MLK Sunday 2019

Various Speakers
January 21, 2019

This was an important Sunday giving tribute to the life and message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The theology behind King’s work was explored, as well as, an assessment of the progress we have made in America toward racial healing. Practical ideas were given on how to be agents of justice both individually and as a church. Several short messages were given (Rachel Rogers, Ayisha Jackson, Sam Jean-Baptiste) to create a symphony of diverse voices and perspectives around the theme of racial reconciliation. Pastor Scott ties it all together toward the end showing that the Gospel cannot be separated from justice work.

Fear God

Scott Axtmann
November 18, 2018

It has become common for Christians to disregard the clear commands of God. Not only is sin practiced but not much is thought of it. There’s no brokenness, no shame. Pastor Scott breaks down the message of Jesus to the church in Sardis (Revelation 3). Sardis had a reputation of being alive but the Lord said they were dead and their works were incomplete. It’s a reminder that man looks at the outward but God sees the heart. In a sidebar Scott lays out ten of the most commonly disregarded commands that he’s seen in this generation. The call of God to the dead Sardis Christians is to wake up, remember what God has done for them and repent. The call to get right is not presented as optional but comes with a grave warning that if they don’t make things right God will come against them in judgment. This is an unusually sobering message bearing down on anything in the life of a Christian that is dead. When the church fully aligns with God’s Word the glorious result is that the Spirit rests upon her and life is manifested. 

Rescue Mission

Various Speakers
November 11, 2018

This day featured multiple speakers. Pastor Scott kicked it off with a short message about the importance of being in proximity to the local poor. Then the service was handed off to Tony Carew from the Rescue Mission who brought a strong message from the Parable of the Talents. This was followed by three separate testimonies of people who were transformed by Jesus and now serve at the Mission in various capacities. God’s compassion for the local and global poor was displayed beautifully. 

Teen Challenge 2018

Tabatha Mello
October 28, 2018

Several ladies from the local Teen Challenge share their stories of how the Gospel of Jesus transformed their lives. Tabatha Mello, one of the directors and also the leader of Ren’s ministry of prayer, preached a powerful message about counting the cost of following Jesus.

Making Space for the Spirit

Jeremy Ugumba
October 21, 2018

As followers of Christ we are commissioned by Jesus to bring the Gospel whenever we are planted. That may be in a far away land where people have never heard about Jesus, or it may be at work, in our school or our neighborhood. In order to be effective in this mission we must be filled with the Spirit. And in order to be filled we must make room for the Holy Spirit. Special guest Jeremy Ugumba, a campus missionary at Brown University with Inter Varsity, expounds these important ideas with passion, clarity and with inspiring stories. Jeremy lays out several practical ways we can make space for God at the end of his message.

Moving Forward

John Michaelson
October 14, 2018

In Philippians 3, Paul sets forth a lofty standard of how we ought prioritize Jesus above all else. He also recognizes that he has not obtained it or arrived at this standard. Undaunted by his past, he presses on toward the goal. In this sermon, we look at some of the roadblocks in growing in our life with Christ. How should we deal with our sin (as well as our success) in order to “move forward”?


Scott Axtmann
October 7, 2018

This is a message taken from Acts chapters 1-2 addressing the great need of the Church to receive spiritual power in order to be effective witnesses. Jesus told his disciples not to rush out and try to reach the world until first waiting for the promise of Holy Spirit power to come upon them. The disciples already had a measure of the Spirit’s power to pray, to believe, to love one another, to joyfully worship, and so on. But Jesus revealed that there was a greater power needed that would only come to them as they waited in prayerful anticipation for it. About 120 disciples spent 10 days hungering and thirsting for God’s Spirit to be poured out. On the day of Pentecost the Spirit came like a mighty rushing wind and with tongues of fire! This was the birth of the Church and the beginning of turning the world upside down. 3000 people were added to the Church. Pastor Scott exhorts at the end to continue pressing into prayer during this season for the power of God to fall upon the church in such an extraordinary way that the city would be transformed. 

Kingdom Reality

Lorenna Ellis
September 29, 2018

How do we live in the tension between the brokenness we see, feel, and touch, and the reality that Jesus is the King? We must identify what’s broken, identify the King, and live into His Kingdom. This sermon was given by one of our REN missionaries who serves with the Campus Ministry of Cru, which is mobilizing students and faculty to reach the world with the love of Jesus.


Scott Axtmann
September 23, 2018

This is a message aimed to motivate from Hebrews 12. The call is to run the race with endurance. The simple metaphor encourages us to live the Christian life with a similar intensity a runner in a race would have. The problem we often have is that we find ourselves fatigued, discouraged, confused about God, not motivated, and so on. Where will the drive come from to press forward with passion? Hebrews 12 contains several rich truths that can motivate us to run the race with fierce determination. 

Desire for Prayer

Colin McNulty
July 9, 2018

We all know we should pray, but if we lack understanding of God’s desire for prayer it can seem to us more drudgery than delight. In this message guest speaker Colin McNulty shares on how God is both the author and sustainer of our prayer life. Prayer begins not with human willpower but with God’s word sparking desire and igniting faith in our hearts. God doesn’t need us to pray but he wants us to pray because he desires partnership with His Church. 

House of Prayer

Scott Axtmann
June 17, 2018

In 2009 the Lord brought a strong call to the church to be a house of prayer for all nations. As we approach almost a decade of following that call Pastor Scott brings some needed assessment to how we are doing. The message is a reminder of the key ideas God spoke to the church in 2009 and a fresh motivation to press in. The last part of the message includes several practical initiatives unveiled which are intended to foster this renewed emphasis on prayer.

Showing No Partiality

Sarah Batchelor
May 27, 2018

This particular Sunday was special as it was the Sunday before the launch of the Citylove initiative. The main message from the Word came from Sarah Batchelor who works as an engineer in Boston who has been attending, serving, and loving the Ren community for over 6 years now. She gave us a very fresh “laypersons” perspective on the story in Acts 10 when the Gospel expanded to the gentiles. Pastor Scott followed up the message with some practical exhortations on how this call to reach all kinds of people plays out in the local church. The double sermon morning was like a one-two punch to motivate the church to fulfill her mission with great passion in this season while there’s still time! 

Take Heed

Scott Axtmann
March 25, 2018

It is common to see people become Christians with great joy, get involved for a season but then fall away. This happens all the time for a variety of reasons. It might be the allure of sin or the pursuit of money or just plain busyness that draws them away. It is a fight for Christians to endure through the years and cross the finish line strong. Satan and the forces of darkness work tirelessly to tear Christians away from simple devotion to Jesus. It’s a daily war and it’s a war that doesn’t end until we breathe our last breath. Pastor Scott brings a strong warning about what to watch out for on the Christian journey. Strong exhortations are given about what it takes to stand firm till the end. The message is rooted in Paul’s words to the church at Corinth found in 2 Corinthians 11. This message was given on baptism Sunday with new believers in mind but the message is an important reminder for all who desire to follow Christ till the end. 

Compassion for the Poor

Nate Pracht
March 11, 2018

God is shaping us into a culture of compassion, a community that leans into empathy, a community that shares God’s compassion, kindness and love for the poor. In Scriptures we see God’s love for the poor burst out of the pages.  From Moses to Jesus we see that common thread of concern and care for the poor. In this message, Nate looks at some of the themes we see in the Scriptures regarding God's care and concern for the poor. We realize that for us to tap into compassion for the poor is to sync up with the heartbeat of God.

