In this Christmas season, Kara draws from the story of the shepherds visiting Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus to illustrate how God doesn't always show up the way we expect Him to. The Jews hoped for the Messiah to come for generations and had an expectation about how He would do so. For most, that expectation interfered with their ability to see Him when He arrived as a baby in a manger. The shepherds came and saw, and glorified and praised God for what they heard and saw. The worship journey for this week: "What would it look like for RCC to be full of hope and celebrate even if God gives us different things than we hoped for?" Kara shared a quote from Richard Rohr about the virtue of hope: "The theological virtue of hope is the patient and trustful willingness to live without closure, without resolution, and still be content and even happy because our satisfaction is now at another level, and our Source is beyond ourselves." Luke 2:15-21; Isaiah 11:10; Isaiah 35:5-6; Revelation 21:1-6.
On the final week of Advent, Josh shares the story of Mary visiting Elizabeth and the spontaneous song that arises within her in response to Elizabeth's blessing over her for saying "yes" to the Lord and believing in what the angel told her would happen. At the end of our lives, we may ask ourselves, "did we spend our lives on what we needed to?" Is there something that God's put in you that He's calling forth to say, "will you use this to magnify Me?" The worship journey for the week: "Becoming a community that says "YES" to God's invitation into His story that becomes magnifiers to draw attention to Him." Luke 1:39-55.
In discussing the Advent theme of "Joy," Josh notes the difference between a joy we manufacture and one that bubbles up naturally and spontaneously from an awareness and appreciation for what God has done, and is doing, in our lives. The worship journey for this week: "Becoming a community that is moved to joyously celebrate God and make His goodness known." Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 12:1-6; Isaiah 55:1; Ephesians 5:19; Philippians 4:4-7.
This week, Sara reminds us that Advent is not just about Jesus coming in the manger, what we refer to as the Incarnation, but also about Jesus coming again -- not in a judgmental way, but seeing it as our rescue moment where shalom finds its fullness. The worship journey for this week: "God is forming us into a people who see through the darkness into the light of the coming Kingdom." Sara shares two quotes from Fleming Rutledge: (1) "The disappointment, brokenness, suffering and pain that characterizes life in this present world is held in dynamic tension with the promise of future glory that is yet to come. In that Advent tension, the church lives its life." and (2) "Wherever people are willing to come out from the paralysis caused by fear and anger to active participation, there is the Advent spirit. Wherever there are voices in the darkness speaking out for light, there is the Advent hope. Wherever there are people willing to face danger for freedom, there is the Advent frontier. The work of God is located there." Luke 3:1-6; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 1:68-79; Malachi 3:1-4.
Josh walks us into the Advent season looking at finding hope for the longings of our hearts. The worship journey this week: "Becoming a people who listens to longings within our own hearts and those around us, so that we can together lean into and see God's future with hope." Josh shared this quote from Reinhold Niebuhr: "Despair is among the most human of conditions. It is associated with our failed attempts to procure security for ourselves, optimistically pretending that we are not subject to the vicissitudes of creatureliness. Despair is characterized primarily by the conspicuous absences of theological hope. Humans meet despair when they cannot imagine God's alternative future." Jeremiah 33:14-16; Jeremiah 29:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Jordan wraps up our series on the tables of Scripture, looking at the Parable of the Great Banquet in the Gospel of Luke. Jordan asks the question: what does it look like to take the table of God to the world? The worship journey for this week: "God's table forms us into the people that invite the world to our own tables." Genesis 2:16; Revelation 22:17; Matthew 11:19; Luke 14:16-24.
Josh continues our series on the tables of Scripture by looking at the story of the feeding of the 5000 and Jesus' conversation with the disciples afterwards. The worship journey for this week: "Becoming the church that feasts on Christ. What does it look like for Him to be your bread today." While we contemplate bringing Christ to our own tables, what is the meal that Jesus has prepared for us? John 14:6; John 10:10; 1 John 5:12; John 15:4-5; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; John 6:1-14, 25-69.
In this new series, Josh begins our discussion of the tables of Scripture by looking at the story of Jesus overturning the tables in Herod's Temple. The worship journey for this week: "What table does Jesus need to overturn for us to be present with Him and His Body? Jesus, help me understand the value of Your Body and be present today!" Matthew 21:12-17; Isaiah 56:1-8; Isaiah 65:11; Psalm 8:1-2.
Josh wraps up our series in 1 Peter this week. The worship journey this Sunday is: "Developing a shepherding heart. Receiving it and giving it." 1 Peter 5:1-14; Numbers 11:16-30; Mark 10:42-44; John 13:3-6.
Josh showed a picture during service of a modern twist on iconic imagery -- The Calling of Peter. Here is a link to that artists set of icons: https://scottericksonartshop.com/collections/all/icons
Mark Nysewander shares a message about Moses' pursuit of the fullness of God. Mark serves as the Executive Director of the Transformation Network of which River City Church is a part. The worship journey for this week: "God's glory is His presence and nature. Through Jesus, we have the incredible calling to go after God's glory in our lives. Are we still on that quest or have we been distracted by lesser things? Moses is a great example of someone who persevered in going after the fullness of God's presence and nature in his life. He interceded for the Hebrews in the desert. Moses had a heart for God's glory and refused to be distracted from his pursuit for the fullness of God." Hebrews 11:27; Exodus 32:9-13; Exodus 33:3, 12-18.