Eager to Go

A Satellite View of Rivers And Tributaries

January 12, 2014 – David Hanke

Romans 1:8-15 / Psalm 29 / Matthew 28:16-20

Listen to Sunday’s songs here.

The Hinge of History

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January 5, 2014 – David Hanke

Matthew 2:1-12 / Psalm 84 / Romans 1:1-7

Listen to Sunday’s songs here.

Happy New Year!


I’m a guy who likes to look back and to look forward, to review and to plan.  I appreciate the opportunities to read back through my journal, to remember what I was feeling, to wonder if any growth or change has really happened.  🙂

I hope you get a few minutes in these opening hours of 2014 to give thanks and to dream.  At dinner last night, my family talked about the things that happened in 2013 that we want to KEEP doing in 2014 and we talked about the things that happened that we want to STOP doing.  Keepers are things that enabled us to talk and be together.  Stoppers included ‘when Daddy is grumpy.’

Where does your imagination go as you dream about 2014?  What are you asking your Heavenly Father to do in you?  What are you looking forward to?  What are the dates you have already circled because they will be hard or full or joy?  Can you find an hour to take a walk with Jesus and tell him your hopes and fears?  Can you steal away for a bit to write in your journal the things you are anticipating for the year to come?

Here are the categories I think through at this time of year:

  • My companionship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit:  Last year I used the Mc’Cheyne Daily Reading Plan.  I coupled it with D.A. Carson’s devotional on the readings, For the Love of God.  Like I said, I need a plan and it really helps me to wake up and have a clear plan for what I need to read that day.  Kept me on track.  You can get both the Mc’Cheyne reader and the Carson devotionals for free in one place right here.  Works really well on an ipad.
  • Financial:  Was I as generous as I could be in 2013?  Are there any budget categories that I can practice the discipline of restraint and simplicity–  because it is good for my soul?  Any places of spending that are really out of control? Did I stick to my budget (do you have a budget?) in 2013?
  • Exercise:  I enjoy exercising with folks.  I have a few races I like to do each year.  I have some mileage goals and pace goals.  For me, it is the 30-60 minutes a day that puts my brain ‘somewhere else’.  Every time I go for a run, I ask God to give me one good idea–  and He is really faithful.  My best ideas have come when I am gasping for air at the end of some run.  I need a goal to get me out of bed.  It’s too easy to just jump in to email or work or rolling over and going back to sleep.
  • Relational:  What are the significant events in the life of my family this year?  How will I create space around them to be present?  What is the daily, weekly, and quarterly time I need to be ‘just with Laurel’?  (yes, we have to plan all 3!)  What are my prayer goals for my children?  What kind of help will my parents need?   Which part of my character do I want to see the most growth?
  • Vocational:  for me, this is about Restoration.  I am thinking about moving in to our new building.  I am excited about our 2 trips to Asia Minor and the visit we will receive from on our partners there.  I am dreaming about the beginnings of church planting in partnership with our diocese.  I am excited about telling the story of redemption and restoration to follow on the chapters of creation and fall.  I think we are going to have some terrific small groups this year.  So how do I need to pray?  What do I need to learn?  What do I need to write?  Who do I need to talk with and get to know?  What will be the consistent topics that come out in my speaking and preaching?
  • What are the things that I ‘never got to’ but really want to have in my life?  Anything I can do to make them a reality this year?  For me this includes some house projects, music, language, and backpacking.  Can you and I create some–  ‘it’s really important but I never have time’ time?

Happy New Year my friends.  I am so grateful that I get to live this next one with you.


Christmas Eve Sermon

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December 24, 2013 – David Hanke

2013 Christmas Eve Worship Guide with Readings

He Shall Be to You a Restorer of Life

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December 15, 2013 – David Hanke

Ruth 3:14 – 4:17 / Psalm 146 / Luke 1:26-33

Listen to Sunday’s songs here.

Give us your ‘pew-point’

Restoration, we need your feedback!  We have chosen a GREAT vendor for our pews, New Holland Church Furniture.  Our next step is to decide if we want straight or radial pews.  There are good things about both.  What do you think?  We would love to hear your comments in the space below.  This is an exciting time to be dreaming about our new space.

