Subject: West Side Update - June 8
June 8, 2015
Gary Bowler, Manager at Accounting Firm
Gary Bowler grew up in Gordonsville, Virginia: “I was raised by my grandparents in a rural town with a population of 1,000,” he says. He moved to NYC in 1971 to attend college at Long Island University in downtown Brooklyn. He’s been here ever since.
Gary began coming to Redeemer three years ago. He quickly got involved: he began as a Community Group leader and leader-coach, and is now an usher, a co-leader of West Side Men, and a deacon. And he’s part of the “Unofficial Redeemer Radicals Motorcycle Riding Group.”
“In the last few years, God has shown me how to totally accept myself because he has made me the person that I am,” says Gary. West Side Men has been particularly meaningful to him: “Sharing in the triumphs, disappointments, joys, and tragedies of fellow attendees has served to help keep me focused on Jesus,” he says. “It has caused me to become more conformed to the likeness of Christ.”
Gary is a manager at Deloitte Accounting Firm. His favorite neighborhood spots are Nice Matin for dinner, New Wave Café for breakfast, and Jackson Hole for brunch. He loves bicycle riding, catching the occasional movie or Broadway play, photography, Brazilian music, and eating. And he’s a caregiver and guardian for several people: “I am passionate about helping others in various types of needs,” says Gary. “One of the people I take care of just turned 100 years of age.”
Fun fact? He says, “I was the personal limo driver for Robert DiNero, Stevie Wonder, Alice Cooper, Aretha Franklin, Dan Fogelburg, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Sting.”
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.
In a recent NY Times article entitled “The Pressure to Look Good,” Jennifer Weiner references Tina Fey’s final appearance on The Letterman Show. As some of you may know Ms. Fey offered Dave the dress she was wearing as a gift, revealing a full body Spanx, underscoring Jennifer Weiner’s point about the enormous social pressure we face to look good. Of course for those of us who grew up in the culture of Christianity there is also “The Pressure to BE Good.” Christians can be just as preoccupied with projecting a pristine moral image as some are about projecting a pristine physical image. Of course trying to live up to God’s standards of goodness will emotionally and spiritually strangle us like a religious Spanx. Henri Nouwen put it this way in his reflection on the older brother in Jesus’ famous parable about two brothers (Luke 15:11-32):
The obedient and dutiful life of which I am proud or for which I am praised feels, sometimes, like a burden that was laid on my shoulders and continues to oppress me, even when I have accepted it to such a degree that I cannot throw it off.
It is in those moments that we must remember the obedient and dutiful life of Jesus, who took on his shoulders the consequence of our sin and failures, liberating us to obey God’s law not out of duty, but gratitude.
Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” …. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole. – Galatians 3:11, 13
Rev. David Bisgrove
Are you around for the summer? The West Side Children's Ministry is in need of volunteers! Even if you are only here for the summer, we could use your help in sharing the love of God with the next generation of New Yorkers. Elementary classes are especially in need of extra hands. Please contact Jenni at email@example.com for more information.
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.
Citymeals-on-Wheels // Deliver Meals to Homebound Elderly
Chinese Christian Herald Crusades // Coach Youth at Summer Volleyball Program
Restore NYC // Become a Coverage Volunteer at Safehome
Here are a highlighted events happening across Redeemer. For a full listing, see the Connect.
Job search skills training classes
Madagascar Missions Fundraiser
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. —Romans 15:13
Prayer from Seeking God's Face:
Visit redeemer.com/prayer for additional prayer resources and tools.
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