RECAP–Do We Really See?–based on John 9:13-34
We live in a day where it is really easy to become discouraged. Where is God in the midst of all that is taking place? Is God even alive or at work? If so, then why is chaos reigning supreme? Why does it appear that evil is winning? It is easy to become disillusioned, defeated, and discouraged. But God is still working and moving–do we see it?
The Pharisees themselves longed for God to move in their day. The world, as they lived it, was not what they envisioned life would be. Why was Rome in charge? Why were the nations not coming to Jerusalem? Why was the nation not the chief of all the nations? They longed for the day when the Messiah would come and set all things right. But when Jesus came and stood in their midst, they could not see it or recognize it! Even as he healed a man born blind they still could not see that God had come among them and was at work.
What caused them to not see? And what causes us to not recognize God at work in our day?
- A God in our own image (control). The Pharisees had the Scriptures, but they projected a construct of what the Messiah would look like and how he would behave. They projected their own world view, their own agendas, their own life experiences and created a God in their own image. Jesus did not fit their construct, for Jesus healed on the Sabbath. If Jesus was the Anointed One of God, why would he break the law? As a result, instead of focusing on what God was doing (the healing of the man born blind), they only saw the transgression of their constructed image of God and the breaking of the Law.
We sometimes do the same thing. We create an image of God that we desire and control. When God works within that paradigm, we rejoice; but when he does something that makes no sense, or allows something to happen that goes against our paradigm, it places us in a crisis of faith. And when God does not do exactly what we think he should do, it is hard to see him at work.
- Lack of faith (fear). The Pharisees displayed a lack of faith in the sense of an unwillingness to believe what their own senses can see. They saw the man born blind fully healed. They investigated to see if he was really born blind. The healing completely blew their paradigm–but they still refused to believe. Why? Because to believe meant that everything they had constructed (see above) could potentially be wrong, and their whole world could come crashing down.
Sometimes we too become afraid. We become afraid of what is going on in the world. We become afraid of what we might lose. We become afraid that if we truly follow Jesus, he might call us to give up everything and follow. We like to keep life like a Jenga tower, pristine and proper. But when God is working, sometimes he calls us to trust in him, and it is like pulling pieces out of the tower. But we are afraid that we will break and fall, but not trust that God is with us even in the breaking. And so we don’t see God at work, especially in those difficult times, because we don’t want to acknowledge of see that the way of Christ could be in the midst of difficulty. And thus we reject what we see, like the Pharisees did in this account.
- Refuse to listen. The Pharisees did not want to hear the truth. They tuned out the voice of anyone that could possibly suggest a different way than the reality they knew. Everything else was a false voice.
Why do we refuse to listen? Because sometimes what we hear might expose things, or push us to change, or disrupt the comforts that we know. But if we are refusing to listen to what God might be doing, we become blind and deaf to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and thus we cannot see.
- Pride. The Pharisees believed themselves to be more righteous than anyone else. That meant they heard from God above all others, and were unteachable. They rebuked the blind man and threw him out of the synagogue, insulting him and calling him a sinner. After all, how can God show favor to a blind man and not to us?
Pride can get in the way of seeing God clearly, for we make it all about us. And in so doing, we don’t allow ourselves to become vulnerable and teachable, to be led by the Holy Spirit.
All these things kept the Pharisees from seeing clearly. They can keep us from seeing clearly too. Yes, we live in difficult times, and we wish things were different. But God is still at work–can we see it? Even though we are in a desert place, he is still providing streams in the desert and life in the wasteland–do we recognize it?
Questions for reflection
1) What does Jesus look like to you? How does it compare with the Scriptures?
2) What belief do you hold are you most afraid to see God change? Why?
3) Why is it sometimes difficult to listen?
4) In what areas do you battle with pride?
Pastor Ryan will continue the In the Light series with the sermon titled, “Is God’s Light in Us?” based on 1 John 1:5-2:2. How do we know God’s light is working in our hearts? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for January 19 – 25
January 19: John 6:25-40 How did Jesus reveal himself?
January 20: John 6:41-59 What truths did Jesus want us to see?
January 21: John 6:60-70 What truth could the disciples see, but others could not?
January 22: John 7:1-13 How did others see Jesus?
January 23: John 7:14-24 What did Jesus want Israel to see?
January 24: John 7:25-43 How do we show Christ is in us?
January 25: John 7:45-52 What can we learn about Christ being inside of us through the Pharisees’ objection to him?
This Week’s Events:
Thursday, January 21–Leadership Team @ 7 pm
Wednesday, February 10–Worship Team Meeting @ 7:30 pm
Sunday, February 14–Congregational Business Meeting @ 12 pm
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).
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
Congregational Business Meeting
Our next Congregational Business Meeting will be on February 14th immediately after service. All reports are due to the office by Tuesday, January 26 by noon.
TODAY is the last day for any directory updates. If you need to update what is in the directory, call the office before noon today!
After Easter, we will embark on a new series of our favorite hymns. We will spend 10 Sundays looking at our top ten favorite hymns. But we want your input! Please either put your hymns on a piece of paper and place it in the brown box in the narthex, call it into the office, or send Pastor Ryan an email/text with your favorite hymns.
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.
Four Ways to Give! With the extended closure, this is greatly necessary.
1) Mail your tithe into the church office **PLEASE NOTE: We have had several days of no mail, and also some reports of mail being stolen on our street.
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate at the main entrance as you enter for church
Continue to Keep in Prayer:
Those in our community being negatively impacted by COVID and economic impacts. Several have seen layoffs in recent weeks.
Andy Anderson (COVID)
Mary Batterman (health)
Bouchery family (loss — prayers of comfort for the family in the passing of Matthew’s uncle. Matthew is Nicky Southerly Bouchery’s husband)
Sam Carr (health)
Craig Eckard (COVID)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health, procedure still due)
Shannon Hollen (health)
Heath Kimmell (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Mary Miller (health)
Shirley Miller (health)
Mark Milstead (health)
Tami Plaugher (health); Ashley & Andrea (COVID)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Stanley Suter (health)
Mary & Joe Whitmore (health)
Carolyn Wine (health)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB