Note: This is the last communication for this year since Pastor Ryan will be on vacation beginning Christmas Day. It will resume on January 5, 2021.
RECAP–HOW FAR DOES LOVE GO? from ISAIAH 53
How far does love go? What is love anyway? Although we as human beings really confuse love, it is something we crave more than anything else. Sometimes in that craving for love, we end up finding ourselves in a place of deep rejection or loneliness, feeling like we are unworthy of love. We experience the pain of rejection. We look in the mirror, and despise ourselves. At other times, we have allowed sin to put us into bondage, and we feel like we possibly cannot deserve the love of God. And still at other times, we feel we are too far gone, that healing is not possible.
But God loves us. Yes, Christmas is about the arrival of God on this earth. But why did he came? “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world could be saved” (John 3:16-17). How far did this love go?
Christ was rejected, so we can be accepted. He was hated, despised, rejected. Even we have seasons in our life when we reject him!
Christ became sin, so we can be set free from the bondage!
Christ was crucified, so we can find healing and be made whole!
Christ’s love for us is so deep, that he was brutally executed on a cross. Every drop of blood that was spilled out was for us, because he loves us! He took the whip for you. The crown of thorns was for you. The nails in his wrist and side was for you. Even when we shout crucify in our own hearts. Even when we turn away and try to hide, God still loves you.
We don’t have to live in rejection anymore. We belong to Christ. He has accepted us and welcomed us, no matter what our past looks like or how we are living. We don’t have to live in the weight of sin anymore. We don’t need to hide like Adam, cover up like Cain, remain entangled in sin like Lot’s wife; we don’t have to take things for ourselves like Achan or linger in the darkness and secret place like David or take God for granted like Samson. For when we experience the love of Christ, those chains that bind us, the chains of anger, hatred, self-loathing, depression, loneliness, unworthiness all fall off, and he has restored us. And the spiritual and emotional healing we seek will come because of what Christ has done for us!
Do we know how far love goes? How far has it gone for you? How far can it go for those outside the doors of our church? The same love and compassion Christ has for us, he has for the entire world. How far are we willing to go to share that love?
Questions for reflection
1) Do you know how much Christ loves you?
2) In what areas of your life do you need to experience the acceptance of Christ?
3) What chains of bondage do you need to be set free from? What sin do you need to kick out?
4) Where do you need to experience Christ’s healing?
Christmas Eve Service
Thursday, we will light the Christ Candle for our Christmas Eve service. The meditation will be titled, “Is He the Christ?”, based on both Matthew and Luke’s telling of the birth of Christ.
As everyone enters the sanctuary, please pick up a candle. This will be your candle for the candle lighting at the end. Because of COVID, we cannot circle the sanctuary like we normally do. However, Heather and I will bring the candle down the aisles. The first person in each pew will light their candle from ours. Then pass along to your family.
For communion, each pew will be dismissed one at a time. You will come down the center aisle, receive the bread and cup, and then return to your pew by walking alongside the front and down the side aisles.
Pastor Ryan is on vacation from Christmas Day through New Years Day. On December 27, Regina Harlow will be our guest speaker, preaching the sermon titled, “Drink Immortality,” based upon Matthew 12:43-45 and John 7:37-38.
When Pastor Ryan returns on January 3 for Epiphany Sunday, we will begin a new series called “Walking in the Light.” This series will take us right up to Lent. The first sermon is titled, “Where Does the Light Shine,” based on John 1:1-18.
Daily Bible Readings for December 22 – January 4
December 22: Psalm 112:1-5 How does God demonstrate his love?
December 23: Ephesians 2:11-22 How did Christ show us his love?
December 24: Luke 2:1-7 How did Christ’s humble beginning reveal God’s love?
December 25: Luke 2:8-20 What do the shepherds have to do with God’s message of love?
December 26: John 1:1-5 How is Christ the fullness of love?
December 27: Matthew 1:18-25 What is the promise of Immanuel?
December 28: 1 Peter 2:9-10 How can we show the light of Christmas?
December 29: Psalm 18:25-30 How does the light of God change us?
December 30: John 8:12-20 How did the light of Christ change his world?
December 31: Psalm 51:1-17 How does the light shine in the midst of brokenness?
January 1: Matthew 5:14-16 How can we shine the light of Christmas?
January 2: Luke 2:21-38 For whom is Jesus a light?
January 3: John 1:19-28 How did John point the way to Jesus?
January 4: John 1:29-34 How was Jesus revealed?
This Week’s Events:
Thursday, December 24–Christmas Eve service
Saturday, January 9–SNL Youth Ice Skating
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 and children’s story. 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).
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
6) Restoration of the national church
Women’s Fellowship Fundraiser
Thank you to all who donated items or purchased items for the modified auction/fundraiser. It is not too late to donate for this worthy cause! A healthy amount has been received already.
This year, we will have two services for Christmas Eve due to COVID–a 7 pm service and the traditional 11 pm service. We are asking that you call the church office and declare which service you plan to attend in order to make sure we can accommodate everyone. We only have about 10 slots left for the 11 pm service.
There is a draft of the 2021 directory in the narthex of the church. Please check it and update any information that needs to be corrected.
There will be a box in the narthex for Heifer Project.
Misti Wheelbarger is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour for next year. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to her and let her know.
Four Ways to Give! With the extended closure, this is greatly necessary.
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate at the main entrance as you enter for church
Continue to Keep in Prayer:
Those in our community being negatively impacted by COVID and economic impacts. Several have seen layoffs in recent weeks.
Andy Anderson (COVID)
Mary Batterman (health)
Glenn & Debbie Bollinger (COVID)
Sam Carr (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Michelle Johnson (COVID)
Heath Kimmell (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Shirley Miller (health)
Alice Over (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Randall & Allison Sandin (COVID)
Tim Shiflet (COVID)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Chris Southerly (procedure)
Stanley Suter (health, currently at LifeCare in New Market)
Cole Wheelbarger (procedure, December 28)
Carolyn Wine (health)
Gary Wise (COVID)
Tom Wilfong (recovery)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB