The worship journey for this week is "unity in diversity." Josh revisits Romans 12 and declares that RCC is going after being a family of God which looks different than a gathering of people. To live together despite our differences, we have to take hold of the imperative in Romans 12:3: "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought." Romans 12:1-21. Leviticus 1:9. Ephesians 5:2. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16. 1 Corinthians 14:29-30.
We take some time to pray for the RCC staff and our RCC family, and worship together in the presence of the Lord. "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30.
Josh walks us through the last 8 verses of Mark 16 -- the way Mark originally completed his gospel. The open-ended way the gospel ends leaves us with the question: Who is Jesus to you? Have we annointed a version of Jesus who isn't there? Have we rolled stones in the way that keep us from experiencing who Jesus is? Jesus sends two women to deliver the message of His resurrection. He still sends people in our lives to us -- who help us see Jesus lived out through them. Don't step over your brother and sister in need to share the gospel with the world. The Holy Spirit calls us to lay down our lives for them. Josh wraps up his talk with a corporate prayer of repentance to women who have been hurt by culture, by the church, and by other men in their lives. Mark 16:1-8; Romans 10:9; Matthew 28:7-10.
Bill looks at the burial of Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea's bold approach of Pilate to request the body. In the process, Joseph lets go of his reputation as a member of the Sanhedrin and his old way of looking for the Kingdom of God. We all have things in our life that are dead or need to die. We need to go through the process of burying those things -- letting go of those things -- to experience the resurrected life we are called to. Alice also shares her heart about her six months serving at River City -- how she got here, what she's learned, and how she is approaching what's next for her. Mark 15:42-47; Numbers 19:11-13.
Josh and Sara discuss three practices that can help with discerning the voice of God: (1) Silence; (2) the Emmanual Prayer Process; and (3) Lectio Divina. These practices can help you hear the Father who is already speaking to you. They also share about the various ministries that need volunteers on Sunday morning as we prepare to incorporate the new space on August 5th. John 10:1-6; Psalm 46:10; 1 Kings 19:12; Luke 5:16; Romans 12:4-5; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Matthew 18:19-20; Acts 4:32-33; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Josh looks at the Crucifixion and asks: "Are you interruptable?" Mark doesn't focus on the agony of crucifixion. Instead, he focuses on how others respond to the crucifixion. Simon of Cyrene was interrupted on his journey to the Passover Feast in Jerusalem, and it transformed his life and the life of his family. The Roman centurion is the first person to recognize Jesus for who He truly was. Nature responds with darkness, earthquakes, and awakened cemeteries. The veil is torn in the temple proclaiming access to the presence of God for all. Be interruptable. See Jesus as clearly as the centurion. Approach the throne of grace boldly. Mark 15:21-41; 1 Corinthians 2:2; Luke 23:45; 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 10:17-18; Mark 1:1; Matthew 27:51-54; Romans 16:13; Acts 13:1; Hebrews 4:16.
Josh discusses the stories of Jesus before Pilate and the Roman soldiers mocking Jesus before the crucifixion. We see Pilate's amazement at Jesus standing silently in the face of the accusations being brought against Him. We hear the crowd's choice for the freedom of Barabbas over the true Son of the Father. We are left to consider what it means to serve and suffer for the sake of another -- sitting in silence with another or suffering in silence for another -- as Jesus did for the sake of all of us. Mark 15:1-20; Luke 23:1-5; Matthew 27:16; John 1:14; Philippians 2:1-11.
Jordan looks at the story of Jesus before the Sanhedrin and Peter's denial and asks the questions: How do we respond when our identity is challenged? With courage or cowardice? It takes great courage to believe something when everything else in your life tells you otherwise. We all have our breaking points, and how we respond to our inevitable moments of cowering in the corner is key. Will you believe the identity that the Lord is speaking over you? And when you don't, will you be courageous again and jump into the arms of Christ? Mark 14:53-72; Jeremiah 31:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 3:1; Galatians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 3:17; 2 Corinthians 3:12; Jeremiah 29:11; Deuteronomy 17:6; Mark 13:2; John 2:19; John 21:4-7, 15-17; Galatians 2:11-14.
Josh looks at the arrest of Jesus, the way shame plays out in the disciples, Judas, and the unnamed man who ran away naked, and how better to deal with our shame. What if we turned toward Jesus to be with Him in those moments with those feelings? Jesus takes our shame to the cross -- even the shame we experience after walking with the Lord. Jesus joyfully takes that from us. And then, He restores us and clothes us with salvation, righteousness, truth, peace, joy, forgiveness, and purpose. Mark 14:43-52; John 18:1-11; Isaiah 61:10-11.
Bill walks us through the truth Scripture says about our identity in Christ. We are beloved, new creations, and children of God. We are free, bold, and we hold a secure future. Jesus sees our true identity when He pursues us, when He calls us by name -- like He did with Zaccheus and Saul. Our identity is our true self, but we often operate out of our false self that is the product of messages we've received, roles we play, or labels we've been given. The false self, like the seed that needs to die to bear fruit, must be killed, so we can engage life out of our identity in Christ -- out of our true self. Jeremiah 31:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 3:1; Galatians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 3:12, 17; Jeremiah 29:11; Luke 19:1-10; Acts 8:1-3; Acts 9:1-19; Philippians 3:4-8; John 12:20-28; Colossians 3:1-4.