Wednesday Mind Dump (9/1/21)

September 1, 2021  |  Luke Simmons

• Man, it’s been a fun last few weeks.

• Last week I didn’t write a mind-dump because I was at our first ever all-Redemption Pastors & Wives retreat from Monday night to Wednesday morning.

• It’s something we’ve talked about for years but haven’t ever gotten around to.

• This year felt like an important year to do it, so we gathered with 41 pastor couples from all ten Redemption congregations (not everyone made it, but most did).

• We had a lot of fun and informal time to build relationships, encourage one another, and laugh (a lot).

• It was massively encouraging to be around some really remarkable people, and it was especially fun to meet and get to know more of the wives.

• I know all the pastors at least a little bit from our monthly meetings together, but I’d never met some of their wives.

• Walked away feeling really thankful for the folks God has assembled across our family of congregations.

• Molly and I went into the weekend really trying to get time with as many folks as possible and trying to be an encouragement to them.

• We had some really valuable conversations and felt our hearts knit together with some of our fellow ministry couples.

• And it was awesome to watch Molly absolutely CRUSH Joshua Ruiz in pop-a-shot basketball.

• I was a little bit embarrassed for him — but it’s like going up against a buzzsaw.

• After the retreat, it was all about getting ready for Fuse weekend (our in-town summer camp to fuse students to the Lord, their mentors, and each other).

• The team went all-out, especially after having to cancel last year.

• They rearranged the room and pulled out all the stops to give the kids a great experience.

• Part of that room rearrangement involved preaching in the round (watch it here).

• It wasn’t my favorite — especially having to lap around the drums — but we made the most of it.

• Despite that, it was a really wonderful service.

• Every time we do Fuse, I have a moment where I think, “I’m so glad we started this church.”

• It actually gets me pretty emotional to think about all the students whose lives are so positively impacted by our church.

• Makes all the hard work worth it.

• Another highlight of Fuse was getting to be a host-home for one of the freshman girls small groups.

• It’s always a little funny hosting.

• I had so many great host-home experiences as a kid playing baseball, so I love doing it.

• But since I’m the pastor, it always feels to some of the kids like they are staying at the principle’s house. 😆

• We did what we could to put them at ease — including making a pretty great TikTok video.

• All in all, a really fun weekend.

• We were all pretty dang tired afterwards, though!

• This week we’ve had a few days to catch our breath and now me, Seth, and Matthew are spending the next few days planning and thinking about what Gateway needs in the next year.

• Should be a good time to connect, dream, plan, and pray.

• Then this Sunday, we start our Countercultural Convictions series — read about it here.

• I’m VERY much looking forward to this first message, “How We Counter Culture.”

• I’ve realized that a great deal of the confusion and division among the broader church — and our church — in the last year actually has to do with the question, “What is the church’s role when it comes to engaging culture?”

• Or, to put it another way, “How should we be counter cultural?”

• I’m looking forward to sharing some of the biblical and philosophical foundations that drive our approach at Redemption.

• I think it’s somewhat a distinctive of our ministry, so it will be nice to be able to articulate it.

• I’ll share some links below to some interesting things…

• In the meantime, have a great week!

• All of life is all for Jesus.


• This was a powerful and moving message by Jen Wilkin — left me with a few unanswered questions about what’s OK for the church to do today, but it was a stirring look at an under-appreciated theme.

• I was intrigued by this sermon by John Mark Comer about “The Four American Gospels” — I don’t listen to a lot of sermons these days (besides what is preached at Gateway by other pastors), but this one was helpful.

• In case you missed this video about our quilting ministry, it’s wonderful.

• This cracked me up.

• So did this…

• I mentioned a while ago that I’ve been listening to the podcast about The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill — this reflection piece on it was really great.

• I’ve found this new podcast from Ray Ortlund and Sam Allberry to be motivating and encouraging.