rc-network-small-white

Father’s Day

The month of June is known across America as a month to celebrate LGBTQ and transgender practices. I believe it’s important for you to listen to an inspiring testimony of a woman named Laura that came to salvation during her transgender rebellion against God. It’s a moving and important testimony of redemption that will help us all better share Christ with those who struggle with these areas of sin.

Please click on the link below to listen to her story. Press “play” between the title and her picture to hear the story.

Laura’s testimony


“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring
 them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Ephesians 6:4
This coming Sunday is Father’s Day. Leading a family and raising children in this day is a daunting task. The Lord will give strength for the task, but it’s important to refocus on the fundamentals.

Being a father is a God-given authority. The authority of fatherhood follows after the loving and good authority of God the Father toward us. As fathers live under the authority of God the Father, so our children live under our authority. At a minimum, this means parenting should be parent-directed, not child-directed. The spiritual leadership of the father is meant to direct the life and formation of the child. To be a father is not to stand-by while your child does whatever they choose, but with proper godly love, discipline, and education to direct the course of your child’s life. This loving direction, education, discipline, and training is constant when a child is young but should taper off as they enter their teens, and end as they launch into adulthood. When a child enters adulthood the father’s goal is for the child to establish their own home beginning again the fatherly role in the next generation. Your authority as a father hems in your children to guide their path. As a father it is your role to teach your children who God is, what He expects of them, and how they can experience the love of God through the forgiving grace of Jesus Christ.

I would argue that the most important attitude of a father is to love their child. Love is the master virtue of the Christian life and the first fruit of the Holy Spirit. As believers in Jesus Christ, we experience the love of God through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. We have peace with God through the cross and go from
being enemies of God to being His beloved adopted children. The authority of fatherhood will never be effective, and will instead be hurtful to a child, without authentic love. Dads, you know whether you love your kids or not. Your kids know whether you love them or not. If you view your children as a drag to your finances and free time this indicates a lack of love. If you can’t discipline without anger, there is a lack of love. If you don’t want to spend time with your kids, you don’t love them like God wants you to. I believe every dad struggles with these issues. I know I have.

The answer is always the same when we begin to recognize a lack of Christian love in our lives. We must draw near to the Lord in prayer and Bible study. In prayer you have to earnestly ask the Holy Spirit to work in your heart to bear the fruit of authentic love that you can’t contrive. Confess your sins and failures asking the Holy Spirit to make you the gentle and kind father you know you should be. If you need to ask for your child’s forgiveness, do that as well. If you did not have a loving and gentle father growing up, know that you can learn these ways from your Heavenly Father.

Fathers, I encourage you to see your children like empty vessels that need to be filled up with your love afresh each day. You fill them with words of affirmation and blessing, by making good memories together, through praying for them, listening to them, working with them, doing your best to tell them about Jesus, and most fundamentally – just telling them you love them. This will wear you out. As you pour out, you also must be filled. This filling must come from the living water of Jesus our Lord. Living water that never runs dry. You must spend time with Jesus every day. You must MAKE time for Jesus every day and ask Him to make you into the type of father you could never be on your own.

After loving our children, we must train them. Fathers, you must lead the way in training. Teach them to put the things of the Lord first. Teach them to love their mother and their siblings. Teach them to pray and read the Bible. Teach them to love learning and respect their elders. Teach them respectful manners and practical life skills that are related to their gender. Fathers, teach your boys to be men, and cherish your wife as she teaches your girls to become women. Be patient with your children as they learn but press them always to grow in the talents God has given them.

Next, you must discipline your children. Hebrews 12:5-11 is very clear that God will discipline us in the Christian life to correct our path, because He loves us. Every parent that loves their child will discipline their child. Discipline done with love builds character and turns a child away from sinful, selfish, and irresponsible actions. Discipline teaches a small child that they must live under authority. Discipline uses a small amount of pain brought into their life by a father who loves them, to turn them away from a great amount of pain in later life that will come from those who hate them. I understand that spanking is well out of fashion in this day and that there are important exceptions to children that have been abused, but the Proverbs speak about the need to bring the quick and decisive discipline of a spanking into a child’s life (Proverbs 13:24, 22:15, 23:13-14, 29:15). All discipline must be administered without anger, but proper discipline from a loving father will work to shape the soul and character of a small child.

Fathers, never give up on your children. Never stop in pursuing your children with love. Never stop preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to your children. Never give up on the faithful discipline of stubborn small children. Never stop praying for your kids and investing in their lives. Pray for their souls until they come to salvation. Knowing that your child authentically believes in Christ as their Savior is infinitely more important than any other life goal. Their soul before God is more important than what college they go to, what sports they play, what job they get, or what level of worldly success they attain. Your children should emphatically know that you care more about their soul than any of these things.

May the Lord help us to be godly fathers,
Pastor Vic

Some basic parenting resources:
Shepherding A Child’s Heart, 2nd Edition, by Tedd Trip (for small children)
Parenting by The Book: Biblical Wisdom for Raising Your Child, by John Rosemond (for small children)
Age of Opportunity, 2nd Edition, by Paul David Trip (for teenagers)
Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, by Paul David Tripp
Focus on the Family: a long-standing trusted ministry with podcast and countless resources

Building Update

Further Building & Land Update
There’s a lot happening at Redeemer these days! We have all prayed much about this church, and asked God to bless and guide us. We have prayed for the lost to be saved and for this church to be a blessing to the community. We praise God that these things are happening at a rate much faster than we expected. With these joys also come growing pains of adjustment and lots of decisions. But I tell you, it’s exciting to join the Lord where He is working! It’s exciting to pray for big things, and see the Lord answer those prayers. I will do my best to keep you updated on what is happening and how you can be involved.

At the last member meeting we voted to purchase 3.5 acres of land diagonally across the quad from where the church is currently located. The lot is right on Courthouse Road and directly in the center of this development. This land purchase will allow us to build a sanctuary seating over 500 and at least one small educational building. Depending on what funds the Lord provides, we may possibly be able to build a second educational building in the first phase. The second phase (years down the road) allows us to build up to three additional educational buildings to create more classroom space. The plan includes an outdoor picnic space and fenced children’s play area.

I believe the most amazing part about this is that the land was offered to us at a significant discount which matched up with cash we had in the bank. A long time ago the elders decided that we would stop passing a plate in the service because it was an obstacle for unbelievers coming to church and being asked for money. Second, it allowed every dollar given to be given joyfully and from the heart. In this we would know that God was supporting the ministry and the church could see God at work providing for our needs. So, without any direct fund-raising the Lord has provided!

Concerning the land, we now enter a due diligence period of preparation for the building site plan and buildings themselves. Benjamin Pennington will be stepping down from this roll to pursue a master’s level theological studies in his off hours. Travis Elkins will take up the mantle to lead the effort to solidify building plans and keep the church updated on the process.

As a church, we must continue in faithful giving and consider possibly making additional gifts toward the building fund. We have a designated building fund in the drop-down menu of the on-line giving portal. All funds given to that designated fund will go toward the building. Would you pray about making a designated gift toward building the new building? By each of us choosing generosity for the sake of gospel ministry, the church will be built! Let’s be in prayer that the way the church continues will be like its past – clearly the Lord is at work.

In the meantime, over at least the next two years, we must joyfully continue to minister in our current building. As most of you are aware, we have a serious shortage of classroom space. During children’s ministry (11:00 hour) we have zero extra. In the small amount of classroom space, we have over 100 children and workers every Sunday. We will come to a point soon, where we will have to turn people away because we do not have room for their children. During the 11:00 hour the young adult ministry meets outside rain or shine. This large group would need two classrooms to meet inside. We have zero adult classes that meet Sunday morning because of a total lack of classroom space. On Wednesday night the youth group fills every available space during small group break ups. This includes a small group meeting in the children’s ministry lobby. We rent the coffee shop across the quad to make room for one adult group to meet.

This over-crowding has been a significant concern for months to the elders, ministry leaders, and children’s teachers. We have all been praying and searching out possible answers for how to handle this and be able to effectively minister to those God is bringing to us. Building is too far out to help over the next few years, and moving the church again was not desired by anyone. However, according to God’s perfect providence, the new building at the end of the street will open in July. When that building opens, two businesses will relocate from the first floor of the adjacent building to the new building. This will open the entire first floor of the adjacent building. Vakos Companies has offered it to us at a discounted price per sq/ft to continue support for Redeemer.

After some weeks of due diligence walking through the property with key ministry leaders and deacons, we have come up with a way to create three large classrooms and three medium sized classrooms by only extending two walls by ten feet, knocking down two ten-foot walls, and cutting in four doors. None of this will require moving plumbing or electrical. This classroom addition would double our current educational space and make it possible to bring inside some adult small groups, young adult ministry, and space out our children’s ministry to make room for growth.

We have called a member meeting Sunday to present this and possibly move for a vote, because Vakos Companies has already held this off the market for a month and does not want to unnecessarily delay a choice. They have a nearly 100% occupancy rate on apartments in our area. If we choose to not take this space, it will immediately be renovated into apartments.

There’s not much to discuss on this decision. It’s pretty much take it, or leave it. The rental price is set, the square footage is set, and the terms of the year-to-year lease are set. The elder board recommends that we extend our budget to sign the lease and expand our educational space. We have the giving income to meet this need and believe more will come with growth. If you’re a member at Redeemer, please be in prayer about this decision and reach out to an elder if you have questions. I’m excited to be on this journey with you and look forward to seeing you Sunday.

May the Lord go before us and make the path straight,
Pastor Vic and the elders

Easter

“Knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” –2 Corinthians 4: 14-15

              I look forward to being together this Sunday to remember and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! The disciples who mourned Jesus’ death went to honor His grave, but instead found an open and empty tomb, angels proclaiming resurrection, and then Jesus Himself – glorified and alive! May this news increase thanksgiving and hope in your heart. We can know that because He lives we can face tomorrow, but more importantly, we believe by faith that we will one day share in His resurrected life and enter into His glorious presence in heaven.

              This is such good news! Let’s do a few things differently this Easter Sunday. Let’s not lose even a little bit of the spiritual significance of this morning to tradition and secularism. What I mean is this. If putting on a show of getting dressed up causes you to focus on your personal appearance and that of your children and takes away from focusing on the resurrected Jesus – please dial back the show and focus on Jesus. If candy basket routines cause your kids to be flying so high on sugar that they can’t focus on Jesus glorified after the cross – consider doing baskets in the afternoon. Let’s make any personal adjustment necessary to make this Sunday result in glory and honor and thanksgiving to Jesus.

              The doors for the church will be open at 8:00 am for prayer. There will be people bustling around and worship music will be rehearsed, but that need not stop you from arriving early, taking a seat, and turning your heart to Jesus this Easter Sunday. Lay your burdens at His feet. Come with expectation and thanksgiving this Sunday. Pray for the Holy Spirit to be at work in our hearts. Adjust your routines to give maximum focus to the empty tomb. Invite a friend that has not been to church in a long time. If you are reading this, and you yourself have made excuse after excuse to be absent from the congregation, make time this Sunday to celebrate Easter with us.

              If you are a regular and are mobile, please choose to park further away from the building to free up parking close to the building. Please notice and make room for visitors. Welcome those you do not recognize. I’m excited to see you soon!

We will have eternal life because Jesus lives,

Pastor Vic

Apostles’ Creed–HOLY SPIRIT

Where am I needed to serve in the church?

Children’s Ministry: Sherry needs your help in children’s ministry. We are now regularly running over 100 children during the 11:00 worship service. We need you to get outside of your comfort zone, take up an uncomfortable service of love and gentleness, and help minister to our children. It’s a well-established fact that most people come to salvation while their hearts are tender as children. We want to minister well to our kids and help those dedicated workers that are already in place. What is needed:

  • Assistant teachers that can periodically fill in
  • A few good men. Some of our more rambunctious classes need a stern male hand to keep order, so the teacher can teach. The horse play can get out of hand and is too much for one teacher to handle.
  • An end-of-service-kid-wrangler to help Sherry, and others, gather and check out the kids. When it’s time to go, each and every child must be checked out to make sure everyone is accounted for. This can be chaotic, and we need some extra hands right at the end of the 11:00 service.

Musical Worship Ministry: Katie and the musical worship team need tech help. They need people willing to rotate duties of preparing and presenting the song lyric slides. For a tech oriented and careful person, this is an immediately needed area of service.

Greeter Ministry: Vanessa needs help welcoming people at the door and handing out song sheets. Her substitute list is short at the 9:30 service (2nd and 4th Sundays) and 11:00 (1st and 3rd Sundays).

Please pray about these needs and speak to a church leader about jumping in to help!

­­­­­­­­­­­­


“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, The Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he arose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit …

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit? The earliest Christians included this belief as essential to Christianity because it is essential. The work of God cannot be accomplished only by the power and charisma of people. Only by the power of God can the work of God be accomplished. In this way God gets the glory instead of us!

I was raised in a church tradition that minimized the work and power of the Holy Spirit by seldom speaking about the third person of the Trinity. Little was said of the fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, or directly asking for the power of the Holy Spirit to be at work in the church. As stated in the Apostles’ Creed, believing in the unseen Holy Spirit is a matter of faith. I have had to grow in my faith over the years to see the absolute necessity of the Holy Spirit from the work of regeneration in salvation all the way to the seal of hope that we might one day enter eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

The Holy Spirit is the gift of God’s real and abiding presence bestowed in a special and continuous way during the age of the church. The ministry of the Holy Spirit to individual believers, and to the church jointly, is complex, multifaceted, and far too much to cover in a newsletter article.

I strongly encourage you to read “The Mystery of the Holy Spirit: Discover the Work of the Living Spirit of the Living God” by R.C. Sproul. This is the most clear, balanced, and compelling explanation of the ministry of the Holy Spirit I have read in a short book. Chapter six is invaluable in explaining the work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit in bringing us to salvation and spiritual life. It is by the work of the Holy Spirit that we are born again (John 6:23).

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is spoken of continuously throughout the New Testament. You cannot faithfully or truthfully speak about Christianity without struggling to understand, believe, and then actively seek the work of the Holy Spirit in your own life.

First, I will focus on Jesus speaking about sending the Holy Spirit to continue the work of salvation after the ascension of Jesus. The key chapters here are John 14-16. I encourage you to carefully read them. In these chapters we first find that the Holy Spirit abides with those who believe. The Holy Spirit is sent from God as a Helper and a Spirit of Truth who abides (remains or dwells) with us. This means the presence of our merciful, wise, and gracious God is always with us. The presence of God is with us and in us through all the turmoil and struggle of this life. What hope to know that God has not forgotten us but remains always with us to minister to us in so many necessary ways.

Second, Jesus says that one way the Spirit will help us is by teaching and reminding us of truth (John 14:26). This ministry of the Holy Spirit is also called illumination. It is only by the work of the Holy Spirit that a person can authentically believe what they understand from the Bible. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is faithfulness. God gives us the ability to believe what we thought was foolishness before. By this work, we respond and act in obedience and boldness for Christ.

Third, the Holy Spirit bears witness about Jesus (“He will bear witness about me” John 15:26-27) and guides us into truth (“He will guide you into all the truth” John 16:13-14).  The Holy Spirit always brings glory to God by turning our hearts toward Jesus. If you don’t understand what you are reading in the Bible, or the love of Jesus has grown cold in your heart, it’s time to ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand or stir up again a true love for Jesus in your heart. It’s the Holy Spirit that will pursue you and keep reminding your heart about the mercy, truth, and holiness of God. The Holy Spirit is the one that will convince you of the truth revealed in the Bible.

Beyond this basic foundation there are the gifts given by the Holy Spirit, the beautiful fruit of the Spirit (which far surpasses any general virtue!), the comfort of the Spirit, the creative work of the Spirit, and much more.

I believe in the Holy Spirit. Do you?

May the Lord pour out His Spirit upon the church as we walk in love and obedience to God’s will,

Pastor Vic

< This is part ten in a series of articles on the Apostles’ Creed. To learn more about the Apostles’ Creed read: “The Apostles’ Creed: Discovering Authentic Christianity in an Age of Counterfeits” by Albert Mohler. >

Evangelism and Book Review

“In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;

yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

1 Peter 3:15

              Later this summer the Billy Graham Evangelic Association (BGEA) is hosting an area wide series of meetings related to evangelism in the greater Fredericksburg area. This is an important occasion for Christian churches of various denominations to gather for a focus on seeking to reach our area with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The base of all this is being able to share the gospel personally with another person. Are you prepared and comfortable sharing with another person how they can believe in Jesus for salvation? Most people are not.

From late April to early May, churches around our area are hosting the “Christian Life & Witness Course.” This course has been taught to communities leading up to BGEA events for decades. Going through this three-week course will qualify you to serve as a counselor at the main events, but more importantly, will give you every day practical training in evangelism. We will be partnering with our sending church, Spotswood Baptist Church, for these classes.

Dates: April 18, 25, & May 2

Time: 7:00-8:30 pm

Location: Spotswood Baptist Church

No Sign-up Necessary

              I will be there, and I urge every single person at Redeemer to consider attending this time honored and effective course in personal evangelism. Mark your calendars! See you there!


Book Review

God and the Transgender Debate: What Does the Bible Actually Say About Gender Identity?

Expanded and Updated Edition

By Andrew T. Walker

              The issues related to sexual ethics and transgenderism are no longer something happening in some far-off place on the news. We are surrounded by these issues every day and it is absolutely imperative that we have a historically based, biblical, and compassionate understanding of these issues. I am urging every person in the congregation to read this book. As transgender thinking and life choices have burst onto the scene, books related to the problem have evolved. This is by far the single best short book on the LGBTQ debate, focusing on the radical end of this spectrum – transgenderism.

              This book is written with extreme clarity and biblical accuracy of theology and tone by Andrew T. Walker, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The book is a brief, but complete treatment of the issues. It begins with a historical review of how we have reached this place of extreme change in our culture so quickly. He next spends a few chapters clearly laying out a biblical sexual ethic and clarifying gender according to a biblical definition. From this base of theology and history, Walker then spends a few chapters addressing the Christian tone of compassion that must be in our hearts and in our words when seeking lost sinners. He makes a compelling argument for how exclusion, prejudice, or fear are incompatible with the gospel calling of Jesus. Walker does an excellent job putting truth first, then compassion, but keeping both balanced throughout. It’s right for us to strive after faithful biblical holiness and have a heart of true compassion toward those deeply in bondage to sin.

              The last few chapters are very practical sections on how to talk about these issues with your children and teenagers. These chapters include a section on frequently asked questions and a glossary of terms defining the new vocabulary this movement has come up with to redefine gender and sexuality.

              It’s not enough to just be angry over these issues, or to ignore them. We must hold our ground in holiness, but the commission of Jesus to reach the lost has not changed. We need to understand God’s good ways and teach them with compassion toward the lost. We need to help our children understand these issues that are hitting them every day.

May God help us to live in purity, not be ashamed of the gospel, and have compassion toward the lost enough to help those in need,

Pastor Vic

Ukraine

The unjustified attack of the Ukrainian people continues this week. Nearly 3,000,000 refugees have fled the country. Missile strikes and shelling of civilian apartment buildings, shelters, and hospitals continues with the death toll of civilians in the 1,000s. This would be a sad state of affairs to observe in any country, but Ukraine has an especially high percentage of protestant Christians – and among that a large group of Baptist evangelicals. Many of those suffering in this scene of war and devastation are directly our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is very important that we pray for them and give to help toward the relief of their suffering.

If you are not up to date with the situation, or feel like I do, that most news services do a very poor job of actually summarizing the situation in a clear way – consider listening to “The World and Everything In It” podcast for March 17. This will get you up to date and give you an increased burden to be involved. As you pray for this situation, I encourage you to pray along these lines:

  • Pray that the Russian military would stop its attack. May something happen to stop the hostility.
  • Pray for the courage, grit, and victory of Ukrainian soldiers as they employ US defensive systems to defend their freedom. May they be successful in holding back the spread of dictatorial communism.
  • Pray for the safe passage of fleeing civilian refugees (elderly, women, children, etc.) into neighboring NATO countries.
  • Pray for support mechanisms and charities that will help support these millions of people in the coming months.
  • Pray for pastors, chaplains, and missionaries in the midst of this conflict, that they would be effective in ministering to the souls of people crushed by fear, anxiety and real physical needs.
  • Come to the joint church prayer meeting tonight at Mike Patterson’s house to join others in asking for God’s mercy in this terrible situation.

 
Lastly, consider giving toward Christian relief organizations that are on the ground and doing important work to support the flood of refugees. I recommend to Redeemer the work of Samaritan’s Purse and supporting their effort to continue operating a field hospital in Ukraine. All this work is done Jesus’ name to help those most in need. Below is a link to the Samaritan’s Purse webpage related to this crisis:
 
Samaritan’s Purse

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19
Many newcomers to Redeemer ask, “Why are there so many FBI agents in this church? What’s going on!” The answer to this question is simple. Redeemer Bible Church was started with a base of people that formed through a workplace Bible study. Myself and three other Special Agents started a work-based Bible study close to a decade ago. We started small, but with a passion to reach our workplace with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord has brought so much of an increase that from that one study, two more local studies AND two churches have resulted from it! Every Wednesday morning at 6:15 am men gather to study the Bible and pray for each other in three different places, reaching three different audiences. Work-based Bible studies are an engine for sharing the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ to our friends at work. Being an open and unashamed Christian can be very difficult in the federal work force. There is a sense of forced secularization, or the constant secularization can lead Christians to be combative instead of winsome.

Below is a link to a video I recorded helping you understand how I, and others, conduct these Bible studies. It’s a plan God has blessed over and over again for years. If you know the people of your workplace need Jesus, consider venturing out in faith to start a group like this. With love, humility, and boldness go out with a missionary mindset of not standing by silently while those around you die in their sins. Don’t be a bitter, complaining, worldly, ashamed Christian. Follow the call of Christ to be a fisher of men! Let’s boldly and intentionally reach our workplace neighbors with the gospel.

YouTube

May the Lord help us to reach federal employees for Christ,
Pastor Vic

AC Judgment

“When the Son of Man comes in all glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all nations, and He will separate the sheep from the goats. And He will place the sheep on His right, but the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’” –Matthew 25:31-34
 
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, The Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he arose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.


The Bible records the story of the world. Its beginning with creation, the chosen people of Israel, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the spread of the gospel, and the founding of the church. However, the Bible does not only look backward, but also looks to the future. The Bible tells us about the beginning of the world according to God’s will, and about the end of the world according to God’s will. The study of the end of the world is called eschatology.

People have many different theories on how the world will end. Many in our day are convinced that the world will end through global warming. Some think perhaps through nuclear war, but Christians believe that the world as we know it will end when Jesus returns to judge the living (quick) and the dead. Christians have long debated exactly what the Bible teaches about when Jesus will return, and there is disagreement among genuine Christians as to the timing of that return. We’re not certain of the when, but we are sure of the how. The second coming of Jesus will be with glory, power, and majesty (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Jesus will bodily return to the earth. This is not a thing of metaphor or mythology. As He ascended to heaven, He will descend to judge the world.

Jesus Himself will be the agent of the judgment of the people of the world. “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22, 2 Tim 4:8, 2 Cor 5:10). Those who believe the ministry of Jesus is about affirming sinners in their sin will be proven terribly mistaken. In holiness, and with perfection, Jesus will carry out ultimate justice upon sinners alive at His return and those who died before His return. Apart from the grace of Jesus toward those who have accepted His salvation, no one could stand. By grace through forgiveness, we will pass through the judgment. Only covered by the righteousness of Christ will we be seen as righteous. No life can withstand the perfect scrutiny of the perfect judgment of Jesus. Instead, we must receive forgiveness.

The Bible is clear that on the last day Jesus will separate the sheep (believers) from the goats (unbelievers). The sheep (believers) called by Jesus, who hear His voice and respond by faith will go into the everlasting glory of heaven. Those who do not believe in Jesus as the Son of God, and finally reject His salvation, will suffer everlasting torment in hell. We are pilgrims passing through this corrupt and fallen world, seeking a heavenly city. We are not going to have our best life now, nor should we expect it. For Christians, the best is yet to come.

Albert Mohler concludes, “These truths point again to the gospel, for no sinner in himself can find survival in this judgment. The only means of survival—the only means of acquittal or salvation—is the loving sacrifice of Christ, our defender and judge. Christians must live with urgency because we understand that in this present age God will use us to snatch some from the evil one. The reality of the eschaton, the last days, reminds us of the urgency of sharing the gospel, because the eschaton goes hand in hand with the declaration of Jesus Christ among the nations. Our understanding of the future fuels our actions in the present; thus, missions and evangelism are eschatological activities—focused and fueled by the knowledge of Christ’s coming.”  

Thanks be to God for His mercy toward us,
Pastor Vic



< This is part nine in a series of articles on the Apostles’ Creed. To learn more about the Apostles’ Creed read: “The Apostles’ Creed: Discovering Authentic Christianity in an Age of Counterfeits” by Albert Mohler. >

Missions & Men’s Ministry

Mission Ministry

Matthew 28:18-20 “Then Jesus came to them and said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In Acts 1:8, He told us where we need to go to fulfill His commission: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem (local and surrounding area) and all Judea (the Commonwealth of Virginia) and Samaria (United States) and to the end of the earth (the world).”

This year we are planning several mission trips to Rwanda, Guatemala, and possibly in the US. A young adult trip is being planned for Rwanda, evangelizing and disciplining students in Kigali. Josiah (IMB Missionary) is asking for a married couple to commit to a two-year, temporary assignment, to support the discipleship and evangelism efforts working with local church plants. This is a salaried, fully funded assignment. If you are interested, please contact me.

In May we will conduct a missions information meeting for those who are interested in leading or participating in a mission trip.
 
Pray: For wisdom and insight as we discern God’s will and that the laborers will heed God’s call to go out into the harvest.

 

Men’s Ministry

The purpose of the men’s ministry is to help men be the men God has called them to be. 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
 

  • March 18-20: Redeemer Men will be attending the Be Strong Men’s Conference at SWO (Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters).
  • We are planning two Legacy (Dying to self and living for Christ) events this year. The first will be April 9th

Pray: God will grow our fellowship of brothers together so that we can be the iron that sharpens each other by calling one another into accountability based on the principles of God’s word. 

Rodney Swann

Storm Damage

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”–1 John 3:18

              This has been another week of struggle for many of our church members. The newsletter almost did not go out this week, because Christine just got power restored today! We have various forms of sickness, power outage (yes church members still lack power!), and storm damage all over the church. It’s very important during times like this that we draw together to help each other in actual hands-on service. When a physical need is present that we have the power to meet – let’s ACT in true Christian love.

              The first step to meeting a physical need is the person with the need expressing that need and being open to help. If you need help cutting up downed trees and branches, repairing storm damage, or just a place to take a hot shower as you wait for power to come back – please express this need. Please call a deacon, call an elder, call a small group leader, call someone! As you express your need church leadership will begin to consolidate the needs we have and start working the various needs. We have a long list of people who have already raised their hands to help meet physical service needs in the church. We want you to experience the love of Christ through the real service of friends helping friends in the local church.

              If you have a chainsaw, a trailer, and/or are willing to help others dig out from this mess, please let a deacon know.

              Also, we continue to have many sick in various way across the congregation. Please pray for healing, for wise treatment options, for patient caretakers, and for full recoveries. Please call those you know are sick and encourage them. Pray with them over the phone. Write encouraging notes. Consider bringing by a meal.

              It’s a blessing to serve others! It’s an antidote to selfishness. Let’s not forget the words of Jesus, that “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

May every need be met! See you Sunday,

Pastor Vic

Bible Reading

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”–Psalm 119:105

“The grass withers, and the flower fails, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”–1 Peter 1:24-25

I want to encourage our church in three ways this week. First, please pray for the sick and struggling in our church, and in the community. We have many people in the church and in our community that are sick right now. After extended times of need we all run the danger of feeling “compassion fatigue.” This is when we have reached the end of any natural compassion or desire to help and pray for those in need. However, the compassion of Jesus Christ is never ending because His compassion flows from His love. When we feel our compassion for others running dry, it’s important that we pray and ask the Holy Spirit to fill us again with love and concern for others. This is especially necessary for our fellow brothers and sisters in the church. As needs arise, let’s draw together praying for each other, filling needed meal trains, and meeting every need. May the world know that we are Christians by the way we love one another.

              Second, I want to press our church to focus in on the theme of Christian love in the new year. The world speaks often of love but does not have a true definition of this essential virtue. I’m asking for the church to focus on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 as a memory passage for the month of January. These verses are familiar to us, but so often not applied. As we memorize these verses, the Holy Spirit will bring them to mind in our daily living with each other. We’ll be reminded to be patient, to turn away from irritability, to not insist on our own way, and to endure in hope. We’ll take this one verse per week. As you learn a verse, come see me or another elder at church and quote the verses you have learned. I would like to make a series of voice recordings each week to put out with the newsletter to encourage us toward memorizing this entire passage. May the Lord be at work in our midst to teach us to love one another as Jesus would have for us to.

              Third, we are almost to the new year. Your devotional study of the Bible, chapter by chapter and verse by verse, will be essential to your spiritual health in 2022. I want to press you to choose a Bible reading plan that will structure and guide your reading next year. Go to the RedeemerVA.org website, click on the “Resources” tab, then choose “Bible Reading Plan.” There you’ll find some direction and encouragement on how to read your Bible every day. There are several plans available. The goal is not to check a box each day, but to systematically read the Bible. Following a plan will guide you to read through entire books of the Bible and to read parts of the Bible you would not normally read. Marking off one passage at a time from a printed plan will also allow you to not lose your place. When you miss a few days for whatever reason, just pull your plan out and keep plowing forward.

              It takes months to develop new habits and acquire new tastes. I very much remember what it was like to be new to the gym. I didn’t know how to use any of the weights or machines. I didn’t know any of the exercise movements. I was out of place and out of shape, but I had a written plan that a fit friend had given me. By determining to alter the routines of my life to make personal fitness a priority, new habits were developed.

Sadly, reading as a habit is being wiped out by technology. As Christians we cannot allow this to happen in our lives. God has recorded His revelation and action as a book for a reason. Writing is the most specific form of human communication. Particular words are carefully and intentionally chosen to convey specific meaning. Important written documents are examined and approved before being released for others to read. The careful author works to make sure the written words conveys their meaning. This is more true with the Bible than any other document in the world. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Bible is God’s perfect word to us.

Reading is an active mental activity. You cannot zone out and read. You cannot be distracted and read. To rightly comprehend what you are reading, you must intentionally shut out other distractions and intentionally focus on understanding the written word. This is very different from an audio book or watching a video. Listening and watching are passive activities. Yes, you can actively listen and watch, but when you lose concentration (which happens often) the audio and video keep playing. As you fade in and out of concentration you miss much of what is being conveyed. When you’re listening to a novel or watching a movie, it doesn’t matter if you catch the details. But the details of the Bible are too important to speed past. Missing the details will lead to wrong conclusions and wrong doctrine. Reading is an exercise of the mind. We are commanded by Jesus (Luke 10:27) to love the Lord our God with all our mind.

If a passion for entertainment has grown up in your life and choked out your habit of Bible reading, then it’s time to start reading the Bible again. If you have never read large passages of the Bible with regularity, this is the year to start. If your life has gotten so busy that you only occasionally listen to the Bible while rushing from one place to the other, it’s time to give priority to meaningful Bible reading. Lastly, if reading the Bible is “boring” to you, it’s time to recognize that that the Bible was not written to entertain you. It was written to reveal to you the nature of God and His salvation. As you read the Bible you will find that God does not exist to entertain you. Instead, you exist to glorify Him! May we each devote ourselves to the study of God’s word this year.

May you grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ this year,

Pastor Vic