RECAP–SPIRITUAL STEWARDSHIP from 1 PETER 4:1-11
What is the goal we all have as Christians? Hopefully it is heaven! We all want to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” No one wants to hear “Depart from me; I never knew you.” When Jesus put forward the dreaded words, it was in the context of faithfulness. There will be people that stand before God someday that will plead their faithfulness (prophecy, miracles, deliverance), yet will hear those words. How do we know we will hear “well done” and not “depart”?
This was the same essential question the early church was asking. It was a church under fire, under pressure from the government. Many of them, including Peter, lost their lives for their belief in Jesus. But was it worth it? How would they know their faithfulness was indeed valid, and for a good cause? How would they know that if they lost their life for Christ they would be welcomed into heaven, hearing “well done,” and not “depart”? As Peter followed Jesus, he earned both Jesus’ praise and rebuke. But in everything, it came down to spiritual stewardship.
How do we show we are being a faithful steward?
- What are our priorities? The two tools that best reveal our true priorities are our pocketbook and our planner. How do we spend our time? How do we spend our resources? We spend our time, energy, and resources in that which we believe the most.
It is easy to have a misplaced priority. Thanksgiving is a time for thankfulness; yet, in recent years, the Black Friday scene has encroached on the holiday. One time I went shopping on Thursday evening to buy an item for the girls. What I witnessed was a fight that ended up with arrests–over Elsa dolls! How messed up is it to be arrested for trying to get the last Elsa doll on Thanksgiving Day for your family, and, in so doing, lose out on time with your family?
Do we pursue God with the same intensity that these two mothers fought over the Elsa doll? Do we hunger and thirst for God in everything we do? Do we seek God above all else? Do we set aside our old way of living and those things that entangle?
- How is our prayer life? Prayer is communion with God. It is through prayer that we can actually align ourselves with the will of God. It is prayer that can break strongholds, set people free, change circumstances, etc. Even as Jesus was busy preaching the gospel and healing, he still took time to find his lonely place to pray. And it is through prayer that we gain the strength we need to be faithful, no matter what comes our way! Let us clear our minds and commit to pray!
- Are we investing ourselves? One of Jesus’ final parables was about the investment of talents. Two invested, and gained a return. The other buried the talent in the ground. Are we investing ourselves for God’s kingdom? In the church? Are we giving our time, our energy, our resources to be used by God? If all of us together invest, what emerges is something beautiful and great.
We all want to hear “well done, good and faithful servant.” If our priorities are in the right place, we are committed to aligning ourselves with God through prayer, and invest what we have for the gospel, we will hear those words. Following God is worth it all; let us be spiritual stewards!
Questions for reflection
1) Where is God on your priority list?
2) In what ways can you carve out more space for God in your life?
3) How often do you pray? How can you grow in prayer?
4) In what areas can you invest?
We will have a unique service of Hanging of the Greens and ornament exchange. We will light the advent candle of hope and hear a sermonette based upon 1 Peter 5 titled, “What do we hope for?”
Daily Bible Readings for November 24 – 30
November 24: Exodus 20:8-11 What does the fourth commandment relate to stewardship?
November 25: Leviticus 25 What does the Sabbath year and Jubilee say toward stewardship?
November 26: Malachi 3:6-18 What is God’s promise for faithful stewardship?
November 27: Matthew 21:28-44 How do these two parables speak to spiritual stewardship?
November 28: Matthew 25:16-30 How does this parable speak to spiritual stewardship?
November 29: Isaiah 9:1-7 What is the hope of Israel?
November 30: Isaiah 11:1-9 What is the hope for the world?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, November 29–Advent Begins & Hanging of the Greens Special Service
Thursday, December 10–Leadership Team Reorganization
Thursday, December 24–Christmas Eve service
Saturday, January 9–SNL Youth Ice Skating
We are still in need of a volunteer to serve for the Worship Team beginning in 2021. If you are willing to serve, please call the office and let us know!
Hanging of the Greens & Ornament Exchange
This year, because of COVID, we are going to try something new for Hanging of the Greens and the ornament exchange. We cannot have a special fellowship service under the current guidelines (maximum of 25 people). However, we are allowed to have regular worship services under the current phase 3 guidance. So we have decided to incorporate Hanging of the Greens and the ornament exchange as part of the worship service on Sunday, November 29–the first Sunday of Advent! And we would love for you to participate in the following ways:
Every person who attends service on Sunday will be able to place an icon on the chrismon tree (guidance will be given during the service)
Every family or individual who would like to participate in the ornament exchange will bring their wrapped or bagged ornament (please include your name inside) as you enter the church and hand to Tess. Tess, wearing gloves, will hand a number to each person or family who brought in a gift. Then, when you place the icon on the Chrismon tree, you will find the corresponding bag that has your number and take it with you. We will open the gift bags together.
During the service of the hanging of the greens, we will need family group volunteers who would be willing to hang up a specific element when prompted during the service. If you are willing to volunteer, please email Pastor Ryan (firstname.lastname@example.org), the church office, or call the church office with your top two requests. These are the elements that we need volunteers to hang:
–Garland (left side)
–Garland (right side)
–Front door wreaths
–Lights in the windows
As part of the service, we will have the youth hang up the Christmas cards, while prompted, on the bulletin board. Please bring with you that Sunday a Christmas card to be hung on the bulletin board and place on the basket sitting on top of the chair as you enter. Also, place in the bucket we use for first Sunday offerings a donation of the amount you would normally spend sending Christmas cards to church members. This donation will be given to Friendship Industries this year.
We will have as part of the service a “gifts of the Magi” section. These gifts will be related to the various outreach endeavors we usually do with hanging of the greens:
–In place of the fruit baskets for our shut ins because of COVID, we were given a donation from Natural Chimneys through Sentara RMH of “goody bags” for our shut-ins and seniors. More information will come next week on this.
—Please bring in canned fruits, meats, vegetables, soups and stews for the Bridgewater Area Food Bank. There will be a box just inside the narthex that you can place them in. Please bring them in plastic bags. We will also need a volunteer or two (preferably a family group) to bring them up and set them under the Christmas tree when prompted during the service.
–Anyone who wishes can also make a special donation to the Mitten Tree. You may bring a child’s winter clothing item such as mittens, gloves, hats, or scarves with which to decorate the tree. New or gently used, these items will bring welcome warmth to needy children in the area this winter. You can lay out these items on the table in the narthex which usually houses the offering envelopes and directories. We will need one or two volunteers (again, preferably a family group), to place them on the tree at the appropriate time.
We will still participate in the Giving Tree. Throughout the season of Advent, the Outreach Team sponsors a giving drive for the Bridgewater Area Food Pantry. Each Sunday of Advent will highlight a needed item, although any item can be brought any Sunday (see above). For Hanging of the Greens Sunday, place with the box in the narthex to be brought up. For every other Sunday in Advent, you can place them in plastic bags under the tree. The order for this year is as follows:
Hope (November 29)–Canned Goods
Joy (December 6)–Boxed Cereal, Peanut Butter
Peace (December 13)–Staple Items
Love (December 20)–Paper Products
Although this holiday season may be very different than what we are used to, may this be a time that uplifts our spirits. God is our Immanuel. Let us make room for him in our hearts!
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).
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
6) Restoration of the national church
Unfortunately, due to COVID and the governor’s restrictions on gatherings, the auction this year has to be postponed with a very heavy heart. Since the funds from the auction usually help with heating assistance, please consider making a donation to the women’s fellowship for heating assistance. The First Sunday offering for January will also be for that purpose.
This year, we will have two services for Christmas Eve due to COVID–a 7 pm service and the traditional 11 pm service. We are asking that you call the church office and declare which service you plan to attend in order to make sure we can accommodate everyone.
There is a draft of the 2021 directory in the narthex of church. Please check it and update any information that needs to be corrected.
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.
Thank you to all who gave cards for Stewardship Sunday. If you have not yet sent in your pledge card, please do so over the next few days!
Please fill out those interest surveys and mail them back to the church office as soon as you are able. We want to target ministries for the youth in the months to come!
Five Ways to Give! With the extended closure, this is greatly necessary.
1) Direct Deposit–form available on the website**NOTE** This avenue of giving will phase out on December 31. If you are currently using this format, the Finance Team encourages you to use the online giving tool.
2) Mail your tithe into the church office
3) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
4) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
5) Drop off in the offering plate at the main entrance as you enter for church
Continue to Keep in Prayer:
Mary Batterman (health)
Sam Carr (health)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Heath Kimmell (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Shirley Miller (health)
Alice Over (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Pam Shaffer (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Carolyn Wine (health)
Tom Wilfong (recovery)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB