RECAP–COUNT THE COST based on Psalm Luke 14:25-33
Crowds followed Jesus everywhere. He healed the sick, raised the dead, preached with authority, calmed a storm with his word, and took a boy’s lunch and fed five thousand! Jesus preached a message of hope, that God loves all and the opportunity for salvation can be extended to anyone. Yet, within a few short years, this crowd would become disillusioned and turn from joy to shouts of crucify. How did the crowd turn on Jesus?
Jesus challenged the people to their core. He had a knack for speaking difficult words and getting to the heart of the matter. Those who chose to remain and follow ended up experiencing life change and changed the world. And we too, if we are willing to follow, can know Christ in a deeper way. But are we willing to take his difficult challenge to heart? Are we…
1) Willing to stop caring about the opinion of others? Jesus said that “unless you hate father and mother, or wife and children, or brother and sister, or even your own life, you cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26). To hate someone is a very strong word. It seems contradictory to Jesus and other scriptures. But the word “hate” here needs to be removed from our modern context and placed in the context of its time, especially to his audience. In rabbinical teachings, when you have two competing entities, the one that you prefer is the one you love, and the one you allow to be sacrificed is the one you “hate.” In other words, Jesus’ challenge is to follow him in a way that we are singularly devoted to him, willing to let all others go.
God does surround us with people we love, and we certainly should love our family. But whose opinion matters most? Do we come to God first? Is God’s will the most important thing we seek? Are we willing to lay aside the opinion of others for God’s opinion? Would we follow God, even if our family tried to talk us out of it?
People have good intentions, but not everyone has their mind or heart on God. We will become most like the one we value the most. If we value the opinions of others more than God, then we will gravitate toward pleasing others. But if we value God most, then we will move toward pleasing God.
2) Able to finish? Many Christians fall away because when pressure or difficulty arises, there is the inability to stand. Jesus gave the parable of an individual who started to build a tower, but was unable to finish. He did not “count the cost,” gathering around him enough resources to overcome any obstacle to finish. And in that culture, which was shamed based, nothing is more shameful than to start and not finish.
The same is true with our faith. Our faith is being built the more we follow. Do we have the resources in place to finish strong? Culture will be against us, trying to get us to give up and fall away. Satan constantly attacks us, for he wants nothing more than to stop you from seeing the work of Jesus fulfilled in your life. If he can get you to tap out or quit, you are no longer a threat. But the Scripture teaches us that “the one who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Phil 1:6). If we count the cost of following Jesus, knowing what we are giving up and why, we will stand all the more strong, because no weapon that comes against us will prosper! But we have to be willing to do the work to put those resources in place to lean on.
3) waving the flag of surrender? Too often we equate surrender with defeat, and so we try to go our own way and solve things in our own strength. Jesus gave the parable of the king at war to show us what it means to truly surrender. He could have pressed his army of ten thousand against the force of twenty thousand and lose everything, or he could send the delegation of peace. Jesus is not saying compromise our convictions; rather, he is challenging us to surrender to his way. It might look like we are giving up our identity and control, but rather we are allowing God the space to shape our story and write the next chapters.
Following Jesus is difficult. Many stopped following because the challenge hit too close to home. But what if we, like the twelve, were willing to focus on God’s opinion above all others, allowing our church to be led not by the opinions of men but the leading of the Holy Spirit? What if we as Beaver Creek committed to building up the resources of our faith to stand up strong and finish the path he has for us? What if we surrendered completely to his way, his plan for us as a body?
The twelve counted the cost, and transformed their world. Let us do the same, and see what God does through us!
Questions for reflection
1) Whose opinion matters the most to you? Why?
2)Which individuals or things come into the greatest conflict with your walk with Jesus? How can that be surrendered?
3) What is one thing you can commit to for the remainder of this year to build and strengthen your faith, so you can finish strong?
4) How has God shaped your path to this point in your life? Where do you hope he takes you next?
We continue the season of Lent with the sermon titled, “Carry Your Cross”, based upon Matthew 16:24-27. What cross do we need to carry? How does it add perspective to our faith? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for March 16 – 22
March 16: 1 Samuel 20 What was Jonathan’s cost to be faithful to God?
March 17: 2 Samuel 6 What was David’s cost to be faithful to God?
March 18: 1 Kings 22:1-28 What was Micaiah’s cost to be faithful to God?
March 19: Jeremiah 38:1-13 What was Jeremiah’s cost to be faithful to God?
March 20: Acts 7:53-8:1 What was Stephen’s cost to be faithful to God?
March 21: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 What was Paul’s cross to bear?
March 22: Genesis 19:1-29 What was the cross that Lot and his family were asked to bear?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, March 28–Bread & Cup Communion
Saturday, April 3–Easter Egg Hunt
Sunday, April 4–Sunrise Service & Easter
Saturday, April 10 – Sunday, April 11–Remote Area Medical Clinic @ Fairgrounds
Saturday, April 24–Virtual Spring Festival for Brethren Woods
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
Easter Egg Hunt
Again, due to COVID, we are unable to have an in-person Easter Egg Hunt. However, last year’s around town hunt was so successful, we are going to do it again! If you would like your children or youth to participate, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contact the office. For those who participate, we will deliver a bag of easter candy!
If you would like to make an easter egg to find, please also let Pastor Ryan know (email@example.com) or contact the office by Wednesday, March 31 so a final list can be compiled. You can place your egg anywhere on your property–just make sure it can be seen! Please have the egg visible in your yard, door, or window facing road by 9 am!
Special Office Hours this week
Tess will be in the office on Wednesday instead of Thursday this week to cover for Pastor Ryan. Pastor Ryan will be out of the office on Wednesday to acquire his first dose of the COVID vaccine.
Thank you to all who have submitted hymns. The top 11 (one bonus hymn!) have been set, and we will begin to reveal them one at a time starting with number 11 beginning on April 11, the week after Easter.
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.
Outreach for the Remote Area Medical Clinic
There will be at the Fairgrounds on April 10th and 11th a clinic offering both medical and dental services for those in our area without medical insurance or cannot afford to pay for the services. It is a great way to bless our greater community. We can help by donating hot chocolate (either a box of packets or canister), full size wrapped candy bars (not the minis), or individually wrapped snacks (potato chips, crackers, fruit snacks). There will be a box in the narhex where you can place the items. The deadline to drop off items is Easter Sunday (April 4).
Special Offering for the Shank Family
Thank you for all who have given for the Shank family!
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.
Mary Batterman (health)
John Bennington (health)
Sam Carr (health)
Elijah Dean (health)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Shannon Hollen (health)
Shirley Holland (health)
Heath Kimmell (health)
Gary Knott family (loss)
Reba & Garry Kline (COVID)
Lent family (work)
Ella Makely (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Mary Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Shirley Miller (health)
Mark Milstead (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Shank family (fire)
Chris Shirk (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
George Simmons family (loss)
Dr. Bob Smith family (loss)
Stanley Suter (health)
Carolyn Wine (health)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB