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Posts Tagged ‘Redemption Church’

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The Bible Project

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ESL teachers

ESL teachers

I can’t believe it has been three years since the Redemption church merger. Even though Redemption has never been a home church for me, I’ve been an off and on attendee since their early days. I love how God uses them to reach all areas of Arizona with the gospel with their multiple church plants. Tonight Pastor Riccardo shared many stories from the past three years of how God has been faithful and good to the church. I got to attend the service for a few reasons. Redemption likes to share God stories of how members of the congregation are being used in the community by God. Pastor Mullins interviewed my ESL director Stephanie on stage about how we are reaching the refugee community here locally in Tempe. Our students are mostly from Somalia and Redemption church oversees our teaching program. In fact, many of our volunteer teachers are members of Redemption.

Teaching ESL has been such a humbling and rewarding experience for me. My involvement came from when God called me to attend a Uzbekistan peace feast in November of 2011. Even though I had no idea why I was meant to go, God opened my eyes to the refugee community for the first time. Soon after I became an english teacher and now here I am two and half years later still teaching. Hearing the story of Redemption church tonight and my own personal story remind me of the Experiencing God study – Watch where God is working and join Him there. Trust me, do that and He will do the rest.

But my main reason I attended church tonight is because of the friend I brought. He was an old drinking buddy of mine from back in college. I haven’t seen him in 15 years, yet we are Facebook friends. He reach out to me earlier this week and mentioned life had become purposeless for him. He has been inspired by how I’ve been living my life and wanted to know what it is that kept me going these days. I laugh because I’m such a messy person, but I know it is Christ that He is seeing in me as the Spirit has really been working through my life these past couple years. He just moved to Tempe and I offered to introduce him to Redemption church because they are in the area. We had a great time catching up and I felt for him as I have been in that place of searching for significance many times in my life. I spent most of my night praying for him at church and was excited for him to hear the God-stories they were taking about from the stage. I pray that God grab a hold of him and that he becomes another God-story that will be shared to others someday.

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The government has asked the church to help out with the foster care/adoption crisis going on in the U.S. There are over 14,000 foster care kids in the foster care system in Arizona alone. Mission Community Church, Redemption Church and City of Grace Church have joined together to help solve this problem by spearheading a movement called Arizona 1.27 (based off James 1:17). Learn more on how you can be a part of abolishing this need.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27, ESV)

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Tonight I was at Redemption church and was taking communion and they played this old hymn that brought me back to when I was a kid. My Grandma used to play “The Old Rugged Cross” over and over again on the piano when I was growing up. I love this song – the lyrics are powerful. I would always picture the cross after Christ died stained with blood on a hill. But the cool thing is that old cross has so much healing and power. So when life beats us down we can always look to that cross and what Christ did for us that day.

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

1 Peter 2:24

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I’ve been hanging around a lot of leaders and wise men lately – just trying to learn and grow from them. I sat at Redemption church tonight with Bob Dunn, a Pastor who trains up youth leaders. He has years in the ministry and has been a family friend since I was little. I appreciate his friendship and the time he takes to invest in me. “Amazing Grace” has been this song that really resonates through me and we sang it tonight at church. The lyrics are powerful and I tear up every time I sing it at church. The message of forgiveness and restoration are just so meaningful to me at this point of my life. I wish the church sang it more.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
Than when we first begun.

Everytime I hear this verse of the song, I notice the worship leaders always seem to kick things up a notch. I did a little research and found out it’s a verse that has been passed down through the African-American community and not originally written by John Newton. It’s a verse also featured in the anti-slavery book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Tom sings this out during his hour of deepest crisis. I personally felt the Spirit move as I sang out this portion of the song.

During communion, I prayed about something that has been weighing on my heart – baptism. I have procrastinated enough about it and I know it’s the next step for me in my walk. I guess I kept envisioning the perfect place and time for it and I need to just step out and be obedient. In fact, my Pastor has been encouraging us to discuss it with our MC’s. All I know is I want to be surrounded my those that have invested their time in me and have been a huge part of my sanctification process. I talked with a friend who has become near and dear to my heart about it tonight. She really encouraged me a lot about this topic and asked to be a part of praying with me about it. I want my life to be an example to others and I know this is a crucial next step for me.

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Today was the last day of class at the Somali Bantu Refugee Center. I have enjoyed teaching here the past few months. It really is an amazing God story how He brought this place into my life for me to serve at. I have had the itching to teach for some time, but I never thought I would be teaching refugees how to speak english and be prepared for citizen classes. God is doing amazing things in this community and Peace Catalyst International is doing awesome stuff in promoting peace and unity amongst them. I am thankful for Josh Prather from Redemption church for directing me here and the director Sally for believing in me. Rachel, Emily and Kaylee have been awesome trainers and I look forward to helping run english camp this summer. Today we had our last day of class celebration and the ladies cooked us samosas (a fried or baked pastry filled with potatoes, onions, peas, lentils, and ground meat) and hot Kenyan tea. I was offered my own class to teach in the Fall and I look forward to further being a part of this community.

The women in their traditional hijab headscarfs

Samosas

Our awesome teachers!

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