Redemption - It's Complicated

by Doug Rehberg

Many of you have asked about the article I cited on Sunday, April 28, in my message entitled, “Father, Forgive Them”. It was written six days after the Masters, hours before Easter Sunday, in a piece written by Larry Alex Taunton in The American Spectator titled “Tiger Woods, Easter, and the Complicated Nature of Redemption.” My friend, Bill Kear, first brought it to my attention, due to its uncanny convergence with the Gospel. As with most Gospel-centered proclamations it’s at the same time exhilarating and convicting. Here is the article in its entirety...

“One didn’t have to be a golf fan to know something of Tiger Woods’s troubles when they became the subject of tabloids more than a decade ago. A man who appeared to have everything, his whole world seemed to come apart before a public ravenous for gossip and always ready to trample its heroes. His wife, Elin Nordegren, left him and the divorce was ugly. A number of his friends and key sponsors deserted him. Even a couple of his mistresses, complicit in his private sin, nonetheless capitalized on his notoriety and delivered him over to the bottom feeders at TMZPeople, and US Weekly with no thought whatsoever of him or his wife and children. And, in a cruel twist of fate, health issues started to plague his play.

“Thus, began Tiger Woods’s terrible and humiliating descent into an abyss. He became a late-night punchline, a has-been. Talk show hosts speculated with regularity that he would never win a major golf tournament again. His greatness was gone, the pundits declared with finality and not just a little relish.

“I am not a golf fan. Until last weekend, I had never watched golf on television. But I have been quietly rooting for Tiger Woods for years. From the moment news of his troubled life made headlines in 2009, I went from being indifferent to feeling compassion for him. Whenever I heard his name on radio or television, I said a quick prayer for him. Not necessarily for tournament wins, but redemption; Redemption with a capital “R.” I have felt an odd connection with him. Our lives, our goals, our sins are not the same, but I have known what it is to attain something and lose it. I have known what it is to hurt those you love and to be hurt by others you love. I have known what it is to struggle with painful memories that refuse to stay buried. I have known the falsity of friendships that weren’t what you thought they were. And I have known what it is to be delivered over to a vicious media all too willing to gleefully aid in your destruction if it gets clicks.

“As friends and family sat on our porch over the weekend, we discussed Tiger Woods and the complicated nature of redemption. “Still others texted me their thoughts. Opinions were all over the place. Some said they didn’t like Tiger before or now. Others wondered whether they should support a man who is Buddhist. (Please. Are you so discriminating with your football teams?) But most were moved by his victory at The Masters. Then my son, Christopher, sent me this article by Lee Habeeb in NewsweekIt is superb. Habeeb writes:

What we were all watching, in real time, was a great American redemption story. And we Americans are suckers for a great redemption story. It is indeed our most redeeming feature: Americans are not cynics.

What a long way he’d come from that long, hard fall. The car crash at his mansion in Orlando on Thanksgiving night back in 2009. The endless parade of affairs with porn stars and cocktail waitresses. Then there was the DUI arrest, the back surgeries and so much more.

There was also the endless chatter. The endless gossip. The endless discussions on sports stations and ESPN. It was ugly, much of what was written and said about Tiger. 
What Tiger did was ugly. He hurt a lot of people: his wife, his family and those who depended on him. He authored his own fall, but don’t we all? Isn’t that what the great writers throughout history have written about, our ability to sabotage our own lives thanks to vanity, ego, selfishness and brokenness?

Many of us hoped and prayed for Tiger… Tiger was, in the end, a human being. Just like the rest of us. He too had flaws, pain and wounds….

Looking at some of the sports posts on Facebook and Twitter, there are still a lot of Tiger detractors out there. Some just can’t forgive him. Some can’t let go of their hate….
“It’s overwhelming,” Woods told reporters. “It’s just unreal for me to experience this. I just couldn’t be more happy.”

We’re happy for you too, Tiger. All of us who were praying for you to get back on your feet and reclaim your life. And your career.

Your win — and the outpouring of love and joy from across this great country — showed the world what forgiveness looks like. And what grace looks like, too.

“A lot of ink has been spilled on Tiger Woods as a redemption story this week. Much of it has been trite. Worse, many of those jumping on Woods’s bandwagon now are the very media outlets that capitalized on — and reveled in — his past failures. And they will do it again should he again fail. Habeeb’s column, however, has substance. As an evangelical Christian, Habeeb was praying and cheering for the right things. I will quibble with his characterization of forgiveness and redemption a bit when I say that Tiger didn’t sin against the public and therefore doesn’t need their forgiveness, and Redemption is entirely a work of God that has nothing whatsoever to do with Masters Tournament championships. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that Tiger Woods’s victory last Sunday is a great comeback story rather than a redemption story.

“But what a dramatic comeback story it is! What’s next? Will he and Elin reconcile? Now that would be an even better story. I don’t know Tiger Woods and I don’t dare judge him. The man has endured enough of that for several Buddhist reincarnations (or “rebirths” as I think they call it). Rather, I pray that in the light of his recent triumph he gives credit to a God whose grace is so remarkable that he bestows a measure of it even on those who don’t know him. I pray for Tiger Woods’s redemption — his real redemption.

“This weekend Christians worldwide will celebrate Easter. On that day, Jesus Christ, having died for the sins of the world, is said to have risen from the dead. Many Christians think that while they needed Christ’s redeeming work on the Cross for their own redemption, they needed less than the next guy. That is because we are all hardwired to judge ourselves more lightly than we judge others. If you think you’re better than Tiger Woods, I have news for you. You aren’t. If you think he’s unworthy of redemption, then you’ve failed to understand the nature of your own offense against God. The wonderful thing about God’s grace, forgiveness, and redemption is that it is available to everyone, and while some might want to withhold it, the Lord never does. That, as theologian Erika Moore recently said to me, ‘is the scandal of the Cross.’”

Keeping the Course

by Jen Balkey

“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.” I Thess. 3:12

Are you feeling ANCHORED in Christ and His Word? Is that stability allowing you to Reach Out and share His love as a result? We are meant to be in community so that we can serve and love others as a way to steward the life we have been given and glorify Him. Women’s Ministry has several opportunities available in the coming months to help encourage women to be anchored in their faith, as well as to be intentionally in community with other women.


Acts 2:46 says: “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.”

This is an opportunity to gather six women around your table - creating a space for them to feel known and providing an environment for conversation about following God and giving Him away.

How does this work??
· You choose if you would like to host then let Jen Balkey know when/where you would like the TABLE to take place. (Address, time, location- can be your home, a reserved location i.e.: Panera)
· Jen will create a sign up so that women can join your TABLE. You are welcome to invite/recruit whomever you would like as well. (We suggest a minimum of four women and maximum of six for each table.)
· Jen will provide the TABLE host with a conversation prompt provided by IF: as well as four conversation starter questions to encourage intentional conversation about how God is working in our lives.
· Sign up for a TABLE being hosted and show up at the designated time/place

- 6 Women - 2 Hours - 4 Questions

If you would like to host an IF:Table or have any questions please email me- or call 412-551-4688.

Summer Sensation- Peaches in the Park
Wednesday, July 17th  6:30-8pm at Penn Hills Universal Park
Keep an eye out for further details in coming months!

Fall Retreat Planning
PLEASE mark your calendar and SAVE THE DATE for our Fall Retreat!!

We will be going to Our Christ the Shepherd Conference Center in Greensburg on
Friday, October 4th and Saturday, October 5th 2019.

Would you like to be a part of planning this year's Women's Fall Retreat?? Join me Wednesday, May 22nd from 6:30-8:00 pm in the Sadie Long Room (classroom 203 on Main Floor). We will begin planning for our Women's Ministry Retreat coming this fall. Please email Jen Balkey ( if you would like to be a part of this planning team.

We pray for God's direction as we plan and His blessing on our time away.

Musical Talent???
Do you have a musical talent/gift that you would like to use/share?? Wouldn't it be great to have a Hebron Women's Worship Team for Women's Ministry events?!? (like the Fall Retreat and Heart Breakfast!!)

1 Peter 4:10-11 says:
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever."

Women's Ministry would love for you to share your gifts/talents with us and see how we can glorify God together in worship and praise to His great name.
Call or email Jen Balkey!! (412-551-4688 or

Is It Summer Yet?

Pizza and Pool Party

Date: Sunday, June 30
Time: 3:00 pm to closing
Location: Rosedale Beach Club, Verona
Cost: Free - Families are invited to bring a dish to share
Bring your beach towel and goggles!

Kidz Night Out

Date: Friday, July 26
Time: 6:00-9:00 pm, Dinner included
Location: Hebron Church
Cost: Free
Kidz AND Parents enjoy a night out!

Swimming and Cookout

Date: Saturday, August 10
Time: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: Keystone State Park
Cost: Free - Families are invited to bring a side dish to share
Fun in the sand and lake. 
Bring your beach chairs, towels, and sand toys!

Parenting Panel Planned for Fall

The Discipleship Team is planning a Parenting Panel. This will be a series of sessions, each session addressing specific seasons of parenting from infancy through grand parenting.

A variety of experienced parents will comprise the panel each night. Attendees will be given the opportunity to ask questions, have small group discussions, and pray with each other. Our goal is to better understand God’s plan for parenting, encourage one another in the process, bring glory to God, and live our lives according to His design. 

“Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14.

In today’s culture, we parents are in a battle for our children. When doing it as God planned, we need to lean on Him, a boatload of his grace, and each other. Parents, please consider joining us this fall.  Watch for specifics in September.

The Hebron Marriage Retreat - Reflections

The marriage retreat to me was one of the best weekends of 2019 for my wife and I. When Cydney asked if the retreat would be something I would be interested in, I was unsure of what a weekend like this would be like. Let me just tell you, it was the biggest breath of fresh air! We were in a room with about 15 couples. Each couple had their own story. Each couple also had a method to their madness. This helped immensely, because it took a lot of pressure off myself and provided me with new techniques. I learned through the Scripture and our leaders that the covenant bond made between a married couple is God’s way of showing His love relationship to us. My favorite part of the weekend was the overall fellowship. I looked around the room several times that weekend and saw brothers and sisters in Christ. I didn’t see strangers or just people who worship at the same place that we do. Marriage certainly has its ups and downs. However, it is a bond that is not to be taken lightly. Our bond was formed stronger through that marriage retreat weekend. I learned so much I had been missing. I can’t thank Hebron enough for leading this weekend and look forward to many more! – Justin Ballew

For me, the retreat as a whole was amazing! We never really got premarital counseling since we got married in under two weeks.  To be given the chance to go through this, after (almost) 2 years of marriage, was exactly what we needed. The opportunity to learn what we learned was all the Lord’s doing. God was behind this marriage from the beginning, and now, we know He provided this retreat for us to grow our marriage. Having the breakout sessions to allow us the time to talk was greatly needed for us. Communication has not always been our forte. We worked on a lot of worksheets and met with an older couple for conversation. Currently,  we have the “covenant vs contract” and also the “How To Fight Fair” handouts in our bedroom and on the fridge! Being taught that marriage is to mirror the love God has for us, was an incredible thing to be shown. It helps me remember that during upsetting times, God is not a God who holds on to what I have done to hurt Him, so I shouldn’t hold on to what my husband has done either. Learning that marriage is not about us, but about God first - and then our spouse, was a much needed reminder. Lastly, I will say one of my FAVORITE things I learned, was to remember that marriage is the most important (after God) thing in the household. Children almost always tend to come first, and that isn’t how it should be. We have started to address each other as husband and wife instead of mom and dad. It’s been such a subtle but important change. Thank you, Hebron!- Cydney Ballew

“The retreat helped us to reset how we think about our marriage and understand more fully what God intended it to be - a reflection of His one-way, decision-based, eternal love for us. We went away from the weekend with a lot of practical ways of how to implement this covenantal (as opposed to contractual) based thinking.” – retreat participant

“The secular world/culture/media speaks loudly about what marriage is (and isn't), so we need to be intentional about seeking out the voices that are speaking to us about what a Christ-Centered marriage is (and isn't)...and the Hebron Marriage retreat weekend was just that.  It was well-run, jam-packed, and so incredibly fruitful for our marriage. "Unilateral" has become the favorite new buzz-word (and a loving inside joke) in our house!” – retreat participant

Family Guidance Promise Camp

by Dave Rosburg

Promise Camp is a Christ-centered, highly relational camp where the hope of Jesus Christ is shared with children from vulnerable circumstances. It provides a one-week transformational camp stay for kids who live in some of the most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in the Pittsburgh area. Last year, 410 campers experienced God’s amazing creation in a beautiful camp setting.

Led by Jennifer Engel, Promise Camp Director, there are six one-week, age-specific sessions, with up to 75 campers per session. Each day includes indoor and outdoor activities, large group time, and cabin Bible talks. A 3:1 camper-to-staff ratio ensures the individualized attention campers need and crave.

Campers live in cabins with two counselors. There is an activity center for large group meetings, worship, crafts, and games. A new dining hall across the lawn is the site for delicious meals and snacks. Outside are a large swimming pool, climbing wall, covered basketball court, and ropes and challenge course. Campers take part in many great activities while learning more about God, others, and themselves, and making lasting friendships.

This summer’s theme, “Light It Up”, is about showing the campers that Christ is our Light in a dark world. Regardless of what Satan tries to do to us to keep us in darkness, Christ’s Light can defeat the darkness.
The new Teen Discipleship program has six, non-repeating sessions, so high schoolers can spend one week or the entire summer at Promise Camp. This in-depth experience will be important for the growth and faith of the individual teen and will also have impact in the future, as campers progress to become staff.

Offering a highly relational camp with the population that is served requires significant investment and resources. Although blessed to have many supporters who provide the resources to operate camp, they still have needs. Most importantly, they ask for your prayers for the safety and health of the campers and that God would use Promise Camp to plant the seeds of salvation in all who attend. They ask for prayers of guidance and support for the staff. Finally, pray for the families of the campers and staff, that the experience at Promise Camp positively impacts their lives and families at home. To operate the camp, $750 per camper per week is required.  Most of the children’s families pay just $25 per week for their child to attend. Providing the balance of the amount for the child and even paying the initial portion is a way to support the ministry. Because there are also a lot of additional items that need to be purchased, an Amazon Wish List has been set up for those who would like to support in this way:

Caribbean Youth Network

by Barbara Baesel

Hebron has supported Dan and Kelly Weightman spiritually, prayerfully and financially for over 20 years. I had the privilege of being a volunteer youth leader in their high school years. Jerry Zeilstra first took them to Long Island, Bahamas, to teach a swim camp and Dan and Kelly returned again in college.

God then called them into full-time ministry. Several of us formed their Mission Advocate Team and helped pack up and shrink wrap their belongings to send off to Long Island to work under the auspice of Young Life. We have sent 10 work teams to Long Island for renovation and upkeep at the current ministry center, the “Oasis”.

In 2008 we encouraged and prayed with them as the Caribbean Youth Network was formed. Several Hebron members have also served on their board over the years.

The Weightmans were then called to start working with college and high school youth in Nassau, as we continued their support along with a few other local churches and “The Kirk” in Nassau.

Ministry is flourishing on three Islands in the Bahamas and the Board met last month to develop another three-year plan for ministry. The lives of thousands of youth and their families have been changed by what God has done through us and through them. I pray you have an opportunity to meet with Dan and Kelly as they will be in Pittsburgh May 15th through June 24th.

Student Leaders share in this month’s newsletter. Please check it out on their website.

On Professing Christ

by Henry Knapp

I’m kind of cheating—writing an article most of which is a quotation! The following is an extended citation from a book by the late James M. Boice. He reports this story as an example of what it means to be a disciple, professing Christ to the world:

During World War I one of my predecessors at Tenth Presbyterian Church, Donald Grey Barnhouse, led the son of a prominent American family to the Lord. He was in the service, but he showed the reality of his conversion by immediately professing Christ before the soldiers of his military company. The war ended. The day came when he was to return to his pre-war life in the wealthy suburb of a large American city. He talked to Barnhouse about life with his family and expressed fear that he might soon slip back into his old habits. He was afraid that love for parents, brothers, sisters, and friends might turn him from following after Jesus Christ. Barnhouse told him that if he was careful to make public confession of his faith in Christ, he would not have to worry. He would not have to give improper friends up. They would give him up. As a result of this conversation the young man agreed to tell the first ten people of his old set whom he encountered that he had become a Christian.

The soldier went home. Almost immediately—in fact, while he was still on the platform of the suburban station at the end of his return trip—he met a girl whom he had known socially. She was delighted to see him and asked how he was doing. He told her, “The greatest thing that could possibly happen to me has happened.”

“You’re engaged to be married,” she exclaimed.

“No,” he told her. “It’s even better than that. I’ve taken the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior.” The girl’s expression froze. She mumbled a few polite words and went on her way.

A short time later the new Christian met a young man whom he had known before going into the service. “It’s good to see you back,” he declared. “We’ll have some great parties now that you’ve returned.’

“I’ve just become a Christian,” the soldier said. He was thinking, That’s two! Again it was a case of a frozen smile and a quick change of conversation.

After this, the same circumstances were repeated with a young couple and with two more old friends. By this time word had got around, and soon some of his friends stopped seeing him. He had become peculiar, religious, and—who knows?—they may even have called him crazy! What had he done? Nothing but confess Christ. The same confession that had aligned him with Christ had separated him from those who did not want Jesus Christ as Savior and who, in fact, did not even want to hear about Him. So it will be for you. Nothing will so keep the world at bay as a frank confession of Christ. It is the way to be His disciple.
from Boice,
Christ’s Call to Discipleship

I like to think of the bulk of my job here at Hebron as one of “discipleship”—being used by God as a signpost, pointing toward the greatest joy in all creation, that of knowing Christ as Lord and Savior. A large chunk of that discipleship is professing Christ—often with similar results as described above. I pray that everyday you will have many opportunities to profess Christ, regardless of the response you might get.

Finding Life and Freedom in Fear

by Doug Rehberg

It is one of those books that quickly reaches your heart. It is called The Sun Does Shine. It is the story of Anthony Ray Hinton who was falsely accused and incarcerated by the state of Alabama in 1986. He endured 30 years on Death Row before the truth surfaced and the U.S. Supreme Court intervened. The title of the book is a direct quotation from Ray Hinton upon his release from prison. But it’s not the primary title that grabs you; it’s the byline: “How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row.”

Recently I was reading Hebrews 5 and the writer’s description of Jesus Christ as our great High Priest. He says, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.”

Think of it. Jesus feared! What other reason is there for Him to cry out loudly and tearfully in prayer? What could possibly have prompted such fear in Him? There’s only one solid possibility and that was the fear of being utterly forsaken. Can’t you imagine Satan coming to Him in Gethsemane and saying, “See, You don’t have a friend anywhere! Your Father has closed off His heart to You. His compassion for You has run out. Not an angel in His court will stretch out his hand to help You. All of heaven is alienated from You; You are all alone. Even Your companions with whom You have taken counsel - what are they worth? Son of Mary, see Your brother James there, see Your beloved disciple John there, and Your beloved apostle Peter, how the cowards sleep when You are in Your sufferings! You have not a friend in heaven or earth. All hell is against You. In fact, I have sent my missives throughout every region under heaven to come upon You this night. We will spare no arrows. We will use all our might to overwhelm You: and what will You do, You solitary One?”

It’s not a stretch to imagine this to be the strategy Satan employed against Jesus that night; because it was an angel who appeared to Him that night to strengthen Him.

Now why did the angel make its way to Jesus to strengthen Him and remove His fear? The answer is clear, He was heard in His fear. He was not alone. Heaven was with Him. It may be that this is the reason that He comes back to His disciples three times.

Someone has put it this way:
“Backwards and forwards thrice He ran. As if He sought some help from man.”

He sees for Himself the truth of His own words, “without me you can do nothing.” They had all forsaken Him, except from One—His Eternal Father. He heard Him in His fear. Jesus was heard in His deepest woe. So was Ray Hinton. So are you!

Barclay Construction Begins in May

by Doug Rehberg

By the time you read this article, all of the necessary requirements for beginning the Barclay Building expansion will be complete. All of the contracts were signed, all necessary Penn Hills permits received, and Masco Corporation is set to begin its outside work. As a reminder, we will be installing a 45’ x 12’ stage in the western wall of the Barclay Building. This will require removing much of the existing cemetery wall, excavating a good section of soil, and pouring a new 18 inch thick retaining wall to permanently secure the hillside. In addition, a new sound and lighting system will be installed in the Barclay Building that will greatly enhance our two worship services and a myriad of other Barclay Building activities in future years.

We are happy to announce that more than $850,000 has already been received. This amount allows us to do all of the Barclay work and fund the other features of the Say Yes effort throughout 2019. It’s interesting to note that nearly 20% of the monies received from the Say Yes effort was unpledged. By the end of 2020 we expect to receive an additional $300,000.

What a joy it will be to celebrate the completion of the building project in September! Please note the temporary changes in worship venue beginning May 5th!!


by Jen Balkey

“I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.” Ezekiel 34:26

Do you take time to reflect on your schedule, your priorities, and your growth? Are you satisfied with where things stand? What is the barometer by which you measure these aspects of your life? What comes to your mind when you think of blessings? I’m guessing we are all a little shortsighted in recognizing all of God’s blessings. They are God’s favor and protection. They are an expression of His approval, and are conducive to happiness or welfare.

I hope you are continually seeking His wisdom and are available to seize the opportunities He places in your path to bless you and to bless others. This Spring, Hebron Women’s Ministry is organizing the “Shower of Blessing” to support Women’s Choice Network (WCN) and YoungLives (LY). This will be an opportunity for our blessings to flow both directions- into our lives and into the lives of others.

Join us on Saturday, May 18th from 10:30 am to noon  in Fellowship Hall. We will hear from representatives of WCN and YL about their work and learn of ways to further our partnership with them. The presenters will  share testimonies of ways they have been blessed and supported through these organizations. The shower will also be an opportunity to bring gifts that will bless the women and families they support. (Needed items can be found on raindrops hanging from umbrellas – on the landing in the tower entrance of the main building and in the worship space in the Barclay. Please take the drops of the blessings that you plan to bring.)

As women we have a common bond. Even though each of our lives are very unique, they are also more similar than we usually think. I hope that even the fellowship, food, fun, and conversations will be blessings. Our words, actions, and presence can be used by God in mighty ways - even as an unintentional surprise blessing.
We can use our time in many good ways, but are we proactively and prayerfully seeking God’s BEST? Let us allow God to shape our words, actions, and schedule. I hope you will prayerfully consider joining us for our ‘Shower of Blessing’ as members of the Body to fellowship and connect, and enjoy a fun time together!
Please sign up if you are able to attend. You can sign up in person in Fellowship Hall and the Café at Barclay or online at the link found at:
Childcare available if you sign up when registering.
Questions: Call or email Jen Balkey at: 412-551-4688 or 

Children's Ministry

 by Ellen Dillard


It was a fun Saturday morning as preschool and elementary families raced scooters, played tic-tac-toe with peeps, and bounced high in a bounce house! Families sang together and heard the Gospel message. JESUS IS ALIVE!

Together families learned that no matter what we face in life, we can hope because Jesus is stronger than sin and death. His resurrection is proof that God loves us and wants a forever relationship with us.

Please pray that kidz will discover the hope we can have only because of the resurrection.

Summer Serve!

Adults and teens are invited to join our Kidz Ministry team this summer. Our goal is to give our dedicated small group leaders time off. Hebron is blessed with the many adults and teens who serve Jesus in Kidz Ministry throughout the school year. 

Begin to pray about how God is leading you to serve Him in Kidz Ministry. Be prepared to “say YES!” when Ellen gets in touch with you. You can reach Ellen at  or on her cell 724-875-2243.