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”
I am deeply saddened from the news over the weekend in which 11 worshipers from a Pittsburgh synagogue were murdered during their weekly Sabbath worship service.
There can be no allowance for such hatred and evil in our world. Eternal justice will be rightly found in the hands of God, but we are not left helpless or without solutions that we have control over. Sadly, events such as these only turns up the heat on a boiling pot that is simmering underneath our society, to which I am greatly concerned over.
However, before the political rhetoric grows to a deafening noise, it is appropriate (and I suggest necessary) to sit in silence, prayer, sorrow, and lament. Before we lift our heads, open our mouths, or type another word on social media, let us first turn to the Lord who sees, knows, forgives, and heals. Our hearts must first be surrendered to Him so that we may learn again to love as He loves.
My tears flow endlessly;
they will not stop
until the Lord looks down
from heaven and sees.
But I called on your name, Lord,
from deep within the pit.
You heard me when I cried, “Listen to my pleading!
Hear my cry for help!”
Yes, you came when I called;
you told me, “Do not fear.”
(Lamentations 3:49-50, 55-57)
By the Cross and for the Kingdom,
One of the unexpected gifts of church planting is the often-forced opportunity to think critically and prayerfully over the most basic functions and purposes of the church. At every turn we have the opportunity to search the Scriptures and evaluate our cultural context to make informed, gospel-centered decisions. Continue reading “Four Essential Functions of the Church”
This weekend, as our country prepares to remember the fallen heroes of our age, the ones who have sacrificed their life for the lives of their countrymen – the majority whom they never, or will ever know – we too, as believers in Jesus Christ, pause to remember their acts of selflessness and bravery.
Continue reading “A Call to Prayer”
It wouldn’t surprise most that prayer is a necessary aspect to our journey of faith in Christ. But why? Prayer is necessary because it increases our faith in the God who heals, restores and saves. When we pray to the Lord in the name of Jesus Christ, we are acknowledging our willful submission to God. In other words — “I don’t have this, so help!”
Prayer is an active process that appeals to God in a posture that reflects our dependence on Him, thus increasing our faith in His sovereignty. The goal in the journey of faith is not to treat prayer as a secondary response to the critical, painful, or fearful moments of life, but rather a natural response in every moment.
With the affluence of technology such as email and text messaging, handwritten letters are quickly growing out of style and practice especially among the younger generation. I myself am included in this and the evidence is in my rapidly deteriorating handwriting. Likewise, as affluent Westerners with access to everything and any anything within the free two-day shipping window through Amazon, our dependence on a sovereign and loving Lord becomes less appealing and necessary. As a result, our prayer life becomes less used and therefore out of style and practice.
However, prayer is not reserved only for the moments when we need something, but rather is best understood in the context of a relationship between you and a Holy God. Although your methods of communication between friends and family have changed, the nature and purpose of your communication has not. We still communicate with those whom we love, need and intimately understand us.
Reignite your prayer life with this encouraging and grace-saturated sermon, “The Practice of Prayer”, from Matthew 6:5-15.
I have to admit it’s often easier to be pessimistic, critical and negative than an optimistic contributor when it comes to how I feel about living in the Chicago suburbs sometimes. After all, there is plenty to choose to complain about: high taxes, corrupt government, and bitterly cold winters. I frequently desire to move south where the summers are twice as a long, property values are more affordable, and the people are friendlier (or so they tell me). At the heart, my complaint is a dissatisfaction for where I am today. I want to be anywhere else but here. I want the better life. I want what’s easier. Continue reading “For the City, State & Nation”
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 …”