RECAP: GROWING OUR FAITH–based on Acts 26:16-29
The Holiday Inn commercials always used to make me laugh. Here are all of these scenarios where someone is an “expert” to resolve the situation solely because they slept at a Holiday Inn! It is another thing to say that we are somebody, but it is another thing altogether to be able to back up that claim. Likewise, we can claim that we are a Christian, and have the most eloquent story or testimony on how Jesus has come into our lives or what he means to us. We come to the baptismal waters, declaring what Jesus has done for us. But how do we live in our baptism? We truly show the effects of our encounter with Jesus with what we do in response.
Paul certainly understood this. In Acts 22, he shared his testimony on how he encountered Jesus and how it changed the trajectory of his life. In Acts 26, he shares his testimony again. But he continued on, showing how he had grown in his faith. Through the words of Jesus and his actions, we see exactly what Paul did with his story. How do we show we are growing in our faith?
1) Display the character of Jesus. Jesus challenged Paul to be a servant and a witness. Jesus himself was the ultimate servant and witness of the father. In other words, Jesus instructed Paul to follow in his footsteps and take on his very characteristics. Paul went from a very proud individual to one who laid aside himself and served those around him. Being a Christian is not all about us; it is all about reconciling a world back to God and showing a better way in our living.
What witness do we leave for the world through our character? When they see us, do they see Jesus?
2) Continue the work of Jesus. Jesus challenged Paul to open the eyes of the people, to bring people from darkness to light, and free them from the oppression of Satan. This is the very mission Jesus proclaimed when he took that scroll in Nazareth! People who are blind still need to see. Individuals who are in the darkness still need light. Those oppressed still need to be delivered! Paul carried on that work.
Can people see the hope that we carry? Are we shining the light of Jesus into this dark world? Can those in bondage find freedom in Jesus through us?
3) Declare the message of Jesus. Jesus challenged Paul to preach a message of forgiveness and reconciliation. This is very much the message of Jesus which he put into practice through both his living and his death on the cross. But in order to preach this message, it must become a part of who we are. Paul at first struggled in this arena, for he was very judgmental and brash (read the tone in Galatians!). But by the end, like in Philippians, he extended forgiveness and grace consistently. We need to live the message of forgiveness before we can declare it.
Can we live and declare the message of forgiveness?
4) Embody the heart of Jesus. Jesus was filled with love and compassion, even for his enemies. His heart was filled with tears for those who rejected him, compassion to the lost, and he longed for all to be saved. Paul eventually learned this as well. When before Herod, a great enemy to the people of faith, Paul offered compassion. Instead of treating him harshly or with disdain, he offered even Herod an opportunity to encounter Jesus!
What is our heart for people?
5) Exhibit the temperament of Jesus. Jesus wants all to come to repentance. He is long-suffering, patiently giving chance after chance for salvation. Paul learned this too: “Long time or short, I pray that you all may become what I am, except for these chains” (26:26).
How patient are we with people?
All of these traits Paul learned over time. How do we know we are growing in our faith? How do we know the baptismal declaration has become real, and our story has changed us? How are we over time in these areas? Let us all strive to be more like Jesus!
Questions for reflection
1) Which aspect of Jesus’ character is the most difficult to put into practice? Why?
2) In what way this week can you do the work of Jesus?
3) How can you show the heart of Jesus?
4) Whom do you know needs to hear the message of Jesus?
Pastor Ryan will continue the Acts Church series with the sermon titled, “Faithful in Adversity,” based upon Acts 27:27-44. How did Paul remain faithful in the midst of adversity? And how can we be strong even when we have our own shipwrecks? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for September 22-28
September 22: Leviticus 10:1-5 How did this challenge teach Aaron to become more dependent upon God?
September 23: Judges 7 What lesson did Gideon learn during his time of leadership?
September 24: 2 Samuel 6 What lesson did David need to learn? How did he become more dependent upon God?
September 25: Luke 22:31-34, 54-62 What lesson did Peter need to learn?
September 26: John 21:15-23 What further lesson did Peter need to learn?
September 27: Genesis 39 How was Joseph faithful in the midst of adversity?
September 28: 1 Samuel 24 How did David show he was faithful?
This Week’s Events:
Tuesday, September 22–Finance Team meets
Saturday, September 26–Prayer service @ 7 pm
Saturday, September 26–Drive by outreach for White Birch. Line up at Shenandoah Electric at 1 pm.
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
Congrats to Samantha Cooper for becoming a member of Beaver Creek through baptism. On Sunday, we welcome Scott McAvoy into the church membership through transfer.
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 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 second greatest commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is not much love for neighbor in our world right now. Instead, there is much anger and hatred. Pray that we would return to loving each other in the same way Christ loved us. Love changed us; let our love change others.
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:
Mary Batterman (health)
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