RECAP: BLINDED BY THE LIGHT based on Acts 9:1-19
We live in a world right now that is extremely polarized. All one has to do is turn on the television and watch what is happening all across our nation on controversial issues, most recently expressed over the abortion debate. Our nation is under attack, with each other. And if someone thinks differently than another on an issue, one or both end up vilified, attacked, maligned, slandered, or worse, even to the point of violence.
Do we believe as Christians in a different way? Do we believe that God can reach all people, that when he said he loved the world, that world included everyone? The sacrificial act of Jesus on the cross was so all could come to salvation, even the individual we disagree with or consider our greatest enemy! And there is no better story to illustrate this than in the life of Saul.
Saul was one of the biggest villains in the Bible. He was a Pharisee, very zealous for purity. He viewed Jesus and the emergent “WAY” as a threat and decided to take it out. Why did he think he could do this? He was the disciple of Gamaliel, one of the most respected leaders of the day in the Sanhedrin, who himself was the disciple of Rabbi Hillel, the most influential rabbi in all of Judaism until Jesus! But that meant Saul had clout and prestige, and thus he was placed on a pedestal. Further, since he was from Tarsus, he was born a Roman citizen. That citizenship allowed him to travel throughout the entire empire without having to pay any fees. But it also gave him the ability to legally arrest and transport any individual throughout the empire. So Saul was able to have the freedom to go anywhere to stamp out Christianity! And he was responsible for the murder of Stephen, as well as many other Christians, and the countless imprisonments of many others.
Yet, on the very road to round up more Christians, Saul was blinded by the light of Jesus and was forever changed. Jesus showed:
1) He can reach anyone, at any time, in any place. No one is beyond the reach of God. And that is a great hope–it does not matter how vile or sinful a person can be, or how much harm one person can do, Jesus can still reach their heart and bring about transformation!
2) He can speak to anyone who is listening and reveal himself to anyone who sees. Those with Saul also heard Jesus speak and saw the light, but did not see Jesus directly. Yet, they had a choice, to help Saul continue his journey, or to turn back. They became a willing partner because they allowed themselves to see and hear. Ananias too heard the voice of the Lord, but he had to choose whether he would listen, or judge based on what he could see. With his eyes, Saul was a murderer and threat. But he chose to listen and see the message from Jesus.
3) We need to see people as he sees them. Ananias saw the threat and danger Saul posed; Jesus saw the potential! Saul’s stubbornness would serve him well as he went throughout the entire empire proclaiming the good news of Jesus. He never gave up. He was tenacious. He would be stoned, and literally, get back up and go back into that very city and continue to preach. Saul would be shipwrecked but continued anyway as a prisoner to Rome. Jesus saw who Saul would become through his grace.
4) Radical transformation is possible! Saul was a changed man and was renamed Paul. Truly he no longer lived, but Christ within. If Saul could change from murderer to the most influential evangelist and missionary of his time, Jesus could change anyone!
Questions for Reflection
1) Who would you identify as the biggest opponent of Christianity that you know personally? Can you pray for their life change?
2) Are you willing to allow Jesus to adjust your perspective?
3) Who do you know around you could reach many people for Jesus? Can you encourage them to step out in their gifts?
4) Have you ever witnessed someone radically transformed by Jesus?
5) Do you believe Jesus can work in you?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the series called “A Fresh Start” with the sermon titled, “For All People” based on Ephesians 2:11-22. How powerful is Jesus’ act on the cross? And how can all people come to a relationship with Christ? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for June 28 – July 4
June 28: Mark 5:21-43 How were two women transformed after a touch from Jesus?
June 29: Mark 10:46-52 How was a man radically transformed after a touch from Jesus?
June 30: Acts 8:26-40 How was a man radically transformed after a touch from Jesus?
July 1: Acts 16:16-36 How was a man radically transformed after a touch from Jesus?
July 2: Acts 20:7-12 How was a man radically transformed after a touch from Jesus?
July 3: Romans 2:1-16 Why is there a need for the gospel?
July 4: Romans 2:17-29 Why is there a need for the gospel?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, July 3–First Sunday Breakfast @ 8:45 am
Sunday, July 3–First Sunday Offering
Sunday, July 10–Baptism
Wednesday, July 20–Ministry Team
Wednesday, July 21–Leadership Team
Sunday, July 31–Vespers @ 6 pm
Friday, August 19 – Sunday, August 21–Church Retreat @ Natural Chimneys
We will have summer vespers on the final Sunday of each month for June, July, and August. We will gather for a meal over the fire, sing some hymns and camp song favorites, play a camp-style game or two, and conclude with a vespers devotional. Come out and enjoy!
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 stories. 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
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
We will have our first Church Retreat post-COVID at Natural Chimneys from Friday, August 19 through Saturday, August 21. Come rent a lot, pitch a tent or park a camper, and spend the whole weekend, or come and go as you please. It will be a great time to get away and simply enjoy each other at Beaver Creek!
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place them in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
The Christian Education Team is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour 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)
Sandy Bennington (health)
Donnie Cornwell Sr (health)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Tori Jackson (peace)
Darlene LaPrade (health)
Leroy Makely (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Torrey Meyer (well-being)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Norma Suter (health)
Whitmore family (various)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Winnie Wilfong (knee)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church