Believing in Miracles

Blog 11-25-18

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.

So if I may, allow me to share a story with you.

Continue reading “Believing in Miracles”

The Mission of the Church

The Mission of the Church

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”

Count the Cost

Count the Cost

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”

God is Enough

Blog Post 10_8_18

We are an anxious generation and statistics are painting a somber picture of this reality. Among college students today, anxiety has surpassed depression as the most common reason for seeking counseling services, and this is combined with the doubling of hospital admissions in the last decade among suicidal teenagers.[1] The statistics help reveal the growing epidemic and point to probable causes, but fail to provide a satisfying solution that our society is in desperate need of. The liberating truth we need to hear today is this: Freedom from our worries and anxiety is found in three little words, “God is enough”. Continue reading “God is Enough”

Jesus, Friend of Sinners

I’m guilty. Guilty of constantly changing the narrative of the story to put myself in the best light and come out looking better than I actually am. I introduce slight variations and constantly tweak the story. I consciously avoid specifics or other elements of the story that make me look bad or cast a negative light. Or, I simply justify my attitude and behavior based on what I want to hear or believe about myself.

If you were to ask me anything about my life and rate it on a scale of 1-10, even in my best attempt to be honest and vulnerable, it’s highly likely my number would be no less than one number above what it truly is. “How is your personal joy today?” I give it a nine (it’s really a seven). “How is your daily prayer life?” A seven (more like six). “How about your feelings of bitterness and frustration?” Yikes, getting real now … a six, I need some work here (try four — maybe three — this week). I’m a mess.

Adam and Eve had the same problem (recall Genesis 3).

God, “Who told you to eat from the tree?”
Adam, “The woman did!”
Eve, “The talking serpent made me to do it!”

Now I know where I get it from, it’s in my genes.

The natural operations of our heart is to blame-shift, self-protect, avoid, self-justify and falsify authenticity. Even in our best and most honest efforts, we maintain a corrupted, distorted, and prideful sense of self. After all, we’re creatures under the fall and distant from glory. So often, this also is our approach to reading Scripture. We fail to see the real message, identify the real need, and rightly apply the gracious and wonderful hope to which it speaks into our lives today.

So what do we learn from the story of Jesus who heals the paralytic that was lowered through the roof of a first-century Galilean home, and the call of Levi the tax collector? How do these stories from Mark 2:1-17 apply to our discussion here? A simple, profound, and healing message: Jesus restores sinners.

When Life Gives You Lemons …

lemons

PRAY!

That’s right, pray. Then wait. Then pray some more.

All too often our pragmatic “can-do” cultural attitude says get off your butt, wipe those tears and show them who’s boss by making lemonade out of a painful or disappointing situation. The problem is, on the surface it appears the making lemonade approach seems to work. After all, who really likes to wait for an answered prayer? I hate waiting. I once waited in line for a ride at an amusement park for over 2 hours, only for the ride to break down when I was steps away from getting on. What a waste of my life, I thought!

Our approach to prayer is much of the same. Why spend this time asking God for his will in the situation when I can muster up all the will-power, good vibes, and happy thoughts under the sun, all the while cranking my favorite playlist through my earbuds as I drown out the depressive thoughts? Clearly I can move forward in my life faster by making lemonade rather than by praying. But that’s the first lie we believe. We believe that by our doing, acting and will-power, we can overcome anything that comes our way. And just because we seemingly appear to have overcome it, then we assume it’s the best and healthiest means of achieving success over our misfortunes. The truth is, we are emotional beings who are designed to mourn, suffer and reflect, just as much as we are made to create and thrive.

Continue reading “When Life Gives You Lemons …”