“Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
Happy 12th day of Christmas! As we transition from the season of Christmastide to Epiphany, we are facing ‘trials of various kinds.’ Many in our congregation have been sick or exposed to a loved one who is sick. The weather surprised us with snow that has closed schools and shut down expected services and businesses. Some of you have been ensnarled in travel difficulties both by air and I-95. We know that tomorrow is The Epiphany, but it is also the one year anniversary of a horrific attack on our Capital building. The challenge of working through the complexity of actions on that day is still before us.
These are trials of various kinds. And yet, this is also everyday life in a world that is ‘not the way it’s supposed to be.’
This Sunday, we begin our Epiphany sermon series from the book of James: Faith that works in a broken world. I am so encouraged by James, chapter 1 and can’t wait to tell you about it:
God is teaching us to be steadfast in a world that is regularly in chaos.
We can ask Him for wisdom when we don’t understand.
We can rejoice that God ‘tempts no one’.
We can say thank you for the ‘good and perfect gifts’ that ‘come down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.’
He is steadfast and He is teaching us to be the same when we meet ‘trials of various kinds.’
I hope you will join us in person or on YouTube for this series that will run until the end of February.
January 9 is a big day!
In addition to starting a new sermon series, we are also kicking off small groups for every age.
- Kids’ Small Groups for children 5th grade and below will restart at both the 9:00 and 11:00 services. If you have never registered your child at Restoration, we ask that you do so, here.
- Apex gets going with dinner, games, program, and small groups for students in grades 6-12 on Sunday night. If your middle school or high school student is new, please register them, here. One of the most anticipated opportunities for our youth is on the horizon: Breakaway. The high school trip is February 18-21 and the middle school trip is March 4-6. If you are hoping one or more of your students will attend, you must complete this form to save their spot. (It took me 30 seconds to complete for my kids. Really.) The deadline to pre-register is this Sunday, January 9.
- Adult Small Group Sign-ups open on Sunday. We will have over 30 groups meeting around the area and hope that all of you can find one that works for you. Many of them will be studying the book of James. Others will be looking at various topics that help us walk in steadfast faith. At Restoration, we invite everyone who attends on Sunday to be in a small group during the week.
Plus we will have baptisms at both services and pray for friends and loved ones who are walking through challenging circumstances. It’s a big day!
While I have you… 4 quick things.
- THANK YOU for your generous gifts to Restoration Immigration Legal Aid on Christmas Eve. Restoration gave $25,122(!) to the work they are doing to help Afghan refugees who are getting settled in the US. Thank you.
- Speaking of Afghan refugees, we have another opportunity on Saturday morning, Jan. 15, to partner with Communidad to distribute groceries for recently arrived refugees who don’t have access to transportation. Please sign up here.
- If you are new to Restoration, we would like to invite you to dinner on Tuesday, January 18 at 7pm in our fellowship hall. Three times a year we host an event called, ‘Living God’s Story at Restoration’ in which we describe the ways you can connect to all that God is doing through our church. The meal is catered and we provide childcare for kids 5th grade and below, so please rsvp to let us know you are coming!
- Speaking of rsvps… on January 20 at 7pm, in our sanctuary, we are hosting an event called, ‘God’s Heart for Justice-Centered Racial Unity’. I am looking forward to both the presentation and the Q+A that will follow. We would love to know if you are coming. We will provide childcare for kids 5th grade and below, but you must tell us ahead of time who you are bringing. So, please take a moment to let us know you are coming!
In the midst of all these opportunities to be together, we know that the changing circumstances with regard to Covid-19 make life challenging. We will continue to broadcast our 9am service on our YouTube channel. We will continue to require masks for everyone aged two and up regardless of vaccination status at our 9am and we will continue to recommend masks for those who attend the 11am.
We are walking together in faith. Each day. We will persevere in this together. “Blessed is the one who remains steadfast under trial, for when that person has stood the test that person will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12) We will get through this. Together. With God’s help.
See you on Sunday,