerk who is in need of God’s love!

We are all jerks in need of God’s love!!

That’s why Jesus Christ came into this world, and to show people grace is to remember what God has done for us. The ultimate way God shows us grace is by forgiveness. And the ultimate way he asks us to show grace to other people is by forgiving them.

Colossians 3:13 says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others”.

People often ask me, “How can I find the strength to forgive? I don’t have it in me.” I don’t have it in me, either! The only place I’ve ever found the strength to forgive is to remember how much Jesus has forgiven me. When I remember that, then He gives me the strength and grace to forgive others.

Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross, was reminded by a friend of an especially cruel thing that somebody had done to her years before. Barton acted like she didn’t remember it, and the friend asked, “Don’t you remember?” Her famous reply was, “No, I distinctly remember forgetting it.”

What do you need to forget? If you don’t forgive, you’re not going to enjoy God’s vision for the rest of your life, because unforgiveness will keep you stuck in the past. You need to forgive for your sake, and then you need to get on with your life. Forgiveness is not saying that what somebody did was right or that there shouldn’t be consequences for what happened. It just means that you let go of your anger and hurt and give it to God so that you can move on with God’s purpose for your life.

When that seems impossible, when you feel like you can’t be gracious toward someone, just remember one thing: Jesus forgave you. Remembering the grace God has shown you will give you the strength to be gracious to and forgive others.

Tammy and I are praying for you this morning! Email us and let us know how we can lift you before the Father.

THANK YOU for your gifts to Bethlehem Church- Your gifts go a long ways towards healing and hope- God bless you! Click here to give online!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

We all need Wisdom!!

The Bible says this about wisdom in Proverbs 22:17-18: “Listen, and I will teach you what the wise have said. Study their teachings, and you will be glad if you remember them and can quote them”.

Notice four key verbs in that Scripture: listen, study, remember, and quote. Those are marks of wisdom!

You can’t just learn something and become wiser; you’ve got to remember it. And you can’t just remember it; you’ve got to reinforce it. Because if you don’t remember and reinforce it, you end up having to learn the same lesson over and over.

You have to retain it to remember it so you can review it so you can apply it.

People say, “I can’t remember anything!” Oh, yes you can. You remember what’s important to you. You remember what you love. You remember what matters to you.

For instance, maybe you say, “I can’t memorize the Bible.” But you remember every baseball or football statistic for the last season. Or you say, “I can’t remember the Bible,” but you can quote all kinds of lyrics to popular songs or every step to a favorite recipe or something else you care about. You remember what’s important to you!

When the truth becomes important to you, you will remember it. You will remember it and you will rehearse it and you will reinforce it and you will review it in your life. Then it can begin to change your life!

“Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body” (Proverbs 4:20-22).

Tammy and I are praying for YOU!  Email us.

Thank you for your gifts to the Lord through Bethlehem Church! Click here to give online- We are grateful for YOU!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

When you’ve got something that is very precious to you, whether it’s rare, expensive, or an heirloom, and you don’t want it to be stolen, broken, or burned up, you take it to the bank and entrust it to the protection of a safety deposit box.

Even more than a locked box in your bank, whatever you entrust to God, He is going to take care of!  You can count on it!

He has a track record. Other people may not have a consistent track record of taking care of things for you. But whatever you entrust to God, He will take care of.

So, what do you need to entrust to God today? I’ll tell you what it is — it’s whatever you’re worrying about. Whatever you’re worrying about, you need to entrust it to the safety deposit box of God’s love.

Worry is practical atheism, because it’s acting like you don’t have a Father in Heaven who loves you and who can be trusted, like you’re a spiritual orphan. Worry is unbelief; it’s saying you don’t believe the 6,000 promises God made in the Bible.

The most difficult time for you to put stuff in God’s safety deposit box is when you’re in pain. When you are suffering, you don’t want to trust even God. You want to pull it back and hold it to yourself.

Paul knew this, but he also knew that when you’re in pain, that’s when you need to trust God the most. He said, “I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return” (2 Timothy 1:12).

I talk to people sometimes who say, “I’m afraid to give my life to Jesus Christ because I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep the commitment.”

Let me just be honest with you: You can’t keep your commitment. You will mess up! Fortunately your salvation isn’t based on your keeping the commitment. It’s based on Christ keeping his promise and YOU CAN TAKE THAT TO THE BANK!

Don’t miss services today- Tammy and I will be looking for you!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

I become a servant to everyone so that I can win them to Christ. … Whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so that he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him. I do this to get the Good News to them. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

Do we care enough about people to do whatever it takes to tell them about Jesus?

Paul did. He wrote in 1 Corinthians 9 that he became “a servant to everyone [to] win them to Christ. … Whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so that he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him.”

God wants us to love people that much — enough to reach out to them with the gospel in a creative way. We need to use every available method, at every available time, to reach every available person for Jesus Christ.

Bethlehem has taken the step to offer the identical service from Sunday morning on Friday night…we are one of the few churches in America that offer Friday Night Church!

Why do we have Friday Night Church???

  1. 25% of the population works on the weekend…this gives a lot of folks in our community an opportunity to Worship God!
  2. We want to introduce more people to Jesus…churches that offer one service…at one time of day…on one day of the week are offering one choice to the people in their community: “take it or leave it.” We want to help more people say “Yes” to Jesus!
  3. The more choices a church offers, the more people will say “yes” to one of them!
  4. We feel that God has led us to offer this to our community- I love Friday Night Church!

I invite you to come out tonight at 7pm…I think you will love it!

Thankful to be your Pastor,

Pastor Dickie

If you need prayer, email me.

If we want to succeed in life, we must learn how to master our moods.

When you’re dealing with an emotion that’s holding you back, you’ve got two options: You either change it, or you direct it.

Some emotions are so destructive, so damaging, so hurtful, so non-effective, the only thing you can do is change it. You’ve got to change what you’re feeling.

Philippians 2:5 says, “Your attitude should be the kind that was shown us by Jesus Christ”.

Your attitude includes your emotions, so what you’re feeling should be the same as that of Jesus. You need to ask yourself, “How would Jesus feel in this situation? Would Jesus get irritated with this waitress? No. Would Jesus yell at that person? No. Would Jesus be up all night, wringing his hands and worrying that it isn’t going to work out? No. Would Jesus be fearful? No.”

Then, you instantly dismiss any feeling that doesn’t make you more like Jesus. If Jesus wouldn’t respond to your spouse with that emotion, then you shouldn’t either. You drop that attitude, and you figure out what Jesus would do instead.

Sometimes you need to direct what you’re feeling. God has a PURPOSE FOR YOUR PAIN!

Your greatest ministry will not come out of your strengths and successes. Your greatest ministry could come out of your deepest pain.

What pain in your life are you using for good? If you have been in so much pain you didn’t even want to talk about it, then you need to learn to manage your emotions. You need to name the emotion, challenge it, and direct it if you’re not going to change it. Then, ask God to help you to use it for good!

If Tammy and I can pray for you, email us.

Thank you for your gifts! Click here to give online!

DO. NOT. MISS. SERVICE. TOMORROW! IT WILL HELP YOU LAUNCH INTO A BRAND NEW YEAR!

We love YOU!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

A resolution that we need to make in 2019 is this: Choose short-term pain for long-term gain.

Anybody who’s ever played sports knows this one. You’ve got to practice and work hard in order to play in a championship game. You don’t just walk out and win the championship. If you’re going to be good at anything, you’ve got to accept short-term pain for long-term gain.

That’s not just true in sports. It’s true in finances. And it’s true in relationships. We have a good marriage, but Tammy and I have worked hard at it for years. It didn’t come easily. You’ve got to work to make your marriage thrive, just like anything else in life.

Why is this resolution important in your life? Because most problems in life come from the inability to delay gratification.

Everything in society teaches us to say, “I want everything and I want it now and I want it free and I want it easy.” Life doesn’t work like that!

Moses made a choice: “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25).

It says he chose to be mistreated—to endure the short-term pain for the long-term gain of doing the right thing.

You’re going to have pain in life. But if you choose to do the hard thing right now and put in the effort and the discipline to learn, to grow, to become strong and mature, then later in life you get to benefit from all of that.

When you choose the short-term pain like Moses did, you’re going to see God deliver you so that you can enjoy the long-term reward!

Don’t Give Up on What God has for YOU this YEAR!

Tammy and I are praying for you! Email us with your requests.

Thank you for your gifts to BC- Click here to give online- We thank God for your faithfulness!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

It is not God’s job to make every moment of our life easy. If he did, we would never grow up!

We would probably be immature, spoiled, and incredibly self-centered. That is not what God wants for us!!

So when you’re in pain and you pray and don’t see the answers, should you give up? No!

Our job is to keep praying and keep trusting God with the answer, because we know that everything He does and everything He allows in our life He will use for good.

You accept a “No,” a “Slow,” a “Grow,” or a “Go,” because you know that God is a good Father, even when you’re in pain.

If a doctor does surgery on you and cuts you open, that’s going to cause some pain. But if that surgery saves your life, would you say that’s a bad doctor? No, because she just saved your life!

When God doesn’t immediately end your pain, He is saying to you in that moment, “My grace is sufficient for you, and you can handle a little pain and even a lot of pain in your life, because I am with you and I am going to use this for your good.”

I’ve had a lot of pain in my life. In fact, almost everything I’ve learned in life, I’ve learned through pain. I’ve learned nothing from pleasure. I’ve learned very little from success. But I’ve learned boatloads through pain.

God is more interested in making me a man of God than he is in making me comfortable.

And God is more interested in making you a man or woman of God than he is in making you comfortable.

You will be comfortable for all of eternity in heaven, but right now, you’re in the grow-up stage, so you’re not going to get everything you ask for.

In Scripture, we read, “‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts’”.

While you’re praying at one level, God is thinking about your life at a much higher level and from a much bigger perspective. He wants good for your life even more than you do.

Let’s choose to trust Him in 2019. No. Matter. What.

Email Tammy and me with any prayer requests. We’d love to pray for you!

Thank you for your gifts to BC-God has great things in store for YOU- Your gifts are a blessing. You can click here to give online- God bless you!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

God wants to work in your life in 2019! But how will He do that? Paul laid it out for us.

Paul knew that God works in our lives according to our expectation. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:9b-10, “This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us…and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us”.

The purpose of the dead end is to teach you to trust in God. Why does God let things get so bad and so out of control? So he can force you to learn to trust in him instead of trusting in your own ingenuity and cleverness.

What’s the promise when you trust God? He has delivered you, he will deliver you, and he will continue to deliver you. God uses three different kinds of deliverance:

  1. God uses circumstantial deliverance. Sometimes God miraculously alters the circumstance, and the Red Sea splits. That will happen many times in your life, but it’s not going to happen all the time.
  2. God uses personal deliverance. Instead of changing the circumstance, God changes you from the inside. You get a new dream, a new vision, a new attitude, and a new perspective.
  3. God’s ultimate deliverance is Heaven. God has not promised to remove all of your pain in this world or solve every one of your problems. Because we are on earth, there is pain and sorrow and suffering. The ultimate deliverance will be one day in Heaven where there will be no pain, no sorrow, no suffering, and no heartache.

There is only one way to get to Heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). When you’re at a dead end, Jesus can take that hopeless end and turn it into an endless hope.

Are you at a dead end? I invite you to take that problem, that situation, and your own life and give them to Jesus Christ! He will help you!

Let us know how we can pray for you – email us.

Tammy and I love you!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

Tammy and I pray that you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year with family and friends.

As we begin a new year, I wanted to share with you something that the Lord has been saying to me about 2019 — and I hope it will uplift your faith and encourage your heart as it has mine.

Psalm 138:7-8

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;

You will stretch out Your hand

Against the wrath of my enemies,

And Your right hand will save me.

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;

Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever.”

What a great truth! What a great promise from God: “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me!”

These verses assure me (and you if you are a child of God through Jesus) (1) that God is always actively watching over me and knows when “I am in the midst of trouble”; (2) that God will intervene for me and “stretch out His hand” against those who seek my harm; (3) that God will “save me by His right hand” from situations that are overwhelming me; (4) that God will shower me with “mercy that endures forever” in spite of how often I seem to get myself into messes.

But best of all: “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.” I love this verse and this promise. God promises that He will not only manage everything in my life, but that He will manage those things PERFECTLY! He promises me that 2019 will contain no mistakes, no accidents, no coincidences, no “fate”, no curve-balls, and no situations of any kind that God has not already looked at, assayed, and deemed to be “perfectly designed” for His divine plan for my blessing, spiritual growth, and best interests.

And I can rest in this great promise (and so can you as a child of God) like a babe in its mother’s loving arms–safe, secure, and protected.

And this then results in “the peace of God which passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). And that is the bottom line!

John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Happy New Year from the Spargo family to you and your family!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy