Note: The Good News Brief will be delayed by one day next week to Wednesday, March 27th.
RECAP: REBUILDING A DEFEATED PEOPLE–based on Nehemiah 8:1-15
Defeat can be completely crippling. There is no worse feeling than being at rock bottom and feeling like there is no way out. That is where Israel was during the time of Nehemiah. After many centuries of independence, they had been taken into exile, conquered by Babylon. When they returned to the land, everything was in ruin. By the time of Nehemiah, roughly 100 years after the return from exile, Jerusalem was still in ruin. Instead of rebuilding, they remained in their defeat. Why were they so defeated?
The defeat was much more than the destruction of a wall. That wall symbolized the protection of God, the favor of God, and all of the promises of God. With the destroyed city and temple, the ark of the covenant was gone, which represented the presence of God. They had come to believe that God was against them, and they could never earn again the favor of God.
In addition to the wall, the people were subjected to public ridicule and warfare, led by Sanballat and Tobiah. They mocked the Jews, constantly reminding them of their failure and opposed them. They made Israel feel like they could never succeed, never get out of the pit or overcome. On top of the opposition, many of them fell into financial bondage, having the threat of losing their property because they could not pay the mortgage. Last, when they came to together to hear the Word of God, they could not access it, for it was in an unfamiliar language. They had lost the favor of God. They could not understand the Word of God. They were swimming in debt to their ears and were under constant pressure. They were defeated, and saw no hope for recovery.
Sometimes we feel that way in our own lives. Personally, we may wrestle with our past failures, or believe we can never overcome. Maybe Satan attacks us and we feel we are always under a cloud. Sometimes we even feel that corporately. Why is immorality continuing to grow in our culture? The divisiveness continues to increase. We feel like God doesn’t answer our prayers, or the heavens are closed, or we feel we have fallen out of favor with God. We ask where the youth and young adults have gone. We feel discouraged.
Nehemiah led the people on a wall rebuilding project. But it was much more than that: he along with Ezra helped restore a defeated people. By the end of the book, they were experiencing vibrancy again. How did the change happen? And how can we overcome when we are feeling defeat?
1) Return to the Word. Nehemiah gathered together the community of faith. There Ezra and the Levites read the Word. But it was more than just reading the Word–they translated the Word so it can be understood. They had removed the barrier from hearing the Word and just allowed the Word to soak their lives. Many wept at the hearing of the Word. For there is power in just the reading of the Word of God. And when we are feeling defeated, go back to the Word. Reminded of your past? “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation–the old is gone, the new is come!” 2 Cor 5:17
2) Refuel and Renourish. When we are defeated, we tend not to take care of our physical bodies or our spiritual selves. Nehemiah encouraged the people to eat and be filled. Likewise, when we feel defeated, we need to refuel and renourish both physically and spiritually–in prayer, solitude, nature, etc.
3) Rejuvenate in the joy of the Lord–The joy of the LORD is your strength! When we are at our lowest, Jesus is at his strongest. He came to pick us up from the muck and the mire and to carry us when we feel like we can’t go on. And as we fellowship with him, his strength becomes ours!
4) Reconnect in worship–Israel celebrated the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) for the first time in over a century. When we connect in worship, we not only have our spirit lifted in the presence of God, but also in the company of our fellow brothers and sisters. There is strength in fellowship!
5) Repentance–Israel then corporately repented for the sins of their ancestors and their current sin. But it was more than just a confession–it was a commitment to a new path. It is charting a plan, a way forward, through an open recognition of what brought us initially to that place of defeat.
We don’t have to be defined by defeat. God will restore and make us whole. So take the time to let your heart beat again. Read the Word. Refuel and renourish your body and soul. Rejuvenate in the joy of the Lord. Reconnect in worship. Repent. Israel did the hard work, and the people come out the other side stronger. So with us!
Questions for reflection
1) Have you truly ever felt defeated? What was the circumstance?
2) Do you have a go-to Scripture for when you need encouragement the most? What is it?
3) Do you have a go-to hymn when you need encouragement? What is it?
4) How can the community of faith help you grow strong?
