Note from Tim 2020-04-19

It’s been great to have so many join us for worship through the video recordings. In conjunction with the sermons of Easter and today, I want to share a video clip that wonderfully reinforces what I have been teaching. Last Sunday, I noted how Easter means that we get a peek at the last pages of God’s grand story of redemption. The suffering and death that litters our life journey will be swallowed up and overwhelmed by the resurrection. Jesus is making all things new and he is the world’s happy ending.
And then in today’s sermon, we saw that Jesus is the truth to which all great stories point and he is the Hero of the grand story of redemption—our story. I noted that in Beauty and the Beast, Jesus can be seen as the beauty whose sacrificial love can transform the beast. Or as I recently watched the movie, Just Mercy, everyone else sees a lawyer who sacrifices and risks his life to save those who are falsely accused and put on death row. But I weep because I see in that story how Jesus was falsely accused and sacrifices his life to make all things right for those who suffer.
So as you watch this video, note how the kids demonstrate that we were created for this happy ending, renewal, songs, and dancing with joy, a wedding, and friendship—all made possible through a hero whose love breaks the curse. BUT, the kids also make the connection between this fairy tale and our story through Jesus. We can be increasingly refreshed and empowered by the gospel when we develop a radar instinct for seeing gospel sacrifice, love, and resurrection in the stories that we encounter every day. And we want to work toward developing this instinct for our kids as well! I also want to encourage you to use the study guides that I develop for a deeper study and application of the text each week.
One of the pleasant surprises of this season has been the stories of how your neighbors, friends, family members, social media friends, and co-workers are participating with us through the videos. It appears that for whenever we can again gather in the same space, we may want to continue with production/distribution of the videos because of the new people that we are reaching. God is using this means for his mission. But, I also struggle a bit with it because we want to be careful to not think in terms of this being a primary ministry for us. When we go back to the Bible and our “Someday Through Every Day” vision, the center lane of our ministry should involve hospitality, building relationships, and knowing his Word so that each of us takes up a post as disciples who make disciples.
Thank you all for your encouragement and support for this weird journey. The staff have been doing some great work to make the adjustments to do ministry as best as we can through technology, etc. But we are also preparing for what church should look like in the years ahead with this blank slate that has been handed to us. Our consistory and staff will be reading/discussing Francis Chan’s Letters to the Church and then studying essential Bible passages to equip us for pursuing our vision and the mission God has for us. I bring this up to encourage you to consider—individually or in Life Groups—using this book as a guide as we seek to be faithful to our Savior, King, and Hero.
Finally, I may be late to the party, but a few weeks ago, I discovered the Is He Worthy?  cover by Chris Tomlin (originally by Andrew Peterson) and the focus on Christ working out his grand redemption story against the backdrop of these anxious times lays me out and lifts me up. So I just encourage you to listen to it—paying close attention to the lyrics. It’s beautiful.
Grace and peace to you all,
Pastor Tim
P.S. – I noted this correction in the study guide today but “You’re So Vain” was sung by Carly Simon and not Helen Reddy. Oops.