An Update on Christine…

cliff_christine

As many of you have heard…  Christine Warner, the wife of Cliff, who is the rector of Christ Church Austin, was in a serious accident on April 10.  She was admitted into Intensive Care after being struck by a truck while standing on the side of the road.  She was taken to the hospital in critical condition.  She incurred broken facial bones, ribs, and damage to her carotid arteries and liver.

I want to thank you for praying for me as I went to Christ Church Austin this past weekend.  I joined in their corporate prayer, I preached during the Eucharist, and I wept with their sadness.  Christ Church was so grateful to you, Restoration, for sending me to be with them.  They are a strong, Spirit-filled, joyful, expectant community.  The church is caring well for each other and for the Warner family.  They are praying the Daily Office together-  both on-site and wherever they happen to be.  They are anticipating all the costs of this accident– from loss of Christine’s income to new vehicles.  They are settling in for the marathon that healing and recovering will be.

They are trusting God.

I want to answer some of the questions I have received since the accident:

  1. Here is the place you can read the most recent prayer requests and updates on healing.  Consider bookmarking this page and praying from it each day.
  2. Here is a pdf of the sermon that I preached at Christ Church on Sunday. Lift up the Light of your Face [FINAL]   Psalm 4 provided so many insights for us as we think about responding to tragedy.    (You can also listen to it, here.)

Thank you for praying.  Thank you for trusting.  Thank you for asking for God to change the course of this tragedy.

‘…the Lord hears when I call to him.’  (Psalm 4.3)

-David

Wardens’ Report: March 2018

The Wardens’ Report: a brief summary of highlights from monthly Vestry meetings, designed to provide information about our growth, finances, priorities and progress towards our strategic plan.

At our 20 March Vestry meeting, we enjoyed dinner together and prayer before starting the meeting.  This month Kevin Marshall led us through our compline which included a time of prayers and thanksgiving for the ministry of Associate Rector, Nathan Dickerson at Restoration over the past year.  We are grateful for all God is doing at Restoration through Nathan as he leads and coordinates Small Groups, RestoMen, and local Church Planting.  We welcome your prayers for all the staff, the Vestry and God’s work here on Quincy Street. 

In our meeting we discussed the monthly update received from the Incarnation core team.  These monthly updates will be discussed at each Vestry meeting as we focus on ways to assist and enable the launch of Incarnation Anglican Church on September 9, 2018. 

Meredith Taylor, our treasurer, led us through the financial reports through February 2018.  Average Sunday attendance year to date is up approximately 8% from 2017.  FY 2018 offerings through February 2018 were 97% of budget and spending 93% of budget and we have 4.1 months of Cash on Hand.  We are thankful for the congregation’s generosity and God’s faithfulness.  Restoration is on sound financial footing. 

Becky Mohr led a discussion on several personnel related proposals which included an update on efforts to hire a female associate rector.  We voted to approve a small change to our retirement plan and to recommend a member as a postulant for Holy Orders. 

Additionally, we discussed how our clergy might lead us to respond to the many local opportunities to engage effectively in the issues and opportunities surrounding race and diversity. 

As always, if you have questions, concerns, words of wisdom or encouragement, please know that we are open to your feedback.  You can read an archive of past Wardens’ Reports on our website or Vestry Meeting minutes on CCB, under the ‘Files’ tab in the ‘Entire Church Group’

– Becky Mohr and Dietrich Kuhlmann, Wardens

More of life in resurrection…

butterfly landing

Last week we looked at 3 stories of Jesus appearing to people after His resurrection.  These case studies of ‘belief’ are such an encouragement to me.  I find myself in these people over and over again.  John 20 will take you 45 seconds to read and 45 years to digest.

Bottom line:  Jesus wants to make Himself real to you.  He will show up when you least expect it.  He will look different than you were anticipating.  He will speak to your particular and personal doubt.  He will give you purpose and send you out in adventure.  He will take what seemed to be the end and show you how it is just the beginning.

He is risen.  And we are living in the reality of resurrection.  Thanks be to God.

I’ve got another newsy update.  This one involves Eucharist words in Spanish, a church that is heartbroken, and a postponement.  Take a look.

Bolivia2018, Rev. Tammy Firestone and the Eucharist in Spanish

We have had a special treat this week.  Our friend, Rev. Tammy Firestone, the rector of La Trinidad Anglican Church in Cochabamba, Bolivia has been visiting.  On Thursday and Friday she spent time with our Bolivia2018 team orienting them for what they will be doing in August.  We are excited to lead a retreat that will train people to do prayer ministry.  This has been an exciting area of growth for Restoration and we are excited to keep learning about prayer ministry alongside our friends at La Trinidad.

Rev. Tammy will join us during the 9:00 and 11:00 liturgies this Sunday, April 15.  She will be the celebrant for the Eucharist and she will use the words she uses with her home church:  SPANISH!  Rev. Tammy was called to the priesthood while living in Bolivia and Spanish is the only language she has used while celebrating the Eucharist.  I am sure the experience will stretch her comfort level in a predominantly English speaking context and it will stretch the comfort level in our congregation for those for whom Spanish is not a familiar language.  I am grateful for this cross-cultural opportunity that we can experience as a church without having to leave the familiarity of our pews!

Please greet Rev. Tammy with your normal generous hospitality.

Please pray for our Bolivia Team that is prepping even now.

Please thank God that we are a part of His global church.

Christine W. and Christ Church Austin

Some of you know that Restoration has a special relationship with Christ Church Austin.  Our churches are similar in years of existence, similar in age demographic and proximity to a major metropolitan center, similar in our support of Jesse and Sarah Blaine (both churches send finances and teams of people to partner with them), and similar in our passions for Scriptural teaching, discipleship, and mission.  We have been on mission trips together as churches.  We have sent people to each other churches.  We share the Wheatley children (Resto gets Mac, Christ Church gets Meghan).

I have tragic news about Christine, the wife of Cliff who is the rector of Christ Church.

On April 10 Christine was hit in full force by a truck while attending to her son’s vehicle, which ran out of gas on a major freeway flyover in Austin TX.  Her injuries are massive and comprehensive: brain damage and some swelling and bleeding, her face was shattered and will need to be reconstructed later, her carotid arteries are damaged and this greatly concerns the doctors for if they close down it brings a massive stroke, she has broken ribs, possibly other broken bones, the liver is lacerated and bleeding—may need emergency surgery. We sense that God will heal her, and we will see miraculous actions of the Spirit of God.  PRAY PRAY PRAY!”

That is from Christine’s father.  Since that notice, Christine has had a craniotomy and is waiting for her body to stabilize so that she can have major liver surgery.  Please pray for Cliff, Christine, Brendan, Cormac, Skye, and Bronwyn.

Cliff is one of my closest friends and closest colleagues in ministry.  His Director of Operations called and asked if I would come to Christ Church to lead, preach and celebrate the Eucharist this weekend (April 15).  My bishop and vestry have encouraged me to go and to serve this church while they are reeling from the news about their beloved Christine.  After you pray for Christine and her family, please pray for me, that God would give me the words I need to say at the times I need to say them.

I will miss being with Restoration on Sunday, but I am grateful for our partnership with Christ Church and to be sent to them by you.

1 Corinthians 6 and 7

You may remember that we were studying the book of 1 Corinthians this year?  In March I was quite ill with a bacteria I picked up on a pastoral visit to West Asia so we had to pause our sermon series in 1 Corinthians.  We haven’t quite gotten back to it…

I was all ready to pick it up this weekend, but my need to be in Austin precludes that.  So, Lord willing, next week, we will re-enter the world of Corinth and pick up the Apostle Paul’s letter in chapter 6.  If you read chapter 6, you will see that his words are challenging in today’s milieu.  If you keep reading into chapter 7, you will see that the words don’t get any easier.

Because of the number of questions that can be generated as one preaches through these texts, we are creating 2 forums for you:

  1. After each service on each Sunday (April 22, 29, May 6, 13), David and another Restoration Pastoral Staff member will gather on the 3rd floor in the big window area that looks out on the sanctuary.  Please bring any question that comes up for you during the sermon.  We will have about 30 minutes to talk and we can schedule more time as needed.  The discussion will be like a forum, not one on one.  It’s a great chance to hear what other people are thinking and to drill deeper into things that are said during the sermon.
  2. We have created this form for you to submit questions at anytime over the next 4 weeks.  Your questions will help David hone the scope of topics he needs to address.  Some of the questions will be answered during the sermon.  Some of them will be answered in the post-service Q&A on the 3rd floor.  Some will be answered by blog post.  Thanks for your active listening and feedback.  Your questions help us learn together.

Thank you for praying.  Our church is desperate for God’s power and presence.  We go to places that are difficult and hard and we ask for God to bring His light and hope.

We need that for our friend, Christine.

We need that for discussions about human sexuality and marriage.

We need that to stay faithful in all that He calls us to do.

With you in it,

David

 

Random Musings of Life in Resurrection…

butterfly pt. 1

I loved the butterflies that framed our Easter Joy last Sunday.  They were subtle and emerging as we moved through Lent.  Then Saturday night, during the Vigil, our sanctuary exploded with beauty, with the promise that life that comes after death.  A huge thanks to our RestoArts team and their vision for us to ‘see’ Holy Week and Easter.

Sometimes I post about our life together.  Sometimes it’s random and newsy.

This is that.

Seeing Jesus

This Sunday, April 8, I will be preaching on 3 interactions with the post-resurrection Jesus from John 20:

  • Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene when she thought He was a gardener.
  • Jesus’ appearance to the disciples when they thought He was a ghost.
  • Jesus’ appearance to Thomas when he thought everyone else was lying.

If you or someone you know has doubts, questions, or wonderings about how this story can be true…  Or if you know someone who wants to believe it is true, but can’t see how it affects them…  This might be a great week to invite them to Resto.  Tell them with a wink, ‘Nobody goes to church the week AFTER Easter.  It’s a great time to see what it’s all about.’

These 3 little vignettes speak to our longings, our doubts, our fragile hope that just maybe…  Maybe resurrection really changed the world.

Remembering Ted Van Der Meid

Our church has been praying for Ted for a long time.  Just before Holy Week, Ted’s battle with pancreatic cancer ended.  Tomorrow, April 7, at 2pm at Little Falls Presbyterian Church, Restoration will remember the life of Ted Van Der Meid and celebrate our hope of resurrection. 

You might be wondering, ‘Why Little Falls and not Restoration?’  Ted served on Capital Hill for over 30 years and the family is expecting over 400 people to attend. This is one of those times that our sanctuary and fellowship hall would be strained to the point of discomfort.  I am really grateful for our friends and partners at Little Falls.  They have been such gracious hosts (again!) to us.

You are very warmly invited to attend Ted’s memorial service.  It was a privilege for our church to pray for him and walk alongside him in life and it is our privilege to remember him in death.

Our search for a Church Plant Resident

As many of you know, we have been working for over a year to identify, recruit, and hire a church plant resident.  This position would be filled by someone who would join our staff team for a couple of years and then take a launch team to plant a new Anglican congregation in the Metro DC area.  In March, a very promising candidate came down to Arlington for a day of interviews.  Our hiring team was really excited about his potential and made him an offer to come be our church plant resident.

A couple days ago, this candidate responded to our offer and graciously turned us down.  He is feeling called to pursue a different track of vocational development in the season to come.  We understood his reasons though we were very sad to not welcome him to our team.

We want Restoration to continue to be a place where people are developing their ministry gifts and we will keep thinking creatively about how to do that well.  I wanted you to know that this particular candidate will not be joining us this summer.

Incarnation Anglican Church

Things are really ramping up for our church plant, Incarnation Anglican Church.  They have had several ‘get to know us and our neighborhood’ events that have been well attended.  They are running their own Small Group Sign-Ups for the Spring Trimester.  They will begin weekly gatherings in June to get ready for their public launch in September.

This is going to be a GREAT church.  I am so excited about the leadership team and the people from Restoration who are joining in the project.  As the rector of Restoration, I am inviting every person in our church to ask, should I be a part of this?  Should I go out with the launch team?  Should I give a financial gift?  Should I pray for them in my weekly prayer rhythms?

I want you to know that when people come to me and say, ‘I want to be a part of what God is doing through Incarnation…’  I REJOICE!  I cheer!  I thank them for all that they have done at Resto and I pray that God would multiply the fruit of their service in this new church.  Think about joining with what God is doing through Incarnation.  I’ll celebrate with you too!

Building on Liz’s Legacy

As we eagerly anticipate Incarnation’s launch, we are concurrently working hard on the hiring process to build on Rev. Liz Gray’s legacy.  You can read the job description of the person we are seeking, here.  I invite you to consider it for yourself and to share it with people who feel a calling to church ministry.  We have had a great response and we are beginning the screening and interview process.  If you or someone you know is interested, this is the time to send in resume and cover letter.

 

Ok, that’s enough for now.  Like I said, random and newsy…  like a good phone call with your Mom.

See you Sunday,

David

Wardens’ Report: February 2018

Vestry 2018

The Wardens’ Report: a brief summary of highlights from monthly Vestry meetings, designed to provide information about our growth, finances, priorities and progress towards our strategic plan.

At our February 28th vestry meeting, we enjoyed dinner together and prayer at the rail in the sanctuary before starting our meeting. This month, Leigh McAfee led us through compline and prayer for Associate Rector, Liz Gray. We thanked God for Liz and the fruitfulness of her work in prayer, women’s ministry, and outreach at Restoration.  We also prayed for her new role as she leads the planting of Incarnation Anglican Church next fall: that God would protect and lead her as she bravely answer’s God’s call to be a church planter.

In our meeting, we discussed our plan to build on Liz’s legacy at Restoration as she prepares to leave Restoration for Incarnation. We are asking God to help us to hire a priest who can lead women’s ministry and also to help us find leaders to continue to grow our outreach programs.

We voted to approve several motions, these include:

– Responding to Bishop John’s request to gifting the ACNA with funds from our outreach budget to help travel Bishops from Uganda, Rwanda, and Myanmar to the GAFCON conference in Jerusalem. 

– Approving rosters for our 5 advisory teams: Personnel, Finance, Facilities, Outreach Steering, and Incarnation Anglican Church Servant Team.

– Authorizing David and Liz to sign a lease with Greenbrier Baptist Church for Incarnation’s worship services to be held there beginning next fall.

Lastly, we had a discussion on the future of Restoration Immigration Legal Aid. Nearly two years since its first legal clinic, RILA has filed 73 asylum cases and currently has 22 scheduled court hearings. RILA has flourished within the “incubator” of Restoration. Even so, both the vestry and the RILA leadership team have been aware that a more self-sustaining model is necessary for RILA to continue to grow and best serve its clients. About a year ago, vestry asked RILA to begin considering what that model would be.

After research and consultation with Restoration’s chancellor, RILA ultimately proposed becoming its own legal entity, an integrated auxiliary of Restoration. Vestry approved this proposal for RILA to gain the flexibility needed to best serve its clients, while still continuing strong ties to Restoration’s leadership.

As always, if you have questions, concerns, words of wisdom or encouragement, please know that we are open to your feedback.  You can read an archive of past Wardens’ Reports on our website or Vestry Meeting minutes on CCB, under the ‘Files’ tab in the ‘Entire Church Group.’

– Becky Mohr and Dietrich Kuhlmann, Wardens

A RILA Volunteer Comes Full Circle

RILAclinic5

Ana, a regular Restoration Immigration Legal Aid (RILA) volunteer, can’t say enough about the difference that RILA volunteers make in clients’ lives:  “People listen.  They will commit to you to the end, no matter what….RILA is so valuable.”

As a volunteer interpreter and translator, Ana has been a witness to this commitment.  As a former client of RILA, she has also been on the receiving end.

Ana’s introduction to RILA came almost two years ago, at a desperate point in her life.  She was a victim of a cruel deception that brought her to this country and led to near captivity.  Ana, along with her daughter,  experienced isolation and deprivation in their first two and a half years in the US.  During this time, she sought the assistance of private and nonprofit attorneys, but they claimed her case was hopeless – or would be prohibitively expensive to pursue.  Eventually, her circumstances led to hospitalization, and her daughter was placed in foster care.   Ana describes this time as “terrible,” but she knew her daughter was safe and that this could be a turning point for them both.  Upon release from the hospital, she found work first as a cleaner and then as a teaching assistant.  At the same time, she learned of Restoration Immigration Legal Aid through her daughter’s foster parents. 

She was thrilled that RILA was willing to take her case—and at no charge.  She explained that RILA helped her secure a work permit and prepared her expansive, well-supported application for a visa.  Throughout the one-year process, Ana marveled at how much the RILA staff were willing to help her.  There was great celebration when Ana’s visa was approved – the first success for RILA and, more importantly, a chance for a new start for Ana.

One year later, Ana, who is a physician in her home country, works at the Virginia Hospital Center as a technician.  She makes time to stop by Restoration during RILA office hours to help translate documents.  She and her daughter are also regular volunteers at RILA clinics.  Ana’s own life experiences allow her to empathize and advocate for clients during the clinic sessions.  It gives her great satisfaction to help in this way.   She notes, “You won’t find another group like RILA.”

Ana explains that when she was persuaded to come to this country, she was seeking the “American dream.”  Having overcome much and received the gift of freedom, she now understands the American dream in an entirely new way.

If you would like to volunteer with RILA or be part of a new prayer team, please email Kate.

Making a marriage last

JS

John and Susan Yates

I am so grateful for John and Susan Yates: they and their church launched Restoration 9 years ago.  They believed in God’s power to birth a new community in Arlington, they believed in how God might use me to lead it, and they believed in us-  that we would creatively and strategically build something that would last and influence our county.  Thank you, God for the Yates’.

John and Susan have been married for 46 years (5 kids, 21 grandkids) and they have coached thousands (really) of couples with tips and advice on how to strengthen their marriage.  I appreciate the hard work they have done to articulate the principles and guidelines that have served them over the course of their marriage.  It’s one thing to be faithful to each other over such a long season.  It’s another to be able to pass that on to folks who are coming up behind you.  That’s a gift to me and to many.

We will change things up a bit on February 18.  We all have our routines and so I am sensitive to the disruption that change brings.  We are not doing this haphazardly.  We intend to provide you with meaningful help and hope.

We will have our normal Eucharistic Liturgy at our 9:00am and 11:00am.  It is the first Sunday of Lent and I will be preaching from 1 Corinthians 5.

Then at 5:00pm, we will host John and Susan for a 90 minute seminar on ‘Making a Marriage Last’.  They will teach from the Scriptures and from their life.  There will be opportunities for Q&A.  Everyone is invited to attend.  In fact, I would love for EVERYONE in our congregation to come back at 5 to hear what they have to say.  We will have nursery and a kid movie for children 5th grade and below.

From time to time we want to provide extra teaching on topics that are important to our congregation and to our neighbors.  I hope you will make this evening a priority and maybe invite a friend to come with you.

-David

Wardens’ Report: January 2018

Vestry 2018

I am delighted to show you our 2018 Vestry.  We had a great retreat last weekend and we are eagerly anticipating all that God will do through our church this year.

The vestry chose Meredith Taylor to serve as our treasurer and Sean Burke to serve as our secretary.  Dietrich Kuhlmann and Becky Mohr will serve as our wardens.

The wardens meet monthly with the rector to plan and share the leadership of the vestry.  They are wise, strategic, and people who pray.  You will hear from them each month in this quick report that summarizes the discussions and decisions of our vestry.

Join me in giving thanks to God for our new vestry and officers.

-David

The Wardens’ Report: a brief summary of highlights from monthly Vestry meetings, designed to provide information about our growth, finances, priorities and progress towards our strategic plan.

This report combines our 23 January Vestry meeting which was followed by our 26-27 January Vestry Retreat. 

During our Vestry meeting we enjoyed dinner together and prayer before starting the meeting.  This month David Hanke led us through our prayer time which focused on asking the Holy Spirit to bless our time together and give us wisdom as we start the meeting and a new year.  We welcome your prayers for all the staff, the Vestry, God’s work here at Quincy Street and the successful launch of Incarnation Anglican in South Arlington. 

The majority of the Vestry meeting focused on reviewing our Pastoral Charge, Diocese Constitution and Canons, bylaws and the many guidelines that those before us have faithfully prepared to aide us in fulfilling our responsibilities as Vestry members of a vibrant and growing Christian community.  

We voted to:

At the Vestry Retreat we focused on the parables in Matthew 13 and, after a team building exercise, we shared and prayed over the thorns and weeds in our lives.  We spent quiet time discerning what God was saying to us about what the “the Kingdom of heaven is like …” and then shared how we might apply those insights to sustaining the great work God is doing in Restoration and Incarnation.  We are excited about the well-crafted ministry plan from the Incarnation steering team and we look forward to faithfully supporting them in this year of launch!  

Finally, we elected the vestry officials for 2018:

– Wardens: Becky Mohr and Dietrich Kuhlmann

– Treasurer: Meredith Lloyd Taylor

– Secretary: Sean Burke

We ate, we laughed, we prayed, we listened – God was very gracious and the time together was an amazing blessing.

As always, if you have questions, concerns, words of wisdom or encouragement, please know that we are open to your feedback.  You can read an archive of past Wardens’ Reports on our website or Vestry Meeting minutes on CCB, under the ‘Files’ tab in the ‘Entire Church Group’

– Becky Mohr and Dietrich Kuhlmann, Wardens

Why do we sing songs in Spanish?

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 10.06.49 AM

Why would we not?

Over the last few months, Restoration has added three or four songs with Spanish lyrics to our canon of music.  Generally, we have chosen one each Sunday and sung it during the offertory.  Some of you have loved doing familiar songs with Spanish lyrics.  Some of you have wondered why this is happening.  Here are three reasons that are informing this practice:

It is Biblical.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Revelation 7: 9-10

As followers of Jesus who submit to the Scriptures, we have a long-used methodology for determining best practices:  protology and eschatology.  How did things begin (protology)?  How will things end (eschatology)?  As Christians, want to be moving either towards the way things were intended to be or the way things will be.

Revelation 7:9-10 gives a vivid description of the way things will be.  There will be multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual worship of the Lamb who was slain for all peoples.  Consequently, we seek a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual worship service in the present because we know that it is ‘the telos’, ‘the end’, ‘the eschaton’, ‘the goal’ to which we are headed.  Singing a familiar song with Spanish lyrics is a SMALL step towards the rich tapestry of linguistic diversity that we will enjoy in the age to come. 

Similarly, Revelation 19:9 says, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”  The ‘marriage supper of the lamb’ is the telos (the end) to which our current Eucharist points.  We eat a bite of bread and take a sip of wine in anticipation of the FEAST we will enjoy in the age to come.  Our eschatology (FEASTING) determines our present practice (TASTING).

It is kind.

Kind means “having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature.”  There are people in our congregation for whom Spanish IS their heart language, their first language.  When we sing familiar songs with Spanish lyrics, there is an ease and comprehension that opens for them that is not available when we only sing songs in English.  As majority English speakers, we extend ourselves to our brothers and sisters whose first language is not English when we sing songs that our less comfortable for us and more comfortable for them.  It is kind.

It represents who we want to be.

According to Statistical Atlas,

“14.1% of the total population living in Arlington County live in households where Spanish is spoken at home.”

According to Data USA,

“Arlington County, VA is home to a population of 223,945 people… The ethnic composition of the population of Arlington… is composed of:

  • 141,107 White residents (63%)
  • 34,629 Hispanic residents (15.5%)  (This is supported by the U.S. Census bureau which puts the population at 15.4% as of July 2016.)
  • 22,085 Asian residents (9.9%)
  • 18,584 Black residents (8.3%)
  • 5,777 Two+ residents (2.58%).

The most common foreign language in Arlington County is Spanish (29,482 speakers).

Restoration wants to love our neighbors and look like our neighborhoods.  We want to welcome anyone who is curious about Jesus and what it means to follow Him as the One who forgives our sins and leads our life.  To that end, we want our liturgy, our music, our volunteer opportunities, and our teaching to be accessible to all of our neighbors in all of our neighborhoods.

Are we there yet?  Not.  Even.  Close.

Can we do it by ourselves?  Never.

We will need to partner with our brothers and sisters in other churches across our region.  We will need to keep looking for the courageous steps that our particular congregation can take.  We will need to embrace uncomfortable.

So the next time you see Spanish lyrics, try this:

  1.  Say a quick prayer of thanks for all the people and households in our neighborhoods who speak Spanish.  We are so glad they are near us.
  2. Choose a language to sing.  We will always put English and Spanish on the slide.  Choose what feels right to sing so that you can worship.  You are worshiping God and he can sort out multiple languages at the same time.  No sweat.
  3. Consider taking a risk from time to time and singing the lyrics that are less familiar to you.
  4. Pray for the people standing around you that they would be the light of Christ to all the peoples in their neighborhoods.

For Me?  Well, so far I have stumbled through my Spanish during those songs.  Every time.  But as I bump along, embracing uncomfortable, I am so grateful that my voice gets drowned out by the volume of others singing next to me.  So grateful that we are a community.  I am so grateful to be in a community that is being kind and welcoming and hospitable.  I am grateful for really small steps that demonstrate trust in God and partnership in his mission.  And I look forward to that gigantic multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual worship of the Lamb in the age to come.

-David

 

The Corinthian Correspondence

 

Writing a Letter

2018

Happy New Year!  Restoration is starting a new sermon series and working our way through St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.  Make sure you read the first 2 sections of this post….

Why would you want to do that?  (Don’t you know that it’s long and says true things that lots of people find offensive. #spoileralert)

Well, there are actually several reasons that this book seems really good for who Restoration is at this point in time:

  1. First, I am very grateful for our hard work in Jeremiah all fall.  We got our heads and heart around a big, mildly unfamiliar story.  As we seek to cover all of the Scriptures, it’s a good time to pivot to the New Testament and young churches that were getting started.
  2. It’s been a while since we worked through an epistle (a letter) and a while since we have worked through an entire book from start to finish.  Let’s take that on this year!
  3. The issues they were dealing with in Corinth are raw and connected to the things we are dealing with at Restoration and in our world today:  the foolishness of faith in the Gospel, discerning what is real wisdom and real prosperity, the consequence of identifying ourselves with our leaders (or not), sexual purity, lawsuits, the role of men and women in the church and in the home, spiritual gifts and how the Holy Spirit manifests in our worship, getting drunk at the Eucharist, marriage, not marriage, temptation and idols and rights and eating meat.  As relevant as this morning’s headlines in the Post.
  4. I appreciate that the church in Corinth was young, freshly planted, and messy.  Their questions are good things for Restoration and Incarnation to consider while we are still together (one being about 10 years older than the other…)

Small Groups

As always, we will have 30 small groups starting up with about half of them talking about the passages from 1 Corinthians.  Registration opens on Sunday, January 7 and I hope that everyone who worships with us on Sunday will be actively involved in a Resto small group during the week.  It’s the best place to get to know people, to pray together, and to wrestle through how these truths in the Scripture affect our hustle and bustle life.

Ken Bailey

Feel free to skip this last section, I just want to give a shout out to one of the names you will hear me frequently quote during this series:  Ken Bailey.  He is a preeminent author and scholar in Middle Eastern New Testament Studies.  He teaches in English and Arabic and has written some of the most helpful stuff available for understanding First Century culture.  His book, Paul through Mediterranean Eyes, has been so helpful to my preparation for this series.  The book is almost 600 pages and heavily focused on Hebrew rhetorical style-  so not light reading.  But as appropriate, I will share helpful sections.

I love the way he describes himself:

Every commentator on the Scriptures writes in a context and out of a series of deep commitments.  I am a confessing Christian with a high reverence for the Bible as the inspired Word of God, which I approach with awe and gratitude.  Many of the ideas in this work come out of the non-Western world and have been presented by me in Arabic and in English to numerous audiences around the globe for more than 40 years…  I am writing for native English speakers, but also looking to the new Global South where the majority of the world’s Christians now live.”

His hermeneutical methodology helps us appreciate the logic and coherence of the book.

The view presented in this study is that 1 Corinthians has a carefully designed inner coherence that exhibits amazing precision in composition and admirable grandeur in overall theological concept…  the outline is as precise as any of Paul’s letters and it falls into 5 carefully constructed essays…

  1. The Cross and Christian Unity 1:5-4:16 (Epiphany)
  2. Men and Women in the Human Family 4:17-7:40 (Lent)
  3. Food offered to Idols (Christian and Pagan) 8:1-11:1  (post-Easter)
  4. Men and Women in Worship 11:2-14:40  (Autumn)
  5. The Resurrection 15  (Autumn)

As you look at those 5 essays, we discover that 3 principle ideas were on Paul’s mind as he wrote the letter:

  1. The Cross and Resurrection [1 and 5]
  2. Men and Women in the human family and in worship [2 and 4]
  3. Christians living among pagans:  to identify or not to identify [3]

It is my hope that this letter will increase our love for Jesus and His Church while also filling us with joy and hope as we live in this age and wait for the age to come.

Looking forward to it,

David

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