Summer Small Group Thursdays 7:30-9pm at Restoration Starting July 12

Some of us love what we do. Others are deeply dissatisfied. A lot of us get burnt out by our
work, and others find our jobs boring. Some experience both at the same time! And it seems
nearly all of us struggle to figure out how to manage the responsibilities and demands of our
work, our families, and our sanity.

Our assessment of our work performance is often one of the best gauges to assess our
emotions. Our work affects us. It is often our go-to when someone asks us how we are doing.

Friend 1: How are things going?

Friend 2: Good, work is going well. Our firm just brought on a new client. How are things with you?

Friend 1: I’m stressed. Work is insane right now.

You get the idea…

Starting July 8, we’ll begin a summer sermon series on work and why it matters. And though
small groups are taking a break for the summer, we’re offering one special 6-week small group
that will run concurrently with the sermon series.

The group will meet on Thursday evenings from 7:30-9pm at Restoration. Sign up.

We’ll follow the passages used in the prior sermon, and we’ll follow the book “Work Matters” by Tom Nelson. You certainly don’t need to read the book to participate (It’s summer after all!).

So whether you work full-time (as a parent and/or in an office!) or part-time, whether you are
looking for a job, or want to get rid of the one you got, and whether you’re a student, retired,
or something else, I hope you will consider joining us. Our vocations take a variety of forms, and we all have wisdom and experience to share. Plus there’s going to be snacks!

Additionally, if you are new to Restoration or just moved here this summer, please come! Small groups are one of the best ways to get connected here.

Work is hard. But it matters. To God. To us. And to each other.

Join us!

– Scott

Kids’ and APEX Small Group Leader Conversations

Sign up for a conversation below.  You won’t regret it!

Listening

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Yesterday, while I was in the grocery store, I was starkly reminded of how hard it can be to listen. I was pushing my daughter around the store, trying to grab everything that was on and was not on my list while also somehow avoiding hitting other shoppers with our mondo car shopping cart. And trying to accomplish all of this in time to get home to unpack everything and then pick up my son from preschool. The store was playing music, people were talking, workers were stocking the shelves, kids were making noises. Then all of the sudden, barely audible because of all the noise, a clerk came over the intercom and asked all the workers and shoppers to observe a moment of silence for September 11. It took me a second to process what the voice was saying and to stop walking down the aisle and turn off my headphones, an additional noise on top of everything else. The store music ceased. Other shoppers that heard the announcement stopped in their tracks.  

The normally bustling grocery store was suddenly quiet, a unique, almost unsettling, scene. For perhaps 30 seconds, everyone participated in the moment of silence. Then the music came back on and everyone started going about their busy business again, with all the noise that went along with it.

Not everyone heard the announcement- perhaps because it was too noisy in the store or they thought it was another “commercial” from the grocery store or they simply didn’t listen/pay attention- and did not stop to observe the silence. Some did stop for the silence when they visually noticed the other shoppers not shopping and became aware of the lack of noise. But others continued to go about their way, unaware of the invitation and opportunity to engage in this solemn moment. In fact, I barely heard the announcement to be silent over the loudspeaker because of all the other noise going on around me and the noise that I myself was creating.

Listening to God can be difficult and requires discernment. We know what types of things to be listening for and the ways that God can speak to us: scripture, times of prayer, community, circumstances, Holy Spirit encounters. But more fundamentally, in order to “hear” or “see” any of these things an intentionality is needed; a posture of listening and watchfulness is assumed. How can we know what we are to do or what God is saying if we have not listened? If we have not taken the time and space to listen? If we have not removed our headphones? If we have not been watchful to the situation around us?

Taking time for silence is an opportunity for us to assume this posture of listening and watchfulness. We can be sure that God is speaking; He is living and active. He has given us His Holy Spirit to direct and comfort us. It is hard to hear, to be watchful, especially in our busy Washington D.C. pace of life. Join us for a time of listening to the Lord during “Be Still and Know,” a contemplative prayer night, on Wednesday, September 13 at 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary.  Intercessors will be present to pray silently for you as you pray and seek the Lord. Bring your thoughts, bring your questions, bring your expectant heart to hear what the Lord might say to you.

O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people;

Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who

calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with

you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever

and ever. Amen.

~Lauren

Interested in learning more about listening to the Holy Spirit and pursuing a posture of listening? Ladies are welcome to join Rebecca Reck and Lauren Lessels’ small group on Fridays at 10 am in the Church for Priscilla Shirer’s “He Speaks to Me: Preparing to Hear from God” study.

Keeping God before our Eyes

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Rhythms

We accomplish so many tasks during the day without thinking about them: getting up, brushing our teeth, getting kids ready for school, having seemingly meaningless conversations at work, trying to make it through the day so that we can get home. And then once we get home what should we make for dinner? And once we finally get kids to bed or watch our favorite show we snuggle into our own sheets and maybe for a brief moment this thought pops into our head: “what just happened today?” Our rhythms often betray our own survival mentality which lacks coherence or purpose. It is this question (What just happened?) which reminds us of the importance of taking a spiritual inventory of the moments of our days.

Sunday Sermon

Rev. Liz just preached a sermon today (August 13– see here) as part of the series on the Apostles’ Creed which focused on the phrase “…He will come to judge the living and the dead…” and in her sermon there is a helpful reminder that we need to live our days with the reminder that God is Holy. Yes, God in His mercy has paid for the sins of His people, and yet it is also true that time itself is a stewardship from God to be used to show His glory and love to the world. Each day invites us to turn from our past sins and to see Christ in the people we meet and moments we are given. However, many of us struggle to create healthy rhythms of life which redeem our daily moments and relationships that God puts in our path.

Small Group

In the Fall, there will be a Thursday evening small group for those interested in reexamining how they live the daily rhythms of their lives. It’s like the old hymn says “…take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise.” We’ll will look at how this can be done. This small group will be a foundational piece of who we will become as Incarnation Anglican Church (the future Restoration church plant in south Arlington) and as such this small group will be hosted and led in south Arlington so that we discover how we can daily love Jesus more in our work, families, and in our neighborhoods in south Arlington. We would love for you have the opportunity to invest in south Arlington through this small group by signing up here once the registrations open up. Again, we will meet Thursdays from 7:30-9pm. You might be wondering more about what we will study….

Rule of St. Benedict

Unreflective survival is not a new difficulty in the history of God’s Church, so one of the ways that earlier saints have responded to this problem is by creating a rule for communal life. Maybe you are afraid that using the word “rule” sounds legalistic. However, a “rule of life” is not the same thing as setting up a bunch of arbitrary rules to measure someone’s spiritual prowess. A rule of life is a bit more flexible and has a well thought through goal. One such rule of life was created by St. Benedict of Nursia (480-547 CE) and can be read in English translation here. No other prayer rule has had more impact on English spirituality (which includes its influence on the Book of Common Prayer itself). St. Benedict desired that people be daily turned towards repentance and a love of God (even though his audience were monks in a monastery and under an abbot). He writes about roles, relationships, desires, prayer, eating, sleeping, conversation, and other aspects of community life in order to bring them together into a cohesive life of holiness in which someone turns to God in the daily relationships they have and moments they experience. He says in his prologue (v. 44), “…While there is yet time, while we are still in the flesh and are able to fulfill all these things by the light which is given us–we must run and perform now what will profit us for all eternity.” This brings us back to Rev. Liz’s sermon in which we are called to contemplate the ways in which God judges his peoples’ deeds. The rule written by St. Benedict has now been tested and found helpful by the Church for almost 1500 years and I believe it still helps us today to frame the ways in which we keep a healthy fear of God before our eyes daily. We are not cloistered monks living under an abbot, but many of us are neighbors and in small groups together and as such we are called to work together for the same goal.

Want to know more about St. Benedict before you sign up? Here’s a cool video:

 -Authored by Morgan Reed+

Small Group #31 – New Group in MD

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As 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 Hurter, one of the leaders of Small Group #31

Last year this time, a few members in Restoration came together to create RILA, the Restoration Immigration Legal Aid Clinic. This clinic grew from the hearts of many in Restoration who want to see the power of God’s love translated into concrete acts of mercy and grace in the community around us. Prayer and vision lead to change.

God is yet again stirring our hearts to spread His kindness in tangible ways. For the past few years Restoration has been prayerfully considering church planting in the Metro DC area. This year, we are beginning to take more concrete steps towards making this a reality — and we need you!

Join Katie and Darin Hamlin and myself this trimester as we gather each week to pray for God to move and guide in Restoration’s church planting efforts. We know that eight years ago God called a unique group of men, women, and children to form Restoration and we have faith that God may be now calling us to build on this work and form a new church family to minister in a different community. Will you join us?

Yes, we are meeting in Takoma Park, Maryland. SO FAR AWAY?? Actually, not really, but I get why it feels that way. I lived in Northern Virginia for many years and then through a variety of life circumstances and God’s leading, I moved to Montgomery County, Maryland. I remember thinking that Maryland felt so different and so far away. After moving here, I not only realized how close it was to many of my old haunts and friends, but also how much I actually came to care about my neighbors here in Montgomery County (MoCo).

This small group is not about asking folks to church plant in MoCo — we don’t know where God is calling Resto yet. But, it is about asking us to consider taking risks, stretching ourselves beyond the familiar and comfortable and waiting for God to show up. Ask Jason, Natalie or Michelle or anyone on the RILA team and they will tell you RILA didn’t happen easily. It took a lot of commitment, hard work, prayer, and tears, and still does. God’s work is rarely easy. He asks a lot of us, but it is in these moments of faithfulness that God loves to show up in big ways.

By coming to this small group you aren’t committing to join the church plant, just adding your voice to ours asking God to make clear his will and to stir in our hearts the desire to follow that will. What an awesome opportunity to directly influence Restoration’s future!

 We’ll be meeting at the Hamlin’s House in Takoma Park, MD on Friday nights at 7:30 to 9pm. Come a bit early if you want a bite to eat. All are welcome. Come join us!

Interested in joining this group? Sign up here

Small Group #25 – Christian Hope at Life’s End

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As 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 Mitch Wallin, one of the leaders of Small Group #25

How should Christians approach the end of life? How should we support our friends and family as they face terminal illness? Death is something all of us will face but we rarely discuss it in our daily lives or in the church. Many spend their final days in an intensive care unit often isolated and without a chance to mourn or say goodbye. A bill was recently signed by the mayor in Washington, DC to allow physician assisted suicide as an option for a painless death. How can we die better?

The small group entitled “Christian Hope at Life’s End“ is for both young and older adults who want to honestly examine end of life care and death from the lens of faith and the perspective of a practicing neurologist. We will cover brain death, physician assisted suicide, the Christian death in past centuries and how best to prepare for death ourselves or for a loved one. Readings from “The Art of Dying” (R Moll) and other books and articles will help to frame the discussion and sharing. Please join us on Thursday nights at 7:30 PM!

Interested in joining this group? Sign up here

Small Group #7 – Facing Human Trafficking in Our Midst

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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 Andrew & Christine Jones, leaders of Small Group #7

Is this a depressing small group topic or what? Human Trafficking in Our Midst

It is easy to understand that human trafficking happens across the globe.  But it is hard to hear that it also happens across the street.  This fall, our small group will focus on the trafficking that is happening in our area. Using prayer, data, and real people’s stories, we will seek to understand what is really going on and how, as Christians, we feel led to respond. It’s a frightening, deeply disturbing topic, yes, but we’ll unpack it in a safe, relaxed atmosphere.  Maybe even some homemade snacks & wine to take the edge off?

The assumption is that we will learn together so no base knowledge is necessary.  We will meditate on Isaiah 58 and focus on what God wants for this world, knowing that it – and we – are broken until Jesus comes again.

“Is not this the fast that I choose:

    to loose the bonds of wickedness,

    to undo the straps of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

    and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry

    and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover him,

    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,

    and your healing shall spring up speedily;

your righteousness shall go before you;

    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”

-Isaiah 58:6-8

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!  It’s a new venture for us and we’d love to have you along for the ride.  – Christine & Andrew Jones

Interested in joining this group? Sign up here

Small Group #26 – Healing Shame

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As 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 Christine Wilson, one of the leaders of Small Group #26

Sandra Sellmer-Kersten of Elijah House says that guilt is a gift of God that draws us to the cross and keeps us on the right path, while shame is a tool of Satan that keeps us from walking in dignity and fulfilling God’s destiny for us. The strongholds of shame can be difficult to recognize, but the roots of shame run deep and get planted in many ways. These roots of shame produce bitter fruits and can leave us feeling humiliated, desolate, and defeated.

Louise Brooks and I will be hosting a women’s small group this trimester that walks through a curriculum from Elijah House called “Healing Shame,” together with related materials and activities (e.g., “Praying in Color”). We’ll meet at Louise’s house in Arlington from 7:30 to 9 pm on Thursday evenings. If you fear rejection or being vulnerable, if you are uncomfortable with expressing emotions or depending on others, or if you struggle with perfectionism (hello, Arlingtonians!), compulsive behavior, or feelings of worthlessness, this small group could be right for you. This curriculum is also good for those who do prayer at the rail with parishioners.

Join us, experience healing, and walk into the destiny that God has planned for you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).

Interested in joining this group? Sign up here

Worship is for Lovers: Summer Small Group

Sign up for this small group by emailing David Griffin.

“Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

but his delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

 (Psalm 1:1-2)

Thousands of years ago, the Psalmist recognized something that our modern era is only slowly learning to appreciate again: ritual. If there’s a word in our Christian vocabulary that’s gotten a bad rap in the last couple centuries, it’s “ritual.” Sometimes you hear it as shorthand for mindless acts of devotion that keep religious people busy, or for something quaint and sentimental, like when secular people put up Christmas trees in December.

Psalm 1 speaks of ritual practice, but it’s hardly mindless or sentimental. Granted, it doesn’t deal with “rituals” like religious festivals or fasting. But notice how the Psalm speaks of routine activities we perform with our bodies: walking, standing, sitting, meditating, and that day and night. That’s because the “law of the Lord” is a four-dimensional thing, something lived in space and time (though also contemplated in the mind). Israel’s book of worship opens with this hymn, suggesting that this is somehow what worship—indeed, life—is all about. We train our affections to delight in the law of the Lord.

I think the book of Psalms begins like this because rituals are routine practices that shape who we are at the most fundamental level of our lives. They give shape to our desires and fashion our loves. They are everywhere, and most of the time we aren’t even aware of it when we perform them. As Christian philosopher James K. A. Smith puts it, we are worshipping animals.

You know who really gets this? Starbucks. When I worked there as a barista, their mission was to become our clientele’s “third place,” after their home and work places. So we hoped to seduce coffee-lovers through what might be called a Starbucks liturgy. A smiling barista would greet you from behind the counter as soon as you enter the door, and (if possible) would welcome you by name. After reading the bulletin (our menu), admiring the icons (our quirky wall-art), and making an offering (at the register), you would partake of the elements in your favorite pew (a plush loveseat) with the rest of the congregants enjoying the aroma of the coffee-scented incense. Ideally for Starbucks, this simple routine would become embedded in your daily rhythm of life.

The Christian Church, of course, has its own liturgy or set of rituals, which are designed to channel our deepest desires to the Triune God, who is love. And this Church exists in a world of competing liturgies, like those of Starbucks (or nation states, neighborhood associations, fraternity and sorority houses, corporate structures, etc.), which are always trying to direct our loves toward other things. In this class I want to examine how Christian practices (ancient, everyday-things-people-got-martyred-for practices that we still do today) play this role of formation in our lives.

In our first four weeks, we’ll study in depth the practices of worship and devotion that the Holy Spirit has used over the centuries to shape the church into the Bride of Christ, who adores (imperfectly, in this life) her all-loving Husband. These include our Sunday liturgy (especially the Eucharist), scripture reading, daily prayer, the creeds, the church year, etc. I am a historian of the Bible and ancient church by training, so my hope is that you’ll gain a fresh appreciation for what we do in the present by digging into the past.

In the last four weeks, we’ll turn our attention to the situation in which we find ourselves in the postmodern world. This part of the class will be much more creative. What forces are at work in our culture, at the level of practice, competing for our loves in our corner of the world in 2013? How can we identify and respond to them in a way that is relevant yet rooted in our historic faith? I’m open to seeing what issues are of interest to the group; potential topics include the arts, internet, and social media, the institutions in which we work, etc.

So please join me Wednesday nights in July and August to study (or, better, pursue) the Christian life as one of worship. It is something we do body and soul, “day and night.” It is a historic pattern of practices, and the goal to “delight in the Lord.” That is: worship is for lovers.

David Griffin

Day/Time: Wednesdays from 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Dates: July 6- August 24

Location: The Fellowship Hall, Restoration Anglican Church

Sign up: Email David Griffin

Small Group #8 – Tuesday AM Women’s Group… with Kellie Carwell & Leigh McAfee

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As Small Groups launch this Sunday, we want to highlight some of the groups. In this post, Susan Gonzalez writes about her experience with Small Group #8 (led by Kellie Carwell & Leigh McAfee)

 “What have I learned from small group? 

I’m into community building.

I’m people oriented.

I like to laugh.

I am really into routines and consistency.

I’m a broken individual who seeks God’s love and mercy.

I am not a morning person.

It’s Monday night, I set my alarm for 5:15 a.m. I repeat, I’m not a morning person. I hit snooze once, usually twice, get-it-together and head out the door for my 6:30 a.m. small group at Kellie’s house. Upon my arrival, I’m always greeted by familiar sleepy faces, and I make my way to my usual place on the couch with a cup of tea in hand.

This is one of the few consistencies in my life full of crazy. It’s what grounds me, it’s what fills my heart and it’s what gives me the courage to be myself and face challenges in our ever-changing world. It’s the only sense of community I have had since moving to Arlington seven years ago. In a small group, we are known, we are loved and we are prayed for. It’s my tribe.”

Interested in this small group? Sign up here

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