The Genesis of Something Great
I have been praying, searching, reading, thinking, and dreaming about Restoration Church for a long time. Before I knew the name of our new church or our target location, the “what” and “why” of Restoration Church has been a slow developing process built on an intentional relationship with the Lord, involving countless conversations and times of silence with Him. In the moments when I thought, “I have it!”, it turns out it was just another piece to the elegant and purposeful puzzle that God is handcrafting. In other words, these are steps towards clarity.
I shared with our team and prayer partners at last week’s Vision Night what I believe to be some of the defining puzzle pieces to the vision of Restoration Church. We’re not quite 100% there, but it’s getting close and becoming clearer. The response so far has been very positive, exciting, and even stretching to some. We believe the Lord is just beginning to build something new and great among us.
Next Vision Night: Wednesday, Oct. 25
I’m humbled to see our team continues to grow with new faces that are prayerfully supporting or considering their involvement with Restoration Church. Our next Vision Night is being held on Wednesday, October 25 @ 6:30pm. If you’re interested in learning more, please connect with me at, email@example.com.
Eating “with such scum?”
Last Friday, I made a routine stop for coffee and then drove into the downtown district of Lake Zurich. I parked and took a nice casual walk up Main Street, and back down again. I prayed for the community. I prayed for the people. I prayed for the businesses. I prayed for Restoration Church. I prayed the Lord would give us favor. And I prayed that God would bring clarity to our calling and purpose, in Lake Zurich and our neighboring communities.
After my walk, I sat down on a bench by the lake, opened my Bible to the book of Mark, and began to read and reflect. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks,
Levi, invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests … But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”
These are nasty, racist, demeaning words coming from the religious “elite” of their time. It saddens me (no sickens me) that many of our churches have talked this way (and by talk I mean acted, thought, behaved, suggested, looked, or ignored) towards those that don’t look like, act like, or believe like “us”. The Pharisees were masters at creating an “us” versus “them” culture. Jesus obliterated the walls of division whenever He saw them and sent shock waves through the culture. It wasn’t easy; in fact it cost him his life (well, that was planned for a greater purpose, but the truth of the matter still stands).
I believe there is not a more important time in the history of our society, culture, and world than right now to sit down with our neighbors, cross the line of diversity, welcome others into our homes, share a meal together, and recognize that we are all but “scum” and unworthy before God (something that self-righteous Pharisees will regularly fail to see or accept for themselves). Together, as sinners, let’s sit with other sinners. Let’s share and listen to how we find help in the time of our need, hope in the time of our hopelessness, and salvation in the hour that it’s needed most; in the love and gracious kindness of our Savior Jesus Christ.
[Jesus] told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor — sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Thank you for your continued prayers for us! Your prayers have been heard and are being felt. Despite feeling overwhelmed on many days, I have been able to manage time with my family very well in the past few weeks, and we’re getting into a great routine at home these days. Mary is also rocking it right now in terms of homeschooling our kids!
Here’s some additional and specific things you can be praying about for us over the next few weeks:
- I’m building a new relationship with a pastor, his church, and a great organization in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. Please pray for this new relationship, the Lord’s will, and clarity in the possibilities of an on-going partnership to serve their community.
- Pray against discouragement, burnout, and frustration in the church planting training and development process.
- Pray against spiritual attack.
- Pray for a Holy Spirit driven revival of faith in our mission field.
- Pray for our core group! Pray they would be encouraged, energized, filled with the Spirit, the love of Christ, and a calling to building and being Restoration Church.
- I’m currently praying and discerning through who the Lord may send to be part of the leadership team at Restoration Church. Will you join me in praying for clarity in the process and God’s faithful provision?