RECAP: INTO THE UNKNOWN based on Numbers 13:17-33
What separates those who are successful to take on life’s obstacles and those who choose not to venture into the unknown? It all comes down to belief. One would not try to navigate an obstacle course like America Ninja Warrior unless they truly believed the could. The same is true of us. We all face challenges, individually, collectively as a church, and as a nation. We are in a time of discernment, but also a time where we are asking “What’s Next?” We might not know what is next, for we cannot see it–it is truly unknown territory. Can we venture into the unknown?
To venture into the unknown, we have to be willing to act even when we do not know where we are going, or on the limited information we have. On the other side is where God is leading us. But we are on the edge, just like Israel stood on the edge of the promised land. Twelve spies went in. Two returned with faith, while ten returned with fear. The people weighed their counsel, and in the end wandered in the desert for forty years. How do we, in our current context, exhibit the faith of Caleb and desire to venture into the unknown and avoid the fate of Israel?
1) What is our attitude? Caleb’s attitude focused on what was good. As he explored the land, he saw that it was indeed as God promised. It was a land flowing with milk and honey, full of pomegranates, figs, and grapes. The land produced and was bountiful! In addition, Caleb’s attitude was focused on gratitude. He was thankful to be free from the grip of Egypt, and grateful for the Lord’s provision for the journey along the way.
In contrast, the ten spies had an attitude of complaint and negativity. Instead of seeing the good and the promise, they clung to all that was wrong. They focused on the fortified cities and the descendants of Anak who were present. They focused on all the work they were going to have to do to take the land of promise, and fell into a spirit of entitlement, believing that if God was in this, everything should be laid before their feet and easy. This caused the people to become disgruntled and negative.
What is our attitude? Do we focus on what is good? Are we thankful for God’s work in our lives? Or do we complain and focus on the negative? Have we bought into the entitlement mentality, that everything should be handed to us on a silver platter?
2) Avoid the “ME” trap. Caleb saw the same obstacles the ten did. Yet, he encouraged all the people that “we can take it!” Why? Because his “we” included God! But for the ten spies, their response to the same obstacle was “WE cannot take this land; they are stronger than WE are.” They evaluated the situation on their own strength and left God out of the picture. In their own eyes, there were insignificant and could not possibly win.
Too often we take ourselves out of God’s plan because we look at it through our own eyes and remove the God factor. With God, that which is impossible becomes possible. God sees a far bigger picture than we could ever see. But when we remove God from the picture, see only through our own eyes, we miss out on the greater blessing.
3) Don’t forget what the LORD has already done. When Caleb saw the obstacles and declared “we can take it!”, he had the past in mind. The LORD had already defeated the armies of Egypt (far more powerful than Canaan!). The LORD inflicted ten plagues on Egypt. It was HE who parted the Red Sea. It was HE who was a pillar of fire of protection, and cloud to point the way. The LORD provided the victory over every enemy they had faced to date. He even made manna appear in the desert for food to eat! And he spoke firmly against the golden calf. If this is who the LORD is, then there was nothing to fear! If HE did it then, HE will act again now!
But the ten had forgotten. They were so caught up in despair, that the did not go back to the past. Instead, they spread a negative report across the whole camp. They had simply come this far to die in the desert!
In our times of trouble, do we recall how God has been faithful in the past?
4) Avoid making God too small in our eyes. Caleb saw the big God and was moved to confidence. But the ten then began to amplify the obstacles. The land “devours” those who live in it. The Nephilim were present (demigod beings who were huge with superhuman strength). And they were “grasshoppers” in their sight. Did the spies get that from the inhabitants directly in an interview? If they were grasshoppers, why were they allowed to return and were not stomped out? It was because they amplified in their minds the obstacles, and simultaneously not only forgot God, but made him inferior in their eyes.
We tend to do the same thing. When we face challenges, we make God too small. And if we don’t, the enemy tries to. I still hear in my head my former boss saying: “How will your take care of your family? Where will you find a job? How will you provide?” But I also remember the LORD’s provision by providing a job the very next week! If I had listened to those voices, I would not have the three wonderful daughters I have now!
We are in a season of discernment. Truly we are going into unknown territory. But if God is leading us, we can rest assured the land will be what he says it is. Will we trust in God like Caleb and march into the unknown, or will we be like the ten, see all the obstacles, and choose to remain in the desert? Let us trust and venture into the unknown, and walk into God’s provision!
Questions for Reflection
1) When it comes to obstacles, are we more positive or negative in our approach?
2) Where would you place yourself on the continuum between gratitude and entitlement?
3) Why is it important to avoid the “ME” trap?
4) What are you most concerned about in this season of discernment? Do you believe God can take care of it? Why or why not?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the “What’s Next” series with the sermon titled “Leap of Faith,” based on Hebrews 11:1-19. The Bible provides many stories of ordinary people showing great faith. How can we take a leap of faith? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for October 19 – 25
October 19: Genesis 40 How did the episode of the cupbearer and baker impact Joseph’s dreams?
October 20: Genesis 41 How did God bring to fruition Joseph’s dream, despite the unknown?
October 21: Numbers 14 How can fear destroy trust and faith in God?
October 22: Judges 16 How can moral compromise affect God’s plan for our life?
October 23: 2 Samuel 11 How can failure to protect our heart affect God’s plan for our life?
October 24: Genesis 6 How did Noah demonstrate his faith?
October 25: Genesis 22 How did Abraham demonstrate his faith?
This Week’s Events:
Thursday, October 21–Regular Leadership Team Meeting @ 7 pm
Sunday, October 24–Council Mtg & Chili Cook Off
Saturday, October 30–Men’s Fellowship Breakfast @ 7:15 am
Sunday, October 31–Love Feast & Torrey baptism
Friday, November 5 – Saturday, November 6–Beaver Creek Cares
Chili Cook Off & Council Meeting
Sunday is our chili cook off! Make your best pot of soup or chili or both and bring it to church on Sunday! Also bring a typed description of your soup or chili. If you do not want to bring a soup or chili, you could bring corn bread, biscuits, or any dessert! We will judge and announce the winners after the council meeting!
Beaver Creek Cares
Beaver Creek Cares is a few weeks away! Right now, the plan is to gather Friday evening for a meal at the campfire, a Vespers service, and then shop for Operation Christmas Child. On Saturday, we will gather to assemble the shoe boxes, put together a little gift for teachers, organize the items for strength in peers, pick up trash, and possibly bingo at White Birch.
For the care packages for teachers, we need donations of ziploc sandwich bags and individually wrapped candies (especially chocolate free).
For Strength in Peers, we are collecting the following items: breakfast bars, non-perishable food items (nabs, etc.) that can be eaten on the road; bottled water; disposable rain ponchos, shampoo/conditioner, feminine hygiene products, lotion or sunscreen, tylenol or advil, cough drops, shaving cream & disposable razors, hand sanitizer, band-aids or small first aid kits, can openers, hats, gloves, coats, sleeping bags/blankets, slightly used backpacks, flashlights, batteries, toothbrushes and toothpaste, socks (men’s & women’s sizes).
You can drop off either in the narthex of the church, but please label as either for teachers or Strength in Peers. If you would prefer to do a cash donation, give it to Winnie or Diane.
The BBQ has been postponed. We still plan to do so in the future.
Care for Members
As you know, many of our members have come down with COVID. Several have expressed a desire to help. Please connect with Joe LaPrade and Men’s Fellowship.
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 & 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
In addition, if you have questions and would like answers for clarification, please reach out to the office, Ann Healy, or Pastor Ryan. The Leadership Team will inform the congregation the entire process in this season of discernment despite the rumors spreading in the community. But if you do have a question, please reach out!
Book Study during Sunday School–all who do not have a class are welcome to attend!
The Fidelis Class has begun 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!
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)
Patsy Dastoli (health)–her 80th birthday is on Thursday. Please consider sending her a card to wish her a happy birthday. You can mail it here:
King’s Daughters Nursing and Rehab
1410 North Augusta Street
Staunton, VA 24401
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Bill Eckard (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Jason Jordan (health)
Heath Kimmell (health)
Gene LaPrade (health)
Larry LaPrade (COVID)
Lent family (work)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Forest & Marlene Miller (COVID)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Victor Samalot (health)
Chris Shirk (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Stan Suter (health)
Carlyle Whitelow family & community
Mary Whitmore (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB