Reflection Guide: The Return of Christ

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Main Idea - Often when we talk about the return of Jesus we either get distracted in speculations about how and when, or we tune out entirely. Paul’s words encourage us to live sober lives understanding that Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead and make all things new. This reality awakens us to our need for Jesus and reminds us that this present life matters to God.

Listen to the sermon audio here.

You can also check out more resources for this series HERE.

Read through the following passages: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Discuss the questions below with your MC or DNA group.

  1. What strikes you when you read this passage? What questions come to mind?
  2. As you read this text, what tensions do you feel?
  3. How does end times mania distract and discourage us from really hearing what Paul is saying here? Why are speculations and complex end times schemes unhelpful and even dangerous to our faith (consider 1 Timothy 1:3-4)?
  4. What are ways you find yourself going through life asleep or drunk on temporary concerns? What practices do we learn in this passage to help us “stay awake.” Consider verse 8. What might this look like practically and how can you help one another cultivate this in your life?
  5. Why is it important that we wait with a sober expectation of the return of Christ? How does our understanding of future things inform our present living?

Kids Worship Questions

  1. What is one thing that stuck out to you in this sermon? What questions come up that you could discuss with your parents or a pastor?
  2. While we wait for Jesus to return, how does Paul instruct us to live? Draw a picture that represents this way of living as we wait for Jesus to return.
  3. Have you ever done something wrong that you wouldn’t want others to know or felt bad about? How is Jesus good news for those who fear God’s judgment?
  4. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:10, “God has not destined us for wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.” Do you believe this? Anyone who trusts what God has done in Jesus can receive God’s forgiveness and new life.

Reflection Guide: Death and the Resurrection of the Body

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Listen to the sermon audio here.

More resources for this series HERE.

Read through the following passages: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever considered that in our culture today we have “normalized/depersonalized” death? What contributes to this? Why do you think we rarely consider or think about death?
  2. Have there been times in your life when the reality of death set in for you (perhaps through the loss of a loved one)? How did this effect you? What questions did it raise in your mind and heart?
  3. What is the Christian hope of resurrection in life and death?
  4. Jordan said that this passage (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) points us to our hope of “life after life after death”. Have you every thought of it that way? There is “life after death” (with Jesus in Heaven) and “life after life after death” (with Jesus upon his return in the new earth with new bodies and with those we love).
  5. The point of this passage isn’t to be predictive, but to point us to the promise. It’s meant to engage our imagination regarding our future hope. Imagine what it will be like to be with Jesus and those you love in the new earth. What comes to mind? How does it fill you with wonder?
  6. What is God speaking to you? Who can you share it with?

Reflection Guide: Loving Well, Working Hard, Respected by Outsiders

Main Idea - At this point in his letter to the Thessalonian church, the Apostle Paul isn’t teaching anything new. Rather, he is reinforcing some of the most important and basic realities of the Christian life— we are to be known for our love and respected for our lives. In fact, he says that we are to “keep loving one another more and more” and we should “aspire to live quiet lives”. It is important that we don’t misunderstand this as a call to retreat from the world. Instead, we must understand that the Gospel works through faithful, ordinary people who live, love, and work for God’s glory in all things. Listen to the sermon audio here.

You can also check out more resources for this series HERE.

Read through the following passages: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-3, 9-12

Discuss the questions below with your MC or DNA group.

  1. Why is it so important for a church to “love one another with brotherly love”? How have you seen or experienced this in the church? What does it look like for Redeemer to be a church that is “known for its love”?
  2. When you read verse 11, what challenges you? How are these instructions connected to the gospel? How does the life, death, resurrection of Jesus lead us to a quiet and hardworking life?
  3. Do you think that Christians are respected by non-believers? Why or why not? Are we known for our love and respected for our lives?
  4. Why is it important that we are respected for our lives?
  5. How does it make you feel to hear that God primarily works through ordinary, everyday people?
  6. In light of this sermon or this discussion, what is God saying to you?

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Kids Worship Questions

  1. Do your parents ever have to tell or teach you the same things over and over again? What is Paul (the author of 1 Thessalonians) teaching this church again?
  2. Is it hard for you to love your siblings sometimes? Why?
  3. Did you know that those in our church are our siblings in Christ? How can you show love to other people/kids in our church family?
  4. What is respect? Who do you respect?
  5. What areas of your life can you do good work that shows off Jesus?

Reflection guide: The Way of Jesus - Sexual Immorality

Main Idea - The Apostle Paul tells us that following Jesus means abstaining from sexual immorality. Sex is a sacred gift to be enjoyed in the safe confines of marriage. This instruction flows from God’s loving care for us to not be destroyed by the idol of sex and to discover true intimacy through the Spirit within us.

Sorry, audio did not record this week.

You can also check out more resources for this series HERE.

Read through the following passages: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

Discuss the questions below with your MC or DNA group.

  1. What strikes you when you read this passage? What questions come to mind?
  2. As you read this text, what tensions do you feel? How does your own story play into this?
  3. Why is sexual immorality such an important subject to address for Paul? How are the approaches of religious hypocrisy who harshly condemn sexual sinners unhelpful? How are the approaches of “open and affirming” views on sexuality unhelpful?
  4. Why is the cultural idea of “following your heart or passions” dangerous? In what ways do you sense the Spirit leading you to submit your sexuality to God? Break up into gender-specific groups (if not already). For those willing, share how God’s grace has helped you in the area of sexuality. For some, this might mean the confession of sin where you need forgiveness and help. Others might need to confess a need for help in working through past painful experiences.
  5. Close your time by praying for one another and the needs that were shared.

Reflection Guide: Keeping Faith in the Face of Struggle

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Main Idea - We live in between the resurrection of Jesus and his return. We live with the knowledge of Jesus’ victory, but we are waiting for that victory to come in full upon his return. In the meantime, we live in a world where the effects of sin and the presence of evil are still present. We will struggle, we might suffer, but we must not allow our struggles to cause us to loose faith. The further reality of Christ’s return is the source of our strength, the object of our faith, and the reason for our love in the midst of our struggle. Listen to the sermon audio here.

You can also check out more resources for this series HERE.

Read through the following passage: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

Discuss the questions below with your MC or DNA group.

  1. In this chapter, Paul is concerned that believers might feel abandoned and unloved by God in their struggles and sufferings. Have you ever felt this way? What helps us in these moments of doubt?
  2. As a Christian do you expect to struggle and suffer? Should we expect this? What do we struggle with as we live in the “in between” of Jesus’s resurrection and his glorious return?
  3. Why is it so important that you are honest about your struggles?
  4. What helps us keep faith in the midst of our struggles? What does it look like for you to “abound in love for one another”?

Hope EP Release

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On October 14th Flourish will be releasing a collaborative album on behalf of Hope Mommies, an organization whose sole purpose is to come alongside moms and families who have experienced infant loss, bringing comfort, encouragement, companionship, and hope as they continue to walk this side of eternity without their beloved son or daughter.

Flourish is providing 2,500 physical copies to Hope Mommies chapters nationwide at no cost. We would love to see Redeemer support the project/Hope Mommies/Flourish by helping raise $750 through the process to help cover costs and allow for more albums to be sent out to Hope Mommies.

Here are 4 potential ways you can support:

  1. Buy a physical or digital copy of the album
  2. Buy an album for a friend you know has lost a beloved child to support them.
  3. Donate to support Hope Mommies
  4. Pray for this project to be a blessing to Hope Mommies & anyone who might hear it

We will have albums available at our gathering Oct 14th & a donation box set up at our gatherings through the month of October.

Reflection Guide: The Authority of the Word

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Main Idea - The scriptures invite us to receive the Word of God as our authority which will challenge our previous thinking and assumptions. Listen to the sermon audio here.

You can also checkout more resources for this series HERE.

Read through the following passages: 1 Thessalonians 2:13-20

Discuss the questions below with your MC or DNA group.

  1. What are some common beliefs you or the people around you hold? Where did these ideas come from and what is the basis for their authority?
  2. Take a minute to read and consider 1 Thessalonians 2:13. What observations do you have about this verse? What keeps jumping out to you?
  3. What does the Apostle Paul mean when he refers to the “word of God”? How does the word of God challenge each and every person?
  4. What does it mean to have a Gospel-centered understanding of the scriptures? How does it change the way we read the scriptures if we understand it as a larger story with Jesus as the hero? What part of the scriptures are still difficult for you to embrace as “authoritative”?
  5. Reflect on what we have read so far in 1 Thessalonians chapters 1 and 2. How has the scripture challenged you personally? What sin in your heart might need to be confessed? What good news about God’s grace might you need to receive?

Reflection Guide: Rethinking Leadership - Lessons From a Spiritual Father

Main Idea - Leadership is such an important part of healthy Gospel-centered churches but many of us have experienced hurtful leadership. Gospel leadership is a new way of understanding leadership. Gospel leaders suffer so that others may flourish, are motivated by the approval and will of God, and lead through a shared life. Listen to the sermon audio here.

You can also checkout more resources for this series HERE.

Read through the following passages: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Discuss the questions below with your MC or DNA group.

  1. How has the use of power in leadership been a source of pain for you in the past? How might this affect your present view of authority or leadership?
  2. What are some poor motivations for leading or influencing others? How can you relate to this in your unique areas of leadership.
  3. Gospel leadership flows from a shared life which creates the context for connection, instruction, and correction. Consider this statement in light of 1 Thess. 2:7-8. In what ways have you experienced this kind of leadership in your life? What ways do you long to experience this more? How might you apply this to the people God has put in your life to lead?
  4. Why is it important that instruction and correction happen within the context of shared life? What happens when you have shared life but there is no instruction or correction?
  5. How might God be at work to help you rethink leadership? What implications would that have for your life and your MC/DNA life together?

Foster Village

Hi Redeemer Family -

Foster Village has been BUSY ever since we began operating out of Redeemer in January of this year. Rarely has a week gone by where we haven’t fulfilled at least 2 requests! What a joy it has been to serve these foster families! Here are a few events and service opportunities we have coming up in October and November that I want to bring to your attention.

Throughout the month of October – we will have running Socktober! We are heading into a time of high demand for socks, underwear, and warm pajamas. We will also be taking monetary donations to directly serve our community with these needs. Donation drop-off can be located in the foyer of Redeemer starting October 1.

Two more dates to put on your calendar – October 20 and November 10.

  • October 20th we will be switching out our entire inventory of clothing from summer to fall/winter and could use lots of extra hands! We will be up there all day so please feel free to come and go as your time allows.
  • November 10th we will be cleaning out the garage at the office/house next door. Along with putting up some shelving to better organize and store our beds and mattresses. Please bring some tools and brooms and let’s knock it out!

We do also have a Christmas project in the works as well - stay tuned for details!

If you have any questions or would like to know more about how to get involved with Foster Village – please feel free to email me!

Sarah Musgrove
[email protected]

Reflection Guide: A Church to Be Thankful For

Main Idea - Keeping faith in the age of unbelief is challenging and often seems hopeless. Although the church has often contributed to this difficulty, participation in the Gospel-centered church remains the primary means by which God preserves our faith.
Listen to the sermon audio HERE.

You can also check out more resources for this series HERE.

Read through the following passages: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, Acts 17

Discuss the questions below with your MC or DNA group.

  1. What is the main story behind Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians? Who is he writing to and what are his primary concerns?
  2. Why is membership in a local and the universal church important? How does understanding Paul’s letters written to churches (rather than individuals) change the way we understand and apply them?
  3. What are some of the ways that the church (locally and universally) has departed from the Gospel and corresponding way of life? How has this contributed to people losing faith? How have you experienced this?
  4. What are the characteristics of a church that Paul thanks God for in 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10? How do these compare with your own metrics for what a church should be? What aspect of Paul’s instructions seem most needed in your life?
  5. Read 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 again slowly. Keeping faith means that we as a church community and individuals have turned from idols to worship the Triune God. This happened when we first believed and we continue to live with ongoing repentance and faith. Share your story of how God led you to turn from idols to worship Him. What are the present idols that God might be leading you to turn away from in repentance and trust in Jesus again? Why is ongoing repentance and faith needed as we await Jesus to return and make all things new?

Keeping Faith in An Age of Unbelief

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This Sunday we will begin a new series in the book of 1 Thessalonians: Keeping Faith in the Age of Unbelief. 1 Thessalonians is a letter written by the Apostle Paul (along with his ministry team) and is one of the earliest documents written in the New Testament. In Acts 17 we learn that Paul preached the Gospel in Thessalonica and some believed. This small group of believers formed the early seeds of the Thessalonian church. Well before he wanted to move on Paul was forced to leave by the intense persecution of the Jewish leaders. As we read 1 Thessalonians, we see how difficult this premature departure was for Paul. He feared that the pressures from both the Jews and idolatrous Greek’s would lead these infant believers to loose faith. It is out of this loving concern for the Thessalonian church that Paul writes this letter. We will see throughout the letter that Paul desires to strengthen and encourage them to keep the faith as they live in the last days. They will encounter persecution, conflict, discouragement, temptations, and alluring idols, but their real hope is to persevere in the faith he delivered to them. They lived in a time when the kingdom has been inaugurated but is yet to be fully realized. The difficulty they faced is the tension of living between the already but not yet.

In our day, we face the same challenges of keeping faith. Just as the Thessalonians face external temptations (both religious and idolatrous), we face the same. Both of us live in what the Bible calls the last days (the tension between the already and not-yet of the Kingdom). In our modern age of technology and progress faith is often seen as antiquated and unneeded. Along with this, many churches have become swept up in this age of unbelief and have lost their distinction from the surrounding culture. The church has often been far from what the scriptures instruct it to be. From corruption in church leadership to crazy charts about end times chaos to questioning the authority of the apostles teaching, there are many compelling reasons to doubt the Christian faith. Because of this and a variety of other reasons, many people have abandoned the Christian faith. Although the temptation is real, we believe the answer is not losing faith but rather a rediscovery of the ancient faith passed on to us through the church and in the scriptures. In this series we will dig into the this ancient letter from Paul as it helps give us clarity and courage to keep faith in Jesus. As we do we will address skeptics, sinners, and saints as we seek God’s help to keep faith in an age of unbelief.

We have several resources to help you engage this sermon series.

ESV Scripture Journal - We recommend purchasing an ESV Scripture journal to take notes, mark up, and take with you for group discussions. You can purchase them from Amazon HERE.

1 Thessalonians Prayer Guide - We want to invite you to join our leaders in praying for our church during this series. Paul’s hope for the Thessalonians to keep faith included both his instruction to them and his prayers on their behalf. This guide contains the three main prayers Paul prays for the Thessalonian church along with instructions on how you can pray for our local church. You can pickup a copy at the resource table or download the PDF HERE.

Reflection Guides - Each week we will post a reflection guide that helps us to reflect on the previous weeks sermon passage. These will typically be posted by Monday and are helpful to use with your DNA group or MC discussion.

Worship Guides - As we do with each series we will have a worship guide available to pickup at the Sunday gathering. This will give you the scriptures we are covering in advance and some of the other elements of liturgy in our gathering. We hope these help you better prepare for our time of worship together.

Sermon Schedule:

September 23rd - A Church to Be Thankful For - 1 Thess. 1:1-10

September 30th - Rethinking Leadership: Lessons From A Spiritual Father - 1 Thess. 2:1-12

October 7th - The Authority of the Word - 1 Thess. 2:13-20

October 14th - Pain, Suffering, and the Temptation to Lose Faith - 1 Thess. 3:1-13

October 21st - The Way of Jesus (4:1-2): Sexual Sin - 1 Thess 4:1-8

October 28th - The Way of Jesus (4:1-2): Loving Well & Working Hard - 1 Thess. 4:9-12

November 4th - Death and the Resurrection of the Body - 1 Thess. 4:13-15

November 11th - The Return of Christ - 1 Thess. 4:16-5:11

November 18th - A Community of Counsel and Care - 1 Thess. 5:13-14

November 25th - Final Instructions for Keeping the Faith - 1 Thess. 5:15-18

Reflection Guide: A People of Generosity

Main Idea - This week we considered what it might look like to be a people of generosity in a culture of excess. You can listen to the podcast here.

Read through the following passages: 1 Timothy 6:17-19, James 2:1-17

Discuss the questions below with your MC or DNA group.

  1. What is our suburban cultures predominate view on wealth and material goods? How has living in this culture shaped your own views of “the good life?”
  2. What are some of the dangers Paul talks about in 1 Timothy 6:17-19 facing those who are rich? What part of his warning hits home with you?
  3. How does the Gospel free us from the chains of greed/excess and create in us generous hearts? What Gospel truth do you need to cling to when you’re tempted towards excess or greed?
  4. Take a minute to consider the resources God has given you (Time, Talent, Treasure). What area do you sense the Spirit leading you towards generosity (Community, Church, Needy)
  5. Where might there be needs that your excess resources can serve others? What needs do you have that others might be able to help with?
  6. 1 Timothy 6:19 says, “storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of what is truly life.” Spend some time meditating on this verse. How might this motivate our hearts to increasingly practice generosity?

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Kids Worship Questions

  1. Can you think of something you have that you don’t like to share? Maybe your time, toys, or money? Why do you think it is hard for people to share with others?
  2. When we get a lot of stuff (toys, money, gifts, etc.) we are prone to get proud of our stuff and feel secure because of our stuff. Can you think of an example of this in your life? How does trusting Jesus help us?
  3. The bible tells us that if we are given many riches that we should see this as an opportunity to share with many. What has God given you and your family? What might it look like to share what you have with those in need?

Reflection Guide: A People of Creativity

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Main Idea: This week we considered what it might look like to be a people of creativity in a culture of consumption. You can listen to the podcast here.

Read through the following passages: Genesis 2:4–14, Genesis 1:26–31, Ephesians 3:8–10

Discuss the questions below with your MC or DNA group.

  1. What can we learn about God through these passages in Genesis? What role does God play in creation? What role are humans given?
  2. God gives human beings the task of creating (with the materials God had placed in the creation) for life and beauty. Why are both of these important?
  3. What are some poor motivations for working to create for life and beauty? How do these lead to distorting God’s original purposes? Examples from society? Your life?
  4. How has God gifted you to create? How might your gifts contribute to the churches task of reflecting the creativity of God (creating life and beauty that displays the glory of God)?
  5. As you have considered theses scriptures and listened to the sermon, is there anything you sense the Spirit leading you to confess and turn from? Stop to confess together, encourage one another, and pray for God’s help.

Reflection Guide: A People of Compassion

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KEY POINTS FROM SERMON:

  • By God’s grace, we hope to be a people compassion in a culture of condemnation.
  • Understanding biblical compassion starts with God. The Bible tells us that God, himself, is compassionate. (Psalm 51:1) (Psalm 86:15)
  • The compassion of God is love that enacts mercy. This is why Isaiah says “shout for joy!”, because God is compassionate toward creation. He loves his creation and has acted with mercy toward it.
  • Jesus did not come into this world to condemn the world (John 3:16-19). He says the world is already condemned. The world is already busted up and broken with sin. He didn’t come here to kick us while we are down, we know we’re broken.
  • Jesus came to save the world. Jesus didn’t stay at a safe distance and say, get your act together and then come over here with me. No, he enters in with love. If the way of condemnation is to prescribe a narrative to someone based on an external judgment, then Jesus is going to show us the way of compassion is to withhold judgment until you enter in. Rather than prescribing a narrative from a distance, the way of Jesus is to enter into their story as an agent of love and mercy.
  • He heals the leaper (Mark 1:39-42). He welcomes the sinner at his table (Mark 2:13-17). He is broken-hearted for the proud (Mark 3:1-6). Jesus doesn’t see them first and foremost in light of what they do or fail to do, he sees them all in light of what they suffer. They suffer from the human condition. Broken sinful people in a broken sinful world. There is always something deeper going on with people. Our sin is real. And it leads to real struggles and real shame in our lives. And you know this. Jesus sees us in light of what we suffer.

Here is a link to this weeks sermon if you missed it - LINK

SCRIPTURE TO MEDITATE ON THIS WEEK:
Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience - Colossians 3:12 (CSB)

MC/DNA DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What is biblical compassion?
  2. How does Jesus teach us compassion in his life and ministry?
  3. What areas of your life do you struggle with compassion? Who and what are you quick to critic or condemn?
  4. How does the gospel enable us to "put on compassion"?

Practice - Cultivate compassion this week by learning the story of one person in your life who is different from you.

Reflection Guide: A People of Presence

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KEY POINTS FROM SERMON:

  • By God’s grace, we hope to be a people of Presence in a culture of disconnection.
  • Presence - When we say we want to be a people of presence, we don’t just mean a people who are physically present (just showing up). We mean a people who are wholeheartedly present with others, a people who are lovingly present to God and others. It is this kind of presence that cultivates loving relationships.
  • We often get stuck in Patterns of disconnect. Two ways I see this often playing out: 1) PRIDE - When we share the table with a prideful presence, we often experience their need to control us, correct us, and ultimately pass judgment on us. You can see how this kind of presence leads to a disconnect in our relationships. 2) PREOCCUPATION - There are others who fail to connect due to their preoccupation with work, sports, or something that puts their mind in one place while their body is in another.
  • What are the PRIDEFUL or PREOCCUPIED patterns that keep you from being lovingly and wholeheartedly present to God and others? Consider Colossians 3:5-15. What patterns needing to be put off do you see at work in your relationships? What patterns do you long to put on more often?
  • The good news is that Jesus offers us forgiveness, hope, and shows us a way forward. When our relational connection with God was fractured by sin, God sends his son Jesus to reconnect us to God. Our sin kept us disconnected from God, but God loved us so much that at the cost of his life he dies to bring us back to God.
  • The Apostle Paul was a man who encountered the loving presence of Christ and was now sent to share of this presence and teach churches how to live in this way. In Romans 12:9-18, Paul lays out a treasury of ancient wisdom that lays out a path towards loving presence, of relationally connecting not disconnect. Practically, the table provides a great space for us to practice being lovingly present.

Here is a link to this weeks sermon if you missed it - LINK

SCRIPTURE TO MEDITATE ON THIS WEEK:
Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 1 Peter 4:8–9 (CSB)

MC/DNA DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What kind of presence are you in the life of your spouse, children, co-workers, and friends? What patterns of pride or preoccupation have caused relational disconnect for you (your own patterns not others)?
  2. What people in your life have modeled a loving presence to you? How has this impacted your love for Jesus?
  3. Stop and read Colossians 3:5-15 together. What is one-way area of the relational qualities we are to “put on” that you desire to grow in? What is one negative aspect that you need the Spirit’s help to put away? Confess this to God and pray for one another.
  4. How might the Spirit be leading you to extend the loving presence of Christ through hospitality? Who are the lonely or isolated people whom you could invite to your table?

Practice - Cultivate presence this week by having undistracted meals where you focus on engaging with others in conversation.

Reflection Guide: A People of Gratitude

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KEY POINTS FROM SERMON:

  • By God’s grace, we hope to be a people of Gratitude in a culture of complaint.
  • Israel’s complaining in the wilderness (Exodus 15-17) shows how we as human beings struggle to trust God in difficult circumstances. We are prone towards grumbling and complaining.
  • Complaining is an attitude of grumbling that has given into hopelessness. We grow cynical towards God’s goodness and ability to meet our needs. Complaining doesn’t change our situation nor does it heal our hearts. Complaint keeps us stuck and multiplies our misery. Have you noticed that? The more people complain the more miserable they become. All complaints are ultimately our pointing the cynical finger at God blaming him for our discontentment and misfortune. At the heart of complaining is a belief that God is the one blamed for all the problems in the world rather than the one to be thanked for all its goodness.
  • How do we grow into a people of Gratitude when it seems so easy is to be a people of complaint? To grow into a people of Gratitude we must walk the path of lament and thanksgiving. Lament means taking our pains and needs to God trusting his goodness and power to act on our behalf. Thanksgiving is stopping to give God praise for His love for us in Jesus and the many good gifts he has given us. Both the practices of lament and thanksgiving are enabled by our increasing trust in the Gospel.
  • “To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us - and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.” - Thomas Merton

Here is a link to this weeks sermon if you missed it - LINK

SCRIPTURE TO MEDITATE ON THIS WEEK:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever. - Psalm 107:1 (CSB)

MC/DNA DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What are the areas of life you tend to complain about (especially in the last few weeks)? How might these complaints reveal your own frustrations or fears about God?
  2. If we want to grow in Gratitude to God we must learn the prayer language of Lament and Thanksgiving (praise). Why is it important that we embrace both of these?
  3. What are some of the struggles or difficulties you are facing right now? Rather than complaining about them, what might it look like for you to bring them to God in prayer? This might be something that your group needs to pray together or something individually that you need to spend time lamenting to God in private.
  4. Read Ephesians 1. What spiritual blessings do we have in Christ? Stop to give God praise. and thanks together. What everyday gifts has God given you? Stop to give God praise.
  5. How can you help one another continue to turn away from complaining and cultivate Gratitude to God?

Practice - Cultivate gratitude this week by journaling about one thing you are thankful for each day.

Reflection Guide: A People of Prayer

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KEY POINTS FROM SERMON:

  • We are immersed in a culture of distraction. One prominent example of this is how our smartphones have invaded every area of our life. When the boredom, pain, and stress of life hit, we are quick to escape into our devices. If not our devices, we will find something else to busy our minds. Our entire life can easily drift into a distraction from God’s presence and power.
  • Our vulnerability to distraction is symptomatic of the deeper issues of our heart. We were made to converse and commune with God and yet we sense something is off. Our shame and guilt keep God at a distance. Rather than seeking God, we have all sought to run from him and distract ourselves from this dysfunction.
  • There was a tension, a rift between us and God but the Gospel tells us we don’t have to run away, distract ourselves from our pain and frailty. By faith in Jesus, we freely receive God’s loving presence restored in us. We can trust his loving presence and power to meet our needs, even to raise us from the ultimate enemy, death.
  • Prayer, an ongoing communion, and conversation with God, only makes sense if we trust what the Gospel tells us. Because of Christ work on our behalf, God is now lovingly present and powerful with us. He is near, he is listening, and he has offered his help to his children. Being a people of prayer doesn’t mean we are simply religious and speak impressively to God. It means we are learning to live our lives trusting in that God is intimately near, constantly present and powerful. We are no longer empty but filled, not alone but accompanied in all things, not cast off but brought near, not estranged but beloved, not numb but alive. And when we drift away from home, prayer brings us back into the reality of God’s presence.

Here is a link to this weeks sermon if you missed it - LINK

SCRIPTURE TO MEDITATE ON THIS WEEK:
God, you are my God; I eagerly seek you. I thirst for you; my body faints for you in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory. My lips will glorify you because your faithful love is better than life. So I will bless you as long as I live; at your name, I will lift up my hands. You satisfy me as with rich food; my mouth will praise you with joyful lips. When I think of you as I lie on my bed, I meditate on you during the night watches 7 because you are my helper; I will rejoice in the shadow of your wings. I follow close to you; your right hand holds on to me. Psalm 63:1-8 (CSB)

MC/DNA DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What is your current relationship with your smartphone? Are you aware of how your interaction with it is shaping you?
  2. What other distractions can you identify in your life? What are some of the distractions that keep you from spending time in prayer (both praying along the way and set aside times)? How might God be leading you to give focused attention to prayer within the limits of your current stage of life?
  3. Read John 14:18–26. How does the Gospel give us a foundation for a life of prayer?
  4. What areas or scenarios in your life do you find yourself most easily forgetting God’s presence and power? How might the Spirit be inviting you to grow in this?

PRACTICE - Cultivate prayer this week by putting away one distraction (iPhone, Entertainment, CNN, Talk radio, etc.) in order to better listen to God in prayer.

Redeemer is a Gospel-centered missional family learning and living the way of Jesus in the suburbs of Austin. This is the identity, by God’s grace, we hope to live into. Learning and living the way of Jesus together leads us to swim against the stream of our culture for the sake of our culture. We are called by God to live a Kingdom way of life, to embody a Kingdom culture. This means first learning the way of Jesus, and then putting that way into practice as we live. As we begin participating in the Kingdom of God we will find ourselves in conflict with the Kingdom of man. Not in everything, but no doubt each culture has areas that the Kingdom of God opposes.

In our seven culture statements, we have highlighted what we believe are seven important ways that living in a kingdom culture brings us into conflict with our unique suburban culture. All of us have been heavily shaped by the values of our culture, in fact, we often don’t realize we are naturally participating in a certain system because it is like the air we breath. We might even adopt Christian concepts and language but our beliefs are still heavily shaped by our culture. Our hope each week in this series is to expose a bit of the cultural water we are swimming in, show from the scriptures how the Kingdom of God is different, and then invite you to follow Jesus into a new way of living. We are praying that the Holy Spirit would use this to remind us who we are (a Gospel-centered Missional Family) and help us grow in living out the way of Jesus here in the suburbs of Austin. Following each sermon, we will give you a reflection guide to work out what you are learning with your Missional Community/DNA and have a simple practice that helps us begin to live into each value.

August 5 - A people of PRAYER in a culture of distraction.
Psalm 63, John 14:18-25
Practice - Put away one distraction (iPhone, Entertainment, CNN, Talk radio, etc.) this week in hopes that you would grow in awareness of God’s presence and power.

August 12 - A people of GRATITUDE in a culture of complaint.
Col. 3:16-17, 1 Thess. 5:18
Practice - Make a list this week of 50 people or things you are thankful for. When a person comes to mind, reach out to them and share why you are thankful for them.

August 19 - A people of PATIENCE in a culture of hurry.
James 5:7-11, 2 Peter 3:8-9 A. Practice - Pick one pleasure or comfort you were planning on buying or enjoying this week and put it off for a week or more.

August 26 - A people of PRESENCE in a culture of disconnection.
1 Peter 4:8-11, James 1:19 Practice - Spend at three nights this week (1-2hours) with your friends, family, spouse, or kids where phones, games, and work is banned (anything that would divert your focus from being together). Play, talk, dine, etc. where you focus on quality time and conversation together.

Sept. 2 - A people of COMPASSION in a culture of condemnation.
Colossians 3:12, 4:2-6 Practice - Think of a person or group you have found yourself judgmental and angry with. Spend a few hours attempting to better understand their perspective and story. Setup a meeting with the person to get to know them better or read something helping explain their perspective.

Sept. 9 - A people of CREATIVITY in a culture of consumption.
Gen 1-2, Rom. 12 Practice - Identify one talent God has given you and consider how you can bless a neighbor or coworker with that talent this week. Don’t be afraid to step out in faith and see where the conversation goes. Share with them why you are doing it and what motivates you to bless others.

Sept. 16 - A people of GENEROSITY in a culture of excess.
1 Tim. 6:17-18 Practice - Identify one expense you can cut from your budget this month or something you can sell. Use that extra money to give to someone or some organization who is in need or will pass it along to someone in need.

Reflection Guide: Our Approach to Mission

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KEY POINTS FROM SUNDAY:

  • In 1 Peter 2-3, we are called to live confidently for Jesus, believing that he is at work in every circumstance. The primary place God likes to work is in/through our ordinary lives.
  • Peter also makes it clear that he believes the right people are watching. In a majority unbelieving context, people are watching Christians. Peter’s confidence that God is at work around us, and his confidence that the right people are watching leads him to say in verse 15— “honor Christ the Lord as holy [in our hearts], always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect”.
  • Our approach to mission at Redeemer is… relational, compassionate, obedience to Jesus. We believe this is what our city needs from God’s people.

Here is a link to this weeks sermon if you missed it - LINK

SCRIPTURE TO MEDITATE ON THIS WEEK:
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, — 1 Peter 3:15 ESV

MC/DNA DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. As you consider 1 Peter 2:11 - 3:16, what strikes you?
  2. How would you describe the approach to mission that Peter gives to his churches in this passage?
  3. In the sermon, Jordan explains our approach to mission at Redeemer as relational, compassionate, obedience to Jesus. Reflect on this. What do you think about this approach? What does it look like for you to live this out in your life? In what ways is this challenging to you?
  4. Where has God placed you this week to live on mission (relationally, compassionately, obey Christ)?

Reflection Guide: A Good News People

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KEY POINTS FROM SUNDAY:

  • We live in a majority unbelieving world. The number of adults in the US who do not attend church has more than doubled since the 1990’s— over 100 Million people in the US have no contact with the church. As of 2016, In Round Rock, with over 165,000 people only 20,000 attend a church. That’s 145,000 people in this city who are not interested in walking in these doors. And we, the church, can no longer assume that if people want to find God, discover meaning, cope with a personal crisis, or find help for their marriage or children that they will “come to church”.
  • What our city needs from us is to see the good news of Jesus embodied and lived in everyday life. This requires that we embrace a life of mission as God’s people— right where he has already placed you.
  • 1 Peter is a perfect blueprint for understanding a Life of Mission. It shows us that a Life of Mission is a life that is aligned with the gospel in every area, lived out in everyday life.

Here is a link to this weeks sermon if you missed it - LINK

SCRIPTURE TO MEDITATE ON THIS WEEK:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.— 1 Peter 2:9 ESV

MC/DNA DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. As you consider 1 Peter 2:4-9, what strikes you?
  2. In what ways is the language that Peter uses to describe the identity of the church significant?
  3. Sit with verses 9-10. Consider who you were before the light of Christ shone into your darkness. Reflect on how he has transformed you. How does keeping the gospel central in our lives help propel us into a life of mission?
  4. Peter closes this section with a warning and an exhortation in verses 11 & 12. Examine your life for ways in which you’ve gotten too comfortable with this world (“the passions of the flesh”)? What might it look like for your life to begin to show the good news of Jesus to those around you?