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.
Josh invites us to "pull up a chair" to discuss some things that matter to our community within RCC and our surrounding area. Using the Lord's Prayer as a model, we kick off this series focusing on prayer and inviting the Lord to speak to our body about why we're here, what our purpose is in Smyrna, where we should be located, etc. We are asking the Lord to lead us moving forward, praying into six areas: Presence & Intimacy, Kingdom, Provision, Humility & Forgiveness, Guidance, and Protection. Matthew 6:9-34.
Josh looks at the third time Jesus predicts his death and the disciples' response -- asking for seats at his side in glory. We are challenged to consider what the seat is in our life that says, "you need to get this" because then you will have value. We keep asking for things that don't benefit us or anyone around us. Jesus wants us to see, like he wanted the disciples to see, that it's not about our reputation or status or all the things we have but about how we serve and when we choose the other over ourselves. Mark 10:32-45. Philippians 2:5-7. Luke 22:24.
Bill walks through the story of the rich young man. We see Jesus reminding us that outward appearances do not concern Him. In a culture that said this rich man's possessions demonstrated God's favor on his life, Jesus shows how our attachments to secondary things can actually get in the way of the call on our lives to follow Jesus with the openness, dependence and wonder of a little child. Mark 10:13-31.
Josh discusses the story of the Pharisees' attempt to trap Jesus with their question about the lawfulness of divorce. We see Jesus use the interaction to illustrate His love for us. Marriage is beautiful. It is a picture of the kind of love Jesus has for us -- a love that pursues us and overpowers the world through His sacrifice. Mark 10:1-12. Mark 3:6. Deuteronomy 24:1.
The telos (i.e., "the ultimate aim or goal") of the Christian life is not about not going to hell. The telos of the Christian life is to be included in the life of God. When we confuse the telos, we can get caught up making sure people don't behave in certain ways and miss out on doing the work of the Christian life. Mark 9:38-50. Leviticus 2:13. Romans 12.
Josh explains that the message of humility is at the core of Jesus' ministry -- not power. For us, that looks like Jesus putting His finger on the things in our lives that need to die. The disciples are talking among themselves about who is greatest, and Jesus explains that the call of the gospel is to be the servant of all. Mark 9:30-41. Luke 9:44. 1 Corinthians 2:2. 1 John 1:9. Matthew 25:40. Isaiah 66:2.
Josh walks us through the Transfiguration and how fear plays a part in our lives whether we are on the mountaintop with Jesus, or we are chosen to stay behind and wait on the Lord in the valley. Fear brings an indictment that we want to run from, but Jesus says "fear not." Mark 8:34-38. Mark 9:1-29. Luke 9:28-32. 2 Corinthians 3:18.
Jordan acknowledges that the Holy Spirit dwells in him, but the Holy Spirit also dwells fully in others. We only see in part, and the Lord gives us a community to help us see more fully. Inviting each other into our stories helps us discern what the Lord is telling us individually and collectively. We may hear differently, but in fighting for unity despite our differences, we may become more like Jesus. 1 Corinthians 13:9-12. Ephesians 4:1-6, 11-16. 1 Thessalonians 1:5. 1 John 3:18. 1 Corinthians 4:20. 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12.