In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11-14
It is amazing to me that God put a mark on Cain to claim him as his own. I am astounded by the reality that even though Cain in no way deserved it, God said, ‘you are mine. I claim you. I will protect you.’
Grace is amazing. God is jaw-dropping cool.
He proves over and over that He is worthy of our trust. I am so thankful for the way He treats me– not as I deserve.
For those who follow Jesus, we get something better than Cain’s tattoo. God seals us with the promised Holy Spirit. He puts himself IN us as a guarantee that He will never leave us and that He will make sure He finishes the work He needs to do so we are ready for the inheritance He has promised us. Thank you God that I don’t merely get a mark on the outside– thank you that I get YOU on the inside. And that your presence changes and transforms me a little more every day.
On Sunday we celebrated several things:
- It was the last day of the Christian calendar.
- It was Christ the King Sunday– when we remember that God has promised to restore all things under Him who is our Head.
- It was our 4th Birthday!! Four years ago, in the Ballston Hilton, Bishop Minns instituted my ministry as Rector of Restoration and instituted the ministry of our first vestry. God has been incredibly faithful to us. We are thankful for numerical growth, for marriages and babies(!), for new friendships, for deeper discipleship, for new outreach partnerships, for a beautiful building-to-be. I am so glad to be on this journey with you. Happy Birthday!!
All of us at Restoration are praying for you as you pause this week to give thanks for the ways God has provided for you in the past year. May you have safe travel and good conversations with friends and loved ones.
I mentioned on Sunday that the vestry of our church is committed to keeping you informed of our financial situation. So, for the first time in our 4 year history, we had a month with a significant deficit. Restoration is an extremely generous church. You give sacrificially to a variety of opportunities. Our vestry is very careful and strategic with how that money gets allocated. So this was an unusual event– a first. We are not alarmed, but we want you to be aware. We have a million dollar operating budget and a $4.5 million building project. Both of these are significant undertakings for a church our size and age. The vestry invites you to keep these things in mind as you plan your year end giving.
May you rejoice in being people who are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked and claimed by our loving God because of His work in Christ.