We are beginning new chapters in our GRC community. It seems more like spring than fall with our growth groups starting this fall, the reality of 21Harristown getting ever closer, and new additions to the staff of GRC. If we peruse the news media though we see a completely different picture, more like the winter in Narnia: hurricanes, war threats, economic confusion, party rhetoric, not to mention NFL season (maybe Aslan territory). How do we live in this world of polarities and remain "blessed", "happy" or "joyful"? I am reminded of Psalm 1: "Blessed is the one who does Read more
I have often heard women ask at both church and work for a mentoring program, no doubt caused by a healthy realization that there is always more to learn. Or perhaps the request is due to frustration with our lives and circumstances that we hope a mentor can miraculously help to fix. Regardless of the motivation, we know that mentoring is a Biblical concept. The apostle Paul told Titus that older women are to train the young women (Titus 2:3-5). So how do we make that happen? Being matched through a mentoring program may sound easy, but it can also Read more
Driving down to the Session retreat last week, a couple of brothers and I were talking about movies. One of them was the 1979 classic, Apocalypse Now, the tale of a CIA operative charged with assassinating a rogue Army colonel during the Vietnam War. Today, this film is heralded in every respect: action, dialogue, acting, subject matter, themes etc. Yet back in 1979, it was subject to widespread disdain by critics, who referred to it as "intellectually empty" and "emotionally obtuse," among other insults. Now considered one of the greatest movies of all time, Apocalypse Now joins other celebrated motion pictures Read more
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Ps 19:1) So this past Monday I, like many of you, took a moment to look up into the sky and marvel at the solar eclipse.  How beautiful! How amazing! How?  I mean...the sun is 400 times the size of the moon.  How can they look exactly the same size in the sky, enabling one to block the other?  The sun, then, has to be 400 times the distance away.  What a neat coincidence.  Or is it?  What are the odds?  Turns out the odds are nearly impossible. Read more
I'm in a conundrum.  Two topics weigh on my mind, and I only have 500 words to do express them both: Growth Groups and the incidence in Charlottesville. Fall signals Growth Growths resuming again, and I want to encourage everyone to be a part of one.  This community of small groups is important to the people of Grace Redeemer and Grace Redeemer, herself.  On the other hand, the events of this past weekend, the vitriol and hatred, the lack of tolerance, love or respect people have for one another in our world cannot go unnoticed. Growth Groups are a place Read more
I am glad to be back at Grace Redeemer after a three week absence.  I am returning from my one week study leave, followed by a two week vacation with my family.  The extended time away has allowed me to return to church refreshed in body, mind and soul. The privilege and benefit of a study leave permit me intentional time to pray, to plan, and to self-equip (i.e., reading, studying, researching material that pertains to that leader's ministry responsibilities). I thought it might be helpful to share a message from prior years about how I spend my study leave Read more
"Be perfect therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48) Ouch. There's an impossible task. I might just as well crawl back in bed rather than begin my day. I've already failed. Just the other day I was thinking, "All my righteousness is like filthy rags (Isa. 64:6)" If everything I do is like a filthy rag, how can I ever be perfect like my heavenly Father? What's the use? There are a lot of different processes taking place here. On the one hand, we are to grow in our love of God, our obedience, our knowledge. The one Read more
In one of the more memorable stories about Jesus in the Gospels, a woman comes to where Jesus is staying, and anoints His head with an exorbitantly expensive aromatic oil. Seeing such a valuable commodity spent in this way, the disciples became indignant, exclaiming that so much good could have been done if the oil had been sold instead. Jesus' response remains shocking even today; He replied, "Why do you trouble the woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me." (Matthew 26:10-11, ESV) Read more
While spending time in Portland, OR with a friend earlier this month, I was surprised when three separate strangers approached me out of the blue to start a conversation. They didn't want anything, they simply planned to say hello and share a brief moment of friendliness. This was, or course, heresy to my East Coast sensibilities. I am used to keeping my head down while I walk, only talking to passing pedestrians if absolutely necessary. We don't mean anything negative by it; that's just one of our cultural quirks. Still, I was struck by how I felt after the encounters: Read more
I kept my calendar for Monday night clear because #99 was in the spotlight. Usually #99 is a football player's number, and specifically, a huge man that plays on the defensive line.  In this case, he's huge, but he plays a sport that requires agility and speed.  Aaron Judge is the largest man to ever play major league baseball, and yes, he's a NY Yankee.  He was in the Home Run Derby on Monday night, and wow, one of the most fun sports events I've watched in a long, long time (yes, we're starved for some success here in NY/NJ Read more

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