Pastor Ryan will continue the Rebuilding Series with the sermon titled, “Rebuilding A Spiritual House,” based on Haggai 2:1-9. Just like the city needed to be rebuilt, so too the temple. How did Haggai encourage the nation to rebuild its spiritual house? And how can we rebuild it in our day? Tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for May 19 – 26
May 19: Judges 6 How did the Lord encourage Gideon with his defeatist attitude?
May 20: Job 42 How did God redeem Job’s defeats?
May 21: 1 Kings 19 How did the Lord encourage Elijah when he felt defeated?
May 22: Habakkuk 3 How did Habakkuk respond in the midst of his felt defeat?
May 23: Romans 8:28-39 How did Paul encourage us when we feel defeated?
May 24: Genesis 22 What was the significance of this altar to the Lord?
May 25: Genesis 28:10-22 What was the significance of this altar to the Lord?
May 26: Exodus 17:8-16 What was the significance of this altar to the Lord?
May 24–Donna Miller
May 26–David Simmons
Leadership Team & Reopening
In our Leadership Team meeting, we recommended to delay reopening until June 7th. A huge piece of that was the make up of our congregation, for we have a sizeable population that would be vulnerable. Second, because of the divisiveness within our layers of leadership, we also do not know what the true facts are! And third, at the time we had the recommendations from our District, but not our governor. But what was clear was that we are a family and want to be able to reopen as a family again. More of the details have come into view, and we can report that we are working toward reopening in full.
For a while, things will not quite be the same. There will be some restrictions in place for the safety of all. As I stated in Sunday’s announcements, although the restrictions may be frustrating or discouraging, please do not let Satan use it to rob the joy of knowing Christ and reuniting with your church family.
Beaver Creek Guidance (as of May 14, 2020)
Recommendations to Every Member
- If you feel like you need to stay home, stay safe! Would rather have you safe!
- If you are part of the vulnerable population, please keep watching the service via livestream!
- If you have a fever, stay home! We will not temp every person who comes to the door; but check your temperature before you leave for church. If it is over 99.5, please stay home.
- Facemasks are required. If you have your own facemask, please bring it with you. If you do not have your own facemask, we are having some reusable and rewashable facemasks made.
- Wash your hands before you come to church.
- Use bathroom at home before church as much as possible
- Maintain social distancing (six feet apart)
- Avoid physical contact (especially those hugs I know we all want to give each other!)
Necessary COVID measures (based upon District & Governor’s recommendations)
- 50% of the low load capacity is our maximum (roughly 80-90 people max)
- Only Worship for now (no Sunday school or fellowship events)
- Leave as many of your personal belongings at home. Only bring in what is necessary.
- Building doors and windows propped open to maximize circulation; exceptions would be a violent rain or cold rain
- Everyone will enter through main door and exit through side doors unless of mobility needs
- Masks must be on before entering the building. If you have a health condition that would limit your ability to wear a mask, please let us know at the office
- Greeter will pump hand sanitizer bottle as people enter until we can acquire an automatic dispenser. If you cannot receive hand sanitizer due to health reasons, you are not required to receive it.
- Only main floor bathrooms will be accessible. If you have to use bathroom, please wipe down with a sanitizer wipe before leaving.
- There will be no passing of the offering plate during the initial phases. Everyone is encouraged to give as they have been giving. There will be an offering plate placed on a podium by the entrance. You can place your gift before you take your seat.
- There will be no ushers for the short term.
- Every pew will have two pieces of painters tape. Sit between the pieces of tape. These are the only areas where you can sit in keeping with the “six feet apart” rule.
- Immediate family clusters can sit together
- The wing rooms are only open for the amount of chairs placed. They were measured to be six feet apart from the pews.
- No bulletins for pick up. They will be either laid out on the available seats or displayed on screen for short term
- Children’s materials will be in a disposable ziploc bag. No crayons will be provided.
- Nursery will only be available to one family at a time. You must be in the nursery with only your own kids.
- Remove hymnals and Bibles from pews–display on screen
- No corporate congregational singing during early return. Will have either videos or special music that you can “hum” to
- Children’s story continued on screen
- No “passing the peace” time
- Prayers of people submitted in advance (no passing of microphone) to the office by Friday, 1 pm or to Pastor Ryan by Sunday morning, 9 am.
