JULY 12, 2023

Hi all!

Many of you might have wondered, after I shared this past Sunday about growing up with pseudo faith, how I actually came to real faith in Jesus. If you grew up like me (which you probably didn’t do particularly, but maybe more so generally), you had no idea who Jesus was or how much God really loved you. I went to church most Sundays, was very involved in serving and then helping lead our youth group. But I was clueless as to who God was, what His Word really taught, or the deep heart wonder the Gospel gives. My parents separated right before my senior year and life began to look very different. There was a deep ache and anger that began to stir inside of me and come out of me on occasion. God, in his infinite wisdom, used my parents’ divorce and moving 850 miles away from every friend I knew, to bring me to places that he wanted me to be.

It was in this season that God began to shape my life with His Word, new friends, and a good dose of suffering. I would have even said that I was a Christian but I was still trying to earn God’s favor and love by my good deeds-at least trying to outweigh my bad ones with better ones. After moving to Mississippi from Florida I began attending church with my Aunt and Uncle. And even though I was there most Sundays, I still wondered if God was good and if he loved me when life wasn’t going well. It wasn’t until I had failed in my own goodness enough that the Holy Spirit drew me to a place of deep surrender, trust, and peace. All the truths that I had been hearing over the years of sitting under faithful Bible and Gospel preaching came flooding back to my heart and mind. I will never forget kneeling down by my bed in the tiny apartment I shared with my mom and telling God that all of my life was his no matter the cost or the lack of good things that came my way: from now on I was going to follow Jesus no matter what! This was where I began to see the Gospel shape me. I believe it is in real surrender we find incredible Gospel hope.

In the days, weeks, months, and years that followed, I began to see how much more faithful God was and how important His Word was and still is. God took me from working dead end jobs with no hope of finishing college to serving him as a youth pastor in 3 states over almost twenty years. I have seen the joy and the sorrow of ministry but am thankful through it all for Jesus!

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust a sweeter frame, but wholly trust on Jesus’ name! On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.” So how has God shaped you with His Gospel? Do you find yourself still trying to be good enough for His love and care? Or are you living out of His great love in peace and hope by the power of the Spirit? This is what I hope many of my friends will begin to understand: without surrender to Jesus, marked by repentance and faith in His finished work, there is very little real hope in this life and certainly none in the next. But with it, there is great hope in both!!! For my Christian friends who have already surrendered to Jesus, let’s begin each day with hopeful surrender in His sovereign plan and mercy for each moment. That this might mark a Gospel movement in each of our lives is my prayer for any and all who hearken to the voice of Jesus in His Gospel.

Contact Pat Howell with any questions.

Two water related events coming up next month. First, it’s the Crowder concert at Magic Springs.

Our students are making plans to go. And you’re welcome to tag along. Click here for details and to register now. Unfortunately, the Early Bird pricing to go has passed. But feel free to still register. It’s going to be “rockin” time!

And then two nights later, we’ll be splashing around and enjoying pizza together at our end of July pool party!

Our students are also going to be starting the Fall off right with a great time of fun, food, and a Bible study series. Make plans to join and invite a friend!

Also It’s almost Awana time! Registration is open for the fall. We will be having a Kick off night on August 30 for parents and kids. Hope you will join us!

And you can register for Awana here: https://redeemerlr.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/1833857

As we continue our study of Hebrews 11 and look at Noah this week our prayer is that you will see the beauty of living by faith. Ever wonder how real faith repels the world and falsehood? Let’s dive into that this Sunday.

See you in church.

Grace and peace,
Matt Gurney

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