Subject: West Side Update - December 29
December 29, 2014
New Birth Portraits
The term “born again” is as polarizing today in America as it was 20 centuries ago when Jesus of Nazareth confided to a friend, “Truly, truly, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” The New Birth Portrait series was created to explore and further articulate the meaning of his words through the lives of “New Yorkers.”
Each video portrait acts as a window into the new birth experience – an experience typically dismissed, usually misunderstood, rightly considered offensive. Even so, one’s initial response does not normally demonstrate understanding. It did not for Jesus’ friend who immediately retorts, “How can a man be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born! How can this be?”
As a church of Jesus Christ, Redeemer exists to help build a great city for all people through a movement of the gospel that brings personal conversion, community formation, social justice and cultural renewal to New York City and, through it, to the world.
The week between Christmas and New Years always feels a bit surreal to me – like a lull between two storms. Even in bustling NYC most workplaces are relatively muted. In other words most of us are forced to slow down whether we like it or not, the virtue of which was recently celebrated in an article about the Winter Solstice entitled “Bring on the Dark”. The author mourns the loss of the natural rhythms of daylight and nighttime imposed on humanity prior to electricity, noting how:
In centuries past, the hours of darkness were a time when no productive work could be done. Which is to say, at night the human impulse to remake the world in our own image — so that it served us, so that we could almost believe the world and its resources existed for us alone — was suspended. The night was the natural corrective to that most persistent of all illusions: that human progress is the reason for the world.
God’s people have always understood the need for Sabbath rest (Deuteronomy 5:12-15) as a necessary corrective to the impulse noted above. So as you catch your breath over the next few days, think about how you might create more opportunities in 2015 to slow down and remember the God who is light (I John 1:5).
Rev. David Bisgrove
Hope for New York: His Toy Store Thank You!
On December 6 and 13, Hope for New York served over 500 families at 7 His Toy Stores throughout the city! Families were able to shop for brand new toys at no cost and connect to our amazing affiliate organizations for year-round support. HUGE thanks more than 300 of you who volunteered to make these Toy Stores happen... and thanks to the hundreds more who donated toward stocking these stores with amazing toys! You can read a recap on our blog here, and see photos from the stores here.
Thank you for your service this Advent season!
We send our huge thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who served this month and made the hope of the gospel real to our church and our city. Whether you ushered at one of our special worship services, served in the classroom with the many children who come each week, or helped our Hope for New York affiliates care for the men, women and children they serve all year long, we are honored and humbled to see all the ways you honor our God as you bring his joy and restoration to this city. We look forward to praying and working together as we see what God will accomplish in 2015!
Here are some highlighted opportunities to serve the city with Hope for New York. As always, you can check HFNY’s volunteer page to search a full list by neighborhood and service type.
The Open Door // Teach English to Immigrant Community
Weekly, Wed or Thurs starting Jan 7, from 7 to 9:00 p.m. at W83
Volunteers will co-teach weekly English class for basic to advanced level to students from immigrant community every Wednesday and Thursday from 7 to 9:00 pm.m for 21 weeks, starting on January 7. Volunteers are asked to commit to teaching 1 day per week for the 21 week semester. Request information here to learn more.
Ever wonder why your work matters?
Sunday, January 25 from 1:15 to 3:15 p.m., W83
This two-hour seminar will help us understand the question of why God cares so much about the work that we do Monday through Friday. We’ll explore being created to work, loving our work, and being empowered for work. Click here for more details and registration.
Beauty, Image and the Christian Woman
Wednesday, January 28 from 7 to 9 p.m., W83
In this seminar, we will look at how God defines beauty and and explore how the gospel can empower us to address cultural pressures and to transform our self image and identity. Taught by Sandi Taylor, MA in Counseling. Click here to register.
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. Gal 4:6-8
“One of the most basic things that the gospel does is change prayer from mere petition to fellowship and the praise of his glory. Galatians 4:6-7 teaches us that when we believe the gospel, we not only become God’s children legally, but we receive the Spirit in order to experience our sonship. The Spirit leads us to call out passionately to God as our tender and loving Father. The Spirit calls out ‘Abba’ (4:7). In the very next verse Paul refers to this experience as “knowing God” (4:8). We do not just know and believe that God is holy and loving, but we actually experience contact with his holiness and his love in personal communion with him.” From Prayer and the Gospel by Tim Keller.
Visit redeemer.com/prayer for additional prayer resources and tools.
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