Parenting

Parenting

Children, obey your parent in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor you father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:1-4 
(Sermon follow-up)

For many of us, it is easy to honor our father and mother. For those of us who were blessed with godly or moral parents, they are worthy of honor because their actions are honorable. But some of us are not in this category; unfortunately, some of us were abandoned by our parents or suffered physical or emotional abuse growing up. How do we honor such parents? Should we honor them?
 
With the help of the Holy Spirit, the first way to honor an abusive parent is to come to a place of forgiveness. We all must forgive those who have wronged us, no matter how grievous the wound. This will honor your parent and bring a measure of healing to your own heart. This does not mean that you should allow the abuse to continue. It is important to set up appropriate boundaries. If conditions allow, you can discuss those boundaries with them and explain why they are needed. In many cases though, this may not be fruitful or wise. It is not possible to provide good counsel for each individual circumstance in a general sermon or newsletter. If you have suffered abuse from a parent (biological parents or other caregivers), I would encourage you to seek a mentor or Christian counselor if you need help establishing proper boundaries and working through forgiveness.

Honoring our parents means that we work to ensure that they are cared for, especially as they age. It does not mean that we meet their every expectation or desire. But we should maintain involvement and connection with them (again, assuming abuse or neglect is not an issue). Few people have ever expressed regret over giving their parents too much of their time, but many have regretted losing connection with their parents. I know how easy it is for the weeks to slip by, but I am reminded of how important it is to stay in touch.   In closing, I want to address the discipline of young children.

As I detailed Sunday, the Bible uses the word “rod” in describing how to discipline a child, but the “rod” itself is not described. It is important to never wound your child, so the use of a proper “rod” will ensure that you get their attention and correct their heart attitude without abuse. A good “rod” for young children is a simple one-gallon paint stirrer. Again, if you have questions, please reach out to older parents who have successfully raised their children.  

God bless,
Bob Sawyer
Elder

Mission Update

“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecution and in the afflictions that you are enduring.”
2 Thessalonians 1:3-4    

This week in Rwanda has been tremendous and full of answered prayer. Thank you for your faithfulness to pray for us while we are out of country. I’ve been posting daily updates to our church Facebook page. What I have not been able to post there, or write about here, is the strangulation of the Rwandan church through dictatorial government regulation. It’s death by a 1,000 cuts. We’ll talk more about this when we are together in person. For now, pray for the Christians here, and pray for the Luttrull’s mission to this country. Pray that both will know how best to share the share the Gospel with boldness and wisdom.

On another note, I have been thankful throughout this week to be able to speak about the vibrant health of our church. I am thankful for your growing faith, increasing brotherly love, and steadfast Christian character. I am thankful for what God is doing in our church, so that I might go to other places and encourage them with what is possible. I’m able to speak with people about what the Lord is doing in our time and under the current world situation in realities, not possibilities. It is greatly encouraging for people to hear what the Lord is doing at Redeemer. We didn’t just read about these things in a book but have lived them and seen them happen by the power of the Holy Spirit in our town.        

Important Note:
Josiah and Stephanie Luttrull, the missionaries we are visiting in Rwanda, are looking for in-country missionary partners for the next two years. The IMB has approved a position for a married couple, or two single men, to assist in the work of teaching and church-planting missions for two years. This posting is fully funded by the IMB. Do you feel the call of God to be involved in foreign missionary work in Africa? Here’s your open door! I’ll be talking more about this when we return and pressing to see if God will fill these positions from Redeemer.  

Sermon this Sunday:
Many thanks to Bob Sawyer for filling the pulpit this Sunday. I am announcing this sermon because I know it will be of particular value to the church. Bob will be preaching from Ephesians 6:1-4 which speaks to Christian parenting. In an age when almost every cultural force is pulling our children away from Christ, this is vitally important teaching. We must struggle, according to God’s will, against the spirit of this age to see our children come to salvation and grow up in godliness. With four godly children and four grandchildren, Bob and Kim have much practical experience in this area as Christian parents. Sometimes the task of Christian parenting can be very discouraging. I urge you to come so that you can be both instructed and encouraged by God’s word in your Christian parenting.
 
May the Lord Jesus strengthen His church in Rwanda,
Pastor Vic

Rwanda Mission Trip

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations …”  Matthew 28:18a

We’re off to Rwanda! I’m writing this waiting for our plane to depart Dulles. Please pray for me, Clay Hicks, Rodney Swann, and Coleson Herron this week as we strive to obey the missionary call of Jesus. Below is our itinerary for the week. Please print it off and pray for us as you have opportunity. By prayer, you truly partner with us and undergird these efforts. All fruit and progress in ministry comes from the Lord by His Holy Spirit. The same Lord Jesus reigns in Kigali, Rwanda as in Spotsylvania, Virginia!
 
Friday: Arrive in Kigali and go to hotel for required quarantine. We cannot be released from quarantine without a clear COVID test. Please pray for a clear test.
 
Saturday: Depart hotel for airbnb near the Luttrull home. Visit with and encourage IMB missionaries Josiah and Stephanie Luttrull, and their four boys. Get bearings for a week of ministry. Coleson will join a local church to practice with their worship team.
 
Sunday: Vic will preach at one local church through an interpreter, and Coleson will help lead musical worship at another local church. After service, we’ll fellowship with and start getting to know local Christians.
Monday / Tuesday: We will be going out into a more rural location to teach a group of rural pastors and Christian leaders. These brothers and sisters have a very basic understanding of Christianity. Vic, Clay, and Rodney will rotate throughout the day teaching, and Coleson will lead in worship. This teaching will be done through an interpreter.

Wednesday / Thursday: We will be teaching a group of thirty urban pastors in the city of Kigali. They will have gathered from various places for two days of prayer, teaching, and worship. This will be a more seasoned group of pastors, and teaching will be in English.
 
Friday: We will begin the day at the child food assistance charity. This Christian charity feeds hungry children and shares Jesus with them. We will be delivering the total gift collected ($327) from our children during VBS and, in Jesus’ name, giving it to these needy children. It will supply meals for approximately a week.

We will then meet with a group of young Christians interested in planting churches outside Kigali. We’ll take questions and speak to them about what God is doing at Redeemer, and how to form a biblical New Testament church.

This day will end with the first session of a community teaching session. Approximately sixty people will gather for teaching from Vic, Clay, and Rodney, and Coleson will again lead us in worship.
 
Saturday: We will complete the seminar by lunch, sign-off with the Luttrulls, then head for the airport.
 
We love you all. See you soon!
 
May the gospel of Jesus Christ go forth in power,
Pastor Vic

Prayer, Book Review, Rwanda

Prayer, Book Review, Rwanda

“For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
2 Corinthians 1:5


Please continue in prayer for Afghanistan, our fellow Christians facing increasing persecution, and our soldiers in harms way. First, with the August 31 deadline approaching when the Biden administration will end the airlift, we must continue in prayer for the escape of Christians and others from the captivity of Taliban rule. Join us TONIGHT at the Patterson’s house for prayer. Second, many airlift efforts are underway by public and private organizations. If you feel led to contribute to the airlift effort, I suggest donating to Samaritan’s Purse or No One Left Behind (nooneleft.org). Both organizations are well established, well organized, and have already effectively evacuated 1,000s of people in their target groups.
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Book Review: “Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel” by Drew Hill
 
I want to recommend an excellent and unique book. I think we all struggle with how to best love and communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ to teenagers. We all know teenagers, and many of us have teenagers, that we love deeply. We should long more than anything for them to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and follow after Jesus with genuine faith. But we live in highly divided and confusing times. There seem to be new competing and conflicting struggles every day that make it harder and harder to communicate with our teens – much less communicate life changing spiritual truths.
 
“Alongside” teaches parents and youth workers, through inspiring and practical chapters, how to walk with our teens through the struggles of life. Each short chapter includes vital teaching, practical advice for parents, practical advice for youth workers, and lots of questions. These questions are not for you, but for your teen. The questions apply the truth of the chapter in a way that gets the conversation going with your teen. The beginning of any relationship is conversation. If you’re not talking with your teen in a meaningful way, your relationship is doomed.
 
In my opinion the single greatest theme of this book is that we show our gospel love for our teens by pursuing them. Often teens withdraw to themselves, or for some reason conflict comes into our relationship and shuts down communication. It’s our job to show our teens how much we love them by pursuing them. We must demonstrate the love of Christ through relationship. This is not the kind of book you sit down and burn through. This is the kind of book you read one chapter a week and then do your best to apply each week.

I strongly suggest every parent of teenagers read this book, and prayerfully get after pursuing your teens for Jesus. I thank God every week for the work that Mark and Kimberly do with our teens, but the role is given primarily to us as parents. May God bless your efforts and may none of our children be lost to the world.
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Mission Trip Rwanda: From September 2-12 Pastor Vic, Rodney Swann, Clay Hicks, and Coleson Herron will be working with International Mission Board missionary Josiah Luttrull in Kigali, Rwanda. This trip will be a combination of preaching, teaching, evangelism, encouraging local pastors, and encouraging our local missionaries on the ground. Please pray for clear passage there and back and for open hearts to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray for the Luttrulls and for local churches in Kigali.

Thank you for you faithful giving to Redeemer Bible Church. Most of the cost of this trip, for all participants, was offset by the general church budget. We believe strongly that the budget of the church should support foreign mission efforts. This is the first of many trips, God willing, that will be sent out from Redeemer. We plan to continue work with the Luttrulls and expand to work with unreached people in Madagascar through the work of Nathan and Tessa Baker.
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Church Planting Podcast: I had the chance to tell some of my story for the first on “The Church Planting Podcast.” This started as a journey Maria and I were on together, but along the way we all joined in together to plant a church. It’s our story now! Only Jesus knows what will happen over the coming years, but I’m excited to find out.
Episode 1: here
Episode 2: here  

May the good news of the gospel be proclaimed by each of us this week,
Pastor Vic  

Taliban

“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; then over us would have gone the raging waters. Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth! We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped! Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 124:2-8

This Psalm is about the Lord watching over and delivering His people in times of great trouble. I want to bring your attention to the Christian population in Afghanistan. They are our persecuted brothers and sisters. Afghanistan is estimated to have around 150,000 Christians (.3% of the population). These Christians were already a tiny minority in the midst of a traditionally Muslim nation. Now, they are a tiny minority in the midst of the Taliban, a radical Sunni Islamic sect waging jihad on the nation to fully implement sharia law. These Christians are in grave danger and need our prayers.

Reports are coming out of the country from many different sources reporting direct physical threats to Christians. Christians being trapped in their homes in dire need. People’s phones being searched for Bible apps under threat of being shot on the spot if a Bible is found. (Death for owning a Bible is the same penalty enforced in North Korea.) In the end, to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord is to apostatize (forsake) Islam. The sharia law penalty for apostacy is death. Those found believing in Jesus are given three days to decide their fate. To maintain belief in Jesus, means death. Our brothers and sisters are facing a terrible situation.

We saw this gruesome reality work its way out in Iraq under the Islamic State.  Unknown masses of Christians were put to death, or driven out of their homes as refugees, for believing in Jesus as Lord. This Islamic effort was successful in nearly eradicating Christianity from Iraq, one of Christianity’s ancient homes. It’s been some time since this tragedy unfolded, and the reality of radical Islam has been pushed to the back of our minds. It’s now back with a vengeance. Many of those being subjected to these ways have never known this form of oppression. Youths in Kabul have enjoyed American style freedom and prosperity for twenty years and have only heard about the Taliban. Those same youths are now facing the armed reality of the Taliban.

Not only Christians, but women in general are feeling the full force of Islam as they are reduced to property status. Under radical (meaning fully applied) Islam women are enslaved to their possessing husband. They are not allowed to show any part of their body (including their face) which powerfully works to dehumanize them. They are not allowed to go to school, drive, or hold any position of influence. Instead, they are put to labor, as if an animal.

We must truly pray for our Christian brothers, and especially sisters, caught up in this terrifying situation. God knows their names and their needs. The Lord is on their side and will spare them according to His purposes. Let’s pray for:

  • Protection against death, physical abuse, and imprisonment
  • Escape
  • Provision
  • Mercy
  • Wisdom and courage

Let us, in general, pray against the spread of Islam in the world. Pray for the efforts of Christian missionaries amidst Islamic people. May the Lord work in supernatural ways to bring Islamic people to salvation. May the Holy Spirit give them an extra measure of courage to believe in the face of persecution and being cut off from family and friends.

Our help is in the name of the LORD,

Pastor Vic