MLK Sunday

Scott Axtmann
January 14, 2018

Martin Luther King was one of the greatest men shaping our country in the last 100 years. He was the leading voice of the civil rights movement in the 20th century. He not only was a tremendous orator but also risked his life for the cause of bringing freedom to others. He was imprisoned over 20 times. He was stabbed. He was hated and suffered constant death threats. Eventually he was assassinated in 1968 at the young age of 39. He was a burning and shining light, a prophet who articulated the particular injustices of blacks and pressed for change with a fierce urgency. This message probes into the life and message of Dr. King but then takes us into the present day to consider injustices now. Scott discusses modern racism, as well as, the sufferings of the homeless, victims of sex trafficking, widows, fatherless, unborn children, refugees, women in the workplace and so on. Verses from Isaiah 58, Amos 5-6, Isaiah 1, Proverbs 31 and 1John3 are expounded to show clearly that following God is synonymous with doing the work of justice. Some practical encouragements are given to help us climb out of apathy and into the works of Jesus. Right after the sermon one of the other Ren Ministers, Sam Jean-Baptiste, shares a personal experience to show that racism is still very much a problem in today’s world.

Pracht Mission Trip Update

Nate and Becky Pracht
January 8, 2018

In recent days Becky and Nate Pracht went to Uganda on a missions trip. In this message they share lessons learned on the trip and especially press home the call to love one another. This is a message not only for those interested in global missions but for those who desire to love the community of believers deeper.

Healed vs. Cured

Nia Campinha-Bacote
October 29, 2017

If you have ever experienced a physical injury, you know how frustrating it is to have limited mobility.  Yet immobility is not contained to merely the physical realm, and at times we can feel paralyzed by our own thoughts or life's circumstances. In this sermon, Yale University campus missionary and Divinity School student Nia Campinha-Bacote gives us a glimpse into how God might be calling us to respond in the moments when we feel stuck.  By looking at the Biblical account of a man who was paralyzed for thirty-eight years and then encounters Jesus, Nia challenges us to ask the question, "Do we desire to be cured or healed?"

Our Glory

Lorenna Ellis
August 27, 2017

How does God regard our need to find significance, to feel valuable and confident?  And what are we supposed to do with this need?  Our guest missionary, Lorenna, discusses a story in the life of King David to find answers to these questions.  Ultimately, it is Jesus’ death on the cross that unleashes the greatest confidence and the deepest humility we could ever experience.

Pastor Scott's Comments on Charlottesville

Scott Axtmann
August 20, 2017

"What has been happening in recent days is absolutely appalling but not surprising. I think most of us are aware that racism is alive and well, not just in a small band of white supremacists, but in a significant portion of American society. I'm certain it has sunk into every human heart to some extent which is why we all need to constantly ask God to search our hearts. We should always be on the side of promoting justice and defending those who are being oppressed. It's our calling as followers of Jesus." Read the rest of the written version here.

Fostering Hope

Jonathan Reid
June 25, 2017

Jonathan Reid of Fostering Hope delivers a challenging sermon on the adoption of God's people and the responsibility that comes with it. What does this responsibility entail? The imitation of Christ through the selfless fostering and adoption of orphans into the family of God. 

Community Depth

Scott Axtmann
June 4, 2017

Pastor Scott gives what he often calls a "pastoral talk" to address some very practical and important concerns regarding life as a church community. There are many challenges in the aim to have depth of community including geographic scattering, busy schedules, widening social circles, fatigue, and the transient nature of cities. Several concrete instructions are given on how to overcome these challenges and develop deep meaningful relationships within the church. In the ending, Pastor Scott talks specifically about the need for supernatural love in order to do what God is calling us to do in being a community of love.

The Importance of Forgiving

John Michaelson
May 5, 2017

No one can escape the need to forgive others. Everyone is hurt or wronged or betrayed at one time or another, and when these experiences happen, it's very easy to become bitter. Ren elder John Michaelson goes deep into the teaching of Christ from the sermon on the mount about the dangers of not forgiving. He discusses how it's not only important to forgive but to pursue reconciliation. John also provides some wonderful hope at the end on God's sufficient grace to enable us to forgive deeply from the heart.

Steadfast Love in the Darkness

Nathan Pracht
April 2, 2017

Lamentations 3 promises that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.  But the background of Lamentations is not happiness and blessing, but suffering and destruction.  How does the steadfast love of the Lord come to us in times of pain and suffering?  Nate draws on Scripture and personal experience to unpack what it looks like to be loved by God through the hard times of life.  We learn that life hits hard, but the love of God comes stronger.  Those moments that were meant to tear us down, actually can build us up stronger than we were.  The sermon gives special encouragement and guidance for those in the midst of mental illness.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Nate Pracht + Sam Jean-Baptiste
January 17, 2017

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Nate and Sam bring a message about God’s kingdom and racism. Nate shares that condemning and eradicating racism is a reflection of God’s character. God’s people is not one race or one culture, but is made up of every tribe, language, and race. Sam describes ways that we as Christians can carry on MLK’s legacy in how we live, pray, and worship.

Advent 2016 - Love

Nia Campinha-Bacote
December 18, 2016

In this third week of Advent the theme of love is explored by young preacher Nia Campinha-Bacote who is a campus missionary at Yale University. Nia talks about God's great love for us demonstrated in the cross and that our love for God in response is a choice lived out in tangible ways. This is a message of hope for those who need to be reminded of how good God is.

Advent 2016 - Peace

David Rodriguez
December 11, 2016

This message was given by Pastor David Rodriguez of Church of the Community on the Advent theme of "Peace". Pastor David beautifully describes the peace we can have with God and the effects it has on our relationships with each other and even our enemies. The truth is that we live in a broken contentious world but God has called us and empowered us to be peacemakers. We are agents of peace in a world of strife.

Advent 2016 - Hope

Charles Berkley
December 4, 2016

Pastor Charles Berkley of Providence Assembly on Elmwood Avenue in the neighborhood was a special guest with us to open up the Advent season preaching a message on hope. Charles has pastored in the city for many years and is considered a mentor and spiritual father to many. Ren Church and Providence Assembly have partnered on many occasions with worship gatherings and city outreaches. This message by Charles is a great encouragement especially to those who are running low on hope. It's also a reminder that our hope is rooted in eternity.

To Such Belongs the Kingdom

Scott Axtmann
June 6, 2016

Our children are being swept away by world systems of unbelief. The majority of children raised in the Church fall away from faith. Most young people are not interested in serving the Lord. Instead, they are caught up in the current of the world. The Bible clearly states that the Kingdom of God is for children; God can move in their lives and transform them. Pastor Scott preaches a message about what God wants to do in the upcoming generation, and our role in our families and communities.

Where is Ellyn Now?

Scott Axtmann
May 29, 2016

On Wednesday, May 25, the Renaissance Church community tragically lost a beloved member in a terrible accident. At times like this, we can't help but ask God, "Why?" We may never be able to answer that question to our satisfaction, but Pastor Scott delivers a heartfelt and powerful message about grief, loss, and hope.

Make Sure We're Not a Stumbling Block

Paul Moon
March 20, 2016

Paul Moon delivers a Passover sermon on Matthew 21:12-13, when Jesus enters the Court of the Gentiles in the temple, and defends them and removes the stumbling blocks holding them back from experiencing God in a deeper way. We avoid being a stumbling block by being filled to overflowing with the Spirit, glorifying God, and becoming a clear path to Him without restrictions. Paul then offers some practical steps to achieve this in deeper ways.

What's so great about The Great Commission?

John Michaelson
March 13, 2016

John Michaelson delivers a compelling and inspiring sermon about Matthew 28:18-20, and explores five reasons why it's great: 1. Jesus is great, 2. disciples of Jesus are great, 3. the news is great, 4. the Holy Spirit is great, and 5. being commissioned is great. 

The Cross and Communion

John Michaelson
January 10, 2016

John Michaelson opens up his sermon with a description of his experience with Easter Encounter, and the powerful culmination of beholding the cross. He then discusses the progression and culmination of Jesus's life on earth: to teach, to model holiness, to heal sickness and disease and infirmity, but the main reason Jesus was born, was to die. Jesus resolutely understood His calling and purpose. John reminds us about the significance of the cross, and what Jesus did for us, and exhorts us to never weary of keeping what Jesus really did (and continues to do) for us, forefront in our minds and hearts. 

The Royal Rumble at the River

Jacqui Strothoff
November 1, 2015

Using the life of Jacob and scripture references from Genesis 32, guest speaker Jacqui Strothoff preaches a sermon about wrestling with God. Jacqui exhorts us to learn about endurance and remaining steady under difficult circumstances in our prayer lives alone in the dark with God, because even though wrestling with God can hurt, the struggle is revealing and transformative. No one truly wrestles with God and stays the same. 

Fighting the Enemy

John Michaelson
August 23, 2015

In this message, Renaissance Elder John Michaelson preaches about the enemy that stands in opposition to us.  As the Bible says, our enemy is not flesh and blood but it is the spiritual forces of darkness, we are opposed by Satan.  We need to be awakened to this reality and be sober minded about this opposition.  John ends the sermon by chronicling what are defense against Satan is as we have been given spiritual weapons through our identity and empowerment by God.  

God's Love Song

July 1, 2012
Scott Axtmann

There's nothing we can do to separate ourselves from the transformative love of God. All too often we disqualify ourselves from His compassion because of self-doubt or feelings of unworthiness, but God never ceases to seek after us – He adores us and sings love songs over us. We have only to receive. This recording contains the message from both the 9AM and the 11AM services.

The Call to Pursue: A Mission in Africa

June 24, 2012
Various speakers

One of our missionaries to Africa returns this summer to tell us not only about her stories and experiences, but more importantly, to tell us about God's heart – His heart to pursue. And just as God called Hosea to pursue a faithless spouse, He calls every one of us to take on the relentless pursuit for 2.8 billion people who live without hope in their lives.

The God in Your Pocket

June 17, 2012
Scott Axtmann

Throughout the Bible, God seems to display the worst marketing strategies ever for church growth – how did the congregations respond when He killed Uzzah for touching the ark, or when He killed Ananias for lying? The fear and reverence of God has been replaced today by a happy-go-lucky Jesus that has the widest audience appeal and lets us do whatever we want. Pastor Scott powerfully reminds us that God does not want hypocrites in His church.

New Birth

May 27, 2012
Scott Axtmann

Scott preaches out of Ezekiel 27 on the New Birth. This recording contains both the 9AM and 11AM sermons.

Teen Challenge Sermon

May 20, 2012
Jacqui Strothoff

The Providence campus of Teen Challenge New England visits us this morning with songs of praise, testimonies of God's saving grace, and a message from director Rev. Jacqui Strothoff.

What Is Your Samuel?

May 13, 2012
Scott Axtmann

Pastor Scott takes us through the story of Hannah, the mother of Samuel.  He looks at the anguish and despair she felt as a barren woman. But her desire for the child, Samuel, came straight from God, so she did not relent.  And God blessed her. The question is what has God put in your heart, what is the burden and dream you are carrying? What is your 'Samuel’?

Abide In Him

May 6, 2012
Scott Axtmann

Pastor Scott preaches out of John 15 reminding us that Jesus is the vine and we are his branches. The only way for us to be truly fruitful in this life is to abide in him and allow him to shape and prune us.  

Come Home

November 27, 2011
Scott Axtmann

How does God feel about your actions? Are you in right standing with Him, or devoid of His spirit? There will be a separation, a divide between the righteous and unrighteous. God wants you on His side, He is calling you home.

Follow the Leader

November 20, 2011
Scott Axtmann

God is not calling us to be fans of Jesus, but Followers.  We must follow the same Jesus that wept for His people, and went out with power from on high. He is calling you to Himself, to go where He is going. Where are you headed?

Jesus: Add to Friends

November 13, 2011
Scott Axtmann

We are designed for intimate friendship with God. He wants us to be close to Him, trust and draw near. Have you accepted Jesus as your friend?

Modern Day Abolitionists

October 30, 2011
Scott Axtmann

"There is an invisible war happening all around us, a war that we are all engaged in. The whole world is under the control of evil..." Sound like a movie trailer? It's called Reality – the fight against invisible slavery. Showing at a theater near you. Running time: until Jesus' return. Price: Free. Price for Abolitionists: Your life.