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Starting in April, we'll be sending out a regular email newsletter with stories, prayers requests, and updates to keep you in the loop on all God is doing in and through the people of Redeemer.

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5 Reasons You (Yes, You) Should Sing Loudly on Sundays

Why do we spend time singing when we worship on Sundays? Should I sing when I don't feel like it? What's the point? What's the benefit?

Helpful Wisdom from Bob Kauflin:

There are almost fifty exhortations to sing in Scripture, as well as four hundred references to singing. Two of those passages (Eph. 5:19Col. 3:16) instruct us to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God and to one another. These aren’t suggestions, preferences, or good ideas. They’re commands. Which means God intends for us to obey them.

Since everyone isn’t a musician, how do these apply to us? Why does God want us to sing?

1. Singing is more a matter of our hearts than our voices.
Years ago Ronald Allen wrote in his book Worship: Rediscovering the Missing Jewel:

“When a non-singer becomes a Christian, he or she becomes a singer. Not all are blessed with a finely tuned ear and a well modulated voice; so the sound may not be superb-it may even be out-of-tune and off-key. Remember: worship is a state of heart; musical sound is a state of art. Let’s not confuse them.”

We sing and make melody to the Lord with our hearts (Eph. 5:19). The sounds we make affect those around us, for better or worse. But God hears what no one else can. It’s the song of the Redeemed for our great Redeemer. It’s a song we didn’t originate and can’t improve upon. It’s true that those who led the singing at the temple were trained and skilled in music for the Lord (1 Chron. 25:7). But there’s no indication either in the early church or in Revelation’s depiction of heaven that anyone gets a pass when it comes to singing praises to God. Even if we can’t sing a note, we can still sing in our hearts.

2. Singing helps us remember words.
Throughout Scripture, God reminds his people of their tendency to forget his promises, commands, and warnings. In Deut. 31, as Israel is about to enter the promised land, God tells Moses that his people will turn to idols after they enter Canaan. He then instructs Moses to teach the Israelites a song, so that, “when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring)” (Deut. 31:21). We sing to remember God’s word, and most of all, the word of Christ, or the gospel (Col. 3:16). Science has confirmed that we remember words, patterns, and categories more easily when words are set to music. It’s why hardly anyone can quote a John Wesley sermon, yet most people know the words to Charles Wesley’s “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.”

3. Singing expresses and engages our emotions.
In every culture, music is a language of emotion that helps express what we feel. So David writes, “My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed” (Ps. 71:23). The words of his redeemed soul overflow into song. It’s why musicals are so popular, why we sing our country’s national anthem, and why every revival since the Reformation has been accompanied by an outpouring of new songs. As John Piper said in asermon,

“The reason we sing is because there are depths and heights and intensities and kinds of emotion that will not be satisfactorily expressed by mere prosaic forms, or even poetic readings. There are realities that demand to break out of prose into poetry and some demand that poetry be stretched into song.”

At the same time, music engages our emotions.  In Mt. 11:17 Jesus implies that music can lead us to either dance or mourn. It can draw out a variety of feelings including romance, peace, joy, fear, playfulness, sadness, or awe. Singing can help us feel the truth more deeply.

4. Singing reflects the nature of God.
The Father sings over his redeemed people (Zephaniah 3:17). Jesus sings with us in the midst of the congregation (Heb. 2:12). One of the fruits of being filled with the Spirit is singing (Eph. 5:18-19). We worship a triune God who sings, and he wants us to be like him.

5. Singing together reflects and deepens our unity in the gospel.
Being together in the same room is one way we can express our unity. But singing together draws attention to that bond as we sing the same words at the same time. In fact, Paul uses a musical analogy when he wants to encourage gospel-driven unity: “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:14).

A Church of Gospel + Safety + Time

When we say at Redeemer, "we are a gospel-centered church," this excerpt is what we are striving for:

Gospel + safety + time. It’s what everyone needs. A lot of gospel + a lot of safety + a lot of time.

GOSPEL: good news for bad people through the finished work of Christ on the cross and the endless power of the Holy Spirit. Multiple exposures. Constant immersion. Wave upon wave of grace and truth, according to the Bible.

SAFETY: a non-accusing environment. No finger-pointing. No embarrassing anyone. No manipulation. No oppression. No condescension. But respect and sympathy and understanding, where sinners can confess and unburden their souls.

