RECAP: GOODWILL TO ALL HUMANITY, YEAR OF THE LORD’S FAVOR, AND OUT OF EGYPT
When Christ came, he came with a message of goodwill to all humanity. What was that message of goodwill? We think Christ had to come to die for the sins of humanity. Jesus did not NEED to come; he could have let humanity suffer the full weight of their rejection. Instead, he CHOSE to come to redeem humanity and show a new and better way. When Jesus came, he came for all people: he came for the broken-hearted, the oppressed, the unloved, the outsider, and those in bondage. He also came for the covenant people of God and anyone who calls on his name!
But to receive the work of Christ, one must allow Christ to work within us. We need to embrace his message, but also embrace why he came, to free us from our sin. If we remain in sin, we reject his message of goodwill; but if we turn from our sin, and help others find the message of goodwill, then Christ’s coming changes the world!
We discover that we have the Lord’s favor. The favor of the Lord does not mean life will be perfect; rather, we know that God will be with us, no matter what struggle we face or what we go through. How can we live Christmas every day, and know we are not forgotten by God? For it is hard to feel like we have the favor of God when we are in the midst of deep struggle and pain.
Jesus came to preach good news to the poor, both financially and spiritually. In so doing, he showed that we do not need riches or resources to access God; we only need to call on his name! Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted; there is no wound too deep or life too broken that God cannot put back together! Jesus came to proclaim freedom to the captive, especially from sin. You may have deep failure and sin in your past, but God can break those chains and set you free! Jesus came to release the prisoner from darkness; even in the very dark places of our life, or in the darkness of this culture and world inspired by Satan, God’s light can shine and point the way to go! He will comfort all who mourn; he is moved by our cries and mourns alongside us, feeling what we feel. He will provide for those who grieve in Zion; his provision will come, even when it looks like all is lost. And he will give us a crown of beauty instead of ashes, so we don’t have to dwell in the shadows!
How do we know this? Because when Jesus himself was born, it was not a perfect scene. He was born in the midst of hardship, in a manger, an animal feeding trough after a long donkey-led journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem for a census count. Then, after a visit from Magi, Jesus, led by Joseph and Mary, fled to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod. It was not the start you would envision for the Messiah. But it shows us that he understands the struggle, and therefore can be with us in the midst of our struggle. This episode reveals to us that sometimes, following the right path is difficult. When we say yes to God, we should expect opposition and even those who will try to silence us. But even in the face of the struggle for doing what is right, God’s plan will come to pass, even if it is through a path like Egypt, the last place any Jew would want to go! We will face hardship, but that doesn’t mean God has left us; rather, he will see us through.
He has shown us goodwill, favor, and faithfulness through any storm. Therefore, we can have the courage to know that no matter what, God will see us through. Can we remain faithful in this new year to where God is leading?
Questions for Reflection
1) In what way could you benefit from God’s goodwill this year?
2) In what area of your life could you use the favor of the Lord?
3) Are you on a path that is following after God? Are we on that path as a church?
4) What is our Egypt?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will begin a new series, called, “I AM JESUS.” The first sermon is titled, “Bread of Life,” based on John 6:25-51. Jesus identified himself as the bread of life. What does that mean, and how is it important for our faith? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for January 4 – 10
January 4: 2 Kings 11:1-21 How did God protect Joash and continue the plan of salvation?
January 5: Esther 8 How did God, behind the scenes, protect the people of Israel?
January 6: Esther 9:1-17 How did God, behind the scenes, protect the people of Israel?
January 7: Zechariah 14:1-21 How will God ultimately set up his reign?
January 8: Jeremiah 31 How will God restore his people?
January 9: Exodus 12:1-30 How did bread play a role in the first Passover?
January 10: Exodus 16:1-36 How did God provide bread for the people during the Exodus?
This Week’s Events:
Wednesday, January 5–Worship Team @ 7:30 pm
Tuesday, January 11–Women’s Fellowship @ 1:30 pm
Sunday, January 16–First Sunday offering for Tornado Relief (rescheduled)
Tuesday, January 18–ALL REPORTS DUE FOR COUNCIL MEETING
Thursday, January 20–Leadership Team @ 7 pm
Sunday, January 23–Church Listening session @ 9:45 am (during Sunday school hour)
Sunday, February 6–Council Meeting @ 12 pm
Advent Food Baskets
Thank you for all who gave to the food banks! According to Roger, the Stokesville Food Pantry is now serving 34 households!
Whitmore Family Relief
Thank you all for your help so far! Through Sunday’s offerings, over 25,000 dollars have come into the church to help the family! As far as specific needs, we are still in need of a few volunteer families to sign up to provide some meals for the family. As more needs arise, we will let you know.
It is truly amazing to see how we as a church and the community have come together to help our friends!
We will have two listening sessions in the coming weeks. The goal of these listening sessions is to provide space for members to share their honest feelings and heart concerning our discernment before we proceed to step four in the process. The first one will take place during the Sunday school hour on Sunday, January 23. The second will take place as part of our regular council meeting on Sunday, February 6. Again, the goal is to be able to listen to the heart of our church.
Our new Bible Study will begin Sunday evening, February 6 at 6 pm at the church and will be every Sunday evening (except February 27) until the study concludes. We will be exploring ways we can grow in our understanding of the Bible. The goal is for us to become even more connected and faithful to God’s Holy Word! If you would like to attend, please email Pastor Ryan or call the church office.
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)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Pidge Rhodes (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Abbie Shiflet (health)
Chris Shirk (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Whitmore family (fire recovery)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Tom Wilfong (health)
Charles Wright (recovery)
Joyce Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB