RECAP: WAY FORWARD based on Hebrews 10:19-31
Have you ever been stuck in the mud? When stuck, it is almost impossible to get out on your own. You need help to push you out of the mud (learned this through experience!). But have we ever spiritually been stuck in the mud? Do we feel like we spin the tires of our lives, and can’t gain any traction? Have we ever felt like the more we tried to get out, the deeper into the mud we sank?
If you said yes to this, then you are in good company, for you are certainly not alone. When we are spiritually stuck in the mud, it feels like we can never see the way forward. In reality, we can say this is true with the state of Christianity in our country today! But it was also certainly true for the community of faith. They were under pressure from all sides (Romans, Jews, politics). They knew all the right answers, how Jesus was greater than Moses, David, and even the mysterious Melchizedek. But they still felt stuck, and could not see the way forward.
How did the writer of Hebrews encourage the people? What could they do to move forward out of their mud? And how can we do so as well?
1) Go to the one who can push you out of the mud–Draw Near to God. The image behind “draw near” is the same image used of a weary animal that moves hurriedly to the water as soon as it spots it! It is also the same image of the deer that pants for the water in Psalm 42:1. When we are in a place of spiritual weariness, we need to draw closer to God, for He and He alone is the one who can satisfy and help us find a way from the mud.
How do we draw near to God? We must, as the writer of Hebrews declared, have a sincere heart and full assurance of faith. The word sincere is the same word for undivided. Our heart should be for God alone and not divided in our loyalty. And to have a full assurance of faith is an utmost trust in the one we seek. In other words, we are not trying to take control. Remember, when in the mud, you need someone on the outside giving your car a push! You can’t push from outside the car and be inside at the same time. We have to let God be God in every season.
2) Follow your navigation through the mud–Hold on to Hope. The writer of Hebrews encouraged the early church to hold unswervingly to hope, for he who promised is faithful. To hold unswervingly is to follow so closely behind that whenever the Spirit moves, you move. That requires for us to know who our hope is, and to invest in building relationship with our hope so we can recognize the movements of the Spirit.
3) Help each other out of the mud–Spur One Another. The English uses the word spur, although the original Greek has more of a shade of encourage with urgency and strongly. A cowboy uses the spurs on his boots to kick the animal in a way so the animal does as is desired. In the same way, the writer of Hebrews encourages us to spur each other toward love and good deeds. In other words, we are to lovingly correct one another when we are in error with the goal of helping each other be our best selves! Sometimes, we end up in the mud because it is out of our control. But sometimes we end up in the mud by our own choice. Can we rally around each other, help each other when we are in the wrong to find freedom in Christ, and then push each other to be our best selves?
4)Take a bath–Meet Together. When you are deep in the mud, and you finally get out, your vehicle needs a bath. And what a good feeling it is to be clean! In the same way, when we are stuck spiritually, we need times of spiritual rejuvenation. The writer of Hebrews describes that as coming as we meet together. For in meeting together, not only can we push each other toward the good, but we can encourage and hold each other up, especially in dark times! But he did give a warning–many have given up meeting together. Satan wants us isolated, but our strength comes in being together, especially as we are honest with each other and can say, “I used to be in the mud too, but now I am free. Let me help you.”
5) Don’t return to the mud–Put Away Sin Once For All. The writer of Hebrews spent more time discussing this than anything else. For many had fallen into a false sense of security–now that we have been cleaned up by God, we can return to the mud, for God will clean us up again! But that is not the case; if we know the truth, and keep returning to sin, we are making a mockery of Jesus’ sacrifice. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with sin and continue to return to those areas that trip us up. But once we have been cleaned up by Christ, let us put things in place that prevent us from returning to where we were. A pig that is washed does go back to the mud; but a heart set free should stay out of the mud.
To move forward, we need to be free from the mud. God helps us get out, through the hope he offers. We can help each other be clean and rejuvenated, but the final choice rests with us–we have to stay out of the mud. Then, once we are free, we will be able to be in a place to take flight and know where we can go next!
Questions for Reflection
1) What prevents you from fully drawing near to God? Can you lay it down?
2) What is your personal devotion time like? Can you recognize the movement of the Spirit?
3) Who can we encourage to be their best self? Who might you need to talk with in the coming days?
4) What sin do you need to put away once and for all? Do you need help doing so?
Special thanks to Lynne for brining forth the word last week!
This Sunday, we will pass out a Bible for one of our rising third graders. Pastor Ryan will continue the “What’s Next” series with the sermon titled “Take Flight,” based on Isaiah 40:1-9, 27-31. How can we rise above the struggles of this world, taking flight into God’s plan? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for October 5 – 11
October 5: Judges 11:28-39 What did Jephthah have to leave behind to move forward? Why?
October 6: 2 Samuel 12:13-23 What did David have to leave behind to move forward from his sin?
October 7: Luke 5:1-11 What did Peter leave behind to move forward in God?
October 8: Acts 26 What did Paul leave behind to move forward in God?
October 9: 2 Corinthians 11:16-12:10 What did Paul leave behind to move forward in God?
October 10: Exodus 16 How did God renew his people?
October 11: Joshua 4 How were the people of God renewed after crossing the Jordan?
This Week’s Events:
Wednesday, October 6–Worship Team @ 7:30 pm
Sunday, October 10–Bible Presentation in worship
Tuesday, October 12–Called Leadership Team Meeting w/ District @ 7 pm
Sunday, October 17–Chili Cook Off (Tentative)
Thursday, October 21–Regular Leadership Team Meeting @ 7 pm
Sunday, October 24–Council Mtg (tentative)
Sunday, October 31–Love Feast (tentative) & Torrey baptism
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
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 10.
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)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Bill Eckard (health)
Brad Eckard (COVID recovery)
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)
Chris Shirk (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Tammy Stine (broken ankle)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Whitmore family (COVID)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB