These last two weeks had a lot of action for us. We had an intense week of preparations leading to our second of The Redeemer Sessions, celebrated Shepherd turning four, and hosted a few friends. Here's more about what we've been up to and what's in store for this next week in the States...
The Redeemer Sessions
Two weeks ago, we hosted our second instalment of The Redeemer Sessions. These "Sessions" are once-a-month informal and informational gatherings aimed at exploring what the Church is and what is involved in being a part of it. We meet at 3 on Saturday afternoons for a children's talk, a TED Talk style talk for adults, discussion around tables, big group Q+A, and then we have tea and hangout. We are really encouraged with how the Sessions are progressing. We have one more Session in March - there we will reveal the plan for what is next in the Redeemer community.
Thomas' talk in the last Session was focused on the question "What is the message of the Church?" to which, surprise surprise, the answer was clearly: the Gospel. In the afternoon, we considered four aspects of the Gospel:
1. The story of the Gospel: Jesus.
2. The meaning of the Gospel: Grace.
3. The enemy of the Gospel: Religion.
4. The purpose of the Gospel: Community.
We were most encouraged by the conversations that the community had around the tables. We are really excited to see people genuinely exploring faith in God. It seems like the Christianity that a lot of people have rejected, at least from our conversations in the community, is a christianised form of religion and not the real Gospel-centered, Jesus-changes-everything, message of the Bible. The Gospel has made all the difference for us and our team. We're glad to be getting into it with friends old and new.
Shepherd Turned Four
Shepherd turning four is surreal for us. We love our little buddy and are realising that there's no little baby left, now he's a little boy. His energy, his personality, his attitude...we love him. God's kindness is so evident to us in the children we have. They are - not - perfect...and that's the point. God has been so kind in giving us to each other. We love our children and experience His kindness to us through them.
To celebrate, we had a few of his little buddies over on Wednesday afternoon for a "construction site themed" birthday party. they played with kinetic sand, did puzzles, played with trucks, did construction site bingo, and had pizza and cake. A time that was very enjoyable for everyone. We're now having mini-celebrations with the Harts and the Wests now that we're in the States for the week.
We Hosted A Few Friends
These last few weeks were also encouraging because of the friends we were able to host. Two of our partnering churches (The Oaks and The Summit) had some friends come over to encourage us as we partner together. We spent time catching up, collaborating on ministry and leadership, and practically doing some ministry together. We are so grateful for the partnerships we have. We practically experience the care and favour of God through friends.
We're in the States for half term break. The kiddos are out of school from this past Friday to Friday of the week ahead. We're enjoying some family visits for a few days before participating in a conference and spending time with First Montgomery, the Church community we grew up in.
Perry and Shepherd did great on the flights yesterday. Mom and Dad got a few 15 minute snoozes in while the children exhausted the Disney offerings from Delta. We all slept well last night and are in recovery and acclimatising mode today so we can make the most of the week ahead. We'll keep you updated of our movements.