TIME: no pressure. Not even self-imposed pressure. No deadlines on growth. Urgency, but not hurry, because no one changes quickly. A lot of space for complicated people to rethink their lives at a deep level. God is patient.

This is what our churches must be: gentle environments of gospel + safety + time. It’s where we’re finally free to grow.  -- Ray Ortlund

Join us this Sunday and help us on this journey.

Becoming Gospel People

redeemer.slide-gospel_people.png

Redeemer exists to help religious and irreligious people become gospel people -- starting with us and extending to our neighbors and city.

What does this mission statement mean really?

Well, Gospel people are growing continually in their love and knowledge of Jesus, their devotion to Jesus, and the practice of helping others know and love Jesus. 

A Call to Move from Defaults

But this mission statement is also call for us to MOVE from our default postures of irreligion or religious righteousness to deep gospel faith and action.

Consider of all the people you know that think Jesus is not for them or they think religion is foolishness or hateful or empty. We want those “irreligious” friends to not just come to church or become more moral (they probably are already great moral people!), but to know and love Jesus through the Gospel.

Think of all the people you know that are “religious” in the sense that they consider themselves superior to others, in big or small ways, because of their goodness, social activism, or their self-made spirituality. We want these “religious” friends to know the transforming salvation of Jesus in the gospel.

A Call for Us, Too

And not only that, we want the deep rooted tendencies of our hearts including the tendency to live for self, not for God (irreligion) and the tendency to believe what we do determines our value and worth (religiousness) to be replaced with Gospel growth and faith.

Let's pray and live toward that end, that we and others would be "presented mature in Christ" (Colossians 1:28).

New Teaching Series: Haggai - God First

Poor Haggai.

For a tiny book that packs such a massive punch, it gets little attention.

When’s the last time you heard a sermon from Haggai at church or did a personal read through it? Haggai may be overlooked, but the book's relevance can't be overstated.

You Need Some Haggai in Your Life

If you’ve ever struggled with proper priorities in life, Haggai is for you. If you’ve ever felt – or are currently feeling – spiritually fatigued, Haggai is for you.

As a church pursuing the work of growing as disciples of Jesus and making disciples of Jesus together, Haggai is timely for us.

Haggai shows that God’s people in ancient Israel were much like us, often hypnotized by busyness and self-interest to the point that God and His work becomes a second-tier priority in our lives.

The History Lesson We Need to Understand Haggai

In the 6th century BC, Babylon ransacks Jerusalem, taking many of God’s people into captivity and exile. This culminates with the destruction of Jerusalem and Israel’s temple in 586 BC. Religious and cultural life in Israel crumbles with destruction the temple. Without the temple, God's people cannot worship and be with God as He prescribed. All that God orchestrated since the Exodus – His people, in His land, worshiping in His temple – goes up in flames.

But 50 years after the temple’s destruction, Cyrus the Persia king overthrows Babylon. And Cyrus has a new way of ruling his captives – he kindly allows the Jews to return home and rebuild their city, and most importantly, the temple. This glorious return happens in 538 BC. Full of hope, God’s people return to Jerusalem and begin to reconstruct life as it once was, but there’s one thing they neglect to rebuild: God’s temple. It remains in ruins. Not for a few days, but for over a decade. They neglect God for years.

Then God sends Haggai to call His people to a properly ordered life by calling them to rebuild the temple so they can worship, enjoy, and be with Him.

The Priority that Leads to Flourishing

While the Israel's misplaced priorities led to neglecting the work of God’s temple, our misplaced priorities can lead to the neglect of a greater reality – the building of church through the gospel taking root in our lives and the lives of others. Though counterintuitive in many ways, Haggai teaches that giving ourselves in community to God’s gospel work is what leads to blessing and flourishing.

In many ways, Haggai is the foreshadowing prophet whose main message is summed up in Jesus’ essential teaching:

31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. [1]

 

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Mt 6:31–33). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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What Rules In Your Heart?

Just as the person inside the cockpit controls everything about the plane, whatever rules in your heart will control everything about you.   

In Colossians 3:12-16, the Apostle Paul describes the gospel virtues we are to "put on" and live out because we have been redeemed and raised to spiritual life through Christ (Colossians 3.1ff).

12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness,humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

And the key has to do with what rules in our hearts. In the Bible, the heart is more than a vital organ -- it is the control center, the cockpit, the throne that controls everything about us (Prov. 4:23).

So Paul urges the Colossians -- and us -- to let the peace of Jesus rule in your hearts. Let the peace of Jesus run the show. That’s how you will forgive, love, and bear with one another.

How so?

Well, if the dominant reality of your inner life, thoughts, meditation, the thing you enjoy most is that that you have peace with God through Jesus when you deserved judgment, you will be a peacemaker with others. You will forgive others in the church like Jesus has done. Because the peace of Christ rules in your heart, it’s more than just a fact you can recite.

It’s in the cockpit, directing and changing you.

The problem is for most of us, too much of the time. The peace of Christ is just a dry fact and not ruling in our hearts, running the show, not operating from the cock pit.

And that’s why we struggle to live out the cause of Jesus together. There is something amiss in our hearts stopping us from loving God, others, and sharing God's Good News.

WHAT'S RULING IN YOUR HEART LATELY?

Something rules in your heart at all times. You can love Jesus truly but have moments and seasons where something lesser is on the throne of your heart, reigning and ruling.

What is it?

If self-righteousness rules in your heart, you will never bear with or forgive others – you’ll always look down on them because you feel better than them.

If arrogance rules in your heart, condescension will flavor every interaction with others.

If Your reputation rules in your heart, then fakeness and white lies with be the common thread of all your relationships. Your life and all your actions will be ruled by this question: "How will this make me look?"

If convenience rules in your heart, then you won’t live out the mission of Jesus because that takes too much time, too much hospitality, too much energy, too much awkwardness, too much unknown.

You’ll just try to make disciples yourself – or you’ll withdraw from relationships or the church when things are no longer convenient.

If religiosity rules in your heart, you’ll forgive, love others, and share Jesus only because you are supposed, but never from the heart.

APPLICATION.

What most controls how you think about and interact with others? Convenience? Superiority? Or Love?

What most controls how you think, feel, and fulfill Jesus’ call to grow as a disciple and make disciples?

What besides Jesus most often reigns and rules in your heart? How is the Gospel better?

 

 

What's Happening at Redeemer: November/December 2015

Here’s a run down of formal events this fall/winter as we continue to follow Jesus together as new church plant in the city! Hope to see you at many of them!

EQUIP Workshop: Applying the Gospel - Nov 7th at 9am
Join us at we workshop and develop skills for gospel application in daily life. This will be a rich time of working on our understanding of the gospel and sharing it in natural ways to other believers. RSVP here.

Post-Service Meal - Nov 8th at 430pm
At least once a month, we have a big meal together as a church after our Sunday service. This is a great time of building relationships, catching up, and enjoy good food. Please invite friends to join us and RSVP here or by emailing info[AT]redeemerne.org.

Prayer Night -  Nov. 17th at 730pm-830pm (16 Beech St. in Cambridge)
In addition to times of prayer in our gospel communities, we are building a rhythm of monthly church-wide prayer nights to ask God to grow us in Christ and lead many in our city to Jesus. Come out and pray with us.

Ugly Sweater Christmas Party at Warehouse XI in Union Sq - Dec. 11th at 730pm
Our second annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party is on right around the corner! You won't want to miss this as we are doing it even bigger than last year with a bigger venue in the heart of the city. Wear something ugly, come ready to have fun, and invite friends. RSVP info on the way.

 

50 Inconveniences that Come from Trusting in Our Own Righteouesness

Martin Luther's commentary on the Galatians is widely renowned and has been a great personal read in prep for our Galatians series.

At the beginning of his work, he lays out 50 (!) inconveniences that come from trusting in our own performance or obedience as the means that makes us right before God.

Think of these 50 things as the dangerous blunders that happen when we drift from the Gospel of justification by faith to the false gospel of justification by Jesus plus our obedience/righteous/goodness.

Fifty Inconveniences That Arise out of Man’s Own Righteousness Coming from Works, Extracted from Paul’s Letter to the Galatians:

Chapter 1

    1.    To bring people from the calling of grace.

    2.    To receive another gospel.

    3.    To trouble the minds of the faithful.

    4.    To pervert the Gospel of Christ.

    5.    To be accursed.

    6.    To obey human traditions.

    7.    To please man.

    8.    Not to be the servant of Christ.

    9.    To build upon men, and not upon God.

    10.    That the most excellent righteousness of the law is nothing.

    11.    To destroy the church of God.

Chapter 2

    12.    To teach people to be justified by works is to teach them to be justified by impossibility.

    13.    To make the righteous in Christ into sinners.

    14.    To make Christ a minister of sin.

    15.    To build up sin again, when it is destroyed.

    16.    To be made a transgressor.

    17.    To reject the grace of God.

    18.    To judge that Christ died in vain.

Chapter 3

    19.    To become foolish Galatians.

    20.    To be bewitched.

    21.    Not to listen to the truth.

    22.    To crucify Christ again.

    23.    To hold that the Spirit is received by works.

    24.    To forsake the Spirit and to end in the flesh.

    25.    To be under the curse.

    26.    To set the human testament above that of God.

    27.    To make sin abound.

    28.    To be shut under sin.

    29.    To serve beggarly ceremonies.

Chapter 4

    30.    That the Gospel is preached in vain.

    31.    That everything the faithful do or permit is in vain.

    32.    To be made a servant and the son of the bondwoman.

    33.    To be cast out of the inheritance, together with the son of the bondwoman.

    34.    That Christ brings no benefit.

    35.    That we are debtors to fulfill the whole law.

Chapter 5

    36.    To be separate from Christ.

    37.    To fall from grace.

    38.    To be hindered from the good course of well-doing.

    39.    That being convinced of the doctrine of works does not come from God.

    40.    To have the leaven of corruption.

    41.    To have judgment remain for anyone who teaches this doctrine.

    42.    To bite and consume one another.

    43.    That this doctrine is reckoned among the works of the flesh.

Chapter 6

    44.    To think yourself to be something when you are nothing.

    45.    To glory in others rather than in God.

    46.    Unspiritually to please people who are not spiritually minded.

    47.    To hate the persecution of the cross.

    48.    Not to keep the law itself.

    49.    To glory in the master and teacher of unspiritual things.

    50.    That nothing helps at all, and whatever a person does is in vain.

What's Happening at Redeemer: September 2015

Fall is nearly here! Here are some of the key events at Redeemer that you won't want to miss out on as we follow Jesus together as a community centered on the Gospel.

Prayer Night - Thursday, 9/10 7pm-8pm (16 Beech St. in Cambridge)
In addition to times of prayer in our gospel communities, we are building a rhythm of monthly church-wide prayer nights to ask God to grow us in Christ and lead many in our city to Jesus. Come out and pray with us.
 

Fall Kick Off Service and Dinner - Sunday, 9/13 at 430pm
Join us and invite your friends as we kick off the fall with a new sermon series on Galatians, called the Heart of the Gospel, and enjoy a big catered dinner. More details and RSVP info here.

Redeemer Birthday Party - Friday, 9/25 at 630pm
We're celebrating our church turning one with a fun dinner and game night event at Union Square's Warehouse XI. RVSP here, invite some friends, and come ready to board game it up in celebration.

Redeemer Turns 1 Celebration Service - Sunday 9/27 at 430pm
Join us for a special Sunday service where we celebrate who God is and all that He has done in the past year of our church plant. Don't miss this Sunday!

 

What's Happening Next Month at Redeemer: August 2015

Summer is such a great time to enjoy the city, each other, and do ordinary life with gospel intentionality together through BBQ, festivals, and just being out and about. I want to encourage you to steward the summer to link up with the family at Redeemer to be in community and on mission organically and through larger, formal events in our city with friends and neighbors.

Here’s a run down of formal events this summer as we continue to follow together Jesus.

3 on 3 Youth Basketball Tournament – August 1st at 1pm at Trum Field
We’re working with a couple friends from Teen Empowerment of Somerville to host a basketball tournament for Somerville teens as a way to bless and serve them. There will be a lot of ways to help serve and connect with folks at this event so let let us know if you already think you’d want to help.

RSVP here to come or sign up to play.

Prayer Night - August 6th - 7pm at 16 Beech St. in Cambridge
As we move closer to fall, it's crucial to make intentional time to pray for each other, our church, and our vision to see the Gospel impact and change lives.

We want to see people come to faith in Jesus this fall...and see disconnected believers become connected in church community...and see seekers find Jesus...and see everyone at Redeemer grow in Christ and live with more joy, love, and passion for our Savior.

