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Being Church & Final Family Decision Meeting THIS Sunday!

February 14, 2019

Dear Church Family & Friends,

Our third and perhaps Final Family Decision Making Meeting will be THIS Sunday, February 17th from 12 noon to 1:45pm following the morning Service. Childcare will be provided! Please bring a bag lunch. We have some very important decisions to make at that meeting! Please continue to pray and show up for your church family. These corporate discernment meetings are setting a direction for the future of RCC. God has been giving us corporate vision and unified direction at these meetings. The directions that we discern at these meetings will be applicable to everyone so it is important that all members at RCC be involved in this decision making process. It will take the participation of all members to be the Body of Christ; a life-giving revelation of the church of Jesus in Crozet.

I have been reading Francis Chan’s “Letters to the Church” book, and truthfully it has very convicting. I believe that at this time in history, God is calling us to “do church” according to biblical principles and example. I have had the privilege of being a part of some amazing churches. All of my life I have experienced “church” as a life-giving influence in my life! However, as I read Francis Chan’s book and the Word of God, I realize that God has so much more for us! I believe that God has wonderful and miraculous plans for us (if we are able to walk biblically) in the days to come!

I believe that God is refining and leading RCC with vision to becoming a full expression of the church of Jesus Christ! He is calling us to exchange a lifestyle of “going to church” for a radical lifestyle of surrender, mutual ministry and power! I am realizing that it may not be possible have one without the other! Our RCC church family is such blessing! We truly love one another and we have been open to the things of God and now that path is bringing us to into walking sacrificially in service and caring for one another!  I believe that we have not even scratched the surface of what God plans to do among us if we are able to make this transition!

This Sunday our focus on the Word time will be based on the fourth chapter of Chan’s book called “Servants.” This chapter and the next are by far the most powerful (and convicting.) Far beyond “being a good church,” Jesus is calling us to sacrificially live out His very own example of love, service and sacrifice:

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:3-8)

In the days to come God is calling each one of us to live a life of miracles. The biggest miracle however, will be dying to self (not living to serve my own needs) to live powerfully unto Him (in sacrificial love and service to God and others.) We will discover the biblical basis for this direction on Sunday. Please read chapter 2 of “Letters to the Church” in preparation.

This Sunday we will be meeting in a new way to worship, pray and seek the Lord together. Please come with expectancy to participate in worship, waiting on God and sharing the Word together. Each time that we gather is also an opportunity for each one of us to operate in the gifts and calling of God. Please come prepared to lead in prayer, share about what you are hearing God say. Also be prepared to pray for others. God has given each one of us (as members in the Body of Christ) a unique ministry one for another! Because we believe this, we must be prepared to use these gifts to build up one another.

Please remember to bring a bag lunch on Sunday. Our decision meeting following the service will be a “working session.” 

See you on Sunday,

Pastor Jon Quesenberry 

Report from Family Meeting, Next Steps & Being Church Series

Dear Church Family and Friends,

This past Sunday was an important day in the life of our church family. Forty-two people attended our time of worship, prayer and focus on the Word. We also had a meaningful Lord’s Supper celebration. God is drawing us to Himself. When we meet, we meet in the presence of Jesus to reveal His glory and extend His kingdom on the earth! I am so grateful that God is clarifying His call for our congregation. I am so grateful that we are keeping our eyes on Jesus and seeking Him together!

Carol and I will be away this coming week to RNI Pastor’s Retreat in Florida, from February 10th  to February 15th. We are looking forward this opportunity to network and receive ministry from other other RNI pastors and leaders. Please keep us in prayer! There is so much that Carol and I need from God! Both of us are completely unable to do what He has called us to in ministry. I am truly very expectant this next week for restoration of strength and a reordering of our focus, not only as leaders, but as lovers of Jesus.

At our Family Decision Making Meeting we were able to discuss some very important topics related to our finances. Arlin shared a financial report which was followed by many questions about the status of our finances. Many questions about the financial state of our congregation were discussed. Along with the financial information that was shared we discussed several options for moving ahead. The date of March 1st and April 30th were suggested as dates for instituting changes. I was able to share very specifically about my salary and options for pastoral support. A discussion regarding continuing to meet in the church building was followed by what it might look like to transition into a “house church.” There was affirmation for both directions. Although only decisions were made, the goal of discernment was served extremely well. Our discussion was extremely real and transparent. I want to commend all those who made it a priority to attend this meeting and also those who participated in listening well and sharing at the meeting. God is moving among us.

I would like to ask if anyone has any family or church group pictures. Ideally, we need pictures of RCC meeting on Sunday or candid pictures taken at fellowship meals, children’s events etc.. We need these pictures for our website and for future promotional materials.

Please be in prayer for discernment about leadership in our congregation for community outreach. We have discerned (without any doubt) that God is calling us to reach out to our friends and neighbors as a church body. For this type of group ministry will need a coordinator. Please be prepared to discuss this topic when we next meet for our next family meeting on February 17th.

Our next Family Decision Making Meeting will be on Sunday, February 17th following the morning Service. Please reserve 90 minutes to 2 hours for this meeting. We have several very important decisions to make at that meeting. Please continue to pray and show up for your church family. I believe that our vision and direction is being enriched and refined. The discernments that we are discovering at these meetings will be applicable to everyone. Therefore, it is important that all members of the congregation participate in these discernment sessions. God is giving us wisdom and is empowering us to move ahead in unity and purpose to become a powerful life-giving church in Crozet. It is not the time to look back with regret or carry blame for what “could have been.” We are called to be the living, breathing and active body of Christ! The call of God for us right now is to be participants and partners with Him!

We also will continue our series on “Being Church” for the next five weeks, God willing!  We are in an unprecedented time of change in church history. The traditional structure of the church is dying. What is the path that God has for us? As we continue with this series,  I believe that God will give us many important insights for our discernment process and our planning for the future.

See you on Sunday!

Jon Quesenberry

Fellowship Meal and Family Decision Meeting this Sunday

Dear Church Family and Friends,

This coming Sunday we will communion as well as a fellowship meal followed by our second Family decision making meeting. Please bring a dish of food or two to share with others!

All church family members are invited by Matt Anderson and the Robotics Club to join with them for a special celebration event THIS COMING SUNDAY from 2:30 – 4:30pm. The Robotics Club did very well at their last competition and will be sharing with the congregation the work that they are doing.

Carol and I will be gone to Pastor’s Retreat from February 10th – 15th. We are excited about this opportunity to network with other pastors and leaders. Please be praying for us as we meet with other RNI leaders for mutual ministry and encouragement.

On Sunday, I would like to suggest that we begin the meeting at 12:30 and aim to conclude the meeting before 2:00pm. Our meeting will begin with a financial report. Arlin Martin will be sharing with the congregation regarding the tithing income and expenditures over the past number of months. I would like to suggest that we spend a few minutes in prayer after this followed by an hour of sharing in a discernment process together. I would like to suggest that we give our attention to discerning from the Lord about how we should proceed forward. We will place discernments on a white board as we find agreement in our hearts from the Lord. All items are open for discussion so please be prepared to ask any question that you might have. Not everyone may agree on everything, but no opinion or sharing will be discouraged. Discerning what God is saying may involve some conflict and may take some time and effort to listen to others and wait on God together. It is important that we approach each other with an open heart toward heaven and one another.

So far we have 5 specific directions for next steps:

• Serving others – God has called us to serve the poor and needy in our community

• Home Fellowships – God is calling us to meet in homes, to live in true community & mutual ministry

• Seeking God – God is calling us to give our attention to listening and spending time with Him

• Large Group Meeting – God is calling us to continue meeting as a large group each week

• Equipping Classes – God is calling us to equip the saints using weekly classes. Suggestions: Inner healing, financial peace etc..

Since these are discerned directions for our fellowship in the future. I would like to encourage everyone to continue to pray how you will participate in these discerned directions. When God speaks His people bear responsibility for obedience. If God is truly giving discernment to His people, then we must become sacrificially committed to do what He is saying. At the present time I am suggesting that we wait until the conclusion of the discernment process (after Feb 17th) before we launch new leaders and initiatives. For my part, Carol and I are beginning to discern a curriculum for an Inner Healing Class that we plan to launch later in February.

Several people have expressed that they are encouraged about the process. I am also encouraged that we are following a biblical discernment process rather than trying to get pressure one another to do what each one thinks is right. We are following the process of Acts 15:2-31 “Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question… 4 And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them. 5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” 6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.7 And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren… (Peter shares discernment) 12 Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles. (Barnabas and Paul share their discernment)13 And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me... (James shares his discernment and then makes a statement that appeals to the hearts of most) 19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood…. 22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas,… (Spiritual agreement is present) 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell… 31 When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. (The result was that Gentiles – THAT’S US – were allowed to become Christians!)

Please continue to pray for your church family. I believe that our vision and direction is being enriched and refined. I believe that God is empowering us to move in unity and purpose to become a powerful life-giving church in Crozet. We are called to be the living, breathing and active church of Jesus Christ! Instead of going to church as consumers, God is calling us to be the church as participants and partners with God!

We also will continue our series on “Being Church” for the next six weeks, God willing!  There is a radical shift happening in the church. Overall, church attendance in America is on the decline. Over half of born again believers do not attend church while Megachurches seem to be growing. Sixty churches (including old and new) close their doors each week. This is an unprecedented time in history.  What is the path that God has for us? This series, I believe will give many important insights for our discernment process and our planning for the future.

See you on Sunday!

Jon Quesenberry

Report from Family Meeting, Next Family Meeting & Fellowship meal, Feb. 3rd

Dear Church Family & Friends,

Our family meeting took place this past Sunday at noon. Eighteen adults were present for the meeting. After our morning service, I handed out a sheet of paper with all of the discernments that members have been sending in from the periods of fasting since November. We began with prayer asking God to give us wisdom and direction for the future of RCC. I shared from my heart about the hopes that I have for RCC and then opened the discussion/discernment time with the question: “What discernments seem to be the most prevalent?” As we prayerfully and carefully shared together what we were sensing that the Lord was saying about the future of RCC we were able to list 5 specific directions for next steps:

  1. Serving others – God has called us to serve the poor and needy in our community
  2. Home Fellowships – God is calling us to meet in homes, to live in true community & mutual ministry
  3. Seeking God – God is calling us to give our attention to listening and spending time with Him 
  4. Large Group Meeting – God is calling us to continue meeting as a large group each week
  5. Equipping Classes – God is calling us to equip the saints using weekly classes. Suggestions: Inner healing, financial peace etc..

Following the discussion of direction, I shared two suggestions about the decision making process from the leadership team (Bob and I.) I suggested that we have two more family meetings. The first on Sunday, February 3rd (with fellowship meal) and the final one on Sunday, February 17th. I suggested that we complete the discernment process about the future of RCC at these two meetings. I also suggested that we continue using the format that we have now until March 1st before making any changes. I opened the floor for discussion and then asked if those present sensed the Lords blessing on the five discernments and the plan for decision making. The discussion following this was favorable to the discernments and suggestions and so we concluded the meeting at 1:10 with a group sense of the Lord’s blessing. 

The final outcome of the meeting was the confirmation of five discernments and a decision making plan. Several people following the meeting expressed a sense of relief about the process. Some expressed that they felt that several people were feeling a sense of foreboding about the process because they anticipated that there might be conflict at the meeting. I also thought the meeting went well. I am encouraged that we are seeking discernment rather then trying to come up with ideas to “fix” the issues that face us..

I would like to encourage everyone at RCC and beyond to continue praying for our church family. We certainly are in a time of testing. I believe that God is allowing us to be tested so that we can truly become a life giving and empowered church in Crozet. Let me also say that along with these discernments comes great responsibility. If God is calling us to: serve others, seek His face, meet in homes to devote our lives to one another in mutual ministry and gather each week faithfully to worship, then we must become sacrificially faithful and committed to walk in obedience to the call of God. These discernments are not just for a few.

Having received these corporate discernments it seems that God is launching us into active community ministry! We are called to be the living, breathing and active church of Jesus Christ in Crozet. A community ministry coordinator will be needed for spearheading group ministry efforts. Life group leaders and faithful attending members will be needed so that we can mobilize. All members should give absolute priority to tithing and participation in the call of God. Instead of going to church, God is calling us to be the church and to be the church, we must first show up!

For my part, Carol and I are putting together plans for an inner healing class that will start in mid-February. Once we have the details in place we will open the class for registration. Please let me know if Thursday evenings are not good for anyone. We are considering offering the class on Thursday evenings starting in mid February.

We also will continue our series on “Being Church” for the next seven weeks, God willing!  There is a radical shift happening in the church. Overall, church attendance in America is on the decline. Over half of born again believers do not attend church while Megachurches seem to be growing. Sixty churches (including old and new) close their doors each week. This is an unprecedented time in history.  What is the path that God has for us? This series, I believe will give many important insights for our discernment process and our planning for the future.

For this series we are using Francis Chan’s new book; “Letters to the Church” as a resource. If you would like a copy for $9 (bookstore price is $12-$16) please reply to this email. Francis Chan was a successful author and mega-church pastor in southern California. Eight years ago, he stepped down after a period of personal fasting and prayer. During this time of reflection he discerned that the church in America (and more specifically his church) was giving more time and energy to pleasing people rather than pleasing God. After resigning, he spent time overseas. “Letters to the Church” came out of seeing what God is doing in the church worldwide that is free of the stranglehold of consumerism. This is a revolutionary book. It contains prophetic insight into the heart of God for the American church. 

See you on Sunday!

Jon Quesenberry

Family Meeting This Sunday at Noon, Being Church Series starts!

January 17, 2019

Dear Church Family & Friends,

This coming Sunday we will  meet following the service at noon for a family meeting. Please plan to stay following the service for an 45 minute to 1 hour meeting to begin the decision making process regarding the future of RCC. Our focus for the meeting will be on hearing and discussing discernments gained through fasting and prayer. This meeting will be the first of several meetings to make decisions about the next steps at RCC.  Child care will be available.

Starting this Sunday, January, 20th we will also be starting a new 8 week series: “Being Church”  The focus of this series is on how to BE the church in this day and time. There is a radical shift happening in the church. Overall, church attendance in America is on the decline. Over half of born again believers do not attend church regularly. Megachurches seem to be attracting many while small traditional churches are closing. What is the path that God has for us? This series, I believe will give many important insights for our discernment process.

Our Being church series will focus on what the church looks like according to scripture. We will be using Francis Chan’s new book; “Letters to the Church” as a resource. If you would like a copy for $9 (bookstore price is $12-$16) please reply to this email. Francis Chan was a successful author and mega-church pastor in southern California. Eight years ago, he stepped down after a period of personal fasting and prayer. During this time of reflection he discerned that the church in America (and more specifically his church) was giving more time and energy to pleasing people rather than pleasing God. After resigning, he spent time overseas. “Letters to the Church” came out of seeing what God is doing in the church worldwide that is free of the stranglehold of consumerism. This is a revolutionary book. It contains prophetic insight into the heart of God for the American church. This series will be life changing!

If you would like your own copy be sure to let me know by text or email.

Pastor Jon Quesenberry

Tonight: Prayer & Lord’s Supper Meeting – 6:30pm, Family meeting on Sunday

January 10, 2019

Dear Church Family & Friends,

Tonight, Thursday, January 10th we will gather at 6:30pm for prayer, communion, foot-washing and sharing discernments together. This will be one of the most important events of our family life together. Please do not miss this meeting! Please bring a copy of the plan the discernments that you have received during our 3 periods of fasting to share at the end of the meeting.

Please plan to share ALL discernments gained by fasting and prayer either at the meeting tonight or by email (to this address) before the family meeting this coming Sunday! The discernments that we gain from these three fasts will be what we use to base our decisions about the future. I have a list of all the discernments received so far. I will provide the group tonight with the list of discernments that I have.

