Friday, November 07, 2008

Illnesses, Hardships and Victories

My first cold in 18 months seems to be ramping up, while the right knee that I hurt in the gym by either a full extension or a hyper extension is much better. The most recent hurt to get over though, is the passing of a good friend - Jim Blake.

This wonderful Christian man passed away suddenly, leaving behind many grieving souls. He passed away Saturday night, 10/18/08. There were over 650 people at the funeral - which was wonderfully managed like a celebration and tribute the life of a Godly Christian man. Jim served as a deacon, manager at Pepsi, Washakie Medical Center hospital board, member of Big Brothers / Big Sisters for many years, precious husband, father, good friend to many and served as an executive member (President / Vice-President) of the Pepsi Wyoming BBQ Championship and Bluegrass Festival. Oh how I miss him. Do check out the Bar-B-Que Championship web site though. This was something Jim was heavily involved in:

Never having had someone this close pass away means that the pain is uncommon, unaccustomed. With the death of grand-parents or others far away in space or age - the pain was much less. But when someone close "crosses over the Jordan" unexpectedly, there remains a space that refuses to be filled.

On top of all of this - something so difficult to write about - is that our precious Grandson Emmanuel Neil has been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia. He was born the end of August. We knew there was a 1 in 4 (25%) chance he would be born with this genetic disease. So much prayer went up during our daughter Sarah's pregnancy - nevertheless God chose for this event to happen, and we trust Him.

We are learning so much about SCD, as are the medical professionals here in Worland, Wyoming. The medical staff including doctors, nurses and administrators have shown their interest, stayed in contact, and made themselves available. So far, all is well. Those with SCD (Sickle Cell Disease) are protected by their fetal hemoglobin (baby red-blood cells) for the first 6 to 12 months of their lives. After that, you have to be on the lookout for various crises to occur. It is hard to not feel tragic over this precious, beautiful, perfect baby - who appears destined to suffer difficulties his whole life. We ask for prayer, that he will have a light case, rather than one that is more severe.

In other news, Samuel James Keys was born to Jessica and Jason at the end of October, in their home in Hampton, Virginia. You can check out Jessica's Blog, "Intense Blessings" via a link in my links section. Samuel is a precious baby. If you are counting, this makes nine (9) grandchildren. Seems unimaginable! Amazing blessings.

But what an opportunity for conflict to arise on one's heart! There are so many things happening, both positive and negative, that it is hard to fathom. Thankfully, the days are filled with activities and responsibilities. There are many people in the congregation who seek counseling and assistance - which is enjoyable - makes one feel needed and useful.

Some scriptures that I am using to stay focused on God are:

Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, my counsel shall stand, And I will do all my pleasure.

Can I doubt the one who lit the stars? If he created all of this, can I not trust him to mange all the things that I cannot manage? I must trust him, surrender to him, have faith in His ability to master each and every element and consequence of life and living. I proclaim the beauty of Holiness, bless His name and exclaim my love for Jehovah God, father of Jesus, sender of the Holy Spirit.

Have you ever thought about the idea that God is not concerned with many of the things you are concerned about? Money, health, your next breath, the condition of your car or the condition of your marriage - God does not suffer personally with these things. However, he has guaranteed us that he will take upon himself our burdens:

I Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

I hereby cast my cares on God. Even though he has no personal suffering, he has made it clear that he is concerned over our pain, from the least care to our greatest pain - he will take it on, if we will give it up. Hallelujah our elder brother, Jesus Christ, Son of God, came here to help us have a better understanding of things above and things holy.

Also, check out some my podcasts. Special thanks to Israel Bentch, my oldest son, for the technical aspects required for setup. I need to put more sermons out there - but would love to hear your feedback. The link is below. However, you can just search for "Kevin's Pulpit" in if you want. Here's the link:

Typical sermons are 20 or so minutes long. Hopefully keeping it brief is helpful :).

In the mean time - May God's blessings fall upon you and yours in every way as you work to serve our Holy Father, and expand the borders of the kingdom.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Success and Prosperity

Handout for Sermon delivered Sunday, 07/20/2008 – K. Bentch

God's idea of prosperity may differ from ours. Then if you think of the pattern of earthly prosperity versus spiritual prosperity, the difference is even greater. Further, there are times when we must “wait on the Lord” to renew our strength or to inherit the land for example (Ps 27:14, Ps 37:9, Isaiah 40:31). Our waiting may be working a mighty work, even though to us things look like they are holding still or worse, moving backwards. Do you know what the Bible says about the comparison between prosperity and obedience? Just think of all the things that people do to become prosperous – investments, education, fame, new jobs – to name a few. What would it be like to place yourself on a trajectory to gain spiritual prosperity with the same energy and vigor?

Instead, let's learn together some scriptures about prosperity and success, from God's perspective. And when things don't measure up to our idea of success or prosperity, please keep in mind that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). God's viewpoint is bigger and better than our human viewpoint could ever be. "And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:24.

Give From Your Own Blessings (Ge 33:11). How people feel about their own level of blessings seems to depend on who they compare themselves to. Instead of comparing yourself with others, consider having an attitude of giving. Have an attitude of thankfulness toward God for what he has provided you. “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” Eph 4:28.

Keep Your Covenant with God – and Prosper (Deuteronomy 29:9). How can God bless us, if we are living in sin? Sometimes, we get in the way of our own blessing because of the way we are living, thinking, talking and planning. Trusting God, even when we do not understand, can keep us striving to live a pure life. “Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4. As Christians, we can trust in God to help us stand.

Imagine with me if you will that you have left your children at home for an hour with specific instructions on what to clean, not having company and keeping the TV off and most of all staying out of the cookie jar. They all beamingly agree to these rules. While you are gone, you buy them some cool gifts - their favorite things. You put some on one pocket, some in another and the final awesome gift in the car so you can reveal everything in stages. You grin all the way home.

But when you arrive, you instinctively know something is wrong. The cookie jar is empty and laying on its side on the front porch, and the door is open. As you go up the steps, you can hear the TV blaring, though apparently no one watching it. None of the cleaning has been done, as everyone agreed to do. Worse, everyone is in the back yard, playing with several of the neighborhood friends. How would you feel about that? Likely, this scenario or something similar has played out for you, if you have children.

How is it with God though? He has blessings to deliver, and is ready - eager - to do so - to give us His kingdom. But if he looks into our life and we have wrong friends, won't clean up our act and won't even do the simplest things we have already agreed to do - do you think that he will take his wonderful gifts and give them to you? Wouldn't that be encouraging you do to more wrong? I'd think that way in the scenario above - I would not want to encourage their behavior at all. Could it be the same with God?

Confidence Through Obedience (Joshua 1:7-8). Disobedience leads to a wounded conscience before God, and man. Woundedness and disobedience also bring on lack of confidence in terms of moving forward, and “standing tall” in your spiritual momentum. Instead, choose to obey, to repent and to strive to do what is right.

When we get home and greet our two dogs - the old dog and the new puppy - it is obvious how they are feeling about things. If they are happy, you know it. If they have been 'doggy bad' say by getting into the trash or chewing up a shoe - they meet you with tail tucked, maybe rolling over on the floor to show their obesieance. Hmmmm..... is that what keeps us from standing before God confidently? What do you need to repent of? How about getting busy and changing that one big thing in your life that keeps you from being able to greet God in all happiness and joy? Let me know how that works for you!

Fulfill God's Law – So He May Prosper You (1 Chron 22:13). Carelessness leads to loss and sadness. Being careful of God's law, on the other hand, according to this passage, may lead to prosperity. Through obedience, those who are Christians may stand with courage. "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16.

With All Your Heart (2 Chron 31:21). We know what it is like to be enthusiastic for things and pastimes of this world – watching your favorite game, seeing fireworks, fishing or 4-wheeling for example. Take time and effort to become enthusiastic about giving of yourself to God and His Kingdom. What would it look like in your life if you were to give your whole heart to the work of God?

Like a Well Planted Tree (Ps 1:1-3). Trees without water don't do so well. If they grow at all, they may appear stunted, twisted and weak. The contrast is amazing when compared to a tree planted by living, flowing, fresh, clean, clear water. The branches are large and well filled out and the root structure is strong and well developed. Leaves are abundant as are blooms and fruit – depending on the type of tree – when that thing most necessary for growth is present. Be spiritually planted near to God. Spiritual growth only occurs in the presence of your Holy Father. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8a.

Riches and Honor Through Wisdom (Pv 3:16). Wisdom is something that grows and increases with use. Hindsight can create an opportunity to learn from past mistakes. Try to apply past learning to future decisions. Acting in a wise manner brings confidence, increases courage, saves you from getting into trouble and helps yourself and others in many other ways. Taking time to read God's word and act on it helps you to act wisely. "You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies." Psalms 119:98a

Pray for One Another (3 John 1:2). As you pray for your brothers and sisters, pray that they may prosper. Praying that others will do well, and succeed, can take your thoughts off yourself – and make you thankful. "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another" Romans 12:10.

Spiritual Profitability (1 Tim 4:8). Regardless of how good someone's physical shape may be, this earthly body is destined to fade away, except for those present and alive at the final trumpet call. Either way, the spiritual person will go on forever. Which one should get the greater attention? The return on your investment in the physical will eventually perish, as will all physical things. Eternal profitability lies with spiritual commitment and investment. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Mt. 6:21.

Soul Exchange Rate (Mt 16:26). It is possible to focus on physical attainments, gaining material possessions to the exclusion of improving one's spiritual lot in life. We know what it is like to trade money for things or barter time for money or barter items for other items. What would you barter for your soul? What is the value of your soul? You can get an idea of the value by considering the price that Jesus willingly paid so you have a hope of your soul's salvation. "You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men." 1 Cor 7:23.

(Next Week: When Good things Happen to Bad People and When Bad Things Happen to Good People. How to resolve this? Are we really qualified to judge God - and his decisions?).

(Say- - check out "Kevin's Pulpit" in iTunes. A few of the sermon's preached by Kevin Bentch at the Worland church of Christ are there. Please let me know what you think. Here's the link: (

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Latest News from the Worland church of Christ:

Please remember those who are ill. Dave Axtel's mother fell in the Nursing home, bruised but doing fairly well otherwise. Marie C. is still in the hospital, Ruby with continual health problems. Jeannie – fighting flu. Tink's family struggling to get over the flu as are the Canellas.

Katrina is fighting stomach pain - please keep her and her family in prayer as well.

The church also was asked to pray for Jerry and Peggy's newly conceived grandchild – that all would go well since there was a miscarriage before. Pray for Tyler and Amber – expecting a blessed event as well – think sometime in July is the due date.

Shanda's house was broken in to – and vandalized badly.

Remember our widows: Marie C., Barb, Ruby, and Jacque.

Molzahn's are traveling again – ready to build yet another church building in the SLC area.

Dean has returned home – victorious in his sales meeting for his company,

Thanks to Jim and Glenda for opening their home for a New Years Eve celebration.

McGee's are on vacation - in Greece, Rome, Italy. Sarah Blake has gone to Japan to visit with Katie.

WNFM – begins 01/09/08 through February.

Thanks to Jodie for hosting the women's day this Saturday – way to go ladies!

Jeannie asked for prayer this week, as did Nick. A number of souls stood to request Ezekiel 36:26-30 be prayed over them. Let's pray for spiritual victory!

This Sunday is the Ladie's prayer meeting at 4:00pm - at the church building. Monday night is the new ladie's class - 7:00pm at the church building.

Joyce and I are planning to set the dates for the next eight (8) week inter-active "Dynamic Marriages" seminar (His Needs, Her Needs). Please let us know what night of the week would work best for you!

If I've missed anything – please let me know!


Teaching an Old Dog

Years ago, we sort of inherited our dog from one of our kids when they went off to York College ( ) and she was supposed to take the dog back when she graduated. Instead, she obtained her “Mrs” Degree – and her husband only likes big dogs. Sami is small. At his heaviest he weighed in at 12 pounds and had to go on a diet. He may now be back down to his ideal weight of 10 pounds. At nearly 11 years old, he's doing well for his age – about 60 in dog years. Why would I want to teach him something new?

Well, it all comes down to a meeting of minds between the big dog – me – and the little dog – Sami. His primary method of communication is to sit and stare when he wants something. You will be sitting on the couch, minding your own business, and the hackles on the back of your neck begin to rise. You suddenly become aware that for some time the dog has been trying to hold you in his maniacal stare. Your every move provokes a corresponding tilt of his head or shift of his eyes. You are being watched. No, more – you are being WATCHED!

The point is you know that the dog either needs to go outside or needs food. No big deal, you get up and minister to the needs of the little gray/black dog. However, lately the novelty of a staring dog has begun to wane. As a matter of a fact, the delight has begun to pall. Worse, I am determined to introduce a new doggie habit. I want to train Sami to beg by whining when he needs to go outside or needs his food or water refilled - instead of Staring. Am I insane or is he?

Since October, I've been sort of obsessed with training the dog. Curiously this has apparently provided a source of humor for my sweet bride as she observes the struggle. Right now, Sami knows that I require him to whine, but he hates the idea, then we both try to see who can hold out the longest. About half the time I end up letting him outside before he gives me the signal that I've requested. However, when he wants to come back inside, he is required to whine to re-enter the house... the warm house.

He gets this look on his face – you can tell that he wants to rebel. He just sits there, or may even take a few steps backwards. All of this without making a single sound. Maybe after about four times of me partially opening the door to ask Sami if he wants to come in, then saying “OK – Beg Sami... Whine Sami...” he finally is able to enter. Because you see if Sami refuses to beg or whine, then he has to sit outside a few more minutes, until he relents.

So who has the problem here – me or Sami? Am I being totally unreasonable, trying to teach an old dog new habits? Joyce is beginning to give me a hard time about this training attempt. So I set a deadline that if Sami has not learned to whine instead of stare by the end of January, that I will cease and desist trying to teach him. Of course, I've explained to Sami that if he would only whine instead of stare that things would be able to happen when he wants them to – that the sky is the limit on how quickly he can receive a food refill – if he'd only say the right words to me instead of just staring.

Lately I've been thinking - that there may be a spiritual application here. God's requirements for us are pretty small I think. “What does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (NKJV).

Is this really so hard? Maybe so, but it is within our grasp, especially since God has provided a safety net of total forgiveness for Christians. So why do we try to change things up? God lets us know that the joy of the Lord is our strength – yet by our actions it is like we think the whine of the Lord will be our strength. God explains that small sins lead to bigger sins and ultimately to death – yet we live like it's OK to allow sin in our lives. God makes it clear that you cannot serve two masters because you will wind up hating one and loving the other – yet we tend to live like we can cling to God with one hand and grasp the Devil with the other.

Is this the same thing as Sami, knowing what I want him to do, yet doing the wrong thing – out of pure rebellion? I'm wondering if on judgment day, God might have a chat with me about my treatment of Sami during this time of training and instruction. I'd love to know your thoughts on this posting. Have a blessed day!