Bill revisits the fatherly approach Peter is taking with the Christian community receiving his letter. In chapter 2, Peter calls us to discard the things in life that get in the way of sincerely loving those around us -- not for the sake of "living right" but to eliminate the things in our lives that burden or overwhelm us and prevent us from building bridges with the others in our lives. The worship journey for this week: "Becoming spiritual houses of the Lord and serving as priests to those around us -- not by what we believe or profess -- but through the testimony of our lives." 1 Peter 2:1-12.
Jordan continues our look at 1 Peter, reminding us of Peter's fatherly approach to the exiles to whom he is writing. Peter writes about a "living hope," and we are faced with a couple of important questions: (1) What is the living hope? and (2) How do we live it out? That is, how do we practically live that out while we may be facing present trials? The worship journey for this week: "Embracing our Father's guidance to live the living hope." 1 Peter 1:3-5, 13-25; Romans 8:38-39; 1 Corinthians 15:49-55.
Josh opens our study of 1 Peter following our journey through the Gospel of Mark. There, we saw Peter called by Jesus to ministry, and we witnessed Peter bungle his way through many times as he grew in faith. In 1 Peter, we have a book written to encourage a community facing persecution for their faith and hear the fatherly, pastoral heart that Peter has for these people. The worship journey for this week: "Chosen by God invited into living hope." 1 Peter 1:1-12; Revelation 7:9; Deuteronomy 7:6.
As we exit a season of rest, Sara invites us into Christian community as our season of fall groups begins. The worship journey this week: "Being formed by God into people who say 'Yes' to participating in the spiritual reality that is Christian community." Psalm 133:1; Ephesians 2:11-15; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10; Romans 15:7; 1 John 1:5-7.
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.