October 21, 2020

October 21, 2020

Dear Friends,
 
I remember being struck by the lyric the first time I heard the song.  It was at event that featured modern hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty, and they were performing a new song they had co-written with Graham Kendrick.  The song began with the clear declaration that “my worth is not in what I own.”  But it was the final verse that captured my attention immediately:
 
Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross

 
The paradox of having worthy while being inherently unworthy is a biblical theme that I believe each one of us must embrace and affirm if we are to ever begin to comprehend how God sees us.
 
The Bible makes it clear that each one of us is created in God’s image, and as a result, has worth, dignity and value. We are, as Psalm 139 declares, fearfully and wonderfully made.  Humankind has a transcendent value that leaves the psalmist marveling at the glory of God on display in His what He has wrought in creating creatures who are image bearers. 
 
At the same time, the Bible explains how the image of God was marred when the first man and the first woman rebelled against their Maker.  It was our corporate rejection of God that distorted the good work that He had accomplished in us. 
 
As a result, in the same way that you and I are simultaneously sinful and justified, we are also simultaneously worthy and unworthy creatures.
 
Most of us tend to lean to one side or the other of that paradox.  We either exalt our inherent worth or value as human beings and minimize our sinfulness and its impact on our lives.  Or we find ourselves so overwhelmed by the shame of our persistent sin that we can’t believe that we have any value at all.
 
You can relate with one of those two views, right?  Which way do you lean?
 
It is in Christ that the paradox of value is resolved.  Our sin and its consequences are real.  We cannot escape the reality that in our flesh dwells no good thing.  All our righteousness is filthy rags.  But we also can’t escape the glorious truth that in Christ, our dignity as image bearers is fully restored.  What is latent in all men is realized when a person becomes a new creation in Christ.
 
Songwriter Graham Kendrick has his own reflection on the lyric to the song My Worth Is Not In What I Own.  He writes:
 
“We know that our culture calibrates human worth by measures of wealth and status, skills and achievement, beauty and youth, power and so on, but we don’t always appreciate how deeply those values are ingrained into us and how effective they are in driving our behavior.
 
“Christians are little different. We need to sing about our worth from God’s perspective, not ours or our cultures, and God’s perspective centers in on the cross.
 
“John Stott wrote; ‘Our self is a complex entity of good and evil, glory and shame, of creation and fall…we are created, fallen and redeemed, then re-created in God’s image’ ….. ‘Standing before the cross we see simultaneously our worth and unworthiness, since we perceive both the greatness of his love in dying, and the greatness of our sin in causing him to die’ [The Cross p. 285]
 
“William Temple wrote: ‘My worth is what I am worth to God, and that is a marvelous great deal, for Christ died for me.’”
 
If you tend to focus on your shame and guilt as a sinner, and find yourself overwhelmed by your unworthiness, spend time today reminding yourself of who you are in Christ.  You are His child – forgiven, redeemed, accepted and loved.  Believe that.  Marvel in that.
 
And if you tend to focus on your worth and your inherent value as an image bearer and as a redeemed child of God, spend time today remembering that your worth before God is all of grace.  It is Christ in you that makes you acceptable to Him.  Your value is fixed and your ransom is paid at the cross.
  

TRUNK or TREAT | Fri, Oct. 30 6:30-8:30p

This Sunday is the last opportunity to bring a bag of Halloween candy to church for us to hand out to Trunk or Treaters in our church parking lot on Friday night, October 30.  If you haven’t yet contributed a bag of candy for the cause, head to Kroger or Walmart or wherever and pick up something you can either bring with you to church or drop of at Pastor Matt’s house ahead of time.
 
And we’re still looking for 2-3 more trunks to be part of the event.  Contact Jen Gurney and let her know you can open your trunk and your heart to reach out to the kids in our church neighborhood on October 30.

ELDERS and DEACONS

I know that you, like me, are grateful for the labor of the faithful, godly men who serve us as elders and deacons at Redeemer.  These men love the Lord and love our church.  They love you and they serve well so that the spiritual and tangible needs of people in our body can be met.

 Each year, we ask you to pass along to us the names of men you believe we should consider as potential leaders.  These men must meet the qualifications for elders and deacons listed for us in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.  They must have a desire to serve.  Ultimately, what we’re looking for is not men who begin serving once they are appointed to a position, but instead, men who we see currently doing the kind of work elders and deacons do.  We don’t select elders and deacons.  We look for those whom God has already selected and we affirm what we see God doing in and through them.
 
If you have men you’d like us to consider for a leadership position at Redeemer, please pass along their names to any of the current elders or deacons.  Over the next month, we’ll be spending time praying about who we believe God might be setting apart in our church for this kind of service.
 
Thanks.

Prayer for our Nation & the Election | Sun, Nov 1 @ 6:30pm

On Sunday night, November 1 at 6:30, we’re inviting everyone to join us at church for an informal time of prayer for our nation and for the election.  We’ll spend no more than an hour together asking God to accomplish His purposes in our country and to bring healing, righteousness and justice to our land.  I hope you’ll consider being part of this important time of corporate prayer.

Johnny & Ellen Walker

I heard this week from Johnny and Ellen Walker, the missionaries we support who are involved in Bible translation work in East Africa.  The Walkers are still hoping to return to Africa in January and have asked us to pray for them and for their financial needs.  They have recently had to revise their budget and have more funds to raise than they had originally estimated.  They need funds for a car when they arrive in country and ongoing monthly expenses. 
 
They are trusting that God will supply all they need at the right time.  Please pray for them, and if you are inclined to help with financial support for them, you can give by going to their Wycliffe missionary page which has a giving link..
 


It’s one of the most powerful, most dramatic scenes from the life of Jesus – the encounter between Jesus, the Pharisees and the woman caught in the act of adultery.  What can we learn from this account about sin and grace?  What’s the message of this story for us in 2020?  We’ll dig in the Sunday and find out.

See you (in person or on line) Sunday!

Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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