RECAP: KNOWING OUR STORY–based on Acts 22:1-21
Paul went to Jerusalem, completely unafraid. Shortly after he arrived, what had been prophesied by the Spirit came true. He was arrested, and would never truly again regain his freedom. Yet what gave him the courage to stand faithfully, despite the trouble?
Paul knew his story and testified before the entire crowd:
1) Paul recounted his life before Jesus. He focused on how he was revered in the eyes of the world. Paul had pedigree, being a disciple of Gamaliel, the disciple of Hillel–the one who is still to this day considered the greatest Pharisee of all time! He gloated on how he was superior, how he was pure and faultless, a fierce defender of the Law. But he also shared openly his sins: he persecuted the church and was an accessory to Stephen’s murder.
2) Paul then described his encounter with Jesus. He saw a blinding light and heard Jesus speak. Jesus confronted him about his actions, but also gave him a task–to finish the journey to Damascus and wait for Ananias. This was an encounter that his entourage also experienced, but only partially. They saw the light, but were not blinded. They heard a sound, but did not hear any specific words.
3) Paul then talked about Ananias’ impact. Ananias put his own reputation to help out Paul. First, Ananias gave Paul healing, restoring his sight. Then, he gave Paul a mission and vocation. He spoke life into Paul, charting his path.
4) Paul concluded with his ongoing dialogue with Jesus. Jesus was so real to him, that he had opened his heart to hear his ultimate mission–to take the gospel to the Gentiles.
Paul never forgot this moment on the Damascus road. And this is what shaped him and moved him along. Why? If God could forgive him, transform him, and save him, with his past, God could forgive, transform, and save anyone. And that is what gave him the strength to endure, no matter what. He was deeply connected to his story.
What is our story? Do we remember what our life was like before Jesus? Do we remember what we have been redeemed from? Do we remember when Jesus became real to us? What were those early days like? Who came beside us and spoke life into us?
Some of us have amazing testimonies. Some have been delivered from deep addictions. Others, like my grandfather Papo, were saved by direct divine intervention from his heart attack. Others have always known God and had the blessing of growing up in the church, seeing God’s faithfulness throughout the years.
Satan wants us to doubt the reality of God. He wants to question our story and for us to question how God is writing our story. But do we know our story? Do we hold it dear to our hearts? Do we have those anchor points that keep us strong? Satan wants us to forget, but we find our strength as we remember, as we bring the story back to the forefront of our minds time and time again.
Will you allow God to write the next chapters in your story? Will you share your story with others, so they too might find hope?
Questions for reflection
1) How can an awareness of our story be powerful?
2) If you could testify of God’s goodness in your life, what would you share?
3) Who do you know has a powerful testimony for God? How did God change their life?
4) If there is one area you want to see God work in your life right now, what would that be?
Pastor Ryan will continue the Acts Church series with the sermon titled, “Growing Along the Way,” based upon Acts 26:1-15. Paul once again shared his testimony. But how did God help his faith grow? And how can we continue to grow in our faith? Come or tune in Sunday to find out! We will also have baptism after church!
Daily Bible Readings for September 15 – 21
September 15: John 9 How did a blind man’s testimony change lives?
September 16: Mark 5:1-20 Why can testimony be very powerful?
September 17: Galatians 1:11-24 What was the result of Paul’s testimony?
September 18: Hebrews 11 How does testimony embolden faith?
September 19: 1 Peter 2:1-12 How can personal testimony change the world?
September 20: Genesis 15 What were some of Abram’s growing pains? What did he learn?
September 21: Exodus 5 How do challenges teach us to become dependent upon God?
This Week’s Events:
Thursday, September 17–Leadership Team Meeting @ 7 pm
Sunday, September 20–Baptism Sunday
Saturday, September 26–National Day of Prayer for our country
Saturday, September 26–Drive by outreach for White Birch
Sunday, September 27–New Member Sunday
Sunday, October 4–World Wide Communion Sunday
Sunday, October 4–Bible Study resumes, 6:30 pm
Sunday, November 1–Congregational Business Meeting
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).
Beginning Sunday, October 4th, we will resume Bible Study at 6:30 pm. It will resume via Zoom for the time being.
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. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, who are called by my name, would humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” If we want to see our nation healed, it starts with us as the church in fervent prayer and leading the way of repentance. September 18-28 has been called as a ten day season of repentance. On Saturday, September 26, there will be a national day of prayer for our nation. Let us take that day and time to pray!
We will also have a special time of prayer set aside at the church on September 26, the day of the Return, the call for a national day of prayer. We will open the church at 7 pm. We ask that you RSVP for a time slot with the church office. We want to make sure we keep the numbers limited due to COVID safety.
This week’s area of national repentance is the violation of the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength.” We as a nation claim to be a people who love God; but what is the primary love of our hearts? What do we dwell on in our minds? What do we devote our strength to? If we truly loved God as a nation with all our hearts, mind, and strength, we would not be as a nation where we are. But the reality is we have replaced our love for God with other loves; for this, we need as a nation to repent.
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.
More details will be coming soon, but the Outreach Team has agreed to lead the creation of Sunshine Boxes for our members in long term care facilities.
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:
Anonymous–The office received an anonymous request for 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.
Our Augusta County Teachers, Heather Cooper and Tammy Stine–(COVID reported at Beverley Manor and Clymore)
Mary Batterman–recovering at home; sign up to take a meal at: www.TakeThemAMeal.com/XHOZ8636.
Regina Harlow (health)
Eli Harlow (health).
Cindy Heatwole (health).
LaDawn Knicely (health)–at home recovering.
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (Roger & Nancy Simmons’ neighbor, health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Chris Shirk (Reba’s brother, health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Grayson Whitmore (recovery)
Tom Wilfong (recovery)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health–Charles Wright’s brother)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB