RECAP: ACT OF TRUE LOVE based on John 3:13-21
What is true love? It is not as Disney portrays, where a handsome prince finds a lady in a helpless state (poison apple, prick of the spinning wheel, being frozen), plants a kiss, resurrects the girl, and now has a bride! Even if you went deeper than that, where the prince has to fight the villain, it is with the goal of having the girl! Nor is it as the world portrays, that true love is a life without accountability, that we can have whatever we want, whenever we want. Both of these portrayals, at their core, are selfish.
True love, on the other hand, is selfless, perfectly demonstrated by God. We as human beings are rebellious by nature, steeped in sin. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and there is nothing we can do on our own to overcome that sin. Yet God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. God saw us in our condition. Instead of coming to give us a kiss to resurrect us from our fate, he took our place instead. He faced the cross and died for our sins so we can find healing and we can find eternal life.
Unfortunately, many in culture today argue that Jesus was crucified not to take our place and atone for our sins, but because he was a revolutionary that ruffled the feathers of the established religious leaders and the Romans. Jesus did not have to die, according to these authors, to fulfill God’s justice, but was unnecessarily faced the cross because he was too radical. But these modern ideas go against the witness of the Word, such as “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt 20:28). Jesus faced the agony of the whip, the excruciating pain of the crown of thorns, the anguish of the nails and the cross because he loved us and wanted us to be free. That is true love–laying down one’s life for another to live. This is God’s act of true love. Jesus was born, which we celebrate each year, to show his love and die for us.
So how do we show our true love back to God?
1) We must be born again. Jesus told Nicodemus this was the way to eternal life. Being born again does not mean becoming an evangelical; rather, it is crucifying our old sinful nature and becoming a new person in Christ. Sin is still sin; Jesus’ sacrifice does not mean we can go live in sin and do whatever we want. Matter of fact, Scripture declares that “without holiness, no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14), and that if we fall away and live a sin-filled lifestyle, we are “crucifying our Lord all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” We show our love for God by becoming born again, not only believing in him in our minds and hearts but showing our belief in how we live. The gospel message is salvation, but our response is to repent and believe the good news. Any message that does not call for a life change is a false gospel.
2) We must live as children of light. Living in the Light is separating from the mindset of the world which loves darkness. Those in darkness want to remain in darkness, for the light exposes their evil. We cannot live a double life. Jesus is the light and calls us to the light. If we truly love Jesus, we will live in the light. Otherwise, we tell Jesus “thanks but no thanks” for the cross.
Love came down on Christmas. He has shown us the full extent of his love. Let us share that love with the world in darkness this holiday season.
Questions for Reflection
1) How is Christ’s act of love different than what the world calls love?
2) Have you received Christ’s love?
3) What is preventing you from living in the fullness of Christ’s love?
4) Have you been born again? Are you living in the light?
This Sunday we will light the candle of Joy. Pastor Ryan will share the sermon titled, “How Great Our Joy”, based on John 3:25-36. What was John’s great joy? And how can Jesus be our joy this season? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for December 7-13
December 7: Luke 5:12-16 How did Jesus demonstrate God’s love?
December 8: Luke 5:17-26 How did Jesus demonstrate God’s love?
December 9: Luke 6:27-36 How can we demonstrate God’s love?
December 10: Luke 7:11-17 How did Jesus demonstrate God’s love?
December 11: Luke 7:18-35 How did Jesus demonstrate God’s love?
December 12: Luke 7:36-50 How did a sinful woman come to find joy?
December 13: Luke 8:40-56 How did a dead girl and sick woman come to find joy?
This Week’s Events:
Thursday, December 9–Leadership Team Meeting @ 7 pm
Thursday, December 9–Leadership Team Reorganization @ 7:30 pm & joint meeting between 2021 and 2022 Leadership Teams
Saturday, December 11–McAvoy/Over Wedding @ 4 pm
Sunday, December 12–Advent Music Minute & InstaChoir brief rehearsal @ 12:15 pm
Sunday, December 12–White Birch service @ 1:30 pm
Sunday, December 19–InstaChoir & Advent Music Minute perform in service
Sunday, December 19–Caroling @ 4 pm
Friday, December 24–Christmas Eve Service @ 11 pm
Sunday, January 2–Bread & Cup Communion
Advent Food Baskets
Please do not forget to collect your food items for the pantries found on the backside of the Hanging of the Greens insert. If you would like to reacquire the list, please let the church office know.
Service at White Birch
We would love to have as many as we can go to White Birch for the mini service there on Sunday, December 12 at 1:30. We will sing a few carols to the residents and share a brief message of hope! You must wear a mask to enter and pass the COVID screening. If you would like to participate, call the office or email Pastor Ryan to give an approximate number.
It’s that time of the year for the Leadership Team to reorganize. Please set aside Thursday, December 9 at 7:30 to attend. This is a very important meeting to attend if you are on one of the teams! ALSO, if you are part of the 2021 Leadership Team, please stick around for a joint meeting with the new Leadership Team after the reorganization!
Advent Music Minute & InstaChoir
If you are part of the Advent Music Minute or InstaChoir (or just would like to sing), please plan to stay a few brief moments after church this Sunday, December 12, to rehearse a number for the following Sunday, December 19.
We will gather at the church on Sunday, December 19 at 4 pm. After caroling to some friends, we will return for soup, sandwiches, and desserts. Please bring an item to share!
We will take a pause from question/answer and listening sessions for the Advent Season. In January, we will schedule several different listening sessions as we continue to discern.
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 stories. 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 & Discernment
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
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
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 on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Norman Clark (COVID)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Gene LaPrade (health)
Larry LaPrade (COVID)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Abbie Shiflet (health)
Chris Shirk (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Tom Wilfong (health)
Charles Wright (recovery from surgery)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB