When the scribes confront Jesus in the temple, they ask Him which commandment is the most important. Many churches center their ministries on His response: "Love God and love people." Josh reminds us that Jesus' command is not about creating a list of things to do or a personal theology on how to walk out "love God and love people." It's not about a striving to perform better or having a sounder plan to accomplish the command. Instead, it's about a dependency on Jesus to show us how and to empower us to walk that out. Mark 12:28-34; Matthew 22:34-35; Luke 10:25; Matthew 19:16; Deuteronomy 6:4-6; Leviticus 19:18; John 14:15; Romans 3:9-26; 1 John 4:7-21.
It's not easy being told you're wrong about something. When the Saducees confront Jesus about the bride of seven brothers, they intend to trap Him with a theological game based on their reading of Scripture. Jesus tells them their reading is "quite wrong." We can find ourselves at times placing more importance on certain aspects of Scripture or Christian culture that can close us off from other perspectives or an understanding of what Jesus is trying to show us. Josh reminds us there are times we need to be able to hear that we are wrong and view them as opportunities to explore Jesus more deeply. Mark 12:18-27. Deuteronomy 25:5-10. Colossians 2:18. Exodus 3:6. 1 Corinthians 2:9.
Wrapping up the My Beloved series, Bill discusses what it means to be "given." Our greatest fullfilment lies in giving ourselves to others by (1) giving ourselves in life and (2) giving ourselves in death. We see, in the story of Elijah and Elisha, that we are given out of our brokenness and that to give of who we are, we must confront our brokenness. 2 Kings 2:1-14. 2 Kings 4:42-44.
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.