DEEPER DIVE: RE:ignite

posted by Bethel Communications | Oct 11, 2020

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Show Notes

What does it mean to be the "salt and light" of the world? When Jesus told us to be "In the world, not of the world", what did he mean? Pastors Jason, Dave and Adam are joined by Angie Hufford as they continue to dive deeper into Matthew 5.

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Transcript

Dave Dawson: Hello everybody. It is Dave I'm back here with our regular trio of Jason and Adam, however, today we have decided to up our game, we have, we have a special voice, here to our podcast. Angie Hufford is joining us today.

All right, Angie, most of us know you, but this is an opportunity I think for, you know, for you to share a little bit about yourself. So like, Like, what is, what is your primary ministry here? You've, you've done a number of things, but... 

Angie Hufford: Yeah, so I'm the care and compassion ministries director, which means I oversee an amazing team that covers: local outreach, pastoral care, Stephen ministry, healing and recovery, and our Bethel assistance ministry. And I've also been helping out with global, uh, since March. So really, um, not much on my plate. 

Dave Dawson: You get a lot going on. So if you could. Give us three facts about yourself that most people might not know about 

Angie Hufford: Oh. Well people know about my love of Dr. Pepper and Purdue. So it wouldn't be that. Um, okay. Uh, I played the flute in band from fifth grade to 12th grade through my senior year, I used to work part time as a newspaper reporter for two different newspapers back in Indiana.

I did sports and human interest stories. And, um, here's one, a lot of people probably don't know. My family's religious background is German Baptist. Hmm. So that's kind of like Amish or Mennonite. And, um, as an adult, my grandfather actually left the German Baptist church and became a member of the Brethren church. Um, but I actually grew up Presbyterian. So quite a diverse background. 

Dave Dawson: Did you guys go as far as like kind of the horse and buggy type thing or it wasn't not quite...

Angie Hufford: Not quite that far, but yeah. Very conservative. 

Dave Dawson: Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's really cool, 

Jason Greene: But Angie, it's interesting. So I don't know if you know this, but Deeper Dive our podcast. Um, our third largest market is Alaska. And I'm just wondering if that has something to do with you, right. Because you did some ministry in Alaska. Is that, is that right?

Angie Hufford: Absolutely. Yeah. I spent almost four years there in Fairbanks at a church, so...

Jason Greene: Okay. Well we are actually we're, we are so thankful that we're reaching Alaska. And we are hoping to reach Alaska even more. So that's one of the reasons that we have you on here. 

Angie Hufford: That's fantastic. I love it. 

Jason Greene: So somebody has to right?

Dave Dawson: That actually really is an interesting factoid that we have a good number of people that are listening to our podcast from Alaska. 

Angie Hufford: Yeah. The thing of it is, is they're moving into winter right now. So they spend a lot of time inside. They need, they need things to keep themselves occupied. 

Jason Greene: Alright, well, good. Well, Hey, that's actually not the reason that we have you on here. So, um, you know, Angie, we, I think all recognize that your fingerprints are all over or Bethel and you, uh, lead us in ministry in so many ways, especially during COVID my goodness.

I mean, uh, you know, one of those 2020 words is pivot and how often have we had to pivot in our care? Uh, in compassion in our community here. So, um, I'm just curious, you know, it's hard to think about pre COVID and it certainly is hard to think about what a post COVID world's going to look like, but just from your vantage point, you know, how would you describe Bethel's relationship with, you know, let's say the Tri-Cities community.

Angie Hufford: Well, first of all, thanks for your kind words. I have amazing people around me that help do all of those things that we need to do for the kingdom. So thank you. Um, I would say if I was going to describe our relationship with the community, I'd use three words: I'd say it's deep. It's healthy and it's growing.

So, uh, what I would say is, you know, Bethel's roots of caring for hurting people, uh, they, it really runs deep in the Tri Cities and those roots started growing long before I became a part of Bethel staff and I've just been blessed to really help grow them deeper. Um, a few things I think that are important.

We really value partnerships with our nonprofits. We really love to invest in those relationships. We average about 400 families a year that come through our assistance ministry. And, um, because of that, we've worked really hard to also establish good relationships with local schools and, and other organizations that are helping the same people that we're helping.

And then, you know, there's a lot of people in our Bethel family that are just flat out servant rockstars. They serve regularly in our community. Uh, they're really making a difference. They're bringing Jesus with them into places that need his hope and love. 

Dave Dawson: Yeah. What, what, what a great answer. Well, I appreciate the question you asked her Jason, because we're, we are today. We're going to look at that third of our three relationships that you've kind of led us into, um, to focus on, um, this third one being our relationship with the world, right? So Bethel has a relationship with our immediate world, you know, our context Tri-Cities community and the world at large. And, you know, we could, we could look at this, that is the church's relationship with the world.

You can look at it either through an okay, in an individual basis where, you know, we all go to work. We go to, we have family functions, that sort of thing. And, but also Bethel church's relationship with, with the world. So the church, you know, the church has really, I mean, historically has had some really different stances toward the world.

You know, Adam, you have know in the last couple of weeks, you've kind of been our history guy. I know it's probably yeah.You don't want to be
Adam Phillips: Um, hopefully no one's actually fact-checking. 

Dave Dawson: Yes, exactly. Right. So, I mean, but if you look back, you know, in the church historically, what have been some of the stances. That the church has taken toward the world. 

Adam Phillips: Yeah. You know, maybe I think every generation that you look at and even just looking at the last a hundred years, there's maybe two extremes and a lot in the middle, you have what you might call those who separate from the world. You know, you mentioned the Amish background.

That's this idea of we're going to, we're going to flight from the world so that we can live for the Lord. The other extreme, you have those who integrate into the world, maybe so much that they're indistinguishable from the world. Thinking of the last a hundred years in the liberal churches have in an effort to be for the world, they sort of lost their identities, um, people of Jesus.

So taking out the supernatural from Jesus's incarnation is resurrection inspiration of scripture. Saying, Hey, we're going to adopt the morals of the world so that we can be relevant. Yeah. So those are maybe the two extremes and the danger, I think of, of both of those is that you only get maybe part of who Jesus is, right?

Jesus was in the world and he actually came into our flesh and lived. In the world for us. And he was also for the world, but to be for the world, that didn't mean he adopted all the world's values, but he came and brought a new kind of truth and a real hope that the world needed. And so, you know, just maybe to wrap up here, like the separationists, I think get the for world part, like we're going to live in a way that is different than the world and that bears witness to this alternative kingdom.

But they lose out on that in-ness. Like we need to be in the world to be for the world. And those who are so integrated that they're indistinguishable from the world, I think lose out on the, being for the world right there in the world. But they're not able to be for the world because they're not distinguishable from the world. They don't really bear witness to who Jesus is. So I think those are two extremes that you see. I think we each in our own way, wrestle with. Balancing those and...
Dave Dawson: There's there's dangers on all sides, right? Each side has it has it's accompaning danger. Yeah. 

Jason Greene: I mean, you just think historically, like beyond a hundred years, like when you're talking about, um, you know, setting yourself up apart from the world, I thought of like monastic, seclusion, right?

I mean, it's for, for centuries, right? People isolated themselves, insulated themselves from the world. Yeah. As they emphasize that first relationship, which is  primary, it is first that relationship with God. But to the exclusion of, like you said, the whole Jesus. The whole gospel. Right. Um, so I mean, there's a long history in the church and I mean, we, there are nations dotted with these places of monastic exclusion.

Angie Hufford: Yeah. I think even about the words, grace and truth, you know, that's really what we're talking about is balancing that of not being all truth and not being all grace, but really being that balanced mixture of both in all that we do and say.
Dave Dawson: I heard a message where a guy said, Hey, the church is like a boat.

Right. A boat is meant to be out in the water. It's meant to be in the ocean, but it's really a bad deal if the water gets into the boat, the boat sinks, right. It begins to lose its function and stuff. So we probably kind of see where we're going here. You know, this week's message was on that famous awesome scripture, uh, out of Matthew 5 where Jesus talked about us, the church, his followers being salt and light in the world.

So why don't, why don't we just take a second? We know we don't want to rehash the message, but Jason, could you just give us a quick, um, like a summary, a summary of what it means to be salt and light in the world? 
Jason Greene: It's interesting. I mean, so we will have talked about this, you know, on our three campuses during this message, but salt is like this fascinating commodity, right?

We've been studying it as we've been preparing for this week and this message, but, um, you know, Jesus, Jesus chose this commodity because. Well one, I mean, it was so incredibly common, uh, in the first century, but also I'm guessing every single one of us, we have salt in a cupboard, most of the world, they have that same commodity.

Uh, so I mean, there's some genius here in what Jesus is doing. Uh, there's some, you know, illustrations and parables that he uses and we're kind of scratching our head. Like it's not around here. Um, but salt, it totally resonates with us. And you know, it has lots of uses. So we know that it's a preservative. We know that it's a flavoring. We know that it's an antiseptic and we also know, is kind of interesting, you know, it actually causes thirst. Like you guys have heard the phrase, like you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink. There's actually the second part of that phrase that we're not so familiar with, that goes like this. It says, it says, uh, you can give him a salt tablet and make him thirsty. And so we sometimes talk about that one phrase and not the other. 

So I'm just talking about salt. I mean, where Jesus is leading us is probably, you know, in his mind's eye, in all of those different areas, uh, preserving. Flavoring. Uh, in the wound, like in a good way of bringing healing and causing us to thirst for, you know, that living water. Right? Yeah. Yeah. And then in the same way, I guess, for light. So I don't know if you guys want to unpack, you know, light and what you've discovered there. 

Dave Dawson: Yeah. It has been. It's been a fascinating study. You know, obviously the light comes, shines in the darkness and stuff. And that, I mean,is what Jesus is. I think the assumption here is that the world is in darkness, right?
It's the, it is the reality, you know, and, um, you know, as pastors, we've looked at the various areas that we pastored in and noted at times that man, you know, Hey, this particular area it's really dark. Hmm, there is just some bad stuff that happens. You know, there seem to be certain sins that are kind of common to certain areas.

You know, I don't know if you'd call them... I don't know what you call them. Like, what do you call it? Sins that are passed down from generation to generation generational sense type thing? And so certain areas just, they, they need a particular truth. They, they need light. Right. And it's no different with us here at Bethel we've. Um, we've gotta be light in our particular context, which is really why we brought Angie on board here, because she's so involved in, in being, um, you know, helping lead us to be salt and light in this area. So, well, let's go on to the next thing here is, um, Adam was talking about, you know, the, the tension between being separate and yet being involved.

I had a, uh, teacher once that used to say, he said, communication is involvement. Which, which is pretty profound statement. And you think about that as, how can you really communicate with somebody if you're really not involved with them? Right. It's like a radio broadcast information, but it doesn't receive anything.

All it was broadcast. And I mean, the last thing I want to do is just be broadcasters of, of, of truth. So we've gotta be involved in our communities appropriately involved in our communities. And that means we need to be students of our community and of the world. So how do we, how do we become better informed students of our community and of the world so that we really can be salt and light?

Angie Hufford: Uh, well, I, I think humility plays an absolute role in that. Um, you know, when we, when we enter into difficult places with people, when we go into the darkness, we know that that Christ has gone before us. And so if we, if we go in and we're taking our gifts and our talents and our money. Honestly, we, we have nothing to offer people if we don't bring the gospel into all that we're doing for them.

Um, it's not, it's not really salt if we're not bringing Jesus. And, and, and I think he's the centrality of all we do, of all our relationships and, and I think there's a, uh, commonality in an American culture that we assume we know better, or we know more than the people that we're serving. And that can be a dangerous place because I think we have to go back to scripture.

You know, we know we love because he first loved us and we do that best when we're in a posture of humility. Uh, so I think what that means is when we show up as salt, uh, we say, what do you need? Uh, we let them lead the way we let them show us what it is that they need rather, you know, rather than showing up and saying, this is what you need.

Okay. Right. So there's a difference there it's that posture is a heart posture really of humility that that says, you know, at the end of the day, all I really have to offer you is the only thing that matters. And it's not me and it's not my talent and it's not my money. It's it's Jesus. 

