The RCC BLOG

A space to address relevant topics and cultural issues from a biblical worldview.  

We hope that these posts will not only grow you in your knowledge of who the Lord is and what He is doing, 

but that they will also draw you into a more fervent worship of our great God.

A Brief theology of work

By Vern mathews

may 15, 2020

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you have come into contact with someone who constantly grumbles about their job. Perhaps you happen to be that person who is prone to complain about frustrations at work. In our culture we understand the necessity of work, but in many cases, it seems we may have lost our understanding of the inherent goodness of work. Our conversations regarding work include phrases such as, “I hate Mondays,” “I’m working for the weekend,” or “TGIF.”


On the other end of the spectrum, many embrace their vocation so fully that it becomes their identity. Recently I’ve enjoyed watching the documentary, The Last Dance, which chronicles the career of former NBA superstar Michael Jordan. While it has been inspiring to have a close look into Jordan’s work ethic, I’ve also found myself cringing at moments after seeing some of the effects of Jordan’s unique style. The focus and determination that Jordan applied to his basketball career, making him such a great player, also caused him at times to treat his teammates poorly. On top of that, Jordan elevated basketball to such a pedestal, that he has since struggled greatly to find the same sense of inner peace and satisfaction that he enjoyed during his illustrious career. 

 

What Does the Bible Say?

 

            As followers of Jesus who want to embrace a biblical theology of vocation, we must reject both of these notions. God does not intend work to be a necessary evil that stands in the way of our happiness. At the same time, God does not desire that his image bearers would find their ultimate source of fulfillment in their careers. How then are we to worship the Lord in our work?

 

            While there are numerous references to work and its importance throughout Scripture, the early chapters of Genesis provide us with a sturdy foundation for a biblical understanding of vocation. Genesis 2:15 reveals the first employer/employee relationship, in which God enlisted Adam to work the garden of Eden.

 

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

Genesis 2:15

 

            Notice that work was instituted by God before humanity’s fall into sin in Genesis 3. Work was part of God’s good plan for humankind before the damaging effects of sin entered into the world and workplace. Our God is a working God. He created the heavens and earth and everything in them. So as human beings created in His image, it is no surprise that we too are meant to work. The problem of course comes in Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve disbelieved in God’s goodness and plan for them, exchanging their union with God for the cheap pleasure of eating from a forbidden tree. This act of disobedience against God caused the entry of sin into the world and with it, work was fractured as well. After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, we read in Genesis 3:17-19, how the curse of sin affected their work.

 

“Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.”

Genesis 3:17-19

 

            The reality of living in a broken world is that our work will be...well, work. We may not all be landscapers and gardeners like Adam and Eve were, but anyone who has tried to grow a garden knows the challenges that come with trying to produce fruits and vegetables. In office jobs, the effects of sin are also on full display. Printers jam, computers crash, client demands change, interpersonal conflict causes stress, and the list goes on and on. 

 

Final Considerations

 

            While many are employed in traditional jobs in which they earn an income, it is worth noting that all image bearers of God are called to work, whether or not they receive a wage in exchange for their labor. For stay-at-home moms, full-time students, retirees, or others who are not employed in a traditional sense, work is no less important or valuable. Regardless of how exciting or mundane one’s work may be, the value of the work is not tied to income. The value of our work is that it reflects and gives glory to God. Whether we are running a board meeting or changing yet another dirty diaper, we have the great joy and privilege to honor God with our work.

 

            In light of the current global pandemic caused by Covid-19, many of us have had to re-evaluate our job situations. Some of us have lost jobs, while others have been forced to work more than ever in difficult environments. As we’re each forced to reflect upon our vocation during this season, may we do so with an increasing awareness of and thankfulness for the work God has called us to.

 

Resources

The Gospel at Work, by Sebastian Trager and Greg Gilbert

Every Good Endeavor, by Tim Keller

 


The Use of Technology in the Life of the Church during the Covid-19 Pandemic

BY DAN HACKER

APRIL 14, 2020


During a time of quarantine, where shelter-in-place ordinances are established by government and living in close proximity can cause the spread of Covid-19, we as people have had to adapt, learning how to do life together in new creative ways.  Social distancing, keeping about 8-10 feet between you and another person is one option, but a level of discomfort can still exist there unfortunately because of the potential to spread this virus.  Thankfully for us in 2020, there are so many options to “be together” because of technology.  We have had to figure out how to do life together in a similar way, but without being in the same room. 


Because of technology we are able to work from home, school has continued in some capacity, we can pray with one another, worship together, play games like battleship and charades on video calls.  We are able to laugh together, cry together, encourage and challenge one another, study the Word in DNA groups, listen to the Word being preached,  we can take communion with our church family, have staff meetings, tell jokes together, and we can keep meeting as City Groups.  Even the kids have been able to see each other, playing games with one another, being silly, making the most of this strange season in life.  That is such a long list, and there are many more experiences that we have been able to continue even with this pandemic looming because of the technology that exists.  This really is a gift, I can’t imagine going through a crisis like this and not being able to call or text friends and family, I can’t imagine this happening without the ability to Facetime and have video calls with my whole church family all on the same screen at one time.  If you haven’t taken advantage of these times together with your City Group or DNA Group you’re really missing out on what the Spirit has been doing in this strange season that we have found ourselves in.  You can also joining in on the Sunday Gathering and Zoom Prayer calls, and I would really encourage you to get involved in these ways with the church family.


Even after considering all this good that technology creates, it does not take the place of what we were really created for.  We were created to be together, in communion with one another.  From the very beginning of the Story of God, we can see that humans were not created by God to be alone.  We were made to be in fellowship with one another, we were made to be in each other’s presence.  Genesis 2:18a, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone,’” and then Eve was created, not to look at each other on a screen, but to be with one another, to be  able to touch one another, to be able to do all of life side by side, hand in hand, face to face!  In this season we can clearly see that this world is not the way it was meant to be, as our face time with one another is only through Facetime.  We wait for all things to be restored, we long for things to be restored, and we do know that one day is coming where we can be together again.  But thank God for the minds much brighter than mine that have created technology for such a time is this. 


With the technology we have, many have still expressed longing for this to be over.  What we have is good, but just not good enough.  We long to hug each other, shake hands, enter each other’s homes, worship with our whole church body, go on vacation together, high five one another, hold each other’s new born babies… because we were created by a God of Fellowship, who within Himself exists as three persons in fellowship with one another, the Father, Son and Spirit, who are always in communion with one another, never quarantined from one another, existing together all of the time.  This God created all humans similarly.  Genesis 1:27, “So God created human beings in his own image.  In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”  We as human beings, His creation, live with His attributes and this is why we have this desire to be together in fellowship with one another, just as the Father, Son and Spirit are in fellowship with one another.


So let us expectantly look forward to the day that this season this is all over, and we can gather again, with many, many, many people in our homes, having cook outs, going to the park to play together, watching the game together, singing praises Sunday mornings together, sharing meals around our tables, going out to eat together, the list goes on and on.  This is what we long for, this is what we were created for!  My wife is already planning our house party after this pandemic is over, we can’t wait!


Even when this pandemic is over though, many things will be restored, but nothing will be FULLY restored to how they were originally meant to be.  Looking back in the Story of God, to Genesis in the Garden, human beings were perfectly in communion with one another and with God, with no sickness, death nor pandemics.  There is this longing to be in a place and space where we will always be together,  a place and space where we never have to worry about a pandemic like Covid-19 ever again, where there will never be an interference in our everyday life.  A place where we are all partying and celebrating forever, and as we look forward in the Story of God, we can see a place just like this… it is the Marriage Super of the Lamb spoken of in Revelation 19, a place and space where sin and death are FULLY overcome by the death and resurrection of Jesus!  There we will all be united together forever, a great multitude that no one can number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages standing before the throne and before the Lamb, crying with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7).  What a day to look forward to, a day when all is as it was meant to be!  A day where there is no need for Facetime, Zoom, no need for any technology, never ever again being quarantined, never separated from one another, no separation from God, no more sin, no more brokenness, no more death, no more hospitals, no needs for any more vaccines, but a place and space where we are united in Jesus, by Jesus, to worship Jesus together forever!

Family Discipleship

GAthering together for worship is an indispensable part of your family's spiritual life. but how? 


By mONICA wEEKS

aPRIL 3, 2020

Many of us did not grow up in homes where we saw spiritual formation modeled. I was a freshman in college when the Lord awakened my heart to the good news of Jesus in my place. I quickly realized that my vertical relationship with Jesus had drastic impact on every horizontal relationship in my life. 


When Stephen and I were newlyweds I had a hot temper as red as a cherry tomato {Praise Jesus I am being refined day by day} and boy did we know how to push one another’s buttons. We have to continually work at growing in Jesus together and make practical space in our marriage for that to happen. Then at the young age of 22, we found out I was pregnant with Charlotte. {SURPRISE!}


Living in a small rural town with little to no people our age the Lord used this season in my life of being “alone” to push me into a deeper walk with Him. I learned to read and study the Bible, pray bold and faith filled prayers, read variety of books on marriage and mothering, asked a handful of godly women to disciple me, listened to sermons while I drove to work and worked out my spiritual gifts in community and church.

Similarly, the COVID-19 crisis has pushed us out of our normal. It’s moved us back into our homes. We are in a season where if we intentionally choose to we could establish new spiritual habits in our families. The Spirit of the Living God goes with us and empowers us to lead our families well.


Your spiritual life is like a thermostat. My prayer in this short post is to create some warmth in your heart for more of Jesus in your personal life and that would lead you to regularly “kick on” to start or maintain healthy spiritual climate for your homes. Would you consider beginning a regular routine and practice of family worship? Family worship simply means purposefully taking some routine time to be with God as a family together. This could be once a day or a couple times a week.


4 Simple Practices for Family Worship


{If this is new to you,  don’t be discouraged. Just like an oak tree grows strong over years; 

spiritual formation is a practice that takes time to cultivate.}


Read The Bible


We want to teach our kids to sit under and listen to God’s Word. His Word is alive and active. We are blessed with so many resources. I am going to share 4 resources that we have worked through over the years.


All 4 of these cover the entire story of the Bible in big picture ways. They show us how all these stories connect to Jesus as the true Hero and King.


     Bible Recommendations for Your Children:

     The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones

     The Big Picture Storybook Bible by David Helm

     The Gospel Story Bible by Marty Machowski

     The Story of God for Kids by Brad Watson (ages 6+)


Read together. Keep it simple but be creative {act it out, draw a picture, make a craft}

 

Pray


We want to teach our kids to talk with their Father, the King of the Universe. It’s really important that we lead this in a way that is at their level. Smaller children, simpler and brief language. Prayer is teaching our children to talk to God and that He hears us!


During family worship, try different ways to incorporate prayer. Prayer cards {each day you pray for different person}, pray through the Fruit of the Spirit, pause and listen to the Spirit, or pray a verse you read. There are so many ways to pray the key is to make prayer a regular pattern in your family worship.


Our family walks through a few phrases that prompt our children in knowing how to pray.


     God, you are AWESOME. {pray about who God is}

     God, I am SORRY. {pray about where you have sinned}

     God, I am THANKFUL. {pray and give thanks for what He has done}

     God, HELP me. {pray 1 specific prayer you want God’s help in}


This model of prayer has given us a window into our kids heart and allows us to speak life when we see them growing in areas. Parents, you pray transparently as well in front of your children. They need to see your need for Christ’s work in your life too!


Resource: What Every Child Should Know About Prayer by Nancy Guthrie


Sing


I do not have a skill in song but my heart becomes happy as I sing to the King. Singing engages the memory, emotions, and understanding in a divine way. The Bible tells us over and over again to “sing to the Lord”. Our singing is not just a private activity; but it’s a public expression that we are the family of Christ. As a mom, one of my favorite parts of the Sunday Gathering is the whole family participating in worship together, young and old. You can learn simple songs full of rich truths that the church has sung for centuries. We use songs our church sings together (pull up Spotify or YouTube on your phone). Teach your kids to sing to the King!


     Ideas for singing together:

     Create your own family song book.

     Get some homemade or household items and have your own worship band. Make a joyful noise.

     Learn a new hymn each month. Start with the Doxology.

     Sing the Psalms.

 

As You Go

Discipleship is much more than just an event that happens once or couple times a week, rather its a lifestyle and the leading of the Spirit. Your children are learning from you as you go through each day. Allow them to see you investing in your relationship with God. Share with them your own stories of God’s faithfulness as your walking to the park or driving to the store. When you feel thankful, say it out loud to them. When you feel anxious, invite your kids to pray with you as you ask God to carry that burden. When you sin against them {raise your voice or roll your eyes - personal struggles I am working on} or they sin against you, talk about confession, forgiveness and grace and allow this to move to a sweet moment of reconciliation. When your child shares something with you that you know is wrong. Rather than just being quick to correct and say “don’t say that” you may ask them “why did you choose to say that?”.  Allow your open- ended questions to lead to more discipling conversations. You know your kids better than anyone else. Relate things to their unique personalities. Use ordinary, everyday moments as grace moments to speak the good news of Jesus into their hearts.


Consistency, Not Perfection

We could raise our hands and feet to say there have been many days where family worship feels like a chore. Toddler won’t sit still, another child is complaining, and did we mention there are 357 household tasks that need to get done before we can go to sleep.  I can promise you the fruit that seems invisible at the time will mature over a length of time. We have been able to see some really sweet fruits of the Spirit developing in our own children’s lives. We read a passage together. We sing. We pray for one another, and for those in our church and community. We celebrate what God is doing. We laugh and cry together. Our faith is strengthened and we grow in deeper spiritual intimacy with God and one another. And as your family worship becomes a regular rhythm you will find your children will enjoy that special time and remind you about it. Remember, consistency is of such greater value than perfection. Cheering you on!


All is Grace, 

Monica Weeks


Book Resources for Family Worship

Foundations: 12 Biblical Truths to Shape a Family by Troy and Ruth Chou Simmons

Parenting by David Paul Tripp

Family Worship by Donald Whitney

New City Catechism by Tim Keller

Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman

Risen Motherhood by Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler

The Importance of and Opportunity for Reflection in This Season

by Vern Mathews

March 28, 2020

The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has provided a truly unique season for all of us in the RCC family. This is true of us not only as individuals, but also in our shared life together. For some of us, our employment has been affected and we’re unsure of when and if we’ll be able to return to our jobs. Others of us are attempting to navigate how to work from home, in some cases, doing so alongside roommates, a spouse, kids, etc. Then there are those of us whose jobs have grown exponentially more challenging, requiring longer hours and increased potential for exposure to the virus. For most of us, we have never lived through something like this.


In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, it is easy to focus on all of the difficult changes we are forced to make. Yet with unique challenges, also come unique opportunities. One of the great opportunities for us as followers of Jesus, is to utilize this worldwide pandemic as a season for reflection. As we are forced inside and away from social gatherings, there is greater time and space to reflect upon the Lord.

 

Why Reflection?


The idea of reflection is woven throughout the narrative of the Bible. This is displayed perhaps most clearly in the Psalms. The first two verses of Psalm 1 reveal that the godly person delights in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 145:5-6 says, “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.”


Reflection is not only an Old Testament idea, however. The Apostle Paul instructs us in Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” It is important to notice that reflection in the Bible is primarily focused on God. After all, God best fits the attributes that Paul lists in Philippians 4:8.

 

How Do I Practice Reflection?

 

We see then that the reflection is certainly a biblical practice. The question is how do we implement reflection in our lives? Many of us spend much of the day moving from one task to the next, all the while compiling an even longer list of to-dos that we know will demand our attention tomorrow. When we do enjoy some quiet time, the thoughts racing through our heads seem even louder than the noise of the daily hustle and bustle. While acknowledging the challenge of building in reflection to our hectic lives, I’d like to list a few practical tips that have been helpful to me or that I have heard from others. May God give us an extra measure of grace as we seek to reflect upon Him in this season.

 

1. Begin with the Bible. God’s word reorients our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions. By reading, pondering, and meditating upon God’s word, we are able to reflect upon God himself.

2. Keep a daily journal. This can be daunting for some, but if you enjoy expressing yourself through writing, journaling is a great exercise. Jot down some things you’re learning about God, about yourself, and the way He is at work in your life.

3. Pray. When we pray to God, we reflect upon His character and provision for us. This is not a new concept for us as believers in Jesus, but this season offers us a great opportunity to grow closer to the Lord in prayer.

4. Read a good book, slowly. While our primary reading intake should always be the Bible, there are numerous books that have been written to help readers reflect upon God and enjoy Him more deeply. If you’re looking for recommendations, let me know!

5. Think about God and all He has done for you in Christ. A former pastor of mine once told me, you can never spend too much time thinking about Jesus. Instead of returning to your social media feed for the 10th time in the last 30 minutes (no judgment, I’m guilty of this too!), take a moment and think about Jesus. His wisdom, compassion, gentleness, kindness, righteousness, grace, power, humility, self-control, suffering, glory, etc. Ask and answer the question, “what is my favorite thing about Jesus today?”

6. Strive to create a positive environment for reflection. Wherever possible, look for physical ways to make reflection more conducive. Perhaps that means waking up early while the house is still quiet or staying up later to have time to yourself. It may mean putting on relaxing background music. For me personally, a good cup of coffee doesn’t hurt! Don’t discount the ways that your physical environment can affect your ability to reflect upon the Lord.

7. Have grace when you struggle with reflection. Based on your personality type, it may be harder for you to spend time in focused reflection. Keep this in mind and have grace on yourself. This is especially true if you have experienced anxiety and depression. The idea of spending time in deep thought may actually seem quite scary. Nevertheless, the Lord will draw near to you as you draw near to Him in reflection. Trust in His faithful love towards you.