RECAP: STANDING OUR GROUND–based on 1 Peter 3:8-18a
In 1989, most of us watched with amazement as a young Chinese man decided to walk, with grocery bags in hand, and place himself immediately in the path of a group of tanks heading to Tiananmen Square. Just the night before many students lost their lives as the military opened fire on this group protesting, asking for democracy. This young man found the courage to stand up to the tanks. When they moved, he moved. When they shouted at him to leave, he would not depart. He stood his ground.
Likewise, Peter and John stood their ground. When pressed by the Sanhedrin in Acts 4, they had the courage to stand up to the religious establishment and said, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right to obey you rather than God” (Acts 4:19). What gave them the courage to stand? And how can we as the people of God stand–especially in such a polarizing time as it is right now? We have a clue in what Peter wrote to the early church who needed to stand their ground in the face of Nero. What give us the strength to stand?
- Learn to live in harmony with one another. Harmony does not mean we all hold hands, singing kumbayah, nor does it mean that we all have to agree. Rather, it is the different streams of belief and thought choosing to work together. Beautiful harmony in music is when you have the four parts, soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, all with their separate tones, coming together and working together. The parts that bounce off each other are in harmony. But to truly achieve this harmony, there has to be a central starting point–the key! If the alto were to sing with flats, while the tenor sang with sharps, it would be a hot mess! Likewise, we too as believers can live in harmony, with Jesus as our key. We rally around Jesus as our solid ground, choosing to make him known. How do we achieve this harmony, especially in a time of polarization?
- Be sympathetic. Literally, the word means to “feel together.” In order to truly sympathize, as Peter suggested we do, we need to understand the why. What makes the heart beat? Why does someone feel the way they do? What was the antecedent for this position? What environmental factors contributed to the belief? Upbringing? Community shaping events? When you understand the why, the person no longer becomes the villain; rather, they have a different perspective based upon different life experiences.
- Love as brothers. Everyone should be treated as family. What would we do for our siblings? That is what we should do for all! Jesus died so everyone would have an opportunity of repentance. Let us show the same love, the same willingness to forgive, the same spirit of long-suffering we would show our siblings!
- Be compassionate and humble. The Greek image is a spilling out of the insides. When we see the lost condition of our world, the division that exists in our country, the wandering and straying away from seeking after God, it should break us to the point that we can feel our stomach wanting to jump out from our chest. Jesus had compassion because “they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” We too should show the same compassion, for without God, we would not be where we are.
- Turn the other cheek. Peter said, “Do not repay evil for evil, or insult with insult, but with blessing.” The natural tendency of our world is to punish the other side–especially when they wrong us. But when we are pressed, we need to turn the other cheek, to speak words of life and blessing to the very one who is against us. Instead of seeing them as an enemy, envision them as one who can use that same passion to share the good news of Jesus once Christ has grabbed hold of their heart. And when we do this, we are able to stand our ground all the more, because we do not see people as the enemy; rather, we become angry at how Satan in robbing their life and fighting on their behalf!
- Focus on what is right. Too often, in times like now, we can get caught up focused on what is wrong, or a “sky is falling” mentality. But we are encouraged to seek peace and pursue it, to do what is good and right. We are assured that God’s ear is tuned in and will answer our prayers. As we seek and pursue the good and focus on what is right, we begin to see everything as an opportunity to spread the gospel message. Today is another opportunity for God to revive our land. Today is the day of salvation! This is another opportunity for healing and restoration to take place. And when we focus on what God can do, it is easier to stand our ground, for we recall what he has done before. God is still on the throne!
- Share Jesus! How has Jesus touched your life? Share it! The more you share the good news and your story, the stronger you become. And the more you share and see it change the lives of those around you, the more you want to share. We have hope. “Always be prepared to give an answer for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.” Especially as we draw near to Advent, let us remember this world needs hope and the light of Christ. Share the hope within.
How do we stand our ground? Be like Jesus! The more we are like him, the more we want to stand!
Questions for reflection
1) What is the hardest part about living in harmony? Why?
2) What is so difficult about turning the other cheek?
3) Do you tend to focus on what is right or what is going wrong?
4) When was the last time you shared with another what God has done for you?
Pastor Ryan will be out of town. However, the Worship Team will guide the service, which is actually provided by our District Program & Arrangements Team. This would have been the District Conference worship service, if we had met in person.
Daily Bible Readings for November 9 – 16
November 9: Judges 11:29-40 How did Jephthah show his faithfulness to God?
November 10: 1 Samuel 20:18-42 How did Jonathan show his faithfulness to God?
November 11: 1 Samuel 24 How did David show his faithfulness to God?
November 12: 2 Kings 12:4-16 How did Joash show faithfulness to God?
November 13: 2 Kings 23:1-27 How did Josiah show faithfulness to God?
November 14: Job 1 How did Job show faithfulness to God?
November 15: Jeremiah 32:6-16 How did Jeremiah show faithfulness to God?
November 16: Ezekiel 4 How did Ezekiel show faithfulness to God?
This Week’s Events:
Wednesday, November 10 – Sunday, November 15–Pastor Ryan out of office
Sunday, November 15–District Conference Worship service & OCC shoebox dedication
Thursday, November 19–Leadership Team Meeting
Sunday, November 22–Stewardship Sunday
Sunday, November 29–Advent Begins & Church Decorating
Saturday, December 5–Christmas Auction
Thursday, December 24–Christmas Eve service
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!
Beaver Creek Cares
Thank you to all who participated in Beaver Creek Cares weekend! Next week, we will have a prayer of dedication for the shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
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
Due to COVID, the Christmas Auction will look different this year. It will be a silent auction from 3 pm to 6 pm on Saturday, December 5. We are still looking for donated items; however, try to limit it to two of a like item because of space (two plates of fudge instead of five). There will be space to hold refrigerated items.
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.
Church Decoration/Ornament Exchange
Right after church on Sunday, November 29th, we will decorate the church for the season. We will also have a modified ornament exchange on that day, again, right after church. Continue to pick up or make your ornament! Details will come forth next week in the email update.
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.
You should have received in the mail by now communication from our Finance Team concerning the 2021 budget. On Sunday, November 22, we will dedicate our commitment cards for the 2021 calendar year. You can either place your card in the offering plate or, if you are continuing to worship from home at this time, you can mail it to the church office. See the letter for more details.
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, Chris Dastoli’s uncle)
Patsy Dastoli (health, Chris Dastoli’s mother)
Eli Harlow (recovery)
Cindy Heatwole (health, along with daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter)
Heath Kimmell (health, Reba and Garry’s son-in-law)
LaDawn Knicely (recovery)
Alda Miller (health)
Shirley Miller (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Pam Shaffer (Mary Batterman’s daughter–health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Carolyn Wine (health)
Tom Wilfong (recovery)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health–Charles Wright’s brother)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB