June 9, 2019
Josh looks at a couple of texts from the Lectionary -- the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis and the story of Pentecost in Acts. In Genesis, we see a people looking to make a name for themselves out of fear that they will be scattered, and God confuses their language to disperse His people throughout the world. At Pentecost, we see a group of people from various regions of the world experience the power of the Holy Spirit and despite their multiple languages hearing each other in their own. And God unifies them to spread the Gospel of Jesus. We continue to experience this tension between being a people of Babel and a people of Pentecost -- between trying to make a name for ourselves out of fear and resting in the truth that we've been given a name by God, knowing whose we are, and accepting the invitation to God's mission for His namesake. Genesis 11:1-9; Acts 2:1-21.
Josh shared a quote from Richard Boyce: "The motivation ('let us make a name for ourselves') and the fear that drives it ('otherwise we shall be scattered abroad across the whole earth') and the battle is on. What is possible only for God -- the granting of a name, by which humanity's fundamental fears might be eased, and around which humanity's necessary unity might be achieved -- becomes here a project for humankind, independent and counter to the gifting of God."
June 2, 2019
Josh shares how the story of Lydia starts with the story of Jesus telling the disciples about leaving them and the Helper He will send. The Holy Spirit later sent Paul to Macedonia where Lydia was. The Holy Spirit then opened Lydia's heart to hear the Good News that Paul shared, and a continent was opened to the Gospel. Those convergences continue today, because God is always drawing people and always sending people. What are we doing with the Good News? Josh challenges us to focus on one of these this week:
(1) Silencing our inner critic for a season;
(2) Creating space for spiritual disciplines;
(3) Praying for openness to receive the Good News as Good News;
(4) Considering essence over specifics;
(5) Reclaiming the story of the beautiful mission of the Gospel;
(6) Who is God drawing to you? and
(7) Going when you know where God is sending, because His provision is there.
The worship journey for this week: "The intersection between human obedience to God and the Divine initiatives guided by the Spirit." John 14:23-29; Acts 16:9-15.
May 19, 2019
Our guest this week is Dr. Cheryl Bridges Johns. Dr. Johns looks at a passage from Hebrews and delivers a word for the RCC family -- calling us into the mystery of Christ. One portal into the mystery of God is the Word -- the logos revealed in Scripture. Many see the Bible in a very manageable, two-dimensional way, but Dr. Johns reminds us that it is multi-dimensional. We can meet God in that space. Scripture is sacramental -- it points to the reality of Jesus, and it is a means for God to enter into our lives. Mysteriously, it feeds. It heals. It is powerful. And it brings freedom. May we embrace the many dimensions of that mystery. The worship journey for this week: "Re-enchanting the text." Hebrews 4:8-13.
Dr. Johns is a professor at Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tennessee. She serves in the Robert E. Fisher Chair of Spiritual Renewal. She is a frequent speaker at seminaries and universities across the globe and the author of two books and countless articles and papers.
May 12, 2019
Our pastors, Josh and Sara, share their hearts about where they sense the Lord leading RCC next -- inviting the RCC family to join them. Individually, we have to know who we are, whose we are, and what we are called to. As a church family, we have to be a people who know how the Father speaks to us as a body and make it accessible again. We must follow Jesus, the Good Shepherd. We must find the green pastures to rest to hear the Shepherd's voice. So we can prepare a table in the presence of our enemies. We do that by keeping the first commandment first, because Jesus is the source we must listen to, who will provide the rest we need, and who will host the table we are preparing. The worship journey this week: "O God, whose Son, Jesus, is the good shepherd of Your people. Grant that when we hear His voice, we may know Him who calls us each by name, and follow where He leads; who, with You and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen." Psalm 23; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:22-30.
May 5, 2019
Our pastors, Josh and Sara, walk us through what the Lord has done in and through RCC over the last 5 years. To celebrate, we hear from people who entered the RCC story during different phases and revisit the scriptures that steered our body each year. The worship journey for this week: Celebration in thankfulness for what God has done. 1 Thessalonians 1:4-8; Psalm 1:1-3; John 15:5; Mark 14:22-26; Joshua 5:9-12.
April 28, 2019
Josh walks us through the end of John 20, looking at the gap between what Thomas knew about Jesus and the faith to believe in the resurrected Jesus. We are all Thomas, because we all have a gap between our certainty and our faith. We need a God community that walks with us when, like Thomas, we verbalize our doubt and are working out our faith. We cannot make others believe and demanding they believe won't help either. The power of the Holy Spirit bridges those gaps and helps us live our faith in the resurrected Jesus. The worship journey for this week: "Lord, help us to believe in the Resurrection so that we can live Resurrection through our lives to the people in our world." John 20:19-31; Genesis 2:7; Revelation 12:11.
April 21, 2019
Josh looks at the Easter story from the Gospel of John. We come to the Easter story often to celebrate what God has done, but that's not the end. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb to mourn and when the tomb was empty, she wanted to find the Jesus she knew. But that Jesus wasn't there. There's a version of Jesus that may need to die in our own lives, so that the One who formed us can speak our name in our darkness and whisper, "I see you" and reveal to us the new thing that He wants to do in and through us. The worship journey for this week: "Resurrection isn't just a reunion but an invitation into God making all things new."
Josh shared a couple of quotes this week: (1) Nancy Pittman -- "Scholars often remind us that the resurrection narratives are really commissioning stories, sending believers into the world to tell all that death is not the last word. Otherwise, no one would ever know what happened, and Easter would be just a reunion story with tears and hugs all around. However, Mary obeys the risen Jesus, fighting her impulse to cling to a familiar body, and leaves the garden to tell what she knows to be true. An expected ending is now a beginning - of telling the truth about life to those who want only to deal in death, of offering living water and the bread of life to those who want only to buy and sell commodities that perish. Mary speaks, and in her speaking we find our own voice."
(2) C.S. Lewis (from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) -- "Aslan is a lion -- the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he -- quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion." ... "Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. ... "Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."
April 14, 2019
Sara looks at Jesus' entry into Jerusalem the week before His crucifixion as described in Luke's gospel. We see the people celebrating Jesus' arrival, and we see -- in Jesus' weeping -- that He knows the people have a different vision of what His arrival means. Even today, we have a vision of what following Jesus means or what Jesus should do. Are we willing to lay down our vision of His Kingdom? What things does Jesus have to tear down in us to bring peace? What stones need to be leveled to make Jesus the cornerstone? We must let His vision undo ours. The worship journey for this week: " 'If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace -- but now it is hidden from your eyes.' Choosing to see and live our shalom." Luke 19:28-44; Zechariah 9:9-10; Ephesians 2:12-22.
Sara shared a quote from Fleming Rutledge regarding Jesus weeping over Jerusalem in Luke 19: "Tears are eloquent. Tears speak. Judges look for tears when they are looking for a reason to give a lighter sentence. Jesus' tears encompass the entire human tragedy.... In tears of the one man Jesus, God's complete solidarity with human pain, yes, but also with human sin is shown. And yet, we do not know the time of our visitation. We don't want to make Easter easy."
April 7, 2019
Josh looks at a couple of Old Testament passages from Isaiah 43 and Psalm 126 that use water to illustrate truths about God. Sometimes, God leads us out of a situation and rescues us. And sometimes, God leads us into places that are uncomfortable so we can lament and weep over them to learn faithfulness, patience and waiting that lead to something new and beyond our own effort. We are reminded of what God has done, but we cannot remain stuck waiting for God to do the same thing over and over. We must remember to anticipate that God is always making things new. The worship journey for this week: "Being a people that celebrate what God has done in the past, not to become nostalgic but to be reminded that He is a God with a dream that is capable of making all things new." Isaiah 43: 16-21; Psalm 26:1-6.
Josh shared a couple of quotes: (1) "God's new thing will spring forth like rivers that water the desert. Water will once again be a source of life rather than a barrier. There will be water to drink, to irrigate fields and to water livestock. The prophet speaks of a God who will cut a path through the water when it gets in the way of the divine call to freedom and will use water as a pathway through the wilderness of the world toward the new thing that God is yearning for a beloved (if disobedient) people." -- Michael Williams; and (2) "We are uncomfortable with tears, impatient with the hard work and slow process healing requires, whether the healing is physical, spiritual, emotional or all three. The images evoked here are vivid, and it is worthwhile to dwell with them long enough to understand the depth of the sorrow expressed." -- Kimberly Clayton.
March 31, 2019
Josh looks at Joshua chapter 5 when the manna stops, and the Israelites are about to feed on the land of Canaan. God is always rolling something away and leading us into something new. Joshua pauses in the plains to remember what God had done for them before they enter this new land. We can see ourselves in this Joshua story. We come out of our wilderness and fail to remember that God provided the new land we are embarking on. We lose sight of the source of the land we possess -- the things that matter -- the things we've been given. The worship journey for this week: "God is continually inviting us to look past what is provided to the source. Developing a dependence on Him as He makes things new." Joshua 5:9-12; Deuteronomy 24:17-22.