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 in June. 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).
There will be no Bible Study this week. It will resume next week.
Before church closed for COVID, we had begun to announce a baptism and membership class (for transfer of membership). So for we have two that have expressed interest. If you are interested in either, or even if you recently became a member without the class and would like more of what it means to be a member of Beaver Creek, please let Pastor Ryan or Tess know you would like to take the class. Once there is enough interest, more specifics will be shared at that time.
From Camp Brethren Woods:
Dear Camp Friends,
Today, Brethren Woods is announcing that we are suspending our summer camp program for 2020. You can watch a video and see our written announcement at www.brethrenwoods.org/covid on our website.
While this has been a difficult decision to make, it has been made with the full support of camp and district leadership that have met over the past week. As hard as it may be, we firmly believe that this is the right decision for the health and safety of everyone who is part of the Brethren Woods community, as well as for the future of Brethren Woods. This year, living out the value of Christian community that we teach so well at camp, means staying apart.
We know that this decision is disappointing for campers and their families who were registered for camp. Camp staff and volunteers who had committed to serving at camp this summer are feeling this heartbreaking loss as well. This is an announcement we never imagined we would have to make.
For the first time since 1960, a traditional summer camp program for children and youth will not be held at Brethren Woods. Instead, we will live into the truth of Isaiah 43:19 (NIV) which promises that God is “doing a new thing” and “will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” We will be offering two completely new, alternative program options to fulfill our mission and meet camp’s goals this summer.
The first is a Family Camp –
www.brethrenwoods.org/familycamp option for families who are ready to get out and are feeling comfortable heading to camp. Based on current guidelines, we anticipate being able to welcome families once we move into phase 2. More information about this program will be made available over the coming weeks. Registration opens on June 1st.
We know that not everyone will be able to join us on-site at camp this summer, so we also want to provide a second alternative camp program that campers and their families can access no matter where they are.
Watz’ in the Woods – www.brethrenwoods.org/dsc is a completely FREE online camp connection we’ll be offering for seven weeks in June and July! While we believe that “virtual camp” isn’t really possible – this online portal will help current, past, and future campers to stay connected – or get connected – with camp this summer.
We hope you’ll sign up to join us and help us spread the word to friends and families from your church, school, or neighborhood as we welcome families at camp and reach out with God’s Good News in new ways this summer!
From the beginning of this crisis, Brethren Woods has been striving to follow Jesus’ example and choosing love and hope in the midst of fear and uncertainty. As we face these challenges, we will all need to work together to support and encourage one another as we live out the values we’ve been teaching at camp for years – Christ-centered living, love, respect, community, resiliency, strength, stewardship, determination, leadership, and grit. We need each other and camp, now more than ever.
In Isaiah 43:19 (NLT), God says, “For I am about to do something new! See I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in dry wasteland.” Together, may we travel God’s path through this wilderness, experience rivers of love and faithfulness, and recognize and participate in the new things that spring forth.
Your Friends at Brethren Woods
The Leadership Team will discuss how we can support either or both of these programs. If you are interested in either one, please let the office know.
Once COVID restrictions continue to loosen, the Outreach Team had approved to allow Beaver Creek to be a host site for a babysitting training class for teenagers. When a teen completes the class, they would be officially certified to babysit anywhere in the commonwealth. The cost is $95.
Again, due to COVID, we do not yet have a date. But they want to know if there are truly enough interested teens to take the class before they commit the date. If you are interested, either let Pastor Ryan or Tess know, so we can get your teen on the list.
Four Ways to Give! With the extended closure, this is greatly necessary.
1) Direct Deposit–form available on the website
2) Mail your tithe into the church office
3) Drop it by church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
4) New online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
Prayers for our Congregation–pray for those who have been unable to visit or spend time with family, those who have lost their jobs or seen furloughs, for those who have been discouraged, and those in our nursing homes, who have not been able to have any physical contact since early March.
Accordius Nursing Facility–(Carolyn Wine).
Cofer Family–(Loss of their husband and father Chris, of Clover Hill).
Sandy Shomo–(health, recovering from COVID-19)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB