This week I had the privilege to be part of a 4-day “Church Intensive” with We Are Church, the church-planting network founded by Francis Chan in San Francisco, California. We learned first-hand the heart behind their ministry, the ‘why’ behind their methodology, and caught a powerful vision of what the church can and should be in our communities. The following is one story from my time with them.
I remember a time when I went shopping on Christmas Eve for some last minute gifts (okay, probably all of my gift shopping was done that year on Christmas Eve) and was reminded why that was a bad idea. On the eve of what continues to be communicated and sold as the most joyful time of the year, a time of making happy memories and a season of giving, the not-so-hidden ugly side of the holiday was exposed. This is a season filled with stress and anxiety.
Christmas is about God the Father sending his Son, the promised King, to save us from our sin. It’s an everlasting, immaterial gift that cannot be earned through our good works or deeds, but only received by faith. Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew this fact just as well, that belief brings blessing.
In a modern, science-based, data-driven society, everyday supernatural miracles are often difficult to ascertain. Even in our evangelical circles that have a strong emphasis on a ministry of the word (teaching and studying the Bible), we have a tendency to over-intellectualize our reading of scripture and downplay the spiritual activity of God. At Restoration Church, we have sought to recover and acknowledge all that God has done and is actively doing in our world, both through a ministry of his Word, but also through the power of his Spirit.
In the age of digital contentedness, institutional abuse, leadership failures, relational brokenness, and social persecution, many faithful followers of Jesus have found themselves questioning their participation in a local church community. I contend the answer and solution is found in rediscovering the purpose and mission of the church, and it involves accepting and acting upon the assignment that has been given to every follower of Jesus. Continue reading “The Mission of the Church”→
Writing in the 1940’s during the height of World War II from inside Germany while defending the defenseless, speaking against the tyranny of Hitler and the Nazi regime, and protecting the integrity of the Gospel under threat from the state that eventually led to his arrest and execution, Dietrich Bonhoeffer has earned a rightful position in history. He has joined the ranks of many that have gone before him, and through his writings, those who would desire to identify with Christ today are confronted with a life-changing question, “Am I sure I want to do this?” Continue reading “Count the Cost”→