RECAP–POWER OF THE CROSS based on Colossians 1:15-23
#7 Hymn–THE OLD RUGGED CROSS
Context for the Hymn (based on Lifeway.org & other research by Pastor Ryan)
Unlike many of our previous hymns, The Old Rugged Cross was birthed as a result of the growing liberalism in the early 1900s. Troubled by the disregard for and watering down of the gospel, evangelist George Bennard turned to Scripture to reflect on the work of Christ on the cross. He later recalled, “I seemed to have a vision … . I saw the Christ and the cross inseparable.” His focus was to call the people back to the cross, but he did so by poetry, which would later be turned into a hymn.
The words came easily, and the first verse was completed by Bennard during a series of meetings in Albion, Michigan. Several months later, the remaining three verses were completed in Pokagon, Michigan, where Bennard was leading meetings at a local church.
In 1912, he gave the song to Charles Gabriel (tune for I Stand Amazed in the Presence & His Eye is On the Sparrow), who turned into the melody we know today.
Ironically, the song was not well-liked by many because of its deep individualized message. It stood in contrast to many of the congregations of the day, which minimized an individualized experience (possibly as a reaction to the Holiness and early Pentecostal movements) compared to a community experience. In fact, the hymn does not even appear in any Brethren hymnals!
What makes Christianity different than the other religions of the world? What makes it unique? While other religions teach there are many ways to touch the divine, Christianity is the one where the divine came down, in human form, and touched us. We learn that we are people filled with sin, in need of redemption, in need of a Savior. There is no way we can ever be good enough to atone on our own; we need the hand of a Savior. And Jesus was that Savior, who left heaven and took on human form, becoming obedient to death on the cross so we could have life. In many ways, the cross is the ultimate expression of the deep love of God.
What does the old rugged cross mean?
1) Restoration of creation. Jesus is the creator and was intimately involved with the foundations of the world. Yet, when sin entered the world at the Garden of Eden, a new cursed trajectory was established. This new path created bondage, for humanity and all of creation, which needed to be liberated. But Jesus loved his creation so much that he could not stay on the sidelines and let us go our own way; he had to intervene to restore. As a parent, I understand the risk of intervention; my own children could reject what I am trying to say, even though I am motivated out of love. Jesus paid the ultimate price for his intervention; he was crucified on that cross! But it was worth it all because, in the end, the path of restoration was established!
2) Reconciliation with God. When a relationship is broken, it takes a significant amount of time to heal. Sometimes, it feels like things can never be restored. But like a mother with a wayward child keeps holding out for hope and trying to find a way of reconciliation, so too Jesus, through the cross made a way of reconciliation possible. Sin built the bridge and widened the chasm; the cross filled the chasm and provided the path back to the wholeness of relationship again. No one is too far gone, no matter how deep the sin!
3) Peace within. We are always at war–with our sinful nature, with Satan and other powers of darkness, with our culture, with ourselves, etc. Because we are always at war, it is difficult to know peace, because true peace only comes when all is right with God, with all relationships with others that we have, and within. As long as sin is present, we cannot know peace. As long as Jesus is absent from our lives, we cannot know peace. But the cross made peace possible because it restored our relationship with God through the shed blood. That shedding of blood covered over our sins, making us white as snow again. And the shed blood removed the guilt and shame. allowing us to stand whole again. The cross means peace!
4) Friends, not enemies. Before Christ, we were, because of our sins, enemies of God. Our minds are hostile. All you need to look at is a toddler. They kick, scream, hit, and tantrum when they don’t get their way. Although we are grown up, we still are like a toddler spiritually when we don’t get our own way and sin. And in turn, we treat God and anyone that represents right-living as enemies, because they get in the way of our sinful nature’s desires! But through the cross, we have become friends of God. Our nature can be made new. We no longer have to fight God, but we can accept his friendship.
5) New life. Yes, we have the hope of eternal life through the cross. But we also have a new life now. We are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). We don’t have to live in our past failures, but can stand renewed!
The cross means so much to us. Abide in the cross; live your faith in such a way that you daily honor Jesus’ act of love. Be established and firm in Christ, digging deep in our relationship, individually and collectively. And let us not waver from hope, for because of the cross, we always have hope!
Questions for reflection
1) What in your life needs restoration? Can you allow God to restore it?
2) What relationships in your life need reconciliation? Can you allow God to bring it?
3) Where do you struggle to have peace in your life?
4) In your daily living, do you regularly honor the cross, or keep God at arms length?
This Sunday Pastor Ryan continues the Favorite Hymn Series with our #6 hymn. The sermon will be titled, “Great is Thy Faithfulness!,” based on Lamentations 3:16-26. How can we stand on the goodness of God, especially when life seems to be falling apart? And what special meaning does the #6 hymn have for Pastor Ryan? Come or tune in Sunday to find out.
Daily Bible Readings for May 11 – 17
May 11: Ruth 1:1-22 How did Ruth show kindness to her mother-in-law?
May 12: 1 Samuel 1:21-2:11 How was Hannah a great mother for Samuel?
May 13: 2 Kings 4:1-7 How was an unnamed widow an example of a great mother?
May 14: Proverbs 31:10-31 What are some great characteristics of a woman of faith?
May 15: Matthew 20:20-28 How did James and John’s mother advocate for them?
May 16: Genesis 41 How did God demonstrate his faithfulness?
May 17: Exodus 14 How did God demonstrate his faithfulness?
This Week’s Events:
Thursday, May 20–Leadership Team @ 7 PM
Friday, May 21–Apple Dumpling Making @ 9 AM
Friday, May 21 & Saturday, May 22–Disaster Auction
Sunday, May 23–Pentecost Sunday Love Feast @ 6 PM
Saturday, May 29–Men’s Fellowship Resumes @7:15 AM, Thomas House Restaurant
Sunday, June 6–Summer Hours Begin; Worship @ 9:30 AM, Sunday School @ 10:45 AM
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).
Brethren Woods–Fundraising Opportunities
Do you want to see Pastor Ryan poured with a bucket of water? If we can raise over $200, we can do so! This time, instead of it being done by family, it can be done right after church by one of you! And if Pastor Ryan is the highest money raiser for this fundraiser for Brethren Woods, he will get a weekend retreat at Forest Haven.
Also, Pieter and Nils will be doing a 100-mile bike ride, visiting congregations through the valley, starting at Brethren Woods and ending at Pleasant Valley COB. They are hoping to make a stop here. We can show support by donating to their cause!
If you would like to donate to either cause, write a check out the church, but you need to mark it as “Dunk Pastor Ryan” or “Bike Ride” in the memo line. If donating via cash, please mark it on an envelope.
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
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!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
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 our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Sam Carr (health)
Cooper family (strength, rest, and wisdom)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Shannon Hollen (health)
Shirley Holland (health)
Heath Kimmell (health)
Larry LaPrade (COVID)
Lent family (work)
Alda Miller (health)
Diane Miller (health)
Mary Miller (health)
Mark Milstead (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Chris Shirk (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB