Sonlight: Church News

Galesville Campus

Arcadia Campus

Welcome to

Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church

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

Bethel Lutheran welcomes all who are visiting our site to find more information about the Financial Peace University course that we are offering.

Mr. Dave Ramsey is not personally affiliated with our congregation or Lutheran Church. However, Mr. Tim Smieja, a member of our congregation, is one of those at Bethel who have taken Mr. Ramsey's Financial Peace University course and found it to be especially helpful.
That is why Tim is offering you an opportunity to work through the details of this course over a nine week period.  

If you have questions or need more details please contact Tim Smieja directly, on his cell phone at (507) 450-5347. He would be happy to talk.  

You can also sign-up or get more details by going directly to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University website.  Go online to

God bless you and may this instruction be a help to your life.
Pastor Jon Cox



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 24 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 believe and confess that saving faith with us.  Our children range in age from 21 to 12. We have been in the area for almost three 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, 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.
We also offer a Thursday evening service at 6:00 p.m. in Galesville.

Faith Related Q and A

Judas' hanging

We had the first Bible reading from Acts 1:15-26 today and in that reading it states: "(With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.)" How does this fit in with Matthew's account that we are all very familiar with, that Judas went out and hanged himself? I am confused!!


Imagine how two different people might approach your question.  One person believes that the Bible is filled with errors and contradictions.  That person looks at your question and says, “Well, what do you expect?  Here is one of those contradictions in the Bible.”  Another person has been convinced by the Holy Spirit to believe what Jesus says, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17).  That person looks at your question and says, “Since the Bible is true and does not contain contradictions, both accounts are true.  It’s just a matter of me trying to understand how they can both be true.”

When we take that latter approach, we can make sense of the two accounts.  Judas did hang himself (Matthew 27:5), but it looks from the Acts 1 account that he hanged himself in a location and in a manner whereby his body became detached from those items that he used to hang himself and his body fell down a cliff. 

Both accounts are true.  Understood together, they provide the complete picture of what happened.

Answered by James Pope, professor at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. Pope is a contributing editor to Forward in Christ magazine. He writes the monthly “Light for our path” question and answer column.

Who Judges?

John 12:47-48
“If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.
1 Corinthians 6:2
Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world?
John 5:22
Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son
1 Peter 1:17
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially

The above passages are pointed to as an example of contradictions in the Bible. Are they? To a layman, they are certainly confusing.



You question illustrates how important context is:  the immediate context of a given passage and the wider context of Scripture.

In John 12:44 and following, Jesus explained his connection to his heavenly Father and the gospel.  He said that people’s attitudes toward him were a reflection of their attitudes toward his heavenly Father and the gospel.  When Jesus said that he “did not come to judge the world, but to save it” (John 12:47), he was highlighting the reason why he came into the world:  John 3:16.  Jesus came into the world as the fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Messiah.  He came to “seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).  Because Jesus will be the judge on the last day (Matthew 25:31-46), he can accurately say that his “words” (John 12:48) will judge people, because his words—the Bible—clearly portray him as Savior.  People who have been led to believe God’s word about Jesus will enjoy eternity with God.  People who rejected God’s word about Jesus will bring down condemnation on themselves.

1 Corinthians 6:2 – The context here is that some of the Christians in Corinth were taking each other to court in lawsuits.  The apostle Paul instructed the Corinthians to settle their differences peacefully because, after all, they were dealing with trivial matters.  In the future, on the last day, they would be involved in a greater “court case,” the judgment of all people.  They—and all Christians—would be involved in that judgment in the sense that as God’s children his will is their will.  As the Lord renders his verdict, his people will participate in that judgment.  Jesus even spoke of his disciples “judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30). 

John 5:22 – The Father has entrusted Jesus with the final judgment.  That is appropriate since it is people’s attitude toward Jesus and his gospel that determines where people will spend eternity.

1 Peter 1:17 – Judgment belongs to God:  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  While the Father has entrusted judgment to his Son, the Father is still involved in judgment. 

The passages you selected look at judgment from different angles; there is no contradiction.  Collectively, they tell us that God, through his Son, will judge all people on the last day.  Judgment will be based on people’s attitude toward Jesus and his gospel.  When it comes to the judgment of the condemned, Christians will participate in that judgment. 

How wonderful to know and believe that “since we have been justified [declared ‘not guilty’] through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

Answered by James Pope, professor at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. Pope is a contributing editor to Forward in Christ magazine. He writes the monthly “Light for our path” question and answer column.

WELS Streaming Videos

» April 2015 - Home Missions

What's the best way to equip a pastor to start a new home mission? There's seminary training, of course, but actual experience in the field can be invaluable. That's the idea behind an initiative called "Vicar in Missions," which involves a year of practical experience in outreach setting.

Cast: WELS

» March 2015 - Russia

WELS World missionaries have spent years preaching and teaching in Russia…and now they are helping to prepare a new group to assist in outreach. The WELS Missions initiative called "Daylight in Russia," encourages WELS members to serve in Russia as English teachers while working with the national churches there.

Cast: WELS

Forward in Christ

June 2015
Issue Date: 

Change is inevitable. Whether it happens to us or through us, one thing is certain—things never stay the same. 

In a new series on sanctification and good works starting this month, Pastor James Borgwardt talks about the biggest change in our lives—how Christ changed us from dead to alive.

read more