Here are the features of each:

Radial Pews

Radial Pews

The cost for radial is $72,783  ($10,000 more than straight).  They provide better viewing, feel more inclusive, and contribute to a sense of community.  Aesthetically they follow the lines of the chancel, but they do not fit as well with the decorative trusses that will be in the ceiling.

Straight Pews

Straight Pews


The cost for straight pews is $62,575 (about $10,000 cheaper than radial pews).  The aesthetic is more traditional, classic, and ‘lasting’.  Our architects have highly recommended straight pews because of their design consistency with the rest of the sanctuary.  Straight pews follow the lines of the floor and the trusses in the ceiling.

Both pew designs will have the same seating capacity which is 384 people.

We would love to hear what you think about the options.  Thanks for being a part of the process!



Here are 2 simple drawings of the interior of the nave.   They give you an idea of the trusses in the ceiling.

front of nave with trussnave from the side



Crooked Trunk. Sheared Limbs.

Hanke Christmas Tree up close

My Christmas tree is so crooked.  The trunk looks like a Z or a bone that healed badly from a compound break.

I didn’t mean to get a crooked tree.

I love our family tree tradition.  Each year we go around the same weekend.  We go to the same place.  We go to the same restaurant for lunch.  The kids run down the same paths.  I wear the same flannel shirt and boots.  I use the same saw.  I love it.

We went on Sunday.  We knew they were calling for rain, snow, ice pellets, and other acts of God.  But we went anyway.  We left Arlington with the snow beginning to fall.  We drove west on I-66 for about an hour.  The snow fell harder.  We couldn’t get in to the parking lot for the tree farm–  my van can do a lot, but going up hill in snow is not one of them.  So I parked it on the small road out front with a hope and a prayer that no one would slide into it.

The kids were thrilled.  James took 4 steps and fell straight down.  He took 2 steps and fell again.  I carried him through the snow to the top of the hill, then pointed him in the right direction to let him slide where he wanted.

I was nervous.  Would we make it back to the highway?  Was my van cementing itself in a pit of snow and ice?  When I get nervous, I get barky.  So I instructed everyone that we would not be leisurely browsing this year.  Pick one and pick fast.

Snow balls were flying.  Children were slipping and sliding.  I was intent on finding a tree.

There.  Perfect.

Ok.  It was good enough.  And it was covered in snow.  And it was fine.  Adequate.  It had branches and some needles…

I got down in the snow and immediately regretted only wearing jeans as I felt the wet seep into my pants.  With a mild grumble, I began cutting.  The saw worked perfectly and I smiled.  That was quick!  I dragged the tree, ‘bagged’ it, and got some rope to mount it on my roof.

The guy there did a great a great job mounting it.  And we had a great talk about berry farming.  And I thought, maybe I could work for a berry farmer on my day off.  That kind of work sounds really fun and refreshing.  Really.

We bought a wreath, took a picture, drank some hot chocolate and ran for the car.  After a quick lunch with the snow dumping on I-66, we set off for home.

Along the way, we stopped at Fairfax Hospital to pray for a baby in our church who was having respiratory problems.  And we stopped by Restoration’s office to pick up the worship guides for church.  As we turned to drive into the garage for our office building, Laurel said, ‘Be careful!’  I said, ‘why?’  Just as a tremendous thud sounded on the roof of our van.  My first thought was–  ‘why is my bike on the roof in this snow?’  And then I remembered, ‘That’s my Christmas tree!’  I pulled into a space and looked at the damage.  The tree was still there.  But it now had a nice haircut from all the branches being sheered off one side.  I grumbled as I ran up the stairs to get the worship guide and thought about the pruning job I would need to do to make this tree look like anything besides a bad joke.

We got home.  Time was tight before church.  I stuck the tree (and dangling branches) in our laundry room to dry and to deal with later.

The next day I got the tree upstairs and in its stand.  In our family trimming of the tree, my role is to get it in place, Laurel is the light putter-onner and the kids get free (guided?) reign on ornament distribution.  Turns out ‘getting it in place’ was a lot harder this year.  First, one side of it is branch-less, completely flat, just barren jagged points.  Fortunately we have a column in our living room and that side of the tree got shoved against it.  But then there is the trunk.  How did I not see this at the tree farm?  How could the snow hide that much crookedness?  I turned the tree one way and it bent to the left.  I leaned it to the right and it bent the other way.  I couldn’t believe how un-straight it was.  Yes, my thoughts were not charitable in those moments.

It’s still bent.  There’s not a happy ending to this story.  Even from the street, through the windows, you will wonder–  is that tree about to fall down?  Did they just shove it in a bucket?

But it’s beautiful.  And it holds 16 years of sweet married memories.  And 12 years of kid ‘gifts’.

In this story of Ruth, we are thinking about redemption that looks different than we expected.  And we are considering how we run ahead of God, thinking we know His plan, and force something to happen in a way that may be different than He intended. It’s a powerful story.

Every year, the tree reminds me of what I want with my friends and my family.  It’s a point of beauty and great smells that triggers gratitude.  Every year, Advent reminds me that I need a redeemer, that He has come and is coming again, and that I am fully capable of running ahead of the plans He has for me.  There are times, when I look at my soul and I think, it is still so bent, so crooked, so broken, so not at all what I want.  And I realize again, that to be trimmed in the righteousness of Jesus, to be filled with the light of Christ, and to exchange my ashes for a garment of praise–  these are my present and future hope.  This is what is true.  Crooked as my trunk may be, Jesus has me and he won’t let me fall.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.




Hanke tree



During a season of Israel’s life when they were remembering their story, this was the instruction that their leaders gave to them:

“Stand up and bless the LORD your God from everlasting to everlasting.  Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.

“You are the LORD, you alone.  You have made heaven,  the heaven of heavens,  with all their host,  the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them;  and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

Nehemiah 9: 5b-6

On this Thanksgiving of 2013, I am grateful for many things in the life of our church.  For what did you say thanks?

  • Like this season in Israel’s life, I am thankful that in 2103 we deliberately remembered our story.  We spent almost 9 months studying the book of Luke.  This fall we have gone deep into Genesis 1-4:  looking at God’s good creation and how it was ruined.  Our goal has been to help everyone at Restoration see the story that makes sense of their stories.  We want to see broken people restored by grace living God’s story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration:  Living God’s story connected to Him, to others, and to the needs of the world;  Living God’s story in worship, community, and mission;  Living God’s story in glory to the Father, through the work of Jesus the Son, in dependence on the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
  • I am thankful for our facility transition.  We spent 10 weeks (Jan-March) getting excited about a new space.  We heard a top ten for the ages and sang ‘we will be together…’ right alongside ‘Christ the Lord is risen today’ on Easter.  We had a rocking party and auction for us and the neighbors in May.  District Taco brought their truck.  Lars got some auctioneer training in VT.  Pews scattered to homes all over Arlington.
  • I am thankful for Little Falls Presbyterian.  They have been incredible hosts.  It is a beautiful building.  We have had worship every Sunday since April, a couple weddings, a funeral, and the occasional Man Up.  They have taught me how to be generous–  how to say ‘yes’ whenever you can.  I don’t think this interim season could have gone any better.  Thank you Little Falls and your wonderful staff.
  • I am thankful for our design and construction team:  Franck and Lohsen Architects, Scott Long Construction, Walter Phillips Engineering.  They all get the pleasure of interfacing with our own Kathy Kenyon who has done an incredible job staying on top of all the details.  Our building will be beautiful, efficient, and a great tool for the ministry that God is calling us to on Quincy Street and beyond.  I can’t wait!!
  • I am thankful for the teams we sent to West Asia and to West Virginia.  I have deep respect for people who take vacation time, raise money from family and friends, and give from their personal savings so that they can serve, tell the Gospel, and pray for people around the world.  I am grateful for our growing local partnerships with Casa Chirilagua, ASPAN, Doorways for women and families, Courtney’s House, and Sunrise Assisted Living.  Thank you Love Arlington small group for creating all kinds of opportunities for Restoration to love our neighbors.
  • I am thankful for almost 90 different small groups that met over 3 trimesters this year.  We had well over 50 small group leaders every tri and we were north of 200 people in small group each week.  I am grateful that being in a small group is a part of normal life at Restoration.  And I am grateful for such an effective system for getting people in to groups and giving them really good content.  Make sure you consider David Griffin’s teaching on the New Testament, the West Asia small group, Financial Peace University, welcoming the stranger, or confirmation in Tri 1 2014.  We have all kinds of cool things to stretch your mind and your heart.
  • I am thankful for all that our kids experience at Restoration.  I love their Sunday small groups and the dedicated team of Kids’ Small Group Leaders who give up ‘big church time’ to lead our kids.  Our kids are learning God’s Big story too.  These small group leaders connect the dots and show them the Big Picture.  Apex has doubled and there are dedicated leaders who are mentoring High School students and thinking about building bridges to kids who don’t normally go to church.  And did you know there have been 39 babies born in the last year?  Seriously.
  • In addition to hundreds of great volunteers, I am so thankful for our staff team of 8.  They work very hard.  They produce an EXCELLENT Sunday worship opportunity every single week.  That kind of consistency is a learned and practiced skill.  They pray and imagine and take risks and dream and listen to each other and create new things and make sure it is all excellent and glorifying to God.  Every week their work is on display and I am grateful for them.  As a team, we laugh, cry, celebrate birthdays [4 in October alone!], rejoice in what God is doing, hope that redemption will come, share responsibilities, and champion each others ideas.  We love Jesus and we are so grateful for His church.  It is a joy to serve Him alongside all of you.

We have much to be thankful for.  Let us stand up and bless the Lord, who made heaven and earth and who will make them anew!





In him we have obtained  an inheritance,  having been predestined  according to the purpose of him who works all things according to  the counsel of his will,  12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be  to the praise of his glory.  13 In him you also, when you heard  the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him,  were sealed with the  promised Holy Spirit14 who is  the guarantee  of our  inheritance until  we acquire  possession of it,   to the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:11-14

It is amazing to me that God put a mark on Cain to claim him as his own.  I am astounded by the reality that even though Cain in no way deserved it, God said, ‘you are mine.  I claim you.  I will protect you.’

Grace is amazing.  God is jaw-dropping cool.

He proves over and over that He is worthy of our trust.  I am so thankful for the way He treats me–  not as I deserve.

For those who follow Jesus, we get something better than Cain’s tattoo.  God seals us with the promised Holy Spirit.  He puts himself IN us as a guarantee that He will never leave us and that He will make sure He finishes the work He needs to do so we are ready for the inheritance He has promised us.  Thank you God that I don’t merely get a mark on the outside–  thank you that I get YOU on the inside.  And that your presence changes and transforms me a little more every day.

Happy Birthday

On Sunday we celebrated several things:

  • It was the last day of the Christian calendar.
  • It was Christ the King Sunday–  when we remember that God has promised to restore all things under Him who is our Head.
  • It was our 4th Birthday!!  Four years ago, in the Ballston Hilton, Bishop Minns instituted my ministry as Rector of Restoration and instituted the ministry of our first vestry.  God has been incredibly faithful to us.  We are thankful for numerical growth, for marriages and babies(!), for new friendships, for deeper discipleship, for new outreach partnerships, for a beautiful building-to-be.  I am so glad to be on this journey with you.  Happy Birthday!!


All of us at Restoration are praying for you as you pause this week to give thanks for the ways God has provided for you in the past year.  May you have safe travel and good conversations with friends and loved ones.


I mentioned on Sunday that the vestry of our church is committed to keeping you informed of our financial situation.  So, for the first time in our 4 year history, we had a month with a significant deficit.  Restoration is an extremely generous church.  You give sacrificially to a variety of opportunities.  Our vestry is very careful and strategic with how that money gets allocated.  So this was an unusual event–  a first.  We are not alarmed, but we want you to be aware.  We have a million dollar operating budget and a $4.5 million building project.  Both of these are significant undertakings for a church our size and age.  The vestry invites you to keep these things in mind as you plan your year end giving.

May you rejoice in being people who are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked and claimed by our loving God because of His work in Christ.


Far as the Curse is Found

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November 24, 2013 – David Hanke

Gen 4:8-16 / Ps 124 / John 3:16-21

Listen to Sunday’s songs here.

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