Welcome to Riverlawn Presbyterian Church, where we strive to: purge ourselves of pride by focusing on and glorifying God, teach the truth through fellowship & discipleship, demonstrate a life of love through service to others, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those in need.
At Riverlawn Presbyterian we believe that we have a mission to both our local community as well as a global outreach. We want to provide a place where people can encounter Jesus Christ. Riverlawn feels called to minister to families and children in our community.
Come worship with us in the Sanctuary. July 25, 2021 at 10:30am.
This week Chris' sermon is: “Using Your Gifts Fruitfully” (Serving with Joy Part 5)
Video for July 25, 2021
Have you heard of Riverlawn’s Living Into Our Vision initiative? It’s a detailed plan including a 5-year vision, outlining our purpose as a church, and stating the goals we would need to accomplish as we live into our vision. The entire Living into Our Vision plan can be viewed by clicking on the link above.
This plan will be carried out in 4 phases that will encourage us to grow spiritually by drawing close to Jesus and result in our desire to follow Jesus’ example and command to go out into the world with the good news of His love.
Phase 1 introduces us to the practices of prayer and fasting. As we pray and fast, we are seeking repentance, unity, and God’s will for Riverlawn. One way this is expressed is by sharing in a church-wide time of prayer and fasting on the first Monday of each month.
We know that God has called us to be a light in the darkness and to bring hope to the lost. Our prayer is that each person reading this letter will prayerfully consider what God is calling you to claim as your part of making this vision a reality.
~ Here are a couple links to helpful resources:
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/fasting-for-beginners (Fasting for beginners, informative and relatable for all)
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/why-do-christians-fast (Why do Christians fast? Inward, Outward, Forward, Godward)
* New Reduced Protocols for Sanctuary Worship:
Effective June 29, 2021
1. Wearing a mask is optional. However, children under twelve are to wear masks while indoors, and we ask adults serving in Jr. Church or the nursery to wear masks as a model for the children.
2. Physical distancing is recommended.
3. After-church fellowship will continue to occur outside for the time being.
The Supernatural Amidst the Struggle
Doesn’t your heart burn when you read about the early days of the Church? “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles” (Ac. 2:42).
Jon Bloom writes, “That young seedling of a church burst out of holy ground in the garden of God with joyful, beautiful vibrancy as the young Christians met, worshiped, prayed, witnessed, and cared for one another.” Don’t you long for that experience? I do. I pray for it, and I expect I will continue to pray for it during this earthly sojourn.
We often attempt to capture this kind of experience by trying various ways of “doing church” together. And I think this is a healthy, Spirit-inspired longing and pursuit (keeping in mind that no methodology has the power to produce what only the Holy Spirit can do). But there was a factor at play in the early church’s vital life that we tend to overlook. It’s a factor we might not think to pray for, but one that helped provide the fertile environment in which the first-generation church flourished. That factor was a hostile culture and the desperate situations of many saints.
When we pray for revival and robust churches, we may expect God to give us answers that look like Acts 2. But we become discouraged when we experience difficulties, not recognizing these as important parts of a spiritually fertile environment. When we take a careful look at the account of these seemingly sublime early church days, a more complex picture emerges. We begin to see it in this description of generosity: “All the believers were together and had all things in common. They sold possessions and belongings to give to anyone who had need.” (Acts 2:44-45)
What was happening that prompted this outbreak of possession-sharing? A significant number of Christians were experiencing significant material needs. Why? Because not everybody was looking upon them with favor. Luke reports that these Christians had “favor with all the people” (v. 47). But let’s remember that this “favor” was fickle, was by no means universal, and did not last long. There was a brief window of favor with the same people who had also favored the miracle-working Jesus, until he said hard things, or was arrested, condemned, and executed. They likely favored the church in large measure due to the apostles’ awe-inspiring miracles. But we see this favor-window close as soon as we get to Acts 4 – when the persecution really begins.
The remarkable generosity of Christians was drawn out because of necessity. It’s likely that most, if not all, of the new converts, were being kicked out of their synagogues — the hub of spiritual and social life in Jewish communities – for becoming followers of Jesus. This was already taking place during Jesus’s lifetime. Surely it was happening in the months after Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection, when the religious leaders were doing their best to snuff out this new “sect.”
And that being the case, it’s also likely many new Christians were being disowned and disinherited by their families. It’s easy to have uninvested favor toward a group until your child or your sibling or your spouse joins, and the social and economic costs become personal. Then painful disruptions begin. And these disruptions would have created immediate housing needs and resulted in many Christians suddenly finding themselves unemployed, since so many businesses were family-based.
In other words, the wonderful generosity did not happen in a vacuum. It was a response to sudden, painful, and desperate needs. Christians possessing this world’s goods saw their brothers and sisters in need and could not close their hearts against them because they were filled with God’s love. Their desperate need and acute suffering contributed to the remarkable fellowship the believers experienced. Think of the times you’ve experienced the most intense and precious fellowship with others. How many of those occurred in difficult times in your or someone else’s life?
Yes, the Holy Spirit was moving powerfully in the early church. But like the Spirit often does, he was moving in response to people’s faith, which was heightened because of the overwhelming needs and adversity they were facing. Again, when have you experienced the Spirit most powerfully in your life? I imagine it’s typically happened when desperation drove you to need and seek him.
We should not romanticize persecution or affliction. They are evils. However, throughout biblical and church history, we find a consistent pattern: “glad and generous hearts” (v. 46) tend to grow best when adversity is part of the church’s life. Affliction provides sanctifying opportunities for us to experience the love of Christ in very personal ways, as we extend it to and receive it from one another – opportunities to demonstrate the gospel visibly to a watching world. In other words … the gospel becomes more real to us the more we feel our need of it.
So let’s keep seeking the Spirit for guidance … for strength … for revival! And let’s keep longing to be like that radically loving, generously giving, passionately praying, boldly witnessing community of first-generation saints! But let’s remember the hostile, painful, desperate context in which the church was born. And as we pray, let us remember Peter’s words that came from personal experience: “Do not be surprised at the trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12). It is quite likely we are experiencing God’s unexpected answers to our prayers.
Please click on the Staying Close Staying Connected Graphic for the complete document.
Riverlawn Presbyterian Church
has a gift for you!
Riverlawn family and friends -
I’m excited to share that our church has access to an extensive video library called RightNow Media!
It’s like the "Netflix of Video Bible Studies" and has a HUGE library of faith-based videos that you can access whenever and wherever you want—on your phone, tablet, computer, or on your TV at home. You will have FREE access to thousands of video resources to help you with parenting, marriage, discipleship and more. It includes content for all ages and stages of life, and all of your family members are invited to set up their own accounts as well.
Now, let’s create your account! There are two simple steps:
Click on the "Get Started" button below to create your private account and start watching right away!
Download the RightNow Media app for smart phone, tablet, Apple TV, Roku, or Amazon Fire TV.
We hope you and your family enjoy this gift from all of us here at Riverlawn Presbyterian Church.
In the matchless love of our Savior,
Click on the logo above for more details.
Please show your support and donate to Chris Davis and his team.
Learn more at: www.globallead.world
Dear Friends of the Open Arms Foundation,
I know that many of you, like me, often find that shopping on Amazon is convenient and affordable. Now it can also benefit the Open Arms Foundation when you do so! If you go to Amazon smile and click on the Open Arms Foundation in Cross Lanes, WV as your recipient, 0.5% of the price of whatever you order on Amazon will go toward our organization! You still buy just as you always would but you give an extra gift to the children in Colombia! Thanks for clicking one extra time on your computer when you next buy from Amazon!
Open Arms Foundation
Please show your support and donate to Enoc & Cristina Hernandez.
Learn more at: www.openarmsfoundation.com