August 14, 2022
Josh finishes looking at John 15 today, focusing on the call to bear witness to Christ. In John's context, bearing witness was life-threatening. In America, it isn't necessarily life-threatening, but we can still struggle bearing witness. What areas of our lives are we organizing without God? What if we invited God into those areas and abided with Him to let Him tend those things? John 15:18-27.
Josh shared a quote today from William Barclay:
"It is our privilege and our task to be witnesses for Christ in the world, and we cannot be witnesses without the personal intimacy, the inner conviction and the outward testimony of our faith."
August 7, 2022
Josh continues sharing from John 15, wrestling with what appears to be some difficult language from Jesus. We see how Jesus loved the disciples and what His command to them -- and us -- is: to love others in the same way. If we know and trust the character of the One commanding us, that can shift how we hear His commands. John 15:9-17.
July 31, 2022
Back from sabbatical, Josh shares a message from John 15 reminding us that we are chosen to produce fruit, but we are not meant to go and produce our own fruit. A faithful vine always has to be present, and our constant connection to that vine is important. The vinedresser prunes vines that are not producing fruit and those that are producing fruit. The vinedresser is concerned about the long-term health of the vine. John 15:1-8.
July 24, 2022
On this Groups Sunday, Kara shares about our fall season of groups, inviting us to step into one of the offerings for this season. When we think of the word "community" in the context of joining a group, we may have different expectations from one another. If Ephesians 4 illustrates the work of the church -- offering routes into community to be formed, the fruit of that is described in Acts 2. Some of our groups for the fall offer structure for more intentional spiritual formation in a small group (ETS), and other groups provide structure for more social interaction in addition to formational opportunities. Our hope is that you will find one that fits where you are and where you sense the Holy Spirit leading you. Ephesians 4:11-16; Acts 2:42-47.
Kara also shared a description for what spiritual formation is:
(1) Believers acquiring a Christ-likeness at the personal level;
(2) Believers becoming a people of God at the community level; and
(3) Believers establishing the Kingdom of God at the missional level.
July 17, 2022
Kara helps us better understand what we mean by the term "spiritual formation" that we talk about so often at RCC. It is keeping in step with the Spirit. It includes things like spiritual disciplines and small groups, but it is more than just those individual things. With Groups Sunday coming up next week, Kara left us with two questions to consider: (1) What areas of our hearts is the Holy Spirit seeking access to? and (2) What does it look like to invite community into that? Mark 12:28-34; Galatians 5:13-25.
July 10, 2022
Josh served as the OneCamp pastor this past week for our network's youth camp. He summarizes what he shared with the students this past week, but we all need to be reminded that God invites us; He calls us beloved; we are blessed; and we are broken to be given to others. We also hear testimonies from a number of students and adults who went to OneCamp this past week. Matthew 26:26-28; John 1:43-51; Matthew 3:16-17; John 15:9; Ephesians 1:3; Psalm 34:18; Psalm 147:3.
July 3, 2022
Josh shares a message from a well-known portion of Luke 10 today. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. We can see how Jesus prepared the people He sent on mission, and how He continued to foster their dependence on Him as they walked out the mission work. Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 10:1-11, 16-20.
June 26, 2022
Kara shares from Luke 9 and 1 Kings 19, looking at what it costs to follow Jesus. Three different people come to Jesus and ask to follow Him, and He seems to have harsh words in response. Following Jesus does not guarantee our comfort. It requires an understanding that nothing comes before professing the Gospel. The cost of following Jesus is our hearts. Luke 9:51-62; 1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21.
June 19, 2022
On this Father's Day, Bill looks at the person of God the Father and what it means to be a child of God who cries "Abba, Father" as the Spirit does. We have preconceptions about God the Father. But the reality that we are heirs and that we are becoming heirs -- that we are sons and daughters of God and are becoming sons and daughters of God -- tells us something about God the Father and can help us see Him in His true light. Bill also shared information about how we, as a church, want to help people serve from a place of health and a pathway towards serving. Galatians 4:1-7; Romans 8:18-25; John 14:9.
Bill shared a couple of quotes from George MacDonald:
1) “The hardest, gladdest thing in the world is to cry Father! from a full heart. I would help whom I may call thus upon the Father.”
2) “His children are not His real, true sons and daughters until they think like Him, feel with Him, judge as He judges, are at home with Him, and without fear before Him because He and they mean the same thing, love the same things, seek the same ends. Nothing will satisfy Him, or do for us, but that we be one with our Father! What else could serve! How else should life ever be a good! Because we are the sons of God, we must become the sons of God.”
June 12, 2022
Josh wraps up our discussion of A Praying Life on this Trinity Sunday. Looking at the mystery of God -- the Father, Son and Spirit -- we first notice them in relationship, in community with one another. The Spirit's "job" is guiding us back to Jesus (back to the Truth). The passage from John 16 highlights how much the Spirit wants to teach or show us, and the grace Jesus had as a teacher. Josh also walked us through a tool we can use as we continue stepping into prayer -- Prayer Cards -- which is a way the Spirit can teach us (see more below). John 16:12-15.
Guidelines for Using Prayer Cards
1 | Use short phrases to describe what you want.
2 | Pick 1 or 2 key areas and pray for those. Don't linger over a card too long.
3 | Write a verse that expresses your desire for that person or situation.
4 | Maybe once per year, add another line to the card.
5 | Don't write down answers to prayers.
6 | Date a prayer request with month & year.
Building a Sample Deck of Prayer Cards
- 4-10 family cards (1 per person)
- 1-3 people-in-suffering cards
- 1 friends card
- 1 non-Christian card
- 1 church's leadership card
- 1 small-group card
- 1 missionary, ministries card
- 1-3 world- or cultural-issues card
- 3 work cards
- 1 co-workers card
- 3-5 repentance cards (things I need to repent of)
- 3-5 hope or big-dream cards