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Evan Rosell

Evan Rosell Evan Rosell is the Pastor of Ministry Leadership and carries broad responsibility for the health of our ministry and leaders as we execute our mission as a church. He takes a leading role in strategic planning, implementation, staff, and leadership development. He and his wife Jessie have been married since 2008 and have a son named Peter.

A Call for Lament & the Promise of Hope

BLOG POST

Yesterday’s services at Redeemer Fellowship looked a little different.

Last week brought wave after wave of sadness and tragedy. In response to the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, our pastors gathered with some of our African American leaders on Thursday to write a Prayer of Lament and a Proclamation of Hope to help lead our church through a time of mourning during our Sunday services. And then that evening, like you, we watched in horror as Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, and Lorne Ahrens lost their lives in Dallas.

As we dialogued as pastors and talked with many in our community, a common feeling emerged: so many of us feel helpless, powerless to bring about change, but discontent with the way things are.

Yesterday, we addressed some of these feelings and talked about practical ways we can step toward these issues as a community. By way of follow up, we wanted to point you to a few of those resources and give you some additional thoughts to process.

First, if you missed our services yesterday, here is a link to the Prayer of Lament and Proclamation of Hope.

Second, at Redeemer Midtown Kris McGee spoke for 20 minutes about how we should reflect on last week’s events and what it may look like to walk forward as a community. If you missed it, please take some time to listen to the audio here.

Finally, let me leave you with a few personal thoughts.

Don’t Dismiss the Grief. Grief Leads to Empathy

That grief and powerlessness some of us feel as we engage the issues of racial injustice can actually become a beautiful opportunity to draw near to African American brothers and sisters. Use that feeling and imagine how it must feel to, after all these years, see systemic racism continually rear its ugly, pernicious head. If we draw near to those feelings of grief and powerlessness, it will give us a greater understanding of how many African Americans might feel. My friend and fellow Redeemer pastor, Brian Key, wrote a helpful piece on this topic, which you can read here. “When you weep with someone, you identify with them in their pain. It is humanizing in the face of the dehumanizing pain of grief. It somehow makes the grief less lonely, though not less painful.”

Be Angry

Ephesians 4:26 tells us to “be angry and do not sin.” Author and counselor Chip Dodd says this: “Authentic anger is a caring feeling, telling us that something matters. Anger exposes what we value and expresses our willingness to do what is required to reach that value…. Jesus, who turned the tables over in the temple and drove out thieves from a sacred place, experienced true anger. He showed vulnerability full of passion and compassion, the desire to make what had become rotten pure again.” Many of us are comfortable looking away. We’re comfortable waiting until the next news cycle to bring us something else to react to. But let me exhort you to seek understanding, process, grieve, and respond with love, justice, and mercy. Repent of apathy. Pray for burdens and opportunities to walk out justice in our community.

Stand Together, Black and White, and Call For Justice

My African American friends have repeatedly told me that it means so much when someone stands with them in yearning for justice. In moments of astonishing courage and vulnerability, they say it’s overwhelming and isolating to carry the burden of grief and at the same time feel like they need to persuade others that their grief is legitimate. Could Redeemer be a place where some of the most unwavering yearnings for racial equality and justice come from our white brothers and sisters? What kind of picture would that paint of the body of Christ?

Develop Relationships

Many of us experience these shootings (and the ones that preceded them) through a screen’s mediation. There’s absolutely an appropriateness about this. But, it’s not enough. Do you have friends in the racial minorities of Kansas City? Have you had conversations with them about how these kind of events make them feel? Have you heard their stories? Have you heard their lament? If not, why not? Is there a fear or a comfortability undergirding that? Where does the gospel of Jesus free you to clumsily take steps forward? Transformation happens in the context of real relationships; when you’re sitting face to face with someone, something changes.

Hope in Jesus

Belief in the gospel and fighting for justice are not polar ends of a spectrum. Rightly understood, a heart transformed by the grace of Jesus shares his heart for justice (Matthew 5:6). It flows out. It is grieved by injustice, and pushes back darkness of all kinds. But, for Christians that comes only in the shadow the great reality that Jesus will come and vanquish all sin and death forever. Rather than baptize apathy, this truth empowers us for and compels to justice. So, as we pour out into Kansas City, let us be people who have callouses of justice on our hands and the sweet grace of Jesus on our lips, laboring with others against darkness and pointing them to the only one who can truly destroy it: Jesus.

Men’s Leadership Lab

MEN’S LEADERSHIP LAB BEGINS 4/27

What does it look like to lead ourselves, our families, and our communities as men created in God’s image?

Beginning in just a couple weeks, you are invited to join other men as we dive into J.I. Packer’s, Knowing God, and discussing what it means to pursue a healthy culture of manhood at our church.

THREE LOCATIONS

The lab will meet in three locations (Midtown, Johnson County, and the Northland) on Wednesday mornings from 6 – 7:30 am, from 4/27 – 5/25.

SIGN UP & EXPECTATIONS

Sign-up closed on Sunday, April 24.

In addition, for this lab we are asking men to affirm that they are already exhibiting several important personal leadership qualities. If you’re not currently able to participate for these reasons, we want to invite you to grow over the coming months and step into our next Men’s Leadership Lab in the fall.

We hope you will join us!

Great is Thy Faithfulness | Redeemer Stories | The Keys

Three years ago this week, several of us in the Redeemer family stood around the newly-dug grave of Olivia Key, the three-year-old daughter of Brian and Kelly Key. In that moment, it was hard to understand that the story God was writing was one far bigger and deeper than the grave our eyes were fixed upon.

But, the story is indeed much greater. In both the years leading up to Olivia’s death and the years following it, the Keys’ refrain has been unmistakeable in our body: “Great is Thy Faithfulness!”

Theirs is a story with no pat or easy answers. It’s filled with suffering, pain, death, longing, mourning, and broken-heartedness.

But in the midst of that darkness, shining through the pain, their story is one of God drawing near, his faithfulness, hope in the midst of despair, and the expectation of a day when Jesus will come and make all things new.

As pastors, we are so grateful to the Keys for teaching us how to mourn with eternity in view. We are thankful for the moments spent with Livi. And, above all, we are thankful for a God who is with us in suffering, promising to work all things together for the good of those who love him (Rom. 8:28).

Today, on the three-year anniversary of Livi’s death, here is the Key’s story.

Week Two of Advent

You may have noticed the art pieces displayed in our new Gallery on the second floor. These were all created by artists from Redeemer and inspired by one of four collects from the Book of Common Prayer, corresponding to each Sunday of the Advent season.

Below is the collect for the second Sunday of Advent:

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Summer, White Space, and Annie Leibovitz

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Every summer it happens; it comes with the predictability of the season it shares. As the spring nears its end, kids get out of school, and the weather turns, I find myself longing for the summer calendar to bring the ever-so-elusive freedom. Perhaps it’s a lasting remnant of childhood or perhaps it’s the increased hours of daylight. But every year I picture that freedom—days and days of calendar space just waiting for me to bask in so that I can come into autumn refreshed, revived, and restored.
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