Continuing in Mark's gospel, we reach Gethsemane. Josh reminds us that the will of God sometimes puts us on our knees in agony, and in Gethsemane, Jesus shows us how to face those hard times. There is no resurrection without death, and there is no version of the Gospel being lived through our lives where we don't have to die. We all have to be led into our Gethsemane. There are people around us who are in the midst of those hard times too, in agony, and they need us not to be sleeping. They need us by their sides keeping watch. Through those hard times, there are lessons learned that deepen our relationship with Jesus. Jesus went to Gethsemane with His people and with God; we need the same things when Jesus is leading us into our Gethsemane. Mark 14:32-42; John 18:2, 10; 1 Peter 5:1-11.
Sara walks us through the Pentecost story, pointing out how we tend to focus on the part about tongues. We get distracted by the expressions of the Spirit and forget the story is also about the formation of the Spirit. How can we position ourselves to receive the Spirit to be the Helper she was intended to be? The Spirit that arrived on Pentecost catapulted the disciples into a season of empowering and faithfulness. How can we step into that same story today? We are being called to faithfulness. Are our current rhythms forming us to be empowered and faithful? How does the Spirit want to form us in this season of rest? Acts 2:1-21; Luke 3:15-16; John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15; Romans 8:22-27; Ezekiel 37:1-14.
Looking at Jesus foretelling Peter's denial, Josh reflects on how we all experience what Peter experienced. We all have things that we insisted we'd never do and then end up doing. And in those moments of failure, the challenge is not to let the failure define us but see it as an opportunity to discover what the Lord wants to do in and through us through the failure. Jesus is on the other side of all of our failures waiting to eat some bacon and eggs with us. His love endures forever. Mark 14:26-31; Matthew 26:30-35; Romans 2:8; Zechariah 13:7; Psalm 136; Luke 22:31-32; John 21:1-12.
As we celebrate RCC's 4th birthday and moving into some additional space, Josh looks at the Last Supper passage in Mark. Jesus invites His disciples to the table, shares a common meal with them, and transforms the breaking of bread and a cup of wine into something sacred. Likewise, our prayer is that through this new space, RCC would invite people to the table, and we would dream about how the Lord can take this common space and bring about something sacred as we serve the community through it. Mark 14:22-26; Romans 12.
Jordan walks us through the story of Judas' betrayal of Jesus and the preparation of the Passover meal. We usually don't see ourselves as Judas in this story, but how often do we choose our agenda or ambition over surrender to what the Lord is doing? Our submission gets us to Jesus' table, but our ambition causes us to leave it. And Jesus is always drawing us back to the table. Mark 14:10-21; Isaiah 53:6-7; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Psalm 41:9.
Josh looks at the story of the woman who broke a bottle of expensive perfume and poured it over Jesus' head. There are moments in our lives that end up defining who we are and how people remember us. We have moments of extravagance in our lives -- like this woman did -- when we have a choice to make a difference. When we choose extravagance, there likely will be criticism, but the criticism doesn't define us. Is Jesus inviting you into moments of extravagance? Mark 14:1-11; John 12:1-8.
Josh walks us through the mysterious passage in Mark 13 regarding the "abomination of desolation." The disciples were enamored with the grandeur of the temple and fearful of the persecution Jesus predicted for them. They understood that the size of the temple mattered and that life needed to be safe. Many of us are no different. However, we don't need to miss being present in everything Jesus is doing -- looking for things He's not asking us to look for. We have to learn to be thankful for the difficulties that shape us. Jesus' words to the disciples remain true for us: there will be challenges, and (1) don't be led astray; (2) the Gospel will go all over the world; and (3) you will have the Holy Spirit to give you the words and wisdom you need in the tough times. Mark 13:1-23' Luke 21:12-17; John 16:33; Jeremiah 1:9; Acts 6:10; Acts 17:24; 1 Corinthians 6:19.
We like to approach Easter like an historical event, but Jordan reminds us that the Gospel is continually moving -- it comes to us on the way to someone else. Christian culture can get stuck focusing solely on resurrection and miss the importance of death -- of dying daily to our insecurities, fears, need to control, and selfish desires. But the process of resurrection is ongoing. We need to befriend death to discover the ongoing resurrection in our lives. Matthew 27:62-28:10. Ephesians 3:2-6. 1 Timothy 3:16. 1 Corinthians 15:50-51. 1 Corinthians 13:12. Colossians 2:1-3. 1 Corinthians 15:31. Luke 9:23. John 12:24.
Sara shared an encouraging location update,and Jordan explained how Jesus uses the social ladders in our lives to form us. Exploring Jesus' warning about the scribes and His celebration of the humility behind the widow's offering, Jordan shows us that the posture(s) practiced to maintain Jesus in the highest place in our lives is primary over our position on the social ladder. Mark 12:35-44. James 3:1-2. Philippians 2:5-11. Colossians 1:15-18.
After six months of praying and seeking as a staff and a church, Josh reviews the four pillars of RCC: Living in Love, Creating Space, Spiritual Formation and Community Transformation. The purpose of this effort was to identify language that captures the heart of who RCC is as a body and what the Lord has for us in Smyrna and the surrounding community. More than revealing a new logo, the service provided an opportunity to hear from the RCC family about what the Lord is showing them about our church as well. Psalm 1.