We’ve just been through a pretty big transition as a church. Many of you helped make the transition possible. You helped move stuff. You were one of the people who made sure we had sound and lights and video and technology working. You invited friends and neighbors to visit us. You were part of getting our new home looking good. You helped plan our celebration. You’ve stepped in to help minister to children on Sundays or to serve as a greeter or an usher or part of our security team.
You all are amazing people. And as we continue to make new friends and point people toward Jesus and the gospel, the work you’ve done and are continuing to do is a huge part of what God is doing in our midst.
Thank you. I mean that. Thank you so much.
I’ve been thinking a lot this week about transitions. Most of you know that I have a full time job apart from what I’m going at Redeemer. I oversee the group that produces a daily radio program for FamilyLife, and I co-host that program. Last week, our staff learned that after 40+ years in Little Rock, we’ll be moving our headquarters to Orlando, FL. FamilyLife is part of Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) and Cru is headquartered there. There are a number of reasons why the move makes a lot of sense. But for all of us who work for FamilyLife, the news that we’re moving is a big deal. A big transition.
That news affects a few of our members at Redeemer. Over the next several months, these friends will be deciding if they will relocate or not. If they decide not to make the move, they face a lot of unknowns related to careers and income. If they decide to move, there are still a lot of uncertainties ahead for them. The bottom line is, the transition news brings disruption, loss and adjustments.
We don’t like uncertainties, do we. We like when the road ahead is brightly lit and well paved. We like when we can see clearly where we’re headed.
But God will at times take us down a path where we can’t see what’s ahead. He said to Abram “Go from your country, and your kindred and your father’s house to a land I will show you.” That’s it. A land I will show you. But you won’t see it until you get there. That’s what walking by faith means. It means following God even through the cloud.
Sunday I mentioned the new book that was just released, written by Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth together with her husband Robert Wolgemuth. It’s a book about God’s providence and why we can trust Him to write our story. In fact, that’s the title of their book – You Can Trust God To Write Your Story. Joni Erickson Tada wrote the forward to the book, and she reads that forward in this video. It’s worth watching.
As I was talking to a radio guest today about the season of transition we’re in at FamilyLife , she shared a scripture God had given her during a season of change in her own life. It’s Isaiah 42:16:
And I will lead the blind
in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
and I do not forsake them.
“There are a lot of promises packed into that one verse,” my friend said to me. And she’s right. When we cannot see what’s ahead, or when the path is uneven or bumpy, we can know that God has gone ahead of us and He will not forsake us. That doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges or obstacles. But we can rest in the confidence that whatever path God takes us on, He goes with us.
I know some of you have wondered about how the upcoming move for FamilyLife will affect Mary Ann and me. For many years now, I’ve been mapping out plans for how FamilyLife can effectively transition our radio program from where it is today to the next season. The first step in that transition happened earlier this year when Dennis Rainey stepped aside as the host and handed off those duties to Dave and Ann Wilson. Step two involves having me step away from the day to day co-hosting responsibilities I currently have. We’re not exactly sure how soon that will happen. But we’re starting down that road now. We don’t know whether it will happen before or after the move to Orlando is complete. But my co-workers at FamilyLife know that my role at Redeemer means we won’t be relocating.
I love what I see God doing at Redeemer. I’m excited about the days ahead and we’re committed to doing all we can to help the church continue to be an outpost for the gospel in Little Rock.
You may be in a season right now where you can’t see what’s ahead for you. But you can trust God with the story He’s writing for you.
The hymn writer William Cowper gives us the right way to face unseen circumstances in his hymn God Works in a Mysterious Way. He writes:
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
I don’t know exactly who, but I’m guessing someone needed to be reminded that we can trust God for His grace no matter what path He has us on today.
Small groups start up next week! Woo hoo!
Here’s the info about where and when groups are meeting this fall.
If you’re not currently part of a small group, let me encourage you to plan to visit one or more of the groups during September. Find the group that feels like a fit for you. If you visit one and don’t stick, that’s okay – no one will be offended! But we believe small groups are an essential part of how we love and serve each other at Redeemer. Small Groups are where the “one anothers” in the Bible get lived out (love one another, pray for one another, encourage one another, bear one another’s burdens, etc.). It’s the “life on life” part of what it means to be a church.
If you have any questions about small groups, send Matt Gurney an email – MattGurney77@gmail.com
And while we’re on the subject of small groups, our bi-weekly Kid’s Small Groups will begin next Thursday night, September 19 at the church. This year, the kids will be learning about some of Jesus’ parables. The goal is to help kids ages 4-12 better understand God’s Kingdom through reading, discussion questions, activities and songs.
All kids ages birth through fifth grade are welcome. You can drop your kids off at 5:45 and pick them back up at 8:15. Dinner is provided for the kids, so please let us know if your kids have any food allergies. If you have any questions, contact Mrs. Jen at email@example.com.
On the same night as Kids Small Group next week, we’ll be helping to host a dinner and gathering for international students who are enrolled at UA Little Rock. Here’s the information about how you can help out:
If you’re interested in finding out more about what it means to be a member at Redeemer, we have just the class for you. Our next prospective membership meeting is set for a week from Saturday, September 21 at church from 9:00 am – noon. We do ask that you read a few short books and watch a few videos before you arrive. Pastor Matt can give you all the info. Email him for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And ladies, don’t forget the upcoming Women’s Fellowship Dinner on Monday night, September 23. The Women’s Bible Study begins the following week. Look for an email from Mrs. Jen with details about both events.
Have you ever wondered want the Bible means when it calls Jesus “the Word?” We’ll consider that question as we begin a study through Part One of the Gospel of John this Sunday.
See you in church!
Soli Deo Gloria!