Good Gifts: Learning to be Available to the Holy Spirit

If you have thirty seconds, please hear that I would love for you to join a small group led by Ramsey Wilson and Matt Hoppe (me) on making yourself available to the Holy Spirit.  We will meet Wednesdays at Matt’s house in Chirilagua, and we will be learning about healing prayer (using John Wimber’s “Power Healing”) as an outward practice of listening to the Holy Spirit and making ourselves available to him.  Click here and select Matt Hoppe’s and Ramsey Wilson’s group. 

If you have more than thirty seconds, here is a little snapshot of my story to help you learn why this is important to me:

good giftI grew up being taught that the gifts of the Spirit stopped with the deaths of the original Apostles.  Over the past twenty years through the work of the Holy Spirit, good friends and mentors, and the influence of Anglicanism, I now believe that the gifts of the Spirit are not only real for today but that they are fundamental to the church’s ministry and life.

In 2010, I approached a man at Restoration named Ramsey because I noticed that he was not only wicked smart, but he had a holy reverence and awe for the mysteries of God.  I wanted to learn how to think and live as someone who did not divorce mystery from intelligence, so I asked if he would mentor me.  We went on a journey together using a Bible study called “Unseen Things.” In a moment of solitude in the basement of the old Restoration building, I was studying about the mind of God, and I got slammed by the Holy Spirit and started speaking in a tongue that I did not understand.

When the episode ended, I felt shaky, relieved, awed, hopeful, and frankly I did not know how to make intellectual heads or tales of what had just happened.  I sheepishly walked upstairs to where David Hanke was working in his office.  I knocked on his door, and I vulnerably told him what had happened.  He let a little bit of quiet pass, as David sometimes does, and smiled as he simply stated, “That was a good gift.”  We nodded at each other and got back to work.  That explanation was enough.

I have needed to struggle through the meaning of that experience and subsequent experiences, and I have been continuing to press forward (in community) in my longing to know God more in all his mysterious good-gift-giving.  I have experienced visions for myself and others, I have been delivered from demonic oppression and helped others toward greater freedom, and I have prayed for myself and other people’s physical and inner healing with end results of greater health.  All of these have been good gifts from God that are made available to us through his Holy Spirit, and I love hearing other people’s stories of God’s good, simple and extravagant work in their lives.  No really.  I love it!  And I love affirming in people that what they experienced was “a good gift.”

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he encourages us to “pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts.” (14.1) I want to run with you and sit still with you and sing songs with you in pursuit of God’s heart, and I want to desire these spiritual gifts with you so that we can know him more and have greater confidence in building up the church and sharing his good gifts with others.

-Matt Hoppe

Fall Retreat 2018

Twenty years ago this fall, I first learned the value of retreats. There is no place better than a retreat for quickly building strong relationships.

As a first-year student at UVA, I was trying to find connections to Christian community. I went a few times to a fellowship group called FCA.  Everyone was friendly enough, but each week, I would slip out of the large group meeting not knowing many people.

A few weeks into the school year, they started advertising the Fall Retreat. “Come to the retreat! You won’t regret it,” was the refrain from many upperclassmen.

No way, I thought. I barely know anyone. Why would I want to repeat the same uncomfortable experience over an entire weekend? I didn’t sign up.

On the Friday of the retreat weekend, I went out with friends and returned to my dorm room at 2 am to an enthusiastic voicemail from an older FCA student named Brad, who is one of my best friends to this day: “Daniel, you’re coming on this retreat! Tomorrow at 9, a girl named Katye is going to be outside your dorm to pick you up – get yourself up, you’re coming!”

Feeling no choice, I dragged myself out of bed the next morning and hopped a ride with Katye up to Camp Varsity in rural Virginia.

The retreat speaker was a former student named Brian Broadway.  I don’t remember much about what he taught that weekend.  What I do remember is playing hours of ultimate frisbee – getting into a ridiculously fun food fight – playing guitars around campfires – feeling close to God amidst the beauty of nature. Most of all, I remember good conversations with people I found myself really liking – many of whom remain friends to this day.

To my surprise, going on the retreat drew me into FCA. It became a home for the rest of my college experience and was pivotal in fostering my community and spiritual growth at UVA. Looking back, I’m so glad that Brad dragged me up there.

There is no place better than a retreat for quickly building strong relationships.

Fast forward to our first year at Restoration. Campbell and I were just trying to keep our heads above water with a super demanding job and more demanding young kids. Life felt really hard. I knew a few people at Restoration but wasn’t sure if it was worth it to give up a whole weekend for the fall retreat.

As soon as we got up to Massanetta Springs, I was reminded of how much I love retreats. I loved watching our girls dancing to Matt and Clay playing bluegrass music. I was able to take a breath and appreciate God’s goodness amidst the crazy. I struck up conversations with people who have become good friends – conversations that just aren’t possible when you only have a few minutes after church, trying to prevent a little one from running into Quincy Street! That retreat solidified our connection to Restoration.

You may find yourself on the fence about coming on this retreat. Perhaps you’re reticent to spend a whole weekend with people you may not know very well. Or maybe you’re unsure of whether it’s worth it to give up a whole weekend away when life is crazy busy.

I promise not to send someone to pick you up without your consent. But I do feel confident repeating the same truthful refrain that I first heard 20 years ago:

Come to the retreat!!  You won’t regret it.

– Dan Vogel

SIGN UP for the Fall Retreat!


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September 16, 2018 – David Hanke

Jeremiah 17.7-10 : Psalm 52 : Mark 10.23-31

Listen to the songs here.

Introducing Small Group # 12 – Orthodoxy by Chesterton


As our Small Groups Sign-Up’s get started this fall, we wanted to tell you about a few of the options. Here are a few words from Elliot and Alexandra Gaiser about the small group they are hosting this fall (Small Group #12)

9 bottles of wine. 9 chapters of Orthodoxy. 9 weeks of new friends. If you live in the district or nearby, if you like or are interested in reading Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton, if a sermon series is too much to commit to, or if you just want to eat someone else’s lemon bars, we have a group for you.

Elliot and Alexandra Gaiser live a few blocks away from the Dupont metro stop and want YOU to come. Each week we’ll discuss a chapter of Orthodoxy, a classic of Christian literature that has reignited the wonder and quirky central ideas of the faith (and is free online!), try a new bottle of wine (or seltzer water, if you prefer), and discuss it with new friends and neighbors. The group will meet Wednesday nights from 7:30-9:00 PM. You don’t want to miss this.

Interested in joining this small group? Here is the link to sign up.

Sunday Music – September 16, 2018


Songs of Praise:

Come to Me
Oh How I Need You
I Need Thee Every Hour


Give Me Faith


O Come to the Altar


Holy Holy Holy Lord (Hosanna)


Draw me Nearer, Nearer
Lord I Give You My Heart


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September 9, 2018 – David Hanke

Genesis 2.8-9 : Psalm 1 : Mark 10.17-22

Listen to the songs here.

Introduction to the Rooted series of Small Groups


  • What are the core beliefs of our faith? How do they shape the way we view the world?
  • How do we grow as Christians? How can we cultivate a genuine prayer life with God?
  • What comes after we put our trust in Jesus? How does our faith in Christ impact our relationships with others?

These are great questions that you might have asked yourself at some point in life, & we want to help you address them with confidence.

That is why we have created Rooted, which is a three-part series of Small Groups, that is intended to root you more deeply in the beliefs, practices, and implications of the Christian faith.

The content of Rooted is designed around the ancient model of “catechesis” (a Greek word meaning ‘instruction’). For many centuries, Christian pastors & teachers have nurtured their congregations by instructing them about 3 main things: The Apostles Creed, Lord’s Prayer, & the Ten Commandments.

So, over this coming year, we are joining in this same ancient pattern of time-tested instruction in the Christian life:

  • In the Fall, we will explore the Apostles Creed to discern what it teaches us about our core beliefs as Christians.
  • In the Winter, we will look at the Lord’s Prayer to learn how to cultivate a life of prayer.
  • In the Spring, we will examine the Ten Commandments as we discuss how to live out the Great Commandment to love the Lord our God, and our neighbors as ourselves.

Each of these Rooted small groups will last 9 weeks, & involve teaching, discussion, times of prayer, & outside readings.

Our first Rooted small group on the Apostles Creed will launch on Thursday PM, Sept. 20. We would love to have you join us! Here is the link to sign up (Small Group #21)

Interested in joining us? Have questions? Contact Nathan Dickerson at

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