RECAP: LASTING PEACE based on Isaiah 65:17-25
Everyone seems to want peace on earth; yet, there is nothing that really looks like peace. It is a common occurrence to see conflict, whether it is two siblings fighting over a toy in the local Walmart, to a restaurant refusing to serve a Christmas party to a group they do not politically agree with, to even two cats who can’t seem to get along–we are far from peace. The most profitable industry in our world today is the manufacture and sale of weapons. Social media often becomes the battleground for those with different viewpoints to disparage one another. And our mental health crisis is growing daily.
Our world needs peace–peace with God, peace with each other, and peace within! Jesus was born into this world as the Prince of Peace. If we want peace in our lives in every way, it has to start with Jesus. He brings us peace in the following ways:
1) Emotional peace. Israel carried many emotional scars and baggage from its struggles. Yet, God promised Israel that the past was in the past, that he would chart a new path for them–one free from guilt, shame, and tears. And that is precisely what Jesus has done for the whole world. We don’t have to live in the bondage of our past failures, for he has forgiven and redeemed us. We don’t have to live in the bondage of guilt and shame, for he set us free. He took the penalty upon himself to bring us freedom. Jesus has made all things new. Our past is our past, but tomorrow is a new day!
2) Physical peace. God promised Israel in Isaiah 65 they would experience physical peace. That peace referred to freedom from violence and the reach of sin. But we live in a world marred by sin. Even though we might be innocent, we have to live with the consequences of the sins of others and their impact on us. Sometimes, life is not fair and it seems unjust. We have the unrest of disease and illness. Yet, even in the midst of that, God can still be our peace, speaking peace be still in the greatest storm. Just like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was able to find peace again through the midst of personal tragedy in the fire that claimed his wife and the Civil War that paralyzed his son, so too we can find peace no matter what. “God is not dead, nor does he sleep,” he wrote in the poem that would become the hymn I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.
3) Personal Peace. God promised Israel they would see the return on the investment for their labor. We all want to see a return on our investment, but even more than that, we want our lives to matter, to have meaning, and to have a purpose. We were not created to merely exist and take up matter and space; we have a divine reason for being, a purpose for our existence. Even in the midst of great internal struggle, we can rest knowing we were fearfully and wonderfully made. We do not have to wander in vain or be doomed to misfortune, for we will be blessed by the LORD. He will keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is steadfast on him (Isaiah 26:3).
4) Relational peace. Isaiah spoke of a utopia where the wolf would feed with the lamb, the lion lie down with the ox, and no one would harm or destroy. But this only comes through Christ. He is the one who restores our relationship with God, giving us the opportunity to return to the presence of God and hear his voice. But the laying down of weapons of conflict will only happen when all parties seek Christ. He alone can destroy the barrier and dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14).
If we want true peace, we need Jesus. If we want peace that surpasses all understanding, we need Jesus. If we want peace even when our world is in a thousand pieces, we need Jesus. Will we embrace the Prince of Peace?
Questions for Reflection
1) Is your life at peace? If not, in what area do you need to experience the peace of God–emotional, physical, personal, or relational?
2) Who do you know personally that could really use the peace of Christ? In what ways can you share that peace this week?
3) How can we share the peace of Christ collectively as a church? How can we be an even more visible witness in our community?
The song in the service played was “Peace” by Danny Gokey, found on his album Jesus People.
This Sunday, we will light the Advent Candle of Love. Pastor Ryan will preach the sermon titled, “Heart of Love,” based on Ezekiel 34. How did God demonstrate his love? And how does it relate to Christmas? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for December 13 – 19
December 13: Psalm 27 How can one find peace?
December 14: Psalm 34 How can one find peace?
December 15: Micah 4:1-5 How can one find peace?
December 16: Ephesians 4:1-16 How can one live in a state of peace?
December 17: 2 Timothy 2:14-26 How can one live in a state of peace?
December 18: Genesis 13 How did Abram demonstrate his love toward Lot?
December 19: Romans 5:1-11 How did God demonstrate his love for us?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, December 18–Instachoir sing during the service
Monday, December 19–Christmas Caroling ?? TBD
Saturday, December 24–Christmas Eve Service @ 11 pm
Sunday, December 25–Christmas Day Service @ 11 am (no Sunday School)
Sunday, January 1–New Year’s Day Service @ 11 am (no Sunday School)
Sunday, January 8–First Sunday Offering & Breakfast
We had to cancel caroling this past Sunday due to illness. We want to try again for Monday evening, December 19. If you would be open to caroling on Monday, please call the office by Friday at noon. If we have enough carolers, I will work on calling our stops to see if we can make Monday evening work!
There are still plenty of calendars available to support the youth ministry. Please consider buying one today!
If you are a newer attendee at Beaver Creek, please call the office or leave in the offering plate your birth date so we do not miss anyone!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are still in need of both worship leaders and children’s storytellers. 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
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place them in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
The Christian Education Team is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to the Christian Education Team and let them 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
Sandy Bennington (peace)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Tori Jackson (peace)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Norlen Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Savannah Miller (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (recovery)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Tess Southerly (recovery)
Whitmore family (house)
Grayson Whitmore (recovery)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church