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Redeemer Church

Redeemer Church
Looking for a church in the Omaha area? Come check out ours on Sunday mornings at 11!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Go Get Some Free Christmas Music!

Hey all! I know, it's been a while. I apologize. I have no excuses. 

But I haven't been completely wasting my time. And to prove it, here's an album a friend and I just finished for our church. It's FREE right now on NoiseTrade and we'd be honored if you downloaded a copy and shared it with friends. Merry Christmas!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Free books and music to carry you through to Easter

Easter is impossible without Good Friday, and Good Friday is empty without Easter. Here are a few free resources to help you reflect on both this weekend:

Free Books
Okay, so I know that two of these books are actually one cent, but I figured you'd want to know about them anyway. Feel free to leave a comment below if you're like "No! One cent is too much to pay for a whole book!" and I'm sure some Good Samaritan will be happy to spot you the cash.
Alive: A Cold-Case Approach to the Resurrection
Crucify!: Why the Crowd Killed Jesus
The Work of Christ: What the Events of Jesus' Life Mean for You

Old Story New: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God$0.01

Free Music
A three-song EP featuring an awesome treatment of The Old Rugged Cross and two originals including one I wrote called "He Is Risen Indeed".

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

When the lost are found, don't forget to party!

In Luke 15, the author recounts an instance in Jesus’ ministry when the religious leaders grumbled at the way Jesus received the “tax collectors and sinners”. In response, Jesus tells three parables that illustrate the state of those lost in sin, the heart of Jesus and his Father for the lost, and their work to redeem the lost. While Tim Keller has written extensively and compellingly on the parable of the prodigal son, I find the common themes between the three stories equally stunning.

1. The Lost - The cumulative nature of the things lost in Jesus’ three parables are powerfully parallel to the state of fallen humanity lost in sin. Like the sheep, we are wandering and weak. Like the coin we are lifeless and in the dark. Like the son, we are rebellious and running recklessly headlong into sin.

2. The Redemption - Likewise, the nature of the one seeking the lost in each parable gives us a rich picture of God the Father. Like the shepherd, God comes after the ones that are lost and does not rest until they are found. Like the woman, God comes with light into our darkness and sweeps the corners of creation to find us. And like the father of the prodigal, God rejects our attempts at earning back his favor and our self-justification, and instead embraces and kisses us before we have done anything whatsoever to merit it.

3. The Rejoicing - I find it curious that the one explicit point of the three parables that Jesus actually takes time away from his storytelling to highlight (vv. 7, 10) is the one point that often gets lost in our retelling of them. Jesus is telling these to show the joy in heaven “over one sinner who repents”. And, given the bookends of the chapter starting with grumbling Pharisees and ending with a grumbling brother, Jesus’ implicit second point is how unlike the Father these disgruntled groups (and we?) are being.

Implications For Life and Ministry - Working backwards, we should rejoice at the lost being found as the Father rejoices. It’s so easy to get comfortable in a sanitized, church-y bubble, that the first tax collector or sinner to walk in the doors could be seen as an offense, not an opportunity. Celebrate when people get saved. Throw parties! Try your hardest to match the riotous rejoicing going on in heaven with your own celebrations down here.

We should also seek like the Father seeks, going after the lost, bringing light into darkness, and embracing those who have rebelled. This means the true threat isn't that of sinners upon our sanitized, church-y bubble, but instead, our bubble is actually a threat to the Father’s true mission of reaching those very sinners! It needs to be popped. This obviously requires some wisdom, especially for those prone to join the prodigal in his rebellion. This is why we are on mission as a church, as a body, not individuals. No Christian is Jack Bauer, a solo agent who work better alone. Mission is the call of the body, and we can only fulfill the mission with the body and Christ as our head.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

God Exists. What Next?

OK, so you believe in God or some sort of higher power, what next? There are lots of different options and opinions out there, lots of different views about God. Where should you start?

 In this video, we offer 6 reasons why a spiritual seeker, someone who's open to the existence of God but still checking out the different religions, should start their spiritual quest with Christianity.

This material is loosely based on the intellectual and apologetic work of Craig Hazen in his book, Five Sacred Crossings: A Novel. These videos are a ministry of Redeemer Church in Omaha, NE. If you're ready to check out Christianity, why not join us this Sunday morning! 

6 Reasons a Spiritual Seeker Should Start With Christianity

For further reading:
Five Reasons Why A Thoughtful Person Would Start Their Religious Quest With Christianity
This is based on the same material, but aren't you glad we shortened the title?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Show of hands: Who bows to peer pressure?

I was standing there alone in the middle of the room, and everyone was waiting for me to decide.

Although it happened more than two decades ago and a full two thirds of my life has since passed, I still remember the incident vividly. I was in second grade and the teacher had written a brain teaser up on the chalk board along with two different answers. One answer was on the right side of the board, the other on the left. One answer was right, the other wrong. Then she had everyone stand up and gave one simple instruction.

"Walk to the side of the board that you think has the correct answer."

One by one my classmates made their decision. And one by one, they all walked to the same side of the board. But I stood at my desk frozen. Frozen because no one stood by the answer that I was knew was the right answer. I was certain I was right, which meant I was certain all of my classmates were wrong.

And my second grade brain exploded. Not only with the logic problem on the board, but also the sociological problem forming before me. I was weighing risks and rewards. Being right all by myself would be awesome, but being wrong all by myself would be humiliating. Siding with the rest of my classmates would be safe, whether they were right or not.

In the end, I sided with the crowd.

I played it safe. And I hated myself for it. Sure enough, the entire classroom (myself included) had walked to the wrong side of the board. The bag of candy that would have gone to the students with the right answer instead went back into the teacher's desk. But the agony of missing out on some free candy was dwarfed by the angst I felt at the realization that I'd made my decision based not on what I thought was the right answer, but rather based on what I thought was the socially safe answer.

My heart idol is human approval.

My pastor just preached on idolatry this week, and I realized that I've still got the same idol that I had all the way back in second grade. When you're a kid, they call it peer pressure. When you're grown, they call it being a people-pleaser. But now I see it for what it really is. For me, it's an idol. It's my functional savior that I run to to find my self-worth, my validation, my meaning.

When I worship at this false god, I want the approval of my peers more than I want what I know is right. Nowadays it's not so much that I'm choosing to be wrong with the crowd rather than be right alone. Instead, I make the decisions that are socially safe, rather than the decisions that I know are best. Deep down, when I worship at the idol of human approval, my first question is not "What will God think of this decision?" but rather "What will others think of this decision?"

All of us have our own idols.

Most of them aren't bad things. A job. Your spouse. Your kids. Even "sex, power, and money" aren't bad in themselves, despite what you may have heard. But as Mark Driscoll has memorably said, "When a good thing becomes a god thing, that's a bad thing." When we look to a created thing to provide for us what only the Creator can provide (meaning, significance, acceptance, approval, ultimate joy, comfort, security), not only do we set ourselves up for disappointment, but we commit idolatry in the process.

Do you know what your idols are? Do you know how to go about finding them? In closing, I'll share a clip from my pastor's sermon on how to find your idols.

As you discover your idols, however, don't despair. There is an answer and it's the one Pastor Lee closes the video with. We worship our way into idolatry, we must worship our way out. But more on that in the next post.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013