Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Who Do You Trust More Than Anyone in the World? - by Susan Jensen

 – When someone asks us that question we have a tendency to answer with, a parent, a spouse, a grandparent… someone we’ve spent a lot of our life with. But I’m guessing since you are reading a blog from Redeemer Church in DeWitt, you already have a sneaking suspicion who I’m referring to. God of course. Let’s face it, look at His credentials. The Alpha and Omega, Creator of everything that is, All Knowing, Healer, Protector, King of Kings and the list goes on. Why wouldn’t we trust Him more than any mere mortal? But real life sneaks in, we get busy, we get distracted, and we fall into a routine based on our mortal efforts and independence instead of relying on God’s plan for our lives and the path He lays out in His Word.

Sound familiar, maybe it’s time to hit the refresh button. Pastor Rod is preaching through a series this fall called “Something Greater”.  Join us each Sunday for messages that relate to our everyday lives by showing us the call to something greater that God has placed on those who have gone before us.
Leave the routine behind and follow the path to something greater.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

By Faith - written by Kim Metzer

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.

Hebrews 11:1-2 (The Message)
I’ve preached a message on faith four times over the last year in four different venues.  Each time I’ve used this message I’ve tweaked it so that it is relevant to the particular congregation I’m in front of.  I find that each time I’ve delivered it, instead of being bored by it; I’ve learned something new or had a new insight. 

There’s been several points in my life that I would not have been able to go forward had it not been for extreme faith that God is with me even in, especially in, the low points.  Having faith is not something that can be taught, it must be demonstrated and I was fortunate to be surrounded by people living faith filled lives during my formative years which provided this unseen foundation.
It is by living out our faith that we become an example to those around us.  What are you doing this week to demonstrate that you’re living a faith filled life?  What step of faith could you take right now that will take you out of your comfort zone and make you rely on God? While Hebrews 11 gives us several examples of big steps, leaps really, of faith (Abraham trekking towards the promised land without a map, Noah building a giant boat on dry land, Sarah believing she could bear a child while in her 90s, etc.) our steps don’t have to be that big – we just have to take one!  It could be as simple as picking up a volunteer shift here at Redeemer or as audacious as committing to going on a mission trip to Haiti. 

Comment on this blog with your step of faith so that we can inspire each other!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Awesome Sauce!!!! - by Ron Bekkering

One of my favorite things to eat is Chicken Wings. I especially like them Hot!  Like rub your eyes and they hurt hot. I have friends who make the best hot sauces. Awesome sauces! Sauces are what can make your meal. A savory Hollandaise sauce, a delicious barbeque sauce, a succulent sweet and sour will all do the trick! Well, last Wednesday morning, the youth of the world celebrated See You at the Pole.  See You at the Pole day – it’s about one simple act—prayer. This is an opportunity for students to pray for themselves, their teachers, their grades, the world, etc.… This movement started over 25 years ago and I have been plugging kids into it since I got into ministry in 2002. Here are three reasons we have been a part of this movement.

Christian students discover that they aren’t alone. When they gather at their school’s flagpole on that morning, they meet a bunch of people from other churches; kids they otherwise might not have known were believers. One of the neatest things I heard when we were at Herbison  Woods praying was a little girl say, “I didn’t know there were that many kids here that loved Jesus.” That’s a good thing!

The community takes notice. In an environment that is anything but friendly to Christianity, students who are willing to gather together to pray for their schools is a remarkable event. What I mean here is that when kids are walking by or coming to join, there are lots of looks. Lots of questions, but it has been happening at DeWitt schools for so long that kids and administration at the schools understand and respect it. A neat thing I saw at both the High School and Herbison Woods were the huge walk up crowds. I saw kids jumping out of cars and sprinting across the parking lot to join the High School circle. I watched as kids got of their parents car at Herbison and cautiously walked into the circle to join it. That was awesome!

Prayer is effective. Ultimately this is it!!! Prayer changes hearts, opens doors, and creates movement. Any time we can encourage students to pray, we’ll be engaged. Having opportunities for students to openly share their faith and pray for each other is just another thing we believe strongly in the Student Ministries of Redeemer. Covering each other in prayer is great!

So over 60 kids showed up to eat breakfast with us before their school day started and as we got to the High School, the Jr. High School, and Herbison Woods we witnessed, by rough count, 132 students from the community of DeWitt pouring their hearts out in prayer! And let me be the first to tell you, in the world we live in, where it seems Christianity is under attack, to see these guys and girls standing for what they believe in…that’s awesome sauce!!!  God is good!


Monday, September 26, 2016

The Original Verizon Message: A Modern Parable - by Debby Kloosterman

Do you remember the old Verizon commercials?  Actor, Paul Marcarelli, portrayed a network serviceman who travels about asking, “Can you hear me now?”  It seems to me that Verizon received way too much credit for immortalizing that phrase! 

This was reinforced for me last Sunday as Rod preached about Elijah.  There is no reference to Elijah in the Bible until 1 Kings 17:1-9.  God instructs Elijah to go places and follow His leading.  Meanwhile, God systematically reduces the things that Elijah can rely upon (his resources, his labor, his security).  By reducing all the things that are familiar back-up plans, it is as though God is asking, “Can you hear me now?”  As God encourages Elijah to rely more and more upon HIM, Elijah is able to do more things that further God’s plan. 
Lesson #1:  God’s strength is made perfect in Elijah’s weakness.

Lesson #2:  Sometimes it’s okay to rely on your network but ultimately God wants us to rely on Him.

Fast forward to today:  Actor, Paul Marcarelli, is now working for Sprint and telling us that it’s every bit as good as his old network.
Lesson #3:  Our network may change but God’s love and His message are the same.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Better & Stronger - by Tammy Bowman

This week I will begin following a strict 16-week marathon training schedule…YIKES! I say “YIKES” because this will be my 3rd marathon and I mentally and physically know what to expect. This is extremely exciting, but it also terrifies me a bit.  I know that I will experience moments of running highs that will include reaching distance goals, achieving a faster pace, and braving through challenging weather conditions. But there will also be moments of running lows including exhaustion, blisters, body aches and pains, challenging Michigan weather conditions, and I usually trip and fall a couple times.

I have been preparing myself over the past year to get physically prepared to not just run 26.2 miles but to make it through the 4 months of training. I feel that I have properly prepared myself physically but that doesn’t always ensure that things will go the way I plan. There will be a lot of unexpected bumps along the way, but I know that after I cross that finish line in Disney World, I will be a better and stronger person for having gone through it.

Even more so, I hope to be a better and stronger Christian when I cross that finish line.

I have been reading the book Soul Detox by Craig Groeschel and it has helped me to focus my thoughts, mind, attitude, actions and soul towards Christ in all that I do. When I run, I am alone a lot with my thoughts and I spend a lot of time in reflection. Knowing that I will have hours of alone time terrifies me a bit too. Like most people, I fill up my days doing things, being busy. Sometimes it’s just easier to be distracted then to be challenged with focusing on Christ. Even as I write this blog, I am distracted.

“What about you? What’s your greatest fear? Can you choose to trust God with it? Be as honest with yourself as you can. This is really important. In my experience, the further away I get from God, the more the what-ifs of this world begin to pile on, trying to suffocate me with fear. But the closer I am to God, the more I’m able to trust him, and the less hold the things of this world have on me. Choose. Tell God what it is you’re afraid of. Then trust him no matter what.” Craig Groeschel, Soul Detox

Not only is it difficult to face my own fears, it is painful to even begin to identify and admit those fears. Sure, foam fingers scare the mess out of me but I’m not talking about those kinds of fears. I’m talking about the ones that I think about when I have time in solitude. The painful fears that I’m not sure I’m fully ready to give up control on. The ones that for some reason I am holding on to because I know that when I give them to God, he will not only make me face them but he will use them to make me a better and stronger Christian.

Beginning a training program is always a little scary, because I know the process of improving is sometimes painful.  As Christians we tend to take the same approach.  Admitting our fears and facing them to become better will be painful, but in the end all the time and effort will have made a lasting difference and will bring us closer to God.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"A Man My Age" - by Kelvin Fizzell

As many of you know, I celebrated my 65th birthday this past May. I had not been spending a lot of time reflecting (some read agonizing) on my age. I would generally go about the daily activities of life without giving it a second thought.
During a recent office visit, to review some routine tests, the doctor began the evaluation with the phrase “well, for a man your age”… I vaguely remember some discussions about cholesterol, blood pressure, yada, yada, yada… Honestly, the phrase “for a man your age” kept resonating in my mind! “A MAN MY AGE”… Had I been overlooking something? Was I supposed to be looking at life thru older lenses? Was I supposed to be acting differently? Was I supposed to slow down…not try to accomplish as much? Be more like “a man my age”?
During everyday life, self-doubt, apprehension, lack of self-confidence, or even the questioning of one’s faith can easily creep into our daily thought. If or when it does, God has this amazing capacity/timing for offering support and strength when we really need it. One needs only to be receptive in order to hear His guidance and direction. For this “man of my age” dilemma I was struggling with, God’s message came to me during a sermon series Pastor Rod offered on Sundays at Redeemer Church over the recent summer months. The sermons talked about a man from the Old Testament of the Bible by the name of Abraham. Abraham was well into his late 80’s when God asked him to do the unexpected…to pack up everything that he owned and to move to a land far away, from his family, and from everything that he had ever known in his life. Interestingly, God did not begin instructing Abraham by saying…I have something special for “a man your age” to do. God simply presented His vision to him. To God, Abraham’s age was inconsequential in the matter. Even though Abraham himself wondered why God would ask him to do all this as a “man of his age”, he faithfully did what God had asked of him. By being faithful, and overlooking his own self-doubt regarding his age, Abraham went on to build a great nation as God had promised that he would.
As we grow in years, it’s tempting to develop a mindset that discourages us from being open to opportunities that God places in front of us. This attitude should be put aside in every way. We should not be concerned with being “a person of our age”, but rather being “a person for all ages” when it comes to serving the Lord.
After this, Abram had a vision and heard the Lord say to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I will shield you from danger and give you a great reward.” Genesis 15:1 NIV

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Decisions - by Diane Lantzy

A little three year old boy I know (who will remain nameless to protect the innocent) was bitten at day care recently.
The teacher asked: “Why did he bite you?”
The perhaps less then innocent little boy replied: “He had his reasons.”
As adults, we think we have moved past this type of behavior but unfortunately, it often just changes formats. I certainly have done things that haven’t been done for the right reasons and then I am surprised when these actions come back and bite me (at least I am speaking figuratively now). On the other hand, there are times when I should take action but am afraid of the consequences so do nothing to avoid getting bitten.
I face many decisions each day – some are more important than others. When I struggle with any decision, there are many verses from the Bible that are helpful to me. Here are a couple:
“Let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance.:"  Proverbs 1:5
I can always use good advice from godly friends.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6
Remembering that God is always with me helps comfort me especially when I am worried that there may be negative consequences of a well thought out decision.
Listening to others, reading the Bible and talking to God is always a good path to take.