Josh walks us through the mysterious passage in Mark 13 regarding the "abomination of desolation." The disciples were enamored with the grandeur of the temple and fearful of the persecution Jesus predicted for them. They understood that the size of the temple mattered and that life needed to be safe. Many of us are no different. However, we don't need to miss being present in everything Jesus is doing -- looking for things He's not asking us to look for. We have to learn to be thankful for the difficulties that shape us. Jesus' words to the disciples remain true for us: there will be challenges, and (1) don't be led astray; (2) the Gospel will go all over the world; and (3) you will have the Holy Spirit to give you the words and wisdom you need in the tough times. Mark 13:1-23' Luke 21:12-17; John 16:33; Jeremiah 1:9; Acts 6:10; Acts 17:24; 1 Corinthians 6:19.
We like to approach Easter like an historical event, but Jordan reminds us that the Gospel is continually moving -- it comes to us on the way to someone else. Christian culture can get stuck focusing solely on resurrection and miss the importance of death -- of dying daily to our insecurities, fears, need to control, and selfish desires. But the process of resurrection is ongoing. We need to befriend death to discover the ongoing resurrection in our lives. Matthew 27:62-28:10. Ephesians 3:2-6. 1 Timothy 3:16. 1 Corinthians 15:50-51. 1 Corinthians 13:12. Colossians 2:1-3. 1 Corinthians 15:31. Luke 9:23. John 12:24.
Sara shared an encouraging location update,and Jordan explained how Jesus uses the social ladders in our lives to form us. Exploring Jesus' warning about the scribes and His celebration of the humility behind the widow's offering, Jordan shows us that the posture(s) practiced to maintain Jesus in the highest place in our lives is primary over our position on the social ladder. Mark 12:35-44. James 3:1-2. Philippians 2:5-11. Colossians 1:15-18.
After six months of praying and seeking as a staff and a church, Josh reviews the four pillars of RCC: Living in Love, Creating Space, Spiritual Formation and Community Transformation. The purpose of this effort was to identify language that captures the heart of who RCC is as a body and what the Lord has for us in Smyrna and the surrounding community. More than revealing a new logo, the service provided an opportunity to hear from the RCC family about what the Lord is showing them about our church as well. Psalm 1.
When the scribes confront Jesus in the temple, they ask Him which commandment is the most important. Many churches center their ministries on His response: "Love God and love people." Josh reminds us that Jesus' command is not about creating a list of things to do or a personal theology on how to walk out "love God and love people." It's not about a striving to perform better or having a sounder plan to accomplish the command. Instead, it's about a dependency on Jesus to show us how and to empower us to walk that out. Mark 12:28-34; Matthew 22:34-35; Luke 10:25; Matthew 19:16; Deuteronomy 6:4-6; Leviticus 19:18; John 14:15; Romans 3:9-26; 1 John 4:7-21.
It's not easy being told you're wrong about something. When the Saducees confront Jesus about the bride of seven brothers, they intend to trap Him with a theological game based on their reading of Scripture. Jesus tells them their reading is "quite wrong." We can find ourselves at times placing more importance on certain aspects of Scripture or Christian culture that can close us off from other perspectives or an understanding of what Jesus is trying to show us. Josh reminds us there are times we need to be able to hear that we are wrong and view them as opportunities to explore Jesus more deeply. Mark 12:18-27. Deuteronomy 25:5-10. Colossians 2:18. Exodus 3:6. 1 Corinthians 2:9.
Wrapping up the My Beloved series, Bill discusses what it means to be "given." Our greatest fullfilment lies in giving ourselves to others by (1) giving ourselves in life and (2) giving ourselves in death. We see, in the story of Elijah and Elisha, that we are given out of our brokenness and that to give of who we are, we must confront our brokenness. 2 Kings 2:1-14. 2 Kings 4:42-44.
Josh continues the My Beloved discussion talking about our brokenness. We are all broken, but we often hide from our brokenness. Jesus calls us to befriend it. He wants to walk with us through it. When we befriend our brokenness and place it under the blessing, we can help someone else walk through their brokenness. Matthew 26:26-30. Isaiah 53:1-6. Matthew 26:39. 2 Corinthians 12:6-11.
Since the beginning of River City Church, we prayed for the Lord's guidance for our next steps. Every six months, we present new Prayers of the Season (POTS) that we sense the Lord is calling us to. Josh reviews our previous POTS and introduces the new POTS for the first half of 2018. The new POTS fall into three categories: (1) Who We Are; (2) Right People, Right Places; and (3) Where We Are. We ask everyone to join us in prayer this season as we anticipate what the Lord will do in these areas and partner with Him. Revelation 5:8. Acts 2:42.
Continuing our discussion of My Beloved, Sara walks us through what it means to be "blessed." When we bless others, we say "yes" to another's belovedness. We call out something new that might not fully be realized. Our blessings are expressions of the blessings that already rest on us from all eternity and remind us we belong to a loving God. We have to claim our blessings. Genesis 2:15-20. Genesis 3:8-9.