This Sunday at noon (after the service) we will begin the decision making process regarding the future of RCC at our family meeting. Please make plans to participate in this noon meeting. Our focus for the meeting will be on the discernments gained through fasting and prayer. The focus of the meeting will not be based on spur-of-the-moment ideas for the future. This first meeting will focus on discerning the continuation of RCC as we have been. This meeting will be the first of several meetings to make decisions about the next steps at RCC.  Child care will be available.

Starting on Sunday, January, 20th we will be starting a new 8 week series: “Being Church” We will be using Francis Chan’s new book; “Letters to the Church” as a resource. If you would like a copy for $9 (bookstore price is $12-$16) please reply to this email. Francis Chan was a successful author and mega-church pastor in southern California. He stepped down after a period of personal fasting and prayer. During this time of reflection he discerned that the church in America (and more specifically his church) was giving more time and energy to pleasing people rather than pleasing God. After resigning, he spent time overseas with the church in India, Singapore and Tibet. “Letters to the Church” came out of seeing what God is doing in the church worldwide that is free of the stranglehold of consumerism. This is a revolutionary book. It contains prophetic insight into the heart of God for the American church. This series will be life changing!

If you ordered a book prior to January 10th please see me on Sunday to get your copy. I have a few extra copies.. but if you would like your own copy be sure to let me know by text or email.

See you tonight at 6:30pm!,

Pastor Jon Quesenberry

The Word of God – Final 3 days of Fasting

January 3, 2019

This Sunday (Jan. 6th) we will have a fellowship meal following the Service. Please plan to bring a dish of food (or two) to share with others!

Welcome to 2019!  January will be a month of discernment and direction setting for RCC. I want to encourage everyone to press in as we move forward together! What I mean by “pressing in” is to give your full attention to what God is doing among us and what He is saying to each one of us. The process that we are in is one of corporate discernment. We must give our attention to hearing God at this time! This is the most important effort that we have before us! The church is the creation of God and he will lead us step by step as we press in and trust Him.

A memorial service for Gloria Ward will be held at RCC this Tuesday, January 8th at 10:30am. Gloria Ward passed away early on Christmas morning. Julie Perry (chaplain) and I will be leading the memorial service for Gloria’s friends and family. Everyone is invited to attend. A meal will be provided by RCC for everyone following the memorial. Carol is requesting help in preparing the meal following the memorial service.

Carol Quesenberry will be coordinating the meal following the memorial. If you are able to serve by helping with food preparation please contact Carol by calling: 434-760-0009. 

Our final 3 days of fasting and prayer starts THIS Monday, January 7th. (Jan. 7-9) This will be our 3rd and final 3 day fast for discernment about the next steps for RCC. Please write down the discernments that you receive from this fast! The discernments that we gain from these three fasts will be what we use to base our decisions about the future. Be praying about how the Lord would have you fast!

On Thursday, January 10th at 6:30pm we will gather at the church for prayer, communion, footwashing and sharing discernments together. This will be one of the most important events of our family life together. Please mark your calendars for this event. At this event we will be collecting discernments from the 3-day fast for the family meeting on Sunday January 13th.

We will have a church family meeting on Sunday, January 13th following the Sunday service. This will be the first of two or three meetings to make decisions about the next steps at RCC. Please mark this date on your calendar and plan to remain following the service for this very important meeting. Child care will be available.

Starting on Sunday, January, 20th we will be starting a new 8 week series: “Being Church” We will be using Francis Chan’s new book; “Letters to the Church” as a resource.  If you would like a copy for $9 (bookstore price is $12-$16) please reply to this email. Francis Chan was a successful author and mega-church pastor in southern California. He stepped down and spent time overseas with various functional churches in India, Singapore and Tibet. “Letters to the Church” is a wonderful book. It contains prophetic insight into the heart of God for the American church. This series will be life changing!

See you Sunday,

Pastor Jon Quesenberry

Waiting on God – Plans for the New Year!

Dear RCC Friends and Family,

Our Christmas Gathering last Tuesday was wonderful! The kids did such a wonderful job with their presentation! I really appreciated the message of the Christmas program! We also had a very special time of carol singing and then a short candlelight service before enjoying holiday food in the fellowship hall. People also seemed to have a good time with our Christmas “trivia” game. I think that some of us (including me) learned some new facts about Christmas. Thanks to everyone who contributed and participated in our Christmas Celebration!

I want to take an opportunity to thank Carol Quesenberry, for all of her hard work! No one will ever know what Carol does because she does serves so selflessly! I truly don’t know of anyone like her. She does so many important things in service for so many people! She is a true partner in ministry. In fact, I believer that she does as much as I do in serving our church family!

Gloria Ward passed away on Tuesday of this week. Gloria suffered with pancreatic cancer and peacefully passed away  after being hospitalized last week in Hospice care early on Christmas morning. Gloria’s memorial service will be held at RCC on Tuesday, January 8th at 10:30am. If you have any correspondence etc. for the family you can give it to Arlin or Janet Martin.

This Sunday we will gather to worship God and seek His face. The topic of the sermon is: “Waiting on God.” I apologize because I was planning on sharing on this topic last week, but I ended up sharing a sermon on “The Priesthood” instead. This week, I am fairly certain, however, that I will be sharing on what it means to “wait on God.” Waiting on God is of primary importance according to the Bible. According to Hebrews 11:6, We cannot please God without faithfully drawing near to God. “But without faith it is impossible to please God. For it is right that the one drawing near to God should believe that He is, and that He becomes a rewarder to the ones seeking Him out..” (Heb 11:6 LITV) This Sunday, we will discuss what it means and practical ways of  waiting on God.

We are setting aside January, 7- 9 for our final 3 day fast. On Thursday, January 10th at 6:30 we will meet for Prayer, the Lord’s Supper and Footwashing. Please note these dates on your calendar. This will be an important event in the life of our church family.  The goal of the fast is to seek the Lord with humility and open hearts. It is the the process described in Joel 2:13-14: “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing…” Our Goal in fasting is to wait on God for His intervention and His insight and discernment in the life of our church. Please write down the discernments that you receive from the Lord as you seek His face about the future of RCC.

After this January 3 day fast and prayer meeting we will gather for a family meeting for RCC family meeting on Sunday, January 13th at 10am  to share and discern together the next steps for our congregation.  

Starting on Sunday, January, 20thth we will be starting a new 8 week series: “Being Church” We will be using Francis Chan’s new book; “Letters to the Church” as a resource.  If you would like a copy for $9 (bookstore price is $12-$16) please reply to this email. Francis Chan was a successful author and mega-church pastor in southern California. He stepped down and spent time overseas with various functional churches in India, Singapore and Tibet. “Letters to the Church” is a wonderful book. It contains prophetic insight into the heart of God for the American church. This series will be life changing!

See you on Sunday,

Pastor Jon Quesenberry

Christmas Program/ Party This Thursday @ 6:30pm, bring food and friends!

December 18, 2018

THIS THURSDAY, December 20th at 6:30 we will be our annual Christmas Program and Party! Please bring a tray of finger foods or holiday fare to share! The children will be presenting a short program and then we will be celebrating the season with great fellowship and good food. Carol and I will be leading in some group games that everyone will enjoy! Please invite your neighbors and friends to come with you for this special event!

This coming Sunday is Christmas Sunday. We will gather to worship God and seek His face. The topic of the sermon is: “Waiting on God.” People who wait on God are able to understand what God is doing on the earth! The wisemen knew who Jesus was and came from a great distance to Bethlehem to honor Jesus at His birth! These men were actually pagan “Magi,” (mystics) -a class of pagan seers from Persia- who spent their days in meditation and study of the earth and stars. They were known all over the ancient world because of their skill in interpreting omens, signs, and the celestial events. Even though the magi were not Jews (or Christians) God honored them because they gave their attention to seeking and waiting on God. Anna and Simeon were both people who recognized who Jesus was when they saw Him as a baby in the temple. It was because they were people who waited on God. The Bible tells us that Anna “did not depart from the temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayers.” Simeon was described as someone who “was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.” Waiting on God is what the Bible describes is necessary for us to know God and know what He is doing in our lives.

God reveals His heart to those who wait on Him. Meditation on the Word of God, fasting and prayer are all ways that we can wait (give our attention to) the Spirit of God. Everyone is encouraged to have a daily time waiting on God by scripture reading, meditation and prayer.

We are setting aside January, 7th- 9th for our final 3-day fast. On Thursday, January 10th at 6:30 we will meet for Prayer, the Lord’s Supper and Footwashing. Please note these dates on your calendar. This will be an important event in the life of our church family.  The goal of the fast is to seek the Lord with humility and open hearts. It is the the process described in Joel 2:13-14: “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing…”  Our Goal in fasting is to wait on God for His intervention and His insight and discernment in the life of our church. 

After this January 3 day fast and prayer meeting we will gather for a family meeting (later in January) to share and discern together what direction we should go as a church.

Starting on Sunday, January, 6th we will be starting a new 8 week series: “BE-ing Church” We will be following the outline of Francis Chan’s new book; “Letters to the Church.”  If you would like a copy for $12 (bookstore price is $16) please reply to this email. Francis Chan was a successful author and mega-church pastor in southern California. He was led by the Lord to give more and more of his time to fasting and prayer. During these periods of drawing close to God, he had a number of profound encounters. He began to discern from the Lord that the American Church did not resemble the Biblical church. He began to sense that American pastors were doing what attracted people instead of what attracted God. He was so convicted by the Lord about this that He who stepped down from leading his church of over 2000 people in 2007. He handed over leadership to other pastors and then spent a year with the church in India and Tibet. His book; “Letters to the Church” contains prophetic insight into the heart of God for the American church. This series will be life changing!

See you on Thursday evening at 6:30!

Pastor Jon Quesenberry

 

 

Let’s Celebrate Christmas! Update from last Sunday

December 13, 2018

Dear RCC Family & Friends,

It is the Christmas season! It’s time to celebrate the birth of Jesus! Of course, it is easy to get caught up in the commercialism that swirls around us but during this season I would like to encourage you to give your time and attention to truly being with your family and friends. Most of all consider the condescension of God. Consider the amazing love that would cause God to clothe Himself with frail humanity and be born as an infant. This love further motivated Jesus to serve and then give His life for those around Him. The coming of Jesus is something to be truly thankful for!

Our Lord’s Supper, Prayer and Footwashing was cancelled last week due to sickness. We are planning on having that event after the holidays on Thursday, January 10th at 6:30 pm. Please mark your calendars for this special event. I truly believe that this will be a powerful event in the life of our congregation. I want to encourage everyone to make EVERY effort to attend this event. I believe that God intends to breakthrough at this event as we gather in obedience to Him. This event was discerned during our first 3 day fast and we will respond in obedience to do it.

This past Sunday, as advertised, we had a time of sharing of insights from the fast. The one discernment that several people felt felt strongly about is that God was asking us as a body of believers to serve our community. Some felt as though we needed to choose an outreach project and mobilize members to work together to meet the needs in our community. This discernment was affirmed by several others.

Other statements from members on Sunday or by follow-up email were:

  • I don’t have any discernments from the fast. I have been trying to keep up with family life lately..
  • I don’t have anything to add, I have been real busy
  • We are not feeling drawn by the Lord to engage in programs at RCC at this time.
  • There seems to be a sense of fear and foreboding among the congregants. the possibility of RCC closing it’s doors seems very scary to many
  • God keeps laying on my heart Home fellowships. Communal living… where we can share our home, hearts, lives… within the context of our family life
  • We are finding involvement with personal relationships… with some members of RCC.. and other friends
  • I appreciate the heart toward seeking God’s face
  • We need to carry out the kingdom mandates in whatever tasks God fives us to do
  • In today’s world many congregations and ministries have been turning preaching the gospel and the name of our Lord into a business.
  • Today many congregations are bound by their commitment to their denominations and their visions, statements forgetting that we are here to do what Jesus commanded us to do, to go and make disciples, to help the needed, to love our neighbors, and to teach the word of our Lord, 
  • We often forget that the head of the body is Chris, and that he gave us his Holy Spirit to be our helper. 
  • I really feel that what our heavenly father is longing for is a true church, like the begging, sharing, praying together, loving each other, supporting, like the disciples.
  • When we allow what a human dictates is when we become followers of the men and not Jesus.
  • There are two speakings from the Lord that have been established at a congregational level which have not been processed or responded to properly by RCC.
As I mentioned in week, the world around us has changed. We are in the midst of one the greatest times of spiritual climate change in history. People are very busy caring for themselves. Most people are not interested in going to church (according to Barna: “State of the Church and Family Report 2016.”) Going to church programs to sing, meet with friends and talk about God isn’t attractive to most people. Fasting, prayer and seeking God are not attractive. They would rather meet with friends, listen to podcasts online and catch up with friends by facebook, text, email or phone.
 
The good news, even though church attendance is waning, more and more people are interested in being a part of a loving spiritual community. People report that they want to be actively engaged in a real spiritual endeavor. They want to hear God’s voice and operate in loving partnership with God to live powerful and effective lives. Our goal at RCC is to learn to live this way. Our goal is no to have a good Sunday service. We want to be a community of believers who are radically pursuing God in unity and operating in sacrificial love toward one another to reveal Jesus to the world. The transformation to this type of spiritual community will require a supernatural transformation of heart. It will start with humbleness, fasting and crying out to God for His intervention.
 
We are not planning to have any more family meetings between now and the end of the year. We have decided that it is important to give our attention to loving and serving family and our community during the Christmas season. We will have another 3 day fast January, 7th- 9th and then we will meet for our Lord’s Supper and Footwashing on Thursday January 10th at 6:30 pm. Please note these dates on your calendar. Once again we will plan to seak the Lord with fasting and humility. We will plan to enter into the process of Joel 2:13-14 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing…”

Starting January, 6th we will be starting a new 8 week series: “Being Church” We will be following the outline of Francis Chan’s new book; “Letters to the Church.”  Reading the book is not necessary but if you would like a copy for $12 please reply to this email. Francis Chan was a successful author and mega-church pastor who stepped down from leading his church of over 2000 people in California in 2007. He decided to do this after a number of profound encounters with God. Pastor Chan began to discern from the Lord that the American Church did not resemble the Biblical church. He began to sense that American pastors were doing what attracted people instead of what attracted God. He was so convicted by the Lord about this that He resigned from his mega-church, handed it over to other pastors and then spent a year with the church in India and Tibet. There he discovered a powerful biblical church. A church where transformation, miracles, signs and wonders were commonplace. He saw humble pastors serving people by equipping them for ministry. He saw that most members in these churches were using their gifts to serve God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength and serve others as they served themselves. In this book, Pastor Chan outlines how American churches can once again walk in accordance with First and Second greatest commandment.

As I mentioned last week, living in a spiritual community is a lot more than showing up at church. When the body gathers for worship and prayer, this is the main event. Worship and prayer events are first commandment events. Loving God with ALL of our heart (our passions) ALL of our soul (our creativity) ALL of our mind (our thinking) and ALL of our strength (our activity) as believers is the believer’s one life pursuit. As we give our full attention to pursuing God we discover that God endues us (clothes us) with power. We become a society of people committed to living in sacrificial love and partnership with God. This type of community requires setting aside other personally “good” activities for the “One Thing” that David describes in Psalm 27:4. Is it too late or will we learn to humbly seek the presence of God? As we wait upon the Lord together we will encounter Him! Remember Acts 2 “they were all in one accord in one place” and then the Spirit of God came in power? In times of trouble we read that the people of God respond in accordance with the call of God: “The LORD says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.” (Joel 2:12). This is not a half-hearted enterprise. Seeking God involves incredible sacrifice: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. “(Jer 29:13) RCC is at a crossroads. Will we continue to show up at the meeting or will we humble ourselves to encounter God in brokenness to engage in fasting. Will we gain the heart of Jesus in this way to become “members one of another?” What are you feeling now as you read this? Send me an email. I want to hear about it!

See you on Sunday,

Jon Quesenberry