Tomorrow Is Easter Sunday at Redeemer!

Tomorrow Is Easter Sunday at Redeemer!

(German scholar Wolfhart Pannenberg)

Tomorrow morning – I’ve been waiting almost 5 years to preach on the words “He is not here. He is risen!”

Tomorrow is message #246 in our Real Jesus series, as we’ve been preaching chronologically through the 4 Gospels. Over 5 years ago God told me to do this. One reason is that we live in a horrifically Jesus-illiterate culture, and I’m doing what I can in our little context to correct that.

Tomorrow…  the resurrection. And I have a preaching problem. The problem is: I have way too much to say about the resurrection of Jesus!

Way back in 1972 I was a brand new Jesus-follower. The leader of the campus ministry I was in was Bill Craig (AKA William Lane Craig). Bill introduced me to and mentored me in Jesus-resurrection studies. When Bill left the university we were at he did two Ph.Ds – one with the famous, brilliant British philosopher John Hick, and the other with the brilliant German thinker and resurrection scholar Wolfhart Pannenberg. I went off to do only one Ph.D, at Northwestern University. I wrote my dissertation on the language of resurrection, drawing on, among others. Pannenberg’s classic Jesus: God and Man. Between my dissertation’s completion (1986) and today I have continued to read Jesus-resurrection research from all angles supportive and sceptical. The result for me is: I believe Jesus was crucified on a cross. I believe Jesus’ tomb was found empty by women. I believe God raised Jesus from the dead. And, I believe I’m going to celebrate Easter in August tomorrow at Redeemer.

Redeemer Ministry School Fall 2010 Class Schedule

Redeemer Ministry School Fall 2010 Class Schedule

(Me, after baptisms at Redeemer)


Spiritual Formation
Tuesdays, 9:30 – 1
Instructor: John Piippo

Description: In order to be used by God as an agent of renewal and transformation one must themselves be in a continual place of personal renewal and transformation. This course will combine times of personal prayer, spiritual journaling, and teaching from biblical and historical resources on what it means to dwell in the presence of God and be renewed and transformed.

Worship I
Wed., Fri., 9:30 – 11
Instructor: Holly Benner

Description: True worship and adoration comes from intimacy with God. It is founded on the understanding of God’s great love for you. Intimacy and Worship will focus on building and furthering that love relationship with Him while defining what a lifestyle of worship looks like. This class will include an in-depth look at Song of Solomon and Old & New Testament character studies.

Bible Study Methods

Thursdays, 9:30 – 1
Instructor: Josh Bentley

Description: This course will provide students with systematic methods of studying scripture. Through those methods students will also learn how to practically apply their understanding as they study different books of the Bible.

Kingdom of God I
Thursdays, 4:30 – 7:30
Instructor: Jim Collins

Description: The main teaching of Jesus was about the “kingdom of God” or “kingdom of heaven.” This course will present the major interpretations of the meaning of the kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed. Students will learn to understand the real Jesus from the perspective of God’s kingdom message.

WEEK 1 – Sept. 13-17 – Community building & orientation

WEEK 2 – Sept. 20 – Classes begin!

We break for all of Thanksgiving week.

When Words Translate Into Deeds

When Words Translate Into Deeds

(Our Bangkok work crew, Nov. 2009)

Our lives will always speak louder than our words. James 2:18 says: “But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” Intentions minus actions = nothing. (Thank you J.H. for that.)

Make a promise and not fulfill it, mutatis mutandis, and you are a hypocrite, a mask-wearer.

Paul wrote that “The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20; οὐ γὰρ ἐν λόγῳ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ ἀλλ’ ἐν δυνάμει.) That last work, dunamei, is all about action. Where there is dunamei, stuff happens (“dynamic”). Talk without power is im-potent, non-dynanic.

Following after Jesus means taking up the cross, not theorizing about what it would be like to take up the cross. Here is where faith become reality, in the moment where the words of Jesus empower to action. The words “empower to action” are redundant, tautological, since there is no real empowering without action. When the words of Jesus move a person things are set in motion. That motion is always redemptive. Spirit-powered redemptive activity is impressive; words without redemptive activity are not only are worthless but turn people off to Jesus. The famous words “For God so loved the world” do not conclude with “that he sat in his heavenly place and had thoughts and feelings of love for us.” Were that true it would mean nothing to us.

The person who only thinks and talks and “dreams” about engaging in redemptive activity without actually doing it in faith is all about their own self. It makes them look good to others without benefitting others. The love of God is an active, for-others love, and never gets perverted into something like: “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life.”

When the real God-thing of redemptive love hits words translate into deeds. Things shake and move and demons tremble and prison doors unlock.

Seek Christ, Not the Self

(Syracuse University – we stayed in Syracuse on our way out to Boston, and visited the campus.)

One of the daily reading books I use is A Year With C.S. Lewis. Years ago, back in the 1970s, I spent every week with C.S. Lewis, reading through nearly everything he had written. To revisit Lewis now brings back very good feelings of my early Jesus-walk. Today’s selection from Mere Christianity is worth quoting in full. I’ll make a few parenthetical comments. Lewis writes…

“There must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away “blindly” so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. [The Lewis, and biblical, idea is this: seek Christ for the sake of Christ, and not essentially for the sake of self. To do the latter is to try to use Jesus {as if that could be done}.]

As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. [In other words, seek, in the first place, Christ and his Kingdom, and the result will be that a whole lot of other things will be added to you, to include discovery of one’s true self.]

Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. [Focus on stating true things clearly. People will accuse you of originality.]

The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorites wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in. [Self-obsession is always, in the end, unfulfilling and disappointing. Give your self away, to God first, then to others. This is a theme that runs through the New Testament and is lifted up, especially, by Thomas Merton in his distinction between the true and the false self.]

Pre-Marital Workshop at Redeemer in Monroe

Pre-Marital Workshop at Redeemer

Robin Head is a senior at Spring Arbor University. Robin is doing her senior project, which will be a premarital seminar that will take place at Redeemer.

The details, from Robin, are below.


When Where and Time:
Sunday evenings, August 8th–September 5th
Redeemer Fellowship Church, Monroe MI

For information contact:
Robin Head
Home: 734 568 0400
Cell: 567 694 3350
Feel free to call anytime, if I do not answer please leave a message.

Who am I:
My name is Robin Head and I am a senior at Spring Arbor University. I am finishing my degree in family life education. My goal is to teach families how to work together to increase longevity of the family unit and bring peace to what can sometimes be volatile situations. I am writing a pre-marital workshop as part of my senior project. My initial goals are to implement the program and get through the class, but my long term goals include turning this into a mission to reach Christian couples and equip them with communication skills. I am previously divorced and can speak to the need for effective communication in a relationship. My life experiences have prepared me to reach a wide variety of people. The old adage states that “hind sight is 20/20.” Although that is true, I believe couples can be taught certain basic skills and alternative ways of handling conflict, which can help increase marital satisfaction and allow for the family to be a more positive institution.

The Goal for this Program:
The goal of this program is to help facilitate more effective communication, as well as to provide alternatives to conflict resolution. This will result in increased relational satisfaction for engaged couples that can be maintained throughout their marriages.

Topics of Discussion:
Week 1:
Do Men and Women even speak the same language?
This session will cover what men and women expect from conversation and how to better understand their needs. It will also provide interactive activities for the couples to participate in to solidify teachings.

Week 2:
What Love Language do you Speak?
This session is based on Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages book. It will build on the necessity for communication within the relationship. During this session couples will take the “test” to see what their love language is, as well as what their partner’s love language is. They will be given tips on how to speak the other’s love language and given homework to demonstrate the effectiveness thereof.

Week 3:
Fair Fighting!
During this week, couples will learn that conflict within a relationship is a not a sign of failure but rather a way in which to learn about their partner. They will be given a variety of situations and an assortment of responses or techniques to resolve the conflict.

Week 4:
We will look at the importance of emotional as well as physical intimacy in a relationship. Discussing the meaning of intimacy on a multi-level platform will help participants discover the importance of true intimacy within their relationship.

Week 5:
Child Rearing
The final week will be an optional week for those who intend to have children or for those who may already have children. This week will be used to discuss the importance of understanding the stress children can have on a marriage, varying child-rearing techniques and the importance of couples communicating about disciplining of children and agreeing on methods of implementation.



Linda, Josh and I took a whale-watching trip on Thursday. We were on the Atlantic Ocean for about 5 hours – so far out you couldn’t see the land. It was a beautiful, sunny day – an amazing trip, very well-run… the onboard biologist whale-expert did a great job. (7 Seas Whale Watch, in Gloucester, MA – excellent!)

We saw many fin whales. They can grow up to 88′ long and weigh up to 200,000 pounds. Yikes! We saw three different humpback whales up close. The picture is one I took of a humpback making a dive, tail out of the water. Humpbacks can grow to 50′ and weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Whales eat 2000 pounds of fish a day and, as our biologist-guide said, “never get satiated.”

If you ever get a chance to do this, take it!

Furious Love Event in Monroe (2011) – Registration Has Opened!

Furious Love Event in Monroe (2011)- Registration Has Opened!

Darren Wilson brings his “Furious Love Event” to our church April 6-9, 2011. Registration is now open, and will be limited. For information go to FL website.

What an amazing, diverse, cool lineup of speakers!

Heidi & Rolland Baker

Rolland and Heidi Baker began Iris Ministries, Inc., an interdenominational mission, in 1980 and have been missionaries for the past twenty-five years.

Today Rolland and Heidi cry out for a continuation of the visitation of God experienced by the children of H.A. Baker’s orphanage in China long ago. That is beginning to happen, and more testimonies are accummulating than can be communicated! May the Word of God spread in power to the remote corners of the world, and may the the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind, people who have never before tasted the goodness of God, be drawn the King’s great banquet!

WEBSITE: Iris Ministries Inc.

Philip Mantofa

Philip Mantofa graduated in theology from Columbia Bible College, British Columbia, Canada. Since 1998, He has been serving in Mawar Sharon Church, a growing church of 30,000 in Indonesia. Currently, He is the assistant head of Gereja Mawar Sharon denomination, which has a network of 70 local churches. Since his younger age, he has brought more than 100,000 souls to Christ. His passion is to ignite the fire within the younger generation to become pastors and spiritual leaders all around Asia. Moreover, he has a burning desire to see nations experience and encounter the love of Jesus Christ. He is happily married to Irene Saphira with three lovely children : Vanessa, Jeremy and Warren.

WEBSITE: Philip Mantofa on Facebook

Robby Dawkins

Born to missionary parents in Japan, Robby had an early start in ministry. In his father’s church he began a children’s ministry at the age of 12, and became the youth minister at 16 years old.

Robby and his wife, Angie, married in 1992, have pastored the Vineyard Church of Aurora, IL since 1996. They feel God called them to plant in a poor urban community, and continually use “power evangelism” to gather for the church.

“In addition to starting and pastoring this church, God has called me for the purpose of building up and equipping the local church with power tools for harvesting,” Robby shares. These “power tools” are prophetic ministry, healing, ministry of the presence of God, and deliverance from demonic power.

WEBSITE: Robby Dawkins

Will Hart

In 1999 Will Hart walked into the basement of a church not knowing why he was there. That night the Holy Spirit reached out and grabbed him by the heart and he was never the same. While the rest of his senior class was walking down the aisle collecting their diplomas, Will was already on a plane to Paraguay.

During his 19 months in Paraguay he witnessed the power of revival first hand. Ministering alongside his mentor Bob Bradbury, he saw salvations, healing and deliverances. The power of the Spirit was on him to preach and set people free. In 2002 he received a call from Randy Clark to travel with him full time.

After three years of hands on training with Randy, Will and his wife Musy moved to Mozambique to serve Heidi and Rolland Baker. Will’s call is to take the simplicity of the gospel and power of the Holy Spirit wherever he goes. Whether it is the jungles of Congo or the streets of Thailand, he is expectant and confident in the Holy Spirit showing up in power.

WEBSITE: Hart Ministries

Angela Greenig

Angela’s teaching and insights come from years of experience on the front lines of Spiritual warfare. A seasoned Seer/Warrior for Christ, and a leading force in deliverance ministry. Author and TV personality Justice for All. For the past 26 years Angela has traveled the world, teaching an setting people free.

WEBSITE: SetFree Ministries

Shampa Rice (“Shanti” from the film)

Shampa Rice was raised in Calcutta, living across the street from Mother Teresa’s headquarters from the age of 12, Shampa was often inspired by her faith and simplicity. She prayed that God would raise her out of poverty so that she too could someday help the poor as Mother Teresa was doing. God heard her cries above and beyond anything she could have dreamed; eventually she would be reaching people all over the world with God’s love.

One of Shampa’s favorite themes is that God likes to use simple, “little people.” “I love to cook. I am a woman from the kitchen,” she says. “God is not looking for someone important; He’s looking for anybody who loves Him because He wants to be found more than we want to find Him.”

Shampa has been the director for Iris Ministries in North India since 2005.

WEBSITE: Iris Ministries // India

Mattheus van der Steen

The founder, pastor and CEO of Touch Reach and Impact the Nations, Mattheus van der Steen was born in Holland. He is passionate for and about Jesus, and speaks prophetically about revival and transformation, God’s heart for the orphans and the widows, the John the Baptist generation, the Church in the end time, Joel’s Army, depression and burnout, signs and miracles, being filled with the Holy Spirit, the Great Commision, and, his favourite subject, “If you see the invisible God, you can do the impossible.”

WEBSITE: Mattheus Van Der Steen

Greg Boyd

Greg is an internationally recognized theologian, preacher, teacher, apologist and author. He has authored or co-authored 18 books and numerous academic articles, including his best-selling and award-winning Letters From a Skeptic and his most recent books (co-authored with Dr. Paul Eddy) The Jesus Legend and Lord or Legend.

WEBSITE: Greg Boyd

J.P. Moreland

J.P. Moreland (Ph.D., USC; Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary) is one of the leading evangelical thinkers of our day as a prolific philosopher, theologian and Christian apologist. He is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Talbot School of Theology and director of Eidos Christian Center.

With degrees in philosophy, theology and chemistry, Dr. Moreland has taught theology and philosophy at several schools throughout the United States. He has authored or coauthored over forty books, including Philosophical Foundation for a Christian Worldview, Scaling the Secular City, Does God Exist?, The Lost Virtue of Happiness and Body and Soul.

He is coeditor of Jesus Under Fire and a frequent contributor to popular Christian magazines and scholarly journals. Dr. Moreland served ten years with Campus Crusade for Christ, planted two churches, and has spoken on over 200 college campuses, in hundreds of churches, and over 25 debates.

Moreland and his wife and partner in ministry, Hope, have two married daughters, Ashley and Allison.

WEBSITE: Kingdom Triangle

Come to Redeemer Ministry School 2010-2011 to be part of this event, the Randy Clark conference (Jan. 12-15), and more of what God is doing at Redeemer!