Last sunday we came to the end of Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount", which we've been looking at over the past number of weeks as we go through Jesus' life and teachings in the book of Matthew.
It raised an important question for us to ask ourselves, which is (in the parabolic terms of building a house either on rock or on sand): What is your foundation? What are you building your life or your faith on? (see Matthew 5:24-27)
Another way of looking at it is, am I basing my life on Jesus and his teachings, or on something else which is not going to withstand the storms of life and reality? Am I instead building it on tradition, or on morality or religion, on my career or my family, or even just on myself? If I come to church, why is it that I do?
At RPC we're hoping to keep trying to understand more of what it means to be both followers of Jesus individually and as a church community, and to try and begin to live that out in our lives together. If you want to be involved too, or even just to come along to see what's happening to begin with, Sunday mornings are a great place to start!
The first of the weeknight groups has started up, and we'll be looking to get another one up and running soon!
Weeknight groups will be held in people's homes, and give us a chance to get to know each other better in a smaller group, and to encourage each other to grow in our faith.
The Teens group at RPC has already started back up, and with Term 1 now well underway it's looking like we've got a packed program so far.
Now, some have gone so far as to say it's looking like the best, most action-packed teens schedule to date...which would of course be tough to live up to after last year - but if it's anything like 2010 then don't worry, I think we've got you covered!
During our Sunday morning meetings this year we've been working our way through the life, works and teachings of Jesus as recounted by one of his close disciples, Matthew.
For the last little while we've been going through Matthew 5-7, a part of Jesus' teaching known as the "Sermon on the Mount" (named that, unsurprisingly, because he delivered it while on a mountain!).
We've been looking at what it means to be a follower of Jesus, a member of the "Kingdom of God" he often talked about, and how the first step is actually to realise our "spiritual poverty" - that we actually need God and his forgiveness because we're not good enough in ourselves!
Jesus goes on to continue laying out an outline of life in this Kingdom which was radically different to the common wisdom back then and which still challenges us just as much today on what it looks like in a practical sense to both love God and love others - even those who it may seem hard to love.
As we go through Matthew's Gospel, this is a great opportunity to look at our own hearts and ask where we feel we stand before God, and whether we've responded to his loving offer of forgiveness and a new start through Jesus. For those of us who have, it also challenges us as to whether we're actively pursuing the changed life through God's Spirit that he longs for us to live!