RECAP–OUR GREAT GOD based on Psalm 66
#4 Hymn–How Great Thou Art
Context for the Hymn (based on research by Pastor Ryan)
This favorite hymn finds its origin in Sweden in the early 1800’s when the anabaptist and other renewal movements of the church were facing persecution. They had a thriving underground church during that season, and Carl Boberg was one of the members of this church. They had just concluded a service on Psalm 8, talking about the greatness of God, when on his return journey home, a sudden storm swept over the bay.
At first, he was taken aback by the powerful thunderclaps and beautiful display of lightning. As he took cover, he observed the wind’s power as it blew across the bay, and felt the cool touch of the raindrops. As the storm began to depart, a vibrant rainbow appeared in the sky.
When he returned home, he opened his window that faced the bay. He heard the thrushes singing their songs, and in the distance, he heard church bells playing a common tune sung at funerals. As Carl took his whole day in, he began to rest on the greatness of God, and wrote “O Store Gud,” or “How Great Thou Art.”
What makes something great? It doesn’t come from self-promotion or proclamation; rather, it comes as one is elevated in comparison to others in its field. Michael Jordan was a great basketball player, and still to this day is considered the greatest of all time. He never lost an NBA Finals. He even took a two-year break from basketball to play baseball, and then came back and won three more NBA championships!
What do we do in the presence of greatness? When I worked in college at Papa John’s, I had an encounter with Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza. His NY Mets team was in town to play the Phillies, and he was a native of Phoenixville, PA, the town where the Papa John’s was that I worked at! I recognized him almost immediately and had him autograph a Papa John’s napkin. That napkin now became “great” because it had been touched by the extraordinary!
We say God is great. But do we live in such a way that reflects his greatness in our lives? When we say he is great, do we truly know how he is great? Psalm 66 points to four areas we see God’s greatness:
1) God is greater than our enemies (Satan & culture). It is easy to become discouraged today by culture. Also, sometimes we feel the sting of the enemy in our lives, as he tempts us to live apart from God and abandon the call God may have for our lives. But the Scripture is clear: the enemies will cringe before the Lord (v 3) and all the earth will bow before God (v 4). It does not say “some” of the enemies or the earth, but all. God reigns victorious against the very ones who seek to destroy us!
2) God is greater than the impossible. We all face circumstances from time to time that seem impossible. We all know those who we love going through impossible situations. But the Psalmist reminds us that God is the God of the impossible. If he could part the sea and cause the people to pass through on dry ground (v 6), safe from Pharoah’s armies, then God can do the impossible in our lives.
3) God is greater than bondage. Even when we are in prison (v 11), or enemies are on our backs (v 12), and our feet slip (v 9), God is greater. Yes, we may have chains or shackles, but God specializes in breaking those chains and extending us freedom.
4) God is greater than our sin. If we have sin in our hearts, God will not listen (v 18), but God has forgiven our sin and shown us his love (v 20). Sin required a payment. The payment Jesus gave us on the cross was once and for all, so we don’t have to live in the stain of sin.
God has done all these things for us. Do we believe in him? Do we still struggle against the enemy, or do we stand knowing the one who is in us is greater than the one in the world? Do we turn to God in the impossible? Do we choose to remain in bondage, or allow the Lord to set us free? Has God washed our sins, or do we choose to hold on to our failures?
God is great and worthy of all praise. Avoid the trap of making him too small in our eyes, or stuffing him in the box of our possibility. God takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary–can we live like he is great?
Questions for reflection
1) What lie from Satan or our culture do you struggle the most with? Place it in God’s greatness!
2) What impossible situation are you facing?
3) What secret bondage keeps you up at night?
4) What sins from your past can you not forgive yourself for?
Remember, trust in the greatness of God, and he will overcome all!
This Sunday Pastor Ryan continues the Favorite Hymn Series with our #3 hymn, based on Habakkuk 3. What gives us the strength to place our confidence in God–even in times of difficulty? Come or tune in Sunday to find out.
Daily Bible Readings for June 1 – 7
June 1: 1 Kings 18:16-46 How did God prove his greatness over Baal?
June 2: 1 Samuel 17 How did God prove his greatness over the Philistines?
June 3: Job 40-41 How did God demonstrate his greatness?
June 4: Daniel 7 How did God demonstrate his greatness?
June 5: Revelation 19 How does Jesus demonstrate his greatness?
June 6: 1 Samuel 1:21-28 How did Hannah rest in God?
June 7: 2 Samuel 12:13-23 How did David rest in God?
This Week’s Events:
Wednesday, June 2–Worship Team @ 7:30 PM
Saturday, June 5–Women’s Fellowship Yard Sale @ Diane Miller’s house–you can leave items for donation in the basement of the church or place in the trailer once it arrives
Sunday, June 6–Summer Hours Begin; Worship @ 9:30 AM, Sunday School @ 10:45 AM
Sunday, June 6–First Sunday Breakfast @ 8:45 AM
Sunday, June 6–First Sunday Offering for Ava Cares
Sunday, June 13–Graduate Recognition Sunday
Sunday, June 20–Outdoor Worship
Sunday, June 27–Gideons Sunday
Sunday, June 27 – Sunday, July 4–Annual Conference
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).
Brethren Woods–Fundraising Opportunities
Thank you to all who have given so far! Pastor Ryan will be soaked! But if Pastor Ryan is the highest money raiser for this fundraiser for Brethren Woods, he will get a weekend retreat at Forest Haven. So let’s continue to give toward the cause!
What is more, if we can raise over $400, Winnie Wilfong has agreed (in part, due to Tom’s volunteering!) to also take a bucket of water for camp! If the kids can be involved, she will let each of the kids who participate dump a bucket of water on her!
We plan to get soaked during outdoor worship Sunday, June 20!
Also, Pieter and Nils will be doing a 100-mile bike ride, visiting congregations through the valley, starting at Brethren Woods and ending at Pleasant Valley COB. They are hoping to make a stop here. We can show support by donating to their cause!
If you would like to donate to either cause, write a check out the church, but you need to mark it as “Dunk Pastor Ryan” or “Bike Ride” in the memo line. If donating via cash, please mark it on an envelope.
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
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.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate at the main entrance as you enter for church
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Sam Carr (health)
Cooper family (challenges to negotiate)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Tina Dotson (COVID)
Bill Eckard (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Shannon Hollen (health)
Shirley Holland (health)
Heath Kimmell (health)
Lambert family (loss)
Larry LaPrade (COVID)
Lent family (work)
Alda Miller (health)
Diane Miller (health)
Mary Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (procedure)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Chris Shirk (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB