RECAP: HEART OF LOVE based on Ezekiel 34:10-16, 20-24, 31
In the setting of Ezekiel’s prophecy, Israel was in a very rough state. They had wandered away greatly from faithful observance of the Law and allowed their hearts to be led astray to other gods. It started with a desire to become culturally relevant, wanting a king over them like all the other nations instead of having God as their king. Then, their kings and other “shepherds” who ruled over them did not have in mind the things of God, but their own interests. So instead of leading a nation toward God, they allowed the other nations to mix their idolatry and sinful practices with the worship of God. They no longer could distinguish between what was of God and what was not. And it was so bad, that in Ezekiel 10, the glory of the Lord just picked up and left the temple while people were inside worshipping who they thought was God!
We all like sheep have gone astray.
There is a way that seems right to a human, but in the end, it leads to death.
The heart is deceitfully wicked beyond all cure.
The shepherds, instead of leading the people toward God, led the people away from God. Now, the people were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. But God, because of his great heart of love, chose to do something about it! And that is why Christmas exists–because 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 himself will intervene. He was moved to action by his love. He will hold the leaders accountable and be our shepherd.
God will lead the search and rescue effort. He himself will lead the charge, going after all who are lost, including the strays.
God will bring us to abundant and eternal life. He will lead us to the green pastures so we can be satisfied and rest in him. God desires for us to be free and live at rest.
God will restore and heal. He will bind up our wounds and bring us back to a place of wholeness. No matter how far we have gone, there is always hope of redemption.
God will make us part of his family. We have a place to belong.
He did this because he loved us and could not stand us wandering and lost. Just like it was in Ezekiel’s time it is in our time. God is motivated by love. He wants us to walk in life that he can provide. He went to the cross for you and me–how will we respond to his heart of love?
Questions for Reflection
1) Do you walk in abundant life?
2) If you were to meet Jesus face to face today, where would you spend eternity?
3) Who do you know needs to know the hope and love of Christ?
4) Do you need to experience the healing of Christ?
This Saturday, we will celebrate Christmas Eve with our annual candle lighting and communion service at 11 pm. On Sunday, we will celebrate Christmas. Are we making room in our hearts for Jesus? And how do we value the Christ child?
Daily Bible Readings for December 20 – 26
December 20: Romans 8:28-39 What is the scope of God’s love?
December 21: Hebrews 10:1-18 How did Jesus demonstrate his love for us?
December 22: 1 John 3:11-24 How do we live out the love of Jesus?
December 23: 1 John 4:7-21 How do we live out the love of Jesus?
December 24: John 3:14-21 How did God show us his love?
December 25: Luke 2:8-20 How did the shepherds, angels, and Mary respond to Christ’s arrival?
December 26: Luke 2:21-39 How did Simeon and Anna respond to Christ’s arrival?
This Week’s Events:
Wednesday, December 21 – Friday, December 23–Pastor Ryan on vacation; please call deacons if pastoral care is needed!
Saturday, December 24–Christmas Eve Service @ 11 pm
Sunday, December 25–Christmas Day Service @ 11 am (no Sunday School)
Monday, December 26 – Friday, December 30–Church office closed for holidays
Sunday, January 1–New Year’s Day Service @ 11 am (no Sunday School)
Sunday, January 8–First Sunday Offering & Breakfast
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