Galesville Campus

Arcadia Campus

The "Sonlight" Newsletter


Welcome to

Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 1:7)

Take a closer look!  We offer: 

  • An honest message rooted in the ageless text of the Bible – God’s Word.
  • A helpful message that addresses our real life needs.
  • A caring ministry from a pastor who will know you by name and make house calls.
  • A genuine connection with people who are not perfect, but who are forgiven and grateful.
  • A unique opportunity to be a part of a growing Trempealeau County-wide congregation.
  • A world-wide ministry as a part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod


From Pastor Jon N. Cox
 

Hello! It is good to be able to greet all the visitors to the Bethel Lutheran Church website.  While we have this opportunity to "meet", it seems helpful to tell you a little about myself. 

Let me begin by directing you to the picture on the left.  This is a picture of my wife, Doreen, and I.  We have been married for 25 years.  How time flies!  God has certainly blessed us by giving us a life together.  In addition to our shared faith in Christ, God blessed us with five children who range in age from 23 to 14. We have been in the area four years now, living in the community of Galesville.  It is such a blessing to live in this area of the state; we love the scenery that God's has provided in the coulee region.

I grew up in the area of Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my mom and dad and four brothers.  God blessed me and enabled me to know the unconditional love of God through his Word and the example of my family. 

Having served as a pastor since 1992 in College Station, Texas and Fond du Lac, Wisconsin it is exciting now to be a servant among the people here at Bethel. I am always pleased to meet visitors and anyone interested in learning more about the Christian faith, our congregation, and the WELS.  Feel free to call me at (608) 582-9998 or call either church office.  The number in Arcadia is (608) 323-3270; in Galesville it is (608) 582-4329.


 

We are one congregation with two locations.

In Arcadia, Sunday worship is at 8:30 a.m.,
followed by Bible study and Sunday school at 10:00 a.m.

In Galesville, our Sunday worship time is 10:30 a.m. 
Bible study and Sunday school happen before worship at 9:00 a.m.

 

Faith Related Q and A

I have been a WELS member for 30+ years. I know and believe Jesus lived a perfect life for me and died to pay for my sins. But I still sin daily, and many of those sins are sins I keep on doing even though I hate them and I hate offending God over and over. It makes me wonder if I really believe that my sins are forgiven. I know that when I feel the guilt of my sins that I should look to the cross and not at myself. But I don't understand why I still feel guilty. I wonder if I really have true saving faith. Why don't I feel forgiven? Can you offer any help? Thank you!
I do see you answering your own question in that you realize the need to “look to the cross and not at myself.” Facts, faith and feelings do not always align properly. Martin Luther wrote much about this. Here’s an excerpt: “We must not judge by what we feel or by what we see before us. The Word must be followed, and we must firmly hold that these truths are to be believed, not experienced; for to believe is not to experience. Not indeed that what we believe is never to be experienced but that faith is to precede experience. And the Word must be believed even when we feel and experience what differs entirely from the Word. Therefore when in calamities our hearts think that God is angry with us, does not care for us but hates us, faith is nevertheless convinced that God harbors neither wrath nor hatred nor vindictiveness against us nor imputes our guilt…To this conclusion I have come, not by way of my feelings or my present circumstances but through the Word, which says that the mercy of the Lord is over me and all who believe, that His wrath is over all who do not believe. Therefore I shall overcome my thoughts by the Word and shall write this promise in my heart, that after I have come to faith in Jesus Christ and do not doubt that my sins are forgiven me through His blood, I shall not be put to shame though all my senses and my experience speak a different language. Within myself I feel the wrath of God; the devil vents on me his hatred and the world its extreme fury. But the Holy Spirit tells no lies. He bids me hope; for ‘with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption’ (Ps 130:7).” [What Luther Says. Vol. I. Page 513] Here is a way of understanding the difference between facts and feelings. I am 61 years old. Quite honestly, I feel half that age. But does that youthful feeling change my age? Not at all. I cannot lengthen the span of my life, as Jesus said (Matthew 6:27), and I certainly cannot decrease my age. My age is a fact; I am that old whether or not I feel like it. In a similar way, God says to you: “I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). He promises you: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Your Lord assures you: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). The peace of forgiveness is yours through Jesus Christ. That is a fact. You have God’s own word on that. Your feelings do not negate that fact. When you find yourself losing the battle against sin, like the apostle Paul did (cf. Romans 7), find comfort and strength in God’s gospel in word and sacrament. Through those means, hear the voice of your Savior who says to you: “Friend, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:20). Hear those words and, through the Spirit’s power, embrace them in faith. Those words are factual, regardless of what your feelings might say. God bless your walk of faith.
In 1 Peter 2:8 it is written: "They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for." It seems that this means some people were destined to disobey God's Word, therefore leading to damnation. So, it seems this part of Scripture supports the doctrine of double predestination. On the other hand, God's Word tells us that He wants all people to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). God's Word cannot contradict itself, so how should 1 Peter 2:8 be understood? Thank you and God bless your faithful responses to all these questions!
You are approaching that Scripture verse with a correct understanding (and one given to you by the Holy Spirit)—that “God’s Word cannot contradict itself.” Throughout the Bible, God makes it clear that he does not want people to perish eternally. “‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live’” (Ezekiel 33:11). God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). It is the wider context of Scripture that helps us understand the Bible verse in question. It is also the narrower context of Scripture that leads us to a correct understanding of that verse. In the previous verses of 1 Peter chapter 2, the apostle explained how differently believers and unbelievers regard Jesus Christ. To believers, Jesus is a precious cornerstone (v. 7). To unbelievers, Jesus is a stone over which they stumble (v. 8). These opposite reactions to Jesus illustrate what the Lord pronounced during his ministry: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Matthew 12:30). There is no neutrality toward Jesus. But what about the phrase in question—“which is also what they were destined for”? (1 Peter 2:8) We know from Scripture that God, in eternity, has not predestined people to hell. Peter’s words in verse 8 explain that those who reject Jesus in unbelief are destined to have Jesus as a stumbling stone and not a cornerstone. Unbelievers set their course for eternity by their rejection of Jesus. The Bible makes it very clear that people receive the blame when they are lost eternally, while God gets the credit for people’s salvation. (And thank you for your kind words!)
WELS Streaming Videos


» April 2016 - Michigan Lutheran Seminary

Michigan Lutheran Seminary and a look at the preparation and training of students to become pastors, teachers, staff ministers, and missionaries.

Cast: WELS


» March 2016 - Campus Ministry

A focus on the importance of Campus Ministry for the young people heading off to face the challenges life in college delivers.

Cast: WELS


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