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Ron Downing

Ron Downing

Worship Night with Redeemer Fellowship

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I would love to invite you to our first ever worship night at Redeemer Fellowship—which is to take place in Morton Hall (3939 Main St), on Thursday, February 23, at 7:30 pm.

Over the past several months, Redeemer’s collective of worship leaders and musicians have gathered to fellowship together and seek God’s face in worship. Each of those gatherings has been a powerful time of communion with God, and there is a growing desire in us to open the doors and invite others to share in what the Holy Spirit is stirring up in our community.

Why gather together for a night of worship?

For some time now, I’ve been dreaming of ways to create contexts for us to seek God together in a way that is slightly different than a Sunday morning. While the work of formation that happens each and every Sunday is essential to the life of the church, I also know that taking time once in a while in slightly different contexts will provide additional spaces for our congregation to grow in depth of communion with God.

I also hope that this night provides an opportunity for other believers in our city (even from different churches and ministries) to worship together in one place—as an expression of what we will do for eternity as the family of God. I would love to see places where the church in Kansas City is unified in its efforts to see Christ exalted and our city changed.

Toward these ends, we want to open the doors and invite as many as would desire to come and worship together with us.

Please visit the link below and tell us that you are coming!

https://www.facebook.com/events/107870983068604/

Introducing Advent 2016

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There is a common image in the Downing home when we are having someone over for dinner. The image itself is predicated by the act of preparation—getting the house ready, cooking a meal, and setting the table. But after the preparations are done, there is only one thing left to do.

We wait.

For the three Downing children, this waiting often becomes three faces pressed against the glass of our large front window that looks out on the road. This is the image that comes to my mind when I think of expectation—of the necessary preparations and the anticipation of waiting.

I can’t help but think of Advent in such a way. The word Advent itself comes from the Latin word meaning “arrival”. Throughout most of church history, the season of Advent marks the beginning of the church’s calendar. It is a season when we look at the “arrival” of the Word made flesh, as he came to us cloaked in humility and lowliness—born of a virgin in obscurity, in a stable in Bethlehem. It is also a season when we remember that this lowly child was God’s Messiah—the one through whom he would fulfill his purpose of salvation and restoration in all the world.

Yet, we also remember in this season that our world has not yet experienced the fullness of his saving grace. We see the brokenness and hurt of our world, the injustice and darkness that continue to prevail—and we look toward the day when he will again “arrive” to our world. Not as a lowly child, born in obscurity, but as the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords who will once and for all eradicate darkness from this world. This is what we train our hearts to expect at Advent.

But expectation is not passive.

Expectation demands preparation, and it also produces waiting. Like my sons, with faces pressed against the glass, we show that true waiting is not passive boredom, but rather an active anticipation. We await the arrival of our Lord leaned forward, preparing, and full of excited longing.

This Advent season we will intentionally train our hearts to look for and love the day of Christ’s coming in our services. We will do this by looking back to how God promised to send a Savior to bring restoration to the world, and by looking forward to the coming day when he will restore all things.

Whatever you choose to do this season, take the time to intentionally prepare and wait. Celebrate that God has fulfilled his promises in Christ Jesus, lament the darkness we still experience in this world, and take heart in the promise of Christ’s second arrival that is our blessed hope. Ask God to fill your heart with rapt expectation and longing—that we might look for and live in light of his coming.

Until he comes,

Ron

Introducing Our New Gallery Show

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As we step into our series in the book of Psalms on Feelings, I wanted to make you aware of a supplementary way our church will be engaging these eight Psalms and the emotions in them. Starting this Sunday with HURT, Redeemer Midtown will be displaying paintings by local artist Kelly Kruse in the Gallery.

Each week there will be a set of two paintings on display that seek to grapple with the Psalm itself and the nature of the emotion we are looking at that week. Our hope is to display all sixteen of the paintings together for several months after the end of the Feelings series throughout our gallery spaces at Redeemer.

Each set of paintings has a “dark” and a “light” image—and is an attempt to grapple with the idea of how we respond to our emotions either in sin or as invitations to experience the redemptive power of Jesus. It is my hope that these paintings will provide another way for us to engage in this series, and that these representations would actually bring us into deeper places of grappling with our emotions in the midst of our fallen world, groaning in hope as we await the full redemption of all things in Christ Jesus.

More than just making you aware of the pieces, and what is going on the next eight weeks, I wanted to offer a few suggestions of how to engage this material.

  • Take some time to take them in. Sometimes it is easy to pass by the pieces in our gallery, but I would invite you to take some time to intentionally stop and look at these pieces. There is an intentional corollary between the paintings and the Psalms/feelings we will be looking at in our service, so it may even prepare and engage your mind and heart as you enter worship on Sunday.
  • Don’t necessarily try to “figure them out”. Kelly paints in an abstract manner intentionally in a way that works well with a series on feelings. Her presupposition is that some things cannot be communicated only on concrete levels, and therefore must be communicated in abstract (or visceral) means. Spend some time thinking not “what do these mean”, but “how am I experiencing these”.
  • Return to the paintings after the service. It may be a profound practice to go and look at the paintings again once you have sat through our worship gathering—after you have sung, prayed, and heard from God’s word—to re-engage these paintings. You may be surprised at how you engage them differently.
  • I am praying that God would use these eight weeks to profoundly impact our lives, and that using different mediums in our Sunday gatherings would facilitate spaces for us to experience God’s truth, and become more fully alive before him.

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