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We begin a new series this week, Finding the Heart of Redemption.  Redemption is an ancient, but very important word.  When we find redemption, we are able to let go of anger.  When experience redemption, we are able to move beyond division.  When we live out of redemption, we are able to share forgiveness.  Redemption brings so many other powerful realities to our lives: renewal, hope, joy, and unity!  As we have watched the events of 2020, we cannot help but ask, “What will help us find wholeness in our fractured world?”  Our first sermon in this series is: The Way. We turn to Isaiah 35:1-10.  This prophetic word was to encourage God’s people who were enduring difficulty, division, and doubt.  The vision of Isaiah reminds us that God’s redeeming power is at work, even in the darkest times.  God’s way of redemption is filled with transformation and hope! This is God’s heart, and it was not just for the people of Isaiah’s time, but for all of us!  May you sense the redeeming power of God strengthening your heart as you read Isaiah 35:1-10: The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. 3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” 5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. 7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. 8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (NIV)