Because there is so much we want to see happen, it's easy to lapse into thinking all our activities are the main work of seeing all the aforementioned things come to fruition. But as one old writer puts it, "[p]rayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work."

Come through on the 6th as we ask God to do what only He can do in us and through us so that we would love Jesus more and many would come to know Him for the first time.

RSVP here.

Post-Gathering Picnic and Lawn Games - August 9th at Trum Field
After our Sunday worship gathering, swing over to Trum Field for some Stone Hearth Pizza and sandwich wraps and some park games. This will be a fun and fruitful opportunity to interact with new and old friends and introduce them to the folks at Redeemer. Invite away -- everyone is welcomed!

RSVP here.

SomerMovie Fest Presents 'Cool Runnings,' - August 20th
This summer's SomerMovie Fest, dubbed "SomerMovie Freeze," includes family friendly outdoor movies that have frozen, wintery settings and themes. Aug. 20 is "Cool Runnings." All movies begin just after sunset, which you can find at timeanddate.com. When/Where: Seven Hills Park outside Davis Square at around 7:38 p.m.

Let's get a nice crew of folks out to enjoy this comedic classic!

Somerville Youth Basketball Tournament, August 1st


Redeemer Church is hosting a youth 3 on 3 basketball tournament on August 1st at Trum Field.

All are welcomed to come play and watch. We see this event as a great way to give back to our city's youth by providing a fun environment to ball and hang out on a nice summer day.

Details

August 1st at 1pm
Trum Field

  • Limit 5 players per team.

  • Open to youth ages 13-21.

  • Once a team signs up, they will be emailed the event rules and a participation waiver to be signed by them and their parent/guardian.

  • Depending on the age range of those who respond, we may divide the tournament into age-based brackets.
Name of Team Captain *
Name of Team Captain
Include the age of each of your teammate (Ex. John Doe, 15.)

Three Reasons We're Diving Into Acts This Summer

So, why Acts? Here are three big reasons we're diving into this book this summer.

First, Acts shows us Jesus at work by His Spirit.

This is the driving theme of Acts: the continued work of Jesus by His Spirit through His people, the church, to advance the Gospel worldwide despite endless obstacles. Acts 1:8 gives the framework of the Gospel movement that started with the apostles in Jerusalem, moves to Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth and continues with us, right here and now in 2015.

Answer honestly: How often do you feel like Jesus is far off, distant, and not all that active in the church, your neighborhood, or even your life? Acts reminds us that Jesus is present by His spirit in us working to do what happened then, now in our city and beyond.

Second, Acts reminds us of the Story we’re in.

Acts is like blaring siren reminding us we are in the middle of God's great story of restoring sinful people to Himself and renewing all things.

All that we do that seems ordinary -- gathering on Sunday, praying, meeting in homes, serve others, being generous -- is in fact essential pieces of the great story of God to save and redeem and advance the Gospel of Jesus.

The reminder that we are saved by grace, empowered by the Spirit, and sent on mission like the early church makes us look up from the mundane of our weeks and says to our hearts that so deeply wants purpose and significance, "you are a part of God's Story to bring his Gospel to the world!"

Acts reminds us that through the Gospel and Christ's call to mission, our lives are infused with great purpose and great joy.

Last, Acts stirs us to desire to see Jesus save people.

I want to grow in my desire to see people know Jesus because that's what God desires (1 Tim. 2:1-5). I want Redeemer as a community to be so eager to see our city and friends know Jesus that we spent hours in prayer asking for God to do what only he can do – lead people to see Jesus truly.

Acts is unique among Scripture in its vivid portrayals of conversions and the power of the Gospel to save. This book, if we sit with it, will stir our hearts for Jesus, mission, and prayer, and move our hands for gospel advance.

Let’s pray for God to give us much personal and communal gospel renewal, empowering of the Spirit, and passion for service, community, and mission as we study Acts this summer.

What We're Up to This Summer

Summer is such a great time to enjoy the city, each other, and do ordinary life with gospel intentionality together through BBQ, festivals, and just being out and about. I want to encourage you to steward the summer to link up with the fam at Redeemer to be in community and on mission organically to God’s glory. I’m excited at all the ways this is already happening.

That said, I’m also excited about some larger, formal events where we can be in community and on mission for Jesus to our city and neighbors.

Here’s a run down of formal events this summer as we continue to serve in our great city.

