The Time of your Visitation

March 24, 2013 – Luke 19:28-44 – David Hanke

You give them something to eat.

March 17, 2013 – Luke 9 1-17 – David Hanke

Where is your faith?

March 10, 2013 – Luke 8 – David Hanke

groaning in sadness

Over the last year and a half, Restoration has prayed every week that God would heal Carolina Handall.  Carolina and her family are dear friends of some Restoration leaders.  As our church took on praying and hoping, we got to meet Carolina and her sweet family.  We grew in love and care for all of them.  We rejoiced when there was good news and we grieved when things got worse.

On Monday, Carolina died.

It has been our highest privilege to watch her fall in love with Jesus and to trust him.  She has wrestled with the hard question of ‘why’ when it comes to cancer.  But she has demonstrated trust and faithfulness that God is good and will care for her family.  For those of us who knew her, this death is heartbreaking.  We were praying for a miracle.  We had hoped that her cancer might end in a different way. We grieve for her parents and brother, her daughters and husband.  Because of who she was, her life will be celebrated on three different continents over the coming weeks.

 

 

Tomorrow, March 7, at 11am, we will have a worship service of thanksgiving for her life and a celebration of our hope in the resurrection.  All of our Restoration family is invited to attend.  Cherrydale Baptist on Military Road will be providing their parking lot and our shuttle will be transporting folks from there to Restoration.  We invite you to join us and to pray for Carolina’s family and to give thanks for her life.  There will be a reception at Cherrydale Baptist following the service.

We know from our time in Luke that sometimes Jesus chose to heal people–  and everyone around would marvel and rejoice.  We know that someday there will be no more need for healing because there will be no more sickness, or tears, or pain.  Sometimes, Jesus chooses to bring that future promise of grace into our present.

We also know that sometimes Jesus doesn’t do what people request.  John the Baptist’s circumstances made him waver and wonder if Jesus was actually who He says he is.  When our disappointment and pain get exposed, it raises all sorts of hard questions.

Carolina’s death is one of those times when we might say, why God?   Our sadness is real and our longing for a different conclusion is real.  Romans 8:23 says that creation and people like us groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption…  for redemption.  Death is always a reminder that this world is incomplete.  And that in spite of how we might spin it, we really have no control over how things end.

So, God gives us words of hope–  words that offer an invitation of faith…

What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be  against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but  gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Do you trust this?  Even as we mourn and groan and wait?

God IS for us.

-David

 

Your faith has saved you

March 3, 2013 – Luke 7:18-50 – David Hanke

By Faith

February 24, 2013 – Luke 7 – David Hanke

The Fruit and Foundation of Faith

February 17, 2013 – Luke 6:43-49 – David Hanke

Ash Wednesday

The clergy in our diocese have a regular conference call with our bishop as a means to touch base and hear what is happening in churches around our region.  As we were wrapping up, Bishop Guernsey exhorted us to a good Ash Wednesday with this illustration–

‘I can spend an hour cleaning my entire house.  I hit the high spots, the stuff you’ll immediately notice.  I get in to a room and then get out as fast as I can.

I can also spend an entire day just cleaning one room:  I move furniture, I get the corners, I use small brushes and fine rags.

The difference between the 2 cleanings is a picture of the difference between the 5 seconds we have for ‘confession of sin’ on a typical Sunday and ‘confession of sin’ on Ash Wednesday.’

Our liturgy tomorrow gives us the gift of a lengthy and detailed prayer of confession.  We think about specific relationships and arenas of interaction.  We look at specific sins of commission and omission.  We look for our part in the brokenness of our planet and the larger picture of fallenness.  It’s a thorough examination and a good cleaning.  We will gather at 6:30am, noon, and 7:30pm.  I encourage you to come as early as you can [the 7:30 will be more full and we will be running our shuttle from the lot over I-66].

The service begins in silence, in darkness.  There is opportunity for the imputation of ash as a reminder that we come from dust and to dust we shall return.  We sing through Psalm 51 and pray through a thorough confession and give thanks that there is a cross and an empty tomb on the other side of these 40 days.

If you are still talking to God about your enemies, this is a logical next place to be.

If you are hoping to be the kind of person who is kind to the ungrateful and the evil, this is the place to ask.

And if you are ready to deal with the log in your eye, then come, sit, worship, pray, and confess with Restoration on Ash Wednesday.

See you tomorrow.

-David

Disciples: Hardest Job Description Ever

February 10, 2013 – Luke 6:12-36 – David Hanke

new wine

But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins…

 

I have always found this to be a challenging instruction from Jesus.  Particularly because as Christians, so much of our understanding of life is rooted in what has happened in the past– in what is old.

  • We believe the center of history happened on a cross and was finished with an empty tomb.  Everything before it pointed to it and everything after it has been profoundly affected because of it.
  • We believe that God inspired people to write down stories and prophecies and poetry for thousands of years.  Then He instructed his people to hold that collection of inspiration firm–  to trust it, to submit to it, to learn from it.
  • We believe that Jesus established a means to remember him through bread and wine that is to be the centerpiece of Christian worship whenever the church gathers in His name.
  • We pray old prayers.  We sing old songs.  We study old Scriptures.

We are people who have hope for the future and who love God in the present BECAUSE of the way He has shown himself to be trustworthy in the past.

Just because something is old does not mean it is wrong.

Yet, Jesus is saying as clear as He can:  I am doing something new.  I don’t fit into the old systems.

Please note, JESUS is saying this.  We are not free to let anybody who wants to say it, say it.  We are not free to say–  ‘you know what?  These rules don’t work for me.  That limitation is old-fashioned.  We should re-interpret this teaching to mean something a little more socially acceptable.’

Jesus got to say it.  We don’t.

Jesus was saying that HE was something new.  He was not saying that anything we think is new should be given pride of place over the old.  There is much that is old that points to Jesus and much that is old that deepens our relationship with God and much that is old that is very, very good.

But Jesus was new.

And if you are stuck in a system of trying to behave the right way to get God to like you.  Or you are mired in so much guilt that you can’t ever imagine God would accept you.  Or you prefer revenge as a means to make things right.  Well Jesus has something new and he doesn’t fit in programs where you are graded on performance or serve an eye for an eye.

If you try and put his wine in that kind of a container, it’s just gonna blow up.

-David

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