Josh updates us about RCC's location and then begins a short series looking at what it means to be called "My Beloved." We are beloved by God before we do anything -- good or bad. When we fail to grasp that well, we get caught up in what others say about us -- good or bad. The reality is that the Lord chose each of us -- and not at the expense of another either. We are called to walk in our chosenness individually and as a church family to see ourselves and others as the beloved we all are. Matthew 26:26-30. Mark 1:10-11. Deuteronomy 14:2. John 15:16. 1 Peter 2:9. Ephesians 1:3-4.
Dr. Karen Connell visits and reminds us that we "know in part" and that God knows we know in part. He has a plan for the other parts we don't know. We can have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to understand and perceive. We can ask God, and He will answer us. Or we can stay stuck in the natural and temporal and conclude our circumstances are the beginning and the end, defined by what we see. All of us hit a wall or come up against Goliath, and we'll be faced with the question: "Is God good?" There's no way out of that through our senses, but that often is our default response. We lose sight of the reality of our supernatural rebirth and the supernatural equipping to which we have access that can help us get unstuck. 1 Corinthians 13:9-12. Proverbs 25:2. Proverbs 3:5-6. Matthew 6:32-34. Matthew 7:7-8. James 1:5. 2 Kings 6:15-20. 1 Corinthians 2:14. 1 Corinthians 3:18-20. John 5:2-9. Mark 2:3-6. 1 Corinthians 10:13. Matthew 5:3. Ephesians 6:13-14. Romans 8:28. Romans 5:2. Matthew 7:7-12. Ephesians 1:18. Colossians 1:27. 2 Corinthians 3:18. Ephesians 3:19-21.
Josh walks us through the story of the confrontation with Jesus about paying taxes to Caesar. We see Jesus acknowledging there are kingdoms of this world, and there is a Kingdom of God -- and each has its place. Jesus puts them in their proper perspectives. We are called to place primary importance in the things of God, but Jesus isn't calling us to fight over the secondary things. Mark 12:13-17. Luke 20:20. Genesis 1:26-27. Matthew 6:31-34. Romans 12:1-2.
Josh shares an RCC location update and then reminds us that we need authority in our lives. Jesus shows us that successful authority sacrifices itself for those it is leading. When we have that kind of authority in our lives, it can challenge us. Instead of being irritated by it, we see that Jesus is actually fighting for us. Through that, we can experience safety, peace and freedom. Mark 11:27-12:12. Mark 1:22, 27. Matthew 9:6. Matthew 28:18. Isaiah 5:1-7. Psalm 68:5-6.
Kara notes how we are pulled by society to set new year's resolutions and goals to see how we can improve. And the Christian calendar calls us to rest, be still, and know that the Lord is pleased with us. Your identity is not tied up in the success or failure of your resolutions. What if we looked at our list of goals or resolutions, asking "is my list bringing me closer to wholeness in Christ," and went after that? Matthew 3:13-17. Revelation 4:9-11.
On Christmas Eve, we celebrate the perfect gift of Jesus. His birth and ultimate sacrifice bring us salvation and freedom. This Christmas, and over the coming weeks, may we treasure up Jesus deeply in our hearts. Luke 2:1-20. John 10:9-11. Psalm 96. Titus 2:11-14.
Looking at Isaiah again, Josh reminds us that it's not our job to produce joy, explaining that recognizing our brokenness and fostering a complete dependence on Jesus is the source of joy. Jesus looks at us and doesn't see the brokenness or the accusations we hurl at ourselves. Jesus sees the complete picture. He sees where we are and where we're headed. He doesn't see a sapling. He sees the oak of righteousness that Isaiah prophesied about. Isaiah 61:1-11. Luke 4:16-21. Psalm 126.
Sara walks us through the second week of Advent theme of Love, exploring the consolation of Jesus prophesied in Isaiah. Sara unpacks how we have a role to play in comforting those around us, reminding them of God's presence, the steadfastness of the Word of God, and the arm of the Lord that both conquers our hearts and holds us tightly in his love. Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13. Isaiah 40:1-11. Mark 1:1-8. 2 Peter 3:8-15.
Josh and Sara introduce the Advent season and the first theme of "Hope." Who are the Isaiahs in your life? Who are the people in your life who gave you hope when you felt hopeless? And who can you be Isaiah for -- to give them hope when they have no hope? The Advent season ushers in Jesus, Immanuel. Who are you proclaiming Jesus over? Isaiah 64:1-9. Matthew 1:18-23. 1 Timothy 1:1.
Jordan revisits the story of the fig tree and Jesus' reference to faith that moves mountains. There are fig trees in our lives that need to die, but we often ask the Lord to put fruit on them. Likewise, there are mountains in our lives that separate us from the Lord. Having faith isn't about praying harder to move the mountains. In seeking fidelity with Jesus, we come to find those mountains cast in the sea. Mark 11:20-25. Mark 1:14-15. Mark 11:12-19. Matthew 6:31-33.