RECAP: SEEING THINGS DIFFERENTLY–based on Acts 17:16-34
Paul was in Athens. This was a very religious city which was full of idols to the Olympian pantheon of gods. It was also a city that was deeply rooted in philosophy, specifically Epicureanism (pleasure is the greatest good, no afterlife, live for here and now), and Stoicism (free yourself from emotion, pain, divine intervention, providence). Athens was also the birthplace of democracy and concepts such as trial by jury. Paul was troubled by what he saw in the culture around him. But instead of using tactics like he used in Philippi or Lystra, Paul was able to not only dialogue with the leaders of the city, but bring some of them to Jesus. How was Paul able to help others see things differently and find Jesus? And how can we do the same in our day?
1) He took time to understand the culture, or the why behind their thinking. He studied their religions, understood their philosophers, and researched their own documents. Before speaking to the culture, he sought to find the why, the underlying fears, concerns, and heartbeat.
2) He took the time to find common ground. He found the points of intersection between Christianity and the religions of antiquity and their philosophy. He found an idol to an unknown god. Even the Athenians acknowledged there was another being out there! He used this as a springboard to start a conversation about Jesus. He also quoted “In him we live and move and have our being” and “We are his offspring”–two commonly understood writings of the people that have ties to John’s gospel.
3) He then identified sin and error. Instead of coming out and attacking the people for their incorrect views, he started with the common ground and what they understood correctly. Then he pointed out the errors in the description of Jesus. Jesus is not an idol; he does not dwell in a temple. Jesus has ordered the events of life. Jesus has raised from the dead.
These three tactics in tandem helped the city see differently and led them to Jesus. We live in a day where symbols of Christianity is so common, that we often face a culture unwilling to listen to the gospel message. But what if we see things differently and change our tactics? What if we took the time to understand the culture, find the common ground first? What if we then approach the error and help people see the need for repentance and belief in Jesus through those points of intersection? Who knows who we might be able to touch too!
Questions for reflection
1) What part of culture is the most difficult to understand? Why?
2) How is finding common ground different than compromise?
3) Why is building relationship important, especially when it comes to correction?
4) Who can you reach with the gospel?
Pastor Ryan will continue the Acts Church series with the sermon titled, “Unafraid,” based upon Acts 21:1-15. Paul knew faithfulness to God would lead to persecution. What can we learn from Paul about being unafraid in our faith? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for September 1 – 7
September 1: 2 Kings 6:8-23 How did Elisha see things differently than Aram?
September 2: Daniel 1 How did the Hebrew boys see differently than the Babylonians?
September 3: Daniel 5 How did Daniel see differently than Belshazzar?
September 4: Habakkuk 1 How did God see the crisis differently than the prophet?
September 5: Acts 9:1-19a What did Paul see that changed his life?
September 6: Genesis 14:1-16 How did Abram show he was unafraid in light of Lot’s capture?
September 7: Numbers 13:26-14:9 How did Caleb and Joshua show they were unafraid of the Canaanites?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, September 6–Return of regular worship hours
Sunday, September 6–Sunday School Teacher Appreciation Day
Sunday, September 6–Baptism Class @ 7 pm
Wednesday, September 9–Worship Team Meeting @ 6:30 pm
Wednesday, September 16–Ministry Team Meeting @ 6:30 pm
Thursday, September 17–Leadership Team Meeting @ 7 pm
Sunday, September 20–Baptism/New Member Sunday
Saturday, September 26–National Day of Prayer for our country
Saturday, September 26–Drive by outreach for White Birch
Sunday, October 4–World Wide Communion Sunday
Sunday, November 1–Congregational Business Meeting
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 and August off from Bible study due to vacations and other scheduling conflicts. We are running into Wednesday night conflicts. For those who have been participating, would a Sunday evening suit for you? Please let Pastor Ryan know.
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. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, who are called by my name, would humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” If we want to see our nation healed, it starts with us as the church in fervent prayer and leading the way of repentance. September 18-28 has been called as a ten day season of repentance. On Saturday, September 26, there will be a national day of prayer for our nation. Let us take that day and time to pray!
We will also have a special time of prayer set aside at the church on September 26, the day of the Return, the call for a national day of prayer. We will open the church four times on that Saturday: 10 am, 12 pm, 4 pm, and 7 pm. Each session will last about an hour, and we will have specific areas to pray for.
To make the day of prayer, we are asking for two things: first, if you are willing to serve as the facilitator for one of the sessions, please let Alice Over or the church office know. We need to additional volunteers. Second, we ask that you RSVP for a time slot with the church office. We want to make sure we keep the numbers limited due to COVID safety.
Also, we will begin this week with a weekly area of repentance that you can pray for at home. This week’s area of national repentance is the violation of the second commandment: “You shall have no idols.” We may not have images of gold or silver, or objects or talismans today. But at the core of this commandment is a simple charge: we are not to make God into an image that we fashion or worship another false god. We sometimes make a Jesus in our image instead of allowing us to be changed into his image. Let us pray for national repentance, that we as a people instead of making Jesus fit our agenda, that we would be shaped by his holiness!
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.
More details will be coming soon, but the Outreach Team has agreed to lead the creation of Sunshine Boxes for our members in long term care facilities.
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–recovering at home; sign up to provide a meal at: www.TakeThemAMeal.com/XHOZ8636.
Regina Harlow (health)
LaDawn Knicely (health, surgery upcoming)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (Roger & Nancy Simmons’ neighbor, health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Chris Shirk (Reba’s brother, health)
Grayson Whitmore (recovery)
Tom Wilfong (recovery)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health–Charles Wright’s brother)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB