Small Group #17 – The Good Gift of Deliverance…wait what?!?

If you don’t have time to read this blogpost, sign up for small group #17 here.

Healing and deliverance are part of the ancient teachings and practices of the church meant to draw people to the heart of God and to help them to experience a greater fullness of life before him.  Our baptism liturgy is a deliverance prayer and we are given the model in Scripture to lay hands on the sick and pray for them.  That said, there has been a lot of misinformation and poorly handled situations that have hurt the church’s reputation in both of those areas.  We are striving to offer more small group opportunities that are designed to help us listen to the Holy Spirit in regards to his desire to heal and deliver us and to help others experience those same gifts.

Chain_expressing_freedomA few months ago I wrote about an intense experience with the Holy Spirit.  You can read about it here.  In that blogpost I wrote, “I have been delivered from demonic oppression and helped others toward greater freedom.”  Apart from the Holy Spirit’s assurance of love and salvation, this has been one of the greatest non-material gifts that I have received from him.  It doesn’t mean my track record has been perfect since then, but it does mean that I have been able to experience amazing progress in the area of what used to be my addiction.  And I have had the humbling honor of helping people experience greater freedom through claiming the authority that Jesus won for us on the cross – the authority he has given us through his Holy Spirit.

Last trimester Ramsey and I led a small group on listening to the Holy Spirit with an emphasis on physical healing, and by God’s grace our small group experienced both healing and deliverance during our time together. Praise God!  When Jesus sent the disciples out, he sent them to proclaim the good news of the kingdom and to heal the sick, and they came back to Jesus excitedly proclaiming that even demons were cast out in Jesus’ name.  In many cases there was a connection between healing and deliverance, and this trimester I am excited to learn more about what it means to practice living into the freedom of the Kingdom of God through focusing on his gift of deliverance.

Our small group meets in north Alexandria (Chirilagua/Arlandria) and meets on Wednesdays from 7:30 to 9:00 (#17 on the small group list). In our small group, we will be using the book Unbound as our hub of conversation.  It is the book that helped me to accept and act on the authority that the Scriptures teach about concerning deliverance.  It has ultimately helped me towards greater freedom and closer alignment with the heart/will of the Father.

Even if you cannot be part of our small group (which has some of the same amazing folks that were in it last trimester) I would love to grab a coffee with you if you’d like to have a conversation about this.  I believe that God continues to use healing and deliverance to draw people to his heart, and I want to participate in that.  I would love for you to participate in it with me.

 

Introducing Small Group #22 – Cultivating a Life of Prayer

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As our Small Groups Sign-Up’s get started this winter, we wanted to tell you about a few of the options. Here are a few words from Stephanie Dickerson about the small group she is hosting this winter with her husband Nathan (Small Group #22)

A New Year and a New Opportunity: Cultivating a Life of Prayer

If you were to chart my life of prayer over the course of my relationship with God, it would look a lot like the volatility of the Stock Market.

There were seasons when I would either try doubling down on my efforts— only to find that prayer became another hoop to jump through or I simply could not find the time to fit prayer into my day.

And yet, I found myself longing to actually connect deeply with God in prayer and to experience what Jesus talked about when he said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” (John 15:9).  Yes, this is in fact God’s desire for us—that we experience and remain in his love. Particularly in prayer!

If you find yourself somewhat stuck when it comes to your prayer life and long for more, consider joining us for Thursday nights at 7:30 PM for Small Group.

Using the Lord’s Prayer as our model, we learn how to enter the Father’s presence as the foundation of all prayer and how to put into practice a rhythm of prayer that is simple, doable, and sustainable. We’ll be learning a variety of prayer practices to use on our own and in a group.

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

Introducing Small Group #14

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As our Small Groups Sign-Up’s get started this winter, we wanted to tell you about a few of the options. Here are a few words from Kelley Shields about the small group she is hosting this winter with Amy Zapf (Small Group #14)

Meeting Where You Are

And we mean that in a lot of ways!

Some of us go through times when it is just impossible for us to physically go to a small group.  Maybe you’re struggling with a health challenge that doesn’t leave you with the energy to attend.  Maybe you’re in a travel-heavy season at work and won’t be in town enough to make small group meetings. There are lots of very real reasons that might have you saying “I just cannot make it right now.”

We care about this because we’ve both been there – and of course, the seasons when our situations made it too difficult to go to a small group were seasons when we both really could have used the community and support of a small group!

So, we’re trying something new.

This trimester we are launching a virtual small group!  We’ve both found that online video platforms can create a space that feels pretty much like you are talking to someone in person.  We’ll be conducting this group over Zoom – all you’ll need is a smartphone or computer (with a camera), and possibly an external microphone to make sure we can all hear each other.  (The earbuds that come with an iPhone and have a microphone on the cord work just fine.)

So, if you weren’t going to sign up for a small group because you just cannot make it right now, please join us on Wednesday evenings at 7 PM!  And please feel free to reach out to Amy (avzapf@aol.com) or Kelley (kashields@gmail.com) if you have any questions.

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

Introducing Small Group #20 – Ecclesiastes

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As our Small Groups Sign-Up’s get started this winter, we wanted to tell you about a few of the options. Here are a few words from Mike Holmes about the small group he is hosting this winter with John Remein (Small Group #20)

When we observe our own lives and the wider world, there is a lot that doesn’t seem to make any sense. The things we think should happen in our own lives often don’t. Hours or years of preparation for activities can appear fruitless. Chance and time may seem to overcome wisdom, discernment, strength, or skill. Even if our desires see fulfillment, discontentment may still plague us.

If we glance out to the wider world, we often see the wicked thriving unhindered, foolishness preferred over wisdom, and injustice reigning over justice. This could range anywhere from a despot oppressing the population of a country to a dishonest person climbing the ladder of career success. It’s not hard to look at our own lives and the world and come to a conclusion that life is hebel.

HebelHebel is the Hebrew term the Preacher in Ecclesiastes uses to describe the nature everything. While literally meaning vapor or smoke, it’s used over 30 times in the book of Ecclesiastes to describe life and its many facets as enigmatic, meaningless, vain, or fleeting. Whether we read these words in scripture as a breath of fresh air or with confusion, we still may wonder what we should do with them.

Ecclesiastes touches pretty much every area of life: work, time, relationship, pleasure, wisdom, politics, death, and purpose. This can give the book a feel of immediate relevance, but a closer look also reveals that it can be one of the most challenging and perplexing books to interpret and apply.

What do we do with all the talk of Hebel? How do we read Ecclesiastes alongside other books of wisdom, like the book of Proverbs? What do we do with the seemingly random encouragements to seize the day and enjoy life? How does sin factor in? How does the conclusion to fear God and keep his commandments fit in with the rest of the book?

Finally, how should we as Christians read this and apply it? These are many of the questions we want to explore in this trimester’s small group study of Ecclesiastes.

The group is open to men and women and will be led by Mike Holmes and John Remein. Hope to see you on Thursday nights at 7:30 PM!

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

 

Introducing Small Group #15

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As our Small Groups Sign-Up’s get started this winter, we wanted to tell you about a few of the options. Here are a few words from Beth Tipps about the small group she is hosting this winter (Small Group #15)

Want to feast on the Word of God?

Join Beth Tipps on Wed PM at 7:30 PM in Falls Church for a Lectio Divina small group (Latin for “Divine Reading”). This ancient Benedictine practice of reading, meditating, praying and contemplating provides a valuable construct for communing with God.

Each week we will focus on a different Jesus encounter from the Gospel of Luke. We would love to have you join us!

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

 

Introducing Small Group #13

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As our Small Groups Sign-Up’s get started this winter, we wanted to tell you about a few of the options. Here are a few words from Tom & Priya Madrecki about the small group they are hosting this winter (Small Group #13)

We’re a sermon-based small group with a snack and story-sharing approach. We’ll meet weekly at our cozy Capitol Hill row-home on Wed PM at 7 PM to share stories and break bread together.

Expect to “keep it real” and occasionally supplement sermon discussion with some really short readings. Note: we have a rather playful husky (Ava), who is likely to make appearances / greet you.
Thanks!
Tom

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

Introducing Small Group #1

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As our Small Groups Sign-Up’s get started this winter, we wanted to tell you about a few of the options. Here are a few words from Lorene Eberhardt about a small group she is helping to host this winter (Small Group #1)

Small group on Sundays?!
Community is important.  And as parents of young-ish kids, we crave it.  We admit sometimes it’s just so we can have a two minute conversation that doesn’t involve telling your son not to take his sister’s tiara, or warning them to stay off the back of the couch.  There’s a place and a need in our lives for kid-free spaces, but we’ve found that trying to make small group one of those places means we end up with less adults than we’d like to see.  Weeknights can be a challenge for families with working parents, between arrangements for childcare, feedings, and bedtimes, and the general hassle that can come with getting back into your car after coming home and changing out of those stifling work clothes.
Don’t get us wrong – this effort is TOTALLY worth it, and a model that most Restoration small groups follow for GREAT reason.  We have done it ourselves, and look forward to the days when we can do it again.
For now, though, our circumstances dictate that we try something new.  We’re planning to meet on Sundays after the 9 am, so something starting around 11:30 am, give or take a few minutes depending on how many donuts are available for snack in the fellowship hall, AND kids of all ages will be welcome! We’ll wrap up before 1:30 pm so any littles can get home for naps.
A few key details you should know about if you are interested in signing up:
  1. Childcare will be provided, for babies up through whatever age you think they still need watching.
  2. FOOD (i.e. brunch!) will also be provided.  It won’t always or even usually be fancy, but we’ll get the kids fed first then send them off to play while the grownups eat, discuss the sermon we just heard, and pray together. Maybe I should have led with that.
  3. We’re hoping to rotate hosting locations.  Main options will be at the Mohrs’ (Arlington) or Eberhardts’ (McLean), but we’d be grateful for others who are willing to let us crash for a couple hours in your living and play areas.
  4. You are WELCOME to sign up to join us even if you don’t have kids.  Please just be aware there will be at least 5 little ones (between the Mohrs & Eberhardts) around.  This is meant to a group where folks of all life stages who love food and Jesus can come together.
Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or want more details!
Thanks,
Lorene

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

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

Introducing Small Group # 12 – Orthodoxy by Chesterton

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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.

Introduction to the Rooted series of Small Groups

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  • 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 Nathan@restorationarlingon.org

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