FEBRUARY 16, 2022

FEBRUARY 16, 2022

Dear Friends,
 
If you ever find yourself in Nashville on a Monday night, you owe it to yourself to see if the Time Jumpers happen to be playing at Third and Lindsley.  Most Monday nights, they’re there, putting on a wonderful two hour show of the best in Western Swing music.  The Time Jumpers are the best of the best – legendary studio session players who have backed up just about everyone who has ever recorded a country album in Nashville.  Most of the musicians one the stage are far from household names.  But if Vince Gill is in town on a Monday (which he was on a Monday night when I was in town a few years ago), he’s likely to sit in with the boys.  They all get together for a relaxed jam session, and the end result is magical.
 
But there is one notable player who plays guitar, sings and yodels with the Time Jumpers almost every Monday night.  He is Douglas B. Green, better known to his fans as Ranger Doug, the Idol of American Youth, from the legendary musical group known as Riders In The Sky.  Because selfies are the new autographs, I was able to score this treasured shot a few years ago.
And here are the Riders singing a classic.  Click and enjoy.
That song, Cool Water, was chosen by the Western Writers of America as #3 on their list of the Top 100 Western Songs of All Time.  Written in 1936 and made popular by the Sons of the Pioneers in 1941, Cool Water tells the story of a man and his mule out in the desert.  The man is parched and is tormented by mirages of cool, clear water (water, water).
 
You can live a long time without food.  According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Angus Barbieri went 382 days with nothing but tea, coffee, water, soda water and vitamins.  Gandhi’s longest fast was 21 days. 
 
Water is different.  You might last a week without water.  Might.  Maybe the only thing we need more than water is air.  Those who study these things apply what they call the rule of three when it comes to food, water and air.  In general, we can last three minutes without air.  Three days without water.  Three weeks without food. 
 
The Bible talks about all three of these essential life-giving elements.  But I found myself thinking mostly about water this week, for some reason.  Maybe it’s because it’s talked about more than 700 times in the Bible.  Water is mentioned more than prayer.  Or faith.  Or worship.  Water first appears in Genesis 1:2, where the Spirit of God moves across the face of the waters.  And it’s referenced in Revelation 22, where everyone who is thirsty is invited to take a drink from the water of life. 
 
Water is used to wash away dirt and infection.  We know what happens over time if we don’t bathe or shower with some degree of regularity.  And in scripture, the cleansing properties of God’s word are compared to water.   David, when he confessed his sin to God cried out for God to wash away his sin and make him white as snow.  God, speaking through the prophet Ezekiel promises to sprinkle clean water on His people, to make them clean from their sins.  Husbands are challenged to wash their wives with the water of God’s word. 
 
But our primary need is for hydration.  Like the man in the song, without cool, clear water, we’re in trouble.  We drink in or we die. 
 
In same way, water is connected to our salvation.  You remember how intrigued the woman at the well of Sychar was when Jesus told her that whoever drinks of the water He offers will never die?  He was telling her about living water, the same kind of water Isaiah urges God’s people to draw from the wells of salvation.  And of course it was Jesus who stood up at the Feast of the Tabernacles and said “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”
 
I know there are plenty of people – maybe some of you – who fill up a big container of water every morning and carry it around all day, taking regular drinks of water.  According to my wife, my Yeti filled with Diet Coke does not have the same health and nutrition benefits as water does (I’ve tried making my case that Diet Coke is 99% water, but she refuses to budge from her position).  We’ve all heard about the eight 8 oz. glasses of water we’re supposed to drink each day, right?  Your internal organs need it.  So do your joints.  Your skin.  Your digestive tract.
 
In the same way, your soul needs long, regular drinks of living water.  I see people living parched lives.  Like the man in the desert in the song Cool Water, they stumble toward mirages, thinking they will find something that will quench the thirst inside.  But when they get there, they find the mirage was just more sand all along. 
 
If all you’re doing is taking occasional sips from the water of God’s word, you can expect to find yourself thirsty and sluggish, especially after a workout.  We need to regularly be drinking deeply from God’s word to bring life to the dryness of our lives.  I hope that’s your pattern and practice.  Not a sip here and a sip there.  But long drinks of cool, clear, pure living water.      

“Come, everyone who thirsts,” God says.  “Come to the waters.” 
 

Isaiah 55:1

FIRST TUESDAY MEN’S GATHERING

Guys if you haven’t yet downloaded the syllabus for our upcoming First Tuesday gathering you’ll find it here.  The topic next month is our ongoing battle with lust and pornography.  Our guest via Zoom will be Dr. Joe Rigney who has written a helpful book on this subject called More Than A Battle
 
Once again, I want to encourage every man in our church to come to this particular meeting.  The pornography pandemic in our culture is real, and the temptation all of us experience to give into lust is real.  I’m expecting our time with Joe to be something every man will find helpful.

SPRING MEN’S RETREAT

And then, four days later, we’ll huddle up again for the Spring Men’s Retreat.  Our special guest speaker is Dr. Landon Dowden, the lead pastor of Hebron Church in Dracula, Ga.  If you haven’t signed up yet for the retreat, shame on you!  Do it now!  Click here to reserve your spot!

this Sunday is a Gospel Zone Sunday for elementary aged kids. 

good reports

I’m grateful for the good reports we’ve received this week from the people we’ve been praying for as a church.  God delights in our prayers, just as we delight when our children come to us seeking good things.
 
With that in mind, I have a project I want to challenge you with this week.  I want to challenge you to take 10 minutes today – right now in fact – and do the following.

Click this link to open the Redeemer online church directory. Scroll through the list of names.  Pick five (or more). Pray for the five you pick. Send a text or an email to the five people and tell them you prayed for them.  Just say “I took the prayer challenge in the newsletter and you were one of the five people I prayed for.”  You can add anything else you’d like to your note. 

What do you think God might do if we all did that this week?  Or every week, for that matter?  What if we made praying for each other normal and regular?  Do you think God might hear our prayers and move in some way?
 
Let’s find out.  Are you up for this?
 
And before you say “I’m not doing that” and move on, will you take a minute and ask God if He wants you to move on or if He wants you to pray? 

If you had to sum up the Christian life in a single word, could you do it?  Is there one word that captures what it looks like for us to live faithful as followers of Jesus?  In John 15, Jesus gives His disciples a single, powerful word that sums up what is their most urgent and essential activity.  We’ll see what that word is as we turn to John 15 this week.
 
See you in church.
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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