Dave Dawson: Yeah. I was going to say, I think on the other side of it, it's it's listening well. Yeah. Right. So we go into community. It's not just dictating to them their needs, like you said, right. We have to really be good listeners. 
Jason Greene: Yeah. And probably even before that, like those, those are good practices, but people have to realize, like we have a mission field and we have a mandate to go into that mission field.

Right. And so those are the characteristics and heart postures, but, you know, I would say even in COVID land, um, we need to get our eyes off of ourselves. Off of what's going on in our own families, off of the news. And just lift your eyes up and look around at your neighbors and in your neighborhood. Um, because honestly you're exactly right.

You guys, I mean like humility, listening, all of those things, but just awareness, like, um, you know, if Jesus is using salt as an example of it, it is a preservative. If, um, the world is decaying, Right. And, uh, the, the meat, if, if, if, uh, if a piece of meat sits on a table and it decays, like the meat is not to blame. Right. Um, and we are looking at a world if we're being completely honest, that is in decay. Actually the decay rate seems to be increasing, uh, I don't know, it seems exponential to me. And I guess the question that I want to ask is, so, so who's to blame? Is it the meats fault or is it actually the fault of the salt that God's placed in the world to be rubbed into?

Right. Uh, this thing that is decaying. So I would even take us a step back and say, Be salt. You know? And then here are you guys share some great ways of how to be salt and the heart posture of that? 

Angie Hufford: Yeah. I think about, I read a book a long time ago called: "Out of the Salt Shaker, Into the World." And it's like, if the salt's sitting on the table, it's not doing any good, you're just looking at it. But to actually be in the world and be salt, you know, Jason, in your sermon this morning, um, you talked about the, Be the Church Initiative. We brought that up and that's something that we're going to be doing for the next couple of weeks.

And if, if Bethel's your home church, man, get involved in this. This is an incredible opportunity to go out into the community to find a need and actually take a hundred dollars and pour into that need and bless somebody. And then the church, you know, if Bethel's your home, we're going to reimburse that money for you.

And this is kind of an extension of our Bethel assistance ministry, where we're actually giving you the opportunity to be part of our assistance team and actually go out and look for a need. And you could do that as an individual. You can do that, you know, with your spouse, with each of you having a a hundred dollars or even if your small group wanted to come together and take all your money and pull it together and really meet a big need for somebody, like a medical bill or a car expense. I mean, the opportunities are everywhere and we're really excited about this. And, and Jason, I think the whole thing of like, why are we calling it Be the Church? Like, do you want to, you just want to speak to that?

Jason Greene: Yeah. Yeah. And I'd love to hear from you guys as well. Cause it. I mean, that's exactly it. Like we, we are, again, back to our texts, we are the salt of the earth. We are the light of the world. It's actually Jesus. When he said that it was emphatic in the sense that he said: "You and you alone are the salt of the earth."

You are, alone, the light of the world, Jesus has left his salt and his light in this world. And it is us. And, you know, Angie, to your question, the way that I like to think about it is I need to ask myself the question, what would happen if Jesus moved into my neighborhood? You know, I mean, what if Jesus was my next door neighbor?

Uh, my guess is, is that my family would be blessed in incredible ways. If Jesus was... Now I have great next door neighbors. They might actually be listening to this podcast. Awesome, awesome neighbors. But man I'll take Jesus every day of the week as my neighbor, and there are going to be outcomes and repercussions when Jesus comes to town. And I think that's what we're trying to get to, Angie, is what it looks like to be the church. To be the church is to live your life in such a way that your neighbors have the perception that Jesus has come to town. 

Dave Dawson: Yeah. It makes me think. So if Jesus moved into my neighborhood, like what would he see that I'm not seeing? What would he listen to that I'm not listening to? And then obviously how would he respond that, that I'm not doing? Yeah. So, you know, during this COVID time, um, It almost feels like we're just like shut down totally. Right. I mean, it gives that perception, but the fact is we've been active. There's a lot of good stories out there.

And part of the problem, I think right now is the good stories aren't necessarily getting out. Right. Just, just because of the nature of things. What are some of the things that our church, and by the way, this is not to brag. It's simply to tell what, how the Lord is using us, but what are some of the ways that our church has been involved, uh, locally and globally?

