Knowing, Loving, Serving…
So the World Will Know Christ’s Love

01.10.21 “Faith in the Christmas Promise”

Mark 7:31-37;  Mark 8:22-26; and Mark 9:14-29

Dear Bethel,

Join us for worship today as we continue our journey through the Gospel of Mark! You may find today’s worship service on YouTube and posted to our Bethel UMC Facebook page. Links to our Facebook page, YouTube channel and an order of worship are shared below. 

Bethel’s Facebook page:

Bethel’s YouTube channel:

If you would like to receive a DVD of our worship service please email a request to Sheryl at  We would be happy to send you one!

Below is the Bethel Prayer List. If you are in need, or would like to be added to the prayer list, please do not hesitate to let us know. The telephone number to the church office is (803) 787-3058 and the church office email is

Atria:               Joyce Varn and Roberta Yount 
Forest Pines:   Claud Murphy 
NHC:                Connie Fowke 
Rice Estates:   Carmen Pool 
Still Hopes:      Harry and Sarah Parker 
Waterford:       Mary Kirby 
At Home:         Anna Cope, Larry Cope, Margie Jackson, Gloria Pruett, Sarah Meek, Mary Ott,  Ken May, Barbara Harper, Beth Welch, Verta Ingbretsen, Bill Hulbert, Sandra Wayson, Jo Dowdey, Brenda Turner, Martie Walker, Julie  Narang, Fran Love, Joe and Mary Ann Weir, Sally Hafner, and Will Lucas
Kathy Varn, Sugarland, TX
Margaret and David Hinze, GA
Irene Boyd, NC
Anne Hynds, TN
The families of:  Eleanor Etheridge, Nancy Johnson, Rosa Moon, Leo Foster, Charles Veach, Betty Onley, Betty Shuler, Louise Holden, Horace Jackson, Bobby Pruett, Margie Dent, Lois McNair and Bill Hynds

Pastor Julie and Pastor Reggie may be reached directly on their personal cell phones at any time.
Julie Belman: (803) 319-6169
Reggie Rowell: (843) 697-6967

May the Peace of Christ surround you today, and always,
Pastor Julie 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Sunday Worship at Home
Bethel UMC Columbia | Rev. Julie Songer Belman
January 10, 2021

Preparation: Find a spot in your home for yourself/your family to engage in worship. Include your Bible, a candle and a lighter or matches (or battery operated candle or low wattage table lamp), if possible. You might consider a small cross as well.

Welcome: Thank you for joining us! We pray you will be blessed by your time of worship with us today.

Prelude“To God Be the Glory
While Bill plays the prelude, we invite you to light or turn on the candle/lamp to acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit in your worship. Take a deep breath and give thanks for God’s presence. 

Offertory: “He Lifted Me!”
Your continued support of God’s ongoing work at Bethel UMC is sincerely appreciated. Contributions to the mission of Bethel {Knowing, Loving, Serving: so the world may experience Christ’s Love!} may be made by mailing a check to 4600 Daniel Drive, Columbia SC 29206 or giving online at:  You may also contact your bank to have them draft a check on your behalf.

Pastoral Prayer: Please join with Pastor Reggie as he prays today. Pray for yourself, your family, your church community, your city, your state, your country, our world. Pray for the global health situation, particularly for those who are sick, those who are lonely, those who are gripped by fear, those who are facing financial hardship, those without safe shelter, those who are hungry, our healthcare workers, our leaders in every realm. Give thanks, once again, for God’s faithfulness and seek God’s guidance for ways to offer love and grace in the world right now.

The Lord’s Prayer:  Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Anthem: “I Want to Be Ready”  
Enjoy this lovely anthem sung by our Bethel Choir.

Scripture: This morning we continue our year long journey through the Gospel of Mark. Today is Week 17, and Pastor Julie is preaching on three healing stories found in Mark 7:31-37; Mark 8:22-26; and Mark 9:14-29. We invite you to open your Bibles (or the Bible app on your phone!) at home and read along.

Sermon: Faith in the Christmas Promise.”  Rev. Julie Songer Belman

Hymn Meditation:  “How Great Thou Art
(Thank you, Marian Scullion, for providing this lovely Hymn meditation!)
Words and music by Stuart K. Hine

Carl Boberg was a Swedish lay preacher who, among other things, published a Christian newspaper and served for a dozen years in the Swedish parliament.  He wrote the original version of this song in 1886, and entitled it “O Store Gud,” which means “O Great God.”  His inspiration for the song came from the beauty of Swedish meadows and lakes after a thunderstorm.  He published his song in his newspaper, but it didn’t seem to catch on.

But then someone translated it into German under the title, “Wie Grosse Bist Du,” and it spread further. Then Rev. Ivan S. Prokhanoff, an evangelical Russian Christian, translated it into Russian.  Prokhanoff was an important figure among Russian Christians, so his involvement insured its spread in Russia.

Then Stuart Hine, an English missionary to the Ukraine, heard it, translated it into English, and added one or more verses—inspired, he said, by the beauty of the “woods and forest glades” of the Carpathian Mountains after a thunderstorm.  The last verse, which begins, “When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation, and take me home,” was inspired by Eastern European refugees who had fled to England and who asked, “When are we going home?” Hine printed his version of the song in leaflet form, and it was distributed somewhat widely in England.

Then in 1954, at Billy Graham’s London crusade, someone gave George Beverly Shea a copy of the leaflet.  Shea, as you might remember, had a beautiful bass voice and was one of Graham’s featured singers at the crusades for many years.  Shea stuck the leaflet in his pocket, and didn’t think much more about it at the time.  People often gave him copies of music for his consideration.

But later, Shea examined the leaflet more carefully, and was impressed by the power of the words.  He introduced it at the Toronto Crusade in 1954, but it was at the New York Crusade in 1957 that he used it extensively for the first time.  He sang it ninety-nine times at that crusade—accompanied by the Crusade Choir.

After that, “How Great Thou Art” became Shea’s signature song, and he sang it wherever he went.  He used it often in Billy Graham’s “Hour of Decision” radio broadcasts.

The first two stanzas establish the grandeur of God’s creation while the refrain establishes our response, “How great thou art!” In stanza three, the God of the natural created order continues the creative act by sending God’s Son to redeem a lost humanity. With this stanza, the primary theological perspective shifts from creation to atonement. While the first two stanzas express humanity’s awe at the natural created order, this is not the ultimate goal of this hymn. Human sin has marred the gift of the Creator. The vivid description of nature in the first two stanzas finds its fulfillment in heaven or when we escape the earth.

O Lord my God! when I in awesome wonder
consider all the *worlds thy hand have made,
I see the stars, I hear the *rolling thunder,
thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee;
how great thou art, how great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee;
how great thou art, how great thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze;

And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
sent him to die, I scarce can take it in;
that on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
he bled and died to take away my sin;

The final stanza, however, may be seen as the completion of the story of creation and human redemption on an eschatological note; the fulfillment of creation takes place in heaven. Thus, this hymn embodies the breadth of the redemption story from Genesis to Revelation. Given the sweeping and shifting theological territory covered in this hymn, the refrain ties all the themes together with the reiteration of the hymn’s central premise four times, “How great thou art!”

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
and there proclaim, my God, how great thou art!

* Author’s original words are “works” and “mighty”

This week’s hymn mediation comes from both the UMC Discipleship Ministries history of Hymns website ( and Sermon Writer’s Hymn Story website (

Benediction: Say these words aloud:  Let us go in confidence and peace, joyfully serving the Lord who walks with us. Let us bring hope to the hopeless, joy to those who sorrow, peace to the afflicted. AMEN.

Go in Peace: Check on someone you love today.