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Spotlight Moments

Recognizing Veterans

Sunday, November 16, 2014, we had the extraordinary opportunity to hear one mother’s moving testimony of strong faith in Christ, even through the hardest of life situations. We shared the life-changing story of the Olsen family who paid the ultimate sacrifice for service to this country.
2014 Veteran Olsen
The WCCO news anchor’s words on April 3, 2007, said it all.  “A U.S. Marine from Eagan is the latest Minnesota casualty of the war in Iraq, according to his parents. Lance Cpl. Daniel Olsen, 20, died Sunday in Anbar Province. Gwen Olsen, Daniel’s mother, got the news Monday morning from two U.S. Marines, an Eagan police officer and chaplain. 'It was tough,' said Gwen Olsen. 'It really has not sunk in. Probably the fog we're in is a blessing. On top of that, just our belief in heaven and that we will see him.' Daniel Olsen had just turned 202014 Veteran Olsen family and enlisted in the Marines on his 18th birthday on March 15, 2005. Olsen went on to graduate from Eagan High School, where the administration is prepared to address grieving students. Olsen's sister is currently enrolled there as a senior."

Pastor Steve invited Gwen and the Olsen family to be with us on the Sunday following Veterans Day at Redeemer Covenant Church to share her story of faith, which has been strengthened by these events. Gwen and Steve worked together for Brown Photo back in the early '80s but had not been in touch for many years. Pastor Steve has prayed for the Olsen family since seeing the original story on the news in 2007. This past summer, he reached out to Gwen to see how she was doing and found a deep and strong faith had grown in her.

We were blessed by her story.  Listen online >>

 

In the News: Raising Awareness for Youth Homelessness

Two recent articles on the Covenant website highlight the work being done in our community by Pastor Steve and many others connected with churches, the city, and other organizations, with a focus on the new Brooklyn Avenues youth safe house. Read more:

Pastor Todd and other youth pastors spent 48 hours on the roof of Discover Church to raise awareness of youth homelessness and raise funds for the new Brooklyn Avenues safe house for youth. Read the story here >> 

   

Reflections from Pastor Seth on Families Moving Forward

Redeemer Covenant, you continue to amaze me! Let me start out this article by saying thank you to all who helped make this an outstanding week (January 12-18, 2014). Whether you were here every night, one night, wrote a check, prayed, or made some food, we thank you! Without that kind of all-church support, this ministry would not be possible. Here’s a small glimpse of a powerful week.
 
I had the chance to go to the prayer night with one of the boys on Wednesday night and it was humbling to say the least. To be alongside a 1st grader as he writes his prayer for a home for his family was gut wrenching, but there was no wallowing for him - no sense of “woe be poor me,” but rather a sincere desire for a place of permanence, security and warmth - and most importantly (in his mind), medicine for his grandpa’s foot. This young boy never once asked for anything for himself. Every prayer he shared that night was for his family as a whole or his grandfather’s health.
 
Because of the work and family schedules of a couple of the guests, we got to know one family very well. These three young men, who while in the midst of experiencing homelessness, still had plans and dreams for their future and would readily share them with us. They realized that this was a temporary situation for them and they would not let themselves get “stuck in the system.” When talking to Mom about their situation, she shared, “two more churches….just two more churches and then we can move into our place.” Counting by days made it seem too far away, so she counted by churches.
 
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. During this week, we were able to see God’s strength at work - not in those of us who were helping out, but in those families who were holding each other up, supporting one another in the midst of circumstances that seemingly should merit anything but hope and strength.
 
When we serve our God, we get a front row seat of Him at work. Thank you all for the opportunity to serve alongside our church family as we reach out to families in need.
 
Pastor Seth
   

Garage Building Project: Giving Thanks!

Built It Up!Through your generous financial gifts and building skills, the new garage is up. Thank you! We will now build up the ministry of Redeemer through this completed "Build It Up" garage project. The new structure will enhance VBS, Corn Boil, soccer program, bike ministry, stewardship and security of our assets, and community outreach that we have not even dreamed of yet

It's been fun to see the transformation on the Redeemer grounds as the old shed was moved and the new, large garage has taken its place. Take a look at the highlights throughout the building of the new garage >>

   

Pastor Steve: "We don’t have a mission; God has a mission!"

October 2013 newsletter article by Pastor Steve:

Which Came First? No, I am not asking the question about the chicken and the egg. Since October is mission month at Redeemer Covenant Church, I am asking if the church came first or the mission? The order that you place those two words makes all the difference in how you view the expressed and lived out faith in Christ. This was clarified for me in the statement from the book The Missional Church and Denominations by Craig Van Gelder. He writes, "It is not the church of God that has a mission in the world, but the God of mission that has a church in the world. . . . God is on the move and the church is always catching up with him. We join his mission."

In many ways, our traditional manner of thinking puts human beings at the very center, which includes placing not only the individual there but our institutions as well. This does affirm in our thoughts that we are serving God, but we are using ourselves as the starting point. Van Gelder says that we then easily demote “missions” to a corner of our lives because it is so focused on others. The whole time we are doing this, the activities of the church are perfectly justified because they are meeting our own needs.

This is why I am so thankful to be a part of the Evangelical Covenant Church. It’s not that we are doing everything perfectly right, but we understand missional theology. We are actively turning the usual thought that the church has a mission upside down. This call is not to start with ourselves, but with God. We don’t have a mission – God has a mission!

What is God’s mission? Scripture is clear that God’s mission is to reconcile the world to himself through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19). That reconciling mission of God has a church to carry it out to the world. The church exists to serve this world by being a visible expression of God’s mission. Our purpose is to support, sustain, and advance God’s mission in the world no matter what it will take.

When we do not see our neighborhood, the place we work or school we attend as part of God’s mission, we actually miss fully participating in God’s mission in the world. If we do not see that everywhere we go is an opportunity to be agents of God’s effort of reconciliation, we do not live as missional people.

Ever since Genesis chapter 3, God has been expressing his mission to reconcile the world back to himself. Through the pages of Scripture, we find the stories and encounters of those who God called to join in the mission. Even before Christ invited one person to be his disciple, his presence on earth was a sign that the mission was being carried out. Those of us who have faith in God through Christ have been invited to join in that mission and do it through the church.

The leadership of Redeemer Covenant Church has been looking at the best way to carry out the mission of God through our church. We are reminded over and over that this is God’s mission, not our own. The privilege we have is to join the work that Christ accomplished on the cross and be the agents of reconciliation in this generation.

During the month of October, do not think just about missions as “over there” or somewhere else. We are involved in the mission that God has to the world, but that includes our street and neighbors. As Rich Eckart said before a council meeting, “You used to have to look on a map to find missions, now we just look out the window.” That is what the mission has been all along. The church doesn’t have a mission, God’s mission has a church! God’s mission has you!

Pastor Steve

   

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Upcoming Events

  • Caroling by Caravan Sticky Church is going Caroling by Caravan on Wednesday, December 17, 6:30-8 pm. Bring your singing voices and come Christmas carol for our Redeemer neighbors, including Realife and Park Haven apartments....
  • Spending Christmas Eve with Us The evening of December 24, you are invited to two very special times of celebrating the birth of Christ:  4:30 pm for "Sticky" Family Service Join us for a special family-friendly service,...
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