The history of redemption: a story that involves you

by / April 1, 2016

What’s the most memorable sermon you’ve ever heard?

If you, like me, grew up in a Christian home, you’ve probably heard a whole lot of sermons. I mean, a whole lot of sermons.

Let’s attempt to quantify this. Assuming you’ve been a regular church attendee for most of your life, the approximate number of messages you’ve heard should be

y = 50x

where y is the number of sermons you’ve heard and x is your age. I don’t know about you, but I end up with a y value north of 1,000. That’s staggering and sobering, in part because, out of all those hundreds and hundreds of sermons I’ve witnessed, I remember very, very, very few. Perhaps you can relate.

 

Ronnie Smith’s memorable, moving message

On November 28, 2010, a fellow named Ronnie Smith shared a compelling message with his church in Austin. The message was called “The History of Redemption,” and, unlike a typical sermon, it consisted of pure Scripture—dozens of Bible passages from both the Old and New testaments. Beautifully woven together, the verses describe God’s redemptive work throughout history, beginning in Genesis.

Oh, and did I mention that the entire message was memorized? Ronnie quoted “The History of Redemption” from memory. No note cards, no cheat sheets, no teleprompters, just mental recall. (Tragically, Ronnie was killed three years later, on December 5, 2013, in Benghazi, Libya. He had moved there to serve as a schoolteacher and share God’s love with the Libyan people. Which makes his message even more touching.)

 

The Haley McNeese version

But wait, there’s more. Inspired by Ronnie’s message, my talented cousin Haley took it upon herself to memorize the same redemption story and share it with her church in the DFW area, which she did on May 31, 2015. Like Ronnie’s message, Haley’s delivery is moving, compelling, and inspiring.

 

The Garrett Haley version

Well, I—eminently impressed by both Ronnie’s and Haley’s messages—had the privilege of sharing a similar message with my little church in Lubbock on January 10. Although I tweaked a few things here and there, the gist of the message remains the same.

 

Closing thoughts

“The History of Redemption” is a timeless message that has greatly encouraged me over the past couple years. Whether you watch Ronnie’s or Haley’s or my take on it, I hope you too will be inspired by the powerful story of God’s redemptive work throughout history. If you watch any one of the above videos in full, you’ll probably agree that it may be the most memorable sermon you will see this year.

I’m thankful for Ronnie; even though I never met him, his legacy inspires me. I’m thankful for my cousin Haley—for taking it upon herself to memorize all those verses and share them with her church and the many others who have watched the video of her message. And I’m thankful most of all for our Heavenly Father, who orchestrates all things together according to His will and includes each one of us in His beautiful redemption story—a story that began thousands of years ago and continues to unfold today.

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Garrett Haley

Garrett Haley is a freelance writer living in Lubbock, Texas. He contributes weekly news articles to Christian News Network and biweekly blog posts to Come Awake.

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