September 25, 2010
From the Rector’s Desk
For much of our time over the summer and into the new fall season we have been learning various principles of Kingdom life, as told by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. These life-giving lessons, set out in our lectionary each Sunday, have been communicated by direct teachings and through parables, including some very well known ones. The words are both comforting and convicting, like being told how good you will feel some time after the surgery, only then to hear the details of the operation itself, and the pain and hard work of recovery and re-hab. The larger message is clear—we will not reach the new life while taking the old one along. In fact, it is decidedly a deal-breaker, and must be jettisoned through decision, intention, and the grace of God.
One of the markers for Kingdom allegiance has to do with how we handle money, wealth and possessions. We’ve heard this repeatedly in the middle section of Luke’s gospel, and we’ve talked about it quite a bit, so I won’t rehearse it here. Except to encourage us that God’s desire for us in this area has to do with blessing and freedom. The world around us relates to money pretty much around the following question: do I have enough of it? And the answer to that kind of a question is usually ‘no’. As we seek to follow Jesus into the Kingdom of God the question shifts to where my trust in placed, and if money and possessions might possibly have me. This is why we are urged again and again by Jesus to give it away, to put it to eternal use, so that we might enjoy the magnificent provision of God and know his freedom.
It’s challenging to hear these words against the backdrop of our global economic situation, except that it’s in just such times that they were first uttered. Our ability to give and give abundantly is not tied to what we have in the bank, or to the Dow Jones, but to the depth of resources in God’s Kingdom, made available to those that will draw on them in prayer and service, joy and obedience. And in that place we will learn true extravagant freedom and blessing. Ecclesiastes chapter 11, calling us to a lavish form of generosity, says that ‘he who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap’. If our eyes are on external social and economic conditions we won’t give as we are called to, and subsequently we’ll miss the rich and generous blessing of a divine harvest.
Miracles are usually not given to those who don’t need them. A healthy person doesn’t receive a gift of healing. Likewise, provision is for those who know they are needy. Giving out of our need opens the doors to God’s deeper flow of abundant provision for our lives, for our church and for the communities we serve. Let us continue to walk together in prayer and worship, giving extravagantly, looking for God’s provision, and celebrating His goodness.
I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday, especially as we celebrate several baptisms at Redeemer.
In joy and peace,
The Rev. Jay L. Greener, Rector
Church of the Redeemer
We’re now just about a month away from our annual Sonrise Benefit, the major single supporting effort for Sonrise School in Musanze, Rwanda. Please be asking people to join you for this important night. It will be the last one involving Bishop John Rucyahana, the visionary leader who launched the school to educate the many orphans in post-genocide Rwanda.
For the first time we will host a Sonrise student at this event. Richard Ndekezi, who was featured in last year's video, will be on hand to share his own story, answer questions and meet people at the banquet. We’ll also look forward to Sonrise’s first graduation, planned for late March, 2011. Be praying for the effectiveness of this benefit—let's fill all available spots.
For those who do not know, Jonathan has been struggling with serious complications from a disease called OsgoodSchlatter that he has had since high school. He has very large calcium deposits on both his knees that are connected to the tendons. The deposits are getting progressively worse, as is the pain in his knees and, consequently, his whole body. He has trouble working and walking. We have been looking for a surgeon for a few months now, but had not found the "right" one. I told a few people yesterday that he had another appointment with a surgeon this morning. Well, we received GREAT news! This surgeon told us that he knows exactly what to do, and has done dozens of these kinds of procedures before. This is the opposite of what every other surgeon has told us. We had previously been told that this condition was extremely rare, the surgery was very risky, the recovery would be long, and the results could be very disappointing. The surgeon this morning told us that the surgery is an outpatient procedure, the recovery being a month or so with each knee, and we should have great results. On top of that, we can pretty much schedule the surgery as soon as we want. What an answer to prayer!! The surgeon is also making an exception for us concerning our insurance, which he does not normally accept. It is impossible not to see the Lord's hand in all of this. We could not be more pleased or grateful! Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who have been in prayer for this situation and our family. The Lord has heard us, and has gone beyond our expectations in His provision!! Praise the Lord!!
— Jonathan and Debby Richards
A New, Healing Beginning
Are you looking for a way to break out of your spiritual routine? Do you desire to deepen your relationship with the Lord? Do you long for more intimacy and wholeness in your spiritual journey? Then join with us on Wednesday, October 6th, as Church of the Redeemer starts a new, monthly, all church healing prayer service, to be offered the first Wednesday of each month. This gathering will be an opportunity for us, individually and as a congregation, to restore our souls and experience the healing presence of Jesus Christ. This will be a time of respite, a time to sing praises to our risen Lord, to share a psalm/word of encouragement or a short teaching, and a time to pray not only for one another’s physical needs for healing, but for those deeper emotional and spiritual needs of healing for our sense of being, well being, affirmation, and wholeness in Christ. There are many in our communities that need healing, so invite others to join in, as well.
For more information talk to our Prayer Team leader, Dan Babarik, at dblaw7 [at] gmail.com or danjuliebabarik [at] sbcglobal.net.
For the last two years, especially, we have been praying about and talking about making and growing disciples. Slowly but deliberately we have been strengthening our approach in this vital area, and COR@9 is one of the important responses to that need. This fall it returns with some very specific and focused teaching/conversation to help us all as disciples of Jesus.
Beginning October 31st COR@9 will offer a series on Spiritual Gifts, taught by Dr. Dana Harris. This will invite all of us to discover the richness of spiritual gifting in the church, through engagement with scripture and discussion, rather than inventories.
Then during Advent we’ll explore Spiritual Practices that will help us to deepen our journey of faith, as we engage the prayer book tradition, lectio divina, Gratitude and the Sabbath.
New to Redeemer?
If you’re new to the Redeemer scene, that’s great. You are not alone. We want you to feel welcomed and invited to a place where you feel you truly belong. To help that journey, we have a couple of things to place on your calendar:
— Newcomer’s Lunch, following worship on October 10th. Come meet others who are also new, and hear from our leadership.
— Discover Redeemer, over a light lunch for four Sundays beginning Oct. 31st. Come and learn more about our story, the things we believe and practice, and the vision that God is releasing here.
Thank you for your sacrificial giving that supports the various ministries God has called us to. Transitioning into fall we are behind our expenses, and will need to make that up in the months ahead. More information on that soon, but in the meantime thanks for praying and responding.
Offering last week: $3,388
Average amount needed each week: $6,700
— October 2, Ride for Refuge (and Rwanda) – Contact Jason or Danielle Miller for more info, or contribute
— Wednesday, October 6, Healing Prayer Service
— Saturday, October 9, Growing Leaders Gathering??
— Sunday, October 10, Newcomers Lunch
— Saturday, October 16 – Parents' Night Out (Kids' Journey to Rwanda)
??— October 23, our Sonrise Benefit
— October 24, Worship and Confirmations with Bishop John Rucyahana ??
— October 31, COR@9 resumes with teaching on Spiritual Gifts
— October 31, Discover Redeemer, during lunch
Please pray for . . .
— our current Alpha courses, now underway
— the Archbishop-elect of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, Bishop Onesephore Rwaje
— the Sonrise Benefit for a strong and generous response
— needs for healing and provision in our community