CHRISTMAS EVE RECAP: UNEXPECTED PEACE based on Luke 2:1-7 & WORSHIP CHRIST THE LORD based on Luke 2:8-20
What is peace? Peace is a holistic state of calm, safety, rest, and security, with everything in balance and harmony with God. When one looks at Jesus’ birth, everything was wrong. Mary and Joseph had to travel, likely without a beast of burden, from Nazareth to Bethlehem because they were at the mercy of a ruler who wanted to count the might and size of his empire for his own ego. The journey was treacherous, filled with difficult terrain, and prone to bandits. On top of that, Mary was very pregnant and about to give birth at any moment. When they arrived after that lengthy journey, no one was willing to give up their bed so Mary had a place to lay down and give birth. When they did find a place, it was outside with the farm animals, and the only bed was a feeding trough!
Yet, despite all of the obstacles, God still found a way to bring the Prince of Peace into the world. We all may face obstacles to peace like Mary and Joseph did: world systems that oppose the people of God (2:1-2), circumstances beyond our control (2:3), difficulties in the journey called life (2:4-5), and a lack of compassion and grace (2:7). But even in the midst of any obstacle to peace, God still can bring peace in unexpected ways! God is Sovereign (2:1-3), working throughout history and the events around us to still accomplish his way. Bad things might still happen, but God can work through the bad to bring us through. No matter how much evil appears to be in control, God is victorious, for nothing will stop God from bringing salvation and redemption. God will grant you strength for the journey (2:4-5), making a pathway of peace even when things are dark and hopeless, for no situation is too difficult for God (2:6-7).
Just as the birth itself was a sign of God’s unexpected peace, what followed was also unexpected. The whole town of Bethlehem slept, missing out on that holy moment, except for some shepherds. They received an angelic choir declaring the praises of God, announcing a Savior had been born. The shepherds were considered to be nobody in the eyes of society, yet God appeared to nobodies to tell an entire world that felt like they were nobody that they were valued in God’s sight; Christ came for all of us!
How should we respond? Don’t be afraid. God is for you, not against you. Don’t let fear hold you back from what God can do or from his salvation. Hear the good news. Take the time to tune in and hear what God said. Accept the Savior. Jesus was born to die to bring us salvation–will you embrace him? Worship Christ the Lord. Make Jesus the one you live for. Do not give God just a piece of yourself, but your very best! Let us move beyond the celebration of Jesus’ birth and instead live it and declare it everywhere we go, like the shepherds!
NEW YEAR’S EVE RECAP: WORSHIP CHRIST THE KING based on Matthew 2:1-12
The situation behind Jesus’ birth was unexpected. The first individuals to encounter the born Messiah were nobodies in the eyes of society. But another unexpected group involved is the Magi. The Magi were astrologers from Persia, likely descended from the enemies who faced Daniel! This group of learned scholars followed Zoroastrianism, a religion that shared some similarities with Judaism and Christianity, but also inspired many heresies, including the Gnostics in Paul’s day. They believed good and evil existed as equal forces in balance against one another. They studied the heavens and observed its signs. Yet when they saw Jesus’ star, they knew something had changed. And so they embarked on the journey to see this newborn son of the gods. They came to worship Jesus.
Who was Jesus? Jesus was the King (2:2), a very high statement in light of Caesar, Herod, and the absence of the line of Davidic kings. But it was also a powerful statement for the Magi because it was a declaration that Jesus was higher than all of their gods; a recognition that He was the one who was greater than any being in the universe! Jesus was the Anointed One (2:4), the one called and authorized by God to complete a task under divine mandate. What was that mandate? To seek and to save the lost, to deliver people from their sin (1:21). Jesus was also the Shepherd of the people of God (2:6). The shepherd takes care of his flock, leading them into green pastures and life, but also brings the sheep that wander back into the fold.
Is Jesus our King? Do we bow down and worship him? Or is there another on the throne of our lives? Do we recognize Jesus’ mission to set people free? Or do we treat him common and do the very thing he came to deliver us from in his presence? Do we enjoy the green pastures he provides, or do we continue to wander off and go our own way?
How do we recognize his kingship in our lives? Pursue Christ (2:1-2), giving our all as the Magi did. They were not even part of the people of God, but they left everything behind to find him. Actively search for Jesus (2:8-10). When we face barriers and obstacles, continue to press through until we have a relationship with Christ. Just knowing about Christ is not enough! Bow down and worship (2:11a). Order your life so that it reflects his rule over your hearts. Give what you treasure (2:11b). The costly gifts from the Magi provided the funds to make the flight to Egypt. The Magi did not give a cheap gift, but the most costly gifts. Do we give God our best or the cheap stuff? Submit under his authority (2:3-7). Stop trying to resist and allow him to reign over your life. Listen to his voice and be obedient (2:12). We show Jesus is the king when we follow his instruction!
