Wisdom and Technology Seminar

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Seminar Speaker Line-up (November 2-3rd)

How does technology fit into our lives as Christ followers? In what ways can it bring us closer to God and into deeper community with others? And in what ways does it merit careful consideration and boundaried use? In our day to day lives, technology is all around us and so readily available; it is easy to engage it without much thought. We invite you to join us for an opportunity to pause and reflect on the intersection of faith and technology in your life with the helpful input of several leading thinkers in this field. We will explore these topics from a variety of perspectives over two days – Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3.

On Friday, November 2 from 7:00-9:00 pm, we will have a screening of the documentary Screenagers followed by a panel discussion and Q & A. All are welcome to attend the screening, whether you are a caretaker of teenagers or not! Middle and high school students are encouraged to attend as well!

Saturday morning, we will gather at Restoration from 8 am – 12 pm to listen to speaker and technology expert, John Dyer of Dallas Theological Seminary and then we will have an opportunity for participants to attend two breakout sessions on topics of their choosing. More information on John Dyer, the leaders of our breakout sessions, as well as the breakout session topics can be found on the registration form.

Please feel free to join for one, or both days! It’s sure to be a wonderful time to stop, reflect, and then re-engage in a more thoughtful and informed way!

SPEAKER BIOS

John Dyer  (Main Speaker)

  • John Dyer is the Dean of Enrollment Services and Educational Technology and Adjunct Professor of Media Arts and Worship at Dallas Theological Seminary. John has been a technology creator for more than 20 years, building tools used by Facebook, Google, Apple, Anheuser-Busch, the Department of Defense, and the Digital Bible Society. His open source code is now used on more than 30% of websites. He has written on technology and faith for a number of publications including Gizmodo, Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, and in the book From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology. John and his wife, Amber, have two children, Benjamin and Rebecca.

Justin Whitmel Earley

  • Justin Whitmel Earley is the founder of The Common Rule and author of The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction. He will be sharing his wisdom surrounding the power of purposeful habits in helping us to stay engaged and present with those we love. He and his wife, Lauren, have three boys and live in Richmond, Virginia.

J.R. 

  • J.R. has spent the past twenty years working with Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in a variety of forms: the video game industry, transportation systems, academia, startups, and Silicon Valley industrial research labs.  He will be exploring how the human brain works and why we make the choices we do online. He will also offer some thoughts on how we can be better “Digital Citizens of Heaven.”

“Screenagers” Movie

  • “Screenagers” is an award-winning film that probes into the vulnerable corners of family life and depicts messy struggles over social media, video games and academics.  The film offers solutions on how we can help our teenagers navigate the digital world.APEX will also be hosting a panel discussion with technology specialist and Dallas Theological Seminary professor John Dyer, immediately following the screening.

Click the link below to REGISTER.

REGISTER

 

Giving A Little Love

Restoration singing carols at Sunrise Senior Living

The first time I went to Sunrise Senior Living to sing Christmas Carols with the residents, I was a volunteer working with APEX Youth Ministry and had no idea what to expect.  By the time it was over, I was convinced that we needed to do this every year and now that I am the Director of Youth Ministry, we do.

When we think of Restoration’s mission to connect people to God, others and the needs of the world, it is easy to default to the work we do overseas or with our local partnerships with AFAC, Casa Chirilagua and Restoration Immigration Legal Aid (R.I.L.A). It’s easy to get lost in the idea that big acts of service are the ones that are the most impactful. This yearly trip to Sunrise showed me, first hand, that small acts of service can carry just as much of an effect.

As the mantra of our Kids’ ministry exclaims, everyone wants to know that they are loved, known and seen by God.  It doesn’t take much to remind them of that.  Sometimes it’s a wink, a hand on the shoulder in solidarity, or an entire congregation of your neighboring church coming over and singing exuberantly at the top of their lungs with Santa and elf hats galore.

We invite you to join us again this year after the 5pm service, to take 30 minutes to spread some Christmas cheer to residents who can be easily forgotten.  Help us to remind them again this season that they are not.

Where:  Sunrise Senior Living
2000 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207

When:  This Sunday, December 17th (6:30pm – 7:15pm) –
Immediately following the 5pm service.

Hope to see you there,

Isaiah Brooms
Director of Youth Ministry

 

 

 

2017 Fall Retreat Speaker

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Joe Ho, Vice President of Focus Ministries

The Problem of Race and the Power of the Cross

The tragic events that unfolded in Charlottesville over the summer are a vivid reminder that racism and racial tensions are alive and well. Senseless violence and hate is leaving us at a loss desperate for answers. But what are we to do – and what can the Church do during these heart wrenching and incredibly difficult times?

During this year’s annual retreat, we will confront these difficult questions head on thanks to our special guest speaker – Joe Ho, the Vice President of Focused Ministries. Since 1993, Jo has worked at Focused Ministries in a number of capacities taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to cultures of all backgrounds.

Having earned an MA in Religion from Reformed Theological Seminary, Joe is well equipped to talk about race, race relations and the redemptive power found on the Cross.

Joe is planning to bring a convicting, heartfelt and inspirational message to our congregation:

There is good news for Christians. God hasn’t left us to figure this out on our own. The Bible does indeed speak to the issues of ethnic differences and conflict. Following the Biblical art of creation, fall redemption and renewal, we will consider the Bible’s Good News about race and ethnicity, in hopes that we as a church can offer this good news to the world.

The time to register for this fall’s retreat is fast approaching, but there is still time to sign up and gather as our church listens to Joe Ho, and his message about race and the power of the Cross.

Sign up here: http://restoration.formstack.com/forms/fall_retreat_2017

Financial aid to cover all or a portion of the expenses is available upon request. Please contact a staff member for further details.

APEX experiences the “ART” of giving up

 

APEX Youth Ministry Experiences the season of Lent through the "Art of Giving Up."

APEX Youth Ministry experiences the season of Lent through the “Art of Giving Up.”

Last weekend, APEX Middle and High School reviewed the concept of “incurvatus in se,” from the book “The Good of Giving Up,” by Aaron Damiani.  They were asked to embrace Lent as a time to cease focusing on our dependence on earthly desires and drives and instead to focus on the provisions and Grace made possible through dependence on God.

They were then asked to express (on a chalk board) through words and images what came to their hearts and minds as they meditated on the 40 day journey of Christ into the wilderness. With full knowledge that their work would be erased the following Sunday as a symbol of how our sins and bodies will be washed away and returned to dust (Genesis 3:19), this is what they came up with.  I encourage you to watch this video and view their expressions this Sunday, March 19th, in the upper narthex.  It will be washed following the 5pm services.

To volunteer for APEX or to have your child join middle or high school, please contact Isaiah Brooms at apex@restorationarlington.org.

 

 

 

The Origin of “Good Soil” – A Midday Eucharist Homily

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“give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” – Luke 6:38  (Image: Death Valley National Park)

In Mark 4, we encounter Jesus telling the parable of a sower who scattered seed that fell in four different locations.  Three of the locations were not suitable and resulted in the seeds being eaten by scavengers, dying under the harsh conditions or being choked out by surrounding weeds.  However, the fourth location was just right and eventually bore immeasurable returns.

When we hear this parable we quickly surmise that some of the seeds most have fallen into three conditions that they really should have never gone. At first glance, it appears that Jesus is saying, if you see any of these conditions we should walk away from them and there is no point in engaging it.  Even the English translation of the word scatter means to throw in various random directions.  This adds to the thought that the seeds that landed on the barren land seemed to have been truly distributed there accidentally.  After all, what good sower would plant seeds in such conditions on purpose?

I invite you to consider something about the God that created you all the way to the very cells that divided to bring your first heartbeat.   A God who fashioned that heartbeat out of good soil when he breathed first breath into Adam.  I invite you to consider a God who before he made Adam created the soil that Adam was made of.

Soil is made of rocks

The very rocks that Jesus says is not suitable to plant seeds in. Soil is made from a ground that was once shallow and unable to sustain, for very long, the life of things that sprouted up. Yet over time, the wind and elements continued to beat at the rocks and yielded the perfect mixture that eventually turned those rocks into clay.

Soil is made of clay

The very clay that Jesus said seeds landed on, sprouted up and quickly died because the soil was not good.  Clay is a place where shallow rooted plants like weeds and thorns thrive and choke out all other life that require deeper roots. Yet over time, the essence of these weeds and of their victims, became nutrients that continued to break away at the rock and the clay to yield the perfect mixture that eventually turned that clay into good soil.

Good soil is…

…humus-rich, nutrient filled organic matter where biological activity is at its highest.  A soil that is now capable of sustaining, growing and nurturing life.  Good soil exists because the clay existed and the clay exists because the rock existed and the rock exists because there was once a mountain that seemed immovable and impenetrable; yet over time it gave in to the will of time and elements by breaking down into rocks and pebbles.

Some of you opened your eyes at birth and discovered you were a seed that was “scattered” onto rocky soil or even on a mountain top.  You may have been born ill, born into a messy family situation, inherited the difficulties associated with a certain race or class, or you were simply born with certain attractions and addictions that made navigating life harder.

Others woke up one day and discovered that they were a seed “scattered” onto firm ground but that ground turned into clay.  You thought you had a hold on that addiction, on your anger, on your finances or on your personal bigotries but they kept rising up and choking the life out of you and your relationships.

You may look at all of that, hear Jesus’ parable and believe for some reason that you are lost or that there is no good that can come of what you do because of the circumstances you find yourself trying to thrive in.

I invite you to consider a God who used the mountains that would overshadow us, the rocks that would destroy us and the clay that would choke out our potential and created from their ashes and dust the foundation of sustainable and exponential growth and life.

 

The Lord is your keeper;

the Lord is your shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day,

nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;

he will keep your life. 

The Lord will keep

your going out and your coming in

from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121)

Good soil takes so much to create.  It takes so much breaking, refining, decomposing and pressing together. As Jesus says in Luke 6:38, “A Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap.”  God challenges and breaks us every day.  He refines and decomposes parts of us every day.    That rocky soil that you are standing in will break down into powder. Those thorns that are choking your life and relationships will decompose. Your God will use the rocks and thorns of our hearts and circumstances to make us into good soil.  He will re-make us into what we were originally made from.

I invite you to pray this prayer

Heavenly father, I want to be good soil.  I invite you to break apart the rocks.  The rocks I throw at myself and the rocks I am tempted to pick up and throw at others. Break the rocks into dust Lord.  Take the places that are causing me deep hurt, deep loss and spiritual death and turn them into the stuff of life, growth and expanse.

Break apart the binds of addiction
Dull the glimmer of fame, fortune and prestige
Break apart my pride, my entitlements and my ego
Press me down lord and shake me up until I am running over in your love
A love that gives life.

Lord I want to be good soil.

Amen

Peter and Jesus: How the right friend can change your life forever

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“Burned deep within every human soul throbs a muted pain. It’s a lifelong yearning to know and to be known, to understand and to be understood, to possess and to be possessed, to belong unconditionally and forever without fear of loss, betrayal, or rejection. It is the search, however wanton and sullied, for the pristine grace of holding and being held, for the freedom to be who we really are without shame or pretense, for release and repose in the womb-like safety of unalterable acceptance and of overarching love.”                                                                                                             – Dr. Bilezikian (Co-Founder, Willowcreek Community Church)

APEX Youth Ministry is currently running a series called, “Friendship Matters.” We are exploring Jesus’ relationship with his inner circle and using that as a framework for modeling how we choose our own.   This past Sunday we studied Jesus’ relationship with Peter.  Here are some highlights from my “Main Event” talk that prompted great small group discussion between our leaders and the APEX Youth.

When I was 10 years old I was betrayed by my best friend / cousin over the empty contents of a pitcher of Kool-aid.  Knowing that his mother instructed us to not drink it, we formed an unholy alliance to drink some of it and replace the contents with water.  The Kool-Aid Pact of 1988 fell apart when Timmy started taking big gulps… and bigger gulps…and even bigger gulps until he had devoured every drop.

Later that evening when his mom demanded to know what happened, my heart sunk and my head spun as Timmy proclaimed, “Isaiah drank all of it. I saw him do it!”  I was consequently punished and sent home.  Before I left, I had one question for my now ex-best friend, “Why did you lie?”  His response, “Because I didn’t want to get into trouble.”

My cousin and I shared an intimacy that was impossible to replace so I called him and told him that what he did was really mean and it hurt but I missed him and I didn’t care anymore. I accepted him back, told him we didn’t ever have to talk about it again and Timmy surprised me by muttering the words, “I’m sorry.” In that moment, Timmy seemingly transformed.  For the rest of his life he never lied on me again (sometimes at great cost to himself), in fact he started looking up to me for advice, following me everywhere I went and the last thing he said to me before he died, in the same tone muttered before, was “I love you.”

In the Gospel of John we see Peter, after Jesus had been crucified, back in his hometown fishing with some of the other disciples.  I often wonder what was going through Peter’s mind as he sat there reflecting over what had just transpired at Golgotha.  What was he thinking as he reflected over how he denied his teacher, his friend / the Messiah in his hour of need?  Was it possible for Peter to have ever found a way through his shame?

I tear up when I think about Peter and Jesus on the shore having their Kool-Aid moment. To see Peter given a chance to wipe his shame away and to see Jesus transition Peter from that shame to a man transformed finally into the “rock”, is such an intimate and formative scene.  We see Peter, a man who once ran from the call of the cross, now fully embracing it as his reality and walking faithfully towards it.

How do we attract friends into our lives that have the same ability to transition us from shame to becoming our best selves?  In John 15:9-17, Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you… 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Another way of putting this is to say, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  You will attract disciple quality people to you, if you become a disciple quality person.  Do you want a friend who is loyal?  Well, be a loyal friend.  Do you want a friend who loves you? Well, love your friends.  Do you want a friend who will speak truth into your life and help you to be your best self?  Well, be that type of person for your friends.

Meanwhile, I know life is challenging and you all have a lot of things coming at you everyday.  That’s why you have your APEX Youth leaders.  We want to answer any questions you have and we want to walk beside you through the frustration and confusion.  We will be with you while you sort out and build up your network of trusted and meaningful friends.  After all, doing that is what our closest friends do for us.

We’ve got your back and we are here for you!

 

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