RECAP–…IN KEEPING…based on Luke 9:57-62 and Romans 12:1-2
Every person of faith ultimately wants to know if they are living in the center of the will of God. We want to know God is pleased with us, and that we are following in God’s plan. Sometimes, that commitment to knowing God’s will can lead to discouragement, as with my friend Dorsey in college. At other times, we become obsessed with being in God’s will that we become concerned that we missed it! This is where we sometimes find ourselves…and precisely where Israel stood in the time of Jesus.
But perhaps Israel, and us, ask the wrong question and pursue the wrong thing. Do we want to know God’s will? Yes. But maybe the better question to pursue is how do we know we are in the path of following God? For when we follow Jesus, his will becomes revealed in his life. To truly follow and be a disciple, there is a cost–otherwise, we have a divided heart. We can’t live a double life too well, like Mrs. Doubtfire in the 90’s movie. We must give up our own agenda and identity and take upon ourselves the way of Jesus. How then do we really know if we are living for God and following in his way? How do we become living sacrifices?
1) Give up comfort. To the first individual that expressed a desire to follow, Jesus responded, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (9:58). Following God will often put us at odds with the comforts of this world. Comfort is often the enemy of dependency upon God, for the more we have, the harder it is to give something up. There is a reason why faith seems to be stronger in countries overseas compared to here in the United States! Standing for what is right is uncomfortable, and often means we have a target on our back. But there is no greater prize than knowing Jesus and having him!
2) Live for God now, not later. The second individual sounded sincere; he wanted to bury his father first. Jesus’ response sounded harsh, denying this man the duty as his son to take care of his father. However, if this man’s father had passed, why was he beside the road and not at home? If he was being the dutiful son, he would have been by his father’s side. So either his father had not yet passed away, or he was not as fully committed to his family as he claimed to be. In either case, when Jesus called him to follow, he was making an excuse as to why he could not follow.
Too often in society today we see this idea that we can live however we want to live, and as long as we have our deathbed confession, God will forgive us and we will go to heaven. But the truth is that no one knows when death will come knocking. Don’t wait to follow Jesus! Watch out for the excuses, for when you make one excuse, it is easier to make the next one, and then the next one!
3) Detach from the world and attach to God. The third individual wanted the ability to say good-bye first. He was so attached to other things (family, what remained for him at home), that he was not yet ready to fully follow. In other words, his focus was divided and committed to two realities! If I were committed to Heather when she is home and someone else when she is not, what would eventually happen? My relationship with Heather would suffer! The same is true with our relationship with God; if we attach in part to God, but remain attached to the world, our relationship with God will suffer. This could lead us to a lukewarm state (remember Laodicea?). Jesus needs to become the central focus of our life. Everything else is a taking up of the cross.
4) Transform, not conform. The world tries to pressure us into its mold. It tries to tell us who we must be, what we must believe, and how we must act. But we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God, designed uniquely for the purpose he has established, with a specific purpose in mind!
Instead of conforming to the world, we need to transform by renewing of our minds. Replace what the world says we need to be with God’s opinion. As Toby Mac said in his recent “Speak Life” blog, “If their name isn’t God, their opinion shouldn’t matter so much!” Focus on God’s words, his mindset, and how God views things. The result? Then we will be able to know God’s will, his good, pleasing, and perfect will (Rom 12:2)!
Following God is difficult. Even the disciples struggled. But they followed one step at a time and changed their world. If we want to know we are in the center of God’s will, follow after Jesus, one step at a time. Put aside comfort and do not delay. Detach from the world and resist the need to conform, and allow yourselves to be transformed. Not only will we find God’s will–we will be walking with Jesus!
Questions for reflection
1) What is the single hardest thing in your life to go without? Why?
2) Why can excuses handcuff our growth in Jesus?
3) Why is comfort sometimes the enemy of faith?
4) In what area do you feel the world’s pull to conform the most? How can that be transformed by God?
We continue the season of Lent with the sermon titled, “…With Repentance”, based upon Psalm 51:1-17. Why is repentance vital to faith? And what does true repentance look like? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for March 2 – 8
March 2: John 20:1-9 How did Jesus keep his word?
March 3: John 20:10-18 How did Mary Magdalene show she was following Jesus?
March 4: John 20:19-31 How can we show we are faithful to Christ?
March 5: John 21:1-13 How did Peter show he was truly following Jesus?
March 6: John 21:15-25 How can we faithfully show we are following Jesus?
March 7: Isaiah 58 Of what did the people need to repent? How can we demonstrate repentance?
March 8: Jeremiah 7:1-11 Of what did the people of Israel need to repent? Do we have similar things today?
This Week’s Events:
Tuesday, March 2–Women’s Fellowship @ 6:30 pm
Wednesday, March 3–Outreach Team @ 7 pm
Wednesday, March 10–Worship Team @ 7 pm
Sunday, March 28–Bread & Cup Communion
Sunday, April 4–Sunrise Service & Easter
Saturday, April 10 – Sunday, April 11–Rockingham Area Medical Mission @ Fairgrounds
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
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. SO FAR, I have only received 17 submissions. I really would love for everyone to make their submission by March 7th!
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.
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)
Reba & Garry Kline (COVID)
Lent family (work)
Ella Makely (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Mary Miller (health)
Shirley Miller (health)
Mark Milstead (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Chris Shirk (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Stanley Suter (health)
Carolyn Wine (health)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB