My husband Jim and I recently attended a celebration of the life of a friend. I was drawn to the kind words of friends and family describing the affect she had on them and the lasting imprint of her life. Of course, she was not perfect and there were bumps and trials along the way, but her life left a significant imprint on many. It was this beautiful legacy that was celebrated.
The very next day, Jim and I were asked to say a few words about our 47 years at Redeemer Bible Church. We found ourselves describing how God had graciously used the life and legacy of Redeemer (which was previously Woodland Hills Bible Church and Maranatha Bible Church before that) in a special way in our lives. Of course, the church is so much more than the building or place of meeting, which also has changed over the years. The church is the people who have come broken, sick, hungry, and weak looking for hope, healing, food and strength and finding Jesus.
And we were just that: a rag-tag group of people seeking truth and desiring to grow together in the Christian way of life. We embraced what became the 25th anniversary slogan, Living Truth, Loving People. As Maranatha, Woodland Hills, and now Redeemer Bible Church, our body of believers has a growing love for the Lord, His Word, and for one another. Forty-seven years ago it was compelling to us and began to take root in our lives. The Word of God was faithfully exposited week after week through God’s sovereignly called shepherds, and the glorious gospel of grace began to change lives, including our own.
Of course, the road in the life of this church, made up of imperfect men and women, has also been marked by bumps and various trials through the years. The trials have been humbling, often painful and confusing, but sovereignly used by God. We have mourned the hurt and loses and often found our words to be inadequate to bring help or relief. But amid pain, our eyes have been turned to our Chief Shepherd and His Word which has never left us. He is continuing His work of healing and sanctification in our lives. By grace, the Lord continues to bring men and women hungry for God and His Word, dependent on one another, and willing to live out the Christian way of life together. It is a work of grace. God and His transforming love will build His church!
What is the legacy that our lives will leave? What is the legacy of Redeemer Bible Church? Thankfully, it is not about numbers, programs, and grandiose buildings. By God’s grace alone it will continue to be about Living Truth, Loving People for another 50 years or 150 years, should the Lord tarry.
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! Psalm 34
Recently, when I did something good for someone, or even thought about doing so, I detected some vain motives. I noticed an ugly desire within me to be recognized by others for the good works, even when I tried to do some of them secretly. In other words, I wanted to get the glory for myself for my acts of kindness instead of giving God the full glory for them. I realized that what I was really doing was robbing God of the glory that is due only to Him. He said in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” God alone is worthy of glory because He is the One who created us, sustains us, saves us, and gives us His Spirit. He also gives us the opportunity, the strength, and even the will to do all of our works (Phil. 2:13). Everything we have we have received from God (2 Cor. 4:7), so seeking glory for ourselves is the height of arrogance and pride.Continue Reading
Do you panic when asked to . . .
give your testimony in front of a group,
share the Gospel with someone,
pray out loud in a group,
teach a Bible lesson,
or just generally be the focus of attention?
We’ve all heard the saying, it takes a village to raise a child. I think if Solomon had written this proverb, he might’ve swapped out the word “village” for “army.” In the New Testament especially, we see the use of military metaphors and language to describe Christians. Paul refers to us as “fellow soldiers” (Philippians 2:25, Philemon 1:2), in 2 Timothy we are reminded to share in the sufferings of Christ as a good soldier (2:3-4), and the book of Ephesians tells us in metaphorical detail the armor we must wear to fight in the battle (6:13-17).Continue Reading
As an estate planning attorney, I have the opportunity to observe the transfer of worldly wealth following death. From this perspective, I wish to contrast the benefits of any earthly inheritance with how Peter describes our eternal inheritance in 1 Peter 1:3-5.Continue Reading
If you were raised in the church (and even if you weren’t), then you have almost certainly heard the story of Jonah and the big fish. It’s one of the most well-known and beloved stories in the Bible. It captivates children and skeptics alike. What is the point of this strange Old Testament story? A reluctant prophet who runs from God is thrown overboard, swallowed by a great fish, and then thrown up on shore—it’s really quite bizarre!Continue Reading
I turned 80 last year. In November I had a small stroke. I don’t need to be reminded that the body is decaying, but I will lose heart if I am not intentional about pursuing the renewal of my inner person on a daily basis. How do I do that? Second Corinthians 4:16-18 tells me I must look “at the things which are not seen.” Colossians 3:2 tells me to set my mind on the things above because I have been raised up with Christ who is seated at the right hand of God.Continue Reading
I awoke with a start, my heart racing. Where was this quality problem going to end? What was going to be the final cost? $100,000? $1,000,000? $10,000,000? My mind was in overdrive. How could this have happened?Continue Reading
Paul addresses a theme throughout the whole Bible when he says, “God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong” (1 Cor 1:27). This theme is undeniably seen in the birth of Christ. The Christmas story is well known and also encouraging. For years Israel waited and waited for their Messiah. Finally, the silence was broken at the cry of their Redeemer. And how did he come? As a baby.Continue Reading
Have you ever been through a season in your life of private worship when the Bible feels hum drum and “you’re not getting anything out of it?” I think one of the best remedies is to study about the Word of God itself. Maybe do a passage study or get a new book about the Word and dig into it. This will help you remember what the Scriptures really are.
The Scriptures are about Jesus.
And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Are we learning how to see Jesus in all of Scripture? Are we looking for Him?
The Scriptures have a living supernatural power to cut through our souls to expose our true motives.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
When was the last time the Word of God jumped out and grabbed you by the heart?
The Scriptures are about the Gospel.
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”
When you read the Bible are you on the hunt for signs of the Gospel?
The Bible is for continuous meditation and study.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Is your engaging of the Bible a regular pattern in life?
The Word of God teaches, corrects, and trains us.
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Is the Bible teaching you? Is it reproving you? Is it correcting you? Is it training you? Is it equipping you?
The Word of God is meant to be a weapon in your heart and mouth.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Are you using the Scriptures as a weapon against the enemy?
Are you using specific scriptures to fight against specific temptations?
The Word of God was written down in order to lead us into faith and flourishing through Christ.
These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
In your regular Bible reading is your heart being stirred? It’s not going to happen every day, but are you getting there?
Are you finding the Scriptures stretching your faith, growing it, challenging you to reach for God, to seek Him, to see His Spirit moving you towards worship and growth?
If your private worship is feeling less like delight and more like duty, remember to look for Jesus in the Scriptures. If you need some fresh ideas on how to approach your time in the Word, the elders have put together a list of resources to help. Visit www.redeemerbiblechurch.com/privateworship