RECAP: OPEN TO GOD’S LEADING–based on Acts 11:1-18
Peter was in Joppa, the same city where Jonah had to make the tough choice whether to obey God and go to Nineveh, his enemy, or run in the other direction and flee by the sea. We know the choice Jonah made. But Peter had to make a similar choice there. It was there that God spoke to him.
Do we believe that God can still speak today? Do we hear God’s voice, or is it drowned out by competing voices? Do we even know how to hear God’s speaking to us? And if we were to hear God speak to us, are we truly open to it? We learn from Peter’s experience in Joppa what we truly need to do in order to hear God’s voice and be open to his leading.
1) Be in a place of prayer. Peter was on the roof of the house praying. Prayer puts us in a position to connect with God; it is far more than just an exercise on Sunday mornings or offering prayer requests! Rather, prayer is how we tune in to hear God. Radio stations are always playing around us, but we cannot hear the words or music. We need a radio and a tuner to amplify the right frequency and wavelength to hear the sound. The same is true with God; we need a personal radio to hear God speaking, and that is prayer. Prayer puts us in alignment with God’s frequency and his heart’s wavelength, which allows him to speak to us. Are we committed to intentional prayer? It is hard to hear God speak without tuning into the right frequency!
2) Wrestle with the Word of the Lord. When we are tuned in via prayer, God will speak. But when he speaks, we might need to wrestle with the word for a bit! God’s word to Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac. God’s word to Moses was to return to Egypt. God’s word to Hosea was to marry the prostitute Gomer. God’s word to Peter was to get up, kill and eat unclean animals. Peter’s response showed his wrestling: “Surely not Lord! Anything unclean has ever entered my mouth.” But what Peter shows us is that sometimes the Word of the Lord comes into direct conflict with what we believe to be true.
Side note: Not everything we hear is from God. That is why we need to discern what we hear. Does it align with Scripture? Is it consistent with the character of God? Is it discerned by the community?
3) Have a paradigm shift. Peter thought what God was asking him to do violated the Law. It is true that a good Jew should observe kosher and not eat unclean animals. But he missed a truth: “Do not call anything unclean that I have made clean.” In other words, God has the ability to transform that which is unclean and make it clean. With God in the mix, sometimes long held beliefs can be challenged because God can transform our world and the human heart. Again, as long as the transformation is consistent with Scripture, the character of God, and the community, it might simply be pushing us out of our comfort zone! The whole point of Peter’s vision was to challenge him to go to Cornelius, a Roman centurion. The Romans were the ones who were the enemies of Israel, but also the ones who crucified Jesus. Peter was left with the same choice as Jonah–do I go to my enemy, or do I flee and resist? The paradigm shift? Maybe the enemy is no longer an enemy through gospel transformation!
4) Make room for change. God’s ways are higher than ours. He does not change like the shifting shadows, but he sees the bigger picture. Are we willing to trust God into the unknown? Peter trusted and went, even though it could have been a trick. But in the end, he witnessed salvation come to that house, and they were also filled with the Holy Spirit. God moved Peter from believing the good news as only for native Jews and pushed him into the Gentile world.
God can speak to you and to me. Will we put ourselves in a place to listen? And when that word comes, are we willing to act upon it?
Questions for reflection
1) Have you ever heard God speak to you?
2) What are some of the voices that keep you from hearing God’s voice?
3) Why is it difficult sometimes to tune in to hear God?
4) What would be the most difficult thing for God to ask you to do? Why?
Pastor Ryan will continue the Acts church series with the sermon titled, “Bringing Christ to the World,” based upon Acts 11:19-30. Antioch earned the distinction of being the first place where the new church was called “Christian.” What made this church stand out? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for July 14 – 20
July 14: Judges 6:36-40 What inspired Gideon to be open to God’s leading?
July 15: 2 Kings 22:1-13 What inspired Josiah to be open to God’s leading?
July 16: Esther 4 What inspired Esther to be open to God’s leading?
July 17: John 3:1-18 How did Nicodemus show he was open to God’s leading?
July 18: Acts 10:9-23 How was Peter inspired to follow God’s leading?
July 19: Matthew 10:5-20 What was the first missionary project of the disciples?
July 20: Matthew 28:16-20 What is the mission of the church?
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).
We will take the month of July off from Bible study due to vacations and other scheduling conflicts. We will resume Bible study in the beginning of August after this 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. Classes will be on Sunday evenings at 7 pm in pastor’s office, beginning July 26 and ending September 6 (no class on August 2). If you would like to be a part, let Pastor Ryan know ASAP!
Call to Prayer
As we know, right now has been a time of unrest in our land. Our nation needs healing! Let us take five minutes every day to pray for our country. Let us also take five minutes to pray for the wisdom of our local and state officials as they make decisions based upon the COVID crisis. This week, let us add an additional five minutes of prayer for our school division leaders who need to make tough decisions on reopening of schools.
There is also a prayer gathering in Oakdale Park on Thursday. Please see a previous email for more information.
The Leadership Team has approved for us to begin reopening Sunday School based upon the teacher’s personal preference. It is summer hours, so Sunday School will begin at 9:15.
Five 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
5) Drop off in the offering plate at main entrance as you enter for church
Continue to Keep in Prayer:
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.
Mary Batterman–(recovery, Augusta Health & Rehab)
Andrew Brookman JR–(health, Louise Shirkey’s brother)
Brunk family–in the passing of Sylvia. Prayers of comfort and peace. Memorial service will be 7/25.
Jacobson Family (loss of child)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Chris Shirk (Reba’s brother, health)
Showalter family (loss of child)
Grayson Whitmore (recovery)
Tom Wilfong (recovery)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB