There’s nothing quite like a parent’s love for their child. This kind of love won’t usually top the music charts the way songs about romantic love do. Parental love doesn’t capture our popular imagination in the same way. But when you see it on display, or when you see it threatened, there’s no love quite like it.
In yesterday’s sermon (listen here), we looked at the story of a father whose son had been tormented by a demon since childhood. Not only did the boy regularly manifest in seizures and convulsions, but the demon would often try to kill the boy by throwing him into fire and water. The father had tried everything, but nothing worked. Utterly desperate, the father had brought his son to Jesus’ disciples, but even they weren’t able to help.
Into this desperate situation comes Jesus. Only the frailest thread keeps this father from utter despair. Any last vestige of hope is about to be extinguished. The only faith he can muster to Jesus is, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Have you ever felt on the edge of despair? The most precious things in your life are about to be lost. You’ve tried everything and you’ve come up short. The threat of loss and darkness overwhelms whatever hope and faith is left.
The father cried, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Such an honest cry is often the most we can muster. Jesus honors even such small but honest expressions of faith.
However strong or weak a state your faith is in today, Jesus honors active expressions of faith in him. And like a muscle, the active exercise of faith is the only way to strengthen it. So take heart with these words from an old hymn, and turn to Jesus in faith today.
“Begone unbelief, my Savior is near.
And for my relief will surely appear.
By prayer let me wrestle and he will perform.
With Christ in the vessel I smile at the storm.”
Facilitators for support groups
On May 15, we had an Innovation Luncheon where congregants came together to brainstorm and submit ideas for new ministries. Many people suggested offering support groups at W83 and so we are now looking for congregants who would like to facilitate one this fall. Prior experience in facilitating safe and welcoming environments for sharing and support is ideal but not required.
- Tangled in Color | Art Exhibit, through Aug 28: “Tangled in Color” features works by ArTech Collective artists, this collection of drawings, embroidery and weavings will awaken your senses, evoke emotion, and help you escape the everyday. Through the artistic practice and the created pieces, the artists hope to share a fragment of their creative world as they tangle you up in this colorful journey.
- Join the 20s & 30s group, beginning Aug 31: Whatever your history with faith may be, young adulthood is a decisive period for anyone’s beliefs—spiritual or otherwise. We learn and unlearn a lot as we wrestle with big questions about God and ourselves. You’re not alone in this. And you shouldn’t feel alone. Let’s travel through this season together. Beginning in August, weekly gatherings will be hosted Wednesday nights from 7:00-9:00pm at the W83 Ministry Center and open to all 20s & 30s.
- Redeemer Counseling Service group – Calming your Anxious Mind, Sept 12: Dealing with anxiety can be difficult or crippling. In this Renewal Group, members receive support from peers and a professional counselor on how to better deal with persistent anxiety. We help members understand how anxiety affects their body and relationships, and how they think and behave. The group teaches coping skills and how to depend on God more and more in anxious moments. On this journey to deeper rest and freedom, members will connect deeply with others as they help normalize the process. Together, we find ways to move from worry to a healthier version of ourselves.
- Marriage Lab, starts Sept 14: Marriage Lab is a monthly gathering of newly married couples, grouped with seasoned mentor couples. Monthly discussions will include topics such as a gospel framework for marriage, intimacy, communication, finances, conflict resolution and others. You must have been married during the period from January 2020 through September 2022 and attend either Redeemer West Side or Redeemer Lincoln Square to participate.
- Redeemer Counseling Service group – Sexual Integrity for Men, Sept 15: This Renewal Group is for any man who wishes to grow in sexual integrity and wholeness. Some men may not be sure if they have an “addiction,” but are struggling to stop certain sexual patterns such as viewing online pornography. They may wish for a comprehensive, big-picture view of the path to healing, and to understand the sexual integrity and freedom from addiction from a Christian perspective. In this group, we look at the roots of addiction. We engage in a deeply relational and encouraging way and provide accountability through deeper union with Jesus. We welcome all those who seek to grow in sexual integrity and to live in greater freedom. Members are required to also be in individual counseling.
- Youth Partners Cocktail Social, Sept 15: A new ministry year is upon us and the WS Youth team is excited to share all about its plans for the year! Learn what’s coming up for youth while enjoying a night of socializing over cocktails with other parents, guardians, volunteers, and youth-loving adults.
- Redeemer Counseling Service group – Your Asian American Journey, Women Supporting Women, Sept 21: In exploring our struggles within our Asian American identity, we find compassion for what could have been, process feelings of guilt and shame as a result of unspoken expectations, and lean in on our faith to discover a more safe and trusting way of being. We hope this group is a place where you can find rest, where you can be heard and validated by others who share your struggles. We hope it is a place where you can give yourself permission to question and feel, to just be.
- Build your community: Every community has a mission, and every mission has a community behind it. So if you’re interested in building communities for following Jesus together and making an impact in our neighborhoods, please let us know. Community groups have always been a crucial part of Redeemer’s life together, all the more so when communities have been fragmented the last couple years.
Redeemer West Side is aiming to start up to 5 new community groups this fall. We’re looking for hosts and leaders who are hospitable, can facilitate discussions, and help their group find ways to serve the city and each other. If you feel like that’s you, send an email to [email protected]
- We are hiring: Do you know anyone who’d be a great fit at Redeemer? We are looking to fill several roles on our team before the end of the year. Check them out and spread the word!
- Summer volunteers needed: Will you be in NYC this summer? Whether you’re here on a summer internship or have been wanting to see what volunteering might look like, help our vacationing volunteers by joining a team, once a month, meet great people and help to serve your neighbors!
- Volunteer at Youth Group on Friday nights: Build involvement with our amazing middle & high schoolers by joining a weekly pizza dinner at W83, leading small group discussions, and being a Christ-like presence in their lives.
- Volunteer for our Children’s Ministry: Sharing the gospel with our kids is discipleship. Please consider volunteering.
- Volunteer at All Angels’ Community Meal: Serve along West Siders to set up, distribute, and clean up meals for our neighbors experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity.