Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that

“‘they may indeed see but not perceive,
    and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.’”

13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.[a] 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” –Mark 4:1-20

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
    like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
    shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
    bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
    bringing his sheaves with him. –Psalm 126:4-6

Sow the Word with the way that you live and you will reap life!


Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard. Matthew 27:65-66.

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. –Luke 24:1.

Easter morning! As the sun rises, so death gives way to resurrection. The tomb is empty! It is, indeed, a time to rejoice and celebrate our risen Lord with praise and thanksgiving!


In a sermon, Rev. Osgood quoted the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said, “Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life.”

Bonhoeffer, in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, wrote “Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. … Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

Often, we opt for “cheap grace,” but in this season of Lent, we should remember that “salvation is free;” to us. There was a high price for our salvation, but Jesus paid it through His suffering on the cross, so that we would not have to.

So if discipleship costs us our lives, considering that our Savior gave us precious salvation for free, when we weigh salvation against giving our lives to Jesus and doing His will, are we not still getting a bargain? Let’s not settle for cheap grace; rather, let’s be willing to pay for the real thing: being Jesus’ disciples.


The columbarium project, in the works for around three years, took a giant step forward today when the primary unit and benches were delivered around noon.

The unit was offloaded, but due the size of the crane and access constraints, the crane operators were unable to position it on the slab; instead, it was positioned about 10 feet away, and soon will be positioned on the slab by members of the congregation with the proper equipment.

Soon, also, those CMF members charged with drafting operational policy and rules will, through CMF, submit the policy and rules to the general board for approval, and the general board will decide on administration of the columbarium.

More pictures of the delivery and offloading will be published shortly.


The Worship Committee 25 February approved a proposal for a weekly devotional on Bethany’s website,, providing a spiritual dimension to the website. The devotionals will begin the first Monday in June, and will change weekly on Mondays thereafter.

Each devotional will be based on a scriptural theme. Upcoming themes will be published on the website several weeks in advance. Photographs will serve as the background for devotionals. Members of the Bethany church family are invited to submit photographic images based as closely as possible on the weekly themes.

Photographs selected for publication will be given attribution. No photographer will have more than three photographs selected for publication in a one-year period unless there are an insufficient number of photographs submitted for the devotional backgrounds. Photographs submitted must be taken by and owned by the submitting photographer in order to avoid copyright violations.

Digital images may be emailed to, and the email must state that the image submitted is for website devotional background. Photographic prints also may be submitted, but will not appear as sharp when published due to scanning resolution limitations.

The following link is an example of a potential devotional.

Devotional X 180226



You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. –Deuteronomy 6:5

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. –Psalm 16:11

We teach the children, “Jesus Loves Me,” and we sing it during worship. But what about the obverse? Jesus loves us, to be sure. Do we love Jesus? How do we show it? The first verse above tells us that we are to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” If we love Jesus, we will show it by doing what He asked of us: to tell everyone the Good News; to share His love; and to be like Him. What are the consequences of loving Him? Psalm 16:11 assures us that God makes known to us the path of life; in His presence there is fullness of joy; and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Writing in the beach sand will wash away, but Jesus’ love for us will never wash away. That alone is a good reason to love Jesus and to tell everyone about Him.


Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? –Isaiah 43:18-19.

The sun rising over the Neuse River, dispelling clouds, reminds us that our savior, Jesus Christ, died to take away our sins and give us a fresh start; that He can dispel the clouds in our lives if we accept Him; that He loves us, and that in Him, we have a new beginning.

We pray for you what Robert Burns’ prayer asks:

O Thou who kindly dost provide
For every creature’s want!
We bless Thee, God of Nature wide,
For all thy goodness lent.
And, if it please Thee, heavenly Guide,
May never worse be sent;
But, whether granted or denied,
Lord bless us with content.

Happy New Year, and blessings to all!


The youth enacted, and the congregation participated in, ‘Twas the Very First Christmas’ Sunday evening December 10.

After a welcome by Rev. Osgood, Mary (Macy Tyson) and Joseph (Miko Stilley), arrived in Bethlehem as the congregation sang “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”Because of the tax enrollment, there were no accommodations at inns, but Mary and Joseph were allowed to stay in a stable, where Mary gave birth to Jesus.

The Jericho Ringers performed “The Friendly Beasts,” as the animals (Ashleigh Deditch, River Morris and Jaden Hochteil) went to the stable to meet the baby Jesus.

Katie Bennett, violinist, performed “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” and Rachel (Christine Beeman) told the story of the angels (Diana Harper, Jillian Stilley) appearing before shepherds, telling them the good news of Jesus’ birth. As she related the shepherds’ (Like Bailey, Jordan Bennett) trip to the stable, the congregation sang “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”

The congregation sang, “We Three Kings,” and the innkeeper (John Beeman) told of the wise men’s (Liam McCarthy, Casey Stilley and Marcus Tyson) journey.

The wise men and shepherds kneeled before the new-born King, our Lord and Savior, Jesus, as the congregation sang “Away in a Manger.”

The performance concluded when the cast and congregation together sang “Joy to the World,” and Rev. Osgood offered a closing prayer.

In addition to the performers in the play, Dawn Metts was the pianist, Hanna Metts, Tiffany Bennett and Christine Beeman were the costumers, and Matt Bailey, Parker Watson and Chris Watson built the sets. Thanks go to the CWF women who provided and served the supper before the play and the cookies after the play.