Finding Holes in a Community of Grace

We are spending 7 weeks in Luke 15, specifically the story about a Dad and 2 sons.

The first step of repentance for the younger son was when ‘he came to himself.’  He came to his senses.  He woke up–  like coming out of a trance.  It is very passive.  He did not ‘make himself wake up.’  It was an act of grace.  God gives us 2 gifts to ‘bring us to ourselves’.  One is the Holy Spirit–  our comforter, counselor, and convicter. The second is each other.

On Sunday I told a story about a friend whose son came to him for help in seeing the holes in the yard so he would not fall into them.  The son’s name was Zach.  I invited our community to a posture of ‘Zach-ness’.  Can we come to other people whom we trust and say, help me see the holes in my life and character.  Help me come to my senses.  ‘Hole-spotter’ is not a position we can assume in someone’s life, but it is a position we can invite other people to take.  You can’t assert yourself as ‘official-hole-identificator’, but you can humbly ask others to play that role in your life.  Hole-spotting has to be invited, it can’t be taken.

Here are the examples I gave of holes we could use help identifying:

  • you go to a few friends–  would you listen to the way I talk about my husband?  Am I respectful with my words?  Do I honor him?  Would you point out the holes in my speech?  Do I need to repent of my words?
  • Or you go to some friends–  would you look at the way I spend my time and energy?  Am I giving my best to loving my wife?  Do I know her love language?  Am I giving a proportional amount of energy to loving her that I give to pleasing my clients?  Would you point out the holes you see in my actions of love toward my spouse?  Do I need to repent of my lack of love?
  • Would you pay attention to, talk with me about the ways I spend my money?  Can I show you my tax return from 2008 and talk about my charitable giving?  Can I talk with you about the big purchases I want to make or the hundreds of dollars that I can’t seem to account for each month?  Would you point out the holes you see in my spending and my generosity?  Do I need to repent of my greed or finding my security in wealth?
  • Would you talk with me about the media I consume–  internet, tv, movies, facebook, pornography.  Do I need to repent of my lust or my escapism?
  • Would you notice how much care and time I am spending with my parents?  Do I need to repent of my selfishness?
  • Do you have other categories of where we need ‘hole-spotters’?

In a community of grace, these are safe questions to ask.  We all need courage to be a Zach–  to invite someone in to be used by God to bring us to our senses and wake us up.  The lavish, unprecedented love of the Father is waiting for those who humbly repent.  Let us be a community that courageously lives this kind of grace.

April 26, 2009

“Give Me What’s Coming to Me” by David Hanke

April 12, 2009

“Jesus Rose From the Dead…yawn” by David Hanke

following your hunger to dangerous places

We have begun our series on Luke 15, about our Prodigal God.  In response to the grumbling and muttering of the religious leaders, Jesus tells a story about a sheep that gets lost.  The reason sheep get lost is because they are hungry.  They wander off looking for food and can’t find their way home.  Their drive to satisfy their hunger leads them away from their shepherd, away from the flock, and often into pretty dangerous places.

I told a story about how sheep can get stuck on precipitous ledges eating grass and then fall to their death. (I also called my sister’s tibia a ‘tibula’.  This gaff apparently shut down the more medically-savvy congregants.  Apologies)  There is actual video footage of this phenomenon on youtube.  Check it out:

So, we had this video all cued up to play in the middle of the sermon yesterday.  I would have cropped it to just the 30 seconds before and after fall.  At the last minute, I decided to pass and we didn’t play it.  Primarily because it would have been a break to the flow of the sermon and in the interest of time, I could ‘tell’ the video much more efficiently.  I didn’t think I would gain more by showing the video than the risk of ‘media transition’ and ‘media malfunction’ merited.

What do you think?  Would you have like to have seen this video during the sermon?  Do you think I should incorporate more vid clips into sermons?  (no guarantee that I will, but we CAN, and I’m curious if you would like it).  Throw a comment up here and let me know.

Curious about why Jesus tells a story about hungry sheep in response to grumbling religious leaders?  Wondering how your hunger and appetites lead you to dangerous places?

You can hear the rest of the sermon here.  You can jump into the conversation in a Restoration small group here. You can finish out the series with us each Sunday until the end of May…

Get your book, Get your group, Get your seat…

Get your book, Get your group, Get your seat…

We’re starting a new series!!

On Easter we gave everyone who came to our services a copy of Tim Keller’s book, The Prodigal God.  We wanted to be generous, thankful for the last 3 months, and invitational to the next 50 days at Restoration.  Between now and May 31 (Pentecost), we will be talking about the themes of sin, community, repentance, forgiveness, sonship, and homecoming that run through these parables in Luke 15.

One of the features that I love about our small groups is that they are short-term commitments.  You are committing to a group of people for about 12 weeks (until the end of June).  It allows you time to get to know people at Restoration, to go as deep as you want, to talk about interesting topics, and to have a regular rhythm to your week for a few months.  A small group pairs well with Sunday worship.

Here is one more teaser about the Sunday series.  Can’t wait to see you around Restoration as we connect to God and connect to others.

A Father had 2 sons.  One of them requested an early withdrawal on his inheritance.  He wasted it on whatever need was most immediate and ended up bankrupt.  The other son worked diligently and obeyed every rule.  He ended up angry and bitter.  Both of them lived far away from their Father.

Are you mired in the consequences of your own bad choices?  Are you angry that you’re doing all the right things and nobody seems to care?

“The word ‘prodigal’ does not mean ‘wayward’ but, ‘recklessly spendthrift.’  It means to spend until you have nothing left.”  Over the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost, we will consider how our Heavenly Father showed His prodigal love for those who would come after Jesus.

Our sermon series and small group discussions will draw from Tim Keller’s reflections on the parable from Luke 15.  “Within that parable Jesus reveals God’s prodigal grace toward both the irreligious and the moralistic.”  We hope that those who are curious and those who are convinced will see Christianity in a whole new way.

March 29, 2009

“A Life Lived With Suffering” by David Hanke.

Part of the “The Life Jesus Saves” Lenten series.

March 22, 2009

“A Life Lived in Dependence on God’s Resources” by Erin Coleman

March 8, 2009

“A Life Lived With God For Us” by David Hanke

March 1, 2009

“A Life With God Satisfied” by David Hanke.

Listen to and download the sermon. Leave a comment if you’d like!

February 25, 2009

“Ash Wednesday Service” by David Hanke

David’s Wednesday evening Ash Wednesday service. Listen and download it here.

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