Sermons: The Book of Acts
Join Pastor Tony in a study of the book of Acts.
Join Pastor Tony in a study of the book of Acts.
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I had been working in the financial field right out of school. I lost my job of 15 years in 2013 and decided to start “living”. Not just working for a paycheck but to pursue my true passion of dance through Zumba®, which I had been teaching part-time as a hobby. I realized there was a reason for everything. Having been awakened by this whole experience I chose a mantra to carry me through my journey…it has been to celebrate life! I strive to unite the community through my classes and I am always looking for places to do so. I had asked the Lord how I could serve Him and He showed me Redeemer Hoboken. I had attended Redeemer Hoboken’s Christmas event just this last holiday to hear my friend Vanessa Garaio’s beautiful voice sing the praises of Jesus. Seeing how the Redeemer community came together for such an event I wanted to share my mantra and love for the art of dance with this community and to help out any way I could so spoke with Pastor Tony about this idea that I had. With the help of Redeemer we put together this fabulously fun family event for a great cause, New City Kids Paterson. My heart was filled with much joy & love when I saw the kids & parents, at the fundraiser, letting go and dancing freely. It’s such a great feeling knowing you are bringing people, families, and children together all through fun fitness! Together we are celebrating life.
Whenever I dance I feel free, happy and alive. For me it started at the age of 2. It is with this lifelong passion & same exuberance that my focus is now on helping children develop a healthy lifestyle by bringing fun & fitness together. I am so excited to offer Zumba® Kids and Kids Jr. as well as opening the doors in Hudson County for moms and their children with the first-ever movement & music Zumbini™ classes. During my classes children are allowed to be free… free of judgment, free of pressure, just come and have a good time. It is exercise disguised as FUN! My classes help children feel confident and strong in a welcoming environment. We have the opportunity to take control of a happy and healthy lifestyle by creating a mindset filled with passion, love, commitment and good energy. You have this within you as you walk away from my classes, and when you wake up every day. As this vibe continues to grow, I look forward to celebrating this life together with you…one dance at a time!
My kids and I had a blast dancing together at last week’s Zumba fundraiser for New City Kids: Paterson. Thanks so much to Susan for volunteering her gifts and time in this way; I hope we raised some good money for New City.
Though there were obvious benefits to such a gathering: spending time together as a church family, staying healthy and having fun, I wasn’t expecting to be so powerfully struck emotionally. I saw amazing things happening with our kids that night, and it got me thinking about the many things I am grateful for with how Redeemer Hoboken chooses to show children they are valued.
As I looked around the room last Sunday, I saw the most beautiful thing: uninhibited children unafraid to take risks in front of their peers and church family because they know it’s a safe place where they are loved. I watched the pre-teens “shaking it off” and having a blast, and I choked back tears of joy. It took me back to memories of dance circles in middle and high school gyms where scrutiny and gossip were sure to follow, and I couldn’t help but think what a gift it is for our children to have these positive experiences instead. Their world is being built around a church family who loves and accepts them just as they are, who celebrates differences in personality and values diversity in gifts. I watched my painfully shy daughter, who swore she wouldn’t participate, dancing with complete abandon, and having a blast with her friends. I was so touched. It’s exactly what I had hoped to provide in these young years to help build her self-esteem before she enters a world that can be tricky to navigate. And it’s you, the people in this church family, who are helping us do it – raising my kids together, with me and Joe, in the admonition of the Lord just as you promised the day we had each of them baptized.
The work we do with our children is powerful. Helping them plant the Truth of God’s word deep in their hearts from the beginning builds a mighty foundation necessary to thrive in a dark and needy world. If they all go forth living in this Truth, imagine what God will use them to do for his Kingdom – I get chills! I am so grateful for Rachel and Gary, and the many others who put a lot of time, energy, and prayer into creating places where our kids will encounter a real and powerful God for themselves. Though sharing the stories is big part of it, there is so much more that goes on.
One intentional thing we do with kids beginning elementary age and up, is have them stay with us for worship. I must admit, when my oldest first graduated from the toddler class, I was dreading this a little bit. As a homeschooling mom of four, Sunday morning is all I’ve got when it comes to time away from them. The thought of sharing MY worship time, the one time a week when I’m not responsible for little people and can enjoy the beautiful gifts of the musicians who lead us, just about did me in.☺ I found myself resentful when my singing time was interrupted for requests of napkins for cream cheese faces and sips of juice. But we did the work, and now that we are on the other side of it, I see the beauty. My kids know every word to every song. I hear them in their rooms throughout the week belting out the songs we sing on Sunday. In corporate worship, they dance and sing out hard, and they are truly worshipping a real and powerful God whom with they are beginning to understand what it means to have a person relationship. These are things that happened because they were given the opportunity to be with and observe adults they love and respect worshipping this same God. Praise Him that He didn’t allow my selfishness in wanting to guard this time for myself prevail.
Our church loves children, and knows that they are simply little humans, who need the same thing we need as adults – to know the one and only Jesus. I’m so grateful to be a part of a family that tells them they are important, and invests in making sure they know just how loved they are by God. And on the days when it is my kids misbehaving in worship, it’s also comforting to know that as I walk through it with them, no one is judging us, but rather looking on with compassion and patience.
When we set out to Zumba together last Sunday, I certainly didn’t know the Lord would use it to touch my heart in such a way, but I was reminded, yet again, how he uses all things to glorify himself. Redeemer Family, thank you so much for investing in the children on a weekly basis – great will be your reward in heaven for sure!