RECAP: UNAFRAID–based on Acts 20:22-24 and 21:3-15
If there is any word that can describe our current time, it is a time of fear. We have messages of fear all around us (losing our traditions, losing our way of life, the virus, the economy, socialism, etc.). Fear is one of the greatest tools that Satan uses to cripple people and keep the church on the sidelines. Too often decisions are made by fear, and the results become disastrous. We create that which we fear. Even the COB is not immune: we were afraid of the decline of church membership, but in our attempts to bolster membership, we as a denomination have allowed some unorthodox teachings to exist and have sped the decline!
Fear is nothing new; it has always existed. Even the strongest churches faced fear. In Acts 20-21, Paul was on his journey to Jerusalem. He knew he would face hardships, but the disciples and church leaders were afraid for him. What does this scripture teach us about fear?
First, sometimes fear causes us to hear God’s voice poorly. The disciples accurately discerned the voice of the Holy Spirit; Paul was going to face prison once he arrived in Jerusalem. But because of fear, the disciples interpreted the revelation to be a warning from God to stop Paul from going. Paul, on the other hand, took the warning as confirmation of God’s plan, and an encouragement that God would be with him despite prison. Sometimes, fear masquerades as God’s voice. But remember, God has not given us a spirit of fear. If the voice that we hear makes us afraid, maybe it is not God’s voice! The enemy wants us to remain in fear, because when we are afraid, we want to run from adversity!
Second, fear will ultimately derail us from God’s will. Sometimes we confuse God’s will with our will. We think we know what God wants from us, but it might not be God’s plan. But when we allow ourselves to be afraid, we begin to confuse God’s will with our unrealistic expectations. We succumb to the fears of hardship, loss, the unknown, the future, and death. And when bad things begin to happen, we give up, just like the disciples here did, saying, “The Lord’s will be done.” God never promised that a life of following Jesus would be prosperous; rather, he promised that even though we have those times of adversity, we will not be alone. And sometimes God’s plan is the struggle. Because of Paul’s obedience, the gospel eventually made its way to Rome and eventually to you and me!
Fear can cripple us. But we too, like Paul can be unafraid and conquer that fear. How did Paul do it, and how can we overcome as well?
First, make everything about Jesus. Paul’s singular goal was to complete the task Jesus had given him. He was no longer attached to things of the world. Personal gain, victories, or successes no longer mattered. The only thing that mattered was Jesus. Fear focuses on what we might have to give up, but faith focuses on the fact that with Jesus, we already have everything we could possibly need. Is Jesus our only goal, or are there other attachments we might possibly need to sever?
Second, remember that loss is gain. For Paul, he considered everything a loss compared to knowing Jesus, and for him to live was Christ, and to die was gain. To be absent from the body was to be present with Jesus. What Paul had learned was that the greatest loss was the loss of eternal life. So if something else causes us to lose eternal life, then it should be let go. And if we lose in this life, but have eternal life, we only have gain! Are there things that could keep us from eternal life?
Last, do what is right, no matter the cost. Paul was committed to doing the right thing. There will always be a consequence for every choice, either good or bad. If we are motivated by the consequence, we might change our trajectory to avoid a negative consequence. But when we are committed to do what is right, no matter the cost, we don’t give room for fear to grab a foothold. Paul did the right thing and faced the consequence; but more came to know Jesus!
Will we choose to allow the fear sown by this world to cripple us? Or will we be like Paul, completely unafraid, and live for Jesus even in the midst of the struggles of life?
Questions for reflection
1) Why is fear so debilitating?
2) What are some techniques you use to separate the voice of God from the voice of fear?
3) Why can fear derail us from God’s will?
4) How can an understanding of “loss is gain” help us overcome fear?
Pastor Ryan will continue the Acts Church series with the sermon titled, “Knowing Your Story,” based upon Acts 22:1-21. What kept Paul going, even when his world was crashing down around him? And what gives us the strength to remain faithful in these times? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for September 1 – 7
September 8: Esther 4:11-5:8 How did Esther show she was unafraid of death?
September 9: Daniel 3 How did the three Hebrew youths show they were not afraid of Nebuchadnezzar?
September 10: Daniel 6 How did Daniel show he was unafraid of the Persian edict?
September 11: Romans 1:8-17 Why was Paul unashamed of the gospel?
September 12: 2 Timothy 4:1-8 Why was Paul unafraid? And how did he encourage Timothy?
September 13: Psalm 22 What is the power of testimony?
September 14: John 4 How did a Samaritan woman’s testimony change lives?
This Week’s Events:
Wednesday, September 9–Worship Team Meeting @ 6:30 pm
Sunday, September 13–Baptism Class @ 7 pm
Thursday, September 17–Leadership Team Meeting @ 7 pm
Sunday, September 20–Baptism/New Member Sunday
Saturday, September 26–National Day of Prayer for our country
Saturday, September 26–Drive by outreach for White Birch
Sunday, October 4–World Wide Communion Sunday
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).
We will take the month of July and August off from Bible study due to vacations and other scheduling conflicts. We are running into Wednesday night conflicts. For those who have been participating, would a Sunday evening suit for you? Please let Pastor Ryan know. Pastor Ryan has received to date only one response.
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.
Also, we will begin this week with a weekly area of repentance that you can pray for at home. This week’s area of national repentance is the violation of the third commandment: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (or misuse the name in other translations).” The whole point behind this commandment is a warning to take God seriously. But today, we use his name flippantly; sometimes, it is attached to cuss words. At other times, we use the name so commonly that we forget that God is holy. In addition, sometimes we take God for granted, that we have convinced ourselves that if all we do is call on his name, he will grant us our wish, like a genie out of a bottle or a magician. 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.
Mary Batterman–recovering at home. To take in a meal: www.TakeThemAMeal.com/XHOZ8636.
Regina Harlow (health)
LaDawn Knicely (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (Roger & Nancy Simmons’ neighbor, health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Chris Shirk (Reba’s brother, health)
Grayson Whitmore (recovery)
Tom Wilfong (recovery)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health–Charles Wright’s brother)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB