RECAP–DENY YOURSELF based on Matthew 26:36-54
All of us face crisis. We also all face times when we have to make difficult decisions. One of the most difficult decisions is to do something we know is right, even though there will be a price to pay for it. Gethsemane is where we see Jesus wrestle with these very realities. He wrestled so much, Luke described the time of prayer as sweating drops of blood. But by the end of the time in the garden, Jesus was ready to do what most of us would never do–face the cross.
What can we learn from Jesus in the garden to help us when we are in times of crisis? What steps did Jesus leave us to help us when we have to make difficult decisions?
1) Seek the face of God. Multiple times he went back and prayed. He kept going back to the Father for strength. It is in prayer we connect with God and the battle is won, for He fights the battle for us. God is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; everything answers to him. William Temple said, “When I pray coincidences happen; when I don’t, they don’t.”
Yet too often we are like the disciples when it comes to prayer. We keep falling asleep, are undisciplined and unfocused. We reduce prayer to times of grace, church, and bed, or wait until we are most desperate to pray. But when we truly pray, mountains move, and paths in the wilderness appear. What if we started with prayer instead of making it the last resort?
2) Align our will with God’s. Jesus asked the first time for the cup to be removed; the cross was a huge burden to bear! The second time Jesus prayed, he asked for strength, acknowledging it might not be possible for the cup to be removed. Jesus knew the cross had to be carried. His prayer in the garden shows us that he understands our struggles, but also points at realignment.
When we pray, it helps move us to where God is. Too often, when we do not get the answer we are looking for in prayer, we give up, quit, or blame God. God always answers prayer, but not always in the way we want. But the answer is always in line with his perfect plan and the best for our lives. Can we realign ourselves?
3) Persist and overcome. Jesus faced the temptation to turn away from the cross, for it was truly difficult! The disciples too faced temptation–to take matters into their own hands, and to fall asleep. Unfortunately, the disciples kept falling asleep. Jesus woke them up each time, encouraging them to “keep watch” and warned them “the Spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
The enemy will do everything he can to keep us from following and doing the right thing. He will use the flesh, tiredness, discouragement, defeat, and loneliness to get us to turn from the path God intends for us to walk. He wants us to stop doing the right thing and settle for a lie, or substitute. But Jesus persisted and continued to surrender to the will of God.
4) Resist the urge to fight. When Judas and the crowd showed up in the garden, the disciples were quick to try to defend Jesus. One of them cut off the ear of the servant of the chief priest! But Jesus quickly told the disciples to put away the sword. He could have called down angels to fight on his behalf, but he instead resisted the urge to fight and embrace God’s plan.
We often exhaust ourselves fighting the wrong cause, or the wrong enemy! When we feel our world is turning upside down, we try to hold on to what we know and what we want, fighting to keep what we have instead of releasing it to God. God is the one who can fight the battle for us. Why do we fight to keep when God wants us to let go?
5) Trust God’s plan. Jesus knew that in order for God’s plan to be fulfilled, he had to endure the cross. Sometimes we don’t always see what is on the other side of the crisis or decision we are facing, but we have to trust that God knows the purpose. If there was no cross, there was no resurrection. And if there was no resurrection, we would have no hope.
All of us face crises and difficult decisions. Can we approach them like Jesus in the garden? If so, we will find what we are looking for!
Questions for reflection
1) Who can you commit to pray for the next 40 days to find Jesus?
2) What plans do you have to surrender and align with Jesus?
3) Where is the enemy wearing you down?
4) Do you trust God?
We celebrate Easter. For the Sunrise Service, Pastor Ryan will preach the message, “Believe!” based on Luke 24:13-35. For the regular service, the message will be “Follow Me!” based on John 21:15-19. Jesus is our resurrected Lord; so what do we do now? How do we live as disciples of the resurrection? Come or tune in Sunday to find out.
Daily Bible Readings for March 30 – April 5
March 30: Matthew 22:1-14 What did Jesus challenge?
March 31: Matthew 22:15-40 What did Jesus challenge?
April 1: Matthew 23 What did Jesus challenge?
April 2: Matthew 24 What did Jesus challenge?
April 3: Matthew 25 What did Jesus challenge?
April 4: Romans 12:9-21 In what ways can we follow Jesus in our living?
April 5: Romans 13:1-7 In what ways can we follow Jesus in our living?
This Week’s Events:
Saturday, April 3–Easter Egg Hunt
Sunday, April 4–Sunrise Service 7 AM
Sunday, April 4–Easter
Tuesday, April 6–Women’s Fellowship @ 7:30 AM
Wednesday, April 7–Worship Team @ 7:30 PM
Thursday, April 8–Leadership Team @ 7 PM
Saturday, April 10 – Sunday, April 11–Remote Area Medical Clinic @ Fairgrounds
Saturday, April 24–Virtual Spring Festival for Brethren Woods
Friday, May 21 & Saturday, May 22–Disaster Auction **UPDATE COMING SOON
FIRST SUNDAY OFFERING
The First Sunday offering this week will be for the benefit of Tucker Dean and to help with the medical costs associated with his condition and treatment.
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 the road by 9 am!
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 who 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 narthex where you can place the items. UPDATE: The item most needed left are candy bars! The deadline to drop off items is Easter Sunday (April 4).
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:
John Bennington (health)
Sam Carr (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
John Fix (hospitalized)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Shannon Hollen (health)
Shirley Holland (health)
Heath Kimmell (health)
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)
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