Josh continues the My Beloved discussion talking about our brokenness. We are all broken, but we often hide from our brokenness. Jesus calls us to befriend it. He wants to walk with us through it. When we befriend our brokenness and place it under the blessing, we can help someone else walk through their brokenness. Matthew 26:26-30. Isaiah 53:1-6. Matthew 26:39. 2 Corinthians 12:6-11.
Since the beginning of River City Church, we prayed for the Lord's guidance for our next steps. Every six months, we present new Prayers of the Season (POTS) that we sense the Lord is calling us to. Josh reviews our previous POTS and introduces the new POTS for the first half of 2018. The new POTS fall into three categories: (1) Who We Are; (2) Right People, Right Places; and (3) Where We Are. We ask everyone to join us in prayer this season as we anticipate what the Lord will do in these areas and partner with Him. Revelation 5:8. Acts 2:42.
Continuing our discussion of My Beloved, Sara walks us through what it means to be "blessed." When we bless others, we say "yes" to another's belovedness. We call out something new that might not fully be realized. Our blessings are expressions of the blessings that already rest on us from all eternity and remind us we belong to a loving God. We have to claim our blessings. Genesis 2:15-20. Genesis 3:8-9.
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.