Monday, July 29, 2013

We Are Better Together: Sermon Recap

1 Corinthians 12

Big Idea: God invites you to join a mission bigger than yourself.

From "The Body: We Are Better Together. A series from 1st Corinthians"


 Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference:
  • God invites you to join a mission bigger than yourself.
  • We don't experience things greater than ourselves because we don't want to give up control.
  •  In the Body of Christ, everybody needs everybody and everybody is needed.
  •  When each of us brings our spiritual gifts to the table, we see more fully the totality of who God is. 
  • If you don't use the gifts that you've been given, you and the rest of the body are going to suffer.
  • Every Christian has something essential to offer to the mission of God.  
  • When we use the gifts God has given us, God gets the glory and we experience joy.
  • The Body of Christ: Diverse gifts, one giver. Many ministries, one mission. Different activities, one power.
  •  God works differently in each of us to achieve his purpose through all of us.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What Is Communion?: Sermon Recap

1 Corinthians 10:14-22 and 11:17-34

Big Idea: Communion is a tangible demonstration of faith. When you take Communion, you are saying, "Jesus, you died for me so I will live for you".

From "The Body: We Are Better Together. A series from 1st Corinthians"



Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference:
  • Communion is a tangible demonstration of worship. 
  • The one thing that brings us together and unites us is our worship of Jesus.
  • When you take Communion, you are fleeing from sin and turning to God.
  • Communion is a time of celebration.
  • Communion is a clear reminder of the Gospel.
  • When you celebrate Communion, you are reciting the Gospel.
Behold the Lamb (Communion Hymn) - Stuart Townend

Remember - Laura Story

Monday, July 15, 2013

Equal and Different: Sermon Recap

After a five week hiatus from sermonizing, Lee returned this week and continued his series in 1st Corinthians, tackling the monstrous topic of gender roles. And in the end he accomplished what he said couldn't be done: he preached  his sermon in under an hour!

Listen to the message

Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference:
  • In Christ, men are free to be masculine and women are free to be feminine. 
  • Men and women are to collaborate and complement each other so that God's work is done. 
  • When discussing gender issues, the Bible never works from current culture, it goes back to Genesis.
  •  Men and women were created differently because there were different things God wanted them to do.
  •  Men and women are completely equal in worth and dignity but functionally different.
  • God made Eve because Adam couldn't be an image-bearer of a trinitarian "God in community" by himself. 
  • Men, you are the pastor of your home.
  • Men, you don't work as a punishment for sin. You work because God created you to work. 
  • Men and women are to both be in interdependent community.
  • Men, your hope is not in your wife. Women, your hope is not in your husband. It is in Christ.
If this message has been encouraging (or challenging) for you, Redeemer is currently offering three classes that will work through a lot of these difficult ideas during the summer. Leave a comment at the bottom of this post if you're interested in signing up for any of these:

Monday, July 8, 2013

What's Your Problem? : Message Recap

This week Ty Schenzel, executive director for The Hope Center for Kids, gave a powerful presentation about the organization's ministry to the youth in North Omaha. If you missed it, you owe it to yourself to go back and hear the whole thing.

Listen to the message

If you would like more information on Ty and the Hope Center for Kids, you can read more in an article written about Ty (The Freemont Tribune: "Former Freemonter Runs Ministry for Inner City Kids) or an eBook written by Ty available through Amazon (A Thousand Screaming Mules: The Story of Stubborn Hope and One Dad's Dream to Transform Kids' Lives).

Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference:
  • I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:8
  • The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. Psalm 25:14 
  • As the hands and feet of Jesus, we should be examining the things around us that are not right and work to make them right. - Pastor Lee
  • I believe a vision from the Lord is an idea from His heart to our heart. - Ty Schenzel
  • To the one who lives in hopelessness, consequences mean nothing. - Brenda Council
And finally, a few videos from The Hope Center :

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Campfire and the Firecracker (a reflection on joy)

I love Independence Day—mainly because of the explosions. Yeah, I certainly love our country and grilling out is great. But from the earliest age that my parents would permit, my inner pyromaniac would emerge every year around the end of June like Mr. Hyde with a burning punk clenched in each fist. All my best scar stories are somehow related to this most incendiary of holidays and I have little doubt that trend will continue.

Fire also played a pivotal role in one of my other fondest childhood memories: camping. Specifically the campfire, without which a camping trip just devolves into a slumber party. I loved it when my dad would let me help him start the campfire. As I got older, I took pride in the designation among my friends as the person responsible for starting our fire in the harshest of conditions—even rain and snow.

I mention these two things—the campfire and the firecracker—because in them I see a perfect contrast of the difference between the joy we can find in the Creator versus the happiness we get from created things. Allow me to explain.

The Law of Diminishing Returns

The firecracker is exciting, flashy, adrenaline-inducing. But it's so short-lived. There's a pop and bang—and then it's gone. And then you need another one. If you're like me, I just can't set off the next firecracker the same way as the last. I've gotta twist wicks together and set a bunch of them off at once. Or find something to blow up. The law of diminishing returns kicks in and I quickly get bored using the firecrackers the way the warning label instructs. Things can get pretty dangerous pretty quickly when you start using explosives in a way they were never designed to be used.

But we do this every day, and with much more dangerous things than firecrackers. We get a flash of wealth, and suddenly we're consumed with the next big promotion, the next new car. We get a spark of sex and soon we're blowing up our lives with the next porn fix or one-night stand. We get a pop of success, and then we're lighting every wick in sight to sweeten our resume' or keep climbing the professional ladder.

My point is not that money, sex, and success are bad things. They can all be gifts from God and can all be used wisely. But they will all flash and fade and if you're looking to them to give you the lasting joy that only God can give you. No matter what your sparkling fix is, you'll never be satisfied with it. It will never give you a happiness that lasts.

There will just be a BANG...

...and a taste of gunpowder...

...and a hole in the ground.

A Slow, Steady Burn

But the campfire is different. It may not always be as exciting and sexy as the firecracker (though at times it can be) but it offers so much more than just temporary amusement. Instead of the painful light and lack of heat from the firecracker, the campfire offers warm light and steady heat. Where the former sends you running, the latter draws you in.

And when the harsh realities of life set in—when the storm comes—only one can stay aflame and only one save your life:
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
  (Hebrews 12:2 ESV)

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
  (2 Corinthians 8:1-2 ESV)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
  (James 1:2-3 ESV)
So, what fires are you feeding in your life? Are you only setting flame to the things that will go POP in the end, or are you drawing closer to the only source of true light and warmth in this cold, dark world?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Unchained from Distress: Sermon Recap

Jimmy just wrapped up his four-week series from the book of Philippians. It's been a blessing having someone able to step in while Lee is on vacation and preparing for the coming fall series.

Thanks, Jimmy!

To listen to the message, click here.

Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference:
  • God is not surprised by the things that blindside us. 
  • All true joy finds its source in Jesus. You wanna stop worrying? Think about Jesus.
  • Live out of your theology, not out of your anxiety.
  • Bottom line: worry is a subtle distrust of God.
  • Whatever we are going to face in life is nothing compared to what He has defeated.
And a few I came up with as Jimmy preached:
  • When you pray about your worry, you act as if God is God. When you hang on to your worry, you act as if you are God. 
  • Continual worry is a form of prayer to the god of self.  
Verses to reflect on during the week:
  • Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a
  • I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
  • Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
  • Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
  • Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27