RECAP: STANDING BY EACH OTHER–based on Acts 9:19b-31
Evil Queen. Maleficent. Captain Hook. Cruella De Vil. Ursula. Jafar. Scar. Hades.
All of these individuals are famous Disney villains. Each and every one of them earned that monicker for how they treated others. Beast too started out as a villain, but he was one of the very few who changed his ways. How? Because of Belle’s willingness to stand beside him and believe in the goodness that was within.
Do we believe that anyone can change–even the greatest villain? Can such a life change really happen? Is it genuine?
Saul was one of the greatest villains of the early church. He was the one who was there giving approval to Steven’s death (Acts 7:54-58). Then he went throughout all of Israel trying to round up every single one of these believers in Jesus to put them in prison and see them executed. His influence was so strong, he was even able to convince the high priest to allow him to travel to this cluster he had heard about in Damascus–well outside the border of Israel! And he wasn’t worried about Roman interference–he was determined to complete the task! He was one, big, bad dude.
Yet, in an instant, in the flash of light, Saul had an encounter with the resurrected Lord. He would never be the same again. But when he arrived in Damascus, everyone was afraid of him. Can we trust this Saul? Maybe he is a spy, trying to see how many of us there really are so he can arrest us all! He is a snake, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A leopard can’t change their spots–can they?
Do we believe that anyone can change? The community of faith, both in Damascus and Jerusalem, was full of distrust. And if we are honest with ourselves, we would be too! After all, isn’t a villain always a villain? Is it even possible for a villain to become good? By the end of the New Testament, Saul had been renamed as Paul, and was the primary individual who took Christianity to the entire Roman world!
But that change happened because people in the faith community stood by him, took a risk and believed in him. First, the Christians in Damascus took Saul in and welcomed them into the community of faith. Then, when there was a threat on his life, they helped him escape. They were originally under Saul’s death order; now, they potentially fell on the death order of the people of Damascus to aid in his escape! Then, Barnabas, the ultimate hero of the faith community, stood in the gap further, not only explaining how God had radically changed Saul’s life, but testified of his belief in his new brother in Christ! Then later, when Barnabas needed assistance in Antioch, he went and found Saul and brought him along.
God had changed Saul’s heart, but people only believed when a few bold individuals took a chance to recognize God’s working in Saul’s heart. Who around us needs someone to believe in them, to encourage them, to stand beside them? Who knows, but maybe the next Billy Graham might be in our midst–if we just stand beside them and believe!
Questions for reflection
1) Who is the biggest villain you personally know?
2) Do you believe that God can possibly change their ways? Why or why not?
3) Why is it difficult to trust in someone who has experienced life change?
4) What are some ways that you personally can stand in the gap for someone trying to change their ways?
Graduation Sunday to recognize this year’s seniors.
Pastor Ryan will continue to Acts church series with the sermon titled, “Open to the Spirit’s Leading,” based upon Acts 11:1-18. God pushed Peter completely out of his comfort zone, sending him to preach the gospel to a Roman centurion in his house! How did the early church wrestle with change to widely held paradigms? What can we learn from them? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for July 7 – 13
July 7: Judges 4 Who came to the aid of Barak? How?
July 8: 1 Samuel 20:1-17 How did Jonathan stand beside David?
July 9: Hosea 3 How did Hosea stand beside Gomer?
July 10: Acts 15:36-41 How did Barnabas stand beside John Mark?
July 11: Acts 21:1-16 How did Paul’s friends stand beside him?
July 12: Genesis 28:10-22 How did the encounter at Bethel make Jacob open to God’s leading?
July 13: Exodus 4:1-17 How did the encounter at the burning bush make Moses open to God’s leading?
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). We have worship leading for July covered, but will need August going forward, and we still need children’s story for July.
We will take the month of July off from Bible study due to vacations and other scheduling conflicts. We will resume Bible study in the beginning of August after this week!
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. Classes will be on Sunday evenings at 7 pm in pastor’s office, beginning July 26 and ending September 6 (no class on August 2). If you would like to be a part, let Pastor Ryan know ASAP!
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. Registration can 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.
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. We would like to know by next Sunday.
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. Let us also take five minutes to pray for the wisdom of our local and state officials as they make decisions based upon the COVID crisis. This week, let us add an additional five minutes of prayer for our school division leaders who need to make tough decisions on reopening of schools.
Graduate Recognition Sunday
Graduate Recognition Sunday is July 12. If you have a graduate that would like to be recognized, please let Tess know by TODAY so that CE will know how many gifts to order.
The Leadership Team has approved for us to begin reopening Sunday School based upon the teacher’s personal preference. It is summer hours, so Sunday School will begin at 9:15.
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
Continue to Keep in Prayer:
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.
Andrew Brookman JR–Louise Shirkey’s brother (medical)
Brunk family–in the passing of Sylvia. Prayers of comfort and peace. Memorial service will be 7/25.
Jacobson Family (loss of child)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Chris Shirk– Reba’s brother (health).
Showalter family (loss of child)
Grayson Whitmore (recovery)
Tom Wilfong (recovery)
Charles Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB