August 15, 2019

Dear Friends,

Let’s start here this week. A Bible Literacy quiz courtesy of Jen Wilkin. See how you do.

  1. Name the First 3 Israelite Kings
  2. Where did Jesus grow up?
  3. Who moved from Ur to a country he did not know?
  4. What were the occupations of Cain and Abel?
  5. Who prophesied, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given”?
  6. How many books are in the Bible? In the Old Testament? In the New Testament?
  7. How many years of famine did Joseph prophesy to Pharaoh?
  8. What is the name of Jacob’s youngest son?
  9. What is Noah’s first act when he emerges from the ark?
  10. Who are the sons of Zebedee?
  11. How many people were saved on the ark?
  12. Who said to whom, “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”?
  13. What type of animal did Balaam ride? (Extra points for King James Version)
  14. Who commanded the sun and moon to stand still?
  15. Which of Jesus’s miracles is recorded in all four Gospels?
  16. What is the other name for Mount Horeb?
  17. What were the names of the mother and grandmother of Jacob?
  18. Which two men were recorded as having never died?
  19. Who made the Golden Calf?
  20. Which disciple found a coin in the mouth of a fish?

Pencils down.

Here’s what I’m pretty sure of.

  • You didn’t get all 20 answers correct (unless you’re Curtis or Betty).
  • As a church, our cumulative score would be higher than the score at most churches.
  • It’s a joy to pastor people who are hungry to learn and know God’s word.
  • Bible knowledge apart from humility and grace is dangerous. “Knowledge puffeth up” (I Cor. 8:1).
  • I am hoping and praying that our cumulative Bible literacy scores as a church start to decline.

Say what?

Did that last one catch you off guard? Why would any pastor want to see Bible literacy in his church declining?

The key word here is “cumulative.” My hope and prayer is that everyone coming to Redeemer is growing in grace and in their knowledge of God and His word. But my hope is that we are going to start seeing an increase of people who are closer to the start of their spiritual journey.

I shared with Mary Ann this week an interesting article from Vanity Fair about churches on the east and west coast that are attracting a celebrity crowd – including people like Justin Bieber, Chris Pratt and Selena Gomez. While we agreed that the churches in the article aren’t exactly what we have in mind at Redeemer, I also agreed with Mary Ann’s comment: “It would be great to have some atheists in our congregation.”

If you’ve been at Redeemer for a while, you know that two of our priorities are fostering strong, healthy community and living lives on mission. That means we work to cultivate relationships with one another inside the church and to find ways we can engage with and serve people outside the church. Most churches tend to be better at one priority than they are at the other. It’s a challenge to be good at both.

I’m up for that challenge. Jesus’ earliest followers figured it out. I think we can too.

One more loosely connected thought this week. There has been a lot of response recently to the news that Joshua Harris has walked away from and is no longer professing faith in Jesus. That news was followed this week by a similar post from Marty Sampson, a musician/songwriter from Hillsong who co-wrote the song Oceans (A day later, Marty clarified his previous statements).

Here are a few of the best posts I’ve seen. The first is something I hope you’ll all take time to read. It’s from perhaps a surprising source. John Cooper is the lead singer for the Christian band Skillit. While his observations don’t apply to Josh Harris, they speak to the current state of American evangelicalism. And if you have time, I think you’ll also benefit from what both David French and Brant Hansen have written.

As I reflect on all of this, my own heart is drawn back to what we read a few months ago in 1 John 2. I have to train my own heart not to be drawn away from Jesus by a love for lesser things or people. “Do not love the world or the things in the world,” John reminds us. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15–17).

May God grant each one of us perseverance as we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

As you should already know if you have elementary aged or younger children, we’re making some changes in how we serve our kids. Here’s are the details:

If you have questions, Mrs. Jen has the answers!

And in case you missed it last week, here what’s happening in our women’s ministry this fall:

About the Bible study. We’re offering both a day and an evening study this fall. The women will be going through the first 12 chapters in the book of Acts, using a Precept study titled Jesus’ Witnesses, Empowered by His Spirit. Terry Morledge and Laura White will lead the study.

You can attend on Monday nights from 7:00-8:30 (Sept 30- Nov 18) or on Wednesday mornings from 9:30-11:00 (Oct 2-Nov 20). Childcare will be provided for the Wed AM class for birth-5 year olds. We’ll need you to pre-register your children (names and ages).

The Precept workbook costs $10, and you can pay for it at first class. (You can choose the longer Precept upon Precept version or the shorter
In & Out version.)

To sign up, or if you have any questions, email Terry Morledge at or text 501-517-1566.

Have the eyes of your heart been enlightened, as Paul prayed would be the case for the church members in Ephesus? Do you even know what that means? We’ll find out more this Sunday.

See you in church.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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