HE IS RISEN! DO YOU BELIEVE IT? –based on John 20:1-31
Mary Magdelene was the first one to discover the empty tomb. She came to the tomb alone, first thing in the morning, while it was still dark. She did not want to gain attention, for after all, she had a past and a reputation. Jesus was the first one in her life that actually brought her hope, peace, and freedom. And so she journeyed to the tomb, paying respects for the final time. She did not know how she was going to get past the guards or the sealed tomb; she just was hoping for one final look at her Savior.
But when she got to the tomb, it was empty! There were no guards. The stone was rolled away, and the seal was broken! What did this mean? So she ran to tell the disciples! Nine of them were unmoved, so deep in their grief that they remained where they were. After all, who believed the word of a woman? At least that was what their culture would tell them. But Peter and John got up to see for themselves. They both beheld the empty tomb, and reported back to the rest of the disciples. But instead of celebration, they continued to remain together behind closed, locked doors, for they were afraid of the Jews. They did not fully believe.
Mary didn’t know what to believe. As she remained at the tomb and wept, she encountered first two angels. Then she encountered someone she thought to be the gardener. She was so veiled by grief that she could not see who Jesus fully was. It was not until he called her by name that the veil was lifted, and celebrated her resurrected Lord. She believed!
The disciples continued in their unbelief. Later, that same evening, Jesus showed up and revealed himself. They touched his hands and side. They finally came to believe, and their sense of purpose was renewed. This meant that everything Jesus said was true! Their lives became anchored in Jesus’ resurrection; no longer could they return to their old ways!
But one was not with them, Thomas. Even with the word of the others, Thomas refused to believe until he could see for himself. One week later, Jesus appeared again, and this time went straight to Thomas. Finally he believed too.
Do we believe it? Is the resurrection real in us? The resurrection means that a new path has been charted for us. The resurrection means hope. It means every statement Jesus made is true. The resurrection means that we can anchor ourselves in the word! The resurrection means, like Mary Magdalene, we are new creations–the old is gone, the new has come! The resurrection means that when Jesus said he was the resurrection and the life, we truly can have eternal life by anchoring ourselves in him!
But how do we know we are living in the fruit of the resurrection? How do we know we truly believe? John 20 reveals four areas that we reveal a resurrection life:
1) Are we living in peace–peace with God, ourselves, and each other? Three times Jesus said, “Peace be with you!”
2) Are we living the mission, spreading the same good news that we received from Jesus? When we are touched by the grace of Jesus, we want to share with others!
3) Have we received the Holy Spirit–the indwelling presence of God within? He is our comforter, revealer of truth, our advocate, our guide.
4) Do we live in a constant state of forgiveness? The last concern of Jesus involved forgiveness as he declared it from the cross.
The reality is, none of us have all four of these in its fullness. But like a plant grows slowly over time, and reveals its fruit in due season, so too the resurrection life within us will bear fruit. Let us bear fruit of the resurrection. Do we believe it?
Questions for reflection
1) What veils us from recognizing Jesus in our midst?
2) What are some of the things in our lives that fully keep us from believing?
3) Are we scared to believe? In what ways would fully anchoring in the resurrection change our lives?
4) Which of the fruits of the resurrection do you find you need most at this time?
Pastor Ryan will begin a new series focused on the concept of rebuilding. Many times in the history of the people of God, there was some event that could have crippled the faithful and/or led to a mass exodus from the faith. Yet, in those moments of crises, how do we remain faithful? How do we rebuild?
The first sermon in the series is based on Genesis 50 and is titled, “Rebuilding a Broken Family.” We will look at Joseph and his brothers. How was the family able to reunite after selling Joseph as a slave into Egypt? Tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for April 14 – 20
April 14: Luke 24:1-12 How did the disciples respond to the resurrection?
April 15: Luke 24:13-35 When did the two on the road finally believe the resurrection?
April 16: Luke 24:36-49 How did Jesus comfort his disciples after the resurrection?
April 17: John 21:1-14 How did Jesus further show evidence of his resurrection?
April 18: John 21:25 How should we live in light of the resurrection?
April 19: Genesis 41 How did God work his plan of salvation through Joseph?
April 20: Exodus 3 How did God work his plan of salvation through Moses?
Beaver Creek will be closed through the end of April, in keeping with Executive Order 53 and the recommendation of the Shenandoah District and the Leadership Team.
The Leadership Team’s guidance in its meeting on March 19 was to reevaluate each month based upon the current recommendation of the governor. On March 30, Governor Northam announced Executive Order 55, a stay at home order with continuing guidance on rule of ten through June 10th. This will have potential lasting impacts for us at Beaver Creek, including the Mother-Daughter banquet.
The Leadership Team will meet on Thursday, April 16th at 7 pm via Zoom. Leadership Team, please check your email for the link!
Although Spring Festival is postponed, there are still two fundraisers that are COVID-19 safe to help support the camp at this time:
1) Hike-in-place-a-thon: Even though you cannot go to camp and hike, you can still hike in place for camp! If you would like to participate in this fundraising effort, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the church office, and I will get you a form. Likewise, if you would like to sponsor Katie or Samantha, who will both be doing the hike in place, please email me as well and let me know how much you are pledging. You can simply mail the donation to the church office and mark “hike-a-thon” and we will collect it.
2) Dunk the Dunkard: Instead of a dunking booth, you can “dunk” Pastor Ryan ALS ice bucket challenge style! If you would love to see me with a bucket of ice water dumped over my head, please email and sponsor! The goal is at least $200 for camp. If we can get over $200 for camp, Heather will record it, and we will upload the video to the website for all to watch! Again, you can mail the money also to the church, label it “dunk the dunkard”, and we know it will go to camp.
Spring Festival was April 25th, so everything needs to be in by that day if you would like to help camp out in this time. Most of the camp’s revenue comes from Spring Festival and the rental groups–which have all had to postpone at least through June 10th.
The Shenandoah District Disaster Auction will also have to be postponed under this new Executive Order.
Thank you to all who have volunteered to help with calling members of the congregation through this time. Pastor Ryan will also be calling as well!
Four 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
Accordius Nursing Facility–the nursing home with a COVID-19 outbreak in our area. One of our own, Carolyn Wine, is currently a resident. Prayers for healing and protection!
Brenda Cline & Family–condolences in the passing of Brenda’s father, Titus Stoltzfus.
LaPrade Family–continue to keep Darlene and the family in your prayers after Hazel’s passing last week.
Tami Plaugher (medical)
Sandy Shomo (medical) family friend of Misti & Kenny Wheelbarger and acquaintance of Bill & Donna Miller
Becky Whitmore–Baby is due on April 27th. (You can come by the church and deliver your baby shower gift if you had already purchased one, and we will make sure it gets to the Whitmores.)
Grayson Whitmore (injury, recovering at home)
Tom Wilfong (medical)
Charles Wright (medical)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB