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As we began Advent this past Sunday, November 29 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, our senior pastor began a short sermon series to inspire us to not waste the wait. Read his latest post from the Pastor’s Corner.
He challenged us to think about how we spend our time: What are we doing while we wait for the return of the King? How does the certainty of Advent shape our time while we wait? He encouraged us to be salt and light and ambassadors for Christ while we wait. And what do waiting people do? We watch. We prepare ourselves. We serve faithfully. The really exciting stuff is coming: The King will return! We must make the most of the time given to us by the Lord. Listen to the whole sermon here.
Join us at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, on Sunday, November 29 for our first Sunday in Advent with a joint, interactive class for all ages at 9:15 am during our Christian education hour.
Then we’ll worship together at 10:30 in the sanctuary hearing the Word preached from Matthew 24:36-44, as part of our Advent sermon series. You can see our electronic bulletin for Sunday that’s easily viewed on any tablet; we do offer paper bulletins (including a LARGE PRINT edition) on Sunday morning as well. Use the song lyrics and sermon passage to help prepare yourselves and your families for worship this weekend. In the bulletin, you’ll also find a schedule for who’s serving in our various nurseries, a list of how to get involved in current ministry opportunities, and other details about our worship service and church life. Or read the current edition of our weekly email newsletter below:
It might sound a bit trite or like the understatement of the year to say that Christmas is a time for being with family. We invest a lot of time, money, and energy into things like travel, food prep, and holiday plans for the sake of being together with our families. To quote the frozen-lipped Clark Griswold on the subject: “The most enjoying traditions of the season are best enjoyed in the warm embrace of kith and kin. Thith tree is a thymbol of the thpirit of the Grithwold family Chrithmath.”
In the same way, we believe the Advent season is a time to go the extra mile to be together with our covenant family here at Redeemer. We also invest a lot of time, money, and energy into all our Advent celebrations together as a family.
One great example of this is our tradition of a special Advent series for the whole church family during the Christian-education hour. It’s a four-week, highly-interactive series with children, youth, and adults all together in the same class.
As we adults hear familiar stories contextualized for children, we gain a new understanding of God’s truth as it’s simply told. We get to see the contagious excitement of children as they anticipate Jesus’ birth and learn from a fresh perspective as we hear familiar stories presented to a different audience. Not only that, but this series is also a wonderful opportunity to invite unchurched friends and neighbors–especially those with children–to learn together as a family during Advent.
Objection: That sounds like a lot of work and chaos!
Response: So does driving to Michigan to visit my family during Christmas. But I do it because it’s important for our family to be together.
It’s good for our covenant family to be together for this Advent series. And I hope you’ll go the extra mile to be together with us. I can’t think of a more natural time for you to do just that.
Our Christian-education Advent series will begin this Sunday, November 29 at 9:15 am in the fellowship hall. Below is our upcoming schedule:
November 29: Jesus Is the Light of the World
December 6: Nothing Is Impossible with God
December 13: Make Room in Your Heart for Jesus
December 20: Jesus Is the Best Gift
What Are You Waiting For?
Sometimes the holidays bring out anger in us (evangelical Christians). So let’s vent–get it out of our systems right now. Yes, Christmas music has been playing and Christmas store decorations have been displayed since before Halloween. Yes, Santa has morphed into some kind of part human, part mystical/magical/omniscient being. Yes, our culture has granted him attributes of the divine. Yes, an illuminated Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, animals and wise men will have to share some front yards with Rudolph et al., Santa, and his sleigh. Yes, when you are shopping, people are going to say, “Happy Holidays” because we are no longer supposed to say “Merry Christmas.” Yes, when your cute little 2nd-grade neighbor brings you some baked goods as a gift, she will tell you she is enjoying her Winter Break from school because her teacher never called it Christmas vacation. Whew. That’s enough. These are just a few indications of the commercialization of Christmas and the secularization of our once Christian culture. Now let’s move on.
We fume and fret so much about what is because we forget about what is to come. How much of “what is” is because Christians have forgotten to live in light of what is to come? Amazing realities are in store for us: Christ is coming again! And when that event becomes a reality…wow. He will reign forever and ever. Sin and death will be finally and forever defeated. Souls will be rejoined to bodies made perfect. We, as much loved, intentionally adopted sons and daughter of God, brothers and sisters of Christ, will live spellbound, entranced, mesmerized, dazzled, captivated, completely awed in His kingdom and His Presence. All this is coming. We should be the most joyful of all people as we live our lives in light of the Reality that is coming to us and for us.
So let’s not waste our time fretting while we wait. Let’s use the Advent season that we enter this week to inspire us to not waste the wait. We can fret and fume in private to those who already agree with us and sometimes out-fret us, OR we can be intentional in living out a life of hope and joy in light of Who we know is coming.
Try to contain your sorrow, but for the Sundays in Advent, we will take a break from Deuteronomy and look at passages that will inspire us to make the most of our wait: truth that will inspire us to change in order that the Lord may use us to change our Santa, Happy Holiday, Winter Break culture as we wait for His return.
We have many reasons to be thankful today and every day–including a previously deaf three-year-old who can now hear! Many in our Redeemer family have had the privilege to help host Carla and Diana from Bolivia while Diana receives medical treatment at MUSC. Read more here about this amazing story.
As the women of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, sipped hot cider and nibbled on delicious desserts last Friday night, we heard reports of the sex trafficking industry in our state and around the world. Though we were overwhelmed by the staggering statistics, we spent time praying for those affected, the many ministries that work each day to combat this evil, and our response as women in Charleston. One such ministry Rahab’s Rope gave us the opportunity to “shop to stop” the sex trade in India–a country where 1 in 5 girls will be sold into the sex trafficking industry.
If you missed the event but would still like to shop their beautiful jewelry and accessories to support the work of Rahab’s Rope, contact JaiLynne Wood for a catalog.
Join us at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, on Sunday, November 22 for our continuing Story of God series for all ages at 9:15 am during our Christian education hour. Get the details for the kids’ class here.
Then we’ll worship together at 10:30 in the sanctuary hearing the Word preached from Deuteronomy 23:1-23, as part of our Deuteronomy sermon series. You can see our electronic bulletin for Sunday that’s easily viewed on any tablet; we do offer paper bulletins (including a LARGE PRINT edition) on Sunday morning as well. Use the song lyrics and sermon passage to help prepare yourselves and your families for worship this weekend. In the bulletin, you’ll also find a schedule for who’s serving in our various nurseries, a list of how to get involved in current ministry opportunities, and other details about our worship service and church life. Or read the current edition of our weekly email newsletter below:
Grace lost everything she had in a fire that destroyed her humble home in Butsibo, Uganda, last Saturday. Grace is an intelligent, loving, faithful, capable woman who dedicates most of her time (often unpaid) to ministry. She has faithfully worked beside Redeemer mission teams on our trips to Uganda. We now have the opportunity to help her replace and rebuilt what was lost. Last Sunday, November 15 $1,500 was given to love and support Grace. Thank you to all who gave!
This brief sketch will help acquaint you with Grace if you do not know her. Grace lost both parents as a little girl, and her older brother became her guardian. Since she had no resources to pay for her school fees, she dropped out of school in about third grade. However, she learned to read and write. Grace loved the local church where she found much joy working in the sanctuary: sweeping, dusting, washing linens, and ironing. This was her act of worship. As a young woman, Grace led the church’s youth in Christmas dramas and a caroling choir that took the gospel to Butsibo and surrounding villages every year.
Grace got married to a young catechist at the church she loved, and they were blessed with nine children, each named after an attribute of God. In 2005, Grace lost her husband to bacterial meningitis that was misdiagnosed as malaria and was left to provide and educate her nine children. In God’s providence, Redeemer met Grace one year after her husband’s death, and for almost 10 years have taken the burden of tuition from her. Today six out of nine have completed school.
Today, you will still find Grace near that sanctuary. She still washes and irons the church linen (by hand) and decorates the church for holidays and weddings–all without pay. She continues to sweep, clean windows, and prepare the Lord’s supper elements. For as long as anyone can remember, Grace has been head usher, welcoming and ministering to all who enter the church. In contrast to this beautiful sanctuary, her dwelling was a very humble two-bedroom house with iron sheet roof and wattle walls and unpaved floor that was destroyed by fire last weekend.
We are asking Redeemer people to pray for Grace. Particularly that her faith that has triumphed through much adversity will stand firm again and that, once again, her life will be a testimony of the faithfulness of God. We are also asking you to give to Grace. If you mail gifts to the church, please indicate they are for Grace. If you give in Sunday’s offering, please designate your gift to Grace as well.