Dear Friends,

I have spent this week being reminded of how great a gift music is. God has created us to be people who worship Him. And He gave us music as a way to engage our hearts and minds in expressing our love and devotion for Him.

Along with others form our worship team at Redeemer, I’ve been in Nashville with more than 6,000 people thinking about how music is also a tool we use for fulfilling the Great Commission.

You’ve probably heard that term. It’s a reference to the last words of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel. He tells His disciples, both then and now, that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him, and that He is commissioning us to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). This “Great Commission” is our assignment from our King. These are the marching orders Jesus has given to each of us.

Music is one of the ways we become and make disciples. It effectively does two things. First, by combining biblical truth with melodies and harmonies, it joins our heads and hearts together in worship. Our minds are engaged as we think about the words we are singing. And our emotions are stirred by the music itself. If, on a Sunday, we all stood together and recited hymn lyrics without any musical accompaniment (the way we stand and recite the catechism) we would find ourselves much less moved by the profound truths we are expressing. Adding music brings a new dimension of engagement with the truth to which we are giving voice.

The other thing music does in a unique way is that it makes the truth sticky. Unless you’ve been working on it, you probably can’t recite the catechism questions and answers we went over in church last Sunday. But by adding a melody to the truths found in scripture, many of us have found ourselves remembering this week that “He is always good, there is no end to His mercy, and His love will not run dry.”

In fact, the lyrics of great hymns often come to mind as we find ourselves facing the challenges of life day in and day out. One of the hymns we sang this past week has a lyric that God has often brought to my mind in times when I find myself discouraged by the stubborn nature of my indwelling sin. I come back regularly to the truth that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). And I sing these words again:

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

The words from that great hymn are a balm to my soul. As I remind myself of these gospel truths, I am continually aligning my life and my experience with what God says is true. I’m trusting what His word says over the voice of the accuser and my own feelings of guilt and shame. In short, God is using this song in my life to do the work of the Great Commission. It points me back to Jesus and calls me to follow Him, trust in Him and believe His word. That’s the essence of discipleship.

There are two quotes about music from Martin Luther that I come back to regularly. In addition to being a pastor, Luther was a hymn writer. He penned the words to the hymn Ein Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott, which we sing with the English words A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. He also reintroduced congregational singing as a part of corporate worship in a time where only the professionals sang in church while the congregants sat and listened.

Luther said:

My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary… Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us. Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.

And in true Luther form, he added:

A person who does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs.

Take a minute today to thank God for the gift of music. And then refresh your own soul, as mine has been refreshed this week, by thinking of a favorite hymn and singing it out loud as a praise offering to Him.

It’s almost Game Night!

There’s a lot happening this week at Redeemer.

First of, our small group ministry kicks off the fall semester beginning this Sunday.

Our small groups are designed to be the place where we connect with, love and serve one another. It’s where friendships are formed as we care for and pray for each other.

If you’re not currently in a small group, this is the perfect month for you to drop in and check one out. There is zero commitment on your part when you show up for a first time visits to a group. Everyone there knows you’re just checking things out to see what works for you.

Here’s a list of our groups, meeting times and leaders:

This Sunday after church, all of the group leaders will be on hand to answer any questions or provide you with any information you need about their group.

We hope you’ll make participation in a small group a second regular rhythm in your life (along with being in church on Sunday). We think that combination will give you a great week in, week out foundation for your walk with Jesus.

Guys, this coming Tuesday is our kick off for the Stepping Up study that we’ll be doing this year in our monthly First Tuesday men’s meetings. Come grab dinner at 6:15. Or show up at 7:00 for the meeting.

The Redeemer Young Adult ministry, NxTGen is also meeting at church next Tuesday night, September 12.

This next week is also the week when our Fall Women’s Bible Study begins.
You can join the Tuesday afternoon group or the Thursday evening group. Click here for more information or to register for either group.

If you’re interested in finding out more about what it means to be a member at Redeemer our fall New Member event is next Friday and Saturday.

Contact Matt Gurney if you have questions or would like to join us to explore more about membership.

Two weeks from this Saturday, plan to get your car washed by our Roots Student Ministries students. And help support the Student Ministries Scholarship Fund at the same time!

Guys. We don’t know yet when kickoff will be when Arkansas plays Texas A&M on Saturday, September 30. But once game time is nailed down, we’ll lock in the times for a men’s BBQ Tailgating meet up. We’ll enjoy some premium BBQ while we watch the game on the big screens in the worship center. Plan now to call the hogs together at whatever time the game kicks off that day.

It’s time! The registration link is up and you can book your room now for the upcoming Fall Women’s Retreat. Get the dates on your calendar, reserve your room now and get ready for a great weekend of fun, fellowship and time together considering God’s word.

Here are the deets. The retreat is October 20-22. It’s at the Cross Heirs Retreat Center, about an hour east of Little Rock. Dana James, who led last year’s retreat, will be back again this year to take you through 2 Timothy 3. The $100 fee covers two nights lodging, all meals and materials.

Sign up soon to secure your place. This is a “don’t miss” weekend for women.

You know who needs your help? Our kids.

There are opportunities in all three children’s ministry classes (ages 0-1, 2-3, or 4-5 year olds). You will serve once every 6 weeks. It’s a great gift to love to care for our RCC kiddos!! Contact Jen Gurney (859-771-6580 or to get on the schedule!!

You’re familiar with what are known as sleeper cells – foreign agents hiding in plain sight, waiting to be activated to attack our country from within? This week, we begin an extended look at the book of Jude, which warns us to be on the lookout for spiritual sleeper cells in our churches, and to hold firm to the truth of scripture when people inside the church want to undermine the faith using literally the oldest trick in the book – challenging God’s word.

See you in church.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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