Here is a little update about the construction happening on the Resource Center in Uganda! We have an amazing “ground team” in Sheema working tirelessly to complete the building. They expect all walls to be at the roof level by Saturday. Roofing, plastering, and electrical work will come next!
We celebrated the resurrection this Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, with a message from the gospel of John, Chapter 20. Our senior pastor Craig Bailey described a few signs mentioned within the text which point toward the life Jesus has for us. Like Mary Magdalene, Peter, John, and Thomas in the days following Jesus’ death, we often miss the signs or we choose to follow our own paths instead of following Jesus. Our Lord, however, is patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish, but to come to repentance and to life. John’s encouragement at the end of the chapter continues to orient us in our belief and begs us to ask the question, “What does our unbelief cost us?” Listen to the full sermon here.
We continued learning from the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32 this Sunday, March 19 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC. In verse 4, the name of the Lord is set forth as a reference point for comparison of the darkness of the world to the light of God and His character. Throughout the song, we are reminded that the Lord knows the truth of our hearts and the depth of the corruption and sin inside of us. We must consider our response to Him who has loved us from eternity past, who created us and whose Spirit helps us in our weakness. How do we repay the Lord? With gluttony on His goodness? With rejection? Or with humility toward His discipline which calls us to tear down our idols, our wrong thinking, and our misplaced trust? Do we find joy in the saving atonement of Christ who covers our sin?
The pews were filled at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, this past Sunday, February 19 as we heard a message from Deuteronomy 31:1-8. We studied the three phases of Moses’ life and examined his seemingly downward trajectory of worldly success. Moses, who as a baby was rescued from death and raised in Pharaoh’s good graces, fell from glory when he committed murder in Egypt. He then became a fugitive shepherd until he was called back to Egypt to deliver the Israelites. After 40 years of wandering in the desert with the Israelites, he was denied entry to the Promised Land. Moses kept his faith in the Lord’s leading, but also made a few telling mistakes. The life of Moses is a reminder that our hearts are deceitful. We need the power of the Gospel and the example of the ultimate servant, Jesus, to direct our steps across the Jordan and into the eternal presence of God our Father. Listen to the whole sermon here.
On October 30, 2016, at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, guest preacher Shawn Maze led us through a Gospel message nearly 500 years after the Protestant Reformation. He reminded us we are called to celebrate not only the doctrine of grace, but also Jesus, the dispenser of grace. The passage of John 8:1-11 draws our focus to Jesus, the original reformer, and his interaction with a woman accused by the scribes and Pharisees of adultery. We turned several times to Deuteronomy to examine the law of Moses and draw insight to Jesus’ approach in His conversation recorded by John. Ultimately, we see that Jesus displays perfect righteousness and grace as He stands in His glory as the author of the law and of our lives. Listen to the whole sermon here.
Sunday, September 18, 2016, at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, we opened our Bibles to Deuteronomy 27:1-8 to enter a story about stones and an altar, and we were led to ponder the nature of God. In this passage, Moses offers instruction to the people of Israel on how they should set up the law on large stones and build an altar to the Lord when they cross into the Promised Land. We are reminded from the imagery chosen of the permanence and strength of the unchanging God and are pointed to the dependability and safety found in Christ, our Rock. In a culture bent on updating and revamping, the steadfast nature of God and His Word may seem obsolete. In reality, the ancient words we hear from the Living God hold the same transformative power today. We find immutable truth in the One who became flesh and rolled the stone away, offering us eternal life through His redeeming blood. Listen to the whole story here.
This Labor Day weekend September 4, 2016, Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, welcomed Rev. Philip Pickney to the pulpit. As we remembered recent lessons on The Kingdom of Heaven, Rev. Pickney led us through the great hall of faith in Hebrews 11-12 to paint a picture of The Kingdom revealed. Reminders of God’s faithfulness to broken sinners beckon us to lay aside the weights of this world in favor of a promise yet to be fulfilled. Our understanding of God and His eternal promise is limited to the confines of this earth, and even the beautiful fellowship we experience here will pale in comparison to the glory we will forever enjoy in His presence. We are, therefore, called to live as resurrection people and to place our hope in the One who makes all things new! Listen online here for the full sermon.
On Sunday, April 17 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, we turned our attention to the gospel of John. The dialogue between Peter and his risen Savior in John 21:12-19 leads to a deeper charge for all believers. Repetition in this passage drives home important truths about our individual places in the kingdom of God. This particular scene helps us see that we bear many similarities to Peter. We recall his denial of Jesus before the crucifixion, and like him, we are broken in our sin, forgiven by grace, and reinstated into our calling. Jesus’ command to “feed my sheep” extends to us. We, like Peter, stand mired in our sin only to be washed over with new life–true life–which comes only when we embrace confidence in Christ. We then live out our love toward one another, our fellow sheep, always pointing to the good Shepherd who provides for our every need. Listen to the whole sermon here.
This passage walks us through two stories which challenge conventional characterizations of Jesus. Through God’s infinite mercy and wisdom, however, these stories ultimately bring us to see Him rightly as a passionate and powerful Redeemer–the one and only sacrifice fit for our great sin.
On the road, Jesus curses and withers a fig tree which bears no fruit. He then enters the temple and lashes out with boldness and violent condemnation against hypocrites who have abused their positions of religious authority.
Each of these displays of death and destruction calls our attention to the battle between what is true and what is a lie. The words of Scripture expose our failures to bear good fruit and beg us to examine the ways we fall short of the glory of God.
All too often, we neglect to put our hope in the Lord or live up to our identity as people of God. Like Adam and Eve behind fig leaves in the Garden of Eden, we hide in shame.
Jesus’ face is set on the road to the cross, and he turns tables to reveal our need for His grace. We too are pointed toward Good Friday and the love of our Savior whose desire for us to be spiritually healthy children of God never wavers. Listen to the whole sermon here.
In Psalm 8, David writes about God’s majesty and glory and about His way of creating and sustaining which only He is able to do. Even the work of God’s fingers–His fingers which set the moon and the stars in their places–speaks to His all encompassing power and His perfect plan. Our task as believers is to relish in the love of our great God. We are charged with serving Him as laborers on this place called Earth, yet we are held within His never-ending watch care. We are a small part of this world, yet we are of eternal significance in God’s kingdom. Listen to the whole sermon here.