Post-Gathering Pizza and Games at Trum Field – June 21st
After our Sunday worship gathering, swing over to Trum Field for some Stone Hearth Pizza and sandwich wraps and some park games. This will be a fun and fruitful opportunity to interact with new and old friends and introduce them to the folks at Redeemer. Invite away -- everyone is welcomed!

RSVP here.

Serve the City: Water Chestnut Removal on Mystic River – June 27th
Last year, we had a few people help remove water chestnuts on the Mystic River. It was great service project. We’ll be back at it again this summer.

RSVP here and list Redeemer Church in the form.


Community Hike – July 18th
Summer's a great time to get out into creation and enjoy the beauty around us. We'll have a community hike in July that should be a great time. Here’s some of the details on the spot we've picked:

Mt. Osceola as it’s a relatively short hike (6.2 miles) with spectacular views (you can see 41 of the 48 high peaks on a clear day) and is rated as easy to moderate. People should plan to bring a “picnic lunch” to eat on the top as there is a huge rock slab where we can hang out…Here’s some more information on the mountain: http://4000footers.com/osceola.shtml

RSVP for this by emailing info@redeemerne.org or filling out the form below.


3 on 3 Tournament – TBD (Likely August 1)
We’re working with a couple friends from Teen Empowerment of Somerville to host a basketball tournament for Somerville teens as a way to bless and serve them. There will be a lot of ways to help serve and connect with folks at this event so let let us know if you already think you’d want to help.


Trum Field Service/Outreach – Mid June on Monday, Wed, Sat Evening
We want to Winter Hill to know the there is a church in their ‘hood that is here to love and serve them in Christ’s name. We’ll have several chances to bring out a bunch of free Gatorades and granola bars to the mob of teens and adults that hoop at Trum Field during the week. And, trust me, thirty athletes love free Gatorade; this will be a really fun service/outreach.

Also be on the look out for planned or pseudo-surprise appearances of food trucks, some upcoming prayer walks and a weekend block party.

Going to be a great summer!

Name *
Name


The Three Parts of Mission

Great insights on the parts of mission and evangelism from Tim Chester:

Think about the people you are trying to reach with the gospel or would like to start reaching. Identify ideas – often very ordinary ideas – for building relationships with them, sharing the gospel message and introducing them to the network of believing relationships. Those introductions might involve nothing more sophisticated than inviting both Christian and non-Christian friends round for a meal or for an evening out. It is not enough to build a relationship between one believer and one unbeliever.

When considering this model, it is important to avoid imposing a supposed logical sequence. Often people ask which comes first out of ‘introducing to community’, ‘sharing the gospel’ and ‘building relationships’. None need be the first type of engagement; nor need progress be made in one area before you move into one of the others. In reality, any one of the three can occur first and all three can sometimes begin to happen simultaneously. If one strand is missing then, in God’s sovereign, the rope can still hold. But it is stronger when all three are present.

A community project

So often the call to evangelism produces guilt and despondency in many Christians. This will be due in part to ungodly attitudes such as pride and the ‘fear of man’. Paul is very clear in 1 Corinthians that we have a foolish message to proclaim in a foolish manner (1:18-2:5). So evangelism often makes us look foolish and few people relish that prospect.

Not all of us, however, are eloquent or engaging. Not everyone can think on their feet. Some people are simply not good at speaking to strangers and forming new friendships. One of the practical benefits of the three strand model of evangelism is that it enfranchises all of God’s people. By making evangelism a community project, it also takes seriously the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in distributing a variety of gifts among his people. In this model, everyone has a part to play: the new Christian, the introvert, the extrovert, the eloquent, the stuttering, the intelligent, the awkward. I may be the one who has begun to build a relationship with my neighbor, but in introducing him to community, it is someone else who shares the gospel with him. That is not only legitimate; it is positively thrilling! Pete may never verbally share the gospel with Duncan, but his welcome and love are an integral part of the evangelistic process and should be honored as such. Meanwhile Susan can develop friendships and introduce them to the community confident that others will present them – at an appropriate point in an appropriate way – with the challenges of the gospel. It is lovely to think of us making up for one another’s deficiencies with our strengths.

If evangelism is a community project, our different gifts and personalities can complement one another. Some people are good at building relationships with new people. Some people are socialites – they are the ones who will organize a trip to the movies. Some people are great at hospitality. Some people are good at initiating gospel conversations. Some people are good at confronting heart issues. In each case I can think of specific people in our small congregation who fit the bill. I am not good at any of them. I was the one who was did evangelistic Bible studies with a friend. At the end I said: ‘You ought to be baptised’ and he said ‘okay’ – simple as that! But I would never have got that far if I had not been part of a team.

5 Random Tips on How to Listen to a Sermon

Because I'm usually preaching each week at Redeemer, I don't often get to sit under preaching on a Sunday as many others do. But when I do get the chance, I cherish it. This Sunday, we'll have a guest preacher at Redeemer and I'm excited to sit and soak up God's Word as it's preached. My excitement has lead me to revisit an important question: How can I best prepare myself for hearing a sermon?

1. Pray. Before service, pray for the preacher, the sermon, and the gathering. Also pray for personal receptivity to God's Word as you hear it taught and proclaimed. Pray for humility to not approach the sermon as a "professional sermon listener," but as a hungry, humble, eager disciple of Jesus who wants to learn, re-learn, and apply all that is taught faithfully and biblically.

2. Come eager and teachable. I try to remind myself that each sermon I hear, insofar as it's faithful to the passage, has something for me that I need to hear. Why? Because God's Word is always profitable for correcting, rebuking, and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:15-16). I am in no way beyond needing to hearing the Gospel daily. I am in no way so put together that I don't need correcting, encouragement, and rebuking from God's Word daily. Because of our great need and God's great grace, we ought to come eager to His Word each time we open it and each Sunday when it's preached.

3. Listen with the text in front of you. Even if the passage is on the screen, there's something about having an open Bible in front of you during the sermon that really does help with personal attention and retention. It helps you see how the preacher is drawing out applications, implications, and doing the work of interpretation. If you're not prone to check your Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Trello, NBA GameTime, Instagram, etc. then at least consider listening with your phone's Bible app open.

4. Talk about the sermon. Talking about the passage and the sermon after service and during the week is one of the best ways to keep applying the truth of the text. Small talk and catching up after service is important, but don't be afraid to ask "What really struck you from the sermon?" or "What do you feel like God was teaching you from today's text?". Talking about the sermon after is a great way to encourage each other to be doers of the Word, not just hearers (James 1:22-25). This is also a helpful way to get more insights from others on the passage that you may have missed.

5. Revisit the passage during the week. Revisit the previous Sunday's text if you really want to see transformation, growth, and application. Hearing a sermon is like dipping a tea bag in hot water once—there's flavor, but not as much as if you let the bag soak for awhile. When you revisit the text later in the week — praying, journaling, and mediating on it — you are letting the tea bag soak. As a result, you'll find your heart and mind absorbing the truth and flavor of the text, praising Jesus for how He's revealed in it, and seeking to obey its implications.

I would love to hear your tips and how you prep to best take in God's Word preached.

Upcoming Events for March

Somehow it's already March. Crazy. The snow is sort of melting and here's just a few of the formal events happening this month at Redeemer.

Meal After Sunday Service - 3/15 at 5:45pm, 404 Broadway, Somerville
We’re bringing back our monthly after service dinner! Post-meal service is a great way to get to know the new folks and guests at Redeemer. And Sundays when we do meals after service are a great time to check out Redeemer for the first time if you're a visitor. Come ready to eat and make new friends. RSVP and invite some new friends to tag along. RSVP and info available here.

Gospel Community Donut Tasting Party - TDB
Each of our gospel communities will be having their own donut tasting party this month as a fun way to build relationships with friends outside of the Redeemer community and be on mission together as we enjoy, bless, and serve others. (And, let's be real -- free donuts is definitely a great way to serve others!) Ask your gospel community leader(s) for dates and details if they haven't been set already. If you're not in a gospel community but want to attend one of the donut parties, email us at info@redeemerne.org.

New to Redeemer Dessert - 3/31 at 7:30pm in Somerville
Are you new to Redeemer over the last few months or weeks?  Come out for this dessert event and hear a bit more about why we launched Redeemer, our vision and mission, and how you can be involved. RSVP and info available here.

 

 

New Sermon Series: Surprised by Grace

On the surface, the book of Jonah is a simple story. Guy runs from God. Guy meets whale and craziness ensues. The story of Jonah is simple on the surface, but the lessons and implications are deeper than you probably think.

Beneath the surface, there is serious depth in Jonah that will alter how you view God, grace, and yourself --if you take the time to sit and soak up the story. And if you take the time to sit and soak in Jonah, you will be challenged, surprised, and maybe even offended by the unyielding grace of God. 

The story of Jonah is weighty (insert bad whale jokes here) because it is primarily about the character of God -– holy, compassionate, and gracious. The tone is also reflective because the author wants us to consider whose character we truly reflect most: Jonah the self-righteous, bitter runaway or the God of Heaven and Earth, who is merciful, gracious, pursuing, and compassionate to all.

How do we even begin see whose character we most reflect? What hope is there for those of us who are, in fact, self-righteous? What hope does the book of Jonah give to Somerville? How do you begin to actually care for your neighborhood and city like God does? And what does that even look like when life is already crazy busy?

We’ll find the answers in Jonah.

Come ready to be surprised, challenged, and empowered by the Gospel of Jesus as we dig into this epic story.

Redeemer Church
Sunday 430pm
404 Broadway
Somerville, MA 02145

Ash Wednesday Church Service / Feb 18th / Somerville

Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance and marks the beginning of Lent (40 days before Easter).  Lent, at its core, is not really about giving up things just for the sake of giving up things. Lent is about more deeply focusing on the magnitude of what Jesus has done on the Cross through His sacrifice and death.

Our Ash Wednesday service will focus on the two historic themes of the Lent season: our personal sinfulness and sufficiency of God’s grace to us through Jesus. We’ll open with singing, Scripture reading, a short message from Colossians 2:13-14 and a time of response through song with interactive elements on ash marking and communion.

We hope you'll join us for this special service.

Ash Wednesday Service - 7pm

404 Broadway

Somerville, MA

*No childcare provided for this service

Ordinary Lives with Gospel Intentionality

Let's be honest. Most people get overwhelmed when it comes to obeying Christ's command to make disciples as his gospel witnesses and ambassadors (Matt. 28:16-20). Of all the things that feel overwhelming, one of the major issues when it comes to missional living is time.

We just don't have enough time to make a difference. At least it feels that way when we look at our calendars. Here’s the thing, though; we typically don’t need to add more activities into our lives to be more effective as ambassadors of Jesus –- we need to add more intentionality as we remember our identity in Jesus.

As we enjoy Jesus and remember who we are in Jesus, we will increasingly live on His mission so that more people would know and love Him.

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  – 2 Cor 5:17-20

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”  -- John 20:21

Steve Timmis and Tim Chester give the most helpful explanation of gospel intentionality in Total Church:

"Major events have a role to play in church life, but the bedrock of gospel ministry is low-key, ordinary, day-to-day work that often goes unseen. Most gospel ministry involves ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality.”

Five Easy and Effective Ways To Do Ordinary Life with Gospel Intentionality

1.     PRAY. Add a simply prayer like “God, show me how I can share Jesus and serve like an ambassador of Jesus today” to your daily morning routine.

2.     EAT. We normally eat 21 meals a week. Commit to sharing at least one of those a week with someone who does not believe in Jesus.

3.     INVITE. Invite your Redeemer community into relationships and events with your other friends/coworkers/non-believers and vice versa.

4.     PAY ATTENTION. Be attentive to “God-moments” everyday. These are the things that feel like annoyances when we don’t have a gospel-attitude.

“Most God-moments are unexpected and occur along the way to someplace else. They will seem like interruptions, but if you begin to look for God’s fingerprints in your day and in every relationship, in every coffee shop, in every conversation you have with your neighbor, there’s a good chance you will begin to see God’s incarnational presence.”

5.     PLAY. Do your typical hobbies or fun activities prayerfully (see number 1 ) and by inviting a mix of believers and non-believers into the thing you’re doing (number 3).

Gospel Intentionality Personal Reflection
What might it look like for you to live with more gospel intentionality? Write out everything you do typically Sunday through Saturday. Include meals, work, that one TV show you never miss, gym, etc. Share your responses with a friend and discuss how you can engage on mission together.

·      What things can you do easily with gospel intentionality – that is by inviting a non-believing friend (and ideally another believing friend) into the activity with you?

·      What activities do you typically do with non-Christian friends but do not do them as prayerfully as you’d like?

·      If you typically do little besides work with non-believers, how can you develop more gospel intentionality and relationships through the 5 tips above?