RECAP: REBUILDING A SPIRITUAL HOUSE–based on Haggai 2:1-9
Sometimes, as hard as we try, life just goes off the rails, and by extension our faith. Israel thought they had been faithful to God, but their faith was thrown off the rails as they were taken into exile. But when our life is not what we thought it would be, when things fall apart, we have two choices: do nothing, or move forward. For Israel, when they returned home, they chose the former: to do nothing, and allow the house of God to remain a ruin. But Haggai the prophet encouraged the nation to move forward and rebuild the spiritual house.
The spiritual house was much more than a building or the temple. The spiritual house is much deeper than a physical structure. Haggai tried to teach the people of Israel as well as us today that a true spiritual house is the place where God dwells. It starts:
1) When you restore God as your main priority. The people built paneled houses and took care of their crops instead of taking care of the temple. In other words, they were quick to order their own lives, but relegated God as a lesser priority. God was an afterthought, without a desire for relationship, and reduced to a genie in a lamp. The nation carved out time for their own interests, but did not care out intentional space for God. Rebuilding a spiritual house starts when we restore our priorities and make room for God in everything we do. More than that, it is when we consult God first (Matt 6:33), and place all of our other worries and concerns at his feet.
2) When you stop focusing on externals and religion. The people wept when they completed the new temple because it looked nothing like Solomon’s temple. They remembered the grandeur and the mystique. The nation held a belief that God would never allow the beautiful temple to be destroyed as long as they followed the letter of the law. They practiced kosher. They kept the feasts. But God rejected all of that (Amos 5:21-24, Micah 6:6-8, Isaiah 58:3-6, Hosea 6:6, Jeremiah 7:4-7). For to God, what matters is not the outside, but what is on the inside. God preferred the tabernacle of David because it was held by those who loved God and desired to become more like him. What matters more than the practice and what everyone can see is our heart–are we willing to become more like God?
3) When God is within us and is personal. Israel externalized God, but God’s desire was always to be within us. When Jesus came, he was our Emmanuel and moved within our hearts. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are the dwelling place of God. The Most High does not dwell in houses built by hands, but within the heart of humanity (Acts 7:48). God’s resting place is within us (Isaiah 66:1-2), and when we make room for God and rebuild our personal spiritual house, the glory will be greater, for God is truly within!
How do we know we have accomplished this? How do we know our spiritual house is where it needs to be?
1) Are we living in the Spirit?
2) Are we changing the world?
3) Do we feel the glory of the Lord? Is his presence so palpable we can feel God?
4) Do we live in peace?
Life happens. We all will face times that will challenge our faith. Certainly COVID has been one of those seasons. But when life throws us off the rails, we can either do nothing or tend to our spiritual house. And when we tend our spiritual house, God’s glory will fill it!
Questions for reflection
1) What are your priorities in living? Where does God fit in among them?
2) Why is it so hard to not focus on the externals or the daily ritual of being a Christian?
3) In what ways can you make room in your house for God?
4) Which of the four evidences of a spiritual house (living in the Spirit, changing the world, filled with the glory of God, and peace) would you personally like to grow in this year? What steps do you think you can take toward it?
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 conclude the Rebuilding series and simultaneously begin the Acts Church series with the sermon titled, “Rebuilding a Vibrant Church,” based on Acts 2. On the Day of Pentecost, the church was born. Can a Pentecost experience happen in our day? Tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for May 27 – June 2
May 27: Joshua 4 What was the significance of this altar to the Lord?
May 28: 2 Chronicles 7 What was supposed to be the significance of the temple?
May 29: Amos 9:11-15 What was the promise behind the restoration of David’s fallen tent?
May 30: Ezekiel 47:1-10 What was Ezekiel’s vision of the river from the restored temple?
May 31: Joel 2:28-32 What is the promise of the outpouring of the Spirit?
June 1: Jeremiah 31:31-34 What is the promise of the outpouring of the Spirit?
June 2: John 14:15-27 What is the role of the Spirit in our lives?
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 June. 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 next week at 7 p.m.
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).
More information to follow…
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.
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 still TBD, but will be defined as we have more guidance from our state officials. 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.
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
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–who are mourning the passing of Liz Rhodes on Sunday morning. A memorial service date is still TBD. If you have a special memory of Liz, please email it to Pastor Ryan.
Sandy Shomo–(illness, recovering)
Carolyn Wine–(medical, back at Accordius)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB