RECAP: TIME TO CELEBRATE based on Luke 15:1-10
Despite the Grinch’s best efforts to steal Christmas, he was ultimately unsuccessful. For the Who, the spirit of Christmas was not tied up in the decorations, the presents, or even the roast beast; rather, the true spirit of Christmas was found in joy. Joy is different than happiness. Happiness is a feeling that can come and go; joy, on the other hand, is a conscious choice to be filled with positivity and cheer no matter what life throws our way. And the joy that is deeply anchored, like the Who, can withstand even the darkest of times and the many Grinches that can come our way!
But joy can go even further. It is joy that serves as the greatest motivator to see something done. Christmas is the ultimate expression of God’s joy. If God was not filled with joy, he never would have sent Jesus onto this earth. The writer of Hebrews states that it was for “the joy set before him that he endured the cross” (Heb 12:2). There was something that pushed, that motivated Jesus enough that he willingly came to earth to go to the cross and die for our sins. What was that joy?
- To find that which is lost. Jesus gave three parables to express the heart of God–the lost sheep, coin, and son. In the lost sheep, the shepherd was willing to leave the ninety-nine to go find the one who had wandered away. In the lost coin, the woman turned over her entire house until she could find that missing coin. Just as the shepherd and woman went to such great lengths to find what was lost, Jesus did the same thing. He came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10), to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28), to save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). And Jesus went to the ultimate extreme to complete his joy–he died on a cross.
- To restore. God’s joy is even more than finding that which is lost; it is bringing home and restoring it to its rightful place. When the lost sheep was found, the shepherd carried the sheep all the way and returned the missing sheep to the remainder of the herd. The lost coin was returned to the remaining silver coins, so the whole set was complete. And the prodigal son, while he was still off in the distance, was greeted by his father and restored to his place as a son. God desires not just to seek and to save the lost, but to redeem and restore. And this was worth everything!
How can we partake in God’s joy?
- Join the party. In each parable, a party was thrown to celebrate the return and restoration of that which was lost. The friends and neighbors were summoned to share in the joy, just like the angels of heaven share God’s joy when a sinner comes home.
- Live in repentance. Every time a sinner repents, it should be a reminder to us to live in a state of repentance, striving to live in the fullness of God. But we need to resist the grinch, embodied in the older brother, who refused to enter the party for his brother. He would rather sit and wait for the father’s judgment than celebrate redemption. Let us celebrate, join the party and live in redemption and share the joy of God. After all, isn’t that the whole reason for Christmas?
Be like the Who and celebrate and not like the Grinch!
Questions for Reflection
1) Do you remember when God found you? What was that like?
2) How has God restored your life?
3) Who do you know that could really use the redemption Jesus offers?
4) What is the size of your heart?
This Sunday, we will light the Advent Candle of Peace. Pastor Ryan will preach the sermon titled, “Lasting Peace,” based on Isaiah 65:17-25. How did Christ bring lasting peace? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for December 6 – 12
December 6: 2 Samuel 6 What was David’s joy?
December 7: 2 Kings 23 What was Josiah’s joy?
December 8: Luke 1 What was Zechariah’s joy? Elizabeth’s? Mary’s?
December 9: Acts 16 What was Paul and Silas’ joy? The jailers?
December 10: Philippians 2:1-10 How can we find joy?
December 11: Numbers 6:22-26 How can one ultimately find peace?
December 12: Psalm 15 Who can find peace?
This Week’s Events:
Thursday, December 8–Leadership Team Mtg @ 7 pm
Thursday, December 8–Reorganization Mtg @ 7:30 pm
Saturday, December 10–Movie & Pizza night (sponsored by Fidelis) @ 5 pm–meet at the church with a pizza and drink to share; open to all church family. Will watch Charlie Brown Christmas and the Grinch on our new CVLI movie license!
Sunday, December 11–Christmas Caroling @ 4 pm
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)
Women’s Fellowship Christmas Auction
Thank you to all who participated! The Women’s Fellowship cleared over $2200 for the heating ministry!
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 (various)
Grayson Whitmore (accident)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church