Angie Hufford: Yeah. Well, I think from a, from a local stand point, you know, as soon as COVID hit, we really rallied our team and just said, let's look outward. Let's make sure we're focusing outward and what are the needs in our community. And so it really came down to, first of all, People losing their jobs and people needing food and rent and other things that they've never needed before. Families who've, who've not been in that position.

So really it was an opportunity for us to reach deep into our community that way, uh, food insecurity has been a big one. We've done several food collection drives. We've partnered with Soul Soup. We partnered with Second Harvest. We've done a lot of things in our community to try to address food insecurity.

I think we want to care well for people. And so we've, we've done projects and done events, cared for law enforcement and cared for healthcare workers. I mean, we, for weeks, we're delivering a luncheon dinner to a local nursing home that had one of the highest percentages of COVID and those workers were working 12 hour shifts and couldn't leave to go get lunch or dinner.

And so we were providing that for them and we had many, many Bethel people that stepped up and just fill that gap. And so, you know, it's a matter of like what are the needs? And then asking that question, how can we help? What can we do to help? And not assuming that we know what the needs are, but really listening and then diving into those places where we can provide care.

Dave Dawson: I told you this some time ago, Angie, but what you guys did is by providing some resources to teachers and stuff. My wife's a teacher. Okay. Joy came home and said, Hey, you know what Bethel did? And I won't go into it. You guys provided, we provided some resources and stuff for teachers, you know. And Joy said, my wife said, and she's been teaching for a long time. She said, "You know, Angie gets it. She just gets it." Which just, you know, once again you see correctly and you're, you're listening to the true needs. You're not, not giving a great, you're not giving a great answer to the wrong question. Right. 

Angie Hufford: I think part of that for us is pretty much everything we do in local outreach centers around relationships. You know, we value our nonprofits. We value our nonprofit leaders. We're engaged regularly with them in our community. We've got 26 nonprofits that we partner with. We're always looking for more ways to partner together. We've got a solid connection with other churches in town. We do events together. We work together to help families.

We just did a school technology help event and we partnered with seven other churches and several nonprofits to make that happen. That all takes place because we've established and worked on and built and endeavored that those relationships are important to us. Yeah. And so, you know, I think, you know, many who come to our church for our assistance they don't know Jesus. They may have had a bad church experience and it's our priority to make sure that we're loving them well, that we're showing them what it really means to be the church to a hurting world. But that's also true for those relationships with nonprofits and schools and other places like, man, we want to make sure we're doing that.

Dave Dawson: Well let's, um, I think sometimes people think, well, you know, you guys as leaders, you guys as pastors, all right. You're, you're telling us to do this stuff, but what about your personal involvement? Like, what are like, are you, are you guys in the game as well? Or are you just telling us? So there's an opportunity for us to share; Hey, here, you know, once again, here are some of the things that we ourselves are doing, how we're involved.

Angie Hufford: Well, surprisingly enough for me, even though I'm local, a lot of my salt and light has been global and I've had opportunity to travel to places with some of our global partners that are doing amazing work around the world. And so for me, um, I, I still have relationships. I'll tell you a quick story. One of our Chinese interns that was here actually sent me 700 medical mask when he heard that the States were, you know, fighting COVID. And he went to great lengths to secure those, to individually unwrap all of them and mail them for me to give to his host families and for me to keep for myself. That's relationship. Right. And that's being salt and light to this Chinese young man who. Previous to coming here and he knew nothing about Jesus.

Dave Dawson: That's awesome. Well, I'll speak up. I've I've shared before that. I kinda like gyms. I always have, I like working out and stuff. And so I've been going this particular gym for four years. And not only do I like just, uh, working out, but I like doing it with other people. And while there, I mean, I've been asked to do weddings for people that have not even involved in the church and they want to make it right.

And. Looking to start a evangelistic Bible studies out of it. And I'm really trying not to be obnoxious. You know, I think everybody there, like everybody there knows what I, who I am, what I do. Right. Yeah. But man, I'm just fully accepted. And so for me, it's, it's like, I just, I really feel like I'm bringing light.

I just, every time I step into the gym, I pray. I pray, I won't get hurt. Yeah. I also pray I'm not last, I do that too, but you know, at the same time, I'm just asking the Lord: "Lord, alright, you show me, you know, who you want me to, to, to bring your light to" and, and we've got a couple of areas now, which I won't share, right, it probably wouldn't be appropriate to do it on this broadcast, but really looking to start evangelistic Bible studies in these areas, 

Adam Phillips: I was going to say, aye. I try to think about how to get into the community that I'm in. And one of the ways I've done that is doing some of my work in local places, where there are some people that come in that I know, but also people that might be an unbeliever or someone from, um, an Islamic person one time comes and sits by me. And we, we work next to each other long enough that we start a conversation. But I'm thinking, as you asked that question, of the all the people that are listening to this podcast, who it might, it might not be easy to get out into the community as much as it is for other people. Maybe people who are older and are more housebound or moms who are like, man, I wish I could get out, but I am stuck changing diapers and parenting my kids all day. I just think about how people, even if they're not able to get out as much can still be salt and light in the world in so many different ways. And maybe just one way that those folks can be salt and light is by influencing people in their life to be salt and light in the world.

Something you're like a mom with children or a dad with children. If he's staying home, when you're loving your kids you're you're raising them up in Christ and the gospel and you're, you're helping them to be outward facing, right. Hey, Jesus is for us, for our family and for our church, but he's also for the world and really nurturing them to be outward facing like you are being missional and salt and light  and maybe not just in this moment, but in 20 years, I think your influence will be for the kingdom in that way. 

Dave Dawson: So the Hoover family, they go to the Richland campus, they got their daughters involved. I think the daughter, one of the daughters actually came to them and said, why don't we sell some of our produce? Because he's a, he's a farmer, sell some of our produce and we're going to give them money to this certain agency, which she, I can't remember what it is. They raised $700. And I asked Brian today: "So how much did your daughter give to the agency?" He said $700. I, like ,what the whole thing? Can you imagine? This is beautiful.

Jason Greene: Well, yeah. And I'll just jump in here, you know, it's. We have an opportunity as salt and light to, to bring the best out of culture, you know, like getting back to saltiness, and salts good. Yeah. I don't know if you guys like saw it. Like I, yeah. I could eat salt as is.

Um, but it's, I mean, it's just so good and we have an opportunity to bring the best out of culture. And so I, Dave, to your point, I would just encourage people to look at, um, how can I invest myself in my neighborhood, in this society, in this culture, um, to bring the best out of it? Because if we refuse to enter into culture, it's that slab of meat, right? This sits on the table and we know. What is inevitable, what's going to happen. That's the world that we live in. And so I would just encourage people to look at creative ways in which they can be in the culture, not of the culture, not conform to the culture, but bring transformation to that. 

Dave Dawson: Yeah, that's great. Well, you know, every week we actually try to bring it to bring it to a conclusion, kind of have a wrap up or a challenge and uh, Angie. So since you're with us, um, Kind of based on our conversation today, what would you, how would you encourage or challenge our people? 

Angie Hufford: Yeah, sometimes the Lord shows concepts to me in pictures, I would say it's almost like a movie reel. And so a while ago he showed me this picture of a street. Like you would see in New York city where the, the streets really narrow and there's there's row houses really close. To the road, to the street and I'm walking down that street and there's people on both sides and they're leaning out windows and, and they're sitting on the porch stoop and they're yelling at me and trying to get my attention and it's loud and it's distracting and it's tempting to just keep stopping and looking and turning and listening and arguing.

But, but at the end of that street, stood Jesus, and he simply, he just looked at me and he said: "Keep walking and keep your eyes on me." You know, when we take our eyes off him, the mission becomes my own plans and my own purposes and it becomes not his mission. And so when we keep walking and we keep our eyes on him, then, then we don't, get distracted or enamored by the world.

He's faithful. And he shows us when to stop and when to keep walking. And he shows us how to be on mission with him, for him and with him. And so my encouragement friends is it's just keep walking. But keep your eyes on Jesus. He is the author and the Perfector of our faith, and he's began a good work in all of us and he's going to be faithful to complete it. We just have to keep our eyes on him. 

Dave Dawson: Beautiful. Hey, thanks for being with us, Angie. Great words. Bless you. 

Angie Hufford: Thanks guys. I appreciate it. You're welcome.

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