RECAP: INNOVATIVE DISCIPLES based on Daniel 1:4b-20
No one likes nightmares. For the nation of Judah, the exile was a continuous state of nightmare. They were removed from their homeland by the Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the walls of Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. The people were displaced, and the young who were bright were forced into the king’s service to learn the ways and culture of the Babylonians. Judah ended up in this place because of their sin, their refusal to be fully committed to God. Now they were in exile, and the glory of the Lord had gone. Hope was lost. Do we feel this way? Does it feel like our nation is in spiritual exile, where the glory of the Lord is hard to find?
Yet despite the loss of hope and the nightmarish state of the exile, the book of Daniel presents four young men, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who chose to remain faithful to God. They were able to stand strong in the midst of the exile in the palace of the king. They found a way through the exile, and provided a blueprint for hope. And we too can follow this blueprint and stand, even in the midst of our exile, and know God will point us through.
1) They stood for truth. They knew what the Law said. They were not allowed to eat foods that were not kosher. More importantly, they were not allowed to consume anything offered to idols. It was a common practice for any meat that was served was first offered as a sacrifice to the gods of Babylon. The meat would be blessed by the gods, and then became like ambrosia; the people would eat the divine food and be blessed. But these four had a relationship with God, and knew the truth–so they refused to eat.
They were men of integrity. Tony Dungy said, “Integrity does not come in degrees, low, medium, and high. You either have integrity, or you don’t.” Integrity is to be the same person, true to your character, in every sphere of life. Too often though we display different faces in different arenas. No one other than themselves would have known if they had eaten the king’s food; but their integrity mattered. They wanted to be faithful to God, no matter the circumstance.
Can we stand on truth? Can we be people of integrity in these days of spiritual exile?
2) They counted the cost. These four weighed their priorities and counted the cost. They understood that in life, you will always have to give up something when you make a choice to follow something. So they could have chosen to eat the food and gain the prestige in the king’s eyes, and so preserve themselves; but that would have been at the expense of their relationship with God and their eternal resting place. Or they could have chosen to be faithful to God, but risk their lives on earth. They chose to be faithful to God, no matter the cost. They later faced a fiery furnace and lion’s den; but it started with counting the cost.
There is always a price to pay for being faithful to God. We will face pressure from the outside world. We might face threats. We might be given a huge list of consequences. But what is more important–what this world values and what we can gain on this side of eternity, or our relationship with Jesus and eternal life?
3) They trusted in God. To preserve the life of the king’s official, they put God to the test. They trusted that God would show them favor for their stand on faithfulness through the consumption of just veggies and water. They rested their belief in God instead of trying to find their own way out of the predicament. And God rewarded their trust not just with favor and health, but they had new opportunities to make God’s name known.
We might be in a place of spiritual exile. But let us stand on the truth, being people of integrity, let us count the cost and stand for God, and let us fully trust in Him! They still lived in exile, but through their faithfulness, they helped point the nation in the way out of the exile. Let us be found faithful!
Questions for Reflection
1) Why is it important to be a person of integrity?
2)To stand for truth, we need to know the truth. What do we have in place to grow in our knowledge of the truth of God?
3) What are you willing to sacrifice to follow after God?
4) Do you fully trust in God? If not, what would help you trust more?
This Sunday, we will worship outdoors and celebrate new commitments of faith through baptism. Pastor Ryan will continue the Vision series with the sermon titled, “Changing Things Up,” based on 1 Corinthians 9:19-27. How did Paul maintain the message of the gospel when the audience changed? And how do we speak the language of the gospel? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for September 7 – 13
September 7: 2 Samuel 6:1-23 What innovative way was used to return the ark to Jerusalem?
September 8: Jeremiah 32 What innovative thing did Jeremiah do despite the pending exile?
September 9: Ezekiel 2:1-3:12 What innovative act of obedience did God ask Ezekiel to do?
September 10: Acts 14:8-20 What courageous act did Paul take for Jesus?
September 11: 2 Timothy 2:14-26 How can we prove ourselves to be faithful disciples?
September 12: Genesis 18:16-33 What paradigm shift did Abraham make?
September 13: Exodus 4:1-17 What paradigm shift did Moses need to make?
This Week’s Events:
Tuesday, September 7–Women’s Fellowship @ 6:30 pm
Thursday, September 9–Leadership Team @ 7 pm (note date change!) via ZOOM
Sunday, September 12–Baptism Sunday
Sunday, September 12–Outdoor Worship Only (no Sunday School) & First Sunday Offering for the Food Pantries!
Sunday, September 19–Teacher Appreciation Sunday & New Member Sunday
Saturday, September 25–Alma Long’s 100 birthday celebration!
Sunday, October 3–Love Feast
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).
On September 21, Alma Long turns 100! Let’s bless her with a card shower!
Call to Prayer & Discernment
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
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
The Fidelis Class will begin a new book study for Sunday School called Altar Ego by Craig Groeschel. If you are not actively involved in a Sunday School class, you are invited to participate in this book study! It will start October 3.
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 on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Cornwell family (loss)
Justin & Maryissa Cooper (COVID)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Bill Eckard (recovery)
Brad & Theresa Eckard (COVID)
John Fix (addiction)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Hensley family (COVID)
Amelia Kimmell (COVID)
Heath Kimmell (health)
Larry LaPrade (COVID)
Lent family (work)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Chris Shirk (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Tammy Stine (broken ankle)
Cole Wheelbarger (COVID)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Whitmore family (COVID)
Tom Wilfong (back/neck)
John Wright (COVID)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB