February 19, 2017 – David Hanke
Listen to the songs here.
Eucharist:Posted by Matt Hoppe on Feb, 16 2017 | 0 comments
Over 120 RestoWomen gathered last weekend in Middleburg to consider what it means to be mature and secure children of God. Kristen Terry led us through scripture, brain science and attachment theories to help us better understand how we view God as our parent and how we can rest secure as His children. On Friday night, Kristen guided us through an exercise recalling a memory involving a happy child. In small groups, we shared how those memories led us to consider what God might be saying to us. There were over 120 different stories, different memories, and different revelations about what it means to be a child of God over the weekend.
The recurring thread in my own story was challenging me to examine my constrained view of God and the way I constrain myself in approaching Him. How do I limit what I believe God can do, or what He cares about, or even how He cares for me? In my notes on Friday evening I reflected, “God is not contained within the box I have created for Him. He is surprising.” The words I associated with my memory were free, unleashed, or unchained.
On Saturday, as Kristen encouraged us to think about our relationships to others and our ability to develop trust, I really struggled with the word distrust. Distrust can imply a sense of suspicion and that didn’t seem fitting for the way I approach God. There have been big moments in my life when I have felt fully and completely trusting of my heavenly Father. And yet, day-to-day, am I a child of God that is fully trusting? Am I a child that climbs into the lap of my Father to tell him what I need? Am I “letting God love me?” as Kristen asked us on Sunday.
No sooner had Kristen finished her final talk when I looked down and fiddled with the ring on my right hand. It is antique ring that belonged to my husband’s grandmother, gifted to me by my mother-in-law. I have cherished this gift and have loved wearing a reminder of the generations before me. As I looked down I noticed a dark hole where the antique diamond had sat just days earlier. My heart dropped and I quickly tried to remember the last time I had seen the ring intact. I mentally began to rewind my movements. I had sat in a least 5 different chairs, I had walked to and from my room, I had scraped my plate into the trash in the dining hall after dinner, I had walked along the river and skipped rocks Saturday afternoon. There was no way I could retrace my steps of the previous two days. I leaned to the friend sitting next me and pointed to my ring. “Dear Jesus,” she said as grabbed my hand “help us find the diamond.” I snickered. Really? I am not asking God to help me find a diamond. Surely we could pray for bigger things. Just moments earlier as we prayed together, I had prayed BIG prayers. I had prayed for emotional healing and wholeness for the women in the room. Surely God has better things to do. I showed Liz the ring and she too stopped to pray, but again the skeptic in me stopped her, “we have already prayed Liz, but thanks!” I quipped.
I scurried back to my room during the break to check under the bed and in the bathroom. Nothing. I headed back in time for eucharist and scanned the gravel path as I walked. Nothing. After eucharist ended we started to say our goodbyes. As we filed out of the Stone Barn, I scooted down one of the rows of chairs and something caught my eye—the size of a crumb. There it was. Tiny and sparkling and right in front of a chair I had been sitting in on Saturday morning. The relief as I scooped up the little diamond and clutched it in my palm was not in finding what I had lost, but it was in confirmation of the truth I had been seeking all weekend— that sometimes God truly is surprising. That sometimes He loves us in ways that are small and seemingly insignificant. Those questions I had jotted in my booklet all weekend— Can I trust Him? Can I let Him love me? Yes. yes.
As we were leaving, I shared the story with Kristen. She grabbed her folder and began to read something that she hadn’t had time to share during the session. This is what she read:
Praying for Abundance
A slave feels reluctant to pray; they feel they have no right to ask, and so their prayers are modest and respectful. They spend more time asking forgiveness than they do praying for abundance.
An orphan is not reluctant to pray; they feel desperate. But their prayers feel more like begging than anything else.
But not sons; sons know who they are.
Mine were just home for Christmas; all three of them. They are young men now, out making their way in the world. And as is fitting to their stage in life, they are living on limited means. But when they come home, they get to feast. The refrigerator and pantry is theirs to pillage and they don’t have to ask permission. When we go out to dinner, there is no question that dad will take care of the bill. For they are sons—they get to live under their father’s blessing; they get to drink from the abundance of my house (Ps. 36:8).
And when the holidays were over and they packed up and left, they took with them my best shoes, my best sunglasses, some of my favorite books, climbing gear, and cigars—with my absolute pleasure and blessing. Luke was the last to go; he was hoping to pillage some of my travel gear for an upcoming trip. I said, “You are my son—everything I have is yours. Plunder as you will.”
This is how sons get to live; this is how a father feels toward his sons. – John Eldridge
The truth is I was praying like a slave, reluctantly, trying to be modest and respectful. How appropriate that one of the words I associated with my memory was unchained.
When I got home I recounted the story to my family about the lost diamond, the prayer of a few friends, and the way God answered that prayer. My child looked me in the eyes and, as children do, exclaimed, “God probably really loves you.” Indeed He does.
~Hannah RoyalPosted by Liz Gray on Feb, 16 2017 | 4 comments
As I was flipping through my images from Cambodia and reflecting on the many good gifts that God gave me while I was there, I was surprised by how comprehensive a review of the trip I saw by holding the arrow key down on my image viewer. Without further ado, here is my RestoCambo2017 Album with just a few tweaks. Enjoy!
If you have questions about any quick bit that you saw, I would be happy to answer any of them. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below.
-MattPosted by Matt Hoppe on Feb, 14 2017 | 1 comments
I thank God for Pandora radio. He has used these random mixes of songs to edify my soul so many times. A number of the songs that we sing on Sunday have shuffled into my radar at just the right time. Some notable songs that we sing from Pandora stations are Psalm 46 and Esther.
After my men’s small group this morning, Romans 6.1-16 and David’s sermon were swirling around in my head, and as I traveled home I decided to press the “shuffle all” button on the Pandora app, and Lecrae’s tune “Tell the World” began to pulse through my car speakers, and hearing the gospel restated through his voice hit me at a fresh and beautiful angle. If we could sing this corporately, I would try it. 🙂 So here he is – a gifted hip hop artist proclaiming Jesus as Lord and using the gifts that God has given him to point people to the one who makes us brand new:
I know one thing’s true: I don’t even really deserve to know you
But, I-i’m a witness that you did this, and I’m brand new
So, I-I’m read’ to go, and i’mma tell the world what they need to know
A slave to myself, but you let me go, I tried getting high but it left me low
You did what they could never do
You cleaned up my soul and
Gave me new life – I’m so brand new
And that’s all that matters
I-I ain’t love you first, but you first loved me
In my heart I cursed you, but you set me free
I gave you no reason to give me new seasons, to give new life, new breathing
But you hung there bleedin’, and ya’ died for my lies and my cheatin’, my lust and my greed, (and lord!)
What is a man that you mindful of him?
And what do I have to deserve this lovin’?
I can’t offer you nothin’, but your care & kindness keeps comin’
And your love is so unconditional, I get butterflies in my stomach
I got the old me in the rearview, now the new me got a clear view
And I was so dead, I couldn’t hear you, too deep in sin to come near you
But you drew me in, you cleaned me up, so take me home, beam me up
Before you do, just let me tell the truth
And let these folks know that I done seen ya’ love
And it’s everlasting, infinite, it goes on and on, you can’t measure it
Can’t quench ya’ love, they can’t separate us from the love of god, there’s no estimate
My face look the same, my frame ain’t rearranged
But i’m changed; I promise I ain’t the same
Your love’s so deep you suffered and took pain
You died on the cross to give me a new name
Ain’t nothing like I’ve seen before, I got a beaming glow
I was low, down, and dirty, but you cleaned me, lord
You adopted me, you keep rocking me
I’mma tell the world, and ain’t nobody stopping me!
Lecrae featuring Mali Music, 2012, from the album “Gravity”
We are compelled to love our neighbor. Jesus assumed that His followers would.
We are convicted by the clear teaching of the Bible. Here is a small sample of the 51 mentions of the ‘sojourner’ (what we would call a refugee or immigrant) which consistently caution against oppression and encourage justice and compassion.
We are grateful for organizations like World Relief which has served the vulnerable and marginalized for over 70 years and is sounding the clarion call to serve the refugee and immigrant in our midst.
We are grateful for a united shout from Christian leaders for the current administration to reconsider it’s proposed reduction on refugee resettlement. All of Restoration’s clergy signed this excellent letter last week.
We know that there is more that we can do to serve those who are most in danger of being lost or forgotten. As opportunities come, we will invite you to come with us… because we must, because Jesus was a refugee who had to hide in a foreign land when His life was in danger (Matthew 2:13-23); because God our Father told us to welcome the stranger; because we should assume that fear, racism, and greed are always at work in our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) and they get rooted out by deliberate choice to say no to them; because we are called to love people, to serve and not be served (Mark 10:45), to lay down our lives for our friends (John 15:13).
I am sure more opportunities will emerge as we faithfully make ourselves available to God for the work He is doing. I invite you to jump in with us.
-DavidPosted by David Hanke on Feb, 11 2017 | 5 comments