Category Archives: Fellowship

Moments of Redemption

Occasionally we are blessed to capture glimpses of redemption in the midst of our busy lives. Redemption is a process of the old and worn being reclaimed for a higher purpose, but every now and then there are moments when time seems to stop for just a second and the process of redemption reveals its fruit. It is tempting to think that these revelations are ‘arrival’, that the process is somehow complete. Instead, these glimpses are just benchmarks along the way toward ultimate redemption.

We were blessed to witness such a glimpse at redemption yesterday during our morning worship service. One of our members celebrated 4 years clean from narcotics this past week. He is our ministry leader for our Narcotics Anonymous ministry and is an incredible example of what it means to live by the Spirit. He’s come a long way in the last few years, but he’ll be the first to tell you that all of his success is from God and that he has a long way to go.

This man has a daughter that was raised for a great portion of her life plagued by the narcotics addiction in her family. This young lady is beautiful, kind, and talented. A few weeks ago I watched this young lady open her heart to God and other teens. She lamented the separation between her father and herself. She longed for a closer relationship with him and God. She committed to bridging the gap between her and her dad. On Wednesday of this past week, her father baptized her into Christ.

This morning was magical. Actually, the more appropriate term would be ‘mystical’. The Spirit was present and moving. I asked this young lady to join me on stage and I introduced her as a new sister in Christ. As expected, the congregation erupted in applause. What they didn’t expect is what happened next. With her friend standing next to her, she read a prepared tribute of love and appreciation to her father as she introduced him and announced that he was four years clean from narcotics. The congregation went absolutely crazy! People were standing and clapping, whistling and yelling. The entire Body of Christ at Bristol Road joined in chorus to celebrate the redemption that is occurring in this man’s life. Even more so, they were celebrating the redeeming of the relationship between father and daughter.

As if the day couldn’t get any better, they announced that the friend joining the young lady on stage was going to be baptized that day. Round 3 of applause and rejoicing kicked in. It was one of those times that I knew I couldn’t add anything to the lesson by preaching a sermon. The topic was ‘Living by the Spirit’ after all. In hindsight, I probably should have said, “That’s what it is to live by the Spirit” and sat down. The message would have been powerful all by itself.

This is just another of many examples of how our God is a redeemer. No matter how bad things get, no matter how messed up and dirty our lives are, if we give that mess to God he will turn it into something better, something beautiful, and something that will glorify Him. If we are willing, our scars of shame and embarrassment become testimonies to the power and greatness of our Lord and God. This is the true power of redemption.

The redemption of hugging

The redemption of hugging

A few days ago I blogged about an incredible revelation I had while walking my dog. That post was one of my most popular ever! Thanks for the great feedback! I’ve been trying the Sadie Experiment for about a week now, and I already have some observable outcomes to report on. First, just like Sadie,Continue Reading

Learning Servant Leadership from a Dog

I had one of those epiphany moments this morning as I walked the dog. Of course, in Michigan at this time of year it is still more like sledding with the dog. Walking in early March adds a degree of difficulty as well since there will be some snow and ice melt during the dayContinue Reading

Redeeming Christianity

Is that a presumptuous title or what? For the last few years I’ve been engaged in some separate studies that have come together in a surprising way. One of the great benefits of being in full time ministry is the time I get to spend in study and research. The pressure to present it adequatelyContinue Reading

New Faces

Don’t forget that I’ve dedicated a post to letting people sound off from where they live in the world.  There is actually a sub-discussion occurring about the famed Lambert’s Cafe, a place at which at least half the bloggers seem to have committed the sin of gluttony.   Click here to visit that site and catchContinue Reading

ST.ARBUCKS

There was a great article in Leadership Magazine this quarter entitled "The Gospel According to St. Arbucks".  It is a comparative evaluation of the environment at Starbucks (get it… St. Arbucks) and what the church could learn from the interaction that occurs there.  The author, Greg Asimakoupoulos from Mercer Island, WA, starts by listing someContinue Reading

Honored Through Merging Worlds

When two different sphere of a person’s life come together it can sometimes lead to fairly awkward situations.  There was this one time when my wife and I drove across the country to attend her mother’s wedding and it turned out that the sister of the guy she was marrying was the mother of oneContinue Reading

Five Guys for Five Guys

I had the most incredible lunch two days ago.  But first, a bit of history… A little more than 13 months ago, Randy walked into my office and said, "Have you had your daily allowance of grease yet?"  Thinking I hadn’t bathed well but not wanting to look suspicious, I made a trailing "Wha…?" soundContinue Reading