River City Church - Smyrna, GA
Sinners, Saints, and the Seats at God’s Table

Sinners, Saints, and the Seats at God’s Table

September 15, 2019

Looking at this week's passages from the lectionary, Jordan unpacks why RCC is offering something like The Table for our community. There are scores of people around us who identify as "post-Christian" or "unchurched" who are open to talking with people about matters of faith but aren't interacting with Christians who can have those discussions in non-judgmental ways. We hear parables like the lost sheep and tend to identify ourselves as the "one" that Jesus is seeking when, more often than not, we are in the "99." We allow fear or compartmentalization to keep us from listening to the "ones" who have stories to tell about what's going on under the surface. But if we'll invite them to our tables and listen, we'll have opportunities to share how Jesus helps us continually overcome many of the same burdens, anxieties, and obstacles in our own lives. The worship journey for this week: "Sinners, Saints, and the Seats at God's Table." Luke 15:1-10; Psalm 14:1-3; 1 Timothy 1:15. 

Jordan shared the following statistics during his message. 

In the United States: 

- 85% of churches are stalled/declining.

- 14% are growing from transfers. 

- 1% are growing from conversions. 

- 96 churches are closing every week. 

- 20.4% of Americans attend church. 

- 38% of Atlantans are "post-Christian/unchurched."

- 95-97% believe that part of the Christian faith is witnessing about Jesus. 

- 47% of Christian millennials find evangelism to be morally wrong (GenX = 27%).

- 62% of non-Christians say that they would be open to talking about faith matters with someone who listens without judgment. 

- 34% of non-Christians know Christians that will discuss faith matters without judgment. 

We Need the God of Jeremiah 18 and Psalm 139

We Need the God of Jeremiah 18 and Psalm 139

September 8, 2019

Josh looks at two Old Testament passages, and we see that the God who formed you in your mother's womb wants to continue forming you if you will listen to His voice. We need the God who lovingly reminds us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and who carefully destroys the things in our lives that we've created that won't sustain us and often cause harm to us and those around us. Sara also shares about her six-month sabbatical. The worship journey for this week: "Creating space to allow God to form us in ordinary and extraordinary ways." Jeremiah 18:1-11; Psalm 139:1-17, 23-24.

The Stories of God Matter

The Stories of God Matter

September 1, 2019

Josh shares passages from Luke and Jeremiah which together illustrate the importance of telling the stories of God and how He's transformed our lives. Jeremiah shines a light on the Israelites who had left behind the stories of God who rescued them from Egyptian captivity. Jesus invites us to take a posture of humility at His table where we can share our stories with people and hear their stories to help us trust that Jesus provides everything we need. What's the story that Jesus is asking you to tell? 

The worship journey for this week: "Continuing to tell the stories of God at the tables He prepares and leads us to." Luke 14:7-14; Jeremiah 2:4-13. 

Crippled, Healed, Redeemed

Crippled, Healed, Redeemed

August 25, 2019

Josh shares the story from Luke 13 about a woman crippled for 18 years who Jesus healed in the synagogue. We all deal with things that cripple us, and not all crippling is physical. We often learn or choose to live with it, but Jesus wants to heal us from those crippling things in community and redeem each and every one of us into the Body of Christ. Luke 13:10-17.  

Fat Juicy Grapes

Fat Juicy Grapes

August 18, 2019

Josh looks at a couple of passages from Isaiah and Luke that together illustrate that sometimes the mission of Jesus as Peacemaker means that things will get worse before they get better and that the journey is one of long obedience no matter what it costs. We've been invited into the gospel of peace, and we are called to be people of justice and righteousness. So when we see people, systems, or situations that are oppressive, unjust, unethical or corrupt, we may need to call that out, lovingly challenge, or work towards unsettling it, which may cost us something. The worship journey for this week: "Sometimes, the mission of Jesus as peacemaker means that things will get worse before they get better. Becoming a people of long obedience no matter what it costs." Isaiah 5:1-7; Luke 12:49-56; Luke 1:79. 

Here is a link to the Jars of Clay song that Josh referenced in service: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjE-Rh4ugHI

Groups Sunday

Groups Sunday

August 11, 2019

As we transition from rest to groups season, we hear about the variety of life groups, spiritual formation, and special interest groups planned for the fall. Sara also shares how Jesus' idea of kingdom is broader than our tendency to find people who look like us and think like us and encourages us to take a step towards that as we find a group this season. Hebrews 11:13-16; Luke 12:32-34; Revelation 7:9. 

Do Justice — responding to racism

Do Justice — responding to racism

August 4, 2019

Dr. Chris Green, Professor of Theology at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, talks with us about with issue of racism and how we are to respond to it as followers of Jesus. The problem of racism is built on the lie of superiority which permeates most of the distinctions we make between "us" and "them." But we read in Colossians that Jesus has overcome and destroyed these distinctions. "Christ is all and in all." As a people of faith, we've done a good job of putting away unrighteousness or doing away with wrongdoing, and some of us show mercy to those impacted by racism. But mercy will never change the injustice of racism. We have to do justice, and that responsibility rests with those with the power. Colossians 3:9-11; Colossians 3:5, 12-14, 22. 

Dr. Green also serves as Teaching Pastor at Sanctuary Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma: https://www.sanctuarytulsa.com/

 

What It Means to Be Prayerful

What It Means to Be Prayerful

July 28, 2019

Teddy Hart, from Parish Long Beach, shares a beautiful message on what it means to be prayerful. Looking at Jesus' teaching about prayer and a parable about a man looking for bread for a friend who is visiting, we see that prayer is something we let Christ do in us, so it brings about an animation in our bodies beyond the kind of words we pray. That prayerfulness engenders hospitality, generosity and neediness in us that compels us to move beyond the indifference that can get in the way of seeing God in a stranger or an enemy. Luke 11:1-13. 

You can learn more about the church that Teddy and Krystle Hart pastor by visiting the church's website: https://www.parishlb.com/

 

Lessons from a Bowl of Summer Fruit

Lessons from a Bowl of Summer Fruit

July 21, 2019

Bill walks through the Lectionary passages for this week, and we see that humanity's pursuit of wealth and power drives a wedge between themselves and their relationship with God. We often choose the fleeting over the lasting things that God has for us and those choices make it difficult, and at times seemingly impossible, to hear the words of the Lord. The worship journey for this week: "Becoming a people who understand that Christ is in all things and also understand that Christ's preeminence means we are to be a people that cares about the things Christ cares about." Colossians 1:15-28; Amos 8:1-12; Luke 10:38-42; Psalm 52. 

Living Hope

Living Hope

July 14, 2019

Jordan looks at several passages from the Old and New Testament and reminds us that God has always called us to love God and love our neighbor, because when we live in that space, we share a living hope with others around us. The worship journey for this week: "Becoming a people that live in hope through neighborly love." Amos 7:7-17, 8:4-6; Psalm 82:1-4; Genesis 12:1-3; Luke 10:25-37; Colossians 1:1-6.