August 15, 2018

Redeemer Presbyterian Church – East Side Update

When you think of devotion, you may envision several things — a parent caring for a newborn, a spouse alongside their ailing beloved, a patriot fighting for his country, or a sports fan painted for her favorite team. But what does it make you think about in your life? What are you devoted to? It’s an important question because what we devote ourselves to determines our actions and who we ultimately become.

Consider a simple example. Suppose you desire to stay in shape. You know that exercising consistently is a key action, so you start running. Your devotion to fitness is met, but another funny thing happens along the way. You gain another love — running itself. In fact, you even become “a runner.” Now you run because you love it, not just to stay fit. Think about your relationships, hobbies, roles — how have you seen this cycle play out?

Desires fuel actions that reinforce and grow the desires more, leading to habit, character and life direction. We are shaped by what we love and what we do. You could diagram it like this:

Whether we recognize it or not, we are bombarded with people and messaging that tell us what we should love and demand our devotion. Often we start doing that thing and before we know it we’re hooked. What if we turned that natural cycle of devotion and action into one that fueled the best things in life­ — love, joy, peace, faith, purpose, reconciliation?

That’s what the Christian practice of devotion will do for you. God tells us exactly this in Psalm 1 where it says,

Blessed is the one
   who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
   or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
   and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
   which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
   whatever they do prospers.

Do you hear how the ordinary actions of delight (devotion) to God’s word are the ones that lead to a beautiful, fruitful life? That is the practice of Christian devotion­ — to make a regular practice of listening to God speaking to you in Scripture and responding personally to him in prayer. The practice of devotions cultivates an ongoing attentiveness to and dependence on God in every moment of life. It’s through the practice of devotion that you will find yourself bearing fruit, like the tree planted by water, even when you are in the midst of the driest seasons of life. I know I have found that to be true.

Will you join me in magnifying the love of God in your life through the practice of devotion? A good guide that helps you pray and read together with our church is the Redeemer devotional. Remember we’re all doing these practices, so reach out to someone in your Community Group (or sign up for a group this fall) to get encouragement and accountability in the area of devotions — we’re in this journey together.

Warmly,

 

Lyn Cook
Senior Community Group Director


Erica Sanchez
Beta Group Leader

"The friendship and connection that I felt from that group every week was so life-giving to me, and I doubt I would have lasted my first years in NY without it. Ultimately, this is what God used in my heart to nudge me to sign up to co-lead a Beta group."

When I was first introduced to the idea of co-leading a Beta group, my immediate feeling was uncertainty. Uncertainty in myself and unsure if I should commit to something I did not feel equipped for. I loved the Beta and Community Groups and definitely wanted to become more involved at Redeemer, but at the suggestion of signing up to be a leader, I balked. But then I thought back to my own experience joining a community group.

It was 2015, and I had just moved to New York. I was struggling to get plugged into Christian community at my home church because of my work hours, and I felt isolated and discouraged. I knew about Redeemer, so I looked into joining a community group. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were groups that met on different days, and times, so I was able to find one that fit my schedule right away! The first week I visited, it was a very small group, and they met in a public place, so it was noisy, cold, and rugged. The people were all very different from me — people I probably wouldn’t choose to hang out with on my own — but it was also the most beautiful thing in the world to meet with other Christians in a city that was otherwise unforgiving, lonely, and that I felt valued only valued external things.

The warmth and kindness of the members of that CG drew me in and made me feel so welcomed. Looking back, I can see how God used the group in my life to help me see Jesus more clearly and to heal a lot of cynicism in my heart. The friendship and connection that I felt from that group every week was incredibly life-giving, and I doubt I would have lasted my first years in NY without them. Ultimately, this is what God used in my heart to nudge me to sign up to co-lead a Beta group. I thought of other people in the city, possibly struggling or feeling isolated — just like I was — who are looking for Christian friendship and a place to be seen and heard.

As a leader, it has been beautiful to see our group start out as a bunch of people who barely knew each other’s names to a group of friends who share struggles, questions, hopes, and joys with one another. We have food crawls, brunches, a mascot, and a crazy group chat. Being a leader isn’t easy all the time, but thank God that he works through even inadequate people like me. I don't have to wait until I feel ready or adequate to step out in faith to serve because God’s power is made perfect in weakness. He works through me and people like you — it is not through our power that his will is accomplished but through his. Through leading, I’ve changed, for now I know that God doesn’t need me to be adequate in my own eyes before He can use me. I am already accepted in God’s eyes, and He delights in what I do for Him.


+ Nominate yourself of a friend to lead or host a beta group this fall!

Spackle & paint classrooms with HFNY and A House on Beekman on Saturday, August 18. Times flexible.

+ Attend HFNY's Mentor Match Up on August 22 for an evening of speed-dating-style meetings with affiliates that have mentoring programs.

+ Attend an Open Hands Legal Services training with HFNY on September 8 from 12 to 3 p.m.

+ Redeemer Counseling will offer Healing for Wives Hurt by Infidelity starting September 18.

+ The Diaconate will offer a new divorce care group for women in any stage of divorce beginning September 27.