RECAP: FIRE TESTED FAITH–based on 1 Peter 1:3-9
Through the Book of Acts, the early church grew in leaps and bounds in part because in the Roman Empire, there was at first religious freedom. The thought of the early emperors of Rome is that if you left the religion alone, the people won’t be as much of a problem. But things changed when a great fire tore through the city of Rome in July, 64. Nero needed someone to blame for the fire, and his rage turned toward the Christian. All of a sudden, a people that were free to worship Christ now became the target of the empire. They were tortured, beaten, thrown into prison, forced into slave labor, and some were even executed for their faith.
The Romans always gave the Christian a chance to either recant or sell out other Christians in exchange of their life. This persecution ultimately took the lives of Peter and Paul. And it is precisely to this environment, a church under fire, that Peter wrote his letter shortly before his death. How can we stand strong under fire? Peter reminded the church to focus on five areas:
1) You have new birth (1 Pet 1:3). No matter what happens to you on the outside, no one can change what Christ has done on the inside. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, we are a new creation. Our sins have been forgiven. We have been given a new path, a new trajectory for living. And this should give you hope!
2) You have an inheritance (1 Pet 1:4). This inheritance is the promise of eternal life. Whatever we accomplish on this earth will fade away; we can’t take anything with us! But when we store up treasures in heaven (remember the Sermon on the Mount), those heavenly treasures will not perish, spoil or fade! Also, the inheritance is the right to be called a child of God!
3) Your faith will be proven as genuine as pure gold (1 Pet 1:6-7). The most precious metals on the earth gain both their purity and their strength through fire. When we face hardships, God uses it to remove the impurities from within us and to strengthen our relationship with him. Character is always proven when tested. When we are tested, God shapes our character so we can be more like him!
4) You will be filled with hope and joy (1 Pet 1:8). Even though our faith might be tested, we have the assurance that Jesus will walk with us, so we do not journey alone. His joy becomes our strength! And the very presence of God becomes our hope!
5) You will be stronger than ever (1 Pet 1:5, 9). We will become strong, for even though we face the fire, we have our entire walk with Jesus before us. We have the life-change he has brought us (new birth), the future promise (inheritance), and his hope and joy! We also see the change within. And we know that our rock is solid. Even though many would lose their lives, they would be with their Redeemer. It gave them the strength and courage to stand.
We do not know this kind of fire in the United States. But those days could be on the horizon. How do we know our faith will stand? Even though we may not yet be under fire, build on these five things so when the fire comes, you can stand strong!
Questions for reflection
1) What is the greatest challenge you have had to your faith so far?
2) Who would you say is the most courageous individual you have heard of? What makes them stand out?
3) Why is it hard sometimes to be heaven-minded?
4) Why is it difficult to face the fire?
Pastor Ryan will continue the series, Faithfulness Under Fire, with the sermon titled, “Pure and Holy,” based upon 1 Peter 1:13-2:3. How can we possibly become pure and holy? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for October 13 – 19
October 13: James 1:2-6, 12 How can the fire benefit us as a believer?
October 14: Revelation 3:14-21 How can fire benefit us?
October 15: Hebrews 11:8-19 How was Abraham’s faith fire tested?
October 16: 2 Timothy 1:3-14 How can Timothy’s faith become fire tested?
October 17: Joel 2:1-17 How can fire benefit God’s people?
October 18: Leviticus 16 How did Israel purify themselves as a nation?
October 19: Leviticus 19 How should we live in light of our relationship with a holy God?
This Week’s Events:
Thursday, October 15–Leadership Team Meeting, 7 pm
Sunday, October 18–Bible Study, 7 pm
Wednesday, October 21–Ministry Team Meeting, 6:30 pm
Wednesday, October 28 & Thursday, October 29–District Conference events via Zoom
Sunday, November 1–Congregational Business Meeting
Friday, November 6 & Saturday, November 7–Beaver Creek Cares Weekend
Sunday, November 15–District Conference Worship service
Sunday, November 22–Stewardship Sunday
Sunday, November 29–Advent Begins & Church Decorating
Beaver Creek Cares
We still will hold Beaver Creek cares on Friday, November 6 – Saturday, November 7. However, it will look a little different this year! More details are to come, but one of the projects we will do is a collection for Strength in Peers. They are an outreach literally on the streets of Rockingham and Page counties, as well as Harrisonburg City, to meet the needs of the homeless. For the next few weeks there will be a box in the narthex to collect the following goods:
Non-perishable food items: Nabs, etc.
Disposable rain ponchos
Feminine Hygiene products
Lotion or sunscreen
Tylenol or Advil
Shaving cream & disposable razors
Band-aids or small first aid kits
Slightly used backpacks
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).
Bible Study will continue on Sunday, October 18th at 7:00 pm. It will resume via Zoom for the time being. If you would like to participate but do not have Zoom ability, we can make alternative arrangements. Here is the Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87612237258
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
6) Restoration of the national church
This year, we will have two services for Christmas Eve due to COVID–a 7 pm service and the traditional 11 pm service. We are asking that you call the church office and declare which service you plan to attend in order to make sure we can accommodate everyone.
Church Decoration/Ornament Exchange
Right after church on Sunday, November 29th, we will decorate the church for the season. We will also have a modified ornament exchange on that day, again, right after church. More details to follow.
Congregational Business Meeting
We will meet immediately after service on Sunday, November 1, to approve the budget, the ballot, one amendment, and receive reports. It is also Daylight Savings, so please remember the time change!
There is a draft of the 2021 directory in the narthex of church. Please check it and update any information that needs to be corrected.
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.
Please fill out those interest surveys and mail them back to the church office as soon as you are able. We want to target ministries for the youth in the months to come!
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**NOTE** This avenue of giving will phase out on December 31. If you are currently using this format, the Finance Team encourages you to use the online giving tool.
2) Mail your tithe into the church office
3) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
4) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
5) Drop off in the offering plate at the main entrance as you enter for church
Continue to Keep in Prayer:
Mary Batterman (health)
Regina Harlow (recovery)
Eli Harlow (recovery)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Heath Kimmell (Reba and Garry’s son-in-law)–health
LaDawn Knicely (recovery)
Alda Miller (health)
Shirley Miller (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Chris Shirk (Reba’s brother, health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Carolyn Wine (health)
Tom Wilfong (recovery)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health–Charles Wright’s brother)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB