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.
Sara walks us through the second week of Advent theme of Love, exploring the consolation of Jesus prophesied in Isaiah. Sara unpacks how we have a role to play in comforting those around us, reminding them of God's presence, the steadfastness of the Word of God, and the arm of the Lord that both conquers our hearts and holds us tightly in his love. Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13. Isaiah 40:1-11. Mark 1:1-8. 2 Peter 3:8-15.
Josh and Sara introduce the Advent season and the first theme of "Hope." Who are the Isaiahs in your life? Who are the people in your life who gave you hope when you felt hopeless? And who can you be Isaiah for -- to give them hope when they have no hope? The Advent season ushers in Jesus, Immanuel. Who are you proclaiming Jesus over? Isaiah 64:1-9. Matthew 1:18-23. 1 Timothy 1:1.
Jordan revisits the story of the fig tree and Jesus' reference to faith that moves mountains. There are fig trees in our lives that need to die, but we often ask the Lord to put fruit on them. Likewise, there are mountains in our lives that separate us from the Lord. Having faith isn't about praying harder to move the mountains. In seeking fidelity with Jesus, we come to find those mountains cast in the sea. Mark 11:20-25. Mark 1:14-15. Mark 11:12-19. Matthew 6:31-33.
Josh looks at the stories of Jesus' cursing of the fig tree and cleansing of the temple. From a distance, Jesus looks at both the tree and the temple looking for fruit. But when He stands next to the tree and enters the temple, He sees none. Josh reminds us that the tree doesn't represent us -- that is, Jesus doesn't view us as His enemies. His anger is directed at the enemy that feeds us lies that result in fruitlessness on a tree and in the temple. Mark 11:12-19. Galatians 5:22-23. James 2:17. Romans 13:10. Micah 6:8. James 1:27.
Josh shares the story of Jesus' triumphal entry. Jesus comes into Jerusalem as the King of Peace -- not like King David. Will we take off our cloaks to follow a king who rides in on a donkey or demand he shower us with the blessings of a conquering king? Mark 11:1-11. Zechariah 9:9.
Josh looks at the story of Bartimaeus - a blind man whose identity is caught up in his affliction. He is broken, but his awareness of his plight compels him to call out to Jesus. We see the need to do the tough work of our own souls to become aware of our brokenness. Through that, we find the bravery to call out to Jesus, and He can silence the voices that feed our false identities and speak directly to us: "What do you want me to do for you?" Mark 10:46-52.
Over the last few weeks, we asked the RCC family to pose their questions about the local church, giving, etc. This morning, we took time to answer some of those questions. 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8. Psalm 1:1-3. John 15:5. Luke 22:7-20.
In the third part of the Pull Up a Chair series, Josh and Sara tackle the topic of giving. They address five of the most common reasons people don't financially support the local church: (1) I don't have enough money; (2) I don't really trust what the church will do with my money; (3) I'd rather give to a mission organization where I can see the results of my support; (4) I don't understand why I should give or how to do so; and (5) I don't really know how to start giving. Romans 12:1-3. Acts 2:42-47.
Why does the local church matter? Why is it important to connect with a local church community? Do Sunday mornings matter? Josh and Sara provide some insight into these and related questions about the local church in part 2 of the Pull Up a Chair series. Hebrews 10:23-25. Ephesians 1:22-23. 1 Corinthians 12:26. Galatians 6:10. Ephesians 2:19.