Questions for Reflection
1) In what areas do you need God’s peace this morning? What is causing the unrest?
2) How do you view yourself in relationship to God?
3) How important is Jesus really to you? What will you do with Jesus?
4) Is Jesus your King? If not, what is? Are you willing to adjust who is on the throne?
5) What is your greatest treasure? Can you surrender it to God?
6) Can people clearly tell you are a follower of Jesus in how you live and act? What adjustments can you make?
This Sunday is Epiphany. We will have bread and cup communion. Pastor Ryan will start the Foundations of our Faith series. The first topic answers the question, “Who is God?” Ryan will preach the sermon “Light of Creation,” based on Genesis 1:1-5 and John 1:1-5. God is the Creator and Light. How does this truth impact our faith? Come or tune in on Sunday to find out.
Daily Bible Readings for January 2 – 8
January 2: Genesis 2:18-22 What does this passage teach us about God?
January 3: Genesis 6:1-8 What does this passage teach us about God?
January 4: Genesis 7:1-4 What does this passage teach us about God?
January 5: Genesis 9:8-17 What does this passage teach us about God?
January 6: Genesis 12:1-3 What does this passage teach us about God?
January 7: Genesis 15 What does this passage teach us about God?
January 8: Genesis 16 What does this passage teach us about God?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, January 7–First Sunday Breakfast**subject to change due to weather
Sunday, January 7–First Sunday Offering for Our Community Place**subject to change due to weather
Sunday, January 7–Bread & Cup Communion**subject to change due to the weather
Sunday, January 7–Worship Team Meeting @ 12 pm**subject to change due to the weather
Wednesday, January 10–Outreach SS Class Dinner
Sunday, January 14–Deacon Meeting & Lunch @ 12 pm
Thursday, January 18–Leadership Team Meeting @ 7 pm
NEW YEAR-LONG SERIES
We live in a day and time when our beliefs are challenged. Can we articulate what we believe? For the entirety of 2024, we will be going through a series called the “Foundations of Our Faith.” Each Sunday, we will explore a different key belief or concept that is foundational to Christianity. Each concept will come straight from the Bible. Our first topic will be exploring who God is according to the Bible.
I encourage you through this year to allow these messages to strengthen your faith! The apostle Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pet 3:15). And Paul wrote, “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season” (2 Tim 4:2). Our world needs hope. May we, as we deepen our faith together, not only grow in the depth of our knowledge of Jesus but also share that hope in a world that needs it!
2023 FOCUS TEAMS
Your year-end report must be submitted to the office by Sunday, January 14!
If you are a newer attendee at Beaver Creek, please call the office with your birthday or leave a note in the offering plate. We don’t want to miss anyone.
Beaver Creek has updated its social media page. Please follow and share so many people can see what is happening at Beaver Creek! You can find the pages as follows:
Backpacks & Greeter Sign Up
Misti has placed a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board to assist with the backpacks. If you are willing to help, please sign up this week!
We are also in need of those willing to serve as greeters! If you would like to serve a month as a greeter, please sign up today!
We are in the process of updating the directory for 2024. Please make any changes on the proof copy in the church lobby, or call the office with your changes. All changes must be submitted by January 14!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are in need of both worship leaders and children’s storytellers. Contact Alice Over, Phyllis Simmons (worship leading), or Joscelin Cooper (children’s story) if you want to serve.
CHILDREN’S CHURCH & NURSERY
Children’s Church WILL NOT meet this Sunday, January 7. It will resume on Sunday, December 14.
The Christian Education Team is looking for six to eight volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School and church hours. There will be a signup sheet in the back. If you would be willing to volunteer to allow our families to participate in worship, please inform one of the members of the Christian Education team (Theresa Eckard, Scott McAvoy, Becky Whitmore), or sign up on the signup sheet!
Sight & Sound Interest
The Fidelis class is looking at sponsoring a church-wide trip to Sight & Sound in 2024. But before the class can investigate bus prices and total cost, we want to gauge the genuine interest in the church. We have had several expressions of interest and are trying to find the best package for us as a church body. If you want to be considered for this one-day event next year, please get in touch with the office or inform Pastor Ryan in the next few weeks.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe to 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) Place in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller & Carolyn Wine
Keep Evy Kaye’s friend Mary Beth in your prayers as she is wrestling with cancer.
Keep also John Jordan’s sister in your prayers. She was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Eddie Baker (health)
Mary Batterman (health)
Sandy Bennington (health)
Joe Berry (health)
Terri Burkholder (health)
Norma Cunningham (recovery)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Christy Lazer (health)
Ruth Luce (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Meda McNett (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Norlen Miller (hospital)
Mary G Miller (health)
Mary M Miller (health)
Savannah Miller (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Kenny Wheelbarger (recovery)
Whitmore family (house)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Cindy Wittig (health)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church