Monday, December 26, 2011

2012 Redeemer Reading Plan

We have a new Bible Reading Plan for 2012.

This year will again feature 3 days of reading followed by a day off. Bookmark 1 will take you through one chapter of the New Testament each day. Bookmark 2 features two chapters from the Old Testament per day.

You can download both bookmarks here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How Does God Speak To Me Today?

Have you been asking yourself that question this week after Lee's message? An article showed up on my Google Reader this week that addressed the same question.

The following excerpt is by Tim Challies (original content from

"In these last days, today, he has spoken to us by his Son. He has spoken and is speaking through Jesus. This is not meant to be past tense but present. And how has God spoken to us through Jesus? He has revealed himself, his own character and glory, in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Through Jesus God has spoken to us about his plan of salvation—of the way he has chosen to redeem sinners to himself.

The man who wrote Hebrews is very careful to distinguish between these two types of revelation, between how God used to speak and how God speaks today. If you have studied the letter to the Hebrews, you know that it is a long discourse that continually shows how Jesus Christ is superior to anything in the Old Testament. That means, of course, that the revelation in Jesus Christ, is better than anything that came before. God used to speak in these ways, but today, even better, he speaks through his Son.

This raises the question of how Jesus speaks to us. I haven’t ever heard the voice of Jesus coming from the skies and I haven’t ever met him face-to-face so he could tell me what to do. How does God speak by Jesus?"

You can read the entire article here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Life is an incremental series of becoming what you are in Christ

The following is an excerpt from John Piper's message on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 and his exhortation to his congregation to join small groups. However, I find his exhortation holds equally true to call every believer to give in the larger context of church.

"God is calling us into these relationships not primarily because of what you need to get from the group but because of what you need to give to the group. To give yourselves."
  1. To take a risk of sharing your soul,
  2. to put away all deceit and exploitation,
  3. to renounce man-pleasing,
  4. to be done with flattery and covetousness,
  5. to feel tender, mother-like affections for people,
  6. to be holy, righteous, and blameless in our conduct,
  7. and to feel father-like desires to encourage and lead others into God-centered legacy.
You say you have nothing to give? Then you must listen to his conclusion below (3:31).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Old Testament Challenge 2: Joshua's use of Near Eastern war langauge

If you've read Joshua 10, it get's morbidly repetitive:

"He put the city and its king to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it. He left no survivors." 28

"The city and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there." 30

"The city and everyone in it he put to the sword, just as he had done to Libnah." 32

"Joshua defeated him and his army--until no survivors were left." 33

"They captured it that same day and put it to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it." 35

You get the idea. Everyone. No survivors. But at least some biblical scholars have suggested that Joshua was using a sort of Near Eastern war rhetoric that was common in that time period and would have been understood as such by his readers. This war language used exaggeration to describe military victories in ultimate terms. In other words, everyone didn't necessarily mean everyone.

For example, if you read Joshua 11:21,22, it says that the Anakim were completely destroyed from the hill country in Israel. Yet if you read a few chapters later in 14:12-15 and 15:13-19, Caleb asks for permission to drive the Anakim out of the hill country.

Paul Copan puts it this way: "Some might accuse Joshua of being misleading or getting it wrong. Not at all. He was speaking the language that everyone in his day would have understood. Rather than trying to deceive, Joshua was just saying he had fairly well trounced the enemy...The language is typically exaggerated and full of bravado, depicting total devastation. The knowing ancient Near Eastern reader recognized this as hyperbole." (Is God a Moral Monster?, 171)

We use this sort of language every day today when we talk about our sports teams: "Yeah, we crushed them!" (In reality, the score could have been close).

In fact, we find the same tension in God's original commands to Moses. In Deuteronomy 7:2-5, He commands them to "defeat" and "utterly destroy" the Canaanites, and then immediately tells them not to intermarry with their sons and daughters. As Copan points out, if the Canaanites were to be completely obliterated, why this discussion about intermarriage or treaties?

Or consider Deuteronomy 12:30 (ESV): "After they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, 'How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.'" With whom exactly are they making their inquiry if everyone has been destroyed?

So what's the point? God was more concerned with the utter destruction of the Canaanite religion than the Canaanite people. This is why virtually every command from God to destroy the Canaanites is followed by a warning about falling into idolatrous worship if they fail to follow God's commands.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jesus Affirms the Old Testament

Here is a detailed list of examples of Jesus affirming the OT:

Those parts of the Old Testament that are most commonly rejected as in error are also those sections of Scripture that Jesus clearly taught. Jesus treated Old Testament narratives as straightforward facts, including:

  • Creation - Mark 10:6, Luke 11:51
  • Adam and Eve - Matt. 19:4-5, Mark 10:6-8
  • Cain and the murder of Abel - Matt. 23:35, Luke 11:51
  • Noah and the flood - Matt. 24:37-39, Luke 17:26-27
  • Abraham - John 8:56
  • Sodom and Gomorrah - Matt. 10:15, 11:23-24, Luke 10:12, John 17:24
  • Lot - Luke 17:28-32
  • Isaac and Jacob - Matt. 8:11, Luke 13:28
  • Manna - John 6:31, 49, 58
  • The wilderness serpent - John 3:14
  • Moses as lawgiver - Matt. 8:4, 19:8, Mark 1:44, 7:10, 10:5, 12:26, Luke 5:14, 20:37, John 5:46, 7:19
  • The popularity of the false prophets - Luke 6:26
  • Jonah - Matt. 12:40

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Additional Resources for "Can We Trust the Bible?"

Studying the reliability of the Bible is complex. Here are some of the resources that I found helpful in preparing the sermon:

Doctrine by Mark Driscoll
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
  • This is a very detailed but readable book written from a former skeptic. Copies are available at Redeemer.
More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell
  • This book deals with many objections to Jesus and Christianity.
Article: Misquoting Jesus by Greg Koukl
  • This article addresses the question of errors, translations, and copies of the Bible.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Redeemer Bible Reading Plan

It's never too late to join us in the 2011 Redeemer Bible Reading Plan. Just click the link to get started today!

There are three bookmarks. Print them off and put them in the appropriate section of your Bible. Read the selection for each day and in one year, you will have read through the majority of the Bible.

Too much? Just print off Bookmark #1 and read it. That will be about 1 chapter a day.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

2011 Redeemer Reading Plan heads-up!!!

Hello Redeemer friends! For all of you who are still keeping up with the 2011 Redeemer Reading plan, here's a little tip for you:

The next several chapters in Psalms are pretty short, so I'd suggest reading a few of those each day and getting ahead on your Psalms reading. Why? We failed to split up Psalm 119, so it's currently a one-day read (and it's a doozy). So getting a head start on 119 might not be a bad idea!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Minor Prophets giving you minor fits?

The books of the minor prophets we have been reading lately in the 2011 Redeemer Reading Plan can easily give the impression that God is in a terribly sour mood and the Israelites just can't do anything right for Him. However, these prophets aren't just writing about a divine temper tantrum. Perhaps a little context would shed some light here. First, lets make note of when these prophets are writing:

Amos: "when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel"
Hosea: "during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel"
Micah: "during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah"

So even though these books appear at the very end of the Old Testament, they are actually happening simultaneously with the latter half of the book of 2nd Kings (way back in the front half of the book). We should notice that in sending a slew of prophets foretelling doom all at the same time during the same rulers, God is sending some serious warning flares to Israel that things are not right. And in fact, things were not right. Just read 2nd Kings 14:23-15:31 and you will get the idea, the Israelite kings were in a continual state of decay. So God sends all of these prophets at the same time as a last ditch effort to stir up repentance in the Israelites (kind of like Jonah did with the Ninevites). But it does not work.

So in 2nd Kings 17, the whole chapter details the end result, God finally allows the pagan nation of Assyria to defeat, capture, and exile the Israelites. So if you feel like God is being a incorrigible meanie, perhaps a little context brings this into the proper light!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Additional Resources for Marriage

In spite of how long I've talked each week, it really only touched the tip of the iceberg. For additional help and insight, check out some of these resources:


Love and Respect
by Emerson Eggerichs
This was recommended by several people when I began the series. I finally got a copy and read it. It moved to the top of the list.

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
A practical, must read for all married couples.

For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women by Shaunti Feldhahn
A must read for all men.

For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn
A must read for all women.


God, Marriage, and Family by Andreas Kostenberger
Great book on the biblical perspective on God, marriage and family.

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by John Piper
Great book on the biblical roles of men and women.


These are all excellent. Download them and listen to them on your commute or while exercising.

According to Plan by CJ and Carolyn Mahaney (Free Download)

The Peasant Princess (Song of Solomon)
by Mark Driscoll (Free sermon series)

You and Yours by Darrin Patrick (Free audio or video download)
* The Blueprint of Marriage
* Know Your Role: Helping and Headship
* A Good Husband
* Loving God as a Single Person
* Enjoying Your Marriage
* Forgiving Your Imperfect Parents
* Breaking Free From Broken Families
* How to Teach Your Child About God

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Spring Community Groups are coming!

This spring we have three different community groups. Thursday night's group will be going through the Reason For God DVD by Tim Keller (see trailer below) and reading Is God Just A Human Invention by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow.

Click here for details on all three groups and stay tuned for more info on the other two groups!

The Reason for God Trailer from Redeemer City to City on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

DAY 10 – JAN. 26th : PHILIPPIANS 3:7-11

For those participating in the 24-hour fast, you will be skipping breakfast and lunch today (Remember to continue drinking fluids during this fast). Tonight Redeemer will be gathering for a prayer meeting and breaking the fast together afterwards.

In Philippians 3, Paul speaks of those who “put confidence in the flesh” and look to and trust in their resumes of righteousness. In opposing such a view, he lists his background, a background which any first century Jew would be proud to possess. Paul calls and considers his past genealogy and accomplishments as rubbish when compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.

Like Paul, we are called to constantly seek after how we might “gain Christ.” We want to know Him, to see Him, to partake in Him and to become more like Him. This is our goal and hope. Here at Redeemer, we use the language of “following Jesus.” What will help us follow closer?

Weekly attendance, growing community groups, -- all of these are wonderful opportunities that we want to be faithful in for His kingdom, but above all we simply want whatever will bring us more of Christ.

Reflection and Intercession:

  1. Consider.
    • Can you agree with Paul and count all things as loss and rubbish?
    • Is your one overarching and underlying desire to get more of Christ?
  2. Confess.
    • Confess any affections which compete for your attention.
  3. Praise.
    • Praise God for the gift of His Son.
    • Praise God that He has promised that all things will work together to conform us to Christ’s image (Romans 8:28-30).
  4. Intercede.
    • Ask God to cultivate in yourself and our church a deeper passion for the person of Jesus Christ.
    • Ask God to grant our elders and pastors wisdom and insight into what will allow us to experience greater depths of knowing Christ.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

DAY 9 – JAN. 25th : MATTHEW 9:35-38

Today begins the 24-hour fast which we will break together tomorrow after the prayer meeting. For those participating in the 24-hour fast, eat your evening meal some time before 7 P.M. (see the introductory notes for some practical guidelines).

The ministry of Jesus was holistic. He ministered in power, truth and love as He taught, proclaimed and healed. In Matthew 9, we see Him filled with compassion for the crowds who were described as being “like sheep without a shepherd.” Speaking to His disciples, Jesus then declares that the harvest is plentiful and that we should therefore pray for laborers in the harvest.

We believe that the harvest is plentiful today as well. We believe that God has many in this city who are ordained for life, as He had many in Corinth who were set apart to hear and trust the gospel (Acts 18:10). We must therefore be diligent to pray to the Lord to send out laborers into His harvest.

If we are going to reach this city and beyond, we need laborers who are willing to share in that work. The pastors and elders of Redeemer simply cannot do it alone, nor are they called to do it alone (Ephesians 4:12). For some, that may someday mean personally leaving the body of Redeemer to help plant a church elsewhere. For all, that will mean faithfulness to pray for God to send laborers and to pray for the laborers that He sends.

Reflection and Intercession:

  1. Consider.
    • How often do you pray for laborers to be sent into the harvest?
    • How often do you pray for laborers who are already working to bring in the harvest?
  2. Confess.
    • Confess any unwillingness to personally enter into the work of the harvest.
    • Confess any exposed lusts for comfort, personal safety, passivity, etc. that might keep you from obedience to God’s missional activities.
  3. Praise.
    • Praise God for the harvest.
    • Praise God for those who are currently toiling in the fields to reconcile people to Him.
  4. Intercede.
    • Ask God to send workers into the harvest.
    • Ask God to raise workers within Redeemer Church and to give very specific direction to the elders and pastors of this church as to where the fields are ripe.

Monday, January 24, 2011

DAY 8 – JAN. 24th : ACTS 20:17-35

In Acts 20, Paul is saying goodbye to the Ephesian elders as he continues his journey to Jerusalem, an expedition toward his own pending persecution. In speaking to the elders, he prophesies of coming days in which false teachers would enter into the church and lead them astray, a prophecy which 1 John records as being fulfilled at least in part in his time.

You and I have a limited time here on this earth. Whether we die or the Lord comes back, the time of our departure is approaching. What will we do with the time that we have?

Redeemer is not God’s plan for Omaha or the world. Rather, we simply hope to be faithful to play our part, grateful that God has allowed us to enter into the work. We want to be dedicated to the particular work that God has given us by declaring all that is profitable and diligently proclaiming what God has revealed.

Who knows what Redeemer will look like when we are gone? We can and should certainly be faithful to raise the next generation to continue when we must depart, but we cannot guarantee their future dedication. Rather, we must simply be diligent today to do what we can to make much of God and expand His kingdom.

Reflection and Intercession:

  1. Consider.
    • How are you pouring into the next generation? Are you simply taking their faithfulness for granted?
    • How are you stewarding the five, 10, 20 or 40 years that God is giving you?
  2. Confess.
    • Confess deficiencies in your faithfulness to commend God’s works to the next generation.
  3. Praise.
    • Praise God for the opportunity we have today to be faithful.
  4. Intercede.
    • Ask God to grant our generation a faithful 40 years of stewardship of this local body.
    • Ask God to steady the coming generation not to take the gospel for granted, but to be built upon the foundation of Christ.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Redeemer's latest worship songs

Good morning everyone!

Since there's no service this morning, I thought I would post a bunch of links to some of our newest songs for those of you pining for church. Even if we can't all sing together, we can still spend our Sunday considering the greatness and worth of God in Jesus. So here's all the new additions to the Redeemer worship playlist since I last made a post like this (click each song title to go directly to the song in the iTunes store):

Now Unto The One - Evan Wickham
For Love I Sing - Glenn Packiam
Glory To God - Fee
Jesus Reigns - Seth Condrey
The Lord Is My Rock - Elevation Worship
Because of Your Love - Phil Wickham

DAY 7 – JAN. 23rd : JEREMIAH 29:7

During the time of Judah’s exile, Jeremiah prophesied to his people of God’s plan for their welfare. Unlike Jeremiah’s contemporaries (Jeremiah 29:9), he did not prophesy that God would soon deliver His people from exile, but that they would remain for a period of 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10) after which God would again visit His people to fulfill His promises to them. In the meantime, the Israelites were commanded to “seek the welfare of the city” in which they were exiled.

Like the Israelites, we are called by God to be a transformative force for the good of our particular context as we await God’s deliverance -- this time not a return to the Promised Land, but the promise of a returned Son. As God has ordained particular times and places for our lives, we are called to be missionaries of reconciliation within those particular contexts. The reason that Redeemer exists in the Omaha metro in the 21st century is that God might be known and enjoyed in this context.We want to be intentional in pursuing the welfare of the city. We want to be deliberate and committed to seeing justice maintained, the gospel proclaimed and lives changed for the glory of God.

Reflection and Intercession:

  1. Consider.
    • Think about the promise of the return of Jesus Christ. Does that stir your affections and bring you joy?
    • How does the welfare of the Omaha metro in particular (or America in general) relate to the welfare of those who live in that context?
    • Do you ever emphasize evangelism to the neglect of good works or vice versa?
  2. Confess.
    • Confess any tendency to complacency in turning your back on the cities in which we live.
    • Confess any exposed areas of apathy or ignorance toward the plight and dangers of the city.
  3. Praise.
    • Praise God for His compassion and commitment to social transformation.
    • Praise God that He has historically linked the welfare of His people to the welfare of an area to persuade us to better engage those around us.
  4. Intercede.
    • Ask God to bless the Omaha metro with a renewal of biblical Christianity.
    • Ask God to grant the elders and pastors of Redeemer Church wisdom and insight to know how to engage the metro and seek its welfare better.