As summer turns to fall, young and old alike experience a season of fresh starts and new beginnings. It’s not as though everything is completely new, but there is a sense of renewal among us. In a technical sense, renewal holds several shades of nuance and meaning. On the one hand, it can describe the resuming of activity after interruption. Renewal signifies a restart. In other contexts, renewal extends the validity of terms to the present moment. A license, a subscription or a library book can be renewed with a sense of recommitment for the future. And yet, in a different sense, renewal can also be used to describe the renovation of something that is worn out or broken. Sometimes, due to wear and tear, there is need for repair. Restarts. Recommitments. Repairs. Often, renewal involves a little bit of all three. And fortunately, God is the master of renewal.

For the next few months, we are going to talk as a church community about who we are, where we are going and what it looks like to contend for that which matters most. We are a church that declares our pursuit of living everyday so that everyone experiences Jesus and His Kingdom come. And we are committed to see that happen by being and making disciples who are radically transformed by the gospel. For that to bloom in full, we are leaning into the God who is making “all things new.”

"Renewal of Listening" John 10 - (re)new

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In John 10, Jesus is speaking to his disciples and makes some bold an audacious claims. He takes them outside to the sheepfold to teach them lessons about the Kingdom of God. In doing so, he reveals that the Good Shepherd is deeply committed to a search and rescue mission to round up the sheep that belong to Him so that they may know Him, hear His voice and follow His lead. This, according to Jesus, seems to be normal discipleship: sheep that know the Shepherd in deep and intimate ways, hear His voice and are called by name. A life of discipleship and relational renewal is built on the idea of a God who speaks and a life that listens. This week, we will explore the various ways that God speaks to His people and how we might best know what He is saying.

"Renewal of Presence" Exodus 33 - (re)new

Relational renewal begins a vision for the God for which you have been created. God the Father did not send the Son, Jesus, into the world to obtain right behavior, right thinkers or to obtain an effective workforce alone. The Christian God- Father, Son and Spirit- is a relational community of love that seeks to be with us for His glory. This theme- God with us- is the vision God has for humanity. God loves to be with His people. This week, as we explore Exodus 33, we are given a snapshot of God's heart for us as a New Testament, Jesus-loving, Holy-Spirit filled new covenant people. God's interaction with Moses and the people of Israel as they prepare to move from the wilderness into the Promised Land reveals the priority of the presence of God and a picture of what it can be like- "face to face as a man speaks with a friend." We are a people of the presence of God and everything else finds its place underneath that pursuit. This gift is ours to prize because of Christ.

"Trellis & the Vine" John 15:1-8 (re)new

As we continue to paint the picture of "Relational Renewal" at Reality Church, this week we will focus on the environments of transformation. Radical Gospel transformation doesn't happen in a vacuum, not does it happen without some structures. In John 15, Jesus uses the life of the vineyard as an analogy for life in the Kingdom of God. He talks in detail about the "life of the vine" - the vine, branches, the Vinedresser, pruning and fruit. However, the hidden and assumed element in HIs teaching is the trellis upon which the life of the vine flourishes. From Jesus' life and ministry, we discover that there has to be structures in place (invitation, community, time, intentionality, and expectation of obedience) to uphold the flourishing life that abiding in Christ brings. The trellis is not the focus or the point. But it is a necessary element to see relational renewal with God, self and others.

"Renewing our Vision/Mission" Mark 1:14-18 - (re)new

Stepping into the first week of this new series, we will spend some time refreshing our vision and mission along with understanding of renewal. As a church community, there are some distinctive ideas that we are committed to contending for among the push and pull of life and culture. Kingdom. Discipleship. Transformation. Jesus invites us to live a different way in a different story. May the Spirit bring renewal among us in every sense of the word.