Redeeming Grace Church Hosts Bob Kauflin This Saturday Night

Bob Kauflin Leading Worship 2

Nashville-area friends: This Saturday night, March 29th, Redeeming Grace Church has the distinct privilege of hosting Bob Kauflin as guest speaker, and you are invited to join us! (Click here for directions and details of when/where we meet). Here’s some info.

Bob will be speaking on “Why We Sing” – a biblical theology of worship and singing. He will then lead us in singing, following the message. We could not be more excited for Saturday night!

An accomplished song-writer, musician, author, and seasoned-pastor, many in the Nashville area are very aware of Bob Kauflin’s unique contribution to the church at large. We have been blessed by his teaching, the songs he has written, the albums he has produced, and the way he has served to equip pastors and worship leaders in the Body of Christ through his blog/writing of Worship Matters.

On a personal level, I am very grateful for the way Bob has specifically served me in imparting wisdom, grace, and hope through countless personal interactions over the years. I am eager to see other people be blessed and encouraged by his ministry as I have been.

We would be honored for you to join us this Saturday night!

I’ll leave you with a brief bio of Bob Kauflin’s background:

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After receiving a piano performance degree from Temple University in 1976, Bob traveled for eight years with the contemporary Christian group GLAD as a songwriter, speaker, and arranger. He continued to write and arrange for the group until 2010, and was a major contributor to The A Capella Project (1988). In the early 90s, he helped to plant what a church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was featured on the Integrity’s Hosanna! CD, Chosen Treasure. In 1997, after 12 years of pastoring, Bob moved to Maryland, where he led corporate worship at Covenant Life Church and became the Director of Sovereign Grace Music. His book, Worship Matters, was published by Crossway in 2008. Through conferences, seminars, and his blog, Worship Matters, he seeks to equip pastors, musicians, and songwriters in the theology and practice of congregational worship. He also oversees the production of Sovereign Grace Music albums.

So, there it is: We hope to see you Saturday night!

Trusting God Through Changing Landscapes

iStock_000003913381SailingSunset

We are sitting in our rented beach condo, enjoying a slow, restful morning before the sun peeks it’s warming presence and invites us outdoors. Pandora is playing an Amos Lee station and the melody of a familiar song has sent me into a reflective state.

I must have listened to the song “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac 50-100 times in the fall of 2012 as I traveled weekly for a 3-month stretch, commuting from Knoxville to Nashville.

A ballad of change, parts of the song so aptly describe the fear and the resolve that I was experiencing as I had made the decision to transition from full-time ministry in Knoxville to starting a new job and serving as a pastor bi-vocationally in Nashville, in order to help plant a new church in the Franklin area.

“Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?”

“Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older too”

That’s exactly how I felt: resolved to push through the fear of change; in a word, I was resolved to “go.”

The realization had set in that I wasn’t getting any younger. My children were getting older, too, and I was absolutely convinced that God was calling me and my family right then to relocate to a new area for the sake of the gospel and to trust Him to make our steps secure.

Pushing Through The Fear, Embracing The Change

Within a matter of months, everything in my life changed. I had a new residence, a new place of employment, a new church to help start, a new circle of friends, a new city to explore, and a new group of people to reach out to.

We moved from eastern time to central time, where the sun sets at 4:30 in the dead of winter and sirens sound in the city to indicate when a tornado could be spinning through.

We had to learn our way around a grocery store again, find a new auto-mechanic (our van has over 175k miles on it), and make first-time visits to a dentist and eye-doctor (I’m thankful that my son’s new baseball coach also happens to be an excellent Optometrist, and one of the guys I see regularly in the line at Starbucks is a local dentist).

The fact is, change is hard. Some change is scary. Some is exciting. But all change brings both life and death, the birth of new things and the loss of others.

No matter how you shake it, new is uncomfortable. Yet, people don’t come to Christ without new conversations. Churches aren’t planted without change (both for the sending and the sent). Growth in any area requires that we stretch ourselves beyond what we are accustomed to normally.

It’s right in the midst of the discomfort that God meets us with His grace.

Psalm 23 reveals to us a God who gently shepherds His people throughout the changing landscapes of life. Sometimes there are “green pastures” and “still waters.” At other times, we find ourselves walking through “the valley of the shadow of death.” Yet, wherever we walk, we have the assurance that “surely goodness and mercy will follow {us} all the days of our lives, and {we} will dwell in the house of The Lord forever.”

If The Lord is calling you to a new normal, keep this encouragement close to your heart:

“Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” – Joshua 1:9

God is with you. By His grace, you can sail through the changing oceans tides and you can handle the seasons of your life. The life that is built on Christ is secure, regardless of the changing landscapes.

“Endless Need Glorifies Endless Supply”

Ray Ortlund @ RGC

This Saturday evening, Redeeming Grace Church had the joy of hosting Ray Ortlund, pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, as our Guest Speaker. For many reasons, it was an immensely encouraging evening for us all.

Ray has been so kind to our church plant and has already served us in countless ways with his encouragement and support. After spending many Sundays benefitting from Ray’s teaching and care during our “waiting period” (prior to the launch of Redeeming Grace Church), Ray has become a very dear friend to us.

Immanuel Church has also become a beloved partner in gospel ministry. So, it was an honor, a privilege, and a pleasure to have Ray with us on Saturday night.

He served us so well.

After communicating about the necessity of Gospel Doctrine and Gospel Culture in Gospel-Centered Churches, Ray preached from the beginning of John’s gospel, John 1:1-18, a text that he said “may be the greatest passage ever written in all of human history.”

As Ray proclaimed the truths of John 1:1-18, my soul was greatly comforted, encouraged, strengthened and filled with joy. I saw once again that “our endless need glorifies his endless supply” and just as the ocean rolls with wave upon wave, so God’s love and grace in Christ is unceasing.

I can’t hear that enough.

Here’s a link to this wonderful message. Trust me, it is worth listening (and re-listening) to.

A Wise Exchange

Jim Elliot Journal

On Fridays, I am posting quotes from some of my favorite authors as a way to review golden nuggets of truth and keep them in the forefront of my own heart and mind throughout the year.

I also hope it serves you, as a reader of RevivingTheSoul, in offering comfort, encouragement, and strength for your own journey in the ups and downs of life on this side of heaven.

This quote is from Jim Elliot, one of my heroes. He was one of five missionaries killed while attempting to preach the gospel to the Auca Indians in Ecuador in 1956. This is something Jim had written in his journal:

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

Jim Elliot

The Cost of Church-Planting and The Reward

Family moving into new home

Several friends of mine have recently sold their homes, secured new jobs, relocated from hundreds of miles away, and left everything they’ve previously known to help plant a new church in the greater Nashville area. I have so much respect for each one of them.

There’s such a mixture of emotions that can attend a decision like this. On the one hand, there’s the excitement of a new venture and the joy of answering the call of God. On the other hand, there’s the difficulty attended with “starting over” in a new city and the sadness of leaving behind the people you love.

Jesus answered those who followed him with the assurance that they would be blessed, that they would encounter trouble, and that they would receive eternal life:

Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. (Mark 10:28-30, ESV)

These promises apply to everyone who follows Christ regardless of whether or not he or she participates in a church-plant. However, these assurances are particular poignant to one who has relocated for the sake of the gospel and the cause of Christ.

Jesus comforts us with the promises that all the sacrifices involved, be it financially, relationally, personally, and professionally, will be rewarded.

My wife and I have been in the greater Nashville area for a little over a year now. We left an incredible, established, rich gospel-proclaiming church and many of our dearest friends at Cornerstone Church of Knoxville in order to participate in planting Redeeming Grace Church in Franklin, TN. CCK is where I came to faith in Christ. It’s where I was taught the truths of Scripture. It’s where I developed a passion for gospel-mission, and it’s where I was eventually commissioned to “GO” to spread the gospel to a new region.

Which means, it’s where I had to leave. For so many reasons, leaving CCK was difficult for me. I can remember worshipping together the last few Sunday morning services and thinking, “What am I doing?” And yet, the desire to help start and plant a new church in a new location for the sake of the gospel was so strong that I could never truly “shake it.” In the end, I knew my family was called to “GO” and that some of our dearest friends were called to “STAY.”

As we were preparing to plant, our Lead Pastor, Dave Odom, said this many times:

“Jesus is worth it.”

A year in to this gig, I can attest that Jesus is good on His Word. He is faithful to His promises. He has richly provided, far beyond anything we could have hoped for, asked for, or imagined. Church-planting has expanded my horizons. It’s helped me see ways in which the Lord is at work everywhere around us. We’ve been embraced by the people of God in this area and have experienced deep fellowship with other believers in Christ. I’ve formed new friendships with other believers with whom it feels like we’ve known each other all our lives. I’m amazed by that. I’ve also had the opportunity to share the good news of the gospel with people I would have never met.

As I look back on this year, I thank God for 17 wonderful years of being ministered to at CCK. I thank God for my short time at Immanuel Church of Nashville while we waited for the rest of the church-planting team to arrive. And, I thank God for our new church home, Redeeming Grace Church. As I stand and sing with my new friends at Redeeming Grace Church, it feels like home. It feels like the “dearest place on earth” to me.

Church-planting also makes me yearn for heaven more than ever before. I look forward to the day when the saints of God will not be separated by geography and limited by the restraints of time and space.

The greatest reward of church planting, for me, is that through the spread of the gospel more and more people will see Jesus’ worth.

I’m taking Jesus at His Word that those follow him will be blessed, will have trouble, and will receive eternal life. I’m convinced that Jesus is true to His Word, and that he will reward our efforts.

And I think Dave Odom was right: “Jesus IS worth it.”