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Restoration Church

8
Feb 2021

Taking Up Your Cross — 7 February 2021

Luke 9:23 Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 

God’s plan for you is beyond anything you can imagine. Satan and his cohorts will try to make you feel like you don’t deserve, he will lie to you, discourage you, distract you, accuse you, condemn you. You’re going somewhere good. He’s got you on His radar. It’s not too late and you’re not too far gone. If you have a heart to receive this morning, get ready because His goodness is running after you.

But, it starts with a cross. The whole deal. He’s asking you to simply get with His plan for your life.

Have you come to this point in your life? The big moment when your circumstances have brought you to a broken place and you, finally, said, “ok, God, I’m yours”. Jesus, who knew the plan, still asked if there was a way around it because his flesh didn’t want to go the way of the cross but he prayed, Your will be done.

The cross is about dying, surrender, and His will being done. It’s also something spectacular to behold. Listen, He has already made a spectacle out of the demonic powers that work against you. Now, He wants to make a spectacle out of you - look at that!

  1. Forgive everyone who’s trying to ruin your life
  2. Help others who are experiencing the same struggle
  3. Be sure you take care of those close to you
  4. Aim your hard questions at God, not man
  5. Be human enough to acknowledge your need
  6. Be assured, there is a purpose and an end to what you are suffering
  7. Surrender your day to God, and let it go
1
Feb 2021

The Cross — 31 January 2021

Are you paying attention to what’s going on?  The need for you to be closely connected with other believers is SO great. With what our children are facing and will face in the years to come, it is imperative that they experience Christian communitas. North Atlanta is a busy, transient culture where people aren’t rooted. The need for effective, intentional parenting and focused discipleship for our children cannot be overstated.

The Cross -- how did it become the most common piece of jewelry ever? Because the One who split time in two was crucified on one. This is the central event in all of history. On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame; to the old rugged cross I will ever be true, it’s shame and reproach I gladly bear.

To become a disciple, followers had to take up their cross daily and they still do. Some have eliminated the cross, leaving  a crossless Christianity (oxymoron).

The cross is a paradox. Luke 9:24: For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great German pastor, theologian, martyr, was asked in 1943 how it was possible for the Church to sit back and let Hitler seize absolute power. His firm answer: "It was the teaching of cheap grace." 

"Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ." -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We live in a time and culture that not only teaches cheap grace but praises it. I can’t eliminate the cross. We can’t be a biblical church without the cross. We can’t open the side door of relevancy to get people into cheap grace and call it the Christian faith.

We need to return to the gospel, the loving, life giving message of the gospel that calls us to die in order to live. We need an encounter, a liminal season like the one that is upon us, to be drawn together in communitas where we share in the fellowship of His sufferings, in order to fully understand the power of the resurrection - ASTONISHED.

24
Jan 2021

Communitas — 24 January 2021

Liminality is a place of discomfort and agitation that requires us to endure and push into what is to come.

Liminality and Communitas, two sides of the same coin.

Liminality involves adventure, risk, journey, engagement, and courage. When liminality happens, it fundamentally restructures the nature of preexisting relationships. Friendships turn into a deeper, richer connection that is hard to put into words. Communitas. Being immersed in a communitas, participants experience an almost mystical togetherness that occurs only among a group of people engaging in a task bigger than itself.

Keep in mind that there is a direct link between liminality and communitas. 

The Church that Jesus built was to experience this form of togetherness. Not just for the sake of love and fellowship but because we have a “liminal” mission that requires more than “fellowship”.

Instead of being damaging to social structures, regular experiences of communitas strengthen a society. While societies need the stability of normal life, they also need liminal experiences of communitas.

  1. Liminal situations are vital to the Church and society.
  2. Liminal situations force communitas.
  3. We must focus on the mission of making disciples; most believers have no idea as to what they could accomplish if they would give into the stretch or the liminal season.
  4. Focusing on survival and self-preservation is a sure way for us to die.
18
Jan 2021

Liminality — 17 January 2021

Crisis is no bad thing when you’re on God’s side. In fact, it is necessary for the human spirit to face a desperate crisis which requires prayers that force you to cry out to God, lean on Him with faith, and experience the resurrection power which gives real meaning and true joy to your Christian experience.

The Church should be the most alive place in culture…because of liminality, stuck between here and there, inconvenienced by a call to go somewhere we’ve never been, led by someone we can’t see except through eyes of faith.

Liminality requires courage, adventure, mission, and risk - this is genuine Biblical Christianity. 

We must rediscover Biblical Christianity at this time and I believe we will and we are. We are pilgrims, aliens passing through.

11
Jan 2021
3
Jan 2021

The Kingdom — 3 January 2021

The Kingdom of God is poorly understood. Kingdom understanding brings wisdom to how life works. Seeing principles in scripture can be life changing.

The understanding of the Kingdom starts in Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Here we see the Sovereign of all the universe, whose realm, reign, and regency are described at the outset.

1. His realm (or scope of rule) is transcendent: that is, not only does it include the entire physical universe, it exceeds it. He existed before all creation, He expands beyond it, and by virtue of having begotten it, He emcompasses all that it is. 
2. His reign (or the power by which He rules) is exercised by His will, His word, and His works. By His own will He creatively decides and designs; by His own word HE speaks creation into being: and by His own works, His Spirit displays His unlimited power. 
3. His regency (or authority to rule) is in His preexistence and holiness (or perfection).

Man’s power and authority for exercising this rule/dominion originates in God’s intent to make man in His own image and likeness.

28
Dec 2020

Where God Lives — 27 December 2020

First Things First Principle
Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

What is the message here in Matthew 6? It’s about making life work. It’s about LIVING.
Verse 19 Store up treasures in heaven...not on earth; verse 24 No one can serve two masters...you cannot love God and other things with the same love; verse 25 Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, drink, or wear. Look at the birds and the lilies of the field. Your heavenly father feeds and clothes them. You are more valuable to him than they are.
 
Where is God in your life? What number is He? Start putting God first and watch your worry go away. God is into first things. He wants to be first. This is why devotions in the morning, first thing, is best. This is why we start the year off in prayer and fasting. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

21
Dec 2020

Big Things Often Come in Small, Unwanted, and Surprising Packages, Week 3 — 20 December 2020

If you were God and you came to earth to save the human family, wouldn't you want people to know you were here?  The message of God, the ministry of God to planet earth, the human family...lay in a manger, helplessly; an infant who would be raised by a teenage, first-time mother.

Jesus came from a family to bring the human family into God's family.  It's 2020, the year of the pandemic, chaos, racial tension, a disputed election, numbers rising...plus a million other things to take your mind off of what matters.  God has come to make you His son or daughter, that you might enjoy the access of your inheritance.

14
Dec 2020

Big Things Often Come in Small, Unwanted, and Surprising Packages, Week 2 — 13 December 2020

What is God saying by opening up the New Testament with the genealogy of Jesus?

  1. God works in and through “broken” families - all families are broken to some degree
  2. Children matter to God - you aren’t raising children, your raising adults
  3. Christmas can change everything - Holy Spirit conceives Jesus in us and that can change everything, Jesus, the Son of God, came from a family to bring the human family into relationship with His Father and Jesus taught us to pray….”Our Father….”

Children matter here too. Not McDonalds. The most important thing happening on this campus each week.

7
Dec 2020

Big Things Often Come In Small, Unwanted and Surprising Packages - 6 December 2020

Bethlehem, though you are small out of you something big is going to come.  In Matthew Chapter 1, Matthew is writing to the Jews trying to prove Jesus is the Messiah, the King. This wouldn’t be some aristocratic, untouchable, blue blood Messiah. This would be God sending a Savior who would identify with the people, the common blue collar people.

The New Testament opens up with a sketchy list of people who all come from the same family, the Jewish lineage that promised the Messiah. It begins with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It includes David who we can identify with because he messed up, royally. Oddly, it lists three women. Tamar - a battered wife who, Rahab, the harlot, prostitute, and Bathsheba - the wife of Uriah, the woman who committed adultery with King David, of whom it would be said about Jesus who is the Root of Jesse, the father of David.

Why long lists of names in the Bible? People matter to God, He makes a promise/covenant to someone, and not matter how crooked the people may be, we see that God is faithful.

Big things or good things or, better yet, great things and people come from broken families.  All great things start small. You have to be filled with Holy Spirit inspiration and sight to be able to see potential in all situations. God sees differently than we do. He works in sketchy ways, more sketchy than your ways and my ways. But, He is effective in His sketchiness.

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