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UPDATE | We’ve rescheduled our Chili Cook-Off for Wednesday, March 5 at 6 pm in our Fellowship Hall. Due to the past few weeks of bad weather and canceled classes at MUSC, the International Student Program recommended that we give their students a few more weeks to sign up for this event. Rather than hosting a smaller number of students this year, we thought it would be best to give them some more time to get their tickets and encourage more internationals to come. And as a bonus, we get more time to polish our chili-cooking skills! We’re sorry for the last-minute change, and we appreciate your flexibility and continued love for these internationals! May the Lord bless our extra two weeks of preparation for this event!
$5,300 That’s about the going rate for a short-term international mission trip to East Asia.
$15 That’s about the going rate for a trip downtown and a pot of chili in order to meet students from East Asia and the rest of the world.
Both trips are strategic in terms of helping reach the nations with the Gospel. But believe me, it’s a whole lot easier to pack up a pot of chili than international luggage. Rather than each of us going through the process of going to the world (not to mention trying to have a ministry once we’re there), why not reach the world in our own backyard?
When we build connections and friendships with international students living in our backyard, we obey God’s command in Leviticus 19:33-34. “When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”
On Wednesday, February 19 at 6 pm Redeemer once again has the incredible opportunity to host international students from MUSC for our annual chili cook-off and social dance. This event is attended by dozens of international students and their families and is a key opportunity for us to make relational connections that could change the world.
The benefits of hosting international students at the chili cook-off goes well beyond the event itself. It’s actually one part of a whole ministry that is reaching out to and sharing the Gospel with internationals at MUSC. The chili cook-off is like the wide part of a funnel that leads to deeper friendships and spiritual conversations through our on-campus English conversation group and one-on-one meetings.
We don’t have to worry about how to share the gospel or even how to discuss spiritual matters. Not at this event. Eventually sharing Christ with international students requires a great deal of trust and friendship. This event will help us with both.
Perhaps the number one hesitation for us as we begin to think about reaching out to internationals is that it might be awkward. We might not understand their accent or might not know anything about their culture. We may struggle to relate to their world as students or wonder why they stand so close when talking with us.
So what do we do when faced with an awkward situation or someone we can’t very well understand? Quite simply, with love and compassion, we can learn to embrace the awkwardness. Not avoid it, not find someone easier to talk to. Embrace the awkwardness. Find some common ground—music, interests, food, sports, literature—and enjoy making a new friend.
Believe me, our love and intentionality doesn’t go unnoticed:
“I really want to say thank you for all the people involved in the international student ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Your love and caring for internationals students is so meaningful to all of us who came from other countries…Thank you so much for helping us to get used to American culture and be friends with us…I feel Redeemer Presbyterian Church is like a big family and no matter who you are you are fully accepted in this big family, which is truly amazing and only God can make this happen…I am so happy that I can be part of [Redeemer] right now, and I am looking forward to learning more of God’s love in this place for the coming years.” –Cynthia Li
Join us this Sunday, February 2 for our Christian-Ed. hour beginning at 9:15 am where the adults are studying Romans. Because it’s the first Sunday of the month, we’ll partake of the Lord’s Supper together following the sermon. The deacons are also holding an informational budget meeting for the congregation following the worship service. (For further details about Sunday and the weeks to come, read our weekly email newsletter.)
To help prepare yourselves and your families, here’s our song list for this Sunday. We’ll be hearing the Word preached from Deuteronomy 6; listen to other sermons in the Deuteronomy series. We look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday!
UPDATE | We’re shifting our next inquirers’ class to Sunday, February 9 beginning with lunch at noon in the Fellowship Hall followed by the first half of the inquirers’ class. RSVP here to reserve your spot!
Redeemer will hold the next inquirers’ class Saturday, February 8 beginning at 8:30 am. These classes are informal opportunities for asking questions, hearing the story of God’s faithfulness to Redeemer, meeting other folks who are new to the Redeemer family, and enjoying fellowship. Here’s Hannah Casey’s impression from the most recent inquirers’ class:
I really enjoyed the inquirers’ class because I was able to learn about the history of Redeemer and its congregation. It was also a great opportunity to get to know some others who were considering joining the church. The class was very relaxed, which allowed for open sharing and discussion about Redeemer’s denomination and theology. Getting to know Kathy and Craig on a more personal level was also great–and was very encouraging!
Our inquirers’ class on February 8 is filling up fast, so RSVP today to reserve your spot!
Last Saturday the women of Redeemer gathered to celebrate the newest little ones–some already born and some on the way to our second- and third-time moms. We feasted on brunch and enjoyed fellowship with one another, as we penned special notes to the honored mothers. We spent some time praying for these moms, their families, and their newest additions. Showers of blessings are a special privilege in the life of Redeemer where all women are encouraged within the church family.
Our next women’s event is a bridal shower of blessings for Rachel Bradley. Join us Saturday, February 15 at 11 am at Liz Jarvis’s house. Check your Email Blast for all the latest details.
Thanks, Leslie, for these pictures from the baby shower of blessings!
Join us this Sunday, January 26 for a missions-focused breakfast during our Christian-Ed. hour beginning at 9:15 am. Bring breakfast casseroles, pastries, and fruit to share, as we fellowship as a Redeemer family and pray for our RPC-supported missionaries. The children will have their normally scheduled class.
The Redeemer women host showers of blessings for new moms- and brides-to-be. With delicious food and fun fellowship, these women’s events offer a great opportunity to get to know more women in the Redeemer family. The special time for prayer and blessing gives all women a chance to offer advice, stories, and memories, as we celebrate life’s big moments together.
This Saturday, January 25 the women will gather at Leslie Paladino’s house at 10:30 am for a special baby shower of blessings that honors our second- and third-time moms, including Lisa Christian, Cindy Ivey, Tara Peevy, and Jenny West. Whether you have years of experience with newborns, memorable stories of your own mom, or experiences with being a “spiritual mom,” we want you to fellowship with us, share with us, and celebrate these precious little ones with us! Join us for this special event in the life of our church. Contact Lauren Pepin for more details.
While Redeemer supports many missionaries serving abroad, we’ve also just started supporting M2M (Ministry to the Military), led by Jason & Robyn Strong. Their beautiful family, which includes several children currently serving in the military, attends Redeemer regularly, and Jason filled in as a guest pastor back in the fall. Their ministry’s blog Strong Patriots details their beliefs and vision, as they labor to deliver the message of eternal freedom to those who ensure our national freedom.
M2M seeks to help coordinate the Church to carry-out sustained Gospel work with intentionality toward members of the military community and their families. If you’d like to personally partner with the Strongs in this important ministry, donate here or contact Jason.
Join us this Sunday, January 5 as the New Year begins. We’re resuming our study of Romans during the Christian-Ed. hour and our sermon series through the book of Deuteronomy. We’ll partake of the Lord’s Supper as a church family, since it’s the first Sunday of the month. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the songs we’ll be singing to help prepare your hearts and your families for worship. We look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday!
We live in Flannery O’Connor’s “Christ-haunted South.” It’s easy to become inoculated to the gospel, as we’re constantly taking in bits and pieces of Christianity all around us. The gospel–what Jesus did and does for us in it–can easily get reduced to a set of correct beliefs or behaviors. Times of personal dryness, bitterness, passivity, even cynicism can result.
What’s the solution? A fresh look at the real thing.
In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul unpacks the gospel in a way we’re not used to hearing. There’s no weak, insipid version of God’s good news here. The gospel, God’s gospel, is the righteousness of God being revealed. It’s for believers. And it’s for the rest of the world, too.
Why is the gospel mainly about God’s righteousness being revealed? Because God’s wrath is being revealed. Romans 1:18-32 is a hard-hitting indictment against the non-believing world. Sin is, at the core, an exchange of the glory of God for lesser, created things. Any disorder that we see in the world, even the disordering of our sexual affections, is about the exchange of God for something else.
Lest the religious world should begin to feel smug about their successful behavior modification techniques, Romans 2 is an indictment against sin in the believing world as well. “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” All the advantages of having high moral standards are of no advantage at all if we can’t live up to them perfectly.
Paul goes on to deftly demonstrate that the whole world—religious or irreligious, Jew or Greek—is guilty of profound sin and justly under the wrath of God. He spends three chapters arguing like an Apostle, not willing to let anyone off the hook with a superficial diagnosis of our core problem. The heart of our problem is the problem of our heart, and a superficial diagnosis would only lead to a superficial remedy.
In what feels like a breath of fresh air, after much talk of sin, wrath, and judgement, we arrive at Romans 3:21 “But now the righteousness of God is being revealed…” We read why Jesus really had to die, and we feel it. In the gospel, God gives to us what He demands from us: His righteousness. By punishing sin in Jesus, God’s justice is vindicated. He gets all the wrath; we get all the grace. And we get justification—righteousnessification.
This justification—sin forgiven and righteousness applied—is ours by faith. Romans 4 proves, through the example of Abraham, that there’s no possible way to earn or get righteousness credited to us apart from believing on Jesus. Paul goes to great lengths, in his most systematic and comprehensive letter ever written, to develop for us the doctrine of justification by faith.
In Romans 5 and 6 (where we’re currently positioned in our Christian-Education study), we begin to plumb the depths of the spiritual blessings of the gospel. We see that the gospel of God’s righteousness credited to us is, like Jerry Bridges says, “not just the ABC’s of the Christian life, but all of the Christian life.” The gospel means we have peace with God, hope in suffering, and grace that super-abounds over our sin.
There’s more to Romans. Much more. It’s an exciting letter to read and be transformed by together. We hope you and your family will join us this Sunday morning at 9:15 in the Fellowship Hall.
What are Redeemer folks saying about the study of Romans?
From Kyle Babb:
Romans has been a great way to throw us off of our proverbial high horse of self-righteous pride and into a reliance upon the complete work of Christ. How unfathomable and incredible it is that God would take us—objects predisposed to His wrath through our rebellion—and use us as objects on which to pour out His righteousness. In this New Year, hopefully, we can proclaim, as Paul, that we are bondslaves of Christ, rather than servants of ourselves.
Throughout the month of December, Redeemer collected many donations for Without Walls Ministry’s Birthday Party for Jesus held Christmas Day at The Citadel’s Johnson Hagood Stadium. We contributed shoeboxes of small gifts for the many children in attendance, hams that were served for the Christmas feast, and bicycles for needy children.
Without Walls Ministry is about “taking the love of Jesus outside the four walls of the church by meeting the needs of the community through physical and spiritual outreach. Ultimately, it is meeting needs and saving souls in a mission field right in our own backyard.”
Redeemer is privileged to participate in these events. Our own Thomas Szymanski said he’s enjoyed participating in past events because “there are a lot of opportunities for prayer, including people asking you to pray for them. There’s a lot of candid discussion, plenty of bonding, and a great sense of God’s presence in the work being done…a real love and passion expressed by those hosting and participating in the event.”
For the Redeemer folks who helped make this event happen, here’s a special thank-you letter from Pastor Gordon Cashwell of Without Walls Ministry.
All of us at Without Walls ministry just want to say thank you for your help with the bicycles for the Jesus Birthday Party. Please know that many smiles will be on the faces of the children because of your generous donation. THANK YOU very much! We thank you, for the great gift you gave us. It is well received and appreciated. Thank you!
Keep your eye on the weekly Email Blast that will highlight the next outreach event and specific ways to participate.