One of you asked me this week about where we are heading in our study of scripture, now that our series in 1 John is complete.
Over the next two Sundays, I’m planning to mark our first services in our new building with a high level look at the historical connection between the presence of God among His people and the places on earth that God has said to have inhabited at one point or another. My hope is that we’ll come away with a deeper understanding of the mission God has for us as a church and how our new building fits into that mission.
After that, beginning in mid-September, I’m planning that we will begin an extended series in the Gospel of John. My plan is not to go through the book from start to finish. Instead, we’ll break the book up into four or five major sections, and spread our study out over the next 18 months. In between the various sections, we’ll take a break to look at other sections of scripture before we dive back into John’s Gospel.
When we started Redeemer, we spent more than two years going thought the Gospel of Luke. Since then, we’ve looked at New Testament epistles and Old Testament history and prophecy. We’ve spent time in the Psalms and gone phrase by phrase through the Apostles Creed. We’ve done topical studies. We’ve looked at some of Jesus’ parables. But I’ve found myself in recent days wanting to get back to Jesus.
John Piper says “No book in the Bible has a more sustained focus on the glory of Jesus Christ than the Gospel of John.” He’s right. And my own soul is ready to spend some concentrated time focusing on the beauty, the glory, the majesty and the magnificent of Jesus.
Just before he died, the great puritan John Owen was working on a book called Meditations on the Glory of Christ. In the preface, Owen wrote “The revelation made of Christ in the blessed Gospel is far more excellent, more glorious, and more filled with rays of divine wisdom and goodness, than the whole creation and the just comprehension of it, if attainable, can contain or afford. Without the knowledge hereof, the mind of man, however priding itself in other inventions and discoveries, is wrapped up in darkness and confusion.
“This, therefore, deserves the severest of our thoughts, the best of our meditations, and our utmost diligence in them. For if our future blessedness shall consist in being where He is, and beholding of His glory, what better preparation can there be for it than in a constant previous contemplation of that glory in the revelation that is made in the Gospel, unto this very end, that by a view of it we may be gradually transformed into the same glory?”
Focusing our hearts and lives on the person of Jesus Christ is at the center of who we are and what we desire to be and do as a church.
Early on in our journey, I realized that while we want to be people who dig deep and who seek to plumb the depths of God’s word, it’s possible to make Bible study and Bible knowledge into an idol.
And while we want to be people who worship God with passion and delight, it is possible to find ourselves delighting in the experience of worship but forget the One who is the object of our worship. Satan is pleased when we love the experience of worship more than we love the Person we’re worshipping.
As a church, we want to facilitate helping to cultivate authentic, transparent, grace based, Christ centered, intentionally intrusive redemptive relationships with one another. But just as with Bible study or worship, if we think the central purpose of the church is for us to “do life together,” we’ve made cultivating community into an idol, and we’ve missed what is the bigger purpose of the church.
Even the mission to which we are called as believers – to “make disciples of all nations” – can become a task that drives us rather than the overflow of a life that is filled up with Jesus.
Digging deep into the Bible, worshipping Jesus with joy and passion and delight, loving and serving one another in authentic community and sharing the glory of God with all people – these are all good and important and necessary things. But they are not the central thing. The central that for us is what the Apostle Paul says was the central focus of his own life – knowing Jesus and the power of His resurrection. If our study of scripture, our worship, our fellowship with one another and our efforts to share the gospel with others – if these things don’t bring us closer to Jesus, having a deeper appreciation for His love for us expressed in His death and resurrection – then all our Bible study and worship and fellowship and evangelism are in vain.
So my hope is that as we look together at the life of Jesus and His encounters with His disciples, with people at a wedding, with a confused Pharisee, with an immoral woman and so many other people, we will come to love Jesus more deeply than we do now.
Want to see what our old meeting space looks like once everything is gone?
Meanwhile, out on David O Dodd Road, we’re getting ready for the next chapter at Redeemer.
And that includes new plans for our kids. Here’s an update from Mrs. Jen with all you need to know about kids ages 0-12:
There is so much excitement buzzing around the new RCC building and I cannot wait to greet all of you families and help your kiddos get adjusted to our new HOME!!!
There are a few things for you to be aware of leading up to Sunday and your attention to these things will help tremendously on our first Sunday in the new space.....
1. Class/age divisions - walking into the “quad area” of children’s classes:
Babies (pre-walkers) will be the room straight and to the left
Toddlers (walkers) are straight and to the right
PreK3 (once potty trained until 4th birthday) is first room on the right
K4/K5 will be the first room on the left
We will have maps and signs to help this be clear on Sunday morning.
2. Check-In Process - Babies through 5th Graders
All Babies through 5th graders are required to be checked in BY PARENTS at the laptops or iPad station before coming back to a class (regardless of when you choose for them to enter their correct room....for example, after worship time, etc).
You will receive a name tag for each child and a 'security label' once your child(ren) has been checked in.
3. Pick-Up Process
Every parent MUST have their child's security label in order to pick up their child(ren) after the service.
Please pray for all leaders and teachers involved and be patient and gracious to them as we are all getting acquainted with new systems, new curriculum, new adventures, etc.
Thanks for letting me be a part of the discipling of your children. Let’s keep the gospel and God’s name and fame as the focus of all we do and say!!
By His Grace,
Children's Ministry Director
And while we’re talking about our kids, you’re all invited to a nursery shower to help better equip our new kids area. This is the best kind of shower there is. There’s no party to attend, no games to play and no small talk to make. All you have to do is buy a gift.
Click on Mrs. Jen’s Amazon Wish List here to select an item you’d like to provide for the kids area. Or make out a special offering check and note the Nursery Shower gift in the memo line. That way, Mrs. Jen can buy her own gifts!
Seriously, thanks for taking a minute to browse the list and to think about what you could buy to help better equip our nursery and toddler areas.
Don’t forget about our plans for our Dedication Sunday, September 8:
We’ll have our Sunday morning worship service as usual at 10:00 am, with our special guest Justin Unger leading the music.
At 4:00 on Sunday afternoon, we’ll gather back at the church for a get together. We’ll have inflatables and games. We’ll serve Corky’s BBQ starting at 5:00. And at 6:00, we’ll head inside for an all church hymn sing and a concert from Justin.
We’ve invited our neighbors. Think about friends you’d like to invite.
And get ready for a great Dedication day!
I thought you’d like to know that at the same time we’ve been getting our own new house in order, some of us have been helping our friends at David O Dodd Elementary School with their home. Check out the newly brightly painted US map!
Way to go team! Looks great.
I’m sure I’ll say this again a few dozen times, but I can’t thank you all enough for the hours all of you have put in helping with every aspect of our move. Thanks to the packers and movers and unpackers who have been hard at work this past week. Thanks to those who have gone door to door in the nearby neighborhoods inviting people to visit our church and to come out to the dedication event at 4:00 pm on Sunday, September 8. Thanks to the decorating team. The dedication day events team. Thanks to those who have taken vacation days to help with all the set up to get us ready for this Sunday.
You all are what makes Redeemer so special. If you’ve played any part, large or small, on behalf of all of us, thank you for serving!
As we move into our new church home, we’ll look together this week at how, until Jesus was born, God connected His presence with His people to buildings and tents and other structures. We’ll start in Revelation before we head back to Genesis to trace the manifest presence of God in buildings built by human hands.
See you in our new church!
Soli Deo Gloria!