RECAP: REBUILDING A VIBRANT CHURCH–based on Acts 2:1-4, 17-21, 36-41
There have been two consistent themes that I have heard over the last few weeks: weariness, and uncertainty of the future. What’s next in our lives? How can we rejuvenate after being apart for so long? It has felt like we have been in a state of wandering, like Israel wandered in the wilderness, or the nation of Israel wandered without a fresh voice from God from Malachi until John the Baptist–a period of nearly 400 years. Israel was longing, craving, for restoration, rejuvenation, to finally throw off domination by foreign powers. They wanted to see the kingdom manifest among them, to rediscover their meaning and passion for following God. They were simply looking for one to spark their fire.
But, in a moment, that spark came. On that Pentecost Sunday, the fire was lit, and the church was born. It started with twelve disciples, who were all originally cowards. By the end of the day, they were emboldened witnesses for Christ, adding 3000 more to the church! What changed? They were all baptized with the Holy Spirit!
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the physical outpouring of God’s spirit in a manifest way. It is fully knowing that the Holy Spirit is with you wherever you go. Just like there is clear evidence wherever fire has been, so too there is evidence of the filling of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 says that we will receive power (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. That word for power is the same word that we get dynamite! Just as a small stick of dynamite can cause mass destruction, so too the power of the Holy Spirit can change those around us. Soon, the fire that started became a wildfire that could not be contained. But how did they fuel this fire, and how can we see the fire of the Holy Spirit in our day?
1) They were committed to unity. They were all together in one place. Even though they had differences between them, they were all committed prayerfully to a single focus–Jesus Christ. We all come from different backgrounds, but what if we came as one to make Jesus known and to seek his face? What if we asked Jesus to become manifest in our day? For renewal in our land? For healing? For the courage to share the good news? Every revival throughout history started with coming together in prayer as one.
2) They were willing to break all restraints. Fire can only spread as far as the boundaries is it contained in. Likewise, how much of God we receive is limited by the container we set aside for him. The disciples set aside all fear, completely surrendered themselves to God, and allowed God to overflow in their lives. They were after all, speaking in strange languages and mistaken as disorderly drunks! But they allowed God to overflow and completely bust their comfort zones. How much God do we want? A teacup worth? A glass? A pitcher? A bucket full? God will fill us with as much as we want to be filled…are we willing to break the restraints and allow God to fill us?
3) They were bold witnesses in their community. They could have kept the filling of the Holy Spirit for themselves. Instead, they spilled into the streets, compelling others to meet the same Jesus and receive the same Spirit. They shared what they had, fully convinced that Jesus was all they truly needed. Not all of us are called to be preachers, but who around you needs hope? When people encounter you, do they see Jesus? Do they want what you have?
The solution for wandering and weariness is rejuvenation, revival, and fresh fire. The Holy Spirit wants to fill his church anew. Today is our day. All we need is a little spark. Will you bring the fuel?
Questions for reflection
1) Do you believe a Pentecost like empowering can happen in our day?
2) Why is being in complete unity difficult?
3) What area of your life would be the most difficult to break restraint?
4) Who do you know needs to hear the good news?
When we gather together on June 7th, it will be 13 weeks since we last gathered together! This whole season has been challenging. For many of us, we have felt isolated and greatly miss our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ! And when we gather together again, life will still not be the same. But one thing that I have been hearing constantly, and feeling as well, is the overall weariness that has come as a result of this pandemic.
Isaiah says it best: “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will mount up on wings as eagles. They will run, and not grow weary. They will walk, and not faint” (Isa 40:30-31). Friends, even though we collectively have been weary, the LORD will renew our strength! And we have a hope that in just ten days, we will be able to worship all together again! Let us look to this next season in the life of Beaver Creek as a season of rejuvenation, of renewal, of rebirth! And as we celebrate Pentecost, the birth day of the church, may we experience new energy and passion for God, and be excited for the days ahead!
Pastor Ryan will officially begin the Acts Church series with the sermon titled, “A Thriving Congregation,” based upon Acts 2:42-47. When the church was formed, it grew rapidly and quickly. What steps did they take to cause it to thrive? Come Sunday, or tune in Sunday, to find out.
This coming Sunday is a First Sunday offering for AVA Care. Please clearly mark what is first offering as you either mail in your gift, place in the offering plate on Sunday, or donate online.
Daily Bible Readings for June 2 – 8
June 2: John 14:15-27 What is the role of the Spirit in our lives?
June 3: John 15:18-27 What is the role of the Spirit in our lives?
June 4: John 16:1-15 What is the role of the Spirit in our lives?
June 5: Romans 8:1-27 What is the role of the Spirit in our lives?
June 6: Acts 15:1-29 How can the Holy Spirit help in conflict resolution?
June 7: 1 Corinthians 15:1-19 What is the core of the apostles’ teaching?
June 8: Acts 2:14-41 What was the core of Peter’s message on the day of Pentecost?
June 2–Kenny Wheelbarger
June 5–Alice Over
Reopening Guidance (as of May 26, 2020)
Recommendations to Every Member
- If you feel like you need to stay home, stay safe! Would rather have you safe!
- If you are part of the vulnerable population, please keep watching the service via livestream!
- If you have a fever, stay home! We will not temp every person who comes to the door; but check your temperature before you leave for church. If it is over 99.5, please stay home.
- Facemasks are required for all over the age of 10, according to the newest Executive Order. If you have your own facemask, please bring it with you. If you do not have your own facemask, we are having some reusable and rewashable facemasks made.
- If you have a medical condition which a facemask would be detrimental to your health, please let the office know.
- Wash your hands before you come to church.
- Use bathroom at home before church as much as possible
- Maintain social distancing (six feet apart)
- Avoid physical contact (especially those hugs I know we all want to give each other!)
Necessary COVID measures (based upon District & Governor’s recommendations)
- 50% of the low load capacity is our maximum (roughly 80-90 people max)
- Only Worship for now (no Sunday school or fellowship events)
- Leave as many of your personal belongings at home. Only bring in what is necessary.
- Building doors and windows propped open to maximize circulation; exceptions would be a violent rain or cold rain
- Everyone will enter through main door and exit through side doors unless of mobility needs
- Masks must be on before entering the building. If you have a health condition that would limit your ability to wear a mask, please let us know at the office
- Greeter will pump hand sanitizer bottle as people enter until we can acquire an automatic dispenser. If you cannot receive hand sanitizer due to health reasons, you are not required to receive it.
- Only main floor bathrooms will be accessible. If you have to use bathroom, please wipe down with a sanitizer wipe before leaving.
- There will be no passing of the offering plate during the initial phases. Everyone is encouraged to give as they have been giving. There will be an offering plate placed on a podium by the entrance. You can place your gift before you take your seat.
- There will be no ushers for the short term.
- Every pew will have two pieces of painters tape. Sit between the pieces of tape. These are the only areas where you can sit in keeping with the “six feet apart” rule.
- Immediate family clusters can sit together
- The wing rooms are only open for the amount of chairs placed. They were measured to be six feet apart from the pews.
- No bulletins for pick up. They will be either laid out on the available seats or displayed on screen for short term
- Children’s materials will be in a disposable ziploc bag. No crayons will be provided.
- Nursery will only be available to one family at a time. You must be in the nursery with only your own kids.
- Remove hymnals and Bibles from pews–display on screen
- No corporate congregational singing during early return. Will have either videos or special music that you can “hum” to
- Children’s story continued on screen
- No “passing the peace” time
- Prayers of people submitted in advance (no passing of microphone) to the office by Friday, 1 pm or to Pastor Ryan by Sunday morning, 9 am.
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
As we look at the ability to reopen in the coming weeks, we are in need of both worship leaders beginning in July and children’s story in July. We are looking for one person each week, rather than a month at a time. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Bible Study resumes Wednesday at 7 pm. Today we will be reviewing the parables of the rock and sand, tower builder and warring king, and workers in the vineyard. The Zoom link is available from Pastor Ryan. Please note: there has been a recent zoom update, so please give yourself some time to allow the update to take place.
Before church closed for COVID, we had begun to announce a baptism and membership class (for transfer of membership). So for we have two that have expressed interest. If you are interested in either, or even if you recently became a member without the class and would like more of what it means to be a member of Beaver Creek, please let Pastor Ryan or Tess know you would like to take the class. Once there is enough interest, more specifics will be shared at that time.
Brethren Woods is closed to traditional summer camp this year, but there are other ways to enjoy camp! Family Camp registration is open for those family units who want to spend a few days together. The cost is $35 per day per adult, $30 per child over 11, and $27.50 per child under 11. The minimum stay is two evenings. More information can be found here: https://brethrenwoods.org/familycamp/.
Also, there will be a hybrid camp/VBS program beginning June 7th called Watz in the Woods. This is available for all children and youth. More information will be found here: https://brethrenwoods.org/dsc/. The cost is free (suggested donation of $75).
The Leadership Team has decided to make the following commitment toward camp:
1) If any family desires to register for Family Camp this summer, the church will cover 50% of the cost through the Camp Scholarship line item in our budget. All you will need to do at registration is say that you are from Beaver Creek.
Heather, the girls, and I will be going after church on Sunday, June 28 – Wednesday, July 1.
2) The church will make a donation to camp for every child or youth who signs up for Watz in the Woods alternative camp/VBS from the VBS budget line item, since our traditional VBS was canceled in light of COVID. Again, you would just need to say you are from Beaver Creek. This unique program is for all children & youth from ages 4 through 19!
Once COVID restrictions continue to loosen, the Outreach Team had approved to allow Beaver Creek to be a host site for a babysitting training class for teenagers. When a teen completes the class, they would be officially certified to babysit anywhere in the commonwealth. The cost is $95.
Again, due to COVID, we do not yet have a date. But they want to know if there are truly enough interested teens to take the class before they commit the date. If you are interested, either let Pastor Ryan or Tess know, so we can get your teen on the list.
Call to Prayer
As we know, right now has been a time of unrest in our land. Our nation needs healing! Let us take five minutes every day to pray for our country.
Graduate Recognition Sunday
Because of the initial restrictions when we return together, the Christian Education team decided to postpone Graduate Recognition Sunday into July so we can still do it the Beaver Creek way. The date is July 12. If you have a graduate that would like to be recognized, please let Tess know in the office so that CE will know how many gifts to order.
Five Ways to Give! With the extended closure, this is greatly necessary.
1) Direct Deposit–form available on the website
2) Mail your tithe into the church office
3) Drop it by church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
4) New online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
5) Drop off in the offering plate at main entrance as you enter for church
Prayers for our Congregation–pray for those who have been unable to visit or spend time with family, those who have lost their jobs or seen furloughs, for those who have been discouraged, and those in our nursing homes, who have not been able to have any physical contact since early March.
Dan Rhodes & family–(mourning the passing of Liz Rhodes last week).
Carolyn Wine–(medical, at Accordius).
Denny Wright–(medical, at Sentara RMH).
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB