Our vision for this year here at Redemption Church is to see the gospel go deeper and wider. That is to say that we want to grow deeply in our understanding of the grace and knowledge that is in the Lord Jesus. We’re seeking God and his Kingdom, longing to be further transformed more so into the image of our Savior. And it is in going deeper in our relationships with Jesus and one another that we believe will bear real gospel-fruit that will result in going wider into are surrounding neighborhoods here in Seattle.
We decided to kick off this year with a strong push toward mission and evangelism. Our desire is to see Jesus lifted up and by his grace, drawing everyone to himself! (John 12:32). Thus, we took the first four weeks to walk through the Old Testament book of Jonah as a church family. The book of Jonah shows us a clear picture of how God feels about those whom we would consider to be our enemies and even God’s enemies.
we observe that God took the initiative by going to Jonah and telling him to go and preach to the Ninevites. Jonah did not obey God but rather ran in the opposite direction and boarded the nearest ship out of town. Asleep on the boat, Jonah appeared to have escaped the call of God on his life to go and preach to people given to “evil” (Jonah 1:2). However, God would not relent and caused the great storm to happen on the sea. After the mariners prayed to their gods with no answer, they conversed with Jonah they reached the conclusion that Jonah must be hurled into the sea in order to cause it to cease from raging. The mariners then believed in the one true God, Jonah’s God. Our God.
Jonah had sunk into the sea, down to his death, only to be rescued buy a “great fish!” (1:17). Miraculously, he didn’t die in the belly of the beast and lived there for three days. He then and offered up a prayer to God, promising that he will indeed paid his “vows” (2:9).
The fish then spat Jonah up onto the land and Jonah went to preach in Nineveh. As he pronounced the judgment of God upon their evil, the people repent from the least of them to the greatest in dramatic fashion! (3:6). The outsiders became insiders! Those who were far from God became close. Those who were his enemies now became his children! What grace!
We see that this miracle of salvation greatly distressed Jonah as he became “exceedingly angry”(4:1). Rather than rejoicing in the salvation of other people, he complains, he pouts, and he even believes that he would be better off dead then watching his enemies experience the scandalous grace of God. Much like a parable, the book ends an abrupt manner. We don’t know what happens next. The way it finishes with in such an open-ended way seems to invite readers to do some self-reflection. We’re forced to reckon with a gracious God. In the last scene of the book we seek God reasoning with Jonah in discussing the nature of his compassionate pity extended to those whom Jonah resented. Jesus paints a similar picture of the Father in his famous parable known as the “Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:11-32). When rebels experience the grace of God, the self righteous religious onlookers tend to struggle big time, showing their true colors, revealing that they need God’s grace to save them out of their religious ideologies as much as the rebellious need to be saved out of their sin.
So here at Redemption, we are praying and longing that God would guard us from self-righteousness, and that he would continue to fill us with the boldness that accompanies true gospel proclamation and that we would see our friends, coworkers, families, and neighbors come to experience the saving grace of our God!
If you’d like to go back and listen to the sermons click on our “Sermons +” button up top.
Alex Early | Preaching & Theology
At Redemption Church our family is about 3 things:
At the beginning of fall, we took a few weeks to look into how we go about accomplishing those three things we call our “Mission”. Thus, these 6 points serve as foundational cultural pieces upon which we construct the house called “Redemption Church.” Whether you’re newer to Redemption or have been around since the beginning, as we think about these pieces it’s critical to remember that they are all covered with a little word with major implications called “Joy”.
We are good news people! Our God loves us, saves us, and sends us into the world with the light, truth, and grace of the Lord Jesus.
Because we belong to Jesus, also belong to each other. We are intentional about being a community that is committed to God and his work in his world.
We live our lives to the glory of God as passionate worshipers of Jesus, by and through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus came to serve and we count it a privilege to follow in his footsteps as servants in our city.
We’re intentional about growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus, anchored in the Scriptures.
God is on mission in this world, adopting sons and daughters into his family and we play a critical role as we share the good news of the gospel with our families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
Redemption Team | Culture
Click here to sign up to be baptized during our worship service on Sunday, October 16th! BAPTISM SIGN UP
Jesus commanded that we go into the world… make disciples… and baptize them…”
For anyone who would follow the Lord Jesus, baptism is a commandment. Like all of his other commands to disciples – they are just that commandments, not suggestions. And if we understand who he is and what he’s done then his commandments taste more like a cool drink of water on a hot day rather than paying taxes. St. John reminds us that “his commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3)
As you’ve probably noticed, we are about 2,000 years into Church History and like so many churches around world – here at Redemption Church baptism is a big deal! This glorious sacrament speaks directly to who God is and what he has done in Christ, through the Holy Spirit for the sake of the Church!
The New Testament teaches us that Baptism represents a few incredible things to the Christian. Here’s four of those:
Jesus commanded that all who would come after him as his disciples are to follow him in being baptized. This is a public declaration that you have been plunged into a relationship with the Triune God being that Jesus said that we are to be “baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). Notice here that Jesus says “name” and not “names.” This speaks to the oneness and threeness of our God. “Baptism was to conversion something like what the engagement ring is to many engaged couples in modern Western society; the official, public declaration of the commitment.”
Look at this beautiful statement from Ananias to Paul upon Paul’s conversion, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). “Outward washing with water expresses the cleansing from sin that is proclaimed in the gospel and received by faith sacramentally in baptism.” Catch that! You’re cleansed! What a grace!
Paul wrote to the Corinthians
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” (1 Cor. 15:3-4).
Baptism is a picture of Good Friday and Easter! When someone goes into the water, they’re declaring that their sins are buried with Christ. When someone comes up out of the water, they’re identifying with the resurrected Jesus!
Lastly, here’s an excerpt from The New Believer’s Guide to the Christian Life…
There is a saying from the early church that can serve to help us better understand what water baptism is and what it represents. Sofia Cavalletti, a woman who lived in Rome and worked with young children on their spiritual formation, writes in her book Living Liturgy:Elementary Reflections:
“The catechumens [Christian converts awaiting baptism] went down into the baptismal pool, which was considered both the tomb of the old person and the motherly womb of the church, which gave new birth to the new person. Going into the pool was like going down into the tomb, and coming up out of the pool was the return to a new life, the life of the risen Christ.”
So, if you walk into your church and you see the baptismal font, think to yourself, from death to life. You see, as you’re baptized, you’re in a sense reaching back in time to hold the hands of the saints who have gone before us, and remembering the stark reality that our old lives with all of our sin and folly are buried in the tomb, and by the grace of God, we emerge to live new lives from the womb as the people of God.
The baptismal font is the tomb and the womb.
So if you’re a believer in Jesus but haven’t followed through on baptism, we’d love to baptize you on October 16th as we wrap up our We Are Redemption series! Click here to sign up: BAPTISM
Alex Early | Teaching & Theology
Paul’s epistle to the Romans (57-58 A.D.) stands as a tower, a lighthouse in a very dark world brimming and brooding with various forms of evil in every corner. When I think of the epistle to the Romans I think of God’s incredible creation story. I think of our sin and all the consequences that we still bear. I think of the sending of the great savior, our Lord Jesus. And I can’t help but daydream about all that is to come when he returns.
Just reading through Romans and grappling with all that is being said is not for the faint of heart. And equally as challenging is the application of the content! The first 11 chapters speak primarily to us about God, the gospel, the work of Jesus’ redemption, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (vertical).
But then in chapter 12 (vv. 9-21) Paul provides for us a vision for what mature Christian life actually looks like on the ground level (horizontal). He tells us that we are to be a loving, honorable, patient, blessing, encouraging, peaceable, community. Christians are not to be the people who hit back or harbor bitterness. Christians are to be a forgiving people, a preserving people; the salt and light that Jesus spoke about (Matt. 5:13-14).
And yet, if Paul were to command us to do all of these things without first and foremost anchoring our entire identity in Jesus, this would simply be impossible! We would fail; falling flat on our faces in the first 10 seconds! Why? Because the Christian life is anything but natural to us!
In the gospel, the imperatives always follow the indicatives. What we should do as Christians is always grounded in what has been done in Christ. We can’t afford to get the cart before the horse on this one. If we do, we lose the gospel!
You see, the way into Christ-likeness is not through a white-knuckled, grind-it-out, prove-you’re-serious-and-scourge-yourself discipline (though discipline is at the core of discipleship). The way to becoming more like Jesus is to place him at the center of our thoughts and looking for him everywhere-starting with and saturated by the Scriptures.
So rather than reading Romans 12 and being broken by the the weight of the expectations, see Jesus there as our great example and Savior for when we fall short. Take a moment and marvel at each of these statements about our Lord Jesus in light of Romans 12.
Jesus’ love is genuine.
Jesus abhors what is evil; Jesus holds fast to what is good.
Jesus loves others with brotherly affection.
Jesus outdoes everyone in showing honor.
Jesus is not be slothful in zeal, but Jesus is fervent in spirit, and Jesus served the Lord.
Jesus rejoices in hope, Jesus was patient in tribulation, and Jesus was found to be in constant prayer.
Jesus contributed to the needs of the saints and Jesus showed hospitality.
Jesus blessed his persecutors; Jesus blessed and did not curse them.
Jesus rejoices with those who rejoice, and Jesus weeps with those who weep.
Jesus lived in harmony with the other disciples and Jesus lives in harmony with us.
Jesus is not haughty, but associates with the lowly.
Jesus was never be wise in his own sight.
Jesus repaid no one evil for evil, but Jesus gave thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
As far as it depended on Jesus, he lived peaceably with all.
Jesus, never avenged himself, but left it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, Jesus fed his hungry enemies and gave water to anyone who was thirsty.
Jesus was not overcome by evil, but overcame evil with good.
Alex Early | Teaching & Theology
The tongue has the power of death or life – Proverbs 18:21
On average the adult in America speaks 700 times (not a typo) a day! You speak more than you do anything else, which is why God cares so much about what comes out of your mouth and rolls of your tongue. We know this because He talks about speech in 90 Proverbs; more than sex, more than money, God presses into the reality that the tongue is powerful. And in our day and age it’s not just our literal tongue we need to be concerned about, but also our virtual tongue that speaks from behind our phones and computers. Your words aren’t just words, they have the power of death or life. And the truth is, you don’t even have to be intentional with your words you type on Facebook, Twitter, Emails, etc, to be deadly, you can just be careless (Matthew 12:36).
When I think of social media, the movie Jurassic Park comes to mind. In the infancy of the park, it was a fun, carefree place to connect with the animals. But as the movie progresses, this fun, safe place of connection becomes a war zone where people are being destroyed. Unfortunately, we see the same thing happening on social media everyday. From behind a keyboard, words like arrows are being thrust at one another; critical, careless, disheartening words that although spoken through virtual channels, are penetrating real people, with real hearts, and leaving real scars. Proverbs makes this point poetically and profoundly when Solomon writes:
“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” – Proverbs 12:18
“So, I should stop using social media?” No, that’s not the point. But, do we need to be careful and cautious about what conversations we take part in and what we say; especially when they are in the vein of political, cultural, racial, or any other more serious topic of known friction. We need to constantly investigate our own heart and motives behind what we tweet, post, and comment on. Because of the convenience of social media and the reality of not being held accountable face to face with an individual, the flood gates have opened wide for “reckless” words to come flooding out. Words that we wouldn’t dare say in person, but are more than happy to put up in less than 60 seconds without 30 seconds of consideration. Sometimes it feels like there’s this invisible pressure to take part in every heated and heavy conversation on social media, but the reality is you don’t have to. In fact, many times, it’s far wiser not to; because while it’s easy to discern tone and intention face to face, this is not always the case online. Care is critical. Before we share our opinions, make harsh rebukes to others opinions, or start to critic others words and motives, first, we should seek to understand, discern, and ask “is this going to help build anyone up, bring understanding, clarity, promote healing of any kind or do these words have the power to harm?”
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. – Proverbs 18:2
Our words are meant to be used for healing, not for harm; this is a theme God hits throughout Proverbs because it’s such a big deal. We should not be a church and people known for our quarrels, harsh words, conflicts, or strong opinions. During our day to day speech and interactions, let’s remember and never forget the importance of speaking up for things that are truly important that reflect the heart of God as expressed here in Proverbs 31:
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
As Christians who have been transformed minds and hearts, whether it’s face to face or over social media, I would encourage all of us (myself included) to take a minute today to think about what we’re saying and even more importantly, why we’re saying it. As Jesus says in Luke 6, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Our world is filled with hurt, gossip, slander, insults, and carless speech; this is an area never lacking. So let’s not add to this noise but instead point our words toward healing, peace, love, care, and ultimately, use our words to point toward Jesus.
Dear God, please make us a people and church marked by our words of love, compassion, kindness, and grace, not those who take part in foolish conversations or used our tongue (literal or virtual) to act carelessly and harshly toward others. Jesus please help us to offer words of healing where there’s hurt, words of peace where there’s conflict, and words of gospel truth, where there are lies. And Father, please work on our hearts from where our words come from and help us to humbly allow you to be our speech-writer as you continue to make us more like you son. Amen.
From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive. Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. – Proverbs 16: 23-24
Drew Hensley | Teaching & Ministry Pastor
Happy Summer, Redemption!
We wanted to let you know what to expect from the pulpit during the months of July and August.
Proverbs: The Way of Wisdom
We are diving into the book of Proverbs and are really excited about it! As an expression of incredible grace, God has give us an entire genre in Scripture known as “wisdom literature” to which the Proverbs belong. The word “Proverb” comes from the Latin proverbium “pro” to “put forth” and verbium meaning “word.” The book of Proverbs is an absolutely invaluable book that is a rich reservoir from which can draw wisdom from God informing us how we can live life to the fullest! Wisdom applied reaps innumerable benefits and when avoided can prove disastrous. For thousands of years the people of God have flourished by meditating and walking out the wisdom found in the book of Proverbs. We want to join our family journeying down the same paths.
As you know, wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Wisdom comes to those who are willing to seek her (Prov. 4:7) . So this summer we are seeking to apply our hearts to growing in wisdom and some very key areas that we all will greatly benefit from.
Beginning on July 10 begin covering the following topics…
So start reading the Proverbs, pray, and invite some friends and family along as we believe this will be an extremely beneficial time at Redemption Church!
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
– Proverbs 4:7
Drew, Ryan & Alex | Redemption Team
Last week I sat down with the newest member of our Redemption team, Alex Early and asked a few super serious questions about life, ministry…and professional wrestling (okay, not so super serious). So lets get to know Alex more as we get ready to welcome the Earlys next week!
Alright, so let me start off by asking about you and Jesus. When did you start a friendship with Him and what did that look like?
I became a Christian at the age of 15. We have a deep Christian heritage in my family with several serving in the ministry currently in the my grandfather was also a pastor and so hearing about Jesus was quite quite common. We had a youth pastor at our church who came in and began to really speak about the grace of God in ways that I had never heard of and so over about a year of listening to you and hanging out with he and others at our church my heart grew fond of Jesus. Later I would learn theologically but that is because Jesus is actually pursuing me. One evening in April I was at a Christian concert and a band quoted John 3:16 and it was right there that I believe the gospel and everything changed.
So, you have an awesome wife Jana. How did you guys meet and when did you know you were going to marry her?
She really is awesome! Jana grew up in Birmingham and I grew up in Atlanta. We were both really into punk rock and hard-core and later learned that we had so many mutual friends. One night there was a punk rock/hardcore festival going on in Birmingham and me and some of my friends drove over to watch some of the bands (MeWithoutYou, Norma Jean, 238, Spitfire, etc). I saw her on the edge of a mosh pit trying not to be killed by a bunch of guys running around going crazy and right there I fell in love with her. I was 19 and she was 18. After the show I walked over and introduced myself to her and we began talking. A few months later we started dating and the rest is history!
Tovah and Jude are your beautiful children. What’s one thing each does that cracks you up?
Tov is super into animals of all kinds! Especially skunks. She runs to the house constantly on all fours like a cheetah is quite good at it! Jude is “all boy” as my Papa Walt says. He loves the ninja turtles and transformers and everything a five-year-old boy can possibly love. One thing that I think is funny with him is that he loves to grab you by your face and pull you in real close and then just bust out laughing.
What’s your ideal day hanging out with Jana and your kids?
Well, we are pretty simple. I’d say hit up Portage Bay for breakfast, then over to the Greenwood library, the zoo, or Discovery Park. In the afternoon, watching the Sounders, followed by cooking in the kitchen accompanied by antipasti apps and good tunes on.
Over this past year, I know God has been doing a lot in your life; what’s one or a few things that stick out that He’s been showing you or growing you in?
1) Redefining wealth. All of our wealth is in our relationships with Jesus and each other (not titles, accomplishments, pay checks, etc. Not that those things aren’t significant. They just aren’t where real wealth is found).2) The gentleness of Jesus. Everyone either currently does or one day will confess Jesus to be Lord and King and Christ. But for those who really walk with him and know him personally tend to speak of him in terms of his love, gentleness, kindness, and compassion.3) On gratitude. Discipleship with Jesus in relationships with one another whether under vices such as pride, selfishness, and entitlement. I am making it my aim to live and die in a state of gratitude; to God for the people and provisions in my life.
That question! Absolutely unfair. The food scene in Seattle is as good as anywhere I’ve ever been! I think I’d go Paseo over the Other Coast. I think I’d pick Ocho’s tapas over Tango’s. And Chuck’s Hop Shop on 85th in our neighborhood has the perfect vibe of grimy+tasty+family+neighborhoodsy to make it a “you can find Early here pretty regularly” kind of spot.
I absolutely love to cook! It is a hobby that does not take me away from my family and everybody wins because I try to bring my A- game in the kitchen! I also just got a 1973 Honda CB 750 last week and do like to get out and ride a little.
Alright, not to embarrass you too much, but tell us one of your guilty pleasures (like if you listen to NSYNC or really dig late night Taco Bell runs…wait, that’s mine).
As ridiculous as it may sound I like to watch pro wrestling if I happen to catch it on TV. The fact that Thrice was recently in a WWE commercial didn’t help this situation 😉
As you have been thinking about coming back to Seattle and joining the Redemption team, what’s been your prayer for the church and the city?
I have been praying that as a team we will always do what is best for one another and for the church as we are united. I’ve been praying that the church will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus. And I’ve been praying that the city of Seattle at-large will be given ears to hear and hearts that are willing and able to respond to the kindness of God that leads to repentance and eternal life.
Drew Hensley & Alex Early | Redemption Team
We’ve all done it. Had one of those moments where you are sitting on the couch and an informercial comes on. Before you know it you are convinced you can have perfect abs, porcelain skin, and a grill to cook all your meats perfectly in under three minutes. Such amazing promises these informercials sell to us. And yet, when the products arrive and we use them, we find our abs are less then sculpted, our skin still has its blemishes and the meat tastes like rubber.
All of us have become a bit numb to offers that seem to good to be true. Maybe that is why when Easter rolls around we are tempted to let it just pass by without really considering and trusting the incredible message of it. For some the news of Easter just seems to good to be true…and yet it is. The Apostle Paul said that if the Resurrection isn’t true and just another informercial then Christians are to truly be pitied more than anyone else. Yet Paul knew the Resurrection was true and that the news of it would change the world and history more than anything else ever would. Here are three incredible truths that the Heidelberg Catechism teach us about the resurrection of Jesus.
Have you ever had insufficient funds for a debt? Maybe you didn’t have enough to cover a bill or even a check that you wrote. When this happens the check is returned and the debt still remains. The payment Jesus made on the Cross through the shedding of his blood and his broken body was enough to pay for our sin. We no longer have to stand outside of communion with God. We no longer under the wrath of God because Jesus took that just punishment for us. Our debt was death and that debt was paid. The resurrection of Jesus declares the glorious truth that the death of Jesus was sufficient for our sin.
Because our sin has been paid for we can be reconciled to God (Rom. 5:10). A holy God is now able to draw near and take up residence in us and give us a new heart and nature (John 3). We are given new life in which to live out with God’s people the church. This glorious truth means we are made new and adopted as we know look at God and call him “Abba.”
While we will all die one day, that death will not be the end for us. Rather death has lost it’s victory and sting for those in Christ. Paul makes it abundantly clear that a day will come in which we will be resurrected just as Jesus was on Easter.
The news of Easter is utterly amazing and extraordinary. Its claims are far greater than those of any infomercial, but unlike any informercial product what Jesus promises us in his Resurrection actually delivers.
We would love to have you join us at Redemption Church this Sunday at 10am to celebrate this amazing, world-altering news that Jesus has risen. Also, consider praying for a friend and bringing them along.
Ryan Kearns | Pastor of Discipleship & Direction
What is the church really supposed to be about? I was walking around Greenlake one day with Laura and we walked past an older man with a petition asking people to sign up to help “get big government out of Washington.” I didn’t really think too much about it as we kept walking and drinking our lattes (or maybe a mocha but who knows). As we finished the loop we started to pass by the same man but this time a women was talking with him and I overhead their conversation. “who are you with?” she asked. His response completely floored me; “I’m with my church.” I wasn’t surprised at the cause itself, I was surprised and confused at why this was something his church had chosen to identify with and make part of their purpose.
I’ve talked to a lot of people over the past 9 years of pastoral ministry and lately I’ve seen a growing trend that honestly, scares me within the Christian community. There’s an increased popularity around the idea of a “fresh” or “new” mission for the church. I’m all for new and fresh; I agree that no one’s attracted to things that are past their expiration date or rotten, but when it comes to the mission of the local church, this isn’t even an area for debate, re-interpretation, or relevance. The purpose of the church was decided thousands of years ago by the founder of the church. His name is Jesus and He gave His life for this church, His church. We can say it in different, compelling ways but the ultimate purpose of any Jesus loving, gospel minded church is and will always remain the same…to make much of Jesus by making disciples of Jesus. If the mission or point of the church becomes anything else, we’ve lost course and need to re-calibrate.
If you told me the idea or concept of what “making disciples” really looks like has become more confusing than the difference between a left sock and a right sock, I would totally agree. Discipleship is something we all like to talk about and toss around but when the rubber meets the road, sometimes we seem to be left with more questions than clear answers. So instead of going down a dozen rabbit trails, here’s what I would consider a faithful, gospel definition.
Making Disciples means transferring gospel truth through relationships to help others become more like Jesus. Would I include the idea of evangelism in here? Absolutely. Call it pre-discipleship if you want, but ultimately discipleship is about knowing Jesus and growing to be more like Him. And that is absolutely, without a doubt, what Jesus has asked His bride, the church to do, day after day, year after year, as long as we exist.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” – Matthew 28:19a
The beauty of this mission for the church is that it’s something we can actually do! You don’t have to be Yoda to make a disciple. “Make disciple I will” (insert Yoda voice). You simply need to be faithful. Faithful to growing in Jesus and then faithful to speaking the truths that Jesus shares with us through the bible and throughout His ministry with others. Jesus hasn’t asked you to save anyone. Why? Because we can’t! It’s not our role to save anyone; only Jesus can do that as the Holy Spirit opens eyes and hearts to the message of the gospel. He’s simply asked us as His followers to faithfully pursue people through relationships in an honest, compassionate, gracious way that is true to His gospel. This means addressing clear sin in another’s life in honest yet gracious ways when it’s present, encouraging one another when we doubt God’s love or direction, reminding each other of the “good” that God has in store, and a whole host of other things all centered around the truth of the gospel. This isn’t rocket science and doesn’t require a PHD (thank goodness). It’s what Jesus has called every follower to and has made possible for every follower to live out. I know this can feel daunting and I would encourage you to start by asking, “who has Jesus put in my life that He is asking me to disciple?” And here’s what’s so encouraging and motivates me to take this step of faith even in the face of fear; we don’t go it alone!
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20.
When I was a young child I used to go and visit my grandmother and grandfather a town over. My grandpa always had a garden filled with fruits and vegetables and some of my fondest memories of my youth are spending time helping him in the garden. Now, looking back, was I really much help as a 7 or 8 year old? I probably walked on more plants than I ever helped water or pick but it was a joy just to take part in what my grandpa was doing.
Disciple making isn’t meant to be a drudgery or something we roll our eyes at in annoyance; it’s meant to be a gift that our Dad (God) and big brother (Jesus) allows us to take part in even though they could do it far better and far more efficiently on their own. Jesus doesn’t “need” you to disciple anyone. Anytime I think He does, I’m quickly reminded of Luke 19:40, “But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”
There’s nothing more exciting than seeing new life, period. I never grow old of seeing someone meet Jesus for the first time, witnessing a baptism, or seeing someone overcome addictions and sin that Jesus has released them from. The fact that we get the chance to witness these miracles in people’s lives and get to take part in different ways, should be humbling and joy-filled. When it’s not and when we push away from investing in others, we don’t need to look for a new mission, we need to evaluate our own heart. There is NO greater investment, nothing more meaningful, and nothing that should be more joyful than speaking the truth of the gospel into someone else’s life.
We could talk all day about what the mission of the church isn’t but instead let’s devote our lives to what it is, to make much of Jesus by making more disciples of Jesus. At Redemption we say we exist to Enjoy Jesus, Love People, and Make Disciples, believing that as we do the first it should lead to the second and to the third which at the end of the day is what we’re all about because it’s what Jesus is all about.
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” – I Timothy 1:15a
This is also why we’re so excited to start DNA groups at Redemption. We really believe these will be a great tool for intentional disciple making. To learn more about these groups or for information on the next training, send us an email here.
As you think about what Jesus has called His church to and if you are a part of His church, maybe asking these two questions would be a good place to start.
Who are you helping become more like Jesus? Who is Jesus asking you to invest in?
Drew Hensley | Pastor of Discipleship & Ministry
Calvin says to his tiger sidekick, Hobbes,
“I feel bad that I called Suzie names and hurt her feelings. I’m sorry I did it.”
“Maybe you should apologize to her,” Hobbes suggests. Calvin ponders this advice and then replies ,
“I keep hoping there’s a less obvious solution.”
Most of us don’t naturally enjoy repenting when we’re wrong, but for leaders especially, repentance is a powerful, essential, and liberating practice.
Sometimes, you are wrong. It is possibly the most difficult and sanctifying moment we all face on a regular basis throughout our lives.
If we are honest, these moments are a deep struggle, and repentance is not something most of us naturally get excited about. But if we are going to have healthy community and not quit every relationship we have when something goes wrong, we have to make a choice to be men and women who embrace and grow at learning to repent and forgive.
“Repent” is often heard in our minds as a condemning, impersonal, and at times shaming experience. We fail to grasp that the call to repent is a sweet invitation to have more grace, more mercy, and ultimately more happiness than if we remain in our sin. Leaving our sin behind does not lessen us, but restores us and empowers us to be who God has made us to be.
Repentance is not something most of us naturally get excited about.
For most, practicing repentance will not come easy, but it will also be one of the surest signs that we are gospel-centered. Repentance shows we believe that we continually need grace and that Jesus is not done with us.
I have read many leadership books over the years, and none addresses how important repentance is to leading people well. For the Christian who is leading, we must have enough trust in the gospel to not abandon the power of repenting to those we lead.
If you are a husband, some of the most powerful leadership moments you will have are in repenting to your wife. If you are a parent, it will often be in repenting to your kids that the gospel of Jesus becomes most clear. And repenting to your community group—especially if you are the leader—might end up being your most powerful and impactful moments.
The call to repent is a sweet invitation to have more grace, more mercy, and ultimately more happiness.
Repentance does not equal weakness. Rather, it shows to all around us how much we love Jesus more than our sin. The quickest way to change a culture, a church, an organization, a family, a friendship, or a community is through repentance.
We often don’t want to confess because we are afraid of the damage it will do to us (1 John 1:9). Yet if we are dead to sin and all of our life is in Christ, repenting will never harm us. We are free to be exactly who God is making us to be.
We are new creations because of the finished work of Jesus (Gal. 2:20). And as new creations we are not defined or condemned by what we have done or what has been done to us. We can put away the fig leaves and enjoy the intimacy with God and each other that we are made for.
Repentance shows to all around us how much we love Jesus more than our sin.
For the Christian, repentance is not something I have to quietly bristle against and avoid, but something I can actively seek out and embrace. It is through repentance that everything changes, and because of this, repentance is not a punishment, but a deep reward of God’s grace.
So who is it that you need to be reconciled to? How can you lead in enriching your community by going first—jumping into the deep end and showing others that it is safe to come clean and not have it all together? It’s not only safe; it’s liberating.
Ryan Kearns | Pastor of Discipleship & Direction