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