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Posts Tagged ‘Redemption Church’

Three years ago a friend of mine invited me to Praxis church. I heard Justin Anderson speak for the first time from the book of Joshua. I loved the expository teaching and I loved the depth of how he spoke (plus his sarcasm). It became my second church on Sunday nights. Praxis church eventually merged with other churches to become Redemption church. Even after the merger, Justin still primarily taught at the Tempe campus. But he is now moving on to San Francisco to start Redemption SF with an amazing team. Tonight in Tempe he spoke his last message from 1 Corinthians 8:1-13. I thank God for this hero of mine and the impact his teaching had on me.

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This documentary has helped me get to know a little bit of what our Somalian students have been through.

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Today I started my first day at the Somali Bantu Center of Phoenix. It is such a God story of how this place came to me. I had attended a peace festival at a Uzbekistan restaurant back in November and was blown away by the number of refugees living here in Phoenix. Just hearing their stories really moved me. I signed up to help volunteer and Josh Prather from Redemption church contacted me a couple of months later. He got me in contact with Sally Harr (the lady in the video above) and she offered me an a choice of an admin or a teaching position. I was really having an itching to teach and wasn’t the admin type, but I never taught english before. She encouraged me to come down and check out the place and I fell in love with it. Peace Catalyst International is a big part of helping bring unity to the people in this community. Tim Ballard gave me a rundown on them and he also happens to attend my church Missio Dei. Even though overseas missions is my heart, I had been praying for something local to do here in the valley that is cultural based. This place was perfect and I began to pray if God wanted me here. I knew God would provide me with the skills to teach english, so I accepted the offer to be a teaching assistant for the remainder of the spring. Wow.. isn’t God amazing in how he works!

bantu

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I attended a dinner at the Golden Valley Restaurant in Phoenix hosted by Redemption church. This restaurant is owned and ran by Uzbekistan refugees from the Andijan Massacre of 2005. They bring the full flavors and traditions of Uzbekistan’s national dishes from family kitchens back home. In addition to eating some great food, we got to hear the stories from a couple of refugees on how they got to America. Now some of them reside here in Phoenix and have built a strong community and have started businesses to help stimulate the economy.

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I got to eat with a refugee by the name of Abdurashid. He escaped Uzbekistan in 2006 and left behind a wife and son. Now he is here in Arizona working and trying to bring his family that he hasn’t seen in so long here. He spent the evening sharing stories and pictures with me about life in Uzbekistan and how he got here. He is blessed to have strong community to bond with while here. His story touched my life and definitely put in perspective my own personal struggles in life. We ate Pilov (rice with meat and vegetables), Manti (steamed dumplings with ground beef) and chicken kabobs.

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There is an amazing website dedicated to the story of these refugees called Uzbek Justice Initiative and how you can get involved. Read about how God is using them here locally. Below is a video about the Andijan Massacre from the film Through the Looking Glass.

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HE IS RISEN!!!
Good Friday

Worship service in the Student center

Cornerstone hosted a Good Friday worship service. They held it at noon in the student center. What an amazing sight to see many come out on their lunch breaks to give thanks to the Father. Thanks to Ryan and Brain for putting this together.

Later that evening, we attended a Friday night service at Redemption church. It was a beautiful outdoor setting at the Gilbert campus. It was awesome to see 3000+ come out to worship under the stars and give thanks to God for giving His son to die on the cross for us. Pastor Justin spoke on how much God loves us to do this for us. I love the illustration he gave about God even giving His son despite those that reject and turn away from Him.

So what does life look like beyond Easter? When the busy week comes upon us, do we stray and forget about the cross? How do we live our life for Christ day in and day out so we don’t have to constantly live for high moments in order to correct our paths when we drift?

All church Friday night worship service at Redemption Gilbert campus

For Easter, Christin and I served at Cornerstone Saturday night. We met up with our mothers and attended service later that night. Cornerstone had this “Egg your City” theme in which they used eggs to help promote the Easter service. The cool thing is that they also challenged those that attended to “Change the World”. They asked if we would donate $15 to help clothe and feed a child in India. Cornerstone has a strategic partnership with Harvest India and there is a huge need to feed these orphan kids. The goal was to feed 2500 children. Between the 6 services, people stepped up and sponsored over 4300 children ($63,000). Praise God!

I loved how Pastor Linn tied in the feeding of the hungry with an Easter message. What we believe in is a big deal. Deep down our hearts are hungry for something and we look to the wrong things to fill us. The majority people in India are Hindu. In Hinduism, they believe in karma and this idea that we get reincarnated into something better in the next life if we live out our lives well. Well.. we need something more to satisfy our hunger because the result from us filling it with worldly stuff (accomplishments, relationships, etc) produces bad fruit like worry, anger and pride. These things will build a wall that will separate us from God. We need to make contact with God and let Him fill our hunger and deepest needs. Christ is the bread of life and if we believe, we will never go hungry or thirsty.

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval. John 6:2-27

Earth Day

Good Friday was also Earth Day. I saw it as a day to celebrate God’s creation and how we need to take care of it as inhabitants of this Earth.

Lent – Week 6

Final week of lent. I have really enjoyed using the resources of World Vision ACT:S as I participated in lent this year. The information they provided really got me in tune to the world and the need out there. God has really made my heart ache for those in poverty and how I can be used to be a voice for those that don’t have one. Please pray and consider how you can be an advocate and be a part of creating a modern-day book of Acts of living.

This is Romeo. He is one of many growing number of street kids that are roaming around Albania. His family left him and he was forced to live life on his own around the age of 12. He is often ignored by those passing by as he has to beg and steal in order to eat and live. There have been many times I have felt forgotten or left out. In fact, I have done this to God – forgotten about Him. Yet, God never leaves me and is always there. This gives me hope that we are never forgotten and that He will use us.

A great example is the shepherds in Luke 2: 8-11. Shepherds were forgotten people in their society back in biblical times. Yet God used them to spread the news to them of Jesus’ birth. How awesome is it that a great host of angels appeared to them that Christmas morning to proclaim the birth of Christ. God then used their excitement to spread the news to others. God will use anyone for His purposes.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NIV).  

Jesus came to this broken world to be one of us. Because of what He has done for us, we have the opportunity to partner with Him and be a light to those that know Him. Imagine if instead of ignoring a street child like Romeo that we give him food and shelter. What a way to impact someone who needs to see and know the love of Jesus. God has called us to be missional and to seek justice for His people. I want that for my life, to see the world the way Jesus did and to love on others the same way He has loved me.

May we bless the world with comfort. Comfort when a child is suffering and no parent can help, so that we may become the arms of a God who heals. Amen

May we bless the world with peace. Peace for the persecuted and those who struggle to provide, so that we may become the feet of a God who brings good news. Amen

May we bless the world with love. Love for the ones who only encounter the demons in others, so that we may become the heart of a God who feels every human affliction. Amen

May we bless the world with wisdom. Wisdom to pass wisdom, so that we may become the mind of a God whose dreams become reality with the breath of a word. Amen

And the blessing of God, who provides comfort, peace, love and wisdom, be upon us and all that we love and pray for this day, and forever more. Amen

Today marked the end of my 40 day only drinking water as a beverage campaign for Blood:Water Mission. This year it was a lot easier for me to give up my morning coffee. I either really don’t need it or God is really working in me. But this lent season was very impactful for me as it came at a time that God is refining and restoring me to be who He wants me to be. I am grateful for the prayers and support from everyone while using this time to learn more about myself and drawing closer to God. God is working!

Pumping a water well after dedicating it in India - a huge blessing for me!

The work that is being done in Uganda and others parts of the world have really been inspiring to me to learn more about water. I have always had a heart for these water wells and how they can provide clean water for an entire village for very little money. God has really taught me a lot through Blood:Water mission about how much water we waste here in America and how we take it for granted. From not drinking coffee and tea for 40 days, I saved $105 and I will be donating that money to help fund water projects in Uganda. Please read this inspiring story of how God is working in Uganda here.

Oh coffee. How I missed you..

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In late 2010, Praxis Church and East Valley Bible church made the stunning announcement that they are going to merge their churches into Redemption Church under the Acts 29 network – a church planting network . I have attended the evening service at Praxis church for the past few years and have also taken courses at East Valley Bible church. So this merger is important to me because I have connections with both churches. We got to attend the inaugural launch of the church in which they gathered the whole church community on the lawn of what was once East Valley Bible church. Pastor Justin gave an amazing message from Jeremiah 29 about going out into the community.

From Redemption church’s website:

Redemption Church is born out of the conviction that the church unified can impact the world dramatically for the gospel. The vision of Redemption Church is to saturate the State of Arizona with Gospel-centered, Reformed, Missional churches through campuses and church plants. We see thousands of people worshiping Jesus and living out the Gospel all over Arizona, equipped every Sunday with the same message and living out the same values everyday.

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Justin Anderson

Here is a video discussing the merger.

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