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