When I was asked by a fellow musician about singing at Redeemer, I knew nothing about Tim Keller, the church or the ministry that was happening there. I hadn’t sung in church in eons, and this would take me back to my roots of singing as a youth in my church in NC. I came in to sing, and that’s all that was on my mind to do. Give all I had to God in that performance, make some money (something that was a 1st for me from singing in church…WOW) and work with some 1st rate musicians.
I didn’t hear Tim preach that Sunday, as I was enjoying the yumminess of chocolate cookies and coffee during the sermon. Yes… shame on me. After about the 3rd time singing, I stayed in the sanctuary to hear the sermon because the title intrigued me to no end. The pastor was going to preach about SEX! WHAT??? I had to hear this one! The passage was from 1st Corinthians 6:12-19. I sat there with my jaw hanging on a hinge is disbelief. I grew up in the church, called myself a Christian since the time I could remember what I thought that meant, but had lived a life of my own rules and the gospel according to Rozz for a long time. My body was mine as far as I could see, and other than that “going to hell business with sexual immorality”, I thought I had been in line for no worries in the final judgement situation. All of sudden as the Spirit moved Tim as he preached, everyone else in the place seemed to disappear and it was just me and Him. I was rattled! How had I gotten it so wrong? How had I gotten so far away from God’s Word and replaced it with a Hallmark version of Christianity.
Because in His truth, there was hope.
Shaken to my core, I got up to sing and the words penetrated my heart as they escaped from my mouth. I was burdened, but joyful all at the same time. Because in His truth, there was hope. I did know Christ! And I could approach Him with everything, and there He stood, not forsaking me, but welcoming me home. And I was HOME!
This was His plan all along. I had no idea that through Redeemer, I’d find a daughter church, Grace Redeemer, a few miles from my home in Fort Lee, NJ. From there, I’d meet Pastor William Reinmuth and leave that church with a small group to plant All Souls Community Church in Rockland County, only to become the music director/music minister to this growing congregation.
Sometimes I feel like Paul, “knocked off my ass” at Jesus’ feet. I’m still amazed that He chose me to use my life as His servant. That He looked at my brokenness and took off my tattered robes and dressed me in His finest. I’m so thankful that He led me to Redeemer to remake me, and allow me to be His hands and feet to build His Kingdom. Thank you Lord! Thank you Tim! And thank you Tom Jennings for allowing me to serve on the worship team at Redeemer. It’s been one amazing journey.